Week Log: Still Stings Like Yesterday

We’re quickly approaching Super Bowl Sunday and that means the first anniversary of The Catch.

They said it would go away, the pain of that play and a few like it – the Manning scramble, Meriweather’s dropped pick, Samuel’s misplayed pick – during the drive that tripped up the greatest season in pro sports history. They said a year of perspective would drop this down the totem pole of devastating losses. Well, I’m here to tell you it didn’t. Not for me. It still sits on the top of a dark list that includes Bucky Dent, Billy Buckner, Ben Dreith, and that winged keel that helped Australia pry the America’s Cup away from my native Newport back in 1983.

Sunday will bring with it a little bad feeling, but not just for me. OT says the Pats didn’t belong here, and if you think otherwise you may be hallucinating or just plain demented. On SI’s The Bonus, Joe Posnanski is strug-ga-ling too as his beloved Bruce Springsteen sells out by playing at this year’s halftime program. NBC’s Overheard in Tampa sets the talent lineup that will make your Super Bowl viewing experience a symphony of commentary and insight . . . or a cacophony of fingernails and blackboards. Thanks For Playing offers some tips on scoring a free meal and some pocket change this Sunday evening. OT’s Trash Talk serves up an interesting menu. And, in case you missed it, The Crowe’s Nest brings you the PETA commercial you won’t be seeing. I wonder if Gisele is free for a salad one day next week.

Onto the game. Forget about in the trenches or on the sidelines. ESPN is battling this one out on NFL Nation Blog. SI’s Super Blog expects good things to come in IIIs this Sunday, and has Cardinals receivers exposing the fraud of the 40-yard dash.

SI’s Inside The NFL says nothing did more for the Cardinals’ success this year than the pine splinters collecting in Edgerrin James’ butt. Hey, remember Monty Beisel? Reiss’s Pieces does, and you’ll be happy to know that the Cardinals LB doesn’t regret his one season in New England. Awkward is the silence as he waits for someone, anyone, in these parts to reciprocate.

Patriots

Would you kick a supermodel out for eating crackers in the pool? Allright then, how about if she fed them to you? Well, Shutdown Corner wouldn’t either, but he thinks Dan Shaughnessy just might, this after catching Gisele hand-feeding Tom Brady. ESPN’s AFC East Blog has Matt Cassel coming a long way since those Dave’s Plumping Supply days.

Cleveland Browns Beat is ripped that Belichick beat them to the punch with Floyd Reece. I guess we know who’ll be getting a call next January. After all, someone has to preside over the cabal of ex-Pats coaches already assembled in Cleveland. The Patriot Act updates us on more Pats coaching moves.

Bruins

The Bear Cave nominates Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Capitals as the game of the year. On Frozen Blog marvels at Tuesday night’s playoff atmosphere and laments their beloved Capitals’ misalignment in the land of the ice and snow.

Kathryn Tappen is glad to see a trio of B’s seamlessly transitioning out of the infirmary to kick off the season’s second half. And Pucks With Haggs has Phil Kessel making his return tonight against the Devils. Naoko Funayama got a glimpse into the B’s this past All-Star weekend that most of us don’t see.

Celtics & NBA

Well, this is more like it. The C’s are sitting on a nine-game win streak since that Twelve Days of Christmas debacle. The latest came with last night’s 19-point win over Sacramento, quashing CelticsBlog‘s fears over a trap game. In the Paint offers some obervations from TD Banknorth after the win.

Loy’s Place calls in the math teacher to go over the splits in this three-in-one season. Lex Nihil Novi attributes the splits to the Green seeing purple. Mid-terms are out on Celtics 24/7 and I have to wonder, what’s up with that Eddie House grade?

Paulflannery raves about House and his treys, and that was before last night’s incredible 8-of-9 shooting beyond the arc. Fernsten’s Follies has Ray Allen playing the best basketball of his career. Perk Is A Beast has a two-parter on the best bargain in the NBA, and their guy gets the nod. Red’s Army is stumping for Rondo’s All-Star candidacy, while Where’s Trags? tells you how you can send Brian Scalabrine to Phoenix. Celtics Blog has House waiting by the phone for a call of his own.

Celtics 17 wrestles with the issue of who is the best in today’s NBA.

Red Sox & MLB

Did you get stood up in the virtual waiting room? Clubhouse Insider has the scoop on raffles for those hard-to-get tix. Hey, it may not be the fan-friendliest, but The Bottom Line is reporting that Fenway gets this year’s nod as the hitter-friendliest, even over Coors Field. Red Sox Monster has the new Sox cap driving one fan to a life of crime.

Fire Brand of the American League is reviewing Mike Lowell’s projections for 2009 and pronouncing him not yet dead, but 16 homers will only keep our minds off Teixeira until early June. The Bradford Files has Lowell taking his cuts on the tee, but missing them with the WBC. Touching All The Bases longs for something more than Lowell and sees it in Big Donkey.

Not content with his concurrent roles as a big-league pitcher, blogger, and talk show host, Curt Schilling is playing Sox GM on 38 Pitches and his subject is, of course, Jason Varitek. Cole Wright says there’s a mutual dependency between the two parties. Mazz isn’t sure who the Captain is more frustrated with at this point, but it’s time to take the deal. Better Red Than Dead looks at minor league options behind the plate. Boston Sports Blog says enough already with the Tek talk.

Toeing The Rubber is loving the drama Tom Verducci manufactures with his Joe Torre page-turner. Bronx Banter serves up an interesting Clemens pre-game ritual detailed by Torre. Aren’t there any jobs ole Roger would do for himself? My friend Lisa on Subway Squawkers gave me a heads-up on an interesting excerpt on the Times’ Bats blog where Mo Rivera is tossed under the bus for starting the 2004 ALCS meltdown. That was right before she tossed St.Joe under a bus of her own for a litany of sins against the Empire.

Hot Stove Talk has Boras intent on placing Manny somewhere by the start of spring training. Surviving Grady still doesn’t believe in the Rays and predicts more Ls than Ws for them in 2009.

Sox Blog pays tribute to writer and North Shore resident John Updike, who passed on Tuesday. YFSF also doffs their cap to the man who gave us the ‘lyric little bandbox of a ballpark.’

That will close out a busy week around The Hub. Join us back here next Thursday as we dispel the fable of a Second Steelers Dynasty. Which reminds me, has anyone seen John Molori since his last blog entry?

  • Rick Mc

    “Manny Ramirez will be signed by the start of spring training” is nearly “the sun will rise in the east.”

  • Classless

    This Super Bowl is the worst, most fraudulent matchup since NY/Baltimore in 2000. I have no problem with Pittsburgh being the AFC Champ. They clearly “survived” a season of attrition this year in the AFC, though they went through the 8-8 Chargers. But Arizona? No one can tell me a 9-7 team deserves to be here. They lose by 20, at least.

    • Rick Mc

      Recent years have shown that just getting in is good enough for the Super Bowl. The Steelers were the 6th seed when they won. The Ravens were a wild card. The Giants were a wild card. Nothing is “fraudulent.” It is a matchup of the two teams that win.

  • Harmy G

    Why is Billy Buckner on your list? You are just as bad as the rest of the media! Why aren’t Calvin Schiraldi and Bob Stanley on your list?

    • Bob Ekstrom

      For that matter, Harmy, how about Rich Gedman? The wild pitch that scored the tieing run was the real dagger. The game was lost at that point and Gedman should have handled that ball, even if he was crossed up.

      No, I use Buckner as he is the recognized figurehead of the 1986 World Series collapse, rightly or wrongly as you suggest. For instance, you know what I meant when you read it, but if I replaced ‘Buckner’ with ‘Stanley,’ you – or many readers anyway – would scratch your head and say WTF is he talking about.

      • Tony

        C’mon, anyone who really remembers knows that THE goat and principal architect of that collapse was the brain-dead moron in the dugout calling the shots…..Johnny Mac.

        The Sox could have won that Series in 5 games had Mac not been in the dugout making the decisions.

        His first huge mistake was throwing a flu-weakened Clemens out there on three days rest on a cold night, on a strange mound, in Game 2, AFTER Hurst had already gotten the Sox Game 1 and a guaranteed split of the first two games at Shea. The way the Sox offense cuffed around Gooden that night, Oil Can, who would have been on regular rest, would have been more than good enough to win that one, and Clemens, on five days rest, would have been pitching Game 3 at Fenway. If he wins, the Sox are up 3-0 and Hurst finishes off the Mets in Game 5.

        And don’t even get me started on all of the mistakes Mac made in Games 6-7. Leaving Buckner at first base in the 10th inning was not even the half of it……leaving him in the lineup at all while he was killing rally after rally, with Don Baylor just sitting on the bench for all four games in New York was a Series-long mistake that he made. Then there was sticking with Schiraldi for too long in Game 6, and not even considering using Hurst in relief in the Bottom of the 10th when the Sox went up by two runs–the man had no imagination.

        And then there was Game 7. He started Hurst on three days rest over Oil Can on 5 days (why not let Boyd go 5 innings and then go with Hurst and Clemens the rest of the way?). Then when the Mets tied the game, he goes with Schiraldi again, and then made the coup de grace move of bringing in Nipper in the bottom of the 8th of a 6-5 game, instead of Clemens, who was ready to pitch at least two innings in relief that night.

        No imagination, no guts….and because of Mac’s ineptitude, the Sox ultimately had no chance in that Series.

        Like the 2003 Sox 17 years later, the ’86 Sox got as far as they did in spite of the moronic manager, not because of him.