Author: @ltcmiked

New England’s Unsung Defensive Heroes

It is ridiculous to think that the New England Patriots are headed to another Super Bowl. Tom Brady has been an NFL starter for sixteen seasons and will be under center for his eighth Super Bowl. At this point only the mentally challenged debate the GOAT argument. But Brady will be the first one to tell you he didn’t get here alone. In the ultimate team sport, he is the ultimate team guy. In that light, we should take some time to recognize the guys not getting the attention they deserve for what they’ve done this post-season. Stephon Gilmore...

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Pittsburgh Steelers: Rest In Peace

I have a confession to make. I take joy in other people’s pain. I’m not particularly proud of the fact, but I don’t think I’m alone. I love that Roger Goodell’s NFL is dying in the ratings. The 2017-18 regular season marked the second consecutive significant decline. Last week’s divisional playoffs were down eleven percent nationally. Good. And I love that ESPN continues to be a dumpster fire. From tanking ratings, to widespread sexual harassment by on-air personalities, and President Jon Skipper resigning over substance abuse issues, I have enjoyed every minute of their demise. I hope everyone on...

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Stop Taking Greatness for Granted

There is something inherently wrong with that large segment of American culture that sees greatness and feels victimized by it. Rather than appreciate it for what it is, they feel the need to attack it. As Patriots fans, we’ve seen that for years in the petty jealousies of vanquished foes and corrupt league officials. We are also more than accustomed to local beat writers who hate the local teams. Rather than report on the game, they disparage the team’s accomplishments, take exception with the leadership, and attack the players. They do this because the coaches and players do what those...

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Apocalypse Now?

Following New England’s Super Bowl XXXIX victory over Philadelphia, Bill Belichick memorably embraced Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, his offensive and defensive coordinators. Both men were off to head coaching positions – Weis to Notre Dame and Crennel to the Cleveland Browns. Both were great coordinators and ultimately awful head coaches. Today, as the Patriots prepare for a run at a historic sixth Lombardi Trophy, they again face the same prospect. Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia are both likely to receive one or more head coaching offers. Linebackers coach Brian Flores is also being considered for the Cardinals defensive coordinator position....

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What MLB Can Give Me for Christmas

Let’s be clear, I love baseball. While it no longer dominates American sports like it did before the NFL exploded in the 1990’s, baseball remains a great game. Unlike football, it is an international game and the league draws the best talent from around the world. Like the NHL being better after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the influx of the best Eastern European players to North America, Major League Baseball draws the best talent out of Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. But it is a game that can be improved. We previously talked about how baseball...

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Patriots Fans Embrace the Hate

Like the children of overly strict parents, America hates the New England Patriots and their fans. We’re your daddy. Sure, occasionally you get one over on us – or two in Eli Manning’s case – but for the better part of seventeen years we’ve spanked you and sent you to your rooms crying. Make no mistake, it’s not enough for us to simply lift Lombardi’s. No, we want to make you angry. We relish your resentful jealousy. We bathe in the salty tears of your disappointment. The fires of your hate keep us warm in the cold New England...

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Why We All Secretly Want Lonzo Ball to Fail

Despite his struggles and pedestrian stat line, Lonzo Ball isn’t an awful NBA player. But, his performance to date barely justifies a first-round draft pick, certainly not the #2 he was. Anyone can see that he would have benefited from another year playing college ball. That is, if UCLA would have even wanted him and his ridiculous father back. Tyrannosaurus Dad LaVar Ball represents everything that is wrong with not only sports parents, but everything else in this country. He is a talentless self-promoter who is more concerned with his own unjustified celebrity than in his children’s success. Embed...

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Addressing Baseball’s Pace of Play

Baseball was once America’s pastime. Not anymore. Today, the NFL dominates professional team sports. Baseball, despite the unbelievable quality of the game, is quickly becoming the old guys sport. Why? Because the pace of play makes it “boring”. At least that’s what most non-baseball fans believe. We live in a time of instant gratification. People care less and less about strategy, tactics, and the intricacies of a defensive shift or a pitching match-up. And, while they may still appreciate of the beauty of a well-turned double play, they don’t want to endure a fifteen pitch, four mound visit at bat...

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HOF: A Case for Moose and Schill

In our continuing series of articles on this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, we now turn our attention to two guys who didn’t enhance their stats through the needle. Unlike the greatly debated case of Roger “the HGH was for my wife” Clemens, Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling have never been linked to PEDs. Each deserves induction. As I mentioned here, neither Moose nor Schill have Clemens numbers, but they also don’t have his PED baggage. The Standard for the Hall We used to believe that the standard for Cooperstown was 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts. That is...

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2018 Baseball HOF Ballot: The Pitchers

The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) released their Modern Era committee Hall of Fame ballot yesterday. Over the next few weeks Boston Sports Extra will make our case for who should and who shouldn’t, and who will and won’t, get elected. The Process In order to walk into Cooperstown as anything other than a paid visitor, a player must be on at least 75% of the ballots. Last year, there were 442 ballots cast, so a player must have been on 332 ballots to be inducted. Voting for induction to baseball’s greatest shrine has no more integrity than...

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JBJs San Fran suitors

According to MLB Trade Rumors, the San Francisco Giants are interested in acquiring Red Sox centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. Before everyone screams KUNG FOO PANDA! remember that wasn’t a trade. We signed him as a free agent. It was a self-inflicted wound. That we’re still paying for until 2020. Bradley is Eminently Tradeable I simply do not understand the love affair with Bradley. Jackie Bradley Jr. is not Mookie Betts.  He is a fine baseball player, but he is not untradeable. He is Coco Crisp, not Jacoby Ellsbury. Bradley is an elite fielder and a great base runner, but...

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The Commish on the Ropes

Among the most common qualities great leaders share are supreme competence in what they do and the ability to anticipate and deal with change. They are principled, and their values are consistent. Roger Goodell is none of these things. I’ve spent my whole adult life surrounded by, working with, studying, and developing leaders. From infantry squad leaders to high ranking government officials and CEOs of Fortune 50 companies, I’ve seen some the best and the worst leaders in the country. The current commissioner of the NFL sits alone on the Iron Throne of incompetence. False Accomplishments Roger Goodell is...

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Belichick breaks the “Patriot Way” for Brady

I remember my dad swearing at the sight of Bobby Orr in a Blackhawks sweater. I remember Joe Montana in a Kansas City uniform, Jerry Rice in Oakland, and Emmitt Smith in Arizona. The idea of Tom Brady playing anywhere else is nauseating. I get it. As a fan, I’m glad he’s staying in New England. That said, however, in trading Jimmy Garoppolo, Bill Belichick broke all the rules that have made New England the NFL’s premier franchise since 2001. Remorseless professionalism. Dispassionate player decisions. I know this will make everyone lose their minds; but rather than laughing at...

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Cubs Interested in Benintendi

Don’t answer the phone. It’s a foregone conclusion that Theo Epstein is the best GM is baseball. If you didn’t believe it by the time he delivered two World Series trophies in Boston, you have to accept it after what he’s done in Chicago. It’s like global warming, or the Tom Brady GOAT argument, it’s settled science. When the best GM in baseball is interested in Andrew Benintendi, all you can do is check your caller ID and let it go straight to voice mail. Then delete it, throw away the sim card and change your number. The total...

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State of the Sox Pitching Staff

Pitching wins championships. It’s that simple. Of course you need hitting, but it pales in comparison to the importance of a strong pitching staff. As we explained (here) and (here) and (here), we at Boston Sports Extra consider pitching kind of important. We’re smart. You should listen to us. Consider the 2017 Red Sox; punchless at the plate, abysmal on the bases, and among the worst fielding teams in the league. Yet they still won 93 games and the division. That’s only possible because of great pitching. To take the next step and hopefully another World Series, Boston not...

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2017 Red Sox Report Card

We shouldn’t be upset that the 2017 Red Sox season is over. Certainly it would have been nice to get past Houston and into the ALCS. We might even hope to hit a little lightning in a bottle, beat the Tribe and make it to the World Series. As any smart baseball observer knew long ago, this wasn’t a great Boston team (see here).   It was constructed poorly, managed poorly, and it performed poorly against baseballs best teams. Frankly, if you look at it through the commonly accepted five-tools of baseball, the 2017 Sox actually over achieved. Tool 1: Hitting...

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The Enemy of My Enemy

I must have missed that tweet. You know, the one where the @Yankees finally conceded that they were only a Wild Card team this season. Their public relations team must have just forgotten. I’m sure they were exhausted after pushing out hundreds of updates on how they were closing in on the division for the past two weeks. Let’s Go Tribe At the risk of sounding like an AL East snob, I don’t see any scenario in which the Twins beat the Yankees. Obviously, I hope that they do – nothing is quite as refreshing as bathing in the...

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It’s Not About Veterans

Spaceballs This weekend, the world watched millionaire players and billionaire owners protest the national anthem, speak out against the President, or hide in the locker room. Monday, we saw a decorated Army Ranger who felt compelled to apologize for standing to honor his nation. WTF is wrong with this country? In the span of a week we have jumped at ludicrous speed from a few guys kneeling to protest social injustice to a full-blown culture war.  The internet flooded with videos of self-righteous fans burning their season tickets and team jerseys. Patriots’ fans booed their team at home – not...

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Bullish on the ‘pen

Grudging Respect to the Skipper Let’s be clear. Despite this, I do not think much of John Farrell as a manager. That said, however, he was a great pitching coach during Terry Francona’s tenure as skipper. It is not a coincidence that the Red Sox have one of the best rotations and have the best bullpen in baseball. Tough to argue with a 15-3 record in extra-inning games or find fault in the skipper who got them there. Loaded for October As great as we may feel about sweeping unlikeable Baltimore and clinching a playoff berth, the road ahead...

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“Judging” Rafael Devers

Let’s jump to conclusions. For one minute, let’s be Yankee fans and make ridiculous assertions about how every player who dons our uniform will one have a plaque in Cooperstown. Rafael Devers is that guy. His electric start, along with the addition of a scalding-hot Eduardo Nunez, injected energy and offense into the struggling Sox in July and vaulted them back into first place in the East. Even after a recent dip, his .300/8/18 start to his big league career is more than just promising, it’s exhilarating. Let’s face it, if he played in the Bronx they’d already be...

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Happy Anniversary Wake

Aaron Bleepin’ Boone I was somewhere over the Mediterranean when Aaron Boone hit his home run off Wake to win the 2003 ALCS and send the Red Sox home early from the post season. Another year of what might have been. Truth be told I wouldn’t have been watching anyway. I was redeploying from Iraq that day, and after watching Pedro strike out Alfonso Soriano to end the seventh inning with the Sox still up 4-2, I went to check on my flight home. Ortiz added a home run off of David Wells in the top of the eighth...

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Baltimore: America’s Sports Armpit

Name(required) Email(required) Website Message Embed from Getty Images   Worse than New York Though I now live outside Washington, DC and spent most of my adult life a nomad, I will always consider myself Bostonian to the core. There is only one kind of chowda, and only one way to say it.   Dunkin Donuts kicks Krispy Crème’s ass. And, of course, New York sucks. I hate everything about New York – from the filth in the streets to the noise pollution that is their accent. I hate the Yankees, the Giants, and all their fans – certainly in part...

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Farrell Falls Short as Sox Biggest Flaw

Embed from Getty Images The 2017 Red Sox aren’t a World Series caliber team. This much should be obvious by this point in the season. That doesn’t mean they can’t win the World Series, it just means they’ll have to get hot and play above themselves for a few critical weeks. We’ve seen that before – I hope we can all agree that the 2013 Red Sox weren’t a great team either. This year’s squad can’t hit for power, a critical ingredient to October baseball, and they run the bases like little leaguers hopped up on Mountain Dew. We...

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Chris Sale: Boston’s MIA Ace

Embed from Getty Images   It’s time for Chris Sale to be Chris Sale We should stop talking about Chris Sale (15-7, 2.85 ERA this season) as the likely 2017 Cy Young award winner.   Let’s start talking about his awful games against good teams for the last two months. And why Cleveland’s Cory Kluber (14-4, 2.56 ERA) will win the AL Cy Young award. Who cares? After dropping three of four against the second place and perennial pain-in-our asses Yankees, the struggling Red Sox need their ace to be an ace once again. Since July turned to August,...

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