Picked-up pieces while waiting for Larry Lucchino to return a phone call . . .
Is your head spinning? The Sox are off and running. The Celtics and Bruins are readying for the playoffs. Tiger is getting ready to wear the red shirt at the Masters. Two Connecticut schools battled for the NCAA hockey championship in Pittsburgh Saturday night. The Red Sox play the major league’s only morning-start game on Monday and our city is peppered with folks from around the world who are here to watch and run in the 117th Boston Marathon.
Celtics vs. Knicks in the first round of the playoffs? Bring it on! This amounts to a marquee matchup in an ever-diluted playoff spring. These staggering Celtics always can get into the heads of the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony is an overrated ball hog who never will win an NBA championship.
Enough with the Pedro Martinez, Eliot, and “free furniture if one of the Red Sox pitches a perfect game after July 19.’’ A Red Sox perfect game? You have the same odds that you’d have finding a dime you dropped into the ocean on a trans-Atlantic flight. The only Red Sox perfect game in 113 seasons was pitched by Cy Young in 1904.
Jaromir Jagr’s first name is an anagram for Mario Jr. Jagr wears No. 68 as a reminder of the Prague Spring of 1968, when Russian tanks invaded Jagr’s native Czechoslovakia.
Stephen Drew wears J.D. Drew’s Red Sox jersey No. 7, but dresses at a different locker in the Red Sox home clubhouse. Jackie Bradley Jr. occupies the stall once rented by J.D. Ryan Sweeney had the space last year. It’s the first locker on the left when you enter the clubhouse and it was used by Zdeno Chara when the Bruins played the Winter Classic at Fenway.
Would you be surprised to learn that Jackie Robinson was a Republican who campaigned for Richard Nixon against John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election?
There’s just no love for Wade Boggs around the Red Sox. Retire his number? The Sox didn’t even include him on a large “legends” mural near the clubhouse door at JetBlue Park. The mural featured all the retired-number Sox players, plus Luis Tiant, Dwight Evans, Tony Conigliaro, Jason Varitek, and Tim Wakefield. But no Wade. Never Wade. “It’s not like I killed the president or something,’’ was a typical Boggs lament.
There will be some tension in Dodger Stadium Monday when the Dodgers host the San Diego Padres. Carlos Quentin’s idiotic charge of the mound Thursday took out the Dodgers’ $147 million free agent righty, Zack Greinke, with a broken collarbone. Quentin has been suspended for eight games. Greinke is going to miss at least eight weeks.
In case you missed it, here’s Bobby Valentine speaking to the New York Post about the Boston media: “All the Boston media ever wanted to do is prove that they were a tougher media than New York . . . a group of ’em are absolute horses asses who are unprofessional, lazy, and should not be in the business up here, in my opinion . . . I think the New York media knows more about baseball and is more professional.’’
Memo to NESN: Please give us the hitter’s BATTING AVERAGE when somebody steps to the plate. The Sox honkhouse is giving us all kinds of new-age stats, and ignoring the one we still want and need.
One of the underplayed local sports stories of the year was the death of former Patriots coach Chuck Fairbanks April 2. Fairbanks was the first great coach in franchise history. He brought the 3-4 defense to Foxborough, and drafted John Hannah, Mike Haynes, Tim Fox, Russ Francis, Sam Cunningham, Darryl Stingley, Pete Brock, Steve Nelson, Steve Grogan, Raymond Clayborn, and Stanley Morgan. He was head coach of the first great Patriots team — the 1976 edition that beat the eventual Super Bowl champion Oakland Raiders, 48-17. That Patriot team would have won the Super Bowl if not for a hideous roughing-the-passer call (by Ben Dreith, the anti-Walt Coleman) against Sugar Bear Hamilton in a playoff game at Oakland. One of the wackiest moments in Patriots history was owner Billy Sullivan literally kicking Fairbanks out of the locker room at the Orange Bowl before the regular-season finale in 1978. Fairbanks had told Sullivan he planned to take a job at the University of Colorado after the season — so Billy yanked him in Miami, then let Fairbanks coach the playoff loss to Bum (father of Wade) Phillips’s Houston Oilers in the first home playoff game in Patriots history.
The more good players you take off the floor, the better Jeff Green looks. Too bad he can’t be this player when he’s surrounded by Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and (back in 2011) Ray Allen.
We’re No. 1. According to Team Marketing Report, Fenway Park is the most expensive day at the ballyard in big league baseball. A family of four can expect to fork over $337.80 for four tickets, two beers, two sodas, four hot dogs, parking, two programs, and two hats.
Speaking of hats, hats off to the Herald’s Michael Silverman, who noted that Red Sox partner LeBron James might have some influence on Robinson Cano staying with the Yankees. Here’s how it works: Fenway Sports Management partnered with James. James is pals with Jay-Z, who now represents Cano. Cano is in his walk year, but seems less likely to leave the Yankees now that he is represented by Jay-Z. James and Jay-Z are big Yankees fans. Jay-Z will perform at Fenway in August. Will he wear his Yankees hat?
Dennis Eckersley had rotator cuff surgery in January. It was the first surgery for Eck, who played 24 big league seasons.
Did you know that Eric Mangini named one of his children (Luke William Mangini) after Bill Belichick? How’s that for awkward?
I know this is far away, but how are we all going to feel if the Patriots play in Super Bowl XLVIII at the Meadowlands next February. It’ll be the first Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold weather region and anything is possible — all of it bad.
What is ESPN going to do now that Kobe Bryant has torn his Achilles’?
The Sox have thus far done everything possible to distance themselves from crooner Brian Evans and “At Fenway.’’
Maybe we were a little too quick to bury the Yankees?
Are you ready for the publication of “Growing Up Gronk: A Family’s Story of Raising Champions,” written by papa Gordy Gronkowski, his five sons, and Jeff Schober? It’s scheduled for publication in July. No doubt it’s another tome for Belichick’s impressive collection of football books.
Congrats to the UMass-Lowell River Hawks and their radio (WUML-FM) color commentator Chaz Scoggins, who recently retired from the Lowell Sun after 44 years.
The Fenway press box has been without the hearty laugh of Dave O’Hara for more than 20 years. The Dancer retired in 1992 after 50 years with the Associated Press, and died last Wednesday in his beloved Winter Haven, Fla. Read Kevin Paul Dupont’s “On Second Thought” tribute.