August 16, 2007


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LONGSHOTS: Time for thoughts from the summer mailbag
by Dave Long

With football and pennant race colliding, itís time for another foray into the mail bag.

Dear Dave: As I write this, the Red Soxí lead has eroded to four ahead of the Yankees. Do you agree that Terry Franconaís the problem? Barry (the golf) Nazi, Table 5, The Lounge at Derryfield Country Club, Mammoth Road, Manchester, NH.
Dear Barry: No, itís not Terryís fault, though thereíll be plenty saying it is. Do you remember three months ago when the Yankees were struggling and many said Joe Torre would be fired? Well, they got healthy and now if they win the East the same guy expected to be fired in June probably wins manager of the year for holding things together. Things donít change that quickly.

Who threw the home run ball Sunday to Miquel (you say tomata, I say) Tejada ó Tito or Eric Gagne? Ditto for Fridayís implosion? Because heís struggled mightily you can say it was bad strategy to bring him back on Sunday. But they got Gagne to pitch in the eighth and he has a closerís mentality to shake it off. Iíd have done the same thing. The problem is the lack of timely hitting to put teams away and execution by key guys in the bullpen over the weekend. Besides, I donít want to tell you I told you so, but I told you so when the lead was 14 ó history shows big leads can fade. And contrary to what folks like Dan (ďthe Yanks donít have the pitching) Shaughnessy were saying, the Yankees would be back because theyíre too good. The bottom line? Weíll get to see if theyíre tough enough to hang on and win it. Which is what youíre supposed to be when the payroll is $150 million.

Dear Dave: Do you know what covering the plate with dirt does after an umpire throws a manager out of the game as F-Cat Manager Bill (Sunday) Masse did after he got heaved on Tuesday night? George B. Rett, 87 Pinetarr Blvd, Bronx, NY.
Dear George: You mean besides telling kids itís OK to be disrespectful to umpires when a call goes the other way? For some reason baseball people blindly follow rituals even if theyíre outdated or just stupid ó like hitting the batter who steps in after a big home run. Iím sure it makes perfect sense to them ó like you better not dig in on me. But when it started, Iíll bet it probably had more to do with frustration than with some code. Like when Pedro drilled Karim Garcia because he was getting cuffed around by the Yankees in the 2003 playoffs, a move that so enraged 70-year-old coach Don Zimmer he charged Pedro in the brawl that followed. So in the case of Masse, I guess because Billy Martin and Earl Weaver did it, itís OK to follow suit. I know people will tell me I just donít understand, or that managers are showmen entertaining the crowd, but it reminds me of the scene in Animal House when Dean Wermer says to the neophyte pledge from Delta House, ďSon, fat, dumb and stupid is no way to go through life.Ē And since I was no saint with the refs as a basketball player and a coach in college, Iíll translate it to the less caustic ďthere has to be a better way to argue a call or fire up your team.Ē

Dear Dave: What do you make of those people who got banned by the Concord Little League for aberrant behavior toward umpires during an All-Star game last month? Don Dengkinger, 14 Missed Call Street, Kansas City, Missouri.
Dear Don: Iím guessing they grew up watching managers like Weaver and Martin and think itís OK to teach the kids itís OK to act like a jackass when things go wrong.

Dear Dave: Whatís your favorite spot to watch a Fisher Cats game? Lave Dong, 89 Forgotten Road, Toronto, Ontario.
Dear Lave: I love the entire park, but my new favorite is the Brown Monster patio at the Hilton Garden. With the bar now done, itís cool. I particularly like the trampoline effect when homers hit the barís pliable roof, like Dave Smithís shot on Thursday, which bounced high off it before a scramble ensued for a souvenir ball. And thumbs up to the guy who got it and turned it over to a little guy next to him.

Dear Dave: Is the pressure really on Doc Rivers now that Dannyís given him three all-stars to coach? Rick P. Teeno, 16 Potepinko Way, Louisville, Kentucky
Dear Rick: Not really. If you had a choice late in your contract, what would you rather have ó a bunch of young guys who won 24 the previous season, or a team with the talent to win 50+? If you take the first one, Iím guessing Iíd have fired you long before this conversation.

Dear Dave: What do you make of Tom Brady topping the list of best-dressed person in the world? William Bellachick, 13 Saville Row, Foxborough, England.
Dear William: Not much. People who make up lists like that go in the same category as dancing girls, mascots driving dirt bikes on fields and scoreboards with rising meters to get ďfansĒ cheering louder. But now that you ask, Iím figuring he must have a few things in the closet from Georgeís on Elm Street.

Dear Dave: What do you make of The Bronx Is Burning on ESPN ó does it have any relevance to today? Billy Martin, 1 Heavenís Gate Road, Great Beyond, Texas.
Dear Billy: I had a tough time with Oliver Platt as George Steinbrenner in the beginning. Just not blustery enough, but Iím warming to him. But Daniel Sunjataís personality isnít big enough to capture Reggie Jackson, who, like Bill Parcells, just filled up the room. But John Tutoro has Billy Martin cold and the guy playing Thurman Munson makes me think he got the stem cell police in the Bush Administration. But, like Sex and The City and Seinfeld, itís going to hit home more with New Yorkers and not just because of the Yankees. I was in NY when the Son of Sam killings started and the day he was caught. It was a gripping drama heightened by columnist Jimmy Breslin and the Daily News being in the middle of the story. I was also in the bleachers (wearing a Yankee batting helmet) with 5,000 of my closet friends the day Martin yanked Jackson in the middle of an inning. It came in a week when the Sox belted 16 homers in winning three straight over NY at Fenway and overpowered Baltimore the same way the next series. Then they lost three straight one-run games in the Bronx the next weekend. Other than right now, it was the best I ever saw the rivalry. On the whole Iíd give it a B+, but for those outside Gotham itís probably a B-.

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).

8/9/2007 Will this three make it big in Boston?

8/2/2007 Trading places all in a day's work for Boston GMs
7/26/2007 Getting out of a slump; an ameteur golfer can feel Sox' pain
7/19/2007 Does second chance guarantee a great outcome?
7/12/2007 Masse still a honeymooner in local baseball culture
7/5/2007 Brown Monster a big Fisher Cat hit
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 Mís 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
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