Saturday, April 11, 2015

My thoughts on the longest Red Sox game ever

Six hours and 49 minutes.  I'll be honest, I didn't start watching until the 10th inning.  The (playoff-bound?) Celtics in Cleveland were my priority.  Yet somehow I still managed to see an entire nine-inning baseball game.  Turning it off in extra innings is something I will not do on general principle, regardless of how late it is.

The first batter I saw was Xander Bogaerts, who walked in the 10th inning.  It was a disappointing evening for Bogaerts, who at the time was 0-4 with a strikeout--until he got hits in the 13th, 15th, 17th and 19th innings, then eventually scored the winning run (pictured).

I'm without a doubt certain that I have never before witnessed a team score in three different extra innings.  Who knows if anybody ever has?

My favorite quote of the night describes the performance of Boston knuckleballer Steven Wright, who entered the game at the start of the 15th inning:

Friday, April 10, 2015

The playoff hungry Celtics are real, and they're spectacular.

After knocking off the Cavs in Cleveland tonight (thank you LeBron and Kevin Love for sitting out the fourth quarter), the Celtics are now 37-42.  However, a little over two months ago, they were 16-30.  In its last 33 games, Boston is 21-12.

The Celtics have won six in a row on the road, something they last did in 2010 (when Shaquille O'Neal was playing center).  Boston's victory tonight snapped an 18-game home winning streak for the Cavs as well.  There was also this:

I never understood why LeBron feels the need to always dunk so hard.  I'm surprised he doesn't miss more often.

And in case the above title doesn't ring a bell...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Rajon Rondo is "Good Will Hunting"

Yesterday, former Boston Globe Celtics reporter and current ESPN Los Angeles writer Baxter Holmes published an amazing piece on Rajon Rondo.  During his time with the Celtics, Rondo was always my favorite Boston athlete.  Now I have a bit more of an understanding why.  Holmes' article is titled Rajon Rondo: Good at Math, Bad at People.  I highly recommend taking the time to read the whole thing. Here are the highlights for me:

Rondo's competitive spirit and dry humor:
"The day he was traded to Dallas in December, he spent his final hours as a Celtic at Boston Children's Hospital, crushing all comers in the game [Connect Four], repeatedly telling kids, 'No mercy.'"

He questions things just because:
"He's a contrarian. I figured that out early. He'd ask, 'Well why wouldn't we do it this way?' Sometimes I'd answer, 'Well, which way do you want to do it?' He'd say, 'No, I like the way we're doing it, I'm just asking.' That's a Rondo."
-- Doc Rivers

His high school experience:
"Rondo took a sophomore AP geometry class, taught by a man named Doug Bibby. He didn't do homework. He wouldn't bring his books. He frequently fell asleep at the back of the classroom, waking up only when an angry Bibby called on him to answer a question. Rondo would rouse himself, glance at the board, blurt out the correct answer and resume his slumber. He aced all his tests, which led Bibby to suspect Rondo of cheating, so the teacher gave Rondo different tests. 'He aced those too,' Bibby says. To send a message, Bibby still gave Rondo a D. It was, Bibby says, 'a pissing contest.'

Bibby, it's worth noting, was also the school's basketball coach."

He has a near photographic memory:
"Before Rondo's first playoff series against Atlanta in 2008, the Celtics distributed a 100-page book full of the Hawks' plays and statistics. Rondo took it home, then challenged assistant Darren Erman the next morning: 'Quiz me on anything.' Rondo nailed every question, until Erman tossed a curveball -- a question about something that wasn't in the book. 'F*ck you,' Rondo said. 'That's not in there.'"

He has a personal statistician:
"He told me, 'If I put my mind to it, I can get a triple-double every game,'" says Justin Zormelo, his personal statistician."

My favorite, he has no tolerance for plot holes in movies:
"Provide him with bad information? 'Your credibility is shot,' Rondo says. And if he doesn't buy the narrative, even off the floor, he'll bail, he'll disengage, as he does on movies whose storylines stray from logic, even for a moment. His last theater walkout: The Equalizer, starring Denzel Washington. 'I didn't understand how he got the cop's number,' Rondo says, referencing a certain scene. 'It was just too much.'"

From his 3rd grade teacher:
"The boy grasps concepts instantly and easily. He has a curious knack for analyzing numbers in ways that others do not -- so much so that he actually teaches the teacher new ways to solve equations, methods she'll go on to teach other students for years to come. ...

She knows that for as wildly gifted as this 9-year-old is, he can be just as frustrated with others who are not. 'He just didn't understand why everyone else doesn't get it,' recalls Melanie Benitez, still teaching at Engelhard, 21 years later."

Rondo is Good Will Hunting:
"At shootarounds and practices in Boston, Rivers says, Rondo would become "very irritated" when they had to go over plays again and again, even for veterans. For Rondo, learning plays came as naturally as math."

Now watch this clip, and tell me it's not the same guy?

The funny thing is, this is the second time this season I've written about Rondo as Good Will Hunting, although the first was for entirely different circumstances.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Pacers and Hawks should've brought "Almost Famous" kid with them to NYC to stay out of trouble

"[NBA players] Wake up!  Don't go to New York [nightclubs at 4 am the night before a game]!"

The Indiana Pacers play the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden tonight.  The Atlanta Hawks are also visiting the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center.  Around 4 am last night/early this morning, the Pacers' Chris Copeland was stabbed, then the Hawks' Pero Antic and Thabo Sefolosha were arrested for "obstructing the crime scene" outside a nightclub in Chelsea.

The details are still foggy (Copeland is OK), but my first though is how ridiculous it is that players from multiple visiting teams happened to be outside the same NYC club at 4 am the night before their respective games.

This scene from Almost Famous comes to mind:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I'm hesitant to get excited about the Red Sox 8-0 Opening Day win in Philly

Here's my two reasons why:

1.  The Phillies lineup is garbage.

Yes, Clay Buchholz looked awesome (seven scoreless innings, three hits, one walk, nine strikeouts).  But, Philadelphia has a leadoff guy with a career .324 on-base percentage (Ben Revere), a 23-year-old who got his first major league at-bat yesterday (Odubel Herrera) hitting second, and a cleanup batter who hit .223 last year in his bounce back season (Ryan Howard).

By comparison, the Red Sox first, second and fourth hitters went 7-for-13 with five home runs and eight RBI (more on that in a second).  Not to mention the fact that the Phillies bat their catcher fifth, and are trying to resurrect Grady Sizemore (again) at No. 6.

2. Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez aren't going to hit five homers every day.

OK, this sounds nit-picky.  I'm not complaining, just pointing something out.  Only three Boston hitters did anything yesterday.  David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval, Shane Victorino and Xander Bogaerts combined to go 0-for-15 with seven strikeouts (three apiece from Ortiz and Sandonal).  This was not a typical eight-run game.

I'm not saying these are signs the Red Sox aren't good, I just don't think what happened yesterday really implies the things it looks like it does on the surface.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Bill Simmons just tweeted out an article I wrote yesterday

Here's a screenshot of the Celtics' official twitter account from earlier today:

As you can see, its most recent activity is a retweet of a tweet sent by ESPN's Bill Simmons.  The Celtics clearly enjoyed the words Simmons used to describe their coach.  I've embedded the tweet below:

Included is a link to a blog post picked up by the Yardbarker Network.  The article is something I wrote yesterday for CelticsLife, titled Credit Brad Stevens for one of the gutsiest timeouts you'll ever see.

To quote one of my colleagues, it's "the apex of retweets in the Celtics world."  So Bill, if you'd like to hire me for Grantland, or even just bring me in as a guest on the B.S. Report, I am available...

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Awesome Old Commercial of the Week: The Sports Illustrated football phone

When I was a young teenager, my uncle used to get me a subscription to Sports Illustrated every Christmas.  For the record, I have no complaints.  It was a great gift.  But, year after year I kept hoping the football phone would show up in my mailbox as well.

Sadly, it never did.  I wondered, was he keeping them all?  Did he secretly have football phones stashed throughout his house?

I'm guessing the offer was for first-time subscribers only, so my continually renewed subscription didn't qualify.  SI really should've mention that in the ad though, because I couldn't have been the only extremely disappointed football phone-less kid out there...

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