Be sure to check out the Monday Extra in the Sports section on local teacher John Boutet's labor of love, the Buffalo Sports Museum. Boutet has more than 10,000 pieces of memorabilia in his home and has put photos of many of them on his voluminous Web site at www.buffalosportsmuseum.com. I spent three hours in his home last week and probably could have spent about 13 more because there were so many bring-back-the-memories things to see.
Boutet sent me a follow-up email last week that he agreed to let me share here. What's the favorite item in his collection? It's the mid-1950s Duke Snider Rawlings baseball glove of his late father, Paul. When John was a child, Paul Boutet was the one who took him to the Aud and Rockpile and let his son become a kiddie collector of sorts by mining ticket stubs and the like. Boutet gives you some more insight:
"He taught me everything I know about the game of baseball and more importantly life in sports. ... My Dad was the father who would always end up volunteering to coach when none of the other fathers would. He would work his 10-hour days and rush home to get us in the car and head over to Kenmore West for practice. He was the father who would drive all the kids home because he knew it was safer than having them walk or ride a bike on the busy Kenmore streets. He was the father who kept every kid who tried out because he knew everyone had value even if they were only the water boy or equipment manager. He never once cut a kid. He made sure every kid got a jersey even if it came out of his own pocket.
"He was the father who treated every kid to ice cream after the games on Saturdays at Anderson's. He was the father who threw batting practice until his arm nearly fell off. He was the father who when he found out that 20 kids weren't going to make the St. Joe's JV hockey team said "Let's make a JV "B" team just so those 20 kids would have a team to play on. He never coached hockey in his life but he wanted those kids to have a team to call their own. He named the team the "It's" because he said "It was the team to play for". That was my Dad, always looking out for all the kids, not just his own. So my favorite item is that tattered old glove, because it symbolizes all that my Dad was...my hero."
Great stuff. Nothing more to be said after reading that.
"Monday Extra" takes a look at the listings for Robert Tuchman's book, "The 100 Sporting Events You Must See Live." Here's another look at his top 20:
1. The Masters 2. FIFA World Cup 3. Super Bowl 4. Summer Olympics 5. Army vs. Navy Football Game 6. New York City Marathon 7. Baseball World Series 8. Winter Olympics 9. Red Sox vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium 10. UNC vs. Duke Basketball Game at Cameron Indoor Stadium
11. Wimbledon. 12. Stanley Cup 13. Tour de France 14. Cubs Game at Wrigley 15. BCS Championship Game in New Orleans 16. Liverpool vs. Manchester United at Old Trafford 17. Michigan vs. Ohio State at The Big House 18. NFL Conference Championships 19. Daytona 500 20. Final Four - NCAA Men's Basketball
I'd have a somewhat different list, of course. Let's assume that it's Game Seven or the final day in each case, as well as a good seat, and I'd go this way:
1. Final Four 2. World Series 3. The Masters 4. Yankees at Red Sox 5. Super Bowl 6. Boston Marathon 7. Stanley Cup Final 8. Summer Olympics 9. North Carolina at Duke 10. NBA Final
For honorable mention, I'd pick Wimbledon, Indianapolis 500, Kentucky Derby, any UCLA game in Pauley Pavilion and a World Cup final. Extra credit would go to any of the events with a Buffalo connection.
And what would your top 10, or top five, or top one, look like?
The $100 million entertainment bonanza is going to be called Philly Live! It's a two-block long street filled with shops and restaurants that will be partially covered to link the entrances to the Wachovia Center (home of the Flyers and 76ers) and Citizens Bank Park (Phillies).
The RCA Dome in Indianapolis will be demolished by the spring to make way for an expanded convention center. The Colts have already moved next door to Lucas Oil Stadium, which will also become the new site of the NCAA Final Four's regular trips to Indy.
The first step in the demolition came this week, when the puffy fabric roof that has become a signature of the Indy skyline was deflated. Lots of great memories in the building from all those Colts games to some great Final Fours (think Duke-UNLV, Arizona-Kentucky in overtime and George Mason making a statement for the little guys two years ago). I spent a lot of nights in the press box at Victory Field watching Bisons-Indy games seeing that roof dominate the skyline behind right field.
The Indianapolis Star has a great video presentation -- from both inside and outside the dome -- on the deflation that you can see here. And here's a YouTube that shows what it looked like from the outside as well.
Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.