February 8, 2007

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LONGSHOTS: Talking a good game ahead on all-sports WGAM
by Dave Long

When you start a new radio program you want to do it with a bang. Thatís why I picked Devin Hester to be MVP of the Super Bowl during my (plug, plug) inaugural broadcast on WGAM. And a scant 14 seconds into the game I was already ready to say ďI told you soĒ after Hester ran back the opening kick-off for a TD. Alas it wasnít to be, as after Tony Dungy made one of the great (or was it the most obvious) coaching adjustments in Super Bowl history Hester never laid a glove on the ball again, and QB Rex Grossman did ó with decidedly less success. Oh well, just have to dazzle them with something else.

If you didnít know, after a meteoric rise with the good folks at WGIR, I hit the free agent market in December and landed with a new team. Itís actually more accurate to say Iíve landed in a new game as the station is called The Game, where I can be heard Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at 1250-AM in Manchester and 900 AM in Nashua. Fortunately with a ton of things going on itĎs a great time to start a new gig and hereĎs a sampling of just what you might hear me yakking about:

Rivalry talk: With the Colts winning a Super Bowl, is the rivalry between the Patriots and Colts now even more distant from the NFLís second best rivalry, which Iíll bet most canít even name?

Good hockey talk: Whatís the first thing I see when I stick my head out of the foxhole after the football season ended? The Monarchs are in first and pulling away in the Atlantic Division. When did that happen? Theyíre exciting and the 119 goals allowed through Sunday shows they can stop the puck. Thatíll come in handy as they try to end the Curse of Howard Baldwin by winning their first-ever playoff series come April. And then, after that, who knows, maybe the whole ball of wax. Stay tuned.

Dynasty talk: I can just hear the Indy talk shows right now. ďSince itĎs the salary cap era, and that means the definition of ďdynastyĒ changes according to our definition, winning once in one year makes the Colts a dynasty!Ē You know what I say about that, but if you follow the logic that the definition changes based on circumstances, we may have the makings of one right here in River City.

Iím hesitant to bring it up, as Iím guessing Doc (10) Wheeler takes the Belichickian position on talking about Centralís remarkable (as I write this) 45-game winning streak. While they still have a looooong way to go, theyíre satisfying one of my major dynasty rules by continuing to win with the next group of guys. Itís like UCLA winning the title behind Sidney Wicks and Curtis Rowe after Lew Alcindor graduated to the NBA after winning three straight. This more balanced Central group has kept the pedal to the metal despite losing an all-time player in Tyler Roche and his Scottie Pippen-like sidekick Joe (born) Fremeau. As I said earlier, theyíve got a long way to go, especially with undefeated Salem dead ahead, but they won the Queen City Classic and are 13-0 at the moment so stay tuned.

Best-ever talk: Not to pick on my friends at the UL or at Trinity, but after they killed all those trees in best ever coverage of the talented Pioneers group that won a lot but came up short in the end, Iím still waiting for a story wondering if Central of the last three years may be the best ever. Iím sure folks like Lance (short pants) Williamson will have something to say about where they stack up with his Bishop Bradley teams that won over 60 in a row when LBJ was in the White House.

Matt Bonner talk: You know his Concord teams under Billy Haubrich are in that discussion. And he may also be responsible for someone actually wanting to talk about the NBA comes playoff time if his Spurs are making a run. And by the way who named him the Red Rocket? I get the alliteration, but rocket denotes propelling oneself into the air or blinding speed. Since he has serious range I can see Red Bomber. But rocket? I donít think so.

Medical talk: Iím no doctor, but Iíll probably play one on the radio when itís time to talk of who the Red Sox closer will be in 2007. I mean I just donít get how pitching 70 innings as a closer can be more stressful to Jonathan Papelbonís shoulder than throwing 220 as a starter. Doesnít make sense, especially if some rules are built into how heís used in consecutive games and how many times he warms up. I think Theo Belichickís medical ďexplanationĒ is his way of getting around the hue and cry that would come from moving a guy who had one of the greatest years any closer has ever had because Theo believes heíll even more valuable as a starter. With Curt Schilling, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett in place and no closer in sight, weíll see about that.

Sports movie show talk: Before the Academy Awards we can focus on Robert Redford as Branch Rickey in the movie being made about Rickey bringing Jackie Robinson to the majors. I canít wait to see it, or the sure-to-follow criticism from Spike Lee, but I canít see how the (once) dashing Redford can evoke the crusty Rickey.

Thatís just a small sampling of what lies ahead from 10 to noon each Saturday. So give me a call and let me know what you think about these or any other topics.

Dave Long is host of Home Team Saturday with Dave Long and Company, 10 a.m. to noon each Saturday morning on WGAM (1250 AM in Manchester and 900 AM in Nashua).



2/1/2007 Manning the Super Bowl watch more difficult in '07

1/25/2007 Winning and what else matters in college coaching
1/18/2007 ESPN polls are fanning the flames of national lunacy
1/11/2007 Patriots marching to MIami promised land
1/4/2007 Predictions for 2007
12/28/2006 REcognizing the best on the national front
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
Heroís 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