After watching Jacoby Ellsbury hit the three-run homer that won Tuesday’s first game for the Red Sox you have to think he can win both the American League’s MVP and Comeback Player of the Year awards….

John Wiechman’s arrest last week was a punch in the gut to those who believed in him. That includes me. We talked in October 2008 about those who had written him off as bad news.

“I’ve heard that I dropped out of college,” he said from Southern Connecticut State after football practice. “I heard that I was doing a bunch of crack on the streets of New Haven. I heard I was in prison for robbery and beating up three security guards.”

Nearly three years later he’s scheduled to appear in a Connecticut courtroom on Friday facing numerous charges of larceny and identity theft. The I-told-you-so’s are everywhere. Until he speaks, I have no answers.

This spring, Wiechman said he was a few courses short of graduating with a degree in marketing. He had hopes of signing as a free-agent running back in the NFL when the lockout was resolved. Maybe he’d play in Canada. Or in Europe. He wasn’t boasting. His solid career at Southern Connecticut had earned the right attention.

Bonny Eagle Coach Kevin Cooper and son Cameron went to see Wiechman play in one of his final college games last fall. Kevin Cooper was glad to see how Wiechman had such a good grip on his life. Cam Cooper was glad to watch one of his favorite running backs. Now there’s just pain….

The phone rings and the unmistakable deadpan voice of Ron Aubrey Jr. is on the other end with an update. “Got a new manager: Kelli Masters, a former Miss Oklahoma. She’s gonna help me. I’m pretty excited.”

A long time ago Aubrey was the rather large hockey player who helped lead Cape Elizabeth to a high school hockey championship. Next month he’ll celebrate his 45th birthday in Oklahoma City. He expects to celebrate another victory in the boxing ring sometime soon.

“I feel great. I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m 13-2 now and I’ve got some good people behind me.”

At 6-foot-4 and about 280 pounds now, he was an intimidating figure on skates. He roamed the minor leagues of hockey, an enforcer for hire. By his estimates he fought more than 500 times. No surprise, he thought he had a second career by climbing through the ropes to fight. The greater surprise is, he’s stuck to this dream for four years.

Masters is an attorney building an agency representing athletes, most with Oklahoma ties. Gerald McCoy, a star defensive lineman at Oklahoma and the third pick in the 2010 NFL draft by Tampa Bay, is her best-known client. Aubrey is her first fighter.

“He is older,” said Rob Miller, a publicist. “In terms of boxing, he’s not. He hasn’t taken a lot of punches. He still has a competitive fire. He takes his training very, very seriously. Ron has a great fan base in Oklahoma. People want to see him succeed because they can identify with him.”

Aubrey’s goal is to rise in the rankings. He hasn’t cracked the top 100. Most of his opponents don’t have winning records. That will have to change. He can’t hold off Father Time too much longer.

Aubrey was in Maine last month with his wife and three daughters, helping his parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary….

As the grandson of the man who invented the Wiffle ball, Dave Mullany gets many invitations to Wiffle ball tournaments. Low-key and soft-spoken, he rarely strays from the New Haven, Conn., area where the family-owned business is located. His trip to Essex, Vt., for the 10th annual Travis Roy Foundation Wiffle ball tournament was his first.

“This has been a lot of fun,” said Mullany, who played for the Famous team in the celebrity game Friday night. “We always say Wiffle ball is the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how strong.”

He was too modest to talk about how much joy a simple invention nearly 60 years ago has brought to so many.

The final tally from the 2011 tournament was $406,000.

 

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: SteveSolloway