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Picking up the pieces from around the sports world

Boston fans shouldn’t expect Jon Lester to sign with the Red Sox as a free agent.FILE/CHARLIE RIEDEL/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Picked-up pieces while wondering if anyone else thinks Charlie Baker looks like Roger Goodell's big brother . . .

Any way the decline of homers and the much-touted Emergence Of Middle Relief is a good thing for baseball's popularity?

Laugh all you want at Eagles starting quarterback Mark Sanchez, but he's got more road playoff wins than Tom Brady. Sanchez quarterbacked the Jets to four road playoff wins in seasons 2009 and 2010. Brady is 3-3 lifetime on the road in the playoffs. And it's more like 2½ wins because Drew Bledsoe picked up the win in relief of Tom (left leg injury) in the AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh in January 2002.


Don't you love how Bob Kraft saved his midlife transformation for his 70s?

For those who still believe the Red Sox are serious about signing Jon Lester, I have some land in Truro to sell you. Really. There's a better chance of Bill Belichick going out to lunch with Eric Mangini. The Lester number is probably going to be north of $140 million and the Sox already have drawn a line. Lester would like to come here, but not for two-thirds of what he can make. His agent doesn't want to be decertified. Lester sold his home in Greater Boston. It's over, folks. And don't forget that Lester does not cost a first-round draft pick (because he was traded last summer). Still looking for the Cubs and Yankees to make strong pitches for the former Sox ace.

Has there ever been a sports pinata like Alex Rodriguez? What are the Yankees going to do about the A-Rod problem? Do they eat the $61 million and tell him to go away? The way things are going in New York, A-Rod might be the Yankees' best player. If things stay the way they are now, your first chance to boo A-Rod will be May 1 when the Yankees come to Fenway for a weekend series. If you are in Fort Myers in March, A-Rod will probably make the bus trip for the Friday the 13th game under the lights at Fenway South.


It's hard to believe there wasn't some tampering involving Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon, but the Tampa Bay Rays will have a hard time proving it. Watching the Cubs in 2015 should be fun. Did you catch Theo's throwaway line about recruiting Maddon at the RV park in Florida? Epstein said, "We'll always have Pensacola,'' which is sheer brilliance for those who know that "Casablanca" was co-written by Philip and Julius Epstein. Philip Epstein was Theo's grandfather.

I worry about Boston College losing athletic director Brad Bates to Michigan.

The Dodgers hired Gabe Kapler as director of player development, but the Rays should swoop in and hire him as their next manager.

If you need money, call Charlie Weis. No one from the Tuna Tree has done more with less. Weis is still collecting his $19 million deal from Notre Dame and now gets most of his $12.5 million even though he's been fired by Kansas.

Claude Julien has better job security than Prince Charles. And gets much better press.

Herald baseball scribe John Tomase mined some gold when he got an e-mail from Bill James in which the smartest guy in the world admitted it is possible that "when offense becomes more scarce, batting average becomes a better indicator of a hitter's overall quality.'' Wow. Next thing you know the sun-starved cellar-dwellers will come back around to telling us that wins, homers, and RBIs count more than, you know, BABIP, WAR, VORP, and other skull-imploding metrics.


Got a smile on my face when I read that Tebucky Jones Jr. caught a touchdown pass in Fordham's 30-27 victory over Bucknell Friday night.

Marcus Smart rolled his ankle because he was running hard and his left foot came down on the side of the sneaker of Indiana's Lavoy Allen. I am amazed that this doesn't happen more often in basketball and football.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post writes that it took 20 minutes and 12 seconds to play the final 42 seconds of a Knicks-Pistons game last week.

Adrian Gonzalez (a.k.a. "The Cooler") told the Orange County Register, "To be honest with you, the Giants winning actually makes me feel like we were a great team. We won the division. That shows we were better . . . ''

This from Bill Parcells's just-released authorized biography: "Kraft's sons, who worked as Patriots executives, despised Parcells, convinced that he was trying to make their father look foolish. The owner's family and inner circle occasionally used a demeaning nickname among themselves when referring to Parcells: 'Fatty.' ''

We can all be thankful NESN has re-upped Charlie Moore.

Raise your hand if you knew Boston College scored in 106 consecutive hockey games before losing to UConn, 1-0, Wednesday.


I know every big-time school does it, but there's something strange about Boston College having 15 college graduates (many of them transfers) on its football roster — tied with Alabama for No. 1 in the nation.

While I'm at it, let me say that it's just plain wrong to have boys competing with, and against, girls on high school field hockey teams. Sorry.

Saying anything critical of Bill Simmons is guaranteed to draw the wrath of Fanboy Nation, but the tonnage of coverage devoted to the happiness of Shawshank Bill is truly astounding. We're all appropriately jealous of Bill, his legion, and his millions. Grantland and "30 for 30" are truly spectacular. But for Simmons to whine about anybody criticizing him without having "the [guts] to call me and discuss . . . '' is truly laughable. This is the brave guy who got his start ripping from the comfort of his den without ever facing anyone he "covered.''

It's not too early to make your Hall of Fame travel plans to be in Cooperstown when Pedro Martinez is inducted on July 26, 2015. Pedro hasn't been elected yet, but he's a lock. It will be a big year for Martinez. He's got a book (Houghton-Mifflin) coming out with the Herald's Mike Silverman and he'll no doubt be honored at the Boston Baseball Writers dinner in January. Randy Johnson is likely to be enshrined with Pedro and there's a chance Luis Tiant could be elected by the Hall's Golden Era committee, which would make Pedro's induction doubly great for Boston fans.


Olympic medalist Shalane Flanagan is helping folks in Marblehead raise money for a new track in a 5K charity run on Thanksgiving weekend.

Get well and come back soon, Neumy.

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