July 3, 2008

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LONGSHOTS: UL editorial in denial ó stop the presses
by Dave Long

While I was reading a front-page editorial in the stateís largest newspaper on Friday it struck me that fans of a particular political party and fans of a particular sports team are exactly the opposite when things go bad. When it happens in sports (not that it ever does around here), callers to talk radio want to kill the players and fire the manager. In politics, no matter how bad it is, they blame it on the other guy even if their guy has occupied the corner office for, oh, say, the last eight years.

I mean after the Red Sox lost to the Yankees in the 2003 playoffs did anyone around here blame the Yanks for winning it by fighting off defeat and delivering when it counted most? Nope ó instead everyone wanted to kill Grady Little, including two college friends I recently saw for the first time since that fateful day. I brought up the subject as an example for something else and they both just launched like it happened two days ago.

But that is not the case in politics, where itís always the other guy, or, whoops, almost forgot, gal. The UL piece I spoke of was about the contrived unity meeting in Unity, N.H., between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and, unlike in his enjoyable weekly column, publisher Joe McQuaid offered the usual dogma regularly seen in his political editorials ó that the other guy basically is the boogey man (my word) and without saying it, implying John McCain is the next Teddy Roosevelt. Though admittedly that could be just me seeing what I see. I didnít really disagree with what he had to say about Obama being a flip-flopper either. He has changed positions a few times.

Of course in politics, one personís flip-flop is anotherís enlightened reassessment. Like Ronald Reaganís flip-flop from a Democrat to a Republican back in the day. Not only a Democrat mind you, a Democrat leading what some on the right see as socialism ó as president of a union, the Screen Actors Guild. Personally, Iíve got no problem with that. Itís like me going from a Yankees fan to rooting for the Sox. I had a good reason. George Steinbrenner was acting like a horseís behind and the ends donít justify the means ó so I dumped him. But that doesnít mean my friends at home donít think Iím not a sports flip-flopper or the Benedict Arnold of sports as my friend Vinny Tenety sees me. Which is the pot calling the kettle black since heís gone over to the dark side in the empire, after growing up a Willie Mays-loving San Francisco Giant. But I digress.

Iím aware editorials are opinions, but what you never see in Joeís editorials is the other side. You know, like Sen. McCain saying he doesnít know much about the economy (and itís a bad time for that), or while exonerated, he was tainted by the Keating 5 scandal. That Obama has inspired maybe a million people to register to vote. Thatís good for all ó right? Or that he engineered an upset on par with ďDewey Defeats TrumanĒ in knocking off Clinton. Thatís because he wants conservatism to win like a defense attorney wants to get his client off. EARTH TO JOE ó the countryís a mess and it happened on the watch of your beloved conservatives. You canít get around that, even if your fingers just canít type the words.

That is unless you think $4-a-gallon gas prices, the largest deficit in the history of human existence, the dollar being at its lowest point since what, the 1970s, mired in an unnecessary war that took our eye off the ball of getting the guy behind 9-11 and an inept Attorney General administering duties with a partisan slant doesnít make the country a mess. Oh, and the GOP was the majority in Congress until 2006, so you canít blame the mess on them. Still ó itís the other guys who are the ones who could REALLY mess things up. Oh ó I get it.

If I wrote like Joe and decided to offer some thoughts on Theo Epstein after seeing him campaign for John Kerry at a rally behind City Hall in 2004, hereís what it might look like: Theo is the Red Sox boogey man. He let Pedro walk to the Mets. That led to terrible signings of David Wells and Matt Clement. He overspent on brittle J.D. Drew, gave Keith Foulke a four-year deal and when the carousel at shortstop stopped, he had a $9 million guy on pace for 35 errors and 24 RBI. Lou Gorman was more of a fiscal conservative because he paid Matt Young only $2.5 million. Yeah, he was a bum ó but he was a bargain.

Itís all true ó but it doesnít give a real accurate picture, does it? It leaves out that Pedro wasnít signed because of fragility concerns and since heís won a whopping 29 games for the $60 million or so heís been paid, Theo was right. It also leaves out Curt Schilling, pulling David Ortiz off the scrap heap, making the brilliant gamble (I vehemently opposed) to trade Nomar for Orlando Cabrera, Dave Roberts and the other guy whose name I canít spell well enough to even Google, but it begins with an M. Thereís a farm system brimming with more starlets than MGM back in the day. And yes, while Dan Duquette had a lot to do with the first one, he did twice in his first four years what an assortment of ďready on day oneĒ general managers brimming with all sorts of experience couldnít do for 86 years ó win the World Series. Thatís a more complete picture of the pros and cons, donít you think?

And since Theo was just 30 and running the product side of a $750 million enterprise for a shorter time than Obama has been in the Senate, itís also a pretty good illustration that having really good judgment is more important than experience, isnít it?

Which brings me to the point of this diatribe. Iím not telling anyone how to vote, or that being president is like running a ball club (which Mr. Bush once did as an owner of the Texas Rangers). Iím saying listen to the pros and cons of all arguments. Donít dismiss those from the other side out of hand ó because you never learn anything new that way. Unfortunately that has been the case of Union Leader political editorials for over 50 years. A group that probably thinks denial is that large river somewhere in Egypt, because they canít bring themselves to face two simple facts. That the person in the hot seat is what matters most, not the political philosophy, right or left. And second, that the conservatives have so screwed things up that, Iím sorry to say, if this were baseball George W. would be Casey Stengel and his administration the 1962 Mets.

A team that won 40 and lost a record 120 times.

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.


6/26/2008 Boston turnaround makes NBA green with envy

6/19/2008 Letters from the NBA finals
6/12/2008 A Father's Day letter to dad
6/5/2008 Twenty-one and six are the lucky numbers for the Cs
5/29/2008 Sometimes a bat is just a bat
5/22/2008 Some questions for folks right up there in the front row
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 ó 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 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