Stream on, stream away. Streaming songs, TV shows, and movies has become a way of modern life. Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon have nothing on the Red Sox. You can binge watch an entire season of some shows in the time it takes to watch one marathon Sox game. Baseball seems like a game that is constantly buffering.
Like time, bandwidth is precious. It’s time for me to unburden my brain of some thoughts taking up precious bandwidth. So, here’s streaming a few thoughts from my sports consciousness.
■ I’m confused. Are we supposed to judge players by their box score stats or by their impact on wins and losses? Or does it just conveniently change depending on the player in question and how the argument benefits him and his future value to the Celtics? Fans of Marcus Smart are quick to point out that you can’t judge the tenacious Celtics guard by his stats because he makes plays that contribute to winning that don’t show up on a stat sheet. This is true. It’s how he atones for having the lowest 3-point average among 169 qualifying NBA players last season — 28.3 percent.
But when it comes to presumptive No. 1 pick and potential Celtics savior Markelle Fultz, suddenly it’s all about the box score numbers. We are to focus only on the fact that Fultz lit it up at the University of Washington, becoming the first freshman guard in NCAA Division 1 in the last 25 years to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game while shooting 40 percent from 3-point range. We are to ignore that all of Fultz’s fabulous stats — 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game — only added up to a 9-22 record (2-16 in Pac-12 play). The Huskies, who finished 11th in the Pac-12, were picked to finish sixth in the preseason media poll, even though 2016 first-round picks Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss weren’t walking through that door for their sophomore seasons at UW. The only teams Washington beat with a winning record were Cal State Fullerton (17-15) and Colorado (19-15).
Fultz did miss six games with a knee injury, but the team lost nine of the last 10 games he played. It’s a fair red flag to raise if Fultz is a franchise fate-changing NBA player. If LeBron James had gone to college you could’ve taken four guys from the YMCA, and LeBron would’ve won 10 games.
■ One of the fascinating aspects of the Tom Brady-Jimmy Garoppolo pas de deux is that they share the same agent, Don Yee of Yee & Dubin Sports. Brady is under contract through 2019. Garoppolo can become a free agent following this season. It’s a delicate dance to serve the interests of both clients, especially when both desire to be the Patriots starting quarterback in 2018. But Brady’s father didn’t express any concerns about a possible conflict.
“I think Don Yee takes his marching orders from Tommy, and his relationship with Jimmy is something different,” said Tom Brady Sr. “As long as he is serving Tommy’s purposes that’s all that’s important, given that he’s not the person that is dictating the position lineups for the Patriots. He has been a very good counselor and adviser to Tommy for the last 18 years, so I don’t see that changing.”
■ Going into Thursday night’s game with the Philadelphia Phillies, the Red Sox were 37-28, the exact same record through 65 games they had last season. They were 16-7 since May 21, the best record in the American League. So, why did it feel like the Sox haven’t hit their stride? Part of the answer is the lacuna created by the retirement of David Ortiz. The Sox miss Big Papi’s personality and lineup presence. But it’s also how the Sox arrived at that record — with intermittent injury issues and by fattening up on sub-.500 teams like the Phillies. Going into Thursday’s game, the Sox were 23-11 against clubs below .500. They were 14-17 against clubs with a .500 record or better. The Sox also have a losing record (13-15) in the AL East.
■ It’s nice to see a sport as staid and wedded to tradition as baseball loosen up a bit. In a blatant attempt to appeal to younger fans, Major League Baseball is going to allow players to put nicknames on the back of their jerseys in place of their surnames and a personalized patch that pays tribute to someone or something important to them for games played on Aug. 25-27, according to Yahoo! Sports. This is a great idea. One of the issues baseball has is that it tends to constrain the personalities of its players on the field. That’s partially why it lacks a signature player like a LeBron.
■ Thanks, but no thanks on Blake Griffin coming to the Celtics. He is injury-prone and in decline. He hasn’t played 80 games since the 2013-14 season. He suffered a plantar plate injury on his big toe that knocked him out of the 2017 playoffs, the second straight season his playoffs were truncated by injury. While he is an excellent passer, his rebounding is overrated. He ranked 90th in the NBA last season in defensive rebounding percentage among players who played at least 35 games at 20.4 percent, according to stats.nba.com. Kelly Olynyk’s defensive rebounding percentage was 20.7. Some of that can be attributed to having DeAndre Jordan as a teammate, but Griffin’s not the rebounder he was when he came into the league. The Clippers have never gotten past the Western Conference semifinals with him.
■ When it comes to the Red Sox, it feels like there are some folks who revel in Boston’s reputation as being a tough place to play and in running players out of town. David Price exacerbated that sentiment, lashing out at the media in a meltdown in New York. But nary a discouraging word is heard about a Patriots player. When Michael Floyd, who was originally charged with super extreme DUI on Dec. 12 while a member of the Arizona Cardinals and later pleaded guilty to just extreme DUI, made his Patriots debut at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 24, he received a raucous ovation. When he threw a block the next week against Miami that led to a touchdown, you would have thought he won a playoff start. Price signed with the wrong local team if he wanted to be immune from criticism.