Monday, October 21, 2013

Bob Lobel: Push-Gate, Brady Looking Mortal and the Sox in the Series

By Bob Lobel  @boblobel

It was a lousy way to lose a football game. 

A rule no one knew existed will likely become the least called penalty in the history of the NFL. I'm betting it will never be called again. Not because it will be removed from the book, but simply because the circumstances surrounding its use will not soon be forgotten. 

"Push-gate" will rival the Tuck Rule for its unique quality, being that nobody outside of those wearing striped shirts ever heard of it. Whether it should have been called or not isn’t the question. Really, the question that needs attention is, “who is the person wearing number 12 with the name Brady on the back?" 

It is not a question that any Patriot fan wants to ask, because it suggests that the quarterback for all times is going from superhero to mortal man. Not possible, you say. Not possible, the fan in me says as well. 

I don’t even want to ask the question, but my eyes say otherwise. Then I see the likes of Wes Welker during the night game and I get angry. Angry because the people that made money, careers and reputations on the play of #12 failed him when he needed them most. 

Failed to surround him with people that would make his legend grow. Failed to keep the people that he depended on to do the job he was hired to do. We always knew he couldn’t do it alone, but it seemed like he could and always would, no matter who they put out there with him…

Well, Amendola may be a terrific player, but he doesn’t play much. Welker is a terrific player that plays a lot. Seems that makes a difference. 

Time to turn it around, but it's so ironic that a league dedicated to making its game safer seems to be losing its stars by the ambulance full. It really has become a war zone, and it does seem the best team will be the one with the least injuries.      

On to other pleasures: the World Series comes to Boston this week, and it is possible that a week from now the duck boats will be gassing up. This will be my 5th Series for the Red Sox and, like everyone else, we have yet to see them clinch at home. 

That’s probably not a bad thing, and if the duck boats are out early next week, that home field thing won't change. Hey, they have won 8 straight World Series games. It’s a  little unreasonable to think that streak will remain after this one. This is a terrific team from St. Louis. These are arguably the two best baseball towns in America, but their fans couldn’t be any different. 

Boston is in your face, demanding, unrelenting and very appreciative of effort. St. Louis is happy, fun, smiling and just rolling along. During the 2007 series, in games three and four, the harshest signs that Cardinal fans could mustert to hold were things like “Damon stinks”. 

Real mean stuff like that. 

Compare that with Red Sox Nation. Great baseball towns with totally different personalities.

This Boston team is now in the home stretch of a remarkable season. It's is a position to finish in a unique place in this town's sports history. Playing most of the season like a college team, it joins the 2001-02 Super Bowl Patriots and 1980-81 Celtics as the two other title teams that had that college feel. 

The Sox are in that place. I, for one, hope they finish their dream. As a final moment of sharing, I legally changed my dogs name from Josie, to Koji. It seems to sound the same to her and it makes me feel good.

Ed. Note: Bob wanted to add his thoughts on Jacoby Ellsbury's presumed final series with the Sox, and the beginning of Xander Bogarts' promising career. Here they are:

It is a common belief that, no matter what happens in the next week or so, Jacoby Ellsbury is playing his final games in a Red Sox uniform. It is no small irony that Ellsbury burst on the scene in spectacular, game changing form in the 2007 ALCS against Cleveland, and the  World Series sweep against Colorado.

Ellsbury was a game changer and the Sox won every game he started.  And so, is seems it will come to a close in another World Series, as he is set to become a free agent.  He should be a game changer in this series, as well.

The real irony is that the game changer for the Red Sox could well be another rookie who has this stage as a coming out party. Xander Bogarts is the new Ellsbury. 

Now in the starting lineup, Bogarts is poised to follow a similar path as Jacoby. There is some real irony that the two players take their first big steps on the biggest stage baseball has to offer. Ellsbury starts and presumably ends his Red Sox career in a World Series. Xander Bogarts starts his legend now, in his first world series.

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