Monday, August 28, 2017


AUGUST 28, 2017

The Red Sox are sputtering along hoping that the bats get hot and the starting pitching better...oh wait, there seems to be a leak in the late inning relief (except Kimbrel) as well. Can the 7th Cavalry be coming to the rescue? Jackie Bradley Jr. will be back and Pedroia would help as Eduardo Nứñez has leveled off and could be moved around the infield (how about 1B since Hanley isn’t hitting?). Don’t expect David Price back. He seems like a long shot. Carson Smith might help the late inning relief to go along with Addison Reed. While Reed might give up the occasional HR (3 in 10 games but a .188 batting average against), he looks like he should be the 8th inning bridge to Kimbrel. Right, John Farrell? Not Barnes nor Workman. The nights Reed can’t go, maybe Joe Kelly, unless he walks the 1st batter and then he’s out of there. Barnes and Kelly walk too many batters. Right John Farrell?

Robby Scott (Bob O) has helped a lot, especially against lefties (3.48 overall but 2.65 vs. LHBs). Just hope Farrell doesn’t burn him out. Doug Fister has also been a surprise. I was ready to waive him after that 0-5 start, but Dombrowski knows him well from Detroit and stayed with him. Driller Killer and I saw Fister that Monday game vs. Cleveland when he had a 7+ ERA. I said they’d need 8 runs to win. He didn’t give up a run until the 8th. His comeback was much needed. There was no real starting help in Pawtucket. So Fister has spared the Sox a massive meltdown in the bullpen from overuse. If he keeps the ball down, he can help from the pen. A long man too.

So will it be the 7th Cavalry or Little Big Horn? This team needs Pedey’s spark so let’s hope that knee is OK. Some games they just look flat. Then there’s the Farrell Factor. If it’s a close game, well, strategy doesn’t seem to be his long suit. A while back the Sox had a double steal that was big in the game. I was stunned when Farrell admitted that the players did it on their own. About 2 games later, the same scenario presented itself with speedy runners on. No attempt to double steal. They didn’t score. If your team is having trouble scoring or it’s a tight game, there are moves to be made. Hit and run, stolen base (I just saw Rajai Davis with 26 steals and an 80% steal rate get thrown out), bunt (do any of these guys get taught that basic tool?). You know, get creative. Right, John?
As we await the opening of the NFL season next week, Patriots’ fans will hope that there are no more major injuries after the loss of Julian Edelman for the year. A couple of the running backs (White, Foster) will have a chance at that slot position and maybe someone like WR Austin Carr. You need the speedsters Cooks and Hogan on the outside.

A bigger injury problem involves Tom Brady’s blind side protection. Both left tackle Nate Solder and rookie LT Tony Garcia are hurt. That leaves only Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle to play left tackle. ‘La Waddle’ has not impressed. Fans better hope that Solder and Garcia come back relatively healthy or Tom Brady’s health will be in jeopardy.

Anxious to see how this Pats’ defense looks with Gilmore and Butler at the corners. Having dropped Kony Ealy, NE is short-handed at DE. Belichick and staff will comb the cut players of other teams for help. Some how, some way, Belichick usually finds a hidden gem or two.

Dining with my daughter Cara, also a big Patriots fan, I told her that I hoped that NE fans going to opening night on Sept. 7 (Commissioner Goodell is supposed to attend) would wear Clown Goodell shirts like the one defensive coordinator Matt Patricia wore getting off the Pats plane after the Super Bowl win (‘God’ Goodell was miffed). So Cara told me that Barstool Sports was printing up Clown Goodell towels to hand out to fans. Sure enough, founder Dave Portnoy has had 70,000 of the towels made and will distribute them off site (not at Gillette). See this:

Apparently Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez got in some cheap shots in that fight with Detroit players. Sanchez reportedly hit ‘Miggy’ Cabrera and Nick Castellano while both were being held down. Sanchez got suspended 4 games and is appealing. That appeal probably won’t occur until after NY plays Boston 4 games over the Labor Day weekend.

The NY Times’ Wallace Matthews (8/26) had a story about the fight and noted that the Yankees other catcher, Austin Romine, was also suspended (2 games) which put NY in danger of losing both catchers. However it’s doubtful that MLB will suspend both catchers at the same time. However who would be the backup catcher is dicey with their best catcher at AAA on the DL with a back injury.

Pedro Martinez was quite outspoken about what Gary Sanchez had done when he was quoted on the MLB Network as saying: “The entire league remember those [cheap shots]. Those don’t go away ever from the league. And most of the other pitchers, the other friends that Miggy has on different teams, they’re going to be looking at that...Gary Sanchez is going to wear it.” Pedro followed up with a tweet: “Cheap shots will stay around the league for ever. I think Gary Sanchez could be badly remembered for this for a long time.” (Quotes from the Business Insider’s Cork Gaines on 8/26)

Jim, I'm thinking the band is one of my all-time favorites, The Byrds. And the guest Oscar winner was Bob Dylan. No idea about the backup folks.
Dave Burlingame
Dave, good guess but No, not the Byrds, also one of my favorite bands. - Z

Hey Jim, I seem to remember reading one time about Joe Pesci playing in a band that Jimi Hendrix once did but can't remember that name of the band. Do I get partial credit ?
Jim Dwyer
Yes Jim, that's good enough for partial credit. - Z

Re: Mr. Three's confusion - Chris and I were stranded at JFK on the way home to RI some years back. The airline hired a limo service to bring us home. When we told the driver our destination, he replied, "Oh! I thought they said Long Island. Guess I better call my wife and tell her I won't be home for dinner." Roger Boudreau
Two questions for you, Oh Baseball sage:
1. John Farrell got tossed for arguing the balk call alleging time out was called. Why didn't the ump at third ask the home plate umpire if he had called time? Or why didn't the home plate umpire come forward and say he had called time? 
(Nobody seemed to check with the home plate umpire--- and I know the third base ump was the crew chief). I'm still baffled?
2. Parking is free and plentiful at McCoy. What's the parking situation for the new Apex stadium? Thanks for your answers.
Rick Poncelet
Rick, I found that strange too. Maybe this is not a reviewable call. But it would have made sense for the 3rd base ump to ask the home plate ump if he called time first.The people behind this Apex site stuff conveniently leave out the cost of buying that land and parcels around it which would also have to be bought since the Apex site isn't big enough for what they want to do. - Z
Wow...and I thought the solar eclipse was a big deal. The Celtics trade of I.T. to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving is a stunner, though I think many Celts' fans somehow
entertained the possibility in the back of their minds.
Ken Forestal entertained the possibility in the 'front of his mind' as he mentioned this to me in an email about 3-4 weeks ago.
Brad Dawson Brad, I'm still in shock over Trader Danny's mega deal/steal. You get a 25 y/o All-Star point guard who is 6'3 for a 28 year old 5'9 Isaiah Thomas, who wanted the Brinks truck on his next contract. I believe Irving is under contract this year and next. Wasn't it Irving that shut down IT in the playoffs? Plus I think there are more chances of injury to a smaller player. - Z
Looks like IT did not do all that well (that hip injury) with the physical for the Cavs. I wonder if Cleveland will try to back out of trade. If it all goes through, I do like Kyrie and I realize the Celts had to 'sweeten the pot' to get him, but I still fear that the Celts, who are not a good rebounding team to begin with, keep weakening themselves in that part of the game. Some analysts will say...'Hey, the game has changed...look at Golden State', but the reality is the Warriors had Draymond Green and Durant both averaging over 8 a game and their opponent in the Finals, the Cavs, have 3 players (Love, James and Thompson) well above that mark. Boston's best was Horford (6.8) and Avery Bradley (6.1) from the guard position and now gone. It was worse when the Celts got to the playoffs.
The young player that might have helped in this phase of the game is now also gone...(C) Zizic.  I'm certainly glad that the Celts didn't have to include Tatum. As much as I like Brown, I've wondered if the Celts could have kept Zizic and Crowder, had they included Jaylen in the deal instead. The Cavs got a good haul (that Nets' first rounder, too) for Irving,who didn't want to play for them, but the Celts are indeed getting a great player in Kyrie. Let's see if the deal gets to be finalized.
I (like every fan) worry about players getting hurt in pre-season NFL games and last night with Edelman's apparently serious injury threatening his entire season, those worst fears are realized.  Thankfully, the Patriots have depth at the WR position, though I noticed Malcolm Mitchell has had some problems lately, also. more injuries before the season opens!
Brad, let’s hope this Celtics deal is finalized. Can’t imagine what it would be like to have the players traded back. The Cavs have no leverage with other teams as they know Irving wants out. Some analysts say that there is no way that Cleveland can get as much as the Celtics gave up, especially the Nets #1 pick. That said, it appears that IT has a torn labrum. Will he need surgery? Will he play this year? Not sure what else the Celts could or would give up. As for the loss of Edelman, that is big as he was Tom Brady’s security blanket on 3rd down. Next man up. - Z

Red Sox principal owner John Henry has come out suggesting that the street sign Yawkey Way be renamed because of Tom Yawkey’s racist past. The city would have to make that change. Last week, the Globe’s Nick Cafardo led with a banner piece ‘Book could dispel Yawkey’s racist reputation’ (8/20/17). Cafardo cites a Bill Nowlin biography of Tom Yawkey which will be out in February. Nowlin is quoted as saying “I never once found any evidence that Yawkey was personally racist.”
Then this Sunday’s Herald (8/27) had an opinion piece by Tom Shaer: ‘Yawkey legend tarnished but mixed’ (subtitled ‘Still he deserves better than to be erased’). Shaer, described as a former sports broadcaster, says “Numerous journalists who knew Yawkey or did extensive research concluded he was no racist...”
Oh and Shaer denies that someone at the Red Sox 1945 tryouts of Jackie Robinson, Sam Jethroe and Marvin Willams yelled out “Get those n***ers off the field”.

So two apologists defend Tom Yawkey. In Red Sox Century, authors Glenn Stout and Richard Johnson quote the Boston Globe’s Cliff Keane, who was at the tryout, as saying that someone yelled those words from the back of the grandstands at the end of the tryouts (pg 242). Some speculated it was GM Eddie Collins (not present at the tryouts even though he’d be the one to sign the players) or even Tom Yawkey. Stout and Johnson also quote Jackie Robinson telling a reporter he was rooting for the Twins not the Red Sox in 1967: “Anyway, because of Boston owner Tom Yawkey, I’d like to see them (Boston) lose, because he is probably one of the most bigoted guys in baseball (pg. 242)

Stout and Johnson conclude: “Few other owners were in a better position to influence the future of professional baseball – his wealth carried immense weight in baseball’s establishment, and he served on the powerful executive committee from 1951 through 1957 and as American League vice president from 1961 through 1973. But time and again, Yawkey took care of Yawkey first or else followed the party line. He escalated salaries, supported baseball’s color line, embraced segregation long after every team in baseball had abandoned it, helped force the Braves out of Boston, fought the formation of the players’ union, and argued against free agency only to bust the marketplace as soon as it suited him.” (pg.374)

Was Tom Yawkey a racist? He hired Mike ‘Pinky Higgins’ twice as his manager, and Higgins was a racist if you believe what Boston writer Al Hirshberg said about a Higgins quote regarding having any black players like Elijah ‘Pumpsie’ Green on his team (pg. 291). Higgins was Boston’s manager from 1955-59 and then again from 1960-62. In between those managerial jobs, Higgins was still employed as a ‘special assistant’ to Tom Yawkey. Yawkey made Higgins his general manager from 1962-65.

Higgins wasn’t the only racist with whom Tom Yawkey associated. You are judged by
the company that you keep. Re-name Yawkey Way. Though I read that John Henry wanted it changed to ‘Big Papi’ Way, I would want it to be ‘David Ortiz Way’.

First off, R.I.P. Tom Bates, former co-owner of my favorite bar – The Hot Club. Tom was always cordial, affable, humorous and extremely personable. And he often had the staff give me my drink for free. There was a wonderful tribute to him last Thursday at the Hot Club led by Brittan Bates’ remembrances, that were both humorous and touching. Josh Miller, HC co-owner, introduced those who were to speak, but also gave us a rare glimpse into himself when he compared Tom to himself: “He would buy you a drink, I ...” Some self-deprecating humor. Britt also gave us an insider’s peek into Tom Bates, and I learned a new expression ‘an Irish goodbye’ (the person quietly leaves).
Many fond memories of him that live on with his family, friends, employees, and patrons will keep Tom Bates in that seat at the bar that now has a plaque on the back with his name.
Scott MacKay did an excellent recap of Tom Bates’ life – you can find it here:
R.I.P. Tom

The Hot Club as Hotel California (you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave): Desi Lawson Woolf was recently in the house celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Loie Fuller’s, the restaurant she owns with her husband. The Tool Belt Lady (Kyla Coburn), who did the wonderful interior design in the restaurant, was there too. I understand she just did the interior decorations for East End as well. Congratulations to both.

Last issue, I asked, ‘What60’s band was once backed by one of the greatest guitarists ever, an academy award winning actor (not an original but played guitar in the band), and assisted by a well known group that danced and sang backup?’ Answer: Joey Dee and the Starliters with whom Jimi Hendrix once played (1965) as did actor Joe Pesci. The back up singers/dancers were the Ronettes. Joey Dee (DiNicola) is from Passaic, NJ and had a million seller in Peppermint Twist (’61).Thanks to Buffalo Steve for the trivia.

This ’70’s band rarely wrote their own songs yet had 21 consecutive Top 40 hits, 7 million selling singles, 12 straight gold LPs and 3 #1 singles (written by others). Name?
Sportzine is available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz