NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

July 27, 2013

For Beantown sports fans, a time to bite nails

Bill Plante
Newburyport Daily News

---- — “What’s up?” I asked Big Freddy as I joined him for our mid-morning get together.

“What’s going down is more like it,” Freddy said.

“The Sox are within a whisker of losing their lead.

“The Celtics are going back to hatch, scratch, and pray for a first timer coach and those filling in for those who left.

“The Pats are in aftershock with Hernandez facing a murder charge, which it turns out he’s someone they were counting on big time but didn’t have a clue about his other life.”

“You left out the Bruins,” I said.

“In recovery and doing okay,” Freddy said.

“The other sports are in discovery and so are we.”

“What would we do without them?” I asked.

“My point,” Freddy said. “No way we could make it. To each his own. Never could, never will. You can look it up. Ban sports worldwide and we’d eat each other alive.”

“Our need to escape,” I said.

“There’s that, but there is more, not the least of it being money, big time,” Freddy said. “Colleges, universities, investors, whatever. There’s a lot of different kinds of needs going around.

“For the rest of us they’re escape hatches. Some have to compete. Most have to watch.

“We do that as kids all over the world, and we do it as adults to escape whatever, either personally, or as spectators. We do it for fun, we do it for a living. Sports create worlds we can enter into by buying tickets, newspapers, magazines, or by only the flick of a TV channel.”

“And by talking about them,” I said.

“With more of that going around all the time,” Freddy said.

“So what to make of the Sox?” I asked.

“Surprise, surprise after last year, but a work in progress,” Freddy said.

“Progress?” I asked.

“Because they’re having fun, which, last year, they couldn’t even spell the word,” Freddy said

“Spirit can go a long way and they have a of that. But pitching? Good but more help wanted. Catching? Help wanted. Somebody who can throw to second instead of the outfield.”

“How about the Celtics?” I asked.

“Haven’t a clue, “ Freddy said. “Fresh faces. Big learning curve for everyone.”

“The Pats?”

“State of shock,” Freddy said. “Blind sided. New kind of test for Belichick and company. Best thing you can say, better now than later. A stiff upper lip carries you only so far.

“Brady needs targets he can count on at both ends and the middle. He was counting on Hernandez on one end, Gronkowski on the other, and Welker up the middle and just about everywhere else.

“Hernandez is gone, Gronkowski is questionable coming back from a broken arm that’s not been healing well.

“Welker? Brady’s long time friend and target? Felt time was up with the Pats. Long gone to the Broncos and having a great time of it with Peyton Manning. Go figure.

“What’s happened has Brady and Belichick more than head scratching over where do they go from here.

“All things considered, that’s a relief from what the head scratchers in Washington are up to.

“With sports, there’s always hope for next season.

“With politics? We should live so long.”

Bill Plante is a Newbury resident.