Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

Archive for March, 2010

The Real Tom Brady remains missing in action

Posted by Bill Koch on March 17, 2010

Tom Brady

When last we saw the New England Patriots, they were getting their asses handed to them, 33-14, by the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC playoffs at Gillette Stadium. New England’s players looked like Pop Warner peewees who wandered into the wrong stadium. Baltimore blew the Patriots off their home field, and New England’s players realized in the aftermath that things needed to change in order for the most successful franchise of the 2000s to get back to winning Super Bowls.

Chief among those players was quarterback Tom Brady, the Patriots’ two-time Super Bowl MVP and three-time champion, who didn’t mince words when it came to his or his team’s performance on that dreadful afternoon. Brady laid down the gauntlet for the 2010 season in his postgame remarks, including himself in his criticism of New England’s performance.

“There’s certainly a lot of things I need to do better as a player, as a leader, as a quarterback, as a mentor,” Brady said. “Hopefully I can provide insight to those players in a leadership role.”

Keep those words in mind and fast-forward to Monday, the first official day of Patriots’ offseason workouts back in Foxboro. Jerod Mayo showed up ready to take charge heading into his third season, finally healthy after a knee problem that dogged him from the opening week of last year. Mayo wasn’t shy about addressing New England’s leadership problems.

“It was a void, as far as having that vocal guy on this team in general,” he said. “I think this year is a year where guys can step up and say what they have to say. It’s a young team as a whole and young guys will listen.”

Mayo, Sebastian Vollmer, Darius Butler and a host of other young players were among the large group of Patriots who reported to Foxboro on Monday ready to participate. They’re looking for a fresh start after a disappointing 10-6 regular season. They’re looking to get New England back into its place among the NFL’s elite teams. They’re also looking for someone to lead them there. They’re the group who Brady was targeting when he promised to “provide insight to those players in a leadership role.”

And here was Brady’s first clear message to those players on Monday – he didn’t show up. He’s God knows where doing God knows what with God knows who, continuing to piss on the legacy of success that he built during the first half of his career with the Patriots. He doesn’t consider this team a priority anymore.

Is this the guy who New England’s players are supposed to follow into battle every Sunday?

Mayo, Vollmer, Butler and the rest of New England’s players are practically begging for someone to step up and take charge, and Brady continues to be disgracefully unwilling to do so. The rest of the Patriots need the guy who attended all 60 offseason workout sessions after his rookie season in 2000, the guy who earned that parking spot closest to the Gillette Stadium players’ entrance for being the team’s hardest worker, the guy who willed himself into being one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks thanks to a little bit of talent and buckets of sweat in the weight room. That guy doesn’t exist anymore. In his place is an absolute fraud who dresses better and plays worse, who works less and expects more, who promises much and delivers none. In his place is a guy who will lead the Patriots to more losses like the one they suffered in January instead of the past glory that they used to enjoy with him under center. The road to the Super Bowl has already started, and Brady won’t even get in his car.

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Posted in Football | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Tiger back on the prowl at The Masters

Posted by Bill Koch on March 16, 2010

Tiger Woods

Women of Augusta, consider this your official warning.

We here at Ramble On feel obligated to provide the occasional public service, and that’s what we’re trying to do with this post today. It’s just been announced that Tiger Woods is returning to competitive golf in your town, and his off-course prowling gives us some cause for concern on your behalf.

Tiger will make his comeback at The Masters, strolling the hallowed fairways at Augusta National where he’s won four previous green jackets. As with everything else that Tiger does, this is a strategic move designed to protect what’s left (very little) of both his career and his image. The sex rehab-enrolling, Ambien-popping, painkiller-addicted former golden boy of the PGA has lost some of the shine off his star since that mini-soap opera erupted at his Florida home back in November, and you just have to be prepared for what’s headed your way.

Career-wise, this was always the move Tiger would have made. He wants to break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles won, and he’s not going to be able to do that by hiding out on his yacht or hanging in Hattiesburg with the rest of the rejects who weren’t cast by Dr. Drew on VH1. Augusta suits Tiger’s game perfectly – wide fairways, little wind, receptive greens – and gives him a chance to win immediately. That would put the focus back on his game and take it off his games.

Ah yes, Tiger’s image. It’s been destroyed and he’s been exposed as the fraud so many people thought he was behind the scenes. Tiger’s nothing more than a shameless liar who cheated on Elin Nordegren, one of the world’s most beautiful women, with a collection of skanks that would have made Ron Jeremy blush. Of course, you won’t hear a word about that at Augusta. The tournament organizers there run The Masters with an iron fist, and there’s no chance that any of the gossip Web sites who will pick through Tiger’s trash cans, tail his Escalade and fly alongside his G4 for the rest of his life will ever be granted a media credential to roam the grounds in search of more salacious details. It’s the perfect alternative for Tiger, who can continue to release his watered-down version of the events that put his life squarely into freefall and watch as the golf writers keep their focus 80 percent on the course.

Tiger will be all business between the ropes. He’ll maintain a respectful distance from his fellow professionals to avoid distracting them before the PGA’s opening major of the season. He’ll stick close to the script in his press conferences – “I was wrong, I’m ashamed, I let my family down” – as he always does. It’s what goes on when he leaves the Augusta National grounds that has us concerned for your emotional health, ladies. Don’t say we never did anything for you.

Posted in Golf | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

I can hardly contain my excitement. Not.

Posted by bdowd625 on March 15, 2010

The maintenance crew at TD Garden might as well put up another championship banner right now. The Celtics – led by the ageless Michael Finley – dropped 119 points on the Detroit Pistons tonight to pick up a crucial Eastern Conference win. Blah blah blah. Didn’t they shit the bed against the Cleveland Cavaliers for like 15th straight time on Sunday? That’s what I thought.

Spare me. Boston sucks this year and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Call me when they beat a team that doesn’t have Kwame Brown on its roster.

Posted in Basketball | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sexy Rexy and the state of the New York Jets

Posted by bdowd625 on March 15, 2010

The New York Jets have to be the busiest team in pro sports right now. Every day they’re either cutting someone (Thomas Jones), signing someone (LaDainian Tomlinson) or releasing medical information (in this case, news of Rex Ryan’s heroic weight-loss effort). Talk about having a lot on your plate.

Speaking of having a lot on your plate, Ryan recently underwent lap-band surgery, which will make him get full faster and supposedly help him lose weight. Maybe now he’ll stop at 15 White Castle burgers instead of his usual 20, but I digress. The guy’s just a straight-up slob that loves to run his mouth and fill it with all sorts of delicious goodies at the same time. Just check out his smokin’ hot body in the video clip below. Dead sexy.

But enough about Rex. The real reason for this post is to welcome that crybaby LT to the AFC East. I think the Jets signed him to play a Kevin Faulk-type role, one in which he catches passes out of the backfield and takes an occasional handoff on third down. What I’m expecting, however, is more crying on the sidelines in Foxboro when he can’t get his tender quad stretched out. And now we get to see it twice a year since he’s in the Patriots’ division! Christmas has come early!

Suck it, LT. Your career is over. Now go make another shitty YouTube video where you pretend that you’re a good dancer.

Posted in Football | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Welcome to the new Ramble On Sports

Posted by bdowd625 on March 15, 2010

There’s been some tweaking going on at Ramble On during the last few days, as I’m sure our millions of faithful readers can tell by our new appearance. Nothing major happened, just a little housekeeping that should help the site run smoother and look sexier.

When it comes to content, nothing has changed. We’re still awesome writers that will provide you with timely, humorous and cutting-edge news from the sports world. So carry on my disciples, and don’t forget to keep reading.

Quick side note: A few of my buddies are trying to get their Office Sports Talk site up and running. It’s a Web site that takes people who aren’t avid sports fans and tries to help them get acclimated to what’s going on in the world of sports. It’s a cool tool for anyone that’s tired of being left out of a sports conversation, whether it’s taking place at the office, at a party or just among family and friends. The site’s link is permanently on the right side of our page and I encourage you or anyone you know to check it out. Thanks people.

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Shed no tears for Nomar the fraud

Posted by Bill Koch on March 10, 2010

Nomar Garciaparra

Spare me the outpouring of affection that will sweep through New England today over the retirement of Nomar Garciaparra.

The former Boston Red Sox star will add one more line to his résumé of hypocrisy today when he signs with the club that drafted him out of Georgia Tech, coddled him throughout his trip through the minor leagues and bent over backwards to accommodate him during his years at Fenway Park. Garciaparra rewarded the Red Sox and the city that adored him by turning into a pouting, surly, childish, spoiled superstar who all but forced his way out of town in a 2004 trade that paved the way for Boston to break its 86-year World Series drought.

Nomar will join the ESPN baseball crew after failing to find a taker for his services this spring. I guess the free agent market is a little soft for under-performing, 36-year-old baseball players who don’t have a clear position in the field and don’t produce enough at the plate to justify a role as a designated hitter in the American League. Nomar’s final years were a constant struggle to stay healthy – wrist, groin and hamstring injuries kept him off the field for the bulk of the time after he left the Red Sox.

Nomar’s prime started during his rookie season in 1997, where he slugged 30 home runs and started a career that netted batting titles in 1999 and 2000, five All-Star selections and comparisons with Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez as the best shortstop in the Major Leagues. Relations started to cool between Nomar, the Boston front office and the media despite all of those good times when his body began to break down and he rejected a four-year, $60-million contract offer before the start of his final season with the Red Sox. Nomar called Boston’s bid to extend him an insult and was gone just four months later, shipped to the Chicago Cubs in a four-team deal that brought Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz to Boston.

Speculation swirled around Nomar after he appeared shirtless on the cover of Sports Illustrated in February 2001. His bulging lats and ripped physique provided a sharp contrast to the skinny kid who exploded onto the scene during his rookie year in Boston, and the steroid allegations began to fly in his direction. Nomar’s wrist injury, a split tendon, is common among steroid users, and he didn’t like the speculation about how his body could have blown up and broken down seemingly overnight like so many others did during one of baseball’s dirtiest eras. Nomar was even less entertained when the Red Sox boldly tried to trade for Rodriguez after the 2003 season, and he had nobody to blame but himself. It was his refusal to sign a contract extension that forced Boston’s hand – the lack of a shortstop in the Red Sox minor league system behind him and Rodriguez’s 10-year deal that the Texas Rangers could no longer afford created a perfect storm that started the wheels in motion.

Nomar’s final act of betrayal comes by joining the media that he loathed during his playing days. The navy-blue carpet in the Red Sox clubhouse famously featured a red line stitched three feet in front of the players’ lockers, a strip that was commonly referred to by club employees and other Boston players as the “Nomar Line.” Needless to say, Nomar’s teammates didn’t exactly find this ridiculous bit of immaturity all that entertaining. They saw him as the baby that he was, the quitter who sat on the bench and refused to pinch hit because he “couldn’t get loose,” while Derek Jeter flew into the stands along the left field line and busted up his cover-boy face on a warm July night in Yankee Stadium in 2004. That was the beginning of the end for Nomar as a noteworthy Major League player. Let’s leave the ballwashing that is certain to start today and continue on during his television career exactly where that famous night already is – in the past.

Posted in Baseball | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

When will toothless Bruins bite back?

Posted by Bill Koch on March 8, 2010

When is this going to stop?

When is someone from the Boston Bruins going to take a stand against opponents who turn their leading scorers’ heads into cabbage?

Marc Savard’s frightening concussion on Sunday against Pittsburgh, courtesy of the dirtiest of elbows from gutless Penguins’ scrub Matt Cooke, begs the question. That’s twice now in three years that the Bruins have lost an elite forward due to a disgraceful play in Pennsylvania, and something finally has to be done. Boston’s players have got to be getting sick of being bitched around like Jessica Simpson’s boyfriend.

Doesn’t anyone out there remember this?

Yes, that was Patrice Bergeron getting his faced caved in by Randy Jones when Boston played Philadelphia early in the 2007-08 season. Bergeron suffered a severe concussion, missing the rest of the season, and hasn’t been the same player he was since before the injury. Aside from a small scuffle with Shawn Thornton immediately following Jones’ assault behind the net, the Bruins did absolutely nothing to retaliate. Zdeno Chara, the alleged captain and leader of this team, stood and watched while Bergeron was carted off the ice on a stretcher – he did the same thing on Sunday. You know Cam Neely was punching a wall in disgust somewhere, wishing he could hit the ice and get a few swings in on Cooke. You also know that he had to be incredibly disappointed that this bunch of toothless imposters wearing Boston sweaters did nothing in reply, just like they’ve allowed Jones to escape unscathed ever since he decked Bergeron.

Granted, the circumstances were different on the two plays. Cooke’s cowardly contribution to Pittsburgh’s cause came with five minutes left in a 2-1 game, hardly the time or the place for Boston to get even. The Bruins are done playing the Penguins this season, so circle Boston’s next game with Pittsburgh on the calendar next year as one to watch. If the Bruins fail to follow hockey code and seek justice against Cooke or Sidney Crosby, the Penguins’ best player, then they clearly haven’t learned anything yet. They, and not Cooke, will be the ones who are truly gutless.

Posted in Hockey | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Random YouTube Video of the Day: Leprechaun sighting!

Posted by bdowd625 on March 3, 2010

Yeah, yeah, I know. This clip has been making the rounds on the Internet for some time now. But with St. Patrick’s Day quickly approaching, it’s only right that we here at Ramble On pass it on for your enjoyment. Happy early St. Patrick’s to all my fellow Irish out there. SAY YEAAAAAAAAAAHHH!

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Spring is in the air…

Posted by bdowd625 on March 3, 2010

OK, so maybe not exactly. At the moment, it’s frigid in Rhode Island with a mix of rain and snow falling on a gloomy Wednesday afternoon. In Fort Myers, Florida, though? It’s as good as summer down there, as the Red Sox open up with their first spring training games of 2010. Granted, the Sox have split-squad games against Northeastern and Boston College, but it’s baseball nonetheless.

Sox prospect Casey Kelly (pictured above) got the start on the mound against Northeastern this afternoon and I’m sure every set of eyes at the stadium will be following his every move. Kelly apparently has no ceiling and could break into Boston’s rotation as early as next season or 2012 from what I’m hearing.

Forget about all those projections for the moment, though, and just be glad that baseball is finally back. I can almost feel the temperature rising just thinking about it.

On a quick side note, I was sad to see that former Sox outfielder Rocco Baldelli didn’t sign anywhere this offseason. Instead, he has latched on as a special assistant in the Tampa Bay system. It’s a shame that Baldelli’s career never lived up to all the expecations. I went to high school with Baldelli at Bishop Hendricken and was lucky enough to be part of all the commotion he caused during his senior year. The guy was a freak athlete, with enough raw power to make even Mark McGwire envious. I’ll never forget watching him launch majestic home runs during batting practice in front of loads of adoring scouts.

Here’s hoping Rocco gets picked up by another team in the very near future.

Posted in Baseball | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chiarelli on the verge of blowing up Bruins

Posted by Bill Koch on March 3, 2010

Peter Chiarelli

Let the dismantling of the Boston Bruins begin.

Peter Chiarelli fired the first shot across the bow of this Bruins’ season by trading defenseman Derek Morris to Phoenix on Wednesday for a fourth-round draft pick in 2011. I can’t wait to see how Boston spins this one (my guess – “We made this move to shake up the roster”), but whatever statement they make is certain to be absolute bullshit as usual.

Mr. Magoo (Chiarelli’s name on this blog from now until Ramble On ceases to exist) personally recruited Morris to Boston this summer and viewed him as an upgrade from the cheaper Aaron ward, who was due to make $2.5 million this season. Magoo shipped Ward to Carolina and offered Morris a one-year deal worth $3.3 million, a contract that was universally recognized as much too rich by everyone except the man in charge of the Bruins’ personnel decisions. Now here we stand 58 games later and Morris is gone, the first piece in what’s certain to be a roster purge by Magoo to clean up a mess of his own making.

Morris played 58 games in Boston and was a minus-2. He scored a measly three goals despite taking up a point position on the Bruins’ second power-play unit and totaled a pathetic 26 minutes in penalties, suggesting that he had neither the appetite or skill to be physical with opposing forwards. Last season, Ward was a plus-16 and a recognized leader in the Boston dressing room. Sounds like a superb upgrade to me.

More spin from the Bruins – the club is stockpiling draft picks and will attempt to bring in a crop of players similar to the Patrice Bergeron-David Krejci-Blake Wheeler-Milan Lucic-Mark Stuart-Matt Hunwick-Tuukka Rask nucleus that will lead Boston for the rest of the decade. Sad news, fans – Magoo didn’t draft any of those guys. He has yet to pick a player in his three years in Boston who has played in a single game for the big club. That’s right – NOT ONE GAME. Never mind scoring a goal. No chance on dishing out an assist. No hope of even getting in a fight and giving the TD Garden some energy. There’s no help coming, unless your idea of help is packaging some of those picks for the likes of Daniel Paille (9 goals in 54 games for the Bruins since his trade from Buffalo early this season).

Don’t wait until Magoo inevitably fires Claude Julien, who can’t possibly win anything with this crappy roster that he’s had assembled for him, to start the clock on the Bruins’ general manager. It should be ticking already, and a Boston team that was one goal away from the Wales Conference finals last year is about to explode.

Posted in Hockey | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »