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Bill O'Brien, Celtics, Bruins, the Hart trophy, Sox, sports radio, NFL playoffs, third basemen

Thursday 1/26/23

Things are about to get very serious on here, to put it mildly, so let's get some frivolities out of the way.

Bill O'Brien has been named Patriots offensive coordinator for the 2023 season. I don't think it will matter because I believe that the quarterback isn't good enough. The hiring of O'Brien means another wasted year before necessary change occurs, by which I mean at the quarterback position and in the coaching ranks with the HC and the cronies and kids. I also have significant reservations about O'Brien's acumen. He had prime Brady when he was last in New England. So what does that mean? They also didn't win a championship in those years.

Time for some predictions. Sports predictions are almost always wrong, but one makes them anyway. I expect the Patriots and Red Sox to both finish in last place again in 2023. But I predict an amazing end to the seasons of the local winter sports teams, with both the Bruins and the Celtics winning championships. I'm less bullish--well, you'd have to be--with the Celtics. I found the game against the Warriors the other night discouraging, while other Celtics fans were rejoicing.

The Warriors are pretty average this year, and they're a bad road team. And it took OT for the Celtics to beat them, with everything the Celtics have to play for against this team, given that they gave it up to them in the Finals, and they were fortunate to get to OT. Also, I still don't think Tatum is "that guy." He wilts in the big situations. Seven turnovers in that game. He doesn't seem to have what the truly great players have--the cold blood of the sports assassin. Did have nineteen rebounds, which had to have been a career high for him. I'd like to see more well-rounded numbers in his game. You get the points, but there should be more rebounds and assists.

As for the Bruins: It's harder than ever to win the Stanley Cup. In the past, if you were the best team, there was a great chance you'd win it all, barring something weird--running into a goalie on the run of his life for a couple weeks, for instance.

You can have the best team now, but if one was to bet that team vs. the field, you really have to take the field over the team. What I am trying to do with these Bruins is take them for what they are and what they're doing. And leave it at that. I have never seen a hockey team do what they are doing. Nothing particularly close to it.

So I am simply beholding right now. I would advise others to do the same. Whatever this has been, pretty much doesn't happen. We're a little more than halfway through the season and a lot can change. The postseason itself is akin to starting over.

This Bruins team, though, is loaded with a "been there, done that" factor. I don't think they'll be caught mentally unawares. They don't seem to be overextending themselves either and going like mad for every win--the second of a back to back, for instance. They just winning. They get to the rink, they play their starter in net or their back-up, and they win. They win the so-called scheduled losses. Are they this much better than everyone else? They could be. In which case, the full, final result may be history. But again, there is a long, long way to go.

My feeling that the Bruins had something special took hold when they started the year without McAvoy and Marchand, and it didn't seem to matter. I thought they would be pretty bad then, so that really made me take notice. I saw where some "expert"--again, these people never know, and you always need the quotes, because there are no other experts--said McAvoy should win the Norris. This is wrong. To date it's wrong. When I looked the other day, McAvoy was thirty-ninth in the league in average ice time. That says something to me, and that something isn't super great.

It's not a Montgomery thing, either. He didn't play huge minutes under Cassidy. This means his coaches have reasons for him not to be playing star-level defenseman minutes. To this point in his career. But people don't pay any attention to things of this nature, because they are not aware of anything. They just say things. But I look at that and think, "Huh? What is that about?" Because it's about something. Why doesn't his coach have him out there more? And it's not because of depth. That's not how this works. You can have all the depth you want, but stud #1 defensemen play bigger minutes than McAvoy plays. And you shouldn't be in consideration for the Norris when that's the case. After every game I look at the box score. I'll often see McAvoy third among Bruins defensemen for minutes played. And I never see him play stud minutes. Also: it's wrong that Hampus Lindholm is not an All-Star. McAvoy will likely pass him as the season goes on, but to date, he has been the Bruins' most valuable defenseman. He also leads the league in +/-.

When the Bruins get the first goal, you figure they'll win. When they don't, you figure they'll come back. If they're down in the third, chances are it's just a matter of time until they're ahead. Took care of Montreal the other night. Ho-hum, punched the time card, won the game. nothing special, nothing fancy. You have to play the full sixty to beat them, or they'll get you. They'll likely get you anyway. I would expect them to lose tonight to Tampa in Tampa. Why? You're not going to win them all, are you? Tampa's a good team. They'll want to make a statement. The Bruins are due. Ullmark is in net, I'm sure. He has to lose at some point, too. But who knows? Wouldn't surprise me if they win 4-0. A word on Ullmark: he won't win the Hart--McDavid will get it--but he deserves it. He'd get my vote. Allowing that he keeps this up or something close to it. The Bruins' 38-5-4 record is bonkers--eighty points with plenty of time to spare in January--but what might be even crazier is their +83 goal differential and that the next closest teams are +41 (New Jersey and Dallas are tied). So a goal differential of more than double anyone else. Do you understand the degree of difficulty in doing that? The sheer improbability?

Put on the sports radio the other day. It was Felger and Mazz. That is a brutal, brutal listen. These two dimwits. Usually it's Patriots all year 'round. You would't think the Bruins exist, but they spent a couple minutes talking about them. Here you have two middle aged men--so they were even around for what I'm about to mention--whose job it is to know sports. Right. That's a laugh. Neither one knew if Serge Savard was in the Hall of Fame. Or how many Cups in a row the Canadiens had won in the 1970s.

Can you even imagine me not knowing these things? It's unthinkable, right? Mazz sounds like a weasel who is in the midst of being castrated. Thank goodness NESN isn't bringing him back this year to do Red Sox games. I couldn't have it on if he was on. A door jamb would have provided more insight, too. Utterly talentless that guy, with the most grating voice and a tired act of licking Felger's taint with girlish glee. It's seriously like a shrieking rim job listening to him. Felger just plays a massive dick. He figured out that if he went on the radio and lied and tried to always be negative, then morons with brains the size of bifurcated acorns would eat it up and make him rich. That says it as well as anything, doesn't it?

My prediction that the Bills would win the Super Bowl was obviously wrong. I thought this was even more likely after the events in Cincinnati, but then I watched the Bills barely beat a bad Patriots team, and you could tell that it was a matter of time before they were knocked off. Something is off with that team. In the coaching, the leadership--they weren't ready to play on Sunday, and they showed no push-back. They got it handed to them in their own place, with the cold, their crazy fans, etc. I was glad to see them lose. I cannot stand seeing all of that fake good person-ing, where everyone is like, "I care about the injured player the most," "No, I care the most." It's done. You're done. Your act is done. I don't have to be subjected to it anymore.

Wasn't impressed with the Chiefs either. Thought the Giants would be competitive. That was wrong, too. I did think San Francisco would advance. They were my pick out of the NFC, but watching Philadelphia, I am not so sure about that now.

I thought it was funny when Red Sox fans booed John Henry and Chaim Bloom the other day. This Sox ownership group and the Globe thing has made it hard for me to root for the team. I couldn't not root for the team, but I've never felt about them as I do now. The whole thing is gross and off-putting to me. Henry is such creepy sleaze. And Bloom was a terrible hire. Talk about the wrong guy for the job and the market. They're both such dumb people, too. Bloom is more like a dumb robot, if that could be a thing.

The team has remarkably poor upper management in place. Look at that pitching staff. How could that possibly work? And look at that impoverished line-up. Devers will regret signing here. He will get in worse shape, and in three, four years, you're looking at an albatross. At least I will probably only have to watch Chris Sale for another eight or so starts. He'll get hurt and that will be it. Whitlock shouldn't be a starter. He'll get hurt playing a position that doesn't even suit his strengths. Whitlock in the bullpen is one of the only assets you have, and you get rid of that?

People are also complaining about how Keith Hernandez isn't in the Hall of Fame. Again, this is very simple. He's not in the Hall of Fame because he was a first baseman with next to no power. A first baseman can't have next to no power and get into the Hall of Fame unless he played in the Dead Ball era when no one had any power as we think of power now. It's a power-based position. That doesn't mean Keith Hernandez was not an excellent and useful ballplayer. Because he was. It means it would be very hard for him to reach Cooperstown. He was a great defensive first baseman, perhaps the finest in the sport's history. But that doesn't have nearly the value as being a great defensive shortstop, center fielder, or catcher.

People also are bringing up Dale Murphy. Role had a WAR over 70. Murphy was in the 40s. He had six good years. Six. Dale Murphy is so far away from deserving to be in the Hall of Fame. Six good years. Not astronomical years. Really good years. But reasonable good years. I do some experiments. People were whining about Murphy not being while Rolen is in on a baseball history Facebook group. They put the numbers side by side. I said these very basic--or should be basic--irrefutable points of truth. Put it another way: Do you really think a guy with six good years--as an outfielder, no less--should be in the Hall of Fame? Or, if you think he had more than six good years, what are those years? Because I see six. And it's clear-cut.

Of course, as we've seen again and again and again, people hate it when intelligence enters the room. Intelligence spoils the party. The party is all about unleashing that ass voice, and saying whatever you want and pretending you're right. To facilitate pretending that one is right, one must also be surrounded by fellow idiots. Then you have Babble. One idiot babbles, another idiot babbles, then another, and none of them know shit about anything. They're not listening to each, save when some of the babble overlaps. That is the world. That is how you make a lot of money, too, right now. You have to be an idiot. Until I figure out how to do it differently. And I will. But look at Stephen A. Smith: idiot. Skip Bayless: idiot. They're all idiots, man. People like that, because they are idiots. So it's comforting, and they're taking that person seriously. They're just doing their babble in their brains alongside that person babbling officially on TV or Twitter.

What is incorrect about any of that? Do you think Stephen A. Smith is intelligent? Of course you don't. Do you think he's entertaining? Of course not. You think he's a clown. A non-threat. You're kind of laughing at him, as one laughs at a clown. No one has any respect for him. That's why he's rich. So, I did my experiment. As I said, people hate when intelligence enters the room. What do you think they did? Some guy who thinks the word "have" is "of" posted an emoji of a face vomiting. Because what else can you do? Take me on? I've covered it. I've been definitive. We're done. What can you say? But see? That's how people are. I'm not incorrect about the house sparrow from earlier. And I'm not incorrect about any of this. I know exactly why every single thing happens as it does at this point.

I had mentioned earlier that football fans are the lowest of the low, mentally, when it comes to American sports fans. To expatiate on the idea: fans of baseball and hockey are more likely to have a sense of history. The latter provides context, scope, and with context and scope we're more likely to have rational thought. Again, it's a low bar, and almost all of these people are idiots, but if you were online and you saw a cogently written sentence, with some understanding of the game in question, it's much more likely to be from a baseball fan, followed by a hockey fan, with football fans way at the back. I've never seen even an amateur football historian online. If football fans are talking about the past, it's always something they saw and nothing that predates them that they know or have learned about. This, despite there being a rich vein of football-based literature. Modern football always feels faddish and glib to me. Insubstantial. When it ceases to exist--and it will, because people will be getting killed on the field, just give it enough time--I think it will barely come up in history books. There isn't much substance to it, even by sports standards.

Football fans are usually Neanderthals of the weekend. Nothing else exists for them but that bag of chips, pile of fatty meat, and that game in front of their face. They know nothing about the sport's history nor even the current version of the game. Football rewards idiocy. Or idiocy is no deterrent--more like a gateway. There's no context and scope for these people. It's gluttonous. A stuffing of the face that exists then and there. It's sort of like bad, "I'm gonna bang you fast" sex from someone who then hoists their gut out of the way to rock for a minute and wheezes some.

But that's what I notice--for the football fan, there is only the foreground. With some--albeit rare--baseball and hockey fans, there can be middle ground and background; perspective. Knowing about what happened before makes one better able to know what is happening now, to get more out of it. When you know the shape of the river, the bends, you have more to draw on than someone who only sees that one bend of the river that is right in front of them, which, for all they know, might be the whole river. But then it's like a puddle and they splash in it. Which is fine if you're a child, less so if you're not.

Wrapping up with third basemen. Sal Bando died a few days ago. Closer to the Hall than one thinks, but not a Hall of Famer. An Edelman-like player, to move from football to baseball. That is, big ass winner. Important to your team winning. He may have been the most important player to the most underrated dynasty in baseball history, those 1970s Athletics. You could win with him being your most important player. Not your best, but your most important. Does that make sense?

We always have to look at context. Ron Cey is a third baseman who is closer to the Hall than Bando. How's this for a stat: Cey finished in the top ten in home runs in his league nine times. That's a lot, right? That's true power. His career high in home runs? 30--a number he reached once. 25, 28 home runs used to be a lot.


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