Picked-up pieces while reminding ourselves yet again that this truly is the greatest sports town in America …
▪ What was your preference this weekend? Celtics-Hawks in playoff Game 1 Saturday afternoon at the Garden? Sunday afternoon’s celebration of the Boston Strong 2013 World Series champs at Fenway? How about Boston sports’s Magic Monday?
On Monday morning, you can watch Babe Ruth/Shohei Ohtani pitch against the Sox at Fenway (where Babe actually pitched!). After the game, you can walk down to Kenmore Square and watch thousands of runners in the 127th Boston Marathon. Then, you can waltz through the Back Bay and finish your day on Causeway Street, watching the historic 2023 Bruins launch their playoff run against the Florida Panthers.
It’s the best time of our sports year. Let’s just hope the Sox don’t get eliminated before the Celtics or Bruins.
The Celtics and Bruins both have legitimate championship hopes. The Green made it to the Finals last year, and it looks like they have a path through Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee to return this spring. The Bruins, meanwhile, are attempting to win their second Stanley Cup in 51 years and come into the playoffs with a 65-win team that smashed all the regular-season NHL records.
You all know the math. After going from 1986-2002 without a championship, our teams have produced 12 duck boat parades in this century — six thanks to Tom Brady, four by the Sox, and one each by the Celtics and Bruins.
The confetti stopped flying after Brady & Co. won in Atlanta in February of 2019, and we are officially in our longest title drought of this millennium.
This ancient typist was at every championship clincher — New Orleans, Houston, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Denver, the Garden, Vancouver, Fenway, Glendale, Houston (again), Los Angeles, and Atlanta. I have 12 framed Globe front pages to prove it.
Now there’s an empty frame on my home office wall, ready for the next one. I bought it before the Bruins came home for Game 7 against the Blues in June of 2019.
It’s ready. Will it scream “Banner 18,″ “Our Cup Runneth Over,” or perhaps remain blank for a few more months, maybe years?
Gentlemen, start your playoffs.
▪ Quiz: Name seven major leaguers who hit at least 500 homers and stroked at least 3,000 hits (answer below).
▪ It’s hard to put into words just how far the Red Sox have fallen. Blame ownership. Blame Chaim Bloom. Blame yourselves for enabling management by continuing to pay the highest prices in MLB for a Triple A product.
It’s amazing that there’s still a core of Bloominati and loyalists who applaud ownership saying goodbye to homegrown stars and assembling a roster of broken-down, over-the-hill talents on short-term deals.
In this spirit, it’s past time for former Sox players who currently work for NESN to realize that this roster is not the hill to die on. Stop pumping their tires before you lose all credibility. The three, four, and six hitters in the Sox lineup Thursday were batting .143 (Triston Casas), .158 (Rob Refsnyder), and .125 (Kike Hernández).
▪ Watching Franchy Cordero hit four homers and knock in 11 runs in his first week with the Yankees was perhaps the ultimate insult to a beleaguered Sox Nation. Cordero became the first player in Yankee history to record four or more homers and 11 or more RBIs in his first seven games with the Bronx Bombers. Not Ruth. Not Gehrig. Not DiMaggio. Not Costanza. Cordero.
It’s as if the baseball gods are punking Brother Bloom’s Traveling Salvation Show.
▪ Hernández, Yu Chang, and Bobby Dalbec taking over at shortstop for Xander Bogaerts reminds me of Hank Finkel replacing Bill Russell in 1969. Imagine the Boston Red Sox asking a player to learn how to play shortstop at the major league level!
Prior to starting at short at Tampa Wednesday, Dalbec’s experience at the position amounted to zero games in college, three innings in the minors, and 14 innings in the majors. This is roster-building malpractice.
▪ Chris Sale’s ERA after three starts is 11.25. He has not been a dominant pitcher since the middle of 2018. That’s five years ago. Oh, and not to be negative, but Masataka Yoshida has been out with a hamstring injury and went into the weekend batting .216.
▪ Can fans do the right thing and vote for Bill Parcells for the Patriots Hall of Fame? Parcells — the only man good enough for the Pro Football Hall of Fame but not for the vaunted Patriots Hall of Fame — is a finalist for Foxborough enshrinement for a fifth time. He’s on the ballot with Mike Vrabel and Logan Mankins.
We’ve reached a point where snowplow driver Mark Henderson and Jimmy “Hotfingers” McNally probably would get more votes than the Tuna, but Patriots fans need to reject the Bob Kraft narrative that Kraft invented this franchise. Parcells is the one who changed its identity.
▪ Basketball Hall of Famer and former NBA MVP Dave Cowens called with a few things to say about sportsmanship.
“I played more than 800 NBA games, and never did any player say anything disrespectful about anyone else,” said Cowens. “I just don’t understand all of it now. Why do you need all this? We were never for pounding our chests or yelling at anybody when we did something positive.
“There’s just a lack of respect for your opponent, and the younger players see that and they think it’s fine to be disrespectful. It’s just a change in society, I guess.”
▪ A great moment from “Air” unfolds near the beginning of the film when we see Matt Damon (playing a 1980s Sonny Vaccaro) at a Vegas sportsbook rattling off requests for his daily bets. There’s a lot of “over” and “under,” and he’s sloppy with details, but when he gets to Kurt Rambis’s projected points for that night’s game, he loses track of the number and says something to the effect of “Just give me the under on Rambis, whatever it is.”
It’s a secret shout-out to Celtics fans of the 1980s.
▪ It’s been 30 years since any team from Canada won the Stanley Cup (1993 Canadiens).
▪ For the first time since 1994, all of New York’s winter teams have made the playoffs.
▪ Last Sunday’s New York Times profiled a sports bar in Portland, Ore., that shows only women’s sports on the establishment’s five televisions and features only photos of female athletes on the walls. It’s called the Sports Bra and offers a cocktail named “Title IX.”
▪ Iowa basketball star Caitlin Clark has been held under 10 points only once in her college career. That was in 2021 when she was guarded by Northwestern’s Veronica Burton, a Newton South alum (and daughter of WBZ’s Steve Burton) who now plays for the Dallas Wings in the WNBA.
▪ Best of luck to Zdeno Chara, running the Marathon Monday.
▪ MLB Network will debut “The Terry Francona Story” on Sunday, April 23, at 8 p.m.
▪ Love “In memory of Grant Wahl” at the end of the latest “Ted Lasso” episode.
▪ It is not just your imagination. There are more really bad baseball teams now than there used to be. We’re talking 100-loss bad.
In the last four full (162-game) seasons, there have been 15 100-loss teams. In 13 years between 2005-17, there were only 14. The A’s, Nationals, Pirates, and Reds all lost 100 or more last year. The Tigers certainly look capable of joining the 100-loss club in 2023.
▪ Love Baltimore’s everyday eight, but let’s remember that the core — Anthony Santander, Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins, and Ryan Mountcastle — was drafted by the ever-underrated Dan Duquette.
▪ If you watched “Daisy Jones & The Six,” you no doubt noticed that there are only five band members in The Six. Philadelphia’s vaunted Big 5 basketball group is doing the opposite. Starting next year, Drexel will join Penn, La Salle, Temple, Saint Joseph’s, and Villanova, but the cluster will still be known as the Big 5, and there will be a Big 5 city champion. The Big Ten (14 teams) knows all about this.
▪ The Heat looked like they were tanking to avoid the Celtics when they were thrashed at home by the Hawks in a play-in game Tuesday. Atlanta outrebounded lethargic Miami, 63-39, and the Hawks had 22 offensive boards to Miami’s 6. The Hawks certainly earned their weekend trip to Boston.
▪ The Wall Street Journal reports that Chris Chelios’s Malibu beach house has been listed for $75 million. Chelios bought the place for $6 million in 2003.
▪ Knopf has announced that it will publish a Brittney Griner autobiography next spring.
▪ K Men At 25: This year marks the Boston K Men’s 25th season tracking strikeouts at Fenway. The center-field fanatics are celebrating the place they’ve called home since 1998, raising funds for Boston’s student-athletes with new “FENWAY PARK” shirts and hats. Proceeds support urban talent and the work of the BASE in Roxbury. Details at bostonkmen.org.
▪ ABCD is holding its annual Field of Dreams Day at Fenway June 30. It’s a softball tournament in which companies can sponsor a team to play at the park, benefiting youth development programs to help Boston’s under-resourced young adults build better lives. For more information, call Abbie Cavalier at 617-348-6238 or go to www.abcdfieldofdreams.org.
▪ Quiz answer: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera.