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Tuesday, Jan. 25: A titillating, aggravating day in sports

The sports day Tuesday in and out of our corner of the world was equal parts titillating and aggravating. Not many other days in recent memory gave us such rivalry and controversy. A few thoughts:

• Full disclosure: No other fraternity takes itself more seriously than Baseball Writers of America. They think they are covering the White House when they're really covering Tom House. That's why many of them have used their column space recently to blather about their Hall of Fame votes. Their bloviating read like helicopter drops of moralism, analytical analysis, historical comparisons and other highbrow baloney that masked the more elemental truth.

They are human beings first. Two facts about human beings: 1. Despite our imperfections, we all prefer to live by the Golden Rule; and 2. We all carry predispositions and prejudices, no matter how much objectivity we preach.

The Golden Rule got David Ortiz into the Hall of Fame. And it kept Barry Bonds (among others) out. Ortiz was voted in because he had the credentials and because treated people nicely. Bonds had the credentials but didn't treat people nicely. Papi was a good dude. Bonds was miserable. Sorry if that's simplistic. Sorry if you think less of the electors. But they're human.

Remember: It took Jim Rice longer than it should have to get inducted. Why? He didn't treat the writers nicely. Humans hold grudges, no matter if they're entrusted to be objective. It's called being human.

• I'd have voted for Ortiz. I'm aware that according to the New York Times, Ortiz tested positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs in 2003 with Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa and Alex Rodriguez. But this was an era of rampant abuse. I don't know for sure who did and who didn't. And neither does anybody else. You have your predispositions and prejudices. I have mine. Doesn't mean either of us are correct.

I'd have voted for Ortiz because in my 45 years watching the Yankees, I have feared exactly two hitters: George Brett and David Ortiz. Why the Yankees never hit either of them in the ribs routinely escapes me. But it doesn't change their greatness.

• It was a privilege to have watched the St. Bernard-NFA boys' basketball game Tuesday night. Let me just say this about basketball around here: We have five of the best freshmen players in the state: Amyre Gray, Amari Marshall and Devan Williams at St. Bernard; Da'Shaun Phillips and Savahn Warren, New London (the kid Gray is ridiculously good).

Can't wait to watch them for the next few years. Just stay and forget prep school. College coaches watch high school basketball, too.

• Get well soon to NFA guard Tony Williams, who injured his knee in the third quarter. Williams, a sophomore, may be the best guard in the league. Love the way he doesn't let his athleticism overwhelm the rest of his game.

• East Lyme and Waterford renewed what's become my favorite rivalry at the Francis X. Sweeney Fieldhouse (otherwise known as the X).

Great story: Seems an East Lyme player went through the layup line with a handwritten note on the back of his warmup shirt: "Turkey Day 17-14," a reference to East Lyme's win over Waterford last Thanksgiving, a zinger meant for Lancer Nation.

Turns out Lancer Nation, fully allowed back in the gym, showed up en masse and provided what Steve Elci called an "electric" atmosphere.

Elci's son, Jordan, led Waterford's victory with 15 points and 10 rebounds. As one other observer texted, "as soon as the kids saw that shirt, it was ON."

• Question for the folks at St. Bernard: Why is the school mascot a Saint Bernard (you know: a big dog) when the school nickname is the Saints?

Shouldn't the mascot be a Saint?

I mean, I get that it's probably easier to find a Saint Bernard costume than one for St. Francis of Assisi. But still, the notion of a Saint walking among the sometimes sarcastic student section would be creative.

• Nice win for UConn over Georgetown. But when does the statute of limitations run out on UConn fans reminding us that their beloveds beat Auburn earlier this season?

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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