Friday Four-Pack 12.22.23
Full Throttle Failures. Toucher and Hardy. Portnoy loves Joanie's Pizza. NFL Picks!
Are we having fun yet Red Sox fans?
The Interest Kings have become the Full Throttle Failures. (Editor’s note - It hit me at 1:19 AM on Saturday morning that Full Throttle Frauds is a better line. It’s gonna sting when Shaughnessy uses that this week)
And look, from all indications Yoshinobu Yamamoto didn’t have a lot of interest in the Red Sox (which is a whole other concern). But pitchers like him - just 25 years old and in his prime - don’t become available on the free agent market…ever?
Signing him to the richest free-agent pitching deal in history? That would have been Full Throttle. They certainly leaked it around baseball they wanted the guy.
The Sox might end up with starting pitching, but in the form of 31-year-old Jordan Montgomery. Or 31-year-old Blake Snell. Those are the best guys left on the market. And also not worthy of Full Throttle.
If you’re a RedSox fan, you’re sick of hearing the phrase Full Throttle. I’m sick of typing the phrase Full Throttle. But that’s the point. If you’re the owner, don’t say Full Throttle if you’re not going to go Full Throttle.
But they can’t help themselves. If it’s not in the offseason, it’s during the season, where they failed to make any real additions over a couple of trade deadlines when the team was actually contending. Or failed to trade away sellable parts for future assets at the trade deadlines when they weren’t contending.
They just kind of did …. NOTHING. And even with Chaim Bloom out and Craig Breslow in, that mentality seems to have folded into this offseason.
And it’s hard for me to blame Breslow. A week after he was hired away from the Cubs to run the Red Sox, Werner gave that regrettable Full Throttle quote.
I mean, if you really wanted to put the team in a position to go Full Throttle, you might have been better off keeping Bloom here since he knew the organization and had experience in the position. Tough spot to put the new guy in.
It wasn’t just Werner pushing Full Throttle. Sox CEO Sam Kennedy went on WEEI and told fans the team would be “aggressive” this offseason.
They’re aggressively alienating their fanbase, that’s for sure.
Because if you promise your kids that new Xbox for Christmas and then they don’t actually get that new Xbox, you can’t blame them for being upset after all the presents have been opened.
Yes, they can still sign Montgomery or Snell. They could trade for Brewers ace Corbin Burnes, but he’s a free agent after next year and said recently he’s not in a rush to sign before he gets to the open market. But those moves don’t qualify as my idea of Full Throttle. And I’m guessing a lot of Sox fans would agree.
Sox fan or not, we can all agree the MutStack NFL Picks have been 🔥🔥🔥.
14-1-1 over the last three weeks. Which probably makes it a great week to #FadeMut.
Week 16 NFL Picks, a big day for Chelmsford, MA pizza and much more in today’s Four-Pack.
FREE NFL PICK’EM!
By now you know our friends at Mad Props have launched their official NFL Pick'em game! It's FREE to play and this week's top prize is a $250 Amazon Gift Card!
Make your picks against the spread right here. Hit “Pick’ Em” in the lower-right corner to start. Easy!
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And while you're on Mad Props, send NFL, NBA and CFB bets to your friends, too.
On 98.5 The Sports Hub’s morning show announcement…
The Shertenlieb Seat has been filled.
In a surprise to no one, Fred Toucher told a big radio audience on Tuesday that Rob “Hardy” Poole would move from this update/third-chair role on middays at 98.5 The Sports Hub to take over fulltime as co-host on the station’s new morning show, Toucher and Hardy. Hardy takes over after the station and Rich Shertenlieb could not come to terms on a new deal.
"It's not much of a surprise," Toucher said as part of the announcement Tuesday. "As soon as I found out there was an issue with Rich, I had one name in mind."
And that last part was clear from the start. As much as one industry publication tried to paint The Sports Hub’s approach to replacing Shertenlieb as ‘Barstool Sports-like’, it wasn’t. No one outside the station or market got an on-air shift with Fred. Outside the market has not worked in Boston recently, so that’s probably the right call. It was familiar, local names. And Hardy was always the favorite, as we wrote about for weeks.
Hardy could be the right choice, time will tell. He is for sure the safe choice.
He’s skilled at production. He’s likable and familiar to The Sports Hub listeners. If you’re trying to hold on to that big audience (15+ rating M25-54 in the most recent weekly I saw), it makes sense to bring on someone who sort of replicates Rich. Hardy does that.
Most important, this is the guy Fred Toucher wanted. He said so Tuesday. By signing Fred first and letting Rich walk away, the station chose Fred. So time to build around him. And you get to elevate one of your own in the process. Win-win.
Fred said a few times during this search the new show would be different. I’ll be curious how different it sounds because the hire itself is very much a way to keep the show sounding like it did for all those #1 ratings bonus books.
Hardy’s name is on the masthead, but make no mistake this is Fred’s show now. Curious to see what direction he takes it.
As far as his former co-host Shertenlieb, he launched a website over the last few weeks. Things have been quiet about his next destination.
The next move for The Sports Hub as they try to maintain their massive lead over Sports Radio WEEI into 2024 - decide who will replace Hardy on Zolak and Bertrand. I expect Kendra Middleton and Matt McCarthy to both be in the mix if they make it a full-time position. Given the state of terrestrial radio, they could also make it a part-time position with rotating anchors.
We’ll hit on the future of both The Sports Hub and WEEI next week.
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On a pro tip for those planning your pizza journey to Chelmsford, MA…
And hundreds of you are because Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy gave such a smashing review of Chelmsford’s Joanie’s Pizza in his recent One Bite pizza review. You should go, the pizza is great.
And many of you have already made the trek. I know because I’ve seen a bunch of you eating your pizza in the parking lot over there because you don’t want to wait until you get home. I get it.
Thrilled Dave gave them such a great review. He’s the expert and has done amazing things to help local businesses over the years.
I’ll only add as a local - I think their meatballs are excellent. “The Truth” with the hot honey on it is a favorite for my wife and me.
No surprise, Dave’s big review flooded their terrific local spot. Line out the door Saturday at noon. Eight to ten people waiting on Tuesday afternoon. But as a customer of Joanie’s on Thursday, I can say the staff is doing a tremendous job handling the rush. Check their IG page for updates.
And when you do make the trip to 83 Parkhurst Road Plaza and it’s a busy time of day, my pro tip is to park right where you pull in, almost next to Popeye’s Chicken. Then walk the 30 seconds to Joanie's.
That parking lot gets very narrow as you get down to Joanie’s. There is also parking past there but trust me, easier to park right where you pull in and walk down during any busy time.
And if it’s winter and you’re looking for a place to eat your delicious pizza, I’ll point out that Modest Roots and Navigation Brewing are both just minutes away. Or just eat it in your car. I don’t blame you. I mean look at that beauty.
Would go well with some winning NFL picks this weekend.
On our Week 16 NFL Picks…
Week 10: 0-3
Week 11: 3-0
Week 12: 2-0-1
Week 13: 4-0
Week 14: 2-1
Week 15: 3-0
I’ll say it - four days of NFL football over the Christmas weekend is a little much.
STEELERS +3 V. BENGALS (-110, FANDUEL). A week after picking against the Steelers, I’m ready to back them in this spot. The Jake Browning Hype Train is finally slowing down. He’ll have to beat a divisional rival without his best receiver (Jamar Chase). DJ Reader out for the season. The Bengals’ hold on a playoff spot is tenuous at best. Steelers can’t be worse at quarterback with Mason Rudolph. New QB narrative. Team Fighting for Their Coach narrative. And of course, Mike Tomlin is an underdog - 55-31 as a dog in his career. Oh, and 17-6-3 as a home dog. Also, you can’t legally bet against Rudolph during Christmas weekend.
RAVENS AT 49ERS UNDER 47 (-110, MOSTLY EVERYWHERE). If you’re alive in the fantasy football or best ball playoffs, plan for Christmas Night accordingly. Great game, but I don’t expect a shootout. The second (BAL) and fourth-ranked (SF) DVOA defenses. The slowest (SF) and fifth-slowest (BAL) DVOA offenses. Two coaches who will do everything they can to avoid big plays against. Primetime under still hitting at over 60% this season. Even 24-20 gets you home. Just 7% of the money is on the under as of Friday morning. I’m part of that 7%.
TOMMY DEVITO OVER 27.5 PASS ATTEMPTS (-114, FANDUEL). In a blowout loss to the Saints last week, Devito put it up 34 times. On what planet does he not get 28+ attempts against an Eagles defense that has sunk to 24th DVOA against the pass??? In a game they’ll probably be trailing throughout! Injury at the hands of an Eagles defender is the only thing that will stop us from cashing this Christmas afternoon.
Thanks to our friends at Mad Props, I’ll have more NFL ideas this weekend on X.com. Be sure to follow.
On a few MutStack stocking stuffers…
From Bookies.com - We surged past a total of 1.6 million created mobile betting accounts in Massachusetts this week. That’s since sports betting became legal earlier this year. The state’s handle for November was over $654 million, a one-month record.
ESPNBet captured over 6% of the market in its first month online, replacing the old Barstool Sportsbook. Only behind DraftKings and FanDuel in market share. ESPN Bet needs to clean up its Player Props tabs. Very annoying to navigate.
Fitting way to wrap up a bad year for horse racing with a brutal DQ last Saturday at Aqueduct. How can you even explain that? The #12 horse did nothing wrong.
I did not know until this week you can indeed buy a DraftKings gift card for your degenerate friend or family member at CVS, but you have to pay in cash.
But the best gift this holiday season? A MutStack subscription! And it’s free! How great is that?
Hopefully, Santa is better to you than Sox ownership has been to their fans.
Seriously, a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all. Thanks for reading and subscribing. Back next Friday to wrap up 2023.