No Quarterback’s an Evergreen

My fellow New England Patriots fans: Let’s have a little heart-to-heart, shall we?

Very few things in this life are eternal. The skills of an NFL quarterback, whether you like it or not, are no exception to this rule. And this includes your hero and mine, Tom Brady.


No doubt, Brady has been a boon for the Patriots since he hit the scene in 2001. Barring two crushing Super Bowl losses to the New York Giants and a negative record against longtime nemesis Peyton Manning in the AFC Championship Game, his resume is one of the most decorated of any player in the sport, being the only player besides Charles Haley to claim that they have won five Super Bowl titles. The efficiency and skill with which he’s lead the Patriots back from the brink of defeat is unmatched, including the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history two short months ago. Simply put, Brady is a gridiron god.

Recently, Brady told the Pats’ owner, Robert Kraft, that he intends to keep playing for what he claims is “six or seven years.” That might sound well and good, and I’m sure many of you were (and still are) licking your chops at the prospect of Brady leading the Patriots to even more Super Bowl wins.

But let’s pump the brakes for just a minute and be real here: Tom Brady isn’t going to play for another six or seven years.


Now, if he thinks he can pull out another seven quality years at most, more power to him. While I think he’ll play for less than what he claims, I’m putting nothing past him in that regard; the fact that he’s played as well as he has over the years is a testament to how he’s kept himself in such fantastic shape. It’s especially impressive since he’s playing this well in an age range where most quarterbacks’ skills tend to taper off.

On top of that, suggesting that Brady will see a sharp decline in skill any time in the immediate future is foolish. Case and point: Max Kellerman of ESPN’s First Take suggested (rather idiotically) that Brady would “fall off a cliff” and “become a bum in short order” once he returned from his unwarranted Deflategate suspension. Even when he missed those first four games, Brady put up regular season numbers on par with a quarterback who had played a full season. And that’s before leading the Patriots’ through the postseason and their Super Bowl LI comeback. Suffice to say, Kellerman was given more than just a slice of humble pie.


That said, while Brady is nowhere close to falling off the wagon any time soon, it’s not unrealistic to believe it’ll happen later in the future. For how well he keeps himself in shape and preps for each game day, age is going to take hold at some point. Father Time has caught up with the best athletes before, and he’ll get to Brady at some point. It won’t be this coming season, more than likely, but it’s going to happen regardless. And when that happens, you better be ready for the post-Brady era in New England.

So, how much longer will Brady go on for? Provided he doesn’t suffer another catastrophic injury like he did in 2008, my best bet would be that he has three solid years left in him. In that timeframe, if Bill Belichick can keep a solid team together…and injuries don’t force him to resort to glue, dental floss and the hopes of small children to keep the team’s title hopes alive…he and the Patriots will win one more Super Bowl at the absolute least.


Believe me, I’ve been around for virtually all of Brady’s time as New England’s field general, and it’s going to be a sad day when the man decides to hang up his cleats for good. He’s been an excellent quarterback, and an equally-excellent man off the field as seen through his philanthropic endeavors. Be that as it may, no athlete is like an evergreen; age sets in at some point, and even with all of Brady’s physical upkeep, it’ll get to him, too. That’s just the reality of things.

In short: Enjoy the Tom Brady Era while you can, Pats fans, because it’s not going to last much longer.

‘Til we meet again,
Tom

NFL = No Flippin’ Logic

Before we begin, I just want to address one thing: I know that the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl recently. I really don’t mean to come off as a buzz kill in light of such a joyful occasion. But this is something that needs to be brought to light, for better or worse.

Having said that…let me ask you something.

Has there ever been something that you’ve grown up loving, and then something happened to sour your love for it? Did it change your view to the point of leaving it behind?

That’s the case with me and the National Football League.


When I was a kid, I loved watching NFL games. I remember watching the 2001 AFC Championship Game with my dad when I was 11, when Drew Bledsoe came off the bench to get the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXVI, which would eventually become the start of a Patriot dynasty. And as time went on, I’d always make it a mission to watch any game I could manage to find. The NFL was my gateway to sports, it’s what started me on my way to getting into leagues like Major League Baseball or the National Hockey League. Heck, I probably wouldn’t be into competitive video games if I didn’t get into the NFL.

Recently, however, I honestly couldn’t be bothered to willfully watch an NFL game. And you may be wondering why that is. Is it because I felt like the games were declining in quality? No. Is it because the officiating is usually godawful? No. Is it because there’s too much of the NFL on a week-to-week basis to the point of over saturation? No. So what is it?

You might be reading this and thinking that since I’m from the New England area, I’m just being a salty Patriots fan who was upset that Tom Brady was suspended four games for Deflategate, even after the Patriots pulled off the grandest comeback in NFL history. If that’s the case, I’ll say that you’re half-right. As upsetting and frustrating as the suspension of Brady was, however, what many people don’t realize is that there’s more to it; Brady’s suspension is part of a larger problem that the NFL has.

In short, it’s a matter of trust…or a lack thereof, in the NFL’s case.

The long answer is that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his friends at the NFL’s front office, even if they claim the contrary, have an issue with moral priorities.

It seems like whenever the NFL comes under fire for something that legitimately damages the integrity they so love to bring up, they do next-to-nothing about it. Yet, when it comes to smaller, more minor issues like a rash of locker room bullying or underinflated footballs, they’ll go all-out and spend millions of dollars on investigations.

To get my point across, allow me to explain to you two different cases: The aforementioned Deflategate, and the recent revelation that former New York Giants placekicker Josh Brown abused his ex-wife on several different levels. When you look at the finer details of each case, you will see that not only are both cases poles apart in terms of severity, but when you think more about it, it conveys a chilling message that ultimately makes the NFL look like a league of hypocrites and scumbags.


First, let’s begin with Deflategate. In the wake of the 2014 AFC Conference Championship between the Patriots and Indianapolis Colts two years ago, the former was suspected of tampering footballs and deflating them below the NFL’s 11.5 minimum. What followed was what many consider to be the most outrageous and drawn-out case of “Much Ado about Nothing” in NFL history. While Ted Wells oversaw an investigation at the request of the NFL, there were scientists, professors, and even middle school children that stepped forward and explained that the Ideal Gas Law was the reason why those balls were under the minimum PSI; bear in mind, those balls were subjected to frigid winds and driving rain that evening.

Basically, they all proved that neither the equipment crew nor Brady had anything to do with the balls being under the legal PSI.

Despite that, the infamous Wells Report claimed in May of 2015 that it was “more probable than not” that the Patriots’ equipment staff were behind the deflated footballs. As a result, the team was given a doozy of a punishment. They were fined $1,000,000 (lunch money by the wealthy Kraft family’s standards), and stripped of first AND fourth round NFL Draft picks over the next two years. Perhaps the most damning part of the verdict was the fact that Brady was suspended for the first four games without pay for being “generally aware” of the equipment staff’s supposed tampering. Following an appeal by the NFL’s Players Association on Brady’s behalf, the suspension was upheld in July after it was revealed that Brady had destroyed his cellphone as, supposedly, a means of covering his tracks.

The case then went to a legal battle. Richard Berman of the U.S. District Court vacated the suspension just before the beginning of the 2015 NFL season, citing that not only did Brady receive no fair due process, but the NFL had no evidence to actually back up the claims. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals reinstated the suspension on the grounds that Goodell could handle the punishment as he so desired. Brady ultimately gave up the fight and served his suspension for the first quarter of this most-recent season rather than take the case all the way to the Supreme Court. All of this in spite of the fact that, once again, the NFL had no actual evidence to back up their claims.


Now we come to the Josh Brown case, and this is where you start to see the holes in the NFL’s logic. Shortly after the initial Wells Report verdict (funnily enough), Brown was arrested for assaulting his ex-wife, Molly Brown. As a result, Brown was initially suspended for one game at the start of the 2016 season after a prolonged legal process; while domestic violence incidents among NFL athletes call for a minimum of six games on the first offense (with more being added on in the event of aggravated circumstances), the reason this case yielded only a one game suspension was due to the NFL claiming that they had “insufficient information.”

However, Diana Moskovitz of Deadspin eventually found the Giants’ Pandora’s Box. And the minute it was opened, all Hell broke loose.

On top of the official divorce court records being revealed…the same ones that the NFL claimed that they couldn’t get a hold of…Brown was shown to have been abusing his ex-wife to physical, verbal, and emotional extents as far back as 2009, when she was pregnant with their daughter. He even viewed himself as God and Molly as his slave…which, if you don’t see an issue with, I genuinely don’t know what to tell you.

In addition, Brown was shown to be involved in another incident during the 2016 Pro Bowl, something that had gone unreported up to this point. He had tracked down his ex-wife and the former couple’s children, and pounded on their hotel room door in a drunken rage. It had gotten so out of hand that security for both the NFL and the hotel they were staying at had to step in and move Molly Brown and their children to a different hotel.

Worse still is the fact that not only was the NFL aware of the abuse Brown was dishing out to his ex-wife (including the incident at the Pro Bowl), but Giants owner John Mara was also aware of what was going on. Despite that, Mara signed Brown to a one-year deal that following April, only dropping him when the truth came out later that same year.

Do you see the issue here?


What most people don’t seem to get is that when it comes to off-field issues that actually damage the NFL’s overall integrity, such as domestic violence or DUI, they don’t do much about it. Moreso, they hardly show that they care about those issues; even when they try to show that they care, it doesn’t come off as genuine. They give the offender a slap on the wrist, chastise them, and move on, and that’s at the absolute most. Instead of actually cracking down on those cases, however, they seem content doing the same with what could be argued as minor issues like the Richie Incognito bullying controversy from a few years ago, or Deflategate.

This is why I’m so down on the NFL as of late, and why I’ve chosen not to write about them until now. They’ve raked Tom Brady and the Patriots across the coals when they should’ve been doing the same thing to people like Brown, Greg Hardy, and the man who actually got the NFL to try and take a hard stance on domestic violence in the first place, Ray Rice. They could’ve shown themselves as a league of their word and stand by their own policies, but as the Josh Brown case has so aptly demonstrated, they can’t be bothered.

And to anyone who may think that I approve of the Patriots’ supposedly-shady actions, let me be very clear. Deflating footballs is a scummy move; I’m not saying it isn’t, and the Patriots know that as well as any other team in the league. What I am saying, however, is that Goodell and the rest of the NFL brass have serious morality issues if they feel deflated footballs deserve a longer suspension than a domestic violence case. For that matter, the notion that deflated footballs deserve a suspension at all is suspect. And I understand that the Patriots have gotten themselves in “trouble” in the past with things like Spygate, which was not as big a deal as most like to make it out to be. However, that’s not the point.

The point is that the NFL is being generally stupid when it comes to off-field issues that damage the integrity they’re so gung-ho on protecting. And, as stupid goes, they don’t seem to realize it; either that, or they’re feigning stupidity just so they can keep their cash flow coming in strong.


People like Shannon Sharpe of Fox Sports 1’s Skip and Shannon: Undisputed say that Goodell, instead of handling outside transactions like domestic violence or DUI, should stick to handing out punishments that affect the integrity of the game, such as deflated balls or gambling. I’d be willing to agree with Sharpe’s words if Goodell’s judgment for on-field punishments were any better.

Sadly, that’s not the case.

Consider for a moment that the NFL caught the Minnesota Vikings doctoring footballs on a cold November day in Minneapolis, and all they ever received from the league’s front office was a warning against ball tampering. Adding to that, the league didn’t even bother to look into the reported deflation issues during this past season’s game between the Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers, which certainly irked Patriot Nation. In both cases, there didn’t seem to be much concern.

And yet the Patriots’ alleged tampering deserves an elaborate investigation? Just because of their past? It’s a wonder Goodell still has his job.


So, in closing, the NFL’s ineptitude on major issues is what has turned me off from them, and the fact that they’d rather tear down their most successful team of the 21st Century instead of focusing on what’s truly hurting their brand doesn’t help at all. They’d rather attempt to slay dragons that were never there instead of going after the ones that exist; it’s startling, appalling, and makes them look bad to those who see with eyes unclouded by Patriot-focused hate. With all of that in mind, the only way I see myself regaining any sort of trust in the league is if Goodell either admits Deflategate was a deliberate sting operation from the get-go, or he steps down as commissioner altogether; in a perfect world, he would do both. But seeing that none of those scenarios are likely to happen any time soon, it’s doubtful I will find myself wanting to watch another NFL game for a while.

But as they say around One Patriot Place: “It is what it is.”

‘Til we meet again,
Tom

“Someday” is Today

The Chicago Cubs are World Series Champions.

People, this blog isn’t even a year old, and I’m already writing about stuff I never thought I’d be writing about. Let me say that again:

The Chicago Cubs…Major League Baseball’s lovable losers for so long…are World Champions for the first time in a century and change.

If this is part of that mass hysteria Bill Murray was talking about in Ghostbusters, than hey, I’m all for it.

Putting the humor aside, what a World Series that was. I don’t think you could’ve written a script any more dramatic or any less boring. Especially when it comes to that last game; even Game Six of the 2011 World Series wasn’t as tense. And given how that game played out, that’s saying something.

It’s just so crazy to think about only a few days after the last game. On one side, you had Cleveland*, a team that made quick work of my Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays to get to this point, all with three impressive pitchers and a borderline-untouchable bullpen.

(*For the purposes of this article, I will only refer to Cleveland’s ballclub as “Cleveland,” and will not mention their nickname in any capacity…another topic for another time.)

On the other, you had Chicago, a fusion of scrappy, mash-happy youngsters and tested veterans that muscled past the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers to get to baseball’s Promised Land for the first time since the ‘40s.

Chicago, obviously, was running on 108 years without a World Series title. Cleveland, while not as extensive, was waiting on a 68 year old title drought. All things considered, something had to give.

To be completely honest, I wasn’t going to be fussed with whoever won this World Series. For starters, Boston had been eliminated a while ago. My rule is that if Boston isn’t in it, and as long as the New York Yankees aren’t in it, I’m fine with any team winning in the end. Plus there were old Red Sox pals on either side; Terry Francona, Coco Crisp and Mike Napoli were rocking Cleveland’s uniforms, who Theo Epstein, John Lackey and Jon Lester sported Chicago pinstripes.

Basically, it would be a small victory either way. And I try to look for the small victories when there are no Red Sox in sight.

All of that being said, I picked Chicago to win it all. Mainly because the team, and their fans, had suffered enough; 108 years is a hundred years too long for any team to experience a championship drought, and even before Boston broke their own curse in 2004, Chicago always had it worse off…keep this in mind for later. So, I figured it was time for Chicago to fly one helluva ‘W’ at Wrigley Field.

We all know how this World Series played out: Cleveland wins three of the first four games to put themselves on the edge of clinching the city’s second major sports championship of 2016, Chicago battles back, rain delays the tenth inning of Game Seven, and Chicago manages to get what they need and bring the title home.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, allow me to say something that, speaking as a Boston fan, might sound sacrilegious: This was better than Boston’s curse-busting World Series.

And it’s not even close.

Look, I still hold the 2004 World Series in high regard when it comes to Boston’s 21st Century sports dominance. How can you not? When you pull off a four-game winning streak in the American League Championship Series against your hated rivals on the way to your first World Series in over eight-and-a-half decades, it’s a pretty special moment. There aren’t too many people in or out of Boston who would say that Boston’s miracle run wasn’t spectacular.

But here’s the thing: Remember how I said that Chicago always had it worse off when compared to Boston?

Well, for those who aren’t well-versed in baseball lore, here’s a quick history lesson: Prior to 2004, Boston’s last World Series title was in 1918. Similarly, before this most recent World Series, Chicago hadn’t won a World Series since 1908. That’s ten full years before Boston’s last title at that time.

Also, for a bit of additional context, Boston had to battle back from the deficit in the ALCS; they swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series right afterward. Chicago was down three games to one in the final series, and had to pull off what very few teams had done before. Yes, no team had ever come back from a 3-0 deficit before Boston, but battling back on the biggest stage means a touch more in the long run.

Especially when, you know, the team in question hasn’t won it all in over a century.

But just like Boston, Chicago’s long-awaited World Series victory was one for the ages. A win for all those that came before; it’s for the ones that came so close to tasting October glory only to fall short, and all those who couldn’t quite get the team to the World Series. And, even though he was never actually a Cubs player, this one was for Steve Bartman, who can now roam the North Side of Chicago without being reminded of 2003.

It’s still a weird thing to say a few days later. I won’t be shocked if it’s still weird even one or two months later. That being said, it’s kind of a nice thing to say. So, on that note, I end by reminding those still in disbelief once more:

The Chicago Cubs are World Series Champions.

‘Til we meet again,
Tom

The Strongest There Was

Let’s face it: New England sports fans have been wicked spoiled lately. Since 2002, the four major teams (the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins) have brought home four Super Bowl titles, three World Series titles, an NBA Championship, and the Stanley Cup between them. That’s nine titles overall, including all four titles in the span of seven years. For someone who was born after the glory days of the Celtics and Bruins, these are the titles I tend to focus on the most when it comes to Boston’s sports dominance, if only for the fact that I was a witness to all of them.

Of all these titles, I want to focus on my favorite today: The Red Sox’ 2013 World Series victory.

Now, at first glance, this might not seem like the most exciting pick for a “Favorite Championship.” I mean, to be fair, we’ve seen the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals on this stage once before. The matchups were interesting, but I don’t think anything could come close to matchups like Pedro Martinez vs. Albert Pujols. You could tell me that there are far more exciting championship moments to choose from, like Super Bowl XLIX or Game Seven of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, and I wouldn’t disagree.

But here’s the thing: The reason why this is my favorite Boston championship, sentimental as it may sound, is that it was won at a time when the city of Boston needed the Red Sox just as much as the Red Sox needed the city of Boston.

Ask any Red Sox fan about the first few years of the new decade, and you’ll likely be met with cringe. 2010 was a disappointing year for the Red Sox, but the end of 2011 and all of 2012 left their fans with an especially bad taste in their mouths. What was once considered a powerhouse lineup became a bunch of unlikable laughingstocks, with the hiring of Bobby Valentine in 2012 only making things worse.

Ask yourself this: Would you want to root for a baseball team with players that, amongst other things:

  • Snacked on fried chicken and beer between innings?
  • Played golf on days where they were scratched for injury purposes?
  • Didn’t show up for the funeral of revered Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky?*

Probably not, right?

(*To be clear: David Ortiz, Clay Buchholz, Vicente Padilla and Jarrod Saltalamacchia were the only Red Sox players who attended Pesky’s funeral; everyone else attended a bowling event hosted by Josh Beckett on the same day.)

So, by the time 2013 came along, the Red Sox dumped their “star-power” in favor of more chemistry-oriented guys; players that didn’t necessarily put up huge numbers night to night, but were more well-known for positive influences in the clubhouse than anything else. It didn’t seem too exciting on paper, especially considering they didn’t have the numbers of someone like Adrian Gonzalez or Carl Crawford. But unlike those two, signing these guys worked out that year.

Players like Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes were additions that not only performed well enough, but made the Red Sox fun to watch again in the eyes of many fans. They were funny, stress-free, rocked some awesome beards, but most importantly, they were dedicated. And in more ways than one.

Everybody knows what happened in Boston in 2013: The bombings at the Boston Marathon’s finish line that killed eight, wounded several others, and left the entire city in shock. These Red Sox were doing well before that, but there was something about what happened that pushed their game to something beyond the concept of “Next Level.” It felt like every win the Red Sox collected wasn’t just for them, but for the city. They helped the people of Boston take their minds off the bombings and near-statewide lockdown that occurred afterward, if only for a few nights and days at a time. And it all came together on this day three years ago at Fenway Park…which, by the way, hadn’t seen a title-clinching game in almost a century.

The moment that best-exemplifies the mentality of the 2013 Red Sox occurred during the team’s championship parade a few days after their last game. The parade stopped at the Boston Marathon’s finish line on Boylston St., where Gomes set the Commissioner’s Trophy down on the line and draped one of the team’s specially-made “Boston Strong” jerseys over it. This happened all before Ronan Tynan and the parade crowd broke out into a stirring rendition of “God Bless America.” It’s a moment that shows how this team, players and management alike, accomplished all that they did for Boston after that week in April, both those that were lost, and those still on the mend.

2004’s Red Sox squad will always be held in high regard as the dawning of a new age in team history, a turning point for a franchise that had to share the moniker of “Lovable Losers” with the Chicago Cubs for the longest time. Nobody’s going to argue that notion, and I’m not going to be the first. At the same time, even if the 2013 team didn’t have to claw back from impossible odds to win it all like their ’04 and ‘07 predecessors did, what they managed to accomplish was still pretty spectacular. They redeemed themselves in the eyes of their fans, and helped those same fans heal from tragedy in the process.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d say that’s more than worthy of a #1 spot.

‘Til we meet again,
Tom

David, the Goliath

You know, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to write about this. At the very least, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to write about this until we were deeper into the month of October. But sadly, with the 2016 Boston Red Sox coming up lame at the worst imaginable moment, as much as it hurts me as a fan, this is what things have come to.

The legendary career of David Ortiz…Boston’s beloved Big Papi…is over sooner than most would’ve hoped.

New Englanders knew that this moment was coming for a long time now, even before Ortiz announced he would be wrapping it up a year ago. Sure, there may have been times where it looked like he wasn’t getting long in the tooth…this past season was proof of that…but time catches up to even the best athletes whether they want it to or not. It’s all a matter of ‘when,’ and for David Ortiz, that time is, unfortunately, right now.

It’s disappointing that the Red Sox’ postseason run ended as early as it did. I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say that it would’ve been amazing to see the Red Sox send Ortiz off with one more run to a World Series title. But the problem was that the Red Sox were very Jekyll and Hyde-esque all season; they’d be world beaters for one stretch of games, and just as soon as they got hot, they’d go ice cold for another stretch. I could go on about what the Red Sox need to do to improve on what they did right this year, but I’ll leave that to the pro pundits.

For now, let’s focus on Ortiz. And, really, what can be said about this man that already hasn’t been said?

What David Ortiz has done for both the Red Sox and the city of Boston is nothing short of legendary. Among other factors, Ortiz is one of the biggest catalysts for what many would consider a decade-plus modern-day Red Sox Renaissance. A perfect run of trips to the World Series (with Ortiz earning MVP honors in 2013 to boot), five American League Championship Series appearances, and three American League East titles are just outliers for what Ortiz has given the Red Sox since 2003.

He helped end what many considered to be a franchise curse, alleviating the 86-year notion that October always brought disappointment to the streets of Boston, no matter what came the summer before. He lifted the weight of many previous Red Sox players who never tasted the glory of a World Series title, including the greatest BoSox player of all time, Ted Williams. He helped give the Red Sox, and their fans, all they ever wanted and so much more.

What’s most important is that whenever he was available, and injuries weren’t bringing him down, he gave the Red Sox an x-factor, an ace in the hole to pull them out of a tight spot if the need was there. There was a sense, whenever Big Papi came to the batter’s box, that there was still a chance at victory, and he was willing to swing for the fences. It didn’t always work out, but the presence of someone as clutch as Ortiz in any lineup is nothing to scoff at.

Believe it or not, my favorite moment from Ortiz didn’t necessarily come during one of the games. Rather, it came before a game. I refer to, of course, his pre-game speech in 2013. A few days after the Boston Marathon bombings, and one after a day-long manhunt for one of the bombers, Ortiz took a microphone and proclaimed that Boston was “our [Bleep]ing city, and nobody gonna dictate our freedom,” all while thanking the late Thomas Menino and Boston Police for their work. It goes to show that Ortiz’ love for Boston didn’t just stop at the Red Sox, but to the entire city itself. He cared for the city, and its people; just as the fans came to love him, Ortiz came to love the fans.

Even the FCC, of all organizations, was okay with Ortiz cursing like that on live television. That should tell you something.

True, Ortiz’s temper may not have put him in the best light at times. Camden Yards’ grounds crew can attest to that after one of their dugout phones became a target of his rage. Otherwise, Ortiz has been nothing short of classy with the Red Sox, and that classiness has been the one constant the Sox have had for so long.

Again, I truly wish that I could’ve written this later in the month, and maybe in a more positive light if the Red Sox won the World Series. But sadly, it is what it is. David Ortiz took his last curtain call at Fenway Park Monday evening, and ended what will go down in Red Sox history as one of the greatest careers by any player to don the uniform.

I end this piece off with a message to the man himself. Mr. Ortiz…Big Papi…I don’t know if you’ll ever find this message among the many you have received from fans, friends and family by this point.  But regardless, I want to say what many have already said. Thank you for all the fun times, the walkoff home runs, and the clutch moments. Thank you for revolutionizing the culture of Red Sox Nation, and giving fans a reason to believe against the odds. Thank you for being the one the Red Sox, and the city of Boston, needed most of all when times looked dark. For all that you’ve done for this team, this city, and so much more…

Thank you.

‘Til we meet again,
Tom