LONGSHOTS: A week not weak on, big-time local story lines
By Dave Long firstname.lastname@example.org
It was quite a week for sports in these parts: the Celtics got started, the Pats kept rolling, and local alums were winning big in college football and in the World Series.
On Tuesday it was the first look at the new-look Miami Heat where the Celtics were winners in what most said was the most anticipated NBA opener in history. You know I hate to do this, but I agree it was.
Yes it’s early, but after giving up an 18-point lead vs. LeBron and company, then coughing it up down the stretch the next night vs. the LeBronless Cavs and almost again on Friday vs. the Knicks, the Cs are already looking a lot like they did after Christmas last year.
Constructive comment to Comcast’s golden voice, Gary Tanguay, after he filled in for an under-the-weather Mike Gorman on Friday: Johnny Most was the ultimate homer by vilifying the guys in the other uniforms. Not sure he has to do that, but the way he gushed over the guys all night made green team sideline guy Greg Dickerson seem like Michael Felger.
Speaking of vilification: Tuesday’s BIG opener was followed by Phil Kessel coming back to face the Bruins. It offered a nice segue to show that even though Kessell may be a 40-goal scorer someday, sometimes it’s best to go with potential, as with three goals already Tyler Seguin is giving glimpses that he might be really something in the not-too-distant future.
Also on Wednesday was the World Series getting under way in San Francisco, where Giants beach boy closer Brian Wilson of Londonderry was inspiring bearded Halloween costumes all over the country. The guy who put it all together, GM Brian Sabean of the Concord Sabeans, showed the Nation you can win with an efficient but starless everyday line-up IF you have great starters and have a complete bullpen that delivers. That means don’t go for bargain in middle relief, Theo.
While I wish departed John Farrell good luck in the new gig as Toronto manager, I’ll still ask: if he was such a good pitching coach, how come Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez were better after they left while Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Jonathan Papelbon and most of the bullpen struggled here?
This week’s not-for-nothing baseball thought: I bet the Yanks’ plan for Deter Jeter is a three-year deal at big money where he plays one more year at short, then when Jorge Posada’s contract is up after 2010, he moves to third with the increasingly immobile A-Rod going to DH.
Did it seem weird to anyone else seeing Barry Bonds lobbying to be the Giants’ 2011 hitting coach while they were still playing in the World Series?
On Saturday local lad Chip Kelly and #1-in-the-nation-and-Manchester’s-heart Oregon blew away USC on national TV by scoring 32 unanswered points to win going away 53-32. And not that this means anything, but is it me or has OU worn a different uniform in each of the last nine weeks?
Here’s a not-for-nothing college football thought that doesn’t involve the bogus BCS. After losing to NAVY for seemingly the 12th year in a row, the Chicago Tribune reports, new coach Brian Kelly is losing grip on public perception he was the right choice nine games into his first year. And while that may seem unfair, unrealistic and just plain stupid, I love it. Anyone who walks out on his team to get a leg up on recruiting when it’s about to face the biggest game in school history, as he did to Cincinnati last year, deserves what he gets. Ditto for Notre Dame for allowing that (or was it demanding it?). I mean aren’t Catholics supposed to the right thing instead of just talking a good game?
Speaking of Navy — the last time they were in the picture for a national title was 1963. They went 9-1 in the regular season, beating Michigan, West Virginia, 4th-ranked Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Army along the way as their quarterback Roger Staubach won the Heisman. They were ranked second in the country when they faced top-ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl. Sadly, the magical ride ended there for them, assistant coach Steve Belichick and young son little Bill, who reportedly was seen breaking down film a few hours after the 28-6 loss to the Longhorns. I know — way below the Tarrier Line, but it seems like yesterday to me and I’m still bummed Navy lost.
Anyone besides me and the Trinity alumni association know that after losing early to Auburn and LSU their former QB Dan Mullen has Mississippi St up to 21st in the polls after winning five straight? The real test comes next vs. Alabama in Birmingham and then Arkansas.
On Sunday it was Randy Moss and the Brett Favre circus rolling into Gillette as the Pats continued to chip away at my “they’ll be no more than 9-7” prophecy, with a methodical 28-18 win over the Vikings as the greatest deep threat in the history of the universe had one catch for eight yards and then got cut the next day.
The biggest play came on Danny Woodhead’s run after a catch to make it on third and 12 on the game-winning drive. So thanks to Rex Ryan for the Wes Welker of running backs, who’s making folks forget Kevin Faulk is gone.
Nice try by Dave D’Onofrio in Friday’s UL making a case the Pats were scoring-challenged without Moss. True, they averaged 32.7 points in his four games — but 28 came from the special teams or defense, dropping the offensive output to 25.7. The first two Moss-less efforts were 23-point games vs. the Ravens — the most they’d given to that point — and San Diego, who while leading the NFL in rockhead plays also led in sacks and total defense. Throw in the 28 scored against him Sunday and their 24.7 average without Moss seems like a wash to me.
Devin McCourty is getting better by the game. Seems to me that after six years Coach B may finally have a replacement for Ty Law.
Bad news from the coast. The 3-4 Raiders are showing some life — which if the season ended today would have the first pick they get for Richard Seymour down to 11th overall. Good, but not the first overall I imagined.
Finally, is it me, or do the Patriots look a lot slower in their throwback uniforms?
Dave Long can be reached at email@example.com. He hosts Saturday Morning Sports with Dave Long from 11 a.m. to noon Saturdays on WGAM – The Game 1250-AM in Manchester and 900-AM in Nashua.