A day in Boston: From the Garden to Fenway and back


A day in Boston: From the Garden to Fenway and back

It's a big sporting day in Boston: Bruins-Caps playoff game at TD Garden and Red Sox-Yankees at Fenway. Jessica Camerato may be the only person in town who's attending both. Here's her report:

12:00pm: Arrived at stop 1 for the day: Fenway Park for Red Sox - Yankees.

Before we start, alittle background info: I cover the Boston Celtics as my main beat but I actually got my start in Boston sports in 2005 as a PA for the Red Sox Spanish Radio Broadcast. Over the years I have continued covering the team while spending most of my time with the C's. Later on today I will be going to the Bruins - Capitals playoff game at TD Garden. One of the silver linings of the NBA lockout was that I got the opportunity to cover NHL hockey for the first time before the hoops season started back up. That's the great thing about working in Boston -- seems like there is always an exciting team to cover.

But back to Fenway -- picked up my media credential and now I'm settling into the press box. There are four rows of elevated seats overlooking home plate with glass windows. This is where the reporters and media relations staff watch the game from. There is an additional work space in the back with TV screens, which is usually occupied during big games when there is a media overflow.

The field is empty for now and players will be coming out shortly to get ready for the game. The clubhouse opens at 12:30 (three-and-a-half hours before a game, unlike the NBA which is an-hour-and-a-half), so it's time to head downstairs. Talk to you in a bit ...

Putting Stephen Gostkowski's struggles in context


Putting Stephen Gostkowski's struggles in context

Stephen Gostkowski doesn’t miss field goals often and he never misses extra points. His performance this season might not be the end of the world, but there’s no denying his departure from the norm: He’s missing field goals more often and, as was the case in the AFC Championship last season, he hasn’t been automatic on PATs. 

The stats are well-known by now: He’s 9-for-12 on field goals and 16-of-17 on extra points. His three missed field goals are tied for the most he’s had in a season dating back to 2013, and the current season is only six games young. 

For those who have followed the Patriots in recent years, it’s only natural to feel the sky is falling with Gostkowski. After all, the former All-Pro has been nearly peerless in recent seasons, leading the league in field goals made in 2013 and 2014 and tying for second last season. He was arguably the best in the league, and now, six games into the 2016 season, he’s been mediocre. 

The question is whether the Patriots can live with mediocre, and the answer is “definitely.” 

Of the 10 playoff teams last season, four had kickers who missed at least five field goals, including the two Super Bowl participants. Denver’s Brandon McManus had five missed field goals last season; Carolina’s Graham Gano had six. 

The list of good teams with OK kicking performances goes on, and it undoubtedly includes past Patriots teams. Remember, Adam Vinatieri missed nine field goals during the Patriots Super Bowl-winning 2003 season. 

Then there are Gostkowski’s past seasons. He’s obviously had a tremendous career, but he’s had less glamorous seasons sprinkled in with the All-Pro performances. Everyone has lived to tell about it. 

Take 2012. Gostkowski missed six field goals, tying a career-worst set in his rookie year of 2006. He still finished tied for eighth in field goals made, one behind Justin Tucker and ahead of, among others, Vinatieri. The Patriots went 12-4 and reached the AFC Championship, a game the Pats might have won against Baltimore if they didn’t rely on Gostkowski for more than half (seven) of their points (13). 

Gostkowski is currently tied for 15th with nine field goals made. He’s yet to have a particularly costly miss like he did with the PAT against the Broncos last postseason, although his lone field goal attempt in the Pats’ Week 4 loss to the Bills -- a 48-yard miss -- would have made it a 10-point game early in the second half. 

At his current rate, he’ll miss a career-high eight field goals. That is not good, and while it wouldn’t quite put him in end-of-the-line-David-Akers territory (Akers missed 13 field goals in 2012, his second to last season), it would put him in uncharted territory for a great career. 

If there's any silver lining with Gostkowski's numbers down, it's that he doesn't seem to have lost his leg. His 53-yarder in the season-opener was four yards shy of his longest kick from last season. 

Having a capable kicker is important. Having an elite one is a luxury the Patriots have had for the majority of the last 20 seasons. A miss in a key spot can doom a season, but Gostkowski still has time to correct what’s been a down year.