In what is quickly becoming a standard for New England politicians, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino got his sports heroes mixed up when he asserted that Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek made the game-winning field goal in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Menino also forgot the letter "C" when he described the moment as "ionic" in Boston sports history during his speech at the unveiling of the Bobby Orr statue in front of the TD Garden on Monday. The statue depicts Orr flying through the air after scoring "The Goal" that ended the 1970 Stanley Cup finals.
Speaking to an estimated crowd of 500 gathered around the new statue, Menino described both the magic of Orr’s moment and his dedication to the city of Boston. But it was the gaffes that stole the show.
"In Boston, we have an amazing set of remarkable athletes whose actions have become ionic in sports," said Menino in his trademark mumble. "Havlicek stole the ball, Fisk waving the ball fair, Flutie launching the Hail Mary pass, Varitek splitting the uprights."
The mayor meant Adam Vinatieri, who became a Boston sports legend when he made a 48-yard field goal in the waning seconds of Super Bowl XXXVI to give the Patriots a 20-17 win over the St. Louis Rams.
Menino’s flub drew some groans from the crowd as yet another New England politician proved unable to get their sports right this year. First, Martha Coakley claimed Curt Schilling pitched for the Yankees during her Senate campaign. Then, Sen. Scott Brown asked whether the Buffalo Sabres, the Bruins first-round playoff opponent, were a Washington team.
The Patriots would not comment on whether Varitek would be attending training camp, and Terry Francona would not confirm if Vinatieri would be available to DH for the Red Sox against the Blue Jays.