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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Notes - BC Basketball, Mike Lowell and the Pats

About a foot of snow has fallen in the Boston area but that has not stopped the intrepid Sports Chutney reporting staff from making it to Chestnut Hill to cover the Boston College v. Bryant University basketball game this afternoon. BC needs a bounce back game after tough losses to Harvard and Rhode Island and the 0-10 Bryant Bulldogs may just be the thing needed for the Eagles to regain some mojo.

A couple thoughts on the Mike Lowell for Max Ramirez trade falling through. Lowell is going to need thumb surgery which he will have later this week and keep him from doing baseball related activities for the next 6-8 weeks. This is bad news all around. The injury will keep Lowell (and his $12 million dollar salary) on the Sox payroll for the foreseeable future which will make it all the more difficult to acquire a third baseman as a defensive upgrade at the position. As it stands right now it looks like Boston will move Kevin Youkilis over to third and have Casey Kotchman play first base with Lowell as the first man off the bench for the most part. Thumb and wrist injuries are not good for batters (especially infielders) and if it saps Lowell of power at the plate he will become basically useless to the Sox until he proves that he can drive the ball. 

In turn the Sox miss out on catching prospect Max Ramirez. Of the stable of Texas catchers, Ramirez has been buried behind Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamachia and as such he remains viable trade bait if the Rangers want to go get a power bat, as they attempted to with Lowell. The Sox were concerned about his wrists, a common injury for young hitters (see Dustin Pedroia and Jed Lowrie) and if the injury causes Ramirez to lose his power stroke than he is also completely worthless to the Sox as his defense behind the plate is average at best. The trade would have been a decent way for the Sox to get Lowell out of town and add potential and depth at the backstop position. Alas, it is not to be. For now at least. Do not be surprised if there is a move concerning Lowell during Spring Training though.

As of this moment the Patriots are leading the Buffalo Bills 17-10 with 3:02 left in the fourth quarter. I like to see the Patriots forget the fact that they are supposed to have a high and mighty offense and go back to winning games of the 17-10 variety. Before Tom Brady became Tom Freaking Brady the way the Pats won was with decent defense and the ability of the offense to score just enough points. As far as I am concerned, that is Patriots football. This incarnation of the team does not have the same defense that the teams earlier in the decade had, but it has been good enough against the mediocre teams of the last two weeks and it looks like the Pats will be inline for a division championship in the next couple of weeks. Once the playoffs start, who knows what will happen?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sports Week - A Cold Day In Boston

While a fair portion of my media brethren are having fun on the ice at Fenway Park, I figured I would give a link list to some of the stories percolating this week in my initial Friday Sports Thoughts column. It is freezing here in Boston, by the way. The weather app on my Blackberry Bold 9000 this morning said it was 10 degrees, yet felt like -8. Probably will not be doing much outside today. I am going to go a little Rob Neyer/Buster Olney on you for this. . . .

From Speier -
In 2010, the CBT threshold increases from $162 million to $170 million. As a result of that substantial number, many anticipated the Sox might go berserk in dispensing cash this offseason.

This perception was based in part on a misunderstanding: the Sox have been portrayed as having carried a $122 million payroll in 2009, and so the idea that the team would near the CBT threshold seemed outlandish. But that $122 million figure had nothing to do with the Sox’ payroll as calculated for CBT purposes.

It always seemed funny to me last year when people said that the Sox were scaling back on spending. The Sox may have had a $122 million major league payroll, behind the Yankees, Mets and Tigers, but they also ancillary costs that did not show up on the major league roster such as $3.3 million for Junichi Tazawa and $8.25 million for Jose Iglesias. Then take into account that, better than any team in baseball, the Sox are able to spread money over their mistakes to minimize them.

Boston ate money to ship Julio Lugo and Mark Kotsay last year and that just scratches the surface of what the Red Sox tend to do in terms of painting their mistakes. Through the Theo Epstein era he has coated over the Sox arrivals and departures with dollars, such as when they paid the rest of Manny Ramirez's 2008 salary or when they made the Byung-Hyun Kim for Charles Johnson trade that was essentially a $10 million for $10 million dollar contract swap. Johnson was cut (and paid) minutes after being acquired. The same thing happened when the Sox shipped Edgar Renteria out. Yes, the Sox went bargain basement last year with the singing of John Smoltz, Brad Penny and Rocco Baldelli, but that was after Mark Teixeira decided that $170 million was not enough to play in Boston. Boston has the capability to put together a $205 million dollar roster like the Yankees but doing so would significantly weaken its ability to be flexible when it is time to cut-bait and move on. The Yankees have this ability as well and the difference in markets is that the denizens of the Bronx can have a $205 million payroll AND pay over their mistakes as Boston does.

From Harlan --
The Nats this afternoon made official the signing of lefty Scott Olsen to a one-year deal. It's a pretty shrewd move by GM Mike Rizzo, if you ask me. Basically, by non-tendering Olsen on Saturday and re-signing him Sunday, the Nats reduced his 2010 salary from $2.8 million (that's a rough estimate; it would have fallen somewhere between $2.24 and $3 million, probably) to $1 million. If Olsen turns out to be healthy -- and what a bonus that would be for Washington -- then his salary will swell to just shy of $4 million because of incentives. And even $4 million for a 25-year-old lefty who makes 30+ starts sounds reasonable. Bottom line: Either the Nats save $1.8 million, or they pay the fair going rate for a healthy pitcher. This is one of those rare cases where both parties should feel comfortable.

Here I go about the Nationals again, but I do I kind of like watching the side show as this team maneuvers about at the bottom of the National League East. I agree with Chico here and I am starting to like general manager Mike Rizzo a little more as he progresses in rebuilding the Nats. He is still digging out of the absolute mess that Jim Bowden left him, but so far it has not all been bad. Not that it has been great, but not entirely bad. On a side note, I was an early advocate of Bowden taking over the GM duties in Boston during that brief period when Epstein took a hiatus from the job after the 2005 season. Good thing that never happened.

What Rizzo was able to do here is save the Nats some money and retain a pitcher who still is young and has upside that will provide some valuable innings in D.C. next year. Even if Olsen only pitchers 160 innings next year, you would have to think that would be a more productive 160 innings than anything that known innings-eater Livan Hernandez would give them. The flip side to this is that the Nats also non-tendered Mike MacDougal, an effective reliever who was pretty good for them last year. MacDougal is coming off of hip surgery and what the price that Washington would have paid to keep him would not make a lot of sense for the team. Middle to late inning relievers are, as the saying goes, best to be picked up in minor trades or off the waiver line. A team like the Nats does not really need a great bullpen at this point because they do not have a high prospect of actually winning many games. Hence, why pay for a mildly expensive reliever when someone (who may be healthier) will probably be available when the time comes for the Nats to seriously rebuild the bullpen stock. The bottom line here is that the Nats should be focused on putting together a rotation that can get the team through 162 games. Olsen will help with that while a guy like MacDougal was unnecessary. That, and Rizzo saved a couple of million that he could use to go get Jason Marquis.

From King --

So, going forward, I think the players really want to go for it. I talked to Dallas Clark on Sunday and he was saying all the politically correct things. But, there is no doubt in my mind that the players want to go for it. It is the same way in New Orleans. Talking with Jonathan Vilma this week, he said that their goal is to win the Super Bowl and not to go 16-0 but you know if they are in a room with the coaches and Sean Payton asks them what they want to do, you think Drew Brees is going to say that starting next week I only want to play one series? It is poppycock. He wants to play and go 16-0.

I have been meaning to find a way to discuss this hole two teams undefeated schpiel for a while now. So, since I have the honor of transcribing Sports Illustrated's luminous NFL scribe weekly interview on WEEI's Dale and Holley Show, I figured this would be a good opportunity to talk about it.

My initial thoughts on either the Saints or the Colts going 16-0 are selfish. I grew up in New England (during the dog years when they would play the Bengals in "The Toilet Bowl") and I thought that the 2007 year would be one for the ages. It is, regardless of what happens, but for not one, but two teams to come out two years later and match that would really break my heart. When covering sports I really try to stay objective as possible when but, really, I do not cover the Patriots on a day-to-day basis and probably never will. I have to admit, when the Giants won the Super Bowl that year, I threw a fit and promptly drank half a fifth of my mother's Grey Goose vodka and passed out on her couch.

King said that he foresees the Colts resting their players in the final two weeks, which they did not do last night when they came back in a shootout against Jacksonville. The Colts have been in this territory before (under Tony Dungy though, not Jim Caldwell) and I would lay good money down that Bill Polian has Peyton Manning and company rest in significant portions of the next two games. The Colts really have nothing to prove anymore. Peyton Manning is a god on the football field, they have won more regular games this decade than anybody and the playoffs can be a crap shoot. On the other hand, the Saints should go for 16-0 as hard as they possibly can. New Orleans has just about always had a dismal football team and given the recent history of this decade (ie, Hurricane Katrina) it would be a feel good story for the perennial also-rans to come out of nowhere and go undefeated. Drew Brees is probably the second best quarterback in the league right now (behind Manning but ahead of Tom Brady) and the team is fun to watch. As much as I want the Patriots 16-0 to live, untarnished by outside forces, forever if there was a team that I would not mind doing it the Saints would be it.

A couple more odds and ends -
  • Rest in peace Chris Henry -- With all the stuff he put himself through, it is easy to forget that he was just two years younger than me.
  • Lee to Mariners, Halladay to Phils -- I am not sure this makes sense to me regarding the Phillies getting Halladay over Lee, but I really like what the Mariners are doing right now.
  • Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox? -- I would say that a deal with Clay Buccholz and Michael Bowden and maybe Lars Anderson would be good for both teams. If the Sox have to give up Casey Kelly and/or Ryan Westmoreland in addition to Buccholz then do not pull the trigger. This is really a discussion for a whole other post.
That is it for the Sports Chutney Sports Week wrap. What do you think? What topics interested you this week? Feel free to join the discussion in the the comments section.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Payroll Disparity - The Nationals Pitching Deficit


I have the Washington Nationals on the brain. Why am I obsessing over the worst team in Major League Baseball? I prefer not to go into specifics, but let's just say they make for an interesting case study and provide an opportunity for me to exercise the baseball obsessed side of my brain, something that I have not been able to do for a while.

The problem with the Nats is simple -- they have no pitching. The fact is so painfully obvious that it hardly is worth mentioning. Name an important pitching stat and the Nationals were either last in the league or near the bottom.

ERA: 5.00 - 28th
Walks Allowed: 629 - 30th
Strikeouts: 911 - 30th
K/BB: 1.45 - 30th
Fielding Independent Pitching: 4.82 - 28th
*Note - In ERA and FIP only the Brewers and Orioles ranked worse.

What do these stats tell you? Well, it means that Nationals pitchers do not miss bats and give up far too many walks. That is a cardinal sin in baseball. The personification of the pitching woes is nominal "ace" John Lanaan. The young lefty's FIP is not far off that of the team as a whole at 4.70. Yet, that is not reflected in his ERA which was a respectable 3.88 in 2009. Lanaan's K/9 was a very low 3.88. It is usually not very good if you strikeout rate equals your ERA, though it is an interesting coincidence. Lanaan's BB/9 was 2.97 which is mediocre to bad which brought his WHIP to 1.35, also mediocre to bad.

And this is the best pitcher on the team.

Now, that may not be true in the very near future as phenom Stephen Strasburg and fellow first round draft pick from June Drew Storen come of age, but it comes down to the young leading the younger in an attempt to climb out of the cellar towards the light of respectability.

OK, so the Nats pitching woes are a given. Yet, when I did a little more searching I found an interesting factoid. In 2009 the Nats payroll was $61,455,049, good for 26th in the league. It is what it is. The interesting part is the allocation of that $61.45M -- 80.22 percent was spent on position players. That is $49,299,240.30 (or so) spent on men playing the field.

Which means that the ENTIRE Nats pitching staff last year was paid $12,155,808. To put that in perspective, last year Brad Lidge made $12.5 million.

Um, is it just me or does this seem like a case of misplaced priorities?

Now, Washington's offense was not as bad as the pitching. At the same time, it was not head over heals better as it was 21st in the league last year in runs scored. Ryan Zimmerman is a stud and Adam Dunn is the prototype player for a sabermetric based lineup. Add some decent on-base percentage guys and another slugger and Washington has the potential for an above average offense. Not stellar, but above average. A team can win with an above-average offense if the run-prevention side of the equation makes up the difference (see Seattle Mariners), yet the Nationals pitching is atrocious and was not greatly helped by a defense that is pretty much in the exact middle of the league.

Let's look at the broader perspective. The Nationals options are to wait for Storen and Strasburg to become full time studs and fill in the roster around them, which probably means another year or two of absolute misery in D.C. or they can make a vie for a slightly below average team next year by going out and getting a couple innings-eaters who can help make up for the payroll disparity. Or, they can do both, which is what I would suggest. Go out and sign Jason Marquis to a three year deal and see if Jon Garland will sign a stop-gap two year deal. Wait for next offseason and go after one of the top end starters that will be in the free agent pool. Going into 2011 the Nats could have a rotation that looks something like 1) Strasburg 2) free agents from next year, like Brandon Webb 3) Jason Marquis 4) John Lanaan and 5) Garland or Storen (who might end up more valuable in the bullpen) or the next best piece from the minor league desert that is the National's farm system. That would be a respectable rotation and would help the payroll disparity and probably win a significant amount more games than the 59 they mustered last year.

The bottom line is that the Nationals need to spend more of their bottom line on the mound. Even mediocre pitchers like Marquis and Garland would be an improvement from what they have been running out there. A youth movement is a good thing if you have the talent like the Rays or the Rockies. In terms of financial resources, which the Rays and Rockies do not have, the Nationals should be able to add another $20-25 million to the payroll and add some arms and at least make a climb towards respectability.

If not, there will be a paucity of curly W's in our nation's capital for years to come.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baseball Winter Meetings Trade Show Photos

So, every year the Baseball Winter Meetings has a trade show where vendors hawk their baseball wares to minor and major league baseball buyers. It operates like any trade show, lots of booths, some games, free samples. It was good stuff. I spent most of my time stalking the Baseball America booth but here is a slide show of some of the other things we saw while we were in the Indiana Convention Center. Check it out.

Podcast: Nick Gagalis - Job Seeker

Here is more from the PBEO Job Fair at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Indianapolis. This is an audio piece where Sports Chutney followed around Nick Gagalis, a Boston University graduate who is seeking a job in broadcast in minor league baseball. Nick was very cooperative and turned out to be a great interview. To download the podcast, click on the link below.

Nick Gagalis - Job Seeker

Young & Looking For a Job in Baseball? Good Luck.


I am going to have a couple of posts today wrapping up my thoughts and times at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Indianapolis. The first post is on the subject that so many young job seekers want to know -- How do I get a job in baseball?

Well, to be honest, there is really no sure fire way to break down the door. But at the PBEO job fair this week the skills and job seeking techniques that will come in handy if you are to try. Some of these are standard techniques and some are more baseball specific.

Before going for that first application:
  • Make sure you know what you want --
The answer to "why do you want to work for team X" should not be A) I love baseball and I am a big fan. B) I thought it would be cool to work for a baseball team. C) I am just trying to get my foot in the door.

- They do not care if you are a fan. They want you to WORK.
- It is cool to work for a baseball team. They know that, they work for baseball teams.
- Of course you are trying to get your foot in the door. This response tells them nothing about you.

Working is sports is just that. WORK. Whether you are the media or the intern working your way up, do not expect a pleasant summer rolling in the left field grass. When I say "know what you want" it means you should know what kind of job in baseball you want and custom yourself accordingly. The first internship is the hardest to get and most minor league teams want you to be able to sell the product coming out of the stadium. Sales is easy to learn, tough to master but it helps if you have had a job in some type of retail, sales, phone calling center type of thing before. If you want to get into public or media relations, make sure you know what PR and MR people actually do and then find a way to produce some work (like daily stat packages) that shows them that. In the MR case, a love of journalists would also help (no, I am not asking for any love, I am just saying.)

  • Tailor Yourself For The Position --
Are you still in college and decide you want to work in baseball? Make sure you do your research and find out exactly what you want to be doing in terms of credits and course loads that will make you an attractive candidate. The cross-pollination method of undergraduate education should also help. Are you in marketing or management? Go take a journalism or writing and rhetoric class. English major? Get your head out of Flaubert and go take a marketing class. My particular problem is that I never really got to know the full procedures of business and business terms. Yes, my time as a chef taught me how to market myself and my restaurant but ask me exactly what an integrated market strategy is and I would not have an answer. Chances are I know what that actually entails but the verbiage is lost on me and as such if that question were to come up in an interview I would be at a loss. The de facto host of the PBEO job fair this year, Seamus Gallivan, had some interesting things to say about the type of mindset you need to have to get a job, any job really, but specifically one in baseball. The Three P's
- Passion - Drives you.
- Persistence - Pays offf
- Poise - Gets you where you want to go.

  • Get Experience --
Yes, I know, this is easier said than done. If you are a writer or a wanna-be media person the best advice is to just start writing. Write for multiple platforms. That means: start a blog, go engage on Twitter and find a general sports blog that is looking for writers and show them you are passionate about a team and create some examples of writing for them. Look at sites like StudyofSports.com. They want insightful and knowledgeable fans to produce as much content as humanely possible and sites like that are out there, everywhere. Go check CraigList and I bet, if you are persistent (there is that word again) you will be able to get somebody to give you a chance to write. It won't be much and you won't get paid, but it is a start. None of this will fall in your lap.

Life experience also helps. Go get a job. Go on a road trip and get horribly lost to the point where you are actually frightened and then find your way back. Go to an event that you did not think you could get to or afford and just find a way in and see how you handle it. You never know how resourceful you can be until you are in a little over your head and have to figure your way out by yourself.

  • Be Aggressive, Be, Be Aggressive
Ready to start selling yourself? Good, because this is the first lesson in sales -- sell yourself first and the rest follows. Persistence and passion are the first things you should think of here. Your passion will get you to the spot you need to be (like the PBEO job fair) but once you get there you need to be the everywhere, everything person. That is persistence. It will get you noticed and help keep you on the radar. This goes with any job -- If you have put in an application and you have not heard, go back to the folks and mention that you are still intersted and would love to hear from them. Give them a call, a visit, an email, a tweet and a business card. Do not be overbearing, but polite and persistent. Know how to conduct yourself in a professional manner without seeming like a pissant, ie poise.

  • You Are Not Alone
Everybody and their dog wants to work in sports. Sometime, the dog is the one that gets the job.




  • The life may not be for you.
I hate to burst the bubble, but a life in baseball may not be your bag, baby. Especially in the minor leagues. It is low paying with lots of work and a steep uphill progression for certain types of jobs. On the major league level you have to be damn good to even be considered, let alone hired. On the media side, it depends what you want to do. If you are a tech, make sure you have content gathering, editing and production skills. If you are a writer make sure you just write and then try to make connections to people in the industry. They won't be able to offer you a job, but they can help point to where you might need to be to get one. At the same time, reporters are not all that highly paid either. You have to love sport and love to write and ask questions and be aggressive. Gain the experience then take the next step.

Those are just some thoughts on what we learned this week in Indianapolis. Check back later in the day for some more examples of what happened at the Baseball Winter Meetings

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday In Indy For The MLB Winter Meetings

It was quite the first day at the Winter Meetings. Taking part in the PBEO job fair is a continuous, but rewarding, grind. Had a meeting with the Tacoma Rainiers for a great job working with the game day program and hope for more meetings tomorrow. Went and worked the lobby at the Marriott Hotel, where most of the actual MLB stuff is going down. Heard a couple interesting rumors or opinions there.

-Talked to a couple old time scouts who think that the umpire system in MLB should be changed while adding an extra umpire to game day crews. Add that with a 10-percent performance clause and it would mean that, finally, umps in the MLB would be held to a higher standard than they are today. Relatively decent idea, I thought, if only there was not that pesky problem of the umpire's union.

- Possible three-way trade between the Diamondbacks, Yankees and Tigers. I bet this has been reported already but it would have Max Scherzer and Austin Jackson going to the Tigers, Edwin Jackson to the D-Backs with Ian Kennedy and the Yankees getting Curtis Granderson. Probably a couple prospects mixed in there as well. Consensus? If this trade was made then the Tigers would be cleaning up, contingent on Scherzer living up to his ability.

-Not too much cooking on the first day and deals may not come in rapid succession this week. Jason Bay in a holding pattern and that makes Matt Holliday the same. Rafael Soriano of the Braves accepted arbitration which will make him one of the most expensive setup men in baseball.

-Scott Boras has not yet shown up to "hold court." Betting he does that tomorrow in the afternoon or around lunch. Has to get the media worked up first, as always.

There is a ton more where that comes from. Saw Ozzie Guillen signing a White Sox fans hat and hoodie, graciously. Tommy LaSorda wandered by. Accidentally mistook Brian Daubach for somebody else entirely. Saw former Boston ESPN890 (now defunct) talk host Mike Salk, now with ESPNRadio Seattle, which was great. Salky is always good people.

Well, that was the day in Indianapolis. More to come when we got it at Sports Chutney.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Layout Designs From The Winter Meetings


I put together a couple quick layouts if there was ever a "Sports Chutney: The Magazine." Just a couple of things from the what is currently trending on Sports Chutney, ie the Baseball Winter Meetings and our friend Nick Gagalis. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tracking Nick Gagalis At The PBEO Job Fair in Indianapolis

So, we are here in Indianapolis for the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings (or just the BWMs) and we are tracking our friend Nick Gagalis as he runs around town and the Indiana Convention Center for the Professional Baseball Employment Opportunites (PBEO) job fair. Gagalis graduated from Boston University with a degree in broadcast journalism and has been doing some play-by-play stuff in the Cape Cod League and is now trying to grab a job with a minor league team for next season. Sports Chutney caught up with Nick in his hotel room at the Hampton Inn to ask how the first day went. Check out the Qik live stream from the Blackberry Bold 9000 to hear what Nick has to say.



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Kings Of Belmont Rocking Video w/ Travis Elliot

Alright, so I just found this video of some old friends of mine doing a song called "Git-r-Done." They are called the Kings of Belmont and they hail out of Charlottesville, Virginia. I believe their next show will be at the newly renovated Jefferson Theater on the Downtown mall in C-Ville on December 4th. If you happen to be in Central Virginia this Friday, check it out. If not, just watch Travis (vocals), Ross (guitar) and Aaron (keys) on this video.




Git-r-Done by The Kings of Belmont w/ Travis Elliott

The Kings of Belmont | MySpace Music Videos

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Complete Archive Of Work

Hey there Sports Chutney followers,

I have just completely updated my archive of articles on my personal website. Includes work from WEEI.com, Study of Sports and The New England Hockey Journal (among others). If you are curious of where I have been and what I have been doing, go check it out.

The Archive

Sports Chutney will be getting a bit of a relaunch in mid-December. Coverage of local Boston sports, lifestyle and society will be featured along with opinion and analysis on tech trends. A new section: The Starving Bachelors Guide will also be launched around that time.

For now, Sports Chutney is heading to the MLB Winter Meetings this weekend and next week. If you are going to Indianapolis, I hope to see you there.

Enjoy,

Sports Chutney

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Apocalyptic - 2012 News Feature

2012 Apocalyptic -

We created a news feature based on the 2012 end of the world prophecy. Check it out. Feel free to leave comments with questions that can either be answered from our research or about our methods of production.

Cheers!

-Sports Chutney



Apocalyptic - 2012 News Feature from Dan Rowinski on Vimeo.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Forgotten Miracle Press Release

So, here is the press release from the blog at Forgotten Miracle. Note, I believe that Buccigross quote came from my story in the New England Hockey Journal about the Boston showing of the movie. I will check back up on that and update you later.

Here is the press release:

== OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE ==

NOVEMBER 23, 2009 – A new documentary film celebrates the gold medal run of the 1960 U.S. Olympic hockey team. Forgotten Miracle tells the story of the unheralded team’s unexpected first place triumph in the Squaw Valley games. The release coincides with the 50th anniversary of the VIII Winter Olympiad.

Featuring rare archival footage of the first televised Olympic Games, illustrated reenactments and interviews with team members, coaches and experts, Forgotten Miraclereveals the seldom-told tale of America’s “other” hockey gold medalists.

The feature-length film is directed by Tommy Haines and Andrew Sherburne, creators ofPond Hockey, a 2008 documentary illuminating the world of outdoor hockey. ESPN’s John Buccigross called Pond Hockey “the best and purest hockey movie ever.”

Forgotten Miracle features interviews with stars of the 1960 team, including coach Jack Riley, brothers Bill and Bob Cleary, defenseman John Mayasich, brothers Bill and Roger Christian and standout goalie Jack McCartan. Detailing the quiet rise of American hockey in the 1950s—a time dominated by the Canadian and the Soviet dynasties—through the 1960 Olympic triumph, the film reveals a lost chapter in America’s hockey history.

Forgotten Miracle is presented in association with USA Hockey, the national governing body for the sport of ice hockey in the United States.

To view the trailer for Forgotten Miracle visit www.forgottenmiracle.com. For more information on USA Hockey and the 2010 Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey team, visit www.usahockey.com

For additional information or interview requests, please contact Andrew Sherburne atandrew@forgottenmiracle.com.

The 1960 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team: Forgotten Miracle

1980 may have been the "Miracle On Ice," but really, the first miracle happened 20 years earlier. That is what the new documentary Forgotten Miracle is all about. I was the interviewer for the East coast contingent of this movie, including coach Jack Riley and the Cleary brothers. I will have much more on the subject later, but for now, click on the link above and check out the trailer below.


Forgotten Miracle Trailer from Forgotten Miracle on Vimeo.

Monday, November 9, 2009

What Bowl Game Does Boston College Get?


I have been trying to puzzle this for a little while now after reading Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel's predictions for college bowl games. As a Boston College beat reporter for WEEI.com, I am naturally curious as to where the team I cover will end up. So, I dug into my ACC notes and tried to figure it out.

Mandel has the Eagles playing in the Meineke Car Car Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina on December 26th. At first I liked the pick, though for selfish reasons only. If I go to Charlottesville, Virginia to see my family for Christmas then Charlotte is an acceptable destination that I could drive to the next day. Then I looked up the order of selection for the ACC bowl games and it did not seem to make sense. Here is the order of the bowl selections:

ACC Championship winner:
FedEx Orange Bowl
Then:
1: Chick-fil-A Bowl, Atlanta
2: Konica - Minolta Gator Bowl, Jacksonville
3: Champs Sports Bowl, Orlando

Four through six are decided "by preference" of the bowl invitations. Though, in order of financial payouts, it goes. . . .

4: Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, Nashville
5: Meineke Car Care Bowl, Charlotte
6: Emerald City Bowl, San Francisco
7: EagleBank Bowl, Washington, D.C.
8: GMAC Bowl, Mobile, Ala.

First, if you are an ACC fan, then forget about the EagleBank and GMAC. There is no way that the conference is going to have eight bowl eligible teams. Now, let's look at where Mandel thinks the six other ACC teams will fall.

Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech
-This is probably right, unless Boston College or Clemson finds a way to knock them off in the championship game, which I do not see happening.
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Clemson
-This is assuming that the Tigers can win out and take the ACC Atlantic title before losing to the Yellow Jackets. The Chick-fil-A, Gator and Champ Sports bowls can pass on the ACC runner-up this year if they choose but it cannot fall further than the Music City bowl.
Gator Bowl: Miami
-Big school, big program having a good year. Cannot see why the Gator Bowl would not like having a team from Florida.
Champ Sports Bowl: Virginia Tech
-Pending further unexpected stumbles, the Hokies will probably finish behind Miami and Georgia Tech and be a strong third in the conference. If they lose one more it could be Meineke.
Music City Bowl: North Carolina
-Alright, this is where I get confused. The Tar Heels (6-3, 2-3 ACC) are not going to have as good a conference record as Boston College (6-3, 3-2 ACC) unless North Carolina can win out, which would include a victory at Alumni Stadium on 11/21. The Tar Heels have a great defense but no offense so I just do not see them winning out the conference. Though, if the Eagles can get past the Heels, they just have poor Virginia and Maryland teams to squeeze by on the road. It is possible.
Meineke Car Care Bowl: Boston College
- This is where the idea of "preference" strikes me as odd. Mandel seems to think that the Music City Bowl would prefer North Carolina, which is probably true given the notion that the Tar Heels are located much closer to Nashville than Boston College. Eagles fans also do not travel all that well (they do not even sell out Alumni) but wouldn't it make far greater sense for North Carolina to play close to home in the Meineke?
Emerald City: Wake Forest
Assuming it wins enough games to be bowl eligible, why not? Florida State (which just lost Chris Ponder for the rest of the year) would fall into this category as well. Possible that neither will do it. Or both.

*Note: Duke, by some strange miracle, might become bowl eligible this year and may sneak into EagleBank or GMAC.

These predictions are based on the assumption that Georgia Tech will beat Clemson in the ACC championship game. As it stands right now, there is a good chance of that. Boston College would need to win out and Clemson would have to lose one more conference game for the Eagles to have a shot and hence, the Chick-fil-A bowl (in the Georgia Dome which would make for an interesting Boston College/Matt Ryan storyline). Is that going to happen? Well, probably not, but the denizens of Chestnut Hill can hope.

It all gets kind of subjective at this point, trying to predict what bowl invitations will go where. Strange things happen in NCAA selection processes, that is the way of it. Though, outside of an trip to Tampa for the championship, Boston College will play in either the Champ Sports, Music City or Meineke bowls. In my mind I would guess the Music City based on record and prestige of the program, but I could be wrong. Then again, it is kind of trivial to argue over one spot in the bowl selection process. Oh well.

Make sure to check out all of my Boston College coverage at WEEI.com in The BC Blog.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sports Chutney Is Going To the 2009 MLB Winter Meetings

That is right folks, your humble author will be attending the 2009 MLB Winter Meetings in Indianapolis. The express purpose for this trip will be to see what is available in the world of baseball jobs at the PBEO job fair, though there will be opportunities to break stories. Make sure to follow me on Twitter at Dan_Rowinski for all the updates from the Indiana Convention Center.

Friday, October 23, 2009

#Mediameltdown? Really, who is the one melting down?

I am sure a lot of you have seen Deadspin's coverage of the Steve Phillips affair and the subsequent "outing" of other alleged affairs at the ESPN offices in Bristol. I am not going to go into the affair itself. Really, I just have one thing to say: the hashtag #mediameltdown? Really? Is AJ Daulerio trying to infer that ESPN is having a media meltdown?

I would think that it is quite the opposite. With Deadspin's coverage, it seems that they are the ones that had the actual meltdown. ESPN lawyers could probably have a field day with Daulerio if any of this is proven to be libelous material. Then, we might not have a Deadspin anymore, which will be a shame. They do good work over there and I would like to see them keep it up but do they have the money to withstand a series of lawsuits by The Word Wide Leader? I doubt it.

Daulerio's antics could cost him his website and really makes a lot of us blogger/journalists look really bad. That is the real crime here.

Note- All opinions on Sports Chutney are those of Dan Rowinski and do not reflect the opinions or policies of WEEI or WEEI.com.

Another Mention on The Five

Once again thanks to Kristine Leahy on the mention in The Five. The chat went quite well, you can check out the review here:


Chat about BC v. Notre Dame at WEEI.com with Dan Rowinski, Chach and Meter (well, sort of Meter).


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Milton Bradley Blowups Slideshow

Did this as a a project for another website, but alas it never went up. Enjoy the glory of Milton Bradley blowups on the silent reel.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Mention in The Five

I don't know why I am so excited, but I am. I having been working hard at WEEI.com recently for Kristine Leahy to mention one of my pieces, by name, in "The Five." Well, she finally did. Perhaps it was because I was actually covering a professional team but, well, I like it. Thanks Kristine.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Lessons Learned

Sports writers are not supposed to be fans. We are supposed to be impartial observers and reporters, bringing fans the news of the events we cover, the inside edge while providing our analysis and projections of the next game to come. First rule of the press box? There is no cheering in the press box.

Well, I am not currently in a press box and yes, I am still a fan.

I learned this last night.

It was right about the time that Jorge Posada scorched Billy Traber for a three run dinger as the Yankees hung an eight spot on the Red Sox in the fourth, putting to bed New York's eight game losing streak to the Sox this season sinking the hearts of everyone in New England.

Then my t.v. remote hit the wall.

I do not remember throwing it, exactly. Yet, there it was, batteries and buttons and mangled plastic on the floor, rendered completely useless. I have another remote, but it works only to turn the t.v. on and off. I cannot change the channel, which is a shame, because now my t.v. is stuck on NESN. It it seems I am destined to watch the Sox implode for the rest of the season, pitch by horrific pitch.

Where did things go wrong?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tailgating at the RBC Center in Raleigh

We were kicking it in the parking lot around the RBC Center in Raleigh before Game 4 between the Boston Bruins and the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Crazy tailgating going on, with the bean bag / board toss, which goes by a variety of names (Holy Boarding, Bar Toss etc.). Really, this may be the only place in the NHL where they tailgate before games. Tell me, denizens of Boston, does this seem odd at all to you? "They do what?!"




Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jonathan Van Every Does it ... Again


Jonathan Van Every has a penchant for late inning dramatics. Last night in Cleveland Van Every capped the Sox improbable comeback from a 5-0 deficit to win the game 6-5 in the 10th with a walk-off, game-winning home run.

"Van Every gets a hit that will mean nothing in the standings, but it's more fun to go home with a win," Francona said.

link: Win gives Sox momentum for October | redsox.com: News

That is what Terry Francona said about Van Every the last time he had a hit in extra innings to send the Sox home with a victory. That game was the last one he played for the Sox, September 29th, 2008, Game 162 against the Yankees on the final day of the regular season last year.
As Tito points out, that hit meant nothing to Sox last year as playoffs positions were set, the Sox taking the Wild Card while finishing two games behind Rays for the division.

Last night's blast was Van Every's first home run in the big leagues after spending an eternity in the Indians' minor league system. Not a bad way to get back at the team that never gave him a chance at the top level, huh?

It seems that Van Every has been paying attention to walk-off home runs as well, as he learned the most important lesson about touching-them-all to win the game: Never take your helmet off.

"And then came the ribbing. Lugo's advice wasn't the only rookie treatment Van Every got. His teammates pounded him with high-fives and smacks on the head as he came into the dugout after circling the bases. Theirs was an acknowledgment of a job done well. "I got a headache from getting hit," Van Every said. "I kept my helmet on, thank goodness. That was smart."

link: Van Every's clout caps Sox comeback | redsox.com: News


Monday, April 20, 2009

Rocking the Boston Marathon Party Alley With Ween

Okay, this rocks. Running and Rocking through the Beacon Street Boston Marathon party alley to the soundtrack of Ween's 'Shame Maker."

Boston Marathon at 40k Mark in front of An Tua Nua / Audubon

Thought I would bring you a little amateur video race action of the runners in the final kick. They never stop coming.

YouTube: First Wheeler of My Day

There are a couple firsts to go with this video. FIrst wheel chair racer that I saw during the day, first time I used iMovie to create a video (sans edit) and my first ever time using You Tube. Check it out (admittedly, not that impressive.)

Boston Marathon: Three Floors Up

So, we went to my housemate British John's room to shoot some video from the third floor.


Boston Marathon: Women Elite at Mile 25

The crowd outside is getting rowdy. Here are the first elite women going by.


Boston Marathon - Qik - Mile 25 - O'Leary's

So, I talked with the owner of O'Leary's, Angus, about what he was thinking. Always a nice guy, Angus.


Boston Marathon Mile 24-ish: Johnny Fresh

So, decided to hit up the venders at Johnny Fresh to see what they had to say about the madness.


Boston Marathon - Qik - Mile 25 Aubobon Circle

I got to feel for my buddy Jay. Though, as he said. "We should all make some dough."


Boston Marathon - Qik - Mile 25 An Tua Nua

The party started pretty early at An Tua Nua. We will check back on this poor bartender later in the day.


Boston Marathon: Qik - Mile 25 Look Around

Taking a look around Mile 25. The stream got cut off. . . not to worry though, we have more.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Moston Barathon: Run for Research, Drink for Your Liver


The Fintz implores to drink for your liver. Really. It is good for you.

Andy Fintzel and company are not just drinking for their livers, they are running for them. Fintzel is a member of the Run for Research team that runs the Boston Marathon every year to help benefit the American Liver Foundation.

With the current economic hardships it is hard for charity organizations to raise money these days. So, Fintzel and his two associates, Scott Rumrill and Sheri Olivet, decided to resurrect an old template that a friend, Dori Miller, had started years ago to raise money for the event.

It is a pub-crawl, appropriately named, the Moston Barathon.

“We are drinkers with a running problem,” Fintzel said. It is a popular saying among many of the Run for Research participants.

Fintzel knew Miller because she is a swimmer and an avid runner. The Moston Barathon originated when Miller’s friends heard that she was running the marathon and vowed to buy her a beer at every bar on the route. Miller, now 38 and working as a web designer, picked up the idea and ran with it.

“A friend and I came up with the idea,” Miller said. “We joked about it and thought ‘maybe we can turn this in to some type of fundraising thing.'”

Miller and her friends ran the Barathon for five years, from 2000-2005 and made about $5,000 over that period for the American Liver Foundation’s Run for Research. She stopped running marathons shortly after that and has since become a long distance swimmer. In this capacity she has become quite accomplished as evidenced when she swam the English Channel last August.

The end of Miller’s running career meant the end of the Moston Barathon. Fintzel saw an opportunity to resurrect it this year when he remembered how much fun runners and their friends had during the extravaganza.

“I kind of willed it to them since I am no longer running marathons,” Miller said. “It was always a fun event. People would start asking in January about when it would start. A friend of mine met his girlfriend at Cornwall’s one year. They are now married with a kid.”

Fintzel, a graphic designer, along with Rumrill and Olivet took up the mantel of the Barathon and recreated it. Most pub-crawls are tedious affairs with little to no purpose. They are characterized with overfilled bars and excessively drunk young professionals who cause a general ruckus and mayham ensues.

The Moston Barathon steers clear of these problems, mostly because of the type of people that attend the event. People who run marathons do not tend to be crazy drunks. The fee to enter the Barathon is $15 and features scorecards with various feats that the crawlers can complete for points and rewards. The Challenges range from “ordering the special drink” at one of the pub destinations to “beating Scottie in a game of speed Connect Four” at Cornwall’s Irish Pub in Kenmore Square. Participants wear race style bib numbers and are encouraged to recruit followers along the crawl.

“It is different than your normal pub crawl,” Fintzel said. “We give it a little more ‘umph.’ It is like pub golf. We are the most creative pub crawl in the city, people have told me.”

There are four legs to the Barathon, one pub-crawl a month for the four months leading up the actual marathon. They started in February in January in Framingham then moved to Newton for the second leg. The fourth and final leg was April 4th in and around Copley Square on Boylton street, right on the finish line of the marathon. This reporter caught up with them on the third leg, down Beacon Street, on March 7th.

The four bars on leg three, in order of attendance, were O’Leary’s Irish Pub, An Tua Nua, Audubon Circle with the final kick coming at Cornwall's.

The managers of these establishments were a little bemused with the idea of a group of runners drinking to benefit the American Liver Foundation, but, in comparison to other unruly pub crawls they see on a regular basis, were glad to have the group for the night.

“It is quite funny, quite comical actually,” Pauline Halbert, general manager of An Tua Nua said. “There is no better research. They have a good thing going. Charities have to hit close to home to be successful.”

At Audubon Circle, a finer establishment than most of the true pubs on the crawl, they have a policy against pub-crawls because they tend to get out of hand and disturb dinner guests. When Jay Bellao, general manager of Audobon, was approached by Fintzel and company, they made it hard for him to say no.

“They reached out to me and were pretty adamant,” Bellao said. “It is a pub crawl for all the right reasons, as opposed to all the wrong. I think it is a cool little niche they got going, people remember it. They are responsible people.”

Through all the fun and games, the pub-crawlers do not lose sight of what the purpose of the Barathon. After leg three they had raised “a little more than” $1,000. Their total after all four legs, was around $1,500, which was matched by the Boston Consulting Group, where Olivet works as an administrative assistant.

Overall, Run for Research, which has 60-80 runners on a given year, has raised $892.,253.12 for the American Liver Foundation (as of 1:00 p.m. Sunday 4/19), short of their $1.25 million goal, according to the ALF website. With the marathon tomorrow, it appears they will be close to that goal.

Fintzel, who will run his sixth marathon, is just happy to be drinking for a cause that he believes in.

“I had a bad scare with hepatitis many years ago and it made me conscious of going out there and doing the right thing,” he said.

Along with Fintzel, Rumrill, an information security consultant, and Olivet are still learning how to throw such an extensive party. They work hard to balance the responsibilities of managing a fundraiser as well as a fun and interesting night on the town, not to mention training for the actual marathon.
“It is learning process,” Fintzel said. “You make mistakes and learn from it and get better going forward.”

The goal is to make everything better next year, from the prizes, which are donated by the establishments along the route, to the amount of money raised. Overall, he vowed to “spruce it up.”

This year Fintzel is not expecting any to eclipse his personal best marathon of 4:02. He has been battling a cold all week and said he will be “taking it easy” and just hopes to finish between 4:30 and 5:00.

For those of us more inclined to Barathons than Marathons, we can only marvel at the exploit.

At Cornwall’s at the end of the night Fintzel reflected on the night and its purpose and raised pint of beer to his lips and smiled.

He was drinking for his liver. Tomorrow he will run for it.

And for yours.

******************************************************************************************************************************
Tomorrow Sports Chutney will be all over the 113th running of the Boston Marathon, stationed right in the party alley on Beacon Street around Mile 25 (Near An Tua Nua, Audubon and O'Leary's, incidentally). Look for live Qik streams, photos, twitters, blog posts and perhaps a video project or two. Stay tuned for some of the more interesting coverage you will find anywhere on the day.

We will be following Andrew Fintzel (bib number 21696) and Scott Rumrill (21811) and Sheri Olivet (21781) via the Athletes Alert Chip and updating via Twitter at Dan_Rowinski.

As you enjoy the revelry on one of the best days in Boston, make sure to actually watch the race and cheer for the Run for Research runners. They  wear bright orange caps and t-shirts (along with the white t-shirt pictured in the story above).

Pictures Captions (From Top to Bottom):

1-The Moston Barathon poster with all stops along the route.
2- Andrew Fintzel enjoying himself at Cornwall's
3- Scott Rumrill takes on all comers in Speed Connect Four at Cornwall's
4- Organizers And Friends: From left to right - Mara Lounsbury, Jake Mather, Scott Rumrill, Sheri Olivet
5-6- The American Liver Foundation Run for Research T-Shirt back (left) and front (right).


No Sports Chutney reporters were seriously hurt in the reporting of the third leg of the Moston Barathon. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Best Time to Be in Boston

Friday was THE day to be in Boston.

There is a buzz in the city. The Boston Marathon is on Monday, bringing with it thousands of runners and enthusiasts from around the world. The Sox started a four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles, the Bruins are playing the Canadiens in the playoffs, two teams that need no help creating a buzz all on their own and there are happy people everywhere.

For Boston, it is one of the best weekends of the year.
After a slow start to the spring, the weather decided to cooperate. The temperature sat at 68-degrees all day (and barely got below 60 during the night), one of the very first real warm days of the year. I started my work for the day around noon and when I walked out of my apartment I, surprisingly, realized that the tree by my stoop was in full bloom, See:


I wore sandals and a short-sleeve black button down t-shirt out on assignment and did not regret it. Even the wind, my eternal enemy during New England springs (except for mud, which is thankfully absent in the city), was warm and light. I went up to the Boston Housing Court for some research, taking the green line from Kenmore to Haymarket. Even the North End, known more for its quaint urban charm than natural beauty, had a little bit of aura to it. People sat in front of the courthouse smoking, talking on their phones, basking in the sun. They were not a chipper lot, people at courthouses tend not to be (for obvious reasons) but there was a sense that “well, if I am going to be here, at least it’s nice out.”

Once I was done my natural inclination was just to hop back on the green line and come home. Then something struck me.

To go home was an affront. The world swayed and the gods of spring told me not to commit such a sacrilege. Compelled, I got off the T at Park Street. Much to my delight, I found the Commons to hopping. There were pretty girls laying on the grass, people walking their dogs and an odd person in a polar bear suit with a shopping cart holding a sign “will work for fish.” Check out my walk through the park below (or click here).

I stopped at my apartment for a hot second, then off to the Boston Marathon Expo at Hynes Convention Center. Now, I am not much of a runner anymore (my heyday was in middle school in Maine when we won a couple cross-country championships) but I find the Boston Marathon and all that it entails fascinating. (Stay posted to Sports Chutney on Sunday and Monday for a myriad of marathon coverage.) Once again, pretty girls, this time selling shoes and various other fitness-related sundries and a bonanza of marathon related activities. It even had a bar. I stopped by the American Liver Foundation Run for Research booth to see my man Andy Fintzel (more on that tomorrow) and had a nice chat about the marathon and all things Boston.

I escaped the Expo and got back on the green line at Copley, headed toward Fenway on a very crowded D train. Back at Kenmore I decided to continue my revelry of the Boston scene and detoured down Brookline Ave through Fenway, 15-minutes before first pitch. Now, I have been to a fair amount of major league ballparks but nothing beats the scene at Fenway before a Sox game on a Friday night with beautiful spring. Pretty girls, my favorite kind (decked out in Sox gear), ticket and program criers, drunkards and debauch and a large, green stadium teeming with a heart that pumps the lifeblood of Boston.

This I have seen before, just about everyday during the baseball season, so I did not dwell. I got back to my apartment, opened my windows to let in the still warm spring air and flipped on the Sox game on NESN and watched the hometown boys erase a 7-0 deficit to take a 10-8 win in what could be a turning point in the early season. A fitting end to a busy day, I’ll take it every time.

The rest of the weekend shapes up pretty well. The weather is not quite cooperating as well today, 60-degrees and overcast with a high probability of rain, but there is no shortage of things to do. Today we have a rare triple-decker treat: Two playoff games at the Garden (Celtics v. Bulls at 12:30 and Bruins v. Canadiens at 8:00) and a Sox game at 7:00.
If you have never been to Boston on Patriots Day weekend, you are missing out. It does not get much better than this.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Boston Marathon Expo with Barling and Collins

Imagine walking through the the Boston Marathon Expo down at Hynes Convention Center with your iPod on. That was me, more or less. The music is "That's Right, I'm Looking At Your Girlfriend" by my good buddies Barling and Collins out of Charlottesville, Virginia.

video

A Qik Walk Through the Park

Had to get out and about on the first warm day of the spring. The common was hopping, check it out below.