What we know, and can't know

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What we know, and can't know

It's been two games since Ray Allen rejoined the Celtics, and you already know how I feel about his role in the rotation.

In short, I think Allen should come off the bench. And I hope that Doc continues to use him that way. I'm not sure that he will, but I really hope he does.

They need to see what Bradley and Rondo can do.

But that's all I'll say about it for now. The story's already approaching overkill. Instead, I want to touch on something else that Allen said earlier in the week. Not about starting or coming off the bench, but about being away from the team.

It was a quote from Tuesday afternoon, and the question was: How hard is to sit on the sidelines and watch your teammates go to battle?

"It's kind of mentally draining,'' Allen said. "There is conversation going in the locker room that you're not really a part of. I'm sitting in the locker room watching the games and there is a language being spoken that I'm not a part of. I'm watching the game, but I don't know what's happening."

It's that last part that I found especially interesting: "I'm watching the game, but I don't know what's happening."

I think at some point in every sports writers' career, in every sports fan's life, there comes a time when someone accuses you of not knowing what's going on. There are even more times when you, in actuality, really don't know what's going on.

Sometimes it's a matter of relationships in the locker room or clubhouse. For instance, remember back in Spring Training, when everyone freaked out over Bobby Valentine saying that he thought Mark Melancon did a good job backing up the bases? How we all thought that Bobby V. was being mean-spirited and sarcastic, taking a shot at Melancon's performance, and that the manager was on the verge of losing his team?

We went with that story line for a few days.

And then it turned out he was only joking. That his "backing up the bases" bit was actually an inside joke between the manager and Melancon, and wasn't even close to a big deal.

But we didn't know. Because we're not really there. No one is.

Same goes for the actual games. We media members, sports fans watch these games. We watch them closely, with the advantage of DVR and slow motion replay. We study these games and players and give everything we have just to try and figure out what's going on. What's working. What isn't. What they need to do to be more successful. But the truth is, unless you're there in the the huddles, on the plane, in the locker room or in the field of play you never know exactly what's going on.

There are too many intricacies, conversations and relationships unfolding behind the scenes. There's an entirely different language being spoken. And we can't even hear it.

So here's the question: If Ray Allen's already losing touch after two weeks away, what chance do we have?

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

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Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK - Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received significantly more votes this time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick knows that how you play, not where, is what matters most. 

That's why when he was asked on Wednesday about the advantage the Patriots will have by playing at Gillette Stadium in the AFC title game, he wasn't willing to go all-in on how a comfortable environment will positively impact his team.

"I don’t know," he said. "Go ask Dallas and Kansas City."

The Patriots apparently thought enough of home-field advantage that they played their starters throughout their regular-season finale win in Miami, exposing their best players to potential injury in order to maintain their positive momentum while simultaneously ensuring a better road to the Super Bowl. 

The Patriots fans in attendance on Sunday will help when the Patriots take on the Steelers, Belichick acknowledged. But there's much more to it than that. 

"Yeah, of course," he said, "but the game is won by the players on the field. That’s who wins football games – the players. And they’ll decide it Sunday night."

And if you needed any further proof, just ask the Cowboys and Chiefs how helpful their home crowds were in the Divisional Round.