July 5, 2007

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LONGSHOTS: Brown Monster a big Fisher Cat hit
by Dave Long

With the July Fourth holiday upon us, the All-Star break right around the corner and Paris out of the slammer, it’s time to go the mailbag for a column that won’t infringe too much on my expected down over the holiday weekend:

Dear Dave: What do you say to Bill (Sunday) Masse had to say about the ovation local fans gave Clay Buchholz last Monday night? Father Winchell Mahoney, 12 Hardnocks Lane, Swing and Miss, Rhode Island.

Dear Father Mahoney: You mean other than “Chill”? It’s hard to add anything to the bloggers and callers to (plug, plug) WGAM all-sports radio. But given what he had to say about the deal between his former and current employer in the A-Rod “I got it” incident, I’m thinking he wears it on his sleeve. I’m sure he was sticking up for his guys, but after seeing attendance records set on consecutive weekends at the park, it’s probably not a good idea to bark at the paying customers by telling the Commissioner for his next-day UL story, “I think it’s sad. This is New Hampshire’s team, Manchester’s team and to see Clay Buchholz get a standing ovation was absolutely disgraceful.” Know what I mean?

Secondly – HELLO! If they did it at Philip Hughes’ rehab start for Trenton, then he’d have a beef. But they play in the heart of Red Sox Nation with the most provincial fans in the universe — people who, I think, in the great majority, never even heard of the National League. So what does he expect? That’s like a high school coach expecting a teacher from his school not to root for his own kid when he’s another team. Heck, even owner Art Solomon once got spanked for publicly saying he’d like to be part of the Red Sox organization. So getting a better understanding of the terrain would probably help out in the blood pressure department.

Dear Dave: Give me one word for your thoughts on what the Celtics did on draft night. Alfred Johnny, 16 Most Drive, Pearly Gates, Maine

Dear Alfred: Underwhelmed. Maybe I’m just the type who can never be happy, but this puts the Kevin Garnett trade back in play and now Al Jefferson and Gerald Green will be in that deal. Yes, if it happens, that makes them contenders to win the East and I suppose that is what we want. But, call me crazy, I wanted to watch a young team grow up into a good one. That can’t happen now. Bringing in a 31-year-old guard (who plays no defense) to join Paul Pierce means they HAVE to go for it now. That means the pups will be gone and they’ll be rebuilding after what probably will be four pretty good years.

Dear Dave: What do you really suppose happened when Chris Lutz left SNHU at the altar in favor of going to Marshall? And do you know who the last guy from Marshall was to go to the NBA? Louis D. Mato, 37 Syracuse Dr., Manchester, NH

Dear Louis: The answer to part two is Hal Greer, who played for the hated 76ers during the Wilt Russell era of a forgotten truly great rivalry. As far as Chris, my guess is he had tons of people coming up to him saying, “Hey, you just scored 17 against Arizona in the tournament, why the heck are you going D-II”? The reason I say that is that I had tons of people coming up to me and asking the same question. Only time will tell if he made the best decision for himself — which I’m sure all hope is the case.

Dear Dave: What can Terry Francona do about Julio Lugo’s below-the-Mendozza-line hitting slump besides suing Theo Epstein for shortstop abandonment? David (what the) Eckstein, 14 Henley Ramirez Dr., Orlando Cabrera, Florida

Dear David: I would have considered that lawsuit long before now. Like when he let Orlando Cabrera walk because he wasn’t strong enough offensively (he’s hitting .340 last time I looked). Having said that, there is no possible way Lugo can be this bad, and there are things about him I like. Like his speed, where he was 20 for 20 on his stolen base attempts. Imagine how many he’ll steal if he actually starts getting on base. Plus his fielding has been pretty good. He’s just in a monumental slump. No, make that a MONUMENTAL slump. When you consider how much they are on the hook for financially, Tito has to stay with him — which, oh, by the way, worked first for Dustin Pedroia and now the rampaging Coco Crisp, whom the Nation was also clamoring to send out of town for their lack of hitting. With a big lead they have the luxury of playing Alex Cora a little more and look to maximize match-ups that will be favorable for Lugo. And then I’d remind all to chill, because the guy is trying and his desire to quell the dissatisfaction is probably what’s making him so uptight.

Dear Dave: What do you think of the Sport Nation poll on ESPN to name the top picks at each of the top ten spots in the NBA draft over the last 30 years that saw 94.6 percent of voters pick Michael Jordan as the best number-three pick in history? Randel Patrick McMurphy, 117 West 18th Street, Tottallydemented, Wyoming.

Dear Randel: I’d say the 05.4 percent who gave votes to the likes of Kevin McHale, Dominique Wilkins, and, are you ready for this, Chauncey Billups among others over Michael must have been on acid in the 1980s and 90s. How else can you explain why it wasn’t 100 percent? Well then again Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams and others weren’t unanimous choices by the supposedly enlightened writers for baseball’s Hall either, so maybe acid has been around a lot longer than I thought. Ditto for the .04 percent who said Kenny Smith was a better sixth pick than Larry Bird. And to think these people vote for president too.

Dear Dave: What is your favorite spot to watch the F-Cats play on a nice summer night? Sean Smythe, 11 Mickey Rivers Drive, Fargo, North Dakota.

Dear Sean: I pretty much love every place in the park, as the F-Cats did a fabulous job building the joint. But if I have to take one, it’s on top of the Brown Monster in left field on the patio at the Hilton Hotel. It’s got a great view, you’re waited on hand and foot, the food is better than ballpark stuff and you don’t have to buy a ticket. Plus I hear they’re putting flat screens out there so you can keep up with Buchholz and Portland, errr, the Red Sox on the telly at the same time. Try the wild mushroom pizza, it’s a home run.

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).


6/28/2007 Rambling along with some random thoughts

6/21/2007 The future is now for the C's come Thursday night
6/14/2007 Homers create bonds among fans for generations
6/07/2007 Sox win by losing two of three this weekend
5/31/2007 Lutz of things to think about
5/24/2007 Down 2-0 M’s for playoff payoff
5/17/2007 Baseballs' conventional wisdom is for the birds
5/10/2007 The Rocket lands in Gotham during Monarchs' playoff break
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
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