2015 MLB Summer Stadium Tour

Posted: June 30, 2015 in Ian Bonner


I want to call to attention an adventure that is worth your time. My older brother Rob, 25, and his best friend since elementary school, Dana Sharry (also 25) are embarking upon their lifelong dream: a summer baseball stadium tour. Over the course of 25 days, they are visiting 17 stadiums as far south as Washington and as far west as Minnesota. Throw in the Hall of Fame and the Home Run Derby and it is one hell of a summer trip.

The bad news? No you cannot join them.

The good news? They are living the blogging life as well. So to answer your question, yes they are privvy to the daily grind of a blogger. They have been documenting their trip with pictures, anecdotes, reviews of nearby stadium attractions, etc. I have included the link to their blog below. They have been updating it on a fairly regular basis which is impressive until you consider how much time they are spending in a car together. I would anticipate an increasing level of insanity as the trip continues.


In case they get any ideas..

It is rare that two childhood friends make good on their dreams as adults. They are exploring the country and watching America’s Pastime in 17 different venues. Each one unique in its own way. Very cool. I implore you folks to check out theri blog and show them some love. Below is their information for you to stalk them in various ways on FB.

Blog: https://summerstadiumtour.wordpress.com/

Instagram (if you hate reading but want pictures): @summerstadiumtour15


It is seldom that the word perfect can ever accurately describe a situation in sports, much less an entire NFL season. However, no word better describes the 2014 NFL season for the New England Patriots. The Super Bowl champions and its fans endured its fair share of adversity, particularly early on, and were rewarded handsomely five months later when a Russell Wilson pass landed in the arms of the previously unknown and undrafted rookie, Malcolm Butler. Hollywood. Although the Patriots have won four Super Bowls since 2001, this one was quite possibly the sweetest because:

1. They had spent the last nine years losing important playoff games in heartbreaking fashion. Up 21-3 at Indianapolis in the 2006 AFC Championship game. Lost. 18-0 in 2007, seeking perfection, and up 14-10 with 2:00 to go? Lost. Losing to the division rival New York Jets at home in 2010. Up 17-15 with 2:00 to go in Super Bowl 46 in 2011? Lost. AFC Championship Game losses to conference foes Baltimore and Denver in 2012 and 2013 respectively. It became as easy to count the regular season accolades and conference game appearances as it was to count the shortcomings in said contests. 2014 expelled the notion that the Patriots dynasty was over. It may serve as a bookend (Brady isn’t done just yet) to an unprecedented run of success

2. Trent Dilfer:

It took four games (albeit four brutal games) for sportswriters and television personalities to question Tom Brady’s greatness and level of play. Donovan McNabb, Trent Dilfer, and the other fools made it that much sweeter when Tom hoisted his fourth Lombardi Trophy

3. The Patriots wasted little time establishing dominance in the AFC. Clobbered Cincinnati 43-17. Blew the doors off Denver 43-21 and participated in Part I of an annual tradition Patriots fans call The Indianapolis Slaughter 42-20. The Patriots played the best and beat the best.

4. Beat Baltimore. The Ravens have been the thorn in the side of the Patriots since 2009 when they embarrassed the Patriots at home in a playoff game for the first time in the Brady and Belichick era. The Patriots bowed out to Baltimore in 2012 at home again. They were not as formidable this year but gave New England all they could handle. It felt right playing and beating Baltimore en route to a championship.

5. Part II of The Indianapolis Slaughter. Would have loved to beat Peyton Manning but embarrassing a team so clearly not ready for the big stage was enjoyable.

6. DeflateGate. I regret having to make reference to this but after two weeks of Patriots haters doing what they do best, going to bed early AM on February 2nd knowing that all they had to hold onto was a PSI infraction while we had a Super Bowl Championship was pretty special.

7. Super Bowl 49: What a Super Bowl it was. The very fact that Patriots fans sat solemnly in the fourth quarter faced with the harsh reality that New England would likely lose.

3rd14Fast forward twenty minutes and they are rejoicing and believing steadfastly that the Pats would win to praying for       Seattle to not punch it in or to punch it in and give us the ball back to Malcolm Butler’s interception. The theatre, the highs and lows, sweaty palms, and ultimately, the result.

8. Tom Brady. He is the face of the dominant era, the golden boy, the icon to so many New Englanders. The fact that our guy, at age 37, after all of the backlash from early on in the season, marched the Patriots down the field twice in the fourth quarter against what many consider the best defense of our generation and possibly all time, to score 14 points and go 13-15, 124 yards, and 2 TDs makes it that much more special. OUR guy won it for us and made those championship plays. The same guy we watched make clutch throws to JR Redmond, Troy Brown, and Deion Branch made them ten years later to Rob Gronkowski, Shane Vereen, and Julian Edelman.

What a season it was! Which brings me to my greatest concern about the team and its fans. What happens after a great night out? A hangover. I worry the same thing will happen to the team but more specifically, its fans. The team is simple. It is hard to have the exact same motivation after achieving the ultimate goal. I have faith that a Tom Brady led team will maintain unwavering focus, but losing Wilfork and not having those guys like Bruschi and McGinest and Light when they were able to repeat will be hard.


For fans, it feels like they are at peace. The aforementioned glory from the 2014 season was perfect and for many it feels like 2015 and beyond with Brady and Belichick is a round of poker with house money. The best thing about playing with house money is you don’t NEED to win. The worst thing about playing with house money is you don’t NEED to win. Winning a super bowl between 2006 and 2014 became an obsession. With every gut wrenching loss, the need became stronger and stronger. I have said it before, but akin to the pre-2004 red sox. I don’t want to see the fan base rest on their laurels.

2014 was THE year. Brady was 37. They signed Revis and Browner. Gronkowski was finally healthy. The AFC was weak. All. In.

Since then?

DeflateGate happened. Revis left. Wilfork and Browner left. Doesn’t seem to be the same amount of outrage surrounding the departures and controversy. I challenge Patriots fans to maintain that fire and sense of urgency. Brady is turning 38 in August and the rest of the country has spent the last five months discrediting him. 2015 will hopefully be remembered not as a hangover for Patriots fans, but a quest for One for the Thumb.

Just in case you are bored today:

For those who watched last night (insert NHL ratings joke here), the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup for the third time in five years. They have mastered the art of winning championships and remaining devoid of the “villain” tag (Western Conference teams and fans may disagree.) Truly a fun team to watch with a knack for making that big hit, save, or goal at the perfect time. Hats off to the Blackhawks.

For the rest of us without a horse in the race, this four minute playoff montage should help get you excited for next year. I have maintained that winning the Stanley Cup is far more meaningful to players than winning the Olympics and this video confirms my belief.

There is something about sports highlights set to music with radio calls and mic’d up players that I could watch for hours. Enjoy!


LeBron James is a generational talent. Everyone understands how talented he is on the basketball court. I am not asking you to like him or buy a poster, but to call into question why you and thousands of others hate LeBron James.

Many fans are willing to look past a DUI, alleged rape, assault and battery, drug charges, and other egregious offenses. For some reason, these same fans cannot look past the fact that LeBron enjoys attention, is admittedly insufferable in interviews, and sometimes exhibits poor body language on the court.

He is married to his high school sweetheart and doesn’t pay child support for children he never intended on bringing into this earth. He is by all accounts a faithful husband and supportive father.

Let’s examine some of the reasons that people hate LeBron. I understand that you could argue my points the other way but because my counter arguments so rarely surface, I don’t think it is necessary to do that. There is a lot of confirmation bias when it comes to public perception of LeBron but when each reason is independently considered, I think you may find that while he may not be your idol, he definitely is not worth hating.

The non-stop media coverage of LeBron is not his fault. He doesn’t get interviewed because he likes the attention. He gets interviewed because he is a polarizing individual and a generational talent. He sounds like a jackass a lot of the time, but you cannot hold the media coverage against him. He is one of the first marquee athletes to play their entire career in the social media age. Every move, every play is scrutinized by fools with the same platform as the educated. A dangerous precedent. Does he enjoy the attention? Absolutely. Does he make egotistical comments? Without a doubt. But the reason that the microphone is in front of him 24/7 is because of his on-court talent. Do not confuse the two.


Furthermore, the notion that LeBron only won titles because he “teamed up” with all-stars in Miami and now Cleveland only to suggest that Kobe and Jordan won titles on their own is asinine. Kobe wasn’t even the best player for three titles and Jordan played alongside one of the best defenders in the league (and hall of famer) Scottie Pippen in addition to an elite rebounder in Dennis Rodman for the last three titles. I’m assuming no one gave Pierce, Allen, or Kevin Garnett any trouble for all coming to Boston.

His body language, “look at me” style can certainly be irritating. However, if you were a Celtics fan, I have a hard time believing you looked at KG’s on the court antics with disdain.


Interviews: This may be the biggest point of contention for LeBron haters. He is insufferable and I do not blame you for hating the interviews.

The Jordan comparisons are preposterous especially because the vast majority of people didn’t grow up watching Jordan. Jordan and LeBron are both great players the same way that Joe Montana and Tom Brady were each dominant players that played in different eras. Jordan is obviously better at this point but to constantly detract from LeBron because he is not the greatest basketball player in NBA history is ludicrous.


Getting calls: Superstars get calls. LeBron gets calls because he is LeBron but those defending LeBron also get away with a lot of contact because he is 6’8, 250 pounds. Goes both ways.

The decision in 2010: Yes this was something he says he regrets more than anything. He was wrong to announce his decision this way. If it is any penance, he donated the money raised from the event to charity.

You don’t have to like him but stop reading horrendously biased barstool articles and treating it as gospel. He is not a perfect human being but he is a historically elite basketball player, and you will be remiss if you spend his entire career ignorantly detracting from his success for petty, media perpetuated character flaws. Keep in mind, if he wins the finals this year, it will likely be the most impressive individual achievement in LeBron’s career and possibly anyone’s career.

UFC 187 Preview and Predictions

Posted: May 21, 2015 in Old Sull

jesusOld Sull is back ladies and gentlemen, rising like a phoenix from the ashes..but more realistically from a lengthy drinking binge that covered spring week, finals, and senior week.  Despite my fathers best attempts I am now 5 days sober and I feel as though I am in a good place to get back in the blogging game.  I am sorry I took so long off, but it had to be done.

To transition not so smoothly, the world of sports is buzzing right now.  You have the respected conference finals in both the NBA and NHL, some horse racing, and baseball everyday.  Although I dont have a competitive team right now, having meaningful playoff games every night is a blast and is perfect for sitting outside drinking beers.  Of course I always make sure I have a vested interest through gambling but that is an issue for another day.  Lost in the cards with all of this going on right now is the loaded fight card we have going on this Saturday in UFC 187.  Aside from many great undercard fights such as Cerrone vs Makdessi and the return of Arlovski, we have the top two fights of Johnson v Cormier and Weidman v Belfort.  For all you non UFC people reading this, those are some awesome fights.  Not in the sense that the fighters hate each other like we have seen in the past with DC and Bones Jones, but because these are some amazing fighters.

I believe this event is getting undersold for 3 reasons.  The first one is, as I mentioned before, there are a lot more mainstream sporting events going on right now.  Number 2 is this is an event in which Jon Bones Jones was supposed to be defending his belt against Anthony Johnson, but because of run ins with the law he was barred from participating.  I think Dana White believes that if he markets this event too much it will bring attention to the wrong things, such as why the face of the UFC is suspended.  My third and final reason is that the fighters in this event are not outspoken enough.  All the hype is the next event on July 11th where Connor McGreggor will square up with Jose Aldo.  God I can’t wait for that.  Anyways, with all that being said this Saturdays fights should be incredible so here are my predictions and previews.

Anthony Johnson vs Daniel Cormier

Daniel Cormier (-135) vs. Anthony Johnson (+115)


This fight will  be for Jon Jones’s vacated Light Heavyweight belt.  The fighters will of course be fighting at 205 lbs and both men have a wingspan of 71 inches despite Johnson being 3 inches taller. So lets get down to the facts.  First with Cormier, who is a fill in for Jones.  DC is coming off not only his first loss ever in the UFC (after starting 15-0) but a devastating one at that.  He lost to his arch rival Jon Jones, in a fight that transcended the UFC due to the their obvious hatred for one another.  To me, even though this is a title fight, I think DC doesn’t come in with his best stuff because of how hurt he was by his loss.  Anthony Johnson on the other hand is coming off two straight first round TKO’s in which he imposed his will on the fighters and beat them into submission.  His punching power is off the charts and he is considered the #1 contender for the belt.  He has not lost since 2012 to Vitor Belfort (who will be fighting before him) and I love his chances.  Put me down for 100 on Johnson.  Also if you can bet the rounds, take the over.  Alot of odds makers think if Johnson is gonna win he’ll have to knock DC out because DC is too good of a wrestler, but I like it to go the distance with a Johnson win.

Vitor Belfort vs Chris Weidman

Chris Weidman (-525) vs. Vitor Belfort (+415)

Th other main fight of the night will Chris “the All-American” Weidman v Vitor “Phenom” Belfort.  This fight is also a title fight, and it is for the middleweight championship.  This fight scheduled for 5 rounds, will be Chris’s 3rd championship defense fight.   Many of you are probably wracking your brain right now trying to think of how you know who Chris Weidman is.  Well he’s the guy who beat the once thought unbeatable Anderson Silva….TWICE.


silva 1

silva 2

Since fighting Silva Chris fought Lyota Machida and won in unanimous decision.  Lyota had alot of big fight experience and I believe that was the perfect fight for Weidman before Belfort.  Belfort is 8 years his senior and has had quite the long standing career.  Most recently Belfort has won 5 of his last 7 fights.

- Ufc Goiania Vitor Belfort X Dan Henderson - Brasil - go - Goiania -  -  - www.inovafoto.com.br - id:51626

– Ufc Goiania Vitor Belfort X Dan Henderson – Brasil – go – Goiania – – – http://www.inovafoto.com.br – id:51626

His two losses were both in title fights against the greats: Anderson Silva and Jon Jones.  Alot of time has passed since his last loss in a 4th round submission to Jones though.  Since then Belfort has won his last 3 fights without allowing the opponent to make it past the second round.  I think this fight is going to be alot closer than peole think.  I love Phenoms experience but at the end of the day you just can’t pick against the All American.  Give me the All American 250 to win 50.

If you have any questions about bets to place or want a prediction of any of the Undercard fights, please comment and I will be more than happy to do so.  I am a blogger for the people.


Fenway is both a historic ballpark and a tourist attraction; no two ways around it.

The Fenway Frank, the Green Monster, Pesky Pole, and Yawkey Way are routinely flooded with tourists desperate for a like-worthy Instagram picture or “scenic” cover photo.

Boston’s trio of owners Larry Lucchino, Tom Werner, and John Henry are three savvy businessmen. True to form, they have taken a particular interest in selling Red Sox merchandise and branding the team to appeal to a wider audience.

Somewhere along the lines of trying to win baseball games and growing their market appeal, Red Sox fans have shifted. No longer can they be counted on as smart students of the game and people who clap smart baseball plays such as hitting the right cut off man or staying in a pickle long enough to get the run across. It’s become a tourist attraction more than a baseball stadium.

It sounds captious but there is a distinct difference. I have gone to at least ten games over the past five years and the culture is different. Technology plays a part in that; people would rather text their old high school booty call than watch Wade Miley come to the set and deliver.

Amidst all of this, the most annoying part is unequivocally the playing of “Sweet Caroline” in between the eighth inning.

The song itself sounds like something that should be played at a high school reunion when everyone is too inebriated to know up from down.


The artist is a songwriter from, of all places, New York. That’s right, Brooklyn New York. It would be one thing if it was a Boston native who fell in love with the city and had a special connection with the city and its people.

It makes me sick. The Red Sox can be getting clobbered in a meaningful September divisional game but as soon as the eighth inning hits and the melodic tune envelops the “Fenway faithful”, it might as well not matter that they are playing a baseball game at all. It’s a summer night, could be at a picnic for all they care. The words flash on the big screen, parents hoist their kids on their shoulders, fools trade idiotic and innovative ways to try and get on the big screen. Puke everywhere.

The Boston Red Sox used to be about winning games, hating the Yankees, and chasing that elusive World Series title. The Red Sox won in 2004 and it was like nothing I have ever experienced. Quite possibly the most jubilant I have ever been.


Then they won in 2007 and to this day, I believe that was the worst thing for this franchise and its fans. 2013 didn’t matter because the damage had been done. Fans were less critical (yes, this is a bad thing), the insatiable desire to win every year was gone; players could get away with murder (see 2011).

There used to be a palpable feeling on a Friday night when the Yankees came to town for a three game series. That feeling is gone. I cannot remember the last time I felt genuinely nervous excited for a Yankees series.

Now this is not all attributable to Sweet Caroline but to me, it stands for something. It stands for a new culture at Fenway Park and a cold reminder of what Red Sox baseball used to be.

Earlier this morning, I posted Belichick’s top five worst draft picks (http://thefullcourt-press.com/2015/04/30/the-patriots-top-5-worst-draft-picks-since-2000/). For all you non-Patriots fans, I would probably recommend leaving it at that. Below are the top five best draft selections in the Belichick era (2000-present). It is worth mentioning that I did not include Donta Hightower, Chandler Jones, or Jamie Collins. Talk to me after this year and it is possible that all three would be worthy of nomination. Moreover, the order and honorable mention could certainly be argued but that’s the point isn’t it?

Julian Edelman, Shaun Phillips, Mike Adams

5. Julian Edelman (2009: 7th round, 232nd overall)

The 6’0 198 pound former Kent State QB just finished his sixth season with New England. The “mini-Welker” had some injury problems during his first few years in Foxboro but since Welker departed in March of 2013, Edelman has filled in at slot receiver exceptionally well. In those two seasons, he posted 105/1,056/6 and 92/972/4 respectively. Moreover, his reliability in the middle of the field, leadership, toughness, and special teams value is important to consider. The 7th round pick signed a four year contract last offseason so expect another three solid years from Edelman.


4. Asante Samuel (2003: 4th round, 120th overall)

I will admit that I have an awful taste in my mouth over Asante Samuel’s final days as a Patriot. His drop in Super Bowl 42 looms large when I consider Samuel’s legacy. With that said, the Central Florida alum helped the Patriots win two super bowls and reach four AFC Championships in five seasons. He earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2007 and logged 22 interceptions, four forced fumbles, and two touchdowns in five seasons. In other words, exceptional value for the 120th pick overall. He demanded elite money and Philadelphia paid him exactly that. He is currently on Atlanta well past his prime.


3. Vince Wilfork (2004: 1st round, 21st overall)

Big Vince bookended his Patriots tenure with Super Bowl titles. At his best, the University of Miami product was a two gap, run stuffing machine regularly dispatching double teams. He displayed incredible durability throughout his career. Aside from a torn Achilles in 2013, Wilfork was as steady as they come. The “heir-apparent” to Ted Washington if you will. The four-time Pro Bowler (First Team All-Pro in 2012) will always be adored by Patriots fans. Unfortunately, he will be playing for the mini-Patriots in 2015 also known as the Houston Texans.


2. Rob Gronkowski (2010: 2nd round, 42nd overall)

Similar to the next player on this list, Rob Gronkowski doesn’t need any introductions. The Patriots traded up (yes, traded UP) when they realized they had a chance to select an elite talent. Injuries are as much of his story as incredible catches, devastating blocks, and broken tackles but when healthy, Gronkowski is arguably the most dominant player in the NFL. The three time pro-bowler has caught 54 touchdowns in 65 games. Coming off two injury riddled seasons (2012 & 2013), Gronkowski posted 82 receptions, 1,124 yards, and 12 TDs less than a year fully removed from a torn ACL. He is a generational type talent, signed long term, and has his first fully health offseason since his rookie season. Look out.


1. Tom Brady (2000: 6th round, 199th overall)

I could spend 10,000 words on the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. However, you already know about Tom Brady. Ten time pro-bowler, 2 time MVP, four time Super Bowl Champion, three time Super Bowl MVP. First ballot hall of famer. Quite possibly the best NFL player of all time. Ho hum.

Honorable Mention

Richard Seymour (2001: 1st round, 6th overall): The former Georgia Bulldog was the best player at his position and fueled three championship teams.

Matt Light (2001: 2nd round, 48th overall): Had the tall task of protecting Brady’s blind side for ten seasons and did so admirably.

Logan Mankins (2005: 1st round, 32nd overall): Gritty, outstanding teammate who was drafted two months after the 2005 Super Bowl victory and traded six months before the 2015 Super Bowl victory.

Devin McCourty (2010: 1st round, 27th overall): Money talks. The converted free safety just inked a 5 year $47.5 million contract.