Monday, April 20, 2020


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?


Post a Comment

<< Home