Monday, February 26, 2018


FEBRUARY 19, 2018

OK so the Olympics has been mildly interesting. While I root for the US athletes, I’m cognizant of the jingo-istic nature of these ‘Games’. The upsets, the performances under pressure, are to be saluted whomever the participants represent.

That rooting for the US athletes, of course, carries over to the Women’s US-Canada Hockey Final. These two talented teams have been battling for several years though Canada won 2-1 already and have won the last 4 Olympic Gold medals. The two square off Wednesday night at 11 PM. Hey, I’m retired. I can watch it.

The US men’s hockey team, lacking NHLers, is faced with an elimination game against Slovakia. It appears to be on tonight at 10:10 PM (time difference with South Korea). It’s on NBCSN. So chances are the US Men won’t make it to the Finals. Canada probably will. Go USA!

Sometimes the moments that stand out have a surreal quality. The short track skating medals for Gold and Silver went to a Canadian (Samuel Girard) and an American (John-Henry Kreuger) who persevered, overcame near elimination from the Final, and won in part because the Hungarian skater Sandor took out the two favored South Koreans. The exhilaration of Girard and Kreuger left a lasting impression.

Or you have an unknown, long shot named Ester Ledecka (Czech Republic), who borrows from someone’s extra skies (the US’ Mikaela Shiffrin?), and beats Austria’s Anna Veith, the defending champ by .01 seconds in the super-G Final. An excellent piece in the NY Times by Bill Pennington (2/18) notes that Ledecka, primarily a snowboarder, was ranked 43rd in women’s World Cup super-G standings.

Some of the standout stories are the unexpected ones. Bravo to all the athletes who compete. An exception being the Russian curler who was found to be doping. Doping for curling! Dope. Just compete - fairly.

Meanwhile this Red Sox fan keeps hoping that the Red Sox find a way to sign JD Martinez. The San Diego Padres just signed 28-year old Eric Hosmer for a reported $144 Million over 8 years ($18M/Yr.). Does that begin to break up the logjam of unsigned players? Does it give Dave Dombrowski ammunition in his talks with agent Scott Boras about a deal for Martinez, who will be 31 August 21? Boras is also Hosmer’s agent. FootJoy just texted: JD Martinez to Boston, 5 years, $122 Million. Yay!

Love the re-signing of Eduardo Núñez, who was a sparkplug to the offense after being
acquired last year from the Giants. Núñez’s ability to play multiple positions in the infield and outfield increases his worth and allows Alex Cora flexibility. Versatile players help. Núñez played for the Yankees his first 4 years.

Saturday is the opening big league telecast of the Grapefruit League for the Red Sox who face the Rays (1:05 on NESN).

Will try not to say anything about how well the local teams are playing since they all ran off the road recently. URI loses its first Atlantic 10 Game to St. Bonaventure. PC beats Villanova but falls to DePaul and Butler. The Bruins are on a western road trip and open in Vancouver. I turn on the TV and it’s 4-0 Canucks in the 1st period. The Celtics, after a late slide, got to catch their collective breath at the weekend All-Star break.

There’s an old expression – cut your nose off to spite your face. This is what Coach Bill Belichick seems to have just done.

The Patriots need to draft a QB to back up Brady. Do they use their 1st round pick or wait to the 2nd round when they have two picks? Names mentioned as possibilities: Kyle Lauletta of Richmond. The Spiders QB was flying under the radar until a good performance in the Senior Bowl. Luke Falk of Washington State has also been mentioned. Jim McBride of the Boston Globe (2/18) had a nice extended piece on Falk.

Bill Chuck, whose stats are used by Nick Cafardo in his Sunday Globe column, had this: The Nationals led the Majors with 107 games in which starters threw 100+ pitches. Second was the Boston Red Sox with 104 games.

Cafardo mentions in his Sunday column how supportive Alex Cora was of Dustin Pedroia when they were teammates. Pedroia struggled immensely at the plate, but Cora kept after Pedroia to stick to his routine. That year was 2007. Pedroia won Rookie of the Year. The next year Pedroia was hitting .250 at the end of June and Cora kept up his encouragement. Pedey went on to win the AL MVP. A manager that can relate. All good.
Thanks for the Sportzine, Jimmy! Did you know that the little country of Norway, 5 million people, has more Winter Olympic Medals that any other country on earth. Quite an accomplishment to say the least when you consider the populations of the USA, Germany, and Russia….if I must say so….now if they could just make Guinness :O)
Norway 329, US 282, Germany 228, Austria 218, Soviet Union/Russia 194, Canada 170.
Dave Knudson
Good stat. Good beer. Z

Ken Forestal
Ken, yes I saw this yesterday and thought 'Yeah, Kenny's right again' as you had pointed out that the trick play was an illegal formation. Bill Belichick has wanted all plays to be reviewable, not certain types. Bet this was one you couldn't challenge. Plus I think they were wrong in the ruling on Corey Clement's TD catch with his foot on the line when he finally corralled the ball. We're on to next year. - Z

Jim, it's always appreciated when you recognize my brilliance - Paul Carrack -I believe he had something to do with the bands in trivia question - gave both my sons a copy of Ace’s "Five Aside" this past Christmas. Ken Forestal Ken, right you are. It's Paul Carrack who sings lead on Squeeze's Tempted. Left out Ace because most people would have known the answer. Love Help is on the Way.
Paul Carrack sang with all of them. Matthew Dawson Matt, very good. I left out Ace because many people would have gotten it. - Z
Good point. Tempted is just about the best song ever.
Matthew Dawson
Agreed. I love How Long as well. - Z

They all had Paul Carrack.
The Wizard
You are quite right, sir. - Z

We who reside in Broncoland know McDaniels for what he truly upstart, wannabe child leader (i.e. “Lord of the Flies”), who'll drive the Patriots (and their fans) to the brink of riots in Foxboro if they give him the keys to that office. He stank up Mile High with his inability to manage a total game concept of NFL coaching; he deserves to be in the lower ranks because his hippocampus is warped.
"The hippocampus is a small organ located within the brain's medial temporal lobe and forms an important part of the limbic system, the region that regulates emotions. The hippocampus is associated mainly with memory, in particular long-term memory. The organ also plays an important role in spatial navigation."
See? Beware the boy wanting to be a man before his time.
Bill "Big White" LaPlante
Bill, do you think that Josh McDaniels has matured since that stint as HC of the DBs?
Also, they haven’t given him the keys to the Patriots’ car yet. Not sure when Bill Belichick will stop coaching the Patriots, but it may be a long time down the road. Who knows what’s on the mind of the inscrutable Coach Belichick? - Z

I don't think that he is mature enough as a coach to stand alone; without Belichick to back him up and give him guidance, I believe that he would implode as he did in Denver.
Brady is like Manning, they are both so savvy of the game of football (on both sides of the line of scrimmage) that they need(ed) little or no coaching to manage a game. Look at what has happened to Denver only two short years after Manning left collapse of their offensive game. If Brady and Belichick retire at the same time, it could also happen to New England if they don't leave a solid legacy to build upon.
So, the abrupt answer to your question is "No". I don't believe that McDaniels has the total bucket of tools that a head coach in the NFL needs to succeed.
Peter Principle in action. He has already risen to his level of incompetence in Denver and was "held back" from graduating to the next class. I believe that he is where he belongs, as an assistant that is along for the ride, but not at the wheel of the bus. That is just one man's opinion, though. Other fronts:
Thank God that baseball is back. Our local college has started games out in California and play their home opener in about three weeks. Green grass.
I'm bemoaning my Habs this year; no magic from Carey Price as he is being shelled by a porous defense and I think that the Weber/Subban trade will go down in Canadiens' Infamy.
Celts have a good chance to get to the conference finals, but LeBron is still a formidable mountain for them to get over. Maybe with a bit of strategy they may get the breaks in a long series. Kyrie would welcome the chance, I believe, to take it to the master and orchestrate an upset.
Bill LaPlante
Sportzine is available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz

THE HOT CLUB Hope you didn’t miss last Thursday night’s Hot Club gig by Tanya McIntyre and the Professors. The band was sonically splendid. They have a fuller sound with drummer Jack Moore and keyboardist Rich Sage. Every time I hear this band, they seem to get better. And they play Treat Her Right by Roy Head, which they dedicate to me. It’s one of those songs that moves you to dance. Check out Roy Head from 1965:
Great turnout for the band’s performance. Patti Q was there as well as Buffalo Steve, Special K, Pal Al and Jim ‘Mr. Yankee’ Dwyer. FootJoy was there, too.
Jim ‘Mr. Yankee’ Dwyer, who knows his baseball, had gone head to head in baseball trivia one night with FootJoy, a true savant of the sport. Thursday night, Jim Dwyer looked down the bar and said to me “Is that FootJoy?” Yes, it is. It if weren’t for the wonderful music, I’m sure the two of them would have had another round of trivia.
Mr. Dwyer and Pal Al (who was there with his lovely wife Marcia) are huge Rolling Stones fans. Jim asked me if I knew what song the Stones played live the most. After a minute of reflection, I said Jumping Jack Flash. Yup!. Not too long after, the band played it. Another song that wants you to get up and move your feet.
LAST ISSUE’S QUIZ ANSWER Last issue, I asked you to tell me what the following groups had in common: Mike + the Mechanics, Squeeze, Roger Waters’ The Bleeding Heart Band and Nick Lowe’s band Noise to Go. The answer, as Matt Dawson, Ken Forestal, the Wizard and Mark Allio knew, was Paul Carrack, who sang lead for each band at some point. Carrack did Silent Running, The Living Years and Over My Shoulder for Mike + the Mechanics. He played keyboards for Roxy Music as well as Squeeze. Great voice.
THIS ISSUE’S QUIZ This band had a huge hit with what was originally a 7 minute song. It became the band’s first million selling single, and then was a hit 16 years later when featured in a movie. When their label didn’t want to release it as a single, saying it was too long, the band made note that MacArthur Park was that long. Band name? The song’s name?


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