I’m stealing this idea from my friend Chad Finn of The Boston Globe, a man who got his start in the newspaper business at one of the same ones I did, the Concord Monitor, in New Hampshire. From 1988-91, your humble correspondent here worked at the Monitor, mostly as the proofreader in what was called the pre-press department. Basically, I read the ads all day and made sure everything was spelled right and done to specifications. I earned $6 an hour, going all the way up the corporate ladder to $6.50 by the time I left. I also did some sports writing there toward the end, before chucking it all to move to Denver with no job lined up.
Anyway, I’m stealing Chad’s recent story idea of “Which obscure/mediocre Red Sox player did you irrationally like? For me, that was a tough one. Bob Bailey probably wins it, but Bob Veale, Steve Renko and Dave Rader aren’t too far behind.
So, I put it to you, Avalanche fanatic: which mediocre/poor Avs player did you irrationally like? I’m not supposed to be an Avs “fan”, but I’ll go ahead and name a couple players that I would have if I could have participated in this. I like this concept a lot. There’s always some player that, even though they’re not very good and break your heart a lot, you just like for some reason.
It’s the sports fan equivalent of Joe Jackson’s “Is She Really Goin’ Out with Him?” (Cuz if my eyes don’t deceive me there’s something goin’ wrong around here). You can’t account for taste. There have been many Avs fans over the years who have made me scratch my head and say “That’s your favorite player, really?” I remember one fan just totally idolized Cody McCormick, who didn’t play a lot here and didn’t do much when he did, except fight. But people used to look at me weird when I said Bob Bailey was my favorite player on the 1978 Red Sox. He batted just 94 times and finished under the Mendoza Line, at .191. He struck out to Goose Gossage on three pitches in the 1978 AL East playoff game against the Yankees. By then, the Beetle’s gut was so big he could barely get the barrel of the bat around it, but I still loved him. He remains the one and only athlete I ever sent a fan letter to and asked for an autograph (never heard back).
The Avs have been around now for 22 years. They’ve had a lot of guys wear the Burgundy ‘A’ with the snow swirling around it. Let me just throw out some names of guy who have played for the team, and I’ll bet you either totally forgot that they ever did or had no idea: Cam Russell, Joel Prpik, Jari Kurri, Bryan Marchment, Tom Fitzgerald, Christian Matte, Rick Tabaracci, Francois Leroux.
Remember them? Sure. If I had to name a couple who I probably would have been irrationally attached to, I’d probably go with Dean McAmmond and Jim Dowd. Both veterans came here toward the ends of their careers, which is something I’ve always been fascinated with (people who know my attachments to players like Joe Namath with the Rams and John Unitas with the Chargers know what I’m talking about).
Both were guys who achieved some good things before coming to the Avs, with Dowd scoring a game-winning goal in a game against Detroit for New Jersey in the 1995 Cup Finals. Both were interesting guys personally, especially McAmmond, who had a peculiar superstition of always having to line his skates up just so on the dressing room floor.
They never did a whole lot while they were here, but that’s not the point of this little column. Who are the Avs players you were irrationally exuberant about? The forum is yours.