May 22, 2008

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LONGSHOTS: Some questions for folks right up there in the front row
by Dave Long

Usually I go to the mail bag to answer questions from friends and foes alike. Today, we’re going to reverse it where I’ve got some pressing questions for folks in sports out there, and even for a few who are no longer with us, but whose impact still is. So here goes:

To the guy who invented the system to score a baseball game and to scorers everywhere: Dear Guy (or is it Gee?): How in the name of Matt Young can Craig Hansen be credited with a win just because the Red Sox get two back in the bottom of the seventh and hold on to a win. I mean didn’t he enter with them leading 5-3 in the seventh and promptly cough up the lead (as usual) and finish having given up three runs in one inning of work? He did nothing to help them win – yet he gets it. That’d be like winning a presidential election when you didn’t get the most votes. But even if that happened too, I think it should be the official scorer who decides who gets the win in cases like that —don’t you?

To those folks at the TD BankNorth Garden chanting “over-rated” when LeBron James had the ball in Games One and Two: Dear Chanters: Still think so?

To Danny Ainge: Dear Danny: Not that I’m second guessing anything from this glorious year, but if you could do the Ray Allen deal over, would you have tried your darnedest to get it done by keeping Delonte West out of that deal? On second thought, since he was clearly the better player in the series, would you have nixed the deal entirely and kept West? Of course then Kevin Garnett would not have come, so forget that one. By the way, Tree says hello.

To Memphis Coach John Calipari: Dear John: Who’s your foul shooting coach? Do you know what you did to the mental state of Monarchs prez Jeff Eisenberg? He still can’t talk about it.

To commentators and reporters everywhere: Dear Fellas and Gals: Who came up with the term “true freshman” and why when someone does something good when they are a “true freshman” are they treated like they scaled Mount Everest blindfolded? And does that make folks who aren’t playing for the first time “untrue freshman” instead of what they really are — sophomores?

To Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball: Dear Bud: Why do you call it a five-game suspension when a pitcher gets one of those after drilling a batter on purpose? Since they only pitch once every five games anyway, isn’t it really a one-game suspension? And since he will most likely start in the sixth game, shouldn’t it really be called one day’s extra rest? If you gave them a five-start suspension, how many times would you see guys getting drilled on purpose?

To the folks still home Larry, Kevin and Robert come walking through that door: Dear Folks: Do you really think the NBA was better in the ’80s? Next time you watch a game on ESPN Classic, forget the offense — watch the defense. Then compare it to all the double teaming how every time someone came by a pick in the Celtics-Cav series the defender jumped out and forced them out to mid-court. Larry, Kevin and Robert never saw that.

To Roger Clemens: Dear Rocket: Was it worth it?

To Barry Bonds: Dear BB: If the black ball continues is it going to bug you the rest of your life that with 2,935 you will fall less than half a season shy of 3,000 hits and, with 1,996, just four short of becoming the fourth player to get 2,000 RBI? I know it’s going to bug local State Farm insurance mogul Dick Lombardi.

To Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan. Dear Bob: Now that you’ve had a little time to reflect, do you think you went a little over top with your rant that because of Bill Belichick and Spygate the Patriots are branded for life as the biggest cheaters to all mankind? I mean not that two wrongs make a right, but do you think the deafening silence from other coaches around the league has to do with Coach B not being the only one doing it? Again it doesn’t make it right, but if they really wanted to get to the bottom of this, the NFL would investigate the practice league-wide and when the answer come out, then would be a better time to get on the soap box.

To the “We should have made the Johan Santana deal” crowd: Dear Crowd: Have you ever seen anyone score runs like Jacoby Ellsbury has in games when he doesn’t get a hit like the 4-2-0-0 he put up in game two vs. the Brewers on Saturday? It’s happened three times so far, with my favorite being when he had no hits and no at-bats against the Tigers on April 8, but still scored two runs. How do you do that?

To state senator and former NHC basketball coach Lou D’Allesandro: Dear Lou: Regarding your recent guest commentary in the New Hampshire Sunday News in support of Don Nelson being in the Basketball Hall of Fame. You know why he’s not, right? Coaches look at coaches differently — where you see how much better a team is than perhaps they should be if that person wasn’t at the helm. The rest of the folks see winning the last game as the key criterion and Nellie not only hasn’t won an NBA title. he has never taken a team to the finals. True, he has a lot of wins, but so did Bill Fitch, who has won a title, and he doesn’t quite belong. The talent you have also figures into it, so while I’m not sure his nine titles make Phil Jackson the greatest coach ever, where Kobe, Michael and Shaq had something to do with it, there is something to be said for getting it done. What’s interesting is that of the 80 coaches in the Hall only seven are principally thought of as pro coaches. And if you look at the college members, there are plenty of “if that guy’s in, he should be too.” Like with Roy Williams in and Rick Pitino not — but that’s another kettle of fish. All the pro coaches have won a title, though Larry Brown hadn’t when he got in in 2002, but he did win an NCAA title. For better or for worse that’s the system and it’s probably going to hold Jerry Sloan back — who I think should be in too. But none who are in the Hall, shouldn’t be before Nellie, except maybe Jack Ramsey, though he’s a combo for his years at St. Joe’s as well. And speaking of winning a lot of games, if you’re not in the NHC Hall, you should be.

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.


5/15/2008 Numbers don't add up to supposed Fenway

5/8/2008 Cavalier attitude nearly derails first meeting with LeBron
5/1/2008 I'm so old,I remember ...
4/24/2008 Sox Line-ups, Celtics and ESPN investigations are in the mail bag
4/17/2008 Show me the way to that All-Star Game
4/10/2008 For C'ing a great time ahead as playoffs arrive this spring
4/3/2008 Bill James and the stats for 2008 — Take Two
3/27/2008 Drowning in the NCAA office pool
3/20/2008 Whether forecast is right or not is the question
3/13/2008 Comment sparks wonder over just what I did
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 — 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