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DAN SHAUGHNESSY

Picked-up pieces from world of sports

Jon Lester has done a magnificent job keeping his impending free agency out of the news.

RICH SCHULTZ/GETTY IMAGES

Jon Lester has done a magnificent job keeping his impending free agency out of the news.

Picked-up pieces while sorting through vicious messages from those gentle, progressive, inclusive, oh-so-tolerant fans of “The Beautiful Game” . . .

In the wake of Theo’s Revenge, the Red Sox are nine games under .500. They are 38-47 and went into Thursday’s day off just one game ahead of the last-place Rays. The Bobby Valentine Red Sox — who turned out to be the worst Sox team in 47 years — were 43-42 at this same juncture. Worst-to-first-to-worst is certainly doable. Barring a miracle, the Sox will fail to win a playoff game for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Think about that while you are paying the highest ticket prices in baseball. Your team, which has made the luxury-tax threshold a hard salary cap for itself, will go without a playoff win in five of six seasons. The Sox brass know you are SO GRATEFUL for last year’s championship. So what’s up with this team we are watching? Is everything still awesome?

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Was Jon Lester’s performance in New York Saturday night an audition for his eventual move to the Bronx? Anyone still think the Sox are going to re-sign their big-game lefthander? Lester has done a magnificent job keeping his impending free agency out of the news. I wonder if his impending exit might be a tipping point for sheep-like fans who go along with the “we are smarter than other teams” Sox bosses. Lester reminds me more of Roger Clemens every day. It’s in the way he carries himself as he goes about his work and the way he handles himself with the media. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Gisele is definitely dressing Tom. Did you see the photos of Tom wearing his wool knit sweater while strolling with Mrs. Brady in Chelsea in blazing-hot New York last weekend?

Amazing to hear Jonathan Kraft — whose family fortune was made on paper product — telling The SportsHub, “We all know what is happening to print publications, they don’t matter anymore,’’ after an unflattering portrayal of the Krafts’ Revolution ownership in Boston Magazine.

In case you were wondering, the last time the Red Sox and Yankees both missed the playoffs in the same season was 1993.

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon has thrown down the gauntlet. We’ve all been laughing at the Rays this season, but Maddon told the New York Times, “We’re in it. There’s no question we’re in it. We’re not going away. I’ll tell you right now: We’re one of the best teams in the American League. I don’t care what the record says.’’

Since Dustin Pedroia said, “I’ll be the same player that I am until I’m dead . . . the reality is, the storm’s coming,’’ he has 12 hits in five games. Pedroia did not name his third son “Brooks” after Brooks Robinson, but I reminded him that Brooks was a second baseman until the great Paul Richards moved him to third.

Seeing Anthony Rizzo play first base for the Cubs at Fenway this week reminded me of how much Jed Hoyer loves Rizzo. Hoyer was part of Theo Epstein’s baseball ops team when Rizzo was drafted by the Sox. Hoyer went to the Padres in 2009 and acquired Rizzo from the Sox in the deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez to Boston. When Hoyer took over the Cubs for Theo in 2011, he again traded for Rizzo, and today Rizzo is the Cubs’ No. 3 hitter and looks like he’s going to be in the big leagues for the next decade.

Bill Parcells is the most important person in New England Patriots history, but he won’t make it into the franchise’s Hall of Fame as long as the Kraft family keeps putting him on the ballot opposite popular players such as Tedy Bruschi and Willie McGinest.

Does Avery Bradley’s four-year, $32 million contract make him untradeable?

David Ortiz’s riff on the Sox’ schedule was downright Adrian Gonzalez-like.

Memo to the Red Sox: Where’s the love for Wade Boggs? The Sox continue to diss one of their greatest players. As Wade himself said after the Margo Adams scandal, “It’s not like I killed the president.’’

Wonder if any of today’s sluggers are getting drug exemptions for chronic thyroid issues? According to the book “Blood Sport,’’ Major League Baseball gave Alex Rodriguez permission to use testosterone. It’s called a therapeutic use exemption (TUE). This is a big embarrassment for Bud Selig as he preps for his farewell tour. If the MLB drug testing was working, why did so many of the Biogenesis fellows pass every drug test?

I’m still trying to get my head around the “great success” of a soccer team that wins one of four games and goes 215 consecutive minutes without scoring. How did it become the 1980 US Olympic hockey team? Which one is Eruzione?

Baseball giant Frank Cashen died this week. Cashen was at the helm when the Mets beat the Red Sox in the 1986 World Series, but he did his best work in his native Baltimore when he was a sportswriter who wound up running the Orioles and building a dynasty.

Not to pile on, but Jake Peavy has one win in 17 starts.

Watching Serena Williams try to serve, or even catch a bouncing tennis ball, before her Tuesday doubles withdrawal was disturbing. The weirdness was attributed to a “virus.’’ Martina Navratilova countered on espnW.com, saying, “I don’t think that’s what it was.’’

Jeff Pearlman’s “Showtime” is must reading for any Celtics fan who remembers the golden 1980s rivalry with the Lakers. And if you’re getting ready for football, try “Their Life’s Work,’’ by the estimable Gary Pomerantz.

It’s fascinating to hear from defense lawyers asking court judges to issue subpoenas that would require the Patriots to give up information on one of their ex-players. These barristers can’t possibly comprehend the Patriots’ paranoia and thirst for secrecy. The NFL hasn’t been able to get a straight story for something as insignificant as the weekly injury report. Bet the lawyers never get past Gillette’s “security command.’’

Something tells me there’s about 100 things John Farrell would rather be doing now than preparing for the 2014 All-Star Game in Minnesota.

The press box lost a couple of greats this week: Bill Kipouras of the Salem Evening News and Gerry Finn of the Springfield Union. These were kind men, ever helpful to young reporters. May they rest in peace.

If you want to get inspired here on the Fourth of July, read Pete Frates’s guest column on Bleacher Report’s website.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dan_Shaughnessy
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