Monday, February 29, 2016



FEBRUARY 29, 2016

As a PawSox season ticket holder of 20+ years and a Pawtucket native, I am thrilled that
the PawSox will remain at McCoy Stadium for the next 3 seasons. What happens during
those three seasons might have some bearing on what the owners do.
While the saga of moving to Providence was on, individuals were telling me things that
supported a move and/or that McCoy Stadium wasn't up to snuff. Someone said that Ben
Mondor was actively trying to move the team before he died. Another person pointed
out that the state was paying $3 million for upkeep of McCoy.
So I contacted the PawSox front office and presented those statements to someone who
would know.
Regarding Ben Mondor actively seeking to move the team before he died:
The response was that Ben Mondor never had any thoughts of moving the PawSox.
As for that $3 million the state pays for upkeep of McCoy, I was informed that the
PawSox pay for upkeep of McCoy. The state may help with structural repairs for safety
reasons, but the cost is minimal and not near $1 million, never mind $3 million.
Also: the renovations in 1999 were funded by the PawSox who paid $6 million and the
state was believed to have contributed $12 million (Ed.:That was the best money ever
spent on a RI institution. Every fan who has passed through a turnstile at McCoy knows
that. The PawSox and McCoy Stadium are crown jewels in the Pawtucket firmament).
As for the individuals who insist on citing declining attendance at McCoy, I checked the
stats. The PawSox have drawn over 600,000 fans (2005-2009) five times and had
592,326 in 2010. In the five years between 2010-2014, the team drew over 500,000 fans.
Considering McCoy Stadium holds about 10,000 fans and has 72 home games,
attendance of over a half million fans a season makes the team a 'going concern' and
viable economic entity.
Drops in attendance figures are often caused by the weather and if the home games are
front loaded in April and May, months when the game is too cold for some fans.
Rainouts don't help. The quality of the team has an obvious impact.
Last year attendance was 466,600. The team was bad for much of the year. There was
significant backlash at the new ownership for stating that they wouldn't stay at McCoy.
This season is a new year. I exhort all PawSox fans to come out to a game or two this
year and give ownership reason not to move. Remember that Red Sox ownership wanted
to move from Fenway to a new stadium. Larry Lucchino brought in architect Janet
Marie Smith to save the day and Fenway.
So the new season brings hope that there will be sunny faces and dispositions at McCoy
as we watch prospects separate from suspects. Go PawSox! Stay PawSox!

Well the pitching is better with ace LHP David Price and closer Craig Kimbrel. There
are still a lot of question marks on this team even if most of the roster spots are taken.
Will they be the good Sox? The sloppy Sox? Both Sandoval and Ramirez have a lot to
prove defensively. Weak support will sink your ship.
They should be strong up the middle with Bogie and Petey and either Mookie or JBJ in
CF. As long as those corner infielders perform, the defense won't be an Achille's Heel.
The starters look stronger with Eduardo Rodriguez and a healthy (cross your fingers)
Clay Buchholz. Porcello and Kelly will have to be the late 2015 season pitchers.
Catching will be strong with Swihart and Hanigan. Vazquez will be stockpiled in
Pawtucket until he's physically ready and/or the Hanley “No Hands” experiment blows
up and they move Swihart or Hanigan to 1st to backup Travis Shaw. Shaw can also play
3rd so the Panda better not have a bamboo bat as well as eating too much bamboo.
I'm locked in to the first spring training games. The Wed. 3/3 game vs Minnesota (7:05)
is on NESN as is the Sat. (Yanks) and Sun. (Balt) games (3/5 and 3/6 both at 1:05). I'm
ready for that 162 game ride, so these spring exhibitions will whet my appetite.

• Read League of Denial written by brothers Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru. It's
about NFL players getting CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) from concussive
hits and losing their lives to depression and dementia. The PBS Frontline documentary
(same name) and the movie Concussion is about this. As a lifelong NFL fan, it opened
my eyes about the dangers facing NFL players. Commissioners Paul Tagliabue and
Roger Goodell don't come off well as they and their paid off doctors (The Mild
Traumatic Brain Injury Committee) deny that concussions can lead to CTE. I hope that
Tom Brady quits after 2016 so that when he's retired he recognizes his wife and kids.

• Tom Brady just signed a 2 year extension to help the team with cap space. He's now
signed through 2019. The Pats better bolster that O line to prevent TB from getting CTE.

• The appeal of Judge Berman's vacating of Brady's 4 game suspension will be heard this
Thursday (3/3) by a 3 judge appeals court in NY. While the judges probably won't come
up with a ruling for a while, the questions they ask may give clues as to their decision.

• If you aren't totally tired of the 'Deflategate' issue, the Patriots site has two informative
pieces under 'Wells report context' and then 'critical articles'. One is by Houston attorney
Steph Stradley who shreds the NFL and its boneheaded handling of the situation. She
also answers readers' questions and explains why Kraft can't get back the draft picks.
The other piece is a friend of the court brief (Amicus Curiae) filed by NY attorney
Robert Blecker, who did it on his own and who tears apart not only the NFL, but the
Players' Association in not defending Brady better, including the NFL brief in which
they compared Brady's supposed conspiracy to deflate to the Black Sox scandal.

Ben Volin (Globe – 2/28), among others, pointed out that the NFL was found to have
hidden more than $100 million ('waived gate' revenue) from the Players' Association
with whom they are supposed to share revenue. Volin notes that besides the extra $12
Million in salary cap money each team will get $1.5 – 2 Million more for the salary cap.

• The NY Times' Tyler Kepner (2/28) had a piece on Yankee killer Dallas Keuchel who
beat NY 3 times last year, including the wild card game without giving up a run in the
3. There is a chart showing pitchers who have beaten the Yanks 4 times in a season
without a loss. Luis Tiant did it in 1973 with the Red Sox. And in 1974, Tiant went 5-1
vs. NY. Also on the list: Red Sox pitchers Al Nipper (1987) and Josh Beckett (2011).

Not too long ago, I mentioned The Wire (HBO) as one of the best written TV series. It
featured the travails of the Baltimore police in trying to handle the drug traffic and the
players in that market. Another TV show that was on for 5 seasons as well and is almost
as good as The Wire is Southland (NBC/TNT). Set in South LA, it depicts the police and
their day to day struggle to survive against criminals and their own kind. It's gritty
realism and not always happy endings mirror that found in The Wire. I ordered it
from the library (which allows extended time to watch each season series). Ann
Biderman created Southland. She is also the creator of Ray Donovan (2013-2014)
seen on Showtime.
The cast of Southland is excellent with Regina King as Detective Lydia Adams
and Michael Cudlitz as Officer John Cooper standing out. It includes Ben
McKenzie as Officer Ben Sherman, Shawn Hatosy as Detective Sammy Bryant,
and C Thomas Howell as 'Dewey' Dudek). IMDb gave the series an 8.5.

Buffalo Steve asked me music trivia - What was the shortest rock 'n' roll song? I heard
this as the song with the shortest title and after thinking said Johnnie Ray's Cry. Steve
pointed out that he wanted to know the shortest in time. Oh that would be Stay by
Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, 1:17 though if you play the song, it ends at 1:15.
So Steve asked what famous song Maurice Williams wrote. Gave me hints saying Dave
Somerville sang it and the band came from Canada. I didn't know. Well, it's the
Diamonds' Little Darlin'. I checked and it reached #2 on Billboard's Hot 100.
So I went back to Johnnie Ray and Buff Steve knew that he was deaf in one ear. I told
him per a bio of Dorothy Kilgallen, that she and Ray had a relationship. Kilgallen, I
noted, was a NY reporter when she joined What's My Line? Kilgallen had an 8 minute
interview with Jack Ruby (Lee Harvey Oswald's killer) in a courtroom side office in
March of 1964. No one but the two of them were present. Kilgallen was investigating
the JFK assassination. November 8, 1965, Kilgallen died under suspicious
circumstances. A bottle of barbiturates was on her dresser next to her bed where she was
found. Death was attributed to alcohol and Seconal overdose. A later analysis indicated
the presence of not only Seconal but Tuinal and Nembutal, two barbiturates for which
Kilgallen had no prescription.

What was the 7:21 minute song that was the singer's first single and written by a rising
songwriter out of Oklahoma that made it to #2? Why MacArthur Park sung by Richard
Harris and written by Jimmy Webb. Webb wrote some great songs including By the Time
I Get To Phoenix and Wichita Lineman (I also loved Galveston) for Glen Campbell.
When Campbell first met Webb he told him: "Get a haircut."(Wikipedia).Webb also
wrote Up Up and Away and 11 of the songs on the 5th Dimension's Magic Garden.
Readers Glenn Dewell, Bill Shea and Mike Curtis all had the correct answers.

What do You've Lost That Loving Feeling -Righteous Brothers, I Get Around and When I
Grow Up (to Be a Man) - Beach Boys, Monday, Monday – Mamas and Papas, For Your
Love – The Yardbirds, and Walk Away Renee - Left Banke, all have in common?
Sportzine is also available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz.


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