Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lacrosse! In Ireland! (No, seriously)

Last week I had the chance to chat to Irish National Lacrosse team defenseman, Conor Walsh. Talking to him about the sport in Ireland, particularly from the perspective of being a minority sport in same, was really interesting. The conversation brought to mind many of the highs and lows that Baseball Ireland has experienced over the last 17-18 years.

Many of the themes we talked about resonated as true for the Irish Baseball experience down the years. It's a really interesting interview, and a great insight into Lacrosse in Ireland. I highly reccomend it (and not just because I wrote it).

You can read the article here



A little slice of history: Kilmichael ambush site damaged forever by so called enhancement

The Kilmichael ambush site just outside Macroom in Cork was a very humbling, historic spot. Note the word 'was'. It has been turned into a real mess by supposed enhancements. This is a piece I wrote for Irish Central last week, and if you care about history and Ireland and the unintended vandalization of historical landmarks, you might find it interesting.

You can click here to see the article and the pictures.

Kilmichael ambush site just outside Macroom in Cork

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Balls! A couple of big wins

So, the 'Canes used to beat up the Blue Devils pretty good.

Side note: the Blue Devils are no longer in existence

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Butchers of Lansdowne: The Red Sox brass are mangling the Jon Lester situation.

Jon Lester

As Han Solo would say, I've got a bad feeling about this.

Jon Lester hasn't been traded away by the Boston Red Sox, but, it would appear to be coming soon. First the Dodgers were mentioned as potential suitors and now, tonight, the Orioles are being talked of as a likely landing spot. The Orioles. That's right, another AL East team.

It is hard to believe we have got to this point. Jon Lester, the Ace of the current World Champions, being traded out of town because Boston don't want to pay him. That's what it boils down to, and the Red Sox Front Office might have seriously misjudged on a number of levels here.

In terms of sheer talent level, Boston will take a serious step backwards with a trade of their ace. The Sox can spin this anyway they want, but losing Lester for a couple of un-proven prospects would be a white flag on this season obviously, probably next season and then probably the season after too. We could be talking about several years out in the wilderness if the Sox continue to play-cheap and refuse to pay their top free agent type players.

The Red Sox ownership is not a group of gentlemen that is short of a few dollars to spend. These guys buy sporting franchises on a whim. You would understand if they didn't want to spend money on an older position player with a history of injury, but Lester is only 30, he's strong as an ox and he's a pitcher, he can keep going another decade and be competitive.

There is simply no part of this that makes real, logical sense.

You keep trading away your quality players, you will be staring at years of rebuilding. Lester is top quality, an absolute ace, and a left-handed one to boot. He's a stand up guy, a fierce competitor and he takes the ball and does his best every single time he takes the mound.

Most of all, Lester has proved himself at the very highest level. He has been an integral part of two World Series wins and has proven himself to be a top level Major League Ace. Not just a pitcher. An Ace. What are Boston going to get back in a trade for that? A couple of prospects?

Then there's the damage in the clubhouse. Lester is an incredibly popular team-mate, and to a man the Sox players are just shy of ranting about the potential of him being traded away. Not many of the Sox raised their voices when Gonzalez/Crawford/Beckett were traded, almost all of them have had something to say about Lester potentially being sent packing. He's a huge, calming presence on the mound and in the dugout and the Sox brass risks alienating their own players by trading him.

Then there's the fans.

Boston fans are a lot of things, but they aren't baseball-stupid. You can't wrap something up as quality and try and pawn it off on Sox fans, they will smell it a mile away and the Sox Front Office will be staring at a lot of empty seats if they try and convince Red Sox fans that a Triple-A lineup and bush-league rotation is worth paying $100 to watch. Boston fans know what a good team looks like, and they know what a good pitcher looks like. Having watched Pedro all those years, they know an Ace is hard to come by, and they understand the severity of potentially losing Lester.

Whatever about all that, he's just a very, very popular guy with Boston fans, and this might be one-move-too-many by a tinkering Front Office for fans.

Perhaps most of all, Lester just gets it. He know what it takes to win in Boston, win consistently. He's great with his team-mates, the fans and in the Boston community. He is a proven winner, and has proven he can handle both the best and worst Boston and it's often claustrophobic fans and media can throw at it. There is absolutely no guarantee any of these shiny prospects we keep hearing about will come even close to panning out, and even less of a chance they will ever reach Lester's level of success.

Very little feels 'right' about this potential move. Lester's skill level, his popularity amongst both his team-mates and fans and his intangibles like heart and stamina, it feels like the Sox brass are clutching at straws here, potentially making what they see as the right move, but what in actual fact could be a massive, momentous mistake.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Astonishing sexism on ESPN story comment section paints ugly picture

Not all comment sections are created equally. Some are bad. Some are really bad. This one is really, really bad. In my latest for IrishCentral I take a look at a comments section on an ESPN article about a former MLB player who is in trouble for spousal abuse. The flagrant sexism and absolute misogynistic commentary from the neanderthals involved is stomach churning.

You can check it out by clicking here.





Monday, July 21, 2014

Huge couple of weeks ahead for the Red Sox


The Red Sox and Jon Lester face a crucial couple of weeks ahead


We could argue back and forth for days on end as to whether the Boston Red Sox can make the playoffs in 2014, and that argument would probably not even take into account another question which is, should they make the playoffs, how far can this team progress? What we can do, however, is look closely at the upcoming schedule and see if there are any indicators if the Sox will keep this current good streak up.

When you look at the next few weeks you notice one thing instantly. The Red Sox chances in climbing back into the race for the AL East hinge essentially on their next batch of games, which are basically all against foes from within their division. The Al East itself probably won’t be decided in the next few weeks, however the Red Sox chances of taking same will definitely be decided in that period.

That of course means we will know by then if the Sox will make the playoffs or not, as due to other teams great records, and the relatively poor records in the AL East, the winner of the latter is probably the only team from that division going to the playoffs.

The AL wildcard spots will most likely come from other divisions.

And so to Boston’s forthcoming schedule.

The next 13 games the Sox play will all be against AL east opponents. Come August 5th when they travel to St Louis, the Sox will know realistically if they are in with a shot at the East, or if they may as well start planning for 2015. Boston is 7.5 games out of first right now, and 4.5 behind Toronto. Guess who they play 7 times in the next 10 games? That’s right, The Blue Jays. Boston can either clamber over the Jays or get lost behind them over the next 2 weeks. The other 6 games are 3 against the Rays and 3 against New York.

This is an absolutely crucial section of the schedule for the Sox, and will find out an awful lot about their 2014 chances by the time Boston flies out to St Louis on August 5th.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

World Cup - team of the tournament

Hey everybody. Irish Central have published my World Cup team of the tournament. A couple of players in there that you might not expect, a couple that might send you frothing at the mouth with anger to the comment section. If so, great, leave your own team of the tournament in the comments along with your insults!! It's all good!

You can check the article out by clicking right........here!

Enjoy.

Benzema celebrates being added to my team of the tournament

Ireland Croatia

Ireland Croatia
The Irish Team in Croatia 2000

Heroes and villains on Fox Sports

Heroes and villains on Fox Sports

'I didn't know..' gets a mention on Fox Sports

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