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).