Friday, April 17, 2015

Sportzine Issue #600

ISSUE #600
MARCH 3, 2015
Yes, folks, this is Issue #600 of Sportzine. Even for non math majors, it's pretty obvious that that's a lot of Sportzines.

Sportzine is, and always has been, a fanzine. Fanzines preceded blogs. They were niche publications for people with a great passion for a subject. Mine was sports, especiallyNew England sports.

While I'm not a journalist, I have tried to maintain certain professional standards. I give attribution when I get information from another sports source. I do spelling and grammar checks. The goal is to put out a readable, literate and entertaining look at sports.

So here we are many years later and I'm still at it. Still passionate, still expressing my
take, as a fan, on the sports teams I love: the Red Sox, the Patriots, the Celtics, the
Bruins, PC and URI in basketball, amongst others.
Sportzine has always been free. It went from being handwritten to being typed. It was originally distributed only in hard copy. Eventually it was sent out by e-mail while still being passed out in hard copy. E-mailing Sportzine cut down on my ink cartridge and paper costs.

My thanks to Michael Solomon, who gave me my first paying ad for his Wes' Rib
House, and to Tom Bates and Josh Miller, owners of the Hot Club, who gave me my
second ad (Mike Solomon helped with some arm twisting).
It's been a fun run and hasn't ended. It keeps me out of trouble and gives me something to do in my retirement. It's helpful to keep those brain cells working. After some sports talk, a special question and answer piece will follow. I did this at the request of Buffalo Steve Lenz. My thanks to him for the suggestion and for his probing questions.

When the news came that the PawSox had been bought (Monday 2/23), and the new
owners wanted to move the team to Providence, I was devastated. For many years, going to see the PawSox play at McCoy Stadium was a jewel in the firmament of Pawtucket.
And Pawtucket has not had many jewels over the last 50 years. If you are from
Pawtucket, you most likely have paid a visit to see a PawSox game. The last census
(2013) had Pawtucket's population as 71,172 (4th largest city in RI by population).
The PawSox, being the Boston Red Sox AAA team, were not just Pawtucket's team but
the whole state's, and it wasn't unusual to see school buses from Massachusetts and
Connecticut in the parking lot. But the games at McCoy Stadium were in Pawtucket, and it has been a source of great pride for all Pawtucket residents.
Now that is about to be taken away by these new owners. The idyllic days of watching a AAA game (see the next Boston prospect) on a sun drenched day will be no more after 2017 (more likely 2018). Inexpensive admission, free parking, concession prices that didn't whack your wallet, all contributed to the experience. As did the youngsters who hung dug out plastic gallon milk jugs with souvenirs over the railings, hoping they'd be signed by a PawSox player or even a BoSoxer coming back from an injury. Soon thatwill be no more. It was a sad day when this new ownership bought the PawSox.
Part of me is very irate that this is happening. So I fired off an e-mail to the Letters to
the Editor of the Providence Journal They didn't choose to print it. I'm sending it to the Pawtucket Times and I think that they will probably print it. The e-mail:
“As a Pawtucket native and a PawSox season ticket holder for over 20 years, I am
heartbroken that the team's new owners want to move the team to Providence.
The $17 million spent in renovations (1999) turned McCoy Stadium into a beautiful,
well-designed place to see a AAA ball game. It still is.
The new owners want to build a new stadium on a parcel of I 195 land already planned as an open air park. A paying park (for owners) versus a free park (for Rhode Islanders). And they admit that the parcel isn't large enough for a proposed stadium. So where will people park? Imagine the traffic jams to get to the proposed site, especially April and May games when start time is 6 pm because of the cold.
These new owners will want financial assistance to build this new park. The General
Assembly should not give them one cent of taxpayers' money.
This a money grab for the new ownership. They want the revenue from corporate suites, tickets, signage, concessions, merchandise and maybe parking.
The name of Ben Mondor has been invoked by these new owners. That is an insult to
Ben Mondor, who saved the PawSox and McCoy Stadium. These new guys have already ravaged Pawtucket and now want to ravage the franchise and its fans.
The city of Pawtucket should offer to sell McCoy Stadium to the new owners at a
reasonable price. The PawSox belong in Pawtucket at McCoy Stadium.”
When I voiced some of these feelings at the Hot Club, several people disagreed with me. Some vehemently. Two different chaps brought up a stat that PawSox attendance had fallen the last few years. I noted that the stadium holds about 10,000 people and there are 72 home games. The PawSox drew over a half million people last year. 515,665 per That's an average of 7,367. Attendance is affected dramatically by the weather. Stalwart fans will go in any case, but the cold, rain and even snow will keep others away. Weather clearly impacts games played in New England. If McCoy Stadium were sold out for every home game, attendance would be 720,000. I would think that drawing over 500,000 baseball fans would make McCoy Stadium a going concern.
The sale of the PawSox is another step in the 'corporatization' of America. Many folks
will be unable to attend AAA games, priced out by money grubbers looking for the last dime. It makes me sad, very sad.
Some see this as an economic engine for Providence. I have my doubts. A Triple A
season lasts 5 months, two of which are cold and often rainy. Only die-hard fans attend those games. What will they do with the new stadium the other 7 months? The new owners will make their money and then move on. I fear that RI's taxpayers will be left holding the bag once again. Sad, very sad. More so if you are from Pawtucket and have known that wonderful feeling of an idyllic afternoon, sitting back, and watching a AAA game unfold before you. An inexpensive escape to a place true baseball fans love.

“The real issue for minor league baseball is that [it] draws very little interstate tourism.
This is clearly just shifting money down the state from one Rhode Island community to
another one. If I'm a Providence guy, there is some question about whether this is money
well spent. If [I'm] a Rhode Island official, under no circumstances is that money well
spent.” (Holy Cross economist Victor Mathesen as quoted by Paul Grimaldi/ProJo -3/1)

• Glad that Pete Carroll and the Seahawks staff didn't know this stat: According to Mike
Reiss (, the Patriots allowed 1st downs on 78% of rushes with 2 yards
to go or fewer. Only Carolina was worse.
• Congratulations to PC and URI, both with 20 wins and both probably going to the Big
Dance. Can't remember when both PC and URI made the NCAA's the same year ('97?)

An interview with Sportzine's Jim Dawson.
For the landmark 600th issue of Sportzine, we asked if we could "turn the tables" on our intrepid reporter/editor/publisher, Jim Dawson. Jim graciously allowed Buffalo Steve to cop a few inches of valuable space in the latest Sportzine for this interview.
It will seem obvious to even the most casual reader that the interviewer is a total
neophyte/numbskull at reporting. Please excuse the cheesiness of my questions - this is all about Jim and SZ600!
BS: Jim, you are not a reporter or newspaperman by trade. Tell us about the genesis of the Sportzine, and a bit about the early years.
JD: I love sports, especially baseball, football, basketball and hockey. While watching a late night sports show on Ch. 7 in Boston, the Farrelly Brothers were guests. They
piqued my interest in sports writing when they noted how negative much of the columns were. l was also dissatisfied with much of what I was reading, and felt that the negativity was squeezing all the fun and enjoyment out of watching sports. And so began what was then called a fanzine.
BS: How many major publications rejected the Sportzine before you decided
to self-publish?
JD: I never submitted Sportzine to any publication. It was something I wanted to do for the personal satisfaction, to pass it out for free, and to get some feedback since I knew I had my own take on things going on in the world of sports.
BS: The Internet - specifically the World Wide Web must have seemed like Valhalla to a self-publisher. How has the Internet helped (or not) the success of the 'zine?
JD: It has helped me to check the accuracy of statements, to get the quotes exactly as
made and to research issues that arose in which I had interest.
BS: Some of your Hot Club "code names" or handles are pretty self-explanatory (mine
for one), but others are REALLY weird. How do you pick the aliases?
JD: Usually there is something that I pick up on about the person that makes the alias or nickname self-evident to me. The general rule is that you can not make up your own Zine nickname, though there have been a few exceptions. Early on, two Hot Club
regulars (who will remain anonymous) laughed at me when I said that I was going to
give HC regulars aliases, including them. In the very next issue, I gave them nicknames that are still used today. And I want to give credit to my good friend Chris DeSessa who suggested that I write about some of the colorful characters who inhabit the Hot Club.
For those of you who have been to the HC for many years, you should know that Mr.
Contraire was the very first character with an alias.
BS: What is the craziest or weirdest item you have ever published in the 'zine?
JD: Can't think of anything that qualifies as crazy or weird. However early on in my
writing the Hot Club section of Sportzine, I learned some very painful lessons on what I could and could not write. One example - I recounted the story of how one regular, Mr. B., had busted the chops of Mr. A. about his problems with spelling. When the issue came out, Mr. B came over to me and said "This is what Mr. A. thinks about your Sportzine." He was holding the remnants of the Sportzine which had been torn into many pieces. Lesson learned.
BS: I HAVE to ask. How do you think Rex Ryan will do up in Buffalo? (my kind of
JD: Rex Ryan is a good coach who will have more to work with then he had with the
Jets. However as we saw with his last team, if his GM does not draft the right players
and sign the right free agents, he will still have an uphill climb.
BS: How does your SO (significant other) put up with the reporter in you - the late
regular nights, cheap booze, cigarettes, clacking Underwood typewriter, all that stuff?
JD: Victoria understands my need to write about sports. I used to read Sportzine to her, but realized that she had a limited interest. She is not a sports buff, and she preferred not hearing stories about the Hot Club. I used to go to the HC 4 nights a week, 3 by the time I went out with her and now 2. She has gradually accepted my need to talk about sports with others a couple nights a week.
BS: As it is a community favorite, what do you see for the future of the Sportzine?
JD: My readership may very well determine that. There is a part of me that would like to write something shorter and more frequent like Sports Thoughts, almost on a daily basis. I am also tinkering with the idea of expanding the Zine to include movies and TV that I like as well as music. Besides sports, my two other passions are movies and music.
And my thanks to Peter Bortolotti for suggesting the music trivia contest that I now
include in every Zine. The response has been great and shows me that people are still reading Sportzine.
BS: Who do you like better: Sox, Pats, Celts, or B's? (I know - questions are really
JD: I grew up a Red Sox fan first and foremost. My Dad and Mom took me to games at
Fenway and I got to see Ted Williams play. My Dad also was a big New York 'Football'
Giants fan and so we watched their games and rooted for them. In 1960, the AFL came into being. I followed the Boston Patriots from their inception. I have been going to Patriots' games for a long time, back when you wouldn't take a woman or child to the games. I have been a season ticket holder since the '70's and went to New Orleans for the Super Bowl against the Bears. Face value of the Super Bowl ticket - $75. I still have it. My brother Brad and I went to many Celtics games, including the triple overtime winner in the playoffs versus the Phoenix Suns (1976). I played sandlot baseball and football, but wasn't very good at basketball (that's Brad's forte), and could never skate (as a result I appreciate what those players can do on ice). I love going to Fenway (the Shrine). Baseball is a leisurely game that allows for baseball chatter. I have had season's tickets to the PawSox for at least 20 years. The amazing thing about baseball is that you can still witness something that you've never seen happen. Football is much more immediate, any play could change the game (see Pats vs Seattle - Super Bowl).
Watching a game at Gillette Stadium is such a vicarious and visceral thrill that is so
different from baseball, but I love them both. I root for all four major local teams and
also the PC Friars and URI Rams.
BS: If you were to choose a Sportzine handle for yourself - what would it be?
JD: The only moniker I've used is 'Z' for Zine writer or Z man. Sometimes I refer to
myself as the editor (you should never be the one to edit your own writing).
BS: Thanks, Jim. Again, congrats on the 600th! We hope there are many more issues of
Sportzine ahead! Good luck to you and yours.

• Spring is almost here (March 20). And the Red Sox will be playing spring training
games on TV. The first is Thur. 3/5 (MLB) at 1:05 vs Minn. The first NESN game is Sun
3/8 at 1:05 vs the Mets.
• Nick Cafardo (Globe – 3/1) quoted Yankee consultant Ray Negron as saying Luis Tiant
was instrumental in getting fellow Cuban Yoan Moncada to sign with the Red Sox.
• The NY Times' Ben Hoffman (3/1) had a piece on Rajon Rondo and his struggles
shooting foul shots. Hoffman noted that Rondo is missing almost 70% of free throws
(hitting 31.1%). Since Boston traded him, Rondo is shooting 28%. Rondo recently got
into more foul trouble when he yelled at coach Rick Carlyle and was benched a game.
• A shout out to Air Force buddy Mike Curtis: your Minnesota State at Mankato hockey
team is rated 2nd in the nation. When Mike was there, it was Mankato State.
• Curt Schilling's daughter has been accepted to Salve Regina University and will pitch
for their softball team. So Schilling tweeted congratulations to daughter Gabby. He
received several offensive tweets back suggesting that she would be subject to sexual
violence (allegedly rape). It is horrific to learn that this happened. And sad.
• The Bruins needed a defenseman and got two wingers. This doesn't appear to be their
year as they fight off the Florida Panthers for a playoff spot. Look out for Montreal.

The Regal Legal said he was watching the Super Bowl and jumped out of his chair as
the Seahawks ran their play from the Patriots 1 yard line. He said that when he saw that
it was going to be a pass play, he screamed 'Pick! Pick! Pick! When Malcolm Butler
intercepted the ball, he was speechless (as I was). I told him that I call that play a BAP –
Big Ass Play.
Speaking of the dead (the Seahawks and their hopes for back to back Super Bowl wins),
I was conversing with a gentleman who shall remain nameless. He told me that someone
asked him if he wanted to join a pool called 'The Dead List'. Everyone in the pool gets
the name of a randomly drawn aged celebrity and antes x amount of money. If your
celeb is the first to die then you win the Dead List pool money. I kid you not.
The Wizard told me something that I didn't know (yes, we must keep learning): Roy
Rogers was supposed to close Woodstock with Happy Trails. I Googled it and the Wiz
was right on. Roy didn't make it because his manager didn't think it was a good idea.
Pal Al told me about an Internet site called A check shows that the site
has over a million listings of property for rent by travelers. They describe themselves as
the world leader in vacation rentals.

Last issue's question: “This singer is the youngest female artist ever to have a #1 hit, a
record that still stands (Billboard Hot 100). Who is she and what was the #1 hit? ”
Well, someone guessed Leslie Gore and another Brenda Lee [hers was the 1st album I
owned. It included I'm Sorry, All Alone Am I and the first version I ever heard of
Jambalaya (a Hank Williams song)]. But it was another young woman with a big voice
and small stature – Little Peggy March (born Margaret Annemarie Battavio) with the #1
hit I Will Follow Him, which was released in 1963 when she was 14. She was 15 when it
went to #1. Later she had a hit with Hello Heartache, Goodbye Love. Because of her age
and Coogan's Law, her parents couldn't manage her money. That fell to her manager
Russ Smith. It was discovered in 1966 that Smith had squandered all her money leaving
Little Peggy March with $500.

This multi-talented artist has had a career spanning 6 decades which has included 79
Grammy nominations and 27 Grammys won. Name?


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