After being swept by the Rangers in Texas to start the season 0-3, there isn't a lot for the Red Sox to be feeling great about today. But with that said, I really hope Red Sox fans aren't reaching for their panic buttons just yet. Despite being outscored 26-11 this past weekend, there are still some positives for Sox fans to hang their hats on moving forward. Leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury looks fully recovered from injuries that turned his 2010 season into a waste. He showed both improved plate discipline and power, while maintaining his speed. Adrian Gonzalez appears to somehow be even better than advertised. He went 5 for 13 while hitting to all fields, and also displaying smooth glove work that will save his fellow infielders plenty of potential throwing errors. David Ortiz showed displayed power and clutch hitting some felt he was no longer capable of. After Big Papi's slow starts (to put it mildly) in recent years, for him to come out with a multi-homer opening weekend is a great sign. In the lone appearance for Jonathan Papelbon he ended up finding a groove and striking out the side. Hopefully now that he's gotten his feel wet we'll see similar results, without the struggles that preceded them. The "goats" of Friday's loss, Jon Lester and Daniel Bard, are pitchers nobody should be the slightest bit worried about. A bad outing or opening day jitters is understandable, and it's going to take a lot more than a bad outing for me to lose faith in either of these studs. But most important of all is the fact that over 98% of the Red Sox 2011 regular season has yet to be played....and there is no way I'm tossing in the towel with only 1.85% of the schedule in the books. On to Cleveland we go!
It was 3 years ago that the Red Sox brought back Bill Buckner for a triumphant return to Fenway Park to toss out the first pitch of the 2008 home opener. Next Friday, for the first pitch of the 2011 home opener, the Sox will make an even bigger splash (for better or worse) by bringing back an even more controversial figure from the team that won the American League pennant 25 years ago: Roger Clemens. The Rocket will be returning on the silver anniversary of his greatest season in Boston, 1986. That year, aside from helping the Sox come within an out of winning the World Series, Clemens won the A.L. MVP, the Cy Young Award, was All Star Game MVP and became the first pitcher in history to strikeout 20 in a game. He finished that season an amazing 24-4 with a 2.48 ERA and 238 strikeouts, falling just 7 strikeouts shy of winning pitching's Triple Crown. Boston's brain trust is wisely bringing back other members of the 1986 American League champions to try an ensure a positive crowd reaction, regardless of any hostility aimed at Clemens. Among the other '86 Sox scheduled to take the field alongside Clemens are Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Bruce Hurst and the Rocket's good friends Al Nipper and Spike Owen. Also, Clemens' longtime catcher in Boston, Rich Gedman, is rumored to be on the receiving end of his opening day toss. Although it may seem odd for the Sox to bring back somebody who has fallen so far from grace amidst steroid allegations in recent years, this may give both Red Sox Nation, and Clemens himself, a chance to remember the franchise's former ace when he was just a 23-year old trying to make his mark as a major league pitcher. Fittingly, the Red Sox will be hosting the Yankees next Friday, the team for whom Clemens went on to win 2 World Series titles and the 2001 Cy Young Award (his 6th of 7) during his post-Boston career. It has now been 15 years since Clemens last put on his Red Sox #21 jersey, yet he still remains the franchise all-time leader in wins (192), strikeouts (2,590) and shutouts (38). Although the Red Sox seem to enjoy keeping the identity of the person throwing out the opening day first pitch a secret as long as possible most years, the guess here is that this was purposely leaked to gauge the fan reaction in advance, just in case Clemens wanted to opt out at the last minute. So what type of reaction will await the man who went from Boston icon to controversial figure, first by donning pinstripes and then by becoming engrossed in a steroids scandal, when he takes the mound at Fenway next Friday? Stay tuned.
Clemens ? who cares, he is a liar and a cheat , and although he had some great years here his personal indifference to his boston fans and teammates he movet to toronto to be closet to home , (katy tx) Clemens ..... keep him
04/09/2011 6:24 AM
After 5 rounds of fighting, which eliminated 62 of the 64 tournament entrants, we have finally reached the championship bout to determine who will be named the Bruins Ultimate Fighter. In the Final Four it was Terry O'Reilly and Cam Neely outlasting their opponents and advancing to the title match. O'Reilly defeated Jay Miller with 67% of the vote, while Neely had an even easier time with Eddie Shore, winning with 83% of the vote. The lopsided victories by both O'Reilly and Neely speaks of an ability to drop their gloves, but also confirms that both men are among just an elite few of the most popular players in franchise history. So which of these Bruins puglists will walk away from this with the title of Bruins Ultimate Fighter? Will it be #24 or #8? Terrible Terry or Bam Bam Cam? You can help decide...just click here to cast your vote now! The winner of the tournament will be announced Monday night. Good luck to both Bruins brawlers!
Boston blanked defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago last night 3-0, with the victory giving the Bruins a 4-1-0 record since a stretch that saw them win just once in 7 games. Also encouraging, these wins have all come against quality opponents: the Devils, Canadiens, Flyers and Blackhawks. Perhaps the best news for the B's is that their most important players are stepping up big with the playoffs on the horizon. Tim Thomas has started all 4 of Boston's recent wins, posting a 0.50 GAA, .983 save percentage and 2 shutouts along the way. Team captain Zdeno Chara has perhaps been playing his best hockey as a Bruin since being ejected from the March 8 game for his hit against Montreal's Max Pacioretty. In the 10 games since the hit Big Z has tallied 3 goals, 8 assists, 11 points and a +10 plus/minus. Meanwhile the Celtics find themselves at the opposite end of the spectrum, having dropped 3 of 4 and 7 of their last 12. Equally discouraging is the fact that the C's biggest players seem to be doing so little. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have lacked consistency, Ray Allen has failed to find shots (and is not happy about it), and Rajon Rondo has been a complete enigma since the All Star break. Is he hurt? Was he benched against Minnesota? The only player with a consistently solid performance is Glen Davis, and though Big Baby is unquestionably an excellent reserve, no reserve is going to carry his team to the promised land. The assumed returns of Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal will certainly help, but only if Boston's 'Big 4' can regain their All Star form and lead the way. With 2 days of practice before their next game it's important for Doc Rivers to right the Celtics ship in a hurry. Back-to-back road games later this week against the Spurs and Hawks could spell more trouble, and if things continue to get any worse for Boston they may run out of time before being able to make them any better.
After 4 rounds of fighting only the Final Four Boston Bruins remain, each still hoping to become the Bruins Ultimate Fighter. This semi-finals feature some of the greatest tough guys in NHL history, with Terry O'Reilly taking on Jay Miller and Cam Neely squaring off against Eddie Shore. Eliminated in the last round of competition were Chris Nilan, Jamie Huscroft, Zdeno Chara and Lyndon Byers. Surprisingly none of the Elite 8 battles were even very close, with the exception of Shore edging out Byers. Once again, if you need help deciding (or even if you don't) go to YouTube and check out these pugilists in action. We are now just one round away from setting up the championship fight, so make sure to have your vote counted! The championship contestants will be announced on Friday, with the Bruins Ultimate Fighter crowned next Monday night. Click here to cast your votes now!!!