May 10, 2007

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LONGSHOTS: The Rocket lands in Gotham during Monarchsí playoff break
by Dave Long

Here are a few (hundred) thoughts that have piled up on the inside of a cluttered brain while Iíve been patiently waiting for game three in the Monarchs and Bruins series to finally arrive. Itís the longest stretch between non-earthquake cancelled playoff games in my memory since I think 1962.

The good thing is the loooong break between games two and three gave Jason LaBarbera time to get healthier. He looked a little slow to my eye in allowing five goals in just 28 shots in the Mís 6-3 opening loss to Providence.

To my memory itís the longest inactive period in a playoff series since there were five days of rain between games five and game six in the 1962 World Series between the Yankees and San Francisco (Baseball) Giants that had my Giant-loving, insurance mogul friend Dick Lombardi on the edge of his seat when he was just a youngín

Sports 101 - How did game seven in that series end and why would it NEVER happen like that today?

Back to the Mís for a second. Two things from game one stand out. Not that Iím Andy Bathgate or anything, but Iíve never seen more shots hit defenders on their way to the net than that night. Iíve also never seen a team dominate a period and head back to the locker room down 2-0 as they did. Thatís why no game is more frustrating than hockey.

Much to Dan Shaughnessyís dismay 86.6 percent of the voters in a Boston.com survey said they were in favor of the deal that brought Randy Moss to the Patriots.

With all due respect to the Nobel Prize Tom Brady was nominated for, for restructuring his contract to allow Randy Mossís humongous Oakland deal under the salary cap: He got the same money either way, and once Mossís smaller, cap-friendly deal was in place Brady couldíve gotten the old one back. So hold the parades.

Was it a typo, or did Mike Reiss say in the Globeís Football Notes column on Sunday that Harvard defensive lineman Mike Berg would be trying to make the NY Giants as a fullback? What comparable skills do a D-lineman and fullback have? It has been done before in reverse, however, when all-time fullback Bronco Nagurski came back to the depleted Bears after several years in retirement as a guard during World War II.

Are those out there who said, before every seeing him pitch, that Dice-K would win 20 still thinking he will? I had him for 15, but with an ERA over 5.00 Iím worried about that. If you think Dice-K is off to a rocky start in a new home, Seattle must be saying Oy vay over signing Jeff (blood and cuts) Weaver, who is 0-5 with an ERA of 15.35.

Iím still sticking with my prediction that Josh Beckett would be the number one pitcher and win 20 ó not that I like to pat myself on the back or anything.

How many out there know only Roy Oswalt has won more games in the majors the last five years than Derek Lowe?

In case youíre interested Alex Gonzalez started the week at an even .300 with four homers, 11 runs scored and 12 RBI. Julio Lugo was at .221, with one homer, 17 runs scored and 13 RBI. Each had four errors. Mark Loretta was hitting .396 on Sunday. Did you know Loretta and Gonzalez collectively make less than Dustin Pedroia and Lugo? Which combo would you prefer?

Given how thirsty you can get playing sports, my favorite name among the Manchester Wolves is that of massive Maurice (water) Fountain for obvious reasons.

Anybody know why there are twice as many pitchers as hitters among the nine New Hampshire guys playing in the minors? And apparently thereís a power outage among the hitters as in 111 at bats between Concordís Matt Tupman, Durhamís Sam Fuld and Londonderryís Mike Chambers they donít have a homer.

And hereís one of those baseball-is-a-funny-game kind of stats: Litchfieldís Kyle (hit the road) Jackson is 2-0 for Portland despite a 7.20 ERA, while Memorial alum Chris (leg of) Lambert is 0-2 with a more palatable 3.42. Jacksonís ERA is a bit skewed as heís pitched just 10 innings when heís struck out 12 guys.

My must-read in the NH Sunday New Sports section is the column Kevin Gray (or is it Grey? I can never remember) does with Matt Bonner. Itís interesting, informative and funny. I always read it. And speaking of Bonner, thought heíd see more PT in the playoffs. He got just three minutes in the Denver series and got a DNP in the bloody Sunday opener with the Suns.

Sports 101 Answer: The Yankees won game seven 1-0 in 1962. What will never happen again: starting pitcher Ralph Terry was still on the mound to record the final out despite the fact that there were two men on and Hall of Famer-to-be Willie McCovey was at bat. In todayís lefty-righty specialized crazed baseball, the odds in Vegas would probably be 1 million to one that a right hander pitcher like Terry would face any lefty in that situation, let alone a mammoth one like McCovey.

Stat of the Week: If you think great pitching ALWAYS wins, what happened here? Pittsburgh won the 1960 World Series with an astonishing team ERA of 7.11. They lost three times by a margin of 38-3 and gave up nine more to the Yanks in game seven, but won anyway on Bill Mazeroskiís walk-off in the ninth. The pitcher who threw the pitch Maz hit was the same guy who faced McCovey with the winning run on second ó Ralph Terry. Yet two years later, Ralph Houk still let him pitch to the big fella, who hit a scalding line drive right at second baseman Bobby Richardson to end it.

Hereís how Rogerís return to the Bronx plays out. The man just ahead of him on the all-time win list is Warren Spahn. His greatest season arguably came in 1963 at age 42, when he was 23-7, with a 2.60 ERA in 256 innings. In í64 he lost it overnight going 6-13 with an ERA over 5.00. Rogerís 45. Sooner or later heís got to lose it. I say itís this year and Roger wins just eight games

If you say the potent Yankee hitting will save him, consider the fact that providing the support for Spahn in 1964 were Henry Aaron, Eddie Mathews (512 homers) and a catcher by the name of Joe Torre, who hit .321 and drove in 109. Itís karma for Joe to see both greats fade.

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).


5/3/2007 Raiders say "No Moss" in fight with talented wideout

4/26/2007 A little history on the ancient Sox and Yanks rivalry
4/19/2007 Lessons to be learned from Robinson, Monarchs and I-Man
4/12/2007 A few questions for the sports gods
4/5/2007 Stanton his case on a variety of current topics
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
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