Is the New England Patriots dynasty on the ropes? All that has been coming out in New England since the Super Bowl loss has been negative news. News that could spell doom for one of the few dynasties left in professional sports.
Tom Brady is not happy about a number of things including that head coach Bill Belichick has chosen to either trade or release the team’s top runningback, the starting left tackle who protects Brady’s blind side, and the most talented wide receiver. He has to wonder what is going on. Brady knows full well he and these former teammates scored over 40 points in the Super Bowl and still lost. He has to be asking himself why Belichick is not addressing the defensive issues.
And then there is the growing controversy of Brady’s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero, being banned from team facilities. It is growing because it now involves the Patriots second best offensive player, Rob Gronkowski.
Gronkowski saw the benefits Brady was receiving with Guerrero so he joined up. One cannot blame him I would think. Did you know that, at 28 years old, Gronk has had 10 surgeries on his body due to injury? He has and it only makes sense that he would begin to think about preventing future surgeries.
So he began working with Guerrero prior to last season and commented throughout the season, an injury free season, that he felt different and healthier. He credited his new training method. A method that Belichick does not approve of, so it seems.
It came to light this past weekend in a story in the Boston Herald. It was reported that Belichick chastised Gronkowski in front of the team for working with Guerrero. The story states that the coach obviously wasn’t thrilled with so many players besides Brady working with Guerrero given the tension it was creating between Guerrero and the Patriots training staff, which ultimately caused Belichick to ban Guerrero from the Gillette Stadium building all together.
It will be an interesting August training camp for New England. All is not well in paradise.
If this past weekend becomes the norm, you better get used to the name Shohei Ohtani.
I mentioned him in a baseball preview story a few weeks back. I spoke of how difficult it would be for him to do what no one has done, well, since Babe Ruth.
I know the major league baseball season is only two weeks old but check out what Ohtani did last weekend for the Anaheim Angels.
On Sunday afternoon in Anaheim, the 23-year-old righthander was perfect through six innings against the Oakland Athletics and ultimately allowed only one hit and one walk in seven shutout innings, striking out 12. If that weren’t enough, in the week between his pitching debut on April 1 and Sunday’s contest, he homered three times and drove in seven runs in three games as the Angels’ designated hitter. For the season, Ohtani is hitting .389 in 19 plate appearances and, while pitching, has struck out 18 batters in 13 innings while giving up just three runs.
What stands out for me is that he is doing it in style. The underlying stats make me think this may continue. His three home runs have gone an average of 415 feet. His fastball, meanwhile, sits at 98 mph and routinely touches 100 mph.
How about a brief history lesson? I had to dig for this. What Ohtani is doing hasn’t been attempted in decades or pulled off in nearly a century. The last player to pick up two wins as a pitcher and homer three times as a hitter in his team’s first 10 games: Washington Senators righty Jim Shaw, who did it all the way back in 1919. If he keeps it up, comparisons to Babe Ruth will begin in earnest.
A hundred years ago, 23-year-old Red Sox lefty George Herman Ruth led the majors in home runs with 11, hit .300 in 382 plate appearances, and posted a 2.22 ERA in 166 1/3 innings over 19 starts. A year later, he broke MLB’s single-season home run record with 29 dingers and finished with a 2.97 ERA in 133 1/3 innings. That was the last season in which he was a regular starter on the mound. Wanting to play full-time, Ruth became an outfielder upon joining the Yankees in 1920. No one has reached those heights as a two-way player since then.
More College Hoops Fallout
Word came out early in the week that two more college basketball programs are in trouble. And a North Carolina school is involved.
Kansas and North Carolina State were named in new federal charges stemming from the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball.
Both schools were accused of being connected to former Adidas global sports marketing director for basketball, James “Jim” Gatto.
The allegations relating to North Carolina State concern a player who was a top recruit in North Carolina, and played for the Wolfpack during the 2016-17 season before leaving for the NBA. Starting around 2015, Gatto allegedly conspired to pay $40,000 to the father of the player in order to assure the player attended NC State and signed a sponsorship with Adidas when he decided to go to the NBA.
The allegations concerning Kansas are in relation to two players. The 2016 allegations are similar with the money passing hands to a parent being $90,000.
Be ready for a summer of similar stories concerning many more schools.
Images: Brady & Alex Guerrero; Shohei Ohtani; James Gatto