November 23, 2006

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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


11/16/2006 Green-around-the-gills Celts looking to earn some respect

11/9/2006 Blame game reaches new local low
11/2/2006 A week of highs and lows in sport
10/26/2006 Curses! The U is foiled again
10/19/2006 Time for a trip to the sports mailbag
10/12/2006 U turns Granite Stare around on football
10/05/2006 James' gang riding into town to face the Celtics
09/28/2006 Words to describe a lost Red Sox season
09/21/2006 Football Friday can't stack up to Saturday
09/14/2006 A lesson to be learned in remembering a somber day
09/07/2006 Usual pat choice to win AFC East questioned
08/31/2006 Whining won't yank AL East away from NY
08/24/2006 Spring forward or fall behind for Sox
08/17/2006 Trash talking abounds in the Empire over Sox and Pats
08/10/2006 Monarchs call press conference to crown new leader
08/03/2006 Deadly Fenway duo leave mark on history
07/27/2006 Word of the wise gets lost in sports translation
07/20/2006 Looking beyond the Big Three
07/13/2006 Cream rises to the top of baseball talk at the Dot
07/06/2006 Greetings and salutations toThe Nation at mid-year
06/29/2006 Being dealt is a consequence of the trade
06/22/2006 A year later, Boudreau's cup runneth over
06/15/2006 See dogs and cats battle for a different fan experience
06/08/2006 Not Bad Anymore league makes a comeback
06/01/2006 Luck goes Sox way with Lowell in Massachusetts
05/25/2006 Pitching in to help the Sox trade a few places
05/18/2006 Going to school by cutting Red Sox payroll
05/11/2006 Columnist blows his mind; here are the results
05/04/2006 Yanks stormed Manchester 37 years ago this week
04/27/2006 Regular crowd nowhere to be found come playoff time
04/20/2006 Questions and answers from the mailbag
04/13/2006 Local sports teams spring into action
04/06/2006 Predictable Red Sox season lies ahead
03/30/2006 Analyzing this and that as Pats roster shrinks
03/23/2006 A week of following the bouncing balls
03/16/2006 The beginning of four days of basketball bliss
03/09/2006 Many miss the central point of the story
03/02/2006 Better late than never to jump through local hoops
02/23/2006 Celtic green means raw, not envy as it once did
02/16/2003 An issue that is all black and white
02/09/2006 Nomar curses from the UL's Sullivan
02/02/2006 Super memories from 40 years of watching the big game
01/26/2006 A certain uniformity to the inquiries in the mailbag
01/19/2006 Sudden end to Pats' season leave just one thing to do
01/12/2006 Pats on the back for the football team
01/05/2006 Predictions for Manchester Sports 2031
A lesson for Leo the Lip and nice guys everywhere

Chop House opening is Berra of good news
Event-filled weekend missed en route to evil empire
Hero’s death lays to rest misuse of the word
Saint Theo ascends to new heights in The Nation
Santa sack filled to the brim with sports
Patriots march through injuries toward threepeat
Sports talk should be on the air
Stars shine brightest when winning is in the mix
The Demonization of Johnny Damon
Thirty-seven topics and so little space
Too many holes in Sox for repeat
Trip to the injured list makes it a long weekend for local scribe
Turkeys and giving thanks take center stage this week
Yanked from the edge of your seat