Some thoughts unfolded while waiting for my Hall of Fame neighbor, friend, and former colleague Dan Shaughnessy to walk up my driveway with this morning’s Boston Globe.
♦ Getting tired of the torch and pitchfork crowd around here. Sorry to disappoint, but the Al Jezeera investigative reports linking Peyton Manning — who will be the Broncos starter in a week — to HGH shipments in 2011 is a tempest in a teapot. The Manning story in no way can compare to the shocking news that broke hours after the AFC Championship game last January that the NFL was looking into charges that the Patriots were using under-inflated footballs at Gillette Stadium.
Even if Manning used HGH to help recover from his injuries five years ago, it’s just not that big of a deal compared to a once-in-a-lifetime saga of conspiring, cheating, and coverups that quickly became the Watergate of professional sports.
This quote from Jim Nantz to Mike Francesa Sunday about not discussing the Peyton Manning/HGH story is astonishing. pic.twitter.com/pYlK6TVmmQ
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) January 4, 2016
Deflategate and Peytongate, are apples and oranges. The Al Jazeera report is weak on many levels. The principal source recanted. Secondary anonymous sources are being introduced after the fact. There’s no published paper trail. The publication claims they’re not even implicating Peyton Manning. Even if they are, many fans assume most NFL players have used something to along the way to remain on the field in a violent, high-contact sport. And it happened a long time ago in internet years.
Deflategate was a multipronged adventure that was unprecedented and pitted the Patriots vs. The Media, Patriots vs. the Colts, Tom Brady vs. NFL, Colts, Lawyers vs. Lawyers, Us against The World: They Hate Us ‘Cause They Ain’t Us. There simply is no comparison between the two stories.
More stories Jim Nantz won’t address: We’ll offer a tip of the cap to the New York Times for putting Derek Jeter on the radar as The Gray Lady attempts to advance the Al Jazeera doping report.
And in related news, Kirk Minehane’s takedown of ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is a fun read, but the notion to blame Mort’s incorrect report for initiating the Deflategate sage has always been silly. The NFL investigation was well underway before Mortensen’s error-filled report as Bob Kravitz indicated when he broke the news.
♦ In The Graduate, it was all about Plastics. Fast forward to 2016, and we learn the key to success is the superalgea Spirulina… followed by a taste of avocado ice cream. Boston.com’s Hilary Sargent has the story of Tom Brady’s diet via his personal chef Allen Campbell. In the piece, we learn that:
“[Tom] doesn’t eat nightshades, because they’re not anti-inflammatory. So no tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, or eggplants. Tomatoes trickle in every now and then, but just maybe once a month. I’m very cautious about tomatoes. They cause inflammation.
“What else? No coffee. No caffeine. No fungus. No dairy.”
But you get all the millet and quinoa you can eat. File under: Vegetables that don’t grow on the Pepperidge Farm.
♦ Say it ain’t so last-place Red Sox. We need less of that godawful screaming song Tessie, not more. The Boston Red Sox have proudly introduced the sister of the ubiquitous team mascot Wally, and her name is (gulp) Tessie, who looks like a mini-me Wally wearing a skirt:
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) January 5, 2016
So in addition to the new costumed crowd pleaser aimed at the children, we get to hear the Dropkick’s yell that aggressive anthem of the Royal Rooters more than ever before.
I blame this new Tessie introduction on Pablo Sandoval, the heavyset third baseman who failed to make Panda heads the craze in Boston that it was promised to be last season:
— Fenway North (@FenwayNorth) November 9, 2015
♦ It’s a shame that Junior Griffey wasn’t a unanimous selection to the Hall of Fame but funny that Dan Le Batard, who lost his vote two years ago, got so many on Twitter in a tizzy by taking some of the blame:
I was one of the people who didn’t vote for Griffey!
— Dan Le Batard Show (@LeBatardShow) January 7, 2016
Le Batard lost his HoF voting privileges two years ago when he infamously turned his vote over to Deadspin and the site let readers make the picks.
The controversial Mike Piazza also gets in along with Griffey, and it was a nice showing for Curt Schilling this time around, who jumped up to 52.3 percent from 39.2 percent a year ago:
Junior on record 437 of 440 #HOF ballots. Piazza: 83.0% Bagwell: 71.6 Raines: 69.8 Hoffman: 67.3 Schilling: 52.3 Clemens: 45.2 Bonds: 44.3
— MLB (@MLB) January 6, 2016
And in the heavyweight catfight of the week, Roger Clemens lands a big right hand on Roy Halladay, who threw some heat on Rocket’s Hall of Fame chances. In the undercard, Dennis Eckersley says no one wants Pete Rose in the Hall.
Sadly, old friend Nomah Garciaparra — once on the fast track for the Hall — fell off the ballot after his second year, picking up only eight votes of the 440 votes cast. Here’s to David Ortiz going the opposite career trajectory to get in some day. Start slow, finish on top.
♦ If you need a new tune to get Tessie out of your head now, try this cliche-filled rap by a couple of local lads:
Brandon Capp and Randy Lowe are a couple of Brockton-area hip hop artists who hope the so-so rap Champion becomes the unofficial Patriots anthem as the playoffs begin.
“Won’t stop, been on top a decade and a half, from Belichick to Kraft, you better check the stats,” raps Randy Lo, delivering his verses in the song. “When you think of us, you think of a problem. Who, what, when, and how you going to solve them?”
Heading further down Rte. 24, thoughts and prayers with the great Jersey Red — a friend of both my father’s and colleague Alan Miller — who is recovering from a stroke in a hospital bed at St. Anne’s in Fall River.
♦ If only Steph Curry had the swagger of Evan Turner:
A photo posted by evan turner (@slumdog_mi11ionaire) on
Yes, that’s Turner himself flashing the 3 fingers on the NBA logo on his t-shirt. What a legacy, as Deadspin points out:
“There are a lot of great things about this shirt, but chief among them is the fact that Turner’s silhouette is holding out three fingers on each hand, as in celebration of hitting a three-pointer. Evan Turner is shooting 15 percent from deep this year, and is a 30-percent shooter from beyond the arc for his career.”
Oh, and the stumbling Celtics lost at home to the Pistons. That’s six losses in the last eight games at the Garden. File under: Who is Karim Garcia?
♦ I like them apples. Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning star in famous scene from Goodwill Hunting courtesy of Bleacher Report. Flat out funny.
In other Good Will Hunting news, John Krasinski makes our skin crawl with this pandering comment about Boston sports fans to ESPN:
“We have this way of winning that’s really annoying” Krasinski said. “I think it’s in your blood when you come out, I think you have a Good Will Hunting tattoo and a Patriots jersey on your back. I have mine, it’s wearing off.”
And is Bill Belichick in line to replace Coughlin on his old team, going back to where it all began with the G-men? Not on this planet, but let the speculation and rationalizations begin. Wonder if Belichick will take Titans’ coach Josh McDaniels with him to Jersey.
♦ It appears Alex Guerrero saved the day as Tom Brady — the second best player in National Football League history — is moving around freely in Foxboro this week. And Tom didn’t need the balls under-inflated to succeed after all. And Bill’s boys still don’t fumble with balls filled with air.
♦ Lastly, the story of the week that won’t last as long as Deflategate: Danny Amendola’s “catastrophic” Carportgate.