While waiting for the fireworks celebrating the United States’ first World Cup title. …

Danny Ainge will earn every dollar of his salary this summer as Celtics GM. Or, he’ll be spending it as hush money to placate fans. His lineup is aging and age doesn’t always creep. It can jump the best athletes in the middle of the night, stealing quickness and coordination.

Bring back Paul Pierce with a four-year contract at below market value? Delay the inevitable overhaul of the lineup? Trust that Pierce, in his second and third years, can mentor the new faces and still contribute mightily on the court?

The risk is that Pierce will become the Celtics’ Josh Beckett. Or, as Red Sox fans hope, the reward is that Beckett shakes off the ailments that have sidelined him and becomes Paul Pierce. …

Gustavo Molina and Kevin Cash as the Red Sox catchers? Sounds like my rotisserie baseball roster. …

John Winkin made it to the College World Series in Omaha for the second year in a row. Kudos to all who helped make that happen. That the baseball man Mainers most identify with the College World Series was there for the last year of Rosenblatt Stadium was very appropriate.

Winkin, now 91, traveled with his son, David, and a medical assistant. Despite constant rehab, Winkin has not regained full use of the muscles on his right side following a stroke in 2007. His mind is as quick as ever. A parade of other baseball people found their way to Winkin’s seat to talk with him, said University of Southern Maine Coach Ed Flaherty, who was there.

Winkin took University of Maine teams to the CWS six times, the last in 1986. He might have realized the dream of winning the national title through Jack Leggett, a former Maine co-captain with Flaherty. Leggett’s Clemson team needed to beat South Carolina to play for the championship. South Carolina beat Clemson and then UCLA to claim the title. …

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats lost their Canadian Football League opener Friday with former Portland High and Boston College quarterback Quinton Porter on the sideline. Winnipeg won at home, 49-29. Kevin Glenn replaced Porter at quarterback late last season and started Friday’s game. Glenn was sacked five times and completed 15 of 30 pass attempts for 197 yards. Porter got into the game in the fourth quarter and threw two incomplete passes. The Tiger-Cats open at home Saturday against Calgary. …

Go figure. Hundreds of baseball fans holding free tickets entered the Old Orchard Beach Ballpark Friday night to watch the first-place Sanford Mainers play the last-place Lowell All-Americans in a New England Collegiate Baseball League. The Mainers scored five runs in the third inning taking most of the drama out of the game, yet much of the crowd stayed through the end. Hey, with free admission, it wasn’t like the fans had to stick around to get their money’s worth of baseball.

Chalk up another dividend to the hard work of the volunteers who make up the Ballpark Group. Clean stadium, no mosquitoes, the smell of hamburgers on the large open-air grill and a few giveaways. Tom LaChance and other volunteers left blocks of tickets at area campgrounds and a few other places. Other fans were steered away from the ticket window by Jack Sarno at the gate.

“I got ya covered,” he called out, holding tickets in his hand. “Come on in.”

Lowell was actually the home team, giving up one of its dates to help expose the NECBL, a 12-team wooden-bat league, to coastal York County. Sanford was the visiting team.

The Ballpark Group doesn’t have money for marketing, but their volunteerism is infectious. Should a relationship with the NECBL develop, LaChance and friends are prepared to go to Montreal next spring to spread the word to those who swell OOB’s summer population. …

Rick Simonds is among the newest inductees to the hall of fame at St. Joseph’s College. The recognition for a basketball coach who never had a losing season in 23 years and posted a .726 winning percentage — seventh best in Division III history — is overdue.

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

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