Bill Koch's New England Patriots Fan Profile

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I'm a sports writer in New England. That means I've been suffering with the Red Sox for most of my life. Big fan of the Patriots, Bruins, Celtics...yes, all the locals. The last few years haven't been so bad.

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Bill Koch's Weblog Posts

Baseball umpires blow instant replay call posted on 08/20/2008

History has taught us that Major League umpires must be dragged kicking and screaming to help make changes in the game of baseball, and history is about to repeat itself this fall.

A series of blown calls and controversies have led baseball to the cusp of instant replay, a form of technology used by all three other major sports in this country. Commissioner Bud Selig and his bumbling cronies are fully aware that scrutiny of every called ball or strike would ruin the game, so they favor a limited use of replay that would judge home runs and fair or foul balls. You would think that the umpires, men who insist that they agonize at night over missed calls and make their best efforts to get it right every time, would embrace such an idea.
You would be wrong. That same group of umpires boycotted a conference call on Tuesday with baseball's management, a petty decision made because of their concerns about what World Umpires Association chief Lamell McMorris called "procedural issues". McMorris is concerned about how it will look if umpires are forced to leave the field to view replays or if they must consult replay officials in a booth somewhere in the park, worried that the process will become a running joke and will be discredited if it's not absolutely seamless.

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Henry right at home back in Bengals' stripes posted on 08/19/2008

Need any further proof that professional sports value production on the field over character away from it? See the Cincinnati Bengals signing troubled wide receiver Chris Henry on Tuesday and you'll get a free lesson in what happens when pressure to win and the value of the dollar overcome good judgment and old-fashioned values.

Henry was released in March after allegedly punching a college student and breaking his car window, just another day in the life for a guy who is no stranger to the legal system. Cincinnati had finally had enough and released Henry on the spot, with head coach Marvin Lewis saying as recently as July 22 that Henry would not return to the team under any circumstances.

Wait...check that. Henry wouldn't be welcomed back unless the Bengals' top two receivers got hurt, and that's exactly what has happened during this training camp. Chad Johnson suffered a shoulder injury in the team's last preseason game and T.J. Houshmandzadeh has missed both exhibition games with a hamstring injury, the type of nagging ailment that can stay with a player for a full season. Cincinnati decided to bring back Henry, something that the team's president, Mike Brown, said would not happen in March.

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McCarthy the true loser in Favre's Green Bay saga posted on 08/06/2008

Mike McCarthy had the look of a man on his way to the gallows as he conducted his press conference Tuesday night in Green Bay.
The Packers' head coach had to tell the assembled media, frothing at the mouth in search of fresh news on the Brett Favre soap opera, that No. 4 was on his way out of town for good. So started the end of The Favre Era in Green Bay, and the beginning of the end of The McCarthy Era as well.
No head coach in the National Football League escapes without being fired. Even the greatest men to ever roam the sidelines, men who will be enshrined in the league's Hall of Fame, have been handed a pink slip in the past. Bill Belichick, the current resident genius in New England? Fired by the Cleveland Browns after the 1995 season. Mike Shanahan, Denver's offensive mastermind? Fired by the Los Angeles (now Oakland) Raiders in 1989 after just 20 games and an 8-12 record. Jon Gruden, the fiery boss of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and former Super Bowl champion? He left the Raiders to coach in Tampa and was under pressure late last season before being granted a contract extension until 2011. Another 4-12 season like the Bucs endured in 2006 would give Gruden a hard shove toward the door, if not straight out onto the street. Bill Parcells wasn't fired, but he had nasty divorces with New England and Dallas before moving into the front office. Joe Gibbs wasn't canned during his second tour in Washington only because of his prior good deeds -- three Super Bowl wins and a bust in Canton build up plenty of good will. Mike Holmgren's eight-year contract that he signed when he moved from Green Bay to Seattle in 1998 might have been the only thing that saved him after mediocre seasons from 1999-2002, a four-year stretch in which he went 31-33 and made the playoffs just once. The prospect of the Seahawks eating the final four years of Holmgren's deal likely saved his bacon.

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'Dream Team' will author fresh nightmare in Beijing posted on 08/05/2008

The time has finally come to accept the fact that the United States doesn't play the world's best basketball anymore.
The Americans struggled in the final two games of their pre-Olympic tour, breaking away late to beat Russia and holding off Australia, but the damage has been done to their collective psyche and invincible reputation. Predictions that the U.S. will win the gold medal, long considered a definite as long as basketball's birthplace fielded a team, are laughable. The Americans will be lucky to even win a medal the way that they currently play the game.
Tuesday's game against Australia, an 87-76 U.S. win, was particularly troubling. The Aussies rested their best player, Milwaukee Bucks' center Andrew Bogut, and still gave the U.S. all it could handle. The Americans launched brick after brick from the outside over Australia's tightly-packed zone defense, played selfish basketball for most of the game and couldn't get their transition game going thanks to continued poor play by starting point guard Jason Kidd. It was, in short, a perfect example of everything that has plagued the U.S. during its recent international failures.

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Manny moves out, Bay rolls into Boston posted on 08/01/2008
Goodbye and good riddance to Manny Ramirez on his way out to Los Angeles. He's Joe Torre's problem now after the Boston Red Sox cut a three-team deal to send the team-killing douche bag left fielder to the Dodgers just before Thursday's trade deadline, a desperate move designed to purge Boston's decaying collective soul of a man who simply wanted no part of Red Sox Nation anymore.
Ramirez is off to the Dodgers in a trade that involved Pittsburgh sending outfielder Jason Bay to Boston and the Pirates receiving a group of young players that included Los Angeles third baseman Andy LaRoche, Red Sox outfielder Brandon Moss and reliever Craig Hansen. Boston finally granted Manny his wish to move on after weeks of systematic attacks on the Red Sox organization which couldn't continue to be ignored, and it took three players and all $7 million left on Manny's salary this season to get him to go away.

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