August 27, 2009

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LONGSHOTS: Random thoughts and big refrigerator magnets
by Dave Long

Here are some rambling thoughts that came to mind while I was counting up all the fall football schedule refrigerator magnets I’ve gotten in the mail from a vast array of local retailers in the last few weeks.

Anyone know where NESN came up with Frank (20 strings) Viola to fill in for Jerry Remy in Texas and Toronto last week? For him I’ll say, what he lacked in polish he made up for in likability and he’s a dead-on-the-mark sound-alike for South Shore Long Island-born Plymouth State hoop coach Jon Schienman.

Speaking of NESN, while RemDog is the rock star to Red Sox Nation, after seeing Don Orsillo get the best from, what, 122 analysts on broadcasts this year, I think he’s the star. He’s got a knack for making people better and broadcasts fun to watch no matter who’s with him. 

Not that his crime wasn’t serious, but let me get this straight: Plaxico Burress accidentally shoots an unlicensed gun in a New York club and gets two years in the pen, and Donte Stallworth runs someone over and kills him while he’s DUI and on pot and he gets 30 days? What am I missing?

But wouldn’t it have been nice if Burress had pulled that stunt one year earlier? Because if he had, Pats fans would still be saying 19-0 Bay-bee.

And you know life in the real world is screwed up when Stallworth got a stiffer penalty from NFL Commissioner Roger (blood and guts) Goodell than he did from a court in Miami.

I know he’s hurt, which only makes it worse, but the Celtics’ desertion of Leon Powe, after he came back for the playoffs while still hurt and then kept playing AFTER he tore his ACL, was disgraceful.

For what it’s worth — I think Twitter is a fad. And I can’t tell you how much I HATE guys like Shaq tweeting to “fans” at half-time of a game. Maybe that’s why the Big Fella won about four fewer titles than his dominance could have let him get.

If they are a true fan of the art of baseball, even the most fervent Red Sox fan has to respect Derek Jeter. He’s in my top seven all-time Yankees — which is saying something. Here’s my list in order: Ruth, Gehrig, Berra, DiMaggio, Mantle, Ford and Jeter.

Here’s how stupid beliefs become trends in baseball as a result of overthinking an issue — rather than using common sense to come up with the answer — like 100 being the number in the almighty pitch count. Sunday night ESPN’s Steve Phillips, who you may recall had a failed tenure as GM of the Mets, was trying to say the reason Josh Beckett gave up three homers in his previous start in Toronto was because his regular catcher, Jason Varitek, was out with a neck issue and pitching coach John Farrell was away from the team to tend to a personal issue. He was saying this as Beckett gave two more homers to the first five Yankee batters he faced and FIVE overall with Farrell in the dugout watching and the captain was behind the plate. Earth to Steve — the real answer is that after being lights out since May Beckett had no curve ball to speak of and two bad games. It’s as simple as that.

And speaking of the almighty pitch count, who came up with 100 as the be-all and end-all number? A doctor, scientist, trainer, manager, agent, GM, Bill James or a math teacher who liked it because it’s a round number? It sounds like an arbitrary number because 100 is a nice round number.

Let’s put Rick Pitino in the group in the first paragraph from my column a few weeks back about hypocrites who talk a good game and then don’t do as they say at the moment of truth. In Rick’s case it’s the way he wore his Catholicism on his sleeve. I haven’t been to church in a while, but the last time I was there sex on the table in the Italian Restaurant with the wine glass was against the 7th Commandment and what they still call a mortal sin.

And then we’ve got Coach Cal for the Kentucky two-step. Memphis gets the penalty and the guy running the program when the rules were broken gets rewarded with one of the top three jobs in the country and MUCH more money. That makes perfect sense to me. Not to mention it was the second time a final four club had to vacate its spot for serious rules indiscretions.
The best of my detractors from my last Mt. Rushmore column was from someone who loved Joe Namath and was appalled, insulted, ticked off and I think downright disgusted that I said he was on my Mt. Rushmore of overrated New York athletes. It was a good give and take over a couple of weeks and believe me he knew his football. For some reason he loved Joe Willie’s footwork, but I ain’t giving in. When a guy has 220 interceptions and 173 TD passes and was 63-64-2 as a starter I say he’s overrated. 

Here’s another one for him. I’m betting Matt Cassel makes the Pro Bowl within two seasons. Any takers?

Given his work ethic and a recovery time that was longer than most, who out there didn’t think Tom Brady would be ready for the season?

But I admit it that I gave up on David Ortiz sometime toward the end of May. Good for him for proving me wrong. But I’m still not cheering for him until next year over the PED thing even if he wins the Series with a walk-off in Game Seven. 

On the other hand — given my opposition to letting him walk at the time — after watching Alex Gonzalez play shortstop the last week, is it OK now if I say to Theo I told you so?

Theo also get a pass for the BIG mistake of letting Carlos Pena walk to Tampa Bay for NOTHING that same year. All he’s done in the three seasons since he left is hit 46, 31 and 34 homers, with the 34 leading the AL this year. 

And by the way, the best of all the refrigerator magnet schedules I got came from my friend the real estate mogul Bill Weidacher, of (plug, plug) Keller Williams. With the likes of the Pats, BC, UNH and Monday Night Football on it, the only schedules that seem to be missing are the Bedford Jaguars and the Central JV. The only problem is that for it to work you’re going to need a really big ice box, otherwise its sheer weight may pull it over.

And if you’re a lawyer — check out the haircut and then you may want to send him your card, ’cause he’s got to be thinking about suing the barber!

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.


8/20/2009 Sixty-one years later and Ruth's still in the conversation

8/13/2009 Empire strikes back during annual visit
8/6/2009 Ortiz and Manny's steroid story tests fans as well
7/30/2009 Trading places not as simple as "I'll take the old guy" 7/23/2009 Mailbag delivers some interesting questions and answers
7/16/2009 Random thoughts for a lazy summer day
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