Monday, April 20, 2020


APRIL 20, 2020

Today is Patriots Day. Usually the Boston Marathon is run today. The Red Sox always had a home game at 11 am. My friend and old co-worker Peter Goodwin always made sure we had tickets for the Patriots Day BoSox game. At its conclusion, we’d go over to the finish line of the Marathon.

As the sports desert continues, we have only the NFL draft (but it’s on this week, April 23-25), old sporting events and the WWE to slake our thirst. I’m not watching any WWE. There is the possibility of golf returning and, yeah, that I would watch. No spectators. Golfers keep your distance.

Hard to picture when MLB and the PawSox (I have my season tickets for whenever the games begin) will start their seasons. There was an idea floated that all games might be played in Arizona and Florida with no fans. I’m sure players will have no problem being away from their families for months. That’s the Hindenburg of solutions.

Driller Killer has already paid for our 3 Patriots season tickets. I will pay him for mine shortly. Yet there is no certainty that there will be an NFL season. Played to empty stadiums (it used to be stadia). A major difference in football over baseball is the fan reaction in the stadium on almost every play. Baseball can put you to sleep on any play. The only comparison with live football is NHL hockey which is fast paced and capable of an exciting score or stop at any moment. Damn I miss the Bruins. They had a good chance of winning the Stanley Cup this year. Doubtful that there will be any hockey, even playoffs.

The Patriots have lost a lot of important pieces. On defense, LBs Van Noy and Collins are gone as is Elandon Roberts, a good run stopper who was also used at FB. They also lost Danny Shelton - a force in the middle. They traded away safety Duron Harmon.
On the offensive side of the ball, gone are Ted Karras, who played center when David Andrews couldn’t because of blood clots in his lungs. There is no certainty that Andrews
can come back healthy this season. So it’s Isaiah Wynn at LT, Joe Thuney, who was

given the franchise tag (almost $15 million against the cap), at LG, Shaq Mason at RG and Marcus Cannon at RT. However they all need backups. Now ESPN and WEEI are reporting that because the Pats have only about $1M in cap space that Thuney will be traded by draft day because of the high cap hit. Yikes!

The Pats have some unknowns from last year who either didn’t play or played sparingly. Amongst this group are OT Yodny Cajuste (3rd round pick) and OG Hjalte Froholdt (4th round pick). NE thought enough of OL Jermaine Eluemunor to re-sign him, but he played mostly on special teams in 2019. You would expect Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio to draft a couple of versatile lineman, especially one that can also play Center.

While we are on the Offensive side of the ball, the Pats desperately need a couple of TEs, preferably ones who can catch the ball and block. Equally important is at least one outside receiver with speed, something they’ve sorely lacked. The good news is this year’s draft is filled with good, fast receivers. N’Keal Harry will be fine. Fans forget that he was injured and didn’t play until the last 7 regular season games and then the playoff vs. Tennessee. They may pick up a slot receiver as Julian Edelman will be 34 in May.

The Patriots will be fine with RBs Sony Michel and Damien Harris who played sparingly as a rookie. Remember this – Harris had over 3000 career rushing yards at Alabama. In Michel’s defense, his OL didn’t open a lot of holes for him in 2019. He also sorely missed FB James Develin’s lead blocking. Will Develin be back? James White and Rex Burkhead are proven contributors.

Will the Patriots draft a QB? I’d be surprised if they didn’t. One pigskin pundit said to watch where Belichick picks one (if he does – BB always does the unexpected). The pundit said that would show how much confidence Belichick has in Jarrett Stidham.

On Defense, the Pats need DL and LB help. They’ll probably add a safety as Devin McCourty is about to be 33 and they traded safety Duron Harmon.

Finally a FG kicker is needed. Probably a late rounder or maybe even an undrafted player. We’ll see how high a pick is used on a place kicker.

The Pats have 12 picks. However over half are between rounds 5-7. Thuney would give them a higher pick. Belichick rarely uses all his picks and will move up and down depending on how they rate players at their needs positions.

Friend Ken Forestal reminded me that the longest Triple A game was played by the Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings on April 18-19, 1981. It went 32 innings on those days and the umps didn’t call it until 4:07 am. I saw the 33rd inning conclusion.
Ken also wanted me to point out that on today’s date, the great Roberto Clemente played his first MLB game 69 years ago.

FWIW the Herald’s Karen Guregian’s Power Rankings has the Bucs #12, the Pats #14.

ESPN has a 10 part series called The Last Dance on NBA great Michael Jordan Sundays at 9. Missed last night, but I’m sure they’ll show Parts 1 and 2 before Sunday.

As usual great Zine!! Good to see it back. It’s necessary. Believe the answer to your quiz is the great Roy Orbison’s Oh Pretty Woman.  Be careful out there compadre.
Mike Curtis
Mike, good guess but No, not Oh Pretty Woman. Thanks for the kind words. - Z

Jim- outstanding issue! One for the ages. With the coming of spring comes hope, and though we have been severely tested by the challenge and tragedy of the pandemic, a fresh issue of Sportzine is a panacea for the senses. Even with a sports shutdown worldwide, including the Olympics, plenty of news to share as we overcome this crisis and move forward towards a restoration of our favorite pastimes. Keep ‘em coming!
P.S. music trivia- could it be Roger Miller and his song King of the Road?
Mark Allio
Mark, good guess but No not Roger Miller's King of the Road. - Z

Glad to see Zine is back.
Brady is gone that’s OK - we move on as we should - no baseball - go to the Little League games in your area - at least we have WWE in Florida - Jim you could cover it "The Haystack Calhoun Report"- I'll help!
Roy Orbison "Pretty Woman"
Ken Forestal
No, Ken, not Pretty Woman but good try. I hate the WWE and especially ultra fighting so that's a no go. Yes we move on from Tom Brady. I think Stidham will do better than some think, though I expect they will add another QB in either the draft or an undrafted one. - Z
hi jim
how about sunny by bobby hebb? thanks for the zine
david annese
David, good guess but No, not Bobby Hebb's Sunny. - Z

Sportzine is also available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz

Coach - I’m saddened about the loss of John Prine but it’s very uplifting in the middle of this quasi-apocalyptic nightmare to see a Zine and tribute to one of the greatest songwriters of any time. I hope you and yours and all of the Zine Community are well.
Tom Queenan
Q, good to hear from you. Maybe when things settle down we can have that beer at the Hot Club. Hope you and yours are well. Peace.
The Coach

Your timing is beyond excellent. 
Richard Flinn
BZ, Richard? - Z

Bravo Zulu. Semaphore for Well Done.
Richard Flinn
Richard, Wow! Very kind of you. Thanks. Stay safe and healthy. - Z

BB had Brady's departure planned. The final nail in the coffin was when he tagged Joe Thuney and used up all of the remaining cap space 14+ Million. The dead cap hit for TB12 was going to hit either this year, ’21 or ’22.

Jarrett Stidham, now 23, attended Stephenville High School in Stephenville, Texas. As a senior, he completed 183 of 260 passes for 2,934 yards with 35 touchdowns. He also rushed for 969 yards and 15 touchdowns. Stidham was rated by as a four-star recruit and was ranked as the sixth-best dual-threat quarterback in his class. He had over 20 college offers. He originally committed to Texas Tech University to play college football, but later changed to Baylor University. He began his college football career at Baylor, starting three games as a true freshman for them in 2015. He then transferred to McLennan Community College, where he did not play football in his one semester at the school. Stidham later transferred to Auburn, where he started for them in 2017 and 2018. The Patriots selected him with the 133rd overall pick in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Below are his college stats.

Ted Mahoney
Hi Ted, good to hear from you. Good point about tagging Thuney and having no cap space.
One thing that confuses me is that when the NFL recently agreed with the Players Association on a new deal, I thought it included a rise in the cap # which would be in effect this 2020 season.
It's obvious that this is Bill Belichick's move. It seemed pretty certain that he didn't want to trade Jimmy G, but Brady's determination to play a couple more years blew that up. I left it out, but Belichick and Brady were at odds over Brady using Alex Guerrero as his personal trainer. And Brady got Gronk to use Guerrero in 2018 (maybe some other Pats players too). Belichick, who has his own workout/training program, did not like that one bit.
They may be OK with Stidham. I do expect that they'll draft another QB this year or maybe sign a QB who doesn't get drafted. Belichick loves competition - Z

Hi Jim,
Great to see the Zine again, especially with this virus mess and all. I was a long time John Prine fan and saw him many times. Jo-Ann and I went to see him at a Joan Baez concert. John was the lead in and did a great job. We had great seats in the third row. At intermission, we went to the back of the theater where a young couple stood. I said are you fans of Joan Baez, they said they loved her. I said, see those two seats in the third row, they said yes. I said go and sit there. They were elated. They said you’re not leaving are you! I said we came to see John Prine, enjoy the show and we left. Yep we were real fans!
Hope all is well with your health and you are getting along OK! We had a lot of fun in the old days, many, many fond memories.
Ted & Jo-Ann Bates
Ted, hope you and Jo-Ann are well.
Funny story about leaving the concert after seeing John Prine open for Baez.
Doing pretty well. Still walking my 2 miles a day, but now it's to Slater Park.
Have my PawSox tix but wonder if/when they'll even play.
The WooSox had to halt construction on Polar Park. Could there be another season at McCoy? And the pandemic will further hurt Larry Lucchino's finances and those of Worcester too. The Woo Sox may become the Woe Sox. - Z

I have to say I never thought I’d feel this way but I don’t care about Brady anymore. Go Pats! I also believe Giselle had a lot to do with this decision, but I also believe in Bill and have to think it was the right decision for the team. Like you I never thought it would happen.
Lori Spooner 
Lori, I was thunderstruck by Tom Brady's decision to leave. A lot of behind the scenes stuff that may never come out. Time to move on.
There may not even be an NFL season. Tampa Bay paid Brady a lot of guaranteed money. Wonder how they'd feel about a 44 year old QB in 2021. - Z

Last Tuesday, the 14th ,was the Hot Club’s Anniversary. It opened in 1983. So this year it was the Club’s 37th year Anniversary. Yet none of us could celebrate it. That’s a first.

So 6-7 Hot Club regulars have ‘met’ via Zoom on Fridays at 5pm. We swap stories, insults, and coping measures as we try to keep COVID-19 from spreading.

Thursday I had cleaned the areas of leaves and dandelions around tulips and other flowering plants next to my house. Being outside is replenishing as are my 2 mile daily walks. So to the garden it is. I got so carried away that I planted rows of radishes on Friday. How the Hell did I know it would snow Friday night. Well, somehow Special K knew that it was going to snow. I just got the message too late to help.

We, as a group, have been sharing jokes, funny videos, anything that will amuse us at this difficult time. One very helpful source for that humor has been Hot Club regular Joe Pedro, who has emailed a bunch of fun stuff. Captain Jack sent us a video of a comedian doing a routine in which he proves that Jesus was actually Italian. After my Air Force buddy Mike Curtis sent me some Irish jokes, I forwarded them on to the others along with some Pat and Mike jokes similar to those my grandfather Jim Cullen told me. Help your family and friends with humor.

OK so I asked what singer and song displaced the Beatles at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100. I am reading Exploding by Stan Cornyn about the Warner Music Group. In it, he mentions how thrilled Dean Martin (who hated the Beatles) was when Everybody Loves Somebody displaced the Beatles (1964). When friend Ken Forestal was insistent that Roy Orbison’s Oh Pretty Woman was the answer, I looked up Billboard’s #1’s for 1964-1969. Then I realized that over the course of the year, there are a number of songs that get to #1. Other singers who displaced the Beatles: Louis Armstrong ’64, Barry McGuire ’65, Petulia Clark ’66, Frank Sinatra ’66, Bobbie Gentry ’67. BTW, Oh Pretty Woman displaced House of the Rising Sun, not a Beatles song (1964). Source – Wikipedia.

What two British bands were the 3rd and 4th ones to be inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame? Hint – it was the same year.


APRIL 13, 2020

The last Sportzine, #712, was January 6, 2020. I went on sabbatical because I had moved back to my family house in Pawtucket, and there was need for considerable time and effort to restore the place to a semblance of what the home used to be. Much has been done in the time away. Enough so that I feel much more comfortable living here.

In the meantime, the coronavirus (aka COVID -19) pandemic hit. A deadly disease that has already killed more people than any of us could imagine, and it continues on its life changing way with little signs of slackening.

Sports, once an oasis, has become a desert. No NHL. No NBA. MLB delayed. No PawSox home opener. The Woo Sox have had to stop construction on Polar Park in Worcester. Will that mean a possible extra season at McCoy if it isn’t finished?
In truth, Sports doesn’t matter much when lives are at stake.

So, in this sports desert, why have I returned with Sportzine? Well you can either thank or curse Making His Mark who has been after me for some time to resume writing Sportzine. So here I am. Will there be a Sportzine next week? Maybe. We’ll see.

A lot has happened since I went on sabbatical. Tom Brady decided to leave the Patriots and join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So I owe both Fleet Feet Pete and Foot Joy drinks as I was certain that Brady wasn’t going anywhere. I was counting on camaraderie of the Patriots locker room to sway Brady. That and a chance to add to his legacy with a 7th Super Bowl win with the Patriots. Boy was I wrong. I’m still in shock over Brady’s decision. Special K opined that she thought Gisele had a lot to do with it, and said the reason that Brady went to Florida is because there are a lot of Brazilians living there. Brady recently went on Howard Stern’s Sirius show. There was also an interview he did with Jim Gray. Signs point to Brady not feeling appreciated enough in Foxborough. Certainly the Patriots made a mistake in not making last year’s contract for 2 years. It was originally described that way but in reality it was not. Now with Brady gone and the Pats up against the salary cap, they have $13.5 million in dead money from his contracts.

Foot Joy has told me that once a player leaves one of our local teams that he no longer roots for them. I, on the other hand, have followed ex-Red Sox, ex-Patriots players. This is different. I think Tom Brady is making a serious mistake. That Tampa Bay offensive line had better protect him or an injury will end his career. Also you have to wonder how the COVID -19 pandemic affects Brady and his new team’s preparations. Will there even be an NFL season in 2020? Well, as a Patriots fan, Tom Brady is no longer my concern. He made his choice. I’m rooting for the guys still with the Patriots.

With the cessation of NHL and NBA games and the delayed beginning of MLB, the only sporting event on the horizon is the NFL draft April 23-25. It will be a virtual draft with participants in their homes, offices, etc. Nothing like this has ever happened. Promises to be very weird. However it is sports, so...

Just as I was ceasing doing Sportzine, the Red Sox were revealed to have stolen signs during the 2018 season, their World Series winning season. Manager Alex Cora, who was the bench coach for the Astros in 2017, was also involved in Houston’s system for stealing signs (Bang on the Drum All Day – Todd Rundgren). In a strange move, Red Sox ownership mutually agreed with Alex Cora that he should no longer coach Boston. Not sure why they didn’t just fire him (does Cora still get paid because they didn’t fire him?).

Meanwhile majordomo/dummo Rob Manfred promised to produce a report on the Red Sox cheating scandal and penalties for it in March. It kept getting pushed back. Today is April 13. Still no report What exactly is Manfred the Wonder Dog doing? Why the wait?

Glad to see that Kevin Garnett was elected to the NBA Hall of Fame. He helped the Celtics win their 18th championship in the 2007-2008 season. Garnett was drafted by ex-Celtic Kevin McHale, then ‘general manager’ of the Minnesota Timberwolves. While the Timberwolves never won an NBA championship with Garnett, he did lead them to 8 consecutive playoffs in his 12 years with them. McHale was kind enough to trade Garnett to the Celtics and old pal Danny Ainge in 2007. (Source – Wikipedia).

A baseball trivia question (thanks to Dave Knudson who led me to the eventual trivia): Who is the only 20th Century pitcher to win 20 or more games in his first 3 seasons? Even baseball savant Foot Joy didn’t get this one. Answer at bottom of Bullets.

Old friend and fraternity brother Jim Dwyer sent me this video of Larry Bird and some of his brilliant passes and unbelievable shots. Much watch:

So I sent Mr Dwyer a link to an article about how Larry Bird was considered the All-Time NBA Trash Talker:

Sad to see John Prine, one of my favorites, die at 73 from the coronavirus. Outside of Bob Dylan, I can’t think of a better, more evocative songwriter than John Prine. I was fortunate to see John Prine several times. The first was on my only visit to Chicago when a friend took me to Old Town and we saw Prine perform. That same night I also saw Prine’s buddy Steve Goodman, who died way too early. My Air Force buddy Mike Curtis sent me a great link to Rolling Stone’s feature on Prine’s 25 essential songs.

Answer to baseball trivia question: Vean Gregg, who did it with the Cleveland Browns. He was then traded to the Red Sox where he became a teammate of Babe Ruth.

Fantastic summary of the game, Jim! I still think you could be writing for the Projo or serving as a commentator on local radio.
BTW, regarding name that tune, I am thinking that it’s got to be Amazing Grace, one of the oldest, if not the oldest, and popular hymns of all time. Just about every country singer has recorded a version (Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, etc.)….
Mark Allio
Mark, thanks for the kind words.
Good guess on the trivia but no, not Amazing Grace. - Z

Hello Jim, trivia question Hallelujah?
Thanks for the " ZINE " David Annese
Good try, David, but No, not Hallelujah. - Z

Jimbo : I'm gonna go with "Will the Circle be Unbroken?". I think the original title was Can the Circle be Unbroken, but I could be wrong. My other guess is "I'll Fly Away". It's possible they were both written by A.P. Carter, again, not sure of that, but I like to go with knowledge and recall, not Google.
Tom Wallis
Tom, very good. It was written in 1907 as Will the Circle Be Unbroken? AP Carter (of the Carter Family) changed some of the verse lyrics in 1935 and the title to Can the Circle Be Unbroken? However most of the versions recorded kept the original title.- Z

Sportzine is also available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz
(On whether you’d pick music or sports on a desert island with only one option)
My Friend James,
Thanks for the final Zine…for now!  A difficult surprise ending of the season for the Pats.  They’ll be back, without a doubt….Loved the story about your Dad and Dennis Johnson.  Very special.  I would pick music too.  Music is all sensory enjoyment and pleasure.  Sports is a double edge sword….fun and exhilarating but also stressful and heartbreaking.
Enjoy your break to do other things…
Peace out for now until we meet again, 
David Knudson

HeyJim, Given the fate of the Patriots this season (and for other reasons I'm sure), a sabbatical from Sportzine certainly makes sense.
I always thought Brady should have retired on the high note following SB-51. There was nothing more for him to prove to anyone. Mike Lynch
I was pessimistic going into this game (Ed.: Super Bowl), especially after they lost to Miami and didn't call the timeout at the end of the half. Still can't figure it out. One report said Bill was reprimanding the offense by just running the clock out. Really? In a huge game like that? They lost my hope of a Super Bowl right there because I felt they needed the rest and could even get lucky if the Ravens lost. The offense never looked good all season. If the defense didn't score, they were in big trouble. You can't win it all like that.

Still, we are spoiled and we know it. Even when the Red Sox tanked, I knew it was greedy to expect it every year. It has to end at some point. Hopefully this isn't it. I'm just glad this period of time happened in my lifetime.
Stephen Graham
Steve, thanks for the email. Yeah when they lost to Miami that was a very bad sign.
I think Brady re-signs with the Pats. If they get him some players - WR, TE, OL, I think that they can pursue another Super Bowl next year. We'll see. - Z

(After A Hot Club Session With Foot Joy Talking About Sign Stealing)
My point then was that as long as sign stealing in itself is legal, why shouldn't it be okay to use technology to help. As long as you're not bugging the other team’s clubhouse, I'm okay with it. The Astros, and possibly the Red Sox, are getting in trouble for something that other teams are probably doing. Difference is that nobody accused the other teams. So, some other team may continue to do it, although it would be stupid to, while the Astros cannot. That is not fair. Foot Joy
THE HOT CLUB Well the Hot Club is closed until further notice. Our contingent of Hot Club regulars last was there on March 13, Friday the 13th. Little did we know that by Monday the 16th restaurants, bars and other ‘non-essential’ businesses would be ordered closed. I had decided to cancel that DDS reunion I had planned for St. Patrick’s Day. Didn’t matter as the state had stepped in the day before.
If I remember correctly, that Friday the 13th included a joke from Dr. John about a couple in their ’70’s who went back to their favorite watering hole to commemorate their first mad passionate love making 50 years before out back of the bar where there was a fence. Determined to re-live that experience, they headed for that spot. The owner overheard them. Curious he snuck a peak to see how it was going. What he saw was a couple in their ’70’s making mad passionate love. When they staggered back into the bar, he asked the couple if anything had changed since that first time that they had made love. The husband said to him: “Well, 50 years ago that fence wasn’t electrified.”

So what has our Hot Club contingent been doing since our Fridays together have ended? Well, the last 4 Fridays we’ve been together in a Zoom session starting at 5 pm. While there has been criticism about Zoom’s laxness in privacy and security, they have issued two updates, and started to address their problems. Hackers have been Zoombombing some Zoom sessions. However we’re a handful of people who just want to ‘see’ each other while talking so it’s doubtful that hackers would care about us. There are bigger fish to fry. I love these Zoom sessions. You feel less isolated being able to see and talk to people about whom you care. There are also other video conferencing sites.

Well, while there weren’t a lot of email answers, lots of people offered guesses one on one, but only Tom Wallis had the correct answer: Will the Circle Be Unbroken? The song is a Christian hymn written by Ada Habershon in 1907 with music by Charles Gabriel. AP Carter changed some of the lyrics in 1935 when the Carter Family released the song. I was shocked that more people didn’t get the answer as one of the Ken Burns shows
on Country Music had an episode with that title and ended with the song being sung.

In the ’60’s, this artist had a song that not only reached #1 but knocked the Beatles from that #1 spot. Who was the singer and what was the song?