October 2, 2008

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LONGSHOTS: "How come?" is the main question of the day
by Dave Long

I’m the kind of guy who likes to ask a lot of questions. Even though I find if you ask ones people don’t like they address you with disdain, depending on where you are and who the audience is, a liberal, a communist, contentious, a conservative, a Yankee fan, a Red Sox fan, a cross dresser and/or from the East Coast, left wing, biased media elite. Some also will say “that’s the dumbest question I’ve ever heard” like Bill Parcells would do when he wanted to bully a reporter and then not answer it. And then there are those who are even less polite and simply say you don’t know what the blank you’re talking about.

I kind of like it, because I think there is a lot more zealotry in the world than objectivity and look at it as my job to point it out and to challenge the black and white world they live in. Take the case of the two best basketball players to ever be on a ticket for president and vice president of the United States — although there might be contention over that from the William Howard Taft crowd who say the big fella set a mean pick. The Republicans have been jawing away for six months that Barack Obama didn’t have the experience to lead the country after being in the Senate for just three years. A fair question to be sure, as after all, this guy could be president of the United States. But then how come they magically reversed course and blamed the media for being left-wing elitists and biased for bringing up the exact same questions regarding Governor Palin? The same folks who’ve been hammering Hillary Clinton forever said it was sexist when Palin was being “picked on.” Even though no one had a clue who she was after being picked by just one guy, rather than being elected with millions of votes and vetted by the media in a grueling 18- month primary campaign as Obama was? Especially when the person we don’t know has a track record of going to more colleges than overrated New York City schoolboy hoops legend Lloyd Daniels — which is saying something.

The last comment will be seen as a gratuitous one by some — which it kind of is, except given the track record, all of us still looking to decide who to vote for need to KNOW how smart she really is and how capable she is. So in that vein here’s a number of questions I’ll ask that might ruffle the feathers of some, but where those on the other side will say that’s a legit thing to ask. And while I plan to do the rest on sports, this one relates to a more general media line:

How come, Senator McCain, Joe Biden’s done more than 60 interviews with the media since the convention and Governor Palin has done a whopping three as I write this? And one was with that 25-watt bulb Sean Hannity, who did everything but sit on her lap. Could it be because you were afraid they were all going to turn out to be as big a debacle as the one with Katie Couric was? 

How come people who are interested and invest a lot of time in learning about wine are connoisseurs and people who do the same with sports are called get-a-lifers?

How come a guy like Bud Selig, who obviously has a love for baseball that only a real fan can have, can not understand how bogus it is to give home field in the World Series to the league that wins the All-Star game instead of the team that earns it by having the best record in baseball?

Speaking of the All-Star game, how come I didn’t know the AL has won the 14 straight games? Couldn’t be because I ain’t been paying attention, could it?

How come after all of baseball has seen what Dustin Pedroia can do with the big boys, the next pint-sized player to come along with the goods will be met with the same anti-little guy prejudice Doug Flutie still faced even as he was tearing up the Canadian League year after year, while NFL teams kept taking physical specimen stiffs, like the throwin’ Samoan Jack Thompson and Dan McGwire, when a better alternative was starring them in the face north of the border?

As a follow-up, how come so many people still don’t get just how good the magic of Flutie was? 

How come soccer is so popular and dominant almost everywhere else in the world and a marginal game on the pro level in this country at best, despite being the most-played game by children starting out in youth sports? Is it because all the best athletes go to the sports where the real money is?

How come Pete Carroll is thought of as a bust with both the Jets and New England, even though he made the playoffs twice, but king of the world in college football even as all those upsets to non-ranked teams have me wondering if he’s winning more because he’s such a great recruiter?

Manute Bol probably wants to know how come they came up with 7’8” Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets to play against the Celtics at the Verizon Wireless Arena a week from Saturday (Oct. 11) — because Ming is going to break Manute’s record for the tallest guy to play basketball in the state of New Hampshire. And the follow-up is what’s the over-under on wins for the Rockets now that they have added Ron Artest to the fold? I say watch out for them.

How come Michael Jordan and Larry Bird have such dreadful records putting teams together as GMs when no one would have said Danny Ainge was a smarter player back in the day? But he’s got one title and is working on another as we speak when he never had the top pick in the entire draft as Michael did when he took bust Kwame Brown and has only had one coach where Michael has hired four and fired two after just one year?

How come guys like Mike Lowell, Willis Reed, Curt Schilling and almost every football player known to man can play through the pain, or at least try, and JD Drew has played fewer than 110 games five times in his career and fewer than 140 twice more?

OK, here’s one final political one: how can our political system have come to such a point where, even at a time of dire calamity, partisan finger-pointing, blaming the other guy and winning are more important than doing what’s right for the people who elected them? There has got to be a better way because it’s pretty demoralizing.  

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.


9/25/2008 Observations on baseball in 2008

9/18/2008 If I were a QB, a DB, a stat geek or a soccer mom ...
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