Living with the lockouts

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Living with the lockouts

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

Thursday afternoon in (where else?) Nantasket Beach, the NFLs head honchos huddled up to resolve a lockout that most of us have ignored since April.

Thursday night in (where else?) Newark, the NBA took the stage for one last show, before sleeking off into their own self-imposed slice of hell.

Its pro sports in 2011 . . . can you feel it?!

Yeah, it feels like burning.

Of course, the situations arent identical. In the NFL, the moneys there the two sides just cant agree on how to ration it. Meanwhile, the NBAs a total mess. Owners are actually losing money and have no problem opening their books if youd like some proof. The NBA has fundamental issues that can only be resolved by serious compromise, legitimate overhaul and Ron Artest changing his name to Metta World Peace. Sadly, only one of those is an immediate possibility.

Obviously, things can change. Bridges can be mended. Seasons can be saved. Hey, take a look at NFL! Theyre not completely out of the woods, but (unless the lawyers creep in and ruin it all) it sure feels like theyre getting close. There was a time when we wondered if it would ever come. Now, the ends in sight.

But much like Nantasket isnt Newark, the NFL isnt the NBA. Basketballs in trouble, and we have to consider the strong possibility that next season wont start on time. That Thursday night marked the last moment of real Celtics excitement until . . . who the hell knows?

But heres what we do know:

Beginning on July 1, the NBA will cease to exist. We cant talk about next year because we wont know when it starts, how many games theyll play or who will even be on the team. Instead, all we can do is press pause, sit back and watch the league give itself mouth to mouth.

Like the NFL now, the NBA will be the broken window on the landscape of sports. Well know its there, that its being worked on, and that eventually it will be fixed, but in the meantime, what are we going to do? The Celtics have six players under contract, and one of thems Avery Bradley. How can you get excited over a team that doesnt exist?

Well ask those questions, and eventually . . . well lose a little interest.

It happened with the NFL, and it will happen here. At some point you just grow immune to the drama, or you become so affected that you force yourself to tune it out. But either way, that makes it harder to care.

For instance, imagine you slip a patch of ice and break your arm. It kills, and as you're sitting in the emergency room the doctor comes and starts explaining to you, in detail, what happened. You find it interesting, because, hey, you want to know what's wrong. This is something you care about. Only this guy won't stop talking. After about an hour of explaining what's wrong, he goes into extreme detail on how he plans to go about fixing it. On and on. Very thorough. All very pertinent information. But you're in pain. You want out of your misery.

At some point, he needs to just shut up and fix it.

We feel that now about football, and no doubt we will about basketball.

But in both cases, I guarantee well have short memories.

As much as Ive hated the NFL over these past few months, Ill get over it five minutes into the first preseason game. And if theres no preseason, then I wont even need five minutes. Youre ready to play? Welcome back!

The NBA might have a little more trouble in the PR department if the season starts late, but theres no question that the first time LeBron and Wade take the court next season, whether thats in October or February, people will watch. When the playoffs start the NBA will reemerge.

Or maybe it wont be that easy, but it also wont be that hard.

When the time comes, each league will win us back.

It's like the same part of our brain that lets us eventually detach from the drama of the negotiations is the same one that helps us forget that the negotiations ever happened.

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

Moreland not worried about filling Ortiz's shoes because 'there's no replacing him'

Moreland not worried about filling Ortiz's shoes because 'there's no replacing him'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mitch Moreland knows he's likely the only new player in Boston's lineup since David Ortiz retired at the end of last season.

He's just not listening to those who say he needs to replace Big Papi's lofty production.

"I try not to hear it because there's no replacing that guy," said the 31-year-old first baseman, who signed a one-year, $5.5-million deal with the Red Sox during the offseason.

"I think it's going to be more of a team effort," he said. "Obviously we picked up two big arms as well, and it's a very balanced club."

After playing his first six-plus seasons in the majors with the Texas Rangers, Moreland is with a new organization for the first time in his career. So far, he said, the move has been smooth.

"They welcomed me from Day One," he said. "Handshakes and hugs right off the bat. It's going to be a lot of fun. You can see why they had so much success last year."

Coming off a subpar 2016 with a .233 batting average, 22 homers and 60 RBI, Moreland tested free agency. He wanted to go to a team that had a good chance at competing for a championship -- like he felt with the Rangers.

"Something that was at the top of my list as a player," he said. "If I was going to be on a team, I wanted a team that had a chance to win. It makes it that much more fun to come to the park every day when something's on the line and you're fighting for a chance to play in the playoffs, fighting to win the division and fighting to win a World Series."

A first-time Gold Glove winner last season, Moreland knows the defending A.L. East champion Red Sox wanted his defensive skills at first to allow Hanley Ramirez to shift to Ortiz's vacated DH spot.

"It gives you a little more confidence," Moreland said. "I take pride in that. That's going to be my main goal, to go out and show what they saw."

A left-handed batter like Ortiz, Moreland knows some people will expect him to fill the void offensively because of which side of the plate he bats from.

"I think it'll be a group effort picking up what will be missing," he said. "There's no replacing that guy."

Manager John Farrell also said the club needs to move on from Ortiz so Moreland and everyone else can relax and focus on their own game.

"David's effect on the lineup was felt by a number of people. We know opponents would game plan for David," Farrell said. "I think it's important for our guys - as we put David out of our mind, in a good way - that it's still a focus on what their strengths are in the strike zone."

The transition may be easy for Moreland so far, but one thing has certainly changed: spending spring training in Florida instead of Arizona.

"Fishing's a lot different than Arizona, so that's nice," he said.

NOTES: "We're getting a firsthand look to why he's been so successful and an elite pitcher," Farrell said after left-hander Chris Sale pitched batting practice. The Red Sox acquired Sale from the Chicago White Sox in an offseason trade for four prospects. They also acquired right-handed, hard-throwing setup man Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee . . . Farrell said righty Steven Wright, who missed the final two months of the season with a shoulder injury, "was unrestricted in his throwing." . . . The Red Sox will have a shorter workout Tuesday with the players association set to talk to the team and the organization's annual charity golf tournament in the afternoon.

Report from the Fort: Trenni and Lou discuss pitching

Report from the Fort: Trenni and Lou discuss pitching

Trenni Kusnierek and Lou Merloni comment on Tyler Thornburg's, Steven Wright's and Drew Pomeranz's work at Red Sox training camp on Monday.