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Monday 9/28/20

I am surprised and impressed that the Stars won in double OT the other night to prolong their series with Tampa. My feeling all along was the winner of the Tampa v. Boston series was going to win the Cup, and I'd be close to shocked if the Stars force a Game Seven. Hedman will win the Conn Smythe, in what is looking like a Hall of Fame career, allowing that he doesn't drop off.


The Celtics are done, which is not surprising. They are a front running team, I feel like they lack an identity, and they don't attack the hoop nearly enough. When they do, they're in a far better position to win. I also think their coach is overrated and flat out gets out-coached a bunch.


Saw some of the Patriots game and some of the BC game. BC has a QB who can throw it, which they haven't had in a lot of years, after producing one after another, it seemed. But you shouldn't take your first lead against Texas State with three seconds left in the game, after coming back from two scores and having the play dictated to you for most of the game. I didn't see the very end, but I did a double take when I saw they won, because it wasn't heading that way. The Patriots looked as I expected them to look. It's strange to me when people say things like, "Let's face it, they're not getting by the Chiefs or the Ravens this year." How do you know what? What do you know after three weeks? The NFL season is a process of augmentation. Discovered and developed identity. You don't know what you have yet with this Patriots team, or any team. Talk of hard schedules miffs me. Who cares? If you're good, the degree of difficulty of your schedule won't matter. Doesn't matter. I can't conceive of being of the mindset that you look at who you play and you're glad that maybe they're not as good. I don't think winners think that way. Strength of schedule talk is so overrated. The best teams find a way and it does not matter who they play. They'll get there. Or they weren't good enough. Brady looked somewhat better in his game. My gut: he'll be fine this year, they'll go 10-6 or 11-5, won't win a championship, and he'll regret leaving New England, which I think he already regrets. The grass was less green. Ultimately the whole Tampa thing won't add anything to or sully his legacy. He'll retire as still a pretty good player. I think it will be more boring and anticlimactic than anything.


Someone asked me about Mahomes the other day. I think he's a problem for a while. Barring injury. If that Chiefs team can stay intact, you're looking at a mini-Edmonton Oilers, mini-Golden State Warriors situation for a half dozen years. Obviously I'm not enthusiastic about this. You have a guy who could end up being one of the three best quarterbacks of all-time. He plays the position at a level I've only seen two others play it, that being Brady and Manning. Will he do that over many years? You don't know until it happens. Impossible to forecast. No matter how great someone is for the first few years, you don't know that they'll be great for a few years after that. It tends to change faster in baseball than football, though, which is interesting, because you might not think it would, given the brutality of football and how that brutality impacts your body. This is in part because I think baseball is a much harder game than football. Specifically the pitching part, and the hitting part. The batter v. pitcher dynamic is in some ways the highest level of competition to my thinking.


I actually did watch some of the last Red Sox game yesterday. The highlight of the season for them was their team in the booth. Guys who like each other being friends on the air, telling stories, with Eckersley in particularly being highly engaging and informative. I know this isn't what most people like, but it's engrossing and satisfying to me. I could watch a team suck at baseball and be invested in why they are sucking, what they are going to do about it, players who are getting their chance that you will maybe see later. I did see some encouraging signs, though I also don't know why the Red Sox are seemingly perfectly okay with finishing last. They finish last a lot. A team like the Sox, the Yankees, the Dodgers, the Cardinals, should never be finishing last. They dumped the manager, which I expected. Early in the season--when he was sitting guys in like game 2--I knew this was a silly hire, and that they were cool with sucking this year, they just wanted some grandfather type to be a steward and oversee what was almost a two-month spring training where they got looks at people. They were respectable in that final month, but were well out of it by then.


A guy who may have lost it is J.D. Martinez. I thought he should have been the MVP in 2018, not Betts--who may be the NL MVP this year--but what a garbage hitter he was this season, and I hated his excuse that the world is stressful so he couldn't perform, then he adds that lots of other star players didn't perform either. Yes, lots of star players did suck this year, but coming out and saying that tells me something. Have some perspective, dude. We have spoken about the pretend writers who blame COVID on yet another year in which they wrote jack shit and certainly jack shit of value. If you have a sick kid or a breakdown or something like that, I get it, but often people just want the excuse.


Someone recently opined to me that people like to think of themselves as old, which was interesting to me. They said it was a comfort. An ex of mine from college said she was old. How are you old in your forties? Then what are you in your nineties? It doesn't make mathematical sense. It makes no kind of sense, unless you are old in other ways--of spirit, in the sense that you are inactive. That you're done with growth, which most people are very early on, like at the end of their teens. You could have young children. A young family. You can have more than half your life in front of you--that is, the majority of your life. And this person suggested to me that people like being able to think they have the dad bod so they can just pack it in and not go on that run. And I think they had a point. Carlton Fisk caught in the Majors at forty-five. That is, played the most demanding of all positions in sports. At the highest level in the world. Granted, he was released that season, but one understands my point. I feel like you kind of decide how old or not old you are going to be. If you're active, always learning, growing, moving, and you have the spirit of a wide-eyed child and share or exceed their level of curiosity, I think you'll actually look young, too. I think the Sox are going to bring back Alex Cora. I'd rather just see them move on. They will move on from Jackie Bradley, a guy who gets a lot of love despite being a .238 career hitter and so overrated as a fielder. If he's this amazing outfielder, why isn't that borne out in his advanced fielding metrics? What people will say is you have to watch him, which runs counter to everything right now, when you're hooted at for saying the eye test matters. I don't see this amazing outfielder that others claim they do. He hit a big Grand Slam for you in the 2018 ALCS, and I think that's his legacy and nothing else, really. You can do a lot better than him at the center field position, and they should.


There's something sad about the end of a baseball season. It feels like a life thing more than a sports thing. Having said that, I think these playoffs will be pretty cool and wild. It'll be like the NCAA basketball tournament.