Examining the Francona-Red Sox 'crapstorm'


Examining the Francona-Red Sox 'crapstorm'

People are trying to draw parallels between the Red Sox' 0-6 start in 2011 and their 1-5 start in 2012, and there's one big difference.
Last year, there wasn't what Tom E. Curran quaintly refers to as "a crapstorm" going on between the front office and one of their former managers on the eve of what the team hoped would be a glorious 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park:

Harry Truman used to say "the only thing new in the world is the history you don't know," and, with that in mind, we can be fairly certain that Tito eventually will return. The Herald's Steve Buckley points to Berra v Steinbrenner as proof:

(Although Rich Levine believes Francona may not be back until the current ownership group has moved permanently to Liverpool. And he may be right.)

Judging by your opinions here and especially here (if you haven't done so already, like us on Facebook to join the conversation), a winner has been declared in the court of public opinion . . . and it ain't Larry Lucchino. Unsurprising, to say the least. It's true there's no proof that ownership was Bob Hohler's source for the -- shall we say -- unflattering portrait of Francona in the Boston Globe's post-collapse story last fall, but it's also true that ownership didn't exactly rush to a full-throated defense of Tito. Nor, apparently, did they leave no stone unturned in attempting to find the leak. In Francona's mind, that's disloyalty. In the fans' minds, that's ungratefulness for a guy who was a big part of two World Series championships.
So now we're in a crapstorm.

"The Red Sox are trying to protect their image," said the Globe's Dan Shaughnessy, "Francona's trying to protect his image, and nobody wins."


Buckets' List: Friars move up, Catamounts hold steady in latest bracket


Buckets' List: Friars move up, Catamounts hold steady in latest bracket

Each Monday through the Final Four, our own Robbie Buckets -- known in some circles as Rob Snyder, associate producer at Comcast SportsNet -- will take a look at the world of college basketball. From now until Selection Sunday, he'll be picking brackets heading into the tournament:

1. Villanova
16. Mount St. Mary’s/NC Central

8. Maryland
9. Virginia Tech

5. Notre Dame
12. UNC Wilmington

4. Florida
13. Vermont

6. Iowa State
11. Seton Hall/Illinois State

3. Florida State
14. Princeton

7. Michigan State
10. VCU

2. Kentucky
15. East Tennessee State

1. North Carolina
16. New Orleans

8. Dayton
9. Arkansas

5. Creighton
12. Middle Tennessee

4. West Virginia
13. Valpo

6. Saint Mary’s
11. USC

3. Oregon
14. Belmont

7. Miami
10. Marquette

2. Baylor
15. South Dakota

1. Kansas
16. Texas Southern/North Dakota

8. Wichita State
9. Virginia Tech

5. Virginia
12. UT-Arlington

4. Purdue
13. Bucknell

6. Minnesota
11. California/Vanderbilt

3. Butler
14. Winthrop

7. South Carolina
10. Providence

2. Louisville
15. Florida Gulf Coast

1. Gonzaga
16. UC-Davis

8. Oklahoma State
9. Michigan

5. SMU
12. Nevada

4. Arizona
13. Monmouth

6. Wisconsin
11. Xavier

3. Duke
14. Akron

7. Cincinnati
10. Syracuse

15. Cal-Bakersfield

Seton Hall
Illinois State

Rhode Island
Georgia Tech
Kansas State

Follow me on Twitter @RobbieBuckets for college hoops musings and off-the-cuff sports takes.

Dennis Schroder doubles down on claims Isaiah Thomas took family trash talk too far

Dennis Schroder doubles down on claims Isaiah Thomas took family trash talk too far

Dennis Schroder isn't backing down.

The Atlanta Hawks point guard again was asked about Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, and the budding rivalry between the two players that's turned into a rivalry between the two teams. Thomas, of course, was accused by Schroder of taking his trash talking a bit too far during the teams' last meeting, a 103-101 Celtics victory last month in which Thomas hit the game-winning shot with just seconds remaining.

Thomas' comments allegedly were about Schroder's family, per Schroder himself. Thomas has since repeatedly denied the claims. So does Schroder still deny Thomas' side of the story?

“I mean, yeah. Everybody heard it, too," Schroder said. "My family sat courtside too. And (Hawks teammate) Thabo (Sefolosha) heard some things, you know, and he was involved in it. But it is what it is. Like I said, we just try to compete. And you know, it’s getting heated in the game. It is what it is."

Schroder didn't dive much deeper than denying Thomas' claims of innocence. But is there something about Thomas inparticular that gets under Schroder's skin or runs him the wrong way?

Nah, I mean he’s a great player, he’s showing it this year," Schroder said. "I mean, what he did in the playoffs last year was just not, you know, professional. And I think nobody wants to see that but it’s fine. We just try to compete and try to help our team win the basketball game."

Schroder was referring to the back-and-forth physical play between himself and Thomas that resulted in flagrant fouls for both during the first-round playoff matchup betweein the clubs, a series Atlanta eventually won four games to two. Thomas' status was in doubt for Game 4 of the series after a hit to Schroder's head in Game 3, but the now two-time All-Star ultimately was allowed to play.

"Everybody’s competitive. Everybody tries to get out, get after it," Schroder explained when asked if his feud with Thomas fuels his team any extra. "I think it’s a big game tonight and the team knows it. I’m pretty sure the Celtics know it too. It’s getting close to the playoffs and every game counts."

Boston and Atlanta tip off from TD Garden at 7:30 p.m.