Monday, November 05, 2018


NOVEMBER 5, 2018

Well, it took awhile to put away the Packers from Wisconsin (4th quarter), but the end result was welcome. This rare ‘duel’ between Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady was won by the superior defense of the Patriots.

While Rodgers was sacked but once, the Pats D put pressure on him through much of the game. A look at stats from Gamebook show that the D had 6 QB hits with Adrian Clayborn and Trey Flowers combining for the sack and Clayborn with another QB hit on the play that Rodgers fumbled out of bounds. Dietrich Wise Jr had 2 QB hits and Keionta Davis had 1.

That helps explain Rodgers going 24 for 43 (19 misses) compared to Brady’s 22 of 35 (13 misses). Besides Davante Adams (9 targets, 6 catches, only 40 yards but 1 TD) and TE Jimmy Graham (6 targets, 4 catches for 55 yard and 1 TD), the one WR that hurt the Pats was Marquez Valdes-Scantling #83, who only had 3 catches but for 101 yards including a 55-yarder that led to the tie at 17 all.

Yet the Pats secondary did a good job for the most part with DBs preventing WR catches by knocking away balls.

The game turned in the 4th Quarter on 3 BAPs (Big Ass Plays). On the first play of the 4th quarter, GB had the ball 1st and 10 on the NE 34. Lawrence Guy caused RB Aaron Jones to fumble and Stephon Gilmore recovered at the NE 24. BAP #1. The Pats then got a big 1st down on a 3rd and 7 when Phillip Dorsett (back from the dead) caught a 17 yarder. Four plays later, Brady lateraled to Julius Edelman who passed to a wide open James White who took it to the GB 1. BAP #2. White then ran it in to give NE the lead for good at 24-17.

The 3rd BAP came when Brady hit Josh Gordon for a 55 yard TD that salted away the game at 31-17. There was still 7:20 left but the Packers were shredded cheese. On to Tennessee.

The Patriots demonstrated their plan of attack immediately. On their first possession, they used James White on 6 of 10 plays, 3 runs and 3 passes. Cordarrelle Patterson, who had a big game, had set up the Pats on their own 41 (36 yards and 5 yard GB penalty) with his kickoff return. White ran 8 yards around left end to make it 7-0.

The Patriots would rush for 123 yards which helped keep the Packer pass rush in check. Patterson led with 11 rushes for 61 yards. He split carries with James White, who rushed 12 times for 31 yards. White, or Sweet Feet as Edelman called him, added 6 catches for 72 yards. White had 2 rushing TDs. NE had 11 first downs by run and 13 by pass.

Edelman (6 catches) and Josh Gordon (5 catches but for 130 yards and that cheese shredding 55 yard TD) were each targeted 10 times.

The Pack had 2 sacks of Brady but only one other QB hit. The sacks were by a LB and a DL both splitting the guards and center. Otherwise, guards Ted Karras, in for Shaq Mason, and Joe Thuney did well.

LB Clay Matthews was a non-factor with 1 tackle, 1 assist and 1 QB hit.

The Patriots only had 5 accepted penalties, but two, strangely enough, were for too many men on the ice, I mean field.

The Packers have a wide receiver whose name is Equanimeous St. Brown. Despite the great name, Equanimeous had only 1 catch on 4 targets for just 4 yards.

The Sportzine was written while listening to the soundtrack of the new remake of A Star is Born with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. All I can say is ‘Wow!’ Lady Gaga has a great voice. The surprise is how good Bradley Cooper sounds. Have to see the movie. Also listened to The Cars Anthology Just What I Needed.

Great to see the World Series Champion Red Sox emerge from a duck boat before the start of the Patriots game. A lot of fun to see the Patriot players and Red Sox interact.

Manager Alex Cora has already brought the World Series to his hometown of Caguas, Puerto Rico, as he promised. Another revelation was that along with the request that a plane with relief supplies be sent to Puerto Rico when Cora signed on as manager, he also got the Red Sox Foundation to donate $200,000 towards the recovery of Puerto Rico (per the Globe’s Maria Cramer - 11/4)

Glad to see Mookie Betts (3rd) and Jackie Bradley, Jr. (1st) win Gold Gloves. Would like to have seen Andrew Benintendi make it a clean outfield sweep by the BoSox, but the LF Gold Glove went to KC’s Alex Gordon. I beg to differ.

Per Peter Abraham (Globe – 11/4), Craig Kimbrel had a 150% increase in his walks and a 15% decline in strikeouts this season. Kimbrel is a free agent who will be 31 next May. The Red Sox should pass on signing him to a long term contract. If they can sign Joe Kelly and convince him to close, that would be a better team option.

And of the other free agents, it would be wonderful if the Sox sign Nathan Eovaldi.

2020 Navy - Notre Dame Game to be Played at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.
Richard Flinn
So are you going, Richard? - Z

Hi Jim,
A little World Series trivia. You probably already know, but just in case you do not:
Chris Sale was the first pitcher to record both the first and last out in a World Series in 73 years. The last was Hal Newhouser in 1945.
Pitchers who got the first and last out of the World Series:
Babe Adams, 1909
Ernie Shore, 1916
Art Nehf, 1922
Waite Hoyt, 1928
Lefty Gomez, 1937
Paul Derringer, 1940
Spud Chandler, 1943
Hal Newhouser, 1945
And Chris Sale, 2018
The Wizard of the Web 
I like that, Wiz. Didn't know it or missed it. Thank you - Z

Just two things to say.
"Big" Bill LaPlante fired up a new, five cent Phillies when the last strike from Sales got recorded. As you know, he (Ed. - Bill’s dad) used to smoke them down to the nub while turning his head sideways to relight it when they died out. A nickel cigar was his only vice (that we knew of): Ben Franklin, White Owl, and Phillies from Clift's Variety on Manton Avenue. That's four dad. Yes! Sox!
Manny Machado is a dirty ballplayer, leaving no doubt to the nation after what he did during these playoffs.
Bill LaPlante Jr.
Billy, it was quite the ride for the Red Sox and you could tell right from the git go that this team would be very good. Even the most optimistic fans, like me, could never have envisioned how great this team would become. We just witnessed the best defensive outfield ever for the Red Sox. Benny, JBJ and Mookie all deserve gold gloves.
So you kept up your Dad's tradition, eh? Well done. Your Canadiens are playing well and I saw that the beat the Bruins 3-0 while I was away. Bruins, especially the defense, needs to get healthy. McAvoy on IR as Krug comes back.
As for Manny Machado, he just proved that he's a dirty player in the playoffs. They barely mentioned it on Fox, but Machado spiked Pierce on the heel when he made the 2nd out in the 9th inning of the 4th game (Devers great play). Classless. Million dollar talent but a numbskull. I wouldn't want him on my team. He’d get a teammate hurt. - Z

Jim : Your masterful writing truly captured the essence of this remarkable season! Thanks for a memorable 'Zine !
Tom Wallis
Thanks for the kind words, Tom. Glad you enjoyed it.
Red Sox fans were blessed with one of the best teams ever. The World Series, the Playoffs and the season - all pure joy.  - Z

Great Stuff Jim!
I watched the games starting at 8 am here (Ed. - China) and odd watching a night game at 8 am. Interesting season to help ease the pain of our announced Pawsox departure.
Garry Gillett

We finally got the whole damn cake!!!!!!!!!  Frosting too!  Price pitched great the entire series and deserved this win.
Driller Killer
Yes we did, Driller. And the Red Sox drilled the opposition – the Yankees, the Astros and the Dodgers. - Z

Congrats on the Sox winning the WS…..quite a year and fitting end!!!!
David Knudson
Thanks David. Yes quite the fitting end. In 2007, the Patriots went 18-0, and then won 2 games in the playoffs. But alas, they lost to the New York ‘Football’ Giants in the Super Bowl. Does anyone care about the undefeated season? I didn’t want fans to forget this memorable 108-win season. A World Series win was a must. - Z

Forgot to mention - I think Price should have gotten MVP of series.
Ken Forestal
Ken, the night of Game #5, I said that to Brad that maybe Price should get the MVP. - Z
Sportzine is also available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz
Foot Joy and I were talking baseball, of course, and he asked me if I knew who came up with the expression ‘walk-off’. I admitted that I didn’t know. According to Foot Joy, it was Dennis Eckersley. A check of Wikipedia notes that Eckersley coined the expression, which referred to the pitcher who gave up the winning hit having to ‘walk off’ the field.

So Fleet Feet Pete moseyed in to the Hot Club and before he even ordered a Pabst Blue Ribbon, Beth brought him one. Fleet Feet said, “People see me and they get a beer.” Foot Joy added, “But usually for themselves.”

Talking to Making His Mark, he brought up Roberto Clemente and how he admired Clemente as both a baseball player and a hero. I agreed. Mark wondered how many athletes can truly be considered a hero. I brought up Ted Williams, who supported the Jimmy Fund and often visited sick children in the hospital, but didn’t want sports writers to mention it. Do you have a sports figure that you consider a hero?

Well, last issue the trivia question was provided by Ken Forestal. No one got it. I didn’t get it. The Question: What artist got his start in a "Boston Sound" band that had a mild hit in 1967 - changed genres and penned an iconic tune?-Name Artist - Band - Hit -Tune.
The Answer: Jerry Jeff Walker - Circus Maximus - "Wind"--"Mr. Bojangles".
When Ken brought up the ‘Boston Sound’, I recalled bands like Ultimate Spinach and Beacon Street Union. Another was Orpheus. But I had forgotten about Circus Maximus. In 1967, Jerry Jeff Walker (née Ronald Crosby, born in Oneonta, NY) and Bob Bruno started the group, which they wanted to call Lost Sea Dreamers, but the record company resisted since that spelled out LSD. Bob Bruno’s song Wind was a minor local hit, but according to, the song never charted because it was close to 8 minutes long.
The Boston Sound or Bosstown Sound was a marketing campaign to promote Boston bands and was conceived by record producer Alan Lorber. It was a marketing strategy meant to compete with the San Francisco Sound bands. (Source – Wikipedia).

This multi-instrumentalist (fiddle, pedal steel, dobro, mandolin as well as acoustic and electric guitars) has played bluegrass, blues, jazz, C&W, as well as rock. On two songs from one of his albums, 5 members of the Grateful Dead (including Jerry Garcia) backed him. Name?


OCTOBER 22, 2018

This was a game that was always scary to me. Nightmare visions of LB Khalil Mack, LB Danny Trevathan and rookie LB Roquan Smith plus ex-Patriot DT Akiem Hicks chasing Tom Brady all over Soldier Field gave me the chills. The Bears would have 1 sack – by Roquan Smith. They had 2 other QB hits but none by those I feared. In fact, LT Trent Brown was a monster, devouring Khalil Mack. On one play Mack ran into Brown and just bounced off him, out of the play. A treat.

On this day, the game would seesaw between tricks and treats. The Pats scored on their 1st possession on an Edelman 9 yd reception. At 7-3 NE, Cordarrelle Patterson fumbles the kickoff at his own 24. My view was that Patterson fumbled when he ran into his own blocker (Grigsby). QB Mitchell Trubisky runs it in on a 3rd and 10 for the TD.

The second quarter had just started when Sony Michel was twisted like a pretzel by Bilal Nichols and fumbled on the NE 36. There’s a 3rd and 5 stop but JC Jackson’s penalty gives the Bears another chance and they score on a Howard run. It’s 17-7 Bears.

The Pats needed a treat – they got it as Patterson returned the ensuing kickoff 75 yards for a TD. 17-14 Bears.

There was another treat waiting as after a 3 and out, Brady led the team on a 12 play, 64 yard drive consuming 5:48 and scoring on a pass in the right flat to White. 21-17 NE.

As the second half started, I’m thinking ‘OK, sanity has been restored. There will be no more tricks, no more bad dreams that become reality’. Those thoughts were ended when Chicago took the 2nd half kickoff and drove for a TD that put them back ahead at 24-21.
Trubisky, who haunted the Patriots all day with his scrambling and running (but not his passing), ran 39 yards to the NE 1 to set up that TD.

After Gostkowski tied it with a 29 yd FG, then came the treats that would carry the Patriots to victory in this ghoulish game. Dont’a Hightower blocked a Pat O’Donnell punt, and Kyle Van Noy ran 29 yards for the 2nd special teams TD on the day.

On the Bears 3rd possession, Trubisky treated NE with an ill advised throw that was intercepted by JC Jackson, who wrested the ball from Joshua Bellamy at the NE 21.

While Jackson’s INT did not lead to a score, Trubisky had more treats to offer as he
was intercepted again, this time by Jonathan Jones at the NE 4. A 55 yard pass to Josh Gordon (great YAC) to the NE 1 led to the shovel pass to James White to make it 38-24.

That seemed safe, right? Well, it was until Tom Brady threw a poor pass to James Develin, and it deflected off his hands and was intercepted. Naturally the Bears went down and scored a TD to another beast the Pats had trouble containing – TE Trey Burton. 38-31.

The next series proved crucial for the Patriots. With 4:05 left in the game, NE used the running of James White (and some great offensive line blocking) to garner two 1st downs. When the Pats punted, the Bears got the ball back with 24 seconds left.

It did get a little dicey when Trubisky hit WR Kevin White with a pass down to the NE 1, but Duron Harmon and Devin McCourty stopped White there and the game ended. Josh Gordon was in on D for the play, but jumped and missed the ball in front of White. The replay showed that Kyle Van Noy was in Trubisky’s face as he threw the Hail Mary prayer. It resulted in the pass not making it to the end zone where the nightmare might have continued. The final treat in a scary win.

With the ALCS tied 1-1 in games and the venue moving to Houston’s Minute Maid Park, Fenway Park fans wanted to know how their team would fare against this formidable foe, the Houston Astros, defending World Series Champions.

Prior to Game #3, 3B Alex Bregman made an egregious error by trolling Sox Game #3 starter Nathan Eovaldi. Bregman posted a video on Instagram showing George Springer, Jose Altuve and himself hitting back-to-back-to-back home runs earlier in the year off Eovaldi when he was with Tampa Bay. Word is that Eovaldi is not much into social media so he didn’t see it, but I’m sure that he heard about it. A message to Bregman: You poke the Bear and the Bear will bite back. Eovaldi won his matchup with Dallas Keuchel and put the Sox up 2 games to 1. His 6 innings (6 hits 2 walks and 2 Earned Runs) were far better than Sale and Price’s starts. If Eovaldi was nervous, the Alvin, Texas native, who pitched in front of Nolan Ryan (also from Alvin), didn’t show it.

Alex Cora had decided that Bregman would not be the one to Do Damage to The Red Sox. Batting 3rd, Bregman was walked 7 times in the first 3 games. Then AJ Hinch panicked as he moved Bregman to lead off batter. Baseball players are creatures of habit and have their comfort zones. George Springer has led off all year, except when hurt. Hitting leadoff in Games #4 (0 for 5) and #5 (0 for 4), Bregman contributed little offensively, and he didn’t walk in either of those last two games.

Hinch also made a surprise move in Game #5 as he moved Carlos Correa into the cleanup spot usually manned by Yuri Gurriel. Correa has been battling injuries. He went 0 for 4 in that cleanup spot. Gurriel batting 5th was 2 for 3 with a walk but no RBI.

The Red Sox stunned Houston with just enough starting pitching and a decent bullpen that mixed and matched to keep leads. Cora’s use of Porcello in Game #2 and Eovaldi in Game #5 in the 8th inning was the key to bridging to Craig Kimbrel and getting wins.

A look at final stats show that the Red Sox batted .233 to Houston’s .219. Sox pitching had a 4.00 ERA while the Astros were at 5.52. The Sox scored 27 earned runs against the Astros and beat two of their starters (Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander) and two of their relievers (Joe Smith and Jonas James).

Remarkably it wasn’t Betts (.217) and Benintendi (.208), one RBI each, who led the way with their bats. But their gloves did the damage with Betts robbing Altuve of a home run and Bregman a probable double. All Benintendi did was making a diving catch with the bases loaded to end Game #4, preserving the win, Kimbrel's save and the sanity of Sox fans.

It was a total team effort. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit .200 with just 3 hits. But those three hits, a bases loaded double (Game #2), grand slam (Game #3) and 2-run homer (Game #4), changed the complexion of those games and garnered the ALCS MVP for JBJ.

Catchers Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez blocked almost every pitch in the dirt. And David Price won his start, and doesn't have to answer questions about no playoff wins.

Alex Cora made all the right moves. He got a great 43rd birthday gift as the BoSox closed out the Astros. Now it's 'Beat LA. Beat LA'. 4 more games to be won by Boston.

Reading Bill Reynolds' Saturday Bullets column, I was shocked to see him say "The World Series is just frosting" for the Red Sox. I dashed off an email to him and said winning the 2018 World Series is the raison d'être of this Red Sox team and anything less will be a disappointment. I also alerted a few others about the remark. Driller Killer had a great response: "Red Sox fans don't care about the frosting. We want the whole damn cake!! No cake for you, Bill Reynolds. Better to take a mulligan on this one."

It was my hope that the Red Sox would blast the Astros into Outer Space. They did. Houston will have the whole off-season to ponder how they got swept 3 games at home.
Driller Killer had scored tickets for us for Game #6. We didn't mind missing it. As a fan you want your team to win in as few games as possible in the playoffs.

Mike Vrabel's Titans scored a TD with seconds left. He had his team go for two and the win rather than kick the tying extra point and go to Overtime. The Chargers were thrilled when the 2-point conversion was missed. This doesn't strike me as Belichickian.

The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles somehow blew a 17-0 fourth quarter lead to the Panthers. The Eagles are now 3-4.

Cleveland's defense forced Tampa Bay into 2 INTs and 2 fumbles and still lost in Overtime. Getting called for 14 penalties for 114 yards may have something to do with it

The Cincinnati Bengals may be tied for 2nd in the AFC North (4-3), but they are one of only two teams to have given up over 200 points (203). The other is the 1-6 49ers (218).

After having no penalties against KC, the Patriots had 7 penalties (for 64 yards) against the Bears, and gave them 4 first downs by penalty.

Good Zine -hoping Sale will be up to Snuff - need big effort from Eovaldi.
Brother Roberto would be the answer to the trivia question.
Ken Forestal
Right you are on the quiz, Ken - it's Roberto Clemente. - Z

I know that one Jim. The Great One - Roberto Clemente ! He actually ran thru the third base coach’s stop sign to score the run. He overslid home plate and had to come back to tag it. 
Jim Dwyer
You are correct, Jim, and Roberto did it with no one out. - Z

Roberto Clemente. 1956.
Foot Joy
Yes, Foot Joy, you've got it. Z

Wow, Dick Dale was from Boston?? Never would have guessed that!
Patti Quimby
Patti, amazing what you can learn reading Sportzine, eh. Dick Dale, aka Richard Monsour, was born in Boston. The King of the Surf Guitar is from NE and the Atlantic Ocean! - Z

Sportzine is also available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz

Last issue I mentioned the excellent documentary The Wrecking Crew to the usual cast of characters. It was on PBS recently so look for it there. I noted that in it, Herb Alpert relates that he made a million dollars on The Lonely Bull, which set him up for a lifetime source of cash due to royalties. And it is revealed that he then took some of that million and paid all the musicians from the Wrecking Crew who played on the song. Bravo!

So Fleet Feet Pete brought up another excellent musical documentary, the 3 hour 53 minutes History of the Eagles. That reminded me that the Eagles' Greatest Hits surpassed Michael Jackson's Thriller as the best selling album of all time.

Dr. John was talking to Special K and me and asked: 'Why do Scandinavian ships have bar codes on the side? We didn't know. His answer: 'So when the ships come back to harbor, they can scan the navy in.'

So I told Dr. John and Special K that I got stopped by a cop many years ago for speeding. The cop looked at my license and said it indicated that I needed glasses to drive. I told the cop, "I have contacts." The cop got angry and said "I don't care who you know!" It happened in Rhode Island, of course. This is a true story.

Last issue you were asked who was the only player to hit a walk-off inside-the-park grand slam. Only Ken Forestal, Jim Dwyer and Foot Joy got the answer – Roberto Clemente. My thanks again to reader Richard Flinn for submitting the excellent baseball trivia question which included the following: In 1954, the Pittsburgh Pirates made Clemente its first selection of the rookie draft. As a Pirate, Clemente would go on to win 12 Gold Gloves (tied for most among outfielders), four National League batting titles, two World Series rings, and the World Series MVP for 1971. Sadly, Roberto died in a plane crash, trying to bring aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua on December 31, 1972. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973, the first Latin player to be enshrined.

This trivia was sent in by Ken Forestal: What artist got his start in a "Boston Sound" band that had a mild hit in 1967 - changed genres and penned an iconic tune? Name the Artist – the Band – the Hit - the Tune. My thanks to Ken.