July 16, 2009

 Navigation

   Home Page

 News & Features

   News

 Columns & Opinions

   Publisher's Note

   Boomers

   Pinings

   Longshots

   Techie

 Pop Culture

   Film

   TV

   Books
   Video Games
   CD Reviews

 Living

   Food

   Wine

   Beer
   Grazing Guide

 Music

   Articles

   Music Roundup

   Live Music/DJs

   MP3 & Podcasts

   Bandmates

 Arts

   Theater

   Art

 Find A Hippo

   Manchester

   Nashua

 Classifieds

   View Classified Ads

   Place a Classified Ad

 Advertising

   Advertising

   Rates

 Contact Us

   Hippo Staff

   How to Reach The Hippo

 Past Issues

   Browse by Cover


LONGSHOTS: Random thoughts for a lazy summer day
by Dave Long

With the All-Star break upon us as I’m writing this, I have a little extra time because there aren’t as many things to follow. It’s time to clear my cluttered mind of various thoughts that have been piling up.

Here are five things I hate about what the All-Star game has become. #1: It decides home field in the World Series based on starting line-ups that are nothing more than popularity contests. #2: Every team has to have a representative. I’ll buy that the home team has to have at least one, but there are now too many teams to force undeserving players onto the team. #3: They need 33 players, including 13 pitchers, to play nine stinking innings? Give me a break. #4: The constant use of the word “snub” when a deserving guy like the Rangers’ Ian Kinsler doesn’t make it. “Snub” is a negative word suggesting they left him off on purpose, which isn’t the case. See numbers one and two for the real reason that happens. #5: They don’t play to win. If they did, the starters would go six innings, the starting pitcher three, and everybody wouldn’t have to get in the game.

For those who still want to keep “snub” in the All-Star game lexicon, look up the numbers in the race to play first base in the 1935 All-Star game and get back to me. That’s the year Hank Greenberg had an astonishing 100 RBI at the break and didn’t make the team! He lost out to Jimmy Foxx and Lou Gehrig, two all-time all-timers who were coming off triple crown-winning years in 1933 and ’34 respectively, so on it like a numbers game. But both were having what for them passed as a bad year, while Greenberg was on fire. Since it was the ’30s and Greenberg was Jewish you don’t suppose it had anything to anti-Semitism, do you? If so, THAT is what you call a snub. 

There have been 13 triple crowns won since 1901. Mickey Mantle had the most homers with 52 in 1956. Lou Gehrig had the most RBI with 165 in 1934, and at .420 in 1901 Napoleon Lajoie had the highest average. Don’t think Albert Pujols will hit .420 in his quest to win the triple crown this year, and his 87 RBI are slightly behind Gehrig’s pace, but he’s tracking to hit 58 homers, which would out o Mantle in that department if he becomes the first since Yaz in 1967 to do it. Here’s hoping he does.

Baseball 101: Two players have won the triple crown of hitting twice. Who are they? 

I’ll take the British Open as the greatest golf tournament. The Masters is pretty and signals the beginning of spring, and the U.S. Open is great but mainly about driving accurately and putting. But with the crazy weather, different course designs and unusual conditions, players have to use every club and different kind of shot in their bag — making it a far greater test of a player’s all-around game.

It’s true Phil Jackson hand-picked L.A. to coach Kobe and Shaq together and he got to Chicago just as Michael Jordan was becoming a devastating force. But Red never won without Russell and Jordan never won without Jackson, while he compiled his10 titles and highest winning percentage ever with, first, a team built around the slashing of Scottie Pippen, the dominating brilliance of Jordan and interchangeable pieces on the block with little overall consequence. Then in L.A. he had the best low post player in the game with Kobe riding in the jump seat as his number two. And finally with a hybrid of those teams with Kobe in the Jordan role with his number two guy being a decent low post scorer in Pao (the goat) Gasol. And he also won 55 in year one of Jordan’s first retirement. That’s Don Shula-like coaching versatility. I think we have to give it to him as the greatest NBA coach ever.

Given the free agent names left out there the Celtics MUST match almost any offer Big Baby Davis gets. If he follows Leon Powe out that door, they go from a very good offensive rebounding team to one with just Paul Pierce who goes to the glass on that end. And since they have very little to trade and zero salary cap flexibility to make trades, they’ll be far too thin behind the starters and Rasheed Wallace in the big department.

And speaking of Wallace, what’s the team record for Ts in a season?

Here are Theo’s five best moves as Red sox GM in ascending order. #5 – Not trading Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury for Johan Santana. #4 – Going to Arizona for Thanksgiving Dinner in 2003 and coming home with Curt Schilling in the fold. #3 – Hiring Terry Francona, who’s perfect for Boston. I never would have guessed he’d turn out this good. #2 – Signing David Ortiz after he’d been renounced by the Twins after he hit 20 homers in the band box of the Metrodome. He went for 31, 41, 47, 54 and 35 in the next five years with Boston. #1 – Trading Nomar for Orlando Cabrera and Doug Meintkiewicz — that one took guts and led directly to ending the curse three months later. Honorable mention –He did have to pay Manny’s remaining salary AND had to give up two prospects to Pittsburgh to do it, but getting Jason Bay out of the Manny mess wasn’t bad. Especially if he signs Bay to a new contract as he’s turned into what they expected J.D. Drew to be.

The Yankees rotation will be downright scary if they win the Roy Halladay sweepstakes.

And speaking of good coaching in L.A.: How much of what the Dodgers have done last year and in having their best record at the All-Star break in 32 years with Manny missing 50 games has to do with Joe Torre being in their dugout? Probably more than the Yankees brass would want to admit, I surmise.

Wonder if that means we’ll get to see Manny at Fenway if the Sox get to the Series. If that happens I don’t think it will mirror the lovefest that occurred when Nomar came back to Fenway last week for the first time since the trade five years ago.

Baseball 101 Answer: Ted Williams in 1942 (.356, 36, 137) and 1947 (.343, 31, 114) and Rogers Hornsby in 1922 (.410, 42, 152) and 1925 (.403, 39, 143) are the only two players to win the triple crown twice.

What do you think the answers would be from each side if someone suggested the Yankees and Red Sox swapped their respective lost-in-the-wilderness starters Dice-K and Chen Ming Wang even up?

And finally, if the Red Sox need insurance for Mike Lowell, do you think Theo would consider bringing back Nomar Garciaparra to back up at first, third and DH?

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.


7/9/2009 Season's second half is when it'll get interesting for the Sox

7/2/2009 Declaring independence of how others play the game
6/25/2009 Finding the right plan is as easy as A, B, C with Celtics
6/18/2009 A great experience came in the Knick of time
6/11/2009 Ripping key to Rodney's broadcast success?
6/4/2009 The Mt. Rushmores of the red Sox-Yankees rivalry
5/28/2009 First-place Sox are making the grade
5/21/2009 NBA rivalries have no rival in other team sports
5/14/2009 Lying from baseball's Pinocchio prompts questions
5/7/2009 Celtics bull their way into round two — finally!
4/30/2009 Tanked from the headlines, the Fenway series yanks it back
4/23/2009 Draft winds blow NFL teams to make interesting decisions
4/16/2009 Spring cleaning of a cluttered sports mind
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