LONGSHOTS: Random thoughts and associations
by Dave Long
My friend not so liberal Lou DeMato calls me a “drive-by” college football fan who’s only there for the big games, so I guess I should ask his permission to watch the Florida-Oklahoma title game.
I’ve got to say, the way the Bruins are playing the life sentence they earned from me for owner neglect may get them out on fan parole at least before OJ gets out of the slammer.
Even if Theo makes a big deal Vegas this week, here’s the deal I’m hoping he’ll make this winter. Why not be bold and try expanding any catcher of the future deal with poor-pitching Texas to include Michael Young? It will take a lot to get a guy who’s had 200 hits five times and won the gold glove last year (so did Kevin Garnett), but he’s 31 and makes $3 million less than Julio Lugo. I’m not sure what it would take, and I’d be reluctant to throw in Justin Masterson. But I’m guessing it would start with prospect Michael Bowdon, Jed Lowrie and another highly rated young pitcher — though not Clay Buchholz, despite his gruesome year — and maybe Manny Delcarmen for Young and one of their four catchers. The big problem is that the Rangers will want a majors-ready starter and the only way to pull that off would be a three-way deal with a prospect-thirsty team. Like San Diego and Jake Peavey maybe?
Buchholz, incidentally, illustrates what a tough job talent evaluators have. Here’s what one report might say: glowing reports in the minors at all levels, some early success and then real struggles in the majors. So is he going to grow into what Jon Lester did last year, or what Casey Fossum eventually became after leaving the team in the Curt Schilling deal? The Sox were right on both, but if Buchholz turns into Fossum, they could be kicking themselves a few years down the road for turning down some big deals where he was the deal-breaker.
Is it me, or does Mark Teixiera look just like John Elway?
Here are the numbers for Matt Cassel and Tom Brady after their first 13 games in charge. Brady — 17 TD passes, 12 interceptions, completed 64.2 percent of his passes, a QB rating of 86.5 and the team’s record was 10-3. For Cassel — a 64.0 percent completion rate, 14 TD passes, 10 interceptions, a QB rating of 85.0 and the team is 8-5. As for yards gained, it’s Cassel 3,052 to Brady’s 2,735.
What’s a three-letter word for the biggest joke in sports? Answer: BCS. And it’s never been more so than this season. I mean, how can you legitimately pick the number-one team in college football with a computer poll when they have six teams with just one loss and another two that are undefeated as there are this season?
Especially given the absurdity of the ratings, as evidenced by this very good question from Mark Kreigle on Fox Sports.com: “How is 11-1 Penn State — which beat Oregon State by 31 — ranked eight, while 10-1 USC — losers to the Beavers by six — at No. 5?”
In the few times I’ve seen the Lakers center Andrew Bynum play — who missed last year’s playoffs — I have liked him a lot. But can anyone tell me just when he got elected to the Hall of Fame, as most of the national basketball writers seem to suggest when writing about the Lakers this year?
Those are the same writers, by the way, who picked Kobe and company to wipe out the Celtics last June.
Speaking of the Celtics, with Portland in town last Friday, it made me wonder what it would have been like if they’d gotten Greg Oden instead of the consolation prize that led them to the title 17 and may do it again this year.
And one back-in-the-day comment about the C’s: I’m starting to think this bunch could beat the 1986 team in a series to save the planet. The below-the-Tarrier Line group is considered by many to be the best Celtics team of them all and perhaps of any team as well. They would have a big size advantage inside with the original Big Three and Bill Walton coming off the bench and at guard as well. While Robert Parish has a big edge over Perk, KG could probably lessen the inside scoring edge Kevin McHale posed over everyone else. And by having to play Kevin Garnett, McHale couldn’t be switched to cover the top scoring option as they usually did in the day and Larry Bird would have had real trouble with Paul Pierce on D. Plus I’m not sure they had a guy who could negate Rajon Rondo’s quickness, and beyond Walton the current bench is better. Whether or not I’m right, it would be interesting to see.
I’m surprised the ND offense has had such trouble under Charlie Weis. Let’s see, he was good when he had Brady Quinn at QB and hasn’t been without him. Made his name with the Pats when he had Tom Brady at QB. Does this say more about the importance of a good QB or Weis? Either way, when do you think the folks at ND will get it right?
So Chip Kelly is the guy in waiting at Oregon — that’s a pretty fast rise from being the OC at UNH just two seasons ago. Not that I think they are wrong, just I’m amazed at how things can evolve.
Why do people still think Stephan Marbury is good?
Is it me, or is Brian Scalabrine the most annoying Celtics three-point shooter since Antoine Walker? He rarely shoots anything besides a three and I don’t think he’s ever taken one without me being in the process of saying, “No, no, no!!!”
I just discovered this the other day: you want to know the most amazing thing about the year Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs? He got just 137 RBI — meaning he got only 64 when he didn’t knock himself in. If half his 73 had one guy on, it means he only got 37 RBI all year when he didn’t hit a homer.
By contrast in 1927 when the Babe hit 60, the guy batting behind him, Lou Gehrig, managed to drive in 171, despite that fact Ruth had cleared the bases a full 60 times before he came to the plate.
To those who wanted to burn Theo in effigy after he let Pedro walk after 2004: How’s he looking on that one now?
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.