Kraft’s statements don’t admit Any Wrongdoing.

Buried within the Wells report was one crystal clear statement – camouflaged between lawyer speak, innuendo, omissions and pumped up fee’s was one fact. The New England Patriots organization and Bill Belichick had nothing to do with Deflate Gate.

Wells:

“We found no wrongdoing by Patriots ownership, coach Bill Belichick and his assistants.”

And yet the Pats were hit with the steepest fines ever levied by the NFL – One Million Dollars and a loss of a first and forth round draft pick. Why? Why if they had no knowledge or contributed to any wrongdoing were they fined? Simple, one had nothing to do with the other.

Troy Vincent wrote in his statement to the Patriots:

“In accepting the findings of the report, we note that the report identified no evidence of wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing on the part of any member of the coaching staff, including Head Coach Bill Belichick, or by any Patriots’ staff member other than Mr. Jastremski and Mr. McNally, including head equipment manager Dave Schoenfeld. Similarly, the Wells report is clear that Patriots ownership and executives did not participate in any way in the misconduct, or have knowledge of the misconduct.”

Vincent also added:

“Although we do not hold the club directly responsible for Mr. Brady’s refusal to cooperate, it remains significant that the quarterback of the team failed to cooperate fully with the investigation. Finally, it is significant that key witnesses – Mr. Brady, Mr. Jastremski, and Mr. McNally – were not fully candid during the investigation.”

Here’s the rub. The Patriots were never fined for anything that had to do with deflate gate but the perception by Wells and by extension Goodell – wait I mean, umm, Troy Vincent, that team employees didn’t fully cooperate with the investigation. Therefore Goodell could toss his “failure to cooperate” blanket at Bob Kraft and the Patriots. Did he have to do this? No, but Goodell is the ultimate ass-hat who just had to show the rest of the league he was a tough guy and that while any fine or suspension tossed at Brady would/will most likely get reduced on appeal or overturned in court, Kraft would have to set himself up as the villain, suing his partners, thirty other billionaires and the Packers and still most likely lose. Kraft wasn’t going to do this. So in essence what Kraft did yesterday was say – we accept the fact you think the team and three of our employees didn’t cooperate to the degree you thought proper.

So to anyone who thinks Kraft’s statement was an admission of guilt – you’re dead wrong. It was simply an acceptance of someone else’s perception of what cooperation is.

Follow/Give me Grief on Twitter @Tmurph207

Red Sox Lineup in Need Of a Shake-Up

Red Sox Lineup Needs a Shake Up
PD2

The hallmark of any .500 teams is when you hit your staff can’t pitch and when your staff pitches your lineup can’t hit. Ladies and Gents I give you the 2015 Boston Red Sox.

The Sox are coming home off a .500 road trip – there’s that number again – where sans a Masterson meltdown the pitching faired really well. The issue is the Sox managed just 23 runs on the trip. Even more glaring to the issue is bookend shut outs at the hands of the Blue Jays and Mariners. Painful – just painful. Something has to change, and here’s what I’d like to see:

Drop Napoli

Not all together. No one is talking DFA “yet”. Napoli is batting .162 on the season and if that’s not bad enough an abysmal .111 with six K’s over his past five games. I don’t know how Farrell thinks Naps is protecting anyone in any way shape or form but he isn’t.

Drop Betts to Ninth

Yes we were all there on opening day at Fenway. Yes we have all seen what Mookie can do when some fool hangs one over the middle, but that’s not happening enough to keep him in the leadoff spot anymore. Betts is batting just .221 on the season and can’t seem to understand that he isn’t or shouldn’t be looking to pull everything thrown his way. Until he can figure this out and start shooting singles to right field, Betts bats bitch.

Leading off Right Field

Kind of vague don’t you think Murph? Yeah, I heard you thinking that – I did. But be it Victorino or Holt making the start I want one of these two leading off. Yes Holt has cooled off (Like I said he would) but he and Shane are getting on base at a better clip than anyone else. Also take away Brock’s desire to carry the teams need for RBI and just get on base will refocus Mr. Super Utility

Xander To The Three Hole

I begged for this all last year. I pleaded for it before this season started, but Farrell seems either too indignant or too stupid to listen to me. When you have a kid this talented you put him in position to help you as much as he can, and in a position that helps him grow as quickly as he can. That position is batting third in this order. Not in the Eight Hole where he has spent most of his time and .292 average from that spot is wasted. Give this kid the protection he deserves and he will deliver.

Move the Panda – To clean up

Yes to clean up. I don’t care what you are paying Ramirez, since hurting his shoulder Handleys batting .216 with no HR and No RBI. While Sandoval can’t seem to figure out batting from the right side he’s raking from the left .366 with five HR and fifteen RBI. I should have him batting third with these numbers but right now WE HAVE NO CLEANUP HITTER. P.S. Pablo – stop hitting righty.

This entire yak was to give you a taste of my thinking, that’s it. I think you deserve an explanation to my madness. A team two games under .500 at this stage of the season can’t be married to a lineup simply because that’s the way it should work. Or out of some misguided respect to what anyone has done in the past. Something has to be done, we are talking about a $200 million dollar team that came into the season with serious questions but can’t do what everyone said it would – score runs. If Farrell can’t do this it maybe time for a remodel of the Managers office. But that’s a column for another day.

This is what I want to see tonight and going forward.

1)Victorino/Holt RF
2)Pedroia 2B
3)Bogaerts SS
4)Sandoval 3B
5)Ramirez LF
6)Ortiz DH
7)Napoli 1B
8)Swihart C
9)Betts CF

Red Sox Lineup In Need Of a Shake-Up

Red Sox Lineup Needs a Shake Up

PD2

The hallmark of any .500 teams is when you hit your staff can’t pitch and when your staff pitches your lineup can’t hit. Ladies and Gents I give you the 2015 Boston Red Sox.

The Sox are coming home off a .500 road trip – there’s that number again – where sans a Masterson meltdown the pitching faired really well. The issue is the Sox managed just 23 runs on the trip. Even more glaring to the issue is bookend shut outs at the hands of the Blue Jays and Mariners. Painful – just painful. Something has to change, and here’s what I’d like to see:

Drop Napoli

Not all together. No one is talking DFA “yet”. Napoli is batting .162 on the season and if that’s not bad enough an abysmal .111 with six K’s over his past five games. I don’t know how Farrell thinks Naps is protecting anyone in any way shape or form but he isn’t.

Drop Betts to Ninth

Yes we were all there on opening day at Fenway. Yes we have all seen what Mookie can do when some fool hangs one over the middle, but that’s not happening enough to keep him in the leadoff spot anymore. Betts is batting just .221 on the season and can’t seem to understand that he isn’t or shouldn’t be looking to pull everything thrown his way. Until he can figure this out and start shooting singles to right field, Betts bats bitch.

Leading off Right Field

Kind of vague don’t you think Murph? Yeah, I heard you thinking that – I did. But be it Victorino or Holt making the start I want one of these two leading off. Yes Holt has cooled off (Like I said he would) but he and Shane are getting on base at a better clip than anyone else. Also take away Brock’s desire to carry the teams need for RBI and just get on base will refocus Mr. Super Utility

Xander To The Three Hole

I begged for this all last year. I pleaded for it before this season started, but Farrell seems either too indignant or too stupid to listen to me. When you have a kid this talented you put him in position to help you as much as he can, and in a position that helps him grow as quickly as he can. That position is batting third in this order. Not in the Eight Hole where he has spent most of his time and .292 average from that spot is wasted. Give this kid the protection he deserves and he will deliver.

Move the Panda – To clean up

Yes to clean up. I don’t care what you are paying Ramirez, since hurting his shoulder Handleys batting .216 with no HR and No RBI. While Sandoval can’t seem to figure out batting from the right side he’s raking from the left .366 with five HR and fifteen RBI. I should have him batting third with these numbers but right now WE HAVE NO CLEANUP HITTER. P.S. Pablo – stop hitting righty.

This entire yak was to give you a taste of my thinking, that’s it. I think you deserve an explanation to my madness. A team two games under .500 at this stage of the season can’t be married to a lineup simply because that’s the way it should work. Or out of some misguided respect to what anyone has done in the past. Something has to be done, we are talking about a $200 million dollar team that came into the season with serious questions but can’t do what everyone said it would – score runs. If Farrell can’t do this it maybe time for a remodel of the Managers office. But that’s a column for another day.

This is what I want to see tonight and going forward.

1)Victorino/Holt RF
2)Pedroia 2B
3)Bogaerts SS
4)Sandoval 3B
5)Ramirez LF
6)Ortiz DH
7)Napoli 1B
8)Swihart C
9)Betts CF

Castillo Banged up AGAIN

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Pittsburgh Pirates

From almost the day he stepped into a Red Sox uniform, one of my favorite targets was Jacoby Ellsbury. Not for a lack of hustle talent or effort, but for his never-ending string of injuries and extended stays on the DL. Now it seems the Sox may have a new Diva in the fold.

Since his signing, Cuban sensation Rusney Castillo has made more headlines for his fist pro contract, his Porsche and the frequent flyer miles he’s tacked up on trips to the trainers room than he has for playing baseball.

“Castillo day to day with thumb injury”; “Castillo done early with Arizona Fall League”; “Castillo leaves lasting impression in Shortened Winter Ball season”, “Castillo dealing with pain”; “Castillo strains oblique”; “Rusney deals with shoulder injury”…

You get the picture. Now it seems the Red Sox $70 plus million-dollar Cuban import has “tweaked” his ankle sliding into second base just days after returning to the lineup. The team described his removal from the game as “precautionary” and there was no need to pull his $170,000-dollar Porsche onto the field to carry him to the locker room (he walked off the field). There is no denying Castillo’s talent; his upside, even at his age is off the charts. I don’t honestly know how good this man can be. I also don’t know if he will be back in today’s lineup for the Paw Sox, and by extension, when his call up to the Big League club that sorely needs a shot in the arm will come. What I do know is this pattern of fragileness has me wondering if the Red Sox have another Ellsbury or worse yet – a long lost Cuban Drew brother on its hands.

Follow/ give me Grief on Twitter @Tmurph207

Tom Brady’ Agent releases Statement on Wells Report

Statement from Tom Brady’s agent, Don Yee:

“The Wells report, with all due respect, is a significant and terrible disappointment. It’s omission of key facts and lines of inquiry suggest the investigators reached a conclusion first, and then determined so-called facts later. One item alone taints this entire report. What does it say about the league office’s protocols and ethics when it allows one team to tip it off to an issue prior to a championship game, and no league officials or game officials notified the Patriots of the same issue prior to the game? This suggests it may be more probable than not that the league cooperated with the Colts in perpetrating a sting operation. The Wells report buries this issue in a footnote on page 46 without any further elaboration. The league is a significant client of the investigators’ law firm; it appears to be a rich source of billings and media exposure based on content in the law firm’s website. This was not an independent investigation and the contents of the report bear that out – all one has to do is read closely and critically, as opposed to simply reading headlines. The investigators’ assumptions and inferences are easily debunked or subject to multiple interpretations. Much of the report’s vulnerabilities are buried in the footnotes, which is a common legal writing tactic. It is a sad day for the league as it has abdicated the resolution of football-specific issues to people who don’t understand the context or culture of the sport. I was physically present for my client’s interview. I have verbatim notes of the interview. Tom made himself available for nearly an entire day and patiently answered every question. It was clear to me the investigators had limited understanding of professional football. For reasons unknown, the Wells report omitted nearly all of Tom’s testimony, most of which was critical because it would have provided this report with the context that it lacks. Mr. Wells promised back in January to share the results of this investigation publicly, so why not follow through and make public all of the information gathered and let the public draw its own conclusions? This report contains significant and tragic flaws, and it is common knowledge in the legal industry that reports like this generally are written for the benefit of the purchaser.”

Porcello puts a stop to Sox Slide

Porcello puts a stop to Sox Slide
Rick P

Okay that’s about the cheesiest headline ever – I know. But give me a break people, it’s late and no one is paying me $20 plus million a year so, you get what you pay for. Over his last two outings, that’s exactly what the Red sox have gotten out of their $20 plus million-dollar man – Rick Porcello. In his last outing, Porcello took the mound in the midst of the Sox 3-7 slide, all against the AL East and shut down division rival Toronto, who managed just two hits and one earned while striking out six times. Rumor has it the Sox pen had to get counseling after the game as they were in shock seeing a pitcher go a full seven innings.

This time out, the Sox were losers of five straight including being swept at home by the Yankee’s. Your teams best hitter Hanley Ramirez had just been shelved for the first time in his Red Sox career (who had the under?). Again facing a division rival, The Rays – and you go out, take the mound and send everyone in attendance home with a 2-0 smile on their face. Was it dominant? No, Porcello let the Rays scatter eight hits but he didn’t walk a batter and struck out six. Not bad for a pitch to contact guy.

Is Porcello an Ace? No. He wasn’t an Ace when the Sox traded for him; he wasn’t an Ace when they gave him an $82 million dollar extension. And he wasn’t an ace when he sent Red Sox Nation to bed last night with its first smile in a while. But what he might be is a guy who can do that more often than not, and on this staff, the Nation will take that.

Follow / Give me Grief on Twitter @Tmurph207

Best Sports Entertainer Brackets! Vote!!

Who  is the best Sports Entertainer of all time? The Brackets are set! Get your say in by voting! Fill out your bracket and e-mail us at SportsInfusion@aol.com ! We will use your votes to help your favorite entertainer move on! Rules and Bracket posted below! The winner will get their very own Championship Belt! Go vote now! And listen to the show Wednesday night at 9pm Eastern standard time on blogtalkradio.com Also make sure you follow the show on Twitter Sports_Infusion !

 

FINALBRACKET (1)

 

 

Patriots Monster Draft :2015 Edition

U MAD BRO

Patriots Nation Here We Go Again: Draft Day is upon us Tom Bill and the rest of Patriots Nation have another Superbowl tucked into their trophy case and its time to start thinking about one for the thumb.Or i need to grow a longer middle digit.

Hours and hours of tape have been agonized over and both players and coaches have crisscrossed the country for pro-days and official team visits. Everyone involved from GM’s to team Doctors to ball boys have already hit the men’s room, done their “Due Diligence”. Every team still has their “Druthers”. Wish lists are written meticulously across NFL white boards. War Room Plans B – C and D are in place and have been gone over more times than Eisenhower’s plans for the invasion of Normandy, and when its all done we, the writing class, will be there to describe the carnage. Pretty Dramatic, huh? Isn’t that what the NFL is all about people – drama? This once unnoticed mundane exercise known as the NFL Draft was first held in the ballroom of the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia. That day there were more bell hops in attendance than reporters. Now it’s a global event. The first pick in that draft? Jay Berwanger never played a down in the NFL (Drama). You can be sure that won’t happen with this weekend’s first pick. And no matter how the “Big board” falls, Bill will have a plan when we all hear the Patriots are “On the clock”. Here’s what I hope will happen.

Rd 1 Pick 32: AJ Cann OG South Carolina

Cann is ALL SEC – that in it self says a lot. After red-shirting his freshman year he went on to be a four year starter in one the toughest conferences in football and a two year captain. Cann is a leader on and off the field and has the size-speed-IQ and a mean streak to excel in the NFL. His hand use is amazing – whether keeping his assignment at bay or moving them off inside running lanes, he never seem to be at a loss with how to handle his business. Last season showed that depth on the O-line is paramount and the drop off after the top two Guards in this draft, I think is too significant to ignore.

Rd 2 Pick 64: Michael Bennett DT Ohio State

You want to upgrade this pass rush – Bennett is the kid to do that. Super quick off the ball using his speed to shed linemen and get into opponents backfields and make plays is this mans game, he’s had seven sacks in back to back seasons and 14 of his 41 tackles last season went for losses. This team needs to get better at getting to the QB, Bennett can give Belichick a versatile lineman who can do that from anyplace he wants to line him up.

Rd 3 Pick 96: Hau’Oli Kikaha OLB Washington

I find Kikaha an interesting ball player; his motor is unquestioned. Like Mick Jagger, once you start him up he’ll never stop. Once again this pass rush needs to improve and when Kikaha left Washington he took the school record for sacks (36) with him. Again, here comes that word – versatile – playing both end positions before moving to OLB last season. Two point three-point stance or at the Buck this kid doesn’t care. He’s a football player – a hard-hitting football player.

Rd 3 Pick 97: Ali Marpet G Hobart College

I hear you out there people – Double Dipping Murph? You said the drop off was to steep after Cann. You bet your ass I’m double dipping and yes, I did, but this is pick 97 not 67. Marpett has been talked about a lot lately and rightly so, but I also think come draft day those talks will cool off. GM’s will think to themselves Hobart? Hobart College? That’s where Don De’Chico AKA Beldar Conehead went to school. Well good, because then this kid will be here at 97. Marpet made his living in college at LT but with his frame he is better suited to the inside. He’s smart and has the drive to turn himself into an interior lineman on the next level.

Rd 3 Pick 97:

Wait Murph you just gave us the pride of Hobart with this pick. Well folks I’m conflicted. I have that right, it’s my byline – don’t like it, get your own byline. These three picks at 96-97-101 are tricky, and when the clock is ticking I may just go this way:

Josh Shaw CB USC

You might remember Shaw for all the wrong reasons. I’m not going to go into them here just Goggle it. What I am going to do is tell you this kid has the skill set to play at the next level, and maybe excel in the Patriots system. He can move from CB to both safety spots and has a good nose for the ball, while not a hawk he breaks up passes; Shaw is not a huge hitter but does not miss tackles. How refreshing – a DB that makes tackles.

Rd 4 Pick 101: Davis Tull OLB Chattanooga

FAST-FAST-FAST. I’m not talking forty times here people, what I’m talking about is speed to chase down runners and drag them to the turf. Tull is a three-time SoCon defensive player of the year – AS A WALK ON. This is a can’t-quit kid that plays with a Brady-like chip on his shoulder that reminds many of Rob Ninkovich. He reminds me of a kid I loved last year: Chris Borland. The only thing that gives me pause is his injury history, but he’s worth the shot here at 101.

RD 4 Pick 131: Tony Lippett WR (?) Michigan ST

Ok here we are people – 130 ballplayers have been drafted lets get funky. Tony Lippett is one of the most fascinating players in this draft. The 6’2 WR (?) – There’s that question mark again – boasts a 66 inch wingspan. That’s a very enticing red zone target. After four years at MSU he left with 149 receptions for 2,247 receiving yards and 15 TD’s. Good – not great numbers. He catches the ball away from his body well and is a great route runner. A solid pick at WR here. So what’s with all the question marks Murph? Well, I’ll tell you. This kid may just be a better CB prospect than he is at WR. Lippett started 14 games at CB during his MSU career – 11 as a freshman and 3 as a senior. With the size and speed of the WR’s across the league, a kid with Lippett’s frame and experience at the WR position could make him a very dangerous CB in the patriots system. Hey it’s worked for Richard Sherman. When he’s not in Arizona anyway.

RD 6 Pick 178: Jacoby Glenn CB UCF

Glen is raw, a red shirt sophomore with great length. A legit 6-footer, he finished third in the nation in 2014 with 7 INT and broke up another 11 passes. A good read and react guy, he isn’t afraid to get his nose in there making 100 tackles over two seasons at UCF. Playing mostly off coverage and zone in college (sound Familiar?) he was named defensive player of the year and a second team All American.

RD 7 Pick 219: Kaleb Eullis DT Mississippi State

I fist saw this man at the senior bowl and I had to dig deeper. Eullis started every game in his college career, playing in both 4-3 and 3-4 schemes. That kind of experience means a lot. He isn’t a devastating pass rusher, but a run stuffing inside guy who eats up space. To be honest the Pats will need some luck to see him here but hey, what are the Pats of not lucky?

RD 7 Pick 253: Marcus Murphy RB Missouri

No relation people – I have no skin in this pick. Murph may be one of the most versatile players in this draft. Murphy leaves Missouri with 5,112 all-purpose yards and 25 touchdowns – running (16), receiving (2), kick returning (5) and punt returning (2). This kid is a perfect change of pace guy and can exploit a D from the spread. Again sound familiar? He catches balls as easily out of the slot as he does the backfield and almost touched 1,000 yards last season running the ball on just 177 carries.

That’s it folks, a little hope, a little luck and some good karma. Now I know this draft won’t fall exactly this way, but its fun to share this column with you every year. Maybe I’ll get lucky and one or three of these kids I’ve invested so much time in will be wearing a Patriots uniform come fall.

Follow / give me grief on twitter @Tmurph207

Sox Miley Epicly Bad in Baltimore

Sox Miley Epicly Bad in Baltimore

No one this bad should look this happy

No one this bad should look this happy

When Ben Cherington traded for Wade Miley, he didn’t trade for an ACE – he knew that. Tee shirts be damned, he wasn’t trading for a top of the rotation, fireballing strikeout 8, walk 3 kind of guy. He knew what he was getting with Miley; at least he thought he knew. Ben thought he was trading for an innings eater, a guy who could take the mound 30 times a year and give you 200 innings. Well that innings eater has managed to stay on the mound for just 15 2/3 in four starts this year- 4 starts, yes IV.

Miley’s lifetime ERA is a respectable 3.91. It’s steadily gone up over each of the past three seasons, from 3.33 in 2012 to 4.34 in 2014. Cherington and Farrell would happily take 4.34 at this point. After Sundays meltdown, his number is approaching double digits sitting precariously just this side of it at 8.62. His best outing of the season came five days earlier when he managed to shut out the vaunted Rays for 5 2/3. What a workhorse.

Well on Sunday, the Oriels, who before Boston came to town had been losers of five straight, decided what better way to get right at the plate than to beat a dead workhorse. In the third inning, Baltimore sent ten men to the plate. Miley was so bad he walked two of them – Manny Machado and Adam Jones – on 8 pitches and put six straight batters on and given up 6 earned before Farrell had seen enough. The only thing I’m wondering is what took him so long? In two of Miley’ four starts, he has now been chased before the fourth. If this team is going to compete week in and week out this can’t continue I’m not expecting Wade to be more than he is. I’m just asking him to be better than THIS. But lets look on the bright side, we have a pitching guru for a manager whose genius is proved by a MLB worst Team ERA of FIVE and Cherington can always just part ways with Wade after the season. Oh wait – all those Arms that made Big John look so good are long gone and Benny the bargain hunter tossed three years and $19.25 million at Wade before he threw a pitch in a Boston uniform… how could I forget?

Paging Brian Johnson…

Follow/give me Grief on Twitter @Tmurph207