Monday, March 13, 2017


MARCH 13, 2017

It has been a great year for local lads URI and PC, both of whom are going to the Big Dance. While URI was expected to compete for an invite to the NCAA tournament, PC was not expected to do much after losing Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil.

URI’s Rams did it by winning the Atlantic 10 tourney, the first time since Lamar Odom’s Rams (1999) Beating St. Bonaventure, Davidson and VCU in convincing fashion got them in. URI played great D and got contributions from 8 of their 9 players in the championship game. Langevine had 10 rebounds and EC Matthews 9 (URI was outrebounded 41-33). URI held VCU to .313 FG% and .286 from 3 point range.

The Rhody Rams take on Creighton Friday @ 4:30 in Sacramento. Some basketball buffs (CBS’ Seth Davis for one) think URI can make the Sweet 16. Dan Hurley has done a great job coaching this collection of contributors. Go Rhody!

And you have to give Ed Cooley high marks for his coaching of this year’s PC team. You could see the players start to understand their roles better by the end of the season. That said, their 2nd half against Creighton was one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Eight 2nd half possessions – 0 for 4 and 4 turnovers. 15 turnovers in the 2nd half, 22 for the game. 12 missed FTs. And someone needed to put out an APB to find Rodney Bullock (3 pts.).

The Friars get a chance to redeem themselves Wednesday @ 9:10 in a play-in game against the USC Trojans. If they get by USC, SMU awaits. Not sure which Friars team shows up in Dayton. However I’ll cheer them on just like URI. And the Dancing lessons will help next year’s edition. Charles Barkley predicted that PC would beat both USC and SMU. FWIW. Go Friars!

The last time both URI and PC went to the same Dance was 1997. PC fan Charlie Clancy knew that it was 1997. The only time before now. Let’s do it more often, guys.
While this every 4 year ‘competition’ is promoted as spreading the sport of baseball globally, you know that it’s mostly about money. The early games in Seoul, Korea and Toyko, Japan could only be seen by insomniacs since games were on at 4 and 5 am. But we weren’t MLB’s target audience. I did get to see Team Israel play the Netherlands team. The Dutch contingent included Xander Bogaerts, Didi Gregorius, Jonathan Schoop and Andrelton Simmons among others.

Team Israel had only a few recognizable names, like ex-BoSox catcher Ryan Lavarnway and reliever Craig Breslow as well as the Dodgers’ Ike Davis. The Netherlands had the better players, Israel, which won 4-2, had the better team that day. Manager Jerry Weinstein is to be congratulated. Team Israel lost to the Netherlands today (Monday) 12-2, Israel’s first loss in the WBC. The Israeli team had never been in the WBC until now.

The USA team, which has never done well in the WBC (this is the 4th), blew a big lead to the Dominican Republic the other day and lost 7-5. The Dominicans are the defending champions.

The Red Sox will play the Washington Nationals in a pre-season game at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland on April 1 (no this is not an April Fool’s joke). The game is free and open only to midshipmen and other Navy personnel. It will be played at the Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium which holds 1500 fans. It will start at 2pm and be televised by ESPN.

The stadium is named for Max Bishop, Navy head baseball coach from 1937–61. In his tenure, the team's record was 306–143. The field is named for two Naval Academy alumni, Ron (class of 1963) and Bruce (class of 1965), both contributors to Navy athletics.
Max Bishop was a slick fielding 2nd baseman for the Philadelphia Athletics (1924-33) and was their leadoff hitter. Bishop was on Connie Mack’s last 3 AL pennant winners. Eight times he had 100 walks in a season and set a record for walks in a doubleheader (8 twice). His walk % of .204 is surpassed only by Ted Williams’ .207. He batted left and threw right. Had a career OBP of .423. He, Lefty Grove and Rube Walberg were traded to Boston in 1933 for 2 players and $150,000. Bishop played for Boston in 1934-35.
Sportzine is available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz
There has not been a pre-season MLB game at Annapolis in 30 years. From the period 1971-1987, there were 9 pre-season games played at Max Bishop Stadium, which included games involving the Yankees and Red Sox.
My thanks to Richard Flinn, the English Department Head at the Naval Academy Preparatory School, for sending me the links with the background information above.

Last weekend, my Samsung Galaxy S5 would not charge. Staples said the battery was dead. So I looked up info on cell phone repairs and found We Fix It at 218 Wickenden St. in Providence (277-1163). I made sure they had a battery for it. The owner installed the battery and then charged the cell for several minutes. He then offered to test my ‘dead’ battery. Well, he found that it charged too. He didn’t charge me anything. I had my lifeline back. All he asked is that I recommend him, and that’s what I’m doing. A+.

The Patriots were about to lose TE Martellus Bennett so they traded for the Colts’ Dwayne Allen. About to lose DEs Chris Long and Jabaal Sheard, NE got Kony Ealy and
Lawrence Guy. After tendering CB Malcolm Butler (he hasn’t signed it yet), the Pats signed All Pro CB Stephon Gilmore for mega bucks (5 years $65 M, $40 M guaranteed). That protects the team if Butler leaves. The 6’1” Gilmore is 26. It is unusual for the Pats to spend big, but an increase in the salary cap helped. And in the Super Bowl, Butler was badly beaten by Taylor Gabriel on a 35-yard completion. And when Dont’a Hightower sacked Matt Ryan, I believe it was Gabriel who was wide open when Butler fell down.
Oh and they needed help with the thinning and aging receiver core so they traded their #1 pick to the Saints for WR Brandin Cooks. The speedy 5’10” Cooks is 23 (24 in 9/17).

There have been two injuries in the WBC already. KC catcher Sal Perez hurt his left knee and new Rockies signee (5 yrs. - $70M) Ian Desmond was hit by a pitch and broke his left hand. Yadier Molina complained about lax security when Puerto Rico played Mexico in Guadalajara. Molina and teammates felt their families weren’t protected well when a fight broke out. (Boston Globe – Baseball Notebook – 3/13).

Jim, Slap Shot at 40 on the NHL Network is a fitting tribute to the greatest revelation about minor league hockey that we all grew up with in the form of the Providence Reds, the Auditorium, the AHL, frozen windshields after the game in the alley over by the National Guard Armory, the Penalty Box bar, chicken wire, donnybrooks, my dad's cigars, peanuts in the shell, "Hockey News!", "Ice cream. Chocolate covered ice cream!", Section DD in the heavens with the boys from Farmer's Dairy, and Lou Pieri. "Ownz...Ownz" (Denny Lemieux).  Paul Newman could skate! (a little).  The Hanson brothers live!
Bill LaPlante
Bill, yes even Victoria likes Slap Shot. I have the DVD somewhere. Could be time to re-view it. And Strother Martin is in it (What we have here is a failure to communicate). My times at the RI Auditorium to watch the RI Reds were few but it was an unforgettable experience. I remember a fraternity brother who had become a biggie in local sports administration. When I reminded him about throwing a live chicken on the ice during a Reds game, he made me swear I wouldn't tell anyone about it. Love how you capture the way it was at the old RI Auditorium. Now sadly it is just a parking lot. And the Penalty Box was sold and has become The Parlour. Great craft beers on tap there. - Z

Paul Beaudette sent me this NY Times article about fixing the slowness of baseball games. I liked the idea of at least one World Series game on during the day so kids could watch. I mentioned a few of these possible solutions last night at the Hot Club: A time clock for pitchers to deliver the ball is needed. Batters should not be allowed to step out more than once or twice in an at bat. Make it a ball on the offending pitcher and a strike on the offending batter . How about bringing back those carts that brought relievers into the game? And instant replay has to be just that - instantaneous. As soon as the head ump puts on that headset, someone who has reviewed the play should provide the decision. There should be some limiting of catcher to pitcher visits and the time taken for pitching coaches or managers to stroll out for a talk or removal should be timed. Not sure what the penalties would be. I liked your memory of the golf cart shaped like a baseball used to bring in relievers, but I forget the one that you didn't like - a car with the team's logo? Z

There have been a number of articles lately with crazy (stupid) ideas to quicken the game.  I'm all for fewer visits to the mound.  There used to be a rule limiting 1 infielder joining the mound conference.  I hate it when the catcher goes out after every pitch.  I hark back, yes hark, for the days when relievers pitched more than 1 inning.  When their were only 10 pitchers on the roster. We discussed replays last night.  The process should not take more than 30-45 seconds.  Also, announce what the challenge is, and the conclusion to fans in the ballpark, and TV and radio audience. The Yankees had a Toyota Celica painted with Yankee Pinstripes.
Bob Kumins

Quiz answer: Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. Also wrote hits for the Monkees. RE: Bennet Omalu's appearance at BC, I was reminded about the movie Concussion when I passed by Lodi CA High School in November of 2015. Bennet "retired" to Lodi to become the area's Medical Examiner after declining an offer to be the U.S. Surgeon General when the NFL finally admitted his research was correct. The Lodi H.S. football team was on the field in practice when I passed by, prompting the reflection.
Roger Boudreau

So who returns to the Hot Club aka the East Coast version of the Hotel California? Why Mr. Contraire, of course. And it didn’t take long before he was his usual contrary self, telling me “You’re not listening.” Bouncer Marty and I laughed as it’s Contraire who seldom listens. Sorry to hear that someone rifled through Contraire’s car recently. I asked him if he had locked the car, but Contraire wasn’t listening.

In talking to FootJoy about the WBC and Team Israel (they have a life sized doll mascot called Mensch on a Bench), he made a good point. Ex-Red Sox GM Dan Duquette has had a lot to do with bringing baseball to Israel. A Wikipedia search reveals that in 2007, Dan Duquette helped found the Israel Baseball League. Despite folding after only one season, it helped 75 players get into professional baseball.

In answer to a question that Cap’t Jack and his crew (Mark and John) had – it was the Hot Club that did the plans and paid for the dock that is around the Hot Club. This according to original co-owner Tom Bates. Tom said that they had to go to DEM first and then the Coastal Resources Management Council which approved it.

So, who was the singer/multi-instrumentalist who had an early band but is better known for his work with two giants of the music industry, one of whom he still tours with? Why Nils Lofgren, who had his own band Grin in the ’70’s, and played with Neil Young, even briefly being a member of Crazy Horse. Lofgren played guitar and piano on Young’s After the Gold Rush and was on Tonight’s the Night. Lofgren has been with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band ever since the 1984-85 Born in the USA Tour. Lofgren was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the E Street Band in 2014.(Source - Wikipedia)

This duo is credited with the first major hit in a particular rock genre. They scored an impressive sixteen Top 40 hits on the Billboard and Cash Box magazine charts. And the twosome was good enough to host one of the historic rock n’ roll concert films ever made. They even sang the title track of a movie. Who are they?


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