Who is Our 5th Starter?

FORT MYERS, Fla. — If you think 6 into 5 doesn’t compute, Clay Buchholz figures he was faced with an even more unworkable equation last season.
“I came into camp ready to pitch,” Buchholz said Wednesday morning, “knowing I had a Hall of Fame guy that’s competing for the job, that’s new coming in, I knew he was probably ahead of me. We had Brad . I knew he was in front of me. So I was No. 7, maybe No. 8, on the depth chart.
“So it’s a little bit different this year, knowing I have a legitimate shot to win a spot. At the same time, I’m not going to think about it like it’s my spot. I still have to win it.”

Buchholz is competing for the No. 5 spot in the Boston Red Sox‘s rotation with knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who had offseason back surgery but says he’s fine now. Wakefield said he expects to start, and the Red Sox said they are best served with Wakefield as a starter. –Full story

Celtics Making Moves, Bringing In Slam-Dunk Champion

NBA Trading Deadline Affects Green Team

With a date set with the Los Angeles Lakers later tonight, the Boston Celtics may be a little undermanned on their bench.

That’s because Danny Ainge has reached a tentative agreement to deal Eddie House, J.R. Giddens, and Bill Walker to the New York Knicks for guard Nate Robinson and a player yet to be named.  

So with Robinson in and House out, what does this mean for the Celtics?

Well, House has struggled this season, compared to his record setting season last year where he hit 44.5 percent of his 3-pointers.  House, in 50 games, has averaged 7.2 points per game, coming off of the bench for Boston.

Robinson, 25, is averaging 13.2 points per game with 3.7 assister per game.  He has fallen out of favor with head coach Mike D’Antoni, like many other Knicks in the past two seasons. Robinson will provide Boston with a better scoring and defensive option off the bench for Boston, rather then House, and is set to become a free agent after the season.

(AP Photo) (AP Photo) 

Spring Training Has Begun…

A Look At Some Of The Story Lines Of Spring Training 2010

The grass is green, the palm trees are in full force, and the reporters  are flocking.

So that must mean the Boston Red Sox are in Fort Myers.  

Spring Training has begun for the Boston Red Sox as Thursday marks the official reporting day for the local nine.  After a disappointing exit to the 2009 season, the Sox are looking for a strong spring to prove they are over the dismal ending of last season.  

Along with the hope and promise that arrives with the crack of the bat every spring, come the new bright faces that mix with the old.  With the changing of players (and philosophy) in Boston, makes for many new story-lines that add interesting wrinkles to this years start in Fort Myers.

So with this, we will delve further into the top five story-lines of this year’s Spring Training.   

1) Will this years squad have enough offense? 

At first glance, the lineup for 2010 looks a little bleaker than that of its 2009 version.  With Jason Bay gone to the Mets, it would seem the Sox are missing a big bat in the middle of the lineup.  But with the additions of Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron, Marco Scutaro, and a full-year of Victor Martinez, the Sox should have plenty of offensive firepower (compared to last years at those positions) to withstand the tough competition of the AL East.  If not, you can rest assure Theo Epstein will be making moves at the trading deadline.  

2) What version of David Ortiz will we see?

The first question leads right into this one.  Which Big Papi will show up in 2010? Well, the 34-year-old is in his final guaranteed year of a contract with Boston, so you can bet he has plenty of motivation coming into the season.  Rumors have it that Papi is in great shape and looking forward to building off his strong second half of last season.  Believe it or not, Ortiz hit 28 HRs and had 99 RBIs last season and you can expect those numbers to increase this season as Sox fans would also like to see a climb in his average from last season (.238) in 2010.  

3) What will the catching situation be like?  

Victor Martinez is slated to receive the majority of starts behind the plate this season, so how does Jason Varitek fit into the picture?  Well, with Varitek’s best years behind him, you can expect Terry Francona to employ the Sox captain mainly on days that opposing teams have left-handed pitchers on the mound as Varitek is noted to hit at a higher clip (39 points higher over the past three years) against lefties, rather than righties.  Martinez will also see some time at first base this season to give Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Beltre some rest days, which makes the need for Varitek on the bench even more prevalent.  (One thing to note though is that even if Varitek is upset with his backup role, he will not be a distraction in the clubhouse).

4) Will Josh Beckett or Victor Martinez be signed to contract extensions?   

Nothing is for certain with the Red Sox front office.  But expect the Sox to make a push to sign the former before the latter, as in Beckett instead of Martinez.  Beckett’s last contract was a three-year, $30 million pact that was signed in good faith by both sides.  But you cannot expect Beckett to take a discount this time around as he will be looking to strike it rich in what could be his last chance at a major pay-day. With the contracts of Beckett, Martinez, Ortiz, Varitek, Beltre, Julio Lugo, and Mike Lowell coming off the books next season, the Sox will have plenty of money to spend in free agency and in keeping their own free agents.  The question remains whether or not Epstein and company want to wrap up negotiations with Beckett now or wait and take their shot, along with 29 other teams, in inking the right-hander next off-season.  As for Martinez, it will be a wait-and-see type of approach for the front office as they will need to assess the defensive ability of Martinez behind the plate, before agreeing to a long-term deal with the 31-year-old.  

5) What’s going to happen with Mike Lowell?

In what could be the most intriguing and delicate story-line of the spring, the future of Mike Lowell is still up in the air.  Due to the need for thumb surgery, a trade with the Texas Rangers was taken off of the table in the winter as the Rangers elected to keep catching prospect Max Ramirez in leu of trading for an injured Lowell.  How Lowell recovers from surgery and performs this spring will go a long way in determining where he will end up.  Could a trade with Texas be revisited?  Will the Cubs make a push for the third-basemen?  Do the Sox want to keep Lowell as a platoon DH and backup player?  All these scenarios could play out, which make this story-line the one to watch this spring.

Please, let us know which story-line you think is most intriguing by commenting on this article.  Also, don’t forget to check out all our new merchandise and apparel as the Sox are set to take on the Yankees at Fenway Park on April 4.  

It’s Time To Go Green!

The Boston Celtics have a tough schedule coming out of the NBA All-Star Break and despite what critics say, they are not taking this schedule lightly. Instead, they are looking at the second of season as a chance for a fresh start. 
“You remember it, break it down, understand what you’ve been doing right and been doing wrong, and instead of half a season, we look at it like a whole new ballgame,” said Paul Pierce. “A fresh start. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.’’
Last night, the Celtics started a four game, five night road trip in Sacramento, CA. The Celtics did prevail in the final minutes of the game, knocking down key free throws and going on to beat the Kings, 95-92.
The Sacramento Kings, despite only having 18 wins on the season, gave the Celtics problems all night long with their young and talented starting five. The Big Three combined for just 13 of 47 from the field and the team missed a total of 50 shots on the night.
The Celtics’ reserves were the real story of the game though, combining for 44 points off of the bench. Eddie House had 12 out of those 44 connecting on four 3-pointers and Rasheed Wallace chipped in with 17. The bench was a huge part of the Celtics’ success at the beginning of the season, and the C’s will need more production from them if they are going to be contenders in the post season.
A win is a win, even if it was ugly. “It’s a win.” Said Doc Rivers after the game, “I don’t know what tone it’s going to set, but we get a win and now we’ve got to move to the next game, and that’s how we’re approaching the next 31 now. We’re not looking ahead, we’re not sending messages, we’re just trying to win this game and get better tonight and focus on the next game. The whole trip, we’re not looking at. We’re looking at the next game. That’s the way we have to be right now.’’
The Celtics have 31 games left to play. Despite their woes before the All-Star Break, they still sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference Standings. Their focus must continue to be one game at a time.
Next stop: Los Angeles
Thursday could be a big day in Celtic Nation. The trade deadline is at 3:00 PM, when all rumors will either come to life or to fruition. Big trade or not, the Celtics are also scheduled to take on the Lakers in LA at 10:30 PM ET on national television. So, be sure to tune in for what is sure to be an eventful day.
To gear up for the second half of the season, Charlie Chowdahead has declared “It’s Time To Go Green!” Just order anything in the “All Things Green” Section and receive 10% of the entire order! Enter coupon code: GOGREEN2010 at checkout.

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Red Sox Equipment Truck Leaves Boston Today

Each February, the Red Sox Equipment truck embarks on a 1,480 mile trip down to Fort Myers, Florida in preparation for Spring Training. The truck left Fenway Park today around noon carrying all the equipment for this year’s 2010 Red Sox ball club.  The procession was led by Wally the Green Monstah and Red Sox Nation Ambassadors.

With the departure of the equipment truck, all Chowdaheadz know the 2010 Red Sox Season is right around the corner!

Should The Celtics Trade Ray Allen?

This May Be The Time To Make A Move For the C’s

With the Boston Celtics championship hopes dwindling by the day, should the Celtics trade Ray Allen?

Short answer, no.

Allen’s $19.7 million contract is expiring at the end of the season, which makes him a valuable trading commodity for many teams looking to move players, as well as an asset to Danny Ainge and the Celtics.

Yet, the trouble with trading should a highly-paid player  to another team is that salaries of the moving players (and parts) have to match up in order to make the deal valid.  So, with a trade involving Allen, their will have to be more than a couple of moving pieces to get a deal done.

With a deal of this magnitude, Ainge must decide whether trading Allen gives the C’s the best chance at being competitive this year and perhaps in the years to come. With names swirling around the rumor mill, such as Kevin Martin (Kings) and Monta Ellis (Warrior), would trading Allen make the C’s better in 2010 or just in the future?

Most likely the latter, and with that, Celtics fans may not be happy to hear that Ainge is seemingly conceding this season, especially with the core players such as Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rasheed Wallace, reaching the twilights of their careers.

It would be in the best interest of Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge to keep Ray Allen for the final year of his deal and then let him walk after the season.  The leadership, camaraderie, and skill Allen gives the 2009-10 Celtics is still valuable and if the C’s want to raise an 18th banner into the rafters of the Garden this season, they will keep Ray Allen.

(AP Photo) (AP Photo)
For now.

Are The Patriots Going To Lock-Up Brady And Wilfork?

Future of Patriots Star Players are in Question

With Vince Wilfork’s contract up in New England and with Tom Brady entering the final year of his own contract, when will Bob Kraft and company start to negotiate contract extensions for both players?

Well, some deadlines could play a key factor in these negotiations.

For starters, the franchise tag could be waiting for Wilfork come Feb. 11, which is the day teams can start assigning franchise tag to players.  The last possible day for New England to assign the tag is on Feb. 25, so the Patriots have just over two weeks to negotiate a new deal with the 28-year-old.   

Wilfork already stated he would consider the franchise tag as a slap in the face, it may be best for New England to get a deal completed before that deadline hits. With Wilfork set to land his first major contract, you can expect he and his representatives will try to muster all the money they possibly can out of Kraft for his services over the past six years at Foxborough.  

Other than Wilfork’s franchise tag deadline, another deadline, which is slightly different, is looming for New England

It’s March 5, which is the first official day of the 2010 league year.  That day, Tom Brady is due a roster bonus of $3 million which could boost the need for New England to ink Brady to an extension before the roster bonus amounts. 

There is no doubt that Wilfork’s case is more prevalent than Brady’s since he is no longer under contract, unlike Tom Terrific.  But both players are key cogs to both sides of the ball for New England and Bill Belichick would be smart to keep his best players this decade instead of letting them walk like the likes of Asante Samuel, Deion Branch, and Willie McGinest.  

The deadlines are looming for the Patriots and if they’re looking to be as dominate in the new decade as they were in the last, then Kraft and company better pony up before the rest of the NFL ponies them out.  

Thats How Much Vince Wilfork Wants To Be Paid That's How Much Vince Wilfork Wants To Be Paid

Get Your Free Pair of Boston Red Socks!

Fellow Chowdaheadz, order $35.00 more today and get your own free pair of Boston Red Socks. These socks are made with a white heel and a white toe just like the ones your favorite boys of summer wear. Order now, just in time for the departure of the Red Sox equipment truck from Fenway Park on Friday!
Remember, you must add them to your shopping cart. Your order total must also be $35.00 or more after any coupons or discounts.

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Saints Win Super Bowl XLIV

The grand stage for Super Bowl XLIV: Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida on February 7, 2010 at 6:25 PM ET.

Last night in front of 74,059 fans, the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17, to become Super Bowl XLIV Champions. This was the Saint’s first Super Bowl trip since the birth of their franchise 43 years ago.

The magnitude of the game for the New Orleans Saints, the state of Louisiana, and their “Who Dat Nation” following was represented by the overwhelming television ratings.  Last night’s game was the most watched program in television broadcast history. Super Bowl XLIV surpassed the 1983 M.A.S.H series finale for most viewers all time, with approximately 106 million people nationwide tuning in to watch the game.

Both teams were number one seeds coming into the playoffs and it was the first time since 1993 that two number one seeds faced one another on NFL’s biggest stage. The Saints led the NFC with a 13-3 record for the 2009 regular season and the Colts led the AFC with a 14-2 record on the year. Despite the close records, the New Orleans Saints came into the game as the underdogs. Many predicted that if the Colt’s star defensive end, Dwight Freeney, was going to play through his ankle injury than the Saint’s would have no chance to win.

The Saints did dig themselves into a hole  early on falling behind 10-0 in the first quarter, and it looked as if it was going to be the Colts’ night to win. Saints’ head coach, Sean Payton, refused to back down though and called a few gutsy plays to keep his team in the game. The most noticeable was the onside kick call coming out of halftime to regain possession of the football. It was a key possession that led to a Drew Brees touchdown and gave the Saints their first lead in the game, 13-10. The Saints never looked back.

Drew Brees connected for 32 out 39 passes for a total of 288 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He had an overall 114.5 passer rating on the night. His counterpart, Peyton Manning completed 31 of 45 passes for a total of 333 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Manning’s overall passer rating was 88.5, which was just not good enough for his Colts.

Manning ran off the field without congratulating Brees.

Drew Brees and Company will have enough people congratulating them this off-season though. The Saints’ will head back to New Orleans to meet the “Who Dat Nation” to celebrate their 2010 Super Bowl victory and of course, Marti Gras.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Rondo and the Celtics Cool Off Heat

The Boston Celtics have been hampered by injuries all season long. Their injury woes continued on Monday against the Washington Wizards when their Captain Paul Pierce went down with a strained left mid-foot in the first quarter.
Despite the most recent injury to Pierce though, the Celtics managed to pull out a win over the Miami Heat at the TD Bank Garden last night, 107-102. Rajon Rondo was the spark the Celtics needed to win the game and his logged minutes (44:11) show it.  He filled the offensive void left by Pierce, connecting for two 3-pointers and scoring 22 points on the night. Ray Allen dropped 23 points on 7 for 15 shooting and Eddie House chipped in with 16 off the bench.
The Celtics did miss Pierce on the defensive end. In fact, they really did not play defense for most of the game, letting the Heat shoot close to sixty percent from the field for the first three quarters. Yes, the defense did win the game. Tony Allen’s big steal on Dwayne Wade in the final seconds sealed the game, but that wasn’t the whole story.
There were three reasons why the Celtics won last night: they out-rebounded the Heat (41-31), they moved the ball around on offense (29 assists), and they have a great point guard in Rajon Rondo. The Celtics had 15 offensive boards as a team; Rajon Rondo collected four of them. He was also instrumental in the distribution of the basketball, dishing out 16 of the Celtics’ 29 assists. To say Rondo led the Celtics’ offensive is an understatement. He controlled the tempo and put the Celtics in position to win the game even without one of the Big Three in the lineup.
The Celtics play again tomorrow night at the Garden against the lowly New Jersey Nets. Paul Pierce is listed as day-to-day. If Pierce is scratched from the starting five, whose turn is it to fill the gap? Is it Rondo’s time again?

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Wake Me Up For Spring Training

Happy Groundhog’s Day! Unfortunately the famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow this morning in Pennsylvania and as a result, it is predicted that there will be six more weeks of winter this year.
For the Red Sox though, spring is just a little bit closer.  Spring Training is less than three weeks away and players and fans, alike, are starting to come out of hibernation in anticipation of the 2010 baseball season. There is one person who never went into hybernation this off-season: Red Sox General Manager, Theo Epstein. Instead, he was too busy making big deals that brought John Lackey, Mike Cameron, Marco Scutaro, Adrian Beltre, and Joe Nelson to Boston. Epstein is also not fazed by Phil’s prediction that there will be six more weeks of winter. Epstein told a select group of Sox fans at a recent luncheon at Fenway Park, “The best way to get excited about Spring Training is to have a snow storm and have it freezing outside… Yeah, we’re definitely ready to get down there.” Like Theo Epstein, I too, have spring fever. However, I do not need anymore snow to get excited about Spring Training.
Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Fort Myers, FL for Spring Training on February 19th and position players are scheduled to report down south on February 23rd.
 So until then, I am going back into hibernation. Just make sure to wake me up for Spring Training… http://www.chowdaheadz.com/slogan-of-the-day.html
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