The Futile 42. UMaine is close to #1.

This time of year, even basketball neophytes know any reference to Sweet 16 is not a reference to a birthday party or the songs by Neil Sedaka and Billy Idol. March Madness is in full bloom and the countdown is on. But while almost everyone from raucous roundball rooters to even the most completely sports-challenged among us, knows the difference between the Elite Eight and a V8 or the Sweet 16 and a 16-ouncer, there's one exclusive club that very few know about, want to acknowledge, or want to be in. Say hello to the Frustrating Forty-Two: the 42 NCAA Division I men's basketball teams that have never qualified for or played in any NCAA Tournament game, first round or play-in, since the tour

Maine Men's Hoops is always sitting in the corner watching others dance, but they are not alone.

This time of year, even basketball neophytes know any reference to Sweet 16 is not a reference to a birthday party or the songs by Neil Sedaka and Billy Idol. March Madness is in full bloom and the countdown is on. But while almost everyone from raucous roundball rooters to even the most completely sports-challenged among us, knows the difference between the Elite Eight and a V8 or the Sweet 16 and a 16-ouncer, there's one exclusive club that very few know about, want to acknowledge, or want to be in. Say hello to the Frustrating Forty-Two: the 42 NCAA Division I men's basketball teams that have never qualified for or played in any NCAA Tournament game, first round or play-in, since the tour

Jeff is not quite ready for this Sox season

I have a confession to make. For perhaps the first time in my life, I’m not really looking forward to this Red Sox season. Don’t get me wrong. I still love em. Heck I already have Sox-Yankees tickets for July. I’m a tried and true fan and have been since the late 70’s. But how can 2019 beat, equal or even come close to last season? Aren’t we just setting ourselves up for disappointment? 2018 was epic. Historic. In movie terms a blockbuster. This is the sequel. Sure, maybe we’ll get Godfather II. But we might also get Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Whichever it is, it wont be like 2018. Last year had it all. A new untested manager. A 17-2 start. A brawl with the Yankees. Multiple All Stars and a fra

A Farewell to (stiff) arms. Gronk Retires.

Rob Gronkowski retired Sunday. It makes all the sense in the world, but I was still caught off guard by the flood of text messages I received from friends and family. Gronk was beloved in a way that few athletes ever achieve. He was the one guy that everybody can love on a team that most of the country hates. The casual fan loves Gronk. Your mom loves Gronk. So do Diehards. We’ll never see another modern athlete like Gronk. A well publicized wild man off the field, who aside from a few selfies with porn stars, never had any sort of scandal. He tore up night clubs, hosted his own party cruise, owned a party bus, lived the life that a stud athlete/millionaire in his 20’s should live but some h

Where Will UMaine Hockey Go From Here?

Well, that's about how we all expected it to end, didn't it? By "it," I mean the unceremoniously disappointing season the University of Maine hockey team put up, a 15-17-4 campaign that culminated in a 2-1 Hockey East quarterfinal loss to Northeastern on Saturday. Was the officiating quite questionable in this series? You could argue that. But it's hard to argue that this team was an utter disappointment this winter. Maine finished sixth in Hockey East, the same place it finished in 2017-18. Expectations were that of a top-four league finish and TD Garden appearance this winter. Does that put a target on coach Red Gendron's back? Does that put pressure on athletic administrator Ken Ralph to

Kyrie Irving: Defender and Rebounder

Before I say anything, I would like to send a personal and heartfelt thank-you to the National Basketball Association for scheduling the Celtics to a 12:30p.m. tip-off. I am eager to make it to bed by 6:00p.m. tonight for the first time in weeks. This was a pleasant reward for soldering through the past week-and-a-half of 10:00/10:30p.m. start times. In a game that featured 249 combined points, it was Kyrie Irving's well-known clutch defense that sealed the Celtics' win over the Hawks. The Celtics, up by 25 at one point, squandered another second-half lead and had to outscore the Hawks 15-8 over the last six minutes in order to avoid a collapse that likely would've brought out the annoying "

Roger Clemens Rocked Bangor!

For awhile Friday night it looked like the Rocket might not land in Bangor. His flight from Houston was diverted to Harrisburg. He eventually made it to Newark after a long delay. But it was 12:30 in the morning and there was no way to get to Bangor Friday night or Saturday. So, with the dedication and determination that won him 354 games and 7 Cy Young Awards, he grabbed a rental car and drove overnight to Bangor. Yup. You read that right. One of the biggest stars in MLB history got a rental car, with no company, and made the more than eight hour drive, overnight, so he could take part in the Sports Chowdah event. Talk about above and beyond! As he told me on the phone, after he bypassed ou

UMaine Hockey Fans Deserve Justice

If this were my case to present in court, I’d win in a landslide. The trial would be brief and the verdict delivered swiftly. The evidence is overwhelming and the numbers prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. Judge Judy would laugh the other side right out of the court room. The University of Maine is charged with running an unacceptably mediocre men’s hockey program. I argue that they are guilty and justice must be served. They actually have been guilty of this sports crime for several years. And it’s the loyal Go Blue fans who have been punished and served the time. I submit the yearly win-loss records as evidence so crystal clear that even the OJ jurors would get this one right. 2019: 15-17

3 FROM WAAAAAAAY DOWNTOWN!

Patriots Free Agency Series: Part II 3 guys who need to be Patriots The "Unamed Source" is famous in media circles these days. This one in particular works in local sports media, but for any number of reasons, wants to stay anonymous. Tampering is now legal in the NFL, (FINALLY!) as the new league year starts on Wednesday at 4pm and teams can officially sign free agents for 2019. The Patriots need to bring back a few of their internal free agents, but here are 3 outsiders that need to be brought into the Dynasty. S- Tyrann Mathieu The Honey Badger was the object of my affection a year ago when he hit the free agent market but opted to sign a one year “show me” deal with the Houston Texans. M

It's hard For Newly Weds Like The Celtics and Duke to Succeed

I am a proud Duke grad, so it is not surprising that I am also a proud Duke fan. Yet, I am a different kind of proud Duke fan. While “fan” is short for “fanatical,” I am not part of the fanatical element of the Duke fan clan. Believe it or not, I actually like and respect the Tar Heels too (not as much as the Blue Devils, but still…) I believe my rather unique status as a Duke fan allows me to make some observations other blue face painted Cameron Crazies can’t. Here goes: The Fabulous Judester and I have been married for close to 30 years, but that ain’t nothin’ compared to my parent’s run of 62 years. Over the years, some things inevitably happen rather organically that simply aren’t possi

The Celtics May be Peaking at Just the Right Time

After Sunday night's 120-107 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, Kyrie Irving gave a spirited post-game interview where he repeatedly stressed that everything starts with him and his leadership, and it's a trickle-down effect from there. If he plays with aggression and emotion, so will everyone else. Over the course the team's current three-game win streak on the west coast, that much has become evident. During the team's cross-country plane ride to Oakland earlier this week, something clicked. After months of constant media hullabaloo about how the team has no chemistry, that has all been seemingly patched up after just six hours in the air with nobody to talk with but each other. In my ey

Time for Maine Hockey to Return to Boston

The regular-season finale for the University of Maine hockey team was a warm and fuzzy one in an otherwise disappointing regular season. Senior goaltender Rob McGovern, relegated to the role of backup the last two years, shut out Boston University 6-0 in an otherwise meaningless game, as Maine was locked into the sixth seed in Hockey East and a quarterfinal matchup at No. 3 Northeastern. Red Gendron's Black Bears finished 15-15-4 overall and 11-9-4 in league play. The Bears fell short of the expectation of hosting a playoff series in Orono, and are now faced with traveling to Matthews Arena and facing a fast, talented Huskies club. Northeastern will challenge the Bears with its depth, with s

What One Question Would YOU Ask Roger Clemens?

You may have heard that we are bringing Roger Clemens to Bangor Saturday. :) Tim Throckmorton and I will be hosting the event. I’m not going to bluff you; I’m pretty darn fired up to spend ninety minutes on stage with the Rocket. He is one of the greatest pitchers in the more than 100 year history of Major League Baseball. He’s very entertaining and often candid on stage and he will talk about almost any topic. Almost. Let’s get it out there right now. He’s not flying from Houston to snowy Bangor, Maine to talk about alleged PED use or testifying in front of Congress. So, I’m not going to ask him about it. Tim isn’t. And you aren’t either. So now that we have that elephant out of the room, w

The Amazing Story of Parise Rossignol

It’s been another great season for the University of Maine women’s basketball team. The Black Bears are 22-7 on the season and 15-1 in America East play after a 67-60 victory over Binghamton on Saturday afternoon. With the win, Maine captured its second straight America East regular-season title. On the resume for the Black Bears this season is an 85-73 win over North Carolina and a 63-66 loss to #20 Duke. Maine enters the America East Tournament on an 11-game winning streak. It’s been a balanced scoring attack for the Black Bears, with a trio of players average 10 or more points per game. Blanca Millan leads the team in scoring with 17.6 points per contest. Tanesha Sutton is adding 14.1 poi

3 FROM WAAAAAAAY DOWNTOWN!

The "Unamed Source" is famous in media circles these days. This one in particular works in local sports media, but for any number of reasons, wants to stay anonymous. Patriots Free Agency Series: Part I The new NFL league year starts at 4pm on March 13th, but teams can start negotiating on March 11th (aka when deals will start to be announced like “Malcolm Butler intends to sign with the Tennessee Titans.) They can’t sign the new deal until the old deal has expired which it technically does at 4pm on March 13th. With that in mind, in the bowls of Chowdah leading up to this period, I will preview the Patriots internal free agents with the odds of them returning to New England. Stephen Gostows

Caribou, Forest Hills and Lewiston All Showed Us Why High School Sports in Maine Are So Awesome

High school sports versus pro sports. Which do you like better? Or is it equal but for very different reasons? No doubt there is value in rooting for the pro sports teams. You can yell at and criticize them and not feel too badly because they are not children and they are getting paid. Investing in a franchise as a child and following them through your life is rewarding as well when they achieve success. No doubt. But if given the choice of only one, I will take high school sports. I have no direct connection to Caribou high school, Forest Hills, Lewiston, etc. but this weekend all three of them brought me different types of joy. We will start with the Vikings, because I am I guess the most

Luke Combs, John Daly and Larry Bird Walk Into a Bar...

So I had never seen Luke Combs prior to this weekend. He was in concert in Bangor Friday night and my friends flooded Facebook with photos. As he admits, he doesn’t look quite like the typical, attractive, country music star. Let’s just say Luke would not play Luke on the Dukes of Hazzard. He could play Cooter. If you got paired in a foursome with Combs and he told you he was a country megastar, you would not trust a score he gave you on any hole all day long. But we should not stereotype. Let’s look at some other athletes who, if you met them at a party and they told you what they did, you’d spit your drink out on them in disbelief. Spud Webb: An NBA dunk champion? At 5’7”? Yea, right! His

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