Dan Shaughnessy

These pieces are now falling into place

DAVID ORTIZ: 39 at end of current deal
Jim Rogash/Getty Images/File
DAVID ORTIZ: 39 at end of current deal

Picked-up pieces while hiring a food taster after reading fanboy blogs, tweets, and e-mails . . .

The Red Sox would be out of their minds to give David Ortiz a contract extension. This has nothing to do with lifetime achievement, hitting .688 to win the World Series, Ortiz being runner-up for Sportsman of the Year, or his budding status as the Face of Baseball. It’s not about Papi’s popularity. It’s not about his skills as a motivational speaker. It’s none of that. The fact is, Ortiz is under contract for next season and he’ll be 39 at the end of the deal. Ortiz has a contract. This is no time for wallet-measuring or the offensive “respect” card, which is usually followed by an athlete talking about feeding his family. It’s simply bad business to commit more cash to Ortiz when you have the leverage. Jon Lester is going into the final year of his contract. He’s the guy the Sox should be talking about extending. He’s young. There’s a risk if he plays it out. The only risk of not extending Papi would be his ability to go get another deal at the end of next season (a deal that would take him into his 40s), or the widely-held notion that Ortiz will feel underpaid and disrespected if he’s making less money than Mike Napoli next season. Too bad. Ortiz was happy with his two-year deal when he signed it last year. The Sox would be foolish to hand out a lifetime achievement parachute or cave to emotional extortion. No hard feelings. And no new deal.

The formula for beating the Patriots can’t be found on 22 Film, or the Beli-strator, or any old chalkboard left behind by Vince Lombardi and Amos Alonzo Stagg. No. To beat the Patriots you need a coach who is not afraid of Bill Belichick and a quarterback who qualifies as at least borderline elite. And then you get them to play the game in your stadium. The Baltimore Ravens have all the ingredients. They have a Big Boy coach who will not quake in his boots at the sight of Belichick and Tom Brady. They have Joe Flacco, a big, confident QB with a strong arm and a championship ring. And they have the Patriots playing on the road. New England is 3-4 away from Gillette this year.


Seeing Dave Cowens on Comcast reminds me that he might be the most underrated Celtic of all time. The legends of Cousy, Russell, Havlicek, Sam Jones, Bird, McHale, Parish, and Pierce are etched in stone, but too many folks are unaware that Cowens was MVP of the league and, at 6 feet 9 inches, regularly posted up against the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Artis Gilmore.

Get Breaking Sports Alerts in your inbox:
Be the first to know the latest sports news as it happens.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Quiz: The Red Sox used nine lefthanded players in the outfield in 2012. How many can you name? (answer below)

Are we supposed to celebrate the Red Sox’ ability to stay under the luxury tax? The Sox came within $225,666 of cracking the $178 million threshold last season. That’s good payroll management. And the Sox won the World Series. But is it the official ceiling for the Sox? Would they nix any deal — no matter how much it would help the team — to stay under the luxury-tax threshold?

Mark it down: Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis will commit a huge blunder between now and the end of the playoffs. It was astounding to see Lewis give up before halftime of the Bengals-Steelers game last Sunday night. In the second half, he was ready to send out his punt team while facing fourth and 1 midfield, down three touchdowns.

When is the last time you saw someone wearing a Tim Tebow Patriots jersey?


This from Sports on Earth’s Mike Tanier (my new idol): “Patriots officiating controversies are not like other officiating controversies. That’s because Patriots fans, supported by the New England-based sports media military-industrial complex, demand congressional intervention whenever a tacky call goes against them, yet have mass amnesia about any and all officiating breaks.’’

Watching Dez Bryant leave the field while the Cowboys were still playing the Packers reminded me of the night Scottie Pippen quit on the Michael Jordan-less Bulls when they didn’t call his number for the final shot.

If I ran the Yankees, I’d have listened to Nick Cafardo and moved Derek Jeter to second and signed Stephen Drew.

Michael Hoomanawanui actually has two fewer letters in his last name than both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ben Roethlisberger. Still, he is destined to be known as “The Hoo-Man,’’ and against the Dolphins he was the One-Armed Man when he made his touchdown catch.

This can’t be what the folks at Boston College had in mind when they hired Steve Donahue away from Cornell.


Kobe Bryant’s dad, Joe Bryant, was known as “Jellybean,’’ when he roamed the hardwood in the NBA. Kobe’s middle name is “Bean.’’ Kobe Bean Bryant.

Love the way Patriots fans mock Peyton Manning. You know — he can’t play in the cold, he spits the bit in the playoffs, he couldn’t get any points on the board in three possessions of overtime in Foxborough last month. Just asking, does Tom Brady get credit for putting points on the board in that overtime? Denver ran under its own punt and the Patriots took over at the Broncos’ 13-yard line.

Aqib Talib could be flagged on just about every play.

It was the ultimate win-win for John Henry when Jacoby Ellsbury took out a full-page ad to thank Boston fans in our paper last week. Henry didn’t have to pay Ellsbury $153 million and got Ells to shell out big bucks to advertise in the Sox owner’s newspaper. Very classy of Ellsbury. And remember what Bob Ryan said about Ellsbury, he never lied to us.

I wonder where Bill Belichick would house his team if the Patriots made it to Super Bowl XLVIII? I hear Hoboken, N.J., is nice in February. Now try to imagine the cluster of chaos if a big storm forces the NFL to postpone the Feb. 2 game. One of the contingency plans has the game being played a full week later, on Sunday, Feb. 9.

Quiz answer: Daniel Nava, Carl Crawford, Scott Podsednik, Cody Ross, Ryan Kalish, Lars Anderson, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Sweeney, Adrian Gonzalez.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @dan_shaughnessy