HOW “NOT” TO BE A BOSTON FAN … GREAT DAY OF TWIN MIRACLE ENDINGS NOT FOR THE EARLYOUT BIRDS … plus … TEASER HINTS AT (HERE WE GO AGAIN!) MORE ALLEGED LAW BREAKING FROM OFFICIALS IN PITTSFIELD
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, OCT. 15, 2013) — Boston sports Sunday deserved the superlatives deliriously thrown its way by fans, media, and nation. First up at Gillette Stadium, Tom Brady and his depleted but stalwart B-men pulled off one of the most miraculous 4th quarter comebacks in New England Patriots history. Brady hit Kenbrell Thomkins on a 17-yard TD with five second left, beating the previously undefeated New Orleans Saints, 27-24.
It was not the greatest day in Boston sports history, but it ranks in the Top 10.
Brady is money.
The win, made all the more improbable with the Saints failures to run the clock out at the end following a stalled Patriots drive and a Brady interception, nicely set up Boston fans — and the Boston performance zeitgeist — for a more sustained trip into rabbit-hole doings later in the evening at Fenway Park.
There, one night after almost being no-hit by the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of the ALCS series, the Boston Red Sox nearly went another six innings without a hit. Until their second hit of the series in the sixth inning, the Sox had gone a collective 1-for-45 at the plate. That’s a batting average of .022. Look up Hank Aguirre to get a handle on that type of historic futility.
The Red sox scratched a run in the sixth and went into the bottom of the eighth trailing 5-1. Jim Leyland, the Tigers manager, began over-managing. He pulled his near-flawless starter, went to the bullpen, and next thing you know, the Red Sox had loaded the bases with two out, with David Ortiz at the plate.
Was there ever anything more certain? Ortiz launched the first pitch of Joaquin Benoit into the Boston bullpen, and with one textbook swing of the bat, tied the game 5-5. The umpires might just as well have called the game then and there, because it was ovah — the fans knew it, the Red Sox knew it, and the Tigers knew it. Nonetheless, the umps insisted on the formality of the winning run. It came when Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove in Johnny Gomes with a single to left.
Salt and Papi.
Papi is money.
Many fans missed the big finishes. At Foxboro, the early birds began to file out with Brady’s interception just before the two-minute mark. It looked like a killer. In the nightcap at Fenway, how many of them also turned off the TV after the Tigers sixth inning, when they went ahead, 5-0?
Here’s an interesting reflection from Charles Trzcinka, a Pittsfield native and now the James and Virginia Cozad professor of finance at the prestigious (Forbes Top 20) Kelley Business School at Indiana University in Bloomington. THE PLANET first met Chuck when he sat in front of us in Paul Perachi‘s ninth grade algebra class at St. Joseph High School, 1965-66 school year. Chuck and THE PLANET shared lunch yesterday, talking mostly about economics, finance, the looming government default, philosophy and other sundry topics, during the course of which he mentioned his woulda-coulda-shoulda Sunday yeasterday in Foxboro, Mass. That destination should give many of you an idea of where this is heading.
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HOW NOT TO BE A BOSTON FAN
By CHARLES TRZCINKA
Special to PLANET VALENTI Sports
I thought Boston fans would appreciate and perhaps learn from my experience at missing the events that made up one of the most important days in Boston sports history.
My story begins with my first Patriot game I saw in person. It was November 5, 1967, when they were the Boston Patriots. I was a kid who was thoroughly entranced by Babe Parilli, Jim Nance and Gino Cappelletti. It only added to the experience that the game was played in Fenway Park, which I thought of as something close to Mecca.
As it happens, I never got the opportunity to see another home game until this weekend. You can imagine how excited I was to get an invitation to see a home Patriot game against the Saints after a 46-year drought. My drive from the Berkshires was full of anticipation that was certainly enhanced by the beautiful foliage. We arrived early and spent three hours tailgating. After consuming a week’s quota of protein and beer, we ambled into the stadium.
The emotional highs and lows during Sunday afternoon’s game were wonderful. It seemed to me, however, that the Saints offense dominated the second half and the Patriot receivers were distinguishing themselves by dropping balls. Toward the end of the fourth quarter, when the Saints went up by six points, we decided to leave to avoid the traffic. I was told that leaving early saved an hour and half of a boring drive back to Pittsfield. Maybe so but it also saved seeing the best comeback in years.
I grumbled all the way back to the Berkshires. When I walked in the door and asked my Dad about the Red Sox, he quickly informed me that they couldn’t hit Detroit pitching. He has been a Red Sox fan since just about the beginning of club history and watches every game. He had turned off the Red Sox because he knew they had no chance. I was tired from the football game and went to bed without ever turning on the game. I missed both Ortiz’s grand slam and the win in the ninth inning.
I had thus managed to accomplish a clean sweep of not seeing either event when I could have seen one in person and the other on a big screen. The simple moral for Boston fans is keep the faith even if traffic is bad and you are tired. It’s not over until it’s over—oops, sorry about bringing a Yankee into this. I should also apologize to all the Boston sports nation and promise to be a better fan next time.
Chuck, you weren’t alone.
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Now on a more conventional track, we present a teaser.
SUBJECT: PITTSFIELD POLITICS … SEE ALSO, “LAWLESSNESS,” and “THE LAWS AREN’T MADE FOR US”
AREA: OPEN MEETING LAW
Folks, don’t look now, but THE PLANET has gotten wind of another likely major violation of the law by a duly sworn Pittsfield municipal board. We won’t tell you which one, although we will say that — in light of the previous OML violations that have occurred in Pittsfield … in light of the AG’s office issuing warnings against future violations … in light of the AG’s office to insist that city officials fully familiarize themselves with the law — the alleged violation has more than its share of irony.
We The People should be disgusted that local officials continue to run the city as if it was a private club. We The People should be disgusted that law breaking is not seen as a big deal and that the predominant attitude among far too many officials is that “I am above the law.”
Citizens will express their disgust in part by their non-turnout on election day. The largest single scoring category in every contested race and on all balloted issues will be the no-shows: That part of the electorate that can vote but that doesn’t vote.
The remainder can either vote for the chief architect of the city’s present dysfunction, Mayor Dan Bianchi, or they can write-in “Dan Valenti,” their “none of the above” choice and by doing so make a major statement of political dissent.
silence / .is / a/ looking // bird:the // turn / ing;edge,of / life // (inquiry before snow — “Silence,” by E. E. Cummings, (1958).
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.