Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The (Pitching) Staff of Life

According to the Website AZcentral, the Diamondbacks traded Wade Miley to the Red Sox largely because the pitcher adamantly refused the team's repeated requests he go on a gluten-free die.

Whether Miley will help the Sox in 2015 I couldn't say. He hovered somewhere between mediocre and competent in 201. meaning Miley could start on Opening Day if he has a strong spring training.

But I will say that if Dunkin' Donuts doesn't feature Miley in its advertising next year, it's missing a bet.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Life Comes With an Obstructed View Seat

There have been two big news stories in Boston this week which have captured public imagination and dominated public discourse.

People are shocked and appalled that a well-to-do Harvard Business School professor completely lost his shit over a $4 charge in a bill at a Chinese restaurant.

These very same people are shocked and amazed that Jon Lester decided to sign with the Chicago Cubs instead of the Boston Red Sox just because there was an extra $30 million or so in it for him.

Monday, December 08, 2014

You Don't Need a Weatherman to Know to Defer When You Win the Coin Toss

During this century, the New England Patriots have won many more games than they've lost in the month of December. Of course, this is also true of the months of September, October and November, but there's just something about how the Pats tend to finish strong that brings out the laziest, most hackneyed prose imaginable by football commentators.

The boring truth, which is that the NFL back loads schedules to feature divisional games during the stretch run of each season and that the other three teams in the AFC East haven't been very good for a very long time never seems to come up. Instead, we are assured there is some mystical bond between the Patriots' victories and how December is when New England weather really starts to suck. So beloved is this inane false correlation that actual weather conditions don't apply to it.

"Pats heat up as the weather cools off" was the headline of one newspaper story last week previewing the Patriots game against the Chargers last night, a game played in San Diego, California, the American city with the best year-round weather. Going one better, NBC color man Cris Collinsworth talked about how the Pats got better as the weather got colder as the game was going on. Regrettably, his words were not followed by a cut to a shot of the skimpily dressed Chargers cheerleaders on a typically pleasant southern California evening.

Despite the lack of chilblains among the spectators, the Patriots won 23-14 anyway. Maybe Bill Belichick showed videos of Boston local TV weather forecasts for his pregame pep talk.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Puttin' on His Top Hat Would Be Better

As the clock ran out on the Packers victory over the Patriots yesterday, and Bill Belichick ran onto the field for the post-game ritual meeting with the opposing coach, he looked like he always does after a loss, a portrait of misery and gloom. At least his face did.

But clothes can unmake the man, or at least make him look foolish as well as unhappy. Atop his head, Belichick wore an official NFL stocking cap. This was prudent headgear for Green Bay in late November, but the cap's cunning design of alternating rings of red, white, blue and gray topped with an adorable little red pompom made it appear Belichick had swiped it from the set of a particularly cloying Hallmark Channel holiday special. The contrast between the coach's visage of pain and the jolly fashion statement on his head made Belichick look ridiculous. It was the moment in the Hallmark special when Santa's senior elf learns Old St. Nick has checked himself into rehab four days before Christmas.

NFL head coaches have an impossible job involving constant near-lethal stress levels. They all love it, but that doesn't make it easier. It seems the height of cruelty that during the three-plus hours of game day that are the splendid, horrible peak of their professional lives, the league orders them to be dressed in nothing but copyrighted NFL merchandise, the mass produced crap it peddles to those fans who love their teams not wisely but way, way too well. Bad enough Belichick lost a game that had to be utterly draining for both coaches. For the sake of a little free advertising, the league made him lose his dignity as well;

That's pro football in the 21st century, since about the 1980s in fact. A Hall of Fame coach can be jerked around by the whims of some Reebok designer angling for a better gig at Uniqlo because the NFL thinks there might be a spare nickel in it. I don't often feel sorry for Belichick, but when I saw that cap I did.

Oh, well, New England's next game is in San Diego, win or lose Belichick will be spared the indignity of dressing up for a junior high skating party. That leaves only one question about Sunday's crucial tilt.

What does the official New England Patriots Hawaiian shirt look like, anyway?