Friday, September 01, 2006

The State of Sports Sept 1st

-College Football- Opening Weekend Previews

-Games to watch-
-California vs. Tennessee
-This non-conference matchup may be what the Vols need to get on track. California on the other hand boosts its highest preseason ranking in quite some time (1952). Will we see another dominant offensive performance by California this saturday? The Bears look strong with the rushing attack in running back Marshawn Lynch and passing with Nate Longshore. Longshore missed last season with a broken leg injury, and inherits a young recieving corps. Look for Cal to run the ball a lot.
Tennessee, on the other hand, looks to rebound after a dismal 5-6 performance last year. Head Coach Brad Fullmer has the advantage of playing such a good team early in the season, to prepare him for Florida (7th in the AP), Georgia (15th in the AP), and LSU (8th in the AP). Last season the problem was getting things going on offense. The Vols ranked 101st in scoring and 90th in overall offense. With second year starter Erik Ainge at the helm, maybe he can be the spark Tennessee needs this season. Last season the Tennessee defense was 2nd in the nation in rushing yards allowed (907 yards).
Although the Vols didnt graduate much on defense, and their rushing defense was really good, California will make this game interresting. California should win by at least a couple of touchdowns.
-Pick- California

-Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech
-Notre Dame has certainly rebounded with their 9-3 record and Fiesta Bowl appearance last year. The Fighing Irish are certainly hungry for more as senior Brady Quinn returns this season after an impressive Junior year performance. Notre Dame also boosts the return of senior wide recievers Jeff Samardizja and Rhema McNight. Junior running back Darius Walker also returns for the Irish. Last season, Samardizja set a school record 77 receptions and Walker rushed for 1,200 yards and 9 touchdowns. Both look to be keys in an offense that could power the Irish to their first national title since 1988.
Georgia Tech looks to upset favored Irish (GT is -6.5) with the tandem of quarterback Reggie Ball and reciever Calvin Johnson. For the past two seasons Johnson was selected to be on the all ACC team. Last season he was also named an All American, despite being double teamed. He managed to catch 54 passes for 888 yards for the Yellow Jackets.
Last season Notre Dame ranked a mediocre 55th in total defense, and GT may look to exploit this disadvantage. Georgia Techs defense isnt all that good, but with eight starters returning on offense, that looks to be what they will be relying on.
Pick- Notre Dame

-Florida State vs. Miami
-In a rivalry game with so much on the line, both look to prove themselves on the national scene. Florida State comes off a disappointing Orange Bowl loss to Penn State, and boosts the return of sophmore Drew Wetherford. Wetherford led the team with over 3,000 yards passing, last season. He can only hope that the rushing attack is much better this year, as the Seminoles ranked 101st in rushing offense. On defense, Florida State will have a lot of youth, as nine starters were drafted.
After an embarrassing 40-3 loss to LSU in the Peach bowl, head Coach Larry Coker fired four assistants. He decided to shake things up by replacing the offensive coordinator, the offensive line coach, the running backs coach, and the linebackers coach. Hopefully this will do the trick as the Hurricanes have been 32-6 (since '03) and in the top 25, but have produced no championships or BCS apperances since '02.
The Hurricanes return junior David Wright as the quarterback, but he will be short-handed as running back Tyrone Moss, and reciever Ryan Moore are suspended for skipping study hall. This will be the eighth strait meeting in which both teams are in the top 15.
-Pick- Florida State

-Other games:
Arkansas vs USC- USC
Rutgers vs North Carolina- Rutgers
Syracuse vs Wake Forest- Wake Forest
Virgina vs Pittsburg- Pittsburg

Other Notes
-Im glad that the Sox found a way to deal David Wells to a contending team. He really wasnt helping out the cause as the Sox are now 8 games behind the Yankees and 6.5 games behind the White Sox in the wild card. The sox picked up the second best prospect in the Padres organization, George Kottaras. They really didnt have any youth in the catching position, since trading away Kelly Shoppach earlier in the season

-BC should have killed Central Michigan. I just dont know what to say. Then again, I didnt see the game, because of a fantasy football draft, and the Pats preseason game was on. There really is no excuse.

Thanks to ESPN and Yahoo for sources of information on the football previews

Friday, February 10, 2006

The State of Sports Feb. 11th


-Prediction: What will happen to Reggie Bush?
I know the NFL Draft is on April 28-29th, and thats like more than two months and a half away. However, I have been waiting for something big to make a post on my feelings. ESPN reports that the Houson Texans resigned David Carr today. This is an interresting move, because now we know, the Texans want to keep their future with Carr. There is no QB controversy, like there is in San Diego, but they wont draft a quarterback to make one either. The article remided us that Chris Mortenson reported less than a month ago that the Hiesman running back was going to the Texans.

I doubt this highly. I have three reasons why I dont think this is going to happen. These shots in the dark are ideas that I have played around with to several people, and gotten yea's and nay's about my comments. Other people think im just plain nuts. They are:

-1. The Texans already have a running back. Why would the Texans draft Reggie Bush when they already have Dominick Davis? My friend Chip made the argument that Bush was one of the best running backs in the league, and the Texans would never pass up the opportunity to draft him. Out of college, Bush is most likely already better than half the running backs in the league, was another point my friend made. One of those running backs he mentioned was 2003 rookie of the year Dominck Davis.
-The fourth round choice out of LSU has had an impact on this offense. He had a pretty bad season this year, so I can see why people would think the Texans would take Bush. But the offensive line just had a bad season. In his first two years the run blocking was decent when Davis averaged 1109 yards, 4.1 per carry and 11 TD's. Last year on a very bad offensive line he had 976 yards, and two touchdowns, on the ground.

-I still wonder who they would trade Davis away when he's a gurarenteed 1000 yard rusher who can run the ball well with power inside the goal line when in 2003, 8 of his 8 rushing touchdowns were from inside the red zone. In 2004, 12 of his 13 rushing touchdowns were from inside the opponents 20. Because he had a bad season, he is also on the cheap and could be signed to an lowball figure for an extension. In 2004, he made about $550,000. He's also young has lots of potential to the Texans.

-2. Why would the Texans draft a running back with a terrible offensive line? The preseason rank in CBS Sportslines fantasy football magazine of offensive line has the Texans ranked at 30th out of 32. Yeah, thats pretty bad. The statistic of that proves my point is the amount of times that Carr has been sacked this season (68 times). He had two good offensive line years in 03' (15 sacks) and 04' (49 sacks), but its noticeable that both had good seasons when the Texans had a good offensive line. Another amazing stat is that David Carr has been sacked 208 times in four seasons. The NFL career leader is John Elway, who's been sacked 516 times, in 13 seasons.

-The Texans need desperate help in this area and I think that they would probably draft someone like D'Brickashaw Ferguson from Virgina. Why the Texans would draft a lineman first when Reggie Bush, Vince Young, and Matt Lienhart first is on interresting idea. Which is why I think one of three things will happen: somone will trade up for the pick of Reggie Bush, the Texans will trade down to draft Ferguson, or they draft Bush and then trade him away for more picks on other team concerns. The third possiblilty is the most possible at this stage of the game. If I were to predict a possible scenario, I would go with possiblity 1 or 2 though.

-3. Why would the Texans draft Bush and tie up more salary cap space?
-First round picks have a have a history of commanding a lot of money. Eli Manning signed a record $54 million dollar contract. Alex Smith signed an even larger 6-year $49.5 million dollar deal. The NFL salary cap last season was $80.6 million dollars. has the figures as to how much teams have in terms of cap leway for those kind of numbers. Although the Texans have $14 million dollars in leway, most of that money is going to be used up for the extension on Carr. The Texans could always cut money off their payroll to make room, but that wouldnt make much sense when their payroll is pretty high.

-USA Today reports that the Texans 2004 payroll was 97 million dollars (3rd in NFL). That number for 2006 will be significanly less, but I bet thier attendance figures werent very high. According to my ESPN almanac, the 7-9 Texans ranked 10th with 70,000 people in attendance for 2004. The Texans also had two of the top 25 highest paid players in that year as well. Defensive End Gary Walker made 11 million and Offensive lineman Todd Wade signed a new contract that paid him 10 million dollars that year.

-I dont think it would be wise for the Texans to even consider taking more chances by signing a running back that might put them in the hole. Their best chance would be to draft an offensive lineman for their stuggling line that desperately needs help. The NFL Draft is only 2.5 months away. Only time and ESPN will report what people are thinking and I bet the Texans will make no surprises about who they will pick. I think Reggie Bush will be the first one selected in the draft. I dont think he will end up on the Texans roster on draft day.

-BSC Bears:
-The Last Three games

-The BSC Bears go into their final stretch of the season facing Worcester (at home), Salem and Fitchburg (away). It should be interresting as the Men's team is all alone in third place. If we can win vs Worcester and Fitchburg, it should give us a really good chance at taking the 2-3 seed in the MASCAC Tournament. The Bears have to play very consistent and not
give the game away if they want to win.

-The Women's team is unbelievable. I would not be surprised if they won 2 out of the next 3 at Fitchburg and at home vs. Worcester. They need to stop turning the ball over. This is their only weakness to their superior all around game. I shake my head when I see a turnover, and yet I scream, yell, or cheer when I see them force one as well. They are plain downright nasty.

-The Alumni game went well this weekend as 2004 graduate, Billy Hymon took it home with an at the buzzer three point score to win it for the gold team. It was a good time seeing people you havent seen in a while, and going to town with lunch you dont have to pay for after the Men's game.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The State of Sports Feb. 6th


-Superbowl Recap
I think that the Steelers were the underdogs the whole time. They were the team that nobody believed in. They were the team that forced turnovers, and made sure that their own turnovers werent capitalized on. Ben Rothlesberger was 9-21 for 123 passing yards and 2 Int's. Wow, what a line for a QB. The Steelers are hardly the passing team that they were down the stretch. I think that Seattle just couldnt stop their run. My gut feeling is that Pittsburg knew they had to pound the ball in the second half.

Seattle missed and failed to capitalize on its opportunites. If you look at Shaun Alexanders stats, 20 rushes for 93 yards, thats a pretty good day. Matt Hasselback was 26-49 for 273 yards, a TD and an Int. Its not like Pittsburg completely dominated on defense the entire game. But they failed to win the game because they couldnt get it done when it mattered the most. It might not also help that Seattle kicker was 1-3 in field goal attempts.

The Seattle defense was as good as advertised. If not for giving up a 75 yard run to Willie Parker, and a beutifully excecuted fake reverse pass to Hines Ward, it would have been a closer game. Roethlisberger did not have the touchdown, and the pass interference call on Darell Jackson was questionable. But those referee calls were at the beginning of the game. I dont think they had any impact on the game.

The better team won the game. It is as fair and simple as that. Jerome Bettis should now retire. Ive never been a big fan of "The Bus." Randel El so deserved that MVP award. Yeah Hines Ward may have caught the pass, but who absolutly fooled the entire audience. I think that was the bullshit call of the game, to be honest. You cant say that Roethlisberger is in the same category as Tom Brady, Marino, or Young, yet. His pass numbers were bad. Your only argument Steelers fans is that Ben ran the offense. Good job Bill Cower, you deserved this one.

To close up my recap, I just want to say that I was really disappointed in Seattles offense. Yeah, they got the job done, but when it mattered the most, they just failed to get it done. I am hopeful for the Seahawks, because they are a good team. Regardless, we will see if Shauns back next year.

-Random Thoughts:
-I thought that Bosoxguys Super Bowl diary was pretty good. I give a lot of props to that guy. When he gets a good idea, he can really run with it. I always am amazed by his ingenuity for coming up with these ideas ive never even would have considered. His dedication for the New England Sports is genuine, and I do believe that I will be the kind of die hard he will be when I am his age. Truly I have called you out man, and thanks for a good post.

-I also made a comment on his post, and said the following about the halftime show:
-"On the halftime show, my roomate said that Keith Richards was drunk during the halftime show. And what they do is they just shut off his guitar, and have Ron Wood play the lead. Richards was obviously plastered. He walks around the stage with his guitar just doing a lap. I think about it and its hilarious."
-Fact is, the Stones really werent that good. Maybe I just had to be there, and thats what it is. Dont get me wrong, I like to just jam out to Stones songs like the next guy, but they werent that good a selection. Maybe they should go back to MTV productions. It might make things more interresting.

-I was playing Tiger Woods golf until 6:35, so I missed Belichicks preview of defenses. Maybe that wasnt the best move, but its not like I missed the game. The commericals were interresting this year. I dont think ive seen more movie spot previews during a sporting event. I wonder if they were used as space filler, or if they were actually paid for by hollywood.
-The ESPN on the phone commerical was wicked cool. I think the Bud Light commericals with the "Magic Fridge" and the one "Streaker" were good laughs. I didnt grow up in the McGver era, but that one was pretty classic. The godzilla and robot Hummer commercial also drew a pretty warm spot as well.
-But this year they were pretty violent. Thinking about it, what kind of message are you sending to children who watch the Superbowl with the family. If I was ten, id prob go and smash my dads cell phone right about now. But, thats because I dont know any better, not because a commerical influenced me to do that. Maybe they were just playing it safe, because of what happened two years ago. I hope they get a lot better next year. isnt a porn site, right?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The State of Sports Feb 4th


-Super Bowl Preview
Im going to be perfectly honest. I really dont care about this Superbowl. I dont care who wins. I dont care who looses. I am getting drunk watching one of the most interesting Super Bowl matchups i've seen in 10 that i've been old enough to see. If there was going to be a least watched Superbowl, id have to say this one will so out-do the Baltimore-Giants game (least-watched game in history).

I've asked several people what they think about this matchup. Some say Pittsburgs defense is too unbelievable not to win this game. Others say Seattles got too good an offense with Hasselback and Alexander. One person said its gonna be a close low-scoring game. Bosoxguy has said four times that the final score will be 34-17. The pro-sports beat writer for my school newspaper said, "Supporting either one of these teams would be like saying that I support mediocrity." And I couldn't agree with Rudzi more.

You have Pittsburg, the team that everyone wrote off when they were bottom seeded and even lucky to get a wild-card spot. As though they destined to be in the Super Bowl, they beat Cincinati because Carson Palmer got injured, they beat Indianapolis because Payton Manning shit the bed, and they beat Denver because they stopped the running game. Pittsburg is also coached by Bill Cower. Man can this man make a photograph. The man could break the camera if it had a lens in it.

But, can he coach a football team. Among one of the most sucessful in the last ten years of the AFC, he has drafted well. He in the last three drafts he has drafted Heath Miller, Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu in the first round. Miller, a top TE from Virgina, has done an excellent job not only blocking in a run first offense, but spreading the defense thin with his passing threat down the middle. Roethlisberger, last years rookie of the year, has proven time and time again he can be a force. His two year quarterback record is 26-6. Polamalu has long hair. I cant think of any other person who just might make the NFL have a hair rule next year. Not only that but he has helped lead this defense to give up 86 yards per game (3rd NFL ranked).

I give props to Seattle. One of the most consistent teams over the course of the season, they carry one of the most potent offenses in the league. Led by former BC quarterback Matt Hasselback, he knows how to spread the ball around. If he doesnt get the job done, then NFL MVP Shaun Alexander will get the job done. And just like that, you have an offense that rivals that of the AFC tandem of Edgerin James, and Payton Manning. It's scary how this team has put up points (28.3) and yards (369.7) over the course of the season, being in the top two of both categories.

I have been saying for the past two weeks that Seattles got a very good offense and mediocre defense. I think that Pittsburgs got a good defense, but they are shaky on offense. This equals for a close game. I think Seattles got the intangibles, and thats who im picking. This should make for one of the most interesting/least watched superbowls ever.

Meanwhile, I will enjoy watching the plethra of commericals that I am always impressed with. I will also enjoy the Rolling Stones halftime show. I sure hope they do "Miss You." I friggen love that song.

-Random Notes of Note:
-I try and be bold last Tuesday. I make a comment/post on The Away Teams blog after I try to attempt to answer a comment made about the catcher situation, and I get blasted. The other two members of the blog more-less copy an opinion of what Gammons said a month ago. I was being the random idiot that ive always been, but I think that my comment was rudly cast aside like a caller who doesnt know what they are talking about on WEEI. I may not subscribe to the RSS Service like other bloggers on this site, but I have continue to have valid and good opinions about sports in general. I may be random, but please if you dont like anything I have to say, dont toss it aside.

-If you would like to check out this weeks sports section of "The Comment" (my school newspaper) online, here is the link. I have three articles, the interview with Derek Thompson is good, and the superbowl preview is priceless. But unlike every online college newspaper you have to register, so buyer beware.

-The Sox deal with Gonzalez is interesting because they can still cut him if he doesnt make the squad. If an all-star caliber defense shortstop is makes a contract with the Red Sox and doesnt make the squad because hes getting replaced by someone internally, man would that be interresting.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The State of Sports Jan 30th

-College Basketball

-BC finally beats Georgia Tech
It was one of those games where it was close the entire game. Just when you thought they would pull away and win by a slim lead, GT would just bounce right back into it. It was among the most sloppyest games ive seen BC play this season, and I wish they would play a lot more consistently. A game that started out bad from the beginning with both teams had a combined 9 turnovers, in 4 minutes of play, and one free throw scored by Jared Dudley. But they hung on for the victory, and thats the important thing.

One thing that I think really kills a team is turnovers. BC had 19, and GT had 20. I think Georgia could have beaten them by a lot more, had BC not played a decent defense. I think the BC defense got streched too thin at lots of points. They gave up the easy layup and the three pointer, from college range. This allowed GT to get back into the game, even when BC clearly had the game won, with 3-4 minutes to go.

One of the things I do like, however, was the press breaker that BC ran to stop the 2-3 zone full-court press that GT ran. GT was just forcing BC to make bad throws and mental errors, but they showed a lot of poise and got easy layups and created mismatches. The other thing that Eagle pointed out, was that Craig Smith had a good game, and he is just playing so consistently for them right now. Smith was 9-9 from the floor, had 13 rebounds, and 23 points on the game. One of BC's other strenghts is knowing how to score baskets by getting guys in the post, when a team plays a good zone defense on you. They were 2-12 (0-8 in 2nd half) from the three point range, and I give a lot of credit to BC for scoring points, the other way.

BC needs to play their best defense, they cant afford to make turnovers, or other mistakes if they want to beat Duke. I cant wait to read Eagles preview on what the keys to game are in this game. He follows and watches BC like a die-hard, and hes always got good points that I dont think twice about, when it comes to BC Basketball. After Duke, BC should have challenges with VT and Wake Forest (both 1-6 in ACC), and then they have Clemson, who almost beat NC State yesterday.

BC has definately stepped it up though. After dropping consecutive losses to GT and NC State, BC has won five in a row. They went from a 0-3 hole in the ACC to 4-3. I think they can play a lot better than they have and at least finish the season strong with a 4-5 seed in the ACC tournament. It should be an interresting week.

Random Thoughts:
-Mike Riess reports on his blog that Bill Belichick will be a pre-game analyst for Super Bowl XL (40 if you dont know roman numerals). I think this a great move for ABC because who tunes into the pre-game show. Last year I watched the game with my good friends at Northeastern. An hour before the game, they had musical guests on. When they announced that they were going to be Kelly Clarkson, Charlie Daniels, and John Fogerty, my friend Danny remarked "Whos John Fogerty?" My other friend Andrew then says to his suitemate, "Hey want to play some Madden?" And they switched off the pre-game.

I think adding Belichick as an analyst for this pre-game might boost the ratings up slightly. I still want to read the "Education of a Coach" book, by David Halberstam. Im still waiting for it to come out in paperback

-If your one of those people that doesnt know whats going on with the Coco Crisp deal, check out the Globe's Extra Bases blog. I think its a good wrap up, and has very good content thats been published over the weekend. I also liked reading Gammons this weekend. I was talking to my sports editor for the paper, and pretty much blew him off, because I was reading Gammons while talking to him on AIM.

-Olney makes a good point this afternoon, as lots of money was spent on middle relief this winter. I believe Gammons once said that "so many games are won and lost in the 7th or 8th inning, because you dont have a consistent setup man to set the stage for the closer to close out and win the ball game for you." I think this is the trend in baseball today. If a baseball francise wants to be competitive today you need a good middle relief-setup man in the bullpen.
-Olney has a chart that says that teams spent $232,215,000 on 47 total contract years for relievers compared to $265,425,000 and 34 total contract years for starters. While it was a small market for free agents this year, and both starting and relief pitchers really collected on money this year, teams focused on strengthening their relief corps. Especially when you dont have several pitchers leading the league in complete games with anywhere from 20-30 games. Pitch counts are watched religiously by pitching coaches in baseball today.

I liked his point, and I look forward to the many articles that ESPN will publish on the subject of middle relief this year.

-The Padres have reportedly signed future hall of fame catcher Mike Piazza to a two million dollar deal. I thought this was interesting because of the way that it was done. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Towers had his eye on Piazza then, but decided to wait and see when the time was right. I remember not even seeing Piazza's name in the list of interrested suitors, and the Padres werent on that list. Being subtle and quiet is the way to go sometimes. Its tricky, and its just so devilish. Towers played the right card here.

The terms of his contract allow for Piazza to have more control over where he bats. He is best suited for the #4 clean up spot, that last year, generated the most offense for the Padres. (.279, 19 homers, and 97 RBI's; Piazza was .261, with 19 homers and 62 RBI's total). The Padres are hurting for offense. The Dodgers look to contend with their revamped offense with Nomar, and Bill Mueller and the Giants with Barry Bonds returning all look to contend in that division. The Padres are in desperate need of offense and pitching, and it gives them an added advantage they really need.

Piazza, a veteran catcher, should give them solid numbers from the cleanup position, and leverage helping out a rotation that is young. Jake Peavy, Chris Young, and Shawn Estes should benifit from having the tandem of Doug Mirabelli and Mike Piazza. This also might have an impact on Chan Ho Park and his overpaid contract of 15 million dollars. Park has not had a good year since 2001.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The State of Sports Jan 29th


-Sox on free TV
Once again the Sunday Globe knows how to hit home. Shaugnessy's article writes about one of those things you look forward to every friday. Friday Night Baseball! Every Friday night I would turn off the radio and just sit back and watch some baseball (much to my little sisters dismay) in the living room, before anyone would get home. If I was old enough to drink, id be drinking beers, too. Man would it be heaven. But Shaugnessy brings up a very important point, What about the people that dont have cable?

Ever since the third grade, when I told kids that I didnt have cable at home, they said I was nuts. In fact, people still think my dads on drugs when I tell people I live without the Internet at home. But, my family is in the majority of people in this New England region that dont have cable. The only time I get to even see a Red Sox game live is when either I am there, or when im at school watching NESN up here. So, now all I have are the random games that will be broadcasted on Fox with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. McCarver, by the way, is one of the worst analysts that I am forced to listen to on the air. He says the dumbest things, is a clear and biased Yankees fan (not that thats a bad thing), and his contract shouldnt be renewed.

There is only one article announcing that the Sox would no longer be broadcasting the games on public television. The Worcester Telegram and Gazette quotes the president of NESN, Sean McGrail as saying that it is a "natural progression." "The games of more than 30 other pro sports teams are televised exclusively on cable," so maybe it just makes sense. Also, McGrail says "a low single-digit percentage of viewers don't subscribe to cable or satellite TV." The reporter then asks the question "what about those die hard Red Sox fans who dont subscribe?" McGrails response: "One hundred and 26 of them or so were on NESN last year. How much of a diehard fan were you if you didn't watch all those games?"

The bottom line is its a business. You try to make a lot of money for the highest revenue possible. Obviously the people at NESN really dont care about the people who can't watch, or cant afford to watch the Red Sox on TV. It's a damned shame that you now are forced to choose to pay the heating bill or watch the best team in baseball on live cable.

Someone should have a petition online to petition the people at NESN. Thousands of people who dont have access to cable should be able to say how they feel on this matter. If I knew how to build a website, I would do it. I would even fund the project. I would stand on a soapbox and let my voice be heard, along with anyone else who is out there with me.

I just hope it isnt a small number.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The State of Sports Jan 28th


-Worth the Riske?
After what seemed like a week out of the ice age, it just seemed to last forever. Constantly checking Dirt Dogs for even a shred of evidence as to whats going on with the trade. Sitting in front of my computer checking away messages on AIM and playing Tiger Woods golf. It was like I had nothing better to do all week. Of course there's class, lunch and work. But when you're a die hard everyone else, you just look everywhere for a story. I have done more reading this week on the possible Coco Crisp deal than I have for reading this semester.

But, now Crisp is coming to Beantown. And just like that Boston now has a center fielder. Even better than that they have a leadoff hitter that just might be able to get on base. The offense is critical for this. This is because you need someeone who can get on base at the top of the order, so Ramirez and Ortiz can just do their thing. It doesnt help to get on base at the bottom of the order either for Crisp to move runners over. The Sox also just filled a hole the size of the San Andreas fault in centerfield.

In what seems like years ago, when I first heard about the deal, I liked that David Riske was in it. I spent the better part of a half hour on Monday researching the numbers on Riske. His numbers indicate that he would be better suited as a leftie-righty specialist more than anything else. He has held lefties to a career .205 average and rightys .244 average. Last season he held lefties to a .213 batting average (in 29 IP) and rightys to a .204 average (in 43 IP). The role he had last year was as a setup man for 60 year old closer, Bob Wickman. He also doesnt give up many walks or gets strikeouts, he just gets outs. Its what the Red Sox really need in the back end of the bullpen.

They also got this kid named Josh Bard, who batted .196 in 36 games last year. Hardly a backup catcher worth putting on the roster for a spot, I think you will be seeing him at Pawtucket for a majority of the season. He's not worth adding to the roster when you have veterans John Flaherty and Ken Huckaby competing for a roster spot. If anything, hes going to play out the year as trade bait in a midseason aquisition. Or maybe hes just insurance in case something were to happen to any one of the other three catchers. You can just ask the Astros, you always need insurance.

The Sox gave up prospect Andy Marte. Who knows how the 22 year old infielder will turn up? He could be a Albert Puljois, a Julio Franco, or a complete bust. You just dont know with prospects. The highly touted Marte, will wind up
being the third baseman for the Indians next year. The Sox also gave up Kelly Shoppach to add backup value for a catcher that was never going to replace team captain Jason Varitek.

The Sox also are giving up Mota. The 3 million dollar headache that has been the buzz over the last few weeks. The Sox admitted on Friday to have just viewed the medical reports and not gotten a physical for the players. I think the reason for this was because the front office worked really hard on this deal, and it was around the time of Thanksgiving. But this approach may have almost cost them Manny Delcarmen. To make up for their lack of intelligence, they are paying off 1 million off Mota's salary and giving them a minor league player to be named later.

When you look at the trade, the Red Sox just look so much better, than the Yankees and Blue Jays do on paper. With a lineup that will be tough to beat, a veteran rotation, and a solid bullpen, they could contend in their division. Of course it isnt even spring training, but I am very optomistic.