Saturday, August 6, 2016

Contributions to's Celtics Summer Forecast, Week 1's Chris Forsberg put together a Celtics Summer Forecast in which he asked local writers/bloggers to make a series of predictions regarding the 2016-17 team.  Here are my contributions for Week 1 (with links to the full articles):

What will the Celtics record be, and how far will they go in the playoffs?

49-33, East Semifinals:

Conference finals or bust seems to be the mantra within Celtics Nation right now and, while it's definitely a reasonable possibility, I'm not sure it's the most likely scenario for this squad. Making the leap from "good" to "elite" is a lot harder to do than improving from "mediocre" to "good." [Al] Horford was the Hawks' third-leading scorer (13.4 PPG) during last year's postseason, so it's not fair to expect him to be the crunch-time guy who carries Boston this season.

(I also wrote an expanded explanation of my though process here on Celtics may be favorites for No. 2 in East, but let's not put them in Conference Finals just yet)

Who will get the final two roster spots? (Options: Ben Bentil, RJ Hunter, James Young, John Holland, Demetrius Jackson, other)

Jackson, Hunter:

My heart wants to go with [Abdel] Nader, but with 18 contracts already on the books, I don't see it happening. In his final pre-draft big board, Insider's Chad Ford had Jackson ranked 26th with a chance to go in the lottery to Chicago at No. 14. Along with his freshly guaranteed deal, Jackson is on the team. I liked the fire Hunter showed in his summer-league matchup with Booker, although I don't actually think he's done much to prove he's better than Young. We're all just one year less soured on Hunter; Unfortunately, that counts for something.

Who will start in the frontcourt alongside Al Horford? (Options: Kelly Olynyk, Amir Johnson, Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko, Tyler Zeller)


Crowder will definitely see time as a small-ball power forward, but [Brad] Stevens isn't going to begin games that way. I expect both Olynyk and Johnson to make their fair share of starts. Olynyk was the best 3-point shooter on the squad last year, but he's not much a rebounder. Horford averaged only 7.3 boards per game last season, so he's going to need some help. With [Jared] Sullinger gone, Johnson is the best option.

Which young guy will have the biggest impact? (Options: Terry Rozier, RJ Hunter, Jordan Mickey, Jaylen Brown, Demetrius Jackson)


This is a two-man race between Rozier and Brown. The question is, which one will get more time on the floor? Both players' 2016-17 stock probably fell a bit with the [Gerald] Green signing. As great as Rozier was last month in Utah and Las Vegas, it was still just summer league. He did earn Stevens' confidence in last year's postseason, so Rozier will probably get more burn than Brown out of the gate. However, by the end of the season I like the No. 3 pick's chances to have the greater impact of the two.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Did you know Red Sox infielder Aaron Hill is responsible for one of the most unlikely feats in MLB history?

When the Red Sox traded for veteran infielder Aaron Hill last month, I completely forgot that he was the Aaron Hill--that is until a few days ago when I stumbled across a blog I wrote four years ago.

On June 18, 2012, Hill hit for the cycle--something most ball players are never able to accomplish.  Then, on June 29, only 11 days later, he did it again.  That's basically the equivalent of a pitcher throwing no-hitters in two out of three starts.  There's much more in my post from 2012 about how unlikely Hill's pair of cycles were.

Just last week, Sox pitcher Steven Wright did something that may be even more improbable:

Both of these remind me of another piece from the very early days of

J.D. Drew had the chance to set the most unbreakable record in the history of any sport ever

(Apologies the for lack of capital letters and poor formatting.)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Would you wake up and go to school if David Ortiz told you to? (Papi could've helped Seinfeld's runner friend)

The Red Sox and Boston Public Schools have partnered on an initiative that will allow middle and high school students to receive wake-up calls from David Ortiz in an attempt to fight chronic absenteeism.  Here's the recording of Big Papi's voice that will play when kids answer their cell phones in the morning:

I think this is a great idea that's really easy to implement with hardly any overhead cost, so there's nothing to lose.  But, I'm also not sure how effective it'll be long-term.  I think the first day Papi called me I'd be pumped and jump right out of bed. (Which is why Seinfeld could've really used this to help out Jean-Paul):

However, by Week 2 I'm not even answering the phone anymore.  Here's an idea for BPS: Try to get as many celebs (or even quasi-celebs like local news people, etc.) as possible to volunteer, then switch up the person who calls on a regular basis.  I bet students would be a lot more eager to listen to the recording if it was a surprise who they might hear.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Cross-sports trades between different cities can actually happen in real life?

This is something I've dreamed of for decades (at least two).  I started drafting a blog about it three years ago, but I never got around to writing it because the possibilities are limitless and I couldn't figure out how to tackle the topic in anything remotely close to my regular 37-second quota.

The basic premise is, what if pro sports franchises were owned by the cities they represent and trades could be made from one sport to another?  For example, following the Celtics' fifth straight losing season in 1998-99, Boston would have gladly dealt away All-Star Antoine Walker for a quality starting pitcher to follow Pedro Martinez in the Red Sox rotation (maybe that could have made the difference in the '99 ALCS loss to the Yankees?).  That's just one of billions of fantasies to explore down this rabbit hole...

Now it appears as though one of these imaginary trades is actually happening in real life:

I don't know anything about the details of European sports leagues, but from what I understand FC Barcelona has both a football (soccer) and basketball club, and they're attempting to acquire a basketball player from Baskonia in exchange for sending a couple soccer players to another team with the same owner.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Attempting to explain John McEnroe's stunning fastball

Last night, John McEnroe three out the first pitch at the Mets game.  It was amazing.  Not in a sarcastic way as these stories usually go--it was legitimately spectacular:

Like Darren Rovell suggested, that was probably the best ceremonial first pitch I've ever seen.  Johnny Mac is 57 years old.  How the $#!* did he do that?  I'm not going to get all Sports Science-y on you (I can't stand that guy), but as a former tennis coach/player I have a couple quick thoughts on the matter:

1. A tennis serve is a fairly similar motion to pitching.  Anybody who knows how to serve well is undoubtedly going to be much better than average at throwing a baseball.

2. Tennis is a sport you play your whole life.  Obviously McEnroe is retired, but he's still in game shape.  He just took the court for a semi-serious exhibition match against a former pro 12 years younger than him two days ago (and won).

Monday, August 1, 2016

James Young knocks down 3s in practice with the coolest rebounding machine ever

Here's a video of James Young working on his jumper at the Celtics practice facility in Waltham the other day:

Courtesy of @BallinOMAR

What impressed me the most here is not the fact that Young drained several threes in a row with a hand in his face (easy-peasy for an NBA shooter), but rather the spectacular rebounding machine he was using.

I would've killed to have one of those things in my driveway when I was 13 years old.  In fact, I'd probably still be out there today extending my range and trampling my mother's flowerbed--either that or playing in the NBA after launching 10,000 three-pointers a day my entire childhood.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Can this video from the 1996 DNC actually be real? (Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Macarena")

This clip from the 1996 Democratic National Convention can't possibly be real.  Yet somehow, it is.  I had to watch it twice just to make sure that really is Hillary Clinton and not Jan Hooks playing Hillary in Saturday Night Live skit:

And just in case you still don't believe people were actually dancing the Macarena at the 1996 DNC, here's four minutes of footage from C-SPAN.  Below, the original video from Los del Rio:

Sidebar--Before the Red Sox started playing Sweet Caroline halfway through the eighth inning of every game at Fenway, they tried out some other things.  I remember doing the Macarena in the bleachers mid-eighth one afternoon that summer.

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