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John Rooke - Thinking Out Loud

Saturday, December 29, 2012

 

Thinking out loud…and wondering whatever happened to the promise of 2012 I felt a year ago?

• I do not particularly care for New Year’s resolutions. Why do we always aim too high, and set ourselves up for certain failure? However, I’ll be a good sport about it, and play along. This year, my main resolution is to be reasonable, thoughtful, and when I see something stupid – I will be certain to point it out…

• What are New Year’s resolutions, anyway? Promises to ourselves about a future vision or goal we wish to achieve? Sounds great…but we always manage to leave out the strategy, commitment and focus needed to achieve these visions, don’t we?

• In this light, I’ll throw in a few resolutions I’d like to see happen – for me, and also for our teams and players. The commitment and focus part has to come from somewhere else, however…

• For instance – I resolve to be more realistic about the New England Patriots’ chances for winning the Super Bowl. They are the best team in the AFC this year, but does that make them a true Super Bowl contender? Only if they don’t have to face the New York Giants

• And speaking of commitment and focus…does this years’ team have it? Not as much as in previous seasons, because this Patriots team is not as veteran-laden as other versions. And the few veteran leaders present (Tom Brady and Vince Wilfork, for two) aren’t as demonstrative as others have been in the past. I’m not sold on the younger players’ commitment to a championship. Yet…

• And I’m not sold on the Patriots commitment to keeping Wes Welker around after this season…but I am beginning to see why that might be. Yes, he’s set records. Yes, he’s got 100+ catches and more than 1000 yards receiving. Yes, he’s as valuable as anyone who’s name isn’t Brady on the roster. But I just don’t think the team pays him what he can command on the open market next spring. Relative fiscal sanity has kept New England where it resides among the NFL’s elite. Welker stays, only if he realizes it’s the team who has made him, not the other way around…

• I’d be remiss if I didn’t wish my friend and mentor Gil Santos – and his long-time partner Gino Cappelletti – a fond farewell. Gino left the Patriots’ radio booth after last season, Gil leaves after this season (34 years)…and it just won’t be the same, again. The two were paired together for 28 seasons, longer than any other broadcast team in NFL history.  So many moments, good and bad…shaped by their voices and descriptions. I hope whoever steps in for Gil understands the legacy he’s leaving for an entire generation of fans, old and new. Gil isn’t just a broadcaster; he’s also been an artist in every sense of the word…

• The Patriots placed seven players on the Pro Bowl team. That’s not a surprise. The 2-13 Kansas City Chiefs placed five players on the same team. What the heck is that?

I resolve to start buying lottery tickets at a luckier store…

• An incredible effort for Brown against Providence Friday night...a 9-1 run in the final 1:58 that won it.  Or, an incredible defensive lapse by the Friars that lost it.  Take your pick...

The Bears, however, should receive credit where it is due - they hit the shots they had to hit to pull it off.  Their first win over a Friar team on campus in almost 54 years?  It might be another 54 before PC ever steps foot on that campus again...

• Oh boy. Just in time for the Friars. Louisville center Gorgui Dieng returns this week for Kentucky after suffering a broken wrist in November. Which means he’ll also be ready for the Big East opener against Providence next week…

• Former Villanova guard Ty Johnson, who played in 32 games for the Wildcats last season but had announced his intention to transfer earlier this year, has decided on a landing spot – South Carolina. He’ll play for Frank Martin

• In case you haven’t noticed…Cincinnati seems to have picked up where it left off the past few years, when they had a sizable front line. Without much of that size this year, the Bearcats are still pretty good at rebounding the ball – leading the nation in offensive rebounds per game coming into the week…

I resolve to spend less time re-living the Red Sox past, and more time worrying about the future, like any true Sox fan should…

• Has Rutgers missed Mike Rice? The competition hasn’t been fierce, but the Scarlet Knights are 2-0 without him, as he readies for a return to the bench from his three-game suspension against Syracuse next week…

• Seton Hall’s freshman center Kevin Johnson hurt his knee in a win over LIU, but what was once feared as a season-ending injury for the 10-2 Pirates apparently is now only going to mean 3-4 weeks…

• Is it just me, or has the ruckus created by the “Hoop Seven,” known in other circles as the “Catholic Seven,” died out rather quickly? Not sure if that’s a good thing or bad thing…but as the New Year begins to unfold, it would probably be wise to have someone steering the ship – like a league commissioner – so new teams can be added before they decide to stay or move elsewhere…

• As the Friars get ready to open Big East play against Louisville this week…and with Syracuse looming on the horizon as well, it’s worth noting that the Orange big men have struggled somewhat this season. Freshman DeJuan Coleman needs time to develop…and Rakeem Christmas and Baye Keita have been inconsistent…and lousy at the free throw line…while sophomore guard (and St. Andrews product) Michael Carter-Williams has been better-than-advertised…

• Wanna know whatever happened to former Friar player Duke Mondy? Or coach (and former Celtic) Kevin Gamble? Here’s the update

I resolve to refrain from telling the same story at every get-together with friends and family…

I also resolve to keep from using the words “traitor,” “defector,” “gutless” and “bonehead” when referring to Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Rutgers and Louisville on the basketball court this season…

• St. John’s is still waiting to hear on the eligibility status of 6-9 forward (and one-time PC recruiting target) Orlando Sanchez. The Johnnies are 8-4 without him, but now there may be questions on his amateur status, since he left junior college at one point to support his family…

Mark Sanchez is once again starting at quarterback for the NY Jets, after Greg McElroy suffered a concussion, and Tim Tebow cried himself to sleep. I resolve to make more fun of the J-E-T-S this year…

• If we do go over the fiscal cliff – I’ll make a point to try and fall on a politician’s head. When the time comes, I resolve to vote for every political newbie I can, just so incumbents get voted out. Are you even listening, or reading this James Langevin, Sheldon Whitehouse, David Cicillini and Jack Reed? Your leadership – or lack thereof – is going to cost all of us…

• Biggest sports stories around these parts for 2012? My colleague Scott Cordischi and I came up with a list…but for my money, I’m not sure how the break-up of the Big East (as we’ve known it) isn’t the biggest story of the last 33 years, just because of the influence realignment has had over college athletics throughout the entire country…

• Got any sports predictions for 2013? Here’s one…the Providence Friars’ final run through the current “Big East” will be memorable…and not because it could be the last run…

I resolve to spend less than $1825 for coffee this year at Dunkin Donuts…

• The NY Jets will see the humor in Mark Sanchez failing to become the QB they had hoped, and decide to recoup their lost investment by marketing “Buttfumble” jerseys. They are a smash hit…

• Feeling good about yourself today? Here’s something that might put you back in your place – Paul “Bear” Bryant coached his final game 30 years ago, 12/29/82, in the Liberty Bowl for Alabama against Illinois. He won, too…21-15…

• And if you’ve ever had any doubts – any – about college football’s popularity in this country, doubt no more. The Sports Business Journal reports that 610,000 “fans” watched the repeat of the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl last Saturday…at 3:30 am. More than 1.9 million watched it live…

• Quick – who played in the Beef O’Brady Bowl last week? Uh huh…gotcha

Joel Hanrahan’s move to Boston definitely raises an eyebrow. While he does appear to have the right stuff to become the de facto closer (Bailey to set up?), he has had some nagging injury problems in the past. Still, same ol’ Pirates, fearing they can’t re-sign him, they trade him…

• What’s the over/under on Stephen Drew comparisons to older brother J.D. Drew during his first month in Boston? A thousand?

• So negotiations between the Red Sox and wannabe first baseman/catcher Mike Napoli have hit a snag over an apparent hip problem Napoli has? Hmmm…and yet, other teams are still interested in getting him away from Boston’s clutches. When did Mike freaking Napoli become A-Rod? Just sayin’

Not for nuthin’…is it just me, or has anyone else noticed how department store Christmas gift boxes have progressively gotten cheaper…to the point where they’re nothing but harder tissue paper? I mean, give me a real box to wrap or unwrap, will ya?

I resolve to not suffer fools in silence while I can still moan, whine and complain…

• My buddy Statbeast sez he bought Mrs. Statbeast a big diamond for Christmas this year. I told him I thought she had wanted a sporty four-wheel drive to cart the kids around in…and he said “she did. But where was I going to find a fake Jeep?”

Tweet of the Week: From former Friar Jamel Thomas - @JAMEL530 “I thank GOD that I was in position to help donate over 1,000 toys to Coney Island. #hopeisback” And I’m sure there are many thanking you, Jamel…

• Did you see where the huge gun buy-back program in Los Angeles not only brought more than 2000 firearms in off of the streets…it also brought in a rocket launcher? Who, or what, owns a rocket launcher? 

I resolve to assume full responsibility for my actions and the words written in this space, except for the ones that are someone else’s fault…

• There are big stories, sad stories, and happy stories to share from 2012…both here and around the world. Every year, we wonder if we can top the previous year…and the answer is always “yes.” The promise of 2012 quickly turned into reality – some good, some not so – which then becomes the promise of 2013…and the cycle of life continues. I hope you find your promise of 2013, and it stays true to you in the New Year…

• Our mailbag question/comment this week comes from @PMD31 via Twitter – “@JRbroadcaster Listening 2 yesterday's Playbook, talk of poss 3 game losing streak heading into playoffs. Did you forget we BEAT Jax?” @PMD31: No. Although I’d like to. Most of the Patriots players would also like to forget that game. It was a poor effort that sure seemed like a loss to me. But of course, good teams have to win even when they play poorly. So, chalk it up to that I guess…but not much else.

• Interested in having your questions on local RI sports (including the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions and comments to [email protected]. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

• You’re up early anyway…don’t forget to join us for GoLocal Sports on 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am! Call in (401) 737-1287, or text 37937…and send email to the show - [email protected] .

• Looking for your midweek football fix? Jump into the “Patriots Playbook” on Patriots.com Radio, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2:00-4:00 pm ET. We’re live with commentary, interviews and your calls and questions on the Patriots and the NFL via social media. It’s a great way to break up the day at work! But if you can’t make it for the live webcast, never fear…the podcast will be near…

• The recently released “Rhode Island Radio,” from Arcadia Publishing is available for sale, and the book tells the story of the 90-year history of radio in our state through photographs, clippings and memories from many of the personalities who have graced our airwaves. If you’re in search of the gift that says “Rhode Island,” you’ve found it. Or, find it in local bookstores and online right here… 
 

 

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