Boston's athlete wish list: Who would you want?

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Boston's athlete wish list: Who would you want?

Here in Boston, weve been fortunate, especially of late, to root for some ridiculously great sports teams. And with those teams, has come an array of exceptional athletes.

In the last 25 years alone, weve cheered on Cy Youngs and batting champs; Hall of Fame defensemen and a legendary (if not wacko) goalie. Weve watched history-making tight ends, perennial Gold Glovers, and the most prolific three-point shooter the world has ever seen. Weve been captivated by one of the greatest power forwards of all time, perhaps the greatest quarterback whos ever lived and an outfielder who once karate-kicked a catcher.

To quote the great Paul Revere: Its been real, bro.

But even amidst all this glory and good fortune, were still missing out. Even in the face of all this success, there are still certain experiences and corners of sports fandom of which weve never enjoyed.

This hit me yesterday while I was writing about Chandler Jones emergence as New Englands most exciting and potentially dominant outside pass rusher in at least five lifetimes. And it got me thinking: What other specific types of athlete whether its a matter of need (as in Chandlers case) or pure aesthetics are on Bostons wish list?

For instance, if wed asked this question five years ago, responses would have included:

You know, its been a long time since weve been blessed with a transcendent point guard.

Will we ever know the excitement of watching a prolific base stealer?

Whats it like to root for a superstar wide receiver?

Thankfully, Rajon Rondo, Jacoby Ellsbury and Randy Moss have since answered the call.

So, whats left?

Here are a few suggestions. Feel free to add your own in the comment section. Also, feel free to not. Either way, no hard feelings.

Game-breaking punt returner: Irving Fryar led the NFL in punt return average in 1985, and Troy Brown did the same in 2001, but neither especially Brown instilled the fear of God in the other team. Just once, wouldn't it be nice to see a punt float through the air and just know that the opposition is collectively soiling their spandex? Or for a team set up for a punt in the waning minutes of a close game, and to hear the announcer say: "They'd be crazy to kick to X here."

Professional dunker: We had Ricky Davis for two seasons, and Gerald Green for basically one. But five years is far too long to go without an athlete who's destined for SportsCenter every time he gets out on the break. Note to Danny Ainge: KEDRICK BROWN IS VERY AVAILABLE.

Wait, he's also 31 years old. Damn.

Centerfield surprise: In 2011, Jacoby Ellsbury became the Red Sox first Gold Glove-winning outfielder since Ellis Burks. But quick, off the top of your head, how many memorable Ellsbury catches come to mind? Nothing really sticks out for me. Ellsbury just isn't that kind of guy. And by that kind of guy I mean a home run-stealing, full-extension-loving, acrobatic freak. I'm talking about guys like Torii Hunter, Jim Edmonds, Ken Griffey Jr. or even Aaron Rowand.

In Ellsburys defense, Sox center fielders are inhibited by a center field wall that (short of spidey senses) is impossible to scale. But the Sox still play half their games on the road, and there are plenty of balls for the nabbing. It's hard to complain about what Ellsbury has done for this team (when healthy), but if he and the Sox part ways, I wouldn't mind them finding a web-gem machine to fill the void.

And yeah, I see you, Jackie Bradley.

50-goal scorer: Cam Neely registered three 50-goal seasons in his career, the last of which came in 1993-1994. Thats also the last time the Bruins have had one (although Glen Murray came close in 2002). In fact, only five players in Bruins history (Neely, Ken Hodge, Rick Middleton, John Bucyk and Philip Anthony Esposito) have eclipsed the mark, and its high time they have another. Hmm, if only there were a young, potential superstar the Bs could draft and sign to a six-year35M extension . . .

All rebounds, all the time: Of all the specialists in professional sports, Ive always had a soft spot for the pure rebounders. The guys like Dennis Rodman, Reggie Evans and Popeye Jones who exist entirely on their willingness to outmuscle, out-hustle and fight like hell for rebounds. The last guy the Celtics had like that was Danny Fortson who averaged a cool 15.4 rebounds per 36 minutes in over his one season here.

Rocket-armed catcher: In the annals of baseball history, there have been more than 500 instances of a catcher throwing out at least 50 percent of potential base stealers. And not since Sammy White in 1958 has one of these catcher played for the Red Sox. (Although, Rich Gedman came close in 1986, throwing out 54 of 109 runners for a .495 clip.) Otherwise, its been pretty ugly. Willie McGee ugly.

OK, so there's six to get you started. What else you got?

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

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz goes 0-for-5 in loss to Yankees

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Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz goes 0-for-5 in loss to Yankees

NEW YORK -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Yankees:

 

QUOTES:

"I went 0-for-5 today, so I ain't got (anything) to talk about.'' - David Ortiz after turning around and seeing a small army of reporters waiting for him in front of his locker.

"To have a chance to clinch the division for us here (and come up sort), it's not acceptable. If my offense scores me four runs, I feel like I should be able to go out there and win.'' - David Price.

"The bottom line story to this one was (Price) mislocating within the strike zone.'' - John Farrell.

 

NOTES:

* Boston's season-best 11-game win streak was snapped with the loss.

* David Price took his first loss since Aug. 7.

* Price is 1-3 with a 7.89 ERA against the Yankees this season.

* Aaron Hill contributed his first pinch-hit homer in his career.

* Mookie Betts saw his streak of reaching base in 38 straight road games stopped.

* Dustin Pedroia posted his third straight multi-hit game.

* For the 20th time this season, Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a three-hit game.

* In his last 12 games, Andrew Benintendi has eight extra-base hits.

* Hill's pinch-hit homer was the third by the Red Sox this month.

 

STARS:

1) Tyler Austin

The rookie first baseman snapped a 4-4 tie in the seventh with a two-run homer and also added two more hits in three at-bats.

2) Gary Sanchez

The first-year catcher continues to amaze, hitting his 20th homer in only his 51st game, sending the Yanks out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning.

3) Luis Cessa

Cessa took a big step forward from his last start against the Red Sox by keeping them scoreless through the first five innings before allowing two runs in the sixth.

 

First impressions: Yankees power their way past Price, Red Sox

First impressions: Yankees power their way past Price, Red Sox

NEW YORK -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Yankees.

 

* As the postseason gets closer, David Price needs to do a better job of keeping the ball in the ballpark.

Price gave up three homers Tuesday night -- a two-run shoot to rookie sensation Gary Sanchez in the first; a solo shot to Didi Gregorius in the sixth; and another two-run belt in the seventh to Tyler Austin.

That's six homers in the last three outings and 29 for the season. It's also the sixth time this season that he's given up multiple homers in the same start, with the three on Tuesday representing a season-high.

Prior to this year, Price had never allowed more than 25 homers in a season. Last season, splitting time between the cavernous Comerica Park in Detroit and the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre, he yielded just 17.

Worse, twice Tuesday the homers came at inauspicious times. In the sixth, the Sox had just closed to within one at 3-2; in the seventh, the Sox had worked t tie the game at 4-4.

 

* For all of the offensive brilliance shown by Mookie Betts, it's easy to forget how good he's been in right field.

Anyone who plays in the same outfield with Jackie Bradley Jr. runs the risk of having his defensive play overshadowed and that's likely the case with Betts.

He's played a Gold Glove-caliber right field, showing good range and instincts -- especially for someone who never played the outfield professionally until about 2 1/2 years ago.

And while Bradley has the stronger arm, Betts has 14 assists, including one Tuesday night.

That took place on a ball in which Betts was initially fooled. With one on, Chase Headley lined a ball to right that Betts seemed to lose in the lights. He went to his knees, fighting the lights, and managed to reach back to make the catch, sprawling. He then had the presence of mind to set himself and fire a throw to first, doubling up Starlin Castro for a mind-blowing double play.

 

* Expanded rosters make a mockery of the game.

In the eighth inning, Joe Girardi and John Farrell combined to burn through six players for one plate appearance.

Righty Blake Parker was set to face Aaron Hill, but Farrell had lefty Travis Shaw announced. Girardi then countered by bringing in lefty Richard Bleier to face Shaw.

Of course, Farrell countered by having righty Chris Young hit for Shaw. Young reached on a fielder's choice, and because Young can't play third, Farrell had insert Deven Marrero at third in the bottom of the inning.

Four position players and two pitchers in one spot. That couldn't be done in any other month during the season.

So why is it allowed in September?