LONGSHOTS: Whirlwind weekend leads to whirlwind thoughts
by Dave Long
Last Friday had perhaps the greatest convergence of local sports events in recent memory. It was enough to bust the clicker if you were trying to stay abreast of everything going on all at once. There was the Sox and O’s at Fenway, the Celtics were in Miami trying to go three-zip on the Heat in the NBA playoffs, and the Bruins were in Buffalo trying to close out the Sabres in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Finally, a little to the south in NYC, Round Two of the NFL draft in prime time was in full swing.
It was exhausting and frustrating as I couldn’t find the Sox on cable the first few innings and every time I clicked to ESPN Coach B had just traded out of the Pats’ slot for more picks, leaving me uncertain when the next pick was coming. It actually started Thursday with Day One of the draft and continued until the Celtics coughed up Game Four to the Heat when Dwayne Wade turned into Michael Jordan on Sunday. And while it all was enjoyable, what it mostly did was send my stream of consciousness into high gear with these thoughts:
Still think the Sox have “three number-one starters”? Just because a guy’s the best on his staff, like John Lackey was with Anaheim, it doesn’t mean he’s a number one, which I define as a stopper. While I’m not saying he isn’t good, Lackey was the best out there because the Angels staff just wasn’t that good.
You can make a pretty good argument that major league baseball is in its greatest era ever for second basemen. While there’s no one approaching Roger Hornsby, there has never been a collection of as many good hitters as today. That includes Chase Utley, Dustin Pedroia (one MVP already), Robinson Cano, Brian Roberts (three 50-double seasons, matched by only four players in history), Dan Uggla (three 30-homer seasons), F-Cat alum Aaron Hill (38 homers, 106 RBI and seven errors in ’09) and Ian Kinsler of Texas.
And did anyone in Fisher Cats land ever think in their wildest dreams Hill would ever go for 38 and 106 when he was playing short in Year One at Gill?
Does it bug you when media people cast a player in an unflattering light with information that turns out wrong and then don’t correct it later? Like Comcast’s Michael Felger mocking Jacoby Ellsbury a few days after Ellsbury got run over by Adrian Beltre for being soft in not playing right away with what turned out to be broken ribs? Don’t you think they should make a point to say they were wrong?
Got to say I was with the peeved group at Coach B for taking DB in the first round on Thursday. Nothing against Devin McCourty, but as many know the need was a big-time pass rusher. But, after further review I’ll say this: I’ve been yakking for some time now the biggest mistake Bill Belichick has made was letting Ty Law go because having strong corners who can cover is essential to his defense. So I’m OK with it now.
I’ll also be OK if it costs their 2011 first pick if they can trade for a solid pass rusher, ’cause they still need one bad.
Not that we needed the final nail in his coffin, but big mistake number two was giving the big bucks to just-cut Adalius Thomas —who was an even bigger free agent bust than Monty Beisel.
Was surprised at Denver’s guts, but they’re right. Tim Tebow will be a good NFL quarterback. The hoo-ha around him reminds me of what everyone said about Doug Flutie not being able to play in the NFL. How’d that work out? And the player he most reminds me of is Steve Grogan — who ran for 12 TDs his first year as a starter. Tebow’s tough and a winner and they always find a way. Starts by Year Three at the latest.
The big story going into the draft was Ben Roethlisberger. While I think commissioner Roger Goodell has done well handing out stiff penalties for abhorrent off-field behavior, on deciding the fate of the Steelers’ slimebag quarterback, I’d be like the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld — “Come back — ONE YEAR!!!”
And speaking of that — great headline on ESPN.com Monday for a story about the troubles of Dallas and L.A. in getting their expected Round One playoff wins over San Antonio and Oak City in going with the Seinfeldian “Significant Shrinkage.”
Attention, Dick Lombardi: you’re missing a good game, because the NBA playoffs have some great match-ups going on now (see above) and better ones ahead and are showcasing some really good young players that are fun to watch.
My new favorite player, by the way, is Kevin Durant. In part because I like his game and style, but also because he reminds me of Bob McAdoo, who used to have GREAT battles with Dave Cowens when he was with the Buffalo Braves back in the day. Loved watching those two go at it.
Even though NY doesn’t deserve it, I think I’m sorta, maybe, pretty sure I want LeBron to wind up with the Knicks. Feel bad for the Cleveland fans, but I’d like to see if he can turn them around by himself.
But you know what? Free agent Chris Bosh going to Oak City as the next big piece for that rising team, as the latest rumors say, could have a bigger impact in the years ahead.
Is it possible for a basketball player to get Steve Blass disease? ’Cause it appears Miami’s Jermaine O’Neal has it bad. He’s a shell of his former Pacers All-Star days self and he’s only 31, so it’s not like he’s ancient.
Was the Celtics’ loss Sunday in Miami just too much Wade — who I thought ABC’s Mike Breen was going to elevate to sainthood during the game — or their season-long problem of losing focus when they thought they had things in hand? We’ll probably know before this comes out from how they play in Game Five.
It’s just a hunch, but I’m betting Doc’s gone. Not fired, just gone. But in that case, what do you think Bill Fitch is doing?
And speaking of Breen, he’s basketball’s Don Orsillo. He and Jeff Van Gundy make watching fun. They’ve even brought me over on drama queen Mark Jackson, who fits in the middle well. It’s like watching Orsillo and Rem Dog doing basketball.
Listening to that Van Gundy, by the way, makes that dour little guy on the sideline and the one getting thrown around by Alonzo Mourning during a Knicks-Heat brawl several years ago seem like a different person.
Finally, don’t you think the Sox should have sprung for an office for Remy was well as Orsillo? Talk about cheap!
Dave Long can be reached at email@example.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.