Monday, September 16, 2019



Yes, Sportzine is back. After a tumultuous summer, this writer has returned to covering the local sports teams and their pursuit of excellence (and championships). Though admittedly sports championships aren’t the only raison d’être for following our favorite teams. The coming together of players to work in coordination and form true teams is a pleasure in its own right. Witness the Boston Bruins of last year, a team that fell one game short of the Stanley Cup, but provided thrills and chills to all their faithful hockey fans.

It only seems fitting that I return to doing Sportzine on September 9, the birthday of my wonderful daughter Cara, who turns 30 today. Happy Birthday Cara and many more. You are allowed to invoke the ‘Dawson Rule’ and extend your birthday as long as you want. Some people shy away from celebrating their birthday. I’m one of those who revels in it. Cara seems to be of the same mind.

So onward we go.

The Patriots demolition of Pittsburgh came just in time to spare some fans from watching the Red Sox’s continued self-destruction of a season.

Pre-game I told my daughter Cara, Driller Killer and fellow season ticket holders Wild Bill (the ‘Gunner’), Shawn and Harry that I wanted to see the Pats defense do two things: not allow big rushing yards on 1st down and 3rd down stops. The Pats’ D executed to perfection. The Steelers were 3 for 12 on 3rd down (1 for 3 on 4th) and in the 1st half when it was still a game, Pittsburgh had 10 rushes for 22 yards, with a long of 5 yards.

Pittsburgh came in having lost two important offensive weapons – RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown. They clearly missed them. Chatter among fans was centered on whether newly acquired Antonio Brown would conform to the Patriot way and who the Pats would cut to make room for Brown. My take was if Brown doesn’t play the Patriot Way (read Belichick Way), he will be on the highway. As I write, there has been no announcement of who will be cut or put on IR to make room for Brown. The chance for a Super Bowl championship may be enough for Brown to keep himself in line.

The Pats were without WRs Demaryius Thomas (Achilles) and TE Matt LaCosse, both inactives, as well as the about to be signed Brown. Without the retired Gronk and TE’s Lance Kendricks (1 game suspension) and Ben Watson (4 game suspension), it was expected that the Pats would throw to their RBs James White, Rex Burkhead and maybe even Sony Michel. White (7 targets/5 catches) and Burkhead (8/5) did just that. Michel wasn’t targeted (yet – just wait). The one active TE Ryan Izzo had 2 targets and 1 catch.

Those RB catches combined with Edelman (11/6), Dorsett (4/4, 2 TDs) and Josh Gordon (4/3, 1 TD) helped pave the way for the win. It didn’t hurt that the RBs were able to add 99 yards rushing to keep the Steelers defense off balance. Burkhead (8/44) and White (4/26) led the run attack. Surprisingly, Sony Michel was unable to break free and had only 14 yards on 15 carries. Imagine winning 33-3 without anything from Michel!

New LT Isaiah Wynn protected Tom Brady’s blind side (one reported QB hurry) and Ted Karras did a yeoman’s job at Center to stop up the middle rushers. The injured David Andrews (IR) was a beast at Center and will be missed at some point. Also unfortunately RT Marcus Cannon suffered a shoulder injury. Joe Thuney switched from LG to RT and newly acquired Jermaine Eluemunor went in at LG (Source – Expect more OL moves in the coming days, especially if Cannon’s injury is severe.

Tom Brady wasn’t perfect (25 of 37), but when you hit three long passes for TDs (not a Brady strong suit in the past), fans take notice. Brady hit Dorsett for 58 and 25 yard TDs, and Gordon for 20 (and a 44 yarder to set up a FG).

With his team down 17-0 in the 1st half, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made the mistake of going for it on 4th and 1 just before half. It failed and the Pats had time for a Gostkowski 41 yard FG and a 20-0 lead at halftime. Strangely, Tomlin, with the 2nd half kickoff, eschewed going on 4th and 1 from the Pats 1, settling for a FG. No Belichick here.

Kyle Van Noy didn’t play as his wife was expecting their baby. A telling sign was that rookie LB Shilique Calhoun started and played 56 of 69 defensive snaps. Bernd Buchmasser/Pats Pulpit (9/9) had the snap counts. Buchmasser also noted that newly minted Captain Elandon Roberts only played on special teams. Roberts is a run stopper and since the Pats have a distinct game plan for each opponent, it may be due to wanting more pass coverage.

One of my favorite sequences came on the Pats 2nd possession. After TE Izzo's penalty, it was 1st and 20. White ran for 8 yards and 7 yards setting up a 3rd and 5. Dorsett's 8 yard catch made it 1st down. It led to the Pats first score – the 20 yarder to Gordon.

The pass rush was disappointing with only Deatrich Wise Jr. getting a sack. However the Steelers TJ Watt (brother of JJ Watt) was held to one tackle and 1 assist.

Rookie Gunnar Olszewski did well on punt returns (2 for 35 yards), though it was Brandon Bolden who handled kickoffs (2 for 35 yards). New punter/holder Jake Bailey had a mixed night. He averaged 41 yards (one 53 yarder) and Gostkowski handled all the kickoffs. Bailey did hold on all 4 Gostkowski FGs.

() The Colts lost to the Chargers 30-24 in OT. Adam Vinatieri (not kicking in a dome) missed two FGs (45, 29) and an extra point. Brissett had a good game 21 of 27, no INTs.

() The Lions blew a 14 point halftime lead and an 18 point 2nd half lead to Arizona. Rookie QB Kyler Murray led the Cards back with 18 points in the 4th quarter.

() The Titans smashed Baker Mayfield and the Browns with 3 INTs and a safety. It helped that the Browns had 18 penalties for 182 yards.

() The Bills roared back down 16 to beat the Jets 17-16. The Jets had a missed extra point and a missed 45 yard FG.

Lowell George...Yay! Love slide guitar.
Special K
That’s right Special K. I love slide guitar too - Z

Hi Jim.... Lowell George ?
Yes, you are right Baily - it's Lowell George whose father was a furrier. - Z

Lowell George of Little Feat fame.
The Wizard
You are right, Wiz - it's Lowell George of Little Feat. - Z

Really nice! Congrats on over a quarter century. Love the pic of you and V.
The Boud
Thanks, Roger. - Z

Jim, excellent synopsis of your tenure at the helm of Sportzine for lo these many years (decades); a tip of the cap to you ol' friend.
Bill LaPlante
Thanks, Bill - Z

Great Issue Jim!  You even got your Pilsner Urquell in the pic with the bartender! Great beer, but not happy about the new smaller bottles! (unfortunately with all the breweries focusing on IPA's, that style of beer doesn't get made as often as it should)
Ron Racine
Thanks for the kind words, Ron. Pilsner Urquell was very good until the family sold it. Great memory of yours to recall my preferred beer at the time. - Z

Holy taverns, Batman - what a great issue #700!!! Seriously, Jim - a truly stunning literary accomplishment - even WITHOUT all the Buffalo Steve ink! I loved the mention, and the great pic of old pal Thom Hills. He is truly missed. Also glad to see the pic of Tom Bates came out so well. And of course we are all breathlessly awaiting #701...😎
Buffalo Steve Lenz
Steve, thanks for all your help. There would not have been a #700 without your considerable assistance.
Had the pics all laid out, and then when I added a little text, it skewed all the pics so that some were on top of each other. I prevailed but it was work and aggravating.
Worth the effort though. Happy Trails, - Z

That was a good one Dude. I like reminiscing. Where have the years gone?
Matt Dawson,
Glad you liked it, Matt. Seasons, they go round and the circle game. - Z

Great issue Jim! Thanks for doing this. It's always an enjoyable read.
Keep them coming big guy!
Sir Stephen Grahame
Sir Stephen, thanks for the kind words. - Z

Jim, nice job, great background info. Love the pics and mention of Tommy Hills.
Tom Robinson
Thanks Tom - Z

Well Jim a good deal of water over the dam in all these years. Of course I remember the first Zine. I was filling my seat in section 8, which by the way has significance of its own, when you came down handing out the first copy. I have been reading it ever since. Oh yes there were times you lit my fuse and you heard about it too. However I faithfully read it lo these many years. I will openly admit I ain’t a football guy so the football season editions did not get the viewing they should have.
Congratulations on your 700th, who would have thunk it!
By the way, regarding the Hot Club, it always takes a Bates to make everything perfect!
Ted Bates
Thanks Ted, and you're right about needing a Bates to make it perfect. - Z
Wow....excellent #700, with lots of strolls down memory lane. Much has happened
over the years of Sportzine and it's always been an enjoyable and informative read, that
also kept me plugged into my roots, no matter where I lived. Rock on!
Thanks Brad, fortunately I started #700 right after I finished Victoria's Tribute. Great response to #700. I'm happy. The addition of a pic of Victoria and me was a last second decision. - Z

No. 700 was a GEM! I thoroughly enjoyed it entirely, especially loving the learning the history and people behind the Sportzine. And of course, the picture of Victoria and the Writer was special! Each of you were a gift to each other!
Best to you, my friend….
David Knudson
David, you are very kind. I liked your comment that Victoria and I were a gift to each other. Truly. That says it all. Peace, Amigo. - Z,

Just finished the Zine. Thank you for inviting me (and your subscribers) into 25+ years of your life. You are indeed a fortunate man to have such a wealth of friends and experiences, and the ability to eloquently write about them. 
Bill Shea
Thanks Bill, I am fortunate to have a wonderful family and friends like you and the rest of Team 6. - Z

Jim, Sportzine #700 is nothing short of magnificent, like a walk off home run over the Green Monster.
Everything- where and how it started; the appearance of The Hot Club; the "firsts"; the moments; The Grand Dames, (Sandy Dolan!); ALL, all the photos- all of it coalesces into one powerful heartbeat that can be heard all the way to Hasbro Children's Hospital. 
Special Edition indeed.
Thanks, man.
Richard Flinn
Richard, thanks so much. Very elegantly said, though I'm not sure that I am worthy of all that praise (but I'll take it). You asking me to see a pic of Victoria led me to include the photo that you liked in #700. - Z

R.I.P. Bill Buckner
Ken Forestal
Ken, yes RIP Bill Buckner. I never blamed him for ’86. McNamara had replaced Buckner late in each WS game except that one. The error was in the 10th! Schiraldi couldn't get out guys with 2 strikes and then you have the Bob Stanley wp/passed ball.
That Lewy Body disease is bad. Glad the Sox brought Buckner back to Fenway.  - Z
Friday of last week was CJ’s birthday. There was quite a turnout to honor her and the Hot Club owners kicked in the food and decorations. A much deserved recognition for one of the mainstays of the Hot Club. Happy Special Birthday, CJ.

When we have talked about movies, Dr. John has always brought up the western Open Range as an excellent oater. I finally got to see it and he is quite right. It stars Robert Duvall, Kevin Costner and Annette Bening. The principals are all great and there is good chemistry with Costner and Bening. Costner directed it in 2003 much after his Academy Award winning effort with Dances with Wolves (1990) which won 7 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. Wolves got an 8.0 on IMDb, Open Range a 7.4.

So the question posed was:
This singer/songwriter was born in Hollywood. He was a multi-instrumentalist whose
first band appeared on an episode of F Troop and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Frank Zappa
helped get this performer’s 2nd band a record contract. By their 3rd album, he was
producing them. He was also known for his session work, especially slide guitar. Name?
A number of you knew that the answer was Lowell George of Little Feat. His first band was called The Factory (1965) and appeared on F Troop as The Bedbugs. The Factory was also on a Season 3 episode of Gomer Pyle, USMC and are heard playing at the A Go Go Club.
George joined the Mothers of Invention as a rhythm guitarist and vocalist in 1968 and was on at least 5 albums including Weasels Ripped My Flesh. He left under murky circumstances to form Little Feat. By their 3rd album, Dixie Chicken, he was producing them. A side story – on the song Willin’ from the band’s 1st LP, Ry Cooder plays slide guitar instead of George, who had injured his hand building a model plane.
Sadly, Lowell George, age 34, died of a heart attack in 1979 at a hotel in Arlington, VA. It was reportedly due to an accidental cocaine overdose. (Source – Wikipedia).
For those who love the music of Lowell George and Little Feat, look for the music DVD Little Feat Live In Holland 1976. You won’t be disappointed.
Another Lowell George connection – this English singer-songwriter, musician and record producer had the good fortune to have George play on his first solo album and reportedly serve as its unofficial producer. Then Lowell George and Little Feat backed him on his second solo LP, and in fact toured with him. There are members of Little Feat (but not Lowell George) on his 3rd solo LP. This artist won two Grammy awards (Best Male Rock Vocal Performance) for his later work. Name?


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