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. , , . . Page16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, JULY 5, 2013 Red Sox Much Improved Manager John Farrell has taken the Boston Red Sox to the 50 win mark at the end of the first half of the sea- son. After last season under Bobby Valentine who was a major disappointment, Farrell is looking like a cross between Sparky Anderson and Earl Weaver. Injuries haven't stopped the 2013 Sox as they keep finding ways to come back to win games. Jon Lester isn't great, but good. John Lackey is back from surgery and getting better. Hopefully, Clay will return soon from his injuries. Biggest hole on the team is finding a good closer who doesn't get hurt. Captain Carl and Jack Sheerin Jack Sheerin I bumped into Jack Sheerin over in West Roxbury recently, sporting a Red Sox retro jersey with "Carl Yastrzemski and 8" on its back. Jack tells me he and Yaz were born on the EXTRA Innings by Sal Giarratani same day, August 22 nd, 1939, which makes them both go- ing on 74 years old. By the way, Jack wanted me to know that August 29 th is the umpteenth anniver- sary of the beheading of Saint John the Baptist, for what it's worth. Even Baseball Gloves Have Birthdays My old first baseman's mitt turns 48 years old this year. I'm not playing softball yet but am hoping that the West End Softball League starts up a late summer schedule of games because I am both tanned and ready. Youngest MLB Player in History On June l0 th, 1944, Joe Nuxhall at 15 years, 10 months and 11 days became the youngest player in ma- jor league baseball history when he pitched two-thirds of an inning for the Cincin- nati Reds in an 18-0 loss to the Saint Louis Cardinals. Remembering Bob Neighbors Bob Neighbors played in a mere seven games for two weeks in September 1939 for the old Saint Louis Browns, but that earned him the un- wanted distinction. He was a career U.S. Air Force pilot who was shot down over North Korea on August 8, 1952, making him the only Major League baseball player lost in the Korean War. In the Mailbag Comic Johnny Pizzi re- cently pointed out an error on my part. I mentioned re- cently that Sonny Seibert was a lefty when in fact, he was right-handed. I want to know, how does my friend Johnny Pizzi know if I wasn't just talking about Sonny's politics? By the way, Johnny, do you know who Norm Seibern was? BIOSSE vs. GINGRAS Rich Gingras (13-3, 8 KOs) of Pawtucket, R.I., challenges Providence's own Vladine Biosse (15-2-I, 7 KOs) for the New England Super Middleweight Title on Saturday, July 27 th, 2013 at Twin River Casino. The 8-round super middleweight show- down between Biosse and Gingras is the main event of "Game On," presented by Jimmy Burchfield's Classic Entertainment & Sports. Coincidentally, it will be the first sporting event at Twin River since the ca- sino introduced live table games at the be- ginning of June. Excitement will be at an all-time high come July 27 th and the fight card is shaping up to be CES' strongest of 2013. In addition to the turf war between Gingras and Biosse, middleweight Thomas Falowo (10-1, 7 KOs) of Pawtucket, R.I., will star in his first 8-round co-feature while Willimantic, Conn., light heavyweight Kevin Cobbs (7-1, 2 KOs) will face his tough- est test to date in a 6-round bout against unbeaten Philadelphia prospect Todd Unthank-May (7-0, 2 KOs). "Game On," will also feature the return of cruiserweight Josh Harris (9-6-i, 7 KOs), formerly of Youngstown, Ohio and now train- ing out of Providence and New London, Conn., female bantamweight Shelito Vincent (9-0), who will fight in a separate six-round bout. Fellow female bantamweight Marcia Agripino of Groton, Conn., will make her professional debut against Brooklyn's Vanessa Greco (1-2-3) and Providence super middleweight KJ Harrison-Lombardi (1-0) will make his Twin River debut against Boston's Maceo Crowder (2-1) in a four- round bout. Brockton, Mass., heavyweight Julian Pollard (2-0, 2 KOs) will also fight in a separate four-round bout. All fights and fighters are subject to change. Classic Entertainment & Sports will induct former standout boxer Jarrod REIGNING NEW ENGLAND super middle- weight champion Vladine Biosse (right) of Providence, R.I., will defend his title against challenger Rich Gingras of nearby Pawtucket on Saturday, July 27 th, in an eight-round main event of "Game On," at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI. (CES photos by Ian Travis Barnard) Tillinghast of Providence, R.I., into its pres- tigious Ring Of Honor. Tillinghast, who fin- ished 9-0 with three knockouts as a profes- sional in the light heavyweight division between 1996 and 2007, will join a list of inductees that also includes former boxers Marlon Starling, Vinny Paz, "Irish" Micky Ward, Rocky Marciano, "Iceman" John Scully, Gary "Tiger" Balletto and more. Tickets can be purchased by calling CES at 401-724-2253/2254, online at www.cesboxing.com or www.twinriver.com, at the Players Club booth at Twin River, or through any TicketMaster location. Doors open 6:00 pm with the first bout scheduled for 7:00 pm. (Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for "Game On." Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and must enter through the West entrance.) I It had its genesis in confu- sion, chaos and a process called collective bargaining. And just moments before it ended on a warm June night the players were once again talking collectively following a period of confusion and chaos on the ice. These were the two book- ends for the 2012-2013 National Hockey League sea- son that really took several months to get under way be- fore the players could once again display their talents. In reality it was really on the 2013 portion of the season since no games were played in the fall of 2012. To be sure, they had enough time to settle their differ- ences without impacting the season. Everyone knew the collective bargaining agree- ment was expiring and that the summer of 2012 was cru- cial to getting a deal done. But what can you expect from all parties to an agree- ment that permitted a CBA to expire just days before the full opening of September train- ing camps, leaving virtually no wiggle room to negotiate? Thus, one by one, various benchmark dates came and went without the attendant on-ice activity, as the NHL receded further and further from the public mind, its place taken over by the base- ball playoffs, football and bas- ketball. Training camps closed (or were never fully opened) and the players dispersed -- some to overseas teams, a few to minor league affiliates while others simply went home. Pre-season games went by the boards followed by the opening week of the regular season. Thanksgiving week- end came and went. The an- nual outdoor game was can- celled and the all-star game was also wiped off the books. Christmas came but brought no joy to the NHL and New Year's Day, rather than indicating a new beginning, seemed to signal the ever- looming possibility of a drop dead date that would see the entire season dismissed. Against this backdrop, bickering and meetings be- tween player representatives and league negotiators con- tinued off and on in New York. Finally, in early January there was a breakthrough and things got settled -- at least for the next several years. It would be hurry up hockey. An exhibition game or two followed by a 48-game regular season, followed by the four full rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Things didn't start off well for the Bruins. They lost their only exhibition game -- to their Providence farm club no less -- on the home ice of the TD Garden. The Bruins were chasers all through the regular sea- son. Pittsburgh ruled the Eastern Conference but the B's were always in contention for the Northeast Division crown where they finished second. Except for Pittsburgh, which had a comfortable conference lead, the standings were close. Some nights a victory could vault a team two notches upward in the stand- ings while a single defeat could send a squad spiraling downward. It seems odd now, but what the Bruins dreaded was the possibility of finishing eighth and having to meet Pittsburgh in the opening round of the playoffs. In fact, they finished fourth and faced Toronto. A key acquisition at the trading deadline was veteran Jaromir Jagr who provided a veteran presence on the ice in front of the net that few could match. J-J this spring was the Shaquille O'Neal of the National Hockey League. Like Shaq, who played his final season with the Celtics in 2010-2011, he was slow. But once he got into position, he could not be moved out. As additional defenders con- verged on him, this created other opportunities for his teammates. We lament the fact that Jagr won't be back next year, GM Peter Chiarelli indicating the B's won't extend a contract offer. But he'll probably be playing somewhere. He indi- cated to us during the play- offs that he'll play next year -- a "year" by the way that's only about 90 days away -- because he loves the game. By the time the playoffs began, the lockout and its dis- cord were long forgotten. The NHL needed the playoffs to reclaim its portion of the athletic stage and it got a quality rendition. Just with the Bruins, there was the miracle finish in game seven against Toronto that saw the B's overcome a two-goal deficit in the final 82 seconds and then win in overtime. Then the Bruins took out the Rangers and Pittsburgh in short order, leading to an NHL dream come-true-final featuring two Original Six teams -- the Bruins and the Blackhawks. A triple overtime thriller opened the series. The series included two more overtime games and an exciting game six decider when Chicago scored two goals within 17 seconds as the Blackhawks pulled into the lead with just under a minute to go. Later, Bruins players would say the winning tally came when the team lost its focus in the stunning chaos and confusion following the shock of the tying goal that prevented the B's from going to Chicago for a game seven. Although the parade took place in Chicago, the NHL and the game of hockey were the real winners. Banished was the autumn of discord, now replaced by the spring of rejuvenation. Things didn't start out in a positive way but gradually built up over time to a terrific finish. At NHL headquarters in New York, the time hon- ored words of William Shakes- peare are now in vogue: Ali's Well That Ends Well.