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    Dan Shaughnessy

    Patriots look primed for Super Bowl again

    Picked-up pieces while wondering if Billy Beane finally can secure the services of the Greek God of Walks . . .

      I think the Patriots are going to the Super Bowl. Who is better in the AFC? Houston? . . . maybe. But I like the Patriots’ chances to get back to the big game. That said, prepare for this: If the Patriots get to the Super Bowl, they probably will be underdogs. And they will have a chance to become the first team in professional football history to lose five Super Bowls. The Vikings, Broncos, Bills, and Patriots each have lost the uber game four times. How’s that for turning a positive thought into a negative?

      Harvard 69, Columbia 0. The Crimson scored 35 points in the second quarter. Trying to impress the BCS computer I guess.


      My skull almost imploded when I read stat geek reaction to the Gold Glove Awards. The sun-starved number crunchers go ballistic when anyone renders an opinion that contradicts data manufactured by Bill James and his minions. In his well-crafted “Keeping Score” column, the New York Times’ Benjamin Hoffman wrote, “the coaches and managers, charged with identifying the best fielders at each position got things mostly right this season.’’ But fanboys are not happy with the selection of Adam Jones over Mike Trout as the American League’s best center fielder. According to the vaunted “Fielding Bible Awards” Trout was statistically far superior. He had more DRS (defensive runs saved). Hoffman concluded, “Now Trout will have to wait and see if traditional thinking will also keep him from the MVP.’’ Wow. Apparently, stupid ballplayers and managers — the people actually on the field — are as clueless as lodge-member baseball writers to still think RBIs are meaningful. Will they never understand defensive metrics and Wins Above Replacement?

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      Speaking of stupid traditional thinking, is anybody else saddened by the loss of the “center” position on the NBA All-Star ballot? It’s just “bigs” and “smalls’’ now. We have 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s, but we don’t have any centers.

      Isn’t it about time for another organization to honor Bob Kraft? I think it’s been almost a half-hour since Kraft picked up his last award.

      Explaining the Ray Allen backlash from Celtics fans, reader Tim Smith wrote, “To quote Elie Wiesel . . . ‘the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.’ ’’

      The Toronto-Detroit Winter Classic telecast from the Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich., would have been the most-watched game in the history of the National Hockey League.


      Fenway Sports Management, the sister company of Fenway Sports Group, last week tweeted about Eli Manning designing his own donut for Dunkin’ Donuts. The Red Sox already have signed LeBron James as a client. Looks like Eli is warming up in the on-deck circle. Is FSG ready to promote Alex Rodriguez, Bill Laimbeer, Ulf Samuelsson, and Eric Mangini?

      Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko gives back as much as any athlete in our community. Wish he could run for office.

      When David Stern announced his retirement (slated for 2014) he was credited with presiding over a 28-year period that produced “eight different NBA champions.’’ Excuse me? That’s an embarrassing stat, not one of which to be proud. The NBA lacks competitive balance like no other league. It’s the same powers every year. Take a look at the preseason odds of winning the championship for all NBA teams. Fourteen teams were 100-1 shots (or worse).

      The inspiring story of Mark Herzlich keeps getting better. Undrafted out of Boston College after his battle with Ewing’s sarcoma, Herzlich won a Super Bowl ring last year and started for the Giants Sunday against the Steelers.

      Sad to learn of the murder of former Braves pitcher Pascual Perez at his home in the Dominican Republic. Perez was best known for missing a start while getting lost on Atlanta freeway I-285 trying to find Fulton County Stadium in 1982. The estimable Peter Gammons dubbed him, Pascual “Baby You Can Drive My Car” Perez.


      In the rim-clanking spirit of Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal, Dwight Howard went 3 for 14 from the line in his first game with the Lakers. Maybe he should try the Wilt-Rick Barry underhand toss.

      During any NFL season, Friday is Bill Belichick’s best day of the week. He’s finished with game preparation and talks about football. His love of the game emerges. Here’s a little of what he said on the Friday before the Jets game: “When I was in high school in Annapolis, I played for Al Laramore, who was Maryland coach of the year . . . We won a ton of games and we ran four plays: 22 Power, 24 Quick Trap, 28 Counter, and Sprint Right and that was it. When we ran them to the other side, we just flipped formation. The whole line flipped and the play went the other way; 22 Power, 24 Quick Trap, 28 Counter, and Sprint Left. That was the entire offense . . . Then went I went to Andover and played for Steve Sorota . . . the quarterback called his own plays. They didn’t send them in; they didn’t tell him what to call. They got in the huddle and he may have asked for a suggestion from me or Ernie [Adams] or somebody, but he called whatever he wanted to call and that was the offense.’’ Belichick went on and on that day, giving answers longer than Kennedy’s inaugural address. It was like reading David Halberstam’s “The Education of a Coach.’’ Wish he shared this stuff more often.

      I’m guessing Schill won’t be called upon to deliver Ohio this year.

    Dan Shaughnessy can be reached at