LONGSHOTS: Predictions for 2007
by Dave Long
Here’s our traditional look into the crystal ball for what’s in store for 2007:
• When Hall of Fame voting is announced Mark McQwire finishes behind former Red Sox player Marty Barrett in the voting and thus way short of gaining the coveted honor.
• Doc (10) Wheeler wins his fourth or fifth (I can never remember) Class L State basketball title to pull even with retired Concord mentor Bill Haubrich for most titles won since the three-point shot was adopted. It comes when Wil (San Francisco) Bayliss buries one from the Newmarket area code to give Green a controversial 87-86 triple-overtime win over gallant Memorial, whose five starters all foul out in regulation.
• After seeing the refereeing debacle first-hand, Hall of Fame referees Tommy Dixon and Donny Winterton contemplate coming out of retirement, but after two trips up and down that loooong court in Durham they reconsider.
• Still reeling from the loss of coach Mark Morris years earlier Clarkson goes down in the ECAC hockey tourney when Bedford’s Steve Rolecek (c.r.) sparks a Harvard comeback with a shorthanded goal that leads to a Crimson win and an invitation to the NCAAs.
• Harvard goes on to stun all on hand by winning the NCAA Regional held at the plug, plug arena with back-to- back wins over Michigan and UNH. Proud papa Chuck Rolecek is so swept up in the events he grabs the PA from a stunned Tim Bechert and invites the entire arena over to the Hanover Street Chop House for a “party you won’t believe.”
• The first “Manny being Manny” moment arrives opening day when he forgets to come out for player introduction while absorbed in reading War and Peace. The Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy immediately texts Boston.com to say that Manny has quit on the team; however, he recovers to knock in 12 runs and all is forgiven.
• The high-flying Monarchs advance to round two of the playoffs and a jubilant president Jeff Eisenberg throws one of their great ’70s parties at the Radisson Inn two days before facing Bruce (can’t win the big one) Boudreau and the Hershey Bears.
• Former mayor and high school band all-star (I used to be) Bob Baines throws out the first pitch on John Phillip Souza Day at the Dot. He throws a curve (no surprise for a politician) that goes wide left and hits mascot Fungo flush in one of his huge furry ears. He’s rushed to Elliot Hospital, where noted surgeon Ned Dalton performs an experimental ballectomy, first learned while watching Moe do it to Curly on The Three Stooges, to save the little guy from permanent damage.
• Japanese-fluent WMUR sports reporter Naoko Funayama is named to the United Nations 2007 All Interpreters team after stellar work helping The Nation understand what the heck Daisuke Matsuzaka has been saying. This prompts Larry Lucchino to offer her a full-time job as his interpreter. She turns it down for a similar offer to be Donald Trump’s mouthpiece when he and Rosie O’Donnell take their elementary school tit-for-tat battle on the road to the Far East.
• The L.A. brass accepts the wily Bechert’s offer to meet the Bruins in a pre-season match at the V to repay Monarchs fans for their fervent support. The Hippo immediately calls for the Sports Council to commission a “Welcome Monarchs Alumni” banner to hang across Elm Street adjacent to City Hall until the big day arrives.
• The pendulum swings back to shortstops that play strong defense for Theo Epstein at the trading deadline in July. He trades Julio Lugo for Alex Gonzales at 10 a.m., then changes his mind at 1 p.m. to swap the latter for Edgar Renteria, before swinging back the other way to end the day by sending Edgar to the Angels for old friend Orlando Cabrera.
• After playing the Red Sox JV to SRO crowds all 19 times Portland comes to town, the F-Cats announce all home games next year will be played against the Sea Dogs.
• Matt Bonner ends the NBA finals with a three over Miami’s big fella to give the Spurs their fourth title in the Tim Duncan era.
• Real estate mogul Bill Weidacher and Mike Torres reconcile in October during a touching moment when the big fellow concedes he should have thrown a couple of warm-ups waiting for Bucky Dent and BW says, “If I’d admitted I blew that Little Seattle deal way back when, my old partner John Clarke (bar) might still be talking to me too.”
• Theo’s much-discussed shortstop maneuvers not only utterly confuse the Yankee brass and The Nation, but kick start the sluggish Red Sox to a second Cabrera-led world title in four years.
• Undeterred by winning a second ring with Cabrera at short, Theo swings back to O over D in a winter meeting deal that satisfies the “Bring back Nomar” wing of Red Sox Nation as Orlando goes west for Nomar Garicaparra.
• Semi-beloved UL scribe Joe Sullivan is ecstatic and pens a follow-up to his famous “Nomar’s The Greatest Red Sox Ever” column that originally cursed poor Nomar. Three days later it works again. Nomar breaks his fibula playing soccer in the backyard with wife Mia Hamm (and eggs) and is declared out for 2008.
• Jamie Staton (his case) is given a lifetime achievement award from the all wardrobe team at the TV sportscasters Hall Of Fame after he wears the same holiday red pants to the WMUR Christmas party for the 11th year in a row.
• Sullivan is named columnist of the last 25 years by the noted publication Curses and Conspiracies Monthly at a black-tie gala celebrating their 25th anniversary in print. Oliver Stone comes in second for JFK.
We’ll check back from time to time to see how I’m doing.
Dave Long can be heard on Sports Night with Dave Long nightly from 6 to 7 p.m. on 610 WGIR-AM