Manning's 'The One' who fails best

967081.jpg

Manning's 'The One' who fails best

CSNNE's segment, "The One", asked: What Athlete do you enjoy watching fail the most?

Asking me this question isnt grooving a 3-0 Beckett meatball, its basically putting the ball on a tee for me to hit. If the good people at Comcast Sports Net New England are going to toss me literary BP, the least I can do is take a Rob Deer sized cut right?

In case you havent noticed by now, I tend to extract great joy from the athletic failures of those I find objectionable.  So as someone who basically possesses an honorary Ph.D. in Sports Schadenfreude, its my distinct pleasure to offer my thesis on what professional athletes failings I treasure the most.

There are lots of ways to go here.  Almost anyone in a Montreal Canadiens sweater, Laker yellow or Yankee pinstripes would be perfectly acceptable responses.  LeBron James is almost too easy an answer.  Im not quite sure if the New York Jets are a sports franchise or a National Lampoons script treatment so theyll have to be disqualified.  And being the consummate patriot, as much as I enjoy his failings in Majors, I can only harvest frustration from Tiger Woods impotent international efforts.

If I am going to be your Sommelier of Suck I must fetch you the finest vintage of failure the world of sports can provide.  

And for me, the ecstasy of fail is at its finest when its etched on Peyton Mannings giant bulbous melon.

The Manning face. Its a mask of mishap and a thing of beauty.  Nowhere in the world of sports can one find a face so deliciously dejected as that of Peytons after one of his post season offerings is gently nestled in the bosom of an opposing defensive back.  

There have been players that have failed famously in the clutchpost season before.  There are some, like Tony Romo and Greg Norman, who repeatedly and consistently find ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  But in my opinion, there has never been a player to achieve more in the regular season and less in the postseason than Manning.  The only times in his career that hes escaped gut wrenching post season defeat is when his defense corrected his mistakes at a historic level, and when the vertebrae in his neck  collapsed under the combined weight of 80 lbs of cranium and a career of disappointment.   

One would also be hard pressed to find a more consistent cartel of calamity than Peyton. Out of eleven post season appearances, ten have resulted in the Manning face breaching from a womb of defeat.  Of those ten loses, seven of them have been of the one and done variety.  When it comes to the post season, Peyton Manning has less staying power than Damone did with Stacey in the Pool house.

Sure you might have pity on Peyton given his cheery off field demeanor and everyman image. I however refuse to forgive him for his part in subverting the once great NFL.  Mannings repeated failings at the hands of the Patriots were the impetus for Bill Polians bitching and moaning to the competition committee.   The rule changes Polian instigated set off a chain reaction that has emasculated defensive players and changed the NFL for the worse. The likelihood of seeing a defensively dominant team like the 1985 Bears or 2000 Baltimore Ravens obliterate and pillage their way to a Lombardi trophy is almost non-existent now because Peyton Mannings sphincter needed to be defibrillated every time he put his hands under center in January.

You want to experience Nirvana? You want earthly bliss? Watch Peyton Manning get picked off and taken to the house by the Saints Tracey Porter in Super Bowl XLIV (forty four for you non Romans). Not only was it an old testament choke job, but it was precisely the kind of athletic bedwetting that the Colts were trying to prevent when they let Curtis Painter Kevorkian end their perfect season in week fourteen. The Colts knew Manning would fill his depends in the Super Bowl warm ups with the weight of an undefeated season on his shoulders.  They did everything in their power to keep Peyton from imploding.  But when the Saints pulled ahead late in the 4th quarter, it took less than three minutes for Mannings colon to reach DefCon 1.  

It was everything a Manning hater could ask for and more.  Not only did you get repeated, multiple angle, high definition Manning face as the Saints celebration began, but you got special directors cut bonus failure as Peyton botched multiple attempts to salvage a garbage time score inside the New Orleans ten yard line.  This was nothing less than first ballot, Hall of Fame shrinkage.

This season, Manning is leading Denver to the postseason and once again is an MVP candidate.  The recent loss to the San Francisco 49ers has virtually assured that a fourth New Orleans Super Bowl appearance by the Patriots goes through Denver and Peytons Broncos.  I couldnt think of a better holiday gift than watching the Patriots march victoriously through Mile High as Peyton and is enormous gourd mope dejectedly to the offseason after once again devolving into a playoff invertebrate. 

With Celtics on the rise, so is Isaiah Thomas’ brand

With Celtics on the rise, so is Isaiah Thomas’ brand

READING, Mass. – As Isaiah Thomas stood before a media scrum in the middle of his first basketball camp in New England, it was hard not to notice the Citi corporate backdrop behind his 5-foot-9 frame. And as you walk around gym at Reading Memorial High school, another sign with Body Armor SuperDrink, Hard Rock Café, Wilson and Welch’s Fruit Snacks among other sponsors, adorn a nearby wall.

Thomas’ rags to riches story is impressive when you stick to what he has accomplished on the basketball court.

But when you factor in the growing number of sponsors that have jumped on the Thomas bandwagon since he arrived in Boston, it’s clear his reach extends far beyond being just another player in the NBA.

Thomas will be the first to acknowledge that the perception of Boston and the reality that he has experienced in increasing his brand and overall awareness, are not one and the same.

“Ever since I’ve been here, people here have shown me nothing but love,” Thomas told CSNNE.com recently. “I know I’m blessed to be in the position I’m in, and I’m thankful that Danny [Ainge, the Celtics president of basketball operations] went and got me. Coming here has really been the best thing to happen for me, both as a player and as a person.

Thomas added, “Being a Celtic is something special; something that I don’t take for granted.”

The evolution of Thomas from the last player selected in the 2011 NBA draft, to being a sought-after player for the most storied franchise in NBA history, is the kind of Hollywood script that would become the lining to some hot shot producer’s trash can because it’s just not believable.

And yet it is indeed the story of Isaiah Thomas’ life, one that has made him a player whose magnetic smile, upbeat demeanor and talent have elevated him to a level few would have envisioned.

For Thomas, he sees the increased interest he has generated being about one thing: winning.

Prior to his first game with the Celtics, they were 20-22.

Thomas’ arrival in the middle of the 2014-15 concluded with Boston getting to the playoffs by winning 20 of its final 30 regular-season, which was a win total that was the third-highest in the league in that span of time.

And last season, Thomas’ first full season in Boston, the Celtics (48-34) finished in a four-way tie for the third-best best record in the Eastern Conference.

“Everything has gone up since I became a Celtic, and that goes with winning,” Thomas told CSNNE.com. “When you win and you’re seen a lot more, things start to happen for you. That says a lot about this organization and where I stand.”

Thomas’ standing as both a favorite of fans and corporate America isn’t all that surprising to Celtics officials.

“What makes Boston different than a lot of markets is how fans embrace the players and not just from a talent perspective, but from their personalities and the intangibles that they bring,” Rich Gotham, president of the Celtics, told CSNNE.com. “That’s what endears players to the Boston market and why fans follow them so closely. It affords them opportunities. A guy like Isaiah Thomas is a great example; we knew fans would love the guy. We knew what a competitor he was. We knew with him being a smaller guy, he was going to be the underdog-personality that fans like.”

Added Thomas: “People liked me a little bit when I played for those other teams and back home as well. But ever since I got on the Celtics, it skyrocketed. Everywhere I go people notice me and that says a lot because I blend in with everybody; I’m short just like everybody.”

While Thomas is admittedly short in stature, he continues to grow into a giant pitch man ranging from the shoe contract he signed with Nike last fall, to Citi, Good Humor Ice cream and Slim Jim beef jerky, just to name a few.

“It’s a blessing,” Thomas said of the uptick in endorsement opportunities. “I dreamed of things like this; for people to come for me for things like this … it’s a surreal moment.”

Thomas adds [seemingly on cue], “I’m excited for Citi … and everybody who is trying to partner with me.”

 

 

 

 

Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Benintendi (DL), Ortiz (day off) out

Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Benintendi (DL), Ortiz (day off) out

David Ortiz and Andrew Benintendi are of of the lineup as the Red Sox close out their four-game series, and 11-game road trip, with a matinee (1:10 p.m.) against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

Benintendi was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday. He sustained a sprained knee while running the bases in the seventh inning of an eventual 11-inning loss to the Rays on Wednesday night. He had MRI Thursday morning and the Red Sox medical staff will review the results when the team returns to Boston. 

It’s a day off for Ortiz, who will be replaced at DH by Hanley Ramirez, who had the night off Wednesday. Travis Shaw starts at first base.

With Benintendi out, Chris Young, who came off the DL on Monday, will start in left field. Left-hander Drew Pomeranz (10-9, 2.95 ERA) is on the mound for the Red Sox, who are trying to take three of four from the Rays to finish the trip 8-3. Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (8-5, 3.63) starts for the Rays. 

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez DH

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Chris Young LF

Aaron Hill 3B

Travis Shaw 1B

Bryan Holaday C

Drew Pomeranz LHP

 

RAYS

Logan Forsythe 2B

Kevin Kiermaier CF

Evan Longoria 3B

Brad Miller 1B

Matt Duffy SS

Logan Morrison DH

Scott Souza RF

Mike Mahtook LF

Luke Maile C

Jake Odorizzi RHP

 

 

Red Sox place Benintendi (knee) on 15-day DL

Red Sox place Benintendi (knee) on 15-day DL

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Red Sox said Thursday that they still don't have a definitive diagnosis on Andrew Benintendi's injured left knee -- but they know enough to place the rookie outfielder on the disabled list.

Benintendi underwent an MRI Thursday morning and the results were being sent back to the Red Sox medical staff in Boston -- led by team orthopedist Dr. Peter Asnis - to be reviewed.

Marco Hernadnez was recalled from Pawtucket to take Benintendi's spot on the roster.

"The initial read down here was enough to place him on the disabled list,'' said John Farrell. "To what severity the injury is, I don't have that exactly. That will be determined after the review by Dr. Asnis and people back in Boston.''

Benintendi injured his knee on the basepaths in the seventh inning of Wednesday's 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay. The outfielder attempted to elude a tag and return to second base when he wrenched his knee and rolled his ankle.

Asked if Benintendi's injury could be season-ending, Farrell said: "That's probably too early to tell. We're hope that it's not. We've just got to wait and see what comes out of this. And then depending on the findings, what is the safest thing for Andrew to get him back on the field. Optimistically, it's still this year.''

Farrell said there's little swelling and that Benintendi slept fairly well. He also noted that the ankle -- which he rolled -- isn’t a problem.

"Those are the positives,'' he said.

Boston has used seven players in left field this year -- Benintendi, Chris Young, Brock Holt, Blake Swihart, Rusney Castillo, Ryan LaMarre and Bryce Brentz.

Benintendi, Young, Swihart and Holt have all spent time on the DL, leading the manager to refer to the position as a "kind of a Bermuda triangle unfortunately...it's been little bit of a dark hole.''

Farrell said Young will get the majority of playing time in  left, according to Farrell. Holt will also see some playing time, though he won't necessarily play against all right-handers.

Hernandez, meanwhile, will serve as another utility option in the infield.

"We'll mix and match out there,' said Farrell. "But CY will probably get a good portion of the at-bats [in left].’’

Farrell added that, regardless of who gets the playing time in left, the Sox need others in the lineup to step forward.

"We need guys to revert back to their normal contributions,'' Farrell said. "We've been in a dry spell of late...We've got a few guys who are  in a little bit of rut since the All-Star break.''

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts is an obvious example, having gone just 10-for-41 on the long road trip. Jackie Bradley is another who's slumping, with just six hits in his last 36 at-bats. Finally, Travis Shaw is 3-for-20.