John Henry stopped the gathering lynch mob of Red Sox fans dead in its tracks this week. Hello, Carl Crawford. Hello, Adrian Gonzalez.

With two World Series trophies from the past decade and a never-ending string of Fenway Park sellouts, the fear was Red Sox ownership would no longer have the motivation or fiscal fortitude to take on the Yankees.

The Yankees got CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira by spending. The Red Sox lost Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre this offseason by not spending. You saw ghosts of the frugal Boston Bruins.

But it will be OK. …

Why do some Red Sox fans look at Cliff Lee and see Kevin Brown, the former star pitcher who took the mound for the Yankees in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS? …

While watching the University of Southern Maine women beat Salem State in basketball Wednesday night, several people asked me if the Patriots’ epic win over the New York Jets was so big, it couldn’t be repeated. Good point. But don’t underestimate the hunger in the Pats’ locker room and coaching offices. …

By the way, don’t get too worked up by Rex Ryan’s burial of a football used in Monday night’s blowout loss. Ryan had a hole dug near one of the Jets’ practice fields and had his team trot out to witness the symbolic burial. Yes, Bill Belichick did the same thing in 2001.

Imitation is and always will be the highest form of flattery. …

Dick Whitmore’s competitiveness and intensity are well known. His voice summons. He can slip out of a shoe and scale it across a basketball court better than most to make a point.

Wednesday night his Colby College basketball team lost to crosstown Thomas, 81-80. In the little picture of defeat, the loss had to sting. In the big picture of small college basketball in Maine, Whitmore should allow himself some satisfaction.

T.J. Maines, the Thomas coach, is a Colby (’95) graduate who played for Whitmore. Maines’ father, Tommy, has been part of Whitmore’s inner circle of coaches. Thomas is the college on the Waterville riverbank once better known for its business degree. Colby is the iconic liberal arts college with the campus overlooking the city from Mayflower Hill.

Thomas had not beaten Colby in basketball. Now the Terriers have a profile. …

Speaking of rivalries, it’s time for Husson and Maine Maritime Academy to discuss again a continuing series of football games. The rosters of both small schools are full of Maine high school graduates. …

Someday Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel will realize real luck. The longtime understudy at Southern Cal and New England leads the Chiefs to respectability and in return, his appendix came out this week. He says he’ll be back before anyone notices he’s gone. Good luck. …

Stick-and-ball fans who see a car only as transportation probably don’t know what to make of NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson or his five consecutive titles. He may come across as gee-whiz Jimmie Vanilla in interviews, much like Tom Brady. But much like Brady on game day, Johnson is ruthless and calculating when victory is up for grabs.

On the other hand, comparing Johnson’s dominance to the brilliance of Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. doesn’t work. Those drivers worked with more primitive technology. Holding Johnson up to Petty and Earnhardt is a little like holding Albert Pujols and Ichiro Suzuki up to Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb and a dead-ball era. …

Must have been quite a scene at the Yarmouth High fall sports banquet, what with the football and boys’ soccer teams celebrating state championships. To think that decades ago, football purists fought the introduction of soccer, saying it would damage their programs. More recently, soccer supporters cried that football would hurt or gut their teams.

At Yarmouth, which can’t be confused with a big-city school with hundreds of male bodies, commitment and talent won out.

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

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