I remember looking across the diamond and watching him warm up.
He was an older gentleman who featured, of all things, a knuckleball.
Don Hanscom was probably in his mid-40s and I was 17 and thoroughly enjoying a beneficial summer learning about the game as a back-up outfielder for the Bangor Merchants, which was primarily made up of former or current University of Maine players.
He pitched for Dixmont and was one of the older players in the Northeastern League.
Hanscom didn’t throw hard but he had a purpose for every pitch and his knuckleball was effective.
Don Hanscom was an intense competitor who never got cheated at the plate, either.
He took his rips.
You could tell he had tremendous passion for the sport and it was infectious.
The Maine Baseball Hall of Famer hated to lose but he was always classy.
He knew it was just a game and there would be many more.
You could tell he was an exceptional athlete and several of his children proved to be chips off the old block: great athletes and fierce competitors who were well-liked and well-respected by their teammates and opponents.
Fortunately, I got to know Hanscom at the Bangor Daily News, where we both worked.
As good an athlete as he was, he was an even better person who cared about people. He was kind, sincere and engaging.
He always asked you about yourself and your family. You always looked forward to seeing him.
He was a story-teller who competed against many of the state’s best athletes. And he could tell you about them.
He was a family man who was extremely proud of his children and their accomplishments.
Don Hanscom died Saturday.
He was an icon in the state of Maine who will be sorely missed. ……
When Spain’s Andres Iniesta scored in the second overtime period to beat The Netherlands 1-0 in the World Cup final on Sunday, he did soccer a huge favor.
The Netherlands decided the way to beat the Spanish and their possession game was by trying to intimidate them through physical challenges.
The Dutch drew nine yellow cards and a red card and probably should have received another red card for a kick in the chest.
If the Dutch had won the game, this tactic would have been copied time and time again.
After all, that’s what we do: emulate the champions.
The New Jersey Devils won three Stanley Cups in a nine-year span thanks to the neutral zone trap, which brought games to a crawl and reduced scoring chances by limiting the ability of teams to generate speed through the neutral zone.
So other teams began using it more regularly, especially teams that were underdogs.
Even good teams that loved to attack with speed through the neutral zone would use the trap when they were trying to preserve a lead.
The NHL’s decision to allow two-line passes as a way to open the game up and regain fans after the work stoppage cost the league the 2004-2005 season has helped generate scoring chances and reduce the effectiveness of the trap.
FIFA will never make radical changes to increase scoring chances.
Entering the final, there had been an average of just 2.29 goals per game in the World Cup.
You want teams copying Spain and its swift, precise passing game rather than the Netherlands’ hard-foul tactic.