Felger: Ortiz refusing to play first is simply bad form


Three thoughts to take you into a summer weekend . . . 

-- I think David Ortiz deserves special consideration given all he's accomplished in Boston. I really do. I believe he deserves it when it comes to any number of things -- from giving him extra rope during a slump or extra money and years during a contract negotiation. He's earned it.

But that doesn't extend to the times he puts himself ahead of the team, or hurts the team with selfish behavior. The Sox need him to play a little first base right now. Nothing major. Just grab the glove once or twice a week and tell the media you only want to help the team. Play along. It's not that hard.

That Ortiz can't do that is simply bad form. We wouldn't let any other player on any other team get away with it. And we shouldn't let Ortiz, either.

-- The Bruins signed two more contracts this week that make total sense to me: Jimmy Hayes for an average annual value of $2.3 million and Brett Connolly on a prove-it, one-year, $1 million contract? Perfect. Add those to the contracts given to Matt Beleskey (under $4 million per year for the best forward in unrestricted free agency? Nice) and Ryan Spooner (two years at under $1 per year? Exactly), and you get the impression that new general manager Don Sweeney is indeed a far cry from his free-spending predecessor, Peter Chiarelli.

All of which makes you wonder even more just what the heck Sweeney was thinking with that four-year, $11 million contract for oft-injured sixth defenseman Adam McQuaid. I still can't get over that one.

-- I know you hate the take, but I just think it's logical.

For years, Tom Brady demanded his game balls be prepared a certain way. He was maniacal about it, to the point where, if you believe the Wells report, he had an operation in place for an assistant equipment man and an officials locker room attendant to get those balls just how he liked them on game day.

We all know how that turned out, and whether Brady is ultimately is suspended for it or not, you can be sure the league is going to change the way game balls are handled on Sundays. More attention will be paid and fewer shenanigans allowed. Not to mention the fact that John Jastremski and Jim McNally are no longer with the team and will no longer be in position to work on game balls.

The point? Brady, along with any other quarterback who put as much into game ball preparation as he did, will probably no longer be able to rely on his footballs on Sunday being just the way he likes them. And at some point it could affect his performance. To me, that's just common sense.

If Major League Baseball suddenly changed the way umpires rubbed down the baseballs, or changed what pitchers were allowed to do with them on the mound, don't you think the pitchers would notice? Don't you think it would affect some of them adversely? Again, it's just common sense.

Brady proved he could throw the ball whether it was puffed or stuffed in the Super Bowl, not to mention the second half of the AFC title game after the Pats footballs were re-inflated. So it's obviously more mental than anything. But the point remains: The condition of the game balls was very important to Brady. And now he may not be able to rely on it as he once did. Let's see if it makes a difference.

E-mail Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on Comcast SportsNet.

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