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Is your glass half full or half empty?
Dave Long's Longshots

07/01/15
By Dave Long dlong@hippopress.com



  The old saying goes, there are those who see the glass as half empty and others who see it as half full. Last week in sports was perfect for psychologists to view this phenomenon up close, as a number of local and national stories elicited a wide variety of points of view on the exact same story. Here’s how some of the thinking went.

 
AHL Monarchs Play Last Game in Town
 
Glass Half Empty: Folks who fancy themselves hockey experts will say the Manchester Monarchs’ run to win the Calder Cup shows that we’ll not see the same level of play next year as the L.A. Kings AHL franchise moves to the West Coast and is replaced by its ECHL version. 
 
Glass Half Full: The excitement of the M’s run showed what they really are to hockey fans in these parts: a vibrant part of the community. One that contributes entertainment, a night out of the house, coolness for kids who play and love hockey, jobs for folks attached to the team and, at the V, a financial contributor to continued vitality of the city-owned arena, and most of all, for those invested, something to be part of. 
 
As for “level of play,” fewer than 5 percent can really tell — and even if they can, it doesn’t matter. I am a basketball person who prefers the NBA to college basketball because the level of play is so much better. But I have also been a gigantic SNHU fan, as well as Saint Anselm and Division II, where I’ve enjoyed as many heart-pounding moments as in anything with the Celtics because I felt part of it. That’s what it was like during the Monarchs’ run — an excitement all were collectively part of that only is delivered by a hometown team. Whether it happens in the AHL or ECHL it will be the same for those who are part of it. 
 
Tiger Mauled Again
 
Glass Half Empty: After missing the cut at the U.S. Open, the scary thing is he may not even have hit rock bottom yet. While solid players like Steve Blass and Rick Ankiel have lost it overnight, never has any sports greatest player fallen as far as fast when young enough to still be in his prime as Tiger Woods.  
 
Glass Half Full: Well, uhm, he still has his health. Plus, after seeing Ankiel become a pretty decent outfielder and Blass once recording two holes-in-one in the same round, maybe he can switch sports.  
 
Jenner to Get ESPN’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award
 
Glass Half Full: Regardless of how anyone feels about Bruce Jenner becoming Caitlyn, it’s his body, his life and no one else’s business. Plus, she’ll get to play from the red tees, which is a bonus for any golfer. 
 
Glass Half Empty: In a year when Mt. Saint Joseph College hoopster Lauren Hill wouldn’t give in to brain cancer to play one more game and ALS-afflicted baseball player Peter Frates raised millions for ALS research, ESPN has got to be kidding about naming Jenner. First, he hasn’t been active in athletics since the 1976 Olympics, so how does his story have anything to do with sports? Second, the PR assault underway has nothing to do with making it easier for those who come after him, or with regaining “dignity.” If it were the latter he’d have done it quietly and not gone on with Diane Sawyer or been on the cover of the aptly named Vanity Fair. It’s about the millions for the reality show and the same look at me, me, me attention-seeking that’s been going on since he and his first wife were cutesie-cute photo op couple in Montreal, while ESPN is in it for an ESPY’s rating bump.   
 
Danny Ainge on the Clock
 
Glass Half Empty:  The Celtics had a nice run but that was helped by playing in a historically bad division. Plus not being in the lottery blew a chance at getting a difference-maker in the draft who’d play for a decade. 
 
Glass Half Full: (a) Playoff experience will pay future dividends. (b) They’re just two players away from contending in the East. True, the missing players are one who can score 20 a night and a rebounding big to anchor the defense, so it won’t be easy. But with free agents like that available, while having $30 million in cap space and 11 first-round picks the next five years Danny has far more ammo than when his 2007 trade for Ray Allen convinced KG to come aboard, which turned a 24-win team into NBA champ in a month.  
Sox 2015 Season Prospects
 
Glass Half Full: While most in the Nation have counted out the Sox already, I haven’t. History shows the Giants were 13 out in mid-August before catching Brooklyn and Bobby Thompson’s “Shot Heard Round the World” won it. The Yankees were 14 games out when Billy Martin got fired on July 30 in 1978 and just 7 games out a week later. In the year of Morgan Magic the Sox won 18 of their first 20 games after John McNamara got fired. True, they haven’t played well. But at times the pitching’s been good, and the hitting’s been good at others, just never at the same time. But that shows they can do both, and being in synch could produce a run needed to get back in it. Baseball’s a marathon, not a sprint. Never better exemplified than in 2004, where before the A-Rod-Varitek fight they were looking at being one of the most disappointing teams in team history and we know how that ended. 
 
Glass Half Empty: The season is over, Farrell and especially Cherington should be fired. And think of how ticked off the Nation will be when Theo opens up his treasure trove of high-end prospects to get the Phillies to send Cole Hamels to the Cubs instead of Boston at the trade deadline.
 
Email Dave Long at dlong@hippopress.com. 

 






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