Free-Form Friday

A couple of media columns to lead things off this Friday:

Bob Neumeier has a rooting interest in Triple Crown – Chad Finn has the CSNNE anchor and NBC horse racing expert back in the saddle and ready for the Belmont Stakes.

Mark Jackson analyzing, not coaching these NBA Finals – Bill Doyle has the ESPN/ABC analyst in the position of calling a championship round for a team that fired him a year ago.

Some links of interest

Belichik’s Armenian Flag Pin at Obama Meeting Takes Center Stage at St. James Men’s Club Talk

Remember that pin of the Armenian Flag that was spotted on Bill Belichick when the Patriots visited the White House? Here’s the story of how it came about. Berj Najarian, whose grandfather was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, had the pin on originally, and Belichick ended up wearing it. Najarian also spoke frankly to President Obama about recognition of the genocide. Great story.

Roger Goodell loves to spout about integrity at every turn. What you read in that story is true integrity.

Julien gets another shot at Art Ross’ record, Coach’s Challenge – Mick Colageo has a post on the reported return of Claude Julien as Bruins head coach. He does a nice job with some myth-debunking involving Julien and his style, things you may have heard on, oh, sports talk radio.

Nothing has changed; Red Sox still terrible – Steve Buckley goes after the Red Sox, which I have zero problem with.

I do have a problem with the ongoing media meme of how “tough” the Boston Baseball Experience is.

I asked Sandoval if he feels comfortable here.

“Yeah, I feel comfortable,” he said. “Why do you ask me that?”

Because you don’t look comfortable, he was told.

“I look comfortable,” he said. “I’m comfortable. So you feel the way I am feeling? No . . . You know how I feel, right? No, that is not the right question.”

Considering how poorly Sandoval has played this season, it’s absolutely the right question to ask if he is comfortable. How many big-ticket players have been acquired by the Red Sox in recent years and had difficulty with the Boston Baseball Experience? Remember Edgar Renteria? Remember Carl Crawford? Remember Adrian Gonzalez complaining about all those nationally televised Sunday night games?

It’s funny the names that are associated with this “syndrome,” beyond that, is the myth about Adrian Gonzalez. Was it a mistake to trade for him and give him that huge deal? Maybe. But for a guy who is labeled a bust by many and cited as an example of someone who couldn’t handle the pressure of playing in Boston, he batted .338, with 213 hits (led league, and 4th most in team history) 117 RBI, .957 OPS and a WAR of 6.9. Despite hitting “only” 27 homeruns, it was the best season of his career. Oh yeah, he also won the Gold Glove at first base.

As for the “complaint” about the Sunday night games? Another exaggerated myth.

Gordon Edes:

He was responding to a direct question, the questioner asking him about the impact of the schedule — this was before the final two games of the season — and Gonzalez again gave a candid answer. Yes, he said, with the Red Sox so often playing on national TV, that posed an additional challenge for him.
“We play too many night games on getaway days and get into places at 4 in the morning,” he said to the interviewer. “This has been my toughest season physically because of that.”

Is that an excuse or a statement of fact? Terry Francona has complained about the schedule. Dustin Pedroia, who plays as if he never sleeps, has complained about the schedule. Players have taken their concerns to management about the schedule. Gonzalez said the schedule had taken its toll on him physically. To suggest he was saying that was why the Sox went 7-20 in September is ridiculous.

Gonzalez was prickly with the media, some of whom still hold a grudge. His inclusion in the great purging trade of 2012 was because the Dodgers wanted him, and were willing take the monstrous contracts of Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to get him. It wasn’t because the Red Sox wanted to dump him because he was a bust.

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It was interesting hearing former Patriots receiver Wes Welker making the Boston sports radio rounds this week essentially rattling a tin cup and asking for a job with the Patriots.

It seems appropriate to remember the furor from the media when Welker left two as New England’s all-time leading receiver two years ago and how things have worked out since.

I’m reminded of this Peter King fingerwag: Pats failure to keep Welker must be crushing blow to Brady

Bad, bad decision by New England.

Looks pretty good right now.

Red Sox Still In Deep Hole, But Rodriguez Offers Hope

The Red Sox split a doubleheader with the Minnesota Twins yesterday, but the biggest story of the day was the performance of Eduardo Rodriguez in the first game. Coming off his ultra-impressive major league debut in Texas, the young lefty was equally as impressive yesterday, going seven innings, allowing two hits, one run and striking out seven.

Eduardo Rodriguez gives desperately needed boost – Michael Silverman says that the 22-year-old offers the Red Sox “the righteous path to redemption.”

Eduardo Rodriguez is all aces through two starts – Nick Cafardo is “all in” and “sold” on Rodriguez.

Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez penning a great opening chapter – Gordon Edes has the Twins very impressed with the rookie.

Boston Red Sox’s Eduardo Rodriguez and the Clay Buchholz of May make Sox an actual contender – Christopher Smith says that if these two can keep it up, the Red Sox may have hope.

It looks like Xander Bogaerts has really turned a corner– Alex Speier has a look at the shortstop, who seems to be coming into his own as of late.

The Boston Herald has a good one-two this morning from Jeff Howe and Karen Guregian looking at the options facing Tom Brady. The Patriots QB will have his appeal heard by Roger Goodell on June 23rd, and if the result is anything less than a complete elimination of the suspension, Brady has to decide whether to go to court. Both writers make good points.

Why Tom Brady should end fight after appeal – Guregian says the best answer Brady can give is to win another Super Bowl, and to do that, he needs to get this over with.

Why Tom Brady should fight NFL until the end – Howe says Brady owes it to himself to get nasty with the NFL after their attacks on him.

I asked Stephanie Stradley, a Houston based writer and Lawyer, who has been watching this case closely for her thoughts on the articles and Brady’s options.

StephStradley

 

Boogie on: A Celtics pursuit of DeMarcus Cousins – Ben Rohrbach looks at the Celtics interest in the Kings enigmatic star and what it might take to land him.

A new Boston tradition: The Globies sports awards – The Globe will hold their own Sports Awards show this fall.

Changing Things Up A Little

So, as you can see, things look a little different around here. The design I had been using had been in place since 2008, I believe.

This is not a finished product, however. For one thing, the comment section is not working at the moment.  I’ve got a ticket in to troubleshoot that, and hopefully that will be resolved. I still need to move some things around in the sidebars and after the posts, so that will be done gradually.

I wanted a bit of a more modern look, with better fonts and to be mobile responsive, which this design is. On a desktop, this will look best on a widescreen monitor. For tablets and phones, the site should adjust to be easily readable on those platforms as well.

There’s a lot more to do, but I wanted to get the layout up and start the process of tweaking things around.

Suggestions are welcome. In lieu of comments, you can send me an old-fashioned email at [email protected], hit me up on Twitter @BruceAllen, or even text me at 603-513-2410.

Thanks!

Update: Comments are now working!