Local Golf: Not Business as Usual in 2020

Normally by this time of the year we’ve had our practice range open for a few weeks. Usually we’re getting all of our mowers sharpened, and like the little kid in the back seat pestering his dad ‘Are we there yet?,’ I’m asking our Green Superintendent Chad Armell ‘When do you think we’ll be able to open the course?’ on nearly a daily basis. Oh how things are so different in 2020. We did open our range on March 14th, but quickly closed it on March 25th when Governor Mills mandated that all ‘non-essential’ businesses in the state of Maine close. We re-opened on March 27th after clarification of her mandate. It was not a decision that was made lightly. Amongst the questions we asked ourselves:

Coach Bill- Media Nemesis- Earns an Emmy Nomination

Bill Belichick: master of his tight lipped domain. King of the non-answer. The greatest nemesis modern media has ever known, has bested the rest at their own game. For his work on NFL Network's "NFL 100 All-Time Team" series, Bill Belichick has been nominated for a sports Emmy award. 40-words in and I realize that I have already written that statement twice, but you had to admit, it is startling to read. It's a lot like reading that gasoline is free, or Trump has deleted Twitter, it just seems completely improbable even for 2020. I wrote about Coach Belichick's work on the show earlier in the year because he was remarkable. Seeing the usually staid coach positively effervescent while chatti

AM Radio, Johnny Most and Box Scores: The Way Sports Used To Be

One of the only bright spots in our new norm of living with this damn virus is watching all of the old sporting events on TV these days. As I sat down this weekend top watch Tiger King (Turns out it has nothing to do with Jim Leyland leading the Tigers to the World Series in 84) I got to thinking about how it was being a sports fan “back in the day.” Growing up on MDI in the 80’s we did not have cable TV. On a clear day we had the three local stations, if the roof top antenna was pointing in the right direction. That meant only seeing the Red Sox on TV maybe a dozen times per year. It was a thrill to see Bird, McHale and the Celtics on the weekends and a bit more during the playoffs. The Pat

Fourth and Goal with THE BAM

As you are keenly aware, the awful Corona Virus has taken over this country. The economic impact of this is so large, and getting larger daily, that it may never actually be quantified. Revenue lost by individual cities that host major sports franchises is mounting daily. Bars, restaurants and hotels in these cities are being devastated. It's like playing professional home games overseas and cheating these cities, except this time it's not actually the fault of the idiotic Commissioners. Host cities for March Madness, once poised for a major windfall, now sit idle. The arrival of this virus was pretty obvious. There were tons of signs out there, but the Houston Astros stole them, so here we

Gendron Deserves Coach of the Year. But Not a New Contract

There's no denying the University of Maine men's hockey team just had its best season in years. The Black Bears reaped some postseason awards, with goaltender Jeremy Swayman earning Hockey East Player of the Year honors and Red Gendron being chosen Coach of the Year. Swayman subsequently signed with the Boston Bruins while Gendron will be behind the bench again next year. The Black Bears' bench boss deserved his postseason laurel. His team overachieved and would've been dangerous had the Coronavirus epidemic not wiped out the Hockey East and NCAA Tournaments. Some fans are even talking "contract extension." Let's pump the breaks on that for the time being. Gendron's contract expires at the e

Gendron is the Coach of the Year? Give. Me. A. Break.

Years from now when the story is told about the 2019-2020 UMaine men's hockey team, it will begin and end with the play of Jeremy Swayman. He deserves to be the Hockey East Player of the Year. Swayman was a brick wall for much of the season. He racked up 1099 saves, by far the most in the nation. I’d give him an even 1100 total because he also saved Red Gendron’s job. The fact that Maine should have hosted a Quarterfinal series and had a legit shot at playing in Boston and maybe even the NCAA tournament is not because of the masterful 7 year rebuilding plan by Gendron is finally paying dividends. No way. It was all Sway. Swayman finished #2 in the nation with a .939 save percentage. He was #

Gronk Mania Comes to WWE

Lost in the mania this week of Tom Brady going to Tampa Bay, is that Rob Gronkowski almost went to Tampa Bay as well. I assure you, it’s true. While we refreshed away for the latest TB12 news, Gronk signed a multi-year deal with the WWE with his announced debut scheduled for this past Friday night on their Fox show, Smackdown. Gronk signed on with the company to be an in-ring performer, which serves two masters. The first is that Gronk has long had a close relationship with WWE, dating back before his involvement in WrestleMania 31 in Santa Clara when he first jumped the barricade and helped pal Mojo Rawley win a battle royal. The aforementioned “Rawley” (real name Dean Muhtadi) who prior to

So Who Is To Blame for TB 12 Ending Up In Tampa

When the 1998 NBA Finals wrapped up with the Chicago Bulls winning their sixth championship in eight years before their inevitable breakup, NBC commentator Bob Costas said that loyalty in pro sports would be gone with the end of the Jordan-Pippen-Jackson partnership. Fast-forward 22 years, and that same loyalty in arguably the best modern-day dynasty in professional sports has crumbled. Yes, I'm talking about the New England Patriots' trio of Tom Brady-Robert Kraft-Bill Belichick. That partnership officially ended Thursday when the Thomas Edward Patrick Brady signed a 2-year, $50 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Patriots have been a model franchise under the Kraft regime, appe

A Generation is About to Know Hunger Pains When It Comes to the Pats

When the Patriots finally take the field in September, no question this is going to be a strange freaking new world for all of us fans. It doesn’t seem possible that it has been two decades since Drew Bledsoe took that awful hit to the chest forcing him to go to the ER and opening the door to the Tom Brady legacy. Now it’s over. TB 12, like most old New Englanders, has taken refuge in South Florida. 2001. So long ago. With no sports to watch I got to thinking; you really have to be about 34 years old to have any appreciation, or perhaps even a recollection, of what the Patriots were like before the Brady/Bill duo began league domination. Basically if you’re not approaching your mid 30’s, you

Solari Crosses the 50 Yard Line of Life

So… this is the last Sports Chowdah that will publish before I hit a rather significant birthday. I can’t bring myself to write the actual number. But I will say that the first number of my age will no longer be a tribute to Bobby Orr but rather Kevin Garnett. It at least makes me smile to remember when Tom Brady became the first quarterback to throw my upcoming age in touchdowns in a single season. Or when Big Papi blasted my soon to be age plus 4 homers in 2006, the most ever by a Sox player. Paul Kariya scored exactly this number of goals in 1996, which leads me to my glass half full approach to being within 25 years of the average life expectancy of a male in Maine. In terms of sports, I

With Brady's Exit-There Are So Many Questions

The earth is officially standing still in New England. Tom Brady is leaving the New England Patriots. We never thought this day would come, but here we are. The greatest quarterback of all time will be wearing another uniform in September. His last pass as a Patriot was a pick-6 in a playoff loss to Tennessee. It wasn't supposed to end like that. And Brady's announcement on social media comes on a St. Patrick's Day where watering holes throughout New England are closed. Beer and liquor may fly off the shelves faster than toilet paper throughout New England in the coming days. Let's reflect a bit here. Brady gave a franchise once known as the Patsies six Super Bowls, and it could've easily be

A Personal TB 12 Story

Having been blessed to cover seven Super Bowls involving the Patriots, and a countless number of games regular and postseason, there’s one story about Tom Brady that stands out from the rest. It was after he first ascended to the starting quarterback position following the Drew Bledsoe injury. Protocol is for the starting quarterback to have his own press conference each week, at a podium, away from the locker room because it was more practical that way with all of the interest in the starting quarterback. When Brady inherited the role, his initial impulse was to stay in the locker room with his teammates where he had always been. The message was that just because he was a starting quarterba

"When Brady leaves, you’ll be nothing.”

I’ve heard it so long and so many times I can’t even remember the first embittered fan of another team that said it to me or how long ago that would have been. Those sorts of things happen over the course of 20 years. Two decades of such complete and utter dominance, that it turned the rest of the world against a 6-state region. Us against them. Hate us cuz they ain’t us. Defend the Wall. Do your job. No days off. Still here. The Brady-Belichick era wasn’t so much a weekly drama as it was a civil war amongst the football fans of America. A division, not of north and south, but of Patriots fans and everybody else. Tom Brady helped make the Patriots the villain. The Black Hat. The Bad Guy. Ton

He's Leaving. But I Still Love Him.

I bet I’ve been asked almost every day for two months about my thoughts on the future of Tom Brady. And I have told everybody pretty much the same answer: “I think he will return to New England. BUT there is a serious threat he might leave.” I have told everyone in person, in blogs and on WABI TV 5 News, that it’s 50/50 between the Pats and other teams. And those of you who don’t believe me are crazy. But I have toSol admit as the news broke today that TB 12 has called his last play in New England, I found myself legitimately shocked, stunned, and truthfully quite sad. That’s a full range of emotions but anger is not one of them. I will be forever grateful for the pleasure and joy Brady has

Black Bears Loss is Bruins Gain

On a St. Patrick's Day where New England sports fans were dealt a punch in the gut in the form of Tom Brady's announcement, Bruins fans got a dose of good news Tuesday afternoon. Jeremy Swayman, a huge cog in the University of Maine hockey team's surprising run to the top half of Hockey East this winter, signed with the Boston Bruins. The Anchorage, Alaska, native was joined by his father and UMaine head coach Red Gendron among others in signing his deal. While this is a blow to the Black Bears, it's not an unexpected one. Swayman posted an 18-11-5 record, a .939 save percentage and a 2.07 goals-against average in the 2019-20 campaign, leading the Black Bears to their best record in eight ye

We are all in this together....

What a crazy few days. This is a time unlike any other in our nation’s history. The United States may be on the verge of cancelling all athletic events. Indefinitely. This is a stunning turn of events as we are a country that has always turned to sports to get us through our toughest times and to help us heal from our worst tragedies. Think 9/11. I still get chills watching President George W. Bush throw that World Series first pitch between the Yankees and Mets just days after the attacks. It was a perfect strike. A clear sign better days were ahead. Baseball eased our collective minds in World War II. And after the Boston Marathon bombing, David Ortiz grabbed the microphone a Fenway park,

Jeremy Swayman Saves Red's Job?

OK … I admit it .... I “thought” about going. However, based on my recent experiences at the Alfond, the decision was made to stay home and possibly watch the UMaine/Providence game if on television. But, as many of you know, especially those that attended, it was my loss. Even with the current state of the aging Alfond, it still is there best atmosphere in which to watch our Black Bears. Congratulations to those men on the ice for a well-earned win! They broke the “Providence Streak” and earned a well deserved home playoff series against the UConn Huskies. This is the same team that I watched Maine play in person just a few weeks back and trust me they are no “slouch” as Uncle Jimmy used to

I Can't Quit the TB 12 Rollercoaster Ride

Since the season ended, the ongoing story of where Tom Brady will call home in 2020 has been the hottest off-season stove the region has ever seen. In the social media age of clicks & views, content claiming to know where Tom Brady might be leaning is hotter than OJ in 1994. People try to read the tea leaves all the time, but at this point we’re always about 5 minutes away from Sherpa’s, gurus and fortune cookies chiming in. I can’t take it. Everyday my opinions swing a different way. I’ve been fairly steadfast that Brady will return, even amidst the daily “fake news” that’s been flooding football media. Although recently, every step forward is welcomed with an equal step, to the side? My pr

Kiss Em Goodbye: These Pats Players Are Most Likely Heading Out of Town

Kyle Van Noy- Look for Van Noy to be coveted in free agency. He’s a linebacker who has made plays in big games, and is coming off the two best seasons of his NFL career. Look online and there are hundreds of pieces speculating that the Giants are interested in KVN, which makes sense with former Patriots Teams’ coach Joe Judge in Gotham. The Giants could be a player, but look for Miami to make a big push with all of their cap room. If Dolphins head coach (and former Patriots DC) Brian Flores wants to flip the culture in South Beach, I could see him bringing in a guy like Van Noy (and hopefully not Devin McCourty) or even Elandon Roberts over. Phillip Dorsett- Seems like his feelings have been

Jeremy Swayman Solidifies His Place Among Elite Black Bear Goaltenders

Every team that wants to be a contender has that one nemesis that serves as a championship roadblock. Michael Jordan had to overcome the "Bad Boy" Detroit Pistons. We all know what the Red Sox did in 2004 to silence the "Whose Your Daddy?" chants at the old Yankee Stadium. For the University of Maine hockey team, that roadblock has been Providence College. The Friars have knocked the Black Bears out of the Hockey East playoffs twice since the 2013 season. UMaine entered Friday's must-win, regular-season finale 1-22-1 in its last 24 matchups with Providence. But the Black Bears put some ghosts to bed thanks to a herculean performance from goaltender Jeremy Swayman, who backstopped UMaine's 1-

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