September 18, 2008

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LONGSHOTS: If I were a QB, a DB, a stat geek or a soccer mom ...
by Dave Long

I don’t’ know about you, but when I was a kid I used to wonder what it would be like to be someone else. You know, like Babe Ruth, Yogi Berra, John Lennon, Bill Bradley and especially Julius Erving — as I would have loved to jump that high and be able to palm a basketball like it was a grapefruit. And I know this sounds dumb, but I even wondered what my name might be if I could change it to something else.

I was playing the game again this week, after a good ball wide receiver in the NFL changed his name entirely. I let my mind wander a bit and here are some of the things that crossed it as I said “If I were….”

If were a member of Red Sox Nation, I would thank my lucky stars that Bud Selig rigged the process to let John Henry and Tom Werner buy the team over the richer Charles Dolan, whose son Jimmy Dolan has run the Knicks into the ground.

If I were departed (for WEEI.com) UL baseball beat writer Alex Spear, I’d hope my column talking about how players need an “adjustment” year to really perform at Fenway Park gets lost in the archives, after Julio Lugo and Clay Buchholz were horrendous in year two at Fenway and brittle J.D. Drew did squat aside from a big month of June.

If I were Drew, I’d get dishonest agent Scott Boris working on my next landing place, because after Jason (sitting on the dock of the) Bay’s demonstrated he’s the fifth hitter they expected Drew to be, while JD played in fewer than 140 games for the seventh time in his 10-year career, he’ll be the odd man out when Theo goes looking for the booper they still need to hit behind David Ortiz.

If I were crackpot stat geek Bill James, I’d hope no one remembers that his all-knowing computer had Dustin Pedroia hitting .300, with 40 doubles, a paltry 77 runs scored and a paltrier 50 RBI, because as I write this, with 113, he’s already scored 36 more runs, knocked in 28 more, has 10 more doubles and is hitting 27 points higher, while leading the AL in hits, runs, doubles and batting average. I, oh by the way, had him at .313 with 109 runs, 43 doubles and 63 RBI, not right either, but a lot closer. He also had Jacoby Ellsbury hitting .325 and Jon Lester 10-10, with a 4.42 ERA. I had Lester at 14-8.

If I were Theo Epstein, I’d be tempted to tell Glen Ordway, and others who are saying it was a no-brainer, that I was right and you were wrong by not giving Minnesota what it wanted for Johann Santana. Lester’s been better than Santana since May 1, is five years younger and $19 per million cheaper. If you know your farm system, giving up kids for a star isn’t always the right thing to do.

If I were Ordway, I resist the impulse to pick the Blue Jays to win the AL East again for 100 years or so.

If I were a UNH football person during the Ricky Santos, David Ball era, I’d be pretty encouraged after seeing them beat Army in week one and new QB RJ Toman throw five touchdown passes in the 51-47 win over URI on Saturday.

If were the AD at Oregon, I’d be tearing up the deal (again) of offensive coordinator and former UNH OC Chip Kelly, because after scoring 32 more points in Saturday’s win over Purdue, the Ducks are 3-0 and averaging 48 a game under the Central alum, even with Heisman Trophy candidate Dennis Dixon gone for greener pastures — which, if you’ve seen their uniforms, is saying something.

If I were Fox News gadfly Bill O’Reilly, I’d take Barack Obama up on his offer of spotting him 10 points in a one-on-one basketball game to 11. Speed doesn’t count nearly as much in a game like that, so he’s got to be able score at least once.

If I were Bill-O’s nemesis Keith Olbermann, I’d spend more time on NBC’s Football Night in America and less on the upcoming debates, because his utterly fawning coverage of Obama is embarrassing, even for the low standards of the 24/7 cable news political coverage.

If I were Matt Cassell, I don’t know what I’d do, except listen to everything I’m told and do it exactly as they tell me.

If I were me, which I am, after seeing him the first two weeks, I’d feel better about my concern if Richard Seymour could again be the dominating presence he was before two injury-filled seasons.

If I were Bill Belichick, I’d be thankful for Kevin Faulk, who again Sunday showed how valuable he is, especially in a year they’ll be throwing to the backs more, by gaining 53 yards receiving, another 53 on three punt returns, and running for 13 on two carries in piling up 116 all-purpose yards in the win over the Jets.

If I were the New York media who spent the week writing things like “no Brady no problem” and “the Jets are now the team to beat in the AFC East,” I’d take my foot out of my mouth.

If I were the get-a-lifer fans around the country who were happy when Tom Brady went down for the year, I’d be prepared to get it stuffed down my throat by Belichick and company.

If I were the next GM to sign the loquacious Bengal get-a-lifer formerly known as Chad Johnson, I’d assign him any number but 85. It’s one thing to change your name to promote a laudable goal like World B. Free did in the 1980’s after being the Celtics-killer Lloyd Free. But it’s another to change it to Chad Ocho Cinco — in a pre-arranged deal to make some extra dough from sales of your number 85 jersey, because that’s what it spells in Español.

If I were lipstick-wearing pit bull soccer mom Sarah Palin, I wouldn’t quit the day job.

And if I had a brain, I probably wouldn’t be writing silly columns like this.

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.


9/11/2008 After disaster Brady's bunch won't pass on season

9/4/2008 Pats start off with high expectation and some concerns
8/28/2008 A race to the finish to take all month long
8/21/2008 National news items of interest for local folks
8/14/2008 A little of this and that from the good side of sports pile
8/7/2008 Manny happy returns from the Evil Empire
7/31/2008 Manny being Manny - the sequel Part XXXII
7/24/2008 Open the mail bag for some Red Sox questions
7/17/2008 Hall-worthy or not the latest question on Schilling
7/10/2008 Baseball season has actually started
7/03/2008 UL editorial in denial — stop the presses
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 — 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