Brady hopes to close first half on a high note

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Brady hopes to close first half on a high note

FOXBORO - The Patriots' all-expense paid trip to London begins Thursday night when their overseas flight departs. Can they forge a little midseason ubuntu over there and come back repurposed for the second half of the season? 
"Yeah, I think you're together for extended periods of time, which is always fun," Tom Brady agreed when asked if the trip east to play the Rams gives a chance to foster chemistry. "People are away from all their other commitments, certainly. At a home game, there are a lot of commitments that different players have, so when you go away, sometimes its really nice for the players to get some rest, to get some extra preparation, that extra time with your coaches. On this particular trip, we have more time than that."
Brady expressed surprise when told Wednesday that he was on the docket for an NFL Experience event on Saturday in London. Even though Brady said he'd probably be skipping that, chances are that, in the NFL's ever-present mission to create new revenue streams, Brady will be gently redirected to say hello to the Brits in Trafalgar Square that day. 
Nobody's showing up to see Sterling Moore. 
Still, Brady reminded, this game counts as much in the win-loss column as all the rest and the primary focus is on flying home 5-3. 
"Were focused in on the Rams," he said. "I think thats (the NFL's job to put on a show) and we have a job to do. I know they put a lot of effort into it and I know Mr. Robert Kraft is excited about us really having a chance to represent the NFL again and go over there and give the fans something to cheer about. It was a lot of fun the last time."
The last time was in 2009 when the Patriots pasted the Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium. 
The Patriots want to close their enigmatic first half of the season on a high note, said Brady. Nobody wants to sit around during the bye week staring at a 4-4 record. 
"The bye week is something that everyone looks forward to just because you get a chance to kind of take a deep breath," said Brady. "Its like the second half of the game. You go in at halftime and you have a chance to reevaluate some things. But that will come and it would feel really good for that two-week stretch to feel good about what weve done four of the last five weeks. But (the Rams are) going to make us earn it. This is a good team that provides a lot of tough challenges and weve already lost to two of these NFC teams (Seattle and Arizona), which (the Cardinals have) beaten. We know its a good football team and we have to go out there and play well."

Roasted: Ortiz apparently thought Pedroia's real first name was Pee Wee

Roasted: Ortiz apparently thought Pedroia's real first name was Pee Wee

BOSTON — It took until 2015, apparently, but David Ortiz now knows Dustin Pedroia’s full name.

The couple days leading up to the jersey retirement ceremony tonight for Ortiz have been packed. Around lunch time Thursday, Ortiz had a street near Fenway Park named after him — a bridge wasn’t enough — the street formerly known as Yawkey Way Extension. (It’s between Brookline Avenue and Yawkey Station.) On Friday morning, he was at Logan Airport where JetBlue Gate C34 was designed with a new theme to honor Ortiz.

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Tonight's the big night, so to speak. But Thursday night will probably go down as the most entertaining.

Ortiz was roasted at House of Blues on Thursday, joined on stage by Pedroia, Rob Gronkowski and a handful of actual comedians. Bill Burr was the biggest name among the professional joke-tellers. It was a charity event to benefit the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, which helps to provide lifesaving surgeries for children.

All the comedians — Lenny Clarke, Sarah Tiana, Anthony Mackie, Josh Wolf, Adam Ray (a young man dressed up as an old Yankees fan) — ripped on everyone on stage, including Pedroia. Naturally, Pedroia was mocked for being short over and over and over.

When he took the podium, Pedroia said it was a good thing the height of the microphone was adjustable. If he had to stand on his wallet, he said, he’d be up to the roof.

Most jokes were not suitable for print or broadcast. But the story Pedroia told about being in the on-deck circle when a catcher needed a ball once was a highlight. It's from just two years ago.

“So I had already played with David for, I don’t know, nine years?” Pedroia said. “And I hit right in front of him for nine years.”

The Red Sox were playing the Indians at home. The umpire had to use the bathroom and the ball rolled near Pedroia. So the catcher said hello to Pedroia, using the second baseman’s first name.

“David walks over and goes, what the [expletive] did he call you?” Pedroia said.

“I said, ‘Dustin,’” Pedroia said. 

Ortiz was confused. “’Why’d he call you that?’” he said.

“I go, that’s my [expletive] name,” Pedroia said. “He goes, 'Oh, is that right?’

"I’m like, ‘Yeah, bro. I’ve had 1,600 games with you. They’ve actually said it 5,000 [expletive] times: now batting, No. 15, Dustin Pedroia.’”

“I thought it was Pee Wee," Ortiz went.

“This is dead serious,” Pedroia said. “Now the umpire comes back — I’m standing there, I got to hit...and I’m looking at him, ‘You thought my parents would name me [expletive] Pee Wee?’ 

“And he’s just looking at me, and we’re having a conversation. The umpire’s yelling at me, the catcher’s laughing at me because he can hear kind of what he’s saying.”

No jersey retirement speech will be that funny.