Breaking up is hard to do

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Breaking up is hard to do

Break-ups are never easy.

And over the last few months, Bostons experienced the end of quite a few long-term relationships: Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Matt Light, Tim Thomas, Kevin Youkilis, Ray Allen. Thats a serious roster of goodbyes. And like in real-life, every break up has been different in its own way.

Losing a player to retirement is usually a little easier. Emotional? Of course, but you understand. There's immediate closure. You almost always stay friends. Light, Varitek and Wakefield are the exes who remain a part of your life; who you can run into on the street with your current significant other without things being awkward. Where you can both say: Yeah, we had some great times, but that period of our life is over. And mean it.

Thats the best. Everyone should break up this way. The world would be a far less hateful place. But you know thats never happening. Well see warp zones before we see the end of the messy break up. With all the emotion, energy and trust that goes into these relationships, there will always be situations like . . .

Kevin Youkilis: The relationship that ends a few months later than it should have. Where you could have walked away before things got really ugly, but both sides played the fool and ended up at each other's throat. Now she's off having a great time every night in a new city, and you can't catch a break.

Ray Allen: The girlfriend who leaves you for that goon in your office who drives a hummer, likes to pop his collar and wears his sunglasses inside. Allens the ex who built up so much resentment over your time together that she not only thrives on her own happiness, but also your misery. Now you're both hurt, and it will be a while before the dust settles and the anger subsides.

Or Tim Thomas: The girlfriend who sends a Facebook message out of the blue saying that she wants to break up, and that shes moving to Colorado to go work on a ski lift. Who leaves you scratching your head, like What the HELL just happened? How did I let myself get wrapped up with such a psycho?"

In the aftermath of any break up, you're going to harp on the hypothetical.

Did it have to end this way? What if Youkilis had a breakthrough with Bobby V? What if Allen forgave the Celtics for dangling him at the deadline and accepted a more realistic role? What if no one ever found out about Tim Thomas skipping the White House? Would we all still be happy? Are we really better without him?

You get it.

And in time, you really do get it. Which is to say, you eventually realize that when it comes to relationships, it's crazy to live in hypotheticals. That whether a relationship could have been salvaged is far less important than the fact that it wasn't. That it's over. That when things end, they usually end for a good reason, even if that reason isn't immediately apparent.

I was reminded of this last night during the Home Run Derby. To be specific, it was a moment in the pre-show, when Chris Berman turned to Nomar Garciaparra and asked:

What are some of your memories of playing in Kaufman Stadium?

Oh, it was nice," Nomar said. "It played as a true ballpark. But at the same time for me, it was very difficult. I had a tough time getting motivated. The reason why? Its beautiful. The grass is so green. You have the waterfalls in the outfield. I really felt like I wanted to just get a blanket, go out there in the grass and have a nice picnic. The fans are awesome. Theyre here. Theyre there. They just want to watch a good baseball game. So for me it was a little difficult because it was such a nice place to play."

I'm still not sure if he was joking, or if he was being frighteningly honest or blatantly insincere. I just know that when I heard those ridiculous words, it was like bumping into an old girlfriend on the street, having an awful conversation and walking away wondering how you ever got along in the first place: "Man, I was really that torn over losing Nomar?"

Of course I was. We all were. His departure was one of the most sudden, shocking and emotional break ups of the last 10 years. Of course, in his situation, the fact that Boston won the World Series three months later helped the healing process, but either way, we would have eventually realized what we have today, and what we will with guys like Youk, Allen and Thomas. That just because it hurts to say goodbye, doesn't mean it's a mistake.

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

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Jared Goff, Todd Gurley explode in shootout win vs. 49ers

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THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Jared Goff, Todd Gurley explode in shootout win vs. 49ers

Jared Goff threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns and Todd Gurley ran for two TDs and caught another to help the Los Angeles Rams put up another big offensive performance with a 41-39 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night.

The NFL's lowest-scoring team last year looks like a completely different outfit this season under first-year coach Sean McVay thanks to vastly improved play by Goff after a rough rookie season as the No. 1 overall pick.

The Rams (2-1) have also been helped by the additions of receivers Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods and the play-calling of McVay as they have scored 107 points through three games. That's the second-most in franchise history, trailing only the 119 by "The Greatest Show on Turf" squad in 2000.

This win didn't come easy as the Rams nearly blew a 15-point lead, giving up two late touchdowns, fumbling a kickoff return and failing to recover an onside kick. But Los Angeles managed to stop a potential game-tying 2-point conversion and then used an offensive pass interference penalty against Trent Taylor and a fourth-down sack by Aaron Donald to stop the Niners after the onside kick.

The 49ers (0-3) scored five touchdowns after failing to get any the first two weeks but still came up short in part because a missed extra point by Robbie Gould forced them to try for 2 on their late touchdown.

This time it was a tired defense that hurt San Francisco. After facing 79 plays in a 12-9 loss at Seattle on Sunday, the 49ers appeared to run out of gas on the short week as Goff frequently had wide-open receivers, especially on third down.

All three of Goff's touchdown passes came on third down, including a 13-yard pass to Watkins early in the fourth quarter that gave Los Angeles a 41-26 lead.

The Rams needed all that offense on a night where Brian Hoyer threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score.

QUICK START: The Rams took just 12 seconds to get on the board as Nickell Robey-Coleman intercepted Hoyer on the first play from scrimmage and returned it to the 3-yard line. Gurley ran it in on the next play to give the Rams a 7-0 lead.

DROUGHT BUSTER: The 49ers came into the game without a touchdown on the season but broke through in the first quarter with some help from the Rams. After Blake Countess jumped offside on a punt, the Niners took advantage of the second opportunity and drove to score on Hoyer's 9-yard run 126:43 into the season. That was the longest it took a team to score its first TD since 2006 when both Tampa Bay (143:03) and Oakland (127:10) took more time.

FOURTH DOWN CALLS: Both teams drove to the opposing 1 on their opening drives of the second half with help from a Willie Mays-style basket catch by Watkins and a perfect toe drag on the sideline by San Francisco's Pierre Garcon. But the Rams opted to kick a short field goal, while the 49ers went for it and converted on Carlos Hyde's 1-yard run that cut Los Angeles' lead to 27-20. Hyde added a second 1-yard run on fourth down in the fourth quarter.

INJURIES: Rams S Lamarcus Joyner left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury. ... Los Angeles C John Sullivan injured his groin in the second half and Watkins and Tavon Austin left with concussions. ... 49ers S Jaquiski Tartt (concussion), FB Kyle Juszczyk (neck), DL Tank Carradine (ankle) and LB Brock Coyle (concussion) all left with injuries in the second half.

UP NEXT: The Rams travel to Dallas on Oct. 1. The 49ers visit Arizona.

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Boston Sports Tonight Podcast: Is there a blueprint to beat the Patriots?

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Boston Sports Tonight Podcast: Is there a blueprint to beat the Patriots?

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST.

0:41 - Tom E. Curran breaks down the ‘blueprint’ to beat the Patriots and if the Texans have the talent to do it.

5:27 - Michael Holley and Kayce Smith discuss Kyrie Irving’s comments that he made on Early Edition about going back to Cleveland for the opening game. 

9:52 - We take a listen to what Malcolm Butler had to say about his role on the team and discuss how the cornerback keeps saying all the right things. 

15:18 - Michael McCann, Legal Analyst for Sports Illustrated joins BST to talk about Aaron Hernandez’s brain found to have CTE and his family now suing the NFL and the Patriots.