-- Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: I’ll be relieved if the Sox have a double digit lead over the Yankees at the All-Star break.
-- Manny’s agent should send J.D. Drew a thank you card. He has single-handedly made Manny seems like Lou Gehrig after years of complaints about Ramirez' mysterious line-up no-shows. Fact is, Manny has played more games than Derek Jeter since 2003. And the Japanese Iron Horse, Hideki Matsui? 68 fewer games played than Manny since 2003. The only shame here is that we have to suffer through J.D. Drew to fully appreciate what we’ve had in left field. Hopefully, Manny’s here for many more 100 RBI seasons.
-- I’ll be stunned if the Celtics don’t draft the Chinese 7-footer, Yi Jianlian, if he’s there at No. 5. Our comrade-in-blog Junior Gong makes a great counterpoint that Ainge needs to get the most NBA-ready player to save his job. Still, I can’t see Wyc Grousbeck turning his back on the potential marketing income from China. Call it the Dice K ripple effect. Jianlian’s sure to move a lot of green jerseys overseas – he’s already got his own Nike commercial in rotation in China. We can only hope he’s good enough to crack the C’s rotation here.
-- Time to kill a myth left over from the NFL draft. One of the more oft-quoted lines – from Mel Kiper to Trey Wingo – was “you don’t pass up a potential franchise quarterback with the first pick if your team needs one.” The Raiders were hailed for following this rule and the Dolphins were KILLED for ignoring it and leaving Brady Quinn on the board. After hearing that concept spouted a million times in a week, you actually start to think it makes perfect sense. One small problem -- it doesn’t make sense at all. If any one man has shown the folly in this concept, it’s A.J. Smith of the San Diego Chargers. Twice in the last six drafts, Smith has been in the No. 1 spot where his team could’ve had Mike Vick and Eli Manning, both hailed as franchise saviors at the time. In both cases, the Chargers went away from the franchise QB (Manning actually forced them, too) and spun those two picks into LaDanian Tomlinson, Shawn Merriman, Philip Rivers, Nate Kaeding, Roman Oben, Tim Dwight, Reche Caldwell and Tay Cody. Not a bad haul, eh? By going away from the lure of the savior college QB, the Chargers actually saved their franchise. On the flip side, the Falcons are left with an all-star dogfighter and the Giants have a poor-man’s David Carr. Ouch. So what does this mean to the Raiders and Dolphins? If the Chargers are any guide, both franchises will regret not trading out of their spots to address more needs.
-- I’m a huge hoops fan, and like many of you, I miss the Celtic glory days. However, as much as it sucks to see Tim Duncan still raising trophies with the Spurs rather than here in Boston, not once have I ever watched Duncan play and actually felt cheated I haven’t had the chance to watch him play every night. I know, I know – he’s one the all-time greats, but has anyone ever considered a Tim Duncan game required TV viewing?
-- Just curious: are we SURE that Flip Saunders knows defensive double-teams are allowed in the NBA?
Red Sox should make Mike Napoli their next David Ortiz
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