LONGSHOTS: Time to go to the mail bag
by Dave Long
With the Patriots undefeated, the Sox possibly on their way to the World Series, the, ahem new Big Three to debut at the new Garden and number-two-in-some-polls Boston College possibly headed to the BCS Championship game, enthusiasm in these parts is running high, to say the least. That has people asking questions, so letís go to the mail bag and see whatís on their mind.
Dear Dave: I saw your ďI Told You SoĒ piece a few weeks back after you were right about the Yankees getting back in the race. But I havenít heard you admit you were wrong about Randy Moss yet. Is that coming anytime soon? Tee OíNeal, 81 Popcorn St., Irving, Texas.
Dear Tee: Technically Iím not wrong. I didnít say it wouldnít work, I said I gave the gamble an A+ and it had a 33 percent chance of working. And while I still want to see what happens when some adversity hits, Iím willing to say two things. First: I may have been guilty (and not for the first time) of judging the book by its cover. Second: I donít think I realized how good the peak Moss is (was) and how much respect heís accorded by the opposition. I think itís because he just doesnít look like heís running all that hard as heís effortlessly blowing by people. And now hereís a question for you: after seeing how his presence opens up so much for everyone else, will Bill Belichick spend more than he normally would on a wide-out to retain Moss at the end of the season when heís a free agent? Because if he keeps doing what heís doing, you know someone else will. Iíll also add, not that I think he should, but if stays for less money then ó then Iíll really be impressed. And by the way, do I get any points for saying the Wes Welker deal would turn out great? I love that guy.
Dear Dave: Do you think the Patriots could run the table to have an undefeated season? Nick Boonocanee, 85 Dolphin Marine, Key Biscayne, Fla.
Dear Nick: My basic rule on records is if somebody can set a record then someone else can break it unless rules or a game changes dramatically like it has for how pitchers are handled in baseball. That makes Cy Youngís 511 wins the most unbreakable in sports. When the Dolphins did it, they had it easier and harder than now. Harder because their quarterback Bob Griese went down until the playoffs after game five. So they did it with back-up Earl Morrill at QB. Easier because they played a 14-game schedule and faced just two teams (who were both just 8-6) with winning records. Still itís a sensational accomplishment. As for the Patriots, in case you havenít noticed, the Colts are still unbeaten too and they meet in Indy on Nov. 4, so see me after that one. But having said that, theyíve already won 22 in a run over two years, which included a run through the playoffs, so why not?
Deer Dave: What do you think Johnny Most would say to Larry Bird, if he showed up at Fenway like Lebron James did at the ALDS in Cleveland wearing a YANKEE hat? ????!!! Antwaan W. Alker, 16 Bodyphat Lane, Miami, Fla.
Dear Antwaan: Johnny wouldnít have time to get to Larry; I think the Nation would kill even Tom Brady the day after he threw those five TD passes if he tried to do something that dumb at Fenway.
Dear Dave: You have any problem with the way Terry Francona is managing in the playoffs? Heyden (King) Edwards, 175D Contactsport Drive, Bedford, N.H.
Dear Hey: I know some are on him about using the struggling Eric Gagne, but Iíd have done the same thing. I canít believe what heís turned into since getting here either. He took some heat for not forcing Manny to play when things got tight and he turned out to be right. The only thing Iíd do differently is play Jacoby Ellsbury in center. Rookie, schmookie. Heís a dynamic player who makes things happen in ways that Coco Crisp doesnít, like hitting .350 in September, which didnít look like a mirage to me. So on the whole, though, I think Titoís a keeper.
Dear Dave: I like your Sports 101 questions, so now Iíve got one for you. Dustin Pedroiaís .317 average was the sixth-best average ever by a Red Sox rookie. Name the other five. Larry Mondello, 12 Beavercleaver Dr., Stockdale, Calif.
Dear Larry: It wasnít Yaz (.266), Nomar (.306), Jim Rice, Mo Vaughn (.234) or even Tris Speaker (.309), who, oh by the way, hit .344 lifetime with the Sox and Indians. I would have bet my Brooks Robinson autographed mitt he was among íem. Thereís Ted Williams, of course. He hit .327 with 31 homers and 145 RBI in 1939. And if I didnít get Wade Boggs I should forfeit the prized Robby glove as well. He hit 349 over 100 games in 1982 and if that doesnít count as a full year for you, he hit 361 the next. Then thereís the never-should-have-left-Fenway Fred Lynn, who was Rookie of the Year and MVP after hitting .331 with 22 home runs and knocking in 105. Johnny Pesky hit .331 in 1941, which was the first of three straight seasons with over 200 hits. The final one was big Walt Dropo (who once had a summer house in Freedom, N.H.). He was as good a rookie as Williams was 11 years later in 1950 when he hit .322 with 34 homers and knocked in a whopping 144!
Dear Dave: For a place that hasnít produced many big-time college players, what do you make of local duo of Dan Mullen and Chip Kelly being offensive gurus for some very interesting college football stories this fall? Sid Gilman, 19 Alworth Dr., San Diego, Calif.
Dear Sid: I donít really know what to make of it. All I know is that not all that long after they played at Trinity and Central theyíre making their mark nationally in college football. Trinityís Mullen was calling the plays when Florida won the National Championship last January. And Kelly hasnít missed a beat since moving to Oregon after orchestrating the Ricky Santos show at the U. The 5-1 Ducks have scored over 50 three times already and are averaging 45.2 points a game. And in a year or two we might be adding Centralís Ryan (make my) Day to this group. He was the QB under Kelly at the U in the late 1990s, worked under Mullen at Florida and is now the wide receiver coach at number-two-in-the-nation Boston College. I donít know what it is, but I do love seeing it.
Dave Long can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He hosts the Absolute Sports Experience at Billyís Sports Bar in Manchester each Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon that is broadcast live on WGAM The Game, 1250-AM Manchester, 900-AM-Nashua.