April 16, 2009


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LONGSHOTS: Spring cleaning of a cluttered sports mind
by Dave Long

Time to clear out the attack of all the random thoughts that have been piling up over the last few months.

Let’s see, we now have A-Rod joining Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens in the steroids hit parade. If that list keeps growing, voters are going to have no one to vote for in about five years besides Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.

I’ve been waiting for this one since the Super Bowl. While I really love the Kurt Warner story, there’s no way he’s a Hall of Famer. True he’s a two-time MVP, but he’s had just two very good years and two GREAT ones out of 11, is 40th all-time in TD passes, and that ain’t good enough. While I know the sports are different, Roger Maris was a two-time MVP in baseball, broke the Babe’s record with 61 homers, had 39 the year and 33 the year and he never got close. 

With the spring playoff season on the horizons, here are two “I’m so old”s:

I remember paying $4 for Game Seven playoff tickets between the Knicks and Celtics at the height of the only really competitive time between the teams in 1974 and they were bought at the box office 20 minutes before the game. Now there isn’t one thing at the concession that you can buy for that.

And with the Bruins rising from the dead just three years after utter disaster struck to be the top seed in the east, I’ll add this one: I’m so old I remember when goalies had no masks and nobody wore helmets.

Not that this is a news flash, but the Celtics are dead meat if KG is less than 90 percent in the playoffs.

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 than they were?

Doubt they would have won it last year and not that I’d have wanted it this way, but I wonder how things would have turned out if for the long haul Big Al Jefferson had stayed and played with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce for a few years. And if you throw Joe Johnson into that group from the “why can’t we get guys like that” file, that’s a pretty good foursome.

As I get ready to write next week’s column about how some value the NFL draft more than common sense, I’ll warm you up with a nice-to-know-but-you-don’t-need-to-know fact. I’ll bet there isn’t a person out there who knows that former Pats first overall pick in 1994 Drew Bledsoe’s middle name is McQueen.

I stumbled on that one day when I was trying to find the difference between his quarterback rating in the regular season (87.1) and in the playoffs (54.9) when he threw for six TDs and 12 interceptions.

I’ll also bet you didn’t know that former Celtics tormentor from below the Tarrier line Bill Laimbeer was born in Boston. I discovered that sad but true fact just the other day. As far as I’m concerned, seeing him born in the heart of Celtics Nation is like discovering Adolf Hitler was born in, as Forrest Gump would say, our nation’s ca-pi-TAL.

If Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech, who’s rated by Mel Kiper Jr. anywhere from second- to fourth-best player in the NFL draft, slipped to Detroit at the 20th pick, do you think they’d have the guts to take a wide receiver in the first round for the fifth time in six years?

After seeing Chicago give up TWO first-round picks, a third AND their starting QB for Jay Cutler, I’ll ask all the Kool-Aid-drinkers out there who wrote me to tell me I was being hard on Coach B or to ask what do I know: do you still think I was wrong for saying he blew it by getting just a second pick for Matt Cassel AND Mike Vrabel?

And one more thing: if the Bears would give up all that for a crybaby like Cutler, what do you suppose the Bears would have given for Tom Brady?

He are three suggestions for my recent Mt. Rushmore of New Hampshire basketball. SNHU assistant Jay Dufour and head man Stan Spirou told me a while back that Thorpe Webber from Portsmouth, who later played with two-time All-American Clyde Lee in the mid-’60s, was a first all-teamer for NH high school ball. And from the same time, unofficial column ombudsman Fred Graff suggests Dom Lamothe of Keene, who he says was on par with or better than Matt Bonner when he was in high school. And seeing the M-Rats face Keith Friel and the Rocherster RazorSharks in the PBL playoffs on Thursday made me realize Friel was an obvious miss.

I’ve got news for my friend Bill Tynion — with an I. He said a while back in a UL column about the late great Tri-Mountain League written by semi-beloved, semi-retired scribe Joe Sullivan that his team in that league was the best he ever played on. Au contraire, my friend; the best team he ever played on was the Sunday Derry League – Coors Light team with SNHU Hall of Famer Tom Roche, Steve Fontaine, Tom Archer, Mike Moffett and yours truly would have kicked that team’s butt.

And by the way, how come it took SNHU sooooo long to finally put Roche in its Hall of Fame? What do they have, a 25-year waiting period before someone is eligible?

And since son Tyler plays at Boston College — how come no one made a big deal that a college player in Boston, specifically BC, had a slugger coming off the bench by the name of Reggie Jackson? I’d have thought that name would’ve sent shivers through the Nation. 

After just watching one of my favorite movies the other day … not sure if writer Lawrence Kasdan went to Ohio State or not, but the best sports line in The Big Chill is when Michigan alum Jeff Goldblum says, “Wy to Bo Schembechler ugliest helmets in college football” while watching the game on TV. 

Best guy to sit next to at a game in Manchester is my friend Petey K. Knows something about everything and the conversation never stops.

Not that this matters, but do you know if you Google “Yaz” a birth control pill called drospirenone & ethinyl estradiol, with the brand name YAZ, comes up before Carl Yastrzemski (who doesn’t show up until page 4). How can that be? Anyone know who I can protest that to?

Dave Long can be reached at dlong@hippopress.com. He hosts Dave Long and Company from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday on WGAM – The Game, 1250-AM Manchester, 900-AM Nashua.

4/9/2009 Red Sox Nation springs back to life

4/2/2009 Climbing sports Mt. Rushmore
3/26/2009 Mount Rushmore offerings and other spring thoughts
3/19/2009 B-Ball, Coach B and Baseball in the mailbag today
3/12/2009 Great talent a rush but not all it's cracked up to be
3/5/2009 In Bill we still trust?
2/26/2009 A mountain over this molehill
2/19/2009 Steroids muscle in on game's strength
2/12/2009 Bonner bombs away on Cs in garden party homecoming
2/5/2009 Nation's angst ends as V-Tek says what the heck and rejoins flock
1/29/2009 Super Bowl Sunday brings to mind past and present
1/22/2009 The elusive quality of greatness is the topic of the day
1/15/2009 Spring cleaning of the sports mind a little early
1/8/2009 Will hall have Rice on the menu come July
1/1/2009 Predictions and wants for the year ahead
12/25/2008 A look in the rear view mirror at 2008
12/18/2008 The Pats' playoff run and new Yankees contracts make big news
12/11/2008 Random thoughts and associations
12/4/2008 Pats should consider options when it comes to Cassel and Brady
11/27/2008 Putting the thanks in Thanksgiving
11/20/2008 News of the week has people talking
11/13/2008 Cassel's in the clouds compared to early expectations11/6/2008 Mail bag delivers some interesting questiont10/30/2008"Yankees Suck" - like mentality fuels political discontent10/23/2008 No ray of hope as season closes in Tampa Bay
10/16/2008 Going to the nines a thing of the past
10/9/2008 C-eeing some interesting stories unfold this week
10/2/2008 "How come?" is the main question of the day
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