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On- and off-field sports predictions for 2018


01/11/18



The bright prospects for the year ahead dawned as the clock struck midnight to ring in the new year. That means it’s time to, for better or worse, make predictions for what lies ahead in 2018. 
The envelope, please. 
The Red Sox: (1) David Price wins 22 games and the Cy Young. (2) Chris Sale has a tremendous first half, up and down second half. (3) The Mookster goes for .310, 110 runs, 53 doubles, 33 homers, 120-RBI season. (4) The Nation begins whining about Alex Cora on May 13 because he doesn’t suicide squeeze while up five in the eighth.  
Fickle Fan News: (1) The Garden crowd does the right thing by giving little Isaiah a standing O his first time back. (2) Red Sox Nation miraculously now finds Price’s tweeting hilarious while harmonizing in the bleachers, “The heck with the Eck.” (3) WIth fans still peeved over getting their butts kicked by a 19-point underdog in the Revolutionary War, a “We hate those Patriots” chant breaks out at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. Thinned-skinned WEEI types, like fill-in Jerry (knee pads) Thornton, think it means Coach B’s guys instead of George Washington’s and rant endlessly about jealous Brit haters.   
Media News: (1) 12 years after he first relentlessly said Tom Brady will fall off the table this year, Max the Moron says on ESPN’s First Take, “No, this is the year Brady falls off the cliff.”  (2) A deserving Doris Burke is named Sports Media Person of the year and the President tweets, “Just like with Time magazine, I turned it down first.” (3) The sexual harassment stories at the NFL Network and ESPN are just the tip of the iceberg, which has big-time sports TV guys under their desks in the fetal position. If you want names, read ESPN: The Uncensored History to pick your pole position leader in the race to get bounced.  
The Patriots: (1) Still unemployed Victor Cruz repeats, “The Patriots don’t want any part of us in the Super Bowl.” (2) They win SB 6 28-24 after the Vikings pass on the pass from the one to run with 10 seconds to go and no timeouts left. A run stuff later, Pete Carroll doesn’t seem as dumb as he once did. (3) After the Patriots are the last NFL team to lose, the undefeated 1972 Dolphins gather to celebrate even though, thanks to CTE issues, sadly most can’t remember why they’re there. 
The Celtics: (1) Gordon Hayward is back for the playoffs. (2) They lose the conference final to Cleveland Cavs in five good games, not kid stuff like 2017. (3) The L.A. lottery pick comes up No. 2, but Danny trades down to 4 for a 2019 lottery pick, then takes Euro star Luka Doncic. He trades both, along with three other picks in his stash and Al Horford for Anthony Davis. 
Alumni News: (1) Jimmy Garoppolo throws 39 TD passes to Brady’s 29, which starts a “Why can’t we get guys like that” chorus. (2) Theo and Tito go back to the Series. (3) IT is named Finals MVP right before the Brinks truck backs up. 
Major Social Media Gaffe – non-Trump edition: If Jim Harbaugh cracks the code Michigan devised to keep his snarky comments silent I’d go him. Instead, it’s Golden State groin kicker Draymond Green to say what most offends while making absolutely no sense. 
Major Social Media Gaffe – Trump edition: The President’s biggest sports tweet first dumps on the UConn “girls” basketball team after they complain they rate a White House invitation. After relenting under pressure, it’s thanks but no thanks. To get them back, he tweets the bird-dog scout who, ah, judges their talent in high schools all over the South was Roy Moore. Runner-up: “Screw the IOC for kicking Russia out of the Olympics, because like the election, they got nothing besides those 112 illegal things they did.”
The Chandler Jones Memorial Best Excuse for Stupid Behavior: Ezekiel Elliott saying he was just following the owner’s advice to “not do anything Nate Newton, Eric Williams, Michael Irvin, Thomas Hollywood Henderson, Rafael Septien or Lance (no pants) Rentzel wouldn’t do.”
The Daniel Snyder Award for the most doofus sport owner of the year: With Jerry Jones out of it because you can’t win in consecutive years, Jim (the pharmacist) Irsay wins for cutting Andrew Luck over injury/big contract concerns. Just like he did with club icon Peyton Manning over his neck injury right before he threw 37, 55 and 39 TD passes in Denver.  
Total Nitwit Award: (1) LaVar Ball for saying Lonzo is better than LeBron on his reality TV show The Ball Takes Strange Bounces. (2) LaVar Ball when his younger sons are home from Lithuania by Christmas with no college eligibility or pro ball hopes. (3) LaVar Ball when those $495 Big Baller sneaks show up in the $15 bargain bin at Marshall’s. 
The Red Sox-Yankees Rivalry: (1) It warms up as Giancarlo Stanton is the best big-ticket Bronx import since Reggie Jackson by hitting 46 homers. An unimpressed Red Sox Nation says you should add “just” before 46. (2) A brawl breaks out after Sale drills Didi (not so) Gregarious with 5’8” 175-pound Mookie Betts battling 6’11” 412-pound Aaron Judge at home plate. (3) It goes to a full boil when smug Bryce Harper gets a 26-year free agent deal for roughly the GNP of Guatemala from N.Y. He immediately gives him the Nation’s Dean Wormer I Hate That Guy award.
College Sports: The sexual harassment story starts as the biggest off-field story but after there are no males left in sports TV, the NCAA basketball scandal involving agents, coaches and sneaker company executives takes center stage when one-time Larry Bird nemesis Chuck (the Rifleman) Person flips for leniency sending investigators into a bigger hornet’s nest than anticipated. 
There’s more, but that’s all the space I have. 
Email dlong@hippopress.com. 





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