What Red Sox Teammate Stalked Moe Berg?

DATELINE: Cold Spy

Real Moe Berg Real Moe!

Being of a certain generation, we have been asked about some of the accuracy of the movie The Catcher was a Spy.

Paul Rudd plays Moe Berg, an enigmatic athlete who finished his career with the Boston Red Sox in 1939.  Pushing 40, he was pushed out of the locker room to make room for more rookies. And, the Sox had a few.

In the film, one rookie looks in the locker room with suspicion at Berg and notes his reservation about sharing a shower stall with a man with unclear sexual tendencies. Another veteran player (Lefty Grove?) tells him to keep it to himself.

Yet, this player seems to stalk Berg and follow him to some clandestine gay bar of 1939 in Boston. When he comes out (and we do not see what happens in this odd locale), he knows he is being followed—and confronts the young rookie.

He slugs him several times. The player is identified as the fictional Bill Dalton. No one by that name was on the Sox roster.

So, who was the offending rookie stalker?

The Red Sox had several notable rookies in that season with Berg:  Ted Williams was the most famous (also known as the Garbo of the Dugout for his reclusiveness) and Bobby Doerr, one of Ted’s close friends, and Johnny Pesky, all future Hall of Famers.

Was it one of them who had a confrontation with Moe Berg?

You will be hard-pressed to find out something that was kept in the shadows by all concerned. Berg would never talk, and neither would Ted Williams. Berg reportedly offered Ted advice and insights on the greats he played with (and he told Ted he was most like Shoeless Joe Jackson of Field of Dreams).

If the incident is true, and we have no doubt about its veracity, you can now play To Tell the Truth.  Alas, the real stalker will not stand up years after all have passed.

We put our money on Teddy Ballgame. The other two were amiable sorts and often thought to be mediators and peace-makers.

Advertisements

Casey & AC at the Bat: Managers in World Series

DATELINE: Field of Dreams at Fenway Again

casey Casey, not AC?

If you were to ask, we doubt we’d have said we would return to watching the Red Sox again. Our last blog on them was several years ago, but it is the World Series in Boston, again.

If you were to ask if writing about the managers might be a possibility,we might shrug. However, we realized that two former Sox players were now in back in Boston as managers:  Yes, there was an aging star Dave Roberts, now with the Dodgers, and his counterpart Alex Cora.

Might we say there is Magic in the Moonlight at Fenway? Well, only because we saw Magic Johnson there in the stands, as an executive braintrust with the Los Angeles baseball team. Wasn’t he part of the Bird-Magic story in Boston?

No, wait, we were thinking of Moonlight Graham playing in Field of Dreams when Kevin Costner was sitting in the stands with James Earl Jones who played Terence Mann, the writer who wanted to play with these same Dodgers.

No, we were shocked to see Alex Cora, or AC as his players call him in the modern familiarity with supervisors and managers. He was running a talent-laden team that had replaced the previous manager for not winning a World Series.

When AC pulled the hot rookie Devers and replaced him with a pitch hitter named Nunez, we were more in marvel at the assortment of beards on the players. Yet, suddenly, AC became a genius before a national audience.

The last time we saw that it was someone in another era by the name of Casey Stengel. He managed the New York Yankees, another talent-laden team that kept winning. Stengel would pick a pinch-hitter out of a hat who would win the game.

Suddenly there was AC channeling Casey. How appropriate, if not poetic. AC picked the man to win the game with a homer to the Monster Seats. It was a ghost movie for baseball once again.

 

 

 

Aaron Hernandez Back in the News

DATELINE: Out, Out, Damned Spot!

A1 steak

While Tom Brady and the New England Patriots pulled another game out of the hopper in the last second, the news was not all good. The Boston Globe featured an interview with another gay lover of the late Aaron Hernandez.

Yes, the paramours of alleged and former murdering tight end of the Patriots are coming out of the woodwork. Had he not been indicted for multiple murders, Aaron Hernandez might have been on the receiving end of Tom Brady’s passes this past night, instead of Gronk and Julian Edelman.

Instead, we are treated to more salacious details of his affair with his high school sweetheart, the quarterback of the Bristol, Connecticut, football team. Aaron had a thing for QBs, which explains his trips to California to train with Tom Brady years ago.

Of course, nowadays, Tom has no memory of the name Hernandez and never breathes it in polite company or even to the media.

Several years ago, during the trials of Hernandez, we were a lone voice in the wilderness, pointing out that the police covered up the gay angle to the crimes—believing it did not serve the public to hear it.

And, of course, the prosecutors declined to go into the gay motive in the murders because they thought the public would never find an NFL player capable of being homoerotic behavior, let alone homicidal behavior.

If you want to read the dirt, unvarnished and uncovered, go to the either the print or ebook entitled The Strange Case of Aaron Hernandez, available on Amazon.

 

 

Karate Kid: Reboot to the Nose

DATELINE:  YouTube Returns LaRusso to Cobra Kai Saga

Zabka

We were never a fan of the 1984 Rocky-style movie for karate kids, but did find its stars interesting. Ralph Maccio never recovered, and William Zabka (the blonde pretty boy bully) should have had a grand career.

Reboot and kick on high might be a good way to go. This is also more interesting than watching Leave it to Beaver cast as adults, a few years back. There is something both alarming and satisfying to see that the child is father to the adult.

We followed Zabka as the son of the Equalizer on the 1980s TV show and were sorry he never caught on.

Now we find the twosome reunited in a YouTube series about the characters LaRusso and Lawrence 35 years later. It is a hit, and it’s not hard to see why. These actors and their character are now fully developed with middle-age. They are interesting—and have an appeal to a generation that grew up and older too.

Not much has changed in terms of their mutual differences and dislike of the other.

It makes the rivalry more interesting. Of course, the obligatory teenagers are at the core of mentoring through karate teaching. Copious film clips to the original action highlights the tales, though Pat Morita can only appear in flashback.

The actors are wonderful: indeed the bad guy of yore, Zabka, is now refreshingly antihero—and Maccio continues to play the obtuse victim of his own life.

The series has been renewed for a second season, which is good news because this is funny, fast, and well-done, much of a surprise considering it comes from a new TV/internet network where expectations may not be high.

 

Borg & McEnroe, Not Exactly Chums

DATELINE: Clash of the KooKoo Birds

great acting

Telling great sports rivalries has become a movie goldmine for Bobby and Billie as well as Bird and Magic. The latest sports film is called Borg Vs. McEnroe.

However, the two most unlikeable figures among elites are the pairing of John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg in 1980. If you don’t remember how it turned out, this movie’s suspense will be enhanced.

Essentially this is the story of two crazed competitors. Yes, we guessed that to compete at a high level you must be touched in the head. Indeed, these two may seem dissimilar, but both were “not quite right in the head,” according to the movie.

The Swede was often called Ice Borg or CyBorg, to indicate he was a robotic and inhuman creature. On the other hand, American John McEnroe comes across as Norman Bates in a McEn-psycho mode.

There really was no relationship between them outside the tennis court. They were not enemies, friends, or even friendly antagonists. They barely acknowledged the other in person.

Instead of showing us, the movie prologue states that the 1980 match changed both men. We never see that. Epilogue cards tell us they became best friends and even served as best man at the other’s wedding. We don’t see any of that.

As for the performances, they are uniformly brilliant. Shia Labeouf is perfect as McEnroe, and Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnasson is equal to the ice borg. They are riveting in the roles, and that makes the film well worth your time and investment.

 

 

Aaron Hernandez Uncovered and Covered Up

DATELINE:  Strange Case

strange

When hotshot celebrity attorney Jose Baez becomes the producer of a documentary on his dead client, you know he will make his retainer fees one way or another.

Aaron Hernandez Uncovered, Part 1 gathers together a unique and motley crew to assess the innocence of the former Patriot star who was an alleged serial killer.

You might also question the cast of interviewed experts and their lack of objectivity—from the moronic sports media who set themselves up as knowledgeable about all facets of gay life to psychological suffering. They might better serve us by admitting they know nothing.

We certainly can understand the position of Hernandez’s girlfriend and mother of his child. She has an unenviable and unavoidable role as his defender. Like Custer’s wife, she will be a formidable force for decades to come.

If anything, from his earliest years, Aaron was regarded as a meal-ticket—from his father who died too soon, to the series of pals and gangsters who saw him as a mark too easy.

We too are guilty of having written about Hernandez and exploited his troubles, with a sarcastic and mean-spirited approach day-by-day during his two trials. You’d be surprised at how unpopular our blog has become, accusing us of emotional sadism.

We noted what Jose Baez tells us as gospel truth and insight, is likely the opposite in reality.

Warning signs are never far away in hindsight. Hernandez had plenty. We could likely learn more from the people who have chosen NOT to participate in this documentary: many Patriot teammates who knew him best.

Where was Tom Brady who trained with Hernandez and even invited him to California for a pre-kill visit? Gronk never befriended him, keeping a distance, and Wes Welker’s run-in was a predictor of a dangerous character. It’s in our book.

Tebow, the Pouncey Twins, and other enablers at Florida never agree to speak in this film.

Kraft and Belichick have taken to revisionist history, which excludes anything Hernandez, having nearly been roped into his trials.

Part One is painfully and skillfully adept at skirting the gay issues that are likely at the heart of his troubles, starting with his endowment that gave him a free ride in the gay world. He was a big man on campus and in the locker room, and he was proud to publicize it.

Featuring the most flattering pix of Hernandez, the story slants away from psychopathia: according to Baez, spindly and epicene Carlos Ortiz was a bodyguard to Aaron. He tended to like slight men who compared to his bizarre ideal of tattoo macho mesomorph.

Groundwork is laid in Part One to note Hernandez was a ‘walking concussion’ poster child. Concussions made him do it, and you can blame the NFL and football violence for that.

 

 

Gronk in Wolf’s Clothing

DATELINE: Movie Star in Making

 while tom sleeps

We feel like the boy who cried “Wolf” about Rob Gronkowski.

For months, since long into last season, we have said he is a prime candidate to turn to a movie star career and leave the dangers and concussions and broken bones of the NFL.

Sports media types who know nothing about movies dismissed the idea, or leaned toward the acting of professional wrestling as more to Gronk’s low-level talents.

Suddenly this week however, it’s becoming apparent how likely it is that Gronk is the next big movie star of action movies and cartoon superheroes. As far as acting goes, he has a face that shows emotion—and with a careful director and judicious cutting room talent, a director can make an Oscar winner.

The worst luck of Tom Brady’s smashed mirror is to lose Gronk to movie stardom.

Gronk may not be Larry Olivier, but he is more than Larry Csonka. He can hit his marks with the best of them, and is a quick study: you learn that from the Belichick system.

So, now, horrors upon horrors, the notion that Gronk had considered retirement even before the past season started proves that he is likely to quit.

As for the Patriot fan in us, we will miss him in a local football uniform, we think his good health and mental stability far outweigh catching a few footballs thrown by Tom Brady next season.

He can always play a football star on screen. There are too few young action heroes (most are 40 or more in age), and Gronk is a spry 27. He may seem older because he has been a fixture for a decade.

Gronk is movie star material, not for Broadway drama, but for glamorous red carpets.

New England Pats: Over & Out

 DATELINE: Time Beats Brady

 

 Patty Jett

It seemed to be the night the magic died.

Brady had gone to the well once too often.

Cue Roy Orbison: “It’s over.”

An ominous augur began the night when Malcolm Butler, one-time super hero of the big game, stood and cried on the sidelines during the national anthem. He was benched for the Super Bowl. His career with the Patriots was over.

There will be grandiose post-mortem analyses galore. The fact remained that the Patriots could not stop Philadelphia Eagles from shredding their defense up and down the field.

The underdog flew high as a mighty eagle.

Tom Brady was sacked in his prime time, with two minutes to go, and lost the ball. You might think he had the game in the bag. But, bags are heavier when you’re forty years old.

At least one questionable call, perhaps two, gave the Eagles touchdowns that might have been reversed during the season. Roger Goodell’s goons were reversing nothing this time.

And, so it ends with a whimper, with no duck boats, and with a cloudy meeting of Belichick, Brady, and Kraft on the horizon. Joint statements may be forthcoming, or perhaps nothing will be public.

Life may begin at forty, but it ends with losing the Super Bowl.

We will have to read the media reality shows.

As far as books on the Patriots season are concerned, few will want to re-live the Super Bow loser, though its political year was one of the most intriguing. Brady’s folly was Brady’s Foles.

Tom Brady Wins Another One

DATELINE:  More or Less Tom Foolery

duke & duchess of Foxboro

Winning the MVP of the NFL 24 hours before you play in a Super Bowl has to take away some motivation for Tom Brady. More honor for the man, less honor than you can muster for any man who has done nothing life-saving, society-protecting, or civilization-advancing.

Brady is a man who uses slights, insults, demeaning treatment, disparaging disrespect to move him to greater heights. To win his third Most Valuable Player award, at age 40, undercuts and guts his psychological attack mode.

How can he use this to intensify his desire to win his sixth Super Bowl?

These are the conundrums of being the so-called Greatest of All Time, GOAT, that must haunt the man before he sleeps this night.

Were we all to have such worries, such issues, such difficulties to face in life, we’d all be happy campers.

Tom Brady cannot be happy about this award, which a few have said was won because everyone else was injured and fell out of contention.

Perhaps that insult is motivation to go out tomorrow and slam-dunk the Eagles.

With so much hype, so many distractions, so much tom-foolery in every story for the past two weeks, for the past twenty years, how can Tom Brady stand one more night of it?

In his ridiculous home movie reality series, he tells his wife Giselle that he wants merely two more Super Bowl rings. It does not compute for a man who has ten digits on two hands.

How will he sleep tonight before the big game? It’s all tom-foolery to ask.

 

Tom Brady’s Five Finger Exercise

DATELINE:  New England Patriot Horror Movie

hands

Let the hand-wringing begin.

No one can shake Tom Brady’s hand this week. If it ain’t broke, can he play with all fingers?

When the Patriots called for all hands on deck during practice on Wednesday, the hand of Tom Brady was among the missing. Usually he keeps his pitching mitt in his cozy hand warmer, but this week it has been a specimen under observation by the greatest medical minds the Kraft family can find.

The handicraft of Tom Brady may be in jeopardy.

Like the hands of a stranger, Brady’s hand is like an alien creature being tested for performance enhancing capabilities. We want to hold his hand like a Beatle, but his circulation could be at risk.

Glad-handers among the media have dismissed the notion that the Patriots needed a Handiwipe to keep the Pats from falling into Trump’s s**thole.

Reports circulate that Handsome Tom Brady has been unable to give hand signals when he drives his Astin-Martin, and his hand gestures have been limited to the usual Trump vocabulary.

After a freak accident, the freakish Brady’s hand no longer can grip a football. It may be time for a hand-me-down to the next quarterback on the roster. Yikes.

We can count the chances for Patriot victory on Sunday on one hand if Tom Brady is not handy.

If Tom can’t get a handle on the ball Sunday, TV ratings will be handed off like a fat woman pouring coffee on her  bosom as in the commercial for DirecTV.

The Patriots will lose hands down if Tom Brady must handoff to Brian Hoyer.

Don’t ask the Patriots for a show of hands.

The Jacksonville Jaguars may prove to be more than a handful.

We are unsure of the Patriots will be able to get a hand on another victory this season if the ball slips out of Brady’s hand.

Rajon Rondo Back with Fan Elan

DATELINE: Back Where He Belongs

RondoLaughs

We were giddy to see Rajon Rondo, even in an ugly Pelican uniform.

Now 31, but looking as young as ever, Rondo came back to Boston for one night and instantly put his stamp of controversy on the Celtics.

He told media members that former Celt Isaiah Thomas did not deserve a video tribute. After all, as Rondo pointed out, he was only on the team for three years and never won a championship. It’s those banners up above the parquet floor that matter.

When Rondo said, “This is the Boston Celtics,” to shoot down the notion that IT deserved not much more than nothing. You know that Rondo is still a Celtic to the core, no red uniform could hide that fact.

Rondo knows of what he speaks. He spent nine years in Boston, and the most recent championship banner came from his hard efforts with the most recent Big Three who are Hall of Fame bound.

You know Rondo loves Paul Pierce—and to honor the latest Cleveland Cavalier with a video would take away from Pierce’s truly great Celtic achievements.

Indeed, Pierce himself sent out word that he thought offering a video tribute to Cousin IT was done out of guilt for trading him so coldly.

If memory serves us, the Celtics also traded Pierce and Rondo for business and humanity.

Then, Rondo in his inimitable fashion went out on the floor and showed he still had that amazing passing ability, doling out assists. Some people might be infatuated with Anthony Uni-brow, wanting him in Boston, but for us, it was Rondo who was the marvel.

We miss Rondo still. We think he misses Boston.

Celtics Sell Out & Sell-Out Celtics

DATELINE: Small Fry

Itt  Cousin Itt

Let’s face it: Little Isaiah Thomas is the biggest star to play for the shortest time in the harsh Boston sports club. Cousin ITT returned with the Cleveland Cavaliers for his post-vindictive revenge tour at the Boston Garden.

It was not LeBron James who impressed the delirious Boston fans, but a variety of former Celtics players who represented failure over the past decade to bring a banner to Boston. They were jettisoned by Celtics operations man, Danny Ainge, when they failed to raise banner-time.

So after vitriol and ugly words, Isaiah returned to Boston. Not only was there a Isaiah Thomas wearing his  Harvard red uniform, now a Cavalier Cleveland lackey, we saw Jay Crowder whose defense  once won plaudits from the fans  for his defensive prowess.

We also saw Jeff Green, who’s coming back from severe injury, as life-threatening as anything Isiah faced with broken jaw, missing teeth, and ripped hip from socket.

Now, on the notable parquet floor, all the harsh words had melted away. Time heals all wounds as well as wounds all heels. There was even a private reconciliation for Danny Ainge.

Little cousin ITT recognized how much he appreciated the Boston fans and the opportunities he had in Boston’s sports bastion to become a star, with a chance to play with LeBron for a championship.

Former Celtic assistant coach Ty Lue now runs the Cavaliers.  And present for the game were the new Patriot diminutive star Dion Lewis, the former Patriot diminutive star Troy Brown, and the diminutive new manager of the Red Sox, Alex Cora.

Tiny Alice was missing in the big celebration of the return of tiny Isaiah Thomas and the miniature Boston corps of would-be stars.

Well, if these shenanigans strike you as a kind of hypocrisy, or worse, a public relations manipulation, you are welcome to join Boston sports in the 21st-century.

The stars of the game were of a new world order: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Cousin ITT’s protégé, Terry Rozier.

 

Heads Up, Tails Down: Pats & Celts

DATELINE:  Twilight Zone Meets Jaws

With an ice storm on the horizon in Boston, the two championship franchises, the Celtics and the Patriots, were also out of town and out of luck. Every great team has its up and downs.

After our ill-timed braggadocio, life gave us a cold slap in the face with ice pellets. Alas, it was too cold to make lemonade out of the fiasco that befell the Patriots and Celtics on Monday night.

We could not imagine these were the same teams that had been so impressive game after game. What on earth happened to the bright lights?

Miami and Chicago laid the expected victors a harsh dose of reality. No one is perfect, not even Bill Belichick or Brad Stevens.

If ever there was a night for Tom Brady to yell at Josh McDaniels this was it. If ever there was a night for Jaylen Brown to keep wearing his goggles, this was it.

Alas, Brown discarded his glasses and Tom Brady made nice with Josh.

When Jayson Tatum is unable to hit three-pointers and Tom Brady throws an interception and only has a handful of passing yards in the first half, you have crossed through the looking glass. In this case, it’s the mirror Tom Brady broke.

The Chicago Bulls are the worst team in the NBA, and the Miami Dolphins are the toughest opponents the Pats ever face in Miami. Brady has his worst record in 18 years against the Dolphins.

We have to admit the Patriots were without Gronk, who was suspended, and the Celts were without Kyrie Irving who needed some rest.

No matter where Boston fans turned, they were on the edge of the Outer Limits.

Both teams, known for their defensive finesse, showed it wasn’t their night. It was reminiscent of On the Waterfront, when Brando’s boxer complained his brother told him to lose, “It wasn’t my night!”

At half-time we were ready to become fair weather fans for our two teams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Night Football, Basketball, and Ancient Aliens

Celtic Jaylen Brown: Out with Bad Eyesight

DATELINE:  No Attitude Glasses for Jaylen

how smart is this guy?

Marcus Smart in Attitude Glasses

Boys who wear glasses seldom make passes in the NBA.

We’re not sure if we should tip our cap to Dorothy Parker or Ogden Nash.

The Green Lantern of the Boston Celtics, also known as Jaylen Brown, was unable to play basketball last night because he didn’t clean his contact lens properly. He can’t wear goggles like Kyrie.

It can happen to anyone, but sometimes your lens cleaning falls awry and the lens can result in redness and other problems. You will have to take out the lens and not wear it until the eye clears up.

The young Celtic superstar in the making has found that he must revert to his Clark Kent eyeglasses for the foreseeable future.

Jaylen Brown couldn’t play wearing glasses, knowing the last person to do that with some Los Angeles Laker 30 years ago.

So, Jaylen  had to stay in the locker room and tend to his red eye. As the resident intellectual of the team, we think he would look good in glasses on the court. Court

Jaylen, of course, reads voraciously, plays chess dress like a Grand Master, and plays a fortissimo piano.

We suspect that he uses eyeglasses when accomplishing great achievement in those fields. However, being a rock star celebrity of basketball is not in the field of vision.

Eyeglasses being anathema, Jaylen was unable to allow photographs of him with four eyes. We hope his eye clears up soon and he will be back out on the court with his fellow Hardy boy and basketball brother, Jayson Tatum.

Marcus Smart has worn fake eyeglasses to look smart, but Jaylen really is smart.

 

 

 

Say It Ain’t So, Gronk!

DATELINE: Rematch With the Pats & Bills Coming Soon!

say it ain't so

The good-natured bon vivant Gronk has transformed suddenly from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.

Beloved by children, and deemed safe for children, he has now taken on the mantle of being dangerous and locked away from those supporters. He may find himself the object of parental controls on the cable remote.

On top of all this, he may lose $2 million in bonus payments under his Patriot contract.

Whether coffee chain, Drunken Dognuts will keep him as a spokesperson may be a bigger issue now on the breakfast table and a test of Gronk’s viability and survivability.

We do not believe he has reached the Kevin Spacey level where he will be CGI removed from future Patriot games, but Belichick may give him more distance in the off-season.

Gronk’s new sudden unpopularity may win him an endorsement from President Trump, a man who likes crypto-Nazis who go against the grain. He has now membership in the ICE-colored storm troopers of Trump.

In an age of racially charged tension, Gronk has gone from the great white hope to a man with a black hearted soul. He has become another white man assaulting a black man. He goes to the top of the Most Wanted List by Black Lives Matter with one pile driving splash.

Gronk has always had carte blanche from the Patriots, and they like to paint themselves as the victims of every scandal.

Like his best friend and teammate Tom Brady, Gronk is challenging the legal determination. Unlike his friend Brady, Gronk has already and quickly admitted his guilt.

Confession maybe good for the soul, but it may not help with followers on Twitter, Facebook, and other childish social media.

Gronk has always been perceived as a big dumb lout, but fun and likable. He has now crossed for thin red line in a year in which football fans are dropping like flies over trivia.

Like the NFL version of Scrooge, Gronk has given a concussion to another player during the season of giving. He’s liable to find himself the recipient of many unhappy returns.