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