It’s no secret that Boston Mayor Tom Menino has always had a somewhat uneasy relationship with the English language. After all, hizzoner’s verbal gaffes are so common that they have spawned a web site.
Yesterday’s verbal fumbles at the dedication of a new statue of Bobby Orr at the TD Garden, however, were particularly newsworthy. After setting his audience up for a walk down memory lane, the mayor started to name, in his words, some “ionic” Boston sports moments. (The electrocution of Patriots coach Clive Rush at his introductory press conference is the only truly “ionic” moment I can recall.) “Havlicek stole the ball, Fisk waiving the ball fair, Flutie launching the Hail Mary pass, Varitek splitting the uprights.”
The official scorer rules that an “error.”
Of course, it was Adam Vinatieri who kicked the winning field goal in Super Bowl XXXVI and Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Bostonians wouldn’t care if the mayor messed up talking about, say, policy, but a mistake about the city’s beloved sports teams, well, that’s definitely unforgivable. Not the first time local politicians have gotten themselves some press for faulty recollections of Boston sports. Martha Coakley’s slur against Curt Schilling, calling him a “Yankee fan,” was major campaign news, and John Kerry’s praise of Red Sox slugger “Manny Ortiz” won’t soon be forgotten. They’re all the oral equivalents of Dukakis in a tank.
But there’s good news for Mayor Menino and all Massachusetts politicians who need a refresher on Boston sports history to enhance their credentials with the electorate. I’ll be giving a lecture on The History of Sports in Boston tomorrow night (May 12) at 8 PM at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. Click here for more information and to register. Hope to see you there, Mr. Mayor.