Baseball starts when the playoffs end

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Baseball starts when the playoffs end

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

I was talking to my dad on the phone last night when we lapsed into familiar silence. We were both watching TV.

"Beckett's pitching a good one," he said.

"Dad, the Celtics are on," I countered.

"So?"

"It's the playoffs!" I said.

It's a battle we've waged for a few weeks now.

I'm not winning.

Beyond the gavel slam of "I'm the dad, you're the kid; I'm right, you're wrong; I'm big, your small," my father refuses to be wooed by the drama and romance of the playoffs. "The Cup" may as well be the gear Bob Stanley wore under his baseball pants. And Hub hoops? Forget it. There was a multi-decade stretch where the last live Celtics game my dad saw was at The Real Garden, on The Real Parquet, with The Real Big Three. He was more than happy to keep it that way.

So it is baseball or bust in the Paoletti home.

But my dad's not winning either. Last night I didn't watch a single pitch.

The Bruins are off until Saturday. Did it matter? Nope. Big Baby was annoying me and playoff hockey is playoff hockey, so I flipped over to CanucksPredators. When Nashville fans threw a catfish onto the ice, I didn't call back to ask my dad where, exactly, he thinks a person would keep a dead catfish during a hockey game before throwing it. When Shea Weber lifted Ryan Kesler like a bad puppy up and out of the crease by the scruff of his neck, I laughed with a bunch of strangers on Twitter.

Curiosity eventually (impossibly) outweighed Glen Davis and I bounced back to the NBA. Those last five minutes of regulation were more tense than a prison shower. But more fun. I fist pumped and swore and curled into a ball at the edge of my couch.

Though the Celtics lost, I was glad I watched.

My dad tells me I've been missing out.

Beckett did pitch well Monday night. The righty lasted seven scoreless and threw 70 of his 103 pitches for strikes. Alfredo Aceves balked again, which is always funny as long as the move doesn't actually lose the game. Carl Crawford hit his second walk-off just this week.

The cheers went unheard outside of Fenway Park because I, and everybody else, was too busy watching the elderly Celtics get dumped from their wheelchairs by Miami.

Not tonight.

The C's have one night off and the Bruins have four so the Red Sox will have my full attention. For an hour.

The Red Wings will try to force a Game 7 on San Jose at 8 p.m. I like the old, (legally) faithful Wings. Jimmy Howard's years tending net for UMaine only further endears them to me. I won't be ignoring the Sox entirely -- Boston v. Blue Jays is an AL East showdown, after all.

Throw in Jacoby Ellsbury's 18-game hit streak and Jon Lester on the mound, and I can guarantee a flip back to Toronto during Game 6 commercials. Will I catch every pitch? Not even half of them. Will I witness the moment Jarrod Saltalamacchia takes another step away from the Mendoza Line? Maybe in a month.

For now, the sports standoff will continue.

At least until the playoffs shooting stops.

Celtics’ Jaylen Brown voted most athletic by fellow rookies

Celtics’ Jaylen Brown voted most athletic by fellow rookies

The NBA’s 38 rookies had their annual photo shoot and were polled by NBA.com with a couple of questions about their class. When asked which rookie was the most athletic among them, the Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, the No. 3 pick overall last June, won in a landslide.

Here are the results of that question:  

1. Jaylen Brown, Boston -- 38.7%

2. Brice Johnson, L.A. Clippers -- 16.1%

3. Marquese Chriss, Phoenix -- 9.7%

T-4. Malik Beasley, Denver -- 6.5%

Kay Felder, Cleveland -- 6.5%

Gary Payton II, Houston -- 6.5%

Providence guard Kris Dunn, No. 5 pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves was the freshman class’ pick to win rookie of the year honors, with 29 percent of the vote, followed by No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram of the Lakers and No. 1 pick Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Click here for the complete poll. 

 

First impressions from Red Sox’ 8-6 win over Rays

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First impressions from Red Sox’ 8-6 win over Rays

BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 8-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park:

*The Red Sox got some much-needed contributions from the bottom of the order.

Aaron Hill was 0-for-20 when he came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth, but slapped a tie-breaking single to right to put the Red Sox ahead to stay.

Batting ninth was Jackie Bradley Jr. who was 3-for-17 when he singled in the fifth, homered in the sixth and doubled home a run in the ninth, right after Hill's heroics.

The Sox have been carried offensively by the top four or five in their lineup, but that's a tough way to win.

At some point, others in the batting order have to contribute. The timing couldn't have been better than for that to start on Wednesday afternoon.

* Why was Junichi Tazawa throwing fastballs ahead 0-and-2?

Tazawa entered with the bases loaded and Logan Forsythe due. After two quick strikes, Tazawa kept throwing fastballs to Forsythe, who took the second one and lined it back up the middle for a two-run single.

Tazawa's best pitch is his split-finger, and it seemed like that would have been the more prudent choice there -- to get Forsythe to chase a pitch out of the zone.

It's doubtful that there were concerns about a split bouncing in the dirt and getting away from catcher Sandy Leon.

Strange.

*Hustle counts.

The Rays lost out on a run in the third inning and it changed the game.

 With two outs, the Rays had Tim Beckham at second and Logan Forsythe at first when Kevin Kiermaier stroked a line drive to the gap in right-center.

Beckham jogged toward the plate, but at the same time, Kiermaier attempted to stretch a single into a double. His throw arrived in time for a tag to be placed on him as he slid into second.

Worse, from the Rays' standpoint, Beckham hadn't crossed the plate before the tag was applied at second, so what should have been an automatic run was not a run at all for Tampa Bay.

 

 

 

 

Brady to serve as Michigan honorary captain Sept. 17

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Brady to serve as Michigan honorary captain Sept. 17

Tom Brady will have some time on his hands the next couple of weeks. So, why not travel back to the ol’ alma mater to serve as honorary captain.

That’s what the Patriots quarterback will be doing Sept. 17 when Michigan hosts Colorado at the Big House in Ann Arbor.

Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh told the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen, another Michigan alum, that Brady will be back in Michigan for the game. 

There has been speculation that Brady will find time to work out with the Wolverines to stay sharp while he’s away from the Patriots serving his four-game Deflategate suspension. His visit with the Wolverines will no doubt fuel more of that talk.