Ten free minutes for me, 10 free half-formed thoughts for you . . .
1. The Celtics could finish this season with a 50-game losing streak - and if it would guarantee Greg Oden or Kevin Durant, hell, I'm all for it - and I'd still argue that the '96-'97 Celtics were the worse team. Sure, there were some serviceable NBA players on M.L. Carr's 15-67 disaster - Rick Fox, David Wesley, and a rookie named 'Toine, to name three - but they were counterbalanced by the likes of Steve Hamer, Nate Driggers and Brett Szabo. Those stiffs were fringe guys in the CBA, let alone the NBA. And for the record, I still say a roster that includes Al Jefferson, Rajon Rondo, Ryan Gomes, Delonte West and Gerald Green is pretty far from a lost cause, despite what the current standings say.
2. Feel free to tell me I'm as loony as that lovelorn, Depends-clad astronaut, but is it entirely out of the realm of possibility that the Sox will have some interest in Alex Rodriguez should he opt out of his Yankees contract after this season? They'll have an opening at third base since Mike Lowell will be a free agent (if he's not in Colorado by then), they could have an opening in the middle of the lineup since Manny will have one year left on his deal (if he's not back on Mars by then), and I can't help but remember how much the Sox fawned over A-Rod during the winter of '03. I realize much has happened since then - hell, his phony persona has made him immensely unpopular with both Red Sox and Yankees fans, which is quite a feat - but John Henry and the Sox were so gung-ho about making him the "face of the franchise" three years ago that I wonder if they might revisit making him a Red Sox if given the chance. (For the record, our take: Please, Mr. Henry, no.)
3. Wade Phillips? Really? This uninspiring, ex-Denver, ex-Buffalo retread is the best the high-profile Cowboys could do? What, was Bruce Coslet unavailable? Hmmm . . . something tells me Jerry Jones is more interesting in finding a yes-man than discovering the next great football coach.
4. Is it my disdain for all things Colts, or is Adam Vinatieri coming across as just a little too smug these days? Funny what a change in uniform will do to your perception.
5. Read between the lines on these two different perspectives on Paul Tagliabue's failure to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and then tell me you wouldn't have loved to be a fly on the wall as CNNSI's Dr. Z sliced and diced CNNSI's Peter King's presentation.
Dr. Z's take on the scene:
Blood was flowing at the Hall of Fame enshrinement meeting Saturday morning. I don't want to go too deeply into this thing because there were heavy repercussions. The Paul Tagliabue discussion set a record of 58 minutes. Two speakers began matters by endorsing him. I was the first of the anti voices. One of my points was that under his stewardship, and without his intervention, the rights of the press were eroded almost beyond recognition. Later I was told that I was a bit over the top. Maybe so. He didn't, as you know, reach level two, composed of 11 candidates.
And ol' Starbucks 'N' Softball's take:
I'm one of 40 electors, and I was asked to present Paul Tagliabue's case for election. I failed miserably. We are prohibited from discussing publicly what was said in the room about the candidates, so I can't tell you exactly what I said or what Tagliabue's detractors said. What I can tell you is how intense a period his debate was. It lasted 57 minutes, the longest in my 15 years on the panel.
To paraphrase Phil Hartman's Sinatra, Dr. Z has chunks of Peter King his his stool. I knew there was a reason (besides this annual gem of a column) why I still liked the old coot.
6. After watching Rex Grossman's spot-on Spergon Wynn imitation in the Super Bowl, I was left with but one conclusion: Brian Griese and Kyle Orton must really suck.
7. The more I hear, the more I believe Adalius Thomas, a Willie McGinest clone, should - and will - be the Patriots' No. 1 target in the offseason, Asante Samuel included.
8. "Moonlighting" jumped the shark when David and Maddie hooked up. "Cheers" regressed from brilliant romantic comedy to a weekly half-hour string of one-liners after Shelley Long bolted. So I understand why "The Office" writers are reluctant to let Pam and Jim live happily ever after so early in the show's run. But man . . . does it have to be so hard to swallow? (That's what she said!) Seriously, tonight's episode, with the Dwight/Jim Pavlovian opening foreshadowing Michael's and Pam's learned behavior, was about as clever as television gets, but to see Jim's face as Pam and Roy left hand in hand was to see heartbreak epitomized. Enough's enough. It's time for Pam to step up and tell Jim how she feels. C'mon, get out there, Beesley. Give the people what they want.
9. The only reason to watch the Pro Bowl - and this isn't much of a reason, to be sure - is to see if Bill Belichick figures out some way to fashion a cutoff hoodie out of a Hawaiian shirt. I'm not betting against him.
10. As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:
Glad to see Bronson Arroyo got the big bucks from the Reds today. He was one of the best bargains in baseball during his two-plus seasons with the Sox, and while I wasn't opposed to the trade that sent him to the Reds for Wily Mo Pena last spring, I wouldn't have blamed him for thinking the Sox shafted him by swapping him not long after he signed a below-market contract with the intent of staying in Boston long-term. Looks like it worked out for the best for Arroyo after all. As for the Sox? Given what starting pitchers are commanding these days, you have to wonder if Theo Epstein would like a do-over.