Thursday, December 26, 2013

Top 10 Boston Sports Moments in 2013

Earlier today ESPN shared their top ten plays of the year on Sportscenter because apparently the year now ends on December 26th not December 31st, but hey who's keeping track.

ESPN, do better because your list sucks. I'm sorry but DeAndre Jordan's alley-oop is nice but it is not one of the top ten plays of the year.

Three if by Strike will be bringing you a conclusive top 10 plays of the year on December 31st (when the year actually ends) but to tide you over until then we'll present the top 10 Boston sports moments of the year.

These plays and events embody what was a truly amazing year for what remains the greatest sports city in the world. Check them out and let us know what you think.

Honorable Mention- Jose Iglesias' play for the Tigers- I couldn't rightly put this on the list because Iglesias played for the Tigers at the time, but this is arguably the greatest defensive play I've ever seen an infielder make. He's no Jim Edmonds but still.

10. Shane Vereen's AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Texans- Vereen's breakout performance could not have come at a better time for the Patriots. His three touchdowns helped carry the Patriots to a convincing win over the Texans and made Vereen a staple of the organizations offense.

9. Brad Stevens comes to Boston- It's no secret that I'm not a fan of NBA basketball. I can only watch isolation plays, travels and terrible reffing for so long before I lose interest. That's why I'm excited for Stevens to come to Boston. The Butler coach plays an up tempo, team-oriented, collegiate style game which may be able to win me over and help resurrect the franchise.

8. Bruin's Visit Newtown- This could easily be number one on this list, but because it's not so much a moment as a day it will hold down the number eight spot. More evidence that hockey players are the classiest athletes in sports.

7. Tuukka Rask's 2013 playoffs- Rask's 2013 playoff's were unreal. He had a save percentage of almost .950 and a goals allowed average of under 2. Rask brought the Bruins within two games of Lord Stanley's cup and while the B's couldn't seal the deal that was no fault of Rask's. What's more remarkable is that the saves below are from a single series against the Maple Leafs. Rask's performance against the Penguins was even more dominant and worthy of praise.

6. Zdeno Chara's spin move against the Panthers- That is an agile 6'9 man. Not only does Chara make Panther's rookie Jonathan Huberdeau look like a 14 year old girl at her first high school dance, he pots of a nasty backhand afterwards. Also Jack Edwards loses his mind which is always worth watching.

5. Johnny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia putting the World Series trophy on the Boston Marathon finish line- This was one of the most powerful moments of 2013. The Sox became the team that helped Boston recover after the tragedy of Marathon Monday. There was no more fitting tribute to the victims of that day than Gomes and Saltalamacchia placing the world series trophy at the finish line during the team's victory parade. I was about 5 rows back from the finish line and I still get chills when I listen to the crowd sing "God Bless America".

4. Patriot's last second win against the Saint's- The Patriot's have had several come from behind victories this year, to the extent that it almost seems scripted at this point. Few carried the significance of the win against the Saint's though. This victory took a team who's season could have went in two different directions and helped spring them into the playoffs. Tom Brady's strike to Kenbrell Thompkins was a thing of beauty any way you look at it.

3. Daniel Nava's go ahead homer after the Boston Marathon Bombings- Nava's home run in the bottom of the 8th against the Royals was a defining moment in one of the most improbable Sox seasons ever. To get a win, and in such remarkable fashion, during the first game after the marathon was the first step in helping the city heal and come back even stronger. Also "Danny Baseball" is my favorite player, nuff said.

2. Bruin's comeback against the Maple Leafs- This game was unreal. I remember watching it with my dad and being disgusted to the point of almost turning it off... almost. Then Nathan Horton scored and the rest... well just watch the video. Words can't describe this game, this is Boston sports at their finest.

1. David Ortiz's Grand Slam Against the Tigers- David Ortiz is a future hall of famer if for no other reason than being arguably the greatest post-season hitter of all time. Ortiz added to that legacy during game two of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. Joaquin Benoit came in to close the game out for the Tigers who would have went back to Detroit with a 2-0 series lead and likely would have cruised on to a World Series birth against the St. Louis Cardinals. With one swing of the bat David Ortiz tied the game and sparked the Red Sox eventual World Series victory.

So those are the top ten moments in Boston sports for 2013. Comment and let us know what you think. Were we right? Were we wrong? What are your top ten Boston sports moments of 2013?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Red Sox World Series Ride Through the Eyes of Shane Victorino

I had to take off my shoes and use my toes to count the number of times I got chills just watching this video. Hard to believe that was nearly two months ago and there are about 50 days til pitchers and catchers report for the title defense.

The video shows the Red Sox World Series victory on the field, post-game celebration in the clubhouse, and Rolling Rally parade through the streets of Boston, all through the GoPro camera used by outfielder Shane Victorino.

Who has more fun than the Red Sox?

The Hot 100: Billboard's 100th Best Song of the Week

I'm 20 seconds into this music video, and I've learned that Ariana Grande looks like she's 13, Arnold Schwarzenegger's kid, Patrick, is playing the part of Romeo, and this "Big Sean" character is playing the role of a priest.

I was going to write this without listening to the actual song, and I was going to give it a six or so just because I figured it was so ridiculous it had to be good.  But its like a weird R&B song, with party lyrics.  It's all been downhill since Week 1 it seems, but looking ahead, there's a good chance we could see some former Top 10'ers land on our list.  Ylvis and OneDirection are nearly on the ground after finishing their 15- and 19-week descent from grace.

Week 1:
Artist: Jon Pardi
Song: Up All Night
Peak: 99 (last week)

Week 2:
Artist: SchoolBoy Q featuring Kendrick Lamar
Song: Collard Greens
Peak: 92

Week 3:
Artist: Daughtry
Song: Waiting for Superman
Peak: 70

Week 4:
Artist: Ariana Grande featuring Big Sean
Song: Right There
Peak: 84

My rating:

Three. French hens. Its fits with the season, and it indicates how terrible this song is.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Will the NHL Stadium Series Cheapen the Winter Classic?

Since its introduction in 2008, the Winter Classic has been one of the premier events of the NHL season.  It has been known to draw interest from all different fan bases, not just fans of the two teams competing.    Before this year, the only other outdoor NHL games were the 2003 and 2011 Heritage Classic games, which are basically the Canadian version of the Winter Classic. (This year's Heritage Classic will feature the Vancouver Canucks and the Ottawa Senators)

Seeing the huge success the Winter Classic game has become, the NHL set out to capitalize on the popularity of outdoor hockey and thus, the NHL Stadium Series was born.

Premiering this year, the NHL Stadium Series will feature four outdoor games starting at the end of January.  The games are as follows:

January 25th, Anaheim Ducks vs. LA Kings at Dodger Stadium
January 26th, New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium
January 29th, New York Islanders vs. New York rangers at Yankee Stadium
March 1st, Pittsburg Penguins vs. Chicago Blackhawks at Soldier Field

While its hard to argue that the playing an NHL game on an ice rink in the middle of a football or baseball field is a cool idea, at what point does having multiple outdoor games a year become too much of a good thing?

The biggest draw of the Winter Classic, and the reason it garners such widespread interest, is the fact that it has been the one and only outdoor game of the season.  With only one game, the NHL was able to pick a great matchup to feature.  The novelty of the event was what made it special.  The Winter Classic has now become one of five outdoor games.

Is it just me, or does having four other outdoor games cheapen the Winter Classic a bit?  Sure, the Classic’s matchup of the Redwings v. Leafs is arguably the best of all the outdoor games this year.  And yeah, it has New Year’s Day going for it too, but still, it’s now one of five.

It’s cool multiple fan bases now have the opportunity to experience their team play an outdoor game,  I just think it makes the honor of hosting or playing in the Winter Classic a little less special.

As far as the matchups to be featured in the Stadium Series go, Penguins vs. Blackhawks and Ducks vs. Kings should both be good games based on the fact that all four teams are among the leagues best; there’s just not much history behind either of those matchups.

On the other hand, I’m unimpressed with the two matchups that will be played at Yankee Stadium. Aside from the fact that it seems like a waste to have the Rangers play in half of the Stadium Series games, the matchups are underwhelming to say the least.  Between games against the Devils and Islanders, I can’t decide which I’m less interested in.

The NHL will undoubtedly make tons of money from these additional outdoor games.  All the games will sell out and fans will pack the stands, excited for the unique experience of witnessing their team play on a rink standing in the middle of an open-air stadium.  But what happens when this uniqueness fades?  What happens when the novelty of an outdoor hockey game wears off?  What if the outdoor hockey game becomes commonplace rather than an exciting, once a year event?

I guess we’ll see.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nickname Games Prove NBA is a Joke

The NBA will be allowing players to wear their nicknames in place of their actual last names on jerseys in select games coming up in the New Year.  When the Miami Heat take on the Boston Celtics on January 21st, players on the Heat will be wearing jerseys featuring the nickname of their choice.

A picture was leaked, and later tweeted out by the Sportscenter account, that shows Ray Allen's #34 Heat jersey featuring the name "J. Shuttlesworth" on the back, in reference to the character Allen played in the movie He Got Game.  It can be assumed that Lebron James will wear "King James" and there will probably be several other players wearing nicknames that no one has ever heard just to be included.

Some may think this is a cool and novel idea, but I think it's a joke.  I think the NBA is a joke of a league and publicity stunts like these only support that view.  Tell me another sport that would let their players wear their nicknames on the back in an actual game (never mind multiple games).

The worst part is the NBA will justify this decision with the money they will rake in from these jersey selling at about $110 apiece.  It's one thing to own and wear one of these jerseys as a fan, but having the players actually wear them in multiple games?  You can't honestly tell me that allowing this doesn't discredit the NBA as a professional organization.

It wouldn't surprise me if this was just the first step to having players wear whatever name they want on the back of their jersey for good.

Remember the good ole days when to put something stupid like "World Peace" on the back of your jersey you actually had to legally change your name?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Return Of The Gato

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail..."

Right... My boy Ralph Waldo Emerson may have had a point, but I'm sure he wasn't suggesting that I walk where "there is no path and leave a trail," which I did in the fury that was Boston's second snowstorm in as many days (I went to sleep before it snowed Saturday so technically I'm right).

While tapping into my inner-Emerson-Gato, I planned accordingly as far as my departure and pace (ice/snow can make someone who prepares for nothing to do so) from work. What  normally is a 40 minute commute, didn't allow me arrive at my destination in Allston until 7 p.m.  How does this all relate to TibS? Well it doesn't, unless you dig deeper.

Let me help you.

So as usual the MBTA can be undependable when the weather is good, but factor in snow, and it's more likely you'll see Halley's Comet than a bus or anything MBTA-related arrive on time. After a 45-minute wait, I decided to put my faith in my two legs and walk from Brookline to Allston.

A mere two mile walk which isn't too bad but in the snow storm, well let's just say I felt like I was one of the members from the Fellowship. I found myself appreciating anything related to heat, dry, and those who try to make all the other things much more bearable. I found many a people shoveling sidewalks in front of  their homes. While on this walk I noticed and appreciated the sidewalks that WERE shoveled.

So this post is a shout out to all the public workers who were in the eye of the storm who made every effort to make the street and certain sidewalks manageable. To those good people braving the storm, excluded from the city's payroll. To all those mentioned that enabled me to name this post it's name.


- Champagne Gato

P.S. - This post relates to #TibS by citing the appreciation of good people. Good people who do everything such as delivering mail, stopping a puck from entering a net, hitting a game tying grand slam in the bottom of the 8th,  selling insurance, teaching America's future youth, and yes, even those who shovel sidewalks to create a semi-clear path for Champagne Gato to get home in one piece. Goodnight or hello, good morning.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Virden Oil Capitals Attempt to Ruin Christmas With Awful Music Video

It's so bad it's actually not funny. The just did the opposite of what they set out to do.  At least its not super awkward or anything either.


That's what you get when you play in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, I guess.  But at least it's not that damn car commercial that was on TV a few years ago with this song in it.  You remember that one?  I think it was Honda, but either way, it made Christmas a little less special when it aired.  If it was Honda, then good for them, going out and upgrading their song choice by signing a free agent like Michael Bolton.

The Hot 100: Billboard's 100th Best Song of the Week

Another week down, and there are only two more Mondays left in 2013.  Crazy, huh?  The year has just flown by.  But don't let another week fly by without knowing what the 100th best song is right now.

Chris Daughtry should've won American Idol.  There, I said it.  But let's talk about the music video.  I can't help but feel like the scene at 0:28 seconds would've been more dramatic if it was a larger vehicle, so therefore the girl's anger is totally justified.  And also, if a guy came up to me in a ratty shirt and shoved me, the gloves are coming off.

Then when he goes Darren Sharper on that mugger and the cops come?  Again, its because you're a nutcase running someone down and tackling them.  You should be arrested.

Anyone surprised at the guy's anger who is about to jump but then gets, you guessed it, tackled? No. And he'd totally get a smooch from that girl he saved if he didn't look like he just got run through a jet engine.

Week 1:
Artist: Jon Pardi
Song: Up All Night
Peak: 99 (last week)

Week 2:
Artist: SchoolBoy Q featuring Kendrick Lamar
Song: Collard Greens
Peak: 92

Week 3:
Artist: Daughtry
Song: Waiting for Superman
Peak: 70

My rating:

It's no "Up All Night," and it's CERTAINLY no "Collard Greens..."

Saturday, December 14, 2013

HBO's 24/7 Will Be Quality Entertainment

The first episode of the HBO series 24/7 airs tonight (12/14) at 10pm ET.

24/7 Road to the NHL Winter Classic goes behind the scenes and into the locker rooms of the two teams set to play in this year’s NHL Winter Classic game.  The Winter Classic, for those who are unfamiliar, is an annual event held by the NHL, which started in 2008 and is played outdoors, providing the game a completely different dynamic.

This year’s game will be played on New Year’s Day between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings at University of Michigan’s “The Big House” football stadium.

The Red Wings vs. the Maple Leafs is an Original Six rivalry that has been renewed by this year’s NHL realignment, which placed these two teams in the same division.  With the combination of the rivalry and the battle for points in the Atlantic division, this should be a hard-fought and entertaining contest.

However, you don’t have to be a hockey player or even a fan of either team to enjoy the 24/7 series. The show follows the teams through the weeks leading up to the Winter Classic.  The viewer gets an inside look at both teams, as cameras catch everything from the personal lives of individual players to speeches made by the coaches in the locker room.

It’s really interesting to get a look at things like the players pre-game routines and to see what it’s like to be a professional hockey player outside of the games themselves.  You’ll get to see how they travel, where they live and what the life of an NHL player consists of.

Hockey players are often said to be some of the most personable and likable athletes in professional sports, so 24/7 is always good for some laughs.

There’s no question that the best moments of last years 24/7 featuring the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers came from the Flyers goalie at the time, Ilya Bryzgalov.

So if you have HBO yourself or can find somewhere to watch it, I highly recommend 24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic which is set to air on Saturday nights at 10 pm on HBO.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Seeing Pierce and Garnett in Nets Jerseys Just Doesn’t Feel Right

I'm not the biggest basketball fan, nor do I pretend to be.  I’ve never really been one to sit down and watch a full Celtics game, unless it was in the playoffs or a marquee matchup against a team like the Heat or Knicks.  I guess you may call me a **gasp** bandwagon fan.

However, even with my level of dedication to the Celtics self-classified as minimal, it’s still pretty sad seeing Pierce and Garnett in the Nets' black and white.

Paul Pierce was the face of a Celtics organization steeped in tradition.  He was a clutch player who always wanted the ball in his hands with the game on the line.  The Truth had been a fan favorite since the start of his career with the Celtics in 1998.  To be fair, through all the rough seasons of his early Celtics career, the ballot for fan favorite was pretty limited.  But starting in 2007, that would change.

With a blockbuster trade before the season, the Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett and that other guy; I forget his name.  And thus, the Big Three was formed.  The Celtics popularity skyrocketed, as they became immediate championship contenders.  They became a fun team to watch, thanks in large part to Kevin Garnett.

Garnett was the type of player who made it perfectly clear that he was giving the team everything he had, every night.  He was just a really entertaining player to watch.

Whether he was doing knuckle pushups or scolding himself for missing a free throw, Garnett won Celtics fans over.  Another thing that endeared him to fans was the fact that he loved playing for Boston and its fans.

It was a sad day when the news broke of a trade sending both Pierce and Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets.  It was clear in the press conference introducing them to Brooklyn that they were disappointed in being unable to end their careers in Boston.  Pierce was especially upset, seeing as he had spent his entire career in Boston and after signing his previous contract, was under the impression he would be ending his career in Celtic green.

I honestly can’t think of another athlete departure from a Boston team that has made me as sad as that of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.  Unfortunately, with Pierce and Garnett went most of (if not all) of the Celtics likability and character.

I understand that the move had to be made and was the first step in a necessary rebuilding process, I just would have liked to see Pierce and Garnett play their finals seasons as Celtics.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't include this video, seeing as it was the best part about watching Garnett play.

The Hot 100: Billboard's 100th Best Song of the Week

It should be stated that I have no idea what this song sounds like. So I apologize in advance, because it seems downright awful.

If this is your thing, then you're welcome.

Keeping alive one of the blog's newest weekly staples, we bring you the 100th best song of the week, "Collard Greens."

Week 1:
Artist: Jon Pardi
Song: Up All Night
Peak: 99 (last week)

Week 2:
Artist: SchoolBoy Q featuring Kendrick Lamar
Song: Collard Greens
Peak: 92

 Because one 'zero' honestly wasn't enough.


I want to preface this by telling a brief story. When I was four, I woke my parents up at 3 A.M. on Christmas morning because I was so excited that Santa had left my stocking at the foot of my bed (a mistake he would never repeat again.) My mom, being the awesome parent she was, woke up with me and let me open my stocking. In my stocking were two movies that came to dominate my childhood, Godzilla vs. Mecha-Godzilla and Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster.

My mom and I spent the next four hours sitting on the couch watching both movies multiple times. After present opening was done we watched them each again about three more times.

Needless to say I am fired up for 2014's Godzilla which is slated to be released on the 60 year anniversary of the giant lizard's first silver screen outing.

Some of you may remember Matthew Broderick and Hank Azaria starring in the 1998 Godzilla which is most famous for the Puff Daddy anthem Come With Me. A song from a time when rap actually meant something.

Here are a couple reasons why I'm fired up about this movie.

1. It has Bryan Cranston in it. The only thing more bad ass than Godzilla is Godzilla facing down Walter White. Godzilla is the one who knocks... buildings over. If you need anymore convincing just watch the video below. THERE IS NO LIMIT TO WHAT THIS MAN CAN DO.

2. It's FREAKING GODZILLA. Are you kidding me? If you had to read down to point number two to be convinced then do yourself a favor and stab yourself in the eye because you'll never see anything better than this. This is the fruition of every five year old fantasy that you ever had. This is like if pizza day were every day in elementary school. SAVOR IT!

3. Read items one and two and if you don't agree punch yourself in the face.

Honestly the only thing that could make this movie any better is if Jennifer Lawrence were in it because I'm a little bit in love with her. That said I'm pretty sure the universe would implode out of gloriousness if that were true.

Finding a Way to Win

Injuries happen in sports. That's the nature of athletic competition. The questions isn't, is someone going to get hurt? But rather, when is someone going to get hurt? Who will it be? And how long are we going to be without them?

The injury bug can shatter a team's chance at success. The Chicago Bulls, a team that seemed to be on the cusp of asserting themselves as the best team in the NBA Eastern Conference, have been decimated by the losses of Derek Rose and Luol Deng over the past two seasons and seem poised to remain sequestered in irrelevance.

The Green Bay Packers, who have made it to the playoffs each of the last 4 years, stand on the outside of the NFL playoff picture looking in after the loss of All-Pro Quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Somewhere Matt Hasselbeck rejoices.

We're gonna take the ball and we're gonna... throw a game ending interception.
The Boston Bruins are currently missing Chris Kelly, Dougie Hamilton, Loui Eriksson, and Adam McQuaid for substantial periods of time and consequently...

Oh wait... the Bruins are currently sitting atop the Eastern Conference with a three game lead over the Montreal Canadians with a game in hand... Okay so maybe that was a bad example, but they're the exception right?

I mean, let's take a minute to look at the Boston Red Sox. The Sox were missing their best hitter, David Ortiz for the first month of the season. Star outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury missed about 30 games. And arguably their best pitcher for the first half of the season, Clay Buchholz, didn't pitch from June until September. Clearly this level of injury should... come again... what's that? They... they won the World Series? Well... this is awkward...

Injuries don't phase you when your hair also sweats

Okay we can talk about the Boston Celtics. They're essentially a collegiate team, right? They brought in Brad Stevens from Butler to coach a team comprised of seven players who have three years or less of NBA experience. The fact that All-Star Rajon Rondo, undoubtedly the best player on the team, hasn't played all season means that... means that they are sitting at 10-13 yes, but are currently 4th in the Eastern Conference and have went 6-3 over their last nine games...

Well at least we can talk about the New England Patriots, right? Danny Amendola has been unable to shake the injury bug that has plagued him his entire career. After missing the first 6 weeks of the season Rob Gronkowski saw his season ended on a low hit by Browns' safety T.J. Ward. The defense is reeling after the loss of nose tackles Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly, and defensive captain/inside linebacker Jerod Mayo. The Pats can't hope to... what? Go 10-3 with a perfect 7-0 record at home through 13 weeks? Sit in 1st in the AFC East with a strong bid for a first round bye?

Somehow Boston's sports teams have been able to overcome injuries which would have decimated the majority of franchises in their respective sports. The loss of superstars, team leaders and playmakers has done little to slow down any Boston squad.

You can look to a variety of factors for answers: excellent coaching adjustments that take advantage of available personnel, deep farm systems and practice squads that emphasize the same play styles and responsibilities as their professional sides, key acquisitions by management to fill holes in the roster.

When it comes down to it there is no easy answer to the amazing way in which Boston's franchises have overcome injuries. They've used different methods, relied on different players and tried different strategies, but, put bluntly, they've simply found a way.

That simple phrase seems to embody what Boston is all about. When times get tough, when the chips are down, when tragedy strikes, this remarkable city bands together and finds a way. This year it seems like the organizations that represent Boston have taken that lesson to heart.

All of this of course begs one major questions. What the hell is really in that dirty water?

One part nitrogen, two parts used syringes, one part sweet sweet victory

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Paul Rudd and Jason Segel Want You to Have an Awesome Day

Not much to say about this video other than that it is straight up DELIGHTFUL. If you're stuck inside and need a pick me up on this dreary Tuesday check this out. It's good for a laugh... or ten. Be careful though, Gideon may be watching!

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Rash of Injuries to Test Bruins

After the injuries sustained in the Bruins vs. Penguins game on Saturday, the list only grew against the Maple Leafs the next night.

Here's a compilation video highlighting the major incidents in the brutal first period of the Penguins game.

Less than twenty seconds into the game against the Penguins, Bruins’ winger Loui Eriksson was on the receiving end of a crushing hit by Brooks Orpik.  Whether the Orpik hit on Eriksson was a dirty hit or not could be argued either way.  On one hand, you could say that Eriksson did not have the puck when the hit was delivered, making it a clear interference call.  The dirty hit argument would also claim that Orpik finished high, contacting the head.  On the other hand, it looks as though the puck was passing just under Eriksson’s stick just as contact was made and it is hard to tell whether Eriksson’s head was the primary point of contact.  Either way, the hit has put Eriksson out with his second concussion of the season.

As if losing a second line winger wasn’t enough, word of injury to Chris Kelly came after the game. A broken fibula is reportedly the result of this slash by Pascal Dupuis late in the second period.  Looking at the video, it’s hard to tell whether the slash was intentional.  While Dupuis was swinging at a bouncing puck around Kelly’s skates, it also came right after Kelly finished a hit on Dupuis.  Intent aside, Kelly was placed on Long-term IR and is set to miss 4-6 weeks.

The most notable event however, was the retaliatory actions of Shawn Thornton on Brooks Orpik following his hit on Eriksson.  Of course, right after I write a post about how Shawn Thornton isn't a goon, he goes out and performs the most goonish act of his career.  Thornton approached Orpik from behind, slew-footing him down to the ice and then proceeded to deliver two shots to his face as he was laying on his back, the second knocking him out.

Now I’m a big fan of Shawn Thornton, but his actions in this case are completely unjustifiable.  While Orpik may have had it coming to him after the Eriksson hit and his previous refusal to drop gloves with Thornton, this type of incident has no place in today’s game.  However, I still stand by my statement that this is not the type of player Shawn Thornton is.

He was clearly shaken in his postgame press conference addressing the incident.

Facing what will most likely be a pretty lengthy suspension, Thornton is the third Bruins forward who will be missing some time as a result of the events of this game.

The Bruins didn’t have much time to let the dust settle and figure out what their new forward lines would look like, seeing as they were scheduled to face the Toronto Maple Leafs the very next night.

This game only brought more bad news.  Dougie Hamilton left the game in the first period with what is being reported as a lower-body injury and has flown back to Boston.  It is likely that he will miss the rest of the road trip as the Bruins are set to face off against Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

The Bruins depth will continued to be tested, even more so now that Hamilton will be missing some time and McQuaid has been placed on the IR.  With three Boston forwards slated to miss time, Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser have been recalled from Providence to join Jordan Caron as fill-ins. Thankfully, the Bruin’s depth at the blue line has come up huge recently in the absence of McQuaid, and Johnny Boychuck.  Kevan Miller continued his strong play against the Leafs notching his first NHL goal last night.  Bruins coach Claude Julien is optimistic Boychuck will be returning to face Calgary on Tuesday.

This Canadian road trip and the games following will be a huge test for the Bruins.  At this point in the season, sitting atop the Atlantic Conference, the Bruins cannot afford to slip in the absence of these players.  However, if the Bruins can continue to get wins (as they did against Toronto last night) with a patchwork offense and a depleted defensive core, it bodes well for them moving forward.

If the Bruins can continue to play well in their absence, getting these players back will only provide them a boost in the New Year.  How the team responds in the face of this mounting adversity will speak volumes about the Bruins institutional depth and, more importantly, their heart.

Winter Meetings Day 1: Halladay Hangs 'Em Up, Three Managers Immortalized

Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings began Monday in Orlando, Fla. today, and given the flurry of moves across the league already, these meetings should provide us with plenty of fireworks soon enough.

Day 1 was full of mixed emotions.  The first news of the day came from the expansion-era committee of the Hall of Fame, who elected managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre to baseball's highest honor.  The three managers have combined for 7,558 wins and eight World Series titles.

The next move was expected, but saddened most across the baseball world: Roy Halladay officially retired.  He signed a one-day contract with the team that drafted him, the Toronto Blue Jays.  Halladay pitched for the Jays from 1998-2009.

And don't worry, the rumor mill is still pumping out news left and right.  The Diamondbacks are looking at acquiring White Sox ace Chris Sale, even though Chicago has not made it clear they are willing to move Sale.  

Matt Kemp and his camp believe that a trade is forthcoming from the Dodgers, but no teams have stepped up their interest.

The Yankees and the Braves have shown interest in Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija, but some reports indicate a high asking price for the right-hander.

Mike Carp has been drawing some serious interest from other teams, as has Stephen Drew.  

We will keep an eye on any potential deals and rumors throughout the Winter Meetings, so be sure to check back.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Shawn Thornton: Always the Enforcer, Never the Goon

Today’s NHL is a league dominated by speedy, skilled players.  With so much quickness and skill at all positions, especially the forward spot, it is increasingly difficult for managers and coaches to justify the use of a roster spot on a goon.

There is an important distinction to be made between an enforcer and a goon.  A goon is a player who, with their lack of skill, is unable to contribute much to a team other than their fighting ability.  A goon is usually a large, physically imposing player with limited skating ability and even worse puck skills.  An enforcer, however, is a player who cannot only throw hands with the best of them, but can also contribute to the team in other ways.

John Scott, of the Buffalo Sabres, is not only the definition of a goon, but one of the few true goons remaining in the NHL.  At 6’8” and weighing in at 258 lbs, it is clear that Scott has the physically imposing part locked up.  Take a closer look at his career statistics and it becomes clear that Scott has absolutely zero value to his team aside from his fighting ability.  In 194 games over the course of five seasons, he has 343 penalty minutes to compliment a whopping five points (1 G, 4 A) and is -12.

Let Mike Milbury and Keith Jones give you a better idea of the type of player Scott is after his dirty hit on Loui Eriksson, which earned him a seven game suspension.

On the other hand, we have Shawn Thornton.  Now Thornton isn’t a scorer, nor could you really call him a playmaker, but as an enforcer, he is second to none.  You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn’t agree that Thornton is also the most honorable fighter in the league.  You’ll never see him sucker punch someone or punch a guy when he’s down because that’s not the type of player he is.

While Thornton is easily one of, if not the best fighter in the league, he has the ability to contribute to his team on the score sheet as well.  In his 10 seasons in the NHL, Thornton has 83 points (36 G, 47 A) to go along with his 856 penalty minutes.  Not to mention he also averages about double Scott’s ice time per season.  Check out this penalty shot goal and try to tell me he doesn’t have skill.

An enforcer such as Shawn Thornton brings so much to a team like the Bruins.  He is always ready to answer the bell and never shies away from a fight if that’s what it takes to defend his teammates.  The best part about his play though is that he is far from a liability when he’s on the ice.  The Merlot line, consisting of Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille, is often cited as the best fourth line in the league, which speaks volumes about the Bruins’ depth.

The part many people don’t realize is how Shawn Thornton and other tough guys on the Bruins are able to indirectly elevate the game of their teammates.  Knowing you have so many guys behind you who are more than ready to drop gloves and stick up for you, gives you so much more confidence in your game.  Players are less worried about taking cheap shots because their opponent knows as well as they do that any such act will be answered by the fists of guys like Thornton, Milan Lucic, Adam McQuaid and Gregory Campbell among others.

As the game of hockey evolves, the role of the goon will continue to fade into the past, while fans will continue to appreciate the numerous contributions of enforcers like Shawn Thornton.

This is possibly my favorite Thornton moment as he and Mike Felger shut down Vancouver journalist, Tony Gallagher.  It comes after the Vancouver game in which he was jumped by seven Canucks and then, in the most embarrassing moment in NHL history, baited into dropping his gloves by Dale Weise, who proceeded to immediately back down in hopes of drawing a penalty.

Seriously, how can you not like this guy?

I Am Officially Retiring From Blogging

"It was a good run." - Span

Saving You The Trouble of Googling The Best B's-Habs Moments

There are just so many awesome moments from the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens rivalry over the past few years, we just had to post a few more in preparation for the game tonight.

No sense mucking things up with words, just enjoy the videos.

Okay, I wouldn't call Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty "great" but it has been a huge part of the rivalry, and even led fans to call for a police investigation... Yeah, that happened.

Now, this may not be a list of the "best" moments in the recent rivalry, but if they don't get you fired up, then you clearly don't have a pulse.

Dr. Ironfist Wants to Rule Ukraine

And eventually... the world! Muahahahahaha! Is this the plot to the next Avengers movie? No, actually it's the real life story of Vitali Klitschko, the reigning WBC heavyweight champion.

Klitschko received the nickname "Dr. Ironfist" (and subsequently became the archnemesis of B-grade superheroes everywhere) after earning a Ph.D. in sports sciences and became the first boxer to ever earn a doctorate.

Now Klitschko is setting his sights even higher. Perhaps spurred on by Manny Pacquiao's foray into politics, Klitschko has become increasingly politically involved in his home country of Ukraine. After launching a few unsuccessful attempts at becoming the mayor of Kiev, Klitschko was eventually elected to Parliament in December 2012 when his political party UDAR (which translates to "punch" in English) won 40 of the 450 seats in Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada or Supreme Council of Ukraine.

In October of this past year, Klitschko said that he intended to run in Ukraine's 2015 Presidential election. At this point in time, early polls project that Klitschko would receive roughly 20% of the vote, a figure which doesn't seem substantial in American politics, but in a multiparty parliamentary system, its quite impressive and actually makes him the leading opposition candidate.

Klitschko's popularity seems poised to rise as he has recently taken a leading role in the pro-Western protests that have been sweeping through Ukraine after current president Viktor Yanukovych decided not to sign a political and economic treaty with the EU. The move caused hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians to take the the streets in protest. Klitschko has led the protesters with great poise, doing his best to ensure that the protests remain peaceful and well organized.

Klitschko shared his views on the protests with the Associated Press claiming, "This is not a revolution. It is a peaceful protest that demands justice. The people are not defending political interests. They are defending the idea of living in a civilized country.”

People have been taking notice of Klitschko's political stances and support for him continues to grow. Not that many people would disagree with a six-foot-seve behemoth who has a career record of 45-2 with 41 of his wins coming by way of knockouts. Speaking of which here's a video of Klitschko being a total badass.

It will be interesting to see what 2015 brings, particularly with Russia putting so much pressure on Ukraine to sever ties in the West and promote a stronger relationship with Moscow. Could Klitschko stand up to Vladimir Putin like he has so many heavyweight champions? Or will the man who swims with dolphins and steals Super Bowl rings continue to remain the undisputed Eastern European champ?

Putin v. Klitschko could be the heavyweight fight of the 21st century.
Regardless, keep an eye out for Dr. Ironfist, he could be coming to an ex-Soviet Bloc, Eastern European Republic near you!

Bruins-Canadiens Rivalry Renewed Thursday Night

The Boston Bruins will cross over into the Great White North Thursday night to take on their arch rivals, the Montreal Canadiens.

It will be the first match-up of the year for these two, and for both teams, it is a must-win game.  While the Bruins remain top dog in the Atlantic division, the Habs have gone 8-1-1 over their last 10, and have won three in a row coming into a three-game homestand.  The B's have 38 points on the season with a 18-7-2 record, but the hated Habs are hot on their heels with 37 points from a 17-9-3.

So what can we expect from this game?

Both, to the crowd's delight and coaches' dismay, will look to get their physical games going early, which will inevitably lead to some odd-man rushes, but barring a complete defensive meltdown, don't expect too many goals to get by Carey Price or Tuukka Rask.  The two netminders are third and fourth in the entire league for save percentage (.937, .935) and sixth and fifth in the league for their goals against average (2.00, 1.90) respectively.

Offensively, both teams average under three goals scored per game, Boston with 2.74 and Montreal with 2.69, and are the top two in North America with 1.96 and 2.03 goals allowed per game figures.  Both teams have an .824 winning percentage when scoring first.  So where do these teams differ?

Montreal makes their money is with the play of their specialty units.  When the Habs power play takes the ice, they are scoring nearly a quarter of the time, and their penalty kill has been stalwart with an 86 percent success rate.  They look to the play of their young guns, namely linemates Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk who have combined for 15 goals on the season and this weird pumpkin carving contest.

The Bruins sport a plus-20 goal differential and have overcome several injuries that have forced players to miss time like Loui Eriksson, Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg.  They are just as hot as the Canadiens, going 7-2-1 in their last 10 and winning two straight.

Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell said several times throughout his team's World Series run that there were some games and situations that looked bleak, but his team stuck to their motto and rallying cry of: "find a way."  And that is what the Bruins have done this season.  Through injuries and bad bounces, this team has refused to stay down.  They were trounced by the Detroit Red Wings 6-1, dragged themselves to practice the next day (on Thanksgiving, no less), and two days later led a spirited comeback against the New York Rangers.

They don't rely on one player or one line.  Boston can roll four lines, and get production from the blazing one-timers by Jarome Iginla or the sneaky wristers launched by Shawn Thornton. They struggled early, but have found ways to complete a 60 minute game, and could be deadly if Montreal gets caught on long shifts.

Puck drops at 7:30.  To get your mind right for the game, check out the rivalry game of the century in the video above.  Hard to believe that was almost three years ago.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Emerson Faculty Having a Hissy Fit That Ron Burgundy is on Campus - “I was opposed to it from the start,” says Assistant Professor of Journalism Mark Leccese. “I don’t see what the college gets out of it, other than having its name in the media for a day. 

"I don’t see this Hollywood publicity stunt [enhancing] the reputation of Emerson’s School of Communication.”

Leccese’s discomfort was echoed by Journalism Professor Emmanuel Paraschos.

“We get calls from colleagues around the country asking if us if we lost our minds,” he said. “My college roommate called me and said, ‘What are you people smoking?’”

Paraschos has taken to wearing a specially-made name tag reading, “Ron Burgundy Professor of Journalism.” Only he has flipped the words “Emerson College” on the name tag upside down. Associate Department Chair Doug Struck took a show-me stance. “My students tell me Will Ferrell is funny,” he said. “They also tell me they have done their course work. I am skeptical on both accounts.”

"I don't see what the college gets out of it..." Let me break this down for you, Mark Leccese, you nitwit.

Major news outlets are talking about Emerson College right now --> Emerson gets noteriety ---> The notoriety gets kids interested in your communications and/or journalism  program. ----> Those kids apply to Emerson. -----> The same kids are accepted, come to Emerson and pay tuition ------> YOU KEEP YOUR FUCKING JOB...

College professors, for the most part, are such pompous bastards. All high and mighty and above everyone. Pushing their archaic beliefs on students who are paying like $3,000 for every hour in front of them. When your school's two most famous graduates are Conan O'Brien and Henry "The Fonz" Winkler, it's time to get off your high horse. Just be happy that because of Ron Burgundy, come September you will still have a job.

Looking good, Mark, looking good.

Why You Should be Thanking Jacoby Ellsbury

I'm grateful to Jacoby Ellsbury. I remember going to a Portland Sea Dogs game with my Grampy when Ellsbury was still in the minors. My Grampy looked at me and said, "Jordan watch him play, because trust me, he won't be here for long."

To say my Grampy was right would be an understatement and Ellsbury's career is a testament to that fact. He was a crucial part of two World Series runs. Defensively, he's played with reckless abandon, throwing his body around Fenway Park's outfield to make fantastic catches. He's been a terror on the base paths stealing 70 bases in 2009 and 241 over the course of his career. Finally, Ellsbury is one of only 34 players in MLB history to make it into the 30/30 (30 steals and 30 home runs in a season) club.

Yesterday, Ellsbury once again came through for me by deciding to leave the Sox. Yes, he went to the Yankees and people feel betrayed, but for Ellsbury, it makes sense. Yankee Stadium has a small outfield, meaning Ellsbury has less ground to cover defensively. The short porch in right could help boost his power numbers allowing him to remain and elite player as his speed dwindles. At 29, he becomes the youngest projected Yankee starter...

Let's take a second for that one to sink in.

And finally I'm sure it's hard to walk away from $153 million especially when Scott Boras is your agent.

That being said, Ellsbury is one of the most overvalued players in the league. He's a tremendous player, to be sure, but statistically with the exception of his speed, there is little to command the contract he got. To prove this point lets look at how Ellsbury compares to other free agent outfielders.

Ellsbury lacks power. His one 30 home run season must be considered an apparition at this point as he's never hit more than 10 dingers in any of his other six major league seasons. Over the past two seasons Ellsbury hit a total of 13 home runs. Shin-Soo Choo (37), Curtis Granderson (50), Carlon Beltran (56), Nelson Cruz (51), Raul Ibanez (48)Nate McLouth (19) AND EVEN RAJAI DAVIS (14) have all shown more power than Ellsbury during that span.

Yes this Rajai Davis. That's the smile of a man who has more homers than Ellsbury.
That being said, as a lead-off man, Ellbury's job is to get on base. His career .297 batting average (BA) and .350 on-base percentage (OBP) are nothing to scoff at, but are also quite unremarkable. Granderson's batting average is only .261 but his OBP of .340 is comparable. Choo's career .289 average is impressive and his .389 OBP far surpasses Ellsbury's mark.

Beltran has a career .283 average and .359 OBP. McClouth is only a .250 hitter but has a career OBP of .334. Even Chris Coghlan (.337) and Juan Pierre (.343) have comparable career OBPs. Once again, Ellsbury's ability to get on base, while impressive, is by no means exceptional.

Defensively, Ellsbury deserves some credit. He's won the Gold Glove award and boasts a career .995 fielding percentage. But once again, this really doesn't make him special. McLouth also owns a Gold Glove and a career .991 fielding percentage. Beltran, although his centerfielding days are behind him, won three Gold Gloves at the position and has a career .986 fielding percentage. Even Granderson, who has never won a Gold Glove is a career .994 fielder.

Ellsbury is a solid centerfielder, but utilizes his speed to make up for average reads to track down balls that would otherwise fall. As he gets older and his speed declines, more of these balls will fall and its likely Ellsbury will need to move to right or left - as most centerfielders eventually do

The injuries speak for themselves. Jacoby has only played over 150 games twice in his full six years in the league. People have made the case that he played through injuries this past year, however he still missed 30 games and I don't buy it. It was a contract year, I don't know if this type of grit and determination will be there going forward. Ellsbury is also 29 years old and stands to lose his durability over time. It's sad for a player of such potential to have his production hindered by injury, but the fact is that there are some players who play 150+ games a season and those who don't, and Ellsbury doesn't look to be dethroning Cal Ripken Jr. anytime soon.

The one thing you can't take away from the man is speed. His 52 stolen bases topped the majors this year and every season he's been healthy Ellsbury has swiped at least 39 bases. But is speed worth $153 million? Davis has stole at least 29 bases for each of the last six seasons. In fact, during four of the last five seasons Davis has swiped at least 40 bags.

The other issue is that Ellsbury's speed is going to decline with age. Lets look at the all-time leader in stolen bases, Rickey Henderson. Between the ages of 20 and 30 Henderson stole at least 60 bases in each of eight full seasons he played. From the ages of 31 to 44 Henderson stole at least 60 bases only twice! If the greatest of all-time couldn't keep up his production, I'm sorry to say Ellsbury can't either.

I'm sad to see Ellsbury go, but the fact of the matter is that general manager Ben Cherington was right to let him walk (which ironically he didn't do enough of in Boston). You can't spend $153 million nor invest seven years in stolen bases alone. With this type of money it's conceivable that the Sox could go after another another outfielder. There is talk of the Sox pursuing a trade with the Dodgers for either Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier. More interestingly Choo's name has also come up over the past twenty hours. I'm hopping on the Choo-Choo train here. If the Sox sign Choo I will be the first one in line to purchase his jersey.

If this happens I will be the happiest Sox fan ever.
All I can say is thank you, Jacoby. It's been a great six years, you've given us the prime of your career and done so much for the organization and I wish you all the best with the Yankees. But now it's time for us to part ways and I think that it's for the best.

2014 MLB Season Starting to Take Shape with Flurry of Early December Moves

Major League Baseball has been an absolute merry-go-round the past 72 hours.  Every team with the exception of the Milwaukee Brewers has made some sort of move since December 1.
The biggest news of December so far has been the Jacoby Ellsbury signing by the New York Yankees, a deal worth seven years and $153 million.  Unbeknownst to Red Sox Nation, an understudy of Johnny Damon for years, Ellsbury will now be playing the lead role of Judas in 2014.

But this offseason hasn't been all bad news! When I look at the list of transactions, what's move stands out to me as one of the best?  The Chicago Cubs signing former Red Sox and Blue Jays great Eric Hinske as their first base coach.  Great clubhouse guy, and if this isn't one of the best catches you've ever seen, I'll eat my hat.

Reigning World Champion catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Miami Marlins, barely after the sun sank on the day the Boston Red Sox secured A.J. Pierzynski for next season.  The Houston Astros inked Dexter Fowler in a deal with the Colorado Rockies as they begin their quest out of the basement and into mediocrity.  The Oakland A's have shipped my boy Jemile Weeks over to the Baltimore Orioles for closer Jim Johnson, leaving Grant Balfour to sit in his house circling 'wanted' ads in the paper.

Balfour, along with Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo, Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano remain some of the biggest free agent names left.  But players such as John Axford, J.P. Arencibia, Sam Fuld, Ronald Belisario and Garrett Jones find themselves unemployed at the moment as their respective teams have declined to offer them new deals for the upcoming year.

And the ol' rumor mill is still churning up stories faster than you can say "expanded instant replay."  Boston has been pursuing Matt Kemp, the Detroit Tigers are looking to lock up Joe Nathan as their new, sane closer. The Seattle Mariners are now the frontrunners in the pathetic bidding war for Cano/Jay-Z's desired 10-year, $300 million contract, tipping their hand that they are willing to exceed $200 million.

As they say, when the weather cools down, things start heating up.  I don't know who says that, but I've definitely heard it before.  Though there have been some significant signings already, the 2013-14 offseason is just kicking into gear.

"Drink A Beer" By Luke Bryan

Amazing and moving song. I don't think you need to be a country music fan to enjoy this tune from Luke Bryan. To give a quick background, Bryan lost a brother and a sister suddenly in recent years, and this song is about them.

Maybe it's the Irish or the upstate NY in me, but this song hits home. I'm sure everyone can think of someone who you can "drink a beer" in memory of. The interview below gives a really good background of Luke Bryan and the song.

Now back to blogging about girls, cookies and porn.

Big Egos Require Big Contracts

To me, the most disturbing thing about the Jacoby Ellsbury trade is not the fact that he’s leaving the Red Sox after their textbook Cinderella World Series run, nor is it that he went to the New York Yankees, of all teams.  The most disturbing thing is the sheer size of his new contract and a trend that is starting to spiral completely out of control in professional sports.

Star athletes need to be validated by their contracts.  Athletes have come to view their contract size as the ultimate mark of success in their sport.  It’s not the number of championships they win or awards they receive.  It’s not even their individual statistics or records.  In the end, all they really care about is how much they get paid doing it.

I lose a lot of respect for an athlete who holds out for a bigger contract.  When an athlete holds out, he shows both his teammates and the fans that money trumps all.  It is made quite clear that money is more important than the success of his team and the support of his fans.

What’s worse than holding out on your team for more money, is abandoning them for more money; and worse than that is heading over to a rival team in pursuit of your big pay day.

The issue is that these athletes aren’t looking for these bigger contracts to help them feed their kids or to help them pay their bills.  They don’t need that extra $10 million, on top of what’s already a multi-million dollar deal, to provide for their families.  These bigger contracts are all about their ego.

When one of these superstar athletes retires, nobody remembers the size of their contracts. No fan ever looks back on a player’s record-breaking career and recites their pay rate.  When being considered for the Hall of Fame, the amount of money made during their time in the league holds no weight.

Therefore, when star athletes are getting seven-year contracts worth $153 million (like Ellsbury's), I guess the real purpose of such exorbitance is just to make them feel better about themselves.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Let's Talk About Turkey...

I just had my eighth turkey sandwich in the past five days and I can't get over how good leftover turkey is during the week after Thanksgiving. Until this weekend I am the Bubba Blue of turkey. Turkey is happiness incarnate. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There's turkey kabobs, turkey creole, turkey gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir fried. There's pineapple turkey, lemon turkey, coconut turkey...

Alright, you get the idea. If you don't agree why don't you go do yourself a quick lap and then NEVER TALK TO ME AGAIN because you're lying to yourself and to me. Thank God when the Pilgrims and Native Americans decided to get together for dinner almost 400 years ago someone was smart enough to say "Hey, that thing's neck looks like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly... lets eat it to celebrate out friendship!"

The ultimate irony of turkey is that as much as I love it during the course of this week, I want no part of it at any other time. Turkey is the black sheep of the poultry family. Chicken went out and got a Ph. D. in deliciousness. Duck had to overcome a lot of obstacles, but has turned out fairly well and is steadily employed. TURKEY HAS DONE NOTHING! Turkey spends the year in his parents basement watching reruns of American Gladiators and flipping through two year old "TV Guide" magazines.

Once a year, turkey just shows up at Thanksgiving and hopes for the best. It's downright embarrassing that people had to put a chicken and a duck inside of a turkey to actually make it good. It's dry, bland, has no taste, and puts you to sleep within half an hour, just like a made-for-TV ABC Family movie.

Essentially I've got three days left before I hate turkey again. For the next 72 hours, my life is going to be a blur of grease, cranberry sauce and shame. By Saturday, I'll just dabble in turkey. By Monday, turkey will be like that friend who comes "for the weekend" and ends up staying for 5 days. Dude, I like you, but I need my space.

Finally Wednesday will come around and I'm going to treat my turkey like Walter White's pizza.

Do People Actually Say "Wicked Pissah?"

The other day I came across an article entitled “13 Sayings Only People From New England Can Understand.”  Of course, in the spirit of lists like this, the majority of the sayings on the list don’t fit. (See Buzzfeed) There were some sayings that I’ve never even heard before and some I'm sure I’ll never hear, and I’ve lived in New England my whole life.

I could provide insight into each one of these supposed “New England sayings,” but I’ll spare everyone.  However, I cannot spare the number one saying on the list, “wicked.”  A paragraph under this saying goes further into detail and quotes the use of the saying “wicked pissah.” Here’s where I get confused.

Is the saying “wicked pissah” actually something that people say?  The only times I’ve ever been exposed to this saying is when I either pass by vendors outside of Fenway Park or the TD Garden and see it printed on shirts or when I come across pretentious lists like these.

Being from Rhode Island, it’s possible I haven’t been around the demographics that use this phrase, but I’ve been in Boston since starting at Emmanuel in 2008 and not once have I ever heard this saying used authentically.

So please, someone tell me, does anyone really say this?  Because it seems to me that this saying has been assigned to this region and is as off base as 90% of Boston accents heard in TV shows and movies.

One more thing; doesn’t “pissah” sound like a bad thing?

Also, this video is somewhat related and I wanted to include it because I laugh every time that idiot says “Arahbicah BAINS!”

Oh, and here's the link to that sayings list of you have some time to waste.

Brutus The Bear Literally "In Da House!"

Say hello to Brutus the bear.... Just remember next holiday meal when your fat cousin eats all the mashed potatoes it could be worse.

PS: How about that lamp with the moose on it. I NEED that lamp.

DJ Big Cat Joins the Team!

Three if by Strike has been doing some big things over the past couple weeks. Max and Span have both hopped on board and are writing up a storm. We're generating more posts than ever, you're loving them and we're just getting warmed up.

Like the Sox we're looking to add some veteran depth to our rotation with our latest move, the acquisition of Jaime De Pena, aka Big Cat, aka DJ Big Cat, aka Gato Grande, aka "a mouse under a blanket".

Hailing from Yonkers, New York, Big Cat is a baseball aficionado, holding down 1st base for the Emmanuel College baseball team for several years and also earning accolades for his work on the Fenway Park Grounds Crew. Additionally, Big Cat adds some much needed basketball knowledge to the blog (because believe it or not the Celtics are still a team). DJ Big Cat should also provide a nice balance to Span and Jon's country loving ways with his own musical tastes.

Finally, Big Cat will be running Three if by Strike's twitter account. Start following us at @ThreeifbyStrike if you aren't already and let us know what you think. This is just a taste of what the Big Cat has to offer, the kid is a fashion guru, a cool customer with the ladies, can talk sports for hours, and did we mention he can dance?

Shabazz Napier Turns December Top 15 Match-Up Into an Instant Classic

Just let this one sink in.

During the Iron Bowl Saturday night, I was getting rowdy when Auburn was running that missed field goal back, because you just don't see that - especially to end a game that big.  But Monday night, I was banging the table even harder and I'm pretty sure my yell even included a weird voice crack as the result of pure excitement and shock.

The UConn Huskies held a slim lead going into the second half against the Florida Gators in Gampel Pavilion, and the final 20 minutes were a ball fight.  Florida looked like they were trying to slip away, but as time ticked by, UConn slowly chipped away at the lead, keeping the game within one possession for what seemed like ages.

Finally, with 17.7 seconds to go, UConn was inbounding the ball under the Gators basket, with time enough for the last possession of the game.  The rest...well, as you might've guessed, was left up to Shabazz Napier.

And he did not disappoint.

At Least You're Not a Browns Fan...

Writing alongside three Buffalo Bills fans can be quite depressing. The very legitimate playoff hopes that Jon, Bill and Span had entering this past weekend were stripped faster than the ball from tight end Scott Chandler's gentle hands. (Too soon?)

Honestly, I feel bad for the guys. It takes a lot of patience and heartache to root for a team like the Bills. They've basically been toeing the line of the friend zone with that one really attractive girl from college and/or high school for the past 14 years (The last time the Bills made the playoffs). Every year there's a glimmer of hope and then BAM! they're stuck in her apartment eating stale cookies and watching Love Actually by themselves while she's heading to her ex-boyfriend's house.

It's okay guys, at least you aren't Browns fans...

Red Sox Sign 'The Most Hated Man in Baseball'

The Red Sox have finalized a one-year deal with former bleach blonde, frosted tips catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

Pierzynski, who has played for the Twins, Giants, White Sox and Rangers since 1998, is probably most known for either being the most hated man in baseball or for getting punched in the face by former Cubs catcher Michael Barrett (and subsequently getting saved by former Red Sox great Scott Podsednik.)

This deal crushes any hopes of Boston re-signing one of last year's world champions in Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who is seeking a longer term deal than the previously offered two years.  With a couple of prospects in the minors for Boston, they wanted to stay away from anything long term as much as possible, and Saltalamacchia had previously said he was going to go with the deal that offered him the most security.

Pierzynski has always been able to hit right-handed pitching, and next season will just be two years removed from his last Silver Slugger award.  He has caught Mark Buehrle's no-hitter as well as Philip Humber's perfect game.  He holds the American League record for consecutive errorless chances at 962.

Spring Training is a long way off, which will give Red Sox Nation plenty of time to come around to the signing.  There is no denying the 36-year-old career .283 hitter will be a valuable asset to the Sox, but a month removed from the Red Sox World Series parade, its just hard to warm up to the idea of the different looking team so soon.

Let's Chat About Christmas Cookies: The Top 5

It's that time of year, ladies and gents. Christmas cookie season. So before you start expanding your waistline on pinwheels and lemon squares, let's review the Top 5 Christmas Cookies.

5: Sugar Cookies: They need to be shaped like something seasonal and have frosting or they are disqualified.

4: These Things: Yup, your store-bought frosted cookie. So damn good. Even saw them shaped as Christmas trees once. I can furiously take down a container of these things faster than.... (I would really love to place a Paul Walker line here but Jon will fire me if I do).

3: I Guess The Official Name For This Is A "Peanut Butter Blossom": I call it a nipple cookie... I like nipples. That is all.

2: Hello Dolly's: Amateur hour is over. These things are for real. Chocolate chips, coconut, graham crackers. Deadly trio.

1: Peanut Butter Balls: My Aunt Karen can make a peanut butter ball like nobody's business. If you're eating an Oreo ball, you're wrong.  And if your peanut butter ball is crunchy, you're wrong. Chocolate, peanut butter, sugar and nothing more. Pure perfection.

Monday, December 2, 2013

And the 100th "Hottest" Song This Week According to Billboard's "The Hot 100" Is...

Everybody hears the Top 40 songs way too often. So let's try something different. The 100th best song of the week every week.

Some weeks it will be a washed up hit. Other weeks it will be something new, maybe even a future #1 on the rise. I can guarantee you one thing though the 100th best song in America could be anything from country to hip-hop to polka.

So stay on your toes, folks. We're in for a wild ride.

Week 1:
Artist: Jon Pardi
Song: Up All Night
Peak: 99 (last week)

My Rating:
If you're into country music you have heard this jam. It's a real toe-tapper. Jon Pardi is new on the scene but if he keeps firing off singles like this, you will be hearing his name more often. Throw it on your 2014 country power hour playlist and drink up. 

You Stay Classy... Bismarck!

Ron Burgundy has been seemingly everywhere as of late. The newscasting guru of the great San Diego area has gotten around making appearances on Conan and starring in a slew of Dodge Durango commercials.

Now Burgundy is taking it to a whole new level. This video has been floating around for a couple days now and it's well worth a watch if you've got half an hour to kill. To promote his upcoming movie Anchorman 2 Will Ferrell got into character and allowed the people of Bismarck, North Dakota to experience the splendor of having Ron Burgundy as their anchorman for the night.

(There are a couple points when the screen goes black for commercials.)

A few things to keep in mind here. Ferrell deserves credit for staying in character for the entire half hour and genuinely doing a pretty good job of sharing the news. Co-anchor Amber Schatz and weatherman Jared Piepenburg somehow manage to hold it together and deserve props for that.

A special shout out to reporter Kay Cooley who absolutely kills her segment. I think I laughed as much at her as I did at Ferrell. The girl has talent, plain and simple.

Check out the video and let us know what you think and don't forget to check out Anchorman 2 when it hits theaters Christmas Day.