By Sterling Pingree
This column originally ran on an abandoned website that a couple of my friends and I started in 2011 called Flagrantsports.com. I still feel that it is an apt introduction to who I am as a sports fan, I have updated it throughout the years every so often as I have evolved as a fan and as a person. This is sort of a credo, but I’ll never call it that, credo is a terrible sounding word. So is “pet peeve.”
Since this is my first column on the website, I might as well introduce myself and give you a hint of just what you’re dealing with. (A quick aside, I don’t use my name as a superlative often, even though it is, it’s just a pun that’s self made and I don’t feel the need to prove that I have an obvious sense of irony). I was born December 6, 1985: the Patriots played in the Super Bowl a month later, the Boston Celtics were in the middle of winning their 16th title with the greatest team in NBA history, Jack Nicklaus won the first Masters of my lifetime at age 46 and the Red Sox won the pennant that fall. I guess you could say I was born at the best time to be a Boston sports fan. The following is what I believe as a sports fan, the basic fundamentals that are my make-up. I believe that you have to have some morals to follow sports, why? Because it’s important to be self reflective and know who you are and to better understand how what you are watching is affecting you as a person. Without further introduction, in the fashion of Crash Davis from Bull Durham, this is what I believe in.
I believe in hunches.
I believe in guts.
I believe that Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.
I believe in having one team in each sport (professional and college) and sticking with them.
I believe in filling out one bracket each year and no more.
I believe in watching as much of the Olympics as you can and then forgetting about them after the closing ceremonies.
I believe in loyalty, even though at times you are rooting for laundry, that doesn’t mean you forget the good times you had with: Vince Wilfork, Ty Law, Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez, Ray Bourque, Antoine Walker, Kevin Millar, Milan Lucic, Robert Parish, Richard Seymour and Curtis Martin. (I’m still not over Curtis Martin, the Patriots have won four super bowls and played in 6 since he left and I still can’t believe that the Patriots let him leave. I will always blame this on Pete Carroll.)
I wrote my college application essay on the catatonic walking mission around my parent’s house that Grady Little leaving Pedro in game 7 of the ’03 ALCS set me on (and yes, I actually still got in after turning a three page paper that vividly described how a manager’s decision turned me into Uncle Junior in the final season of The Sopranos). I cried in 2003, not 2004. I haven’t had a favorite baseball player since Mo Vaughn and probably never will. I never fully accepted Nomar, the wound was too fresh after Mo left for Anaheim. I never fully appreciated the greatness that was Pedro Martinez for the same reason. I started to with Curt Schilling, but his greatness was limited to one year, plus the 2007 post season. Bill Buckner should have been taken out before the bottom of the 10th inning in favor of Dave Stapleton. Darrell Johnson made the right call in leaving Bill Lee in to face Tony Perez in 1975, Lee made the mistake of throwing him the Eephus pitch. I love Dave O’Brien but I will never understand why Don Orsillo had to leave.
O.J did it.
I believe that Reggie Lewis never did cocaine and that David Wesley should have been a suspect in the death of Bobby Phills.
I believe that if ever anybody was actually too good in sports, it was Red Auerbach. Karma was what hurt the Celtics, it was the only thing that could stop Red and it’s the only explanation for the tragic deaths of Len Bias, Reggie Lewis and the premature demise of Larry Bird’s back.
I believe John Havlicek and Scottie Pippen are the two most underrated players in NBA history.
I believe the gap between the two greatest players in NBA history is smaller than you think (Jordan & Russell). Wilt Chamberlain was the most DOMINANT player in basketball history.
I believe David Stern rigged the 1985 NBA Draft Lottery so Patrick Ewing would be a Knick and they still didn’t win a title. (I’m saying he rigged it, I didn’t say he was good at it).
I believe that the 1998-99 Duke Blue Devils are the greatest team not to win a National C.hampionship.
I believe that Pete Carroll was selected by Bill Parcells to sabotage the Patriots when he ditched them for the Jets. I’m still bitter.
I believe that Eli Manning was in the clutches and the play that resulted in the helmet catch should have been blown dead before he threw the ball.
I believe the 2003 Fiesta Bowl (Ohio St beat Miami) is the most compelling college football game of all time. (Yes, I know that Texas v. USC was a better game, I stick by my original statement).
I believe that there was a conspiracy in the NFL to knock Rodney Harrison out of the league, I really am that paranoid. Tom Heinsohn took the mantle of bigger homer from Johnny Most and Scott Zolak will inherit it from Tommy.
I believe the greatest Super Bowl halftime show would be a Guns N Roses reunion, W. Axel Rose is the most elusive American born rock star.
I love Tom Brady.
I play golf almost every day once the courses open until they close each season. Tiger Woods at the 1997 Masters turned me on to golf. I like to read, and I read a lot. As much as I admonish the lifestyles of figures like Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Roy Tarpley, Spencer Haywood and Mike Tyson, I am much more likely to read a book about them than I would about John Wooden, Vince Lombardi or Casey Stengel. The notorious are more compelling than the famous. I miss David Halberstam. Golf is the most calming sport to watch and I take things more serious if Jim Nantz is attending them. The cat fashion show that Veronica Corningstone covered when she first joined the Channel 4 News Team in Anchorman would have had me on the edge of my seat Jim Nantz was on the call. I could listen to Bill Walton rant for a decade and wouldn’t get tired of it, even though it is a compilation of lists of people he knows and hazy stories of Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan concerts. Bill Simmons is the most influential sports writer of the Internet Generation. I believe that there is a retirement home that houses Paul Maguire, Billy Packer and Tim McCarver where they make irrationally bold claims all day. (I think ESPN read this column somewhere and that’s what gave them the inspiration for giving Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless television shows. Blame me America, I’ve let you down). I know pro wrestling isn’t real, but I don’t care.
I quote Seinfeld and the theories of Bill Simmons like they are dead philosophers. I will go on rants, long rants about things. On this website I look forward to launching un-truncated verbal civil wars at whatever irks me. To paraphrase George Costanza, the previous needs no embellishment because it is simply the life of this sports fan.
Sterling Pingree (@SterlingPingree on Twitter) is a Co-Host on The Drive 4pm-6pm weekdays on 92.9fm The Ticket. Follow The Drive on Twitter @929TheDrive and “Like” us on Facebook 92.9 The Drive. Stream The Drive Live on 929TheTicket.com