Hale disappointed to be passed over by Red Sox


Hale disappointed to be passed over by Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- DeMarlo Hale is the new third base coach for the Baltimore Orioles, reunited with manager Buck Showalter (for whom he worked in Texas) and general manager Dan Duquette (who hired him in the Red Sox organization), and he's happy for the opportunity.

But Hale can't help but think about what might have been when he wasn't considered for the Red Sox managerial opening over the winter.

Red Sox management evidently thought they needed a clean break with anyone associated with former manager Terry Francona, and as such, Hale wasn't part of the process.

"I tried to be objective,'' said Hale before his new team took on his former team Tuesday afternoon. "With the changes that were happening and how they felt, I just wanted them to realize that although I was on Tito's staff for six years, if they felt I was similar in voice, I'm not.

"We have different personalities. We have respect for this game. With the things he accomplished here, you can't say it wasn't productive. But I do think I'm my own man, too. I just got sense they linked me to Tito as having the same voice. That was a little disappointing.''

It was bad enough that the Red Sox went 7-20 in September, coughing up a 9 12 game wild card lead. But when stories surfaced about misbehavior in the clubhouse, Hale understood that the Sox would be looking to change the culture and that would eliminate him from consideration.

"I sensed that,'' said Hale. "And I also thought if I was going to interview, I didn't want to go in there with a strike against me. I wanted to think it was fair and this is who I am. But after it took its course, I started to realize that that was a decision they had made.''

With no guarantee that he would be invited back on a new manager's staff, Hale had permission to seek other jobs.

"You start to look at things and that (window) becomes very small,'' said Hale. "I just didn't want to find myself in a position where I didn't have anything.''

When Bobby Valentine was hired, he spoke with Hale and offered him a position on his staff. At the time, however, it was unclear what that position would be as the Red Sox sorted through openings and candidates.

"At the time I spoke to them,'' recalled Hale, "they really couldn't define my position. They were trying to put a few things together. It was important for me to know where I was going. It was December. I reached out to some people I knew in the game and the Orioles' situation started to get some legs.

"I keep going back to how uncomfortable (Hale returning) would have been for Bobby Valentine as a manager. I started to see that maybe that might not be the most comfortable situation. And that's understandable and respectful. I sat back and had some time to think about what would be best for me, and I thought (the Orioles) would be best for me.''

Meanwhile, the Orioles have had 14 straight losing seasons and have their work cut out for them in the ultra-competitive American League East.

"The mindset is, on paper, (we can't compete),'' said Hale. ''But you have to do it between the lines. You can identify talent and this and that, but you have to play between the lines. I see where we're projected, but I don't a lot of weight on that. I see how these guys go about things and it's very refreshing. (The other stuff) isn't important. It's about competing.''

Randy Moss: Roger Goodell is 'biggest reason' for NFL's problems

Randy Moss: Roger Goodell is 'biggest reason' for NFL's problems

With the NFL facing more PR issues by the day, Randy Moss has identified what he feels is wrong with a league that can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

In wake of the Josh Brown situation, which saw the NFL blame the King County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Office for the lack of initial punishment given to the Giants kicker for domestic violence, Moss said on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown that commissioner Roger Goodell is the league’s biggest problem. 

“[This is] a bad time to show up now, breast cancer awareness month where we’re supporting the women, and then you come up with this Josh Brown, where it doesn’t seem like we are supporting women,” Moss said. “I think the NFL needs to take a deep look. I think the owners are mad, and Roger Goodell, he is the biggest reason to all of this stuff that’s fallen downhill with the NFL. I have to agree with that.”

Brown was initially given a one-game suspension for violating the league’s conduct policy stemming from his 2015 fourth-degree domestic violence charge. On Friday, the 37-year-old was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. 

Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett


Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett

PITTSBURGH – So far this season, Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski have combined for 39 catches, 644 yards and five touchdowns. Making the numbers that much more impressive is the fact the numbers were rolled up with Gronk inactive for two games and fairly useless in another thanks to his hamstring injury.

Will the Steelers slow the roll of Robellus Grennetski?

Hard to imagine. As Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, Gronk alone has tuned up the Steelers with 26 receptions for 403 yards and seven touchdowns in six meetings.

Fittipaldo explored the strategies the Steelers defense may unveil Sunday afternoon when the Patriots and Steelers get going. He also pointed out that the return of linebacker Ryan Shazier after a three week layoff and injuries for safeties Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden may put Pittsburgh at a disadvantage.

Said Shazier: “They have the tandem they want at tight end. Now they can use tight ends the way they want. You have to respect everyone on the field. Both of them are good blockers, good pass threats and great at running after the catch.”

Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Pittsburgh will alter its approaches.

“We have to be able to play more than one defense,” Butler said. “They’re very good and they’ll pick you apart if they can figure out what you’re doing. We just have to execute the defense more than anything else. If we can do that … that’s been our problem for the most part. Some of the things that went on last week, we missed some things we should have made mentally.”

What “went on last week” was a 30-15 loss to the Dolphins.

Pittsburgh hasn’t been a big-play group so far -- eight sacks and three picks -- nor have they seen a gauntlet of great quarterbacks in the first six games. 

Interestingly, their losses have been to Ryan Tannehill and rookie Carson Wentz, probably the two quarterbacks one would figure Pittsburgh would do best against.
Between a smoking hot Brady and a can’t-be-stopped tight end tandem, there’s probably not a lot Pittsburgh can do aside from hoping for an off day.

Said linebacker Arthur Moats hopefully: “You have to continue to mix it up against (Gronkowski). You can’t give him the same look over and over. He has success on guys like that. If we disrupt him, and rush Brady and speed up his clock, I definitely think that will help out.”

In theory, perhaps. In practice? We’ll see.