LONGSHOTS: A trip to the mail bag for the Hippo Sports
by Dave Long
As Howard Dean counts down the days to New Hampshireís first-in-the-nation primary, itís time to go to the mail bag to see whatís on the mind of some folks out there.
Dear Dave: What do you think of the Nashua Pride signing Rich Garces to pitch in Nashua next year? Betty Ross, 13 Constitution Drive, Freedom, N.H.
Dear Betty: Wish I had the contract for the material needed to make his uniform. Besides that, how can you think itís not great? Everyone loved El Guapo when he played for the Sox.
Dear Dave: Are you as ticked off at Manny as I am for not reporting to spring training with everyone else? Anne Schaugnessy, 171 Blowhard Drive, Boston, Mass.
Dear Anne: No. Since itís been going on for six years already, itís wasted energy. This isnít football where you can cut a guy with little financial impact as Philly did with Terrell Owens. Itís a $40 million hit, so that canít happen. Three years ago they tried to give him away for NOTHING, with no takers. Theyíve tried to trade him many times since and all the deals were for 50 cents on the dollar. If they did that, those now clamoring for Mannyís head would hang Theo in effigy in Kenmore Square. So whatís the solution? If you think any punitive measure will change him, youíre crazier than Manny himself. So, itís finding the best way to get his 35 and 120 with the least disruption in the final two years of the deal Dan Duquette gave him. Thatís probably a mixture of leaving him alone and peer pressure from guys like Big Papi and maybe Julio Lugo. If you have a more productive solution Iím all ears.
Dear Dave: What do you think of the race in girlsí Class L basketball? Billy Gene, 20 King Street, Bobby Riggs, N.M.
Dear Billy: Itís such a good race, Iím surprised Gov. Dean hasnít tried to move the playoffs from Durham to Nevada to water it down a bit. Anytime a team runs the table as Timberlane did, itís tremendous. But when the league is as balanced as Class L, itís really a feat. But given that balance, I wonít be surprised if any from the group of BG, Central, Concord, Londonderry, Pinkerton, Trinity or Winnacunnet upset T-Lane. And if you threaten to take away my autographed picture of Babe Didrikson Zaharias unless I name a favorite, Iíll take Trinity now that Megan Jackson is healthy.
Dear Dave: I heard a rumor you were going to compete in the Sports Trivia Contest at the Raphael Club in Manchester last week. How did it go? Mike Wright, 52 Clayton Drive, Manchester, N.H.
Dear Mike: Since teammate and former Trinity hoop coach Pat OíNeil knows the answer to every Notre Dame question ever asked, we smoked them. And even though there were some questions the Schwab wouldnít have had a shot at, thanks to hard work and humor of organizers Frank Harlan and semi-beloved, semi-retired local scribe (the curse of) Joe Sullivan, a good time was had by all.
Dear Dave: Where do you stand on JD Drew? Al (home run) Trotsky, 36 Nixon Way, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Dear Al: My first reaction was, are they crazy? Iíd never overpay for a guy whoís played over 140 games just twice in 10 years. And if he plays less than 140 Iíll be saying I told you so, since I place a premium on durability and playing hurt. But since you canít blame him for taking the dough in an off-season where baseball sprayed money around like Pac Man Jones at a Nevada Strip Club, Iím trying to have an open mind.
Dear Dave: Should suspected steroid use of recent stars affect the voting for Jim Rice getting into the Hall of Fame? Sammy Jose, 441 Canseco Drive, Wasted Potential, Fla.
Dear Sammy: Thatís the same logic used by the ďPatriots are a dynastyĒ crowd, where definitions and rules change based on what year it is. The steroids issue has NOTHING to do with his career. He started coming up short long before anyone even heard of steroids. So his chances shouldnít increase now that some guys after him are thought to be or were caught cheating. Heís just on the bubble. If I were his attorney in Sports Court, Iíd compare him to Orlando Cepeda. Each had an MVP, basically the same number, but Rice was the more feared at his peak. Then Iíd do what the reactionary political right always does and say thereís a media bias against him because he was nasty to the media as a player (and if you donít think that matters look at how many votes Albert Belle got last year). If I were the prosecuting attorney, Iíd say he was slow on the bases, a mediocre fielder playing left in Fenway Park (the easiest outfield position in all of baseball) and wasnít dominant long enough. And if I were Jim Ed sitting in court waiting for the verdict, Iíd be hoping Katherine Harris was in charge of counting the votes, and on my side.
Dear Dave: Saw you on the TV coverage of the Fisher Catsí big press conference last week. What did you make of the announcement? Albert Monica, 14 Bardier Street, Non-returned Calls, Nev.
Dear Al: You mean besides the fact that the room it was held in made it tighter for those gathered than during the state room scene in A Night At The Opera? Well, I canít lie, I had my fingers crossed that they were changing the name back to Primaries, but that wasnít it. So, while Iím sure Howard Dean doesnít like it being held in New Hampshire, I guess itís the next best thing. Having the All-Star Game at the dot will be great for the city, the region and any baseball fan who can get here.
Dear Dave: I agree with last weekís column, that history matters. Got any good ones for us this week? Mr. Gabe Kotter, 100 Welcome Back Lane, Bronx, N.Y.
Dear Mr. Ka-tear: Hereís my favorite. Forty-five years ago this week, the Philadelphia Warriors and Wilt Chamberlain faced New York three times in the same week. The Big Fella responded with 67, 67 and his famous 100-point game all in the most amazing six- day scoring binge in league history! Not sure if Gov. Dean was behind moving the last one to godforsaken Hershey, Pa., or not, but thatís where no one saw Wilt score his 100.
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).