NESN Diary: Missing What We Never Thought We’d Miss Covering Sports (And Other Random Thoughts)


Apr 27, 2020


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.

I really miss sports. (I know, so doesn’t everyone else).

But I don’t just miss watching the games. I miss covering the games.

I miss spending my entire weekends courtside or in press boxes. Even when it’s freezing and the fall playoffs roll around — when it’s nearly impossible to keep my fingers warm enough to type notes — and hand warmers save lives.

I miss being crouched on the sidelines trying to get that perfect action shot, while dodging the bodies and flying objects in the process. Even those times you do have “near-death” experiences with players crashing into you at full speed. It’s part of the fun.

I miss posting up at McDonald’s, downing chicken McNuggets while cranking away at my story to hit my deadline. Even when it’s after a double-overtime game, so my work time has been hacked down to just a few minutes.

All the parts I never imagined I’d wake up and think, “Wow, I miss THAT” — I’m at that level of “I miss sports.” I’ll never again take for granted any of the not-so-glamorous aspects of the sports grind.

But, they will be back eventually.

In the meantime, here are some more random thoughts from your Monday:

— James Develin broke New England Patriots fans’ hearts when the fullback announced that he’s retiring. The decision was made due to “unforeseen complications” to a neck injury he sustained last season.

We’ll miss you, James — and so will Tom Brady, Bill Belichick  and a slew of current and former teammates.

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— The Patriots signed James Thomas as an undrafted free agent. The 5-foot-8, 170-pound wideout shared his excitement on Twitter, tweeting, “Man what a blessing and opportunity to have!! Thankful for this chance!! I can’t wait to get to work and produce for the best organization.”

He comes with some off-field history, but hey, we’ll see how that goes over with Belichick.

— Speaking of the Patriot Way, it looks possible that Cam Newton could end up in New England. According to the latest odds, the likelihood of him joining the Patriots have skyrocketed. The team picked up a pair of undrafted free agents after the NFL draft, but there’s plenty still up in the air at the quarterback slot.

On the other hand, Deion Sanders has a different landing spot in mind for Newton.

— In order to make space to add the undrafted free agents, the team released safety Obi Melifonwu on Monday and defensive end Keionta Davis on Sunday. The Patriots selected safety Kyle Dugger in the draft just three days earlier.

He appeared in just two games since joining the team midway through the 2018 season, so even without the drafting Dugger in the second round, Melifonwu would’ve had a challenging time securing a spot on the roster this summer.

— It doesn’t look like the NBA will be back as early as anticipated. Despite previously planning to re-open facilities May 1, the Atlanta Hawks decided they weren’t going to open their facilities yet (even though Georgia is trying to re-open the state). Now, the league reportedly is pushing that date back to May 8.

Obviously we all want sports back, but everyone can agree safety should be the No. 1 priority. Still hurts to hear that date get bumped back, though.

— Baseball games are back (sort of), as NESN started up the latest “Red Sox Encore” series featuring Game 1 of the 2004 American League Division Series. Although it’s not the same as what would’ve been the beginning of another Major League Baseball season, it’ll have to do for now. For anyone who needs a reminder, there were some pretty interesting moments that came out of this game.

There is hope for a baseball season this year. The league is optimistic it will have a plan in place by May 31 to begin the season.

— Denny Hamlin had a tough race in Sunday’s Geico 70 at virtual Talladega Superspeedway. But recent footage shed light on what happened — and it’s hard to be disappointed.

It turns out his seven-year-old daughter Taylor accidentally powered down the monitor, which disconnected him from the server. (We’ll forgive you, Taylor.)

Video of the Day:
*Grabs tissues*

Stat of the Day:
Go big or go home, right?

Tweet of the Day:
Thank you, James.

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Thumbnail photo via Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports Images
2004 Boston Red Sox
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