Thursday, February 23, 2017


FEBRUARY 20, 2017

As fans await the first spring training games, they can only see Boston in the World Series in 2017. With an All-Star trio of Chris Sale, Rick Porcello and David Price to open games, the BoSox should have the best starting staff in the American League.

I think back to an interview with agent Scott Boras in which he said he’s found that pitchers who sign big contracts tend to underperform the first year, but then revert to their career stats after that. So hopefully this season, we will see the David Price that was always such a tough competitor.

No David Ortiz? No one individual will match what he did last year, but collectively the team should make up for a good chunk of his production. Hanley Ramirez is a key. If he repeats what he did last year offensively, some of the youngsters will increase their stats from last year. Older and hopefully wiser.

No one is going to just give the AL East to the BoSox because they look awesome on paper. There will be injuries – how long before the Panda goes on the DL? Who will step up when others go down? That’s part of the fun of a season, especially when you have such a solid team to root for.

One of the biggest training camp questions is who will be the 4th starter out of the Steven Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz group. All have some sort of injury issue. The PawSox’s Henry Owens and Brian Johnson may help out.

The first pre-season game (against a MLB team) is this Friday, February 24. It’s against the Mets. And a note to Navy men Steve Lenz, Charlie Clancy, Richard Flinn and John Moran: on April 1, the Red Sox will play the Washington Nationals at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. And no, that’s not an April Fool’s joke.

If you are a Patriots fan, you just can’t get enough of this spectacular, scintillating and stupendous comeback win over the Falcons who grounded themselves when better 2nd half coaching and play calling would have preserved their first ever Super Bowl win.

An amazing 31 straight points scored. A display of passing prowess heretofore seldom seen. Tom Brady at his laser like best when it counted. 16 of 21 in the 4th quarter for 196 yards and 5 of 6 in Overtime for 50 yards. Oh and 19 points in the 4th and 6 in the OT.

The Patriots defense allowing just a 3rd quarter TD when it was imperative to shut down the Atlanta attack. And remember, of their three 1st half TDs, the Falcons had a pick – 6 and a Blount fumble at the Atlanta 38 yard line to help them.

It was great to see ‘God’ Goodell have to hand the Lombardi Trophy to Bob Kraft who immediately referred to the difficult year while Goodell tried to sneak off the stage. Bill Belichick got to Goodell before he could go down the stairs. Belichick wouldn’t let Goodell leave until he had his say.

Since the NFL changed the awarding of the MVP Trophy to Monday, many fans didn’t get to see Goodell give the Trophy to Tom Brady. Brady was gracious as always. Brady had to be beaming (and laughing inside) when Goodell handed him the hardware.

When Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia exited the Pats’ plane at Logan, he was wearing a Goodell clown shirt (red nose). Now you know that that doesn’t happen unless Bob Kraft and Bill Belichick are OK with it. Goodell is a clown, and under him, the NFL is a circus.

Reportedly the NFL front office was seething at Patricia’s thumbing his nose. Patriots fans were seething all year over Goodell’s vendetta against the Patriots and Tom Brady. And reportedly Bob Kraft is seething over NFL legal counsel Jeff Pash’s heavy-handed involvement in the Wells Report, so much so that he wants to see Pash fired.

Recently a Hot Club patron named Scott overheard me talking about Clownshoes Goodell and interjected to point out that even if the owners wanted to fire him, they can’t. Why? Because they signed Goodell to a guaranteed contract for between $300-$309 million (2012-2018) and so they still owe him about $175 Mill. Check it out on the Fields of Green website. Two more years and then the bugger goes. Thanks Great Scott.

One Pats fan went to Goodell’s place in Maine which is on Prout’s Neck in Scarborough. The fan nailed NFL (and NCAA) footballs to a telephone pole near Goodell’s place. Since Goodell only probably goes there in the summer, he may not ever see the jibe. C’est dommage. Tant pis.
There was a story online about some fans objecting to ‘cussing’ in the post-Super Bowl ceremonies. Hope you saw (and heard) the NFL Network’s sound added replay of the game. When Willie McGinest slowly brings the Lombardi Trophy to the stage through a gauntlet of Pats players, he encourages each to “Kiss that Mother f**ker”. Many did as they joyously yelled back that they would kiss that MF.

    Nice to see James White rewarded for his incredible Super Bowl performance (14 catches for 110 yards, 2 rushing TDs, a receiving TD and a 2-point conversion). White was given a Ford F-150 truck by Conan O’Brien. Seems that the NFL, strapped for cash, no longer gives out a truck to the Super Bowl MVP (that was Tom Brady). Considering the no class NFL front office, the truck was probably donated every year. The NFL stopped giving out the truck in 2015. When Tom Brady won the Super Bowl MVP in 2014, he gave the truck to Malcolm Butler.

Per the Boston Herald’s John Sapochetti (2/19), Hollywood will make a film of the Patriots’ spectacular, scintillating and stupendous Super Bowl win.

And the Herald’s Inside Track (2/19) noted that there is a great recap of the game on the Patriots web site ( It’s called A Shared Moment and is narrated by Matt Damon.

Fans marvel at the play of guard Isaiah Thomas, who was obtained from the Phoenix Suns in 2015 for shooting guard Marcus Thornton and a 2016 1st round pick from the Cleveland Cavs. IT just scored 20-points in 41 straight games to pass the team record held by John Havlicek (40). Thomas’ record can continue when the Celts resume play Friday against Toronto. And per an article by Andrew Lynch ( -2/17), Thomas, who is averaging 29.87 points a game, could best Larry Bird’s team record of scoring 29.93 points a game set in the 1987-88 season. Wow! Great trade, Danny!

The NBA trading deadline is Thursday. Will Danny Ainge make a move? He has this year’s Brooklyn Nets #1 pick (they are last in the NBA so the pick might end up the first overall pick), and next year’s Nets #1 pick as bargaining chips.

Sorry to see Claude Julien fired. He passed Art Ross for most Bruins’ coaching wins last season and in his 10 years in Boston had 419 regular season wins. Sometimes change is good. Players may stop listening after a while. One coach’s strengths are another’s weakness. Some observers think Claude wasn’t patient enough with the younger players. New coach Bruce ‘Butch’ Cassidy (ex Providence Bruins coach) has had some of these young players on his teams. And there are a number of young players like BU defenseman Charlie McAvoy and teammate forward JFK (Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson) who will be joining the Bruins soon (maybe as soon as BU’s season finishes).

Claude landed on his feet taking over as coach of the Montreal Canadiens, Boston’s arch rivals (is it a rivalry if the Bruins rarely beat them?). Boston might make the playoffs and then they may see Claude across the ice from them. Bruins’ fans will always salute Claude for his contributions in winning the 2011 Stanley Cup.

Cassidy was an NHL defenseman. In his last 4 years as head coach of the Providence Bruins, the team won 40 or more games each season and made the playoffs all 4 years. He was an assistant coach this year with the Boston Bruins.

The Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy (2/19) mentioned an online poll (by the Globe) that was answered by over 5000 fans. The question was: “What is the greatest story in Boston sports history: the 2004 Red Sox or the 2016 Patriots?” It was the ’04 Red Sox by an overwhelming 73%. I would agree. Boston hadn’t won a World Series in 86 years. I will say that the Patriots’ Super Bowl game was an historic comeback of epic proportions. Until someone else comes from 25 points back in the 2nd half of the Super Bowl.

Bennett Omalu will speak at BC on 2/23. Omalu is the neuropathologist who discovered CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) in the brains of ex-NFL players. His first discovery was in 2002 and he published research on CTE in 2005. During this time NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and then Roger Goodell (’06) discredited Omalu’s research, denying that concussions could lead to CTE.

Paul Tagliabue was up for induction to the NFL Hall of Fame this year, but failed to get the required 80% of votes. Good. Tagliabue dealt with the issue of concussions by appointing the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee in 1994. He chose the Jets’ physician Elliot Pellman to head the committee. Pellman is a rheumatologist. Not a neurologist nor a neurosurgeon, a rheumatologist. Per Wikipedia, the NFL didn’t own up to a concussion - CTE connection until December of 2009.

Don’t miss the Planet Earth II documentary on BBC America. The first episode was about islands and some of the strange and glorious creatures that live in and off those islands. The next episode is about mountains. It’s on every Saturday night at 9. Beautiful cinematography with narration by David Attenborough. You will be introduced to an assortment of animals (some I hadn’t even heard of) and how they live and survive (sometimes). BBC America is also showing replays on Thursdays at 9 pm, Fridays at 12 am and Sundays at 12 am.
Hi Jim - Congratulations to the New England Patriots, and all of my Patriots fan friends. Tom Brady is nothing short of a magician, a wizard who snatched a fantastic win from the Falcon's beak. Awesome game, awesome record-breaking victory!
Buffalo Steve
Thanks Steve, I think you nailed it with that snatched from the beak line. A game that will be shown over and over and Pats fans will never tire seeing. I'm waiting for my chance to see it again on the NFL Network. PS: Belichick donated his boat so he'll have to buy a new one, but he had to repaint it anyway so it says ‘7 Rings’.

What a game! Not sure remarkable covers it well enough.  What’s the expression about the dish being served best cold? :)  After the past year, this certainly had to seem like vindication.  I can only imagine the noise level coming out of Jim and Victoria’s party!! Congratulations!! - Mike Curtis
Mike, I think it's revenge that is a meal best served cold. And Tom Brady, Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick and the Patriots got their revenge on ‘God’ Goodell. The noise level at Victoria's was raucous level when the Pats tied the game. When they won, the very roof seemed to lift. - Z
Hey Jim, Great wrap up. Congrats on great comeback win and guess you guys can probably finally put Tyree in rear view mirror after Edelman's catch. I do have a question about your statement that they would have won in regulation without the clang off the post though. He kicks th extra point its 28-10. They then got the field goal 28-13. At this point they would get the 2 to make it 28-21, but next TD I don't think they would go for 2 to win --do you ??
Jim ‘Mr. NY Football Giants’ Dwyer
Thanks Jim. Considering Edelman didn't have a great game catching the ball, many fans won’t remember because of that catch. You make a good point about the missed extra point. I would agree with you that had the Pats needed 7 to tie, they would have done that rather than go for the 2 and the win in regulation. - Z

Answer to last issue’s music quiz:
Sounds like Ry Cooder to me. 
Bop 'til You Drop is always in my car.
Buena Vista Social Club is fabulous; the video is terrific.
The Wiz
Right you are, Wiz. It's 'Ry' (Ryland) Cooder. I have a bunch of his LPs as well starting with Into the Purple Valley. I was amazed at how many different artists and bands for whom he's played. The funniest was about touring with Cap't Beef Heart (Cooder's on Safe As Milk) until Don Van Vliet walked off the stage and landed on his manager whereupon Cooder quit on the spot. I have a Greatest Hits collection and I love his version of Little Sister. - Z
Bianca lost in her Super Bowl pool when Gostkowski clanked his extra point off the upright. So Charlie Clancy asked her who did win. “I don’t care”, Bianca said. Charlie replied “Spoken like a true loser.”

So I told Mike Module about Bianca losing money in her Super Bowl pool because of Gostkowski’s miss. The Module laughed and said he won in his pool because of it.

And this happened – honest – there was a bunch of men in the Hot Club last Wednesday so I asked Amanda who the group was. Amanda told me that they were lumberjacks, in town for a convention. So naturally I told everyone that night that they were lumberjacks. Until FootJoy questioned it and checked – they were there to attend a lumbar and construction convention. Amanda swears that she was told that they were lumberjacks and I believe her.

And thanks to Marty at the Door for telling me about the sound edition (sideline stuff) of the Super Bowl which was on the NFL Network. It was an extra treat.

And a shout out to Sarah Bates who allows staff and patrons to go on the deck every night at 8:30 with HC flashlights so that everyone can signal the kids at Hasbro Hospital just before they go to bed. And the kids respond by turning on and off their room lights.

So who was that singer/songwriter who produced a world wide hit LP for someone else, did film scores and was known for his great slide guitar? Only the Wiz had it – Ry (Ryland) Cooder. Cooder produced the Buena Vista Social Club recording. He plays slide on the Stones’ Sister Morphine and Jagger’s Memo from Turner as well as on Lowell George’s Willin’ and the Beach Boys’ Kokomo. He played mandolin on Love Is Vain. Soundtracks include Paris, Texas, Walter Hill’s The Long Riders, and Performance. Per Wikipedia, Cooder, along with Arlen Roth, dubbed all slide and regular Blues guitar parts in the 1986 film Crossroads, a take on blues legend Robert Johnson. I saw Cooder open for Randy Newman in Boston. Always liked his Alimony. He’s won a few Grammys. That’s some talent. And he lost his left eye as a kid!

These two singer/songwriters had more success with writing great songs for others, but went on their own and had 3 songs in the top 40, including one which went Gold. They wrote hit songs for Paul Revere and the Raiders and Jay and the Americans. Names?