Monday, February 12, 2018


FEBRUARY 12, 2018

This is the time of year, between the NFL Super Bowl and the MLB exhibition games, that feels a little empty. Probably because my love of sports is baseball first and then football. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Celtics and Bruins. However unlike baseball and football, I never played basketball nor hockey at any level. Couldn’t run and dribble. Too short to rebound. To play hockey you have to be able to skate. I had these collapsible ankles so the skates didn’t work well.

We do have the Olympics to distract us. Have watched less over the years, but still get sucked in to certain events and performances. Victoria likes figure skating, and enjoyed the snowboard competition. I like skiing but was deprived of watching when the weather was so bad (cold and high winds) that two days in a row have been canceled.

Of course Olympic hockey is a must see, especially the US and Canadian teams. See, I’m sucked in already. And the Olympics will carry right into the first Red Sox Grapefruit League games.

Sunday’s Globe had the Red Sox spring training schedule with televised games noted. Boston has the usual day/night opener vs. BC and Northeastern Feb. 22 (FWIW, it’s on Ch.25). The first real game is vs. Tampa Bay on Saturday Feb. 24 at 1:05 (NESN).

Among the key questions, besides need for a power bat and David Price’s arm, is the bullpen. Hopefully Carson Smith (a brief 8 games last season) and Tyler Thornburg can actually contribute. Also a look at the roster shows that the arms available for the bullpen are all right-handed except for Robby Scott. This is where FootJoy comes in to remind me that some righty relievers are better against lefties (to be researched). Even so, that’s way too right-handed. Do I smell a trade? Ah, baseball. How much I miss it.

The Globe’s Alex Speier (2/11) had an excellent article on Dana LeVangie, who is now the Red Sox pitching coach after many years as the bullpen catcher, a time as an advance scout (’06-’08) and the last 5 years as bullpen coach. Speier notes that most pitching coaches are ex-pitchers. Besides LeVangie (who made it only to Pawtucket), the last career catcher to be a pitching coach was Dave Duncan, who is well respected.
Speier quotes Drew Pomeranz, Doug Fister, and Brandon Workman dishing out praise about LeVangie helping them with their pitching.

Peter Abraham, in the same Sunday Globe, had this quote about new manager Alex Cora: “His personal style is much different than that of John Farrell and perhaps that will improve the outlook and production of what became a grim bunch”.

The Bruins have been getting great goaltending from Tuukka Rask (19-0-2) until hung out to dry by his mates against Buffalo. Boston is 2nd to Tampa Bay in the Eastern conference, as they fight off Toronto (5 points behind). And most of the Bruins are now healthy. The playoffs beckon and there is nothing like playoff hockey. This year’s edition is an interesting combination of youth (‘utes’) and veteran leadership.

Another team battling against Toronto is the Celtics, who are 2 games behind in the loss column to the 1st place Raptors. Coach Brad Stevens has done an excellent job of meshing a team that began with 4 holdovers. Aside from the hiccup against the newly formed Cleveland Cavaliers (an amazing trade frenzy), the Green have been consistently good (40-18). Hard to believe that the Cavs can bring in all these new faces (who can hit 3’s), and somehow come together as a team this late in the season. Sunday may have been an aberration. We’ll see. Hats off to Paul Pierce who had his day to himself with IT in LA. #34 had quite a 15-year career with the C’s. 2nd in points to Havlicek and 2nd to Larry Bird in scoring average. A 2008 MVP when the Celts won. Hail The Truth!

Speaking of IT, does he get that big contract in La La Land? Or will the Lakers move on? Thomas’ head must be spinning. From Boston to the Cavs to the 23-32 Lakers!

#18 URI looks like the real deal. 19-3, 11-0 in the Atlantic 10 with a good blend of shooters, rebounders and defenders. The ProJo’s Bill Koch (2/9) had this stat: URI forces turnovers on 23.9% of opponents’ possessions (4th in the nation). Wow! Defense!

While I also root for Ed Cooley’s PC Friars, they are thin and have to be healthy and all in to win. Not a lot of margin for error.

I’m not a golfer but my Dad was a pretty good weekend golfer. To me there are three ways of screwing up (driving, pitching and putting), and no one else to blame. Always liked the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. I noticed that Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals teamed with pro-Kevin Streelman to win this year. 1st pro athlete since Dan Marino in 1988.

Gee Jim, you’re a better sport than Gaydy!
Baily, glad to see you're still reading. But who is Gaydy? - Z

As in Tom Gaydy? #12?
Baily, yeah I figured that out after I sent you the email. I saw 2 quotes supposedly attributed to Brady. One said that the Eagles defense made only that one play. Have not seen that verified. Saw another quote that he said someone had to make a play and it was the Eagles. - Z

Hi Jim, I actually was referring to Brady walking off the field and not congratulating Foles after the game....sore loser! Baily Baily just read an article that Brady has never congratulated the other QB after a Super Bowl loss. The point is made that everyone wants to talk to that QB which makes it nearly impossible. Brady did congratulate some of the Eagles after the game. - Z
Thanks Jim:For those of us Philly-born and Philly- bred we still fly with the Eagles, a rare celebration. Grease those poles!
George Neubauer
George, from Philly, eh. A doctor friend went to Temple and speaks highly of Philadelphia and the residents. All I know is that you don't want to cross paths with most of their sports fans. - Z

It's a great place to visit, lots of history with a spirit that never dies!
George Neubauer

I am pleased to report that yesterday’s outcome (Ed.: The Super Bowl game) had no negative impact on my life whatsoever. 
Chuck Doherty
As I recall you are not a big sports fan, right? So I can see how the Super Bowl results would not affect you. - Z
Not a big fan” would describe me accurately.
Chuck Doherty

Just wondering if the Colts feel a little "deflated" since Josh decided to stay with the Pats? Reminds me a little when Bill resigned as the HC of the NYJ although Josh did not actually sign with the Colts.  Also heard that the Colts already signed some assistant coaches in anticipation of Josh taking over as head coach. Guess they may have to rethink that a little.  Wonder what Jim Irsay is thinking right now??
Walt Dzialo
Walt, just wanted you to know that your email was the first I knew of McDaniels opting out of Indy. Reminds one of Belichick not wanting to be HC of the NYJ. From a Pats stand point, losing one coordinator is tough enough. Still confused about the Malcolm Butler situation since Tom Brady and other teammates supported Butler. I will say that I had pointed out that Butler did not play well vs the Jags in Sportzine. To hell with the Colts. Bill Polian, who used to be their GM, is the biggest Patriots hater around. - Z

So, after this announcement (of Josh not going to Indy) I thought....well, could it be more than a mere coincidence that the team that brought Deflategate to the Patriots is now back to square one in their search for a head coach? Does Bill have a pretty good memory?
Will Josh be the Patriots' head coach after next season is finished? So many questions....
Brad Dawson

Very interesting Internet etc flooded with many of the Eagles getting Baptized--so it was the Christians vs the Infidels, n’est pas ? Ken Forestal
Ken, seriously? Some Philadelphia Eagles players got baptized? How about their fans? Two things come to mind. In Boardwalk Empire, Michael Shannon 'baptizes' his partner who is Jewish and doesn't want to be baptized. Bad result. Edward D. Wood needed money for film to make one of his schlock movies. His actors stayed in the same building. Wood got sizeable money from the owner/landlord by getting his cast and crew to agree to be baptized in a river as Southern Baptists. - Z

The only one that I know of is Rubber Rodeo. TheWizard Wiz, you are right again – it’s Rubber Rodeo. Z

Yeah tough loss, bad hold, missed field goal and just missed trick play….it’s a game of inches. Is the band Rubber Rodeo? I didn’t really pay much attention to them, but they fit the time period. TomRobinson Excellent guess, Tom - it's Rubber Rodeo. - Z
Hi Coach, great follow up on Super Bowl. I think the answer to the trivia question is: The Fabulous Motels. Hope all is well. Tom Queenan Q, you rascal. It's good to hear from you. Glad to learn that you're still reading the Zine. The Fabulous Motels is a good guess but not the answer that I'm seeking. - Z
THE HOT CLUB We were talking about the Jimmy Garoppolo mega contract (5 years - $137.5M). I said that the only number that matters is $74 million – that’s what is guaranteed money. No way the Patriots were going to guarantee him that amount of money.
Just a reminder that Peter Bortolotti’s band Tanya McIntyre and the Professors will play the Hot Club this Thursday (2/15). They play from 6:30-9:30. See you there.
Fleet Feet Pete said that there were no punts in the Super Bowl, and that he couldn’t remember that ever happening before. I checked Gamebook. There was actually one punt in the game. On the Eagles’ possession after the Patriots’ blown field goal try, Philly had to punt. It was the only punt in the game.
Captain Jack pointed out that Tom Brady set a Super Bowl passing record with 505 yards....and lost!
Prof. Peter said the cost of a 30 second Super Bowl ad was $3.5 M. I checked and it went up this year to $5M. I only liked the Dinklage/Freeman ad (Doritos/Sprite).
The craft beer special of the week was Hipster Apocalypse, an American IPA from Mason’s Brewery in Brewer, Maine. An ABV of 5.7. Glad to see the Hot Club back New England craft brews.
LAST ISSUE’S QUIZ ANSWER Last time I asked you to name another band besides the Talking Heads that came out of RISD. Tom Robinson and the Wizard knew it was Rubber Rodeo. Reader Ken Forestal sent in the trivia noting that the band had some success (3 albums) and they were led by the husband and wife team of Bob Holmes and Trish Milliken. The band broke up around the time that the marriage ended. Holmes had a successful production career and worked with David Bowie and Nils Lofgren.
THIS ISSUE’S QUIZ What do the following groups have in common: Mike + the Mechanics, Squeeze, Roger Waters’ The Bleeding Heart Band and Nick Lowe’s band Noise to Go?
Sportzine is available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz


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