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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.