Thursday, November 27, 2014


I am thankful for my health. The groin pulls and calf strains may occur more frequently now
and the grooves around my eyes are deeper, but I'm thankful that I'm still upright and strong
enough to run marathons, swim across lakes, and complete an Ironman.

I am thankful that I have a job that I love and work with people who share the same passion, commitment and interests that I do. Love what you do, do what you love, and not have to worry about co-workers stabbing you in the back and throwing you under the bus is a beautiful thing.

I'm thankful I still have a lot of hair and women between the ages of 75 and 98 on Christian. find me cute as a button.

I am thankful to have an unbelievable circle of friends. From Rye, New York to Lake Forest, Ill.
to New Canaan, CT. to Chapel Hill, NC to Atlanta, Ga. to Boston, MA, I have met some
great people who are loyal and just flat-out incredible.

I am thankful that God has blessed me with six incredible nieces and nephews who I treat
as if they are my own children. Wow. They touch my heart every time I see them.

I am not wealthy, but I'm thankful I've been enriched with opportunities that have made this
a truly wonderful life. Baseball at UNC, with the Red Sox, "Bull Durham", a sportscaster
covering Super Bowls, World Series, Olympics, Final Fours---yeah, sorry, but I do sometimes
feel like Walter Mitty. Oh, sure, I've had some serious hard knocks a long the way- been
fired, laid off, and thrown under the bus, but it's all been part of a wild and exciting journey.

Most of all, I am thankful for an incredible family. Kara is one amazing sister. She is filled
with so much love, thoughtfulness, and one giant heart. Those who know her, know she
was blessed with not only great athletic talent, but humbleness and a terrific sense of humor, too

Brother Pat is a beautiful human being. Has never uttered a bad word about anybody and
has become a great father and husband. We may not always see eye-to-eye, but we've always
been on the same page and he would do anything for me without asking anything in

My mom. Wow. I am so thankful to have her as my mother and great friend. So selfless,
giving, and understanding. After my father passed away, she became the rock of the family.
Simply amazing. She took care of my ailing dad for five years, 24/7 and did it with
strength, courage, and such amazing dignity. I love and admire her so much for that. I
was truly blessed to have such tremendous parents.

I am thankful, truly thankful during this holiday season.

I wish you all and your families all the best during this most special time of the year.

Monday, November 24, 2014


Brian Zechello is to sports television what Mark Zuckerberg is to social media: pure genius.

He is to producing what Antonio Cromartie is to pro-creation: potent.

His creative genius has taken NESN's production of  Boston Bruins games to an entirely
different level, making them the envy of every network that broadcasts NHL contests.

But for all his television talent, Z, as he's known world-wide, has a unique fashion
sense and style that separates him from everyone in the industry. He is bold and never
boring, simple, yet very sophisticated. A dead ringer for Chicago Cubs villain Steve
Bartman, Z is the everyman in Boston, a beer-chugging, sports-obsessed, hardworking,
and food-loving guy, who just happens to possess a cutting-edge wardrobe

Zechello, who is currently in talks to endorse Friendly's and Big & Tall menswear,
was a producer working in relative obscurity until one moment in 2006 changed his life
forever. As part of its new web site, NESN had a section where they sold company apparel

Z was asked to wear a brown t-shirt in a promo shot while his co-workers were outfitted
in pretty colors like powder blue, pink, and a soft gray. Yes, Z drew the short straw and
had to don brown. Brown? Seriously? Who wears brown and looks good in it besides the
UPS man in your neighborhood?

But Z managed to not only make brown look good, but he turned it into gold for NESN.
Sales of the brown shirt with the "swing for the fences" slogan on it, flew off the shelves and shattered the company mark for on-line inventory The previous mark was set with the
unveiling of Hazel Mae cardboard cut-outs, but Z blew up the standard she set in less than
24 hours.

Thanks to Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo and their shout outs to Z and his fashion style
during Red Sox broadcasts, Z became an overnight sensation and a small cult hero
in Boston. Z is now as valuable to NESN as the Rem Dawg, Eck, Peter Gammons,
and the mustache of W.B. Mason.

Everything Z has worn has become a big hit in the Commonwealth. His green
sweater with the crude reindeer that looks like a Rogie Vachon hockey mask on the front
became an instant hit and Twitter exploded when Z showed the world what was on the
back of it. Classic Z. He is only man in America who could make the backside of Bambi
look good. Z was "trending" for sure.

On November 22, Z took his fashion style to an entirely different stratosphere. Before
a broadcast of a Bruins game, he broke out one of the most god-awful sweaters man has
ever seen. It was like a Bill Cosby sweater meeting Cam Neely in a back-alley on a
Saturday night. That was the result of it. A mess. But with his Vince Wilfork-like body,
Z has managed to make it look spectacular.

Since donning the Bruins sweater, NESN has been flooded with orders from those hoping
to get one in time for Christmas to give to all their loved ones. Pablo Sandoval, the Kung
Fu Panda and new Red Sox third basemen is desperately trying get one before his first press conference at Fenway Park. This new sweater might just become a hotter item than the Snuggie's
or the Clap-on, Clap-off, the Clapper.

Z, who worships Drew Bledsoe at the altar and still thinks he's the best quarterback
in Patriots history, has been getting standing ovations and props from many people throughout
the industry. Hockey legend Don Cherry has been rumored to have sought out Z for wardrobe consultation.Same goes for ESPN's Barry Melrose, and TNT's Craig Sager. Tommy Hilfiger
has been in touch with Zechello's representatives to add a "Z-collection" to his clothing line.

Z and his talent for producing and picking out memorable wardrobes have not only made
him a star in Boston, but a sought-after commodity. He's been so hot, NESN executives
have given him a non-compete contract so other stations in the market can't poach the Big
Blue Ticket for their star behind the scenes. Management was rumored to have shot down
an inquire from David Letterman for Z to appear as his 'special correspondent' on his late-
night talk show.

The guy is hot and so are his clothes. It's not a fashion statement, it's just Z.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


A 13-year, $325 million contract. No matter how you slice it, break down the numbers,
or try to justify it, the deal the Miami Marlins gave Giancarlo Stanton is insane.

Oh, it'll probably get the Marlins a lot of headlines, some national media interest, and
the franchise splashed across the Twitter-sphere, but they'll be rinsed out of the world's
fast and furious news cycle by tomorrow and  go back to being an irrelevant
professional team even in the city they play in.

After the high from the attention the Marlins receive wears off, owner Jeffrey
Loria  will probably have a "What the hell was I thinking moment?" The man who
hoodwinked Miami in building him a brand-spanking new stadium only to ignite
a fire sale (again) of his big-name players to shed his payroll down to a measly
$53 million, is going to regret this deal for the life of the deal, or until he can
find a sucker who will take the contract off his hands in a few years.

Maybe Loria believes the contract he's lavished upon Stanton will rinse away
the bitterness and pure hate a lot of people in Miami have for him and his
business "ethics." Perhaps, he feels all the lousy baseball the fans have had to
endure and high-ticket prices they've had to pay will be buried in the past with
this "landmark deal" as Loria has called it. Maybe he thinks the "cheapest man
in baseball" tag will be ripped off his back because of it.

Loria can make Stanton the face of the franchise, but with all that money tied up in
one player, the Marlins are going to have a lot of red-headed step brothers around him.
Remember when the Texas Rangers signed A-Rod to that absurd 10-year, $250 million
contract? They couldn't afford to build a team around him and subsequently finished
in last place every season the Steroid King played in Arlington. So, they dumped him
even though he was an MVP and the face of baseball.

Besides hamstringing the  organization when it came to personnel moves, the Rangers
didn't see a dramatic increase in attendance or television ratings. It wasn't a fiscally
responsible deal, and that's being nice. It was just plain stupid.

The same can be said about the one the Marlins gave Stanton which is  the
richest contract in U.S. sports history. Stanton who has 153 home runs in his
brief career, gets a nice bump in pay from the $587,000 salary he made in 2013
to $25 million until 2026. But why the heck were the Marlins in such a rush? Stanton
can't be a free-agent until after the 2016 season.

His season ended in 2013 after getting drilled in the face by a 90-mile-an-hour
fastball. Whose to say Stanton is over the beanball and the mental battles that
may come with it? He hasn't step in the batters box since that day in September.
Shouldn't the Marlins have waited to at least spring training to find out if he's
mentally ready to face 95-miler-an-hour heaters again?

And this isn't an NFL-type mega-deal contract that never approaches the pumped
up number that appears in headlines and SportsCenter. All those $100 million deals
in the NFL are not guaranteed. Do you really think the Cincinnati Bengals are
going to be paying anywhere near the $105 million Andy Dalton is supposed to get
in his contract? As soon as all the guaranteed money (about $40 million) is paid
out and his production tails off, the Bengals will say buh-bye and won't be paying
Dalton a nickel more than what he was guaranteed.

In baseball, every penny of contracts are fully guaranteed even if Stanton or any
other player suffers a career-ending injury. Man, it must be good to be 25-years old
and know that you have all that coin coming to you.

Loria said he hopes the contract gives the fans something to "rally around".
Seriously? When has any fan, even the celebrity-obsessed, get-a-life ones, ever
rallied around a team because they gave one player such an absurd contract?

It's never happened.

And in Miami, a city that's seen too many fire sales to count along with the
shadiness of Loria, this deal isn't exactly going to make them jump through hoops
and dish out big money for season tickets. Not happening. Not for one player.

Stanton is a powerful hitter and a class act on and off the field. But he is not
a mega-star like A-Rod was back then or Mike Trout is today. He's never mentioned
as the best player in the game and is well-back of Trout, Clayton Kershaw, and
even Bryce Harper when it comes to popularity and being "the face" of baseball.
He's not going to draw big crowds on the road or bring monster ratings, after all,
he does play for the Marlins.

After seeing these mega, long-term deals given to the likes of A-Rod, C.C.
Sabathia, Troy Tulowitzki, Mark Texiera, Carl Crawford, Alfonso Soriano,
and a few others, don't these owners learn a thing? Injuries, steroids, apathy,
and just plain bad production come into play and most of the players never
live up to the contract. The owners are paying for what the player did, instead
of what they can do in the future and it's ridiculous.

I know, it's not my money, but it's still ridiculous. This signing will just
throw the entire salary structure out of whack once again. Barry Bonds didn't
earn anything close to Stanton and he belted 73 years home runs one season.
Reverse those numbers and you have the most home runs that Stanton's ever hit
during a season in his career.

Man, you don't think Mike Trout is sitting somewhere with a huge smile
on his face? He's only 23, has already won an MVP and is the real face of
baseball. His $144 million contract is up in five years and you can bet, he'll
shatter the contract given to Stanton. Insanity.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Jonas Gray? Who the heck is Jonas Gray? Sounds like somebody who attended an
elite prep school in New England. Undrafted, cut by the Miami Dolphins, and activated
off the practice squad, he can't be any good, what is Belichick thinking?

Belichick traded Logan Mankins, the second best offensive lineman in team history for
Tim Wright? Oh, that's right, he went to Rutgers and we all know that Belichick just
loves players who wore scarlett and black.

Brandon LaFell? If the stinkin' Carolina Panthers didn't want him, what the heck could
Belichick possibly see in him? The Hoodie has definitely lost it.

"Moving on to Cincinnati?" No, Bill, you have to replay that ugly game in Kansas City
over and over even three days after the fact! We want you to own it. We want you to tell
us that you can't draft, evaluate talent, and the game is passing you by.

Wow. Do any fans or members of the media in New England want a mulligan on that
one? Even in this knee-jerk, rush-to-judgment, convict, and condemn world that we live
in, the vitriol and anger spewed at Belichick and the Patriots after they got crushed in
Kansas City was off the charts ridiculous.

One newspaper went so far as to run a headline asking, "In Bill We Trust?"

It's even more comical considering that in this results-oriented world of the NFL,
Belichick has done nothing but produce great ones over a long period of time. Oh, sure,
the idiot clan in the Commonwealth will say the Patriots haven't won a Super Bowl since
2005. Just wondering how many the Patriots franchise won before Belichick arrived in
Foxborough at the start of the millennium.


The Patriots have won three since, been to a total of five, and have strung together
11 consecutive seasons of 10 or more wins. God, Belichick sucks. Do you think the
folks in Cleveland, Jacksonville, New York, Dallas, and just about every other city
that has an NFL team would revel in and enjoy that kind of success? Surely, nobody
would complain about it, and most everyone would give their coach a "pass" or
trust that he'd right the ship.

Since Belichick moved on to Cincinnati, the Patriots have not only gotten back on
course, but are leaving everybody in their wake. The Patriots are 6-0 and averaging nearly
50 points a game. 50 points a game?!!! It's not even December yet, a time when
the Patriots under Belichick historically get better. And you can look it up.

Can you imagine if Belichick lavished Tom Brady with the same type of gifts the
Chicago Bears bestowed upon Jay Cutler? They would most definitely push that number
close to a 100! (Wink, wink).

Oh, yeah, and about that Jonas Gray guy. He torched the Indianapolis Colts for
four touchdowns and nearly 200 yards Sunday. Perhaps, Belichick just got lucky
as he did with Brady when he drafted him in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft,
but I doubt it. Belichick sees what other do not and he now has a jewel of a runner
who could help the Patriots pound the ball like they once did with Corey Dillon
and take the pressure off Brady, opening up the passing game even more with
play-action fakes.

Belichick knows what he's doing. He hasn't 'lost' his ability to evaluate talent and
his penchant for finding players who fit into his system. And make no mistake about
it, the Patriots offense is his system. It's not that of Charlie Weis, Bill O'Brien,
Josh McDaniels, or anyone else who has called a play over the last 13 years.
Belichick designed it and knows the parts needed to make it rev and roll over
defenses in the NFL. Brady is clearly the conductor and the best one in the NFL,
but Belichick has orchestrated everything about it.

This season is looking an awful lot like the one the Patriots endured in 2003. After
Belichick cut popular veteran Lawyer Milloy before the season started, Patriots Nation
questioned the Hoodie. Tom Jackson of ESPN went on air and said the players "hate
their head coach". After starting the season 2-2, the same record this year's version
was after four games, the Patriots ran the table and and won the Super Bowl. They
also achieved it by using a mind-boggling 42 different starters because of injuries.

Yep, Belichick didn't know what he was doing then, and he certainly must not know
what he's doing now.

Hope you learned a great lesson from Belichick, Patriots fans. And while he may
have been 'moving on to Cincinnati', he was really just telling all the doubters:
"See you in Glendale."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


The nation honors all those who served our country fighting wars with their own special
day. We pay tribute to the men and woman who put their lives on the line against faceless
enemies in countries far, far away. There will be a few parades and a lot of pictures
flooding Facebook of the American flag and our heroes who did so much for us. They
helped attain what we all enjoy today: freedom.

It's not enough.

For all the bravery, courage, determination, and sacrifice these veterans made, giving
them a day pales in comparison to what they truly deserve. And how our government
treats them is downright right embarrassing.

A 'thank you' will not do.

These men and woman leave the comforts of their home and the love of their families to
spill blood and sweat on foreign soil. What they return to is almost beyond comprehension.
Soldiers who had limbs blown off, their spirits shaken, and in many cases, their psyche
shattered forever, often have to wait long periods of time to get the benefits they earned
and the professional help they desperately need.

Instead of letting them go to the front of the line and take care of them immediately,
our government sometimes doesn't take care of them at all. Our presidents may give
them a pat on the back or weave together a few words of praise, but when the cameras
are off it becomes something barely more than a, "hey, good job, thanks for playing."

According to CNN, the average wait for those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan to
get their benefits is between 316 and 327 days. Almost a year!  That's absurd. All
the money the government spends keeping Guantanamo Bay open for terrorist
prisoners ($450 million a year) would be better served taking care of our own instead
of all the ones who tried to destroy our country.

Sadly, it seems a good majority of our country has more compassion for immigrants
trying to get into the United States illegally, than the men and women who actually fought
to protect it.

After the soldiers return home, turn in their weapons while trying to tune out the
horrors of wars, there is little waiting for them in terms of a career. They don't have
jobs waiting for them or counseling provided by the government to at least
help them find one.

A few corporations like Wal-Mart have pledged to hire up to a 100,000 veterans, but
it's not enough and the government should be doing a lot more. They ask soldiers
to make tremendous sacrifices, fight for our country, put their lives on the line, and
they don't have their backs when they return home.

Professional sports teams produce special Army fatigue uniforms which they wear
and sell for a nifty profit. The message is a great one: support our troops and veterans.
But what do they actually do for them? They, along with their families, should never
have to pay for parking, concessions, and tickets to the game. That should mandated
across the board by our government

According to a report in the New York Times, there are 22 suicides among veterans
every day. Yes, every day! One is too many. 22 is a terrible tragedy that can be
prevented. These men and woman need help. Sure, you trying going to war for
three years and have to kill or be killed. Is your job that stressful? I think not. These
soldiers have to come home, decompress, and then blend into society as if
nothing happened.

It's silly, absurd, and doesn't really make any sense. The government's motto should
be: "We take care of all those who take care of us." That's how it should
be, no questions asked.

Too bad it all can't be that simple. With our government nothing ever is.