Belichick influenced by father's career

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Belichick influenced by father's career

INDIANAPOLIS -- Bill Belichick strode to the brightly lit NFL podium in a dark suit Sunday night for his first meeting with the media at Super Bowl XLVI. He smiled. He was congenial, almost charming.

When asked to speak on a personal note, about his father Steve, Belichick didn't treat the query brusquely as he's so infamous for doing. He took his time. He seemed to savor thinking about how his dad's career as assistant coach at the United States Naval Academy influenced his own path in the NFL.

"I grew up with football," he said. "It was my life as a kid, what I first remember, 4, 5, 6 years old and for, obviously, the rest of my life. He had a huge impact on my childhood, my love for the game and my involvement in the game as a coach.

"Even though I played poorly," Belichick smiled, "it was still a good experience to play. But coaching's really always been my love. I think a lot of little things he did in terms of work ethic, teamwork, and being around the Naval Academy influenced me. Of course, that's a very unique atmosphere particularly as it relates to football -- the teamwork that comes with that and the commitment and so forth that those players and those teams had that I saw at a very young age: the Joe Bellinos, the Roger Staubachs, the Pat Donnellys. I know it's really hard to measure what percentage of an impact that was, but I'd say it was significant -- it was huge."

Steve Belichick was with the U.S. Naval Academy from 1956 to 1989. Bill soon set off in the NFL -- in 1975 with the Baltimore Colts -- long before his father retired, but he didn't cut the cord and move on. The relationships Bill Belichick made growing up with those Midshipmen left an indelible mark on his life.

"I still maintain close contact with those players today. I think it's something that's stayed with me throughout my life, even though I wasn't actually ever a part of those teams -- I'd been adopted by some of them. It's a special feeling."

He also gave a nod to his coach at Annapolis High School, Al Laramore. Laramore is a Maryland legend, the only coach in state history to win a championship in three sports (football, basketball, and lacrosse, says Belichick). The man is an Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Famer. Maybe the title isn't one that inspired awe in the Indianapolis media room, but it means the world to the Super Bowl XLVI coach who stood before all those reporters Sunday night.

"He had a lot of the same attitudes as my father towards playing and teamwork and so forth. I grew up that way and I guess that shaped me to a large degree."

Today Bill Belichick is a man with three NFL championships under his belt. In another week, the comparisons to Laramore, to his father could be even greater.

Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Twins

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Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Twins

Three Things we learned from the Boston Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins:

1) It only seems like David Ortiz can come through every time.

When Ortiz comes to the plate as he did Friday night -- bases loaded, no out, bottom of the ninth, Red Sox trailing by a run -- it seems like a win is a fait accompli.

"I think everybody in the ballpark just assumed this one might have a chance to be ended right there,'' said John Farrell. "He's been so big for us that everybody in the dugout felt the same way -- confident that the stage was set for him to come through with another dramatic moment.''

Instead, Ortiz rolled over a ground ball to second, and with the Twins infield drawn in, it was enough to turn a 4-2-3 double play that took the starch out of the inning for the Sox.

If anything, though, the inning revealed how remarkable Ortiz has been so often. It's not easy to come through even most times, and it's certainly far from automatic.

"The pitcher (closer Brandon Kintzler) made good pitches,'' said Ortiz. "That's the name of the game. I'm always looking forward to something happening. It just doesn't work out all the time.''

2) Eduardo Rodriguez has his slider back.

When Rodriguez endured a rough stretch in late May and June, he seemed to all but abandon his slider, relying almost exclusively on his two-seam fastball and changeup.

But since returning from a stint in Pawtucket, Rodriguez has flashed the slider that made him so effective as a rookie last season.

"Since he's come back,'' said Farrell, "he's added much more depth. He's able to get to the back foot of some righthanders for some swing-and-miss. He was on the plate with three quality pitches for strikes tonight.''

"I feel like I can locate it better, where I want it,'' confirmed Rodriguez. "Outside, inside corner...I'm getting more confident in it. I think I got out of my mind the tipping (pitches) stuff and all that stuff and I'm just working to throw the ball right where I want it.''

It's almost impossible for a starter in the big leagues to survive with just two pitches, as Rodriguez was attempting to do earlier this season. And it seems foolish to even try, given that Rodriguez's slider can be a plus-pitch for him at times.

3) If Mookie Betts has to miss some time, the Red Sox have options in right field.

Farrell said Betts has been dealing with soreness and stiffness in his right knee since after the All-Star break and has been undergoing treatment.

There's no evidence that this is serious, and he's considered day-to-day. But even if Betts needs some time off, or in a worse-case scenario, has to go on the DL, the Sox can do some things with their outfield.

Michael Martinez's best outfield position is right, as he demonstrated Friday night after taking over for Betts in the top of the fifth. Martinez ran a long way to grab a ball in foul territory for the final out in the sixth, then turned in a fine, tumbling catch in the eighth to take extra bases away from Adam Grossman.

Bryce Brentz, who's been in a platoon of sorts in left with Brock Holt, has played a lot of right field in the minors and has the arm strength to play there.

Finally, there's the matter of Andrew Benintendi. The Sox raised some eyebrows with the news that they were having Benintendi move over to left field at Double A Portland, perhaps in anticipation of playing the position for Boston at some point later this year.

Benintendi is a natural center fielder and even though he doesn't much experience in right, if you're athletic enough to play center, you can usually move to either corner spot.

Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Twins

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Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Twins

Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Boston Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins:

QUOTES:

"I think everybody in the ballpark just assumed this one had a chance to be ended right there.'' - John Farrell on David Ortiz's at-bat with no out and the bases loaded in the ninth inning.

"I feel like I can locate it better - outside, inside corner -- so it's given me more confidence.'' - Eduardo Rodriguez on the improvement with his slider.

"I always look forward to something (good) happening; it just doesn't work out all the time.'' - David Ortiz on his ninth-inning at-bat.

NOTES:

* The Red Sox saw a seven-game winning streak at Fenway -- their longest of the season -- snapped.

* Boston has homered in 13 consecutive games.

* The Red Sox bullpen has posted a 1.17 ERA since July 6.

* Mookie Betts became the first Red Sox hitter to hit 20 homers in a season before he turns 24 since Nomar Garciaparra.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base in 30 straight games.

* The eight strikeouts posted by Eduardo Rodriguez were a season high and one shy of his career high.

* The loss was only the 15th this season in games in which the Red Sox score first.

* Rodriguez has not allowed an opposing baserunner to steal a base since July 5, 2015.

STARS:

1) Kyle Gibson

Don't let the 5.12 ERA he had coming in fool you. Gibson worked out a little jam in the first, then completely shut the Red Sox down the rest of the way, allowing just one hit and one walk after the first.

2) Brian Dozier

Dozier homered in the second to tie the game, singled in the fourth, walked in the sixth and singled again in the eighth -- reaching base in all four plate appearances.

3) Miguel Sano

Sano invited trouble when he dropped a routine pop-up to allow the Red Sox to put the potential tying run on base in the eighth. But he had three base hits on the night, including a run-scoring double that put the Twins ahead to stay in the sixth.

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam