Tag Archives: StartMattCassel

Celtics Lose Game 2 on Shitty Foul Call; Future Predicted by StartMattCassel; Reverse Cheer Effective

Perk. Out.

The turning point in tonight’s C’s game loss was the 6th foul on Perkins in the low 7:30’s (4th Q). It was just about the most pathetic foul call I’ve ever seen a ref make, in the playoffs no less. An 11 point lead has been cut to 2 with 6:35 to go (I’m writing as I’m watching, I just already know what’s going to happen) and the entire series momentum has shifted on a shitbag foul on an off ball screen in which a slight bit of contact was made. This is the play offs ref. Everybody sucks. Sox lose 5 to 1.

StartMattCassel

Scal. Still not in.

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Artificial Turf: This Whole Seymour Thing

Not gonna be doing a lot of celebrating in Oakland.

Not gonna be doing a lot of celebrating in Oakland.

SO. Our last remaining essence of Presence and Identity has been cut away from the Patriots defense. It’s no longer Bruschi, Seymour, Harrison and Samuels… and that’s ok because it was time to let go.

Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Jerod Mayo and Brandon Marriweather; these are the core guys now, punctuated by an all-so-Patriots departure of Richard Seymor. Shipped on a moments notice… to freakin Oakland, for a first round pick the draft after next. Not exactly the optimal deal for us, and for the Raiders, it actually looks like a pretty good deal, giving them 2 full seasons to go from giving up the 5th pick to giving up the 20th pick (except for the fact the Raiders won’t be good no matter what). We basically traded Seymor for cap space and the ability to trade up in next year’s draft. I’ll be shocked if we actually use that 2011 1st round Raiders pick.

Not to mention, as was pointed out to me this morning, the patriots have about a zillion picks over the next 2 years. So seemingly… just like that, we have potentially the best offense in football, and we’re banking on a rebuilding year on defense. Which I guess I wish I knew before drafting the Patriots defense in my fantasy league. (I also drafted the Bucs D.)

My super bowl predictions still stand, and the Patriots will be unstopable… but when I woke up this morning thinking about next Monday night’s 2009 unveiling of Tom and the O’s (his middle school alternative rock band)… (I made that up)… I became moderately concerned that we won’t be able to get them on the field enough.

Just one more thing… Seymour is yet to report in Oakland.

If there’s one thing I am excited for this season, it’s my continued dominance on the fantasy football field. I’m virtually a winner. Here’s the 2009 StartMattCassel roster:

Bum.

Bum.

QBs: Matt Ryan, Matt Cassel, Michael Vick

WRs: Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Joey Galloway

RB: Michael Turner, DeAngello Williams, Darren McFadden, Fred Taylor

TE: Antonio Gates

Ds: Bucs, Patriots

K: Stephen Gostowski

Happy Final Week of Waiting.

StartMattCassel

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Somewhere in Boston, a Blogger is Speechless.

Take that ya Yankee baaaastad.

Take that ya Yankee baaaastad.

I’ve been going to Fenway Park since before the 600 Club. To many of our readers, especially the ones that took me at that young age (and who take me still today), that isn’t much of a landmark, but to me and my generation, that’s kinda braggin rights. I’ve gotten to see Boggs break a bat over his thigh, Pedro K’ing 17 Yankees (and also mushing Don Zimmer into the turf), Manny, J.D., Lowell and Tek going back to back to back to back, a triple play, game seven playoff comebacks and a World Series Game One Victory. Like many Sox fans, I’ve been able to enjoy these moments with my Dad, Grandpas, cousins and friends, and that’s what makes the moments so memorable and so special. What happened to me last night though, may be the single coolest split second of my baseball life so far. (Including winning the Weston Little League World Series on a play at the plate. -Dad was coaching-).

***

My father, my girlfriend and I snuck off to the Sox game last night to watch Wakefield’s return to the hill against the White Sox. He went 7 innings deep, scattering six hits and one run on a great night of pitching. He found the strike zone for each of his first 16 pitches and Victor Martinez who had never caught a knuckler before was “A-” terrific. Come on… there’s always room for improvement… he did drop the first pitch of the game (called strike any way) and one tipped third strike that didn’t end up costing anyone. It’s worth noting for contrast that Tek is so bad at catching the knuckle that Nick Green went out there for warm ups one inning and they even gloved the first base coach for an inning as well.

RamRam came in the as the reliever in the 8th with a 2-1 lead, I believe I was on my 4th Vodka Tonic at that point (Go screw, they’re refreshing), and gives up a first pitch bomb to which ever suck bag Chicagoan was at bat and erased Wakes decision… this prompted my girlfriend (told you I had one), to turn to me and say, “Well now we have to stay.” It’s true that I usually leave early.

That spit is all over ever ball.

That spit is all over every ball.

So Bard comes in with his 101MPH heater to struggle us out of the 8th, and I jump up for one more zesty libation. I got to the bar (they don’t cut us off at the seats we were in) in time to hear a bunch of ChiSox fans cussing at “JD” -Jermaine Dye, who they hate- and I was back to my seat with 2 outs in the top of the ninth, Bard on the mound and Thome at bat with 2 strikes. I put our drinks down, and didn’t even need to see the crack of the bat, I knew the foul ball line drive was screaming right at us. It’s a sense you don’t know you have until you need it.

Without thinking or batting an eyelash, I moved her out the way with my right hand, leaned a hair left, and stabbed it with a bare left hand. I looked down, and there was my first foul ball. It was all instinct. She started screaming (I saved her effing life, by the way, and she looks at me and says: “I woulda had it.”), and the crowd around me, -behind, up and slightly to the right of home plate-, went nuts. I just stood there and looked at the ball in the palm of my hand.

photoIt happened so immediately that before I knew it, the moment had passed, and the teams were changing sides. An usher came over quickly to see that we were alright. When he asked me if I wanted any ice or anything I took a moment to look at my red throbbing hand (which had not yet let the ball go from the exact position I caught it in), and looked back and said, “I wanna feel this as long as it will last.”

I took a few more sips of what was a pretty watery drink at that point, looked up and saw Ortiz crushing a walk-off home run. I dodn’t know where it landed, but he and Gonzo provided all the offense we needed last night in the form of 3 blasts… two over the monster. Anyone who thought Ortiz would be on pace for 25 and 90 after the first 50 games… is either lying, or a blogger, or both. Even Bay’s gonna hit 30 and 100 and Youk FINALLY will, too.

Last night was the kind of night you remember so vividly that you even know the stats from the jumbo tron because to forget just one detail from the experience tarnishes the gem.

On our way out of the park a guy came over and put his arm around me, “I’ve been coming to games for 51 years, kid, I just caught my first ball last year… so you’re about 25 years ahead of schedule… That was the best catch I’ve ever seen.” I never saw him again, but I’ll remember him forever.

It was the coolest baseball moment of my life, and I am thrilled to be able to share it with the Ballpark.

Happy Baseballing,

StartMattCassel

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Big Papi did Steroids, But it’s Cool. Seriously.

Not exactly roid rage.

Not exactly roid rage.

So out it came. Juicin. ’04, ’07, Manny, Papi. Without question, if they aren’t in Boston those years, we get no hardware.

It’s really important to begin with that statement so that people know I’m still sane… but honestly, Papi did steroids, and I’m cool with it. We all knew it already, kinda, when it took him a zillion plus games to hit his first dinger this year, and even if that wasn’t a direct result of him stopping when ever he did, it was enough to introduce the suspicion and condemn him subconsciously… the irony of course being that we were all right.

But I’m not givin’ back squat. I’m keeping my World Series trophies and I’m still rooting for Big Papi. Sure, if he was a Yankee, or Manny, or a pre-existing a-hole (or Rod), then ya, I’d freakin’ hate him… but he isn’t. He’s a guy that has been universally loved by every member of the Nation and he and his wife Tiffany have been model community citizens. Big Papi is good for Boston and for baseball. Barry Bonds was a pre-existing a-hole and A-Rod is so despicable that the best thing we could say about him was “at least he isn’t Bonds.” (Now we can just hate them both regardless… which is nice.)

It's Cool.

I’m cool with Papi because his equation still checks out. Whether or not you are one of the greats is a formula. Clemens was an a-hole (negative), but he was a dominating pitcher who mastered the mound (double positive). Clemens’ equation before steroids checked out because even though he was an a-hole, he was also The Rocket. Introduce steroids and he’s just some a-hole on drugs, his equation got thrown all out of wack.

Papi is a model citizen, involved with philanthropy and community, has a local business and a charming smile, helped bring 2 World Series trophies to Boston, blasted countless bombs on to Landsdowne Street and beyond, put smiles on the faces of MILLIONS of people and… ya, he juiced some. In an era when almost everyone was doin’ it (please not you, Griffey… please), pitchers and hitters alike, Papi Juiced. And when I look at everything he’s meant to the Sox, I’m square with it.

So go screw, Yankees fans; when you do it it’s cheating, when we do it, it’s just tryin’ harder. And ya, I actually feel that way.

StartMattCassel

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Nomah, Back to the Bean.

The day the 2004 Nomar trade went through Cubs fans were dancing in the streets and Sox fans around the world were an odd kind of puzzled. We were coming off a painful 2003 postseason and our franchise player was on his way out of town, replaced by Orlando Cabrera and a a few odds ‘n ends.

He probably did them.

He probably did them.

Our relationship with Nomar began to sour after the A-Rod talks fell through (thank god) and by the time the 2004 trade deadline came around, Tito said articulately that Nomar was “Bostoned out.” Leading up to that point however, Nomar had made repeated claims that he wanted to spend his whole career in Boston. Apparently the Brass felt otherwise.

For the majority of Nomar’s tenure, he was a hustle player. Home grown talent that came up through the Cape League, he was solid in the field, a threat at the plate but quiet in the media. Garciaparra’s media shyness was a part of his undoing. Boston fans need to connect with their players, we need to feel like everybody’s is on the same page and everybody wants to win. When the end came for Nomar, the public outcry was minimal because even after eight seasons as the Sox short gapper, we really didn’t connect with the guy.

Cue the greatest 1/2 season in Red Sox fan & team history.

Idiots.

Idiots.

Cabrera comes to town to start, Doug Mientkiewicz enters the scene as a ball-stealing defensive replacement, Keith (I remember not hating him) Foulke turns it on as one of the best closers in baseball and Manny & the Idiots slug their way to a World Series championship. The streets were covered in tears of joy… and teargas.

The 2004 Sox season ended just in time for everyone to be Patriots fans again. The year of the Dynasty. I was wondering aimlessly around my apartment last night (very long weekend) and I stumbled upon the NFL Channel’s account of the Patriot’s super bowl run and it just reminded me how awesome Boston really is.

We got Smoltz on the hill tonight and the he’ll be throwing to a couple big swinging bats, ala Giambi and Holliday… but the matchup I’m looking forward to this evening is at bat number one for the A’s 6th-hitting DH, the king of the 48 minute at bat. Stop messing with your freaking batting gloves, you’ve already screwed up every little game in the country. Thank God Dice-K isn’t toeing the rubber tonight.

So stand and ovate, or sit and boo. Nomar is probably a steroid guy and definitely slinked his way out of town… but no matter what side of the fence you’re on, it will be a hell of a game.

Go sox.

StartMattCassel

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In honor of Pitchmen everywhere…

Last night, I went to bed to sounds of my roommate screaming at the television as the Sox unraveled. I didn’t need to see the game because I had the constant agonizing moans as flawless commentary.

In order to cheer us all up on this crappy rainy day… Don’t worry about tracking water in the house… Paper Towels!

StartMattCassel

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Artificial Turf: El Drafto

Granted... looks may be deceiving... but the combine is a display of phyical ability, raw talent, and frumpy looking college seniors.

Granted... looks may be deceiving... but the combine is a display of phyical ability, raw talent, and frumpy looking college seniors.

The combine is fun. It isn’t overhyped like National Signing Day, it isn’t shoved down our throats like Media Day… it’s a nice little gig on the NFL network (highlights available on ESPN of course) and for those of us who aren’t satisfied with the two bridge-the-gap sports of hockey and basketball, it can be a nice little topic to geek out on. The top college talent compete in events that most of us are familiar with, and that helps us to marvel at their abilities.

The combine is important because most NFL coaches are looking for raw talent and skill that they can mold, not someone who had 70% of their statistics against far lesser opponents than themselves. Even the most elite college teams play a bunch of scrub teams that affect their game stats for the better.

Players find ways to elevate their draft status, either buy benching the most reps and blazing the quickest 40 time… and some get creative by performing super-human feets. Adrian Wilson jumped over a 68 inch bar and landed on 2 feet and most recently, San Jose State DE Jarron Gilbert jumped out of the shallow end of a pool up onto the ledge.

At first glance, he makes it look so easy that you don’t really understand how much power is needed to complete the stunt… so I tried it. I made it up to my stomach and was bleeding from both shins.

Now, the fact that I am writing this article before any Cassel moves needs to be taken into consideration. The Patriots already have 3 picks in the top 60 (23, 47 & 58) and don’t really need much. The most obvious concern is the lack of depth (and talent, height, speed and aggressiveness) in the defensive backfield. The Pats have carried that problem for a couple years running now so I won’t be surprised to see a DB selection with the 47th overall pick.

The kid DOES look like a footballer. And footballers look mean.

The kid DOES look like a footballer. And footballers look mean.

Assuming that Belichick has gotten all of his first round TE’s out of the way in Graham and Watson, we’re likely to see an offensive lineman selected with the Pat’s 1st round pick. If James Laurinaitis (ILB, Ohio State) slips out of the top 20 it may be hard to pass on him. The knock is that he has a lot of trouble shedding blockers and as the size and speed of the people blocking you increases exponentially from Saturdays to Sundays it will be harder for him to rely on his sub-4.6-40-time in the NFL. That being said, had he been eligible last year, the Patriots were likely to have positioned for him in the top 10, though they did strike gold on defensive rookie standout Jarrod Mayo.

Should the Pats slate an interior lineman for their first pick, they may either go with a Center to move over to guard (Cal’s Alex Mack is in the upper echelon of intelligent Centers in a deep draft for that position) or an explosive tackle for the right side. Virginia’s Eugene Monroe is a beasts of his trade but you won’t see him slip past 5th overall. Should the Patriots choose to move DB to top priority, they could shoot for an DJ Moore style corner from Vanderbilt with the 23rd pick and hope either Max Unger (Center from Oregon) or Oklahoma’s Duke Robinson (Guard) are available at 47.

Terrence Wheatley hauls one in at the 2008 NFL Combine.

Terrence Wheatley hauls one in at the 2008 NFL Combine.

Vandy’s DJ Moore gives up the height advantage, measuring a mere Dustin Pedroiaish 5’9”… but his 4.36 40-speed is blazing. If selected in the 1st round, he will be Vanderbilt’s first round one selection since Jay Cutler in 2006… and before that, some guy named Will Wolford went 20th in 1986.

The Patriot’s first pick will give us an indication of how they feel about their 2nd & 4th round corners of 2008, Terrence Wheatley and Jonathan Wilhite, both of whom looked promising before going on IR with injuries. None of the Patriots systems are easy to learn, so it would seem that the two players who have been with the team for a season are at a decided advantage over a rookie.

All this being said… we still have about 25 million dollars worth of Quarterbacks and a coach that loves to build from the draft. Everyone is looking forward to the Cassel deal, whenever it may come and whatever it may be for.

StartMattCassel

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