Wednesday, October 30, 2013

STEVE TONRA AND HIS LOVE FOR THE GAME



Steve Tonra was a wonderful baseball player gifted with sprinter's speed and a little thunder
in his bat. During his high school days in New Canaan, Ct. he liked to boast that he was "the
straw that stirred the drink." He was catalyst as the lead-off man and a fleet-footed centerfielder,
but for all his talent, it was his charisma that separated the "T-man" from everybody else,
which also made him a person everyone gravitated to.


Tonra was half Kelly Leak of the "Bad News Bears and half "Super Joe" Charboneau of the
Cleveland Indians: cock-sure, carefree, and a little crazy, but in a good way. He never opened
beer bottles with his eye-lids as Super Joe once did, but Tonra could always spin a story or
find trouble like nobody's business.

I vividly remember the time Tonra and I were invited to a try-out with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and he showed up with a 1960's gray, baggy, New Canaan uniform, a Cam motor
oil baseball hat, and sneakers that looked as if they had just  been plucked from a Salvation
Army bin. If only I had a picture of the look on the faces of all the scouts when they saw Tonra
take the field. Priceless.

That was the T-Man.

But behind the legend of the "T-Man", as he's still affectionately known by all his friends,
is a man who has an insane love for the game of baseball and the Boston Red Sox. Born and
raised on the mean streets of Brockton, Mass,. Tonra is a Red Sox fan through and through.
I know he's got Red Sox posters lining the wall of his home in Roswell, Georgia, and wouldn't
be surprised if one of Ted Williams adorns it, as well. During his playing days, Tonra wore
number 9, "mythical number 9" as he used to say, in honor of the Splendid Splinter.


I've often been awakened late at night by the buzzing of my cellphone. Booty calls have been
replaced by "Tonra's Take". I get updates, theories, and analysis from the T-man on all things
Red Sox:

"The Sox starting pitchers have an ERA of 1.93 after eating pizza's on Monday's". Ok, so that's
an exaggeration, but I'm not that far off when it comes to Tonra's obsession with the Red Sox.
I could go without him blowing up my cellphone almost every night, but I can appreciate his
love for the game and the Red Sox.



I have little doubt that if Tonra followed his heart out of college and caught a break, he'd
be a highly-successful general manager in major league baseball today. Once featured in
the New York Times for his mastery of the board game, Strat-O-matic, Tonra's extremely
bright and has a tremendous baseball I.Q. He could run circles around and build better
baseball teams than 75 percent of the GM's in the game today.

Baseball's in Tonra's blood. It drives him, energizes him, and motivates him. Today, he is an
umpire in one of the hot-beds of baseball. He has already umpired more than 300 games this
season, and as he was when he was playing, T-man is really gifted as a man dressed in blue.


I have to admit, though, when I tell people that Tonra is umpiring, the first words out of the
their mouths usually begin with the letters. N....F....W. And with two exclamation points. Ya
see, when Tonra was playing  in New Canaan, he didn't really have all that much respect
for authority and when he was on the baseball field, no pitch was a strike unless he actually
swung at it.

Now, the "T" is an umpire calling balls and strikes and kicking people out of games for
arguing and disagreeing with him. Imagine that.

Tonight, T-man will be watching the Red Sox try to win the World Series for the third time
in a decade. As any true Red Sox fan, he is guarding against the worst, after all, he has felt
what Bucky "Effin" Dent has done to heart, his Red Sox soul was torched by Bill Buckner's
blunder, and his mind was scrambled by Aaron Boone's bomb in the ALCS.



But with many things with T-Man, he usually is the one who comes out on top, and I'm sure
he'll be waking up his neighborhood outside of Atlanta tonight with screams of joy, while
blowing up my cellphone.

That is the beauty of the "T-Man."

Monday, October 28, 2013

THE BEAUTY OF JONNY GOMES

 

 
Jonny Gomes officially became part of the fabric of Red Sox nation on Sunday night. His three-
run homer made him a World Series hero and put the spotlight on a journeyman player who was
signed by Boston more for his character and love for the game than his less-than-one-tool talent.

And it's a beautiful thing.

Gomes looks like the type of guy who lives in a one-bedroom apartment with the television
cemented to ESPN's "Baseball Tonight", the walls filled with posters of Pete Rose, Mike
Schmidt, and Thurman Munson, and his nightstand supporting Ted Williams' book, "The Science
of Hitting." He doesn't care about agents, endorsements, or Twitter. He's all about baseball
and it's refreshing to see.


In the residue of the Steroid Era and in a year that has produced some real ugliness for the
game (Biogenesis, Ryan Braun, A-Rod), Jonny Gomes is the deodorant that is covering up the
bad scent. He wears his heart on his sleeve, pounding his chest, screaming at the top of his lungs,
and showing the unbridled joy of a Little Leaguer on his way to Williamsport.


In a baseball world of egotistical prima donnas and statistics obsessed players, Gomes marches
to the beat of his own drummer. He has a body stained with tattoos and a chia pet face that
seems to sprout hair with every shower. Gomes could care less about OPS, WAR, and hitting
with runners in scoring position on Saturday night's with a full moon.


Gomes is all about winning, having fun, and playing a kid's game for as long as he possibly
can. He's helped cleanse a clubhouse that had been poisoned by the likes of Beckett,
Gonzalez, and Bobby Valentine.

To opponents, Gomes can be like sandpaper, an abrasive personality that can rub you the
wrong way. But he's perfect for a Red Sox team that is more lunch pale than catered caviar.


Nope, Gomes doesn't have the tools or talent of Bryce Harper, nor the all-American looks
of Mike Trout who seems to have been poured into his uniform by the baseball god's. But
to the Red Sox and their nation, Gomes is one of the prettiest players on the field.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

BRANDEL CHAMBLEE IS AN IDIOT


Brandel Chamblee didn't do much as a professional golfer. His name was more suited for the
LPGA and his game wasn't good enough to get noticed in the boys club. During his 18-year
career on the PGA Tour, Chamblee had a grand total of one victory. Yep, that is just about
Hall of Fame worthy.

With those stellar credentials, Chamblee turned to television to attempt to do what he couldn't
do on the PGA Tour: become relevant. Chamblee landed a gig on the Golf Channel when it was
about as credible as the football program at Grambling State University. Nobody watched it,
much less even cared about it until Comcast/NBC bought it and it gained a higher-profile
because it suddenly had premiere golf events, which included Tiger Woods.


Let's face it, nobody really watches or cares much about golf unless Tiger is playing. He is
a proven ratings magnet and someone even the non-sports fan likes to watch win, lose, or
crumble.

Chamblee recently penned an article for Golf.com giving out his grades for players during
the 2013 season. Ok, does anybody really give a hoot what Brandel Chamblee, winner
of just one tournament in 18-years on the PGA Tour, has to say about the likes of Phil Mickelson,
Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, and Tiger Woods. That's kind of like Mario Mendoza grading
out Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, David Ortiz, and Miguel Cabrera on their 2013 season in major
league baseball. It's laughable.

So, in this day and age where sports television analysts, reporters, and anchors go to extremes
to stay relevant and be "trending", Chamblee went after the PGA's AND the Golf Channels
golden goose, Tiger Woods.  To take a shot at Hunter Mahan wouldn't cause a blip on anybody's
radar screen. It would be like cutting down a monster tree in the forest. Nobody would even
notice, much less even care.


But Chamblee went after Tiger Woods and called him worse than he's already been called off
the course: a cheater. Yes, the serial philanderer, who destroyed his reputation and marriage
with porn stars, pin-ups, and waitresses from Perkins, was being called a cheater in golf and
his livelihood, and the things that defines him, by Chamblee. In the article posted on Golf. com., Chamblee wrote:

Tiger Woods: When I was in the fourth grade, I cheated on a math test and when I got the
paper back it had "100" written at the top and just below the grade, was this quote, "Oh, what
a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!" It was an oft-quoted line from
the epic poem "Marmion" by Sir Walter Scott, and my teacher's message was clear.

Written once more beneath that quote was my grade of "100", but this time with a line drawn
through  it and beneath that an F. I never did ask my teacher how she knew I cheated and I
certainly didn't protest the grade. I knew I had done the wrong thing and my teacher the right,
but I never forgot the way I felt when I read that quote. I remember when we only talked about Tiger's golf. I miss those days. He won five times and contended in majors and won the Vardon Trophy and ... how shall we say this ... was a little cavalier with the rules.*

100
F



Chamblee was taking a shot at Tiger for all his illegal drop he executed at the Masters
and the questionable judgments he made in a couple of other tournaments. This article and
statement would've fallen like a tree in the woods, excepts that Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, brought attention to it by threatening legal action against Chamblee.

Bad move. We all know how the media and the twittersphere works. Everybody picked up
on it and Brandel Chamblee got the attention he craved at Tiger's expense. He even stood
by his charge that Tiger is a cheater, even if he didn't come right out and actually call Tiger
a cheater. He just insinuated it to keep himself clear of a lawsuit.

Yeah, good ole Brandel bowed up his chest and reveled in the fact that he took on Tiger,
albeit through an article on-line. (That's considered brave these days)

Tiger hasn't said much because he doesn't want to give any credence to what Brandel said
or give him any credibility. After all, Tiger has won about as many tournaments as Chamblee
entered on the PGA Tour. Tiger is arguably the greatest golfer ever, while Chamblee was, well,
just a golfer.

The light for somebody at Comcast/NBC finally came on because Chamblee suddenly
apologized to Tiger in a tweet. An apology by a tweet? Yeah, that's the brave new world
we live in. An  executive finally figured out that the network needs Tiger a lot more than
he needs it. You think Tiger is going to come in for appearances at the Golf Channel?
Do you think he's going to want to stop by to talk to Roger Maltbie after he wins another
tournament? Doubtful. Tiger is like Michael Jordan. If you take a shot at him, he remembers
and he will embarrass you.

Tiger may be silent on this, but he is not done. You can bet he will embarrass Brandel
Chamblee in a big way and he'll probably take a one-time shot at NBC and the Golf
Channel, too.

Brandel Chamblee? Really? One PGA victory? Taking on Tiger Woods. Hope the attention
was worth it. But you will pay for it later.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

GRAMBLING, EDDIE ROBINSON, AND ME


Grambling, Louisiana is a small town tucked away in the northern part of the state. It's not
on the beaten path to anywhere and is only relevant because of the college football program
that was built by the legend, Eddie Robinson.

Today, it's in the news because its football players boycotted a game in protest of travel
arrangements, poor facilities, and a coach who was eventually fired. I can't say I'm shocked,
but I am surprised that it didn't happen sooner.

In 1997, I worked as a sports anchor in Shreveport, the closest major city to Grambling
and its university. I must admit, I was anxious to go there for media day in August of that
year, even if it was on a day that was so brutally hot and humid that'd you sweat profusely
from just blinking.

This was Grambling State University, a smaller than smaller football program that had
produced big-time NFL players like Doug Williams, James Harris, Buck Buchanan,
Sammy White, Willie Brown, and Charlie Brown. This was the place where the coach,
Eddie Robinson became an American icon. This was the place where Bruce Jenner starred
in a movie called, "Grambling's White Tiger."

However, this was the place that time forgot.

As I walked to the football facility, I wondered how in the world Grambling recruited
players, much less great ones who would end up in the hall of fame. The place was like a
third-world country, and that's being generous. The grounds were far from the meticulously
groomed ones you see at just about any college in the country these days. High school
football stadiums were better than the one at Grambling and the field resembled that of
a cow pasture.
 

Eddie Robinson, of course, was the main reason any player with an ounce of talent in
the south went to Grambling. He started the football program and coached there for more
than 50 years. He was a man of impeccable character and integrity, teaching his players
more than just football, he taught them about life and gave them the tools and knowledge
to succeed once all the games were over. Robinson was truly special.

After one game, I found myself sitting in his coaches locker room. It was just me and
Eddie Robinson in a room no bigger than a studio apartment in NYC. I have never been
star struck, but I was mesmerized by this 72-year old man and what he had accomplished
in his life.

The grooves in his forehead were like the rings on an oak tree, telling you he had
been around forever and had seen so more than he ever cared to talk about. Robinson
had lived through some hard times as a black man in the south. He had overcome
tremendous obstacles and succeeded in a place where very have before or after him.

Robinson was already a big part of American history, winning more games than any
college coach and I was fascinated. He had slowed down considerably and his mind and
mouth didn't not work in conjunction as they once did, perhaps, it was a prelude to the
Alzheimer's disease he came down with shortly after retiring.

I said to myself, "This is unreal and one of the best moments of my life and career." If
I had a cell phone camera back then, I would've taken a selfie of the two of us. I wanted
something to document this priceless moment of my life. I wanted to show and tell people
that I had a moment with this man. It was one of those times when you say, "I wish somebody
was here to see this."

Just a few days earlier, Robinson had a book signing and I was given a copy as part of
the promotion. I didn't ask Robinson to sign it at the time, I was long past getting autographs.
The last one I ever received was one from Steve Garvey back in 1975. I thought asking
for autographs was ridiculous and it's forbidden as part of a sportscaster job.

But I still had Robinson's book in my bag during our interview and when it was over, I
didn't care about protocol. I wanted this man's autograph. He was history. He was an
icon. He was all things good about college sports. He was truly special.  I asked for his
autograph, Robinson obliged, and I was on my way, stuffing the book back in my bag
so nobody would see it.


I thought about that moment after I heard about the unrest at Grambling this week. I'm sure
the facilities aren't much different from when I was there back in 1997. There are  no
big revenue streams at Grambling and the alumni base doesn't have deep pockets. The
athletic department tries to do their best, but to the players, busing to games 750 miles
away isn't trying hard enough.

I don't think this story is going to end well. When a school cancels a game just days
before the opponent is expecting a big crowd on homecoming, there will be repercussions.
I'm not sure Grambling's football program can survive this. I'm not sure they have the
financial resources to sustain it. And when potential recruits for what is already a
downtrodden program see the unrest at Grambling, they will most likely turn and run
away.

That's a sad thing for a program that was once the little one that could. Now, it's
the little one that can't do anything right.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

13 PEOPLE WHO SHOULD BE ON PLAYOFF COMMITTEE

Condolezza Rice was named as one of the 13 people to sit on the College Football Playoff
committee that will pick the four teams that will play for the national championship starting
in 2014. I admire and respect Rice for her strong background which includes being secretary
of state during  the Bush Administration. Wait a minute, is that really a great accomplishment? Anyway, Rice must have won her office fantasy league pool the last couple of years to get on
this committee. Sadly, this is nothing more than a mindless publicity stunt to get the committee
some attention. If she wasn't on it and there wasn't some controversy, would anybody even know about it?

Also on the committee are: Pat Haden, USC athletic director and former QB, Archie Manning,
college football legend, and Tom Osborne, former Nebraska college legend and A.D. All good
choices. But if I had to pick a team to pick the Final Four of college football, I'd go with this
list.

WILL FERRELL (CHAIRMEN) Unlike Rice, Ferrell really knows his sports. He has played
legends such as Ricky Bobby, Chazz Michael Michaels, and Jackie Moon on the silver screen
and as we saw on "SNL", he is one helluva cheerleader. Ferrell is versatile, intelligent, and
went to USC, a football factory which gives him major credibility.


MIKE DITKA Why "Iron Mike" didn't make the original list is beyond me. Ditka was an
All-American at the University of Pittsburgh and is enshrined in both the College and Pro Football
Hall of Fames. Few are tougher that Ditka, who could break any ties or debates behind closed
doors. Plus, he looks really intelligent with those new glasses he wears on ESPN.


WALTER WHITE Now that "Breaking Bad" is over, White has some free time on his
hands. Who said he was dead? Did you check his pulse? Nothing like a good comeback. The
guy is smart, immoral,  corrupt, and egotistical, which really would make him a perfect fit
for any committee involving the NCAA.


KEVIN PLANK The founder and CEO of Under Armour knows football. He was a walk-on
at Maryland before parlaying his desire for a cotton-free shirt into a sports apparel empire.
Plank is smart, has good sized stones, and has proven that he knows what having a vision is
all about. Plus, the final four teams would be guaranteed to wear the ugliest uniforms in
the history of college football.



SNOOKI If the recently unveiled committee can have Condolezza Rice, why can't Snooki
help choose the best four teams in college football?



BOBBY VALENTINE The guy everybody loves to hate. The man who invented the sandwich
wrap and brought the Red Sox down like the Titanic, was an All-American running back
out of high school and was slated to play football at USC before signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He knows everything about everything, including which teams should play for the
NCAA title.


JOHN BOEHNER You say Bay-ner, I say boner, which means he'd fit right in with any
committee affiliated with the NCAA that's in charge of making a playoff system work,
but usually makes a ton of mistakes.


ALEX RODRIQUEZ A-Rod played QB in high school and is a self-proclaimed sports nut.
He's probably going to have some free time on his hands after he loses the appeal for his
suspension for PED's.

PRESIDENT OBAMA His NCAA basketball tournament brackets suck every year, maybe
picking the Final Four in football will be his true calling.


PETE ROSE. Why not?

ROB GRONKOWSKI The Patriots Tight end would be the life of this party. Strippers and
his mantra, "Yo Soy Fiesta" would be the motto of this committee.


POPE FRANCIS You have to have at least one person on the committee with a moral compass
that works.

REBECCA SCHULTE Total dark horse and a big one. The GM of Comcast SportsNet
Baltimore/Washington D.C. didn't do anything to get all the high-ranking positions she
has, which is a talent in and of itself, but she does have some amazing powers, like knowing
what people are doing in a cubicle more than 2,000 miles away.



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

WALLY BELL, MAY YOU REST IN PEACE.




It's easy to remember a name like Wally Bell and if you got to know the same one I did,
you'd realize he'd be pretty hard to forget.

Wally Bell passed away on Monday, the victim of an apparent heart attack. He was just
48 years old. Bell lived a good life, spending more than 20 years as a Major League
umpire. getting the opportunity to call a World Series.  When I read about his passing,
I was stunned and saddened because I became  acquainted with Bell during our days in
the Carolina League, he as an umpire with visions of making it to the show, me as a player,
who was just happy as hell to be putting on a  uniform every day that had "Red Sox"
stitched across the front of it.

Back in 1988, Bell was a big, burly kid, with a tremendous presence. I called him the
Buford T. Pusser of the Carolina League. He walked tall and if he carried a big stick, he
definitely would've used it. Bell didn't take anything from anybody. He called them like
hesaw them and kicked you out of the game if you didn't like it.


As a catcher, I was closer to the umpire than any other player on the field. For nearly three
hours every night, you can hear every grunt, groan, and word that comes out of a home
plate umpires mouth. You're so close to them, you can tell what they had for the pre-game
meal and see the stains from the sweat that can drown a man's shirt on those incredibly hot
and humid summer nights in the Carolina League

When Bell was behind the plate, you never had to worry about getting a game that
was called inconsistently. His strike zone didn't waver from game-to-game, or inning-to-
inning, for that matter. The life of minor-league player can be tough, but incredibly brutal
for an umpire. Working in three-man crews, there is not a team bus that takes them from
stadium to stadium in towns that most people don't know existed, and if they did, they
would never care to visit. Instead they have to drive their own cars and sleep in all those
cut-rate hotels that usually have a  6 or 8 on the end of it. Perhaps, one with a red roof if
they decided to splurge.


Bell never took the pain that comes from the miserable life of always being on the road
and living out of suitcases, onto the field. He was professional, powerful, and a person
that you knew had the ingredients to make it to the top of his vocation. Bell was also a
funny man with a quick wit and razor-sharp sarcasm. I remember asking him what the
heck umpires do for fun in the sleepy town of Lynchburg where our minor-league team
was based. "Ah, Lynchburg, Virgina, where the men are men and so are the women,"
I vividly recall him saying. "And the cockroaches at Harvey's Motel are often bigger
than me."

When Bell made it to the big leagues, I was not surprised. And when I heard the announcers
say, ".....and Wally Bell is behind the plate tonight", I would always get a chuckle and say
to myself, "Yeah, he was an umpire in the Carolina League way back when."


When I heard an announcer on ESPN talk about his passing, I was truly saddened. 48 years
old is way to young to die, especially when you're in the middle of a great career as a well-
respected umpire in the major leagues. But I was happy for Wally in that he had done what
so few umpires set out to do while working the "bushes" they call the minor-leagues. It's
a rough road, but Wally Bell made it and he will always be remembered as a great person,
as well as an umpire.



Monday, October 14, 2013

BOSTON WEAK


Nobody can put doom and gloom into a perfect chamber of commerce day like the fans
of Boston. They live in a world class city, yet sometimes act as if they reside next to Lake
Erie. Their sports teams seem to always play for championships and win most of them, but
they sometimes act as if they've had to watch the Browns, Braves, and Bluejackets their
entire lives.

Living in the moment is as foreign to them as a smile is to the face of Bill Belichick.
They'd rather obsess about the past and complain about the future.


Sunday was a perfect example of all of the above. A day that started like the ball going
through Buckner's legs ended up like one of Adam Vinitieri's kicks sailing through the
uprights as time expired in the Super Bowl.

But in between, Boston fans bitched, moaned, and complained as if the government shutdown
Facebook, Twitter, sports talk radio, iPhones, iPads, and the talent and heart of the Patriots
and Red Sox.

The Patriots were giving for dead against the Saints, especially after their 3-time Super
Bowl winning quarterback threw a terrible interception with under three minutes to
go in the game.

"Tom Brady! WTF? Is it time for the Ryan Mallet era?" tweeted one Boston fan.

"Way to man up, Gronk. If you had played, we would be 6-0.", posted another fan, forgetting
that WE and the Patriots are not one and the same.

Gillette stadium was about about half-empty as fans headed for the exits to beat traffic.

And of course, behind Tom Brady, whose had to throw to receivers smaller than Justin Bieber
and more unreliable than Spicoli, the Patriots pulled off a miraculous comeback, beating
the Saints with five seconds left. Brady to Thompkins was a beautiful thing to watch and that
caused reaction among Boston Strong only when its teams are winning, to change on a dime.


"I'm going to tell my grandkids that Tom Brady is the best QB I ever saw."

"Tom Teriffic! He's the man.",  tweeted that same man who had ripped Tom Brady for throwing
that inexplicable interception.

The Patriots miracle was a prelude to the theatrics at Fenway Park as the Red Sox battled
Detroit in Game 2 of the ALCS. Except there was no battle for most of it. For the second
consecutive  night, the Tigers pitchers were mowing down the Red Sox hitters. Max Scherzer,
like Anibel Sanchez, did in Game 1, took a no-hitter late into the game. Then the tweets started:


"The Red Sox have just run out of gas. It was a good season. At least we still have the Patriots."

Um, the second game of a best-of-seven series isn't through the 7th inning and you think it's
already over? A lot of Red Sox fans did. Even after watching the Patriots comeback and seeing
that a lot of them had left the game early, they did so as well.

Yeah, another Boston Strong fan did:

"In the history of the playoffs, only a few teams after ever lost the first two games at home
and come back to win."

Good, lord. Is everything a stupid stat these days?

Why can't they keep a stat for stupid tweets and posts on Facebook that were made by
Boston fans on Sunday night?


To the fans of the Red Sox, their team was a dead as the Buffalo Bills were when they trailed
35-3 to the Houston Oilers in the 1993 NFL playoffs. They were as dead as the Boston College
football team was to the Miami Hurricanes before Doug Flutie unleashed his "Hail Mary" pass.
They were as dead as the Red Sox were to the Yankees when they trailed 0-3 in the 2004 ALCS.

Boston, hello?!!!

It really is amazing to me that as historical and bright as the fans in Boston are, they seem
to get amnesia about great comebacks when their team is trailing by a few runs in GAME 2
of the playoffs. Game effin 2. The Sox pulled off the greatest comeback in playoff history
that October to a loaded Yankees team and they act like it never happened.


Greatness happened again on Sunday night when David Ortiz, as clutch as any player who
has ever suited up in Boston, tied the game with a grand slam in the 8th inning. The Red Sox
set off pandemonium an inning laser as Jarod Saltalamacchia knocked in the winning run.



What a beautiful moment. What a beautiful day in Boston.

Sunday night was great theatre for baseball and football. Too bad it had to be shared with
fans who live in the past but seem to forget about it.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

TOP 10 THINGS YOU MIGHT FIND IN MIKE NAPOLI'S BEARD


If the Boston Red Sox keep winning, Mike Napoli's beard might grow as long as the ZZ
Top dudes. The thing is starting to look like one of my science projects that got me sent
home in the 7th grade. It's long, it's narly, and to some folks, well, it's just plain nasty. But
it sure seems to be working for Napoli and the Red Sox who are starting to look more like
the boys from the hood in "Deliverance" rather than the "Duck Dynasty.


Here are the Top 10 things you're most likely to find in Napoli's beard.

10. JIMMY HOFFA The FBI has looked everywhere and come up empty in search of
the former teamster's body. Might as well poke around in Napoli's beard for it. Once you
get past the chicken wings and watermelon seeds, you might just discover Hoffa's body.


9.  BILL BELICHICK'S PERSONALITY.  If it's not hiding in Napoli's beard then the
Hoodie's personality may never be found or we just have to come to the realization that he
never had one.

8. THE GUN OF AARON HERNANDEZ.  Well, nobody seems to know where it is,
do they?


7. LANE KIFFIN. Haven't heard or seen Kiffin since he got canned from his job at  USC
in the wee hours of the morning a few weeks ago. I'm sure he'll come out out of Napoli's
forrest when the New York Giants hire him to be their next head coach. The guy ALWAYS
fails up.

6. DAVID ORTIZ' PED'S. Big Papi just seems to be getting better and better as he gets
older and older. It ain't the shoes, Mars, it's ain't the shoes. I think Papi stashes them deep in
the Nappy beard.

5. MANTI TEO's GIRLFRIEND. Don't believe the lies. Lanay Kukua is ALIVE and
she's living comfortably in Napoli's beard.


4. THE MONEY JOHNNY MANZIEL TOOK FOR SIGNING AUTOGRAPHS.
The NCAA looked far and wide and came away with nothing. Should've headed to Boston.
Might've had better lucky finding it underneath the beard made of brillo.


3. BOBBY VALENTINE'S BIKE.  The former manager who brought the Red Sox
down quicker than the Titanic, contacted ownership to see if they could FedEx his bike
to his new digs at Sacred Heart University. No dice. Larry Lucchino couldn't find it. All
signs point to Napoli's beard.


2. THE GOLD MEDALS OF LOLO JONES. What? She didn't win any? Are you
serious?! Well, never mind on that one.


1. CORK AND EMPTY CHAMPAGNE BOTTLES FORM TUESDAY'S CELEBRATION
IN TAMPA BAY.