Recent Comments by Howard_T

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Nineteen

Look out, bender, your Costanza possibilities are in jeopardy.

Edmonton at Hamilton: Edmonton is the Eskimos and have dogsleds. Hamilton is the Tiger Cats. Cats don't pull no sleds; cats do what they wanna do; you don't tell no cats when to go and where to go. Hamilton by 9

Ottawa at Winnipeg: Blue Bombers will be repainted in a red and black color scheme. Ottawa by 6

BC at Saskatchewan: The large cats will cause the unhorsing of the Riders. BC by 17

Calgary at Montreal: The rampaging quadrupeds thunder into that most cosmopolitan of North American cities. Small birds take flight in fear -- with good reason. Calgary by 7

posted by Howard_T at 04:16 PM on October 27

NFL Pick 'Em Week 8: Farewell Arian Edition

Time for the picks. Football picks, that is. I would do better with my nose than I do with football, but you really don't need to know that.

Tennessee by 12 Cincinnati by 9 Arizona by 14 Detroit by 3 Kansas City by 16 LOCK New England by 17LOCK New York (American Conference) by 8 Oakland by 6 Seattle by 9 Denver by 12 Atlanta by 3 Dallas by 10 Minnesota by 16 LOCK

posted by Howard_T at 03:59 PM on October 27

Enter SportsFilter's Pace Mannion NBA Pick 'Em Contest

It's time for the defending champion to see if he can continue the glory. I have a feeling that it won't be easy this year; you guys have been doing your homework. We will see.

Cleveland by 18 SLAM
Golden State by 11 SLAM
Philadelphia by 4
Houston by 9
Boston by 6
Portland by 8
Cleveland by 12
Golden State by 7

posted by Howard_T at 04:06 PM on October 25

NFL Pick 'Em Week 7: Hoodie 1, Surface 0 Edition

Too late to pick the Thursday game. I would have picked Green Bay too. Alas.

Los Angeles by 9
Miami by 7
Cincinnati by 17 LOCK
Indianapolis by 3
Oakland by 7
Baltimore by 14 LOCK
Detroit by 6
Kansas City by 12
Philadelphia by 3
Tampa Bay by 6
Atlanta by 9
New England by 7
Arizona by 7
Denver by 9 LOCK

posted by Howard_T at 10:57 PM on October 20

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Eighteen

I'm too late to pick the Thursday game in the NFL, so I will spend my time here. I note with some satisfaction that the "blind hog and the acorn" theory has been proven once again with my picks of last week. Really, I have no clue about the CFL, but trying to get a result is still fun.

Hamilton at Ottawa: The checkerboards squeaked by the kitties last week. Does that mean the TiCats will return the favor? Nope. Ottawa by 6

Toronto at Calgary: The way Toronto has gone this year, I think they would lose in a football game against the Calgary Flames, let alone the Stampeders. Calgary by 24

Montreal at Saskatchewan: The East is least this year. Alouettes will not change that perception in the slightest. Saskatchewan by 10

Edmonton at BC: A trip to the Pacific Coast is always a pleasure for anyone. It will be especially so for the Eskimos. Edmonton by 6

posted by Howard_T at 10:47 PM on October 20

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

hire a good engineer to resolve the issue

The impression I get from the several articles I have seen on this is that the League is responsible for the setup, and that the laptops and ancillary equipment are put in place only a matter of hours before the game. I find this a bit hard to believe, but nothing the NFL does would surprise me. What needs to happen is that the NFL hire a really good network engineering firm to put a fiber system in place in each stadium. The basic architecture of each system should be identical, that is the equipment (switches, routers, cable) should be identical models from the same manufacturer in each stadium. Things like cable runs, equipment positioning and so on would, of course, be dependent on the stadium layout. The weakest link, if things are done right, would be from the end of the fiber at the sidelines to each laptop. The only sure way to prevent any RF interference would be to use some Ethernet Cat-5 cable, but then mobility would be restricted. I guess now that Belichick is a grandfather, he has the right to distrust all things "techie".

posted by Howard_T at 05:13 PM on October 20

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

One never knows what a fan might come up with. With the price they charge for seats in the vicinity of this fan, one would think that a bit more "couth" might be involved. Perhaps this was not his first beer of the evening.

I was at the game last night (please note that today is Thursday, but no Huddle has been posted yet) and while I did not see the incident in the gif, there was a better one that was captured on the Jumbotron. During the T-short toss, one fan was standing, holding a nearly full beer. A tossed T-shirt struck the head of a fan in front of him and bounced up and landed edge on in the beer. It couldn't have been placed any more accurately. I really wish I had been videoing the Jumbotron.

posted by Howard_T at 04:59 PM on October 20

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Bill Belichick hates Microsoft, Microsoft says everybody else loves it, and the NFL stands by Microsoft. For $80 Million did you expect anything else? Of course, Belichick is not alone in his feelings for Microsoft, which I'm sure a few in our community might share.

In Microsoft's defense, the problem most likely lies in the stadium infrastructure. In my working days I had the same problems when setting up the data networks needed to pull the data from the systems under test to the remote control location. Once the test sites upgraded their infrastructure to dedicated fiber-optic cables and decent switches/routers, life became a lot easier. Using wireless is touchy and requires some very careful frequency management. The NFL needs to hire some good network people to set something up that runs on fiber, has plenty of redundancy, and keeps Norwood (MA) Airport's tower from calling plays at Gillette.

posted by Howard_T at 03:28 PM on October 19

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

The only way to fix it was to wipe the server and start over.

This sounds like you might have a job in a Hillary Clinton administration. Good career move?

posted by Howard_T at 03:06 PM on October 18

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Seventeen

Time for some more picking madness. If I continue at my present rate, I will be in the Costanza position before Hallowe'en.

Ottawa at Hamilton: I am red-green colorblind, so I have to be careful picking this. It is a case of RedBlack checks against black and yellow stripes. Stripes look better than checks. Hamilton by 10.

Winnipeg vs BC: The Bombers fly west. Many years ago, "Going West" was a euphemism for dying. It might be the same for Winnipeg. BC by 6.

Saskatchewan at Toronto: With the Blue Jays still going in the ALCS, will anyone notice the Argonauts? They might disappear from the public eye for the moment, but will be very noticeable on the field. Toronto by 10.

Montreal at Calgary: Alouettes fly to the prairies to face the Stampede. They will be trampled when they land. Calgary by 17.

posted by Howard_T at 10:20 PM on October 13

NFL Pick 'Em Week 6: Stand Up for Colin Kaepernick Edition

Ok, where was I. Oh yeah, after a culinary masterpiece (would you believe leftovers?) we are back to finish the picks. Denver vs San Diego is repeated for your convenience.

Denver by 10 (Just looked at the score -- oops)
Buffalo by 6
New England by 12
Tennessee by 14
Philadelphia by 3
Jacksonville by 3
New Orleans by 7
Los Angeles by 6
Baltimore by 11
Pittsburgh by 17 LOCK
Green Bay by 10
Atlanta by 6
Houston by 9
Arizona by 15 LOCK

Glad to hear your feet stayed dry, rcade, and I pray your neighbors who have suffered damage will have a good outcome.

posted by Howard_T at 10:05 PM on October 13

NFL Pick 'Em Week 6: Stand Up for Colin Kaepernick Edition

I'm late fixing dinner and my wife is growling at me. Here's the pick for tonight, and I'll be back later for the rest.

Denver by 10

posted by Howard_T at 06:55 PM on October 13

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Sixteen

Late again. Do I have to stay after school to make it up? Only missed one game, so the damage is limited. Let's see what sort of catastrophe we can concoct from the rest of the picks.

BC at Winnipeg: Lions would seem to have a bit of an edge here, but the game is at the Bombers' airport. Looks like the Lions will have to travel with the rest of the pets -- in a crate in the cargo bay. Winnipeg by 6

Edmonton at Montreal: Eskimos in the big city go hunting for birds. They will feast. Edmonton by 16

Calgary at Toronto: The Stampeders head to another of the big cities looking to run roughshod over a hapless group of sailors. The only fleece these Argonauts will see is on the blankets covering their remains. Calgary by 14

Dr. John, a screwdriver, duct tape, 5-minute epoxy, and a can of gasoline can fix anything. Get to work on that computer.

posted by Howard_T at 02:18 PM on October 08

NFL Pick 'Em Week 5: Touchdown John Kuhn Edition

I am much later than I wanted to be to get these picks in, but I was helping out as a Lay Eucharistic Minister (does readings, Psalms, serves the Chalice) at the funeral of a long-time and very much beloved lady of our parish. It was the first time I have ever seen one of our priests lose emotional control at one of these things. That will tell you just how much the deceased was loved.

Anyway, off to the picks. I can see that most seem to see my Patriots as a heavy favorite. I agree about the favorite part, but it will not be the blowout that some expect. We will see.

Arizona by 6
New England by 10 LOCK
Philadelphia by 3
Indianapolis by 12
Miami by 14 LOCK
Washington by 6
Minnesota by 15 LOCK
Pittsburgh by 17 LOCK
Denver by 10
Cincinnati by 3
Los Angeles by 9
Oakland by 16 LOCK
Green Bay by 21 LOCK
Carolina by 7

posted by Howard_T at 05:41 PM on October 06

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

This is an interesting tale of how Vin Scully's career got its start. I had no idea that this had happened, and I just might have heard the game since I was a Boston University fan back in the late 1940's and early 1950's and used to listen to the games whenever I could. Of course, I would not have known I was listening to Vin Scully or the Man in the Moon.

posted by Howard_T at 10:33 PM on October 03

NFL Pick 'Em Week 4: Throw the Ball Jameis Edition

I tried to get in on some of the media conferences via telephone this week, but nobody would buy the idea that I was Walt Patalski from Buffalo, so I couldn't get any inside information. Inside or outside, it does me little good, as I slowly slide toward the bottom of the table. Ah well, try again.

Cincinnati by 6
Indianapolis by 3
New England by 7
Washington by 17 LOCK
Detroit by 9
Atlanta by 9
Baltimore by 6
New York (American Conference) by 10
Houston by 14
Denver by 14
Dallas by 6
Arizona by 19 LOCK
New Orleans by 3
Pittsburgh by 12
Minnesota by 6

posted by Howard_T at 04:29 PM on September 29

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Fifteen

I missed last week because of our annual vestry retreat where we plan the direction of the parish for the coming year. Thus, I was in beautiful Byfield, Massachusetts, while all ofyou were busily piling up the points. Perhaps the week off will sharpen my picking skills, and I will be able to have a better result this week.

Edmonton at Winnipeg: If this is the "Leg Up Bowl", then I will have to consider the lower limbs in my prediction. I have never seen a photograph of an Eskimo that shows off the legs. Bombers during WW II had Nose art that often featured scantily clad ladies with very shapely legs. I will go with the good looking ones. Winnipeg by 10

Calgary at Hamilton: Tiger Cats are just like my 3 felines; they are usually sleeping whenever you want them for something else. Stampeders are doing just that on their 11-game run. Cats better wake up or get trampled by the rampaging quadrupeds. Calgary by 12

Ottawa at BC: Red and black is not the "in" color scheme this year in fashionable Vancouver. Lions don't particularly care what color are the clothes they shred. BC by 9

Toronto at Montreal: Les Alouettes say "bienvenue au Montreal", but the Argonauts growl "stick it in your poutine, pal". Rather rude of the fellows from Toronto, and you can expect the game to go the same way. Toronto by 6

posted by Howard_T at 09:49 PM on September 28

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Correction to the above: Because the game went into extra innings, 21 strikeouts is not a record. Once the extra innings are started, a 9-inning record is meaningless. It is a franchise record for Boston, and the number of strikeouts by the staff in a single season for the franchise was broken today. The final count of Rays put down on strikes was 22, final score was 3-2 Boston - their 11th win in a row - and the winning run scored on the strangest play at the plate I have seen, major league, minor league, high school, middle school, or even Cal Ripken League baseball. I cannot describe it adequately, but on a 2-base hit by Ortiz, Pedroia attempted to score from 1st base. The throw to the plate was accurate and in plenty of time. Pedroia tried to evade the tag with a series of contortions, was actually tagged, but the ball came out of the catcher's mitt and rolled away. Strange.

posted by Howard_T at 05:27 PM on September 25

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Update to the above, 2 more Rays went down on strikes in the 9th to bring the total to a major league record 21. The game is tied 2-2 after 9 innings.

posted by Howard_T at 04:41 PM on September 25

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle


Boston pitchers have struck out 11 consecutive Tampa Bay batters from the 4th through 7th innings today. The total for the game is so far 19, and Rays are batting with one out in the 8th. The 11 straight is a major league record. The announcers have been saying all day that plate umpire Sam Holbrook's strike zone is extremely wide today, and the bit of the game I have seen confirms this analysis.

posted by Howard_T at 04:19 PM on September 25

Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez Dies in Boating Accident

When I heard of this today I immediately thought of the accident that took the lives of Tim Crews and Steve Olin several years ago. Bobbie Ojeda was also seriously injured in that one. The Crews/Olin/Ojeda accident happened when their boat ran under a low pier on a lake. That was a tragedy as is today's news.

David Ortiz asked the Tampa Bay Rays to cancel their planned pre-game tribute to the Boston hitter. They had a moment of silence for Fernandez, during which Ortiz was visibly affected. Fernandez had seen Ortiz hit a home run during an exhibition game in Cuba, and when Fernandez was finally able to come to the USA, the first jersey he bought bore Ortiz's number. Ortiz later befriended Fernandez. Today Ortiz had Fernandez's initials and number written on his cap below the Red Sox logo.

posted by Howard_T at 04:10 PM on September 25

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I watched the ESPN game last night during which they simulcast an inning of Vin Scully's broadcast. The thought occurred to me that while all other broadcasters use a color commentator, Scully works alone. Thus, he has the time and space to give us the musings of his most fertile mind. Perhaps he is the only play-by-play broadcaster who is good enough to pull this off. As an example, he was speaking of a player who frequently slid head first, and he told of how the belt buckle scoops dirt off of the infield and usually deposits it down the pants. He then mentioned that this player, should he ever hit an inside the park home run, might be said to have hit an "under the park" home run. We mortals can only wish we had such a command of language.

posted by Howard_T at 09:52 PM on September 22

NFL Pick 'Em Week 3: Bud Grant on the Gjallarhorn Edition

Enough of the frivolity and banter, it's time to get on with business. We must leave the question of the reduction of excessive testicularity for another time.

New England by 3
Arizona by 12
Oakland by 10
New York (National Conference) by 3
Miami by 14 LOCK
Jacksonville by 9
Green Bay by 10
Cincinnati by 6
Carolina by 10 LOCK
Tampa Bay by 10
Seattle by 7
New York (American Conference) by 3
Pittsburgh by 16 LOCK
Dallas by 7
New Orleans by 7

posted by Howard_T at 08:17 PM on September 21

NFL Pick 'Em Week 3: Bud Grant on the Gjallarhorn Edition

so I'll thank you from threatening my reproductive organs...

I might also suggest then you avoid trying this.

The link is alleged to be untrue.

posted by Howard_T at 08:02 PM on September 21

NFL Pick 'Em Week 3: Bud Grant on the Gjallarhorn Edition

If grum wins, that would give him two balls, and some of us still have none.

Is there a plan to rectify that?

I have consulted the veterinarian who takes care of our cats, and he says he can do the job quickly and painlessly. The procedure is also quite inexpensive.

posted by Howard_T at 03:23 PM on September 21

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

I think sometimes announcers good enough to last get too comfortable in a gig and start letting their facade fall away.

That's certainly one possibility. Another one is that they are never comfortable with what they are and what they can do. They start trying to come up with something new or better, and when it falls flat, they begin to look vulnerable. It snowballs from there.

Somehow I've never been tempted to take a healthy bite out of some lady's back. It might be because I do not prefer the position required to execute the maneuver. Of course lately I have no opportunity to use any position. It's hell to get old.

posted by Howard_T at 10:20 PM on September 20

Mud and Glory

Very nice stuff, owlhouse. Thanks for sharing.

posted by Howard_T at 10:10 PM on September 20

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Pardon the ramblings of an old man, but I felt like throwing this into the discussion to see what happens. One of the benefits of retirement is having entire afternoons with nothing really constructive to do. Today I killed the afternoon by watching the NBA Channel's broadcast of the 1976 Finals between Boston and Phoenix. Game 5 was the triple overtime thriller. It's not the first time I had seen this, and a study of this game is required in order to pass Celtics Fandom 101. (Trick question on the midterm: Identify Glenn McDonald and write a short essay on his contribution to the season.) Game 5 was one of the standout games in Celtics' history, and game 6, the series clincher in Phoenix, had its moments as well, so watching the games 40 years later was still a lot of fun.

As good as the games were, what piqued my interest today was the play-by-play work of one Brent Mussberger. As I said, this was 40 years ago, and at that time, Mussberger was actually pretty good. If fact, his work during the triple-overtime game could be called outstanding. He yelled loudly when he should have, delivered a calm commentary when needed, and was pretty close to spot on with his calls.

My point in this whole thing is that Mussberger has become something of a joke as a play-by-play announcer. This is really sad because he once was right at the top of the game. So it is with the ravages of time, and the moral (if there is one) to the story is that we should never run a guy down when his abilities begin to slip. This is also true of those who still perform as well as they ever did, but whose style is considered out of date. When you are tempted to do this, take a look back at what these guys once did and marvel at it.

posted by Howard_T at 10:04 PM on September 19

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Thirteen

I feel as if I have fallen to the bottom of the basket of deplorables. Am I irredeemable? Of course. What is the use of being deplorable if one has to try to be redeemed. Here are my picks, and if they are accurate, I will try not to trump my success.

Montreal at Hamilton: Have Les Allouettes decided to emulate their forebears at Louisbourg in 1758? It will not take a siege of 6 weeks this time. Hamilton by 12

Toronto at Winnipeg: Argonauts sailed to victory on Lake Ontario last week, but unless they have a prairie schooner, they face an ill wind in Winnipeg. Blue Bombers, on the other hand, might try out a new pilot. Will he be able to land safely? Winnipeg by 10

Ottawa at Calgary: Redblacks will feel blue after encountering the Stampede. Calgary by 9

Edmonton at Saskatchewan: This is a rough year for the Rough Riders. Can they find some smooth sledding against Eskimos? I doubt it. Edmonton by 16

posted by Howard_T at 08:11 PM on September 15

NFL Pick 'Em Week 2: Jeff Fisher Update Your Resume Edition

After a relatively undistinguished start, we will try this again.

Buffalo by 6
Carolina by 10
Pittsburgh by 3
Houston by 4
Washington by 10
New England by 6
Baltimore by 9
New Orleans by 9
Detroit by 6
Arizona by 7
Seattle by 14 LOCK
Denver by 3
Oakland by 7
San Diego by 4
Minnesota by 3
Philadelphia by 6

posted by Howard_T at 07:50 PM on September 15

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Twelve

The 4-down version of the football pick 'em started this week, but the 3-down version continues. If I somehow get confused and pick Cleveland over Montreal, will I get extra points if Cleveland wins and Montreal loses? I thought not. Here goes another week.

Montreal at BC: Two teams that are about as far apart, and still be in Canada, will play. They are pretty far apart in results this season as well. The gap will widen (no, Vancouver is not drifting out to sea, I mean in the standings). BC by 12

Saskatchewan at Winnipeg: Blue Bombers let the Roughriders use the air strip. The landing fees here are steep. Roughriders might wind up stuck on the taxiway. Winnipeg by 7

Calgary at Edmonton: The second half of the battle for Alberta moves to Edmonton. Will that help the Eskimos avenge the Labor Day weekend defeat? It might make the result a bit more respectable, but the outcome will be the same. Calgary by 10

Hamilton at Toronto: Another second half of a home-and-home, this one is for the championship of Lake Ontario. There was a championship of Lake Erie once, and some guy named Perry quarterbacked his side to the win. That was a long time ago, so it doesn't count. I don't know about Father Time catching anyone. Last I checked I'm older than he is. Cats don't care much about time as long as the food is available. Hamilton by 10

posted by Howard_T at 10:28 PM on September 08

Enter SportsFilter's NFL Pick 'Em Contest

(But what am I going to do with TWO footballs?)

I suggest buying a good pressure gauge and keeping it calibrated. Do not store the footballs in a freezer or in a hot place. I understand that rcade has hired an investigator to periodically visit you and check the pressure.

posted by Howard_T at 01:47 PM on September 08

Tim Tebow Signs Minor League Contract with Mets

Will Tebow kneel at the plate after he makes solid contact and drives one to the wall on a hop? I can see it now. Tebow is thrown out at first because he took so long to begin running. To be serious, his chances of getting past AA, if he even can get that far, are very slim.

posted by Howard_T at 01:44 PM on September 08

Enter SportsFilter's NFL Pick 'Em Contest

I assume we are picking straight up and letting our point predictions prevail rather than the betting spread. Here are my picks:

Carolina by 3
Tampa Bay by 6
Minnesota by 7
Philadelphia by 10
Cincinnati by 16 LOCK
New Orleans by 9
Kansas City by 12
Baltimore by 4
Houston by 15 LOCK
Green Bay by 10
Seattle by 14 LOCK
Dallas by 3
Indianapolis by 14
Arizona by 6
Pittsburgh by 7
Los Angeles by 10

3 locks. I learned an expression watching tennis this week. "Sydney or the bush" It applies here.

To echo NoMich's comment above, I will send you my mailing address via e-mail to collect my ill-gotten award for the regular season NBA Pick 'em. Many thanks.

posted by Howard_T at 10:27 PM on September 07

Tha Art of Coarse Cricket

Knowing just about enough of cricket to understand half of what I read, I found there were some parts of it that applied to some of my experiences in baseball. The comments about umpiring were particularly interesting. One tries his best to be absolutely impartial, but you know that every game will bring some share of controversy. I guess judging LBW or wides is akin to trying to judge the low, outside corner off of a pitcher's glove side. I guarantee that even the best at the MLB level has some occasional difficulty with this. When you make an obviously bad call, just smile, admit, and move on. I guess this is not so easy when you are involved in the game as well. Anyway, thanks for a few minutes of chuckles, owlhouse.

posted by Howard_T at 04:09 PM on September 05

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

My wife works with autistic kids of kindregarten ad first grade age, and one of the things she and her colleagues try to do is to get the "typical" kids in the class working together with the autistic kids. While all of her students are categorized as "high functioning", being a part of a group seems to help with their eventual social development as they grow older. Travis Rudolph's gesture appears to be leading to some recognition that autistic kids are not "retarded", but might just be some of the best in your class.

posted by Howard_T at 04:27 PM on September 01

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Eleven

Labor Day weekend approaches, but to us of the permanent leisure class (that is, retired bums) it is of no consequence. Well, my wife the educator does have a 4-day weekend (Friday and Monday off), so yours truly will have to do something extraordinary in the kitchen. Having been spoiled by the excellent seafood available in Nova Scotia (Digby scallops are without peer), It might be difficult to do anything with fish. Perhaps some nice grilled lamb will work. In the meantime I will put my skills to work on the selections for this week.

BC at Toronto: The Lions seem to have discovered their pride (pun definitely intended and no apologies offered), and they are playing well. Perhaps the Argos will be their toughest test to date. They will pass the test, but not without some difficulty. BC by 3

Ottawa at Montreal: Ottawa came close to pulling off a nice win against BC after trailing. In the meantime Alouettes' performance has been as checkered as the Redblacks favorite shirts. This one could see a lot of points put on the board. Ottawa by 14

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan: Success continues for the Blue Bombers this season. They will achieve even more against those whose name honors the 26th President of the United States. Winnipeg by 6

Edmonton at Calgary: Can the Eskimos avoid being trampled by the Stampeders? This rivalry is as good as Boston - New York, LA - San Francisco, or any of the other great ones. (Maybe not York vs Lancaster, that one got nasty). The geographical separation is not great, the economic drivers are quite different (oil vs cattle an wheat), and the 2 cities could develop a real mutual dislike. This one will be a lot of fun, regardless of outcome. Edmonton by 3

Toronto at Hamilton: What? You again? Didn't I just pick against you already? Do you really think you will do any better this time? Tiger Cats have put its early season problems behind. Hamilton by 11

posted by Howard_T at 04:17 PM on September 01

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Why do balls hit in Rogers Centre sound so different

The answer is obvious. Everything in Canada has to be in two languages, French and English. In order to comply with this regulation the sound system must be modified. Thus, what you hear is a combination of "coup sur baton" and "crack of the bat". This is not easy, so the sound is quite different in Canada. The sound system for the Montreal Expos had the same problem, except it tended more to the French language, while the system in Toronto tends toward the English.

posted by Howard_T at 04:28 PM on August 29

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Ten

Now, where were we when we last checked in? Oh yes, I had just finished with dinner, it was trash night, the dishes needed to be done, and I had to clean and cover the grill. No time for football pick 'ems. So to continue the saga:

Winnipeg at Montreal: Little Larks will fly higher than the Bombers, and Winnipeg will indeed be Blue. Montreal by 8

Saskatchewan at Edmonton: Rough Riders are indeed in for a rough ride. Eskimos run them over with the dog sled. Remember, only the lead dog gets to see a change in scenery. Edmonton by 17

Hamilton at Calgary: It is not possible to make cats stampede, or make any other fast moves, unless they are in the mood. Tiger Cats are no exception. They will not be stampeded, but they will move quickly on the field. Hamilton by 11

posted by Howard_T at 05:22 PM on August 26

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Ten

OK, have to do this quickly. Game's about to start.

BC at Ottawa: Lions don't look good in red or black, but Ottawa won't make them wear anything. BC by 12.

posted by Howard_T at 07:38 PM on August 25

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

The first wave of American water sports enthusiasts...

My wife and I returned Monday from 3 weeks in Canada. When I heard the initial report on TV of a border incident, I thought they were talking about us. They weren't, we managed to escape without incident. I found it disturbing that the Canadians set up a camp to hold the rafters. Concentration camps at the border? Terrible! If I decide to emigrate to Canada, I will have no problem finding a sponsor. I found that I have dozens of relatives scattered throughout Digby Neck and the Islands, Nova Scotia, all descendants of the United Empire Loyalists that fled the US in 1783 after the Revolution.

posted by Howard_T at 02:17 PM on August 24

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Nine

I'm sitting in the public library in Westport, NS, because it is the only place on the Island that has decent WiFi. Internet service is spotty at best, and one of the best spots is in the cemetery where my ancestors are buried. Too scary for me. Speaking of ghosts, I haven't the ghost of a chance of winning this thing, but I will continue to haunt the contest.

I'm helping my wife trace genealogy, so I have not much time for banter. Here are my shots for the week:

Montreal at Ottawa: I've seen more Redblack logos than Allouette logos in my travels in Nova Scotia. Ottawa by 8

Calgary at BC: There seem to be more British Columbia residents than Alberta residents touring Nova Scotia this year, but we had a nice talk with a honeymooning couple from Alberta while attending a Celtic Fiddle concert on Cape Breton Island. Calgary by 5

Edmonton at Toronto: No entrails to divine on this one, although the B&B we are staying at is a working farm. Lots of chickens, rabbits, some sheep and alpacas, and a miniature horse. The lady that runs the farm is a well-known hooker*. I'll go with the Eskimos just because nothing gives me any hints. Edmonton by 11

Saskatchewan at Hamilton: Since one of my uncles was at one time the Superintendent of Schools for the Province of Sasketchewan, I have to lean in that direction. Saskatchewan by 2

*Get your minds out of the gutter, boys and girls. Our hostess is well-known for her hooking of rugs and tapestries.

posted by Howard_T at 03:44 PM on August 19

WGN Anchor Goes on Epic Rant About Rules for Covering Olympics

I'm sitting in Canada now, reading the sports news on the Boston Globe website, and I tried to view a video clip that had been linked in one article. Up comes a video clip from NBC, and before anything will play the screen goes to black with white lettering that says, "This content is not available in your country". Now I suppose I could go looking through Canadian sources, but the likelihood of finding video clips of Ali Raisman in gymnastics or Nate Ebner in rugby 7s is not great. Come on, guys, I'm from Boston. Give me a break!

posted by Howard_T at 09:43 PM on August 11

Longtime ESPN Broadcaster John Saunders Dies

He was one of the few on ESPN who could be called fully professional in his work. R. I. P. John Saunders.

posted by Howard_T at 08:41 PM on August 10

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Eight

Greetings from Halifax, NS. Wife and I are here after driving from NH through Maine and New Brunswick, along the Northumberland Coast of Nova Scotia, and spending 4 wonderful days on Cape Breton Island. If you've never been to Cape Breton Island, make it a point to go. The place is beautiful and it has a unique culture. The road signs are in 2 languages. No, not the English ad French you might expect in Canada, but in English and Gaelic. I have now acquired a taste for Celtic fiddle music. The place we stayed did not offer TV in its rooms, and the TV in the lounge was not working. My only news of any type has come via the internet, and when mobile 'phone service is as spotty as it is in the less traveled parts of Nova Scotia, it is easy to lose track of what is going on.

Speaking of travels, which of the visiting teams might have a chance this week? It's time to pick the winners.

Montreal at Edmonton: The little larks fly to meet the Eskimos. They are not worn out by the long trip. Montreal by 7

Winnipeg at Toronto: I think the Blue Bombers surprised even themselves after the downpour last week. Their trip east will provide a reality check. Toronto by 9

Calgary at Saskatchewan: The Riders will not get run down by the Stampede. Another visitor is able to do well on the road. Calgary by 16

Hamilton at BC: My 3 cats rarely fight, especially the 2 males. Once in a while the female - much smaller than either of the other 2 - will decide that the boys need to be taught some manners. This usually results in a good slap or 2, some yowling, and then it's time for them to make up. The cat fight in BC will not be as friendly. Tigercats will claw and scratch, but the Lions will rule the litter box. BC by 10

posted by Howard_T at 08:50 PM on August 09

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Seven

My wife and I sit this evening in the Land of 110-Yard Football. Our pilgrimage to my father's native land started yesterday, and tonight we are in St. John, NB. I doubt that being on Canadian soil will improve my predictive abilities, but we shall see.

Hamilton at Winnipeg: This one says that the Blue Bombers should be left with flesh shredded by the claws of the Tiger Cats, and clumps of used kitty litter in their mouth. I agree with that. Hamilton by 17.

BC at Montreal: The little birds managed to get their hackles up against Roughriders last week, but can they do the same against some big cats? It is too much to expect. BC by 11.

Saskatchewan at Calgary: Speaking of those who ride unevenly, they now travel to face a group of runaway quadrupeds. Calgary should win easily, but will more likely have to hang on by their fingernails. Calgary by 4.

Edmonton at Ottawa: The stereotypical image of the Eskimo, at least among those of us who watch too many old travelogues about the Arctic, is a man in some sort of heavy parka with a fur-trimmed hood. It is not an image of someone wearing a red and black checked shirt. Eskimos will not be comfortable in checked shirt territory. Ottawa by 8.

posted by Howard_T at 10:04 PM on August 02

NBA Players Assocation votes unanimously to fund health insurance for retired players

The article does not say whether or not the NBA is providing any funding to support the plan. If they are not, then it is strictly an NBPA function. This is similar to what many, if not most, unions provide for their members. My wife's health insurance is through the Teachers' Union, for example. If the league itself has no responsibility for the plan, then comparing the NBA players action to whatever the NFL as a league does is not valid. I would suggest the NFLPA set up its own retiree health insurance plan and hold the owners up for as large a contribution to the plan as they can get.

posted by Howard_T at 03:31 PM on July 29

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Six

To whom it may concern:

I am not now, nor have I ever been, ic23b or bender. I do not aspire to be either. If ic23b and bender wish to be me (and I'm sure it is among their most deeply held desires), they must ask me nicely. I will probably refuse, but I will definitely feel more favorably disposed to them. In the meantime, Dr. John, I ask that you immediately cease and desist from the identity theft which you apparently are promoting. My legal counsel, the firm Garron, Brom, and Cree, tells me that you could be in serious trouble. Of course I pay them off in kitty treats and catnip, so all they usually tell me is "meow".

Enough of a nonsensical rant. On with the picks.

Winnipeg at Edmonton: This one is for bragging rights between Alberta and Manitoba. This New Englander does not know if there is anything worth bragging about in either province. Well, there is oil in the tar sands of Alberta, that's not bad. Reason enough to pick Edmonton by 11

Saskatchewan at Montreal: The Rough Riders (were they really named after Teddy Roosevelt's cavalry regiment?) come to the big city. There they will be attacked by a flock of little birds. Sometimes the least of creatures will overcome the greater. Montreal by 6

British Columbia at Calgary: BC is in Canada because the US decided that "54-40 or Fight" was really a lousy slogan for a war. Canada (actually, still an English colony at the time), in the meantime, wanted to slide the border down to the Columbia River. The 49th parallel was the compromise, mainly because it is easier to score 49 than 54. BC Lions go to the city whose name either means "Cold Garden", "Clear Running Water", or "Bay Farm". If you can't figure that out, how do you expect to win a football game? Somehow they do, and the invading Lions are tamed. Calgary by 9

Toronto at Ottawa: The sailors of myth look for a golden fleece in the National Capitol. They might find it, but it will be a piece of red and black checked wool. Ottawa by 17

posted by Howard_T at 05:16 PM on July 28

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Five

Oh well, another Thursday goes by without my remembering to make my picks. My excuse this time was that I spent most of the day writing my feedback on the performance of our church and its clergy during the past year. We do this every year and use the results at our annual Vestry Retreat to address things that might not be going quite right or need some improvement. It keeps us on the right track. There's a lot more to running a fairly large Episcopal parish than most realize.

Now for the picks:

The Rouge et Noir take on the Roughriders in their own corral. I cannot see the horse abusers doing much to the checkered shirt guys. Ottawa by 12

Tigercats take on Eskimos this week. All I can say is that they aren't the Hamilton Snow Leopards. Edmonton by 8

The two big cities of the east clash beside the lake. Little Larks and the mythical sailors both have suffered adversity, but Montreal looks like the poorer team. Toronto by 14

posted by Howard_T at 06:05 PM on July 22

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Former NFL coach Dennis Green dies at 67

I wonder if, upon his admission through the Pearly Gates, Dennis Green turned to St. Peter and said, "It is what I thought it was."

Saw a bit of the ESPN item on Sports Center, and his impact upon increasing the number of black coaches in the NFL was significant. It is one of the things I did not know about Green. It is something that ought to be more widely known.

posted by Howard_T at 05:49 PM on July 22

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Four

There are lessons to be learned here. The first one is to pay attention to the schedule and not wait until Friday morning to make your picks for Wednesday and Thursday. The second is that I know about as much about Canadian Football as I know about how to build an array using ADA. In other words, I know it exists, I know its uses, but anything beyond that is total mystery. So here goes:

Tiger Cats claw their way to a win, although the little lark tries to escape. Hamilton by 6

Cats rule this week. Around my house they rule every day, but that's another story. Lions' ride is not rough. BC by 13

posted by Howard_T at 01:51 PM on July 15

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

There should be a very, very small number of times when "committing a foul" or "drawing a penalty" is in any way advantageous to the team/player that's doing it

When the players your opponent has on the floor each is able to hit a good percentage of their free throws (let's throw 70% as a benchmark), any advantage the fouling team gains is slight. The team being fouled yields the advantage by playing those whose free throw shooting is below par. Playing the game well, at least well enough in one area to deny an advantage, makes rule changes unnecessary.

posted by Howard_T at 06:35 PM on July 14

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

"The League of Extraordinary Bartolo's" Against any common sense, I read this thing from end to end. Amazing! I can somehow in my mind shrink myself into an atom-sized being and creep inside the processor of amazinavenue's computer. I can see the bits, bytes, and words struggling to align themselves into a result for each game. I can see the processor beginning to glow red just before it explodes, spewing images of Bartolo Colon all over the keyboard. Disaster! But oh what fun.

posted by Howard_T at 06:27 PM on July 14

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

The NBA's ineffectual anti-hacking rule

I was watching the Las Vegas Summer League (Dallas vs Milwaukee), and Mark Cuban was being interviewed by the play-by-play and analyst. One of the topics was the rule. Cuban's take was for teams not to play someone who can't hit free throws, or for players learn to make free throws. My humble (well, maybe a little humble) opinion is that free throw shooting is an NBA skill. If you don't have it, your team should suffer the consequences.

posted by Howard_T at 12:11 AM on July 14

Tim Duncan announces retirement

It somehow fits the Tim Duncan image that he chose to walk away quietly rather than become the centerpiece of a gaudy farewell tour. Having said that, I would make it a point to be at his final appearance in Boston so I could show my appreciation for what he has done in his career. Oh what might have been -- stinkin' ping pong balls anyway.

posted by Howard_T at 03:15 PM on July 11

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

My 1/8 Portuguese ancestry leaves me very satisfied with the outcome. I cannot help but believe the extra day of rest might have had a bearing on the outcome in extra time, but then France had more than a few chances to win it in regulation. Many will argue that Portugal did not deserve to make it out of the group stage, let alone into the final, but you play to your strength. Soccer is perhaps the only game in which the saying 'you play to win the game' is not completely valid. Much more accurate is to say'you play to give your team the best chance of improving its position in the standings, and ultimately its best chance to win the game in the knock out stage'. Don't fault Portugal for doing exactly what was necessary.

posted by Howard_T at 05:44 PM on July 10

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Three

Realized I hadn't done the pick 'em until I checked the TV schedule and saw it was on ESPN. Oh well, I would have taken Hamilton anyway. Here are the quickies for the rest of the schedule.

BC by 6. They are home, after all.

Ottawa by 11. No reason,just policy.

Edmonton by 4. It's easier to spell than Saskatchewan.

posted by Howard_T at 10:11 PM on July 07

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Nice write-up, grum. My wife, myself, and our (then) 11-year-old son sat through 19 innings in Seattle vs Boston in 2000. After about the 11th inning or so, we decided that we were going to stay no matter how long it went. I won't say it was fun (Boston lost) but it was memorable.

He throws his first warm up pitch over the catcher and to the back stop.

Yankees many years ago had a reliever named Ryne Duren who wore rather thick glasses. He had an excellent fast ball (this in the days before the Juggs gun, so nobody really knew how hard he threw) and a reputation for being a bit wild. Often upon being summoned from the bullpen, he would start his warmups from the mound by throwing a heater over the catcher's mitt to the backstop. More than a few hitters were looking to the dugout to see who could pinch hit. He did it on purpose, and few batters would dig in after he threw one a bit inside.

posted by Howard_T at 09:01 PM on July 02

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Two

We're here in the White Mountains of NH on my wife's annual "decompression" trip, something she badly needs after a year of working with special needs kids in a public school kindergarten class. Any time I feel like I have it bad I just listen to her go on about a day in her classroom. It's no fun at all. Time for some predictions.

Once again last week I found myself undone by picking against Ottawa. Why do I do this? OK, I will change it up. Don't make me regret this, RedBlacks. Ottawa by 3.

Argonauts got schooled by Hamilton last week. I doubt Saskatchewan can do this, but are they all that bad? Maybe they are, and maybe Toronto needed another week to get going. Toronto by 6.

It's a cat fight in Hamilton, but the Tiger Cats are in their own litter box. The Lions might be big and strong, but Tiger cats know how to fight too. Hamilton by 17.

Stampeders were close against BC last week, and only a late TD kept Bombers in the game against Montreal (and kept me from hitting the spread exactly). Thus, I do not look favorably upon Winnipeg. Calgary by 9.

posted by Howard_T at 02:01 PM on June 29

Legendary University of Tennessee Basketball Coach Pat Summitt passes away at age 64.

Hers was a life to be emulated. Rest in peace, MS Summitt.

posted by Howard_T at 10:20 PM on June 28