The Boston Celtics have taken a lot of steps forward this year and gave the fans an entertaining season. Going forward, Danny Ainge will be busy trying to get this team to the next level. How will he tackle the obstacle that Lebron and the Cavaliers present?
The Boston Celtics have taken a lot of steps forward this year and gave the fans an entertaining season. Going forward, Danny Ainge will be busy trying to get this team to the next level. How will he tackle the obstacle that Lebron and the Cavaliers present?

[0:02:14] ... All excited thinking well you know maybe we can duel it out Isiah Thomas that's dissipated very very quickly what was his line last night's of these you're starting point. Six points. To listen anyone as ...
[0:05:23] ... you look at the skill set. He run he really does complement Isiah Thomas because Isaiah Thomas is one guy out here who can finish. So if Isiah Thomas is playing in that game last night he probably a seven assist Al Horford he can't in that game and climate. In ...
[0:06:29] ... end to this one what people say never when I talk about Isiah Thomas. That he killed you that the defense of that. They have played on their own worst lights out the last two games impressively completely over works obsessively. With no Isiah Thomas it is the biggest it to Vegas. The mistake people make when they keep on looking could I get would you do ...
[0:11:43] ... Will gain a lot of energy. If he goes out and his Cleveland Cavaliers knock off the Golden State orchestras I think very few people think that's going to happen. So if this is one of ...

Rooke_JohnThinking out loud…while wondering what happened to Timothy Dalton?

— Love it when we can talk college hoops in May. The Big East and Big 10 have the annual Gavitt Games matchups set for next November, and the Friars have themselves a good one with Minnesota’s Golden Gophers Nov. 13th at the Dunkin Donuts Center. That game will tip off the entire series between two of the best conferences in the country.

— Minnesota has a strong group returning from a 24-win team last year that reached the NCAA Tournament, and features the Big 10 Coach of the Year in Friar alumnus Richard Pitino – son of former PC coach Rick Pitino. While a grad assistant under Tim Welsh, Richard would often sit next to myself and Joe Hassett during games, intently listening to our call while watching the play on the floor – rather than sit on the bench – and talk to us during commercial breaks.

— Seems to have worked out okay for him now despite his lack of affection for officials, don’t you think? Wonder who he got that from?

— As for the remainder of those Gavitt Games matchups, it’s a solid grouping. Among the 16 participating schools, 11 reached the NCAA’s and two more played in the NIT. Five of the games will feature two NCAA teams from last season going against each other. That’s a heckuva start to a new season, isn’t it?

— Also a heckuva start to the season – the Friars’ first regular season game at Alumni Hall in 45 years, Nov. 10th against either Houston Baptist or Belmont. Please tell me there will be throwbacks worn that night as well? If you must turn back the clock, turn it back all the way.

— It’s a good non-league slate for PC, released this week. There is the very real possibility of playing as many as three Top 25 teams and five road/neutral games. Win those, no one will be able to keep the Friars from Top 25 status themselves.

— On the docket for the December 20th doubleheader at Mohegan Sun with Providence and Houston will be St. John’s against St. Joe’s. Big East against the Atlantic-10, and against the AAC. Not too far away for holiday hoops in Uncasville, Connecticut.

— Not for nuthin’, but St. John’s signed a city stud this week, 6-7 Sidney Wilson from the Bronx. Wilson prepped last year at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, and averaged 18 points as his team went undefeated in the NEPSAC. The Red Storm return their top four scorers from last season, and add transfers Marvin Clark from Michigan State and Justin Simon from Arizona.

— At first, he was leaning toward the pros. But now that Angel Delgado has decided to return to Seton Hall for his senior year, the nation’s top rebounder from last season just turned the Pirates into a preseason Top 25 team.

— The Big East will definitely be beastly. Xavier has Trevon Bluiett coming back for his senior year, and 6-10 transfer center Kerem Kanter from Wisconsin-Green Bay has also pulled out of the draft to play ball for the Musketeers. Oh my. Bluiett will be a leading candidate for preseason Player of the Year in the Big East.

— Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall and Providence get my 2017-18 Top 4 slots today. Subject to change, of course, between now and November. Creighton, Marquette, Butler and St. John’s aren’t far behind. L-O-A-D-E-D A-G-A-I-N. Eight of 10 teams should be NCAA-worthy.

— Speaking of Creighton, the Blue Jays have lined up a home-and-home non-conference series with the national runners-up from Gonzaga. Starting this season, they’ll play in Spokane, Washington and next year the Bulldogs will travel to Omaha. Gonzaga already has Villanova on its schedule for this year, too. Whoa.

— FYI, but the American Athletic Conference women’s tournament will play at Mohegan Sun next March, rather than on UConn’s campus in Storrs or in Hartford. Should give tournament-goers something else to do besides watch the Huskies kill the competition.

— Which is precisely what we all expected Cleveland and Golden State to do in the NBA Playoffs. Then came the Celtics’ shocker in Game Three at Cleveland. Part of me loved watching the Celtics’ fight, and part of me thought “can we move onto the Finals now, please?”

— It ended Thursday night, to the surprise of no one. Despite the faux top seed, this was a very good run by a team and an organization set to reclaim its birthright as a dominant NBA franchise. Danny, meet Red. Don’t screw this up.

— Were the Celtics “better” without Isaiah Thomas? Of course not. But, they were more cerebral without him because of his injury, which helped them “think” their way through to hanging tough for a couple of days and games. And there was a certain amount of Cavalier attitude coming from LBJ and the champs too, no doubt.

— LeBron James, btw, is now the 7th player all-time to play in seven straight finals. The other six? All Celtics. Just sayin’.

— Don’t be fooled by any Red Sox win streak. Oakland took three of four (in California, I know) and the Texas bullpen is proving brutal. For Boston to be where they should be, it isn’t so much that health needs to improve (which it does) but that players expected to perform need to step it up.

— Looking at you Panda, Price, Ramirez, Bradley, etc. Need I go on?

— Sam Travis could be a hidden gem in all of this, called up this week from Pawtucket and producing his first two big league hits in his debut Wednesday night against the Rangers. Stability in the corners (along with Deven Marrero at 3rd) should help improve a wretched start defensively.

— And David Price? His time in a Pawsox uniform has been downright pedestrian-to-poor. He could use another Triple A start, or two. Otherwise, Boston shouldn’t even think about bringing him back where he’ll be expected to return to form right away. But he’ll be thrown to the wolves starting Monday. Let the howling begin.

— Dave Dombrowski issued a public proclamation of support for John Farrell earlier this week. Kiss of death, or sincere pat on the back? I lean to the former, unless you see a 10-game winning streak in this team somewhere.

— For just the second time in Northeast Conference history, a single team took all three major baseball postseason awards. Bryant won Player of the Year (Mickey Gasper), Pitcher of the Year (Steve Theetge) and Rookie of the Year (Jimmy Titus). It’s the sixth straight year a Bryant player has won the Rookie award. The Bulldogs have won 26 of their last 33 games heading into the weekend’s NEC Tournament.

— URI’s Rams hold the two-seed in the Atlantic-10 Tournament, but lost to #7 George Mason 9-5 Wednesday. For Rhody to repeat its title run from last year, five wins in three days would do it.

— The Providence Bruins’ quest for the Calder Cup continues, falling behind Syracuse in the Eastern Conference finals going into Friday night. Chippy play has been a series characteristic thus far, since these teams don’t see each other but once during the regular season. Strange, geographically, but true.

— Cool to see the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island institute fan voting for 2019 and beyond. Should help create interest in a once-dominant summer sport that has lagged behind others as aging stars leave the limelight.

— Among the rule changes this week coming from the NFL owners’ spring meetings was the change in roster reductions. Now, a team can conceivably go straight from carrying 90 players to the league-mandated 53, just after the final preseason game. Which will make cut down day something akin to bargain shopping at the old Filene’s Basement. 1184 pro football players will suddenly find themselves without a gig.

— And that final preseason game that means absolutely zero? You’ll have anywhere from 10 to 37 guys fighting for their professional lives like gladiators, or you’ll have so much of a snooze-fest with so many regulars not playing that it will be embarrassing to see the number of empty seats in NFL stadiums. But the owners don’t care, they want two home games anyway. You probably shouldn’t care, either.

— The reduction in overtime length from 15 to 10 minutes shouldn’t be that big of a deal. The players are gassed at the end of regulation anyway, and coaches will probably alter their plans to score quickly in an OT because of less time being available. It could make for a little more edge-of-your-seat watching.

— The restrictions on celebratory moves following touchdowns or big plays being relaxed is a nice step toward returning the fun to the NFL, but how much of this is simply Roger Goodell looking to repair his reputation and make things nice with fans again? A lot, if you ask me.

— What I want to see through the Patriots OTA’s and mini camps this summer are two things: 1) How often TB12 targets Brandin Cooks; 2) If Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler develop any chemistry. Both pairings are likely to be key components in returning to the Super Bowl.

— Who’s fired up for hosting the Jags during training camp? Ok, so it’s Jacksonville. But it will be the lead-in to the first preseason game August 10th, and the crowds at Gillette will easily reach five figures on both practice days, which will be free and open to everyone. Who doesn’t love free football?

— Gronk’s restructured contract, adding big incentives that could make him the highest paid tight end in the league, is a strategic move. One, it quiets his “followers” who might complain he isn’t receiving what he’s due. Two, it gives him plenty of incentive to stay on the field so he can earn that quid. Three, it makes the Patriots’ offense that much more dangerous when he’s in the lineup. Wicked smaht.

— In his fourth year as a finalist, Raymond Clayborn’s election to the Patriots’ Hall of Fame was overdue. And even though I’ve touted his candidacy previously, there was every reason to doubt he would get in this year, going up against Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel as candidates.

— Why did Clayborn break through? Or perhaps the better ask is “why?” He is a three-time Pro Bowler, tied (with Ty Law) for the career interceptions mark in franchise history (with 36). But up against two Super Bowl-era candidates, my thought is – their time is still to come. But this was Clayborn’s time.

— That, and Seymour and Vrabel probably split the vote among modern-era Patriots’ fans. Back door, sideways, or going in the front way – it doesn’t matter. He’s in, and he’s deserving. And he went to my alma mater (Texas), plus he’s from my hometown of Fort Worth, so he’s got that going for him, too.

— Former NFL/Sports Illustrated writer Don Banks, who now writes and podcasts on, told me this week he believes another Super Bowl will be played in the northeast. And while Philadelphia is the most likely frontrunner for such an occasion, don’t be surprised to see Gillette Stadium and Foxboro receive consideration. But don’t hold your breath waiting on those tickets to be printed.

— My buddy “Big E” sez he got to work early this week, and the phone rang almost as soon as he stepped through the door. He answered, the caller asked for some specific information and Big E explained that it was before normal business hours but he’d try to help if he could. The caller asked “well, what’s your job there?” E replied, “I’m the company president.” After a short pause, the caller said “Thanks, I’ll call back later. I need to speak with someone who knows something about what’s going on.”

— Stealing this from my Facebook feed during the week, from a former colleague who works in TV news: “ESPN is so lost right now, on television, radio and online. It’s hard to be what you want to be, when you can’t decide what you want to be.” Truer words have rarely been spoken.

— And this from another comment on his feed: “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” That is precisely ESPN’s problem – they don’t know what they want to be. Viewership continues to crumble like leftover cookies, cable cord-cutters are shedding pay-tiers as quickly as a snake sheds its skin.

— Mickey Mouse is making some terrible choices lately when it comes to journalistic integrity. It’s downright Goofy. But that’s just it – Mickey no longer wants any journalistic integrity. He’s all about the showbiz.

— Congrats to longtime competitor and friend Ken Bell, who is retiring in July after a 35-year career anchoring sports at WLNE-TV Channel 6. Who remembers Ken during his time as a PM Magazine co-host on Channel 10? That pre-dated my arrival to New England 30 years ago. He’s one of the nicest men I’ve ever met in an industry full of scoundrels, along with developing into one of the most versatile and resilient anchor/reporters around.

— Ken, don’t be a stranger – this industry will miss your classy tone and temperament.

— “Bond, James Bond.” While I will always consider Sean Connery as THE James Bond, Roger Moore spoke that line as smoothly and effectively as anyone. What’s a little bizarre to realize, however, is that Moore played the character in seven movies and held the longest tenure among Bond portrayals – holding the role for 12 years.

— He was also the oldest actor to start as Bond at age 46 – Connery was 33 when he began the role. Moore was knighted by the Queen of England in 2003, and passed away this week at 89.

— The answer to a trivia question, Timothy Dalton was the actor who portrayed James Bond in the “007” movies after Moore relinquished the role in the mid ‘80’s. Dalton appeared as Bond in just two movies (The Living Daylights and License to Kill) in the late ‘80’s, but was perhaps better known for his portrayal as Rhett Butler in the TV series “Scarlett,” and as Nazi spy Neville Sinclair in “The Rocketeer.” He’s most recently been seen on a Showtime series, and around the City of Manchester Stadium as a big supporter of Manchester City FC.

— Manchester, England, as we know, was the site of an unconscionable terror attack earlier this week. Please understand this – if you don’t know it now, you’ll never get it – radical Islamic terrorists want us all to die. They want to destroy our way of life and the freedoms that have been fought for by people who have given their own lives so that we may live ours. Just because we’re supposed to be the Land of the Free and a welcoming beacon with compassion for the world’s refuse doesn’t mean we also must be stupid.

— Because we also know – stupid is as stupid does.

— Kevin in New York (@fiitz12) tweeted this week on Big East attendance at Madison Square Garden for the postseason tournament: “Underlying concern for MSG attendance? Not including the first day, it’s been packed every year since realignment. Sup with that?” Kevin: Attendance has steadily – if slowly – improved over the past four years, and it is true that the semis and the finals last year saw practically every ticket taken. But there is still work to do for the first two nights, as the old Big East Tournament banged-out the building for every session. Yes, that’s much easier to do when you have 15 teams, and two of them are UConn and Syracuse. But when the Big 10 and ACC are snooping around ready to swoop in and steal the Apple away, the Big East is rightfully concerned about it, contract-through-2026 or not. Ever heard of an “out clause?” There’s no imminent danger here, but there is proactive consideration toward ensuring the Garden stays happy with the current agreement.

— Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, …

Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Southern New England Sports Saturday! Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.

Blog Author: 
John Rooke
The long awaited numbers for the Casting Couch are unveiled.

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The Yankees have lost $166 million in ticket revenue from 2009 until last season. (Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees have lost $166 million in ticket revenue from 2009 until last season. (Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees are experiencing a resurgence on the field this season. But they’re not having a lot of success at the box office.

The first-place Bronx Bombers lost $166 million in ticket sales between 2009 and last season, according to the New York Times. The numbers aren’t any better this year, either. In comparison to 2016, the Yankees have sold 3,793 fewer tickets per game, which is the third-largest decline in baseball.

There are a multitude of possible explanations for this trend. First and foremost, it may speak to the overall decline in baseball interest. That’s probably the most comforting portion of reasoning for the Yankees, which might be why Hal Steinbrenner, the team’s managing partner, was quick to point that out to the Times.

“Baseball, I think, has somewhat struggled with the millennial problem,” he said. “We recognized in looking at our fan base, we recognized in looking at our viewers on YES, that that age group is not what it could be and not what it should be.”

Attendance across MLB was down less than one percent last year, still good for 11th highest all-time. So while there’s a lot of truth to Steinbrenner’s claims about unfavorable demographics –– the average baseball watcher is 55 years old –– it doesn’t seem to be resulting in a widespread attendance decrease.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the Yankees’ struggles at the box office are their recent struggles on the field. After making the playoffs for 13 out of 14 seasons from 1996-2009, they’ve only reached the postseason twice since then.

Above all else, these numbers show the Yankees are no longer the premier franchise in baseball. It’s a delicious piece of comeuppance for a team that had the gall to charge $2,500 per ticket for select seats when the new stadium opened amidst the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer
Hour 4: Mut is a huge fan of Dining Playbook.
Hour 3: Pirating Pete continues.
A big win in Montana.
Hour 2: Mut, Gerry and Kirk discussed Adam Schefter's podcast and a Sox win at Fenway.
Hour 1: Kirk, Gerry and Mut talked about the Celtics blowout loss.