Tag Archives: Wade Boggs

Local man: Where Gronk ranks on list of most prolific beer drinkers in Boston sports history

BY FRANCIS FLYNN

CARVER, Mass.–I know everybody in the New England area is all up in arms over how cool it was that Rob Gronkowski chugged a few beers while on the Pats’ victory parade route yesterday. It’s amazing what a couple Natty lites’ll do for ya rep. The guy is a freaking hero for what he did this year. And he obviously knows how to have a good time.

Gronk chug

But I gotta say right now honestly and truly – Gronk has got a ways to go to become a party legend in my town. A long way.

Unknot yah panties and let me explain.

Let’s start off with the most obvious problem with annotating Gronk with the Greatest Boston Boozehound of All Time monikker. He can’t even burn a candle near Wade Boggs. We all know by now how much Wade drank back in the ‘80s. A buddy of mine taped that episode of Always Sunny in Philly with him in it and there was an entire storyline about Boggs and how he’d drink about two thirty racks on airplanes. Think about that – an entire episode of a TV show, aired two decades after he retires, talking about how much Wade Boggs could drink.

Wade on Always Sunny

Not for nothing but those 50 to 60 beer estimates people talk about are real numbers. They stood the test of time. And Wade’s drinking came from a lonely, dark, disturbing, and depraved place Rob’ll probably never have to deal with. Boggs didn’t pound beers while celebrating any World Series titles by rolling down a duck boat on Boylston Street. He was sneaking them on road trips, in his hotel rooms and in the clubhouse to quell his constant need for sex. Wade wasn’t dancing on stage at some nightclub with broads hangin off his arms like Gronk. He was drawing the shades in some seedy hotel to – lemme not get too graphic here – throw a quick one into a married woman.

Put it this way. We all knew he slammed ’em back when he was a Red Sox, but the only visual evidence Wade liked the sauce was in cartoon form. That’s frigging eerie.

Wade Boggs in a bar
So while I don’t doubt Rob parties harder than Wade did, let’s not get carried away by a few token acts of shotgunning. Wade treated every Marriott and Hilton room he stayed in from sea to foaming sea like it was his own private Duck Boat parade with beers.

There are a few other guys that’ve passed through town that could probably drink Gronkowski under the table.

Larry Bird? That guy drank like a fish and played 82 games a season, not 16. That’s a lot more running and it’s a lot harder to sneak a quick puke in during a timeout on a basketball court. Larry was the first (of many) high-profile stars to tell Dan Shaughnessy to fuck off because Shank wouldn’t stop asking him about some bar fight he got in.

The Boston Bruins, 1970-present. There’s a big difference between a fun drunk and a mean drunk. Guess who’s who when you talk about comparing Rob with just about any Broon?

Orr drinking from the Stanley Cup

Other guys – hmm, let’s see. A guy named Carl Yastrzemski from this here Miller Lite ad. You calling Yaz a liar?

And let’s not forget Bobby Lobel, Channel 4 sportscaster extraordinaire. The entire CBS network couldn’t have supplied enough on-air make-up to hide that guy’s gin blossoms. But he always kept it ultra professional and was always real functional. By the end of his career he got smart – he just started doing his shows in bars. Made things easier I bet.

Koji Uehara. That’s right! Koji. We totally sure this guy doesn’t have some sort of stomach of steel like his Japanese brethren who are always winning those hot dog eating contests?

Koji beer ad

Some former Sox pitchers from a few years back? Yeah, guh, think I heard a thing or two about that. The horror. And well, hell, even Jonny Gomes was publicly treating beer cans like footballs a year and a half before Gronk was able to get around to it. Just saying – this is not open and shut. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few.

jonny-gomes beers

In closing, I just wanna say Rob’s great. Love the guy to death. But let’s make the guy pay his dues here. He’s been here for five years. The guy’s got a chance to be a legend, but longevity and durability count. Let’s hold off on naming any tunnels after him just yet and see how quickly this guy gets back at it once that hangover sets in.

Lifelong Massachusetts resident Francis Flynn and site contributor is an avid Boston sports fan. He is known for his affinity for Heidi Watney and his occasional game stories. Flynn has agreed to take time out from his life’s work maintaining his cranberry bog to answer one pressing question per week for Fenway Pastoral.

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Fun Screen Grabs from MLBClassics on YouTube: Game 1 – 1990 ALCS, Oakland at Boston

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As Jonah Keri recently wrote in this Grantland piece, MLB has finally relaxed its laughably strict copyright standards and posted some full-length broadcasts of old baseball games on YouTube.

Even after only a couple of weeks, it is becoming pretty clear that MLB was actually doing baseball fans a favor by withholding the goods for so long. These classics are mesmerizing. And with the outcome long since known and catalogued away in forgotten game stories, the nuances of a dated baseball broadcast can receive its full due.

As a service to Red Sox fans unable to devote three hours* to watching games that were played decades before, Fenway Pastoral will take some of the more compelling screen shots from some of the Boston games featured on the YouTube page.

*Amalie Benjamin and The Boston Globe will be happy to note that advertisements were edited out and the 1990 ALCS video runs a tidy two hours and 45 minutes.

Game 1 of the 1990 ALCS featured a starting pitcher’s duel between Dave Stewart and Roger Clemens for most of the night before Oakland scored seven runs in the ninth inning for the blowout. What, exactly, makes it a “classic” is probably up for debate.

20:08: You know it’s playoff time when the network goes to the establishing shot from a blimp above the Charles River.

Blimp shot

28:10: Tony Pena uses the unconventional outstretched leg with the bases empty to receive a Clemens offering. Hurts the hamstring just looking at that.

T Pena

29:58: With two strikes on the light-hitting No. 9 batter, Mike Gallego, this Boston-are priest knows it’s gosh-darn time to get flipping serious. His prayers weren’t answered, though. After getting ahead 1-2, Clemens got squeezed on a couple of close calls and Gallego eked out a walk.

Priest

(Clemens keeps cool though. It’s not like he’s going to get all bent out of shape about a couple tough calls in the early innings of an LCS game and jeopardize his team’s chances to win by getting run for arguing balls and strikes.)

36:23: Tony Pena with a completely unreasonable, out of control slide through the first base bag on a groundout. Judging by his grimace, he seems to realize it wasn’t such a fantastic idea maybe. Hindsight’s 20/20. Jim Kaat explains, “He almost caught that bag with his chin!”

Pena 1B slide

37:52: All three of these guys would wear the Boston uniform after their respective heydays. Willie McGee was a lifetime National Leaguer aside from two partial-season cameos on AL playoff teams – the 1990 Athletics and the 1995 Red Sox.

Future Sox

38:18: The obligatory explanation by Dick Stockton, for the national audience, of the Red Sox’s “haunted” past. Even worse, the producers decide the Jimmy Fund logo is a fine backdrop for “September 4, 1918.” Have some damn respect…

9 4 18 graphic

48:17: After Carlos Quintana grounds out to start the bottom of the fourth…DIAMOND WIPE!

Diamond Wipe

48:44: Moments later, Wade Boggs homers into the second row of the Monster Seats. Known very quaintly in 1990 as “the screen.”

Boggs HR into Screen

55:00: Why the Red Sox really, really needed to win Game 1 to have a chance. Amazingly, Dana Kieker was actually 29 years old during his rookie year in 1990.

Welch v Kieker

58:12: Note the left-field wall down the foul line still measured 315 feet in 1990. A few years later, a bored Dan Shaughnessy would measure the distance and convince the team to change the fraudulent reading to a more truthful 310 feet. It was easily the most (only?) useful thing he’s done in his professional career.

315 LF line

1:07:46: Tony Pena almost runs out from under of his helmet, but can’t avoid grounding into a double play. (Pena led the league in GIDPs that season.) On the bright side, he didn’t slide this into first base time.

Pena helmet

1:10:29: For what it’s worth, the guy who the Red Sox acquired for Jeff Bagwell earlier that summer was first up in the bullpen when Clemens issued his third walk of the game in the sixth. On top of that, he met the thick mustache status quo, a prerequisite for membership on the ‘90 Red Sox.

With this development, Kaat begins questioning whether Roger’s shoulder tendinitis is flaring back up. This seeded a mostly absurd debate among some fans over whether Clemens’ Game 4 ejection after cursing out Terry Cooney may have been at least partially self-induced once he realized his shoulder was too sore to pitch effectively in Oakland.

Larry Anderson

1:12:25: Bill Fischer visits the mound. Clemens convinces him to let him stay in the game and ultimately works to a full count against Jose Canseco before walking his fourth batter. Thankfully, Harold Baines lines out to Jody Reed just hard enough that he is able to double off McGee at second base. Six scoreless for a reeling Clemens.

Fischer Clemens

1:33:34: Jim Gray reporting from tarp alley, at least the third different spot in Fenway (other stand-ups were done from the right-field roof and the grandstand above the left-field corner), that the team told him Clemens was taken out solely due to pitch count, etc. and not because of any tendonitis issue.

Jim Gray on Clemens

1:45:04: Tony Pena tags Walt Weiss as he slides into home after tagging up on a fly ball to center. Unfortunately, the throw from Ellis Burks isn’t in Pena’s mitt at the time – it’s bouncing off Weiss’s shoulder blade. Tie game.

Weiss tying run

1:54:09: During this Canseco AB in the eighth, Dick Stockton relates Jose’s recent explanation for why he doesn’t speak to the media: “because everyone’s already formed their opinion of him…” Shortly thereafter, Jose must have decided to spend as much time as possible reinforcing all those negative sentiments. Anyway, he would wind up stealing third base and coming around for the deciding run on a Carney Lansford single.

Canseco 8th AB

2:09:15: Oh, look: The Budweiser roof deck, way back in the day when it was located in left field as a standing room-only section.

Fans on Monster - Bud deck

2:14:45: This girl is unimpressed with Mike Marshall’s pinch-hit single to left in the last of the eighth. Rightly so – the Sox strand him and go into the ninth down a run.

Sleeping girl

2:18:59: Ricky gets on base to start the ninth inning. Jeff Gray actually catches Ricky leaning after he measured out a very healthy lead, but Ricky still managed to dive back. Willie McGee also tries his best to give the Red Sox an out by bunting straight back at the mound, but Gray mishandles it. Oakland winds up scoring seven runs in the inning.

Ricky ninth inning

2:41:13: This is part of the reason listening to Eck fill in for Jerry Remy is hard to digest. He did some good things for the Sox earlier in his career. But Eckersley the Athletic is the lasting image from his career.

Eck

And the final score. Boston would wind up getting swept 4-0.

Final

Wade Boggs / Lawrence Taylor Drinking Contest Needs to Happen At Fenway Park

For years, former Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs’ legacy of drinking dozens of Miller Lites on cross-country flights has raged. Conservative estimates of the Chicken Man’s drinking prowess generally range between 60 and 70 in one sitting.

Meanwhile, former NFL linebacker Lawrence Taylor is now asserting that he got blackout drunk off 41 Coors Lights on the night he was drafted by the New York Giants.

Isn’t it about time these two retired athletes got their names back in the headlines for positive accomplishments on a playing field?

Last year, as part of a hokey minor league promotion, Boggs poured beers for other people at a Lowell Spinners game. But that gig had to have been as unfulfilling as being paid to wear a Tampa Bay Devil Rays hat into the Hall of Fame. A shrewd business decision, yes. But it won’t help the Chicken Man get to sleep at night as easily as two cases of Miller Lites.

Taylor, meanwhile, could use a makeover to his reputation after a depressing appearance on Dancing with the Stars.

The similarities between the two players are alarming: Both are 51 years old. Both played spotlight roles on big-market teams under constant, extreme scrutiny. Both played at high levels while feeding destructive addictions (chicken, sex and beer for Boggs; cocaine, sex and beer for Taylor). Both also tearfully confessed their regrettable vices on national television.

This isn’t so much a suggestion or merely a good idea. This is an outright demand that the Red Sox facilitate and host the event at Fenway Park sometime this summer.

The current Red Sox ownership group has whored out Fenway Park for much less savory events—John Henry’s wedding, Dave Matthews Band, Jimmy Buffet and Phish concerts, to name a few. Two Hall-of-Fame athletes from the 1980s drinking as many beers as they can over several hours is a better expenditure of time and resources than some jam band attempting a clumsy cover of “Sweet Caroline.” And it would undoubtedly generate more money.

Broadcasting rights for the event would sell to a national network for millions. Or, if NESN were so inclined to air the event, advertisement revenue would be astronomical. If he were still employed by the team, Dr. Charles Steinberg wouldn’t say no.

What’s more, a Boggs vs. Taylor drinking contest would wreak much less havoc on the outfield grass in the middle of the summer than a gigantic stage. All the ballclub would really need to do is set up two large tables on which each could pile his empties in pyramid fashion.

The tickets would sell themselves and the team could practically print money (if they haven’t done so already) based on the amount of beer sales to wannabe competitors liquoring themselves up in the stands. The Boston police officers sore over civilian flaggers cutting into their paydays? They can all work crowd control at the event. For once, they would actually earn their $200 per hour keeping the mayhem to a minimum.

See? Everybody wins. (Unless Butch Hobson shows up.)