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How do you think NASCAR vanity plate would go over in Kenmore?

License to speed

The state Department of Motor Vehicles this week rolled out a custom license plate celebrating Watkins Glen International.

The new plate features WGI and NASCAR logos with a checkered flag background. It arrives just in time for the NASCAR race— the only one in New York state — at Watkins Glen. It got us to thinking: drivers on the Watkins Glen course will be going over 100 mph, right?

 So won’t it be difficult for the average local motorist to drive around with one of these plates in, say, Kenmore, while keeping the speedometer down to 29 mph?

Dark side to a bright year

Ted Savage, inducted into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame last week, recalled a taste of Buffalo sports fandom he experienced a few years ago.

Savage was sitting in a St. Louis bar when a Buffalo native with a photographic memory amazed him with the Bisons’s stats during the player’s lone season with the team in 1961, while also naming every Bison who was on that team.

Savage admitted even he couldn’t remember them all.

Savage won the Most Valuable Player award in 1961, when he batted .325 with 24 home runs, 29 doubles and 31 stolen bases, propelling him into Bison immortality, as he led the team to wins in the International League Governors’ Cup and the Little World Series over just one season.

But there was a dark side to Savage’s year with the Bisons.

“We won the Little World Series in Louisville, and I remember our team having a celebration party, and the black members couldn’t go,” Savage said. “That’s the way it was everywhere I played, including the majors, too, until 1966. The black players stayed in one place, and the white players stayed in another. “When the bus would stop at a restaurant, they had to bring our food to us because we couldn’t go inside.”

Savage, who at 80 is employed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an “ambassador,” said Buffalo was no different.

“Buffalo was very prejudiced, just like any other city we played in,” Savage said.

But Savage said he enjoyed his year in Buffalo.

“When you were having a good year, you couldn’t let the other stuff bother you,” Savage said. “I had a ball, and the fans were great. I had the best year of my career.”

Unconventional appearances

Move over, Bob McCarthy. You’re not the only Buffalo News reporter in the late-night national spotlight.

A week ago, News political reporter Robert J. McCarthy made an inadvertent appearance while wandering into the background of a Saturday Night Live skit taped during the Republican National Convention. McCarthy’s three-second cameo came during a Weekend Update bit dubbed “Trumpemon.”

Last Monday night, McCarthy’s political-convention colleague, News Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Zremski, could be seen clearly in a video shown on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” in a segment called “For Donald Trump, Every Day is Opposite Day.”

Colbert first played a recent interview of Trump claiming he had not met Russian President Vladimir Putin In Moscow. Colbert then showed an excerpt from a May 2014 speech at the National Press Club, where Trump said, “I was in Moscow recently, and I spoke indirectly and directly with President Putin, who could not have been nicer.”

Sitting just behind Trump, and to our left, was Zremski, a former president of the club. His cameo lasted about eight seconds longer than McCarthy’s. It starts at the 5:15 mark on the following link. Or it can be found shortly after the 3:35 mark by Googling “Colbert,” “Trump” and “Opposite Day.”

“I bet my ratings were a lot better than McCarthy’s,” Zremski quipped. “Sad!”

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with contributions by Matthew Glynn, Mark Sommer and Gene Warner. email:

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