Just a random sample of quick hits as we catch up on the events of the past weekend ...
I'm a charter member of the "I Think John Lackey Is Overrated" club. I thought it was a terrible decision by the Red Sox to throw that ridiculous contract at him, and always pegged him as middle-of-the-rotation guy who might be able to give you innings, and even shut a team down once in a while.
But that's all. He's not a front-liner, and he never was. And if the Red Sox had paid any attention to how Lackey's pitched against their own team they'd have saved their money and re-signed Jason Bay. Because, with few exceptions, the Red Sox have pounded Lackey worse than when Buster Douglas cold-cocked Mike Tyson.
That said, the fact he sucks as a pitcher shouldn't turn him into a pinata when it comes to his personal life.
Sunday night, Lackey went off on reporters because someone (we still don't know who) texted him an hour before he was supposed to start against the New York Yankees to ask him (I guess) to corroborate TMZ reports that he and his wife were getting divorced.
Well I have to questions right off the bat. First, why would someone do that? Has the media become so invasive that someone would harass the guy an hour before the biggest game he'll probably pitch this regular season? Couldn't it wait? I'm a fan of getting the story, and getting it first too. That's how I was brought up in the business.
But this? Lackey's right. That crossed a line. Even though Tiger Woods can attest to the fact that your life is not your own when you're a worldwide celebrity, I'm sure no one who covers golf would walk up to Tigger as he's teeing off at the Masters and ask him about his 10 affairs.
So, yes, that was more than a little insensitive and invasive.
As for my second question, why is Lackey even paying attention to his cell phone?????
Man, you've got the ball in a game that could possibly make or break the entire season. The difference between rescuing your team from this tailspin and kicking it further along on the road to the Underachiever's Hall of Fame rests on your overrated right arm!
What are you doing checking your text messages?
No wonder why the guy can't get out of the fourth inning half the time. If you're that unfocused you don't deserve to do well.
Onto the Patriots. There's nothing mysterious about what happened Sunday. The Patriots thought they'd just roll over the Buffalo Bills, just like they always do, but the Bills weren't having any. Lazy, sloppy play by the Patriots got the Bills back into the game, and once they got a taste of it, they weren't going to stop until they finished the job.
Good for them. I don't know about anyone else, but I like to see teams like Buffalo rise up and start counting for something ... even if it's against the Patriots.
Bill Belichick and Tom Brady aren't above learning a few lessons, even as they're getting measured for those ugly banana-colored blazers wear when they're being enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame. It's never too late, and you're never too good, to be humbled.
But there are some glaring weaknesses on that team, no? We're back to two years ago with the receivers. They don't have a deep threat, and I can't imagine how anyone would trust Chad Ochocinco after Sunday's game. It wouldn't surprise me if Belichick cut him this week and cast his lot with Matthew Slater.
Yes, the loss of Aaron Hernandez ultimately ended up hurting them (though it shouldn't have ... if you jump out to a 21-0 lead should be able to finish the job without much trouble). It would be nice if they could run the ball a little better. That way they wouldn't have to keep throwing it up and risking interceptions.
The defense is a mess. Belichick made that a priority in the short signing period between the time the walkout ended and the season began. But so far, that has been a massive disappointment. They're getting no push, and I'm sorry, but you could have Ty Law and Darrelle Revis out there together, and if the quarterback has all day to throw, he's going to beat you.
Devin McCourty is neither Ty Law nor Darrelle Revis. He's a second-year player who probably could have benefited from some off-season workouts that got wiped out by the lockout.
Kick a few of those big guys in their big asses and get them to rush the passer. That'll make the likes of Devin McCourty a much better player.
I thought maybe that last night's win over the Yankees might do the same thing for the Sox that the Ortiz home run did in '04 ... serve as a catalyst to snap out of it and start playing baseball.
Nope. It's 6-2 Baltimore in the seventh, and Tampa Bay's winning. If the this holds, the Red Sox are done. If the Buffalo Bills smelled blood, what do you suppose it is the Rays are smelling? And they're playing a Yankee team that isn't the slightest bit interested in putting the pedal all the way down to the floor.
On that subject, I'd find it real hard to gas Terry Francona for one bad season. The month of September was like some virus that just spreads through your system and destroys everything in its path. By the time you know you even have it, it's too late to do anything else but wait until it runs its course.
Every possible thing that could go wrong with this team has gone wrong. Everything. Bad luck. Bad breaks. Bad baseball. And bad attitudes.
You know, I do have a lot of sympathy for Lackey when it comes to defending him against idiots who would invade his privacy on that whole TMZ divorce thing. But having said all that, he's a big boy. And while he gets some slack for his personal problems, he gets none for choosing to make an issue out of them after what could have been the team's biggest win of the season.
Sorry. That was just wrong.
Even quicker hits ... Apparently Michael Vick thinks he's special. After breaking his hand Sunday, he went off on the referees, suggesting that their standards for protecting him are different than they are for protecting everyone else. Way to go, Michael Vick. Just when your image is somewhat on its way to being saved, show the world what a jerk you really are ... I like this Rays team a lot. They have a look about them that reminds me of those Minnesota Twins teams under Tom Kelly and Ron Gardenhire, a team that was impossible to dislike. I like the manager, Joe Maddon, who is kind of a quirky character, and I love their pitching. I don't know what happens to them if they make the playoffs, whether they run out of gas because of the energy they had to expend to get there. But if they make the post-season, they're my team. Hands down ... And, please, can the Cardinals do the same thing to the Braves? Pretty please? ... Before anyone concedes the AL West to the San Diego Chargers, let's see the Oakland Raiders play a few more games. Somebody, apparently, forgot to tell them they're supposed to suck. Right now they're 2-1, with a win over the Jets. And if you want to judge them for coughing up a big lead to the Bills, you'll have to judge the Patriots similarly ... I guess Tony Romo gets SOME props for playing with a punctured lung and broken ribs. There. I said it. It was painful, but there it is.