...Meanwhile In Boston, The Biggest News Was Still the Sox

A few grisly murders. A lot of economic nightmares. The annual August tease at Fenway Park. Brutally hot weather. Ungodly traffic jams on the Southeast Expressway.

Just your ordinary, average Boston summer. Business (and Going-Out-of-Business) as usual around here. The beat goes on.

As always, there were plenty of high-profile homicides splashed across the front page. "Senseless killings," the papers like to call them. Salem hosted two of the nastiest.

There was balding, middle-aged Thomas Mainotti, who first told Salem police he didn't know anything about a missing young woman last seen boarding his boat. Then he changed his story, admitting they had sailed together, claiming that she had fallen overboard and drowned. Then he disappeared. Days later, a lobster fisherman found the woman on the ocean floor with weights tied around her waist. After a massive manhunt, Mainotti was arrested while breaking into a Maine house five miles short of the Canadian border. He denies involvement in the killing.

On the flip side, there was Amy Carnevale, a 14-year-old cheerleader. According to Salem prosecutors, her jealous 16-year-old ex-boyfriend slashed her throat, stabbed her repeatedly, and then enlisted the help of his friend, throwing her lifeless, weighted body into a pond, laughing the whole time. "Sucks to be you, Amy," he reportedly said as she sank.


Amy Carnevale was my boss's cousin. Apparently, she was a nice kid. Sometimes, senseless things happen to real people.

Meanwhile, despite optimistic talk about upsurges and turnarounds and lights at the ends of various tunnels, the Bay State economic news remained bleak. Vicious layoffs continued at large corporations, small businesses, newspapers, agencies and schools. Days after laying off nearly half its teachers, the Town of Chelsea went into receivership.

In other educational news, Boston's SAT scores remained well below the national average, the Boston Schools Committee died after a multi-year coma, and Mayor Flynn finally appointed a new superintendent. She promptly told the press that she wouldn't rule out a quick exit if Boston's schools didn't show immediate improvement. "I'm fiercely protective of my career," she said.

Meanwhile, a Black minister named Ellis-Hagler and an Irish teachers' unionist named Doherty launched campaigns to unseat Flynn this November. Nobody noticed.

Of course, the biggest news around Boston over the summer wasn't news at all. It was sports. It always is. In what other city does the only all-news station (WEEI) suddenly decide to become an all-sports station? Only in Beantown.

By early August, Red Sox pennant fever had almost died. The Sox had fallen into fourth, 11 games behind the Blue Jays in the American League Least. WBCN held a mock on-the-air funeral for the home team. But the Sox being the Sox-and the Blue Jays being the Blow Jays--things soon got interesting.

The Sox are now in third, 5 1/2 games back, which isn't bad for a team paying $2.4 million a year to a pitcher (Matt Young) who is psychologically incapable of throwing the ball to first base. Go figure.

Hub sports nuts also got a rare thrill from the New England Patriots, who last Sunday topped Indianapolis, 16-7, to equal their 1990 win total (one). Don't expect too many more.

The summer's most exciting day was August 19. While the rest of the world watched the unfolding events in Moscow (if they were lucky, they might have seen a leading Kennedy School analyst guarantee that Gorbachev would never return to power), Hurricane Bob ripped through New England. It was a perfect storm: plenty of expensive boats crushed in the water, plenty of idiotic TV reporters blowing in the wind, nobody killed or seriously injured.

Otherwise, it was a slow, quiet summer. For weeks, the top non-Sox story was the ongoing plagiarism scandal involving Boston University dean Joachim Maitre, whose commencement speech included 15 paragraphs of a local film critic's essay about declining societal standards. Big deal.

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