Monday, March 24, 2014

Bob Lobel: Massachusetts Roots in March Madness and the Upcoming Remy Trial

By Bob Lobel (@boblobel)

Some quick notes before we do the weekly launch. That may actually be “weakly” after these first two items.

Item one, at the NFL league meetings in Orlando, all the coaches posed for a group photo. Actually all but one.

You guessed it, Mr. Bill was absent, and that’s why we love him.  There is always room at the table for a maverick. A winning maverick, of course, but nonetheless a maverick. 

The other quick hitter was mentioning another maverick of sorts. This one picked Duke to win the NCAA basketball tournament. I don’t really have a good reason for picking them, except I wanted to get out of the bracket game early this year because I was sick of trying to show I know anything about college basketball anymore.  

I do know this. I wanted Kentucky and Louisville to meet for the title. I know that’s not possible based on the way the brackets are set up, but I really don’t care. I want Louisville and Pitino to play Kentucky and Calipari for a championship. 

They both have deep Massachusetts roots, and that begs the ultimate questions: 1. Which is the better coach?

2. Which is more popular, or rather unpopular, around here? 

I am picking John Calipari as the more popular, even though he cost the state university some major embarrassment in having to vacate their appearance in Final Four. They were caught cheating. 

Now, wouldn’t that cause a coach to be widely disliked. You would think so, yet, it’s Pitino that has to wear the mantel of most disliked coach in Commonwealth history. Not Rhode Island history, just Commonwealth history. 

It, of course, was all about the Boston Celtics and his misfortune of losing the number one pick, Tim Duncan, because a ping pong ball went rogue! 

The rest is ping pong history. Because of that ping pong ball, we’ll just have to settle for a Pitino and Calipari Sweet 16 match up.

By the way, I think Pitino is the better coach and Calipari is more adept at tailoring his style to a winning system. That is to say “one and done.” As in, “come to Kentucky and you probably will be in the NBA after one year.”  That’s our philosophy and we are sticking to it.  

This was not what I wanted to talk about this week. I want to get into the Jerry Remy mess, but now, since I did all that Pitino-Calipari stuff, fortunately I don’t have time or space to do it. 

I say this. It already has become way too public and it probably will get worse before it gets better. Everyone will opine about Jerry fulfilling his NESN Red Sox duties while son Jared waits in jail for his murder trial to begin sometime in the fall. There was a Globe article on Sunday that was about as long as a newspaper article can be, and I’m guessing that there was plenty left out that will come out in a trial, if there is a trial. 

There is a better chance for a book than a trial, but we'll probably see both. The issue for me is the public nature of the discussion that will dominate this summer.  Everybody should just shut up and let the part of the system that still works take over. The part of the system that is very broken is the part that failed Jennifer Martel and her daughter, along with everyone else to some degree in both families.

Collateral damage kills. 

We learned that after last year’s Boston Marathon.  And yes, of course, that is right around the corner. Brace yourselves for media coverage that started with "60 Minutes" on Sunday, and will contain David Ortiz F-bombs and the rise of a Boston Strong culture that is not going away anytime soon.

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