Recent Comments by Howard_T

NBA Pick 'Em Week 13: No Rivals Edition

Last week turned out well enough, although I missed on the Chicago vs Memphis game. I really did not think the Grizzlies would blow a lead. Oh well. Fun stuff locally; watching Isaiah Thomas take over the 4th quarter is really fun. We sit there in the balcony seats and over and over again say, "How does he do that?" He's amazing.

On to the picks:

Bucks' can be good, but then there's Harden. Houston by 16. SLAM
Golden State seemed to round into form vs Cleveland. Golden State by 18. SLAM
NY on the 2nd night of a back-to-back, but Washington struggles sometimes. New York by 5.
T-Wolves could be going after the lame horse. Minnesota by 6.
Here comes Golden State, Warriors on the warpath. Ambush ahead? Nah. Golden State by 9.
Indiana has trouble putting away a game they lead in. Lakers just have trouble. Indiana by 5.
Spurs are just good enough to take this one with Cavs missing J. R. Smith. San Antonio by 4.
First home game after a 3-game road trip. Can mean trouble, but it's the Knicks. Indiana by 8.

posted by Howard_T at 11:11 PM on January 17

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

It's pick 'em time for football once again. Just think, counting this week there are only 3 more to go. I fear there will be SpoFites suffering from pick 'em withdrawal soon.

Ryan can cement his reputation in this one. Atlanta by 6
Vince Wilfork's farewell game? Sad to see him go. New England by 18 LOCK
Can Pittsburgh score enough to overcome their porous defense? Kansas City by 8
This one could be a classic. Rookie vs grizzled veteran. Youth is served. Dallas by 3.

Golden Arm: Rogers (GBP)
Golden Legs: Bell (PIT)
Golden Hands: Jones (ATL)
Golden Defender: Hightower (NEP)

posted by Howard_T at 11:57 PM on January 13

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Bill Simmons gets some unusual recognition from a barista.

posted by Howard_T at 10:51 PM on January 12

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I'm watching Pacers vs Nuggets from London right now. What a difference between the rather reserved British crowd and the usually raucous NBA experience. It almost sounds like they are playing in a high school gym. Players often say that they are energized by the crowd. I wonder if the lack of fan reaction will have any effect on the quality of play. So far it doesn't appear so.

posted by Howard_T at 03:36 PM on January 12

NBA Pick 'Em Week 12: Unexcused Absence Edition

Now to continue where I left off. Last night's game featured the 4th quarter Isaiah Thomas show, when Thomas went off for 20 of his 38. He is somehow able to keep his legs late in the game, even on the 2nd night of a back-to-back. In the meantime, Washington seemed to suffer from a case of "4th quarter legs". That is, as the legs get tired, the mid-range and 3-point shots quit falling. It was obvious last night, as Celtics exploded and Wizards fell flat. One final note, the referees were calling very little of the incidental contact last night, including more than a few occasions when players from both teams were hit pretty hard on shot attempts in the paint. It led to some confrontation, and at the end of the game Jay Crowder and John Wall were "engaging in a little trash talk", according to Wall. At one point Crowder had his finger on Wall's nose, thereby disregarding the wisdom that you can pick your nose and you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your friend's nose.

On with the picks:

Which locker room will Derek Rose show up in? New York by 6
Engine don't run good when the Pistons got no rings. Golden State by 14 SLAM
Return of the Native (apology to Thomas Hardy for stealing his title) Horford leads Boston by 9
The trip will not be too great for Pistons. Back-to-back trying to keep up with Jazz. Utah by 10.
Sounds like Wall Street with the Bulls vs the Bears (Grizzlies). Market is down. Memphis by 8.
Neither of these two is playing to full potential. I'll go with the homers. Golden State by 7.
Inclement weather vs the fast sailing ships. They will survive the thunder. LA Clippers by 5.

posted by Howard_T at 03:27 PM on January 12

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Vicodin, beaverboard, but I fear running afoul of NH and their crackdown on opiate abuse. Actually, I took only 1 from this bottle, but my wife is down with a broken leg, and she has been popping one every now and then to take care of her pain.

posted by Howard_T at 05:16 PM on January 11

NBA Pick 'Em Week 12: Unexcused Absence Edition

I will pick tonight's games for now. Have to get dinner going and head out to the game at TD Garden.

Celtics will be sharper after blowing a lead last night. Boston by 12 SLAM
Watch out for this bunch from the Northwest. Portland by 3

Off to watch the back court duel of John Wall vs Isaiah Thomas. Should be fun.

posted by Howard_T at 05:12 PM on January 11

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I had 3 teeth pulled Monday and the technician who helped in the process is a stout Alabama fan. (Well, she's not "fat" stout, rather she's stout in her strong like for Alabama.) She called me today to make sure that I was doing well after the surgery. I was doing a lot better than she was, I'm sure.

posted by Howard_T at 11:48 PM on January 10

NFL Pick 'Em Champion Crowned

Congratulation, Ufez, that was a great job with the picking. Many thanks, rcade, for running this. It's always a lot of fun, and it's one of the things that keeps Sports Filter and its denizens as my favorite sports-related web sit.

posted by Howard_T at 11:43 PM on January 10

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Wild-Card Edition

I'm sure my regular season mediocrity will continue as we journey through the playoffs. Here goes nothing:

Terrible QB with some experience vs rookie QB with none. Houston by 10.
Lions brought this upon themselves by gagging during the regular season. Seattle by 9.
'Fins took out Steelers once. They won't do it again. Pittsburgh by 14.
Giants like to swagger and boast, but Green Bay just likes to win. Green Bay by 14.

Mr. Golden Arm (most passing yards): Roethlisberger (PIT)
Mr. Golden Legs (most rushing yards): Leveon Bell (PIT)
Mr. Golden Hands (most receiving yards): Jordy Nelson (GBP)
Mr. Golden Theft (Interceptor): Al-Hajj Shabazz (PIT)

posted by Howard_T at 11:47 PM on January 06

NBA Pick 'Em Week 11: Nick Young Dance Party Edition

A little bit of progress last week. We've crawled out of the cellar and have put a couple of competitors behind us. Now we have to keep grinding and perhaps emulate the Celtics' Isaiah Thomas in the 4th quarter. Saw him against Utah last night, and he is truly incredible.

James Harden vs Russell Westbrook. I'd love to see this one. Oklahoma City by 9.
Popovich takes his gang to Denver. Nuggets do not prosper. San Antonio by 18 SLAM
Porzingis shows some flaws. Can the man with the strange name stop him? New York by 6
Grinders vs relentless offense. Golden State by 10 SLAM
A pair of defensive juggernauts here. Look for a total score less than 190. Memphis by 4
Nothing to comment on here. Los Angeles (Purple & Gold) by 14 SLAM

posted by Howard_T at 10:52 PM on January 04

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

The Rose Bowl broadcast had a cameo appearance by Keith Jackson. It would have been better had they not put him anywhere near a camera or microphone. He does not look good, his speech is halting and occasionally a bit slurred, and in general he shows signs of aging. I would much have preferred to remember him in his prime when the "Whoa, Nellies" came fast and furiously.

The game itself, by the way, is a beauty. 84 total points so far, and they're only 4 1/2 minutes into the 4th quarter.

posted by Howard_T at 08:43 PM on January 02

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

It is well that things like this are not included as prizes in our several pick 'em contests.

posted by Howard_T at 08:58 PM on December 30

NFL Pick 'Em Week 17: One-Legged Quarterback Edition

Time for some higher mathematics. No, I don't mean trying to operate my slide rule (I still have my old one from college) while smoking some interesting substances. I mean really complicated stuff like addition. I now trail the leader by 166 points, and with my "smashing" win of last week, I actually made up 1 WHOLE POINT on our leader. My conclusion is that the NFL season needs to be more than 3 1/2 years longer for me to have a chance. rcade, can you call your good friend Roger Goodell and have him arrange that?

Minnesota by 6
Buffalo by 12
Pittsburgh by 17 LOCK
Philadelphia by 3
Indianapolis by 13
Carolina by 6
New England by 7
Baltimore by 8
Tennessee by 7
Arizona by 12 LOCK
Kansas City by 10
New York (National Conference) by 6
Denver by 9
Atlanta by 14 LOCK
Seattle by 9 LOCK
Detroit by 4

posted by Howard_T at 05:58 PM on December 29

Buffalo Bills Fire Rex Ryan After Almost 2 Seasons

He will be missed in New England. There were many who thought he was useless as a coach. I say he was not useless; he was very good at being held up as a bad example. If nothing else, he was always fun.

posted by Howard_T at 11:26 PM on December 27

NBA Pick 'Em Week 10: George Karl's Distracting Posse Edition

Slowly we crawl toward the door from the cellar. With a limited number of picks we likely won't make it out of the Costanza position this week, but perhaps we can close a little bit. Neither game looks to be so predictable to select as a slam. We'll just take them on their merit and hope we are right.

In their usual style, Celtics keep it close, but in the end... Cleveland by 6
Dallas seems to be a bit underachieving, and Lakers are a talented but young team. Dallas by 8.

posted by Howard_T at 03:25 PM on December 27

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Rex wanted feet, but just got the boot.

He said when he was hired by the Bills that the Buffalo job would be his last. I do hope he will recant on that, otherwise we will miss him here in New England.

posted by Howard_T at 03:18 PM on December 27

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Maybe a purchasing manifest for some lifelike dolls?

If they are the inflatable kind, they will not work. Remember, there can be some strange air pressure problems in Foxborough. Sticking pins into the life size blow-up dolls kind of defeats the whole purpose anyway.

posted by Howard_T at 10:42 PM on December 26

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

May this season of light bring joy to all SpoFites and their loved ones. Whether it's the lamps of Hanukkah or the light of Christ or the light of Kwanza or even the light at the Solstice, may we all enjoy the joy and peace of the season.

posted by Howard_T at 02:51 PM on December 25

NBA Pick 'Em Week 9: Craig Sager Memorial Edition

Sunday will be crazy for me, so I had best get the picks done while I can.

They looked good in a loss to Oklahoma City last night. Boston by 6
Neither team will forget last season's finale. Cleveland by 4
Chicago looked good, then looked terrible. San Antonio by 10 SLAM
Russell West brook is INSANE. I saw but still do not believe. Oklahoma City by 14 SLAM
Los Angeles will win this one for sure. (really?) Clippers by 11

posted by Howard_T at 12:57 PM on December 24

NFL Pick 'Em Week 16: Farewell Gus Bradley Edition

Have to hurry. Baking pies for Christmas dinner at my step-mother-in-law's house. Last one's in the oven now. 2 church services to do tonight, then get to pass the Chalice at a third. Christmas around here is enough to drive one to drink. Come to think of it, that's not a bad idea.

San Diego by 17 LOCK
Miami by 6
Atlanta by 7
New England by 9
Washington by 10
Tennessee by 12
Green Bay by 13 LOCK
Oakland by 10
San Francisco by 6
New Orleans by 8
Seattle by 6
Houston by 3
Pittsburgh by 14 LOCK
Dallas by 12 LOCK

A very merry Christmas and a happy Hanukkah to all. May the season bring you blessings.

posted by Howard_T at 12:50 PM on December 24

NFL Pick 'Em Week 16: Farewell Gus Bradley Edition

Have to get dinner going soon. Steak, salad, Brussels sprouts in brown butter. Here is tonight's pick:

New York (National Conference) by10

More later after dessert.

posted by Howard_T at 06:24 PM on December 22

NBA Pick 'Em Week 9: Craig Sager Memorial Edition

Busy night tonight. Let me get tonight's games done, and I will check back later.

The team is finally healthy, Boston by 8 No Blake Griffin for this one (I think), San Antonio by 5

posted by Howard_T at 06:22 PM on December 22

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I had little, if any, appreciation for Ray Hudson's inimitable style until beaverboard's comment sent me to do a bit of research. If you are an older fan of the Boston Celtics, you will understand this comparison: Ray Hudson is soccer's Johnny Most.

posted by Howard_T at 06:19 PM on December 22

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Where in the blazes did Seattle get those uniforms? The last time I saw something that color it was coming out of the nose of a very sick cat we were taking to the vet to be put down. I hope the NFL gets some sense and does not bring back the "color rush" idea next season.

posted by Howard_T at 10:03 PM on December 15

NFL Pick 'Em Week 15: Farewell Jeff Fisher Edition

The way this is going for me I might have to look up tron's grandmother and find out if she is single. Of course, I would have to do something about my current wife, but those things can be arranged. No, I'm not looking to put out a contract. If we split everything in half, I would actually come out ahead, so maybe that would work.

Seattle by 17 LOCK
Miami by 9
Buffalo by 7 LOCK
Minnesota by 14 LOCK
Philadelphia by 6
Houston by 9
New York (National Conference) by 3
Green Bay by 12 LOCK
Pittsburgh by 14
Kansas City by 7 LOCK
Atlanta by 16 LOCK
Arizona by 3
New England by 7
Oakland by 9
Dallas by 17 LOCK
Washington by 10 LOCK

posted by Howard_T at 05:49 PM on December 15

NBA Pick 'Em Week 8: Last-Place Dallas Mavericks Edition

Ah yes. From the penthouse to the outhouse. Why does the NBA hate me? Why do the teams see my picks and deliberately play well or poorly, as required to mess me up? It's a vast right wing point guard conspiracy. We will overcome this.

Chicago by 9
Portland by 6
Indiana by 7
San Antonio by 10
Chicago by 12 SLAM
Golden State by 18 SLAM
Los Angeles by 11
Utah by 15 SLAM

posted by Howard_T at 06:06 PM on December 13

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

I watched the Army-Navy game this afternoon. It is a tradition in our house for a number of reasons. I spent 2 years wearing a bar on my collar and managing a Mark 1, Mod. B desk, steel, two-pedestal for the US Army on Okinawa, but since most of my career was spent supporting Naval Aviation, I have rooted for Navy for a long time. Having a wife whose father was a career Navy Captain, a submariner with 5 war patrols in WWII to his credit who also captained the first guided missile submarine in the Navy, means we root for Navy or find other sleeping arrangements. Still, I sort of felt good when Army finally broke the streak. They earned it.

I also stayed with the broadcast long enough to watch Vern Lundquist's very emotional farewell address. He is one of the all-time great play-by-play guys, and I believe until he announced his retirement really didn't get the credit he deserved. He is being replaced at CBS by Brad Nessler, who calls a pretty good game. If he does half as well as Lundquist did, he will do well indeed.

posted by Howard_T at 08:55 PM on December 10

NFL Pick 'Em Week 14: Just Endure The Suffering Edition

Loin lamb chops, soaked in a brine solution and seasoned with garlic, butternut squash, broccoli, chocolate mousse, and red wine for dinner tonight. Have to make the picks quick so I can get started on the stove. I may lose, but I will dine well.

Kansas City by 6
Detroit by 12 LOCK
Cleveland by 3 (my upset special for the week)
Tennessee by 7 (#2 upset special)
Miami by 9
Carolina by 10
Washington by 7
Pittsburgh by 12
Indianapolis by 6
Jacksonville by 14 LOCK
San Francisco by 11
Atlanta by 22 LOCK
New Orleans by 9
Seattle by 4
New York (National Conference) by 6
New England by 7

posted by Howard_T at 05:11 PM on December 08

NBA Pick 'Em Week 7: 60 Points in 29 Minutes Edition

It wasn't even a full moon last week. Wha hoppen?

I spent a lovely 2 1/2 hours this afternoon with the 'phone on speaker waiting for a human so I could complete my annual enrollment for Medicare Supplement and Prescription Drug insurance. You young whippersnappers just don't know what you are in for. The tech part went easily. Found the plans, put them into the electronic shopping cart, filled out the questionnaire, and hit Submit. Then the site told me I needed to call and make a "voice signature". I called, thinking it would be just a few minutes. Yeah, right. Had to listen to the agent repeat a several paragraph agreement containing many multi-syllable tongue twisters that she had no end of problems with, then had to swear on the life of my only child that I had filled out the questionnaire honestly. Such a fun day.

Maybe the picks will be easier, but Cleveland will not be staying in a Trump hotel in NYC, the Clippers have started to take Doc Rivers seriously, Russel Westbrook is on a tear, and the Lakers have enough players that they can give you a game. here goes:

Cleveland by 6
Los Angeles Clippers by 4
Toronto by 9 SLAM
San Antonio by 10 SLAM
Oklahoma City by 12 SLAM
Los Angeles Lakers by 10

posted by Howard_T at 09:58 PM on December 06

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

The Curse of the 1994 Heisman Trophy has now run its course.

That is eerie. Why is the theme from "The Twilight Zone" playing in my head?

do-do-di-do do-do-di-do...

posted by Howard_T at 09:42 PM on December 06

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

The BBWAA passed a measure today mandating that all Hall of Fame ballots be public starting in 2018. It remains voluntary for this election

It remains to be seen if this will deter someone with some sort of axe to grind from stiffing an otherwise deserving candidate. This is not necessarily to say that one should always vote for the orthodox picks, but the electors should be held to make a valid case for their vote.

posted by Howard_T at 05:29 PM on December 06

Three conference champions and Ohio State walk into a stadium...

I am somewhat bummed that the choice for the final spot came down to Penn State and Washington, and Washington prevailed. It's not that Penn State is really good enough for the final 4; they're not. Rather I think that Michigan is better than either Washington or Penn State, and they should be in as the #4. Putting Michigan is the final 4 would have meant a Penn State vs Washington Rose Bowl, thus settling the question of which is the better team. Washington's out-of-conference schedule included a weak Big 10 team (Rutgers) and a couple of 1AA teams (at least I think Idaho and Portland State are 1AA). Penn State played only FBS teams, lost narrowly to Pitt when Penn State was missing much of its O-line, D-line, and linebacker groups. The loss to Michigan was bad indeed, happened when Penn State was still banged up, and likely would have been a loss anyway.

Was the thinking in the committee such that including Ohio State precluded another Big 10 team from the playoffs? It almost appears that was the case, and if true, then limit the final 4 to the ACC/SEC/PAC 10/Big 10 conference champions only. Will other conferences complain about this? Of course, but the answer is to go to 8 teams, make teams cut one of their out-of-conference tackling dummies from their schedule, and start the conference championships a week earlier. The TV networks would love this, the NCAA would have to hire extra staff to count the money, and the fans would have something else to watch.

As a true, long suffering Boston fan, I say "Wait 'til next year".

posted by Howard_T at 05:39 PM on December 05

All-Star Game No Longer Decides World Series Home Field

I didn't know we had a Chili Bordello either.

You might have to search the newspaper morgues to find anything about it. Don't forget, this was 30 years ago. I do remember they had to fire one of the waitresses; she was 15-years-old and serving alcohol. It was that kind of place.

posted by Howard_T at 04:26 PM on December 03

NBA Pick 'Em Week 6: Doc Rivers Will Smash Edition

Just checked the scores. WTF?

Here are the rest of my picks:

Cleveland by 6
Houston by 8

posted by Howard_T at 11:07 PM on December 01

NFL Pick 'Em Week 13: No Tie for Gary Kubiak Edition

As I watch the 4th quarter of Dallas vs Minnesota, here come the rest of the picks.

Dallas by 17 LOCK as above.
Chicago by 6
Denver by 7
Atlanta by 10
Baltimore by 7
Cincinnati by 3
New Orleans by 9
New England by 12 LOCK
Green Bay by 15
Oakland by 10 LOCK
San Diego by 6
New York (National Conference) by 3
Arizona by 10
Seattle by 6
Indianapolis by 17 LOCK

posted by Howard_T at 11:03 PM on December 01

All-Star Game No Longer Decides World Series Home Field

The beautiful people hated Jacksonville's Super Bowl.

I lived in Jacksonville for about 6 months in 1986. I remember it as a great place to get oneself into trouble. Every few weeks my running mate and I had to drive from Cecil Field (extreme western edge of the city) to Mayport (on the ocean) to do some work aboard whatever aircraft carrier was in port. The drive took exactly 2 beers each from Cecil Field to Mayport, which left us with one more beer each to finish on our way to lunch. Lunch was a pitcher at Joanne's Chili Bordello (good looking waitresses in bustiers), and then it was time to hit the strip club. Please note this was in my "younger, drunker, stupider" days, and I was in between wives.

I have no idea why the "beautiful people" could hate a city with entertainment options like this.

posted by Howard_T at 10:55 PM on December 01

CFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Final Standings

Congratulations, bender, that was quite a finishing kick you put on. Many thanks to Dr. J for running this show each year. It's always fun.

posted by Howard_T at 10:43 PM on December 01

NFL Pick 'Em Week 13: No Tie for Gary Kubiak Edition

For tonight. More later.

Dallas by 17. LOCK

posted by Howard_T at 06:42 PM on December 01

NBA Pick 'Em Week 6: Doc Rivers Will Smash Edition

Tonight's picks first. The rest later.

Cleveland by 12 SLAM
Golden State by 10

posted by Howard_T at 06:38 PM on December 01

Brazilian Soccer Team Lost in Plane Crash

This afternoon Fox News had some coverage of the accident. Their South American sports affiliate had some people travelling aboard the flight to cover the team. Fox showed some video taken just before takeoff that shows the team members. Seeing their excitement and joy at being involved in a championship game is heart wrenching.

Fox also reported that the Medellin, Colombia, team has asked that the championship be awarded to Chapocoense.

The aircraft involved was a BAE-146 short-range regional jet. It is also known as the Avro RJ-85. The type was first placed in service in 1983, which makes it nearly geriatric in terms of commercial aviation. The type did have a good safety record. Fox says that the flight crew reported "an electrical problem" prior to the crash. There have also been reports of insufficient fuel on board.

Nothing more needs to be said other than


posted by Howard_T at 03:31 PM on November 29

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

What the camera doesn't show is the Jets would-be tacklers doubling over with laughter at Brady trying to emulate a pulling guard. They didn't have the energy to hit him.

posted by Howard_T at 02:16 PM on November 29

NHL's Newest Team: The Vegas Golden Knights

There's a report that one of the minority owners is a certain NFL tight end of some notoriety. It will be rather interesting to see what happens when Rob Gronkowski shows up to watch his team.

posted by Howard_T at 11:01 PM on November 23

CFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Grey Cup Edition

Where did that come from? I actually picked up 5 points and drew even with someone who actually knows what he is doing? Amazing! Buoyed by recent success, we venture on with trying to pull another good result out of my backside.

The Game: Stampeders try to avoid becoming enshrouded in the red and black haze that seems to hang like a pall over Ottawa (or is that just smog?). Ottawa tries to keep the hoof prints from staining their nice checked shirts. The thundering herd will overwhelm the bi-colors. Calgary by 15.

The MVP: Quarterbacks get all the glory. Just once I would like to see some lowly offensive lineman get an MVP award. It is they who make all possible for the show off QB anyway. Alas, it will never happen. Mitchell

The Total Score: 54.5 is the line, and that doesn't seem like much, especially with a high-scoring team like Calgary. My logic last week failed, but not by much. This week I perhaps have learned my lesson. UNDER

The Tiebreaker: Total yards thrown by QB's is the metric this week. I sense that it will not be as great a number as many would think, although I see Bender has low-balled it a bit. For me, I will go with 463, and hope nobody throws a halfback pass to mess up the numbers.

posted by Howard_T at 10:54 PM on November 23

NFL Pick 'Em Week 12: Friggin' Lasers Edition

You could say that Brock Osweiler was green with envy at the result of the game. Actually he was green with a fair probability of suffering damage to his eyes. Any idiot who shines a laser into someone's eyes, particularly a green laser that has a greater than legal output, could be found guilty of assault with intent to injure. At least that is the law in a nmber of states. In Mexico? Who knows.

Enough of a tirade. I'm off to my wife's stepsister's place in CT, a 3 1/2 hour drive under normal conditions. I do not look forward to it, but at least I don't have to cook.

Detroit by 12
Dallas by 10
Pittsburgh by 6
Tennessee by 9
Buffalo by 11
Baltimore by 6
Atlanta by 15 LOCK
New York (National Conference) by 18 LOCK
New Orleans by 7
Miami by 10
Houston by 6
Seattle by 8 LOCK
New England by 16 LOCK
Oakland by 12
Denver by 3
Philadelphia by 14 LOCK

posted by Howard_T at 10:28 PM on November 23

NBA Pick 'Em Week 5: Michael Jordan of Greatness Edition

I thought I might have been starting to move a bit, but last week proved to be really bad. It's a long season, so they say.

San Antonio by 14 SLAM
New Orleans by 6

The latter pick has me worried, as Minnesota has some real talent. They just don't know how to put it together and play for 48 minutes yet. Blowing a 15-point lead (from the end of the 3rd quarter to mid-4th) to a 19-0 Boston run was not pretty.

posted by Howard_T at 11:16 PM on November 22

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

The usual strange things happening at the Harvard-Yale game this year. I don't believe anyone called for a measurement.

posted by Howard_T at 03:09 PM on November 20

CFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Division Finals Edition

The conference finals are upon us. This is becoming almost as intimidating as my final in Differential Equations, but it is a lot more fun. When I opted to major in Electrical Engineering, nobody told me I would in effect be minoring in math. Ugh. Let's see if I can get 2 + 2 to come out where it should.

Edmonton at Ottawa: The winner of this one gets to keep the traditional (not the uniform jersey) shirts of the loser. Will the Eskimos end up dressed in red and black checks, or will it be Ottawa arrayed in nice warm fur lined parkas? Red and black is not the "look" in Canada this year. Ottawa by 11

BC at Calgary: No matter how big the cat, it cannot stand in the way of a group of rampaging, runaway quadrupeds. Stampeders will not let the big kitties slow them down in the least. Calgary by 15

Now for the selection of the best realtor of the weekend. That is, who can pile up the most yardage. All 4 QBs are among the league's top 5, so this is not easy. I will go with #2; he will try harder. Avis er Mitchell

I can claim some expertise on the subject of sacks. I worked in a supermarket for a few months when I was in high school. It was in the days before the "paper or plastic" routine had even been heard of. You got paper or nothing. Football sacks are another matter. Calgary and BC are the league leaders in this category, they play each other, so who do you pick? Somehow the image of a guy in a cowboy hat bagging the groceries sticks in my head. Calgary

posted by Howard_T at 03:56 PM on November 17

NFL Pick 'Em Week 11: Blocked PAT for 2 Points Edition

I'm proud to be a member of the group rcade refers to as those in mid-table obscurity. In the NBA or NHL, the only ways out are either to spend one's way out through the free agent stars or to blow up the roster and endure several seasons of mediocrity. I have no problem with mediocrity; I've been performing that way for a lot of years. As far as buying up the free agents goes? When one is on Social Security, a small pension, and drawing down the 401k for his income, the resources are sparse. Do I sound like I'm in poverty? Far from it, but I won't be buying the Celtics any time soon.

Carolina by 8
New York (National Conference) by 16 LOCK
Cincinnati by 10
Kansas City by 9
Arizona by 12
Detroit by 3
Dallas by 14 LOCK
Pittsburgh by 18 LOCK
Tennessee by 6
Los Angeles by 12
Seattle by 7 LOCK
New England by 6
Washington by 9
Oakland by 7

posted by Howard_T at 03:27 PM on November 17

NBA Pick 'Em Week 4: All Hail the Clippers Edition

Out of the cellar at last. Let's see if I can keep up the effort.

Toronto by 8
LA Clippers by 6
Minnesota by 12 SLAM
Utah by 9
Golden State by 4 (I'll Be there)
L A Clippers by 10

posted by Howard_T at 07:32 PM on November 16

Shohei Ohtani hits a ball out of a domed stadium.

Does Japan have designated hitters?

It used to be that the Pacific League did not use the DH while the Central League did. I understand that the rule has become similar to what happens in the US, because there is now interleague play in Japan. In other words, Pacific League teams use the DH when playing in a Central League park. Nippon Ham is a Pacific League team, thus could use Ohtani as a DH when playing on the road against a Central League team. Does this happen? I have no idea.

posted by Howard_T at 10:14 PM on November 15

Shohei Ohtani hits a ball out of a domed stadium.

And he will be able to be posted for MLB bidding for the 2018 season.

I watched a bit of the discussion on the next video that followed grum's link (many thanks, grum, it took me back to my years in Japan). The topic was what would Ohtani's role be on an MLB team. If he were to go to a National League team, it would be more difficult for him to pitch as well as play every day than it would be in the American League. In the Junior Circuit (I thought I would drop that term to see how many of you remember it), he could very nicely DH whenever he was not pitching. As a bonus, when he was on the mound, an AL team could use the DH for one of the position players other than pitcher. I don't know what Ohtani thinks of his role, but I can see a team in MLB trying to convert him out of pitching. What say all of you?

posted by Howard_T at 05:12 PM on November 14

CFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Division Semi-Finals Edition

Playoffs? Playoffs? OK, I will resist continuing with the obvious.

Edmonton at Hamilton: Once again Eskimos attempt to make a bunch of cats do their bidding. The last time they tried they were successful. Can they do it again? With enough catnip and a laser pointer to steer the cats where Eskimos want them to go, they will do it again. Edmonton by 6

Winnipeg at BC: Westward ho the Bombers. Is this a good idea? The old saying is "third time's a charm, and BC wants to avoid a threepeat loss. BC by 8

The kicking game is always unpredictable. The basic fact is that the more your team scores, the more opportunities you have to kick. Taking a wild guess I will say Medlock.

111.5 points is not all that huge a number. It works out to about 28 points per team, and that is attainable by most in the CFL. Give me the OVER.

posted by Howard_T at 05:03 PM on November 10

NFL Pick 'Em Week 10: I Blame Bill Belichick Edition

I have tried to get a lot of help in making my weekly picks, but so far my cats have refused to assist. I think they are running their own pick-'em, because they seem to be very interested whenever I put the schedule up on either the TV or the computer. Hmmm...

Baltimore by 7
Tampa Bay by 14
New Orleans by 3
Kansas City by 8
Atlanta by 9
Tennessee by 6
Los Angeles by 14 LOCK
Jacksonville by 4
Washington by 9
San Diego by 15 LOCK
Arizona by 12 LOCK
Dallas by 6
New England by 10
New York (National Conference) by 7

posted by Howard_T at 04:45 PM on November 10

NBA Pick 'Em Week 3: Enes Kanter Edition

The champ is off to a rather slow start. Just wait until all my injuries are healed.

New York by 17 SLAM
San Antonio by 14
Chicago by 6
Los Angeles Lakers by 8

posted by Howard_T at 04:14 PM on November 09

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

My New Hampshire ballot had a space for the NFL MVP selection. It included Tom Brady's name. Some guy in the next booth, who was from Chicago and who claimed he was my dead neighbor, said the ballot was illegal because Brady had missed too much of the campaign. I expect the whole thing will end up before the Supreme Court, where James Comey will testify that the investigation revealed nothing new.

posted by Howard_T at 04:52 PM on November 08

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Twenty

Our attention shifts to the land to the north as we attempt to act like an expert. Depending on what happens Tuesday I might just try to see if some of my Nova Scotian cousins might sponsor me for residence there.

Winnipeg at Ottawa: Once again the clash of the colors; blue versus red and black. Winnipeg might try to run the score a bit, but the checkered shirt group will not allow that. Winnipeg by 12

Montreal at Hamilton: Cat against bird here, and the bird's wings are in bad shape. Little birdie is a quick snack for the Tiger Cat. Hamilton by 16

Toronto at Edmonton: The Argonauts have about as much chance against the Eskimos as a drunken sailor has against a hostess in a Yokohama bar. Edmonton by 18

Saskatchewan at BC: Yes, I could hold the pick until Saturday. Would I be any smarter on Saturday? Doubtful. Consensus seems to be Lions; I am not of a contrary nature. BC by 14

posted by Howard_T at 05:00 PM on November 03

NFL Pick 'Em Week 9: Concussion Protocol Edition

For me the expression "Fantasy Football" describes my efforts to make picks.

Atlanta by 14
Dallas by 21 LOCK
Philadelphia by 3
Kansas City by 12
Miami by 9
Minnesota by 3
Pittsburgh by 17 LOCK
Los Angeles by 10
New Orleans by 6
Green Bay by 15 LOCK
San Diego by 7
Oakland by 3
Seattle by 2

posted by Howard_T at 04:45 PM on November 03

NBA Pick 'Em Week 2: Who Needs Kevin Durant? Edition

OK, I'm back. We have a week-long thing going on at our church that involves one-on-one meetings with guest clergy from various places in the US at which we discuss issues pertaining to our spiritual place, the health of our parish and the Church in general, and ways to perform and encourage ministry. There are small group meetings at breakfasts, luncheons, and dinners. We have a nightly Evening Prayer session, after which we break up into larger groups for another session with one of the clergy. It has been quite interesting, very rewarding, but has kept me very busy. I have a few minutes to get all my picks, NBA, CFL, NFL, in place, so here goes.

I can't believe that the Celtics won last night. Horford was missing, Crowder rolled an ankle early, but they prevailed. Amir Johnson shooting treys? WTF?

Cleveland by 12 SLAM
Golden State (Thursday) by 9
Chicago by 6
Golden State (Friday) by 8

posted by Howard_T at 04:38 PM on November 03

NBA Pick 'Em Week 2: Who Needs Kevin Durant? Edition

I'll be quick. Was going to the game, but things happen. Horford is out with a concussion, so that changes things.

Chicago by 7
LA Clippers by 12

I'll get the rest later.

posted by Howard_T at 06:27 PM on November 02