THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Dan Shaughnessy

Sorting out a few things, piece by piece

Email|Print| Text size + By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / November 11, 2007

Picked-up pieces while trying to decide whether I'd rather go to San Antonio or Phoenix for the Celtics' upcoming appearance in the 2008 NBA Finals.

Carnac the Magnificent tells us that the answer is: Giovanni Carmazzi, Spergon Wynn, Tee Martin, Chad Pennington, Marc Bulger, and Chris Redman. What is the question? See below.

Happy days for Joe Bellino, Roger Staubach, and Bill Belichick. Sorry, Charlie Weis, but Navy's win over Notre Dame last week (first one in 44 years) was the second-best football story of the entire weekend.

Tom Callahan is simply the best football author of his generation. He struck literary gold with "Johnny U" last year and is at it again with "The GM," the life and times of former Giants boss Ernie Accorsi. Here's a nugget from the book, featuring Giants coach Tom Coughlin talking about the Patriots' playoff victory in San Diego last January: "Brady tried to throw interception after interception down the stretch. You don't think of Bill Belichick's teams getting fifteen-yard penalties and having twelve men on the field, either. This game can turn around on you pretty quickly."

Big Schill's disclosure that he gets $1 million for a single 2008 Cy Young vote might be the final straw in the old debate about baseball writers voting for postseason awards. I was aware of players having clauses for "winning" an award. But it would be costly and difficult to rig an entire election, so the conflict was less obvious. In this case, there are 28 baseball writers around the country who'll have Cy ballots (voters can put three names on the ballot, in descending order), and a third-place vote could be fairly inconspicuous if Schilling has an OK year. It's a blatant conflict. Unless these clauses are disallowed, it's time for the BBWAA to give up the postseason awards.

Speaking of conflicts, it's absolutely outrageous that a man who appears on the Red Sox' masthead as "director" is also in charge of Major League Baseball's drug investigation. George Mitchell no doubt is a great and honorable statesman. He disgraces himself by holding this position with the Sox while leading an "independent" and very important investigation. It taints his report and the Red Sox. He should have stepped down from the Sox or refused the assignment from Bud Selig.

Walpole is to girls' field hockey what the US was to Olympic basketball in the 1950s and '60s. Yesterday the Porkers beat Notre Dame of Hingham, 4-0, in the Division 1 South final. That makes them 44-0-2 over the last two years.

Another tough decision for Amos Alonzo Kraft and Son, with the Revolution and Patriots both playing on the road on the same day next weekend. It's the league championship at RFK in Washington for the Revs. It's just Buffalo for the Patriots. We all know what we'll be watching.

Does the judge in the new O.J. trial really have a ponytail?

The Patriots game at the Meadowlands Dec. 29 comes one day after the 49th anniversary of the Game of the Century featuring the Colts and Giants (remember "Diner"?). Look for a glut of books about that game at this time next year, including one by Frank Gifford.

One of the dumbest letters to the editor in history appeared in last Sunday's New York Times sports section. The writer was a Sox fan from Maine who stated, "To compare Papelbon with Mariano Rivera is silly: Papelbon hasn't blown a litany of pennant- and World Series-clinching games." Wow. This is the kind of nitwit mentality that is giving entitled Sox fans a bad name around the country. Papelbon was perfect in his first try this year. Come back and talk to us after 11 more postseasons and three more World Series wins. Rivera is simply the greatest postseason closer in history. Bobby Jenks was pretty good in 2005, but no crazed White Sox fan tried to say he was better than Rivera.

How long before Doc Rivers gets accused of running up the score?

No Gold Glove for Coco Crisp doesn't bother me - not when Curtis Granderson doesn't win one.

When ESPN The Magazine produced its first issue in 1998, four pro athletes graced the cover billed as "NEXT." The four? Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant, Eric Lindros, and Kordell Stewart. Lindros retired last week. Quietly. And Stewart is long gone and hard to find.

Check out "The Assist: Hoops, Hope, and the Game of Their Lives," a tome on Charlestown High School basketball by Globie Neil Swidey.

Reader Bob Young of Leominster (a.k.a. "The Kingdom") believes Belichick got "it is what it is" from Henry David Thoreau's "All the past plays into this moment, and we are what we are."

Patriots-Lions in the Super Bowl? Good story lines there. The late Steve Belichick played a year of fullback for the Lions in 1941. And imagine Matt Millen winning Executive of the Year after being a punch line for so many seasons.

Question: Name the six quarterbacks drafted ahead of Tom Brady in 2000.

Here's Accorsi on the 2000 draft: "After Brady started winning Super Bowls with New England, I went back and looked at all of our Brady reports. Everybody killed him except one guy, Whitey Walsh. If you read Whitey's report on Brady, it's a prediction of exactly how it turned out. He was the only guy who saw it. Sometimes you have to listen to one guy."

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com.

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