Living with the lockouts

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Living with the lockouts

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

Thursday afternoon in (where else?) Nantasket Beach, the NFLs head honchos huddled up to resolve a lockout that most of us have ignored since April.

Thursday night in (where else?) Newark, the NBA took the stage for one last show, before sleeking off into their own self-imposed slice of hell.

Its pro sports in 2011 . . . can you feel it?!

Yeah, it feels like burning.

Of course, the situations arent identical. In the NFL, the moneys there the two sides just cant agree on how to ration it. Meanwhile, the NBAs a total mess. Owners are actually losing money and have no problem opening their books if youd like some proof. The NBA has fundamental issues that can only be resolved by serious compromise, legitimate overhaul and Ron Artest changing his name to Metta World Peace. Sadly, only one of those is an immediate possibility.

Obviously, things can change. Bridges can be mended. Seasons can be saved. Hey, take a look at NFL! Theyre not completely out of the woods, but (unless the lawyers creep in and ruin it all) it sure feels like theyre getting close. There was a time when we wondered if it would ever come. Now, the ends in sight.

But much like Nantasket isnt Newark, the NFL isnt the NBA. Basketballs in trouble, and we have to consider the strong possibility that next season wont start on time. That Thursday night marked the last moment of real Celtics excitement until . . . who the hell knows?

But heres what we do know:

Beginning on July 1, the NBA will cease to exist. We cant talk about next year because we wont know when it starts, how many games theyll play or who will even be on the team. Instead, all we can do is press pause, sit back and watch the league give itself mouth to mouth.

Like the NFL now, the NBA will be the broken window on the landscape of sports. Well know its there, that its being worked on, and that eventually it will be fixed, but in the meantime, what are we going to do? The Celtics have six players under contract, and one of thems Avery Bradley. How can you get excited over a team that doesnt exist?

Well ask those questions, and eventually . . . well lose a little interest.

It happened with the NFL, and it will happen here. At some point you just grow immune to the drama, or you become so affected that you force yourself to tune it out. But either way, that makes it harder to care.

For instance, imagine you slip a patch of ice and break your arm. It kills, and as you're sitting in the emergency room the doctor comes and starts explaining to you, in detail, what happened. You find it interesting, because, hey, you want to know what's wrong. This is something you care about. Only this guy won't stop talking. After about an hour of explaining what's wrong, he goes into extreme detail on how he plans to go about fixing it. On and on. Very thorough. All very pertinent information. But you're in pain. You want out of your misery.

At some point, he needs to just shut up and fix it.

We feel that now about football, and no doubt we will about basketball.

But in both cases, I guarantee well have short memories.

As much as Ive hated the NFL over these past few months, Ill get over it five minutes into the first preseason game. And if theres no preseason, then I wont even need five minutes. Youre ready to play? Welcome back!

The NBA might have a little more trouble in the PR department if the season starts late, but theres no question that the first time LeBron and Wade take the court next season, whether thats in October or February, people will watch. When the playoffs start the NBA will reemerge.

Or maybe it wont be that easy, but it also wont be that hard.

When the time comes, each league will win us back.

It's like the same part of our brain that lets us eventually detach from the drama of the negotiations is the same one that helps us forget that the negotiations ever happened.

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

Sounds like Moncada will join Red Sox on Thursday

Sounds like Moncada will join Red Sox on Thursday

BOSTON - Without saying so directly, John Farrell broadly hinted that the Red Sox appear ready to call up Yoan Moncada as rosters expand from the current 25-man limit Thursday.

Farrell first noted that the Red Sox "need better production'' at third base, where both Travis Shaw and Aaron Hill have struggled mightily at the position.

Moncada, a natural second baseman, was shifted to third base earlier this month at Double A Portland. Moncada has a slash line of .285/.388/.547 with 11 homers and 27 RBI in 44 games.

Asked specifically about the chances of a call-up for Moncada, Farrell said: "We've talked about Yoan. And not just as a pinch-runner. It's an exciting young player, an extremely talented guy. There's all positive reviews and evaluations of him.

"When that major league experience is going to initiate, time will tell that. But in terms of playing the position of third base [in the big leagues], that conversation has been had.''

Previously, the Red Sox had resisted bringing Moncada to the big leagues, worried that he wouldn't be in the lineup often enough to continue his development. The Sox didn't want him to miss out on additional experience in the minors by playing only part-time in the majors.

But now that the minor league seasons are about to end -- Portland finishes Labor Day -- there's nothing in the minors for Moncada to miss.

"This is a different scenario than if it were July or early August,'' said Farrell. "The minor league season ends [soon], so is there benefit to him just being here? The answer to that is yes. Do you weigh playing 'X' number of games per week versus what he could be doing at Portland or Pawtucket? Well, that goes away [with the minor league regular seasons end].

"So, again, by all accounts, there's nothing but positives that could come out of experience here -- if that were to happen.''

 Moncada's promotion would be similar to the one experience by Xander Bogaerts in 2013, who was brought up in the final week of August 2013 and remained with the club all the way through the end of the team's World Series run that fall, taking playing time from struggling third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

 "For those who have been around this team for a number of years,'' said Farrell, "teams that have had success have always had an injection of young players late in the season that have helped carry the team through the postseason. I think Yoan would be in a similar category to when Pedey [Dustin Pedroia], when Jake [Jacoby Ellsbury] came into the picture. And Andrew (Benintendi) is already here, so I wouldn't separate [Moncada] out from that at all.

"In fact, he's a direct comparison [to those cases].’’

Farrell agreed that the arrival of a young, highly-touted player can inject some energy into a team in the throes of a pennant race.

"Absolutely, there is,'' said Farrell. "You've got a newness element. You've got, likely, above-average speed. You've got athleticism. You've got the unknown across the field on how does a given [opposing] team attack a given guy.

"In the cases we've talked about, it has been beneficial to us for the young player to come up. They find a way to contribute in a meaningful role. 

Without saying that [Moncada's promotion] is a definite, there's a lot [of positives]going for it.''

Farrell also acknowledged that the Sox have already held internal discussions about how Moncada would be utilized, given that the switch-hitter has been far more productive from the left side of the plate.

"We've talked about what's strong side, how do you look to best ease him in, so to speak,'' said Farrell. "We thought that with Benintendi, how do we best ease him in. Well, he blew the doors off of that one [with his early success]. So, if it happens, and if begins here soon, you'll all be aware.''

Farrell said the reports of Moncada's transition to third base have been encouraging despite three errors in his first nine games there.

"He's shown good range, an above-average arm,'' said Farrell. "Where there will be ongoing work and continued development, just as there was at second base, is the ball hit straight at him. That's just pure technique and fundamental positioning with hands and feet.

"But as far as range to his glove side, moving to third base, that seemingly has not been that big of a challenge for him.''

Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Wright, Sox try to salvage 3-3 homestand

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Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Wright, Sox try to salvage 3-3 homestand

The Red Sox try to end their short homestand at 3-3 and take two of three from the last-place Tampa Bay Rays in the series finale this afternoon at Fenway Park.

Steven Wright (13-6, 3.18 ERA), who allowed five first-inning runs to the Kansas Royals in his last start - his first since coming off the disabled list - is on the mound for the Red Sox. Left-hander Drew Smyly (6-11, 4.80) starts for the Rays.

The Red Sox begin a nine-game road trip to Oakland, San Diego and Toronto on Friday night. 

The lineups:

RAYS

Logan Forsythe 2B

Kevin Kiermaier 2B

Evan Longoria 3B

Brad Miller DH

Nick Franklin RF

Logan Morrison 1B

Tim Beckham SS

Corey Dickerson LF

Bobby Wilson C

Drew Smyly LHP

 

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

David Ortiz DH

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez 1B

Sandy Leon C

Chris Young LF

Aaron Hill 3B

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

 

Garoppolo on Kaepernick, anthem: 'To each his own, I guess'

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Garoppolo on Kaepernick, anthem: 'To each his own, I guess'

Jimmy Garoppolo joined WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show on Wednesday as the Patriots readied themselves to travel to New Jersey for their preseason finale against the Giants. During the interview, Garoppolo was asked for his thoughts on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who opted not to stand for the national anthem during a recent preseason game in order to express his political beliefs.

"It’s a touchy subject, but to each his own, I guess," Garoppolo said. "It’s not my idea of doing the right thing. But it’s his personal opinion, I guess. You’ve just got to let him stand by that. But I think we have a great thing going on in this country. Everything about America, it’s a great thing. We’re all very blessed to be here. And it’s good to realize that."

NFL teams have been required to be on the field for the anthem since 2009. Garoppolo said that he uses those moments as a time to soak in the chance he's been given to play football at the highest level.

"I can’t tell you what exactly is going through my mind, because it’s right before the game, you’ve got a lot of emotions rolling and everything," he said. "But it’s kind of one of those moments you get to sit back and really appreciate where you are and the opportunity that you have. The NFL is a tough gig to get into and a tough gig to stay in. I feel blessed to be in it. It’s a great opportunity. It’s one of those moments you get to just sit back and realize where you’re at -- then go kick some ass after that."