Welcome to what is the first of my “Monday Replay” posts, where I’ll have a look at the sports stories that everyone seems to be talking about, both locally and nationally.
First up at the New England Patriots, who lost their preseason match-up against the Carolina Panthers Friday night 25-14. Now I’ve always found it hard to get excited about preseason football, but with the NFL being the most watched sport in the area it still generates a lot of talk.
It’s humorous that people come to conclusions about the entire team based on preseason games, especially when you consider Bill Belichick and his staff don’t game plan against the opponent. They decide what they want to look at, and call plays that will give them the information they need to decide who makes the squad.
Belichick always mentions somewhere in his press conferences that they’re trying to win every game they play, but that’s obviously not the case and it’s funny that anyone believes the Patriots are trying to win preseason games. If they were they’d never throw the ball to Riley McCarron or Eric Decker, neither of whom has looked anything but poorly so far. Decker has looked so bad that he retired Sunday instead of being released.
If people really want to talk about something the reason Rob Gronkowski played at all should be the hot topic. With Julian Edelman suspended for the first four games of the season the Patriots can’t bear to lose Gronk, and he’s got nothing to prove in these meaningless games. I suspect this upcoming week against the Giants we won’t see him at all.
One also has to wonder why quarterback Danny Etling, the Patriots seventh round selection from LSU, has played so little in the first three preseason games. He’s attempted just six passes and as near as I can tell didn’t play at all in Friday’s loss.
I’m guessing Belichick is going to cut Etling and then try to get him on the practice squad, so he’s using the “out of sight, out of mind” technique hoping other teams don’t grab Etling once he’s released. Belichick is smarter than I am, but I think it might have been better to play Etling to see if he was better than current back-up QB Brian Hoyer.
Over at Fenway the Red Sox have cooled off a bit from their hot start. Old timers are starting to buzz about the Sox 1978 collapse, and are wondering if history will repeat itself. Boston’s lead over the Yankees is down to six games.
One thing that is getting a lot of copy is David Price, who seems to have finally gotten things going in the right direction on the field while off the field still being a gigantic ass.
Twice in the last few days Price has given WBZ radio’s Jonny Miller, the Dean of Boston sports media, a hard time over questions asked. When Miller complimented Price’s play and asked about what adjustments he’d made Price said to Miller, “I’m not gonna tell you. You can go back and watch film. I’m not gonna do your job for you. I’m sorry. You don’t do mine, so I won’t do yours.”
The next day Miller went to Price and told him all the things Miller saw that Price had changed. Price simply replied Miller was right, and walked away. After his next start Miller asked about being in the conversation for the Cy Young Award, only to have Price once again give a snarky reply.
Like I said, Price is a gigantic ass.
In local sports, everyone is still talking about the PawSox moving to Worcester. Things being what they are here in Worcester, the naysayers are coming out in full force, predicting a massive failure and cherry picking information to “prove” their opinions. But as of yet I’ve not seen an argument against the plan that holds water.
Granted there’s a lot more information to come out, but at least on the surface when taken in totality a new stadium and improvements in the area have a real good possibility of working out well for the city. In fact, there are already reports coming from City Hall about companies looking to move here.
To be honest I’m more interested in how they’re going to fix Kelley Square. More on that from the city later apparently.
In some hockey news, on Thursday the Worcester Railers announced the signing of forward Tyler Barnes, who was the leading scorer for the Toledo Walleye last season. With the previous acquisition of Nick Sorkin from the Wheeling Nailers and the re-signing of Barry Almeida the Railers now have the leading scorers from three different ECHL teams from last season under contract.
In other news from the rink the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League announced they would be moving to Worcester and will play their home games at the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center. The CWHL also unveiled the Worcester Blades’ jerseys, and they are incredibly sharp looking. In fact, the five jerseys they announced Thursday were all great.
Sunday saw a city pro sports first as the Worcester Blades took part in the CWHL draft. It was the first time a city team selected players in a pro draft. The Blades picks in the live portion of the draft were, in order of their selection, defenseman Lauren Williams (Wisconsin), forwards Morgan Turner (Dartmouth) and Meghan Turner (Quinnipiac), goaltender Jessica Convery (Minnesota-Duluth), forwards Rebecca Fleming (UConn) and Jennifer MacAskill (Mercyhurst), defensemen Carrie Atkinson (Djurgardens IF, SDHL/W) and Chih-Lin Liu (Chinese Taipei national team), and forwards Hannah Desjarlais (Buffalo State) and Shannon Hickey (Plymouth State).
After the tenth round the draft was no longer streamed live, and the Blades selected goaltender Tzu-Ting Hsu (Chinese Taipei national team), forward Mizuki Nishi (Japanese national team), and goalie Akane Konishi (Japanese national team).
SOMETHING ONLY I CARE ABOUT
The French Open has decided that the “catsuit” Serena Williams wore in this year’s competition will no longer be accepted. Now she took the high road and said it wasn’t a big deal, and the affect of helping her with her circulation after a difficult time with childbirth last September was already replaced by the white compression leggings she wore at Wimbledon.
I look at it this way, pro tennis players are some of the best athletes on the planet and Serena is arguably the best women’s tennis player ever, so what does it matter what she’s wearing while she competes. Now I get that Wimbledon has a long standing tradition that the players must wear white, so to play there you have to follow those rules.
But for other tournaments, they need to get over themselves and enjoy the best players in the world showing what they can do.
HAVE SOME LINKS
As I began writing this feature early last week I had several PawSox links ready to go, but Walter Bird over at WoMag beat me to the punch, so we’ll just link over to them and you can click from there.
From The Worcester Telegram:
The case for Worcester’s stadium deal
From The St Louis Post-Dispatch:
Hummel: La Russa sees plenty of parallels between his Cards, A’s and Red Sox teams
From The New York Times:
Conan O’Brien’s Unrequited Fanboy Love for Robert Caro
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
Red Sox vs Florida, NESN, 7:10pm
Red Sox vs Florida, NESN, 6:35pm
Patriots at NY Giants, WBZ, 7pm
Red Sox at Chicago (AL), NESN, 8:10pm
Red Sox at Chicago (AL), NESN, 8:10pm
Red Sox at Chicago (AL), NESN, 7:10pm
Revolution vs Portland, NBC Sports Boston, 7:30pm
Red Sox at Chicago (AL), NESN, 2:10pm
A big “THANKS!” to my cohort in crime Rich Lundin for working on the logo for these posts. I started with something that wasn’t nearly as good as a kindergartener would have done and Rich spent the better part of Sunday morning fixing it. And by “fixing it” I mean starting over from scratch because what I had was completely unusable.
Thanks again Rich.