Clark’s Corner: 9/12

Joe Clark, Sports Editor

While Andy Williams’ It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is intended to be a Christmas song, you might as well start listening to it now, because for sports fans September very well may be the most wonderful time of the year. Not only are MLB Pennant races really beginning to heat up in the last month of the season, but the NFL season kicks off, College Football season gets going, and we’re only a month away from the NBA and NHL, and College Basketball season. With that, I thought now would be the perfect time to introduce Clark’s Corner. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and I think it’ll be a nice change of pace from my regular articles. The idea is simple: I’ll write quick segments on things that interest me in the sports world, be it professionally or at FHS. It’ll also be published twice a week unless otherwise noted, and much more informal than what I usually write. I also want to make it interactive with the readers, so i’ll be answering your questions (i’ll let you know how to submit them at the end of the piece) and i’m more than open to any feedback you guys may have on how to make it better. Now, let’s get onto the fun stuff.

-The Patriots will be fine. Despite their season opening loss to the Chiefs, they’ll cruise through the AFC East as they always do and finish 12-4 or 13-3. Once the playoffs hit though, don’t be surprised if their lack of a pass rush catches up with them: The Raiders and Steelers have two of the best offensive lines in the league.

-On the subject of playoffs, i’m a little concerned about the Red Sox. I have no doubt that they’ll win the AL East, but not to sound like a pessimist, I don’t see them getting past the Indians. The hottest team in baseball and winners of 19(!!) straight games as of this writing, they have a fantastic rotation and a lineup that’s one of the best in baseball, not to mention one of the two best managers in the game in Terry Francona. Here’s some stats for you: During their streak, the Indians have outscored opponents 132-32, trailed in only four of 171 innings, and hit 37 home runs. No, you didn’t read that wrong: They’ve actually hit five more home runs then the total amount of runs their pitching staff has allowed. Absolutely crazy stuff. Don’t be surprised to see the Tribe capture a 2nd straight AL Pennant and avenge last year’s World Series loss.

-This year’s Duke basketball is flat out ridiculous (I know, we all said that last year too). Not only do they return Grayson Allen, who while underwhelming last season was still the preseason Player of the Year favorite, but they bring in consensus #1 recruit Marvin Bagley III, in addition to fellow top 10 recruits Wendell Carter and Trevon Duval, the #1 PG in the class of 2017. Outside the top 10, Coach K also brought in Gary Trent Jr, the #17 recruit in the nation, and two other top 100 recruits in Alex O’Connell and Jordan Tucker. Not to mention that they return Marques Bolden. They did lose Frank Jackson, Luke Kennard, Jayson Tatum, Matt Jones, and Amile Jefferson, but the Blue Devils are my preseason pick to win the National Championship.

-The Bruins contract situation with star winger David Pastrnak is starting to concern me a little bit. As we go further and further into September, Pastrnak, an RFA, remains unsigned and there still seems to be a considerable amount of difference in between what he wants and what the Bruins want. The Bruins initially aimed for a 6 year deal around $36 million, but Pastrnak is looking for an 8 year deal closer to $7 million. The Bruins want to avoid paying him more than Brad Marchand ($6.1M AAV on 8y/$49m deal) but that looks inevitable if the B’s want to keep their star winger in black and gold. Both sides are going to have to give a little bit, and if a deal gets done expect something around 8 years and $53 million. If the Bruins somehow mess this up, don’t expect to see Cam Neely as Team President much longer.

Jonah Keri’s article on a 22 inning game in 1989 between the Expos and Dodgers which saw Expos mascot Youppi! get ejected is one of the best things i’ve read recently. Highly recommended for all baseball fans.

Now, how to submit questions: I’ve set up a Google Form here to submit questions if you want, or you can also e-mail them to me at [email protected] or tweet them at me on Twitter @joeclark0. For now, i’ll keep this format for both weekly articles but in the future i’d like to have this format for one article and a mailbag for the second, but obviously we’ll need enough questions in order to do so. Regardless, i’m excited to kick this off and looking forward to the future.