By Michael Felger
Playtime is over. Nantucket rules, but three weeks is my limit. Plus the heat was closing in (see below).
Long live the bag.
Hey Felger, I recently went through the painful experience of purchasing a newused automobile. The dealer I had done business with previously remembered me and told me he'd love to do business again. Having a previous relationship with the salesperson I thought was good, because I wouldn't have to go through the back-and-forth game of proposals and counter-proposals for 90 minutes only to end up at a price we both knew we'd eventually get to anyway. Instead, this person treats me like he met me two minutes ago, and goes through the same rigmarole all over again. I thought I'd earned enough respect in previous dealings to cut through all of that, and just get to the point. Apparently he thought going through this yet again may allow him to squeeze an extra dollar from my wallet even though we'd been through this fruitless game before. To the point: Bob Kraft is that car dealer who is treating Tom Brady like a guy who is making his first trip to his showroom floor. You don't pull this type of back-and-forth with a guy you've dealt with and whose efforts have helped make you uber-successful. You can play this game with draftees and other guys who haven't put in the time to the organization, but Brady should be treated differently as he's earned that respect. Ultimately I went somewhere else and got a little better deal for my new vehicle. I'm not returning to the first dealer ever again. Hopefully Mr. Kraft doesn't jerk Tom's chain too much. Brady is a lot more restricted in going elsewhere, but he's going to harbor some ill feelings if he continues to be treated just like everyone else.Kevin F.
First of all, I believe Brady is going to get his deal and sooner rather than later. I wouldn't even be surprised if something came out by tonight. Giving Brady some piece of mind before he takes off the non-contact jersey and starts getting hit for real is just the right thing to do. And I believe the Pats will ultimately do the right thing.
But letting it get this far has not been the right thing.
Felgy,Tom Brady is stupid for showing up for training camp. There should be no hometown discounts. This is his last big contract and no one has ever had more leverage than him in this situation. What would the Krafts and BB do, trade him, go with Brian Hoyer and wind up 5-11? Ha ha! How much money do the Krafts have? For all the back rubs guys like Kraft, Rooney and Mara get from toadies in the media like Peter King, the NFL chews players up and spits them out. They have the worst pension system going. A lot of these guys are cripples when they get to their 50s. Meanwhile, the owners are laughing all the way to the bank.Brady should hold out for top dollar. As a football fan, I'm on the players' side here. PAY THE MAN!KevinAcushnet
I'm with you all the way on that last point. I think it's outrageous that the owners are dragging the league into a labor battle when everyone is making money hand over fist. All 32 NFL teams land on the Forbes list of the 50 most valuable sports franchises in the world (only five baseball and two NBA teams make the list). Making money in that league is an automatic. Even pathetic franchises like Oakland and Cincinnati crush it. So how broken can the system be? NFL players have by far the worst CBA of any of the four major sports and the owners still want more? I think they should be getting hammered over this, but as you mention, there aren't many media members willing to do it.
As for Brady being stupid for reporting to camp I disagree. It's not in his nature to hold out, and I think he has to be true to himself. There's also not much risk given the fact he never gets hit at practice. But exhibition games are a different thing. If a deal isn't done by tonight, should he take the field? That's a tougher question.
Felger,The Patriots are extremely lucky Tom Brady is one of those guys that "gets it" and it is not in his makeup to hold out or cause any issues. However, as seen by the other deals, an extension can be had. Not only would it set a good example in the locker room, but it would put Brady's mind at ease and let him focus 100 percent on football. It also would benefit the Pats to get this done before Peyton Manning gets his deal done. You don't want Manning to get a ridiculous deal and then have Brady's agent beating down the doors to get more money because Brady has won three Super Bowls to Manning's one.As you would say, the Patriots simply don't pay. That is fact, not opinion. This false theory of being in cap hell is ridiculous. If you have smart management, especially a guy like Belichick, you will figure out a way to keep your top level players and be able to work out the cap situation. It sure would've been nice to see the Pats lock up Asante long term rather than having to spend a first and two seconds on corners over the last three years (McCourty, Butler, Wheatley) and overpay a guy like Bodden, who was solid but is not worth his salary.JP
The Pats are, indeed, fortunate to have a guy like Brady. There are a lot of players who wouldn't be in camp right now. And I agree it would behoove the Pats to get Brady done before Manning. Why let another team set the market for one of your players? But either way Brady isn't going to take another discount. Mike Silver of Yahoo! (who is clearly Brady's go-to guy on this matter) reported that Brady wants to be one of the two highest-paid players in the game (next to Manning). So I think this deal for Brady is going to look a lot different than the last one.
Felger,I haven't heard you talk about the Jets lately, especially in relation how they're so much better than the Patriots in spending for talent.I thought for sure that you or Tony would make the argument that the Jets would never make Tom Brady have to "beg" for his new deal, especially when he is widely considered to be one the best QB's in the league.I wonder what's been on lately that would have you two guys so silent all of a sudden?Oh, I know. They're low-balling Revis, the same guy who the Jets have been saying for a year is the BEST defensive player in the whole damn league! Is this how the Jets treat their best player, Mike?Say it ain't so, Mike!Do you guys know how obvious the silence sounds to the rest of us now that you and Tony have Jets amnesia? From the time you guys first came on the air it was a guarantee that everyday one of you guys would mention the Jets and how awesome they are at some point in relation to how cheap and talentless the Patriots are.Why don't you guys admit that maybe just maybe you were giving the Jets a little bit too much credit in your eagerness to bash the Patriots due to your lack of access to the team?And please, save your predictable response about me being a footsy pajama wearing pats fan.DanEast Providence, RI
Put away your footy pajamas, Dan. (Bam!) Seriously, if you haven't heard me talk about the Jets then you haven't been listening. I'm not as high on their chances as you would expect. Yes, they have a lot of talent (more than the Pats, in fact). But theyve also thrown together a lot of big personalities and questionable characters (Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes, LaDainian Tomlinson, Braylon Edwards, etc). And the Revis thing is a big issue. He's their most important player, by far. He's the one who allows them to play defense the way they do. And if he's not there or not as effective, their entire defense changes. So I think the Jets will be in it, but they aren't the favorite in my mind.
As for the Revis contract impasse, it's a bit different than the Brady thing. Revis has three years left on his contract; Brady has one. The Jets, who have been spending through the nose for years, are on a little stronger ground than the Pats, in my opinion.
Mike,Jack Tatum was a classless turd who delighted in ending life as it was formerly known for Darryl Stingley in a totally meaningless preseason game and then trumpeted it. The consummate bully who knocks the milk out of the hands of the special-needs kids and then looks around for a high five. A soul-less sadist whom a quick death was frankly too good for. Truly a man who should have played in the modern era so that Rey Carruth could have tucked him away and closed the trunk latch.My only comfort is that Darryl passed on before he had to listen to a surprising horde of ball washers come out to eulogize a man who capitalized on that tragedy while claiming "Ill never understand why people look at me as the villain."As for me, Ill never understand how so many people can hate Rodney Harrison but like Jack Tatum. Seriously, do you think Rodney paralyzes a man and then writes a book extolling it?Peace,
Amen, Jake. Predictably, ESPN glossed over the real story. But we know the score.
Felgy,There's an interesting dynamic within the Red Sox pitching staff developing: underachieving, higher paid-pitchers are in the middleback of the rotation, while younger, inexpensive STARS are at the top. Forget the egos and the competition between players, do you think this poses any logistical problems for Francona? My outlook is that this pitching staff has no definition or form. Heck, what is the rotation? What are everyone's "roles," a term which I do believe is relevant to starting pitching? This isn't a new problem, either: remember the debate we had over who should start the first game of last year's ALDS? Part of the problem, in my opinion, is you just don't know what Beckett & Lackey are anymore.Thank you,
Greg, Manchester, NH
You're preaching to the choir on Beckett. He's just not as good as we think he is. But, overall, we shouldn't be surprised that the younger guys are performing better. It's one of the reasons I think it's smart to horde young pitching. It's not just a money thing. It's a performance thing. It's just more consistent heading into free-agent years than coming out of them.
Hey Felger,I think you guys are missing the point a little bit, as far as "The year of the pitcher." Sure, the lack of 'roids has brought the hitters back to earth, thank God! But is it really all pitchers that are dramatically better this year? Think about it: what happened to the TON of relievers who used to throw 97-to-99? Most of them are throwing 93-to-95 now. There's your steroid testing.No, this isn't the year of the pitcher so much as "The Year of the Starter." And yes, it's 100 percent the result of testing, but not for steroids, for amphetamines.Starters only have to get themselves physically and mentally ready to go every fifth day. You probably don't need speed for that. Starters don't play for stretches of 20-of-21 days for six solid months. They don't play day games after night games. If you're looking to go seven days a week and 700-plus plate appearances, you really, really miss your greenies. Don't you?Thanks.James
Absolutely correct, sir. It's the hidden story behind a lot of trends in the game. Heres another: Since they started testing for amphetamines, home teams are winning at a much higher clip. Why? It's a lot harder to get up for that fifth game on a six-game road trip without that spiked coffee. When you're at home, you don't quite need the same boost, do you?
I am officially calling out you, Michael, as a member of the anti-Patriot Cartel. This Cartel is led by the plagiarist, Ron Borges. Having Borges on Mohegan Sun to give opinion on the Patriots is like having Keith Olbermann on to give opinion on Republicans. Its not exactly fair and balanced now, is it? Next, it's funny how Borges is such a Brady supporter after failing to admit he was better than Bledsoe until Super Bowl win number 2. His appearances are unwatchable. Next comes Bert Breer. Hey, Bert is plugged in, is a good writer, and has good sources, but I love when he tries to tell us that the Colts are a better-run organization than the Patriots. Lets do the math, Bert. The Patriots have three Super Bowl wins and five appearances under Bob Kraft. Indianapolis has one Super Bowl win and two appearances. It's not even close. Chris Gasper and Tony Massarotti come next. Gasper does anything to be noticed. He was a big Patriot supporter last year until things went south, then he tried to be their biggest critic. This was probably because the front office wouldnt talk to him, as is the case with the Boston Globe in general. Finally, we've got Naughty Massarotti. Tony started his shtick back on WEEI when he was "Angry Tony." Now he's anti-everything except the Bruins, which is another pathetic attempt by 98.5 to prop up the Bruins' fan base for their show. Yes, Felger, you rip them, but also give them more airtime than any franchise, which is fine. Hockey has its place, but you are a hockey fan so hockey is great and the NBA stinks. But back to Tony M. Tony's big comment last year was, and I paraphrase, "I hate to break the news but the Patriots arent the dominant franchise anymore, both the Steelers and Colts have won Super Bowls more recently." Well, true, accept everyone disregards the Patriots' 18-1 season like it didnt even happen. They went to the Super Bowl folks, losing on a Hail Mary pass and a bad wheel that had Tom Brady in a funk all day. That was only two Super Bowls ago and let's not forget, Brady missed the next year or they might have been right back there.Finally, the head of the Cartel . . . YOU, Michael Felger. Felger, you are an enigma. You're entertaining, and no doubt have a place in the Boston scene on TV and radio. But you definitely have fallen in love with your own press clippings and ratings. You used to be the proponent of the Patriots Way, but in your short stint at ESPN 890 you lambasted the Patriots throughout the season and spent more time on gossip than analysis of the team. You think by being the opposite of the Big Show, who tend to be Patriot back-rubbers, you've found your niche. And maybe you're right, but as sports fans we need to hold you accountable. I think the players are getting screwed in this labor deal. No shocker, Mike. But the Patriots are in it with every team. I mean, who cares what Jim Irsay says? Its what Jim Irsay does that matters. Also, you cant seem to get through your head that the owners are colluding on this labor deal and NO one wants to be the one who breaks the deal. So Manning and Brady are going into walk years. It's just going to happen. If youre going to call out the Pats you have to call out all the owners.YOU decided in 2007 you would take your Bruins shtick about being a mean-spirited, cheap organization to the Patriots arena, but that argument falls short. Yes, the Patriots can go overboard at the negotiating table, and some of their methods are not as effective as they once were. This team can and should be criticized when warranted, as should every team. Yes they have made mistakes with Richard Seymour, Deion Branch and Asante Samuel and maybe Brady should have been resigned two years ago. But lets see, Mike, you want to demonize the greedy Kraft family. You are talking about the family who took over not just the worst franchise in the NFL but one of the worst franchises in sports. And what have they done in their 16 years of ownership? Let's see: 5 Super Bowl Appearances3 Super Bowl Wins9 AFC East TitlesHired a Hall of Fame coachA brand new, state-of-the-art stadium built with almost no public financing1 team in the regionOne of the top brands in the NFLOne of the most valuable franchises in the world
And dont forget, he's made 98.5 a viable station in the market as wellSo if Bob Kraft wants to secure himself and his league going forward, question the owners as a whole, not just Bob. It's funny, though. Leave it to sports writers and TV people to tell the guy who risked everything how to run things.So this is the cartel, they believe negativity makes them successful. Well see, but the ratings in this town are much richer when the teams win. And that's what they've been doing for 10 straight years. There will be a dip and we'll see if Pitinos famous words re-appear. But the cartel needs to be called out. Thats our responsibility.Lets stick to facts or is Sports TV nothing more than TMZ? You are there to be objective. I welcome it and agree with half of it. But dont be so myopic in your thinking. This team is successful for the same reasons it's disliked -- and their record speak for itself.Regards,George
Again, George got this posted on the Boston Sports Media website so I guess Ill respond to some of it here.
First of all, take a breath, dude. I've just called them as I've seen them. I think that starting around 2006 (the Deion Branch offseason), the Patriots have made as many poor decisions (at the draft, in free agency, on the coaching staff) as good ones. And I think their playoff record over these last four years versus what they did from 2001-06 reflects that. In other words, I think I've been right about a lot of this stuff. And it seems you even agree with some of it.
The real problem is the sensitivity of certain Patriots fans. I've never said the team sucks. I've never said Belichick was a bad coach, or that Kraft was a bad owner or that the organization was cheap. I've said Bill has made some mistakes and the Krafts have let money get in the way of some decisions that ending up hurting them. And I think the Krafts are doing it again with their role in the new CBA. I dont know how it's helping the Patriots on the field. Again, you seem to agree. You just don't like my tone.
But Ill repeat what I said the last time you wrote. Media guys like myself, Tony, Bert Breer and the rest are lucky to have you. Seriously. You read, watch and listen very carefully. Thats obvious. Youve got us all down cold, and while you may dislike us, youre still a customer. A very good one.
Felger,I want less sports and more topical issues on 98.5! Sports for four hours is BRUTUAL. Remember when you did the top 10 Hollywood cougars on 'EEI? Now that was great radio. Time to go back to that!PeterMelrose
Fine. Try this.
Mr. Felger,I have watched you for some time now and don't know why you are working in the Boston sports business. The reason being you are never happy about what any sports player or team does. You are a professional crap-stirrer, and half the time you have no idea what you are talking about.You gave David Ortiz such a bad time, why would he want to play in Boston? You were wrong with your assessment, as usual. You did not understand the YouTube with Big Baby because you can't remember being young or happy about anything. Mr. Felger, why don't you go to an area where you like the teams and players to put less stress on your life and be a little happier?PhillipBoston fan forever and happy for it.
You mean move somewhere else and not get any more of George's e-mails? Not a chance, babe.
Felger You DB!Hope you enjoyed your extended furlough on the Grey Lady. And, as always, your timing was impeccable as Nantucket 5-0 disrupted the local supply the day after Felgy-palooza 2010 was over. Well done. Anyway, it was nothing short of miraculous to see Jacoby Ellsbury make his return to the Sox. In 1995, Rod Woodson recovered from a blown ACL in 19 weeks. Fifteen years later, Ellsbury takes 17 weeks to heal from cracked ribs. Also returning in your absence was Jed Lowrie, who took 18 weeks to recover from the worst reported case of mono since Def Leppard's Pyromania tour in 1983. If only he were blessed with the superhuman recuperative prowess of legendary iron man Phil Kessel, who shrugged off a case of mono in less than a month. It might just be me, but there could possibly be an issue with the Red Sox medical staff. At this point I wouldn't be surprised to walk into the trainers room and see Varitek covered in leeches and Pedroia undergoing gem therapy on his ankle. And based on the smells coming from the concession stands, the Sox have apparently mastered the cultivation of penicillin for some time. And finally, in addition to holding the Vikings' QB position hostage, your good buddy Brett has apparently been slinging pics himself wearing nothing but a pair of Crocks to the phone of a rather attractive former member of the Jets staff. As you can expect, Brett's wife Diana was very upset to hear about her husband using his Blackberry as his own personal Gate D. Sending texts of his schmenzer to sideline hottie Jen Sturger was bad, but getting all dressed up to do it really boiled her crawdads. But you know somewhere old Broadway Joe is smiling. Not only does this trump his smooch request with Suzy Kolber, but it also rockets Favre ahead of Joe's dalliances with pantyhose in the category of most sexually questionable items worn by a Jets quarterback. Welcome back buddy,MikeAttleboro
Ah, its good to be back in the warmth of Mikes bosom. Feels like home. Besides, as he mentioned, there were a few issues down on the rock . . .
Felger,Newsflash: Police on Nantucket via helicopter have found and dismantled various marijuana crops. Reports indicate a man in jorts, wearing a "I heart Tanguay" shirt while drinking a Michelob Ultra, fleeing the scene. Descriptions of the suspect are sketchy, but they seem to indicate he may be a chronic DB . . . Art
Seems like I got out just in the nick of time.
Talk to you all next week.
Felgers weekly column appears Tuesdays. Email him HERE and read the mailbag Thursdays. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.