December 28, 2006

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LONGSHOTS: Recognizing the best on the national front
by Dave Long

With 2007 dawning on the space-time continuum (yikes!), it’s time to hand out the annual Hippo National Sports Awards. The envelope please…..

The Howard Dean Public Meltdown Award: To Arizona Coach Dennis Green in the press conference after the Cardinals had the Bears cold and blew it in the final seconds on—as Howard Cosell would say—Monday Night Football.

The Darrell (rio) Grande - You Say Blue, He Says Red, You Say Red, He Says Blue I‘ll Argue With Myself If I Have To Award: To former Notre Dame signal-caller and close personal friend of the original LT Joe Theismann. He gets it for saying early in the Patriot-Minnesota game on ESPN’s Monday Night Football that Vikes QB Brad Johnson deserves to get a big contract extension for what he does for the franchise and later in the same broadcast that the Vikings will never amount to much until they get a franchise-type guy to play QB.

The New York Post - Best Newspaper Headline: To, well the New York Post, who else?

They get it for “BEATINGS & SALUTATIONS,” which appeared above the game story after the Sox cuffed Pedro around during the three-day love fest in June when he made his first visit to Fenway since defecting to New York

The General Custer - Disaster At Little Big Horn Award: To the Red Sox, for when the Yankees outscored them 49 to 26 in a five-game sweep in Fenway Park that effectively ended Boston’s season in mid-August.

The Jack Buck - I Don’t Believe What I Just Saw Award: It could go to anyone looking on during the events in the previous entry, but instead it goes to David Ortiz for the unbelievable number of walk-off homers and hits he continued to deliver in 2006.

Brinks Award for the Best Bank Heist in Sport: When you’ve never played more than 143 games and only reached that number twice in 10 big league seasons, to get $30 million more than the Red Sox were willing to give gritty Johnny Damon, JD Drew and agent Scott (don’t) Boras are the winners in this category.

Neville Chamberlain Peace In Our Time Award: To NBA Commissioner David Stern.

Suspending the NBA’s leading scorer for 15 games and nine others in varying degrees and fining the Knicks and Nuggets a half million a piece for that brawl at MSG last week is a little tougher than Neville’s “yes Mr. Hitler sir” response to German aggression and militaristic threats at the Munich Conference in 1938.

General Patton Blood and Guts Award: In a pitch-count-impaired world, to Curt Schilling for exceeding 100 in throwing 130 pitches early in 2006 and actually living to talk about it later.

Newt Gingrich - Do As I Say, Not As I Do - Family Values Hypocrite Award: To locals who lambaste the NBA for behavior like we saw in New York two weeks ago and are the first to stand and cheer at the V when a fight breaks out in a Monarchs game. Why is it OK to brawl in hockey and a disgrace when the guys in (not so) short pants do it?

The Dr. Kevorkian - Please Him Out Of His Misery Award: When you’re (give or take) $4 billion over the salary cap in a year you finished with the worst record in the league after trading away your first-round pick for an OK player and fired a coach you hired one year into a $50 million contract things could be better. And then follow it up by now coaching the team, that’s sinking faster than the Titanic after having a nasty brawl in the media capital of the world because your players were embarrassed to lose by 20 at home—you’re skating on thin ice. So this one goes to Knick President Isiah Thomas.

Overblown Media Circus Award: The winner in the crowded field has to be the suicide attempt of Terrell Owens, no wait a minute, now it’s not suicide, it’s an accident. It goes to the got-to-be-first-no-matter-what ravenous media.

The Curse Of Semi-Beloved Ex-Scribe Joe Sullivan Award: To me—for the gushing article I wrote about UNH football after which they promptly dropped out of first the top spot in the nation and then the Top Ten altogether in a tailspin where they lost three out of their next four.

The Bill Buckner I Wish I Could Have That One Back Award: When Celtic fans see alumni Joe Johnson, Chauncey Billups and Ben Wallace flourishing around the NBA, it makes them wish for a mulligan or three on the decisions to send them elsewhere.

The Died And Gone To Heaven Award: That goes to legendary Red Auerbach who actually did die and go to heaven.

The Mike Flanagan Alumnus Done Good After They Left Home Award: How about former Plymouth State University football coach Don Brown, who took UMass to the IAA championship game after taking out UNH.

The Chris (can you smell something) Berman? - Best Nickname Award: From a crowded field that includes Ben (sonny and) Cherington and Josh (Aaaa) Hoyer from the Red Sox high command, record-setting receiver David (having a) Ball, long ago great Detroit Tiger Harry (zeig) Heilman, Monarchs VP of Public Affairs Cheryl (hey) Abbott. DeMarlo (what the) Hale (are you doing) is runner-up because it is a question every Red Sox third base coach has been asked sooner or later. And the winner is Leon (home run) Trotsky, because it blends sports with what the turn-of-the-century political anarchist should have done when he ran afoul of pal Joseph Stalin and caught an ice pick to the head.

Bring on 2007!

Dave Long can be heard on Sports Night with Dave Long nightly from 6 to 7 p.m. on 610 WGIR-AM


12/21/2006 Present under the tree for all

12/14/2006 Mailbag open for busines at a time filled with questions
12/07/2006 Lions and Gators and Bears, oh my
11/30/2006 Does Fenway frankness roll to the negative side?
11/23/2006 Turkeys and thanks as the big day arrives
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