EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 15, 2013

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The Eagle-Tribune

---- — TRADITION COMING CHEAPER

Remember when Patriots Day tickets for the Red Sox were nearly as tough to get as opening day?

That’s not the case anymore.

A trip to Redsox.com found that there were plenty of sensibly and not so sensibly priced ticketing options available for the fan seeking to take in today’s 11 a.m. battle featuring Ryan Dempster on the hill for the Sox and Jeremy Hellickson going for the Rays.

A pair of “Monster” seats could be had for $350 total, with seats available all over the park. Stubhub.com had tickets in the grandstand as low as around $50 apiece.

OPP CASHES

Andover’s Rob Oppenheim returned to the Web.com Tour this week after missing the last event with an ailment.

While he showed some fire in making the cut at 70-71, Oppenheim struggled over the weekend at 76-77, finishing at the back of the pack that made the weekend.

It was Oppenheim’s second made cut of the season.

KATIE STILL CRUSHING

Salem’s Katie Bettencourt ended the weekend with another huge Sunday at the plate in UMass’ doubleheader sweep at Charlotte.

Bettencourt finished the day 5 for 7 with a homer, a double, and six RBIs, adding a pair of sweet catches in the outfield.

TALKING RASSLIN’

Interesting conversation in The Eagle-Tribune’s sports department the other night. A colleague asked me to name my top five professional wrestlers of alltime.

Now remember, I go back 40 years, back to the days when Classy Freddy Blassie, Lou Albano and The Grand Wizard were the top managers in the game.

I go back to Monday night wrestling during summers at the Frolics at Salisbury Beach.

I go back to the WWWF.

Couldn’t limit it to 5, sorry. So my top six wrestlers of alltime?

6. HHH - He is the game. The Nashua High product was one of the best phone interviews I ever had. A giant talent in the ring and out. Love the guy.

5. The Valiant Brothers - “Handsome Jimmy, Lucious Johnny.” They were my first Saturday morning heroes. Of course, they jumped the shark when they added a third brother, “Gentlemen Jerry.” It was like when the Afa and Seca added a third “Wild Samoan,” or when Prof. Tanaka and Mr. Fuji added Mr. Saito; or when Executioners I and II added Executioner III. Just too much.

4. Chris Jericho - Honestly, the only thing that has stopped him is the system. The guy is a genius.

3. John Cena - West Newbury’s own continues to work at the game’s top levels. Half the crowd loves him, the other half hates him. I love that dynamic. The guy’s work is sheer poetry.

2. Ric Flair - The dirtiest player in the game. Made me watch the NWA on early Saturday evenings on TBS in the 1980s. Leader of the Four Horsemen. Best talker of alltime. Best quote: “Whether you like us, or don’t like us, sit down and watch us, because we’re the best going today.”

1. Roddy Piper - Vince McMahon’s billions are certainly as much a product of this guy, who played the perfect foil to Hulk Hogan to usher in the pay-per-view era. If you ever have time, spend a few hours with Piper on Youtube. Make sure you see the Cindy Lauper stuff in the “War to Settle the Score.” I’ll still never forget Methuen’s Paul Childs for letting his mom ruin his copy of that VHS tape we had back in the day.

WILL BOSTON BE CALLING?

Salem’s Terry Doyle, in case you weren’t watching, delivered his second dominant Triple A start as the Pawtucket Red Sox swept the Rochester Red Wings in a Saturday doubleheader.

Doyle didn’t get the win, but the righty went five strong innings, allowing a run on two hits and a walk. The two-time Eagle-Tribune Player of the Year struck out five.

So far, Doyle is 1-0 with a 0.79 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 11.2 innings. Opponents are batting .091 against him.