LONGSHOTS: Turkeys and Thanks as the big day arrives
by Dave Long
Amid your annual turkey day game on Thursday morning, the Lions playing on TV at noon, relatives everywhere and of course the wonderful aromas that filter through the house as the feast is being prepared, Thanksgiving somehow has already arrived. And as is our custom, we will pass out our thanks and turkeys befitting the day:
Thanks: For the likable local major leaguer Chris Carpenter, who’s re-built a pretty nice career after arm surgery put it in doubt. It’s fun having someone from home playing in big games like the World Series and satisfying to share in the glory from afar when things go well. Plus he gives back by going to the baseball dinner every year.
Turkey: The person who injected the word “snub” into the sports lexicon for use every time someone does not make an All-Star team or is beaten out for an award. Like the UL headline last week that said, “Carpenter OK with Cy snub.” With all due respect to our favorite player, how was it a snub? The 15 games he won would have been the least ever by a starter to win the award. If he won 25 and lost to a guy who won 16, then you might wonder. Ted Williams got snubbed in 1942 after winning the Triple Crown because some writers didn’t like him. Carp was a legit contender in a field with no clear winner. Snub? Please.
Thanks: For Franklin Pierce basketball getting that win over UNH last week. It’s nice to see a hungry team get the big reward. Also that college hoop fans in these parts have had two consistent men’s programs to watch through the years in Saint Anselm and Southern New Hampshire University.
Turkey: The attitude that led UNH to play a FPC because they knew they’d put a W on the ledger. The attitude is prevalent with struggling programs, but it doesn’t do any good. If the U got a win, who cares? It’s not like they’re getting in the tournament if they pick up just one more win. I like the idea that they played, just not the reason, so here’s a suggestion. Instead of being afraid to play SNHU and St. A’s, rotate a division II with those two and FPC every third year. Then bring a team to face them that wants to kick their butt, rather than expects to. That would expose UNH basketball to a wider group of fans and maybe lead to a team that demonstrates they are the best in the state.
Thanks: For coaches who get it – the men and women who put in the time at all levels to teach and inspire, who want the best for the kids and when they yell it’s for a reason other than that they should be in a court-ordered anger management class.
Turkey: Enablers who keep the lights on for Bobby Knight. He may or may not have done anything wrong last week, but a guy with the kind of temper he exhibits is not the kind of role model college students or, worse, youngsters following programs like Indiana and Texas Tech should be around. How is it possible the people in charge of a college can’t see that? Probably the green that followed him to Texas Tech shaded their vision.
Thanks: To, and I can’t believe I’m saying it for this guy, Bill O’Reilly for having the guts to essentially say his boss Rupert Murdoch was a disgrace for putting the O. J. Simpson If I Did It book on the pathetic Fox Network. As an aside, I do this by fighting every cynical instinct in my body that is saying that the on-air folks on the “fair and balanced” cable news station kick up the dust to help hype a controversial show on the boss’s other network.
Turkey: The ready-fire-aim mentality in the lurking media that rushes to judgment before they really know the actual story. Exhibit A, the who-ha over Terrell Owens’ alleged suicide attempt. It’s not that I don’t think he brings all the misery on himself, but it was out there WAY before anybody had a real idea. It was the latest example of how being first is more important than being right when you’re tying to win the ratings war.
Thanks: To the Red Sox brass for demonstrating that my friend Charlie Sherman was wrong in saying that the Trio were a bunch of carpetbaggers who were going to spend a few years in Boston then take the money and run. Dropping $50 million on just the right to talk to a pitcher says they are spending to win and will be here for a while.
Turkey: Those who whine about the free-spending Yankees and refuse to acknowledge that the Red Sox used their financial superiority over most other teams to gain the right to negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Thanks: If that fee is on the books as a player development and marketing expense.
Turkey: If the entire $20 million it’ll cost annually to get Matsuzaka is goes to the Red Sox payroll. Making a guy who’s never thrown one pitch in the bigs the game’s highest-paid pitcher is too big a gamble. Especially with Theo’s track record with pitching.
Thanks: If signing J. D. Drew to big buck is a setup to send Manny to the Orioles for Miguel (you say tomato, I say) Tejada to play short.
Turkey: If it’s just to get the injury-prone J. D. Drew to play right eight months after for they let Johnny Damon, who plays a more valuable position, walk.
Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone.
Dave Long can be heard on Sports Night with Dave Long nightly from 6 to 7 p.m. on 610 WGIR-AM