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The shelf life of sports rivalries, dire state of broadcasting, Patriots dark age, surprising third baseman, embarrassing Red Sox

Tuesday 3/19/24

Are the most storied, traditional sports rivalries imperishable as rivalries? Or can they become non-rivalries in which the games between those two teams mean no more or less than if either was playing just about anyone else? Take, for instance, storied rivalries--the rivalries one automatically regards as perpetual--like the Bruins and the Canadiens and the Red Sox and the Yankees. Are these really rivalries anymore? What do you need for a rivalry? It helps to have two good teams after the same single prize. Bad blood and tension plays a part. Do you have any of these in these two rivalries? Or should I say "rivalries"? What does a Red Sox-Yankees game mean now? Does it have any extra kick to it? Or is it just another game on the schedule?

Broadcasters get worse and worse at the job. Mike Gorman is one of the last of the broadcasters who is good at what they do. I won't be able to listen to this new Celtics guy next year, who does the road games now. He's so contrived and corny. Forces his pre-written lines. Has an element of that late 1970s yuckers voice going like he's calling an AHL game in Binghamton. Awkward, insincere. Last night I put on a game on ESPN, and the player was dribbling near the elbow, "breaking down" his man, and the play-by-play guy said something like, "He's playing with his food!" Then when the player took a shot and made it, the play-by-play guy goes, "He eats!" I can't listen to that shit.

Friend says to me yesterday that the Patriots might not win another Super Bowl in our lifetimes. I plan on hitting triple digits, so I don't know about that, but I do think they're going to become like what the Lions were. People talk about the Patriots pre-Brady like they were this terrible franchise. They weren't. They had their moments and their stars and their Hall of Famers. They were good in the late 1970s, then the mid-1980s, then the second half of the 1990s. After that, it was Brady time. I think they're going to be bad until they get a great quarterback, and they're aren't many of them and a lot of luck is involved. They'll pick a quarterback this year when they shouldn't, and he won't be good enough. Mayo and his reject-list of a staff will be gone in three years, and they'll start again. Could be wrong. You can't predict sports. But it would not surprise me at all if the real dark times for the New England Patriots were not the 1960s through the 1990s, as people say and as this The Dynasty series wants me to believe--I find the series gross, to be frank, but more on that later--and have just started and may well continue for decades. I know, that's a lot, decades. Unlikely? Okay. I think it's on the table, though.

Saw an online baseball history discussion yesterday re: the Hall of Fame candidacy of Robin Venture. That's the type of thing you look at and think, "What?!" but upon further consideration and a consultation of the statistical body of work, it's not so far-fetched after all. Ken Boyer-ish without the MVP and World Series title. Boyer isn't in either, but he should be.

The Red Sox have become such a joke in Boston that tickets for their home opener hadn't sold out, so ownership, wishing to save face and spare themselves the embarrassment, decided to make the home opener a celebration of the 2004 World Champion Red Sox. I can see them riding that horse into the ground throughout what will be another last-place season.


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