April 5, 2007

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LONGSHOTS: Staton his case on a variety of current topics
by Dave Long

It’s time to clear a little space out, so here’s what I think about an array of topics that have been cluttering up the human hard drive over the last few months.

Forgot to say this after he took his team to the Class L finals — but thumbs up to Dave Keefe for the job he did with the Trinity basketball team this past winter. And with just one player graduating and a 17-1 freshman team things look pretty bright in the near future at the east end of Bridge Street.

According to Nick Cafardo in Sunday’s Globe, sabermetrics wizard Bill James has Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield and Josh Beckett for a combined 33 wins. I’ll say 43.

While we are on the subject of James, even with Billy Beane’s success, count me as one who thinks a lot of what he says is trendy numerical hooey and a big reason why Theo can‘t make a decision at shortstop. Here’s my cardinal rule on that one: unless it’s guys like Cal Ripken, A-Rod, Derek Jeter, Miguel (you say Tomata I say) Tejada, Nomar, Ernie Banks or Honus Wagner who have a shot to be MVP, defense is more than important than offense at shortstop — even in the offensive top-heavy AL East.

That means they should have saved the money and kept Alex Gonzales. And oh by the way, all those guys I just mentioned are better fielders than Julio Lugo as well.

And speaking of Cafardo, who is back doing Baseball Notes in the Sunday Globe, I love his weekly Apropos of Nothing segment. Here’s my try at it: 1. Hudson Street sounds like a detective in a Mickey Spillane novel instead of the closer for Oakland. 2. Don’t know about you, but I feel dyslexic every time I see something written about Cleveland shortstop Jhonny Peralta. 3. Hope Stan Spirou gets a 21st version of Willie Scurry in this spring’s shopping spree, as he needs a banger who can rebound. 4. Where do you think they’d be now if Tom Glavine and Chris Carpenter picked first love hockey over baseball? 5. Fenway hasn’t been the same since send them in Wendell Kim got the boot.

If you missed the game at the V on Sunday, you missed the best hockey of the year. It was feisty, gritty, intense battle that has me curious to see them come playoff time when those qualities and goaltending count a lot more than anything else. And if you don’t buy it, check out what my beloved Andy Bathgate did when the Leafs won the Cup back in ’64.

My gut reaction to Saturday’s Jason LaBarbara-for-MVP rally was a 10.5 on the yahoo meter and belongs in Orlando, Fla. But when I went to the instant replay for further review, as long as they DON’T stuff any MVP ballot box I guess showing support for a favorite son who has had a fabulous year is OK.

Shouldn’t organizations let people know what “a portion” of the proceeds means when they say they’ll donate that to a cause if you buy a ticket? Like with the announcement from the F-Cats that they’ll do that when fallen officer Mike Briggs’ badge number is retired at the ballpark in May. In this case, anything less than A LOT seems like exploiting an unspeakable tragedy to me and I’m sure the civic-minded F-Cats don’t want to do that.

In case you were wondering the Jim Boylen named head coach at Utah was not the same Jim Boylen who succeeded Jerry Friel at UNH. That, or he was afraid to say so because he thought the Big F might start digging around to find a résumé exaggeration like the one that did in George O’Leary at Notre Dame.

This doesn’t mean I think he’s not going to be a force, but despite being Ohio State’s leading scorer, I’m betting if Greg Oden turns pro he’ll dine on his share of Spaulding burgers, because he ain’t close to being ready offensively for the NBA.

And to whoever gets him, please, please, please don’t do to Oden what the Knicks did to Patrick Ewing. Yes, Ewing deservedly was a Top 50 All-Time player, but turning him into a fall away jump shooter from the ferocious defender he was at Georgetown is why the one title he won as a Hoya is more than the donut he got as a pro.

And to the guy on WEEI last week who said John Havlicek couldn’t carry Scottie Pippen’s jock: au contra, pal. Like Pippen, he was an all-NBA defender many times, over who could cover any guard or small forward, scored over 26,000 points, won titles after Bill Russell retired, which Pip did not do after Jordan retired despite playing with Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon. Plus, along with Jerry West, he was the best end of the end game scorer of his era, while in the year Michael was gone, it was Tony Kukoc, who Phil Jackson picked to take the last shot, right before Scottie quit on his team to pout on the bench in the final minute of a play-off game.

If you’re into baseball memorabilia you might want to check out the Sports Collector Auction in Concord on Saturday April 21. It marks the auctioneering debut of the Big Guy, a.k.a. the affable Mike Donnell, who’ll auction off more than 300 items at the Concord Auction Center on Hall Street. He’ll have an array of sports medals, pins, yearbooks and scorecards up for bid. Of particular interest will be vintage cards from the ’50, ’60s and ’70s from the likes of Ted Williams, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and many others. Preview is from 9 a.m. to noon and the auction starts at noon. Auction listings can be obtained by calling Donnell at 396-3204.

Speaking of the esteemed Mr. Aaron, unless Barry Bonds is disciplined over alleged steroid use I don’t see how Bud Selig can ignore him when Bonds breaks baseball’s most cherished record sometime this year. It should be convict or go.

And finally, from the “even a blind squirrel finds an acorn” file, congrats go out to WMUR’s Jamie Staton (his case) for his showing in WGAM (plug, plug) Bracket Challenge. At press time he was leading the pack of nearly 300 entries. If his pick of Ohio State to win is right (which I’m betting didn’t happened) he woke up Tuesday morning the winner of a 42-inch wide-screen TV. Not bad.

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).


3/29/2007 Sox spring back into action on Monday

3/22/2007 A guide for having fun on NCAA hockey weekend
3/15/2007 The madness of March kicks off on Thursday
3/8/2007 Jumping through hoops after an odd season
3/1/2007 A trip to the mail bag for Hippo Sports
2/22/2007 Six degrees of Muhammed Ali
2/15/2007 Monarchs rule as streak reaches 12
2/8/2007 Talking a good game ahead on all-sports WGAM
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
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