Five 2015 Columns I Didn’t Hate

By my count, I wrote 50 pieces for the print Standard-Times this year. (A man’s entitled to two vacations, apparently.) You can view them all here, but here’s a quick-and-dirty list — interspersed with some GIFs, because why not — of my favorites before the calendar flips.

May 11: Patriots fans, ask yourself, what would Pedro Martinez have done?

‘Pedro’ is the pitcher telling his story, so the picture will – of course – not paint all completely. Joe Kerrigan’s treatment is best summarized in a photo caption: “My pitching coach … always had lots of theories about how I could be better. Here I am not listening to one of them.”

Martinez’s brilliance of mind and mound is on full display – we begin and end at the mango tree he so wonderfully spoke of in the heat of the 2004 ALCS. Yet so are his great contradictions: The willingness to hit people and his bristling at the reputation it brought. His deep trust in some, and deep grudges toward others.

Brady is similarly stellar, and a similar shade of gray to us on the outside.

G55 - Panda Bad

June 2: Struggling Red Sox Have a Lot To Prove

The Red Sox averaged 93 wins a season from 2002-11, always more than the sum of their parts. Superstars carried the load, sure, but Mark Bellhorn and Bill Mueller answered the call when needed in October 2004. J.D. Drew’s 2007 grand slam? Same thing. Heck, Daisuke Matsuzaka knocked in a couple runs in Colorado.

I’m sure I’m not the only one still guilty of thinking of the franchise that way. Seeing David Ortiz and John Farrell and Dustin Pedroia, the lines connecting ’04 to ’07 to ’13 to now. It is, however, increasingly appearing a mirage. In the ninth inning of a close game, whether you walk or pitch to the opposing slugger with a base open leads to the some conclusion. At some point, someone’s got to make the play.

Junichi Tazawa didn’t in Seattle two weeks ago. Koji Uehara didn’t last weekend in Texas. The Red Sox haven’t for going on four full years, title be damned.

G62 - Seven-Run Lead

June 21: Let’s do something about MLB fan safety

And thus, we wait to see how baseball will react. The same sport that just this year rolled out metal detectors at every park. Detectors that, studies say, don’t really make anyone all that safer.

In the year the impending removal of Houston’s “Tal’s Hill” incline in center field brought relieved cries of “that thing was an injury risk.” An injury risk that, for all its 16 years, has caused no major injuries.

Rob Manfred can’t eliminate the risk to spectators. It’s an inherent as the risk to players by every thing they encounter. The commissioner has, though, been given an opportunity to mitigate it. To be proactive, instead of reactive in the face of as awful a story as a sport can bear. Here’s hoping he takes it.

G72 - Farrell Run

Aug. 16: Farrell’s cancer announcement shouldn’t be about ‘perspective’

Am I quibbling, basically, about a word? I’ve been guilty of that before, and will be again. Finding something bad in what’s admittedly warm feelings? Sure, that’s one way of viewing this.

I’m just tired of the simplistic and cliché being treated as profound. Those who need to be reminded of perspective at a time like this won’t maintain that perspective long enough for it to matter.

It’s wasted words, wasted breath, no matter how many Facebook likes it nets. An exercise in self-satisfaction. As it was last time, as it will be the next time.

G37 - Ortiz Fives

Sept. 13: David Ortiz changed everything

The way everything changed when the Bruins signed 14-year-old Bobby Orr for a car, a suit, some cash and some stucco on the family house. The way everything changed when the Celtics finally signed Larry Bird after spending the No. 6 pick on him 10 months earlier. The way, and this is the perfect example, everything changed when Tom Brady was written on that pick card for selection No. 199 in the 2000 NFL Draft.

It wasn’t dumb luck. There was research. There was hope. There was an expectation of success.

No one could have expected four Super Bowls. Or 500 home runs.

At the risk of doing whatever the Internet equivalent is to Vaguebooking, this has not been a good year on a personal level. I may elucidate that in the future, but for the moment, let’s just leave it at some outside-the-work issues bleeding in and really dragging me down. I was not at Fenway much. I was not terribly useful when I was there. I stunk even worse than the team stunk.

The Chad Finn shoutout on was a really nice pick-me-up. No use denying that. I’ve never entirely had a handle on what kind of audience I actually have, but it’s always nice to realize that even now, you still exist.

Whomever you are and however many of you there are, thanks for reading and sticking around. You make me this happy.

G86 - Fan Girl

See you next year.


A Moving Day Malaise

Interviewing for a job at the Boston Herald, for as life-changing an event as it was, doesn’t hold a particularly sizable chunk of memory bank.

Deduction alone pins it to late August 2010, and I remember live-story editing tests involving UFC 118, MMA’s first big-time foray into Boston. (No. 143, live from Brazil, is a week from tomorrow. Pay-per-view lingers for no man.) I remember quickly deducing the good cop-bad cop dynamic between my two future bosses — one made me laugh, the other asked whether I thought I was “too good” to do the lowly agate page, one of my favorite desk duties then and now. I remember the fascination with the light-sensitive ‘Visitor’ sticker I had to wear, and with the ‘computers’ on which the paper was produced. (When they were replaced that November, I snapped a picture of a back label: “MFG DATE: OCTOBER 1991.” Given their age and the state of the office, I assume they were originally gasoline powered.)

Outside of the above quote, one specific statement rings louder than most. Hank Hryniewicz, the kinder half of the cop drama, assured me if I got the job, I would be around when the paper moved to its new offices. Didn’t know where or when, just knew that moving boxes weren’t an ‘if.’

My first day was Sept. 17, 2010. Moving day is today.

Boston Herald

300 Harrison Ave., Boston. Better known as One Herald Square.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Wonder of Bobby Valentine

For the Non-Facebook Audience: Far be it for me to start a Photoshop contest, but we’ve heard so much about all the great things Bobby Valentine can do. How come no one’s bringing up the time he ran for president?

Bobby Valentine in "The 1988 Presidential Race"

And hey, if he fails, imagine how apt the symbolism will be!

Speaking of military history, what about when he helped establish the republic?

Bobby Valentine Crosses The Delaware

Breeches never looked so good.

This is what happens when I have a touch too much free time at the office. I know, I wish it happened more too.

— One more nugget from the reams of articles I dug through before penning my Bobby Valentine S-T column … from July 20, 2002, the story of how Valentine met current Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro.

Bobby Valentine was having lunch today at the restaurant at the hotel where the Mets are staying, watching television, when a stranger came up and sat next to him.

“Hey, Bobby. How are you?” the young man said before getting off his stool and approaching Valentine.

“Nice to meet you,” Valentine responded. “What’s your name?”

“Scutaro,” the man said.

When Valentine did not respond, the stranger went back to his seat. Finally, during a commercial break, Valentine asked: “What are you doing here? You live here?

“”No, I just got called up,” said Marco Scutaro, an infielder who was promoted from Class AAA Norfolk to replace Joe McEwing on the Mets’ roster.

The next day, the Times summed it up: “Bobby Valentine did not recognize Marco Scutaro the first time he saw him, thinking he was a friendly fan when Scutaro introduced himself last Friday at a Cincinnati restaurant, where the Mets were playing. Scutaro mumbled his name and Valentine could not understand him, perhaps because of Scutaro’s Venezuelan accent or perhaps because he was unfamiliar with the name.”

Scutaro played the first 27 games of his MLB career for Valentine’s 2002 Mets, among them one notable three-inning stint as a left fielder. (He’s made 18 appearances in the outfield in his career.) As the story goes:

Scutaro, recalled when Edgardo Alfonzo was placed on the disabled list Friday with a strained oblique muscle, played only five games in left field at Class AAA Norfolk, but Manager Bobby Valentine’s reports told him Scutaro was competent to play there in a major league game. So when Valentine used Scutaro to bat for Jeromy Burnitz in the fifth inning — Scutaro looked at strike three — he intended to put him in left.

. . .

In the sixth, Cardinals catcher Eli Marrero reached for a pitch by Reed, the Mets’ second reliever in today’s game, and lofted a fly ball to deep left field. Scutaro broke left, then right, and finally watched the ball land over his head for a leadoff double. “I didn’t have any reason to think he couldn’t play out there,” Valentine said.

The 2002 Mets, everybody. I’m sure Marco’s memories are fond ones.


Sometimes, Silence Is Smart

Bobby Valentine, Mo Vaughn, Steve Phillips

Dec. 28, 2001: Exactly zero percent of the people pictured look upon this fondly. Though Mo did make a lot of money that day. (AP)

While preparing my thoughts on Bobby Valentine for a column, I dug into the New York Times archives to read up on Valentine’s incendiary 2002 exit from the New York Mets — until Thursday, his last job in the major leagues. There’s far more to discuss about it than I care to get into here, but I did stumble across one clip that I had to share.

OK, a little more than one clip. Everyone always talks about how Valentine and GM Steve Phillips — the bookends on that Mo Vaughn sandwich up there — clashed repeatedly throughout 2002, with Valentine only cementing his reputation as needing to be the smartest person in the room.

The Mets struggled mightily in 2001, coming off their NL pennant win in 2000, and Phillips sought to change that. Here is a sampling of the free agents he brought in for the 2002 season, with an abbreviated statline for each: Mo Vaughn (.259/.349/.456), Roberto Alomar (.266/.331/.376), Jeromy Burnitz (.215/.311/.365), Roger Cedeno (.260/.318/.346), Pedro Astacio (4.79 ERA, 32 HRs allowed in 190+ innings), Shawn Estes (4.55 ERA in 130+ IP) and John Valentin (Played five positions in 114 games before dying of dysentery in September.).

It’s a wonder Valentine didn’t take to talking to Phillips in a baby voice. My mother might stumble across a better free-agent haul than that.

On March 27, 2002, the Times led a Mets notebook with the following:

Mo Vaughn has played with broken bones, returned from knee surgery in three weeks and played half a season with what turned out to be a torn biceps tendon in his left arm. That is why he is insulted when his ability to lead is questioned. After hearing more complaints from his previous team, the Angels, about his alleged bad attitude in Anaheim, Vaughn was livid.

Using a stream of expletives and disparaging remarks, Vaughn was quoted in Monday’s New York Post questioning the right of Angels closer Troy Percival to criticize his leadership. Vaughn noted that Percival had never played on a team that made the playoffs.

This link appears to flesh out some of the details, namely that Percival said “We may miss Mo’s bat, but we won’t miss his leadership. Darin Erstad is our leader.” A sampling of Vaughn’s rebuttal:

“Let me say this: Who the (expletive) is Troy Percival? What has he done in this game? Has he led his team to a pennant? Has he ever (expletive) pitched in a big game that meant something? This guy talks so much (expletive), and he hasn’t even done (expletive).

“He has the right to evaluate and analyze people, but what the hell has he done to deserve that right? He hasn’t done (expletive) to lead them anywhere. I got hardware, I got playoff appearances, I got an MVP. I’ve been to the playoffs twice. What the hell has he done? Who the hell is he?

“I tried to be cool here. I tried to be nice of this whole situation concerning the Angels all the way around. Ain’t none of them done a damn thing in this damn game, bottom line. They ain’t got no flags hanging at friggin’ Edison Field, so the hell with them.”

Percival proceeded to save 40 games in the 2002 regular season with a 1.92 ERA, then saved seven more in the postseason as the Angels won their first (and to date only) World Series.

Vaughn — who never played in a World Series, who was a career .226 hitter in the playoffs, whose 1995 MVP probably should have gone to Albert Belle and who was coming off missing the entire 2001 season to injury — batted .249/.346/.438 in 166 games with the Mets in 2002-03. A knee injury not helped by his being nearly 270 pounds at the time then ended his career.

As knockouts go, that’s about as decisive as you’re going to get.


The Enigma of Whale City

Fear, As Motivator: The Arizona Diamondbacks, who would be a great team to call your home team if that didn’t mean you had to live in Arizona, are building their holiday ticket sales strategy around the idea that manager Kirk Gibson is terrifying.

Kirk Gibson Says "Buy!"I’m really hoping that there’s a video/commercial campaign to go with this, because that means there’s a chance they can draw inspiration from the Ozzie Plan. And by inspiration, I mean a steely eyed Gibson shows up at people’s holiday gatherings and places of work to wordlessly encourages them to buy Diamondbacks tickets.

And hey, if nothing else, people can drink the water out of the snow globe when things get really bad.

— Julie and I had a nice lunch down by the water on Sunday morning at Fathoms, which I would push as one of the East Coast’s top dining destinations that shares its building with a fishing store and its parking lot with a strip club. (Bonus Points: This happened at the strip club that was there before the current strip club.)

It was quiet, we got a table right by the window and got to look out at the fishing boats while the early football games went on. There’s a tall ship on the Fairhaven side of the water at the moment, likely in for repairs, so that was nice. It was another one of those days that I have down here where I find myself thinking what a bad rap New Bedford gets.

Is it the best place a person can live in the Commonwealth? Of course not. But it’s far from the worst. The scenery’s great. The food’s great. The people, by and large, are great. The downtown, relative to how things were when I got here nine years ago, is light years better. I’m proud to call it home.

This fresh in my mind, I went to work, only to have one of my co-workers come over and inform me, “Hey, one of my buddies got killed in New Bedford last night.”

“A 32-year-old man was shot to death before dawn Sunday outside his two-decker on Locust Street. … Monteiro’s body was found lying on the pavement at the end of his driveway at 120 Locust St. in the city’s West End after multiple gunshots were detected around 5 a.m.”

They’d grown apart since high school, but he knows people who were still close to the guy. Got some hysterical phone calls, etc.

Oh, my flawed city.


Classics, When You Lose

Today’s Moment in Card Collecting: Upper Deck, in what’s a pretty solid move compared to the current trend of hacking jerseys to pieces and shoving them in cards, is running a “Day With The Cup” insert in this year’s hockey packs.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to be idling rifling through pictures of hockey players and stumble across this beefcake?

Tuukka Rask - Upper Deck 2011-12

From Savonlinna, Finland. They have a 20.5 percent municipal tax rate there. Thanks, Wikipedia!

I really hope he’s wearing pants.

You Can’t Work Out Anywhere Harder: Spied just off Route 146 on the northwest side of Providence, I give you The Maxx Fitness Clubzz. The “Club Locator” tool, when you have one location, is a nice touch.

I assume this is like when municipalities had to add to the length of their phone numbers due to increased usage … our nation’s fatness can no longer be cured by just one foreign consonant added to the end of words, which can only mean good things for my dream of “erupts” being formally changed to “errupts.”

Doesn’t it just feel more violent? Get on it, Webster’s.

Friday’s Bruins loss to Detroit was the sort of game that gets talked about for years, and will help establish an attempted television tradition into an actual one. (Think about how good the first Winter Classic was.) Even if the home team lost, it featured some of the sport’s best playing at a high level, back-and-forth action to the final gun and performances that turn people into hockey fans.

Also, Rene Rancourt was there, doing Rene Rancourt things*.

Rene Rancourt - Nov. 25, 2011

"Oh, hey! That's why my hand felt so heavy!"

* — “Rene Rancourt things” also include being noticeably off-time with the organ music by the end. Not that being so critical is really the point … we’re a forgiving region with off-court icons. Hell, the Patriots radio team is several years removed from even sniffing its prime — please note this post was written in *2007* — and no one really appears to have a significant problem with them continuing until they die in the booth.

Part of that, I’ve long felt, the woeful lack of anyone screaming out as a suitable replacement, but whatever. I’ll deal with a handful of misidentified receivers and “caught … no, dropped”s every week, given the at-hand regional alternatives.

Unrelated, this is crotching.

Rich Peverley - Nov. 25, 2011

Technically, it's roughing. Ed Olczyk asking if Rich Peverley got to "carve any turkey" on the holiday was a nice touch, as a "wishbone" reference would have been a little much.


The Money Pit

The Latest Project I’ll Never Complete: Assisting Bruins play-by-play man Jack Edwards in his transition into full-on parody by offering up a full list name-specific celebrations to go with “A Johnny Rocket!” for Johnny Boychuk, “Isn’t that Rich?!” for Rich Peverley and “Two U’s, two K’s, two points!” for Tuukka Rask. Reasons for failure will basically be limited to becoming too embarrassed by the list before I can actually complete it.

Understand that I love Jack, both as a guy and as an announcer. His passion is beautiful. I’ve long advocated NESN, which will devote a show to basically anything, needs to start broadcasting the audio feed of Jack watching national games from his couch. These, though … these bring about the bad cringe.

John Sterling is fun in a sideshow sort of way. Although, the fact that his list draws heavily from Broadway shows that the majority of his audience has never seen gives me an almost limitless pool to draw from for Jack.

Stupid Thing People Are Apparently Worrying About: That attending Penn State will cause them to not get a job.

“Our clients are shying away from applying to PSU,” says Craig Meister, president of Tactical College Consulting, a college admissions consultancy firm. “Parents and students I work with are concerned about getting a job with a PSU diploma — with images of Joe Paterno and the rioting in mind. In a tough job market, Penn State is no longer a safe bet.”

You know, because often times employee decisions are made based on the quality of the football program at the applicant’s alma mater. It’s a wonder I got a job at all!

— And really, while I’m here, am I the only one who thinks something called “Tactical College Consulting” seems like a ridiculous waste of money? Let us help you inflate your resume, high schoolers! And this entire paragraph for current college students makes me want to punch a wall:

“Whether applying to graduate school, professional school, or a new position, Tactical College Consulting works with applicants to increase their marketability, and therefore, their chances of being accepted or hired. We help each applicant create a dynamic personal brand that effectively communicates the value-added the applicant will bring to a university or organization. Once clarified, the applicant’s distinctive personal brand is meticulously developed and constantly reinforced through a strong resume, eloquent essays and personal statements, and a convincing cover letter, each specifically created for the audience targeted.”

Marketing! Dynamic branding! It’s all a system to be gamed, people, even though the streets are currently filled with students who went to high-price universities and still can’t get a job. (At least the letters about their college debt offer fuel for the campfire.)

OK, I’m limiting myself to one testimonial:

“I was so tired of nagging my daughter, Michelle, to work on her college applications and finalize her list when I learned about Tacitical College consulting from a friend. Hiring Craig Meister to assist Michelle during her Senior year saved our relationship and resulted in her admission to her top choice school – Northwestern University!”

Damn. I wish I hadn’t already wasted my wall punch.

I’m sure this company does a lovely job at what it does. I’m just as sure the fees they’re paid for services rendered are much better spent elsewhere. Like, say, on the inflated tuition for your listless brat who’s tromping around Chicago majoring in “undecided,” and who’d probably have been just as well off if they’d spent a couple years at community college figuring out you can’t act like a high schooler forever.

Free advice to my future child: You’re going to wherever gives you the most money, just like your daddy did, so feel free to earn yourself some financial aid. He had almost no marketable skills, and he spun that into almost a decade* in the work force!

* — Possibly more by the time the intended audience sees this, but I’m not counting those chickens before they hatch, so to speak.


On Heidi

Heidi Watney - Oct. 2, 2010

Oct. 2, 2010 - Playing out the string against the Yankees. (Julie Couture photo)

In the pantheon of Heidi Watney photos available on the Internet, this has to be one of the worst. And yet, it is the one I think of as she departs for her native California, her inevitable and long-discussed departure somehow making the Red Sox fallout hurt all over again.

Last summer, Julie won an incredible package in a charity auction: two field-box seats for a Red Sox-Yankees game during the final series of the regular season, limo transportation to and from the game, and $200. She was downright giddy. Of course, the Red Sox spent the last three months of the season treading water, rendering the game largely meaningless. Then, the day of said game, it poured.

Julie and her running buddy Dione ended up taking the limo up to the city anyway. Based on photos, it looks like they went to dinner. Also, this happened:

Julie, to the unaware, is one of the few people in the Commonwealth whiter than me.

The game got rescheduled as the back end of a double-header the next night, with Boston’s starting lineup literally featuring all of the following players: Eric Patterson, Felipe Lopez, Lars Anderson, Daniel Nava, Yamaico Navarro and Kevin Cash. Still, she had sweet seats right behind the Yankee dugout, and the lack of a crowd meant she could move around.

About midway through the game, Julie decided to start snapping photos of Watney, who was stationed in the nearby camera well. (I may have expressed some fondness for Heidi through the years that led to this photography attempt, but that’s neither here nor there.) There’s three photos from the exercise: one’s the top half of Watney’s head staring out at the field, the second is Watney starting to turn toward Julie and the third is the above.

“She caught me,” Julie said later. She’d been trying to surreptitiously snap some shots, only to have Heidi notice and basically say, “well, if you’re going to take my picture on this crappy night, the least I can do is smile for it.”

I really shouldn’t be as impressed with this as I am, given Watney’s history as a beauty queen. And yet, I am. It’s just such a nice little gesture that I have no doubt she did hundreds of times in her stretch with NESN, and fits completely with everything I ever witnessed. For the first three of Watney’s four years covering the Red Sox, I was still full-time on the beat for the S-T. (“Full-time” being a very relative term.) At no point did I ever see her be anything but genuinely gracious and approachable and nice. To everybody.

Given how easy (and consequence free) it would have been to not be, that says something pretty good about her.

For what it’s worth, Heidi and I may have spoken twice during those four years, and it was in the most basic of forms. This should surprise no one who knows me, since I’m frequently unable to handle even basic social situations with people I know, never mind ones with sharp-dressed beauty queens whom I may have referred to as “the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in person.” Watney responded to a tweet I wrote once and I almost blacked out.

Perhaps this simply amazes me because I’m not pretty people, meaning I look upon their world with slack-jawed amazement (when the brightness doesn’t force me to avert my eyes). But I can’t even count the number of times I recall people shouting stuff at her of various taste levels, or taking her picture from afar, or taking a dozen pictures of her while she waited outside the clubhouse trying to work. It made me uncomfortable, and I’m sure I was only seeing a sliver of the worst of it.

To say nothing about her being romantically linked with basically every member of the organization at one time or another. (Something Watney probably didn’t help when she appeared about town with utility man Nick Green a couple years back, and something — if the most persistent rumor is true — that punches a bit of a hole in my thesis about her being a thoroughly decent person.) I’m sure, just that I didn’t see the worst, that she didn’t handle it all with aplomb.

But she did more than a lot of people probably deserved. And you know, she did make an effort to do her job well, though that requires a qualification. This past season, you could basically be guaranteed that almost every Red Sox broadcast would feature Heidi Watney talking to the opposing team’s pitching coach and/or manager, Heidi Watney finishing every one of her reports by kicking it back up to the booth with a flat “Don,” and Heidi Watney eating some sort of ridiculous ballpark concession. (OK, the last was more of a once-per-series thing.) She was not, on the whole, going to tell a reasonably informed New England baseball fan something they didn’t know.

Just bear in mind we’re talking about someone who, in her first days on the job, asked Terry Francona about “double balls” when she was trying to ask about “double-play balls.” Her job was to not ruin and occasionally enhance the broadcast. Unless you’re a real stick in the mud, we can agree she absolutely did that, and she heads to the Lakers sidelines or whatever she’ll be doing in L.A. infinitely more qualified than she was when she got here.

Life will certainly go on without her for the same reason that NESN continues to exist at all: They have the Red Sox and Bruins games. No matter who they staff or what strange coverage decisions they make or what awful show they put on to fill time, if you want to watch the games, they’re the only place to turn. The Internet is already rife with articles pondering possible replacements, if only because it’s a good excuse to post cheesecake shots of other beauty queens*. I would do that if I was any good at the Internet.

But since I’m not, I’m simply close with this: Heidi, fare thee well. You were overwhelmingly decent in everything that entails, and you made my wife smile. I could not reasonably ask for anything more.

* — The past couple days, I’ve started to become more aware of the fact that TV stations sure do hire an awful lot of beauty pageant girls for on-air jobs. Not that I’ve ever not known, it’s just one of those things that’s come up a couple times of late, most recently in the case of Jackie Bruno. She’s working at the NBC affiliate that used to employ the Mrs., and I ended up on her Twitter page (which includes a rundown of her pageant history) after the beloved Falcons tweeted about Bruno covering one of their games.

I’ve seen Jackie anchor the news a handful of times when I’ve been home, and could never place why she looked familiar. Well, that triggered it … she’s a SouthCoaster and a BU alum, and the S-T’s full-court press coverage of her through the years led to a blog post on Aug. 12, 2003. (It’s about three-quarters of the way down the page. Along the way, you’ll pass the Kelly Osbourne photo and caption that I think of absolutely any time I see Kelly Osbourne.)

If I only could get this place back to the magic of something like semi-live blogging the Miss Teen USA pageant.


The Moose Played For The Moose

The Bruins, In Brief: Tuesday night’s Bruins game was about as exciting as one could expect for a game in November, and for one that didn’t feature what happened in their previous game:

Ryan Miller, Milan Lucic - Nov. 12, 2011

A little goalie running never hurt anyone. Except, perhaps, the goalie who got the concussion. (Icon Sports Media)

Excellent play in goal, end-to-end action, several lead changes and a Bruins victory. Also, we were sitting next to a girl who actually knew and gave a crap about the game she was watching, which was a definite plus. (She became very angry at Johan Hedberg for playing so well midway through the third period.)

She also unleashed this soliloquy toward the end of the evening:

“The other night, Mike and I went to the Purple Shamrock. They wouldn’t let him in because they said he was too drunk, but they let me in and I was totally more drunk than he was.”

I am far too entertained by stories like these. Also, no bar that hosts as many drunk college kids as the Purple Shamrock should have a Web site this organized. Damn you, Glynn Hospitality Group.

• Since I’m now looking at the above mentioned umbrella site, I should point out it’s not terribly surprising that Jose McIntyre’s is “the city’s ONLY Irish-Mexican restaurant and bar.” That sounds like a Saturday Night Live sketch come to life.

Logo-wise, however, Loco Leprechaun in the Cleveland suburbs appears to have better captured the dash of racism I would expect from such a sketch.

“The actual restaurant felt warehousey and sterile, not like a pub or cantina. It felt more like a storefront in a strip mall with murals of Leprechauns wearing sombreros painted by a Kent Stater busing tables over the summer. We also found little cards on all the tables telling us to ‘ice your friends.’ The slogan, accompanied by photos of hambones drinking Smirnoff Ice, had recently entered our world, but we weren’t sure exactly what it meant. … Basically, hambones make other hambones drink Smirnoff Ice to humiliate each other when in public. Loco Leprechaun is that sort of place. Yeah.”
— From Yelp review of ‘Loco Leprechaun,’ dated Jan. 10, 2011

The next review is literally all about farts.

Irish-Mexican has a long way to go from displacing my favorite ridiculous fusion cuisine, however … Chinese-Mexican, frequently sampled in the Herald thanks to the building’s proximity to Lee Chen’s of South Boston. I don’t eat there often, but I’m told their General Tso’s burrito is very good.

Also, it’s light years better than the Chinese-Mexican that briefly opened in Whale City. It marked one of the few times in my life I’ve simply thrown a meal out rather than trying to eat it … it should be a rule that if you’re going to try and combine the cuisines of two cultures, you should be somewhere near competent at executing one of them.


A Life Lesson

“I shouldn’t have showered with those kids.”
— Former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky,
to Bob Costas on NBC’s “Rock Center”

Far be it for me to start throwing around pronunciations from the mount, but I think it’s safe to say there’s never a point in anyone’s life where they’re going to get disagreed with if they say “I shouldn’t have showered with those kids.”

Feels like a pretty safe assessment of a situation, no matter the situation. I dare say that it should be the last thing one considers before getting into a shower with kids. Not that towel slapping and soap fights aren’t a ton of fun and all.

Oh, and hey, good thing nobody rushed to judgment on assistant coach Mike McQueary’s involvement in the whole thing. If there’s one thing we can be sure about, it’s that at this point in time, we have absolutely every fact surrounding the case available to us and must immediately rush to judgment on the character of all involved.

Also a safe assessment: Baseball fans have a far worse whole picture of who Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos is than they probably should. His terribleness appears to be limited to franchise running.

(I apologize to Dan Duquette for squeezing this reference to him at the bottom of a post about child abuse. Given he’s spent much of the past decade running a youth camp, I’d rather no one get any ideas.)

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