Boston Shows its Patriots Pride

BU News Service contributor Alex Hirsch takes to the streets to talk with fans as they celebrate the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl XLIX victory.

Patriots Lose A Big One; Terriers Take a Tumble in Polls

By Alex Hirsch
BU News Service

The Patriots traveled to the Frozen Tundra this past weekend to take on the Green Bay Packers; a battle between two of the elite teams in the league. The Patriots were slow out of the gates and were never able to catch up, dropping just their third game of the year 26-21.
The Packers took an early 13-0 lead, with the Patriots failing to establish a run game. The Packers are one of the worst teams against the run in the league, ranking 28th and allowing a ridiculous 132 yards per game on the ground. In a cold weather game, this was the opportunity to use the bigger running backs the Patriots possess, but LaGarette Blount only managed 10 carries on the game, and Jonas Gray had just one.
What is even more interesting is that those combined ten carries from Blount were for 58 yards. It is not like the team was struggling to run, they just did not do it. I am not going to rail on Josh McDaniels and his play calling right now, because this is not a loss to be too upset about, but it really is just curious that the Patriots would not take advantage of such a glaring weakness.
Fans should not be jumping out of their seats just yet with this loss. The Patriots had won seven straight wins coming into the game, including three straight against division leaders the Broncos, Colts, and Lions in very convincing fashion. It is more than likely that the team would end up losing at least one of these games during such a grueling stretch.
Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis once again shut down another elite set of receivers in Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. They limited the pair to ten combined receptions, except one of them was a back-breaking 45 yard catch and run by Jordy Nelson just before half.
The Patriots continue their road trip in San Diego this weekend where they take on another formidable foe in the Chargers, who are coming off a big emotional win over the Baltimore Ravens yesterday. Brady and the offense will look to get back on track, but there is no need to panic. You can’t win ‘em all.


bost-14-mast-logo-bigBU Men’s Hockey split their two games this weekend, beating Colgate 5-2, but then losing to Dartmouth the next day 2-0. This drops the Terriers to number three in the polls, having now lost two of their last three. They lost to Harvard 3-2 in overtime last Tuesday.
In the three losses this season, Jack Eichel has only scored one point, which begs the question is this team too dependent on the freshman phenom? The team seems to go as he goes, which may prove dangerous to the team when it comes down towards the end of the season, or if Eichel ever gets hurt.

The Celtics lost another game yesterday as they faded down the fourth quarter, blowing their lead to the San Antonio Spurs 111-89. Jeff Green led the Celtics with 16 points, but the team is really struggling to find a consistent rhythm on the offensive side. They have now lost seven of their last eight.
The New England Revolution clinched a spot in the MLS Cup, with an aggregate win over the New York Red Bulls 4-3. Charlie Davies scored two goals to help the Rev’s reach the final for fifth time since 2002. None of their previous appearances have resulted in a victory, which the team hopes to change December 7th against the L.A. Galaxy.

Sox Introduce Panda Bear and Welcome Home Hanley


Ben Cherington welcomes Pablo Sandoval at his introductory press conference.
Ben Cherington welcomes Pablo Sandoval at his introductory press conference.

By Alex Hirsch
BU News Service

The Boston Red Sox introduced both Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez today, two of the top free agents in baseball.  Sandoval, nicknamed Panda Bear, signed a five year $95 million contract with a  sixth year team option, and Ramirez signed a four year 88 million dollar contract with a fifth year team option.

Of the two signings, Sandoval is the more shocking of the two.  At just 28 years old, he has enjoyed immense success in the Bay Area playing for the San Francisco Giants, winning three World Series in the past five years.  The Giants matched the Red Sox contract offer, but it looks like there may be some bad blood lingering after the Giants offered Panda a low-ball contract this past spring.

Sandoval said he was ready for the challenge of playing in Boston and looks forward to playing with Ramirez and David Ortiz, which he has already dubbed, “The Three Amigos”.  He also denied speculation that he would eventually be a DH, stating, “I am gonna be a third baseman for this team through the rest of my career.”

Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez expressed his desire to return to the team which he started with.  Hanley wanted to come home.  Ramirez, upon entering free agency actually contacted his agent Andy Katz, asking to go back to the Sox.  Ben Cherington stated how it is rare that a player of Hanley’s caliber notify a team of his desire to play for them.  But it certainly was a welcomed phone call, and Hanley is happy to be home.

Red Sox Reach for Stars; Patriots Tame Lions

by Alex Hirsch
BU News Service

red soxThe Boston Red Sox made one big signing this morning and are on the verge of making a second signing this afternoon.  According to ESPN’s Gordon Edes, the Red Sox and prize free agent Pablo Sandoval  reached an agreement this morning.

The news was first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that Sandoval signed a five year pact for around 100 million dollars, but Sandoval’s agent refuted the report as well as Sandoval’s brother.  Now, with ESPN reporting the news, it seems more official and no one has refuted it since ESPN reported it.

The Red Sox are also finalizing a deal with shortstop Hanley Ramirez today, worth $90 million over five years.  This takes the two best batters in free agency off the market.

The Sox have been courting Sandoval for a while, seeking a third baseman and a left-handed batter.  Sandoval provides both and at 28 has plenty of upside and could really explode at Fenway’s hitter friendly park.  Ramirez was more a surprise signing and most likely will be moved into the outfield with top prospect Xander Boegarts manning shortstop.

Both players provide an instant upgrade to the teams offense which ranked 22nd in team batting average, .244, and 18th in runs, 634.  Sandoval is a career .294 hitter and has 106 home runs.  More importantly, he is a career .344 hitter in the post season.  Expect those averages to increase at Fenway.

Ramirez, about to turn 31, is a career .300 hitter and is consistently a 20 homer and 90-100 RBI kind of guy when healthy.  You can immediately insert him as the teams clean up hitter and Sandoval right after him as the number five hitter, adding some balance into the lineup.

These are the types of  moves that Sox fans have been longing for.  They have the money to spend, so why be conservative with it? Not this year.  They are spending the cash and more names will continue to come as the Sox still have two pitchers to get, including an ace.  Jon Lester is next on the wish list and an offer has reportedly already been made to him as well.


pats   The New England Patriots took apart the visiting Detroit Lions yesterday 34-9.  The Lions, who boast the best defense in the league, could not handle Tom Brady and his offense, as the quarterback continued his brilliant stretch, passing for 349 yards and two touchdowns and leading them to their seventh victory in a row.

Even more impressive was the defense, who stopped one of the leagues more dangerous offenses from scoring a touchdown.  Matthew Stafford completed a career worst 39 percent of his passes, and Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner held the Lion’s star receivers in check all game.  Calvin Johnson recorded only four catches on the day.

Even more impressive than that is the current run the Patriots are on.  What was supposed to be the most grueling schedule in league has looked like a cupcake walk.  They have faced three division leaders in a row and the Chicago Bears before that, while they were a dangerous team, and have outscored all of them 170-73.

The Patriots have proven that they can beat any team in any area of the game.  They take on the Green Bay Packers this Sunday at Lambeau Field in what should be a shoot out, but with the way these Patriots are dominating, who knows?

In Boston University sports, the mens hockey team is now ranked number 1 in both the USCHO and USA Today polls.  This comes after a weekend of beating University of Maine and University of Connecticut.  Freshman phenom Jack Eichel notched his seventh goal of the season Friday night in overtime to give  the Terriers the win 3-2.  On Saturday night, UCONN was no match for junior forward Ahti Oksanen who scored two goals and helped the team win 5-2.  Eichel added two assists in the contest and fellow junior forward Danny O’Regan scored his seventh goal of the year.

Sports Roundup: In Coaches Vs. Cancer, Fundraising Wins; Patriots Have Luck

Good Morning BU’s Keiko Talley interviews Connor Lenahan

By Alex Hirsch
BU News Service

On Sunday the Boston University Men’s Basketball team played in the American Cancer Society Coaches Vs. Cancer Tripleheader at the TD Garden, in which UMass, Harvard, Boston College, Northeastern and Holy Cross all were participants.  Each school raised money for cancer research that will be donated to the ACS.  The two schools that raised the most money have a representative participate in a free throw shootout against each other.

For Boston University, Connor Lenahan, a sophomore communications student who suffers from a rare disease, Osteogenesis Imperfecta,  also known as Brittle Bones Disease, represented the school.  This disease affects his everyday life and requires him to have a wheel chair close by at all times.  One of his dreams is to play basketball, a challenge for someone with his condition.  But, he was able to play on the sacred parquet floor of the Garden as Boston University was able to raise $1,835, five dollars more than the second place school, Harvard University.

While Boston University did lose their season opener to Northeastern 71-65, it can hardly be a called a loss when the team got to watch their dear friend shoot free throws from his wheel chair.  Speaking with Good Morning BU reporter Keiko Talley, Lenahan exclaimed: “At least I got to score on the Garden floor!”

More important to him was the honor of helping raise money for the worthy cause of cancer research.  While Lenahan does not suffer from the disease, he explained in an interview with me that, “Everyone, in one way or another, has been affected by cancer at some point in their lives…and the thought that I would be able to potentially help in some way or another and try to raise money…would be wonderful.”




The Patriots faced the Colts Sunday night in a showdown of two of the top teams in football.  Once again, the real story was Andrew Luck vs. Tom Brady.  Young vs. Old.  And like the previous two times, Tom Brady and the Patriots showed the Colts that they are not ready for the big stage just yet, pounding the Colts 42-20.

Jonas Gray, who was a practice squad member earlier this year, got a chance to establish himself as the lead running back for the Patriots after a disappointing game two weeks ago against the Broncos, ran right down the Colts throats, compiling 199 yards on 38 carries and four touchdowns.  Gray tied a franchise record with the four scores.

Of interesting note, Gray ran the ball 8 times more than Brady threw the ball, a feat that is hardly accomplished in the NFL these days, especially on teams with elite quarterbacks such as the Patriots.  This just goes to show how great of a team the Patriots really are.  They do not simply rely upon Brady, but game-plan to exploit the other teams weaknesses.

The Patriots road does not get much easier as the Detroit Lions come to town for what figures to be another tough matchup this Sunday.

Sports Roundup: Red Sox Offseason Primer; Terriers Stick It to B.C.

red soxThe Red Sox are coming off a season in what was supposed to be a bridge year.  This past year was going to be the year that the young players came into the big leagues and hopefully developed, and management was to see what the team had for the future.  The future looks bleak.

Xander Boegarts, the team’s top prospect last year, became a full time starter and seriously struggled.  He ended the year batting a dismal .240 with only 46 runs batted in.  Not the numbers the team was looking for out of someone primed to be the next BIG thing.  The next Derek Jeter.

Will Middlebrooks proved he is not the solution at third base and Jackie Bradley Jr. proved he is not the answer in center.  The pitching was atrocious and did not give much hope for the rotation this upcoming year.  I challenge you to find a lone bright spot on this team.  There isn’t one.

So, here is what the Sox have going forward.  They are set at second base with Dustin Pedroia.  He should be healthy going into the season after season-ending surgery.  They are set at first base with Mike Napoli.  They have a shortstop in Xander Boegarts, even with his struggles he is the best option.  Center field will be filled by Cuban Rusney Castillo and Yoenis Cespedes will man left field. That leaves holes at third base, catcher and right field.

In-house names to consider for these positions are: Allen Craig, Brock Holt, Mookie Betts, Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava, Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart.

Let’s start with catcher.  Vazquez has the defense to be a big league catcher and his bat is good enough to live with at the bottom of the order.  Keep him as the starter until Swihart is ready to make the transition to the big leagues.

Right field and third base are the real question, and to be honest, while Holt and Betts were solid players last year, they should be viewed more as utility players.  Both have position mobility to play third base and outfield, but the team really needs another big bat to put in the lineup with David Ortiz.

Free agent Pablo Sandoval could be the answer for third base and a big bat.  The Panda Bear is a career .290 hitter who has enough power to make a living at Fenway Park.  He is reportedly seeking a big contract though that may be too rich for the likes of the Sox.

Right field should be able to be filled by Craig and Victorino.  Both have solid bats and are coming off injured years.  A rebound is in store for one of them and worse comes to worse, Holt and Betts can step in.

Pitching is the real area of concern for the Sox as the team does not have a legitimate one or two starter in the rotation.  Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly are the only fixtures in the rotation and they are back of rotation type pitchers.  The team needs to focus its spending on a top of the rotation type player, not at third base.  The best bet would be to lure Jon Lester back to Boston.

Lester has proven that he can pitch here and has tremendous post-season success.  He will cost a lot of money, but what number one pitcher doesn’t? Lester has openly said he would consider coming back to Boston, and the Red Sox have stated that they will be big spenders this offseason.  They should make the move.

The number two pitcher in the lineup should be brought in by trade.  Two pitchers that come to mind are Oakland A’s Jeff Samardzija and Cincinnati Reds Johnny Cueto.  Both are top of the rotation pitchers with Cueto being more of a number one than a number two.  Neither of them have big contracts and could be traded for some solid prospects and then signed to an extension if the Sox wanted to go that route.

There are lots of other names in free agency this offseason as well and plenty of trade targets.  It is not clear who the Sox will seek, but what is clear is that the Sox will be buyers.  They need to be.


bost-14-mast-logo-bigBU Mens hockey had a big win over rival Boston College Friday night, winning 5-3 in Chestnut Hill.  The team was down 3-2 in the third period when freshman sensation Jack Eichel notched his fifth goal of the year.  Minutes later Evan Rodrigues and Nikolas Olsson each put one in the net to secure the victory.

The team was unable to carry that momentum over to Saturday night’s home matchup with the Connecticut Huskies as they tied 4-4.  The Terriers are now winless in their last two games at Agganis Arena and in the month of November.
Celtics Scare
The Celtics had a scare on Friday night when they took on the struggling Indiana Pacers.  Rookie Marcus Smart went down with an ankle injury during the fourth quarter and was carted off.  Fortunately, X-rays have shown the injury was only a sprain and Smart should be back in a 2-3 weeks.

The C’s hung on to win against the Pacers and then took down a good Chicago Bulls team on Saturday night without Smart or starter Rajon Rondo.  The Celtics have pulled to 3-3 on the year after what may have been one of the better wins in Coach Brad Stevens young career.

Sports Roundup: Patriots ‘Team’ Victory Puts Brady 11-5 Against Manning

By Alex Hirsch
BU News Service

patsIt was another great week of football in New England as the NFL matchup of the year took center stage in Foxboro.  Patriots Vs. Broncos; Tom Brady Vs. Peyton Manning; the two greatest quarterbacks of this generation and arguably all-time faced off against each other for the 16th time in their careers.

After getting eliminated from the playoffs in a decisive victory by Manning, this game was all Patriots and Brady.

Brady improved to 11-5 against Manning in his career as the Patriots dominated all facets of the game, earning a team victory, 43-21.  The game started out slow with the Broncos leading 7-6 early in second quarter, when Rob Ninkovich made a momentum swinging interception; the first interception from either Manning or Brady in the last five games.  Brady made the most of the turnover and delivered a strike to Julian Edelman for a touchdown, and the Patriots never looked back.

Julian Edelman returned a punt for an 84-yard touchdown minutes later and already all three areas of the game had made an impact; offense, defense, and special teams. Brady went on to throw for four touchdowns while Edelman and Rob Gronkowski had nine catches each for  194 yards and two touchdowns on 20 combined targets.

The story going into the game was whether Manning would be able to play in the cold weather, as it was snowing before the game and temperatures had reached the mid thirties.  By game-time skies had cleared up but it was still frigid for early November.

While Manning was not deterred by the cold weather, the complex schemes that the Patriots defense threw at Manning were enough to cause Manning to force two turnovers, which was all the Patriots needed.

When playing Manning, most teams want to take away his receivers and make the Bronco’s win through the running game.  That is insanely hard to do with so many dynamic weapons in Manning’s arsenal.  Not the Patriots.  Bill Belichick challenges Manning every time.  He takes away the run game and challenges Peyton to beat them through the air, under the assumption that Manning will choke, as he often does.

The Patriots secondary did their best to take away the center of the field with the physical Brandon Browner jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage and Patrick Chung playing in the box.  By taking away the center of the field, Manning was forced to throw down the sidelines and force balls into tighter holes.

Manning had some success throwing for over 400 yards, but when trying to throw down the middle, his receivers found trouble with Devin McCourty laying the smack down on old friend Wes Welker.  McCourty planted a brutal hit into the center of Welker’s back, causing the ball to pop into the air and Browner was able to intercept.  Welker did not return to the game after that.

It is this kind of ingenious planning by Belichick that has given the Patriots confidence when playing against the greatest quarterback of all time; statistically at least.


The Boston Celtics tipped off their season this past week going 1-1 in their first two games.  They had a very convincing win in the season opener over the Brooklyn Nets.  Rajon Rondo returned to action and posted a double-double, while top rookie Marcus Smart made an immediate impact on defense, leading the way with four steals.

They came back down to earth Saturday night against the Houston Rockets losing by 14 and at one point being down by as much as 30.  The Celtics were historically bad, shooting 1-25 from behind the arc, one of the worst marks in NBA history.

The Bruins have put together two wins in a row for only the second time this season, and putting the team over the .500 mark.  Brad Marchand has finally made his mark recording four points over the past two games, including three goals.  The defense continues to struggle without captain Zdeno Chara.  They face the Florida Panthers tonight.

bost-14-mast-logo-bigOn the collegiate ice, the Boston University Terriers split a home and home with the 8th ranked Providence Friars on Friday and Saturday night.  Jack Eichel continued his onslaught against his opponents Friday night as he scored his fourth goal of the season leading the way for a 4-1 victory.  They came back home on Saturday night and suffered their first loss of the season 2-1.  They head down the road to take on rival Boston College this Friday night.