We stream everything nowadays — movies, music, television shows, radio stations. What you listen to on Spotify or have on deck in your Netflix queue is a matter of personal preference and individual taste. The same is true with sports opinions. I'm streaming my sports consciousness with a few thoughts that flowed through my brain while I was in a California state of mind.
1. Pablo Sandoval is a portly player. He was when he came into the league in 2008. He was when he won the World Series MVP with the San Francisco Giants in 2012. He was when the Red Sox signed him to a five-year, $95 million deal in November 2014 to play third base. His body type has always been part of his body of work. Any expectation that Sandoval was going to arrive at spring training looking as though he spent the offseason on the Paleo diet was unrealistic. Some general penitence would have been nice, sure.
But weight is a sensitive issue for Sandoval. He told USA Today last spring that one of the reasons he didn't re-sign with the Giants is because "I knew I would be under a [weight] regimen for five years."
The body shaming of Sandoval makes for good, but unfair, fodder. The real issue is not that there needs to be less of him squeezed into a Red Sox uniform, but that the team needs to get more production from him.
Last year, Sandoval's .292 on-base percentage was the lowest among third basemen who qualified for the batting title. His defense was just as anemic. According to Fangraphs, there were 49 players who played at least 200 innings at third in 2015. Sandoval's minus-16.9 Ultimate Zone Rating was dead last. It's about his slash line, not his waist line, UZR, not lbs. If Sandoval returns to form, his belly bump is irrelevant. If he doesn't, the Sox will shed him.
2. In some ways, the Kevin Garnett deal is the worst move that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge ever made because it created an unrealistic expectation. Obtaining a transformative superstar in his prime in the NBA just isn't that easy. That's why if the Herald report that Ainge was chasing after 76ers rookie Jahlil Okafor with Boston's gilded Brooklyn draft picks is true, Ainge is on the right track.
It's much more likely that when the Celtics cash in their overhyped hoops hope chest of draft picks, it will be for a player projected to blossom into a superstar, not a ready-made savior. Ainge should focus on players like Okafor, Harrison Barnes, Bradley Beal, and Jabari Parker.
3. It's not parity that is fueling the unpredictable nature of this men's college basketball season; it's mediocrity. The game has been sapped by too many one-and-done departures — I hope Tyus Jones is enjoying riding the bench for the Timberwolves — and an underperforming class of freshmen.
One year after John Calipari and Kentucky flirted with becoming the first team to go undefeated since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers, six schools have occupied the No. 1 spot, the latest being Villanova. That's one off the record of seven from the 1982-83 season, the season North Carolina State won it all on Lorenzo Charles's dunk of destiny. Hopefully, this year's tournament will have that kind of excitement to atone for a pedestrian season.
4. The most dominant hockey team in town doesn't call TD Garden home. On Saturday, the BC women's hockey team defeated Providence College, 9-1, to become the first team — men's or women's — in the history of Hockey East to author a perfect regular season.
The top-ranked Eagles are 34-0 and went 24-0 in Hockey East play. Led by Alex Carpenter, daughter of local legend Bobby Carpenter, BC has outscored its opponents, 185-40. There is quite a dichotomy at the Heights between the men's basketball team and the women's hockey team. BC's men's hoops team is winless this season in conference play (0-14).
5. There were actually people at Super Bowl 50 who voted for Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning as Super Bowl MVP. This is unconscionable. John Scott was more deserving of being an NHL All-Star division captain (whatever that is) than Manning was of being Super Bowl MVP.
Manning was at best the fifth choice on his team, behind Von Miller, who won the award, running back C.J. Anderson, safety T.J. Ward, and kicker Brandon McManus, who booted three field goals and four touchbacks. Panthers defensive end Kony Ealy, who registered three sacks, an interception, and a strip-sack, was also more deserving.
6. NFL owners will have you believe the reason it took the league so long to return to Los Angeles after the departure of the Rams and Raiders following the 1994 season was that they needed the right stadium plan and the right owner. Please.
The real reason is that Los Angeles was more valuable to the league as a leverage play to extort cities into building stadiums. So now, with the Rams returning to LA for the 2016 season, it will be interesting to see how stadium negotiations are handled in San Diego, Buffalo, and Oakland.
7. My lasting memories of Super Bowl 50 and San Francisco as an alleged host city are of broken-down shuttle buses and a rental car that got broken into in plain sight. San Francisco was like the really hot girl or guy who doesn't even try because they just assume everybody is already infatuated with them. It's a wonderful city, but it was a dreadful "Super Bowl site" — if you can call a place that didn't host the game or either of the teams a Super Bowl site.
8. Bonus track: "If I Could Change Your Mind" by Haim (big hat-tip to DJ Bean of WEEI), dedicated to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. It would be great if Goodell released the 2015 air pressure numbers and restored the Patriots' draft picks taken as Deflategate punishment. A penny or $34.1 million for your thoughts, Roger.