New England Cuts Another QB

Pats Release Andrew Walter 

Maybe Andrew Walter didn’t have what it took to be a New England Patriot after all.  After a 38-27 victory over the Giants on Thursday, a disgruntled Walter was visibly upset when interviewed by reporters.

That’s just not the Bill Belichick way Mr. Walter.  I’m sure the conversation between coach and quarterback went like this.  “Mr. Walter, enjoy your shower and go on your way, we don’t need you anymore.”  Whether or not Walter still had some Oakland Raiders rust to shake off doesn’t matter, the fact remains, Andrew Walter didn’t have what it took to be a Patriot on and off the field.

Without Walter, the Patriots go into the regular season with Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer as their only two quarterbacks.  Entering the preseason, the Patriots had five quarterbacks but after releasing Matt Guiterrez, Kevin O’Connell, and Andrew Walter, Belichick’s bunch only has two. But don’t you worry Pats fans, Hoyer looked impressive last night against New York and Julian Edelmen waits in the wings in case, god forbid, anything happens to Hoyer or Tom Brady.

So stop fretting about our lack of quarterbacks, Belichick always has a plan, and his track record allows us to trust him.  In Bill We Trust.

 

Bruins Sign Julien To Extension

B’s Lock Up Julien To Multi-Year Extension

After a successful two-year stint on the Garden ice, Claude Julien earned a multi-year extension from Jeremy Jacobs and the Boston Bruins in which he signed on Friday.  Julien, winner of the Jack Adams Award, led the Bruins to the best record in the Eastern Conference with 116 points while compiling a .640 winning percentage in two years with Boston.  

The Black and Gold eventually fell to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games in the Eastern Conference semi-finals last season.  Julien started his NHL head coaching career with Montreal in the 2003-2004 season, leading the Canadiens past the Bruins in the 2004 playoffs.  

The terms of the deal are undisclosed but the multi-year extension should keep Julien on the B’s bench for many years to come. 

Slogan Of The Day Contest!

EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT…ON A T-SHIRT! CHOWDAHEADZ ANNOUNCES THE “SLOGAN OF THE DAY” CONTEST
Woburn, Massachusetts September 4, 2009 – It has been 569 years since Johannes Gutenberg invented the first printing press and now the grand old newspaper is barely hanging on by a thread. We wonder if print is dead. Not at Chowdaheadz. With the launch of its “Slogan of the Day” Contest, Chowdaheadz is giving diehard Boston fans the opportunity to still say it in print.
Fans can keep today’s news alive, tomorrow by submitting t-shirt slogan ideas daily online. If chosen by Chowdaheadz, the lucky entrant will receive the very first t-shirt hot of the presses and be entered to win a grand prize $200 gift certificate to Chowdaheadz.com. In addition, the chosen t-shirt design will be available for sale online to the public as a limited edition until the next slogan of the day is chosen.
“Be creative and unique with your slogan idea,” said Ryan Gormady, CEO and Founder of Chowdaheadz. “My suggestion is to keep your slogan short and sweet, large sentences are too much to print and don’t translate well on to a shirt. Most of all have fun with it and involve your friends and family.”
The newspaper might be gone but the t-shirt will live on.
For addition information, including rules, about the “Slogan of the Day” Contest, please visit www.chowdaheadz.com.
About Chowdaheadz
Chowdaheadz is a Boston area based business that was started in early 2004 by Boston native Ryan Gormady. The company focus has been and always will be on items for the “Diehard Boston Fan”. While many of our products are sports oriented when we say “Diehard Boston Fan” we also mean a fan of the city of Boston so not all our items are sports themed. Our specialty is our slogan & rivalry section but we offer a few thousand different items on our website including novelty items, gift packages, licensed team gear and much more.
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New & Notes

Boston Red Sox Roundup

After receiving a cortisone shot in his bad back on Monday, Tim Wakefield could be healthy enough to throw off a bullpen mound on Thursday and depending on how that goes, could be in the rotation sometime next week.  

Brad Penny pitched eight innings of five hit ball and allowed zero runs in his debut with the San Fransisco Giants on Wednesday.  Penny would still be in a Sox uniform if he threw the ball like he did against the Phildelphia Phillies.  It was the first time, all season, that Penny went into the eighth inning, let alone finish it.  John Smoltz and Penny are now 2-0 for their new respective ball clubs since leaving the Red Sox.  Looks like the National League is weaker than the American League after all, imagine if the Sox were in the NL.

(AP Photo) (AP Photo)

Stung By The Rays

Boston’s Bullpen Blows Game In Eighth

Josh Beckett was shaky in the beginning of his start for Boston on Wednesday night but settled down in time to give the Red Sox a chance to win, but with the scored tied at five a piece in the eighth, Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen failed to deliver giving up three runs to squander an opportunity to put the Tampa Bay Rays chances at playoff baseball well out of reach. 

The Sox 8-5 loss keeps the Rays chances in AL wildcard at a mere slim to none but the Rays are not out of the chase yet.  Evan Longoria was the hero for the Rays at Tropicana field as the third basemen smashed a two-run home run to tally his 26th long-ball of the season.  Boston finished 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday as Terry Francona and company failed to put the Rays out of contention for good.

Clay Buchholz gets the ball tomorrow night for the Sox, facing off against highly touted left-hander David Price.  The Sox will look to take the rubber game of this series before they head to Chicago to face the White Sox on Friday.

(AP Photo) (AP Photo)

Lester Helps Sox Distance Themselves From Rays

Boston Takes Series Opener At Tropicana Field

The Boston Red Sox knew coming into this three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays that it could be a make or break type of series that could determine the outcome of each team’s season.  Luckily for Boston, Jon Lester (11-7) was on the mound as the Sox lefty allowed two runs and seven hits while striking out nine in six innings. Home runs from Jason Bay, J.D. Drew, and Kevin Youkilis helped seal the deal for Terry Francona’s crew on Tuesday night as the Sox won by the final of 8-4.

Boston scored at least one run in six of its nine innings at the plate, accumulating 12 hits in the process and continuing their torrid pace. Jonathan Papelbon registered his 33rd save of the season, but his first six-out save of this season and his career.  Papelbon shut the door on the Rays in the eighth, coming in with the bases loaded and no-outs, before ending Tampa’s chances at a comeback and finishing the ninth.

Jacoby Ellsbury was stellar in center-field Tuesday night, sprawling out for a diving grab early on in the ball game and sliding feet first in the eighth, robbing Jason Bartlett of a hit and the Rays of atleast one run, in the bottom of the eighth.  Billy Wagner had his second impressive outing in a Red Sox uniform, pitching a perfect seventh for Boston.  Boston came into the contest losing twelve of its last fourteen games at Tropicana field, but none of that mattered for Francona and company on Tuesday night as they got exactly what they wanted.

A win.  

Josh Beckett (14-5) takes the hill on Wednesday squaring off against Matt Garza (7-9).

(AP Photo) (AP Photo)

September Call-Ups

Red Sox Expand Rosters In First Wave Of Call-Ups

The Boston Red Sox have expanded their roster to 30 players with the additions of Brian Anderson, Joey Gathright, George Kottaras, Junichi Tazawa, and Chris Woodward.

With the four position players and one pitcher called up on Tuesday, the first day teams are allowed to expand their rosters, Theo Epsetin hopes the depth and overall quality of the team improves.  Gathright is the only newcomer to the Sox bench, after recently being acquired from the Baltimore Orioles.  He will primarily be used in the same role that Gabe Kapler and Dave Roberts filled for the Red Sox in the past.

Kottaras has been on the disabled list since August 1 and made 10 rehab appearances with Triple-A Pawtucket before joining the Sox on Tuesday.  Boston usually carries three catchers in September and Kottaras could see some playing time if Tim Wakefield’s sore back heals enough to pitch again.  Tazawa could start later this week for Boston if Wakefield isn’t back as the rookie right-hander was optioned to the Gulf Coast League but didn’t pitch with the club.

Both Anderson and Woodward likely will not see much playing time but help solidify an already strong bench that Terry Francona often employs on a regular basis.  More call-ups could be on the horizon for the local nine as Jed Lowrie, Michael Bowden, and Meredith MacBeth will most likely wait for their minor league season to end before joining the big club.    

Amsey 5- Preseason thoughts

1-  The Bruschi story is one that is close to my heart as I watched him while at the University of Arizona and then join the Pats for the past 13 years. However, the one storyline that no one will talk about is what I believe really happened.  Watching the Skins preseason game on Friday night, Tedy just didn’t have it anymore. He was laterally slow. He was overpowered.  He flat out wasn’t the player that he used to be.  Age happens quickly in the NFL.  I think that the Patriots brass pulled Tedy aside and said- ‘go out on your terms’. Please don’t make us waive you.  And that’s the Patriots way. Class when needed.
2- SIGN VINCE WILFORK TO A LONG TERM DEAL. Enough blubber spewing from your mouth Mr. Kraft about no collective bargaining agreement and being unsure of the salary cap. This guy is the  meat in the middle of your rapidly changing 3-4 to a 4-3 defense. Without him, this defense is going to suffer. The secondary is still gelling.   The linebackers are a tad inexperienced.  Richard Seymour is quickly turning into Willie McGinest. It’s time to give Vince the money before we lose him and are forced to bring Sam Adams out of retirement. (What do you think he weighs these days? 420? 450?)
3- I think that Matthew Slater is going to be the odd man out of the wide receiver/gunner battle.  The top 4 receivers are pretty much set with Moss, Welker, Galloway, and Greg Lewis.  Sam Aiken is a special teams captain and an excellent gunner.  Julian Edelman I believe has played his way to a roster spot. This is year 2 for Slater who doesn’t appear to have made much progress from year 1 to year 2. If a 3rd rounder like Kevin O’Connell can be sh*t canned so quickly, Slater’s name legacy isn’t going to keep him on this roster. Possibly the practice squad.
4- I give Lawrence Maroney a 75/25 shot at making the roster. I believe that his kick returns is what might keep him alive. 4 years later, he still isn’t hitting the holes hard and succinctly.  Morris and Taylor with Faulk as the 3rd down back seems like a formidable team.
5a- Dear John Gruden, aka Chucky- Please stop trying to be Johnny funny man on Monday night football. You are starting to sound like Tony Kornball and Dennis Miller. If I remember correctly, when it was announced that you were going to join the Monday night booth, it was all about your deep knowledge of the game and to be an excellent compliment to Ron Jaworski.  Instead you inanely babble on trying to be a comedian. Shut your pie hole, analyze the game like we all know you can, and stop trying to win Last Comic Standing.
5b- Another former name that may be on the way out is Ben Watson.  With Alex Smith and Chris Baker as well as better-handed David Thomas ahead of him on the depth chart, his days may be numbered. He’s not a better blocker then any of the 3 (although he’s clearly the fastest of the group). If he makes this team, it is going to be as a number 3/4 tight end and special teams contributor. A long fall from a former first round pick who at the beginning of his career looked like the next Ben Coates.

Red Sox Check-Up

Let’s Take A Look At What The Sox Have Done Thus Far This Season

It isn’t time to panic anymore now is it?  Ever since the Sox were swept by the New York Yankees in the Bronx about three weeks ago, the local nine have turned up their play and now stake a 3 1/2 game advantage in the AL wildcard.
The recipe to the recent success isn’t easily replicated.  Day in and day out, Terry Francona and the Red Sox send out either a new pitcher, new reliever, or new lineup card.  So let’s take a closer look at what’s been working and how we can assess the moves and makeover of the 2009 Boston Red Sox.  
It’s been no secret, Theo Epstein has been a very busy man this season.  His reclamation projects in John Smoltz and Brad Penny did not work out.  Plain and simple.  But a lot can be said about how the Sox offense has stepped up without the presence of Manny Ramirez this season and the lack of an MVP like season from Dustin Pedroia.  Their offense has come alive of late, thanks in large part to the bats of Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew, and more importantly David Ortiz.  Mike Lowell has been groving it well of late as well as Kevin Youkilis.  The Sox are clicking on all cylinders at the plate and are still trying to find their stride on the mound from the starting five.
Josh Beckett has been anything but Beckett-like in his past three starts, falling victim to the long-ball.  The only constant seems to be Jon Lester as Junichi Tazawa was recently demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket and Tim Wakefield has been battling a sore back.  Clay Buchholz has proved to be a commodity for the Sox staff, producing three wins, all against the Toronto Blue Jays.  The bullpen struggled a little during the summer months but still remains to be the best in baseball and the acquisition of Billy Wagner should help an already strong area for this ball club.  
Let’s take a look at the three major moves that Boston has made in 2009:
1) Acquisition of Victor Martinez for Justin Masterson and others…
Sure, the Red Sox loved the versatility and competitiveness that Justin Masterson brought to the mound on a daily basis.  But in order to not part with some higher prospects, Masterson had to be dealt.  And what a deal it turned out to be.  Victor Martinez is batting over .300 since coming to Boston, finding himself sub-planted into the number three spot in the lineup.  His versatility, either at catcher or first basemen, allows Francona to assess the best match-ups for each and every game which can only help this old ball club.  Good move Theo.
2) Placing Dice-K On The Disabled List…
We all called for Daisuake Matsuzaka’s head earlier in the season.  We wanted nothing to do with him and how could we have felt otherwise?  We had Beckett, Lester, Wakefield, and Penny with Smoltz, Buchholz, and Michael Bowden all waiting for an opportunity to crack the starting rotation.  But now, about three months later, we need Dice-K and it turns out that everything might work out after all.  Paul Byrd and Tazawa cannot be our fourth starter in the playoffs and with the health of Tim Wakefield up in the air and his playoff pitching ineffectiveness, Boston may need Dice-K.  With Beckett, Lester, and Buchholz slotted as the first three starters, the Red Sox will need another man.  Who better than the cool-under-pressure Matsuzaka who has had plenty of experience pitching when a season is on the line?  Yes, he may frustrate fans with his walks and tenuous innings but in the end he is the answer to the problem. With a lot of rest and time to clear his head, Dice-K can come back to the starting rotation with a fresh arm and a chip on his shoulder.  Let’s see how that works out.
3) Trading For Billy Wagner…
Okay, so we haven’t had much time to dissect whether or not this acquisition will work.  But we do know one thing, Wagner is a gamer.  Whether the high-profile left-hander can acclimate to the Boston media and locker room has yet to be seen but the facts are undeniable.  He is a dynamic lefty that still has a 95 m.p.h fastball, even after surgery, with a devastating slider.  He has closing experience and is a veteran of the game of baseball.  A $3.5 million rental for the last months of the season may be a steep price to pay for a guy who will only pitch about 20 or so innings, but the reward of a healthy and effective Wagner, is much more than money.  It could mean rings.   
An assessment of the 2009 season and the work of Theo Epstein can only come after the season.  In the end, it comes down to pitching and defense in playoff baseball. But the Red Sox have to get there first.  A big series starts with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday and a win of the series or sweep of the Rays could go a long way in securing a spot in the 2009 MLB playoffs for our beloved Red Sox.

Thank You, Tedy Bruschi.

AP Photo
Legendary Patriots Linebacker Calls It Quits
As you all have probably heard by now, Tedy Bruschi and the New England Patriots are holding a press conference this morning to announce the veteran linebacker’s retirement from the NFL after thirteen seasons.
It goes without saying that his number 54 will someday adorn the rafters at Gillette Stadium. The most renowned, respected and beloved player in franchise history has left a mark on New England untouchable by any player that follows in his path.
It’s hard to pinpoint which moment will define Bruschi’s career. He was victorious in three Super Bowls, a participant in five. He suffered a life-threatening stroke and wreaked havoc on the football field less than a year later. To me, the defining aspect of Bruschi’s career wasn’t a singular moment at all: it was his never-ending, undying passion to do whatever it took to help the New England Patriots win football games. He was a role-player at heart, and he played his role with the greatest of energy and pride.
Did he have the swagger and star-power of Tom Brady? No. The big-play potential of Randy Moss? No. The Sportscenter-highlight-material of Ty Law? No. Tedy Bruschi never needed to. He had heart, determination, and the will to win. Put the Bradys, Bledsoes, Browns, Laws and Vinatieris aside. Tedy Bruschi is the greatest player in New England Patriots history.

Pats Cutting Their Ties

Backup QB O’Connell Cut By Patriots

In a surprising move, the New England Patriots released quarterback Kevin O’Connell on Sunday in the midst of a back-up quarterback competition.  O’Connell was thought to have the inside track on the number two spot in the depth chart but Bill Belichick and company thought otherwise and released the two-year player.

O’Connell impressed the Patriots coaching staff in his two-years in New England after being selected in the third round of the 2008 draft out of San Diego State.  O’Connell was cut tby the Patriots a month after the Pats cut ties with Matt Gutierrez.  The 6-foot-5 quarterback is the third quarterback to leave New England in the past year, joining Gutierrez and Matt Cassel.  

With O’Connell now out of the picture, Andrew Walter looks to be the back-up to Tom Brady. The release of O’Connell must mean that Belichick likes the look of Brian Hoyer, a rookie out of Michigan State, who was recently signed by the Patriots.