Sunday, December 31, 2023

DHL Dan CXCVI - Addition By Subtraction

Alternate headline - 'Chris Sale Traded Before Shank Runs Him Out Of Town':
End of Chris Sale Experience reason for Red Sox fans to pop cheap champagne

Picked up pieces while wondering if Taylor Swift is the Yoko Ono of the Chiefs . . .

In late September, Red Sox manager Alex Cora boldly named Chris Sale his Opening Day starter for 2024.

Guess not.

Craig Breslow traded Sale to Atlanta on Saturday for second base prospect Vaughn Grissom. Boston reportedly sent $17 million to Atlanta, which is on the hook for the remaining $10.5 million of the final year of Sale’s disastrous five-year contract.

Happy New Year, Sox fans. Boston’s Chris Sale Experience is officially over.

Monday, December 25, 2023

DHL Dan CXCV - (Un)Forgettable

That's the charitable way to describe this season's New England Patriots:
A legendary day is looming at the end of a forgettable Patriots season, and other thoughts

Picked up pieces while listening to Mitch Miller Christmas carols . . .

⋅ Sorry for looking ahead, but Sunday, Jan. 7, is shaping up as one of the most fascinating days in New England sports history.

The Patriots 2023 regular-season finale will be at Gillette against the Jets. There’s a strong possibility this will be the final day in the 24-year head coaching career of Bill Belichick in New England. It could also be the day the Patriots have a chance to secure the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 draft . . . by losing to the Jets!

That’s right, the Jets. The Jets (5-9) are one of three sorry teams the 3-11 Pats actually beat this season, and they have flat-out quit, as evidenced by their 30-0 skunking in Miami last weekend. Bill hates the Jets more than I hate mushrooms. Could he allow himself to nudge this game into the loss column?

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

The Bitter End

That's what Shank's calling the likely last month Bill Belichick remains as the head coach of the New England Patriots:
The ending is bitter, but does it have to be like this for Bill Belichick?

There’s not a lot of dignity in these Final Days of the Belichick era.

Reporters joust hourly to declare that Bob Kraft has made his decision on Bill . . . or that Bob is still deciding. An NFL Network insider Sunday reported that the final four games of this lost season will serve as a referendum on the Kill Bill question. That seems ridiculous, but if true, Belichick seems certain to continue his quest of chasing Don Shula’s wins record (which is now feeling like the Yaz Watch) someplace other than Foxborough.

The world champion Kansas City Chiefs beat the once-great Pats, 27-17, Sunday. The moribund Patriots were competitive for a half, but ultimately fell victim to the usual hail of penalties, turnovers, and failure to convert on third down (2-12) against a superior team. New England dropped to 3-11 with three to play. The Patriots remain on course to pick second in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

DHL Dan CXCIV - No Throttle

Shank voices his displeasure with his boss Red Sox ownership saying one thing and doing, well, nothing:
So far, the Red Sox’ promised ‘full throttle’ offseason hasn’t lifted off, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wondering how many games the Patriots would have won with Joe Flacco at quarterback all season . . .

▪ There are times when it feels like the Red Sox are just baiting us.

This is one of those times.

Team chairman Tom Werner promised “full throttle” for this offseason.

Pathetic. Thus far, the Sox have not lifted off the launch pad. While the Dodgers and Yankees behave like teams intent on spending to win championships (Shohei Ohtani, Juan Soto anyone?), the once-proud Red Sox continue to dumpster dive and insult their fans with feeble efforts to get involved for high-priced talent. The Red Sox are Kings of Interest, always making you think they are competing for top talent when they are not.
Can't say I share that sentiment, not since Mookie Betts left the team.

Monday, December 11, 2023

The Army-Navy Game

It looks like Shank took in the game live on Saturday:
New England gets a classic in its first shot hosting a classic: There’s a reason Army-Navy is America’s Game

FOXBOROUGH — Army’s 17-11 victory over Navy on Saturday was played in the home of the Patriots.


It was a gem. A furious late Navy drive had the Midshipmen on Army’s 2-yard line with 11 seconds to play, but Army’s rock-ribbed front held when Navy quarterback Tai Lavatai tried to pile drive into the end zone on fourth-and-goal. Lavatai was short by inches, Army took over on downs with three seconds left, and the field was soon flooded with grey-coated Cadets.

You can have Auburn-Alabama and/or Ohio State-Michigan. Or you can enjoy some “Boola Boola” and go with Harvard-Yale — nabobs call that one The Game. If you’re a New England old-timer, you may have once been fond of Boston College-Holy Cross.

No thanks to all that, sir. Sign me up for Army-Navy every time. America’s Game.

Leather helmets, anyone?


I think there might be a problem with one part of this headline:
Bill Belichick is clearly trying to win, so what if he is still coach of the Patriots next season?

It was like the good old days in Pittsburgh Thursday. Bill Belichick pantsed Mike Tomlin (the two longest-tenured NFL coaches) and the 3-10 Patriots snapped a five-game losing streak with a 21-18 win over the 7-6 Steelers. Bailey Zappe threw three first-half TD passes while frustrated Steelers fans showered their team with mock cheers and begged Tomlin to insert his third-string quarterback.

“Had a lot of guys really come through in a game that we needed,” Belichick said after the win. “We had our moments . . . obviously very good defense . . . We played competitively against them.”

No tanking in this one. The moribund Pats beat a team that’s trying to make the playoffs.

All of which got me to thinking . . . what if Belichick is still head coach of the Patriots next season?
First off, if you have three wins at this point in the season, it's not entirely clear you're trying to win. Second - Shank might have a point with that last sentence. What if the Patriots go on a winning run and Robert Kraft gets cold feet about firing Belichick? Are there things in Belichick's contract which would make firing him a problem? We'll find out next month.

Monday, December 04, 2023

DHL Dan CXCIII - The Bill Belichick Interview

Shank games out a potential (likely?) sceanario at the end of the season for the New England Patriots:
Imagine if you will a Bill Belichick job interview, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while predicting a Patriots win over the Chargers Sunday …

▪ The notion of Bill Belichick coaching another team next season has taken on great steam in recent weeks. After last weekend’s awful loss in the Meadowlands, when Bill was asked about a report that he’s already made a decision regarding his next destination, the coach scoffed and said, “Yeah, that’s ridiculous.”

When a followup question was asked about whether Bill could envision himself coaching anywhere else, the Hoodie said, “Just trying to do the best job I can right now. Obviously, I need to do better.”

Just for fun, let’s fast-forward to Black Monday, Jan. 8, when Bob Kraft announces an “amicable parting of the ways” between the Patriots and their head coach of 24 years. Now imagine Bill going around the country for a series of job interviews with owners of various Panthers, Chargers, Titans, and Commanders.
Whether or not an actual Bill Belichick interview went down in this manner, it'd be interesting to be a fly on the wall in one of them.