Danger before the deadline

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Danger before the deadline

Starting tomorrow night against Rays, the Red Sox have 17 games before the trade deadline. All things considered, it's a stretch that will likely determine the course their season.

The way I see it: Once Jacoby Ellsbury rejoins the line-up on Friday and Carl Crawford returns on Monday, the Sox will be short on excuses. All of a sudden, aside from Dustin Pedroia, the Woe Is Me card (also available in "brick" form; go to redsox.com for details) won't work and there will be no good reason for Boston to be stuck in mediocrity.

If these 17 games pass without improvement, and the Sox are still as dysfunctional as ever, don't they have to consider dropping a bomb at the deadline?

Eh, you hope so. But you never know with these guys. What you do know is that they'll be looking for any reason to keep this core together. That any sign of life will be considered grounds to stand pat and make another misguided run at the playoffs.

So, like I said, the next 17 games are huge. The outcome will likely determine which road the Sox choose: Roll the dice or bring down the hammer?

For those in favor of the latter, I've got some good news: The Sox have a brutal schedule between now and the deadline.

They start with three in Tampa, which is never easy. Especially when you're facing Hellickson, Price and Shields. Then, it's four games against Kevin Youkilis and the first place White Sox. (On the bright side, it looks like they'll avoid Chris Sale.) After Chicago, the Sox have a quick three-game breather against Toronto, before heading to Texas for three games, then the Bronx for three games and then coming home for three against the Tigers.

That's a ridiculous stretch. And call me crazy but I like it. After all, if you're going to let the outcome of 17 games determine the course of your season, it might as be 17 games against the American League's best. How else would you want to measure the worth of this Red Sox team?

Ooh, I know one way.

Put the team up for sale!

Come on, Mr. Henry . . . what do you say?

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

Brady Facebook post offers chance to hang with TB12, Damon and Affleck

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Brady Facebook post offers chance to hang with TB12, Damon and Affleck

Pizza and beer with Tom, Ben, Matt and you?

In Tom Brady’s latest Facebook post, three of Boston’s biggest celebrities are teaming up in a contest that gives a lucky fan a chance to hang out, drink and chow down with the Patriots quarterback and his buddies, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

Here’s the video, in which, among other things, the movie stars argue who Brady likes more.

For the record, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (listed in no particular order) do NOT pay me to be their friend.... 😶 All jokes aside, we'd really love for you to hang with us in Boston (flights and hotel are on us)! Donate to a great cause and get a chance to share some beer and pizza with us: http://bit.ly/You-Us-Boston-Hangout

Posted by Tom Brady on Thursday, September 29, 2016

Fans have to make a donation that benefits Brady’s TB12 Foundation, the Eastern Congo Initiative and Water.org. The more money you donate the better your chances are of winning.

 

 

 

McAdam: Amid the champagne flowing, a focus on Farrell’s fight

McAdam: Amid the champagne flowing, a focus on Farrell’s fight

NEW YORK - Scenes from a celebrating clubhouse, late Wednesday night:

*As champagne flowed and was sprayed to every virtually corner of the visitor's clubhouse, plots were being hatched.

Some mischevious players gathered to plot out their plan of attack and select a new victim.

Once all teammates had been targeted, the focus shifted to others -- preferably the nicer dressed visitors.

Principal owner John Henry, dressed in a suit, was spared - both out of decorum, and, one senses, self-preservation. In past years, someone like Kevin Millar might have entertained such a notion, but this group lacks that same sort of bold figure.

Then, finally, the group spied manager John Farrell being interviewed across the way. The group -- mostly pitchers -- assembled and then circled the manager before finally dumping bottle after bottle of champagne on Farrell's head.

But this display went beyond prank. There was a genuine affection for the manager as the surrounding players whooped and hollared and the the bubbly flowed.

"He's a fighter,'' remarked Mookie Betts. "He instilled that in us. You fight to win.''

Torey Lovullo, who managed the team in Farrell's absence last year and has been a close friend for years, was overcome with emotion.

"I told him I loved him,'' Lovullo said. "For what he's done, to come out on the other side health-wise....he's the leader of this team. It's very satisfying for all of us that have been behind him.''

Players messed his hair, patted him on the back, and Farrell, with a huge smile, stood and -- literally -- soaked it in.

For the past few days, Farrell had gone to great lengths to turn the focus away from his personal story -- one that saw him beat back cancer a year ago -- and turn it back to the players.

Hours before the clinching, Farrell had deflected a few questions about his own story, insisting he wasn't the centerpiece to what had taken place.

But for a few minutes Wednesday night, he was.

 

*While there were prominent veterans celebrating a division title — from 40-something David Ortiz and Koji Uehara to team greybeards such as Dustin Pedroia -- it was hard not to notice the number of young players under 26 who form the Red Sox’ foundation.

Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Rodriguez, Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada are all young and still improving.

With Ortiz headed to retirement, Uehara eligible for free agency and uncertainty surrounding others, it's clear that the young core will form the nucleus of Red Sox teams for years to come.

The organization's hope is that that same group will help ensure against the up-and-down trajectory of recent seasons -- last, first, last, last and now first again.

"I think the way baseball's going these days,'' Henry told the Boston Herald, "if you don't have good young players, you're in trouble.''

"Looking ahead,'' added Pedroia, "we've got a lot of young players who are just going to get better.''