After a week away, the mailbag returns with something for everyone.
You want a little Celtics talk? Done. Patriots? Check. The Red Sox and some Baseball Hall of Fame stuff? Done. The Bruins? Well, no, but can I offer you Ayla Brown instead? As a topic of discussion, of course. Come on, head out of the gutter. It's been 36 hours since the you gawked at her during the acceptance speech. Time to stop Googling her.
All that, plus I praise Kevin McHale (why not No. 32 at 11:30, NBC?), try to help CHB put some more money in his pocket, finally confess my secret life as a competitive dancer and offer a mea culpa to the Tom Brady fans out there.
(A note: With the Pats and Red Sox off at the same time, I will be doing a mailbag every other week. Once the Sox start up again, we'll go back to the old schedule. But keep the comments and e-mails coming.)
So, to the 'bag we go (and, as always, feel free to e-mail away to firstname.lastname@example.org)…
For me, even a healthy KG won't be enough to get near a title. This team is past its prime. If the Celtics were to get to the Eastern Conference finals, I'd call it a good year. The real question is what Danny will do post-Big Three. Can he build another championship team without getting a gift like he did from McHale?
A: I agree, Todd. It’s just how it goes. Aging teams almost never bounce back two years removed from winning a title. It always goes the other way.
Look at the Bird/McHale/Parish group once they hit their 30s. They won a title (and 67 games) in 1986. The next season they won 59 games and lost in the finals. The next year? They posted 57 wins and were out in the conference finals. After that they won a total of two playoff series.
I have faith in Danny Ainge, I really do. His last couple of drafts haven’t been winners, but this is a guy who (via a trade or draft pick) brought in Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and Al Jefferson without using a top-10 pick. I’ll even give you Delonte West as another solid value as a late first-rounder (he’s had a solid career). So once the Big Three* exits and the rebuilding (with Rondo and Perkins) starts, I think the Celtics are in good hands. And Ainge is a smart guy. I’m sure he knows that this group isn’t going to win another title, so I bet there is a not inconsiderable part of him that is looking forward to starting over. I wonder if the idea that he was “handed” Garnett by his buddy McHale and therefore never really built a championship team irks him at all. I’m thinking probably it doesn’t, but you never know. OK, I know. It doesn’t. Actually it was a dopey thought that I really never believed but thought might look semi-intelligent on paper. It didn’t.
You know, this would be a nice spot for a witty pop culture reference to get me out of this sea of inanity and to the next e-mail. But I can’t think of one. Got nothing. I’ve hit the mailbag wall just one question in. Not good. By the third question I’ll look like that guy at Mile 18 of the Boston Marathon, just lying on the side of the road with a pair of split nipples.
Ainge is overrated. Why does everyone act like he’s a genius?
A: Here’s a better thought: Do you think Ainge wishes that he did wind up with the first pick in the 2007 draft? Assuming that he was going to take Kevin Durant (which seems to be the case), would he trade one sure title for a dozen years of Durant/Rondo/Jefferson/Perkins? I know I would. Durant is going to win a half-dozen scoring titles and probably an MVP or two. Something to think about when the Celtics win 28 games in 2014.
I will just love it when you have to eat that big old crow sandwich. No. 18, baby.
A: Hope you’re right, Kefa. Nothing better than a Celtics championship.
But it’s just asking too much, I think. I just don’t buy that all these guys will be healthy and playing their best when the playoffs arrive. Sorry. And, as I wrote the other day, even if that did happen I still don’t think they beat the Magic/Hawks, Cavs and Lakers in the playoffs. Two years ago? Sure. But this isn’t that team anymore.
(Hey, how good was Kevin McHale as the color guy during the Mavericks-Celtics game on TNT Monday night? Smart, funny, knew not to say too much. No shock that he’s a natural, but he’s even better than I thought he would be. I’m a little concerned that he’s now a dead ringer for Jerry Lewis (and I’m talking about Jerry Lewis today) but here’s hoping he moves into a key role in the booth during the playoffs. And hopefully that will be done at the expense of Reggie Miller, who is begging for a spot on the “Always Mute” list.)
I'm probably the world's biggest Brady fan (sorry Pete) but even I would agree that Manning had edged ahead in the all-time battle. But the sixth or seventh best QB in the league today? No chance, he's no worse than the third. Manning and Brees, but that's it. And I still think he bounces back and has a huge 2010.
A: Maybe he will, Todd. If he has an MVP season in 2010, does he that mean he wins Comeback Player of the Year again?
He’s probably closer to the third-best QB in the league than the eighth best, but answer this: Who do you think the Chargers would rather have in 2010, their guy or Brady? How about the Packers? Or the Cowboys? Or even the Steelers? Two years ago this wouldn’t even be a discussion, but Brady is going to be 33 years old with a repaired ACL and MCL. This is reality. His best years are most likely behind him. Even if he had never been hit by Pollard that might be the case at this point. Unless you are pumping female hormone pills or flax seed oil into your body you are not going to be same guy in your mid-30s as you were in your prime.
But that doesn’t mean that he can’t be a top-five QB for the next three or four years. It’s just that maybe the truly great stuff is gone. But you can win with a top five QB, easily. Think Mark Sanchez is even one of the best 20 QBs in the league right now?
OK, so he may never be the Tom Brady that we saw from 2001-07 again. Bob Dylan made some good albums after Blonde on Blonde. You know what I mean? Worrying if Brady is the third- or sixth-best QB in the NFL today is way down on the list of problems for the Patriots, a team that I could enter the 2010 as the second or third best team in the AFC East.
Most people don't want to admit it, but if this is the Brady we're going to see from here on out, he's all done. I don't think that's the case, but it's possible.
While he deserves a ton of credit for playing hurt, being hurt doesn't cause you to make bad decisions with the ball. To say he was Bledsoesque hits the nail on the head — locking on to players, head-scratching decisions, lacking pocket presence (at times) were all hallmarks of Bledsoe's play. Let's hope this year was an aberration, but it's tough to explain his thinking this year.
A: Well, being hurt could be the reason for some bad decisions, Chris. I disagree with you there. But sure, there were moments in 2009 when I wondered if Brady was in full method acting for a lead role in “The Drew Bledsoe Story.” If he starts patting the ball eight times before he throws it, we’ve got a problem.
(A pause as I watch Mickey Rourke at the Golden Globes. Good God. He looks like a cross between Don Imus and Octomom. Also this: Anyone who cries while making a speech at the Golden Globes should not be allowed to speak another word for the rest of their lives. If Martha Coakley had proposed this as a law on Monday, she would have won.)
As Brady has said in the past, he now has other priorities. You can't blame him for that, however, other qbacks have the same changes in their lives but it does not change their play. If it is the four homes he owns around the world, the new wife and children on both coasts that reflect on his play, I think the Pats are in trouble.
A: Are you suggesting that there is a Curse of Benjamin Brady? Paging Mr. Shaughnessy …
I stopped reading this article halfway through. This is shameful. I don't even think it needs a response, but the part about being in the top six QB's in downright funny. ... Unfortunately, this type of writing has become commonplace at WEEI and it does not seem to be going away anytime soon. There is so little perspective, your articles blow with the wind. Had they won — and I think if the O-line could have blocked for even two seconds they may have — this pathetic article would have been about Brady being the Hall of Fame here we all know he is. ... I expect more, but at this point I should not. The Guy (Brady) clearly played hurt, not just kind of hurt, but really hurt, all season. Perhaps saying that, under the circumstances, he did as well as he could.
Minihane Is Awful
A: Are you the same guy I saw at the gym? The one with the “Minihane is Awful” tattoo on his left arm?
If Brady never plays another game (and I guess that could happen — the man does OWN FOUR HOMES), he is a Hall of Famer. Didn’t think we needed to read a column about that.
The O-line was brutal in the Baltimore game. Totally agree. But in years past Brady would have made some plays despite the constant pressure. The Super Bowl vs. the Giants is a perfect example of that. And even if he threw three picks or fumbled the ball a couple of times, he never looked flustered. Well, he looked flustered against the Ravens. We’ll see in 2010 if this was due to injured ribs or if it is something more serious.
I think Brady has lost his edge, that's what two kids and a wife will do to you. The killer instinct is gone. Happens to all of us eventually — it’s called life.
A: There’s some truth to this. I haven’t, for example, placed in the top 20 in any dance competition since my daughter was born nearly three years ago. And I enter PLENTY of them.
I do agree with this article, but this is as much as the offensive line's fault as it is Brady's fault. He had no time at all once again in the playoffs. Matt Light should no longer be a left tackle, and that is obvious. I do not agree with your statement, though:
"To be fair, Brady still is one of the six or seven best quarterbacks in the league. Right now he’s sort of where Matt Hasslbeck was three, four years ago — not the end of the world, but nowhere near the standard."
Not true at all. He is still in the top 5 and he did very well recovering from a devastating knee injury and terrible play-calling by the offensive coordinator.
A: Yeah, I think the Hasselbeck comparison was a little strong, to be honest. Can I have a mulligan on that one? If we’re handing them out, can I also grab a mulligan for predicting that the Bills would hire David Shula as their head coach? He and 1,688 other coaches must have turned them down, because there is no other reason why Chan Gailey got the job. Maybe the un-sexiest hire since GoDaddy.com lured Pam Ward away from ESPN.
The Light situation will be an interesting one to watch. Does he move to right tackle and Sebastian Vollmer steps in at left tackle? Do they trade him (think the Raiders would offer three No. 1 picks or just two?) Do they cut him? Could happen, he’ll make $4.5 million in 2010, or about two million bucks more than Nick Kaczur. My best guess is that he stays. Never can have enough depth on the O-line, all that stuff. But it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he gets cut before June 1.
Jose hasn't been wrong yet. Everyone ridiculed Canseco when his book came out, but he's had the last laugh and has been right about everyone's steroid usage. Funny how the Guardians of the Game like Tim Kurkjian (who seemingly still doesn't believe Bonds used 'roids), are so dismissive of Jose. I bet Jose could tell us at least 75 of the names on that 2003 list of 98 who have yet to be outed.
A: Yeah, it’s a bad play by Mark McGwire to try to act morally superior and even offended when Canseco’s name is brought up. A-Rod also played that card during his coming-out (as a steroid user, of course. What else could I have meant?) interview with Gammons. The problem with that is that the public believes that Canseco is telling the truth about steroids and that A-Rod and McGwire are not. Simple. And if Jose tells me that he injected McGwire in the bathroom before games, I’m going to believe him. At this point, if he tells me that he injected Joe Garagiola in the bathroom before a game, I’d have to buy it. Again, he’s the Bob Woodward of the Steroid Era.
I kind of feel that this is really about it for steroids as a story. All that’s left is Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, and those two are never going to cop to it. They have entered Nathan Thurm territory. Sadly, the next time this will resonate as an issue is when one of these guys from the last decade end up in a Lyle Alzado situation.
Rafael Palmeiro is not a no-brainer choice. He put up big numbers but was never a dominant guy.
A: Come on, Mike. There are three players in baseball history that have at 550 homers and 3,000 hits. The three? Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Rafael Palmeiro. If he had put up those same numbers and had done so free of steroid controversy he would have been an easy first-ballot choice. I get that he was never the best player in baseball, but the Hall of Fame is full of compilers. Was Eddie Murray ever the best player in baseball? How about Paul Molitor? Dave Winfield?
Now, if you feel he shouldn’t be in because of steroids that’s a different argument. And a perfectly legitimate one. I wouldn’t vote him in, either. But if you leave one guy out because of steroids that means you have to leave all of the juicers out. No “Clemens was a Hall of Famer before he started taking the stuff” argument. No “Bonds won three MVPs before 1998” argument. They are either in or out. If A-Rod gets in, that means that McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro, Clemens, Bonds, Garagiola, Manny and anyone else with clear-cut HOF numbers that did so with the help of PEDs have to be voted in. All or nothing, as Milli Vanilli once sang (or didn’t sing, actually).
First of all, why did you waste all that space on Dan Shaughnessy last week? Any knowledgeable Boston sports fan knows that DS is a moron. We don't need you boring us with more facts. I think Sarah Palin knows more about foreign policy than DS knows about sports.
A: How did this get in? Terrible. I think I might have to pull a Dean Wormer and put the copy editor on double-secret probation. Moving on …
You were being sarcastic about how no one talks politics on WEEI, I hope. That’s all I’ve heard the last month. Enough.
A: All I know is that three weeks ago this was on my Bucket List:
62. Listen to Glenn Ordway and Sean McAdam have a political discussion.
One down, 61 to go.
(This may seem a strange question, but did anyone spend a good three or four hours the other night trying to figure out where Ayla Brown ranks on the “daughter of politicians” scale? Good, neither did I. Just making sure. But if you have a case for Bristol Palin over the Gore girls, e-mail and let me know why. )
Gotta give credit where credit was due. You called the Leno/Conan thing over a year ago.
A: Wasn’t exactly picking Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson, Matt. The minute NBC put Jay Leno on at 10, the book was written. I'm a Conan O'Brien guy, but as long as Carson Daly stays in the mix, I'm happy. What a talent. If I were NBC I'd put him on from 11:30 until 3:30 and enjoy the magic.
I'll make another prediction (two, actually): Conan does not sign with Fox. But he will take over for David Letterman in September of 2012.
That's it for me. Enjoy rooting for both teams to lose in the AFC title game.