Monday, October 15, 2018


OCTOBER 8, 2018

After Friday’s nail biting win, with a patchwork relief effort that barely preserved Chris Sale’s first ever playoff win, Driller Killer and I hoped to witness the first ever playoff win for David Price. Alas, it was not to be.

Little did we know that when Alex Cora brought in projected Game #3 starter Rick Porcello in Game #1, it was out of desperation since knuckleballer Steven Wright had to be removed from the playoff roster with a recurrence of his left knee injury.

That meant that David Price needed to give the team a number of quality innings. Price didn’t get out of the 2nd as the Bronx Bombers crushed home runs by Aaron Judge in the 1st and Gary Sanchez in the 2nd to go up 3-0, the same hole NY was in during Game #1.

Joe Kelly came on to douse the flames in the 2nd and actually gave the team 2 1/3 innings of run-less relief. Ryan Brasier gave the team one good inning. Brandon Workman went only 1/3 of an inning and Eduardo Rodriguez came in to extract Workman from the 2-runners on jam he left him. Unfortunately Eduardo got in his own mess in the 7th inning and gave up a 3-run blast to Gary “Can’t Catch but Can Club’ Sanchez. At 6-1, it was too steep a hill for the Red Sox to climb back.

This was a special game for Driller Killer and me. Mrs. Driller Killer (Monica) had purchased tickets for the playoff game as a surprise birthday gift for Driller. Not just any
tickets – Field Box seats - Row AAA, seats 1and 2. Three rows from the field.

The seats were just a little across from home plate on the 1st base side. Since the Red Sox dugout is on the 1st base side, Red Sox batters were in the on deck circle, so close that you felt you could reach out and touch them. I got several good cell camera shots, especially of the right-handers.

Never have had finer Fenway tickets. My thanks to Driller and Mrs. Driller for inviting me. It was a memorable experience.

First things you noticed – a metal gate in the fence in front of us to the field to let guests out and security in. TV monitors in the 1st base wall which were visible until someone sat in the first row seats. Four people arrived after an inning and a half (society enters late), and it was harder to see the pitch replays. The first row across the aisle was occupied by two Yankee fans. One took a selfie, back to the field, as Judge rounded 3rd after his 1st inning home run. When the real ticket holders arrived, the security guard ushered the two guys out – they were dis-invited from the society.

There were quite a few Yankee fans at the game. The guy across the aisle from me, for example. He kept up a constant stream of chatter. But no worse than the Red Sox fan sitting in front of me. And he thought it cool to constantly converse with the Yankee fan.

He turned out to be ‘Tom’, a middle-aged middle school teacher. Not wanting to leave me out, he would turn and talk to me as well. We agreed on one thing – the horrendousness of the home plate umpire. The called strikes on Boston batters seemed suspect at times, and we let the ump know. Yankee batters seemed to benefit too. When that happened, Tom yelled to the ump ‘strike zone closed for business’. When a strike was finally called on NY, I yelled, “You finally got one right. Open your good eye.”

The ump turned toward our seats. Tom’s male companion turned to me and said “I think he heard you.”

The game didn’t turn on some of those calls. The Yankees just out-pitched and out-slugged the Red Sox. They deserved the win.

We knew it was trouble time, when author Stephen King left the game after Sanchez’s 2nd homer, the 3-run blast that made it 6-1. King was seated several seats in to our right in the 2nd row. He had a hard cover book in his lap, which he read between innings. And a tooth pick in his mouth, a ‘no-no’ per my dentist friend.

That middle aged teacher, ‘Tom’, well, he had gone into that row where Stephen King was sitting. Later he told me that he sat next to Stephen King and wanted to ask him three questions. When he started asking the first question, King told ‘Tom’ that he was just there to see the game. ‘Tom’ persisted and said he wanted the info for his students. He got to ask one question – “Do you have an end sight for your main characters or does the story dictate that?” King was gracious and responded (per ‘Tom’) that he usually did have an end view in mind for his characters but sometimes the story changed that.

I was struck by ‘Tom’s sense of entitlement to go ask Stephen King anything. That’s me.

It was great fun and a fine experience in the finest of Fenway seats, even though our beloved Red Sox lost. Again, my thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Driller Killer.
Breaking in young horses, the riders have to assert control, show the horse whose boss. With the score 24-3 Patriots at half, the young Colts could have been broken. They could have capitulated. But Andrew Luck wouldn’t let them, and he and his young charges got back to within a touchdown at 24-17 in the 4th quarter.

It took two tainted Tom Brady interceptions in the 3rd quarter to aid and abet that rally. One pass went off Chris Hogan’s hands, up into the air where it was easily picked off. The other was by the usually sure-handed Gronkowski, who didn’t wrap up a catch in the Red Zone, and had it punched out and up in the air where it too was intercepted at the Indy 4. Those interceptions were on the receivers, not Tom Brad. The damning thing is both came when the Pats were driving.

Give credit to Luck and the Colts for making the comeback by mixing runs and passes that kept the Patriots off balance. However the turning point came when Brady found Josh ‘Just out of Detention’ Gordon. As I told Driller Killer and El Jefe, I wanted to see Gordon get a TD. And so it was. Credit to Gordon, who got open in the end zone and snagged a ball with two men on him. A 34-yard pass. That restored the 2 TD lead (31-17). You can see how Gordon could have a huge impact, if he and Brady develop a connection. They put Gordon’s locker right next to Tom Brady’s. Smart move.

The Colts still refused to quit, but when Jonathan Jones intercepted Andrew Luck, they were running out of time and chances. What followed was a Sony Michel touchdown run of 34 yards, the Patriots were up again by 3 TDs and the Colts were broken.

Pats’ fans were anxious to see how Julian Edelman would do on his return from a 4-game suspension. It didn’t take long as Brady threw to Edelman on the first play of the first possession. Welcome back, Jules. Edelman would go on to have 7 catches on targets for 57 yards. It was great to see him come racing out of the Patriot Head entrance and dash the length of the field, just like in the past. If there was one play he’d like back, it was a sideline route where he was wide open and failed to snag the catchable ball. There was no one near him, and it could have been a big gain.

The Patriots are still working on their pass rush. The one sack that they had occurred in the first quarter. Luck had plenty of time to pass, and it helped that his RBs Hines and Wilkins ran well enough to allow play-action. The biggest thorn was TE Eric Ebron, who seemed to catch most everything thrown his way. He had 9 catches on 15 targets. It’s the 5’11” Patrick Chung, who usually gets the unenviable task of covering those taller and heavier tight ends. Chung did all he could but the 6’4” Ebron was a monster.

So, the Patriots play KC next Sunday at Gillette at 8:20. If they expect to beat the Chiefs (who beat the Pats last time at Gillette w/ QB Alex Smith), they will have to shut down wunderkind QB Pat Mahomes, who has surpassed all other rookie QBs in performance. The Pats will need to rush Mahomes effectively to counter his strong passing game. They have not been able to do so yet. However, de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores has been trying new things and I saw Chung and Jonathan Jones blitz on the same play last Thursday night.

One of the strangest head coaching calls Sunday was Ron Rivera’s of Carolina, who with no timeouts and about 30 seconds left, called a running play. His kicker, Graham Gano rescued Rivera with a 63-yard field goal to beat the New York ‘Football’ Giants.

Wild Bill, the Pats’ season ticket holder who sits next to me at Gillette, observed that in the Belichick/Kraft era, the team has had only two QBs and two kickers.

Too easy...I think.
Positive Mama Cass was the singer.
I think Keith Moon is the other... 85%
Special K
You are correct, Special K. Nice job. We'll see how many others get it. I would expect most to get Moon but not Cass. - Z

Regarding music trivia, in a seemingly eerie coincidence I was searching last week for ukulele chord charts for Harry Nilsson’s cover of Fred Neil’s Everybody’s Talking, and came across a story about his life- Answer is Mama Cass and John Bonham, right?
Making His Mark
Mark, you have half of it right. The woman is Mama Cass. The other is … - Z

Morning, Jim- don’t know why I flashed on John Bonham- it was Keith Moon. Remembering seeing him play live on The Who’s 1975 tour in Toronto…saw the band again in providence in 2013- see–2013#Tour_dates.
Yes the other half of the Nilsson flat deaths is Keith Moon. - Z

James, answer to your question about the two artists who died in Harry Nilsson’s place is Cass Elliot and Keith Moon. A sad coincidence. Good Zine and congrats on the Pat’s win.
Mike Curtis
You got the quiz right, Mike. It's Mama Cass and Keith Moon. - Z

Special K was entertaining us last week. Cap’t Jack, Making His Mark and Big John and I were privy to some history related to the 70s and early 80s at the original Lupo’s on Westminster St. Special K said she got to know Rich Lupo since she frequented the place back then. The Special One said that when the urge to go hit, and she couldn’t wait, she would use the Men’s Room. Lupo implored Special K not to use the Men’s Room, but she persisted. Her response to Rich Lupo was to expand the Ladies’ Room.

Big John of that group was telling us that he was at a Red Sox game and got to visit the Red Sox Legend’s Suite at Fenway Park. He got to meet Jim Lonborg and his son, Nick I believe. Big John said he was hanging with Lonborg’s son, having a few beers. At some point, Lonborg’s son started to fall over the railing when Big John grabbed him and prevented him from falling. ‘Gentleman’ John.

Britt picked up a copy of the Sportzine and looked at the music trivia quiz – she immediately said, “Mama Cass and Keith Moon.” I told her that she was correct, and she proclaimed that she wanted credit for getting the quiz answer. So here it is.

Talking to Fleet Feet Pete about footwear, something he knows about considerably. Told Pete that there was an item in the Boston Herald about someone who robbed a shoe store. The person took all the footwear on display. However the owner only displayed right shoes, so the thief got 13 right shoes and no lefts.

So who were those unfortunate rock n’ rollers who died 4 your years apart in Harry Nilsson’s rented flat? Special K knew it immediately. My Air Force buddy Mike Curtis also got it as did Making His Mark on his second try. Mama Cass and Keith Moon. Nilsson thought the flat was cursed. See below.

This guitarist/singer has been nominated for the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame twice. Yet he had one major hit and it was an instrumental! He is known for popularizing a guitar style and is considered a major influence on guitarists that followed him. Name? Hit Song?

Sportzine is also available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz


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