December 27, 2007


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LONGSHOTS: The annual sports awards close out 2007
Here are a variety of off-the-beaten-path awards for the 2007. The envelope, please …
by Dave Long

Hypocrits of the Year: Those in the New York who pontificated greatly after the spygate allegations about the Patriots run of three Super Bowls were now tainted and remaining quiet when 11 members of the Yankees championship teams of 1998-2000 turned up in the Mitchell Report. You tell me which is likely to have a greater impact on winning — using video of defensive signals from the sideline that are changed all the time, or having half your team juiced on performance-enhancing drugs?

Best New Addition to the Sports Environment: What else? The Brown Monster patio at the Hilton Garden. It’s my favorite spot to watch a Fisher Cats game — although it could get a run for its money next year from the new Sam Adams Sports Bar inside the park, which sounds pretty cool.

Bruce “Can’t Win the Big One” Boudreau – Adopted Alumnus of the Year Award: Name in honor of the former Monarchs mentor who got bounced for not being able to win the big one (or any playoff series for that matter) — an act he promptly followed up by winning consecutive AHL titles. It goes to folks who came to Manchester from parts unknown to work in town and then went on to glory elsewhere. Third place to former NHC and now Seattle Supersonics Head Coach P. J. Carlesimo, who, oh by the way, was SNHU Athletic Director Chip Polak’s college roommate at Fordham. Second place to former WMUR sports anchor from a loooong time ago Jack Edwards, now doing Bruins Play by Play for NESN. But the winner is Bruce Can’t Win The Big One himself, since not only did he lead Hershey to its second straight Calder Cup, but after a shake-up in the big club he found himself a head coach in the NHL with Washington as well.

The 1918 Award: For the accomplishment by a player or team that hadn’t been done in our lifetime. It goes to the aforementioned Monarchs for winning not one, but two playoffs rounds before being swept by, ironically, Can’t Win the Big One and Hershey. Still, a job well done and an exciting year.

Chris “Can Win the Big One” Carpenter – Local Boy Done Good Award: After an injury-filled year that ended in surgery, it won’t go to the big fella this year. There are a lot of nominees, most notably Dan Mullen and Chip Kelly, who are coordinators of high-powered offenses at Florida and Oregon respectively. Mullen grabs second place because in Tim Tebow he mentored the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy, as well as the first guy to accomplish the astonishing feat of passing for 20 or more and run for 20 touchdowns in the same season. Then there was also coaching a game when he had an appendectomy earlier in the day. I’m sure Chipper would have done it too, but you get bonus points with me if you play hurt. But it goes to Concord’s Matt Bonner, because he accomplished a New Hampshire first in being the first native of the state to be on a team that won an NBA title.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Award: Named for the legendary Jimmy Stewart film where idealistic Jefferson Smith stands up for what’s right against the corrupt forces that put him in office. It goes to Manchester School Athletic Committee Chairman Bobby Leonard and his supporters on the board for not backing down to misguided parents of several Memorial softball players. They wanted Coach Dave Hedges’s head (say that five times fast) after forcing those players to practice on the same day they skipped school — making them ineligible for the next day’s playoff game, which they lost. That outraged the parents, even though some admitted they knew the consequences when they looked the other way as their kids participated in the annual skip day even though it screwed over other kids on the team who worked all year to win the title and had showed up to school that day.

Rick Pitino – the Big Three is Not Walking Through That Door Award: To formerly maligned Celtics GM Danny Ainge, as after a pretty crafty summer in making what may arguably may be the two most productive trades in history, he transformed the second worst team in the NBA to a legit contender overnight — and has a 21st-century version of them walking through the door every day.

Mitt Romney Flip-Flop Citation: It’s debatable if he actually did flop and Danny denies it, but considering all his famous flops, the Romney camp has to love hearing folks talk about how it’s OK to change your mind, as they believe Danny did over changing course to bring in the veterans after blowing up the team and going young. Of course my question is, when did you do it and what was the real reason for the alleged change of heart, Governor, er, I mean, Danny?

Amos Alonzo Kraft Award: The phrase coined by Globe scribe Dan Shaughnessy to mock the meddling of overzealous Patriots owner Bob Kraft following the departure of former coach and new Dolphins pooba Bill Parcells. It goes to Sox owner John Henry, who stuck nose into the Larry Luchinno-Theo Epstein boar war a while back to get the creative force behind the Fenway money machine and the young GM back in the fold and working together. Two years later it yielded a transforming Fenway Park, a dynamic farm system and a second World Series title. Pretty good work by an owner who in his spare time shows his joy for baseball by playing running bases at Fenway. With him now just one title behind Alonzo, guess it’s OK to meddle with your team.

Ralph Kramdon – I’ve Got a Biiiiiiiiig Mouuuuuuth Award: Who else? Deposed F-Cat manager Bill (Sunday) Masse for calling the cheering of local fans for an electric effort by visiting Clay Buchholz “disgraceful,” not disgusting as I mistakenly said last week (which I apologize for).

Dave Long can be reached at 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.

12/20/2007 Holiday gifts for the deserving and not so deserving

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