Setting Up Camp In Foxborough

The Patriots kicked off their 2010 training camp yesterday, putting the players through double-sessions on a wet day down at Gillette. You can get all the Patriots stories this morning over at PatriotsLinks.com, below are a few of the top stories.

Andy Hart of PFW has observations from Practice One and Practice Two.

Patriots camp filled with fresh faces - Mike Reiss has first and second year players getting their shot right from day one of camp.

Belichick remembers when training camps were a real grind - Jim Donaldson has the Patriots coach remembering when training camp started on July 5th and there were six preseason games and multiple scrimmages as well.

Tactic is a bit off the wall - Shalise Manza Young has this Patriots group looking to make their own memories, rather than living off the glory of past squads.

Kaczur willing to learn at guard - Jennifer Toland examines Nick Kaczur’s move to left guard in the absence of Logan Mankins.

Revamped Patriots Want Brady to Remain - From the New York Times, Judy Battista has Robert Kraft again stating that Tom Brady is “going to be here.” (Tom E Curran doesn’t like his tone.)

Stephen Neal longs for Olympic glory - Ron Borges has the Patriots guard revealing that he still dreams of winning a Gold medal in wrestling.

Eight observations on opening day of camp - Hector Longo brings his unique perspective to yesterday’s sessions.

No letup for Wes Welker - Ian Rapoport’s notebook has the injured receiver still working hard on the sidelines.

Slicing up the Red Sox’s boring pie - Bill Simmons weighs in on the Red Sox.

His prospects are good - Amalie Benjamin has the Red Sox minor league notebook this week.

Red Sox set up to wait - Scott Lauber thinks that the Red Sox might wait until the waiver trade period to make a deal.

After West Coast trip, time of the essence for Red Sox - Jon Couture says that the Red Sox room for error is trending towards zero.

 C’s sign Von Wafer - Chris Forsberg looks at the Celtics adding the former Rockets guard.

Media Roundup: More Whining And Complaining In Boston - My SBNation column this week looks at more complaining from the Boston sports media.

I’ve also got a full Metro Column on the ugly Hideki Okajima situation earlier in the week.

  • Nate

    So yesterday I mentioned seeing Neumie on CSN last night it was Eric Frede as an anchor, with the competition between NESN and CSN that Frede is out at NESN

  • NorwoodZip

    Another nice job in the Metro piece Bruce.

    But, it is nice to know that when not scrambling from one cable outlet to one or the other sports radio station is worried about ME, the fan.

    Truly, they are the Guardians at the Gate.

    • NorwoodZip

      What I meant to type was: when not scrambling from one cable outlet to another cable outlet or from one sports radio station in town to the other.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Lance_ Lance_

    Very good article by Simmons. In your article Bruce I disagree with you a bit – this guy is getting paid a ton of money and has been here since 2007 and seemingly hasn't any effort at all to learn the language of the people paying him ridiculous amounts of money. He's either stupid or well.. stupid.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/daver4470 APimpNamedDaveR

      Lance, I couldn't disagree with you more. Learning a language isn't easy. Learning English isn't easy at all. And learning English after speaking a non-Germanic/Latin-based language is incredibly difficult. Your facility for learning language as an adult has nothing to do with how smart you are — it's a function of how the language center of your brain is wired. Some people retain the neural "plasticity" — the ability of the brain to make a wide variety of new connections within the brain — that's present in children (who learn languages infinitely more easily than adults). Some don't. The former people pick up languages easily. The latter struggle. But the latter group can still be genius-level intellectuals — they just lack the capacity to easily learn language. You're being incredibly unfair to Okajima by labelling him "stupid" for not speaking conversational English after three years.

      Layer on top of that the fact that Okajima is in a field where the subtle nuances of every statement coming out of a player's mouth is analyzed, re-analyzed, broken down, re-re-analyzed, and dissected looking for signs of team discord, frustration with the manager/teammates/organization/umpires, etc etc etc etc etc. — and if you say the wrong thing in the wrong way, it can cause serious repercussions for you, your teammates, or your entire organization. You can't just be conversational in a language to avoid completely effing yourself in that world — you need to be fluent. And unless he's a whiz at languages, Okajima almost certainly wouldn't be fluent in English after three years.

      For pete's sake, look at what happened with Pedro. Martinez is fluent in English, and even he got trapped: remember "who's your daddy"? The point he was trying to make was that sometimes you just have to admit that the other team is better and/or has your number, and move on. But the choice of words he used to a native speaker sounds like he's saying "I'm the Yankee's a$$-bitch." How much brou-ha-ha did that comment cause? What was the impact on Pedro? And he speaks English fluently!!!! Why would you, as a non-native English speaker who knows enough to get around ("where's the bathroom?" "what time does the bus leave?", etc) ever want to speak in English in that sort of environment?

      Sorry, bro — but I've gotta part ways with you on this one.

      • Phil

        If he was/is so unhappy here, why did he sign with the Sox again? I don't think the "situation" in the bullpen has changed since his first three years with the club. He's unhappy because he's stunk out the joint. Also, in his 3+ years with the team, he hasn't learned to even basically converse with his teammates?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Lance_ Lance_

    I can understand your thoughts and don't completely disagree. But the original article this week where he was interviewed he bemoaned the fact he's very lonely here ("They don't even allow a non player in the bull-pen!") and that bothers me a lot. I've been in a very similar situation (dopo venti-cinque anni, parlo ancora l'Italiano ma non perfetto e non sono niente Italiano) but it was in Europe. He still hasn't done a thing to improve his "happiness" situation. The "not talking to reporters" isn't my beef at all but it's his attitude to the entire experience. I know brilliant people here who struggle but enjoy their time here because they don't let it hold them back. I don't get that impression from Okajima at all.

  • NorwoodZip

    Lettuce in the porpoise bro!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/mandb97 mandb97

    Bruce I agree and disagree with you with regards to Okajima. There is no question he does not owe the media anything. The performance or lack thereof spoke for itself. My guess is if he did speak and showed some anger he would have been clobbered by the media for that as well. That being said Okajima did not do himself any favors when he complained about not having a rapport with his teammates and cannot speak to them. If he felt that way why did he sign an extension? Also he is off for four months a year. Why can he not try to pick up some English or Spanish? It seems like Matsusaka is able to converse fairly well with his teammates. I know what Lance is saying that picking up a language is not easy, but Okajima should be functional. I certainly do not think Okajima is stupid. I just think he has not tried.

    I do agree with Bruce 100% with regards to D&C and Schilling. If Schilling was a Kennedy loving Democrat, those two would have had their panties in a bunch about how awful of an idea loaning Schilling $75 million is. They would have said, "What has he done? He has brought in no revenue. It's corporate welfare. The taxpayers are going to get screwed." But, Schilling has an R in front of his name so it's great for Rhode Island. It's also not really government money it's from the R.I. Economic Development Corporation which is only a quasi-public agency so it's okay. To clarify, I could care less about D&C's politics. Merle Haggard put it best when he said, "They're all a bunch of damn crooks." It's just that D&C are two of the biggest hypocrites around.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/mandb97 mandb97

      Two more items:

      1) A rare very good article by Jim Donaldson of the Pro Jo. I forgot that camps were two and a half months back in the 1970's. Think of the heat and the rare water breaks. It's amazing that there were not twenty deaths a year.
      2) On CSNNE Sports Central, Bob Neumeier and Carolyn Manno were talking about the most hated teams in sports history list from SI. Manno who seems pretty young of course said the 1978 Yankees which makes sense. Reggie Jackson and George Steinbrenner were at the top of their obnoxiousness. It made the collapse of the Red Sox just that more painful. Neumeier though immediately mention the 1974-75 Philadelphia Flyers. I think the Flyers of that era should have been ranked first through fifth before anyone else was ranked. The only reason the 74-75 Flyers are not number one is time and hockey being the fourth of the big four sports. The Flyers bullied, mocked, mauled and brawled their way to consecutive Stanley Cups. The 1974 cup unfortunately was won against the Bruins. The Broadstreet Bullies major combatants consisted of Mel Bridgeman, Moose Dupont, Don Saleski, Bob Kelly and of course, Dave "The Hammer" Schultz. I do not think there was a more hated figure in sports on the field of play than Schultz. He would cheap shot your best player, when the linesmen would jump in he would pull hair, scratch and continue to punch an opponent. Larry Robinson of the Montreal Canadiens became a North American hero when he pummeled Schultz during the 1976 Finals. The 74-75 Flyers were nasty and they were must see tv.

      • Tony

        HBO's "Broad Street Bullies" documentary that ran during the Stanley Cup playoffs this past spring was actually very well done.

        I was a kid back then so I never knew just how much the entire NHL establishment–from the commissioner on down–hated the Flyers and wanted to see them fail.

        A better Bruins team losing the '74 Cup to Philly because Bernie Parent stoned them in a couple of 1-goal losses in the Finals remains one of my worst memories as a Boston sports fan.

        Yes, the Bullies were dirty and all, but they had some serious talent on that team—Clarke, Leach, MacLeish….those guys could all put the puck in the net with regularity. They proved they weren't just a gimmicky, flukey champion by repeating in '75 and then going to the Finals, despite a lot of injuries, in '76.

        I'll still hate the Canadiens more than any other Bruins opponent, that's for sure. They have brought more pain and heartache into my life as a Boston hockey fan than any other team.

  • Eddie

    I really think, that for the salaries that these players are paid, they could take a course in conversational English in the off season. I bet the Red Sox would even spring for the cost of the tutors. Dice-K signed a multi-year contract, he knew he was going to be in the USA for a while. I think that most of us would make an effort to learn the language if we were to get a high paying job in Japan.

    I suspect that many foreign players use the language barrier as an excuse not to talk(remember Sammy Sosa) . I guess you can't blame them.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/mandb97 mandb97

      good points