Monday, May 01, 2017


APRIL 3, 2017
Are you ready for 162 games? I am. Are you ready for three hour plus games? I am. Play Ball!. None of this namby pamby 16 game schedule (NFL). Nor the barely half as many 82 game schedule of the NBA and NHL. Yes, Baseball is not a contact sport (except hitting the ball) like those others. But that 162 game schedule wears down even the best ‘gamers’ (like Pedroia). So let’s toast the Boston Red Sox “Good Health”.

Already David Price is out. Drew Pomeranz is iffy. The relief corps (a definite question mark) is sans Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg. If Hanley is healthy, I say that he will play some 1B (and he should). He was quite adequate there last year.

If the team’s starting pitching holds up, beginning with Rick Porcello and Chris Sale, then this BoSox lineup will score runs to minimize the bullpen use.

How that bullpen shakes out is still important. It could be their Achilles’ Heel. Who will step up? Who will do the job? And get used over and over...

It’ll be fun. This is a very likeable team. And when John Farrell expounds on the close-knit quality of the players, I believe him. The Killer B’s! There’ll be other names. I want “Juggernaut”.

Well, I had to see the start of Game #1. Gerrit Cole matched Rick Porcello in scoreless innings until the 5th. A two-out hit to RF by Jackie Bradley Jr went for a triple when new to RF Andrew McCutchen misplayed what should have been a double (Jerry Remy had forecast this possibility). Pedro Sandoval beat out a ball in the SS hole and the BoSox had their 1st RBI. Think of Sandoval beating out a grounder last year! Leon surprised with a bunt single and Pedroia’s hit up the middle made it 2-0 as the Panda scored all the way from 2nd. Andrew Benintendi then yanked one into the RF bullpen (with 2 strikes) for a 3-run homer to make it 5-0.

Back to the Sportzine.

Saturday, I was switching between the Red Sox-Nationals exhibition in Annapolis and the Bruins – Panthers game. The latter was more important in the scheme of things, but the uniqueness of playing at Navy’s Max Bishop Stadium was compelling.

The stadium is in a picturesque setting with a river beyond right outfield. A brick back stop. 390 to CF. I saw a replay of the flyover – 4 helicopters hovering in place.

The broadcast had NESN’S Tom Caron and MASN color analyst FP Santangelo. So FootJoy was right – the game was on NESN+ (Bruins on NESN) and MASN, not ESPN. The ProJo that day had the game on ESPN.

There were intermingled shots of players mixing with midshipmen. Touring the Naval Academy. Midshipmen next to each other, one wearing a Boston cap, the other a National’s. The game was secondary even though Cy Young winner Max Scherzer was pitching for Washington. It was all quite special for both the teams and midshipmen. And pretty nice for the viewers too.

Meanwhile the Bruins played a sloppy game against Carolina (defensive giveaways). But Tuukka Rask was up to it and Boston held onto 3-2 lead until late scores by Marchand (pp) and Bergeron (empty net) provided an important 2 points with the win.

On Sunday, the Bruins did the unexpected beating the 1st place Chicago Blackhawks 3-2.
A strong game from G Anton Khudobin and 2 points most fans didn’t expect. They play the Lightning Tuesday. A win should cement a playoff appearance. The last two games are versus Ottawa and Washington so a win Tuesday would take off some pressure.

D Charlie McAvoy (19 y/o) is now in Providence and has an assist in each of his first two games. Whether he gets to play with the Boston Bruins will depend on GM Don Sweeney’s read of whether McAvoy is ready. Given the weakness of the D corps, McAvoy may just make it. His BU teammate, 20 y/o forward Jakob Forsbaka-Karlsson (JFK), has already been signed by Boston and is with the parent team. He may get into the remaining three games. The Bruins could use a boost in youthful spunk and scoring.

Back to the Red Sox game. Rick Porcello faltered in the 7th and Matt Barnes let in 2 inherited runners. A great timed catch by Andrew Benintendi prevented worse damage. LHP Robby Scott and RHP Heath Hembree handled the 8th. Craig Kimbrel closed out the 5-3 win with no breaking pitches, just a 97-99 fastball. Win #1. Oh and Jackie Bradley Jr. made a highlight catch going into the side of the bullpen wall. Pitching and defense.
Before the game, the Patriots came out with their 5 Super Bowl trophies as Tom Brady threw out the first pitch to Dustin Pedroia to whom he gave a big hug. Maybe the Red Sox can return the favor and visit Gillette Stadium with a trophy in November.
Did you see those white shoes worn by Mookie Betts? With blue trim and red soles. Where’s Billy ‘White Shoes’ Johnson?
Congrats to Mississippi State which upset UConn 66-64 in the Final Four on a last second shot by Morgan Williams. It ended the Huskies 111 game win streak. Last year UConn beat them by 60. Mississippi State then lost to South Carolina in the Final. Oops!
The Celtics just won their 50th game of the year and are in 1st place. They have a chance to have home court in the playoffs. Not a great rebounding team, but a lot of heart and desire. The job that coach Brad Stevens has done is amazing. Go Celtics!
The NY Times’ Bill Pennington (4/2) wrote that private hitting tutors have resulted in talented players who can’t play catch, field a ball or make throws. Raw in the rudiments.

What band sang “Oh God, Pride of Man, broken in the dust again.” (Hot Club section)
Pride of Man - Quicksilver Messenger Service.
The Wizard
Wiz, correct-a-mundo. San Francisco's own Quicksilver Messenger Service.

Re Last Issue’s Music Quiz:
Bit of a wild guess...Gram Parsons?
Glenn Dewell
Glenn, good guess, but No. Gram Parsons (Ingram Cecil Connor III) was born in Winter Haven, FL. - Z

Hi Jim - With Texas as a great clue, I've gotta guess Buddy Holly?
Buffalo Steve
Buff Steve, Buddy Holly (Charles Hardin Holley) was born in Texas (Lubbock), but is not who I was looking for. The duo that had a #1 hit with his song would not fit. - Z

Hi Jim, Quiz - Ernest Tubb? Thanks for the ZINE.
David Annese
David, very good guess since Ernest Tubb was born in Texas (Crisp) and was know as The Texas Troubadour. However that is not who I was looking for. - Z

Thanks for the quiz reminder James.  Especially considering the answer is Townes Van Zandt!! As we have discussed before, and as you mentioned in the quiz, he was a real trail blazer for a lot of the trail blazers. His Live In the Old Quarter album would sure make my list of best live albums. 
Mike Curtis
Yes Mike, it’s the late, great Townes Van Zandt. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard his or others rendition of Pancho and Lefty and If I Needed You (the Emmylou Harris/Don Williams version is a favorite).   -   Z 
We were talking about what you can say about someone after they’ve died. The Bear said, “There’s no disparaging the dead.” Foot Joy responded, “It’s safer to disparage the dead than the living, unless they’re sitting next to you.”

There is a new sign in the Hot Club as you enter. It says “WE WELCOME ALL RACES, ALL RELIGIONS, ALL COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN, ALL SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS, ALL GENDERS. WE STAND WITH YOU. YOU ARE SAFE HERE.” Not sure who is responsible but a tip of the hat to Sarah and Eben Bates and Josh Miller.

Meanwhile there’s a sign of a different sort in the Hot Club Men’s Room. Next to the sink, there is a sign saying “Sensor for the sink is at your feet.” Well it’ll help the newcomers. I had to ask where it was after the unveiling of the new, improved Hot Club Men’s Room.

So who was that Texas troubadour who wrote great songs (a duo had a #1 with one), had his songs played in films and TV shows, and left us too early? Townes Van Zandt. Only my Air Force buddy Mike Curtis got the right answer.
Per Wikipedia: John Townes Van Zandt (March 7, 1944 – January 1, 1997), best known as Townes Van Zandt, was an American singer songwriter widely regarded for his poetic, often heroically sad songs. In 1983, six years after Emmylou Harris had first popularized it, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard covered Pancho and Lefty, scoring a number one hit on the Billboard country music charts. Van Zandt came from a wealthy family from Fort Worth. There is a county in East Texas named after his family. Van Zandt died on New Year’s Day 1997 from cardiac arrhythmia caused by health problems stemming from years of substance abuse. There is a documentary of his life entitled Be Here to Love Me. The man made beautiful music. Check some of it out.

This singer/keyboardist, who was also a session player, had a #1 hit with his band which also won a Grammy as Best New Artist. He has worked extensively as a producer and has been a sideman with Leon Russell, Don Henley and Bonnie Raitt et al. He once helped out a struggling high school basketball player who got into trouble with the law. That player went on to have fame in the NCAA and NBA. Name of this musician?
Sportzine is available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz


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