Red Sox rolling

The Big Story – Surging Red Sox: We still have a very long way to go, but the pole position between Chaim Bloom and his critics (of which I’ve been a very vocal one) as to who was right and who was wrong about the 2023 Red Sox goes to Bloom after the first five weeks of the season. The Sox have quickly rebounded from a slow start to go 15-7 since April 13. That’s the second best mark in baseball over that span and included an eight-game winning streak that ended Sunday in Philly. Thus, for the moment, all is looking up for Red Sox Nation.

Sports 101: With the passing of iconic ’70s Oakland A’s hurler Vida Blue over the weekendwe were reminded he was one of only five guys to start an All-Star game for both the AL and NL. Name the other four.

News Item – New Baseball Rules Working: Over the objections of its whiny players, baseball instituted new rules for 2023 that are having a very positive impact.

According to AP baseball reporter Ron Blum, the pitch clock has dropped the average game length from three hours, five minutes in 2022 to 2:37 in 2023.

And thanks to banning shifts to keep the shortstop on the left side of second base, the batting averages of left-handed hitters have risen from an average of .229 to .243, while for righties it’s .234 to .250 and runs scored are up 1.1 per. And limiting pick-off attempt throw-overs has led to a 40-percent jump in stolen bases.

News Item – Betts Trade Finally Paying Dividends: It’ll never be an even deal. But with Alex Verdugo providing spark while hitting .300+ in the lead-off spot and Connor Wong splitting time at catcher while hitting .257 following last week’s 4-4, two-homer game vs. Toronto, two of the three players who came back in the Mookie Betts deal are finally having an impact in Boston. Throw in being out from under their share of David Price’s gargantuan contract, and it’s looking a lot better than it did 12 months ago.

News Item – Glass Half Empty or Half Full for Sale: An interesting question since Chris Sale had three brutal early starts along with two very goods and a third pretty good one. He’s trending up by winning his last two, one when he gave up three hits and one run in 6.1 innings, then striking out 10 over six innings to beat the Phillies 5-3 Friday. And most importantly he walked just one in those outings.

News Item – A Father’s Conundrum: A sidebar story of the Warriors-Lakers playoff series is the question, who is Klay Thompson’s father rooting for? That would be one-time ’80s Showtime Laker Mychal Thompson, who these days is color analyst for Lakers radio broadcasts. So who is he rooting for? Klay said going in he thought dad would be for L.A. all the way!

Random Thoughts:

Who knows how one failed first overall pick in the NBA draft contributed to both teams in the 76er-Celtics series?

That would be Markelle Fultz, who of course was taken first by Philly in 2016 after they flipped picks with Danny Ainge, which gave Boston an additional first in 2017. It dropped them to third overall, where they took their supposed first choice all along, Jayson Tatum. Then, after a rash of issues led to Fultz’s flameout in Philly, he was dumped in a trade for Orlando’s first pick in the 2019, which turned out to be 20th overall that Philly used to take speedy Tyrese Maxey out of Kentucky.

Doc Rivers is right — Tatum did push Maxey off on his huge 3 at the end of OT on Sunday. But his whining would have a lot more credibility if James Harden didn’t get three calls a game he doesn’t deserve after flopping after 3-ball attempt like he was shot by an elephant rifle, or that Joel Embiid is never called for smashing defenders with his chest first to create space push to shoot before they come back with contact and then goes to the line. Sorry, Doc, one’s an offensive foul and the other should get a T.

The Numbers:

.331 batting average for ex-Fisher Cat Bo Bichette when he left Fenway last Thursday after going 7 for 16 in the Sox’ four-game sweep of the Blue Jays. The 2023 stat line also included 7 homers and 21 RBI in 32 games.

1 – error committed in 30 April games by Sox third baseman Rafael Devers, which didn’t even happen until the final day of April. Of course he then made one in each of three consecutive games to start May to bring the total to 4.

3 – walk-off game-winning hits by Alex Verdugo after clubbing a ninth-inning homer to give the Sox a 6-5 win over Toronto on Monday.

Sports 101 Answer: The other AL and NL All Star starters are Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Roy Halladay and Max Scherzer.RIP, Vida.

Final Thought – Patriots Hall of Fame: Enough already for holding the petty 30-year grudge that makes it harder for Bill Parcells to get in the Patriots Hall. It happened again last week when the deserving Mike Vrabel got in over Tuna in the fan vote.

The one-per-year thing is fine except when an overwhelming case can be made for a guy as age enters the picture as it now has for the 81-year-old Parcells.

The Kraft family made an exception for the deserving contributions of longtime line coach Dante Scarnecchia this year and the same thing should be done for Parcells. Because while they didn’t win the Super Bowls, he and Drew Bledsoe are as important to team history as Coach B and Tom Brady because they turned the Pats from a joke franchise to one everyone took seriously in these parts. It’s time to do the right thing and put him in.

Email Dave Long at

May on two wheels

How to celebrate National Bike Month

Throughout May, New Hampshire communities are celebrating National Bike Month with events, initiatives and challenges aimed at inspiring people of all ages to take to the roads on two wheels. Tammy Zamoyski, Regional Planner at the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission, which is promoting New Hampshire Bike Month in partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and the Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire, talked about the benefits of biking and provided some pointers for beginner cyclists participating in this month’s activities. Visit for the schedule.

What is National Bike Month, and how is New Hampshire celebrating?

The League of American Bicyclists started Bike Month in 1956 as a way to celebrate the benefits of bicycling and to encourage people to give it a try. In New Hampshire, the Planning Commission has partnered with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and the Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire to celebrate New Hampshire Bike Month. We’ve been reaching out to different communities and organizations throughout the state to see how everybody is celebrating and to put together an events calendar. There’s National Bike and Roll to School Day and a variety of bike rodeos and events for children. There are events to get adults back on bikes, like a “Relearn to Ride a Bike” class. There are some recreational opportunities, such as the Tour de Francestown, which is a gravel bike ride they do every year.

Bike to Work Week is May 15 through May 21. What is that about?

Bike to Work Week is a time to encourage people to try riding their bike to work. We try to make it a fun activity that people can do together. In the past we’ve set up breakfast stations where people can stop on their way to work, and even happy hour events where people can stop on their way home from work and grab a drink and a bite to eat with other people who have ridden. It’s a great way to build community.

Do you ride your bike to work?

Every single day, no matter the weather.

What are the benefits of biking?

The biggest thing for me is the impact on the climate; riding a bike is something we can do to decrease our carbon footprint. Burn fat, not fuel! It’s great for your physical health, and for your mental health, as well. It relieves stress and is a great way to start and end your day. I also feel like it creates a sense of community. When you’re not in a car, you notice so many different things about your environment, and it helps you connect with neighbors and other people who are out and about.

What tips do you have for people who are new to biking and want to give it a try this month?

One of the most important things is planning your route. Remember that the fastest way by car isn’t always the safest or most enjoyable way by bike. A lot of times, you can go over a block or two and take a less traveled, quieter back road, and it may take a few minutes longer to get to your destination, but it’ll be a much more enjoyable experience. You can use tools like Google Maps, which has a cycling feature, to find the best routes. It’ll show you all the different ways you can go, and it’ll even show the elevation and recommend the best way to go if you want to avoid hills. Another thing I recommend is to find a bike buddy; it’s one thing to ride your bike on a rail trail or a closed street, but when you’re out in traffic and navigating through intersections, it can be quite intimidating. Riding with someone who can show you the ropes until you get comfortable to ride on your own is a good idea. Dress for the weather; wear layers. Some people like to bring a change of clothes for when they get to work in case they get sweaty. Lastly — and this has been a total game-changer for me — get a basket for your bike. I know it sounds silly, but it has revolutionized the way I ride. I can stop and get groceries or bring my winter jacket without having to worry about being able to fit everything in my backpack to get it home.

What would you like to see for the future of biking in New Hampshire?

I would love to see more enthusiasm around bicycling as a viable mode of transportation. I think a lot of people view it as a recreational opportunity, which it is, but it’s also a really great way to get around. It offers more opportunities to get around for people who don’t have a car, choose not to drive or don’t have access to transit. I’d really like to see some of our communities become “Bicycle Friendly Communities,” which is a designation that the League of American Bicyclists has set up for communities that meet [bike friendly] criteria.

Featured photo: Tammy Zamoyski. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 23/05/11

Councilors want historical marker removed

Two Executive Councilors, Joseph Kenney and David Wheeler, are calling for the removal of the latest New Hampshire Historical Highway Marker installed by the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, NHPR reported in a story on May 3. The marker, located at the corner of Court and Montgomery Streets in downtown Concord, recognizes Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who was, according to a press release from the Division, “a well-known labor, women’s rights and civil liberties activist.” The marker, which identifies Flynn as “The Rebel Girl” and highlights Flynn’s involvement in the labor movement and her imprisonment after joining the Communist Party, has been approved by the Concord Heritage Commission and city council and verified for factual accuracy by the state, as is the standard process for all historical markers, the NHPR report said. The controversy prompted Gov. Chris Sununu to call for a complete review of the historical marker process, though no timetable was given, the story said.

May 3 is Old Man Day

Gov. Chris Sununu signed HB 96 on May 3, officially declaring the date Old Man of the Mountain Day. According to a press release, the signing, which took place at an Executive Council meeting, was attended by members of the legislature and the Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund, and Grammy-nominated songwriter Rick Lang performed “The Great Stone Face” in honor of the anniversary. Additionally, community member Ron Ketchie donated glass etchings of the Old Man of the Mountain to the State of New Hampshire.

New MDC leaders

The Manchester Development Corporation (MDC) has announced a new leadership team after a unanimous vote during a recent meeting. According to a press release, Amy Chhom, a Manchester resident and real estate professional, has been elected as the Board of Directors Chair. Chhom has worked with multiple real estate development groups in Manchester and is currently the Vice President of ROC USA, a nonprofit that supports resident-owned manufactured housing communities. “Manchester is growing rapidly and it’s exciting to see new businesses starting across the city,” Chhom said in the release. I’m excited to continue working with the Board and the City’s Economic Development team on identifying new opportunities to enhance our city.” The board has also elected new officers, including Roland Martin as Vice Chair, Steve Scheiner as Treasurer, and Maria Mongan as Secretary. Newly elected members of the committee include Michael Harrington, Joshua Wright and Attorney Rebecca Kane. The MDC is a nonprofit development corporation that supports economic development initiatives of the city and has provided more than $2 million to develop projects in Manchester, as well as providing gap financing to business owners and developers to assist in economic development opportunities that will lead to job retention and creation.

Saving the Gasholder

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance has received a timely $20,000 donation for the preservation and redevelopment of the historic Gasholder in Concord. According to a press release, the donation, made by Brian Quinn through his work at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President’s Grant Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, will contribute to the Preservation Alliance’s ongoing effort to stabilize the Gasholder and repurpose the surrounding 2-acre property. “When I was growing up here in the 1980s, I passed by the Gasholder thousands of times and I learned about it in social studies class at Conant School,” Quinn said in the release. “I’m excited to see that people from around the community are coming together to find a new life for it.” Completed last fall, the emergency stabilization work has helped to preserve the vulnerable structure, and advocates continue to work on short- and long-term plans for the landmark site.

Pilotte named Civic Fellow

Kelly Pilotte, a 2022 graduate of NHTI’s Addiction Counseling program and current business major, has been named a 2023 Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow. According to a press release, Campus Compact is a Boston-based nonprofit organization that supports the public purposes of higher education, and Pilotte is one of 154 students in the 2023 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows, representing 38 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico. The fellowship is named for the late Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman and is a one-year experience focused on personal, professional and civic growth. Fellows gain access to a range of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference in Boston and exclusive scholarships and post-graduate opportunities. “The Newman Civic Fellowship award is a great opportunity to learn. I hope to encourage others to find their own path in serving those around them,” Pilotte said in the release. “The same people who work towards supporting the development and well-being of others are ultimately the ones who find success in their own leadership. These are the people who can and will change the world.” Pilotte is also involved in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and is a vice president at NHTI. Additionally, she has served in various roles and established the Michael Stephen Boyd Memorial Foundation, which will establish an addiction recovery center in her son’s name.

Join NH Hunger Solutions, Save the Children Action Network and community experts on Tuesday, May 16, at 6 p.m. at Red River Theatres in Concord (11 S. Main St.) for an evening dedicated to raising awareness about hunger in New Hampshire. The event will feature a screening of a portion of the documentary A Place at the Table, followed by a panel discussion on the topic of hunger in New Hampshire and potential solutions. Light refreshments will be provided, and a suggested donation can be made upon entry or when registering online. Visit

Manchester Community Music School (2291 Elm St., Manchester) presents its Share the Music Gala on Friday, May 19, at 6:30 p.m. The evening will feature dance lessons by North Shore Swing Dance, a student musical performance of “Baroque and Blue,” a silent auction, hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Tickets cost $50 per person or $450 for a table of 10. Visit

Gov. Chris Sununu signed HB 20 into law on May 4, officially naming a bridge in Merrimack after the late former Speaker of the House, the Honorable Richard “Dick” Hinch. “Former Speaker Dick Hinch was a fierce defender of the New Hampshire Advantage, a dear friend, and a respected public servant who worked tirelessly to better the lives of his fellow Granite Staters,” Sununu said in a press release. “Naming a bridge in his hometown of Merrimack in his honor is a fitting tribute to a man who worked day in and day out to build bridges in Concord to get the job done on behalf of his constituents.”

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