Hippo Manchester
November 24, 2005

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LONGSHOTS: Turkeys and giving thanks take center stage this week
By Dave Long

Well, itís hard to believe, but itís Thanksgiving already. Itís always been my favorite holiday. First because the holiday comes first and then you have three days to recover from shouting it out over dinner with the relatives. At least thatís how it works in my family,  which I imagine doesnít come as a real shock to one and all. And even though there hasnít been a really good game since the Lions upset the undefeated Packers in 1962, thereís all that football too. But before I get caught up in that,  hereís a list of a few things to be thankful for in sports on the big day and some of the turkeys as well.

The Turkeys:

MVP voters. Itís not that A-Rod won. He had a great season. Itís why he won. What does fielding have to do with it? Most valuable should come down to one question: which team would fall farthest if A-Rod were gone, or David Ortiz. If the answer is the Yanks, I can live with it. But I say A-Rod was the best all-around player and Ortiz the most valuable.

Rafael (heís not my) Palmeiro: Finger-wagging is a nice touch when youíre trying to bluff your way out of a jam. Makes the guys looking at you think, nobody could be that big a (expletive deleted) and really have done it. Guess again, fellas.

Donald (have no) Fehr: Heís like either side at the end of a really bad divorce. Heís not interested in a solution, he just wants to win. Which is why he was dragged kicking and scream ing to a solution that could save some in his membership from dying an early death from the side effects of steroid abuse.

The Guy at the Big D: The one I sat next to at the new Derryfield Restaurant who spent the afternoon trashing the defending champion (or is it the injury- riddled?) Patriots as they won in Miami. His attitude brought to mind the words of a mucky-mucky I know in the advertising business who after a particularly arduous day once said to me, ďI wish advertising was a contact sport.Ē Ditto for watching football next to a ďwhat have you done for me lately, nitwitĒ fair-weather  fan.

Giving Thanks:

Marty Scarano: For hanging in there with Sean McDonnell after a couple of down years when many others wouldnít, because the unprecedented success UNH football is now enjoying under the former West High assistant coach may be an example to others.

Mike Torrez: For having a sense of humor about Bucky Dentís homer on its 28th anniversary instead of wishing that greeting fans were a contact sport when Real Estate Mogul Bill Weidacher asked him at an event that day in Boston, ďAre you ready to admit yet you messed not taking a few warm-up pitches when Dent went back to get that new bat right before he hit the big homer?Ē

Tom Brady: How can anyone not like that guy?

Stanley Spirou: And not just for the Deney Terrio-like feet-stamping flamingo dance down the sideline when he really doesnít like a call, but because itís also good to have a guy around who can come up with great forgotten baseball names like Bobby Del Greco and Mike De La Hoz.

Bob Kraft: He was in my doghouse after the Parcells mess, but in hindsight it was unavoidable and though it took him a while to get it right, it is even better than it probably would have been had Tuna not melted down.

Pete Carroll: Yes, he had a rough go following Parcells, but heís a guy Iíd want my son to play for and heís living proof that nice guys can finish first.

The Thanksgiving Day game at Gill: Even though Iím not going this year and didnít go to high school in those parts, itís like a high school reunion for those who did and itís great for players to play in a game that has such real tradition.

The Hanover Street Chop House: It ainít open just yet, but after what Chuck Rolecek did with CR Sparks you know itís going to be great and thatís good because I need a place to unwind after a long day of (ahem) heavy lifting as a sportswriter and radio talk show host.

You might notice Iíve got a lot more thanks than turkeys. I donít know if thatís a sign that Iím mellowing (which I doubt) or that it only seems most of the time like thereís a lot more bad stories than good, because the nitwits and real tragedy make a much louder noise. Maybe thatís the thought we should all keep in mind when we say thanks at the table tonight. Hope all of you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Dave Long hosts Sports Night with Dave Long nightly on WGIR-AM from 6 to 7 pm.