GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

August 19, 2013

Crunch Time


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Affleck curse

Oscar-winning actor/director Ben Affleck may be a huge Sox fan, but it’s doing very little for his beloved team. The Red Sox are 0-14 on Affleck’s birthday (Aug. 15) since “Good Will Hunting” came out in 1998.

Battered Rivals

On paper the Patriots should cruise to another AFC East title this season. It turns out the Patriots opponents in the AFC East have been making it easier on Tom Brady and company before squaring off against New England as the Bills, Jets and Dolphins have all sustained key injuries during the preseason.

Bills rookie quarterback and first round draft choice E.J. Manuel injured his knee in Week 2 of the preseason and just underwent surgery. Manuel was projected to be the starter but his injury opens the door for the dreadful Kevin Kolb to start the regular season opener against the Pats, a welcome site for the Patriots defense.

New York Jets starting outside linebacker Quinton Coples, a promising second year player on the rise, could miss significant time with an ankle injury.

The Miami Dolphins have also been hit hard by the injury bug as tight end Dustin Keller, one of the team’s top free agent acquisitions during the offseason, will be sidelined for the entire season with a knee injury suffered over the weekend.

Of course the Patriots also have their fare share of injuries, most notably All Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, but an already weak division has gotten weaker and while the Patriots may have taken a step back this offseason, their division rivals may have taken a step even further back.

Web Gem

Anyone who watches baseball seen roughly 8 billion ceremonial first pitches. Boring right? Nothing to see there?

Shin Soo-ji will change your mind.

In July, the Korean rhythmic gymnast threw a mind-blowing first pitch before a game in her country’s professional baseball league that has to be seen to be explained. It already has over 11 million views.

Search “Shin Soo-ji First Pitch” on YouTube.

-Compiled by Nick Curcuru and David Willis