LONGSHOTS: Mailbag delivers some interesting questions and answers
by Dave Long
Time to go to the mailbag and provide answers for missives from inquiring minds who want to know the following.
Dear Dave: Should golfers be mad at Stewart (kitchen) Sink for messing up what could have been one of the great golf stories of all time by catching Tom Watson on the 72nd hole of the British Open? Albert P. Duffer, 474 First Cut Lane, Pot Bunker, Missouri.
Dear Dick: I was really pulling for Watson. Other than George Foreman regaining the heavyweight title about 10 years after he first stopped boxing, when he was, what, 100?, I can’t think of another story about an old guy pulling something like that off anywhere in the annals of sports. So while it’s OK to be disappointed, Sink deserves the credit up for making the putt of his life to put the pressure on Watson coming to 18, where he was so juiced he blasted an 8 iron through the green and down the embankment from 200 yards out to see his hope go down the, er, drain, to get the tough-luck bogey.
Dear Dave: What did you make of Clay Buchholz’s start Friday in Toronto? LeRoy Holliday, 14 Leaving Town Drive, Toronto, Canada.
Dear LeRoy: I’m in the minority, probably, as despite his giving up just one run in 5.2 innings, I thought it was OK. Maybe OK plus. And it’s probably more gut than anything. I’m not saying he looked nervous or tentative, but he looked something. Like it was in the back of his mind all the things that went wrong last year, which at times led him to being a little too fine, like the walks that got him taken out of the game. So while it certainly wasn’t a negative, I think he still has a mental hump to get over. Of course the bigger picture was, was the brass really telling the truth he was there to help set up the rotation for the second half — which already had four extra days off? Or is it more plausible he was showcased to the Toronto brass if a deal for Roy Halladay gathers momentum? Being a cynic, I say it was the latter.
Dear Dave: Do you think Roy Halladay is going to be traded and do you think the Red Sox should get in on it? Hand LeeRa Meirez III, 42 MVP Lane, Boca Raton, Florida.
Dear Hand: This is a tricky one as both the Sox and Yanks probably think they have enough starting pitching to win it all. Though that doesn’t mean either won’t be a lot better with him added to the staff. If I were the Jays I’d be asking for Buchholz, Lars Anderson, Daniel Bard and Dice-K — which makes the price VERY high. But the last time they gave up their top prospect (who turned into what all they thought he’d be) they got Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and the 2007 World Series a year later. But it would also complicate the payroll situation, as he and Beckett would come up in 2010, making it doubtful both could be retained. So who fills in for whichever leaves, if Buchholz goes to Toronto? But on the other hand the Yankees have demonstrated a willingness to say the heck with it and go for it now no matter how many young’ns they’ve had to give up. And with them as silent here as they were with A-Rod and Mark Teixeira deals, my gut says it may happen again. So the question for both teams is can they afford to let the other come away with Halladay with two months to go? I’m sure the answer will be no in the Bronx and perhaps on Yawkee Way, but the latter will probably be hoping he goes to the NL. Having said that, I bet he winds up in New York.
Dear Dave: I’m becoming more impressed with Daniel Bard by the day. What do you think of him? Spark E. Lile, 18 K’s Street, Closer Cove, N.M.
Dear Spark: Three thoughts now come to mind when he comes in the game. #1 – I’ve never seen a guy throw heat more effortlessly. #2 – Sorry to all the other guys mentioned above, but he’s the most untouchable young guy I’ve seen in the system. He has incredible heat. #3 – If he progresses at the same rate the rest of the year, the more expensive Jonathan Papelbon could get traded this winter. And part of me says that’s nuts, since he’s been baseball’s best closer for three years. But he was a rookie when he got the job, so why not Bard — especially in light of what Pap could bring back in a deal? But here’s a question for you. Generally I say leave well enough alone, but this guy really has the juice, so could he be turned back into a starter? If it worked it would give them a potentially dynamic system that offers the side benefit of keeping Papelbon in the pen to close it all down.
Dear Dave: We’re a family that watches a lot of sports together and we always debate this question: who’s the most important — the great player or the great coach? Phyl, Jack & Son Debator, 18 W Shula Blvd., Winningway North Dakota.
Dear Phyl, Jack & son: That’s the age-old question. Red never won without Russell, but Michael Jordan never won without the real Phil Jackson, while he won with three different teams and three different styles. So Jackson screws up my basic rule that says the player matters more in all sports except football — where I’ll take the great coach over any one player, even with Brady and Belichick. Though John Elway in Denver does throw a monkey wrench into the Mike Shanahan-is-a-genius hype, which clearly isn’t the case 12 years later. And if you disagree, give any example where a team gave up draft picks to get a coach, like Don Shula, Bill Parcells or Bill Belichick, where the team getting the coach didn’t come out ahead.
Dear Dave: My friend Michael Vick has done his time and should be back in the NFL this year, what do you think? Big Al Kapone, Cell Block D, The Big House, Leavenworth, Kan.
Dear Big Al: That depends on what you’re in for. Assuming it’s counterfeiting or less, I say nope. The last 10 years or so the NFL, heck the Bengals alone, has been flooded with thugs, scoundrels and a fair number of gun-toting felons. I wouldn’t put up with it, period. I’m a deterrence guy. The stiffer the penalty the better. So if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. If that costs a great player his career, too bad, as he has no one to blame but himself, which was the case with the ghastly crimes committed by the exciting Mr. Vick.
Dave Long can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.