Musical taste, like much of life, is highly subjective. That’s the only explanation for the Cincinnati Bengals using Katy Perry’s sappy, cliche-ridden pop anthem “Roar” as intro music until dismayed fans forced them to abandon the saccharine selection last week.
Song choices are like sports opinions, sometimes puzzling and often polarizing. In honor of the Bengals and Perry, I’m turning on the iThink and sharing a few sports thoughts from my playlist.
1. I think an underrated part of the Patriots’ offensive hiccups this season is being forced to adapt from a tight-end-centric offense to one that ignores the position.
Rob Gronkowski’s recovery from forearm and back surgeries and the incarceration of Aaron Hernandez have all but eliminated the tight end from the passing game. That will change when Gronkowski returns, which should be this week against Atlanta. The Patriots had 634 targets last season with 182 of them going to tight ends, 163 to Gronkowski and Hernandez. This season Patriots tight ends have been targeted eight times — out of 127 overall — through three games. Michael Hoomanawanui has all three tight end receptions this season.
2. I think criticizing the Los Angeles Dodgers for celebrating clinching the National League West by jumping in the pool at Arizona’s Chase Field is ridiculous. LA was 12 games under .500 and in last place on June 21. It’s particularly dubious that some are criticizing the idea that a team with a $216 million payroll engaged in such a spirited celebration. The size of your celebration now must be inversely proportional to how much you spent on your team? What is the spending ceiling for punting beer cans into the stands?
3. I think the Red Sox need to consider Felix Doubront in a relief role for the postseason. Doubront hasn’t pitched in relief since 2011, and he has a 6.39 earned run average in 21 career relief appearances. But he’s too good to be left off the postseason roster. Outside of Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, and Craig Breslow, the Sox postseason relief corps is questionable. Doubront has held lefties to a .237/.297/.325 slash line and sports a 2.67 ERA in the first inning.
4. I think there are few players more deserving of an extension than Rob Ninkovich, who agreed to a three-year, $15 million deal with the Patriots. How Ninkovich is not a Patriots captain is baffling. He is reliable, accountable, versatile, and affable. He came to the Patriots as a discarded long snapper and has turned himself into a stalwart defensive end/outside linebacker. If there were such a thing as the Patriot Way, Ninkovich would be the embodiment of it.
5. I think the next Boston professional sports athlete who gets a statue will be Tom Brady. The long-overdue Bill Russell statue is under construction and will be a significant symbol of a changed city. Tom Terrific should be the next one to get the bronze treatment. Who else is deserving of the honor? You can make a case for Roger Clemens, if you like pre-tarnished statues. A Raymond Bourque statue has merit, but the real estate outside TD Garden is already occupied by another Bruins defenseman. Pedro Martinez wasn’t here long enough. David Ortiz has been a great player, but the statue standard is all-time icon.
6. I think hazing should be eliminated from all sports teams. Kudos to Cornell University for canceling its men’s lacrosse fall season after a hazing incident that involved binge drinking forced on freshman players. But even the “lighthearted” hazing done by professional sports teams sets a bad example.
It’s not necessary for the Red Sox rookies to dress up and parade around in kilts for the final road trip. Each season, the Patriots spray their rookies with a hose and turn a corner of the practice field into an impromptu Slip ’n Slide. They also give the rooks embarrassing and abominable haircuts.
I get team bonding and the idea of humbling the newbies — carrying pads or bringing the doughnuts to a meeting is acceptable initiation — but there have to be more creative ways to foster team bonding than through humiliation.
7. I think the Patriots need to reassure and re-establish running back Stevan Ridley. He was benched during the season opener against Buffalo for fumbling and has rushed 27 times for just 75 yards in the last two games. Ridley, who rushed for 1,263 yards last season, is too important and too talented a player for the Patriots to let slip into a crisis of confidence.
8. I think I wasn’t surprised to learn who the NFL leader in interceptions is since 2008. It’s former Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel (28). The Patriots will see their old cornerback Sunday, when they play the Atlanta Falcons. You can harp on his dropped perfection-preserving interception in Super Bowl XLII or reluctance as a tackler, but the Patriots have had a cornerback carousel since Samuel left, sinking at least seven draft picks, not including the fourth-rounder they gave up for Aqib Talib (fifth in interceptions since 2003 with 22), into replacing him.
9. I think I’m loving the coverage of the English Premier League on NBC Sports Network. There is room in America for two types of world-class football on Sundays.
10. I think it would be great if Paul Pierce followed up on his ambition to open a restaurant/bar in Boston after his NBA career is over. (The signature drink could be called “Truth Serum.”) Pierce told colleague Gary Washburn he wants to be a part of the Boston community after he retires.
It’s amazing that a kid who grew up in Inglewood, Calif., as a Lakers fan and was nearly stabbed to death in Boston in 2000 would form such an emotional attachment to the city. Pierce putting down roots here would be a beneficial recruiting tool for the Celtics with future big-name NBA free agents who might have doubts about Boston.Christopher L. Gasper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cgasper.