Sports 04-05-2018

Bruins Beat

by Bob Morello

Bruins wind down, Red Sox book arrives

In what sometimes appeared to be a long season with all the injuries that occurred, the Bruins are 79 games in, and head into the final weekend with three games remaining to be played. A disappointing showing by Boston in Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to Tampa Bay, this leaves the two teams tied for first place in the Atlantic Division, and tied for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Tonight (Thursday, 7:30pm), Boston will be hosted by the Florida Panthers, a team that still has an outside, but slim chance, at sneaking into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Boston will again provide the opposition for the Panthers on Sunday (7:30pm), as they meet on Garden ice in the makeup game for the January 4th game postponed due to weather conditions. Sandwiched in between will be a Saturday (4/7 at 7:00pm) as the Bs host the Ottawa Senators who are battling the Buffalo Sabres for last place in the NHL standings.

Following this trio of games, the NHL will announce the schedule for the playoffs, scheduled to begin on Wednesday, April 11th. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced. Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo will undergo season-ending surgery later this week to repair his fractured left ankle. For the second-year defenseman it will be the second playoff series he will miss, having suffered a concussion in the final game of last season.

THE HOMETOWN TEAM: Steve Babineau and Mike Shalin

As March turned into April, cold temperatures and snow was in our forecast, but despite the foul prognostications, the high mark was that this time of year also signaled the start of the Boston Red Sox 2018 season. One’s thoughts quickly turn to those balmy days when the skies are bright and rays of sunshine fall upon us on a daily basis. If that is not the case for you, there is a remedy to put you ‘in the mood.’ The remedy is a wonderful book titled “The Hometown Team,” a collection of over 300 pages covered with outstanding photos from the cameras of Steve Babineau, and the words of Mike Shalin. Together the duo are able to stoke the excitement of every Red Sox fan, and give them the chance to relive the glory days of their favorite players.

Babineau is well known on the sports scene, having been the lens for fans to see an insight into players and teams with pictures that were really worth ‘a thousand words.’ His expertise put us on the field, in the dressing room, and up close to players in their moments of excitement and also in defeat, something he does remarkably well in “The Hometown Team.” Shalin has also been a fixture for more than four decades, having reported on hockey early in his career, before switching over to baseball and college sports. His talents bring life to Babineau’s photos in a way that is hard to describe, but together, the duo of Babineau and Shalin, creates a marriage made in heaven, as the contents of this book will attest. Forewords from Dennis Eckersley and Dwight Evans, adds to the authenticity and longevity of this project.

Broken down into nine chapters, “The Hometown Team” devotes a section to: “Fenway Park,” “Skippers & Brain Trust,” “Franchise Players,” “Star Players,” “Role Players,” “And Don’t Forget,” “Last Hurrah & Memories,” “#9 – Alumni – And Combos,” with the final section, a salute to “Colleagues – Friends and Scrapbook.” Babineau’s pictures allow us all to take a walk back over the memorable years of this storied franchise, the Boston Red Sox; in a way that not many have has a chance to do.

One of my favorite chapters, “Franchise Players,” takes you back over the years with the pictures and words about the past and present with players: Carl Yastzemski, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Dwight Evans, Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Wade Boggs, and Roger Clemens. From there the pictures and stories move on to “Star Players – including Bill Buckner, Bruce Hurst, Jason Varitek, Curt Shilling, Dennis “Eck” Eckersley, Kevin Millar, Mike Lowell, Rick Burleson, Trot Nixon, Bill Lee, Derek Lowe, George Scott, Jonathan Papelbon, Kevin Youkilis, Ellis Burks, Fred Lynn, Bob Stanley, Mike Greenwell, Mo Vaughn, Dennis Boyd, Rich Gedman, and Tim Wakefield.

Next up is “Role Players,” featuring Mike Napoli, Dave Henderson, Andre Dawson, Mike Boddicker, Bill Campbell, Bill Mueller, Greg Harris, Jeff Reardon, Jody Reed, Jon Lester, Glenn Hoffman, Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew, Johnny Damon, Marty Barrett, Bronson Arroyo, Doug Mirabelli, Coco Crisp, Jerry Remy, Craig Kimbrel, Josh Beckett, John Valentin, Jonny Gomes, Dave Stapleton, David Price, Don Baylor, Rico Petrocelli, Tony Armas, Steve Lyons, Tom Brunansky, Mike Timlin, Butch Hobson, Carney Lansford, Rick Porcello, Clay Buchholz, Tony Pena, Bobby Ojeda, Dave Roberts, Chris Sale, and Luis Tiant.

Many fans still remember the year of the “Impossible Dream,” when Yaz won the triple crown, batting .326, 44 homers, 121 RBIs. To be eligible to win a FREE hardcover copy of “The Hometown Team,” identify the year of the “Impossible Dream,” emailing your answer to [email protected]. Winners will be chosen at random from the correct answers on April 15, and notified by email. Please include email address and phone number.

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