Vote for Rich: The Next President of Boston Sports


Vote for Rich: The Next President of Boston Sports

Ladies and gentlemen, liberals and conservatives, the day of reckoning is upon us. The day when we all, hopefully, will exercise our basic rights as Americans and vote for the leaders of our country.

Over the last few months, youve been inundated with non-stop campaigning, intense debate, editorialized social media hell and some of the most annoying television commercials this side of the NAPA Know How Guy. I know that youre ready for it all to stop. And today, mercifully, it will. Weve reached the end of the election road, my friends. And now the ball is in your court.

But before you step into the polls this afternoon and tonight, I hope youll take a moment and read what I have to say. As a candidate for President of Boston Sports, I want to make our city a better place for all fans, regardless of the color of your jersey; regardless whether you sit courtside or in the nose bleeds. I want to create an atmosphere where our teams are best suited to succeed. I want to bring Boston back from the ashes and into a new era of dominance, so we can regain our standing as the envy of every sports city in the free world.

But I can only do it with your vote.

I need you. But I promise, moving forward, you need me just as much. And I swear, that if elected to office, I will dedicate my life to raising the discourse and taking the quality of life and sports in this city to levels never seen under any previous administration.

With Tom Brady as my witness, I will do it. And I will do it all for you: The Boston sports fan.

Today, there's no more pressing issue than the in-game experience at our various stadiums and arenas. Exorbitant ticket prices and the lure of comfortable couches and superior HD TVs are reeking havoc on attendance numbers and threatening the core of an across-the-board home-courtfieldice advantage that has powered our teams over the last 100 years. But in dealing with this problem, it's important to be realistic. Instead of simply demanding lower ticket prices, we must increase the value of going to the games. We must make it more enjoyable for all parties. And there are a few easy and immediate steps that we can take to ensure that things start moving in the right direction.

First, any fan, at any game, that is seen standing up with a cell phone in his or her hand, waving to either the camera or a friend in another part of the park will be ejected and suspended for a month. Their photo will be immediately posted on the in-stadium Jumbotron with the caption "Fan's Name is an a------." I know that this language may not be suitable for all ages, but it's important that our youth understands the consequences of this kind of behavior. These are desperate times, folks.

Speaking of waving, under my administration, "the wave" will be outlawed everywhere outside Fenway Park. And within Fenway, the wave will only be permitted after the sixth inning and during games in which the Red Sox have a lead in excess of two runs. Furthermore, the wave will only be conducted in the bottom half of innings as to not screw with the concentration andor communication between the Sox pitcher and catcher.

The presence of hecklers is an essential aspect of any homefield advantage, but we can all agree that, when in the wrong hands, heckling poses a threat to the sanctity of any trip to the stadium. There is nothing worse than a bad, unfunny heckler. Under my administration, hecklers will be licensed and unionized. Wannabe hecklers will undergo strenuous training in which they'll be schooled in the finer aspects of the art. The difference between funny and annoying; between getting in the head of an opposing player and acting in a way that makes other fans want to ring your neck. Once passing the course and it's not a given that they will hecklers will be granted access to the Boston Heckler Network, a place where the best and brightest can exchange ideas in the days and hours before a big game. Licensed hecklers will be given a white sports coat emblazoned with a unique bar code that will wear to any and all events.

I previously mentioned the importance of educating our youth on the proper way to act during these games, and I can't stress enough how essential this is. The children are our future! And whether or not you have a child, it's everyone's responsibility to make sure that youth is served. On that note, if you are sitting at a game and hear a father providing bogus information to his son or daughter, it is on you to interject. If a child leaves a game under the impression that Jason Terry used to play for the Rockets or that Zdeno Chara comes from Russia, everyone in that section will be held accountable and subject to punishment.

Lastly, a few specific changes I will make to stadiums in this city.

1. An extra entrance will be added to TD Garden so that no one is forced to wait out in the cold in the moments leading up to a big Bruins or Celtics game. Not to mention, both escalators and the staircase will remain open every night. I will also open four kiosks throughout the arena that sell ONLY chicken fingers. As it is, the lines are outrageous. And let's be honest, that's all anyone is looking for.

2. An additional three Route 1 crossings will be created at Gillette Stadium. Each crossing will need no more than two police officers on site. I will also be open to "Fantasy Football Lounges" on each end of the stadium. The lounges will be equipped multiples TVs showing live broadcasts of other games, and computers where fans without proper smart phones (or phones that are out of batteries) can check in on their match-ups. There will be a two-minute limit at each computer.

3. There will be NO "E Line" trains during the hours before and after a Red Sox game.

4. All teams will be forced to show all important replays, regardless of whether a call or play resulted negatively for the home team. This is non-negotiable.

Moving on, as much as we need to improve the experience of supporting our teams in person, it's just as essential to regulate the people who cover them. The role of media here in Boston is so important to the overall pleasure and excitement of being a sports fan, and there are many ways in which it can be improved upon. Now, I realize the need for free speech, and I don't want to infringe on anyone's rights. But there are important, brave steps that need to be made. And I am the man to make them. Here's where I'd start:

First and foremost, there's no place for backwards thinking in this city. Not politically that's in the eye of the beholderear of the listener but socially. Bigotry will NOT be tolerated. On that note, one of my first acts of president will be to run a New England-wide pledge drive of which I will donate a significant amount of my own money to buy Dennis and Callahan out of the rest of their contract. If WEEI is inclined, they will be allowed to transform the show into a weekly podcast, but only grant access to listeners over the age of 55. (That shouldn't be a problem).

Also, anytime that Tony Massarotti makes the same point more than three times in the same breath, his mic will be shut off for a minute. For instance, "You know, Mike, I was looking it up this morning and the Patriots secondary just SUCKS! Really, when you look at all the numbers, it's really just a sucky secondary. And to be completely honest, the more I think about it, in and of itself, the secondary just SUCKS! And . . ." Boom. Silence. Bertrand's mic goes live and the conversation continues without missing a beat. Also, anytime Mazz mocks a caller with his go to schtick, I will make SURE that said caller will be allowed to deliver one free punch to anywhere on Massarotti's body.

Felger and Mazz will NOT be allowed to discuss the NBA, and the Big Show will NOT be allowed to discuss hockey. This will solve a lot of problems.

Listen, there's so much more we need to address in this city, and I promise, if you elect me as the President of Boston Sports, I will see that anything that needs to be done, will be done. I will leave no stone unturned in the betterment of this sports society. But before you head into the polls and decide my fate or more specifically our fate, I want to leave you with one final promise.

Under my administration, twice every year at the start and end of each season Danny Ainge, Larry Lucchino, Bill Belichick and Jeremy Jacobs will be hooked up to a polygraph and subjected to an interview on live TV. Conducted by me, your president. I will ask all the tough questions, and hold everyone accountable. I won't ask them to divulge any secrets or put the success of their teams at risk, but I can promise you that we will live in a city of honesty and reasonable transparency. I will demand that from the leaders of our teams.

And I promise that every step along the way, you will always get the same unconditional honesty and transparency from me.

Vote for Rich.

You won't regret it.

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON, Mass – Malcolm Subban says that he believes that he can still be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that’s admirable on some level for the sheer, brazen self-confidence involved in saying this after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden, pretty much all of the evidence points out the contrary. Nearly two years after getting pulled from his NHL debut in against the St. Louis Blues after giving up three goals on six shots, Subban was pulled from Tuesday night’s appearance after giving up three goals on eight second period shots with the Bruins desperately in need of a quality start in goal.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone after another humbling NHL effort against Minnesota, and that’s a testament to the maturity and mental toughness of the person behind the goalie mask.

“It sucks. Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one. Obviously it sucks, but what can you do now, right?” said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously I want to be a number one goaltender in the league. I was a high pick for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it. Obviously, I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero tangible evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Instead he’s the emergency goaltender called on by the Bruins only after Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin have both been shelved by injuries, and he’s now flunked the two pop quizzes when the NHL team needed him to come through.

Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft class have already proven their NHL worth and broken through at the elite level: Matt Murray, Frederik Anderson, Connor Hellebuyck and Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly with a Bruins team not playing well in front of him. The first goal was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third goal was a softie low and to the glove side, power play strike authored by Ryan Suter. It added up to poor goaltending and shoddy defense, but it also added up to a Bruins goaltender that didn’t even give his hockey club a chance to win.

“It could be a combination of both. There are some goals – I’m not going to lie – there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had. But I’m not here to talk about a goaltender who’s in one of his first few games because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him and we weren’t any better, and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka [Rask] is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough, and Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide open shots from the slot - like the Chris Stewart score in the second period that arrived 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal - are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player in Subban that should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, and anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after failing in each of his first two NHL starts. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first round bust for the Bruins rather than suddenly develop into a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender in Boston.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer than that if Rask can’t make rapid progress with his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and the four goals allowed to Minnesota were not all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that Subban should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie that’s been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, and plays like a goaltender that’s never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.