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FARINELLA: Kinder, gentler Patriots? - The Sun Chronicle : Patriots

FARINELLA: Kinder, gentler Patriots?

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Posted: Sunday, August 4, 2013 12:45 am

Ponderous thoughts I was pondering on this side of the Bourne Bridge:

** Maybe it's just me, but I've sensed a bit more of an accommodating approach to media relations from the players and coaches of the Patriots this training camp. But as a card-carrying cynic in good standing, I wonder a little about the sincerity of it.

It would not surprise me in the slightest if, in the wake of the huge embarrassment Aaron Hernandez caused the franchise, the orders came down from the Ivory Tower to put aside the sourpuss act and to try to curry some favor with the media as compensation for the public-relations hit the team took after Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd.

One of the largest cinder blocks in the foundation of Bill Belichick's empire has been to treat the media as an enemy whose sole purpose is to disrupt the inner workings of the team. It's an exaggeration, of course; while there may be a few prominent individuals in the media with agendas, most of the people that cover the team for a living are hard-working and fair individuals who just want to do their jobs with a measure of cooperation and respect from the subjects of their stories. And a more accommodating stance on the part of the Patriots can't help but be beneficial to both parties.

Here's hoping it lasts for a while. I don't expect the relationship to become too chummy or excessively warm and fuzzy, but the team definitely needs to make an effort to put the embarrassment of the Hernandez situation as far behind it as possible, and better relations with the extensive media corps that covers it would be helpful. As the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar ...

** For the life of me, I still don't understand the signing of Tim Tebow. The only time he appears to be able to move the ball in practice is when he's running option plays with the third-string defense on the other side of the ball ...

** As you probably have guessed, I just got back from two weeks of vacation on Cape Cod. The first week was great. But the second seemed to be the week when the whole state of New York relocated to the peninsula, and not a single one of them can drive worth a damn. Seriously, I'd stop cars with New York plates at the state line if I ruled the world ...

** Related story: A friend and I were driving westbound on Route 6A in Harwich when we passed a little gas station on the right-hand side of the road. About 100 yards away was an SUV (with New York plates, natch ...) parked off to the side of the road, and its female driver was carrying the entire length of a gasoline-pump hose and its nozzle back to the gas station. Now seriously, how in the world do you drive away from a gas station with the entire hose?

** Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Tom Brady turned 36 years old on Saturday. The clock is ticking ...

** Great to see the green turf on the ground and the big blue "A" in the middle of Tozier-Cassidy Field in Attleboro. And many thanks to the NFL for its generous contribution to the concession stand fund ...

** The big news in soccer? MLS intends to expand by four more teams. My question? "Why?"

** There is nothing more refreshing on a hot and humid summer Cape Cod morning than an outdoor shower. Makes me wonder why more homes everywhere don't have one.

** Yes, I almost got smacked in the face by a Stephen Gostkowski field goal in practice the other day. I was standing at the top of the hill next to the media tent and behind the goalposts (usually a very safe place), checking the weather radar on my smartphone for approaching storms and paying attention to nothing else, when suddenly I heard Glen Farley of The Enterprise (Brockton), and Jennifer Toland of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette say, "Watch it, Mark ... watch it, Mark!" I looked up, saw Roger Goodell's signature coming straight for my fine Sicilian nose, and ducked as fast as I could. Felt the ball graze my new Black Dog baseball cap on the way down, but no damage was done ...

** I'm waiting for the first phone call from a local fan that asks me when the Red Sox signed former Bishop Feehan football coach Jack Peavey. It's Jake Peavy, folks ...

** My feeling is that the Patriots' wide receiving corps will be ready for the regular season about two days before the opener, after the waiver wire yields a few veterans that still have something left in their legs

** To be honest, it was a shock to me to hear that Saturday's workout at Gillette Stadium was the last weekend practice open to the public. Training camp used to be a six-week affair and a treasured part of the summer. Now it's barely a sideshow - and yes, I do miss the old days at then-Bryant College. It seemed to make a difference in the chemistry of a team to sequester itself away from civilization for a while. These days, it seems as if the players never leave Gillette Stadium ...

** Speaking of the stadium, one thing you'll notice this year is that there are two strips of scoreboard animation along the fa├žades of the club seating instead of just one in the past. Here's hoping there will be a few minutes in the game when they actually put down and distance on the boards and not just more advertising ...

** I had to laugh Friday as thousands of starry-eyed individuals stood in line for hours in front of 10 small tents erected on the floor of the stadium for a 20-second audition to be on a failing television show. The cynic in me suggests that the stadium may therefore be playing host to two franchises in decline this year, American Idol and the Patriots ...

** Good to hear that North Attleboro's Anthony Sherman seems to have found a home with the Kansas City Chiefs under coach Andy Reid. Sherman has been lauded for not only his play, but his leadership ...

** Now that Red Sox owner John Henry has agreed to buy the Boston Globe and other local holdings from the New York Times, I can almost guarantee you that Robert Kraft will hire someone whose sole job will be to count the column inches of Red Sox copy and compare it to what the Globe (and maybe also the Worcester Telegram & Gazette) runs on the Patriots. I've always gotten the feeling that nothing galls Kraft more than to see and hear Red Sox coverage that trumps coverage of the Patriots, especially during the baseball offseason ...

** The Bishop Feehan girls and Mansfield boys are leading the high school summer leagues at Mass. Premier Courts entering the final week of play prior to the playoffs. Looks like I'll have to budget some time to watch the action, as the next hoops I see after that will be in December ... and really, I don't want to think about winter quite yet!

MARK FARINELLA may be reached at 508-236-0315 or via email at mfarinel@thesunchronicle.com. Read Farinella's blog, "Blogging Fearlessly," at thesunchronicle.com/blogs/markfarinella.

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