Recent Comments by Howard_T

NFL Pick 'Em Week 15: NFC Least Edition

Saturday night and I have to get up early for church tomorrow morning. I'm helping out at the 0800 Eucharist, so I need my beauty sleep.

Bears in NH have not yet gone to hibernation, lots of bird feeders torn up lately, but Bears won't be active enough in Wisconsin. Green Bay by 9

I wrote Broncos off last week, so they embarrassed Texans. Chiefs might be susceptible to a decent defensive performance. Kansas City by 10

Buccaneers beat a decent Colts team last week. They should be able to tame some Lions. Tampa Bay by 7

Fish swim well in the Jersey swamp. Miami by 13 LOCK

The "Iggles" should fly right through DC. Philadelphia by 10 LOCK

OK, this is really the week that the Patriots find their offense. New England by 17 LOCK

The question is, "What would Ron Rivera do? " Seattle by 14 LOCK

Texans looked bad last week, Titans looked good. Tennessee by 12

Browns have succeeded in making the preseason pundits look really bad. Arizona by 10

Can the Raiders recover from a bad loss? Oakland by 6

The most successful Minnesota team in Los Angeles is the Lakers. Vikings will do well
Minnesota by 15 LOCK

Steelers and Bills entertain playoff hopes. Buffalo by 4

Ponies need to pray to a Saint, but not one of those they will meet on the field
New Orleans by 15 LOCK

posted by Howard_T at 11:10 PM on December 14, 2019

NFL Pick 'Em Week 15: NFC Least Edition

Sitting in TD Garden right now waiting for Celtics vs 76ers. Meanwhile, Baltimore by 23 LOCK

posted by Howard_T at 07:57 PM on December 12, 2019

NBA Pick 'Em Week 8: 50 Points No Threes Edition

Back to the important things in life. 76ers came through for me at the end, so we're off to a decent start.

Wednesday, Dec. 11:

Clippers are in the middle of a long road trip. Raptors could be a tough matchup for them. Los Angeles (non-purple) by 6

Pelicans are in Milwaukee, but not for a beer. They might need copious amounts after this game. Milwaukee by 15 SLAM

Thursday, Dec. 12:

We'll cheer for Al Horford, boo loudly for the rest, and watch some good basketball too. Boston by 5

Nuggets will have their first game at home after a road trip. Jamal Murray is hurt, but we don't know how badly. This could be a bad night for the Nuggets. Portland by 9

Friday, Dec. 13:

Lakers visit South Beach, and enjoy the Heat. Los Angeles (purple) by 13 SLAM

And in the meantime, Clippers odyssey on the road continues. Minnesota by 10

posted by Howard_T at 05:35 PM on December 11, 2019

NBA Pick 'Em Week 8: 50 Points No Threes Edition

Quickie for tonight. Verbose mode later.

Tuesday, Dec. 10:

Nuggets didn't look great against Celtics last week. 76ers should hold serve at home. Philadelphia by 10

tata for now.

posted by Howard_T at 06:42 PM on December 10, 2019

NFL Pick 'Em Week 14: Color Analyst Tim Ryan Edition

Oh no! I have fallen from the bottom position in the top half to the top position in the bottom half. So far I'm not facing relegation. Is that even possible?

Ranch employees occasionally had to deal with ursine creatures that threatened the livestock. What's changed? Dallas by 13

49ers were kicked in a tender spot last Sunday. Saints would like to make it hurt worse. New Orleans by 6

I think the guy in Cincinnati got off his roof. Now the Bengals can go back to their old ways. Cleveland by 10

Texans are suddenly riding high in the standings, while the Broncos try to avoid being ridden into the dust. Houston by 17 LOCK

Buccaneers managed to sail up the St. John's River and plunder Jacksonville last Sunday. Will this winning thing become a habit? Indianapolis by 12

This rivalry goes back a long way. That's about all that can be said for this one. Miami by 9

Did the Norse raiders of old keep pets? If so, they will love having kittens in their house. Minnesota by 16 LOCK

How did Ron Rivera let the Panthers lose to Washington? His interim successor won't do much better this week. Atlanta by 10 LOCK

Can anything stop Ravens? Maybe a couple of feet of lake effect snow and temperatures in the single digits could do it, but is that likely? Baltimore by 17 LOCK

Enjoy the winning streak of 1 in a row, Washington. Green Bay by 19 LOCK

I'm greatly disappointed in both teams. Jaguars are at home, so that's reason enough for the pick. Jacksonville by 4

Will the Patriots' offense finally wake up? Isn't this the same question we've been asking ourselves all season? New England by 6

They run through the desert on a horse with no name. (Why I have liked this song is beyond me, but I do.) Arizona by 9

Raiders can be a bit intimidating at home, but not to the extra large people. Tennessee by 16

Eagles got sick trying to eat non-fish last Sunday. Giants tried some cheese that just didn't agree with them. Who will get over it sooner? Philadelphia by 8

posted by Howard_T at 06:06 PM on December 05, 2019

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

For the skilled or opportunistic thief, noon to 2pm is a favored time to strike

Is this career advice from a skilled professional?

posted by Howard_T at 01:49 PM on December 04, 2019

NBA Pick 'Em Week 7: Hello Melo Edition

Just finished moving something over a foot of snow from my driveway and sidewalks. There's still a giant pile out there that looks suspiciously like a truck. I'll tackle that tomorrow before my wife and I head for TD Garden for the Celtics vs Miami.

Tuesday, Dec. 3:

D is for Dallas and Doncic. Z is for Zion and Zero. That is, he has zero chance of playing Dallas by 12

Trail Blazers seem to lose the trail when they are on the road. Los Angeles (non-purple) by 16 SLAM

Wednesday, Dec. 4:

Utah has the Jazz, but Lakers will be dancing. Los Angeles (purple) by 12 SLAM

Thursday, Dec. 5:

Rockets can fly really fast, Avian Raptors fly really well. Houston by 7

Friday, Dec. 6:

The leprechaun will be looking for a pot of gold, but he might not want to find these Nuggets Denver by 5

Lakers head up I-5 to see the Trail Blazers. It will be a good trip. Los Angeles (purple) by 13 SLAM

posted by Howard_T at 06:50 PM on December 03, 2019

NFL Pick 'Em Week 13: Offensive Rams Edition

Now, after going 1 for 3 on Thanksgiving, we'll try to improve on the rest of the week.

There's some guy in Cincinnati who is living on his roof until the Bengals win a game. He could be up there for a long time. New York (American Conference) by 7

Titans have been better lately, but Colts at home do well. It's something to do with enhanced acoustics. Indianapolis by 10

Eagles are known for being quite adept at catching and eating fish. Dolphins aren't fish, they are mammals. Miami by 4

Cheeseheads go for some fine New York Cheddar. Green Bay by 9

Browns could achieve some respectability. Cleveland by 3

Panthers should have little problem with Washington Carolina by 17 LOCK

Jaguars are showing some signs of life, while the Bucs seem to be losing theirs. Jacksonville by 12

I'm tossing a coin for this pick. Baltimore by 14

Sheep can do well on desert vegetation. Los Angeles (National Conference) by 10

One last gasp from Broncos against a traditional AFC rival. Denver by 3

Frigid Arrowhead Stadium will take it's toll on Raiders. Kansas City by 16 LOCK

At one point this week Patriots had 17 players on the injury list. I suspect Houston of conducting biological warfare. New England by 10

Seahawks will outlast Vikings in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle by 13

posted by Howard_T at 04:14 PM on November 30, 2019

NFL Pick 'Em Week 13: Offensive Rams Edition

Happy Thanksgiving to all. I am thankful for many things, among which is the chance to interact with all of you. I hope that all have had plenty to be thankful for in the past year.

This game sounds like a Cub Scout pack. Bears and Lions are there, and all you need is the wolves to make up a Webelo. (Explanation on request) Detroit by 9

Another wild west show with Cowboys and Buffalo Bill(s). Dallas by 13

Revenge is a dish best served cold, but they're playing in a dome. Saints will have to do the best they can. New Orleans by 14

More later.

posted by Howard_T at 12:34 PM on November 28, 2019

NBA Pick 'Em Week 6: Turkey Week Edition

Cataract surgery went well yesterday, work got checked today, and all is well so far. We'll get the final verdict in another week. It won't stop me from being at Celtics vs Nets tomorrow night. Here are my choices for this coming week.

Wednesday, Nov. 27:

Kyrie Irving doesn't want anything to do with Boston, so he's staying home. Boston by 8 SLAM

Lakers at Pelicans, but there's been some uniform mixups here. This one could get nasty, with alumni from each team facing their old mates. Los Angeles (purple) by 11

Friday, Nov. 29:

Pelicans are not the bird of choice for Thursday, so they should do much better against the muted Thunder on Friday. New Orleans by 14

Defense? Is that something we're supposed to do? So say the Wizards. In the meantime, additional cooling is being installed in the Staples Center scoreboards. Lakers (gold) by 17 SLAM

Saturday, Nov. 30:

76ers slip on occasion, while Pacers want to prove they belong in the playoff picture. Philadelphia by 7

Monday, Dec. 2:

The Advent Wreath will be raised in church, and the 25-day countdown will have begun. Jazz and 76ers both hope for goodies under the tree. Jazz will have to wait for a while. Philadelphia by 11

posted by Howard_T at 12:47 PM on November 26, 2019

CFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Grey Cup Edition

Fraud, I call fraud. The Grey Cup isn't grey, it's silver. Yes, I understand it's named after Earl Grey, whose chief claim to fame is having invented tea. I don't understand the Canadian idea of naming sports awards after items of protective equipment. Did Grey and Stanley play a sport in which they wore a cup? The trophies are bowls not cups. Now I like coffee, but I don't think I could finish off one of those cups full of Tim Horton's finest blend.

The next team to wear Earl Grey's Cup: Hamilton by 17

The 1st Star (oops, wrong sport) MVP Brandon Banks There, I said it for you, tommytrump.

A paltry 52.5 points? over

Distance of completed passes thrown by quarterbacks, excepting passes thrown by halfbacks or by linebackers at attractive cheerleaders. 673

posted by Howard_T at 01:46 PM on November 23, 2019

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Be nice to Jack. I heard that he's recovering from a bad case of shingles.

posted by Howard_T at 01:49 PM on November 22, 2019

NBA Pick 'Em Week 5: LeBron Triple-Doubles the World Edition

Never trust Jazz in the city where the Blues were created.

Thursday, Nov. 21:

Trail Blazers get lost. Milwaukee by 14 SLAM Suns have put something together. Phoenix by 8

Friday, Nov. 22:

Spurs usually give you a game, but not against 76ers. Philadelphia by 17 SLAM I watched Clippers vs. Celtics last night, and they looked as good as advertised. Los Angeles (non-purple) by 9

Saturday, Nov. 23:

Pelicans could visit the national park named for their star draft pick, but he's still hurt. Utah by 14

Monday, Nov. 25:

I'm having cataract surgery on this day; left eye only, but I will try to keep an eye on this one. Milwaukee by 10 SLAM

posted by Howard_T at 06:52 PM on November 21, 2019

NFL Pick 'Em Week 12: Baltimore is Pretty Good Edition

Hello, middle of the pack Howard here. Somehow I have remained solidly stuck in 9th or 10th place for nearly the entire season. If you are going to be mediocre, be really mediocre.

Texans can't ride this horse. Indianapolis by 13

Wild west show with Buffalo Bill(s) and Broncos. Buffalo by 4

I have yet to figure out the Falcons. Atlanta by 10

Fish do well in Brown water. Miami by 6

Giants ain't 'fraid of no Bears. Time for them to hibernate anyway. New York (National Conference) by 14

Crescent City hospitality? It's a myth. New Orleans by 16 LOCK

Dog-ass Jets play a real team. Oakland by 9

Two species of raptor contend. The larger is missing a few feathers. Seattle by 6

If Bengals are going to win one, this is it. Pittsburgh by 10

Here are a couple of pretenders. Tennessee by 6

This actually might be a decent game. New England by 3

As beaten up as they might be, 49ers still have enough. San Francisco by 12

The billy goats from the West Coast have had some trouble this year. Baltimore by 16 LOCK

posted by Howard_T at 06:29 PM on November 21, 2019

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Boston Bruins played their first game in Boston on this date in 1928. Follow this link to near the bottom of the article and see a great example of what sports reporting was all about in the days before tv, streaming video, and instant contact with the world. No, I was not at the game.

posted by Howard_T at 02:41 PM on November 20, 2019

CFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Division Finals Edition

I seem to have found a comfortable position; it's somewhere near the bottom of the standings. Nothing has changed from the regular season. Let's see if we sink any further.

Tigercats can bite. They are especially fond of those who do cultural appropriation. Hamilton by 17

I'm picking the Roughriders for 2 reasons, neither of which has anything to do with football. First, I had an uncle who was some sort of administrator in the provincial school system. Second, I just like to type the name of the province. Saskatchewan by 13

Arma virumque cano. I sing of the arms and the man. So who is the guy with the arm? Why it's Trevor Harris

Only those who have worked in a grocery store can appreciate the lowly sack. Will it be paper or plastic? Neither one; it will be Saskatchewan

posted by Howard_T at 11:42 PM on November 15, 2019

He told a kid to slide. Then he got sued.

Please understand that I wrote the comment at about 1:30 am after coming home from a Celtics game. I was a bit tired, and I am surprised that it was at all coherent. I guess I'm fortunate that it wasn't posted on Ancestry.com.

I have a couple of good stories about dealing with inexperienced coaches, but they're too long to tell right now. Maybe some day when things are slow in The Huddle.

posted by Howard_T at 06:44 PM on November 14, 2019

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

How do I get approved for NBA style load management?

Just wait until you are 78. Load management at my age involves stool softeners and prunes.

posted by Howard_T at 06:39 PM on November 14, 2019

NFL Pick 'Em Week 11: Miami 2-Game Winning Streak Edition

About last week's picks: YGBSM. This was the acronym on the shoulder patch of aircrews who flew the Wild Weasel (flak suppression) missions over North Vietnam. Here's a hint: It stands for You Gotta Be....Me. I survived the mission, but not without damage.

Somewhat improved Steelers vs the overrated Browns. Pittsburgh by 9

That will be quite enough out of you, Flipper. Buffalo by 12

D stands for Denver stands for defense. M stands for Minnesota stands for nothing in particular. Minnesota by 13

More cities starting with the letter D. Howard, are you binge watching Sesame Street episodes? Dallas by 8

Hugely disappointing Falcons meet somewhat disappointing Panthers. Carolina by 9

Why Colts have been included in the AFC South is beyond me. It makes no sense geographically. Indianapolis by 11

The odor emanating from the DC area is not coming from Capital Hill for a change. It's coming from Landover, MD. New York (dog-assed Jets) by 3

East on I-10, then south on I-75 should bring Saints to a win. New Orleans by 14

Houston might have a problem, but there could be a bigger one for the Ravens. Houston by 4

I thought I saw something in both teams last week. It was a mirage. San Francisco by 16

Cincinnati, you're on the clock. Oakland by 14

Teams named for birds give the Patriots trouble. New England by 11

Rams need a wakeup call. Bears could help. Los Angeles (National Conference) by 15

The stumbling Chiefs meet the Chargers who are rapidly descending to a level slightly below mediocrity. Kansas City by 12

posted by Howard_T at 06:31 PM on November 14, 2019

He told a kid to slide. Then he got sued.

Almost all of my umpiring is done at the middle school level, and in southern NH that means working with schools ranging in size from one of 2 or 3 middle schools in a city to a consolidated school that serves 2 or 3 towns. In other words, big to very small. Surprisingly enough, most of the coaches, even in the Division 4 (real small) schools, are experienced and dedicated men. The towns that have good youth baseball programs, Little League or especially the Cal Ripken 70 foot leagues, have kids who know the basics of hitting, pitching, and base running. I have run across a few coaches who have little to no experience, but if their players have some previous experience in youth leagues, there's rarely a problem. I do know that I am more likely to get into an argument with the inexperienced coach than the experienced guy.

Putting an inexperienced person into a coaching job is never a good idea. In the case discussed it sounds like it was a situation where you grab the nearest guy who knows where home plate is, or you cancel your season. If you have a potential star on your team, to cancel the season is terribly unfair. So should the suit have been brought in the first place, and was it decided correctly? My own feeling is that the player's father was one who was living his own dreams of athletic greatness vicariously through his son. Thus, when a promising career is cut short, his answer was to sue. Medical expenses should have been covered by insurance, either through the school or a personal accident/medical policy, so a lawsuit is more for punitive purposes than for reimbursement of expenses. Did the jury take this into account? Who knows. Should the coach have called for a slide when the runner was that close? The rules that govern high school and middle school baseball dictate so. If the ball beats the runner to the base, the runner must slide, avoid contact, or give himself up. It's a tough call at 6 feet, but it can be done. One cannot tell from the story, but the player probably had enough experience to know how to slide. He should have been told to slide sooner, but was this negligent? The coach was watching the previous runners score. Why? He should have been watching each one to make sure they stepped on the base and then put his attention on the ball. From that point on, coach the runner. One other thing of note is that some felt that the slide was not necessary because the other team wasn't very good. Coaches and umpires must never presume that a player on an inferior team cannot execute a play. Assume he will and act accordingly. Like any other call in baseball, this one was a tough one. I think they got it right, but it sure was close.

posted by Howard_T at 01:07 AM on November 14, 2019

NBA Pick 'Em Week 4: Cellar Dweller Warrior Edition

Not too bad a week. Nailing the spread on the Lakers helped much. It's still too early to be picking SLAM dunks, but it's becoming more attractive. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, Nov. 13:

Clippers have been doing well without Paul George, and he might be back this week. Not for this one, first of a back-to-back, but Doc thinks the Rockets might be beatable anyway. Los Angeles (non-purple) by 7

OK, I'm tempted. Warriors without Curry just don't measure up to the Lakers. Los Angeles (purple) by 14 SLAM

Thursday, Nov. 14:

My son and I watched the Mavericks lose to the Celtics last night. Doncic is excellent, but good defense will stop Porzingis. Oh, they're playing the Knicks? Dallas by 8

Kyrie has been carrying the Nets so far. Holding them up against the Nuggets will be some heavy lifting. Denver by 11

Friday, Nov. 15:

Jazz in the city that claims to be the birthplace of the blues will not feel sad. Utah by 14 SLAM

Celtics couldn't shake a stubborn Mavericks team until the middle of the 4th quarter last night. They seemed to be looking for someone to step up in Hayward's place. Walker took charge to blow it open. Coach Stevens was able to get some minutes for the end of the bench guys, and they helped out. Boston by 6

posted by Howard_T at 11:55 PM on November 12, 2019

CFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Semi-Finals Edition

The first few inches of snow is falling in the notches of the New Hampshire White Mountains. I have to head up there tomorrow for the Diocesan Convention at Waterville Valley. Just a few inches predicted, so we have no worries. We're hoping that Canada sends us some good football to watch, but will keep all the cold air to herself.

Cold fits the aboriginals well, and the little birdies should have migrated south long ago. Edmonton by 14

The color blue will be suitable for the Bombers. Not because they're the Blue Bombers but because they're freezing and turning blue. Calgary by 7

Kicker thing: Medlock

Total Score: Under

posted by Howard_T at 11:44 PM on November 07, 2019

NFL Pick 'Em Week 10: Miami Winning Streak Edition

Using an analogy from the restaurant business, I guess I'm an Applebees or an Outback. That is, consistent mediocrity with no signs of excellence or disaster. It's time to chew on my picks and to see if I suffer from indigestion later.

First comes a traditional game from the old AFL. Chargers vs Raiders goes back a ways. Oakland by 6

This one is for the championship of Lake Erie. Buffalo by 9

That little short guy can play some. Arizona by 3

Few have underachieved like the Titans. It will continue. Kansas City by 14 LOCK

During the Civil War, New Orleans was captured by the Union in 1862 and Atlanta in 1864. Does this mean that Atlanta is tougher than New Orleans? That was over 150 years ago; it's meaningless. New Orleans by 13 LOCK

The championship of New York, but it's played in New Jersey. Huh? New York (National Conference) by 7

No tigers need apply, but I'll give it an "oh my" anyway. Chicago by 8

Will the Ravens be puffed up after last Sunday's win? Baltimore by 24 LOCK

Dolphins swam out of the winless category. Enjoy it while you can, Fins. Indianapolis by 14 LOCK

Packers were embarrassed last week. It won't happen in Lambeau against the Panthers. Green Bay by 13

Steelers seemingly have turned their season around, but Rams are an obstacle. Pittsburgh by 6

I really have nothing to say about this one. Dallas by 10

Seahawks visit their geographicslly nearest conference rival, but it's still a hell of a long drive down I-5. San Francisco by 12

posted by Howard_T at 04:45 PM on November 06, 2019

NBA Pick 'Em Week 3: Kendrick Nunn Edition

I see another error in the schedule of TV games for the week. Boston is playing the Hornets on Thursday, Nov 7, and unless there has been a recent shakeup among NBA franchises, the Hornets still play in Charlotte. rcade, please adjust the list, and take the following as my pick for the early game on Thursday.

Last 2 Celtics wins have come against less than top level competition and have been 1-possession games at the buzzer. This one is Kemba Walker's homecoming and Terry Rozier's first chance to show the Celtics what they let get away. It should be fun. Boston by 7

posted by Howard_T at 02:19 PM on November 06, 2019

NBA Pick 'Em Week 3: Kendrick Nunn Edition

I thought I had produced a disaster last week, but it turns out I was second only to nomich. It still didn't get me anything in the standings. Try again.

Wednesday, Nov 6:

Thanks to Aron Baynes this one is a bit easier to call. No sure things though. Houston by 14

The Antetekoumpo brothers seem to be having a little difficulty getting going this year. It won't last all season. Los Angeles (non-purple) by 8

Thursday, Nov 7:

Celtics have started well, and they are overachieving somewhat. On the road in NOLA even without facing Zion, they might have some problems. New Orleans by 6

This is one I want to watch. Los Angeles (non-purple) by10

Friday, Nov 8:

Cavaliers are not the team they were not so long ago, but Wizards aren't too hot either. I still have to go with Isaiah Thomas's team. Washington by 11

Heat have some talent, and they are well coached. It won't be enough on the left coast. Los Angeles (purple) by 15

posted by Howard_T at 06:49 PM on November 05, 2019

NBA Pick 'Em Week 2: Woeful Warriors Edition

I learned a great deal Wednesday night. I picked the Bucks by 6, thinking that the Celtics would keep it close, but fall short at the end. The painful lesson came with a reward; I got to see one hell of a basketball game. I'm glad I was there. The lesson? Don't sleep on the Celtics this year.

posted by Howard_T at 12:08 AM on November 01, 2019

Piffle, or not piffle?

King Hussein is in the control room

I was wondering why I had never seen nor even heard of the George Michael Sports Machine. I watched the clip that rcade linked and used the clues contained in the block about Red Sox vs Jays to date the piece. Turns out it was in the early 1990s, and I was in Egypt. King Hussein was no longer in the control room there, having been supplanted some years earlier by a "socialist democracy". From 1986 through 1994 I don't think I spent more than a total of 1 1/2 years in the USA. It appears I have missed much.

posted by Howard_T at 11:04 PM on October 31, 2019

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Twenty-One

Is it possible to tank for the Constanza? Does the Constanza come with a higher draft pick? It looks like my best efforts to finish as tail end Charlie have gone for naught.

What is the meaning of life, oh sagacious one? It means you should stick with one color. Ottawa by 6

Riders will be mean and deny Edmonton anything more than a crossover. Saskatchewan by 14

Has a thriving metropolis, home to a fine university, parks, a busy port, and prosperous businesses no meaning? Hamilton by 13

Stampeders' situation means that their efforts are meaningless unless they get help. Calgary by 17

posted by Howard_T at 10:42 PM on October 31, 2019

NFL Pick 'Em Week 9: San Francisco 51ers Edition

I thought I had had a pretty good week last week until I looked at the results. Ugh!!! Let's try this again, hoping the witch I have consulted on the Eve of All Hallows Day will bring some measure of success to my efforts.

The red and gold juggernaut rolls on. San Francisco by 17 LOCK

The Texans are definitely tier 2, but are they among the best there? Houston by 6

The Bears once were active, but now they sleep. The Eagles once were nearly grounded now fly high. Philadelphia by 10

Do the Little Ponies have enough to scrap the steel? Indianapolis by 9

Dolphins will feel like they are part of the runway when the Jets land on them. New York (American Conference) by 7

So your city's baseball team won the World Series. Do you really think that will make the football team any better? Buffalo by 13 LOCK

Titans do not loom large in the city of Queen Charlotte. Carolina by 10

Without St. Patrick the Chiefs are reduced to mere tribe members. Minnesota by 11

Something of a nautical theme here. Will the Seahawks be the albatross for the Buccaneers? Seattle by 16 LOCK

Lions are quietly getting a little better, perhaps enough so to withstand the black hole. Detroit by 6

Killer B's on either side, one whose QB is hurt and one whose QB is petulant. Cleveland by 3

Chargers continue to disappoint; Packers continue to impress. Green Bay by 14 LOCK

How will Bill Belichick stop the Ravens' running game? I don't know, but I think he has a way. New England by 3

An old school matchup returns to the Big Apple. Dallas by 10

posted by Howard_T at 05:28 PM on October 31, 2019

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

why does the rule require runners on base to return

The basic rule covers interference in general. Specific infractions are covered in the rules governing runners, batters, and the like. To specify the placement of runners in each case of interference would make an already complex rule book into an unwieldy monster. Thus, the general penalty of putting the offending player out and returning the runners.

posted by Howard_T at 03:23 PM on October 30, 2019

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

I couldn't understand the confusion on the interference call. The rule is clear, video showed that the batter-runner was completely inside the baseline, and the ability of the fielder to make a play was impaired. It was an easy and correct call; why delay the game for so long. Still, it was nice for us umpires to have something to talk about.

posted by Howard_T at 02:25 PM on October 30, 2019

NBA Pick 'Em Week 2: Woeful Warriors Edition

We're off to a not so great start this season, but it could have been a lot worse. Watch tonight's Celtics vs Bucks game and my wife and I will wave to you from our usual place in TD Garden, section 316, row 5, seats 9 & 10. GO CELTICS

Wednesday, Oct. 29:

I would love to be there for a Celtics win tonight, but there's this Antetekoumpo fellow. Milwaukee by 6

The good doctor has his team off to a fast start. Los Angeles (non-purple) by 10

Thursday, Oct. 30:

Hawks are just good enough to best the betting line in this, but... Miami by 8

Hast thou forsaken me, oh Zion? OK, so it's not your fault. Denver by 4

Friday, Oct.31:

On the eve of the Christian Feast of All Souls one team will feast while the other will be tricked. Houston by 13

I wonder if Darryl Morey and Lebron James will shake hands before this one? Los Angeles (purple and gold) by 5

Notice hit my in box with no problem, as usual.

posted by Howard_T at 02:11 PM on October 30, 2019

Belichick Notches Win 300, May Coach Into His 70s

"When I said it, maybe I didn't know what 70 felt like."

Hey, Bill, 70 wasn't too bad, but when you add a few more years to it, it's not so great. I can give you a few tips on how to survive it.

posted by Howard_T at 09:55 PM on October 29, 2019

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Twenty

Here I am in Houston for the Vergers' Conference, and I completely missed picking last night's game. One might say that I will pick what is left religiously, but that's too bad a pun. I'm wearing Nova Scotia t-shirt, so maybe that will help.

Cats vs little larks would seem to be an unfair match, but the birdies are in their own cage. Montreal by 12

Make up your mind, Ottawa, is it red or black? Argos won't be confused by the color scheme. Toronto by 7

Riders head into Alberta, only to be run over by some guys with dogs and a sled. Edmonton by 9

posted by Howard_T at 09:03 AM on October 26, 2019

NFL Pick 'Em Week 8: Seeing Ghosts Edition

I can't wait until tomorrow to do these because I will be on a flight to Houston. It will be a busy weekend between lectures, business meeting, worship and fellowship, but it's always worth the trip.

I'm glad I have an excuse not to watch this one. Minnesota by 18 LOCK

Maybe I will get one right that involves the Rams. Los Angeles (National Conference) by 14 LOCK

I see a white flag flying in the Mile High City. Indianapolis by 10 LOCK

The Cumberland River is not deep enough for a pirate ship. Tennessee by 8

Meeting the Saints used to refer to someone's death. Maybe it still does for Cardinals. New Orleans by 14 LOCK

Chargers need solar panels or a windmill; they're running low on energy. Chicago by 7

Just how good are the Bills? Buffalo by 9

Giants show some signs of life, and Barkley is back in action. New York (National Conference) by 3

This game is brought to you by the letter J. What will Sam see this time? Jacksonville by 6

Another white flag flutters in Atlanta. Seattle by 8

Nothing could be finer than to stay in Carolina... and avoid San Francisco. San Francisco by 10

Will it be ghosts or the Boogeymen for Baker? New England by 13 LOCK

This one could be the best game of the week. Kansas City by 7

If you have ever driven the Southeast Expressway in Boston you will have seen the legendary Dorchester Gas Tank. Dolphins' efforts this season might need a larger tank. Pittsburgh by 6

posted by Howard_T at 04:32 PM on October 23, 2019

NBA GMs Expect a Clippers/Bucks NBA Finals

Everything is "Dynamic Duos" this season. Whichever team puts together some good defense and secondary scoring, as well as a good bench, could surprise a lot of people. I think the East Conference picks are pretty accurate, but with the caveat that an injury to a critical player can derail a lot of teams. We're looking at you, Milwaukee.

posted by Howard_T at 06:02 PM on October 21, 2019

Enter SportsFilter's NBA Pick 'Em Contest

The fun starts in earnest Tuesday night. We aren't playing Chinese Checkers here (I think that might be the name of the Chinese National Ice Hockey team). Looking forward to another great season.

Tuesday, October 22:
"Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, City of our God" (hymn by John Newton, also the author of Amazing Grace). His glory will be dulled by Raptors. Toronto by 11
The battle for LA starts now. Lakers by 7

Wednesday, October 23:
I'm pulling for the Green, but 76ers might have a bit too much. Philadelphia by 10
These 2 will fight it out for playoff seeding all year. Portland by5

Thursday, October 24:
I'm flying to Houston on Thursday, but for the Vergers Conference not the game. Milwaukee by 13
Clippers are thrown into the fire early. Call a Doc.Los Angeles by 7

A remarkable bird is the Pelican, its beak holds more than its belly can (Ogden Nash) New Orleans by 14
Lakers off to a fast start. Los Angeles by 15

No LOCKS this early. We have to get an idea of who jells and who has issues.

posted by Howard_T at 05:51 PM on October 21, 2019

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Nineteen

How did that happen? I picked all 4 correctly and got inside Marge (that's Marge Innovera, my favorite statistician) 3 times. I am no longer living in the CFL Pick 'em's basement, but not by much. My best effort is needed.

Your weird aunt from the neighboring province is visiting, and she has some strange food preferences. Your family wants a certain dish for dinner, but Auntie doesn't like it. If you're smart, you will please the home folks. Montreal by 12

The Canadian equivalent of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will investigate Lion abuse after this one. Saskatchewan by 17

The odor emanating from Hamilton is not caused by any industrial source. It has been traced to the stadium. Hamilton by 9

Bombers might have aspirations to gain first place, but Riders just aren't going to lose. Winnipeg by 10

posted by Howard_T at 04:38 PM on October 18, 2019

NFL Pick 'Em Week 7: J-E-T-S Edition

So here we sit as the bottom end of the top 1/3 in the standings. Comfortable here? hardly. A certain grum fellow is but a point behind me, and there's still a long way to go in the season. March on, stout fellow.

Broncos vs Chiefs is as close as one can come to a traditional rivalry in the AFC. KC has uncharacteristically slumped in its last 2 games, while Denver seems to be slowly improving. The altitude in Denver is no joke. Denver by 3

If the 49ers charter flight is not seized by an alien craft, the outcome of this one is sure. San Francisco by 22 LOCK

Reinforcements coming for the G-men. New York (National Conference) by 10

Tanking? Oh no, that never happens (wink wink). Buffalo by 14 LOCK

Train wreck meets the Titanic. Jacksonville by 7

What will it take for Packers to win this one? Perhaps another offering to the gods of officiating? Green Bay by 11

How does one figure out the Falcons? Inconsistency is the key here. Los Angeles (National Conference) by 6

Some say that with the recent stumbles by KC, Texans are now the 2nd best team in the AFC. Colts have a very solid case to dispute that assessment. Indianapolis by 3

Lions are still shaking their heads after last week. Minnesota by 6

What is wrong with this team? (question is applicable to both) Tennessee by 7

Ravens have been known to gang up on raptors that violate their territory. The raptors usually just fly on. Seahawks will not turn away. Seattle by 10

It's late October and there's frost on the ground. That means that it's time to hibernate. New Orleans by 6

I cannot believe that the Cowboys lost to the dog-ass Jets. Disgusting! Philadelphia by 3

So now the Jets feel they can beat anyone. Really? New England by 16 LOCK

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

posted by Howard_T at 03:23 PM on October 17, 2019

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

He was just looking for a couple of Milk Bones and a soft cushion. The homeowner said Nix to that.

posted by Howard_T at 07:49 PM on October 11, 2019

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Eighteen

To my everlasting shame, I have not paid sufficient attention to the CFL pick 'em. Thus, I see that I am rightfully in the cellar. Can I crawl out of there? Won't be easy.

RedBlack faces are mostly red after this one. Toronto by 9

Met a nice couple from Alberta recently, and I asked if they favored Eskimos or Stampeders. The answer was neither; they said that everyone rooted for Roughriders. I must disagree. Calgary by 6

Alouettes started slowly and then hit their stride. Pity they will stumble. Winnipeg by 14

When the weather gets cold, most cats find a nice warm spot to curl up and sleep. Edmonton is not the place. Edmonton by 16

posted by Howard_T at 03:52 PM on October 10, 2019

NFL Pick 'Em Week 6: One Less Gruden Edition

A couple of so-so weeks have left me down toward the middle of the pack with a score equal to Donald Duck's license plate number (313). Check out a Donald Duck comic book to see. Also, 313 is a constant used in magnetism (it's the approximate magnetic permeability of iron), so I remember it well from my days of studying Electrical Engineering. Enough science, let's try to work some magic with the picks.

Giants fans have a Jones for their quarterback. Patriots will have a Jones for a late evening meal. New England by 12 LOCK

I've been wrong every time I've picked either one of these teams. Carolina by 4

Cheer up, Bengals, only 11 more games left in the season. Baltimore by 14 LOCK

Fly, Eagles, fly, but avoiding Vikings would be advised. Minnesota by 6

Could this be the first scoreless overtime tie? Fitting that tankini would be associated with a team whose name is Dolphins. Washington by 3

Mississippi River or St. John River makes no difference to the Saints. New Orleans by 10

49ers tore the fancy clothes off the Browns, and the Seahawks will pick over the naked corpse. Seattle by 13

Chiefs let their horses ride them last week. They will be wary this week. Kansas City by 9

Their defense made me a believer. San Francisco by 12

Are the Cardinals for real? Atlanta by 10

This one could be brutal. Dallas by 16 LOCK

Broncos keep getting close, and actually broke through last week. Denver by 7

All is not well with either of these teams. Los Angeles (American Conference) by13

Packers had a big win last week while Lions slept in. Green Bay by 13

posted by Howard_T at 10:33 PM on October 09, 2019

NFL Pick 'Em Week 5: 902 Passing Yards Edition

I'm sure none of you are old enough to remember these, but the travelogues in the movies of yore always ended something like "And as the sun sinks slowly in the west, we say goodbye to the beautiful island of..." So I will start my picks with "As Howard_T sinks slowly in the standings, he says goodbye to any chance at first place in the NFL pick 'em." There's hope yet, but when one blows 2 locks, it is hard to see it.

And we start with a really tough call. Seattle by 7

Now a not so tough call. Chicago by 14 LOCK

Will Titans show anything better than mediocrity? Buffalo by 3

Wow! A double nickel against the Rams. What can they do in NoLa? Tampa Bay by 9

Like their animal mascot, Bengals are endangered. Arizona by 6

Texans and Falcons both seem to be inconsistent. The potential is there for either to take this one. Houston by 7

The cats from the largest city in Lower Georgia (OK, it's Florida, but it doesn't feel like it} will take control over the litter box. Jacksonville by 9

It's a short flight from New Jersey to Philadelphia, but Jets ought to stay on the ground at home. Philadelphia by 16 LOCK

Patriots have few players to catch the ball, have a kicker that has come off of the "discontinued" rack, and struggled with the run in their last game. Does this matter? Are you serious in asking? New England by 17 LOCK

Ravens took a step backward while Steelers are taking baby steps. Pittsburgh by 3

The Whole Town's Talkin' About the Jones Boy (Mills Brothers, 1954). It was a catchy tune, but Vikings might write some new lyrics. Minnesota by 11

Broncos have come close a couple of times, but this is the week that the Chargers play like they ought to. Los Angeles (American Conference) by 8

From the frozen tundra of... Oops! From the well groomed turf of Dallas. Same teams, different year. Dallas by 12

Maybe there's something to Dem Dawgs. Cleveland by 6

posted by Howard_T at 06:07 PM on October 03, 2019

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Sixteen

Find my numerology number? I just want to find a few points in the CFL pick 'em.

Hamilton just keeps hitting the win catnip, but will it keep them high enough to outfly the bombers? Winnipeg by 6

RedBlack, black and blue, and another loss. Edmonton by 10

Why was a CFL team named for a US Army cavalry unit commanded by a then soon-to-be president? Saskatchewan by 9

The team from the most interesting city in Canada has a successful trip to the beautiful city in the West. Montreal by 12

posted by Howard_T at 02:53 PM on September 27, 2019

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

I had a book and movie made about me but I haven't seen a dime for it yet.

posted by Howard_T at 02:30 PM on September 27, 2019

NFL Pick 'Em Week 4: Minshew Mania Edition

Back from Nova Scotia. If you've never been there, do yourself a favor and go. I can give you at least 7 good reasons to do so.

Packers and Eagles are each capable of a stinker or a classic. Green Bay by 9

Browns can play, but up to the hype? Baltimore by 3

Chargers will not lose themselves on South Beach. Los Angeles (American Conference) by 16 LOCK

Nothing to be said about this one. Kansas City by 13 LOCK

Is Cam Newton really as bad as he has looked at times this year? Houston by 6

Could Bills be the best team Patriots have played so far this season? I will pick the Pats, but no lock. New England by 9

Raiders appear to be little changed. Indianapolis by 15 LOCK

No Barkley and a rookie quarterback, but that won't matter. New York (National Conference) by 6

Titans have rather underperformed at times, but so have the Falcons Atlanta by 4

Buccaneers will have to walk the plank. Los Angeles (National Conference) by 10 LOCK

Small red birds fall prey to larger raptors. Seattle by 9

British luxury automobile prevails against older Ford SUV. Jacksonville by 8

A classic NFC North battle. Chicago by 3

Cowboys ride on the French Quarter. Dallas by 7

No "Burger for Pittsburgh. Cincinnati by 9

posted by Howard_T at 05:39 PM on September 26, 2019

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Just let us play. This was tweeted after an undeserved roughing the passer call. Tom Brady, do you understand what you are letting yourself in for?

posted by Howard_T at 12:24 PM on September 20, 2019

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Fifteen

What do you mean "nothing's been decided"? I believe it has been decided that bender and I will fight it out for the cellar. Now let's see if I can push ahead of him.

With a shot at the lead, Riders will be working hard. Calgary by 12

"You play to win the game." W. Belichick. Hamilton by 14

The little birdies have taken wing. Montreal by 7

Familiarity breeds contempt. Ottawa by 3

posted by Howard_T at 12:16 PM on September 20, 2019

NFL Pick 'Em Week 3: Quarterback Blues Edition

We're still in Nova Scotia, having arrived from Annapolis Royal this afternoon in the town where my father was born and raised, Westport, Nova Scotia. This is a tiny place on a very small island that is the extreme southwest tip of Nova Scotia. I still have some cousins here, and it will be good to see them. The only bad news is that we will be heading home on Sunday, so watching football is out of the question. We can still get our picks done.

Titans greatly disappointed me this week, and perhaps some of the good things that were being said aren't correct. Jacksonville by 6

Bill's are building something there in the city by the lake. Buffalo by 9

Too bad there's no such thing as relegation in the NFL. Dallas by 27 LOCK

Rogers looks like he still has some skills and something around him. Green Bay by 10 LOCK

Falcons were an unpleasant surprise last week, but given their opponent, hey go wrong? Atlanta by 8

Things are looking mighty black for the Ravens. Ksnsas City by 12 LOCK

Raiders were what the ancient Vikings were called. Now a Raider is a pale imitation of those fierce Norsemen. Minnesota by 7

Maybe Jets will do a little better than Patriots' last 2 opponents. New England by 28

Eagles are another team that seemed to play below their best. They should recover this week. Philadelphia by 13

Cam Newton needs to ditch the hats and work on his game. Arizona by 4

Reality sets in for Eli as he sits watching the Jones boy.Tampa Bay by 13

After last week I'm really not sure about Chargers, but I'm less sure about Texans. Los Angeles (American Conference) by 6

Steelers put money in the gum machine, but nothing came out. Now they can't get their quarter back. San Francisco by 10

Another quarterback in trouble. They're dropping like flies. Seattle by 16 LOCK

Browns are elevated to a featured game, but will receive their comeuppance. Los Angeles (National Conference) by 17 LOCK

Washington in the summer is unbearable, but the Bears do well in the autumn. Chicago by 7

posted by Howard_T at 04:53 PM on September 18, 2019

NFL Pick 'Em Week 2: Broken Clavicle Edition

Now to finish the job. Looks like the Nova Scotia south coast didn't fare too badly from the hurricane. We'll take a better look at Halifax tomorrow. In the meantime, here are the rest of the picks.

This is for the birds, red or black. Take your pick. Baltimore by 13 LOCK
Chargers ride to the Motor City. Los Angeles (American Conference) by 6
It is somehow indecent to play this game at any time other than in December. Green Bay by 3
Titans' defense has schooled one young QB. Now for another. Tennessee by 13 LOCK
Tom Brady often plays badly in Miami. He could do so, and the Pats will still win easily. New England by 17 LOCK
Bills need the win for the NY State Championship. Buffalo by 9
Steelers paid for a lot of mistakes on defense last week. Seahawks won't make them pay as dearly. Pittsburgh by 6
Cowboys vs bad word for Native Americans. Cowboys still prevail. Dallas by 8
Houston is a bad place for cats, even large spotted ones. Houston by 10 LOCK
Despite a win last week, Raiders just aren't that good. Kansas City by 16 LOCK
Broncos' home edge isn't what it used to be. Chicago by 7
Saints won't find good Jambalaya in LA. They won't find a win either. Los Angeles (National Conference) by 3
The raptors compete. Size matters. Philadelphia by 4
Patty cake, patty cake, Baker man. Bake us a win as fast as you can. Cleveland by 7

posted by Howard_T at 10:43 PM on September 13, 2019

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Fourteen

Here we are in Halifax really enjoying the fun things to do here. We spent yesterday afternoon in the library of the Genealogical Society, and today we will hit the Bureau of Records and Archives. No horse thieves in the family yet, but there was some organized cattle rustling. It was authorized, and that took all the fun away.

Ottawa has to travel, so that's reason enough to favor Lions. BC by 7

Which one will show up in Calgary? Will it be Lord Hamilton or Lady Hamilton? Calgary by 13

Alouettes have somehow persevered, but Riders might be in a foul mood after their streak was broken. Saskatchewan by 9

posted by Howard_T at 07:57 AM on September 13, 2019

NFL Pick 'Em Week 2: Broken Clavicle Edition

Better get this one in quick because we're on vacation in the Maritimes. We're in PE Island right now and heading to Nova Scotia this afternoon. The storm has really raised hell in this end of Canada. PEI is a mess, and the B&B we are staying at was running on generator until yesterday afternoon. We'll see how Nova Scotia fared tonight. This storm is a heavy blow to the economy, since much of the Maritimes depends on tourism.

Buccaneers and Panthers is hard to call. Neither looked good in week 1,so which one will wake up first. Carolina by 9.

I'll post the rest later.

posted by Howard_T at 08:15 AM on September 11, 2019

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Looks like Bill Belichick has gone dumpster diving again and has signed the aforementioned Mr. Brown to a one year contract for 15 million. If his attitude adjusts sufficiently, the Patriots will put a formidable set of receivers on the field.

posted by Howard_T at 07:41 PM on September 07, 2019

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Thirteen

We're packing for our upcoming trip to the Land of the Rouge, a couple of weeks to PE Island and Nova Scotia, where we try to see which ancestors were hanged as horse thieves. My ancestors on my Dad's side came to Canada at a very interesting time in 18th century Canadian history. Too bad it has no effect on my CFL picking efforts.

Lions in the Birds' cage, will they survive? Montreal by 9

Argonauts have trouble navigating the Rideau Canal Ottawa by 7

Riders gallop to Winnipeg, but go home with their tails down. Winnipeg by 12

Maybe a team from Alberta will win this one. Edmonton by 8

posted by Howard_T at 03:44 PM on September 06, 2019

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Who is this Seaver guy? Red Sox prospect Yusniel Padron-Artilles strikes out 12 in a row. According to his team, Lowell Spinners, this is a record for professional baseball that was previously held by Tom Seaver. After the game, Padron-Artilles did not recognize Seaver's name.

posted by Howard_T at 01:17 PM on September 06, 2019

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Foul ball:

a: a ground ball that passes a base in foul territory.
b: a fly ball that first contacts the ground in foul territory past a base.

Trick question from an umpire's exam: True or False, A hard line drive that strikes second base and rebounds directly into foul territory between home plate and first base is a foul ball.
Answer: False. The ball struck a base before going into foul territory, thus it is a fair ball.

Plate umpire was trying to get into position to help on the call at 1st base. I thought that the 1st base umpire should have moved into foul territory to make the call. Doing that keeps him out of the way of the pitcher or 2nd baseman coming over to cover. We were taught to do this but to be aware of where everyone is.

posted by Howard_T at 07:07 PM on September 04, 2019

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Finish at the top of the class and you might have a job.

posted by Howard_T at 06:49 PM on September 04, 2019

Enter SportsFilter's NFL Pick 'Em Contest

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.

Oh the glorious history Chicago by 6
For the runner up position in the AFC East New York (AFC) by 7
Shootout in Jax Kansas City by 13 LOCK
Falcons are supposed to head south, not north, at this time of the year. Minnesota by 9
Nothing could be finer, just don't bet on Carolina Los Angeles (NFC) by 14 LOCK
Fish gotta swim, but birds gonna fly Baltimore by 16 LOCK
Old school NFC East war Philadelphia by 3
The hype is over, time to show what you have Cleveland by 7
Sorry, Bengals, but here we go again Seattle by 9 LOCK
It's all yours, Jacoby, good (no more) Luck San Diego Los Angeles (AFC) by 6
Rapacious sea rovers against gold seeking opportunists Tampa Bay by 7
Ezekiel is back, how are his wheels? Dallas by 16 LOCK
Ah the enthusiasm of youth for the Cardinals Arizona by 6
...and the steady hand of experience for the Patriots New England by 6
It might not be a Breese, but New Orleans by 10
Closing out the week with an old time AFL West duel Oakland by 9

posted by Howard_T at 06:46 PM on September 04, 2019

CFL Pick ‘Em, Week Twelve

Hope everyone is having a relaxing Labor Labour Day weekend.

A contest between the representatives of the 2 provinces in the middle of Canada. Which will be the "Prince of the Prairies"? Saskatchewan by 13

Also a game to decide who has navigation rights on Lake Ontario. Hamilton by 16

Last but not least, supremacy in Alberta is on the line. Calgary by 4

posted by Howard_T at 11:14 PM on August 31, 2019

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

When I hear "Gorian" I think of science fiction fans keeping women chained in their basements.

Oh crap. Somebody must have been watching my house.

posted by Howard_T at 08:49 PM on August 31, 2019