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Thoughts on fantasy sports, harsh realities, and other topics

No matter how poorly he runs things, Roger Goodell and his shield are bulletproof because the NFL is king.
No matter how poorly he runs things, Roger Goodell and his shield are bulletproof because the NFL is king.AP

Picked-up pieces while officially changing my Globe column logo to "The Shaughnessy Report In Context" . . .

The more I think about it, I’m predicting that the embarrassed and contrite NFL will rescind all Deflategate penalties and ultimately reward the Patriots with a $2 million apology bonus and a couple of additional draft picks because of . . . you know . . . everything that the league put the Patriots through.

 Pay attention to what the Red Sox do regarding the Larry Lucchino vacancy. If you are a Sox fan, it’s a bad sign if the front office chooses to operate without a baseball guy to fill Lucchino’s shoes. Lucchino has been responsible for keeping order on Yawkey Way over the last 13 years.

Also, take note that Ben Cherington now mentions "John, Tom, and Mike,'' instead of "John, Tom, and Larry.'' "Mike" is Mike Gordon, the second-largest investor in the Red Sox.

 Hope you saw the excellent Pete Carroll cover story in Sports Illustrated. Asked once again about the worst play call in the history of sports, Carroll stayed on message, saying, “If you hope I’m going to cry over the deal, I’m not. I’ve moved past that . . . Now it’s dealing with loss and giving the game away. Either way, you’re dealing.’’

Hmmmm. Good phrase, "Giving the game away.'' New England thanks you, Pete.

 I wonder what Dan Okrent and the guys who invented Rotisserie baseball in 1980 think when they are carpet-bombed by DraftKings ads showing the goofy guy in the Patriots jersey collecting his million-dollar check?

Fantasy sports have officially taken over. They're bigger than real sports. "Fans" (actually, "gamblers" is the better word) no longer root for teams, they root for individual performances. Professional teams are loving this new world order and have gone into business with the gambling companies. There's always a reason to watch a game, even if it's Jacksonville vs. Cleveland.

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I checked with ESPN the Magazine's Steve Wulf, another founding father of Rotisserie, and asked him if he has any guilt about ruining sports.

"I don't have any guilt because I actually didn't make any money off it,'' Wulf said with a chuckle. "It's something we worried about in the beginning. We worried that it would affect the players or that it would somehow compromise the integrity of the game.

"We never foresaw daily fantasy sports. I kind of agree it has skewed everybody's perspective of sports. It used to be that the first thing you looked at in the morning was the standings. Not now.''

 Among the hideous notions held around here, “Roger Goodell is in trouble now’’ ranks high.

Actually, no. The Patriots are in trouble. They lost $1 million and two valuable draft picks, and their owner accepted the penalties. Now their quarterback is trying to get his too-harsh punishment reduced, and hopefully he will succeed.

But the commissioner is not in trouble over this. The Ray Rice fiasco was far worse for Goodell, yet last year was another cash bonanza and boffo ratings year for the NFL.

No matter how poorly he runs things, Goodell and his shield are bulletproof because the NFL is king. Boston 2024 could run the NFL.

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 Jim Harbaugh visited the Supreme Court in April, and according to the Wall Street Journal, the Michigan coach was “smitten” with veteran Justice Clarence Thomas. “He’s one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever met,’’ Harbaugh told the Journal. Wonder if khaki-wearing Harbaugh knows that Thomas went to Holy Cross with Ted Wells?

The tomato cans are lining up nicely in the AFC East. Every year we hear about how the Dolphins, Bills, and Jets are finally going to contend . . . and then the season starts. None of the Patriots’ division opponents has a good quarterback. The Jets are now down one bad QB with Geno Smith getting his jaw broken by a teammate. Very Jet-like.

 Rightfully renowned as the “greatest clutch hitter in Red Sox history,’’ David Ortiz this year has been the king of garbage time. In Carmelo Anthony fashion, Big Papi got hot as soon as the games became meaningless.

Now we have a nightly home run derby with Ortiz trying to jerk every pitch out of the ballpark. Each successive homer seems to go a few rows deeper into the stands. Hope he gets to 500 this year. Truly amazing.

Oh, and now that we know Ortiz is back as DH next year, the Sox need to move Hanley Ramirez to first base immediately.

 I love how Larry Bird never lets Beezer Carnes off the hook. Carnes was Bird’s Springs Valley High School teammate in French Lick, Ind., and legend holds that Beezer was too lazy to join teammates for early-morning free throw practice before school, then he missed a key foul shot in the state tournament.

Speaking to Dan Patrick a few weeks ago, Bird said, "The dream was to be good enough to play against the big schools. That's what we tried to do. But unfortunately, I played with a kid who kept missing free throws at the end of the game and we didn't get there.

"I was at a party about two years ago, and this lady in her 70s looked at my friend and said, 'What are you doing here? After missing those free throws back in '74, you shouldn't even show your face.' ''

 Never forget the words of US Olympic Committee member and Boston 2024 advocate Daniel Doctoroff, who told us “rumors [about Los Angeles getting the bid] were never true . . . Boston is our city.’’ The USOC pulled the plug on Boston four days later, and LA should be named the bid city any minute.

 The US Tennis Association will name its media center at the US Open in honor of the legendary Bud Collins on Labor Day weekend. Tennis’s preeminent historian, and possibly the nicest man in the history of journalism, Bud started covering tennis for the Globe in 1963.

 Stand proud, Boston sports social media tough guys. When David Price was still with the Tigers, the ace lefty said this to WEEI’s John Tomase: “The amount of hatred I get from this fan base blows every other fan base away.’’

 Let’s remember that Sox fans are still paying the highest ticket prices in baseball as they watch Papi’s run for 500 and extended spring training games for the remainder of this season.

 The fifth Hoop Dreams basketball fund-raiser for Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) will be held at TD Garden Sept. 2. For information, contact Hoop Dreams coordinator Liz McCarthy at elizabeth.mccarthy@bostonabcd.org.

 I don’t know about you, but I already kind of miss Boston 2024.

 Ice Bucket Challenge. Every August till a cure.


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