Monday, September 26, 2016


SEPTEMBER 26, 2015

As I listen to Men Without Hats doing Safety Dance, I am still in awe at what Dustin Pedroia did yesterday in scoring the winning run against Tampa Bay. With catcher Luke Maile waiting to tag him out, Pedey danced, juked and jumped to avoid the out, finally scoring when his leg knocked the ball out of Maile’s glove. I have seen some great slides at home, but never a jitter bug dance routine that should never have worked except that it was Pedroia who somehow willed himself into scoring. And it was only fitting that David Ortiz, who is first among adversaries of the Rays in many career offensive categories at their field, would knock in the winning run in his last at bat at the Trop.

Now poised to seize the AL East division with any combination of 2 wins or Toronto losses, the Red Sox have done it by winning 11 in a row. It started at home on 9/15 against the Yankees when Hanley Ramirez hit a 3-run 9th inning homer, which began a 4-game sweep of NY. The BoSox then went on the road and beat the Orioles 4 straight and then the Rays 3 in a row. They even won 4 one-run games in that stretch, including two versus Tampa Bay in which they scored 3 or fewer runs (2-1, 3-2), a category in which they have been deficient this season.

On a day when Nick Cafardo (Boston Globe – 9/25) headlined his column ‘Farrell has managed to have a good year’ and suggested that John Farrell is in the conversation for Manager of the Year, Johnny Boy trotted out Fernando Abad who immediately allowed the tying run. I guess lefties Robbie Ross, Jr. and Robby Scott weren’t available or Farrell had a hunch that Abad might be good for once (now 4 blown saves out of 5, 0-2 and 6.39 ERA). And I question Farrell using Joe Kelly 2 and 2/3 innings instead of closer Craig Kimbrel in the 10th. The idea is still to win the game. The Sox won another game despite head scratching moves by its manager.

And for those of you who are confident that the Red Sox will win their division, consider this: the BoSox are now one game ahead of Cleveland (in the loss column) and tied with Texas for fewest losses. If the Red Sox have the best record in the AL, then they get home field advantage throughout the playoffs. And you don’t have to be a Red Sox fan to know what advantages Fenway Park brings to the home team. Let’s hope that Farrell remembers that once the team clinches.

Now that the Bills have shown some signs of life by beating Arizona Sunday, Patriots fans can only hope that whoever quarterbacks the team next week isn’t hurt badly. The last thing that I want to see is Julian Edelman at the QB reins. Edelman is far too valuable as a 3rd down ‘count on getting a first’ receiver to risk injury as a QB.

That said, it would be wonderful if the Patriots can find a way to win Game #4 without Tom Brady. Few fans figured that the Pats would win out in #12’s absence. Well, Feet Feet Pete and I have a drink bet after he pronounced NE would go 4-0.

Has there been enough time for Jimmy G’s A/C sprain to heal? Doubtful. And can 3rd stringer and rookie Jacoby Brissett possibly throw the ball with a damaged thumb tendon in his passing hand? Or do the Pats bring in an outsider for the week? To do so would cost them a player because of the roster spot. Unless either Garoppolo or Brissett is hurt badly enough that they are put on IR. And who in the ensuing weeks is Tom Brady’s back up? This just in: Anthony Johnson will be waived. The Pats will add a QB.

There is a debate over whether to keep Jimmy Garoppolo or trade him. He’s better than several starting NFL QBs right now. And would bring at least a #1 pick. However I wouldn’t trade Jimmy G nor would I move Tom Brady. Brady is the Patriots quarterback. He will be until he starts feeling his health is important (CTE) or gets injured or both. If Brady gets hurt (God forbid), any Pats fan would want Jimmy G doing the signal calling. He has shown an ability to read defenses (the opening TD to Hogan when Garoppolo changed the play), and he has been timed releasing the ball even quicker than Mr. Brady. That’s remarkable. Jimmy G might just be one of those quarterbacks that come along once in a blue moon. You know, like Tom Brady. Garoppolo is under contract through 2017 and then the team could franchise him if Brady still can/wants to QB.

In Thursday’s game, I wanted to see the Patriots run the ball well and play great Defense. They did both with Nate Solder’s return helping the run game as did the use of Cameron Fleming as a blocking tight end. FB James Devlin also contributed. The beneficiary was LeGarrette Blount who ran for 105 yards including a game clinching 41-yard gallop that made it 27-0.
As for the D, well, any time you shut out a team that speaks for itself. The Pats defense held Houston to 6 for 15 on 3rd down and 0 for 3 on 4th down. Sheard had 2 sacks and the Pats had 2 more QB hits (Flowers and A. Johnson). Jamie Collins had an incredible game with another interception and 8 tackles and 6 assists (14 combined). The next Patriot (Freeny) had a combined 7 (4/3)!

What I did not want to see in Thursday’s game was Jacoby Brissett, our one healthy quarterback, running with the ball. Well he ran it 8 times (48 yards) including a 27-yard bootleg for a touchdown. But Brissett got hurt on a run through the line when Vince Wilfork fell on him. Have to disagree with that part of the game plan.

An unsung hero was punter Ryan Allen who averaged 47.6 yards on 7 kicks with a long of 57, and constantly put the Texans in poor field position. Stephen Gostkowski finally started avoiding touchbacks on his kicks and it led to two fumbles as special teams were indeed special. Ebner and Bolden forced the fumbles and both resulted in Patriots’ touchdowns.

It was not surprising that the Pats would ease Rob Gronkowski back into the fray as he mostly blocked. Gronk was targeted but once on a throw nowhere near him. Per Mike Reiss, Gronk was in for 14 snaps.

So a mystery QB will now be brought in to manage the position for one more game. Here’s hoping that the run game and defense lead to a win over Buffalo so that Tom Brady finds the team with a 4-0 record when he heads to Cleveland as the Patriots quarterback.

RIP to Arnie Palmer, one of my Dad’s favorite golfers, who always seemed the epitome of class. Arnie lived to be 87.

RIP to Jose Hernandez, ace of the Marlins staff, who died in a boating accident. Jose only got to live till 24. Sometimes what happens in life is not fair.

Here’s a quiz for you: This man is one of only 12 athletes who played professional basketball and professional baseball. He also had a 40 year career in TV and film. Name? Answer at the end of the Bullets column.

Sunday’s game against the Rays was one of the best of the year as the Red Sox set a record for consecutive strike outs with 11 (Tom Seaver had 10 by himself. The Sox used three pitchers). They set a franchise record for strikeouts in a 9-inning game with 21. And, of course, they won their 11th straight game.

Dan Shaughnessy was on Comcast last week and told Mike Felger that he thought Clay Buchholz would be the # 3 pitcher in the Red Sox playoff pitching rotation. As I screamed “No, No!” My hope has been that Eduardo Rodriguez would pitch well in his last few starts and be tabbed for the 3rd spot. He seems to have done that. Buchholz has worked out of the bullpen so he fits there.

A woman at the Trop Sunday had a great David Ortiz sign. It said ‘Big Papi #34 Going to be wicked sad without you’.

The answer to the quiz: Chuck Connors, The Rifleman. 6’6” Kevin Joseph Aloysius Connors had a short career in baseball as a 1B for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1 game in 1949) and 66 games for the Chicago Cubs (51). He played center for the Boston Celtics in the 1946-47 season but left when baseball spring training started. He is considered to be the first player to break a glass backboard. Connors is also credited with helping to end the Koufax-Drysdale holdout with the LA Dodgers in 1966.

Fred Neil?
Anthony Paolino
Anthony, excellent - yes - Fred Neil. - Z

Fred Neil?
Dave Burlingame
Yes, Fred Neil. Very good, Dave. - Z

Fred Neil-"Dolphins-Everybody's Talkin'”
Ken Forestal
Right you are, Kenny and those are two songs that he wrote. - Z

Hey Jim: I think I know your quiz answer; I think he wrote Candy Man (Orbison) and Everybody’s Talkin’ (Nilsson) – is it Freddy Neil? El Jeffe Yes it is, El Jeffe. Fred Neil. And you knew the songs that he wrote for Nilsson and Orbison. - Z
Hi Jim, is the song Everybody’s Talkin’ ? I have no idea who wrote it though. Garry Gillett
Yes that's the song that won the Grammy. It was written by Fred Neil who also wrote The Dolphins. - Z
Sportzine is available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz
Matt Dawson (no relation) had a quiz of his own for us and it turned out to be quite challenging. Matt asked us “Who was the World Series MVP who once played professional basketball with Wilt Chamberlain? “Answer at the bottom of the HC section.

There are now fish in the Hot Club aquarium. Not sure what they are but saw at least 8 or 9 fish of at least 3-4 varieties. Still not sure if that’s fresh or salt water in the aquarium.

Buff Steve has been watching The Wire. So I mentioned that IMDb gave it a 9.4 which is one of the highest scores that I’ve ever seen them give. Steve said he also likes Halt and Catch Fire which is on AMC. IMDb gives most episodes of that scores in the 8’s. Professor Peter said he’s into the first season of House of Cards. IMDb gives that season’s episodes values in the high 8’s.

So I was telling Charlie Clancy and Robby Perrault that I had seen goldfinches on one of our bird feeders. Charlie said that he saw two birds who were furiously flapping their wings. Rob said “Hummingbirds.” Charlie said that yes they were hummingbirds and he thought that they would make good point guards.

Told Captain Jack and Mark that priests can date nuns now. As long as they don’t get in the habit.

Matt’s Quiz Answer: St. Louis Cardinal Bob Gibson

As you can see from the e-mails, quite a few knew that it was Fred Neil who wrote a Grammy winner for Harry Nilsson (Everybody’s Talkin’ which was used in Midnight Cowboy). Anthony Paolino, El Jeffe, Dave Burlingame and Ken Forestal all had it.

This person was an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actor of film and television. He performed in a range of musical genres, including jazz, pop, rock 'n' roll, folk, swing, and country. He is in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Name?