Todd: In the spirit of the summer dog days, I think I’ll toss a few different subjects around and see if anyone can catch them…

Last week Mike referenced it was going to be a tough week for the Red Sox, and he was right as they dropped five of seven games to the red hot Royals and lukewarm Blue Jays to finish with a disappointing 4-6 road trip.  The last two losses in Toronto were particularly frustrating in that both games were there for the taking, but some erratic defense and the inability to produce a clutch hit in the late innings proved to be Boston’s undoing.  Regarding the latter, I know it’s tough to criticize a team that has won 18  games this season in their final at-bat, but the last couple of games have shown that the Sox could perhaps use some veteran reinforcements for the stretch run, be it a bullpen arm or an experienced bat.  On the bright side, it was nice to see Mike Napoli go deep the other night, which hopefully gets him started on another one of his patented hot-hitting streaks.

Sticking with baseball for a moment, have to make my annual recommendation for the Cape Cod League (or whatever amateur wooden bat league plays in your area).  Always worth the trip, this year I took in my first playoff doubleheader, starting the afternoon in Cotuit, MA before zipping down Route 6 to Chatham to conclude my day.  If getting the opportunity to watch the future baseball stars of tomorrow perform in a scenic environment isn’t enough of an incentive to make the trek, the four-figure cash prizes in the 50/50 raffles (the result of larger crowds attending the postseason games) is well worth it, even if my ticket wasn’t picked.

In case we weren’t paying enough attention to the Patriots preseason (consider me among those culprits), Tom Brady made sure we all stopped whatever we were doing after he fell down and grabbed his knee during a practice session against the Buccaneers this week.  After a few hours of wild speculation, the news appears to be all good for Number 12, who returned to practice yesterday and expects to play against Tampa Bay in preseason game #2 Friday night.  Good thing, because Brady needs as many reps as possible with his new cast of receiving characters.  Last week was a decent start for some of the newbies like Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson, but much more work needs to be done and Brady needs to be on the field for all of it.

This next piece of sports news probably doesn’t deserve the blog space I’m giving it, but I’ll bring it up if only to toss out a joke that someone might find amusing.  The Celtics traded Fab Melo and cash to the Memphis Grizzlies for Donte Green, but it’s not the players involved that make up my lame joke.  I keep hearing how the Celtics are trying to get under the salary cap, so when I first heard that cash was involved in this trade I wondered if someone ought to tell Ainge and the rest of the C’s management brain trust that moving actual currency does not help get your team under the cap (cue off-beat rim shot).  What’s next in trying to get salary cap creative, sending direct deposits of player salaries to Swiss bank accounts?  Or laundering large sums cash through the acquisition of car washes?

That last suggestion is a reference to one of my favorite television shows of the summer, Breaking Bad.  Mike, I realize that you’re not into this show but you ought to be.  I’m bringing up BB in this space while I still can, as the current and final season premiered last weekend.  Watching the transformation of Walter White from mild-mannered average American to TV’s answer to Tony Montana has been absolutely incredible thanks to some amazing writing, directing and cinematography.  Best way to get into this show is how I did it last summer—watch the first two or three episodes in one viewing.  Like a certain potato chip, once you start you won’t be able to stop.

Mike: There are times I really hate being right, and watching the Sox last week was one of them. I had a feeling they were going to struggle a bit, and sure enough, they did.

But, they have a quick way to right the ship - 3 games against the recently resurgent Yankees, who come to Fenway in a game that is sure to be an emotional one, with A-Rod making his first appearance in Boston since being suspended for over 200 games.

It should be interesting at Fenway when A-Fraud steps up to the plate for the first time, I'm sure the booing will be audible all throughout New England as Sox fans let good old A-Rod know what they think of him, I'm looking forward to hearing the creative cheers as well- the fans on the third base side are probably already warming up as they get ready to "welcome" Alex back to Fenway.

Interestingly enough, as that gets going, the OTHER big New England story will be playing out up the road in Foxboro as Tom Brady should be taking the field against Tampa Bay in preseason game No. 2.

After everything stopped this week to see if Brady was really hurt when he went down during practice, and after waiting for news, it seems we all got worried- Brady was just fine, and he was back to practice the next day.

Hey...maybe A-Rod can get a knee injury in practice and have to miss the abuse he would be taking at Fenway...

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