Monday, September 16, 2019


MAY 20, 2019
ISSUE #700
Yes, folks, this is Issue #700 of Sportzine. That is a lot of Sportzines. While designed to
be a weekly, there was no way that I would do 52 in a year. Time off for vacations, head
clearing and unforeseen circumstances meant that there were usually about 42-45 issues
of Sportzine per year.
Sportzine is, and always has been, a fanzine. Fanzines preceded blogs. They were niche
publications for people with a great passion for a subject. Mine was sports, especially
New England sports. So Sportzine is written unabashedly from a fan’s perspective.
While I'm not a journalist, I have tried to maintain certain professional standards. I give
attribution when I get information from another sports source. I do spelling and grammar
checks. The goal is to put out a readable, literate and entertaining look at sports.
So here we are many years later and I'm still at it. Still passionate, still expressing my
take, as a fan, on the sports teams I love: the Red Sox, the Patriots, the Celtics, the
Bruins, PC and URI in basketball, among others.
Sportzine has always been free. It went from being handwritten to being typed. It was
originally distributed only in hard copy. Eventually it was sent out by e-mail while still
being passed out in hard copy. E-mailing Sportzine cut down on my ink cartridge and
paper costs.
Initially I didn’t even put my name on the publication. I just wanted people to read it.
For years, Sportzine came out on Tuesdays. Then I realized that it had to be finished and
disseminated on Mondays because too much had already been written by Tuesday.
While watching a late night sports show (Gene Lavanchy) on Ch. 7 in Boston, the
Farrelly Brothers were guests. They piqued my interest in sports writing when they
noted how negative much of the sports columns were. I was also dissatisfied with much
of what I was reading, and felt that the negativity was squeezing all the fun and
enjoyment out of watching sports. And so began what was then called a fanzine.WHEN SPORTZINE STARTED
The first Sportzine was written 7/19/93. This very first edition was "A semi-periodic
periodical" and was handwritten. Every issue after that has been typed. It was done thru
part of 1994 and then went on sabbatical. It resumed 12/4/97. The first issue done on my
new home computer was 7/30/98. That was issue #1 of Sportzine, even though there
were many others before it.
In fact, that ‘new’ computer’ was my Dell Vostro 1500, which I am still using today to
write Sportzine. The original operating system was Microsoft’s XP, but when they
dropped providing support, I had to switch. My good friend Buffalo Steve Lenz, who is
a wunderkind IT guru, switched me to Linux/Ubuntu/Firefox and the beat has gone on,
even though Steve’s been after me to break down and buy a new computer for awhile.
The Vostro 1500 is like a well broken in pair of slippers so I still use it.
Initially there was no Hot Club section. But in 12/97, old friend Chris DeSessa
suggested that I start including some of the people who populated the Hot Club. So the
12/11/97 issue had a section "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" which introduced Mr. Contraire,
a man who would argue both sides of an issue with all comers, leaving listeners
sputtering and speechless like the AFLAC duck after hearing Yogi Berra.
In the 12/18/97 issue, the section was changed to "Mr. Contraire". It stayed that way
until May of '98 when Mr. Contraire (Amici) started bragging that he was the only
reason that people read Sportzine.
At the urging of Chris DeSessa, I took out Contraire and put in other people. The
5/21/98 issue had "Heating Up The Hot Club" which introduced new characters. No one
noticed that Mr. Contraire was missing. The next week (5/28/98) the section became
"The Hot Club", and it has remained that way ever since.
Rather than using a Hot Club regular’s real name, I decided to give some people a
nickname. Sometimes, it was a necessary alias. The general rule was that you couldn’t
make up your own nickname. In one of the early days of inventing these nicknames, two
HC regulars told me that I couldn’t nickname them. So I did anyway and those
nicknames have stuck with them all these years.
When I started out, I had a tendency to quote other sports writers opinions about
different sports issues. Then Paul Jabbour gave me some of the best advice that I have
ever received. Paul told me, "I don't care what these people think. I want to know what
you think. Start putting yourself in it." It's been that way ever since. My thanks to Paul.Mike Solomon gave me my first paying ad - for Wes' Rib House (12/10/98). Mike then
somehow convinced Josh Miller to pay for a Hot Club ad too. My thanks to Mike
Solomon for his generous support. And the Hot Club for their ad.
My thanks to Peter Bortolotti for suggesting the music trivia contest that I now include
in every Zine. The response has been great and shows me that people are still reading
Sportzine (at least the Music Tr ivia).
Special thanks to Mark Allio, who when I was struggling on how to make #700 special,
suggested that I include photos.
• The first digital picture is included in Sportzine. It's of Hugh Cariati (Victoria’s son) at
Gillette Stadium (8/28/02).
• Tom Bates tells me the origin of the name Hot Club. It's from the Stephane Grappelli
and Django Rhinehart jazz sessions in Paris. Wherever the two appeared was "The Hot
Club". Later, Tom tells me that it was named the Hot Club because it was an old boiler
room for the J.T. Butts Company.
• Thom Hills downloads the Zine (and Hot Club section) in London and then Tel Aviv.
Thom apprises me that Sportzine has now gone international.
• This writer receives his first ever mail at the Hot Club ('03). It's a photo of my daughter
Cara and me at a PawSox game. It was sent by PawSox season ticket holder (and
postman) Dale Rogers who mailed it to me c/o the Hot Club. Thanks Dale.
• The Falcon sends the 1 st Letter to the Editor arguing that androstenedione isn't a
• The Demons of the Diamond, the coed softball team I coached, wins the championship
and the team celebrates at the HC (9/15/99). Weez and Barbara moon the crowd on a bet.
Stevie R. does the same. A stranger congratulates us and leads the Coach and his team in
a verse of 'God Bless America'. The stranger is Bill Horan, a fellow '64 grad of St. Ray's.
• A regular brings me a shredded copy of the Zine. "This is what my friend thinks of
your Zine", he says. My first faux pas. I had joked about the person not being able to
spell ‘cat’ even if spotted the ‘c’ and the ‘a’. Be careful what you write.• A Hot Club bartender opts to take a job and I reveal where it is. The employee is not
happy with me nor are several of her co-workers. The lesson – don’t write about a Hot
Club employee unless you’ve cleared it with them first.
• Lionel and Diesel use Driller Killer and my Patriots' season tickets to go to a pre-
season game. They almost get arrested for bringing a keg into the parking lot, but talk
the cops into just removing the spigot. (9/6/00). Driller Killer and I could have lost our
season tickets over it.
• Hooks helps me get into the Bill Russell book signing at the Avon. When his turn
comes, he yaks away with Russell so much that Russ signs Hooks' book: "To Michale".
• Contraire tells Josh Miller, who has just agreed to give me a paying ad, that the
circulation of the Zine is 15 (7/21/99). Contraire says, "The circulation of the Zine is 15
nitwits who hang around the Hot Club." It was actually 90+ hard copies and 40 email.
My mom calls Contraire 'an instigator' and says he likes to start trouble. I print her
comments. Contraire says, "Your mother should stay in the kitchen." (8/18/99)
• Thom Hills (R.I.P. 6/29/12) worked for a company that installed large industrial
printers and frequently traveled overseas to install them and service them. Thom,
unasked, brought me several T-shirts that he had had printed, one with Sportzine written
large across the front and the other with Sportzine where the breast pocket would be.
Thom liked his HC nickname, ‘Frequent Flyer’ so much that he named his 27-foot
Catalina sailboat after that Hot Club nickname.
Things that have happened since Sportzine began 700 issues ago.The original Grande Dame of Hot Club bartenders was Sandy Dolan, whom we miss.
Then Patti Quimby took on the title of Grande Dame and we miss her too.
Now Britt Eddy is the Grande Dame with CJ Audette next in line of succession.Proof that the Hector Brothers, Beau and Broc, worked at the HC at the same time.
My Love, Victoria Troxell (R.I.P. 4/24/18), and this writer.Smallest Men’s Room on the East Coast.
It was a long wait but very welcome.To whom we owe thanks for these other improvements to the Hot Club:
Eben and Sarah Bates
Josh MillerThe Patron Saint of the Hot Club, Tom Bates (R.I.P. 8/18/17)
My thanks to Kristin Anderson for the pic and Steve Lenz for the format.


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