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).