NESN Diary: Red Sox Baseball Was Played Today (And Other Random Thoughts)

Each day during the sports pause stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, will publish a diary full of random thoughts, opinions, takeaways, and other cool tidbits we’ve stumbled across in the absence of actual games. Because why not? We’re all in this together.
Today was a pivotal day in these coronavirus times.
Fans could tune into a Boston Red Sox game that was actually live, and not some playoff game from years ago.
Of course, it was just an intrasquad scrimmage at Fenway Park that was live-streamed on YouTube without any announcers, fans or state-of-the art production equipment. And it was hard to tell the infielders from the baserunners because everyone was wearing red.
But nonetheless, it was beautiful, and the day was better because of it. And as it turns out, all that time spent squatting in front of home-plate umpires gave former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek some great experience for his first run at officiating a game.
That’s right, Varitek served as the umpire for the entire scrimmage, and according to Sox manager Ron Roenicke and pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, he actually did a pretty good job.
And in the midst of all this, Major League Baseball dropped its 2021 schedule on us. Though next season is kind of hard to think about when we don’t know if we’ll even get through this abbreviated one, it’s nice to be reminded that even if we don’t ever completely go back to normal life after all this, at least we might get full baseball seasons again.
The Sox will open up in 2021 against the Baltimore Orioles for the second-straight year, and face the New York Yankees ten times at Fenway and nine times in the Bronx.
And here’s what else happened in the wide world of sports on Thursday:
— Cam Newton officially signed his deal with the New England Patriots, allowing ESPN’s Field Yates to give us the break down of his contract, which includes $3.75 million in playing-time incentives and, should the Pats win the Super Bowl, he’d earn a maximum of $7.5 million.
But like Newton said himself, it’s not about the money. It’s about respect.
In other words, Beyonce fans could say the New England put Newton’s “Love On Top.”
The former league MVP, who signed with the Pats for the veteran minimum after no other team showed any interest, posted a video of himself dancing to the song in Instagram.
It’s safe to assume Newton probably felt slighted by the rest of the league, and things didn’t play out as he’d hoped they would, but at the end of the day the best organization in professional football took a shot on him.
Therefore, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say the song and caption choice didn’t have some deeper meaning. I mean, it’s Cam Newton we’re talking about. The fonts he types in scream cryptic, and just look at these lyrics:
“Now everybody ask me why I’m smiling out from ear to ear / But I know / Nothing’s perfect but it’s worth it / After fighting through my tears, and finally you (A.K.A. the Patriots) put me first”
Ok. I promise that’s the last time I go off about Beyonce in one of these NESN Diaries. Back to football stuff.
— As hyped as Newton is to redeem himself in New England, it’s matched by new teammates Brandon Bolden and J.C. Jackson. Newton also got some reps in Monday with receiver N’Keal Harry.
Safe to say, we’re ready for the New(ton) Era of Patriots football.
— But of course, we’ll miss our Tom Brady. Especially when we hear absurd stories about his work ethic, like the one revealed Monday by Pats’ safety Devin McCourty.
— A huge shoutout goes to Julian Edelman for his thoughtful statement regarding some anti-Semitic social media posts from fellow NFL receiver DeSean Jackson, which were backed up by ex-NBA player Stephen Jackson.
Edelman eloquently spoke about his Jewish religion and culture, mentioning his respect for DeSean and that he see’s a great opportunity for productive conversation. The Patriots wideout got a ton of support from fellow and former teammates and ultimately, got DeSean to see why his comments were “insensitive and ill-informed.” Progress.
— In NBA news, players continued to arrive at the Walt Disney World campus in Orlando, Fla. where the league is finishing out the rest of its season.
The defending champion Toronto Raptors arrived Thursday in two busses with “Black Lives Matter” painted in huge letters on the side.
And after catching some heat for criticizing the accommodations in his hotel room (while a lot of people are out of work and the WNBA’s bubble living situation inclues mouse traps and worms), Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter made sure to leave a decent review of a meal he had. Apparently, it was “not bad.”
— If you’re like me, you’re excited for NBA fashion statements to be routine again. I miss Russell Westbrooks hats, Marcus Smart’s Versace robes, etc. But Monday we got our first taste at what trends are en Vogue with NBA players this summer.
And according to Joel Embiid, hazmat suits are all the rage.
No, but seriously, this is hilarious and I didn’t know they even made these that big. Had to be custom ordered, right?
— Don’t look now, but NCAA conferences are starting to make decisions about the upcoming fall season and it looks like this year will be pretty strange.
A day after the Ivy League canceled its fall sports season entirely, the Big Ten reportedly is planning to ax its non-conference schedule to cut down on travel for all fall sports. If more Power 5 conference schools go that route, the rankings that determine who is in and out of the College Football Playoff will be dysfunctional as ever.
But bring it on, because when it comes to sports, we’ll take what we can get.
Video of the Day
Circling back to Edelman’s powerful statement today, I thought I’d embed the video with his full statement here.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Julian Edelman (@edelman11) on Jul 9, 2020 at 4:36am PDT

Tweet of the Day
I think Josiah Johnson is too funny for Twitter. So when he sent out this tweet comparing the movie “Coming To America” as LeBron James and the Lakers arriving at Disney World, I just about lost it.


How LeBron and the Lakers pulling up to the bubble
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) July 10, 2020

Stat of the Day
We see you, New England Revolution. The Revs returned to play today in Orlando with the MLS Is Back tournament with a 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact.

The New England Revolution are on the board first in their MLS is Back Tournament game against Montréal courtesy of Gustavo Bou's 56th minute goal.
Bou now has 10 goals in 18 total games since joining New England last July.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 10, 2020