December 20, 2007

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LONGSHOTS: Holiday gifts for the deserving and not so deserving
by Dave Long

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to hand out presents to those near and far in the world of sport. So ho-ho-ho here we go:

I’m not quite sure why anyone would consider voting for a presidential candidate just because Curt Schilling backs him — like he is with John McCain. Especially since the big fella stumped for G.W. last time and he’s had a worse run than even Jimmy Carter. But I do think what Schilling does for military families in the town where he lives is both admirable and inspiring. So give him a season with no injury issues and another shot to show just how good he is in crunch time, because action like his clearly demonstrates that he gets how lucky he’s been and it deserves to be rewarded.

To Monarchs prexy Jeff (the) Eisenberg (’s have it): a little luck for his favorite sports teams. At 6-8 his Eagles are in the tank; his Phillies got run over by Arizona, who hit less than Deion did while playing for the Cowboys; and word on the street says Memphis State may have the first player in history to go hardship in the middle of a season. The good news is that Clyde Lee Day is still on the winter at alma mater Vanderbilt.

For his Manchester Monarchs: a January hot streak like they enjoyed a year ago that propelled them on to their best season ever.

To Danny Ainge and the rampaging Celtics: a gift for the folks who don’t need much after their haul this summer — the OK to always wear those new green uniforms on the road. They are, in the words of Cosmo Kramer, “boss.”

My gift from those guys would be a return to wearing the black sneaks at home. Because like the Yankees and pinstripes, certain traditions symbolize just how gigantic they have been in their sport. And since they are a terror once again, this seems like a good time to come to their senses.

For Matt Bonner: a berth in the finals for his Spurs against the Celtics and old friend Kevin Garnett. Of course we’d then have to invoke the Bill (Sunday) Masse Edict, where we’re allowed to root a guy on another team to have a huge series as long as it doesn’t prevent the Green from winning it all.

To the champagne-swilling 1972 Dolphins: a little class to understand that records are benchmarks to shoot for in the future, where appreciation for what they did won’t fade now that the Patriots have matched their 14-0 regular season.

To publishing giant Sports Illustrated, a high-tech crystal ball for vaunted football scribe Dr. Z to do a better job with his pre-season picks. For 2007, he had barely alive at 7-7 New Orleans going 12-4 and winning the Super Bowl, the 5-8 Bears winning the NFC Central at 11-5, 6-8 Philly taking the NFC East at 11-5, the 5-9 Bengals and 4-10 Ravens going one-two in the AFC Central and to the playoffs along with the 3-11 Jets. Not to mention he had the pathetic Rams and 49ers at .500 or better.

To WMUR’s Jamie Staton (his case): a little more consistency with that new driver of his, because I think we might have won the Greg and the Morning Buzz Classic if he’d had it last year and I’m looking for a little bragging rights over Laura Meyer.

To my friend and (plug, plug) WGAM colleague Pete Tarrier: the new book titled “There Was Life Before 1993,” so he can have the fun I have yakking about things that don’t matter, like that behemoth slugger Frank Howard was the scariest guy I’ve ever seen in a batter’s box when he was playing for the Washington Senators.

To young’ns Mike Mutanski and Rich Keefe, who are on right before Petey weekday afternoons: a clue to know that 1960 was not the beginning of time and that it’s probably not a good idea to admit to anyone under 60 or north of the Mason-(Tommy) Dickson line that you actually like country music.

Coal in the stocking to all involved with baseball’s steroids era — especially the commissioner and owners, because if they hadn’t looked the other way while the cash registers were buzzing as the homers were flying out, the guys who did it because they were afraid of losing their jobs might not have done so.

To local basketball fans, how about a BC-UMass rematch in March so we’ll get to see local lads Tyler Roche and Luke Bonner square off during the madness of the NCAA Tournament.

For women’s hoops, an NCAA Tournament round sometime in the future at the Verizon Wireless Arena that brings powerhouse UConn to town, along with Stephanie Murphy and Boston College, Megan Jackson and Providence and upstart Patriot League entry Holy Cross so we also get to see Laura Aloisi and Whitney Fremeau in the big time too.

A little better luck for Stan Spirou with local players, as with the legal troubles of Paul Chergy and the messy results with a couple of vaunted ex-Trinity hoopsters you can see how he might sour on local talent in the future.

And for those three players just mentioned, here’s hoping all their recent decisions regarding school or otherwise turn out to the very good.

To Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz: the kind of year that shows everyone why Theo said no dice to including either in a deal for Johann Santana. First because it will be good news for the team and Red Sox Nation, and secondly because I’ll be able to say I told you so at the appropriate time.

To my friend Mike Moffett who plays right wing on my radio show hockey team: a little extra juice for the left side of his brain because being able to go left might help his game and be right, at least, once in a while, when the conversation turns to politics.

And finally here’s hoping you get what’s most dear to you and your family, along with a happy, safe and greatest holiday season you’ve ever had.

Peace.

Dave Long can be reached at dlong@hippopress.com. He hosts the Absolute Sports Experience at Billy’s 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.


12/13/2007 Jets land in Foxboro as pat go number 14

12/06/2007 To include or not to include Ellsbury — that is the questione
11/29/2007 Yanked from the sports pages in the Big Apple
11/22/2007 Here's what I'm thankful for at Thanksgiving
11/15/2007 Waiting game leads to a series of random thoughts
11/8/2007 OK — it's week nine and I'm ready to talk
11/1/2007 Finally a little shut-eye for a sleep deprived nation
10/25/2007 A rocky mountain high for Red Sox Nation
10/18/2007 Time to go to the mailbag
10/112007 Who'd more popular, Patriots or Red Sox
10/4/2007 IA weekend chock full of nuts, chokes and great moments
9/27/2007 I hate to say I told you so...
9/20/2007 Media and fan bias shades the severity of sports crime
9/13/2007 All round baseball week starts with a look at leaders
9/6/2007 It's Superbowl or bust for Pats in 2007
8/30/2007 The race is on as baseball enters September
8/23/2007 Spine vs. lack of spine theme for school board debate
8/16/2007 Time for thoughts from the summer mailbag
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 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