March 13, 2008

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LONGSHOTS: Comment sparks wonder over just what I did
by Dave Long

So the other day Iím in the menís room at CR Sparks ó which is one of my favorite places. Well, not the menís room part, but the restaurant itself, that is. Great place, though it has a pretty good menís room too. Iím reading the newspaper pinned up in a case on the wall and this well-dressed guy looks over to me and says, ďWhy are you doing that? You donít know what the blank you are talking about anyway.Ē

Iím actually not sure if I got it word for word, but I did get the blank part right, which of course is a cleaned-up version of one of the seven words you canít use on TV. Now you have to understand, given that I am not shy about offering my opinion on just about anything, I have been in a million of these encounters. But still, this one made me chuckle. Iíve had many people disagree with me, but I canít say anyone has ever said I didnít know blank. Not even the day with 5,000 of my closest enemies in the bleachers at Fenway telling all why Thurman Munson was better than Carlton Fisk. Because I had them on the stats, that was more like ďShut the blank up and sit the blank down.Ē

When I relayed the story to the friends I was with, in true guy fashion, Haden Edwards and insurance mogul Dick Lombardi loved seeing me busted on. And since Haden barely recalls it was 1986 when the ball got past Buckner and Lombardi is a San Francisco Giants fan for crying out loud, they generally need a little help when it comes to that department. Still, it made me wonder why someone would be that rude, that quick to insult someone theyíve never met before. I mean after all, can you imagine picking on poor little old me?

When someone has an issue with me, my attitude generally is ďjoin the club.Ē But Iím always curious to know just what it is ówhich wasnít clear in this one. I suppose it might have been the fellow who e-mailed me recently to take issue with what I had written about the Celtics and race a while back. I donít think he quite got that I was disputing the point of a bookís authors that the Celtics were racist in the Auerbach years. He wondered if the reason I didnít put the names of the white players they suggested were at the end of the bench in lieu of black players is because there werenít any.

While I doubt it was him, letís set the record straight. They include Lou Tsiorpolous, Gene Guarilla, Carl Braun, Don Swartz, Johnny McCarthy, Larry Seigfried (later a solid contributor), Gene Ward, Bob Norstram, Ron Bonham, Ron Watts, Tony Kimball and Rick Weitzman. All played the fewest games and minutes on the teams they were part of by a considerable amount between 1958 and 1968. Only John Thompson among African-American players fits the end of the bench description in 1966.

But you know, after seeing just how low the Ty Cobb of politics could go in desperation when Hillary recently compared Barack Obama to her last big tormentor Ken (I want to be a) Starr, Iím a little down on conflict. So Iím more interested in talking about some good news, like Red Sox camp.

Letís see, as I write this Josh Beckett has back spasms that will cost him two spring starts and maybe the opener in Japan. On Sunday Dice-K looked like Dice-K of 2007 in needing a whopping 72 pitches to finish three innings in a 4-0 loss to Joe Torre and the Dodgers. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz were sporting ERAs of 11.20 and 12.60 respectively. And in losing six straight the offense has produced exactly four runs. Yikes! Better change subjects, because I know enough blank to know that more of this will send Red Sox Nation out on the ledge even if it is March.

OK ó maybe it was an anti-Danny Ainge guy? I did once get scolded in a letter to the editor for making ďgratuitousĒ comments about Republicans in response to saying if Danny was flip-flopping in bringing Antoine Walker back for round two, maybe more pols ought to think about doing it. I thought it was a good move and said so, and have been pretty much defending Danny since. But since they are on an eight-game winning streak as I speak, and have the best record in the NBA, Iím not sure the ďyou donít know blankĒ rap works on this one.

Maybe heís a NY Giants fan basking in the glow of my wrong call. But I said it would be close and it if werenít for the super glue of David Tyreeís helmet Iím right on that one. While I do get regular updates from Doc (10) Wheeler in the produce section of Shop íN Save, Iíll tell you what I donít now jack about ó high school basketball. I havenít seen a game this year. But since I havenít written much about it, itís hard to tell I donít know what the blank I havenít talked about.

Still, high school sports can be a sticky subject, and there was a flurry on those subjects in the summer. There was the recruiting story hoping Chris Lutz would make the best decision for the right reasons. That had enough sides involved to get an octagon of folks bent out of joint. The column on the senior day controversy with the Memorial softball team was similar and it probably picked me up a few detractors. But I can also tell you it gained many more supporters as well ó which is the point of this Seinfeldian column about basically nothing. When you are willing to wade into subjects that have strong emotions on either side, youíre going to pick up supporters and detractors. But aside from poking a little at the ďPatriots are a dynastyĒ crowd, I know I try and do it for the right reason and thus can live with the reaction.

Especially when it happens in a menís room and the alternative is some polite guy saying something nice to me and then wanting to shake my hand.

Dave Long can be reached at dlong@hippopress.com. 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 Ė The Game, 1250-AM Manchester, 900-AM Nashua.


3/6/2008 New hires, new trades in pro sports

2/28/2008 Celtics issues far from black and white in the early days
2/21/2008 Congressional ineptitude muscles in on steroid hearings
2/14/2008 Basketball rounds into form under the cover of Pats football
2/7/2008 A giant win leaves Patriots fans feeling blue
1/31/2008 Foxboro lads earn pats on the back, and old Celtics mystique makes sense
1/24/2008 Mail bag asks about Rice, the hall and wild-eyed liberals
1/17/2008 Peyton manning the fort back home as Pats take on Chargers
1/10/2008 Grumpy old Dolphins are lost at sea on this one
1/3/2008 The primary concern is getting a clear picture
12/27/2007 The annual sports awards close out 2007
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 ó 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 ó 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 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