Hippo Manchester
September 22, 2005

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Longshots: Thirty-seven topics and so little space

By Dave Long

This is one of those mornings when Iíve got about 37 topics to choose from in writing this column. Since Iím not very good at waiting to have my say on just about anything, Iíll take this opportunity to write just a little bit about all of them.

Local News, film at 11

Canít wait for Saturdayís game between the U and Dartmouth. Sun, grass and outdoor fall weather make football the best game experience for me. But with all due respect, the best place in this state to watch a game is at Memorial Field in Hanover. It reeks of a by-gone college football era where the only thing missing are the raccoon coats.

As I told Marty Scarano the other day, with Ricky Santos and David Ball creating an unprecedented buzz around the UNH program, the team is in the exact place BC was when Doug Flutie took them to the (I hate this phrase) next level. So, if you want to raise the money to get that new stadium, now is the time to get going. Ready or not, youíve got to strike while the iron is hot.

Anyone notice the hockey player came out in Chris Carpenter the other day, when he walked over to the dugout to confront manager Dusty Baker whoíd been chirping at him?

Anyone see the question the commissioner put to Salem coach (and local lad) Jack Gati ó whether heíd ever had a quarterback throw four TD passes in a game as happened Friday. Heck, given how he loves to grind it out with the Winged-T, I didnít know Jack had one who threw for four in a season. Good to see a good guy get off with three straight wins too.

New York vs Boston

If youíre a fan of baseball, as opposed to being in Red Sox Nation, hereís why living in New York or Chicago is better. With teams in both leagues you know whatís going on in the AL and NL. As someone whoís hosted, and is about do it again (plug, plug) come Oct. 3 on WGIR, I can tell you that in these parts most care about just two things; Did the Sox win and did anything bad happen to the Yankees?

For instance Iíve never had anyone say anything to me about Albert Pujols, whoís had the most historic statistical start to a career than anyone ever. Iíve become more narrowly focused myself but itís astonishing never hearing anyone talk about the NL. And the only time you hear about the AL West or Central is when theyíre getting ready to play the Sox.

Growing up a Yankee fan in New York I saw Mays, Koufax, Aaron, Banks, Clemente, Gibson and every other significant NL player of that era, as well as everyone in the AL too. To each his own, but somehow I think Iím the better for it.

Speaking of Aaron how come when people talk about the greatest player of all-time no one mentions him? I hear Ruth, Mays and now Barry Bonds. But not Hank, who has more homers and RBIs than anyone.

Those trying to get Clementeís number retired with every team (a la Jackie Robinson) are from a bigger fantasy world than the Patriots dynasty crowd. Are they out of their ever loving minds? Yes, he died under tragic circumstances while doing a truly selfless act, but so did those who died in WWII. He wasnít the first Latin player, or even the best of his era (Iíll take Juan Marichal). No disrespect intended but no way.

Back to Pujols for a minute. Not only does he have 200 career home runs in less than five seasons and a lifetime average of .338, heís amazingly consistent. In his first four seasons heís officially batted 590, 590, 592 and 591 times. And with 11 games left, his 3.6 at bats per game average will put him at 592. 

The pennant race

I was cool to the Wild Card at first but I was wrong. First, itís kept eight extra cities interested down to the wire in Ď05. And with the Yanks and Sox headed for Armageddon next weekend, it doesnít overshadow thr pennant races as I thought it would. Good job, Bud.

Hereís one reason why I think the Indians are going to the World Series ó they have the best 1-12 pitching. And itís not just having it that makes a difference, itís when it gets hot. Their ace C.C. Sabathia is 9-1 since Aug. 1 and his ERA is a hair under 2.00.

Iím watching journeyman Aaron Small go 8-0 for the Yankees and thinking Joe Hardy was supposed to make a deal with the devil to beat the Yankees not save them, right?

And finally to those who think David Ortiz shouldnít be MVP because heís a DH, I submit this. Heís more valuable hitting and sitting than hitting and playing first. Being a DH eliminates his fielding liability, which makes the team better!