Monday, May 01, 2017


APRIL 10, 2017

As I await the start of Monday’s delayed game in Detroit, time to reflect on what I’ve just watched. As a Red Sox fan who saw Ted Williams play, I have seen a lot. Never do I remember a season start like this when, after winning 2 games against the Pirates, Boston suddenly lost ½ of the Killer B’s (Betts and Bogaerts) and flu ridden Hanley Ramirez who never made the Detroit trip. Guys with the flu (Benintendi vomiting), guys getting over the flu and 2 players (Barnes and Bogaerts) lost to bereavement leave.

Oh well, this assorted bunch has finally won a game against Detroit and could square the series with a win today. Betts and Barnes back is big. Barnes is Mr. 8th inning (actually he pitched the 7th and 8th Sunday). Betts makes the team so much better. Hitting, fielding and running the bases. He caused Justin Upton to throw wildly allowing Betts to get to 3rd and Young to 2nd Sunday. It was an error forced by Betts’ aggressive running. It fueled the Sox 8th inning rally.

When this team gets all its missing players back, they will absolutely mash. But no sooner than the Sox get Betts back than Jackie Bradley Jr. injures his knee (reported strain). JBJ made another highlight reel catch running into the side of the bullpen wall Sunday. He has already made several amazing catches and has four Defensive Runs Saved (per the ProJo’s Brian MacPherson – 4/10).

So Benintendi will play centerfield today (‘put me in coach...’). Young plays LF and Betts stays in RF. Since I rail against Farrell at times, this was the best way to go. Benintendi showed me a lot when he got sick during Sunday’s game, but didn’t come out and had a crucial RBI hit later.

Oh and special thanks to Ian Kinsler for missing the bag on what would have been an inning ending DP. Benintendi then singled in the tying run (Marco Hernandez). Kinsler and Pedroia once vied for the starting SS position at Arizona State. Petey won. Kinsler eventually transferred to the University of Missouri.

1st inning of the delayed Red Sox- Tigers game. Ex-BoSox Jose Iglesias makes two highlight reel plays against his old team, including an over the head catch. When Iglesias played shortstop for the PawSox, he was the best I’ve ever seen at making over the head catches in the outfield. Not even Nomar was better.

The Bruins may have missed a certain 1st round exit had they played the Washington Caps (thank you Toronto which lost to Columbus Sunday – they get the Caps). The Ottawa Senators, who’ve yet to lose to Boston, is a formidable foe, but the Bruins have a chance. It appears that GM Don Sweeney and head coach Bruce Cassidy will let the kids, Charlie McAvoy and JFK (Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson), play. With injuries to D men Krug and Carlo, McAvoy was almost a must. Good Luck to the Bruins. They’ll need it. May Tuukka Rask shine.

Tonight is the home opener for the Pawtucket Red Sox. For once the temperature will not be sub Arctic. 32 year old RHP Kyle Kendrick will make his first start of the season.

While the PawSox are 2-2 coming in after splitting 4 with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, they have gotten decent starting pitching. LHP Henry Owens actually went 5 and gave up just 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks. LHP Brian Johnson pitched well until getting hit in the head with a 5th inning line drive. Johnson was hit in the face a couple years back and had to seek counseling for it. Hope he’s physically and mentally fine. Johnson had 7 K’s while giving up 1 run on 5 hits and 3 walks.

The bullpen has RHP Brandon Workman and the returning RHP Noe Ramirez, RHP Kyle Martin and RHP Chandler Shepard (18 games with Pawtucket after callup from Portland) augmented by newcomers LHP Edgar Olmos (26 y/o with Norfolk in 2016), and 31 y/o RHP Erik Cordier (played in Japan in 2016). Olmos is the only lefty reliever.

So the owners of the PawSox want to build a 9000 capacity new ball park when Minor League Baseball has a minimum of 10,000. ’Splain this.

Quiz: What league has the second-highest stadium attendance, below only the NFL?

Man-child Rob Gronkowski just got in a wrestling ring. He’s recovering from back surgery. Regardless of how staged wrestling can be, this seems dumb. Grow up Gronk!

Think back to when the new Red Sox ownership was about to hire Billy Beane as their General Manager (’02). Beane turned down 5 years $12.5 Mill to be close to home and family. Instead Boston got Theo Epstein. Oakland has never won any World Series with Beane. Boston won two with Epstein (’04, ’07). Or do you blame small market budget?

If you like to read the sports transactions column (like me), you always marvel at baseball players who continue to hang on, hoping for another chance in the Majors. Recently I saw the Wichita Wingnuts signed RHP Collin Balester. The Long Island Ducks added RHP David Aardsma. And the Ducks also added OF Nolan Reimold.

Quiz Answer: the German Bundesliga soccer league (NY Times – 4/8).

Re Last Issue’s Music Quiz:
Billy Preston comes to mind, but I think Rob Hyman from the Hooters is the answer.
The Wizard
Wiz, Nope, neither. - Z

Hi Jim,
Quiz Billy Preston? GO SOX Thanks for the Zine.
David Annese
David, good guess but No, not Billy Preston. - Z

Jim, just got through reading the Journal's story on the changing tide of building a new stadium in Pawtucket.  Did you attend that meeting and exposition of the plans?  What do you think of it? Don't let those rich bastards pull the "If YOU build it (and pay for it), we'll sign a contract for 100 years" like they did in Denver with the stadium for the Broncos.  Even if you never get to go to a Broncos game, you are still paying for Mile High if you live in that city.  If the owners want a park; let them pay for it.  All the bullshit about bringing jobs, businesses, taxes, and money to the city is just a smoke screen to help them line their pockets and fund that condo in Maui.  That's their "vision". Go, Habs, Go! Bill LaPlante
Bill, that meeting was only for business and civic leaders. I don't fall in those categories. Now they are talking about a 'publicly owned park'. You know that's newspeak for 'get the public to pay'. That will not happen if I have any say. I have my PawSox season's tix. They stay until 2021 (lease ends then). Go Bruins! Do you think they'll let the kids D McAvoy and forward JFK play? They don't have much to lose as I don't see them going far if they make the playoffs. - Z
Is Rask out of commission? If so I agree with you that their chances are diminished. He is the key if they get to advance. Playing youngsters is risky unless they are paired with an experienced defenseman. Forwards not so much.
Anaheim is playing well as of late in the west and I'd put some money on Minnesota if their goalie, Dubnyk, stays the course. Anyone but Chicago.  I'm tired of the refs giving them a pass.
Are the Sox heading for a big year? Saw a couple of innings of them vs. Washington and Sandoval looks like a new man; is he performing like one? It seems the rest of the team is intact from last year and have deepened their pitching from starters to middle relievers. Am I correct? Bill LaPlante
Bill, Tuukka Rask is OK after some lower body injury and keyed the last couple 
wins. However I have seen the Bruins’ defense and even the offense turn over the 
puck at the worst times and put Rask at risk.

Given Liles and Colin Miller as being on D, I hope that 19 y/o Charlie 
McAvoy gets to play D for the parent club. Can't hurt.

JFK (Karlsson) has to get his immigration status changed from student to 
employee before he can play forward in the NHL for the Bruins. Hope 
that's soon (Ed. Note : Karlsson is now an employee and can play for Boston).

The Red Sox should have a big year. Every one is worried about David 
Price's arm and hopefully he can come back and pitch effectively. The 
Sox should have enough starting pitching to overcome Price's loss (but 
not his 35 starts and 200+ innings). I think that the Red Sox offense 
will win them a lot of games.

The real key is a consistent bullpen rotation that holds the leads given 
them. Matt Barnes nearly gave up all of Porcello's 5-run lead until 
Benintendi made a great catch to help thwart a Pirates' rally in Game #1.    -   Z

At least the Bruins made it.  The Avalanche have had their worst season in franchise history (even going back to the Quebec days) and will probably clean house come the end of the year.  There will be a couple of pretty good players on the block, Duchene and Landeskog, as they move to even younger guys to try and rebuild. It's easy for a Providence kid of the 50's and 60's and perpetually rooting for those Red Sox to utter "Wait until next year" easily with  hope.

Well, I'll start to follow Boston in earnest once the Stanley Cup is hoisted and paraded around the ice sheet where it will be won.
Bill LaPlante
Sportzine is available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz
Next Saturday April 15 is the 34th Anniversary of the opening of the Hot Club. There will be entertainment that day including our own musical maestros, Tanya McIntyre and the Professors. While it’s not totally clear what time they will start, expect them to begin playing around the 5:30-6 PM range. Looking forward to the celebration.

My thanks to Cara for trying to find out the Professors’ start time on April 15, the Hot Club’s anniversary. Cara asked me if I used Facebook. “I don’t do Facebook”, I said.

Rare Earth and I were talking about craft beers and the higher ABV’s, though his pleasure is vodka. The Hot Club has a couple. Lagunitas (ABV 6.2), Loose Cannon (7.2) and Stone’s Americano Stout (8.7). Rare Earth knows the co-owner of Wormtown Brewery (Worcester). I liked their IPA Be Hoppy (6.5).

So who was that singer/keyboardist, a former session player, who had a #1 hit and helped a young basketball player save his college and NBA career? Why Bruce Hornsby, who won a Grammy with his band the Range and had a #1 hit with The Way It Is (1986). No one got it. Bill Shea was kind enough to provide the quiz question and sent along the following about how Bruce Hornsby came to Allen Iverson’s rescue.
I heard a Bruce Hornsby interview on NPR last week. In addition to talking about his music and touring with the Grateful Dead, he told an interesting side story about how close he was to Virginia high school hoops players. 
He told of supporting Allen Iverson while he was in prison for (I think it was a bowling alley brawl), and successfully petitioning Gov Doug Wilder for Iverson's pardon - allowing Iverson to attend Georgetown. 
After getting the pardon, Iverson looked up Hornsby to thank him. Hornsby said 'let's shoot some hoops.'A friend, who was a high school hoops coach down in the tidewater area, opened his gym for Hornsby, and 39-yr old Hornsby beat 18-yr old Iverson three straight games! Found an ESPN article on google. Editor’s Note: Usually I would mask f**k and the ‘N’ word. The article is as written, unedited.
This singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s first three albums are included in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Won a Grammy, and was once banned from Saturday Night Live. Name?


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