Longtime Boston mayor Thomas Menino has a history of butchering the names of New England athletes.
He has referred to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski as “Grabowski” and wideout Wes Welker as “Wekler.”
In 2010, while listing some of Boston’s sports highlights, Menino talked about “Varitek splitting the uprights” – crediting former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek for the Super Bowl heroics of former New England kicker Adam Vinatieri.
Menino was at it again Thursday, referring to Celtics forward Kevin Garnett as “KJ” and Boston point guard Rajon Rondo as “Hondo.”
“KJ’s great, but Hondo’s really the inspiration for that team,” he said.
That would help explain Boston’s inability to handle the Heat at home in Thursday’s 98-79 loss in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. John Havlicek and Kevin Johnson were tremendous players in their prime, but “Hondo” is 72, and “KJ” is 46 and the mayor of Sacramento, Calif.
For Menino’s sake, let’s hope he never has to give a speech honoring Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
■ SWEET SUPERSTITION – Since he was in middle school, Louisiana State pitcher Kevin Gausman, the Orioles’ first-round draft pick, has adhered to a game day routine in which he eats one powdered doughnut before stepping on the mound. He then devours four doughnuts between each inning.
Gausman said he always has been “a little weird,” but his sweet superstition is nothing new to elite athletes looking for an edge.
While portraying an Olympic decathlete in the 1970s on “Saturday Night Live,” late comedian John Belushi introduced the world to his secret to success: “Little Chocolate Doughnuts.”
Sadly, the doughnut diet doesn’t work for everyone.
Perhaps the most memorable doughnut disaster in sports history took place during the 1988 NHL playoffs, when referee Don Koharski fell during an argument with New Jersey Devils coach Jim Schoenfeld.
Believing he was pushed, Koharski yelled “You’re done!” several times at Schoenfeld, who replied, “Good, because you fell, you fat pig! Have another doughnut! Have another doughnut!”
■ SONICS HERALDED – The Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash., apparently still is seething over the departure of the Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City.
In the wake of the Thunder’s victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals, the paper ran the following headline Thursday on the cover of sports: “Sonics advance to Finals, oh wait,” with the subhead “Oklahoma City steals team, and steals game from San Antonio.”
We’re glad they managed to stay objective during a bittersweet time for Seattle fans.
In related news, rumor has it a paper in Portland, Ore., almost ran the headline “Durant leads Blazers to Finals, oh wait,” with the subhead “Portland made big blunders drafting Greg Oden over Thunder star, Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan.”
COMPILED BY TODD DEWEY
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL