DiSarcina eager for new role with Red Sox

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DiSarcina eager for new role with Red Sox

PAWTUCKET, R.I. Saying he might need to brush off the cobwebs, Gary DiSarcina is resuming his managerial career, taking over the helm of Triple-A Pawtucket, after being out of the dugout and out of the Red Sox organization for the past two seasons.

DiSarcina, who was introduced Friday afternoon during a press conference at McCoy Stadium, had been with the Angels the past two seasons, after being in the Sox organization the previous five years.

He joined the Sox in November 2006, when he was named a baseball operations consultant, From 2007-09 he managed Low-A Lowell, where he compiled a record of 125-99 and led the Spinners to Stedler Division titles in 2008 and 2009. In 2010 he was the Sox minor league infield coordinator. He was also on the coaching staff for Team Italy for the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

In November 2010, DiSarcina left the Sox to join the Angels, the team for which he played his entire 12-season big league career. He was the Angels minor-league field coordinator last season before being named special assistant to the general manager in October, a position he also held in 2011.

Were obviously very familiar with Gary from his past experience with us, said Ben Crockett, Sox director of player development. He brings a wealth of knowledge from a long playing career. He served as an excellent manager and coordinator for us. He went on to some bigger experience with the Angels, working with the big league club as well as overseeing the farm system. So I think he comes back to us with a lot of experience thats going to serve this Pawtucket club well. Were really excited to have Gary back in the system.

General manager Ben Cherington said the organization was looking for a way to get DiSarcina back since he left. The Sox met with DiSarcina about the job during the winter meetings in Nashville last week.

Hes a guy we have a lot of respect for, Cherington said. It was hard for him because I think hes got loyalty to both organizations. He was a player in the Angels organization. Hes got loyalty to that organization. I think hes loyal to the Red Sox, too, because this is where he started his post-playing career, and obviously a guy thats from around here.

I think we were looking for someone to go to Triple-A who understood our core philosophy, understood what its like to be in Boston, to play in Boston, what preparing players to play in Boston is all about, someone we trusted and someone weve worked with in the past. So, we looked at a number of candidates but we felt like if we could get him back, he would be the right guy. And were fortunate that we could do that.

After filling in for the Angels Double-A manager for four games this season, he realized he wanted to eventually get back into the dugout. But, he said, he wouldnt have left the Angels for any other organization besides the Sox. The Billerica native, who now lives on the South Shore, has two kids, the youngest a freshman in high school.

While he is familiar with the organization from his previous tenure, he knows his new job will have its specific challenges, along with those a manager at any level faces.

Probably just knocking the cobwebs off a little bit. I think spring training will be great for that, he said. A big adjustment will be talking to the front office more. Talking to Sox manager John Farrell and bench coach Torey Lovullo when they call down more, just getting a little more adjusted to talking to the front office people, because when youre in Lowell your days are pretty much set out, you know who youre pitching, you know how its going, you dont talk to the front office as much at that lower level. Just to be more interactive with those guys.

DiSarcina, 45, ended his playing career in 2002 appearing in 35 games with the PawSox.

DiSarcina is replacing Arnie Beyeler who was promoted to first base coach for the major league team. DiSarcina cited Beyeler for helping him when he began managing in Lowell.

Arnie helped me out tremendously when I first went up to manage Lowell, DiSarcina said. I basically went up to Portland where Beyeler was managing the Double-A team at the time and shadowed him for four or five days. He was a tremendous help.

DiSarcina, who said he ultimately would like to manage at the big league level, learned a major lesson from his time in Lowell.

That I could do it. That was probably the most important thing that I learned, that first day I managed my first game I was nervous as hell, I walked in the dugout and I was nervous, the nerves went away right after that first pitch was gone. I dont care how many years you played in the big leagues, how many years you played in the minor leagues that first managing gig youre nervous. The game speeds up on you really quick. It took me a week or two just to settle down and get into a routine. But just that I could do it.

Antonio Brown posts questionable locker room video after Steelers win

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Antonio Brown posts questionable locker room video after Steelers win

Showing a knee-buckling lack of self-awareness, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown put up 13:35 of footage on Facebook Live after his team’s 18-16 win over Kansas City on Sunday night.

It was a weird betrayal of the team’s privacy by one of its star players. Brown, allowed viewers to see live (and on tape until it’s inevitably taken down) that, while head coach Mike Tomlin was around a bank of lockers addressing what Tomlin presumed was his entire team, Brown was mugging in front of his phone for a growing online audience.

The video starts with Brown and teammates having fun in front of their lockers. As the team is called together for a postgame prayer, Brown keeps the camera rolling. After the prayer, Tomlin made a statement.

“When you get to this point in the journey, not a lot needs to be said,” said Tomlin. “Let’s say very little moving forward. Let’s start our preparations. We spotted those a******* a day and a half. They played yesterday. Our game got moved to tonight. We gonna touch down at 4 o’clock in the f****** morning. So be it. We’ll be ready for that ass. But you ain’t gotta tell them we coming. Because some of us might not like the damn (woofkisses?) The chest pounding.  Keep a low profile.”

While Tomlin was issuing that low-profile request, Brown rolled on. Another Steeler then spoke up saying, “Keep cool on social media, this is about us, nobody else.”

Finally, what sounded like quarterback Ben Roethlisberger addressed the team saying of Foxboro, “That’s a lion’s den we’re going into this week. It’s a lion’s den. I’ve been there, a lot of us have been there. Keep your mouth shut.”

While people might fan themselves over Tomlin calling the Patriots a*******, that’s benign and likely will be matched in private by Patriots coaches this week.

What’s staggering is that a player of Brown’s ability and seeming intelligence would be so self-absorbed as to be agog at putting on a video show for Facebook followers at the expense of his coaches, teammates and franchise.  

Steelers survive, advance to visit Patriots despite red-zone woes

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Steelers survive, advance to visit Patriots despite red-zone woes

For the third time in the Belichick-Brady Era, the Patriots will be trying to step over the Steelers to get to a Super Bowl.

Pittsburgh went into Kansas City on Sunday night and outlasted a breathtakingly sluggish Chiefs team 18-16.

If you spent the day stewing about the Patriots adequate-against-Osweiler-but-probably-nobody-else offensive performance Saturday night, maybe Sunday night calmed your nerves.

Despite having a more than 2-to-1 edge in total yards entering the fourth, Pittsburgh had managed just six field goals from kicker Chris Boswell. Their best chance at getting six on the board was squelched when Ben Roethlisberger got picked at the goal line in the first half.

That Kansas City was even in the game with a chance to tie it in the final three minutes has to be humbling for the Steelers. They dominated every statistical category of consequence while the Chiefs played aimlessly behind Alex Smith, who may be a cut above Brock Osweiler but is definitely a cut below every other quarterback in the Divisional Playoff round.  

On this night, Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t much better.

Still, Pittsburgh’s got the best 1-2 punch in the NFL at running back and receiver – LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown were both at 101 yards after halftime – and New England’s entire defensive game plan will revolve around corralling those two and getting them horizontal.

The Patriots beat a Roethlisberger-less team in October, 27-16. Landry Jones was at quarterback that day.

The Steelers were in the Patriots’ red zone four times. They came away with 10 points. They were inside the Patriots’ 40 six times and finished with 16.

“In an offense like that with a bunch of very explosive players, one slant can turn into a touchdown so you have to be really careful in your coverages,” defensive end Rob Ninkovich told me after that game. "There’s not just one go-to guy. They got a running back that can catch it out of the backfield and make plays (Le’Veon Bell). [Antonio Brown] can catch it anywhere on the field and make plays. You just have to make sure with a guy like [Landry Jones] to have him make the throws. It’s hard in this league to be perfect. So to have him sit back there and try to make all the throws was what we chose and the secondary did a great job.”

Bell and Brown combined for 268 yards from scrimmage against the Patriots.

The Steelers scored one touchdown.

The ever-dawdling Bell, who practically walks to the line of scrimmage then skips around like a little kid with a full bladder before finding a crease to exploit, is where it will start for the Patriots.

If the Patriots are going to go to their seventh Super Bowl since Belichick’s hire, Alan Branch, Malcom Brown, Donta Hightower and Elandon Roberts – their two best interior linemen and their two inside linebackers – will be the ones who start the bus. The overwhelming majority of Bell’s runs are between the guards so building a wall and out-patienting him as he probes for a crease is Job One.

The Chiefs weren’t stout enough at the line of scrimmage and Bell brutalized them. It will, of course, fall to more than just those four. Trey Flowers, Rob Ninkovich, Chris Long, Vincent Valentine and Shea McLellin will also be in focus. Run-support from safeties Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty will be a part of it as well, but that’s where the Steelers become tough to deal with.

Once Bell’s established himself, the Steelers can start to work play-action and get Brown into space. Creep too far and the numbers on the back end could wind up being insufficient to deal with one of the NFL’s fastest players.

That’s why you can expect the Patriots to not overexert themselves with pressures and blitzes against Ben Roethlisberger. They’ll want as many back in coverage as possible to deal with Brown and some of the other Steelers speed merchants.

The Patriots have dealt with Pittsburgh’s defense enough to know where to attack. LeGarrette Blount ran for 127 yards on 24 carries in the first meeting and

Tom Brady went 19 for 26 for 222 with two touchdowns.

The Patriots had Gronk that day and the Steelers didn’t have Roethlisberger. That tips the scales some when measuring the differences. But after watching Pittsburgh kick six field goals and keep afloat an underperforming Chiefs team, the issue that dogged them in October – red zone offense – looks like its still around.

And they are going to visit a team that does that led the NFL in preventing points.