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Dan Shaughnessy

Picking from the pieces

By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / October 24, 2011

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Picked-up pieces while not missing the NBA one bit . . .

■Not sure what this means, but it amuses me that the Red Sox’ favorite take-out spot, the infamous Popeyes in Kenmore Square, is housed in the bottom of the Brookline Avenue side of the old Buckminster Hotel. The Buckminster has been a part of baseball history for almost 100 years. It’s where the Black Sox Scandal was hatched in 1919. That’s right, girls and boys, the place where John Lackey and friends ordered buckets and biscuits is the same spot where bookmaker Joseph “Sport’’ Sullivan went to meet White Sox first baseman Arnold “Chick’’ Gandil to fix the World Series. The White Sox were in town to play the Red Sox on Sept. 18, two weeks before the Series, and Gandil met with Sullivan to talk about cash for tanking.

■The bye week is just like every other week when you’re Albert Haynesworth.

■Now that they have Theo Epstein in place, the Cubs’ next call should be to Baltimore, where Janet Marie Smith is waiting to help the Cubs rebuild Wrigley Field. Smith remains one of the more underappreciated figures in Red Sox history. It was John Henry’s money and Larry Lucchino’s direction, but Smith’s vision made Fenway Park what it is today. It’s a shame she was kicked to the curb before the 100th anniversary.

■Bill Belichick hates it when we do this, but the Patriots look like a 14-2 team, 13-3 at worst. Take a gander at the rest of the schedule. Lots of bunnies in there. Unfortunately, New England’s defensive backfield still doesn’t look playoff worthy, and no matter how great the regular-season record is, the Patriots face a heap of pressure because they haven’t won a playoff game in nearly four years.

■One of the great upsets in local sports history flew under the radar Saturday night when the Holy Cross hockey team beat Boston University, 5-4, at Agganis Arena.

■NBA players are making a giant mistake. They remind me of the air traffic controllers who walked off the job and got fired by President Reagan 30 years ago. Look it up. It’s under “bad decisions by laborers.’’

■Some of us thought Lucchino was given the task of finishing Henry’s sentences when the two appeared on their radio flagship station. So what did Larry think of John going into 98.5 The Sports Hub all by himself? “At some point, when the debate goes so far, a person has a right to react and attempt to correct the record on some things that were offensive and inaccurate.’’

■So much for rich team domination in baseball: the top nine MLB payrolls were eliminated before the second round of the playoffs this year.

■Great dust-up between Darrelle Revis and WFAN’s Mike Francesa Friday. Reminded me of the night Bill Buckner walked away from Bob Lobel on live television in mid-interview when he heard a question he didn’t like. Speaking of Billy Buck, it’s not too late to check out his appearance on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.’’ More than a few Sox fans noticed that the 2011 team tanked as soon as Buckner had his forgiveness moment on “Curb.’’

■The Sox weren’t the only local team to put forth new versions after a disappointing finish. You might have missed it, but Shaquille O’Neal told the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “I told Danny Ainge not to do the Kendrick Perkins deal with Oklahoma City. I told them I might not be ready, and I’m definitely not coming back.’’

■Boston College putting the screws to the University of Connecticut getting into the Atlantic Coast Conference got lost in the noise of September/October, but it will not be forgotten by folks in Storrs.

■Speaking of UConn, I guess it’s done all the time, but that was a shifty move Jim Calhoun made when he got Michael Bradley to give up his scholarship (lo and behold, there was financial aid available for Bradley) so the Huskies could add Andre Drummond to their roster. What a joke.

■Sounds like it might be a good idea to pick up Jerry West’s autobiography.

■Count me among those who failed to detect Scott Hatteberg’s greatness when he toiled for the Red Sox. His on-base percentage in his last year here (2001) was .332. He walked 33 times in 94 games. What made him stand out most was that he was a great guy in a clubhouse that included the Despicable Me gang of Carl Everett, Ugie Urbina, Mike Lansing, Izzy Alcantara, Jose Offerman, Doug Mirabelli, and Nomar Garciaparra - managed down the stretch by Nutty Professor Joe Kerrigan. What a crew.

■ Did Rajon Rondo really go in the tank because he was hurt by President Obama making fun of his shooting?

■Wonder how those Patriot Place Segway tours are going?

■Most dangerous moment for the Stanley Cup during its Bruins victory tour? Easy. Check out the photo of owner Charlie Jacobs on his horse jumping over the chalice on the Boston Common as part of a preview for an equestrian event in Hamilton.

■Feeling a little sorry for Frank Spaziani. The Eagles are 1-6 and if they don’t win at Maryland this weekend could be bound for 1-11, which would bring back memories of 1978 when Fred Smerlas captained the Eagles to 0-11.

■Sometimes it’s just too easy to make fun of the Red Sox. On the heels of the epic fold and hideous fallout, they’ll play their first home game in 2012 on Friday the 13th of April. Do they plan to raise the AL East’s third-place banner? A week later the Sox celebrate 100 years of Fenway when the Yankees come to town. In the wake of everything that’s happened, it’ll be hard not to mention that Fenway’s centennial also marks the 100th anniversary of the week the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic.

Dan Shaughnessy can be reached at

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