Thornography
WEEI.com Blog Network

Unsportsmanlike Podcast with Jen Royle of ABC’s ‘The Taste’

12.19.14 at 4:11 pm ET
By   |   Comments
Jen Royle

Jen Royle explains to Jerry what “The Taste” is all about. (Jerry Thornton)

For this week’s episode of “Unsportsmanlike Podcast” I have the distinct pleasure of landing the beguiling Jen Royle. A former reporter who covered the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles and the Red Sox, Royle also has hosted for WEEI and Herald Radio, is a cookbook author and is nothing less than THE reality TV breakout star of 2014. If you’re not watching her on ABC’s “The Taste” every Thursday night at 8, you’re missing out.

Jen is a hilariously profane and messy home cook let loose in a kitchen filled with professional chefs. She swears. She loses stuff. She gets into fights with people and cuts herself. In short, she’s pure Masshole. But so far she’s done more than survived; she’s stolen the show.

Listen as she gives me the skinny on the behind the scenes, how she got into this and whether or not something is up between her and her French chef mentor.

Enjoy and bon appetit.

@JerryThornton1

5 reasons why Patriots ‘weapons’ talk needs to end, now

12.19.14 at 1:32 pm ET
By   |   Comments
Denver Broncos v New England Patriots

Here are all the “weapons” the Patriots need. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

If the Patriots do nothing else in 2014 (and by the grace of God they’ll do lots more), one thing they’ve already accomplished is to effectively end the position of wide receiver in the NFL as we know it.

I’m not arguing they’ve made the position extinct. They’re not bringing back the 1925 Chicago Cardinals full-house T formation offense and putting all wideouts out of business like they’re telemarketers, travel agents or newspaper sports columnists. What I am saying is that the Patriots are proving once and for all that what I’ve been saying for years is true:

Wide receiver is the most overrated, overhyped and overvalued position in football, if not in all of sports.

I know even saying this is heresy. You could go to a matinee of “The Interview” at the Showcase: Pyongyang and see less shock and outrage than when you say wideouts don’t matter much, but I stand by it.

Admit it. You’re one of the ones who’ve been clamoring for years for the Patriots to get (choose your cliche) Brady more “weapons.” An “elite” wide receiver who can “play outside the numbers,” “stretch the field” and “take the top off the defense.” And the general consensus is they have done none of those things. Not through through the draft by (more cliches) by “moving up in the first round” to get “a playmaker” who can “make a difference.” And not by getting some high-priced cap space-eating veteran. They’ve handed Brady a receiving corps out of the $5 DVD bin at Walmart and asked him to win another championship, even while “his window is closing” (I’ll stop now).

Well, here is why you’re wrong. Prepare to be impaled on the razor sharp Thorn of Truth:

1. The Patriots lead the NFL in scoring.

Right now, as we speak, 14 games into the season (15 for those slappy teams that played Thursday night) the Patriots have put up more points than anyone. More than teams with so-called “elite” wideouts like Green Bay, Indy, Philly and Dallas. And they’ve scored 35 more points than the Broncos, who have a Swiss army knife of depth at the position. Meanwhile, the Patriots’ highest-drafted receiver is Aaron Dobson, a second-rounder who has been a complete non-factor.

And to further illustrate my point, last year I’d argue the Pats were even thinner at the receiver spot. And they finished third in the league in points. One point behind Chicago for second.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rajon Rondo will be missed, but not very much

12.19.14 at 10:31 am ET
By   |   Comments
Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics

Rajon Rondo: Admired in Boston, but not beloved. (Mike Lawrie/ Getty Images)

Thursday on Dale & Holley we were talking about the imminent Rajon Rondo-to-Dallas trade in general, and the question of how much he’ll be missed in Boston in particular. I said then what I’ll say now: The answer is, not all that much, really.

Make no mistake, the Celtics just traded their (by far) best player; that’s stating the obvious. And there’s a sarlacc pit-sized hole on the team where he used to stand. I’m not breaking news here by telling you that. What I’m saying is that Rondo was a guy who was admired here more than he was beloved. Appreciated, not embraced. Without him there’s no way they make two trips to the NBA Finals, much less win a championship. But he’s never been that player you felt like you couldn’t live without.

The problem with Rondo was that for practically everything he did that had visions of his number in the rafters dancing in your head, he’d do something that made you want him banished to the Island of Misfit Toys with all the other weirdos.

RONDO’S NICE LIST

Game 4 of the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals – With the Celtics down 2-1 in the series against Cleveland and coming off a 29-point blowout in Game 3, Rondo posted a 29-point, 18-rebound, 12-assist line for the ages that turned the series around and eventually sent the Cs to the NBA Finals.

Game 2 of the 2012 Eastern Conference finals – Against Miami, Rondo put together a 40-point, 10-assist, eight-rebound effort that hadn’t been matched by any point guard in a playoff game in a quarter of a century.

Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals – Rondo finished off the Lakers with a Kellogg’s Variety Pack of Excellence: 21 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals.

Then of course there were the flashes that reminded you of other Celtics legends:

And he was no stranger to saying the right things, even on the way out the door:

 

On the other hand, there was …

RONDO’S NAUGHTY LIST

He chased Doc Rivers out of town – Among other things, he was argumentative and largely uncoachable and had bizarro habits like sitting alone in his car outside the practice facility and not heading in until the last possible second. And he allegedly threw a water bottle at Doc. First of all, who can’t get along with Doc Rivers. And second, who throws a water bottle? Honestly

He skipped a game on the West Coast last year to go to his birthday party – Apparently that deposit you put down for a reservation at Chuck E. Cheese is a killer.

He broke his hand >ahem< falling in the shower – Athletes have entourages that include security guards, guys who handle the finances, drivers, guys who handle reservations and people who line up women. Why don’t they spend the extra money and hire someone to handle phony excuses? I mean, falling in the shower? That’s the “dog ate my homework” of broken hand alibis. Personally, I would’ve suggested, “An old woman’s car was stuck by the side of the road so I stopped to change her tire for her and broke my hand on the jack.” Boom. Controversy avoided. My services are available, Rajon. You know how to contact me.

He just never got better at important things – I’ve always been a Rondo guy because I believed the things he did well you cannot teach. Speed. Rebounding. Being a pass-first point guard. His effort, which I do not question. And the things he’s terrible at — shooting, free throws — you can get better at over time. Plenty of great players, through hard work, dedication and practice, have done so. Rondo just isn’t one of them. And at this point it looks like he never will be. His career learning curve on shooting could be used to level bookshelves.

And that’s the most important factor here. I think Boston just will not miss Rondo in any real sense because we realize that the next championship-contending Celtics team is not going to have him on it. The only way to get from where the team is now to where it has to go is by dealing him. As breakups go, he is that girlfriend where you know you had a good run with her and probably got the best years of her life, but you never really were all that in love with her. You didn’t hate her, either; you’ll wish her nothing but the best going forward and be happy when she finds Mr. Right. Yet with all the craziness and the arguing, you knew deep down you were never meant to be.

I promise you right now: Rajon Rondo comes back to the Garden with Dallas on Jan. 2 and he gets a standing ovation. After that, he’s just somebody that we used to know.

@JerryThornton1

Read More: Rajon Rondo,

Rob Gronkowski’s ugly sweater wins Christmas

12.19.14 at 9:24 am ET
By   |   Comments

 

Dammit, Gronk! Ease up a little and let the other men of the world catch up, will you? First it was the kittens, and now you look this good in any ugly Christmas sweater? How are any of us supposed to compete against this level of awesomeness? This is just weapons-grade style. Once Padma Lakshmi sees this she might not come out of the house until after New Year’s.

@JerryThornton1

Read More: Rob Gronkowski,

Movie theater answers North Korean threats with ‘Team America’

12.18.14 at 2:50 pm ET
By   |   Comments

The Hollywood ReporterAfter Sony canceled the release of the North Korea assassination comedy “The Interview,” a Texas theater said it would swap the film with Paramount’s 2004 film “Team America: World Police” for one free screening.

“We’re just trying to make the best of an unfortunate situation,” James Wallace, creative manager and programmer at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s Dallas/Fort Worth location, tells The Hollywood Reporter. 

American flags and other patriotic items will be given out by theater employees, Wallace says. 

The plot of “Team America,” co-written by “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, revolves around Kim Jong Il, the father of current North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The posters promoting the R-rated movie in 2004 included the tagline, “Putting the ‘F’ Back in Freedom.” 

In a note on its website, the theater added: “THAT is how true American heroes will be celebrating this year, but if you want to let the terrorists win … well, that’s your prerogative.”

Sometimes in our darkest moments heroes emerge, and this is one of those times. God bless James Wallace and the fine outstanding staff of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. I think it’s fair to say that never before in history has anyone stood in a place called Alamo and done so much for the cause of freedom as these people are.

All seriousness aside, I’ll concede that “The Interview” is a dumb idea for a movie. It’s hard to imagine that so many people involved in green-lighting this thing could’ve thought they’d do a movie where assassinating a psychotic and very non-fictional despot is played as a joke and not expect they’d upset a few sensitive folks. Not to mention that from the trailer it seemed like a movie I wouldn’t watch if I was sick in bed and it was on free cable (where it was likely headed inside of about six months from the looks of it).

But since when do we ever let any foreign power dictate to us what we can and cannot laugh at? The founding fathers put freedom of speech in the first amendment — not the 11th, not in a footnote and not in a less-read director’s cut of the constitution. It’s the first right we have, and it’s meant to cover everything from the freedom to the government to go pee up a rope to your right to watch a bad, ill-conceived Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy. Even “Pineapple Express” (though I think that’s sort of a gray area), and once studios start caving into demands made by shadowy hackers halfway around the globe, where does it end? If some radicals decide that obnoxious man-children are an affront to their god, are we going to start pulling every Adam Sandler movie?

And, while I’m a little prejudiced since I’ve been running my mouth on standup stages for 20 years or so, comedy should get even more slack than regular speech. Satire, when it’s done right, can stick its thumb in the eye of evil better than any other form of expression. In the 1930s, Charlie Chaplin did a parody of Hitler in “The Great Dictator.” The Three Stooges did likewise in the ones where Moe played Emperor Hailstone of Moronica with a swastika made out of snakes. If the Nazis had threatened to blow up a theater that showed them, we would’ve dared them to try and kicked their goosestepping asses all the way back to Berlin if they had.

Like I said, “The Interview” is no great loss, but the precedent being set here is, and I shudder to think what creative expression is going to look like from here on in. So thanks to Mr. Wallace and those heroes at the Alamo Drafthouse for at least trying to stand their ground. America … F-yeah.

@JerryThornton1

New Red Sox pitcher Wade Miley says Diamondbacks wanted him to go gluten free

12.18.14 at 1:12 pm ET
By   |   Comments
Arizona Diamondbacks v Colorado Rockies

New Red Sox pitcher Wade Miley says the Diamondbacks tried to force him to go gluten free. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

AZCentralWade Miley doesn’t want to upset anyone with the Diamondbacks. He … says he has no hard feelings. But he also sounded annoyed on Tuesday when addressing questions about his preparation habits, about concerns the Diamondbacks apparently had that might have played a part in him eventually being traded to the Boston Red Sox last week. … [For] weeks leading up to the deal, there were indications the Diamondbacks weren’t happy with something about Miley’s work habits and/or preparation. The team’s concerns swirled through enough baseball circles that they eventually made their way to Miley himself. … Miley said he didn’t want to go into specifics about his diet but did make a passing reference about not being gluten free. He said he wished the team were more willing to tailor its approach toward individuals rather than having everyone doing the same things. “It might work for some people, but I didn’t feel like it worked for me,” he said. “I did what I felt like I needed to do to pitch every five days.”

For starters, let me be up front and admit I’m partial to fat-guy athletes. Some of my favorite all-time Red Sox players were, to put it kindly, portly gentlemen: Luis Tiant, Mo Vaughn, Curt Schilling and David Ortiz. There’s just something about plus-size ballplayers that makes them relatable humans. Show me a guy who is no stranger to the postgame spread but can deliver in the clutch, and he’s already got an early lead in the Folk Hero Sweepstakes. Which is why Wade Miley is instantly, without even throwing a pitch in a Sox uniform, making a fan out of me.

That said, what the hell is wrong with the Arizona Diamondbacks? Is this what America has come to? We’re going to have ball clubs falling in love with every stupid diet fad that comes along?

I mean, what is with this war on bread? It used to be the most universally admired food on Earth. Your staple of the food groups. The subject of half the verses in the Bible, beloved by young and old alike, and now we’re treating it like it’s Ebola. Remember the Atkins ridiculousness? People you worked with were having a half-pound of deli roast beef and calling that a lunch? Or the South Beach nonsense that was supposed to be a little more reasonable, but still basically outlawed the poor? Well, those diets look like a cruise ship buffet compared to this anti-gluten hatred, and now the mania is seeping into our pro sports leagues to further erode our culture. It’s wrong.

We used to make steel, big cars and major league ballplayers in this country. We were once a nation built by real men who lived off of gluten. They carved Chrysler 440 cubic-inch engines out of solid blocks of metal and ate a great big plate of gluten with gluten on the side and extra lactose on top, thanks. We had great pitchers who did likewise, smoked, drank, seduced women, won wars and then hiked their pants up over their overhanging bellies, took the ball and made 40 starts a year.

Now we’ve got major league teams forcing their pitchers to eat salads? It’s a sad day for America. But at least I’ve got my new boy Wade Miley, who’s more than welcome in my book. Welcome to Boston, Wade. Have a clam chowder in a bread bowl and a couple of beers on me. You’re among friends now.

@JerryThornton1

Read More: Wade Miley,

Rob Gronkowski seduces Padma Lakshmi on ‘Top Chef’ without even trying

12.17.14 at 1:59 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Rob Gronkowski: Tight end. Model. Cat enthusiast. Linguist. International superstar. Lover of beautiful women. Is there nothing he cannot do?

And now to his resume we can add: Gourmand. This is so typical Gronk. Charming the apron off a Washington Redskins fan who hates the Patriots while Padma Lakshmi is in no uncertain terms throwing herself at him on national TV. I mean, did she even realize the cameras were on? Can I call you Rob? Will you call me Honey? She’d like a big sausage, too? I’m 90 percent sure that she got pregnant right about the time he said, “Stop embarrassing me, Honey.” I can only hope when they got down on the kitchen floor and started doing it, the chefs cleared out of the room. Though who am I kidding? I wouldn’t have.

Now we can look forward to Bill Belichick showing the video during this week’s film session. On the field and off, Gronk is the gift that keeps on giving.

@JerryThornton1

Read More: Padma Lakshmi, Rob Gronkowski,

Darrelle Revis is Patriots’ MVP

12.17.14 at 1:06 pm ET
By   |   Comments
Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots

Darrelle Revis: Most Valuable Patriot. (Jared Wickerham/ Getty Images)

Wednesday morning on Middays with MFB, Lou Merloni, Christian Fauria and Tim Benz debated who is the 2014 Patriots MVP, with Lou taking Tom Brady, Christian going with Rob Gronkowski and Tim making the case for Darrelle Revis.

Smart as those guys are, they’re smart enough to know they needed to bring in much, much smarter people to make their cases for them. Merloni’s phone-a-friend was Gerry Callahan, who surprisingly seems to be gaining ground on me in the Brady Man-crush Derby, something I never thought possible. Fauria got an assist from ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, who made a decent if not convincing argument for Gronk. And Benz, demonstrating that he’s the wisest of the Three Wise Men, called me.

That’s right. I — who have a sincere, powerful and, in my therapist’s words, dangerously self-destructive appreciation for Brady and Gronk and what they bring to the Patriots — agree with Tim that the Most Valuable Patriot this year has been Darrelle Revis.

Who is the Patriots' MVP this season?

  • Darrelle Revis (45%, 347 Votes)
  • Tom Brady (31%, 236 Votes)
  • Rob Gronkowski (23%, 176 Votes)
  • None of the above (1%, 13 Votes)

Total Voters: 772

Loading ... Loading ...

I don’t come by this conclusion easily. But allow me to jab you as I did MFB with The Razor Sharp Thorn of Truth on this:

  • The Patriots have made one significant personnel change from last year to this, and it was Revis. Yes, you can make a case for Brandon Browner, but he missed six full games this season.
  • In 2013 the Patriots defense gave up the seventh-most yards in the NFL and the 23rd-most points. While those numbers are not terrible, this was largely a middle-of-the-pack D that was helpless against the Broncos in the AFC championship game. This year the Pats have improved to 16th in yards and have given up the eighth-fewest points, which actually is fewer than supposedly elite defenses like San Francisco and Cincinnati. And those numbers should improve as the end the season against the Jets and Bills, two of the weaker offenses they’ll face this year.
  • The Patriots defense is nails in the second half of games. Facing arguably the toughest stretch of opposing offenses any D has faced in the league all season, the Pats haven’t given up a second-half touchdown since the Indy game five weeks ago and haven’t given up a second half point since the measly field goal Green Bay put up managed against them three games ago.
  • Opposing quarterbacks have targeted Darrelle Revis 74 times this year. They’ve completed only 50 percent of those passes, for two touchdowns. Their combined passer rating when they throw at Revis is 68.7.
  • To put that in perspective (as I told the guys on air) that puts all opposing QBs who attempt passes at Revis just behind Geno Smith (69.8) and just ahead of Michael Vick (68.3).

And that is the best case I can make for Revis. He has faced a murderer’s row of QBs that includes Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Phillip Rivers, and he’s turned them into Jets quarterbacks. And in doing so, he’s galvanized an otherwise fairly competent New England defense and made it championship caliber. With all due respect to Brady and Gronk, we’ve learned all too harshly the lesson of what can happen to a team when the world’s greatest passer and the game’s best tight end don’t have a Super Bowl-worthy defense. And for that, Darrelle Revis is your Patriots MVP.

Here’s the audio of the segment. (I apologize for being a little off in my numbers. But drive time co-host’s brains don’t start working until 1:55 at the earliest. The exact numbers are correct above.)

@JerryThornton1

Pat Chung singing Katy Perry for charity is the best thing you’ll see all day

12.17.14 at 12:06 pm ET
By   |   Comments

TMZThe New England Patriots are all business on the field, but they know how to have fun off it … because a bunch of the team’s stars rocked the mic at a karaoke event on Monday benefiting sick kids. The “Open Mic Holiday Party” in Foxboro, Mass., was hosted by safety Patrick Chung (who rocked out to Katy Perry’s “Firework”) with fellow Pats Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, and Devin McCourty in attendance. Chung and the Pats raised $80,000 for “Chung Changing Lives” — an organization that supports personal and academic development in kids — and several other Boston-area charities. Pats owner Robert Kraft even made a cameo, and promised to perform an Elton John song next year.

As a general rule, the last place you expect to find positive news about your athletes is at the intersection of “sports” and “gossip.” But such is the roll that the 2014 Patriots are on that even when they find themselves on TMZ, it’s a pure good. Granted, when you’re in the sports blog business scandal, hijinks and buffoonery play a lot better than players giving of themselves to help out sick children. But in the spirit of the holidays, sometimes you just have to celebrate good guys doing good things.

Raising $80,000 for a great cause is impressive, no question about it. But mark my words: When Mr. Kraft makes good on his promise to get his swerve on to Elton John next year? It’ll raise $80 million.

@JerryThornton1

Read More: Katy Perry, Pat Chung, Robert Kraft,

Jets GM might have just found out he’s getting fired on Twitter

12.16.14 at 8:35 pm ET
By   |   Comments

There’s one hard and fast rule in the NFL general manager game. And it states: “When one of your fans tweets to your owner that you should be fired and said owner favorites it, you’re pretty much out of a job.”

Sorry, John Idzik. In most cases, your boss tells you face to face, shakes your hand and wishes you the best of luck in the future. But when you take the Jets job, you’ve got to be ready to hear it from a fanboy’s Twitter feed or a pro-Patriots blogger for a Boston sports radio station. But I and Jameson wish Idzik best of luck in the future, if no one else does.

Now pack up your stuff. Security will see you to the door.

@JerryThornton1

Read More: John Idzik,
Latest on Twitter