- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Coach, God bless him, was sweet as a child. Except when he took over the Titans, a youth league team. It seemed like a good idea at the time. "Guy's home life is a can of SpaghettiOs and reruns of Baretta," Sam said. "This'll be good for him. Every guy needs a hobby."
"I wish I had time for one," said Norm.
"Norm," said Cliff, "you've got time to make your own coal."
But Pantusso, who spent half his life as a coach, badly abused his authority when finally named a manager. He terrorized his players with two-a-day practices and draconian disciplinary measures. They finally mutinied at the bar one memorable afternoon, 'I can't take it anymore!" a nine-year-old boy screamed at Coach. "You're too hard on me. I can't sleep. My pets hate me. I'm starting to smoke again."
To Malone, Coach was a sort of surrogate father. After spending his meager life savings to buy Cheers, Mayday was wise to hire his former coach, a man who had helped him beat the bottle. The bar, which had first opened its door in 1889, fell into Malone's hands when Gus O'Malley decided to sell in 1982.
As Mayday had it figured, the bar would give him a place where he could still see the guys he had played with in the bigs. It is where Tom Kenderson, Sam's roommate with the Sox, would hold the publication party for his coming-out-of-the-closet memoirs, entitled Catcher's Mask. ("The arrival of yet another thickheaded jock epic," sniffed Chambers. "Well, there must be confetti all over the Library of Congress.")
Cheers is where Richards could find Malone whenever a bigger-name interview fell through. Richards, a dead ringer for former Los Angeles Ram defensive lineman Fred Dryer, showed up with a microphone at the bar one night when John McEnroe, Gerry Cheevers, M.L. Carr, Jim Rice and Robert Parish all claimed prior commitments. "And Becky Bannerman, the junior high school gymnast, is on a field trip," added Richards. Mayday graciously agreed to do the interview, as long as it wasn't entirely about the same old silly sports pap.
Said Malone: "We can talk about what I'd do about the crisis in the Mideast."
Richards demurred: "Cubs got that thing by 3½ games, don't they?"
Kevin McHale's Hall of Fame basketball career ended two weeks ago when the Celtics lost in the first round of the NBA playoffs, but it came close to ending three years ago, when McHale turned his ankle while playing for the Cheers three-on-three team against Gary's Olde Towne Tavern. Shortly after the mishap, the boys at the rival bar put a scare into Malone by sending over some guy who purported to be "Dr. Walter Frohenmayer of the Celtics' medical staff," with an X-ray that purportedly showed that McHale's foot was broken, an injury that purportedly would sideline McHale for at least the rest of the season. Soon after "Dr. Frohenmayer" walked out of Cheers, McHale walked in. He said he was fine.