July 8, 2013

Tom Caron: Red Sox competing for coverage

BOSTON - It's tough getting a headline in the New England sports pages these days. 

Just ask the first-place Red Sox.  Last week, they finished off their best homestand in more than three years, an 8-1 stretch that included two walk-off wins.

That made eight walk-offs this season for the Sox. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that's the most by a Boston team before the All-Star break since 1954.

Yet most of those wins were tucked at the bottom of the sports front page, if not pushed back to the second or third page.

There's a lot of competition in the "toy department" of the newsroom these days. 

The Aaron Hernandez case is just unfolding, even though it feels like we've been following the investigation for months.

As that sordid saga finally lost a little steam, the Celtics jumped in with a lightning strike, making wunderkind Brad Stevens the team's 17th coach. 

The fresh-faced phenom from Butler was announced as Doc Rivers' replacement with a press release issued at 5:40 p.m. on July 3. 

So much for a quiet holiday on the basketball beat.

Not to be outdone, the Bruins jumped in with their own fireworks the next day.

Just 10 days after their season ended two wins shy of a Cup, the team announced a blockbuster deal with the Dallas Stars that sent Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverly to Texas in exchange for Loui Ericksson and three prospects.

The trade sparked an immediate debate over whether or not the Bruins were giving up on the highly skilled Seguin too quickly. He's only 21 years old, younger than two of the three "prospects" the Bruins got in return.

Seguin joined Phil Kessel and Joe Thornton as high picks who were sent packing not long after being pegged as the future of the franchise. 

At least Thornton got to stick around until his mid-20s.  Seguin and Kessel were gone shortly after hitting legal drinking age.

There was a lot of innuendo about Seguin's off-ice habits, but in the end he just didn't fit the mold of what a Bruin is today.

And it's hard to argue with the definition of a Bruin created by GM Peter Chiarelli and Coach Claude Julien.That tandem has taken the Bruins to two Cup finals in the last three years. 

If you don't fit in, you move on.  And Seguin leaves after a disappointing playoff performance.

The trade also freed up cap space to sign Jarome Iginla, the talented winger who said thanks but no thanks to the Bruins this past season.

But he came calling on the first day of free agency. Chiarelli signed a deal, and now has assembled two pretty strong scoring lines in Boston.

All of this leaves the Red Sox as the quietest first-place team we've ever had in July. They don't make news -- they just play the game the right way. There are no clubhouse controversies, no unhappy campers. 

They have followed the manager and coaching staff in lockstep to the top of the deepest division in baseball.

One week from today most of the team will be resting in the midst of the All-Star break.

They'll get back to work that Friday, playing their first home game of the month. The New York Yankees will meet them at Fenway, possibly welcoming back Derek Jeter and/or Alex Rodriguez.

Chances are, the Sox will be back at the top of the sports section that day. 

Unless the Bruins, Celtics, or Patriots do something completely unexpected. Something they seem to be doing on a daily basis in the summer of 2013.

Tom Caron is the studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on the New England Sports Network. His column appears in the Press Herald on Tuesdays.

 

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