Ooh, ESPN's Coming!
Today's "50 in 50" on ESPN SportsCenter is none other than the Biggest Little: the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
Excuse me while I cough up a hairball in excitement for the arrival of George Smith or Kelly Naqi. If anything, Keith Russell, Steve Berthiaume or Jack Edwards should host it.
Either way, here's a quick online vote for people to pick their best Rhode Island sporting moments: I'll print the ESPN version, with my own additions below it in italics.
1) Most memorable sports moment?
- Newport Golf Club host first U.S. Open (1895) wasn't alive
- Providence College reaches basketball Final Four in NCAA Tournament (1973) wasn't alive, but my folks tell me that the second-most tragic sporting event behind Buckner in '86 was when Marvin Barnes tore his knee up vs. Memphis State.
- Pawtucket and Rochester play 33-inning baseball game, longest professional game (1981) Marty Barrett scored the winning run. Dave Koza had the game-winning hit. Bobby Ojeda was the winner. Cal Ripken went 2-for-13. Over the years, collected about 5,000 souvenir cups from that game.
- Australia (check!) II defeats Liberty to end U.S. 132-year winning streak in America's Cup (1983) I remember this. I was so pissed off, I went on like a two-hour bike ride. Yeah, even at the age of eight, I had major league issues. How many eight-year olds would be pissed off about a sailing race? This one.
- Providence College reaches basketball Final Four in NCAA Tournament (1987) Best time of my life, sportswise, before October 27, 2004.. Hands down. Worst part? Getting a week at the Rick Pitino Basketball Camp for my birthday (June 11) - one month before he took the NY Knicks job.
- Providence and Newport hosts first X Games (1995) Worked it; now able to have ESPN on my resume.
- No. 10 seed Providence College reaches Elite Eight in NCAA Tournament (1997) Was asked to leave an establishment after this one. First of all, the Friars were playing 6-on-5, as jettisoned Big East official Dick Paparo was on the game. Hence, Friar forward Austin Croshere fouled out in about six minutes of play, not to mention three technical fouls on Jason Murdock, Jamel Thomas, and Ruben Garces. On top of that Pete Gillen, who used each of his six time outs in the first half, had a chance to win it in regulation. After Jamel Thomas hit a trey with 13.5 to go, I was literally on top of a table (and sober). To win it in regulation, Gillen drew up a play for Thomas. But instead, the ball went to 5-10 point guard God Shammgod, who couldn't hit two jumpers in a row if you offered him 100-grand. Shamm couldn't get the shot off, so he miraculously found an open Corey Wright...who is 5-6 and couldn't hit the floor if he tripped. That was that. Overtime with the soon-to-be national champions was not-so-good and I was incredulous. It still bugs me, and when I brought it up to an assistant coach on that staff, he shared the same sentiments. I have issues and they transcend, ladies and germs.
- Univ. of Rhode Island upsets top-ranked Kansas in NCAA Tournament first round (1998) Yeah, that was good. Any team with Kenny Green is cool by me.
- Anna Grzebien wins 2005 NCAA women's golf individual national championship (2005) Whatever.
2) Favorite sport?
- Auto racing no
- Baseball yep, 1a.
- Basketball maybe
- Football yep, 1b.
- Hockey used to be
- Soccer huh?
- Tennis what?
- Golf pretty close
3) Favorite pro team?
- Boston Bruins They still around?
- Boston Celtics Now that they have Gomes and T-Copp, maybe
- Boston Red Sox (check!) Yep.
- New England Patriots Yep.
- New York Giants Huh?
- New York Jets Say what?
- New York Knicks Excuse me?
- New York Mets You smoke crack?
- New York Yankees You sell crack?
4) Favorite state team?
- Pawtucket Red Sox 10,000 Cub Scouts can't be wrong
- Providence Bruins Neither can TP's folks
- Providence College (basketball) They're the state's pro team
- University of Rhode Island (basketball) Quickly gaining.
5) Best rivalry?
- Providence College vs. Boston College (basketball) Ahem... UConn? Syracuse? Georgetown? St. John's? Pick a Big East foe (first of all) and pick one that has actually won something. P.S. - Good luck at Cameron, the Smith Center, and the Comcast Center this season.
- Univ. of Rhode Island vs. Univ.of Massachusetts (basketball) Maybe in 1992, when UMass had the best SID staff in the country.
- Univ. of Rhode Island vs. Univ.of Massachusetts (football) I should just delete this one.
- How about Mt. St. Charles hockey vs. anyone (prior to 2004)? Hendricken vs. LaSalle in anything? Hawks/Saints in cross country?
6) Best homegrown product?
- Bryan Berard (hockey) Perhaps. Hope his eye is all healed up.
- Wilma Briggs (baseball) Who?
- Ernie DiGregorio (basketball) Sure, and he can comp you at the baccarat table at Foxwoods now.
- Brad Faxon (golf) Good showings the past two weeks in Scotland and Milwaukee.
- Dave Gavitt (basketball) The most powerful and influential person in college basketball? Yeah, I'd say he warrants mentioning.
- Nap Lajoie (baseball) Yep.
- Davey Lopes (baseball) Yep.
- Joe Mullaney (basketball) Yep. And mention Frank Keaney, too, because he invented the 2-3 zone.
- Vinny Pazienza (basketball) Despite the litany of jokes, the boy was tough. Except for that Roy Jones Jr. debacle.
- Chris Terreri (hockey) Yep.
- Mark van Eeghen (football) Yep. And his daughter is hot, too.
- Let's not forget Rocco Baldelli...and Jay Rainville eventually.
7) Best in-state college or pro career?
- Austin Croshere, Providence College Yep.
- Ernie DiGregorio, Providence College Oh yep.
- Billy Donovan, Providence College Definately yep.
- Ryan Gomes, Providence College Yup yup.
- Cuttino Mobley, University of Rhode Island Sorta yup.
- Eric Murdock, Providence College The Man of Steal gets yup.
- Lamar Odom, University of Rhode Island He was there six weeks. No.
- Chris Terreri, Providence College Kick-save and a yup.
- Otis Thorpe, Providence College Old School yup.
- No Marvin Barnes? How about Keith Kelly and Kim Smith? Mark Carroll? Mike Donnelly? Lou Merloni? Billy Almon? Kenny McDonald and Jeff Kent? Ok, scratch those last two.
8) Best place to watch a game?
- Dunkin' Donuts Center (Providence College and Providence Bruins) Sure, maybe from 1972-1989. It smells like cat pee now. Can you say tox-oh-plas-mo-sis?
- International Tennis Hall of Fame Dunno.
- McCoy Stadium (Pawtucket Red Sox) Yup. Without a doubt. No question.
- Newport Golf Club You mean Newport Country Club? They shoot people like me who try to walk on there.
- Ryan Center (University of Rhode Island) Indeed, now all they need is a healthy D-Rob.
9) Favorite personality or historical figure?
- Harry Anderson (actor) Holy shit, Judge Harry T. Stone is from Rhody?
- Peter Farrelly (director) He should run for Governor.
- Spalding Gray (actor) R.I.P.
- Anne Hutchinson (colonial religious leader) Her parkway sucks.
- Matthew C. Perry (naval commander) Never bought me a beer.
- Roger Williams (colonial founder) What cheer, Netop?
- Lots of folks left off this list (in no particular order): Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci. Did you know he was a graduate of Fairfield University and Marquette School of Law? No reason in particular, just thought that beared mentioning; me; James Woods; The other Farrelly brother; Don Orsillo; Clem Labine; the roughly 15,000 Habershaws; HP Lovecraft; Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy; Conan O'Brian; George M. Cohan; Irving R. Levine; Gilbert Stuart
10) Have you been to Rhode Island?
- I'm thinking this question ought to read "How you ever driven through Rhode Island to get to: a. Cape Cod; b. Boston; c. New Hampshire/Maine/Vermont" But it doesn't. Because, as J-Malls would say, "It's the Smallest State with the Biggest Heart." And you can supplant the word heart for other various organs of the body, but since this is a celebration, (Charlie Murphy!), I'm not going there.
On a side note, dunno how many of you listen to Dennis & Callahan in the morning, but thankfully Jon Meteparel is on vacation. Filling in for Meter, more than well, is Mike Adams. Mssr. Adams is one of the funniest sports radio guys to come along in a bit. He needs his own show, a column somewhere, and a TV spot. His Hazel Mae bit this a.m. had me in tears, which sucked because I was driving (not my car, rather, one with brakes that work when you press 'em - woo hoo!) and...oh well. As my man Big G would say, "it's dumb funny."