Sports 07-27-2017

From the Press Box

Friday Night Lights

By: Jim Lederman

The Winthrop Vikings kick off the 2017 football schedule six weeks from Friday on Sept. 8 at the new Dr. Deering Stadium in Danvers, under the “Friday Night Lights.”

I passed my favorite football field (I played my first game on the legendary Blocksidge Field) in Swampscott, they built a beautiful, new stadium, turf field, new track and bleachers – but there are no lights and games will be played on Saturday afternoon!

There are still three NEC football fields – Stackpole Field in Saugus, Hurd Stadium in Beverly, without Friday Night Lights.” The Vikings will play their entire 2017 football schedule on the road!

The Vikings travel to play Lynnfield at their new stadium, under the lights. The Vikings decided not to play games at East Boston Stadium – because of the terrible lighting system and poor parking conditions!

The new Miller Field will add to a list of new stadiums in the NEC. Manning Field is one of the best high-school stadiums in the state; Harry Della Russo Stadium is magnificent. Bertram Field in Salem was rebuilt with a new turf field; Newell Stadium is another modern stadium.

I think I will pick up the book – “Friday Night Lights” to get inspired before the 2017 schedule begins!

A trip last November to the new War Memorial Stadium in Newburyport, reminded me of the first NEC games under the lights in Newburyport.

How can I forget the trip up the old route one to Newburyport, when the old “rapid transit” bus broke down, just past the legendary ‘Topsfield Fair grounds.’

Are you ready for some football?

Friday Night Lights for high school football!

Let the Games Begin!



Future Vikings

I watched 25 – Winthrop Youth football players on Sunday, July 23rd, participate in the All-American Showcase at Manning Field in Lynn.

Mark D’Ambrosio, former Viking all-scholastic, captain of the 1996 Vikings and a member of the prestigious Winthrop high school athletic Hall of Fame had 25 of his Winthrop Youth Football teams in the program.

Mark was assisted by Derek Brugman and Johnny Kuntz aka “Johnny K’ playing for the first time at the legendary Manning Field.

If you are a long time Winthrop Viking football fan you recall Viking teams winning big games at the ‘old’ Manning Bowl. The 1998 Vikings coached by Bob DeFelice captured their first NEC title, defeating the Lynn Classical Rams in a classic.

The spectacular new Manning Field (dedicated in 2007-2008) is one of the best high school football stadiums in the state.

Sean Stellato held his 10th annual football camp at Manning Field. Sean had many of his pro players (Sean represents seven Patriots and 18 NFL players. His book ‘No Backing Down’ is presently making a movie on the story of the 1994 Salem Witches football team.

I watched many future Winthrop Vikings playing of a field with plenty of history. I hope to write a story of the future Viking standouts.

Congrats to coach D’Ambrosio and Brugman and Johnny K for a great showing of Viking Pride.

Let the Games Begin!



Just Call Him Marcus

He is one of a ‘trio’ of three of the best outfield in baseball; Marcus ‘Mookie’ Betts is having an all-star season playing right field for the Boston Red Sox.

Mookie finished second last season in voting for the ‘MVP’ in the American League. Mookie leads the league with 32-doubles, is hitting .280 and ranks as a ‘top ten’ player in the league.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is playing like one of the best outfielders in baseball. His defense will earn him a ‘Gold Glove’ for his defensive play in center field. He has made two of the best catches of his short career, helping the Sox to two key victories over the Yankees and California Angels. His ‘stats are –

The left fielder is ‘The Kid’ – 22-year old Andrew Benintendi, would be a strong candidate for A.L. Rookie of Year, but the ‘judge’ – Aaron Judge is tearing up baseball – 32 home runs, 78 RBI’s (runs batted in). Benintendi’s defense is exceptional and he was an A.L. All-Star.

Let the Games Begin!



On Second Thought

The hazy, lazy days of summer, July dog days – 9- degree temps. The only sporting event on TV is a three-hour Red Sox game.

I enjoy the new TV sports show ‘Boston Sports Tonight’ – a two-hour recap on CSN-Comcast Sports Net-9-11: 30 with Kaycee Smith, Tom Giles, Tom Curran and Michael Holley.

TC – Tom Curran is a Patriots insider with loads of knowledge and a long time football reporter.

Pats open practice today – July 27th. I spoke with Patriots players Nate Ebner, Brandon King and Ryan Allen is the All-American Showcase – the 10th Annual football showcase at Manning Field on Sunday, July 23rd.

I had a great conversation with Joe Vellano on Thursday night at Night of Champions, sponsored by No Backing Down. Joe played for the Patriots and on Super Bowl vs. Atlanta Falcons – Joe played defensive tackle for the Falcons.


Farewell to Number 34

The Red Sox raised another number on June 23rd. Number 34 – David Ortiz – Big Papi had his number 34 retired. There was another legendary number 34 who played in Boston.

Farewell to “The Truth” – Paul Pierce played for the Boston Celtics for 15 years. Paul retired from the NBA this year and the Celtics will raise his ‘Number 34’ to the Garden rafters. He retired as a Boston Celtic.

The Celtics were struggling in 2002 after the dynasty won three NBA titled in the 80’s – led by the big three – Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. In 2002 Pierce led the Celtics to a playoff victory over the Philadelphia 76’ers with Allen Iverson.

The Celtics returned to the playoffs after the Celtics found a way to pry Kevin Garnett out of Minnesota. The Celtics signed Ray Allen out of Seattle and the 2007-2008 team had another ‘big three’ Garnett, Allen and Paul Pierce.

The 2008 team won the NBA title in 2008. In a memorable p layoff game 7 ‘the truth’ scored 41-points over LeBron James in another Boston Celtics playoff memory.

Pierce finished his 15-year Celtics career – third in games, and field goals made and second all-time scoring 24,021 points (John Havlicek is first with 28,000).

‘The Truth’ is another Boston legend and the Celtics will retire his jersey.

The Truth – No. 34!

Let the Games Begin!



Memories of Revere Beach

The Sand Castle Contest last week drew 750,000 to Revere Beach. We were caught in traffic during the weekend, but it brings back memories of the county’s “First Public Beach” and the amusement rides.

I would ride my bike to get the thrill of the roller coaster, the Dodge em’ cars, Hurley’s Palm Garden, the first frozen custard stands.

The attractions later in life included Rudolph’s, Danny’s, The Frolic and the Lewis Room. Kelly’s Roast Beef is an institution and Bianchi’s Pizza is the best in Revere.

When you think of great restaurants, China Sails was the first Chinese Restaurant in Revere and Billy Tse’s is number one today. The Lobster Cabin in Point of Pines and how about Schwartz’s Deli on Shirley Avenue.

Revere and Winthrop are football rivals and the ‘Beachcomber Trophy’ on Thanksgiving brings the two rivals together.

Ho0w a bout a Rudolph’s pepper steak or a ‘long dog’ at Danny’s.

Long Live Revere Beach!



Pigskin Pics

The Patriots open practice today (Thursday); I am excited about the Patriots prospects in 2017. Bill Belichick has landed the team with free agents and the Patriots could win back-to-back super bowls.

I will break out the ‘old crystal ball’ as Bob Remer would say. Here are a few early predictions for the (2017-2018) NFL season. Can the Patriots go (19-0)?

The final ‘four for’ January 2018 – in the AFC – Patriots vs. Raiders in the NFC my pick is the Packers vs. Giants barring any injuries of course.

The following teams will challenge for the playoffs!

Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks in the NFC. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings are two teams to watch!

Are you ready for some football?

Let the Games Begin!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.