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Sports musings

Thursday 12/16/21

* Mac Jones does and says everything the Patriots want him to do and say. They might as well have created him in a test tube. I read his comments when asked about the Colts player who talked about making the Patriots' offense one-dimensional, i.e., forcing Jones to throw, and it was as if Belichick wrote the response. He could have an interesting career trajectory. I'm not sure he's good enough to be a franchise QB for a decade, but he could be the right fit for four or five years. I think there's too much haste in presuming the Patriots and Chiefs are automatically going to meet in the AFC Championship Game. The Chiefs are coming together at the right time, and the Patriots may have peaked. I could definitely see the Titans in that contest.

* Matthew Judon seems like a real leader.

* I like Patrice Bergeron as a player, but no Boston athlete has been anywhere near as overrated as Bergeron during my lifetime and I also think he's a locker room lawyer who had a lot to with Rask getting that last playoff start last year, when he had no business playing. As soon as Rask was announced as the starter rather than Swayman, you didn't even need to watch. The Bruins were done. A coach or a GM can be in a spot too long and it's just time for a change. Bergeron has been in that locker room for a decade and a half. He's comfortable, and though he's evidently a decent man, I understand how someone like that can wield a lot of influence and passive aggressive power within a team's culture. That can make it hard for the coach.

* Looks like Rask is coming back, and I saw where Swayman said this was great, he was a mentor, etc. I don't understand making these comments. It's Swayman who is going to lose his NHL job--for now--and be shipped to the minors. You want to make room for this guy? You shouldn't want to. He's taking your job. This diva. Make it so that he can't come back by playing so well.

* But I also think the Bruins are expecting Rask to come in and, if not "save" them, fix them. Steady them. Cap them off. Call it what you will. Part of that is Bergeron's influence. These guys have been too comfortable in their roles for too long. It's time for change. I wouldn't be upset if they dealt Bergeron.

* Marchand could miss six games now that he's in the COVID-protocol. With the three-game suspension, that's 1/9 of a season. That changes his career. He's still playing at his highest level. That will begin to change soon. Whether it's next year or whenever, it's coming. Miss this much time, you're not in the Hart discussion, you may not be a postseason All-Star--even as a left wing, traditionally a weaker field--and you lose a great year, an impressive year. Instead, it's this year where you had 79 points in 68 games. That looks a lot different.

* Alex Cora really likes Ryan Brasier. I think it's an attitude thing. His "make-up." I'm certain that no one in baseball likes Brasier like Cora likes Brasier.

* Jackie Bradley had what is easily the worst offensive season of any player in baseball this century, and arguably the worst offensive season by a regular in the history of MLB, and the Red Sox brought him back. I will say something that should help people out: this guy is not the defensive master people say he is. He's maybe a little bit above average defensively as a center fielder. And this is reflected in his Gold Glove record. He's no better a defensive centerfielder than anyone the Red Sox have had over the last twenty years. He's not better defensively than Johnny Damon. And that is his primary value. Bloom is trying to do this as Tampa Bay north. It's boring and frustrating.

* I'll post something later about Buck O'Neil, but he has no business making baseball's Hall of Fame. He did so because he's Black, he was thought of as nice, and the narrative of our times. Jim Kaat also should not be in the Hall of Fame, nor really anyone else from this latest batch of a half dozen save Minnie Minoso, who should have made it a long time ago. Rod Carew, who was on one of these committees, flat out said he was going to hook up his former teammate Tony Olivia, and he did. That's straight cronyism. There are only seventeen third basemen in the Hall, the lowest total for any position. That Ken Boyer did not get in shows how flawed the process is. Boyer should be a slam dunk, as they say. But who advocated for him? What's his popularity or narrative? Bill Dahlen was the other player who should have made it, and he didn't come close. No one, I'm sure, knows who he is. So what chance did he have with an uneducated committee?

* He was not being considered at this go-around, but it's also ridiculous that Pete Browning is not in the Hall of Fame. He only hit .341 for his career, thrice leading the league in batting, including in his rookie year of 1882. His career OPS+ was 163. The career average is good for sixteenth all-time, the OPS+ good for fifteenth.

* Bruce Sutter is in the Hall, and I think that's okay, but I wonder: His last good year was 1984, which is when Sandberg got him. But he was awful in 1985, 1986, and then he misses all of 1987, but comes back to be awful again in 1988, though he picks up 14 saves, which lands him exactly at 300, then he retires. Does he make the Hall if he has 286 saves? No, right? He needed that number. It's not a lofty number. But it's a "clean" number. Shouldn't be like that.

* Speaking of should: Urban Meyer should never work again, for anyone, in any job. He's been exposed as a coach, a man, a football person. He should have been fired months ago, when he didn't fly home with his team, and got the lap dance in the bar. This is a garbage human being, who simply had the players in the past, at the college level. Give me the players--Ohio State-type recruits--and I'll win you ten games. Meyer's NFL tenure is the worst in the NFL's history. One is surprised that the Jags won 2 games.

* Meyer or no, I think there's a strong chance Trevor Lawrence will never be a successful NFL QB. I was not impressed with his game at Clemson. But I also see a guy who wants to be back in college. I remember thinking it very odd that after he'd been drafted, and team workouts had begun, that his Twitter wallpaper or profile graphic or whatever the term is was this big photo of him in a Clemson uniform. Then he was at that Clemson game against whoever--was it Georgia?--early in the year, and I thought, "you don't go to school here anymore, dude, move on." I think he's a Tebow--a guy who will forever dream of his college days and want to go back to college. Those guys are not successful in the NFL. Or usually in life, for that matter. They live in the past. The BMoC days. He's thirteen games into his rookie year, and that Clemson photo is still up. Tells me a lot about that organization, too, that no one said to him, "Move forward, young man," because you know that other teams pay attention to crap like this. The Patriots do.

* All of the Alexander Ovechkin talk is about goals and also making cracks about the kind of goalies Wayne Gretzky faced. People are simple, stupid, and mean. They're mean because they're so insecure given that they're simple and stupid. The Ovechkin talk should be about his passing, the completeness of his game right now, and how he's player better than he has been in a dozen seasons and is a factor in multiple phases of the game, and is not this one-dimensional, minus player doing his one thing to break a record. His game is rejuvenated and I did not think he could play at this level anymore. I thought those days were back in 2010 or before. That's the real story.

* There's video that circulates of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig taking batting practice. They share a bat. Gehrig has this big hitch in his swing that wouldn't work these days. It's interesting footage. And every time someone shares it, you get a hundred idiots saying "I'm not a Yankees fan and even I find this blah blah blah." Why do people do this? They do it with anything interesting or thoughtful about sports, or when someone shares an anecdote of kindness about a player. I saw when last night about Steve Yzerman, and how he befriended this fan of his who had cancer, and it was this very sad story which made me respect Yzerman a lot. And people were like, "I'm not a Red Wings fan but..." Why do that? What does it matter what team you root for when you're leaning about something nice someone did or encountering an interesting stat or watching a great performance? You can't say what something is unless it revolves around the team you like? That puts scales over your eyes, warps your brain, or dissolves your heart? You'll see someone post about a tragic anniversary, like Munson dying, and everyone writes something along the lines of, "I'm not even a Yankees fan, and I was sorry when I learned that he died." Gee. Aren't you a swell fella.


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