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.


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.


Calling Scoreboard, In November

Back in the old days, I would often break out posts for BU hockey coverage, coming as close to writing professionally about the beloved Terriers as I really have much care to do. (I’d overcome my bias issues, but it’s much more fun not to.)

I was not at Sunday’s game*, which is a tragedy. So, you just get this.

Wade Megan, pretzel goalie. Pretzel goalie, Wade Megan. (Boston Herald photo)

That’s still pretty damn good though. The first time BU has shut out BC since March 1, 1983. (Or, more than six years before goaltender Kieran Millan was born. Christ, his parents might not even have met by then.) I went and dug up the game notes upon reading that because it seemed impossible, but sure enough.

* — By the time I got to work and had a chance to check on the score, it was 4-0 good guys. That was the same score it was in the only time I’ve ever actually seen a game at BC’s Conte Forum/Kelley Rink: Jan. 8, 2000. Yeah, it didn’t end 4-0 good guys.

Sadly, that game predates the blog**, so I didn’t accurately capture the old man BC fan who started screaming “YEEEEAAAHHHH! YEEEEEAAAAAHHHH! YEEEEAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!” like an unhinged lunatic at the small group of us after the Eagles tied it with half a minute to go. My instincts were to hide. One of my pal’s instincts were to fight him. Neither happened, which seems the best possible outcome.

** – I did find a post from 2001 making reference to said game, but I threw around “we” several times in reference to the Terriers. I suppose it’s sort of OK given I was actually attending the school at the time, but best leave it buried given my strong feelings on the matter.


Jonathan Papelbon: In Brief

“God blessed me with my right arm. That’s all you got.”
— Jonathan Papelbon, during the 2007 World Series

Oct. 10, 2008 - The Standard-Times

Oct. 10, 2008: Cover and story. I don't need much excuse to post this, though it's now reminding me it finished second to a far worst cover in that year's NEAPNEA design contest.

Yeah, you could say that.

A couple nights after he said that, the Red Sox won their second World Series in four years. The team had a core of guys who, thanks to their youth, were all making well under $1 million for the year: Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester and Papelbon.

That was as good as it got for them. Great teams, great players and they never got back.

The first of those five just left town, given the largest contract ever to a relief pitcher. Philadelphia, built for several years on the concept of winning now at the expense of worrying about later later, is going to get a damn good closer for at least the next two years, if not longer.

Whether the Red Sox should have kept him isn’t really my point: they didn’t have a chance once he hit free agency, and they were going to have a hell of a time keeping him from free agency even if they went whole hog into it. My point is the first of those five core guys is gone.

Winning’s nice. Winning with players you draft and develop, watching them become superstars every day, is a little nicer.

Even knowing it was coming for years, the reality’s still a little surreal.


Help Wanted

Joe Kerrigan, Dan Duquette

Aug. 16, 2001: On the short list of the franchise's lowest moments of the past 10 years not involving fried chicken. (AP Photo)

LinkedIn, it would be fair to say, is the social network most people belong to because they feel like they should. It is billed as the “world’s largest professional network,” and I have no doubt that many people have used it to achieve great heights in business and personal development. However, you can’t play “Family Feud” on it, and it’s far more satisfying to look at party pictures of that person you’re stalking than one postage-stamp image above their curriculum vitae.

My general stance with my own profile is to look at it every few months when somebody adds me as a “connection,” notice there’s a couple more people I could add, then not look at it until the cycle begins again. It’s this active stance that’s led me to being followed on Twitter by WEEI’s “Big Show” and an account that posts nothing but photos of celebrities in Red Sox gear.

“Spam Twitter accounts” are definitely high on the list of Internet things I don’t understand. But, shockingly, I digress.

Former Red Sox GM Dan Duquette does not feel the same about LinkedIn as I do, however. Yahoo’s Big League Stew noted, on the occasion of the Orioles letting him back in the MLB door, that Duquette has a thorough profile there. While there’s certainly a lot to talk about regarding a rather successful GM finally getting another shot after a decade out of the game’s highest level, the LinkedIn thing became all I wanted to talk about.

There’s any number of fascinating things to see there. His listing all the players he signed and his MLB Executive of the Year award the same as I list my … well, I probably should list my lone national writing award there. The lack of mention of his involvement with summer league college baseball, which somehow led him to New Bedford for a day, then to TractorGate.

And yet, I found myself drawn to Duquette’s recommendation of former Red Sox pitcher Aaron Sele:

“After I traded his contract to the Rangers Ted Williams used to call me up and say ‘How in hell can you trade a pitcher that has a curve ball like that?’ Ted was right we should have kept Aaron Sele; pitchers with that type of overhand breaking ball that can throw it for strikes behind in the count like he could are valuable and hard to replace!”

It’s like the story of every elderly person who calls the Herald nightly to complain about something. (Unlike the Herald people, though, Ted was calling to complain about something the person he was calling had actual involvement in.) I feel like I’ve stumbled into the professional sports version of this site, a combination of banality, professionalism and “are we really doing this” spirit. But how deep does the proverbial rabbit hole go?

Deeper than I went, I’m sure. But I went pretty deep. Here’s a sample:

— Duquette’s Red Sox time has one recommendation: From former Red Sox broadcaster and WAAAAAAAYYY BAAAAAAAACK connoisseur Jerry Trupiano, who rightly declares Dan “put together a consistently competitive ballclub that regularly appeared in the post-season,” then lies and says he “was able to oversee a staff that saw the Red Sox minor league system become a very productive entity.” I mean, I guess it was productive in the sense that Carl Pavano and Tony Armas Jr. were worth a lot more as Pedro Martinez bait than actual pitchers, and I guess I’d rather have had Pavano than John Lackey in 2011 …

At least he's got experience with the phrase "Damn Yankees." That will probably come in handy in Baltimore. (AP)

— Trupiano, whose dismissal from the Red Sox was somewhat onerous, is missed in the broadcast booth by Jeff Idelson, who’s none less than the president of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He’s definitely on the short list of the most successful people that list four-plus years spent as a Fenway Park vendor on their resume.

By the way, want an easy way to convince people that you’re a monster? Tell them you took your wife to Utica, N.Y., on your honeymoon. The look of disgust is such that they’re not even listening by the time you bring up Oneonta.

Curt Schilling, on his time as a player with the Red Sox: “Won a few games here and there, did some nice things in October, good group of guys to work with.” The whole thing is sadly lacking in earned bravado, but does include work experience as a “#1 Fan……” of John McCain since January 2000 and feature a recommendation from … well, I better just quote the whole thing:

“I rewrote this recommendation because it was hard to indicate connection. I was a sports/baseball fan and Curt was a service provider -Player for the Diamondbacks/ Red Sox. He provided excellent service as a pitcher. I wish it had been for my teams. As a first generation American, born and raised in Brooklyn New York, and with an immigrant father that kisses the ground of America and of New York City, Curt Shilling hurt me as a Red Sox and as a Diamondback.I am a life long Yankee, Met, Jets, Giants, Rangers, Knicks, Islanders etc. fan. But, as a “professional fan” I commend Mr Schilling. A man, a family man, an outstanding athlete, a fierce competitor (I know this too well) and in his profile he mentions the Lord. I am honored to be connected. Cheers to you Curt Schilling.”

Et cetera? What’s left after you list every non-New Jersey sports team in New York? The colleges? The Brooklyn Cyclones? The subway system? Christ, I get ancy when the Patriots and Giants play every four years.

Rico Petrocelli‘s work experience lists running six Massachusetts gas stations in the 1970s under the title “Sports Oil Company.” The fact that the company existed for nine years probably means this isn’t the reality, but if you trying to define for me a case of a professional athlete getting talked into dumping money into a bad investment idea, something called the “Sports Oil Company” would be what would pop into mind.

“Rico! It’ll be great! Your face will be on the pumps! People love you! They’ll be lining up for hours just to get gas!”

Well, given it was the ’70s, at least part of that happened.

— I am extremely disappointed Bill Lee hasn’t recommended anybody, or listed his career. Talk about people whose Twitter accounts would be pure gold. I want to read him offer kudos to the cab driver that hit him in Montreal.

— On the football side, John Hannah recommends Andre Tippett as “a competitor with a heart!” One Hall of Famer to another … there’s something downright reassuring in that. Hannah’s profile actually led me to his (former?) blog, where it appears he’s one of the alarming percentage of Americans who thinks that the word “lose” is spelled with two o’s.

There are conflicting pieces of evidence on there, and it appears he may simply have let a typo slip. (Like this immaculately edited thing would ever allow that to happen.) Still, I remain perplexed about who out there is preaching the “lose is actually loose” gospel. It’s too prevalent to just be happening on its own. There’s little insight on the first page of a Google search about it, so I’m stumped.

— Dan Duquette’s profile has more references to his own football career than Gino Toretta‘s does about his. He still won the Heisman Trophy, for goodness sakes.

— No matter which quarterback the Patriots took with the No. 1 pick in the 1993 draft, they would have ended up with a guy who’s today making wine.

— From the hockey world, Bill Clement is teaching people how to walk tightropes. (That may be a metaphor but, hey, you never know.) He sadly only makes a general allusion to telling young right wing Jon Couture of the video game Oshawa Generals that he turns the puck over too much.

— Alexei Yashin recommended Mike Milbury’s time as general manager of the New York Islanders, terming him “generous.”

Alexei Yashin

Sept. 5, 2001: 10 years, $90 million. You'd be smiling too, and that's before you knew you'd only actually play five of the years. (AP)

That was a tough few weeks for executive competency.


Why We Are Here, Again

A couple weeks back, I had to get an eye exam so I could get a new order of contact lenses. (As someone who — outside of my “Herald physical” — hasn’t been to a doctor since my early college years, being forced before medical professionals is something I appreciate.) While there, I noticed one of the techs had a Band-Aid on the back of her neck … based on what was peeking out from around it, it was clear she had it there because she had a tattoo her employer mandated she cover. You know, all the less to offend old people.

After the appointment, I headed to Subway — my favorite establishment in the category of “Things I Do To Claim I Actively Care About My Health.” The woman making my sandwich, while being very polite and a competent sandwich artist, had gauged ears. Which, to me, is about 50 times more disgusting than having some goofy symbol or butterfly on the back of your neck.

To be fair, gauged ears are usually the least of these people’s problems. Please bear in mind that link’s going to give me the willies for at least a couple hours.

In the car, I thought to myself, “if only I had a place to discuss this largely meaningless yet somehow notable slice of my life. A place where others could either rightfully ignore it or discuss similar situations. A place where, when something notable does happen outside the purview of Red Sox coverage, I could go and attempt to show I still know how to write.”

What the hell. I’m pretty sure I paid for this domain until like 2019.


Happy hipster Halloween, 2011. I have no idea why my wife is flashing gang signs, or when Dwight Evans got so dark skinned.