The Cookie Jar: Sports Tidbits
Some say the Christmas holidays are “the most wonderful time of the year.”
In the sports world, the first week of April comes close. The days are longer, the air promises to get warmer, and Opening Day marks the beginning of baseball. Never before have the Red Sox started with a cleaner slate.
In the meantime, the Bruins are pushing toward the playoffs, and the Celtics officially made the post season with an ugly win against the Pistons.
The Final Four will take place this weekend in Atlanta. Even though there hasn’t been any obvious Boston twist to the tournament since Harvard lost in round two, there are plenty of good stories.
We have to wait another week to see if the UMass Lowell River Hawks can shock the college hockey world by winning the national title at the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh. All it will take is win against Yale, and one more against either Quinnipiac or St. Cloud State in the finals.
All that’s missing from the sports smorgasbord are the Patriots. That’s okay. We have more than enough to talk about, starting with the Bruins.
On Tuesday night, Patrice Bergeron suffered the fourth concussion of his career. In the second period, Bergeron and Ottawa’s Colin Greenberg raced for the puck. It all appeared fairly harmless when Greenberg reached for the puck and his right elbow hit the left side of Bergeron’s helmet.
Bergie slid to the ice briefly and headed off to the Bruins bench. General Manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed that Bergeron suffered a moderate concussion.
It is not known when Bergeron will be cleared to play again.
Let’s hope that Bergeron and the team’s medical staff do the right thing. Four concussions is serious business, everyone knows that now. Bergeron is the NHL’s best faceoff man, and the Bruins best all around forward. None of that matters compared to his health and his future. Bergeron is 27 years old and about to get married this summer. Life is bigger than hockey.
On a happier note we learned why Celtics forward Paul Pierce went AWOL for one game when he announced his now the proud papa of a baby boy. Prince Paul Pierce was came into the world at 8:21 Tuesday night. It is the first son for Pierce and his wife Julie, who also have two daughters.
The Red Sox are just a few games into their season, and Jackie Bradley Jr. is already being compared to Carl Yaztremski. The kid is 23 years old. In the early going, he’s proved he can work a count, get on base, and make spectacular catches in left field. He is wide -eyed, sweet and polite.
After his debut in New York on Monday he was interviewed after the game by Red Sox radio play-by-play man Joe Catiglione. At the end of the interview, as is the custom, Castiglione offered the rookie a gift certificate to a North End establishment. Bradley said, “Thank you, I like restaurants.”
Jackie, Boston loves you already, and you haven’t even been to Fenway Park. Monday’s home opener will be quite the welcome party.
Finally, a note on Louisville and the Final Four.
Kevin Ware’s injury on Sunday silenced an entire building, and brought tears to his coach’s eyes. The gruesome leg break happened right in front of Rick Pitino and the Louisville bench. Pitino and his players heard the snap and could see the protruding bone. Pitino said after the game that Kevin had just one thing to say as the emergency medical personell strapped him to a stretcher. “Just win the game.”
When Pitino coached the Celtics, he famously called Boston sports talk radio “the fellowship of the miserable.” When he left town, many in Boston said, “good riddance.”
Whatever our opinions are about Pitino, I will say this. He felt for Ware last Sunday like a father would feel for his son. The tears were real, and they had nothing to do with losing a star player in the middle of a huge game.
I never would have said this a week ago. I am rooting for Louisville to win it all.