New Podding the Red Sox episode: MassLive.com’s Chris Mason joins the show

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by Chris Mason, who covers the New England Patriots for MassLive.com.

Among the topics Chris and I discussed were how how he got into sports journalism at a young age, how it was to go from covering the Red Sox for a newspaper to covering the Patriots for MassLive, his impressions of the 2021 Red Sox so far, his predictions for the 2021 Patriots, the key differences between the amenities at the Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium press boxes, and much more!

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

Thanks to Chris for taking some time out of his Friday to have a conversation with me.

You can follow Chris on Twitter (@ByChrisMason) by clicking here. You can check out his Patriots coverage for MassLive.com by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Fenway Park: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Jaxx Groshans evaluates some of the top pitching prospects in the Red Sox farm system

He’s caught them. He’s hit against them. When it comes to some of the more intriguing pitching prospects in the Red Sox organization, there aren’t many better people to ask about them than catching prospect Jaxx Groshans.

When speaking with BloggingtheRedSox.com earlier this week, the 22-year-old backstop shared his thoughts on the likes of Jay Groome, Noah Song, and Ryan Zeferjahn, all of whom are regarded by SoxProspects.com as top-15 pitching prospects within Boston’s farm system.

Here are those thoughts put into writing.

LHP Jay Groome (SoxProspects’ No. 7 pitching prospect)

“I’ve faced off against Groomy multiple times and I got to catch him when I was in Lowell and at fall instructs both years (2019 and 2020). His stuff has grown a long way, man. He’s got big-league caliber shit, and I think that’s going to carry him for a while.”

RHP Noah Song (SoxProspects’ No. 6 pitching prospect)

“I caught Noah in his debut in Aberdeen… As far as Songy is concerned, that’s some of the best pure stuff I think I’ve ever seen. I applaud him for going back and serving [in the Navy] like he was supposed to, but that’s a damn shame because that kid probably could have been in the big-leagues this coming year. He probably could have made an appearance in the league out of the ‘pen last year to be honest with you, because his stuff is that good.”

RHP Ryan Zeferjahn (SoxProspects’ No. 11 pitching prospect)

“Zef’s a good dude, man. He’s got some electric stuff, too. I’m very, very excited to see how his career pans out because I think he can be a successful big-leaguer for a long time, especially if he figures out control of all his pitches and finetunes them. We’ll just have to wait and see from here. Like I said, he’s got a lot of special stuff and he’s very blessed with the arm he has.”

Groshans and Zeferjahn both played college baseball together at the University of Kansas. They were both selected by the Red Sox within hours of each other during Day 2 of the 2019 MLB first-year player draft.

“Before we got drafted, we were in Bricktown (Oklahoma City) playing Kansas State in the Big-12 tournament,” Groshans recalled. “Me and Zef were sitting on the bench, and Zef was like ‘Man, how cool would it be if the both of us got drafted by the same team? It would be sick because I’d get to throw to you and we’d be teammates again.’

“And I was like ‘Yeah, dude. That would be sick. That would be awesome,'” continued Groshans. “Then I saw Zef got picked by the Sox in the third [round], and I was like ‘Damn, okay. What’s going to happen? How’s this going to go?’ Then my agent texted me and he was like ‘Red Sox.’ So, I kind of kept it in for a second and as soon as my name got called, Zef was one of the first people to text me. He was like ‘Let’s freaking go! That’s awesome, man!’ I was like ‘Yeah, meet me in Florida and let’s have some fun.'”

BONUS: Former University of Oklahoma outfielder and Oakland Athletics first-round draft pick Kyler Murray, who is currently the starting quarterback for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals

“I know Kyler. I grew up around the same area — before I moved to Houston — that he was from. So I was from Plano, he was from Allen (Texas). I met him off and on the field, too. He’s a freak athlete, man.

“I saw something the other day where they were putting out on SportsCenter: Who of these NFL athletes would be successful in the minor-leagues if they played?’ It’s Kyler 100% hands down,” Groshans said. “He’s said it before. I don’t believe his time in baseball is done yet. I think if at any point he decides to come back, he could definitely do it. 100%.”

(Picture of Jaxx Groshans: Kelly O’Connor/ sittingstill.smugmug.com)

This Baseball Offseason Has Been so Slow I Decided to Write About the #Patriots Winning the Super Bowl.

For the third time in the last five years, the New England Patriots are once again on top of the football world following a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53.

The Patriots picked up their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night, also marking the 17 year anniversary of the team’s first Super Bowl win over the then-St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl 36.

Julian Edelman was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, becoming just the seventh wide receiver in Super Bowl history to earn MVP honors.

In his last contest before being introduced as the next head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores did a tremendous job of conducting his unit to a marvelous performance, as the Rams’ rampant offense was limited to just three points on 260 total yards.

Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff, in his first career Super Bowl start, finished the night 19/38 passing with 229 yards in the air and one interception.

All-Pro running back Todd Gurley, perhaps injured, was limited to 35 yards on the ground on 10 carries while former Patriots pass catcher Brandin Cooks led all Rams receivers with 120 receiving yards on eight receptions.

The Rams did not reach the red zone once and held the ball for 26:50 of the 60 minutes played in Atlanta on Sunday.

Two defensive plays for the Patriots that stick out come from the secondary, with the first coming from safety Jason McCourty.

With the clock running and the Rams driving, Jared Goff appeared to have a wide open Brandin Cooks for an easy touchdown on a broken down coverage that would have seen Los Angeles take their first lead of the night. (Picture via @ftbeard_17)

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Instead, McCourty sprinted approximately 18.9 MPH to reach Cooks and break up what could have been a crucial score.

The Rams would have to settle for a Greg Zuerlein field goal on that drive which would pull Los Angeles even with New England at three points a piece.

The second play I previously mentioned came late in the fourth quarter.

With just a little under four and a half minutes remaining in the period, the Rams were driving once again, looking to make it a one possession game following a Patriots touchdown.

On second and 10, Goff was searching for Cooks once more but could not put together an adequate throw, which resulted in a game-sealing interception from Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

A bad throw, yes, but credit to Gilmore for coming through with the pick and not giving the Rams any more chances.

Los Angeles would get the ball back following a Patriots field goal, but could not capitalize on a Zuerlein field goal attempt that would have cut their deficit to seven.

New England would finish the night with a Tom Brady kneel down and that was that.

On the other side of things, the Patriots offense was powered by the ground game.

Rookie running back and University of Georgia alum Sony Michel led the way for New England, finishing his first Super Bowl with 94 yards on 18 carries to go along with the game’s lone touchdown, a clutch go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter at that.

Tom Brady went 21/35 with 262 yards and one interception through the air. Sunday marked the first time in nine tries that the future Hall of Famer finished a Super Bowl with no touchdown passes.

Still, Brady came through when it matters, consistently feeding Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski for sizable chunks of yards.

Gronkowski, playing in his fourth Super Bowl, caught six passes for 87 yards, including this 29 yard reception to set up that Michel TD.

Julian Edelman led all receivers with 10 catches and 141 receiving yards, consistently coming through on third down plays when it was needed most. That’s why he was named the game’s MVP.

And that’s that. I can understand how this game did not get a great reception on a national stage, but it was hard not to find this one exciting.

The lowest scoring Super Bowl ever, in a game where both teams were projected to have their way with the opposing defenses.

I failed to mention this earlier, but Dont’a Hightower was great as well with two sacks on the night.

The New England Patriots are champions of the NFL yet again. It does not get old. Bill Belichick is a genius.