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Bob Lobel: Why Can’t We Get Great Athletes Like Central Mass?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

 

GoLocalWorcester Sports Contributor Bob Lobel

If I may point out the obvious, this may be the week that ends it for the Red Sox.

Carrying two former aces that have become major liabilities on the mound is enough of a problem when you're playing Kansas City, but to face the Rangers and Yankees on the road with that staff may be enough to turn the Red Sox from buyers to sellers at the trade deadline.

To think of Boston as a seller is nearly incomprehensible to me, but here we are. It doesn't look like Bobby Valentine will be manager of the year after all. While Bobby is a native New Englander, hailing from Connecticut, he is not eligible for GoLocalWorcester's list of the greatest athletes from Central Massachusetts. I have to say, I was surprised by some of the names on this elite list.

I would like to offer my humble, and somewhat sketchy opinion on what the top-5 should look like in Central Mass.

It would be hard not to put the great Connie Mack at the top. As an athlete, I know very little about his prowess, but his legendary status in American sports as a manager and owner cannot be overlooked.

Bob Cousy would probably be No. 1A when we talk about greatness. After that, it's really a popularity contest. Not putting Howie Long near the top would be a mistake on many levels, because the big guy may come back and hurt me. Ron Darling is near the top somewhere, and I would round out my top-5 with my personal favorite, Mark Fidrych.

On the way to his wake, after his tragic death a few years ago, I decided I would attempt to interview as many New England sports legends as possible. To give it a cheap plug, the show airs on WBIN and provides a terrific outlet for these greats to talk about life outside the uniform. Mark would have been my first interview, but it sadly never happened. If this list does nothing other than give me the chance to mention him again, it's worth it.

One last thing about the Penn State situation before we move on. I cannot stand the involvement of the NCAA in this whole affair. They seized a public relations moment by giving a blood-thirsty public what it wanted. The NCAA may have been right in deciding that a hammer being dropped on the Penn State football program was just, but who were they to decide that?

They simply allowed the Freeh Report serve as the document of record, rather than conducting their own investigation. But now, what's done is done. The dead coach lost over 100 games in one day, and the NCAA will come to regret its knee jerk reaction, as officials always seem to.

At least that is my hope for the NCAA. There is really nothing else to say about this giant mess.

 

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