Dan Shaughnessy

Giving you a few pieces of my mind

ANTHONY GURLEYEx-Newton North star will help UMass ANTHONY GURLEYEx-Newton North star will help UMass (Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff)
By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / November 5, 2008
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Picked-up pieces while getting out the vote, wearing my Pat Paulsen for President button from 1968 . . .

Theo's contract extension went more smoothly this time, no? He won't be needing the gorilla suit in Dana Point, Calif.

The Celtics' Sunday night game at the Palace of Auburn Hills just got a whole lot more interesting. The conference final rematch will be the home debut of new Piston Allen Iverson. It'll be a good take when you're done dissecting and analyzing the Patriots-Bills first-place joust.

The American League MVP is announced Nov. 18. I would have voted for Kevin Youkilis.

David Tyree, the man with the Velcro on his helmet, finds out today whether he still has a job with the Giants. Tyree had offseason knee surgery and pulled a hamstring when he returned to practice.

Lots of basketball connections on the ballot yesterday. Barack Obama's brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, is coach of the Oregon State Beavers, and Sarah Palin was point guard for her high school state championship team.

Can somebody explain the names etched into the wall of the Legends saloon at the New Garden? It's the only place where you'll see Hulk Hogan honored alongside Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. Other wall of famers include Bill Cleary, Sonja Henie, Jack Parker, Walter Brown, Aerosmith, J. Geils, Elvis Presley, Anthony "Rip" Valenti, Rocky Marciano, and Marvin Hagler. OK, they all played at the old Garden. So where are the Beatles, the Stones, Bobby Orr, and Bill Russell?

Not to be negative, but the combined record of the five teams the Patriots have beaten is 14-26. The Chiefs (1-7), Rams (2-6), and 49ers (2-6) are truly bad, and the Broncos are a myth at 4-4. Who knew that beating the Jets (5-3) would stand as New England's best win of the first half?

You should see how hard the Indiana Pacers are trying. Still getting over the brawl at the Palace and other outbreaks of bad behavior, the Pacers have a whole new roster and they are begging fans to come back to spectacular Conseco Fieldhouse. Longtime owner Herb Simon addressed the fans before the season opener Saturday night, and I thought he was going to offer limo rides to any fans who promised to return. Sunday's Indianapolis Star featured a paid advertisement/message ("Our Guys Are Growing") from coach Jim O'Brien, plus a couple of large ads encouraging fans to "Give the Future a Shot" and "Bring your Family to Meet our New Family." Ten-dollar tickets are available for tonight's game against the Suns. Even Larry Bird is getting in on the act. Bird signs autographs for patient fans during timeouts. "Obviously, we're not a championship contender," conceded Bird.

I still say Southern Cal would win any NCAA football playoff tournament.

ESPN gets good play in Oliver Stone's "W." While the world crumbles around him, the president watches Miami in the College World Series.

Look for big things from Wake Forest transfer Anthony Gurley, who will be playing for the UMass Minutemen after sitting out last season. Along with Corey Lowe (now a junior at Boston University), Gurley paced Newton North to back-to-back state championships (53-1) before playing with the Deacons as a freshman in 2006-07.

Tommy Heinsohn is pushing hard to get Satch Sanders and JoJo White into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Heinsohn likes both of them ahead of my pick, the late Dennis Johnson.

Hockey Krishnas are happy. While you were obsessing on Sox, Patriots, and Celtics, the Bruins got off to a good start. Tim Thomas is standing on his proverbial head and Phil Kessel, who turned 21 Oct. 2, is playing like an All-Star. Toronto tomorrow night at the Vault. Be there.

The back page of yesterday's New York Post featured a photo of the Lombardi Trophy next to photos of Eli Manning and Brett Favre, accompanied by the headline, "Supe Dreams." Please. Giants, yes. Jets? Truly a dream. Post columnist Mike Vaccaro notes that over the last 48 years, there have been only 18 weeks in which the Jets and G-Men were both in first place. It happened in 1997, 1986, and 1985.

The Gillette Stadium press room badly misses the late Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant. Nobody was better at the daily give-and-take with the reluctant head coach.

Where does Jason Giambi land?

Doc Rivers and former Orioles slugger Ken Singleton are first cousins. Singleton was part of Earl Weaver's back-to-back switch-hitting tandem with Eddie Murray in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Today he's a Yankee broadcaster.

Tampa gets the Super Bowl less then four months after St. Pete had the World Series.

Obama's nomination acceptance speech won't be the top moment at Denver's Invesco Field until somebody burns all the tapes of Ben Watson running down Champ Bailey after his game-breaking interception of Tom Brady in the AFC Divisional game in 2006.

Bird acknowledges he was rooting for the Celtics last spring. "If it's not my team, I always root for the Boston team," he said. "Basketball, football, baseball. I don't know anything about hockey. But I watched every minute of the playoffs last spring. If the Celtics play defense like that, they'll probably win again."

Only seven pitchers in baseball history have won more games than Greg Maddux (355). Staggering.

Congratulations to former NESN Sox reporter Tina Cervasio, who completed the New York City Marathon in 4:24:13 for the benefit of the Garden of Dreams Foundation.

"Top of the World," by former Globie Peter May, does a nice job telling the story of the 2007-08 Celtics.

Revs in Chicago for the playoffs tomorrow night. Just a hunch, but I'm guessing nil-nil.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at

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