Hippo Manchester
September 29, 2005

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Longshots: Sports talk should be on the air

By Dave Long

Where is a good local sports talk show when you need it?

I mean, weíve got UNH erroneously nationally ranked number one in I-AA football. The Central football dynasty is under siege and ó in Pinkerton, Salem and Nashua North ó it has three more wannabes coming at them next month. West, which delivered a hit to the Green, is undeniably on the rise. The Patriots are facing their annual rash of injuries that threaten to wipe out the year. And the playoff-bound Bengals are moving past the Ravens, while wearing the ugliest uniforms in sports.

Thatís just football. Baseball has a wild card race that proves I was wrong and they were right when they came up with the idea. It looked like the National League would have the 1967-like race but now the American League has a Weidacherinan Question floating about: what happens if the Yanks, Indians and Red Sox wind up in a three-way tie? Then thereís the little matter of the Yankees and Red Sox hurtling toward Armageddon this weekend.

Iím begging some smart radio tycoon to wake up, smell the Kool-Aid and put on a local sports talk show. I havenít even gotten to the Monarchs becoming one of those three jersey teams this year or the F-Cats being on their second owner already. St. Anselm and SNHU both have legitimate shots to make it to the Elite Eight. And how can Sean McDonnell be making a lot less at the U than basketball import Billy Herrion?

Iím talking about a call-in show with an 800 number so the shut-ins from the fellowship of the miserable can say their piece. In my (not so) humble opinion, itís a no-brainer. If someone does see the light and needs a host, hereís how I might handle it when those knuckle draggers, er, callers are on the line.

Phil from Peterborough:  How bad are you going to feel when the Yanks eliminate the Red Sox in Fenway Park on the final day?

Dave: Well, Phil, probably not as bad as they felt in Gotham when the Yanks got run out of their own building 10-3 in the worst big game disappearing act since the Raiders got smoked by Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl.

Phil from Peterborough: Then who do you think will win if it gets to a final game on Sunday?

Dave: Well, thatís a horse of a different color. Especially if you believe in karma, since Sunday will be the 27th anniversary of the Bucky Bleeping Dent game. Although when he threw out the first ball in Game Seven last year, it didnít work too well. Depends on whoís healthy and rested, and if George can get a last-minute eligibility rule change. Then he can drop the $20 million in walking around money on a spot starter, like Pedro, since he now lives cross town.

Cheefe Phann, IV from Durham: Youíre so negative: How can you possibly say the UNH football team shouldnĎt be rated number one?

Dave: Hold on, Cheefe ... I didnít say they werenít good enough to be number one, and Iím hoping they will be. But when an I-AA team loses to Auburn, as Western Kentucky did Saturday, you shouldnít drop in the rankings. Itís not an indication of I-AA strength. It does work the other way though. I-AA knocking off I-A says youíre pretty good ó like when the U knocked off Rutgers to start this little joy ride.

Vincent Sylvia from Wakefield: Why donít you think the Pats are a dynasty?

Dave: I see a dynasty as a length of time, not number of titles. Many call the Packers of the í60s a dynasty. I donít. They had the best one-team football run Iíve seen, winning five in eight years. But when core guys like Bart Starr, Forrest Gregg, et al, got old, it crumbled. John Havlicek [Boston Celtics] bridged the gap from Russell to Cowens. Cowens was there when Bird arrived and the Celtics kept winning through three generations of stars. Thatís a dynasty.

Mike from the Ledge, Litchfield: So, when do you really think someone will be smart enough to put a local sports talk show back on the air?

Dave: Well, Mike, turns out Joe Graham at WGIR-AM is a smart guy. Apparently he had an epiphany in the middle of this column and decided, starting Monday at 6 p.m. on 610 AM (plug, plug) to put just such a show on the air. Either that, or he really thinks the Yankees are going to beat the Red Sox for the AL East and wants to gloat about it to a larger audience than just chortling about it over the PA to the staff like he did last year.

And the part that makes him really smart is that he put yours truly in the big seat. Gosh, IĎm flattered. So call me at 645-6161 and let me hear what youíve got, about these and anything else. Especially the dynasty issue.