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Bob Ryan

Things to keep in mind

Rene Rancourt's live national anthem, fist pump and all, vs. Josh Groban's lip-synched 'God Bless America': no contest. Rene Rancourt's live national anthem, fist pump and all, vs. Josh Groban's lip-synched "God Bless America": no contest. (File/Mark Wilson/Globe Staff)
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Bob Ryan
Globe Columnist / July 17, 2008

Emptying Out The Desk Drawer Of The Sports Mind:

Let's cut the nonsense and just give home field in the World Series to the interleague play victor. Geez, it's not that hard, Bud.

The New Orleans Hornets should know that in James Posey they are getting a pure mercenary, totally devoid of sentiment. But he has walked the championship walk in both Miami and Boston, and we will tell them what Pat Riley told us: You will like him in the regular season and you will love him in the money games. Never before has a 7-point-per-game man been so sought after.

I don't know what to call the stat (RPB: runs per base?), but I'm here to tell you that few regulars in baseball score runs a higher percentage of the time they get on base than Jacoby Ellsbury, who has scored 60 runs on 121 total bases. The only regulars who are in his league are Toronto's Marco Scutaro (41 runs, 92 TB) and Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks (58 runs, 110 TB). Then there's the fascinating Willy Taveras (Colorado), who has scored 41 runs on 88 total bases with an OBP of .296.

What part of Jonathan Papelbon calling Mariano Rivera the "Godfather of Closers" didn't the New York Daily News or the Yankee fans in general quite understand?

Brett Favre didn't want his last toss to be that hideous interception he threw against the Giants. It may be no more com plicated than that.

What could get the juices of Sox fans flowing better when the Yankees arrive a week from tomorrow than the sight of the hulking all-time home run king himself wearing those Yankee road grays?

Is there a word that transcends "narcissism" to describe Stephon Marbury's act of tattooing his jersey number/shoe company logo on the side of his shining bald head?

Billy Packer wasn't exactly beloved by the viewers, but he was a true friend of college basketball, and had enormous influence over the years at CBS on how the sport was covered.

I'm supposed to be impressed because Josh Groban lip-synched "God Bless America" at the All-Star Game? I'll take Rene Rancourt and his fist pump conclusion any day.

OK, Laurence Maroney. How 'bout a 1,400-yard season from you?

I love the way no one blinked when Yogi Berra called Joe Buck "Jack" the other night. He's Yogi, isn't he?

Give me a petition to get Dave Duncan in the Hall of Fame as the Greatest Pitching Coach Who's Ever Lived and I'll sign it.

I couldn't have handled the schmaltz inherent in a Cubs-Red Sox World Series if both had their silly curses going, but now I say, bring it on.

I guess we should have known that the Babe and the Iron Horse had a better chance of showing up for the All-Star Game festivities than Sandy Koufax and Yaz did.

Can't decide between "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded," and "It gets late early out there" as my favorite Yogi-ism, but the former does have the benefit of being perfectly understandable to anyone, not just sports fans familiar with left field in (The Original) Yankee Stadium.

Attention, Paul Pierce: It's about time to stop celebrating and start getting ready to defend. What? Kevin Garnett on the other line? I guess I can relax.

Ron Gardenhire says Kevin Youkilis plays first base "like a shortstop."

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com has never written a baseball column in which I didn't come away 1. laughing and 2. more informed than when I started.

And Pat Forde makes two.

Marcus Camby goes to the Clippers. While you weren't looking, the UMass star has led the NBA in blocked shots the last three years. He's also pocketed in excess of $78 million, so I guess he could afford the $150,000 he gave back to UMass for the mess he created for the school in 1996.

Dustin Pedroia is baseball's answer to a Jack Russell terrier.

Item: Anheuser-Busch has been bought out by Belgian behemoth InBev. Are you ready for Stella Artois Stadium?

How can anyone dispute my long-held premise that a minimum of 25 percent of people cavalierly called out while trying to steal second are actually safe after watching the excellent replays at the All-Star Game? And Dioner Navarro was safe at home in the 11th, too.

You think Patrice Bergeron is counting the seconds till that first exhibition game?

Is anyone concerned that the Red Sox' closer has given up seven hits and three runs in his last 4 2/3 innings, not counting the admittedly cheesy, error-aided run he gave up in the All-Star Game?

Terry Francona should go win No. 3 and then quit before we're forced to write his obit. This man is simply not healthy.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, but let the record show that Michael Felger ran an intelligent, straightforward, listenable sports talk show over there at 890. And I'd say that even if I weren't an occasional guest.

We can manipulate numbers all we want, but in the end, it's a gut call when deciding if someone should be a baseball Hall of Famer. So, yes, Curt, you have my vote. You're a vital part of late 20th- and early 21st-century baseball history.

But understand this, Manny. It would be a good idea to come to your induction ceremony.

Every Day Is A Gift Dept.: Last year's Colorado darling, Troy Tulowitzki, has had nothing but misery in '08, and is lucky he didn't lose his career when the bat he smashed in anger and frustration just missed severing a tendon or nerve.

I guess I don't get a do-over on that prediction of 45 wins and (maybe) a first-round win for the Celtics, do I?

Based on what we've seen in New York this week, Bobby Murcer must have been a grand slam, walkoff kind of guy in all life's truly important things.

George Steinbrenner was often obnoxious and a bully. But he took over what had become an irrelevant franchise and, because he both understood his constituency and knew that you have to spend money to make money, he was able to remake the Yankees into the monster brand they are today. We must give him that.

Joe D's 56-game hitting streak ended 67 years ago tonight, when Cleveland's Ken Keltner made two magnificent stops at third to take away doubles. No one's gone beyond 44 since. But know this: There were no Mariano Riveras in those days.

Psst, Mr. Posey. Thanks.

You think Dan Uggla enjoyed his first trip to Yankee Stadium?

Bob Ryan is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at ryan@globe.com.

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