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September 6, 2013

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Page 16 BOSTON POST.GAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 6, 2013 t" " " --.-+,~ by Sal Giarratani HOOPS and HOCKEY in the HUB by Richard Preiss ..q I saw my first Red Sox game at Fenway since May 1985 on Tuesday, August 27 when the Sox whooped the Orioles, 13-2. My daughter Nealia and her boyfriend Matt Morri- son took me out to the ballgame as a gift and we all had a great night in the bleachers. Peavy Fits Bill for Sox Starter I am still thinking about the most recent interleague matchup against the red hot L.A. Dodgers who were cooled down by great perfor- mances by both a stronger Jon Lester and an even more pumped up Jake Peavy who looks like a great deal from Chicago. Even John Lackey in his loss looked good but the Sox have a seemingly hard time scoring for him. Peavy in the finale of the series pitched a great com- plete game which is hard to come by in baseball 2013. After his most recent win against the Dodger Blue, he certainly makes the NL West frontrunners blue. He is now 14-2 with a 2.21 ERA in 25 career starts against the Dodgers after that com- plete game of his out in Los Angeles. For the season as of August 25t~, he isl0-5 with a 3.99 ERA. Buchholz Still Off His Target Clay Buchholz has been on the D.L. since June 8t~ when he was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA. He recently did a rehab start with the Single A Lowell Spinners in the hopes of getting back into the Red Sox starting rotation as quickly as possible. He only lasted two-thirds of an inning and throwing 38 pitches. He walked three batters and gave up one single never getting out of the inning. He said he felt fine but his fastball only reached 89 mph against the Hudson Valley Renegades in the New York Penn League By the time you read this, hopefully he pitched better with the Double A Portland Sea Dogs and the Triple A Pawtucket Red Sox. If Buchholz hadn't broken down early this season, the Sox would probably have a good size lead over the Tampa Bay Rays, rather than going neck and neck with them. The Red Sox selling baseball tickets on game day at or below printed price by Gate at Scalp Free Zone on Lansdowne Street. Jimmy Fund Telethon at Fenway Park The Jimmy Fund was pre- sented with a check for $3.3 million dollars on Thursday night (August 29t~l at Fenway Park from the Boston Red Sox, WEEI Sports Radio 93.7 FM, and NESN (New England Sports Net- work) as part of the 12th An- nual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. A live 36-hour broadcast coming from the famed baseball park. The $3.3 million will go towards adult and pediatric cancer care and research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The event has raised more than $34 mil- lion dollars since its incep- tion in 2002. Red Sox Owner John Henry, Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner, Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino, Entercom Boston VP/Market Manager Jeff Brown, Jimmy Fund Director Suzanne Fountain, WEEI Executive Producer Joe Zarbano, WEEI Director of Marketing Adam Ralston, NESN President Sean McGrail and Wally the Green Monster. They emerged from the darkness and came out into the light, much like the fran- chise that they oversee has done in recent years. Yes, that is how the celebratory press conference to officially confer a contract extension upon Bruins Gen- eral Manager Peter Chiarelli commenced within the Gar- den on the Friday of Labor Day Weekend. For it was on Chiarelli's watch, of course, that the Bruins made their Stanley Cup Championship run in the spring of 2011 and then came up just short in the Cup Final back in June. Chiarelli, Bruins President Cam Neely and team princi- pal Charlie Jacobs made their entrance at Legends Restaurant before the as- sembled media members for a gathering that centered around stability, success and continuity. Neely, who retired as an active player in 1996, re- mained in the region and wit- nessed the downfall of the franchise that followed over the ensuing I0 years. "I stayed in the area and saw what was happening in that 10-year time frame. We used to have a full house all the time with competitive teams and it slowly went on a downward spiral. It was disappointing for me as a former player who had the opportunity to play in front of these great fans to see where this organization was heading." The Vancouver-area na- tive, who came back on board with the B's as a member of the front office in 2007, added that "I knew this organiza- tion needed to turn it around. It's an Original Six franchise with a lot of deep roots in New England. Our fans deserved better." The man they got was Peter Chiarelli, an executive who spent seven years with the Ottawa Senators prior to coming to Causeway Street, the last two as assistant GM. It wasn't his first time in Massachusetts. Back in the middle of the 1980s he had played four years of hockey for Harvard and had served as team captain. One of Chiarelli's first actions as Bruins GM was to meet then Coach Mike Sullivan. That actually took place at Chiarelli's introduc- tory press conference at the Garden back in the spring of 2006. There wouldn't be very many additional meetings between the two. Within a few weeks Sullivan was gone, replaced by Dave Lewis -- who had formerly coached the Detroit Red Wings. Things didn't work out with Lewis, of course, and Chiarelli was really under the gun as his first year progressed. "There were some hard decisions and some sleepless nights, par- ticularly during that first year," he acknowledged. Come summer, Lewis was gone -- to be replaced by present Coach Claude Julien. The new coach had also been twice fired -- by Montreal and New Jersey. But that was a quality that Chiarelli saw as a positive rather than a negative. In fact, Chiarelli slays his hiring of Julien rates as his proudest moment during his time as GM of the B's. "I've got to say the single biggest thing was hiring Claude. He came off of being fired twice and there were a lot of questions about him. So I knew he would be receptive to things. I knew what he was like -- receptive to things so that he could evolve with the rest of uS." And Chiarelli certainly has clearly identified his mis- sion -- and carried it out suc- cessfully. That was evident when he told a State of the Bruins season ticket holder gathering a few years ago that his mission was to build a team that would win the Stanley Cup. But that goal, achieved two years ago, was not entirely of Chiarelli's design. Others who came before him also played a part. In an excellent retrospective by Steve Conroy that appeared in the Herald, it was noted that Mike O'Connell was on duty in the early years of Patrice Bergeron's career. Plus O'Connell was the one who signed Tim Thomas to a multi-year contract, just months before the former GM departed the scene. He was criticized for that at the time but consider this. If Thomas had not been signed by the B's back then, he may well have gone elsewhere over time, mean- ing no additional contract renewal and thus no Double T in net for the B's during the 2011 Cup run. Also consider that interim assistant GM Jeff Gorton, long gone from here, was the one who selected Phil Kessel, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand in the NHL Draft, a short time before Chiarelli officially joined the B's. He also sent Andrew Raycroft to Toronto for Tuukka Rask. Obviously Chiarelli has had a major impact on the roster. But the point is well taken. Both the winning Cup team of 2011 and last season's Stanley Cup Final squad were really amalgams of the front office dealings of three general managers -- not one. Chiarelli does deserve credit for making the B's a championship squad. His imprint on Causeway Street will increase even further as time goes on. However, the contributions of others should not be overlooked. AS long as Bergeron, Lucic, Marchand and Rask remain with the B's -- and Bergeron and Rask are slated to be here a good long while -- the influence of O'Connell and Gorton will continue, evi- dence of positive decisions made in the years before the good times rolled. '