While my emotional side feels that Orpik deserved what he got, my rational side just cannot condone Thornton's actions. He'll get a lengthy suspension, and that will be that. In the meantime, what about Neal's hit on Marchand? Not only is that a case of targeting the head, it is also the lowest of cheap shots to knee the head of a player lying on the ice. Ericsson is out with his second concussion of the season while Orpik was "conscious and alert" at the hospital, was released to travel with the team, and may very well not miss any time at all. Many are saying that Orpik's hit on Ericsson was "borderline", but a careful look at the video shows Orpik raising his shoulder just enough to get the head. Had this been called perhaps the resultant mess would have been avoided.
Now we find out that another Bruin will miss significant time due to an injury sustained against Pittsburgh. Chris Kelly will be out for several weeks with a broken fibula suffered as the result of a slash by Pascal Dupuis. Pardon my Boston fandom, but it seems that Pittsburgh is connected to an awful lot of injuries to others due to "questionable" tactics. But when one gets too close to "our boy Crosby" or any of the other Pitt luminaries, the outcry from Penguins to the league offices is loud and long. I know I'll be yelled at for this, but it would be nice if Pitt would clean it up a bit.
posted by Howard_T at 09:22 PM on December 08
The deal for Ellsbury is entirely reasonable, and most of us here in BoSox Land had seen something like this coming for a long time. Good on ya, Jacoby, you've got your pile of money. You deserve it, even if it is from that group in NYC. As far as Ellsbury being brittle or fragile, the 2 serious injuries he has suffered were the result of a couple of pretty hard hits, and such as these are not likely to recur. What is likely is a deterioration of athletic skills over the term of the contract, but what NY is probably betting on is to have the deterioration not becoming serious for at least four years. As hincandenza points out, Ellsbury will profit from the ridiculous RF dimensions in Yankee Stadium. While he does have some power, I don't really think he will become a 40-40 player, nor do I believe he will flail himself into mediocrity. I see a 25 HR per year, .295 BA player who has good defensive skills, although not a particularly great arm. His value will be his potential for taking extra bases. The risk is a leg injury that causes a permanent decline in his running ability. this will reduce his defense to that of an average center fielder, and could mean a move into one of the corners. A slower Ellsbury will no longer be the base stealing threat, and while .295 hitters with some power are valuable, they are not MVPs. One other injury might give some problems, and that would be something that permanently affects his swing. If the OBP drops to something below average, then the base running threat is reduced. All in all, I would love to have had Ellsbury in Boston for a few more years, but not at that sort of money and not for that long. We'll see how it all works out.
posted by Howard_T at 04:38 PM on December 04
A woman charged with killing a fellow Alabama fan after the end of last weekend's Iron Bowl football game was angry that the victim and others didn't seem upset over the Crimson Tide's loss to archrival Auburn, said the sister of the slain woman.
One of the technicians at my dentist's office is a fierce, and I mean really fierce, Crimson Tide fan. I am cancelling any visits until the passion dies down. I have few enough teeth left as it is, I don't need any more losses.
posted by Howard_T at 04:12 PM on December 03
The 10 vote max thing needs to go.
Whenever there is a large class (>10), perhaps a first round elimination could be adopted. Base it on the "Hare" ballot, where instead of simply marking 10 choices from the field, the elector ranks his 10 choices from 1 to 10. When the ballots are counted a determination is made based on the number of electors how many number 1 selections will qualify a player for the final 10. Once any player has reached the number required, his number 1 ballots are screened to determine the number 2 selection, and these number 2 votes are added to the appropriate players and treated as additional number 1 votes. It sounds really complicated, but it's not so hard. The Episcopal Diocese of NH has been using this procedure to elect candidates for multiple seats for quite a while, and it works well. There is also a simple computer program for counting the votes that would prove useful when the electors are widely separated by geography.
No matter how it is done, eliminating any excess number of candidates should be done. The main thing is to do it without hurting the chances in future, less crowded, years of a player eliminated prior to the final 10. Perhaps he could be treated as if his retirement had been delayed a year, or he could be protected from the minimum percentage rule for a crowded year. Any such thing would still be preferable to the present system.
posted by Howard_T at 03:20 PM on November 30
Now some total jerk of a writer has sold his ballot to Deadspin. I don't care what you might think of the process as it exists now, but the HoF voters owe it to the nominees and more so to those now in the HoF to make some sort of intelligent, or at least justifiable, selection.
I pretty much agree with hincandenza's choices. While my WASP sense of morality dislikes the idea of the PED users like Bonds, Clemens, et al being elected, the evidence is that these guys had some real accomplishment to their credit before they used the bad stuff. For his nickname alone I think Fred McGriff - the Crime Dog McGruff - ought to be in. I do agree that his numbers fall just short to make it against this class. If Maddux is elected, Cooperstown will not be a safe place around the time of the induction ceremonies.
posted by Howard_T at 11:34 PM on November 27
Rose's injury is a meniscus tear. It must be a rather extensive tear to keep him out for an entire season. I had 2 tears at the same time in my left knee when I was in my mid-50s when I was umpiring. The arthroscopic surgery kept me off the ball field for about 3 or 4 weeks. True, umpiring does not involve the cutting, leaping, and fast stops of basketball, but it still requires mobility and quickness. While Im not exactly into conspiracy theories, could it be that losing Rose for a few weeks would put Chicago into a position where they were in the playoffs, but well down in the table, thus reducing their chances of getting to the NBA finals? Keeping Rose out for the season might just make the Bulls bad enough to finish out of the playoffs and give them a much better draft position. Gee, Ya think someone would really do that?
posted by Howard_T at 03:31 PM on November 25
All-in-all last night was an excellent example of a coach developing a defensive game plan, and then making a critical decision that was somewhat out of the norm. Denver's most effective weapon, even under the wind and cold conditions of last night, is Peyton Manning. He is the one player who can win the game nearly single-handedly. Conceding the run, even to the likes of Moreno and his 200+ yards, was the correct strategy. Over the larger part of the field, outside the red zone, Moreno could rack up good yards, but was unlikely to break one for a score. Facing the larger than usual contingent of defensive backs and quicker linebackers, Manning was effectively limited to the short game. Once Denver entered the red zone, the New England defense went to a more conventional set, and since the amount of field to cover was reduced, the defense was able to concentrate. It was a slight variation of the old "bend but don't break" scheme of former Patriots teams.
Taking the wind for the OT was an obvious decision. Manning's numbers against the wind were good, but not as good as those with the wind. Belichick had confidence in his defense being able to prevent a Denver touchdown on the first drive, and after that it became a field position battle in which one waited for the critical error by the opponent. In those circumstances, the wind at one's back was a decider. Having the strange bounce of a wind-blown punt be the deciding play was aesthetically displeasing to the purist, but to Patriots' fans it was beauty in the highest.
posted by Howard_T at 03:17 PM on November 25
I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving at my wife's stepsister's place. Her husband is a Gator through and through, while my son is a Penn State grad and Nittany Lion devotee. For the past couple of years, we've been on the receiving end of a lot of grief. I think it will be very quiet around the table this year.
posted by Howard_T at 02:55 PM on November 25
NE doing a fantastic job of reminding me to go to bed early.
In the words of that great philosopher and talking head, Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friend." A TD drive and now a turnover deep in Denver territory has NE with 1st & goal at the 1. Stay tuned.
posted by Howard_T at 10:34 PM on November 24
I still have no idea why the Steelers insist on breaking out those horrid, striped throwback uniforms.
It is likely that someone in management told the team they would have to wear them every week until they started playing better. I guess the threat worked.
posted by Howard_T at 08:41 PM on November 17
"you're the sperm donor, aren't you?"
My 24-year-old son and I were riding the T (Red Line train) to the Celtics' game last night, when his eye caught an advertisement. It was seeking volunteer sperm donors, required donors to have a college degree, or to be pursuing same. They were also offering up to $1200 per month. My comment to him was that he ought to look it up. After all, why not make some spare change doing the things you usually do. No comment from son, other than a nervous snicker.
Congratulations to you and most deservingly to your wife, yefatma. Raise her right to be a true fan.
posted by Howard_T at 09:36 PM on November 16
I read a bit more information in today's on-line edition of the Boston Herald. No source was identified by the author, Jeff Howe, so draw your own conclusions, but here's what supposedly happened. The setting was a private party at Bar Louie, an establishment in the Gillette Stadium complex, Patriot Place. Gronkowski was chatting with an Asian-American friend, identified as "Joe", and warned Joe that he would be called out to the dance floor later on. At that time Joe told Gronkowski that he couldn't dance but could cook fried rice. When the time came for Joe to take the floor, Gronkowski said, "They told me he could only cook fried rice". Thus it was Grownkowski repeating a comment he had been told, and indeed had been told by the person who was supposedly being racially insulted. Somehow the furor over the incident seems well out of proportion to the actual event, if the story quoted is true. Perhaps it is racially insensitive conduct, but hardly of the character of an outright racial slur meant to inflict emotional abuse.
posted by Howard_T at 09:26 PM on November 16
The teams playing in Anaheim and Arlington manage it without being in the biggest city in their area
Arlington, TX, is just about halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth. The 2012 population of the area was 1.24 million. Orange County, CA, had slightly over 3 million population. I think this compares favorably with populations of other major metropolitan areas. What might work against baseball in these areas is the number of other activities available.
posted by Howard_T at 03:04 PM on November 15
One time, a group of cheerleaders from an ACC football team (I think it was Clemson) got on a Green Line train full of Sox fans, and it seemed as though the car suddenly descended into the realm of ungovernable conduct.
When I was going to college at Northeastern, the Green Line at rush hour was always in the realm of ungovernable conduct. Balancing an armload of books, hanging on to a strap for dear life, trying to avoid the sharply pointed umbrellas of the "little old ladies", and keeping my cool while someone did a "package check" on me were memories I'd like to subdue.
For the most part, I've always taken public transportation to Fenway, but I've also walked from Northeastern (cutting my afternoon Electrical Engineering lab), and driven in from southern NH. The problem with public transportation is that the T stops service way too early for one to spend any significant time having a post-game brew after a night game. Now that there has been a conscious effort to develop it, the area around Fenway has a nice ambiance, good collection of food and drink establishments, and decent, if overpriced, souvenir shops. It's worth getting there early for a game just to sample the atmosphere. Parking still stinks if you drive, and unless you take the commuter rail to or from South Station, you still have a pretty good walk from the nearest Green Line stop.
The example of Patriots and Foxborough is a good one. It's just not the same atmosphere as is found in the city. Kraft has done a remarkable job turning the place into a retail sales mecca, and there are a lot of on-premises food and drink places. There are also a lot of places available on Route US-1, but it just isn't the city. Believe it or not, there is public transportation available in the form of a game day special train from Boston. I have not tried it, but the fare is a lot cheaper than parking, and it would be convenient for me to drive to a T station, take the T to South Station, and go from there. I'll try it for our next Pat's game.
posted by Howard_T at 03:38 PM on November 14
Erroneous comment to the above, please excuse.
posted by Howard_T at 03:14 PM on November 14
When my son was of Pop Warner age, he was quite large -- much bigger than the average 8- or 9-year-old. He was told that he could not play Pop Warner unless he signed up for a team in the 12-year-old category. I'm sure you can understand the difference in skills and muscular development between a large 8-year-old and an average 12-year-old, even though their weight might be near equal. Allowing my son to submit to getting the stuffing, not to mention brains, beat out of him was not going to happen. Interestingly enough, the Boys' Club has taken over the youth football program here, and now the kids are grouped by age.
Proper coaching and the teaching of proper technique at the youth level can instill the habits that help protect against injury, but in a sport like football, head injury is nearly inevitable. Will there ever be a way of preventing head injuries? Perhaps, but even if severe injury is prevented, will there not be a cumulative effect caused by a succession of minor injury? I don't want to believe it, but I'm afraid that there will soon be an end to football as we know it.
For rcade, one of my neighbors, a former police chief in a neighboring town, has a teen age daughter. When she was first born, he said that he would institute a "ride-along" program for her dates. No, not ride along in the police cruiser; he would ride along with his daughter and her date. He has not done this, but he says he still has his service weapon and knows how and when to use it.
posted by Howard_T at 03:06 PM on November 14
I've been to Braves games in both of the Atlanta stadia. Really, I've been to Braves games in 3 of the 4 stadiums they have played in during my lifetime. Milwaukee is not one of them. Fulton County Stadium was not the greatest ball park ever, but it was adequate. The new stadium was quite nice, with good sight lines, comfortable seating, decent concessions, and the like. I did not find parking in the stadium area to be terribly expensive, but getting to the stadium was a bit chancy because of the traffic. Since the announced plan is to tear down the stadium and put in commercial development, I sense the presence of some special interests applying emoluments to the correct palms. Perhaps it's my Boston heritage influencing my understanding of how such deals get done.
What bothers me about the whole Atlanta deal, and indeed with any cities that "need" new venues to replace those that are not necessarily outmoded, is the example of Fenway Park. At one time there was a strong move to build a new park on the waterfront in the south end, where the Convention Center is located now. There was room for a baseball field and a football field, with lots of room left for parking. Public transportation was available. The owners of the Red Sox and Patriots could not agree on things, did not understand how to "win" political support, and the plans died aborning. So the Patriots built Gillette, with minimal public funding, and the Red Sox were stuck with Fenway Park, which at that time was a dump, with lousy seating, bad concession areas, public transportation that was inadequate unless walking from Kenmore Square was considered, and parking rates that required taking out a second mortgage.
Somehow, Red Sox management turned Fenway Park into a fairly decent venue. They did so by encouraging local merchants and vendors to set up what really amounts to a market area outside the park. Inside the park the "monster seats" atop the wall, additional upper deck seating in right field and along the third base line, and better concession areas were added. True, seating capacity is still small by MLB standards and too many of the seats, particularly in the right field areas leave you staring at right center without twisting your body around to the left in order to watch pitcher and batter. What that means for Atlanta, and Cobb County as well, is that they ought to turn to the Braves and basically say, "Suck it up, deal with it, or find some other city" Putting the new stadium in the Galleria area of Marietta will not greatly benefit Cobb County nor the city of Marietta.
posted by Howard_T at 12:24 AM on November 13
Steven Stamkos is out for an indeterminate amount of time
Was watching this one on TV while taking a Naproxen Sodium break from leaf raking. It was flat ugly watching in real time, and even worse in slow motion. Stamkos' frustration when he realized how seriously he was hurt was clear. Like any hockey fan, I'm really sorry to see a player like Stamkos be out of the game for any length of time. Lost in the magnitude of Stamkos being hurt was Sammy Salo going down shortly after Stamkos, and then Aulie being hurt in the 3rd period. Altogether a bad day for the NHL, and a worse one for Tampa.
posted by Howard_T at 08:37 PM on November 11
I lived for a time west of Cobb Parkway, just south of Windy Hill Road, which is not far from the proposed location. If things have not changed greatly over the years, Cobb Parkway can be a parking lot between Windy Hill Road and I-285. I can not see a stadium in the area helping the situation much. The people at Lockheed-Martin in Marietta will not be happy on game days while trying to get to I-285 after work. The downtown location for the current park has problems with traffic and parking, but while parking might be easier, the road net in the area planned will be sorely taxed by baseball traffic.
posted by Howard_T at 08:29 PM on November 11
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin pledged Monday to fix the team's workplace environment if the NFL's review revealed a problem.
I just completed a training course on sexual harassment so I could continue working with our church youth group. Part of the course dealt with the requirements on reporting harassment of any type in the workplace. Simply enough, once anyone in an organization is aware of harassment, he or she must report it to the authority having control. (I believe this would be a coach, general manager, or team executive.) If the competent authority does not take action to stop the harassment, the authority and his organizational superiors have broken a federal law, and may be subject to some serious penalties. If Martin or his family were to enter a complaint, Miami could find itself in some real trouble. The failure to report possible sexual harassment on university property is what got Penn State into such hot water. While Martin was probably not sexually harassed, it makes no difference. The laws pertain to workplace environment, and extend to all types of harassment.
posted by Howard_T at 03:43 PM on November 06
This post raises some really serious points about marmot mascots:
Why would an ice hockey team adopt as a mascot a mammal that hibernates during the winter? Is it perhaps a metaphor for the poor play of the team?
Marmots live in burrows, often in rock piles. Are the locker rooms in Victoria, BC, that bad?
Marmots are highly social. How can this be true for a team in a sport that applauds violence to one's opponent?
Marmots communicate by loud whistles, especially when alarmed. That being true, would not the marmot better represent the referees than the players?
If the mascot in question is one of the sub genus "petromarmota", common in Southwestern Canada, it is a yellow-bellied marmot. Is being called "yellow-bellied" a good idea for a hockey team?
The groundhog, also called the woodchuck, is also a type of marmot. Should the team suddenly suffer an epidemic of stick throwing the reason could be found in:
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
A woodchuck would chuck all the wood he could
if a woodchuck could chuck wood!
Someone please stop me before I get carried away!
posted by Howard_T at 03:26 PM on November 06
The letter to St. Louis is marginally better than one which might say something like, "Hey you bunch of losers from the city that makes that crappy beer, how do you like having your faces being planted in the dirt by a real team? You bunch of wimps thought your glorious young pitchers would throw their fast ball past everyone in a Red Sox uni. The only thing those pitches went past was your fielders and the fences. We tried to keep you guys in the series, but even that wasn't enough to keep you around for 7. What a joke you fans are. You actually congratulated us for pounding on your team. Damn pussies!"
I do believe it is really better to be somewhat gracious in victory, and I do not find it condescending. Even though the series was decided in 6 games, it really was a lot closer than it looked. Ask any Boston fan how long he held his breath until Tazawa induced a ground ball to end the 7th.
posted by Howard_T at 03:04 PM on November 06
One theory about the marginal players tending to become managers is that since they get to ride the bench and spend a lot of time watching, they learn a lot about how to run a game. Catchers seem to be particularly good at this. They know about handling pitching. They are the only player on the field who is looking at the other 8 on defense, have the responsibility of not only calling the pitch and location of the pitch, but also making sure the location will result in a ball in play into the teeth of the defense. A reserve catcher is quite likely to understand the game quite well.
posted by Howard_T at 05:57 PM on November 04
The Rams let Incognito go because he would not avoid committing penalties that consistently hurt the team. Besides which, he was not that great at playing football. His antics continued with Miami, although he seemed to have slowed the penalties down a bit. So what you are left with is a marginally competent player who is a cancer in the locker room. Any General Manager who offers him a contract should be required to submit to a psychiatric examination.
posted by Howard_T at 05:47 PM on November 04
One of the girls in our church youth group suffered a concussion from an accidental elbow to the head in a high school soccer game. It was bad enough that she was restricted to a darkened room for a bit, then gradually allowed to come back "to the world". She was in church for the first time in over a month yesterday, said she was feeling OK, but still had problems trying to exercise.
The Premier League might not have the same incidence of concussion and head injuries as other sports (American football, ice hockey, etc.), and prevention might not be easy or desirable (to them, not to me), but once a head injury has occurred, there must be a treatment protocol established. Could the soccer powers actually allow an injured player to be withdrawn for treatment and evaluation and then be permitted to re-enter the game? To avoid abuse of such a rule, the substitution could be limited to head injuries, an independent physician would be required to evaluate the injured player to determine that the injury was indeed real, not feigned, and then supervise the treatment and evaluation to allow the player to re-enter. Ice hockey does this now, although there is no problem with substitution and re-entry, but the enforced injury evaluation has likely helped some players avoid more serious consequences from a head trauma.
posted by Howard_T at 05:39 PM on November 04
Forgot one thing. There was a large, gold bottle of champagne being liberally sprayed in the locker room celebration. The bottle had been supplied by David Ortiz and cost him something like $125,000. According to a couple of the sports talking heads, the bottle was emptied in just over a minute at the cost of $1,650 per second. Excess is wonderful.
posted by Howard_T at 08:25 PM on October 31
In my misspent youth I used to listen to one or another of the Canadian stations to catch Hockey Night in Canada on Saturdays. Living along the Massachusetts coast made it easy to get stations in the Maritimes. Later in life I was working in Columbus, Ohio, while the Bruins were in the Stanley Cup playoffs. I believe it was 1971 or 72. There were no games on TV, but I found that I could pick up the radio broadcast from WBZ in Boston if I parked in the right spot. WBZ was another 50KW clear-channel (that is, no other station in the US could occupy that frequency) whose antenna was oriented to beam westward. Since the nearest land east of the antenna farm in Hull, Mass, was Ireland, this made sense.
posted by Howard_T at 08:12 PM on October 31
The play on the field in the first 3 games certainly fell short of the term "classic", but the drama of the series made up for it. It was nail-biting in the last 3 games until Tazawa induced the final out of the 7th. Some random thoughts:
MLB network showed a graphic of the pitches Ortiz struck for base hits. Each hit was represented by a small green circle. At the end of the graphic, the strike zone was a green blob but there was not a single mark out of the zone. Talk about someone who was really locked in.
Uehara Koji's calm and poise in the pressure of the World Series made me believe he had once been through the Hell of the August High School Tournament in Koshien Kyu Joh in Osaka. Those of you who have followed Japanese baseball will understand that it is nothing but a wall of noise from first pitch to last out. Oddly enough, Uehara never played in Koshien. Maybe he really is some sort of robot made by Sony.
Having done some umpiring myself, I tend to watch the umpires as much as I watch the players so far as the TV screen will let me. The work of the crew in the World Series was excellent. I look at positioning, how a call is made, whether or not the call is correct (and if not, why not), and overall attitude. The call at the plate as the 3rd run scored on Victorino's hit was a great example of an umpire getting it all exactly right. Jim Joyce positioned himself on the 3rd base line extended through the plate, moved just a touch toward the infield as he realized the throw was short, thus was in perfect position to see the runner's leg and the catcher's glove. From any other angle, the runner appeared to be out. Joyce's strike zone might have been a bit generous, but it was absolutely consistent.
The City of Boston was remarkably calm after the game. There were only something like 15 arrests, mostly for disorderly conduct, one for a DUI hit-and-run, and a couple of minor assaults on police. This did not extend to a few college campuses outside the Boston area. University of New Hampshire and Plymouth (NH) State College both had some extensive problems. The riot police in Durham (UNH) were called out because students were massed in the middle of Main Street and were blocking traffic. Pepper spray and pepper balls (sounds like the results of a Viagra overdose) were used. At Plymouth the students were celebrating in a campus residential area by burning couches. Fortunately the couches were unoccupied at the time.
posted by Howard_T at 08:02 PM on October 31
It think it's time the city/area stop hogging the limelight...
So, grum, are you bragging or complaining? Either way, it's a remarkable run. The common denominator seems to be the 2001 Patriots philosophy of each player being a member of the team and subordinating his own interests to those of the group. Good coaching/managing is part of this, but the heart of it is having the strong personalities in the dressing room to exemplify the philosophy and insist that others follow.
posted by Howard_T at 07:31 PM on October 31
To sum it all up in grum's defense: David Ortiz is the greatest player in Red Sox history the past 10 years. Every time I see one of these "Greatest Player of..." things, I see that most of those selected have played in the past 20 years or so. It's quite understandable because those doing the selecting probably have not seen anyone who played more than 20 years previously save in films. Grum looks at the numbers more deeply and with more understanding than any of us, and I presume to say with more acumen than many of today's sports writers and commentators. All said, it's a subjective and emotional thing, and one's frame of reference is probably the most important factor.
posted by Howard_T at 03:11 PM on October 30
The Department of Ancient History nominates Gene Conley, RHP in MLB and back up center for the Boston Celtics. He has championship rings in both sports, and is the only man who played for 3 different professional teams in one city. His was a most interesting career that may be glimpsed in this link. Note: the link is from a January, 2008, article. As far as I know, Conley is still living and would be in his 80s.
posted by Howard_T at 02:53 PM on October 30
Wacha vs Lester on paper bodes ill for Boston, but they rarely play the game on paper. Still, if St. Louis does win on Wednesday, the pitching match up for Game 7 doesn't look too good for Boston. Peavy will start, but the leash will be short - choke collar short. The rest of the game will be pitched by committee. DuBront, Dempster, Breslow, Workman, and even Lester might see work. It could be a really long ordeal.
posted by Howard_T at 05:18 PM on October 29
Could you throw in a company car?
Done, but I'll do what my former employer did. It will be limited to the usual Hertz/Avis/Enterprise mid-size rental. Get that Lamborghini out of your head, girl.
posted by Howard_T at 05:11 PM on October 29
What are they going to do for an encore?
How about a tidy 2:52, well-executed, well-pitched, nail-biting, ball game? Last night's Game 5 affair was baseball nearly at its best.
posted by Howard_T at 05:08 PM on October 29
some really questionable managing by Farrell
Yes. Then in Game 4, you start to question his decision (Lackey et al), and lo and behold it works. Now he's a bloody genius. In other words, when it works, you are brilliant. When it fails, you are the dumbest SoB in the game. That's what makes sports so much fun.
posted by Howard_T at 05:10 PM on October 28
how about a few good looking guys for us lady spofites?
Steelergirl, as soon as I set it up, I will put you in charge of recruiting and training -- at a large salary of course.
My original comment about the use of non-profits was intended to be somewhat critical of the way in which such things can be misused as nothing more than tax shelters and money-laundering agencies. The part about my dream non-profit was added as a tongue-in-cheek afterthought. Still, there are some good ideas here about what to do with one.
posted by Howard_T at 04:57 PM on October 28
Buffalo sends Vanek to Islanders, get Moulson...
How much Molson? Several cases?, A whole truckload? Yeah, I know. It's spelled differently, but maybe such a deal could be worth it.
posted by Howard_T at 04:51 PM on October 28
We forgot one scenario: Game-ending out when a base runner is called out for interference with a fielder attempting to make a play. As a corollary, runner from first called out on the front end of a double play interferes with the relay throw to first by taking out the thrower when he (the runner) goes well out of the base path to take out the thrower. In that case the double play is granted.
Plays involving awarded bases, other than bases-on-balls, fan interference, or ground rule hits ( bounding ball over fence, balls striking catwalks, etc.) are rare enough during the regular season, but in this series have been game-winners twice. While pick-off plays are common, last night's play has to take on the aspects or real rarity. The ever-erudite and omniscient Mr. McCarver and his sock puppet Mr. Buck totally missed the ned for Napoli to hold Wong close to the base. Boston's speedsters, Ellsbury and Victorino, and to some extent Nava, will always attempt to go first to third on an outfield single, and on an extra-base hit will frequently attempt to score. I'm sure Napoli and Farrell were thinking along these lines. In a 2-run game, you don't want to allow it to become a one-run game with the tying run in scoring position. Keep the runners as far back as possible.
I am heartily in favor of changing the name "World Series" to "Weird Series". It would be appropriate. What are they going to do for an encore?
posted by Howard_T at 04:49 PM on October 28
All of you don't know that one of the charities I will support with my non-profit is a training academy for unemployed strippers at which they can improve their job skills. There will be an emphasis on the best anatomical arrangements for coke snorting. Of course, it will need extensive hands-on supervision from yours truly.
posted by Howard_T at 09:22 PM on October 27
I suppose by the letter of the rule it's somewhat understandable, but that post-game PC where Joyce says Craig was right at the chalk was nonsense. Craig had plenty of room...
Craig got up and moved back towards 2nd...
You saw the same things I did, hincandenza. If you interpret the move by Craig as deliberately putting himself into a position where he would be sure to run into the fielder, then there should have been no obstruction called. While it would require some real imagination on the part of Jim Joyce thus to ignore the contact, he probably could have sold it. Of course, to call it against the Cardinals in St. Louis is a real stretch. Calling it against the Cardinals in Fenway might have been possible., but not very likely. This is on the level of "probable cause" vs "reasonable doubt" in a courtroom.
To me, it looked like Craig stepped toward 2nd just to get his feet arranged in the right position to run or get back to 3rd, depending on where the ball ended up. Had he stayed near the chalk, he had an open path to the plate, would have been out by 10 feet instead of the 15 by which he should have been out without obstruction, would have won the bonehead of the game for trying to score on the play (had Boston come back), and in general had the St. Louis fans yelling about the obstruction.
A couple of things about obstruction: I was taught always to look for it whenever there was a play that involved an unusual situation. Things like a rundown, fielder in the base path making a play, fielder out of a normal position (such as lying on the ground), and things like that. Another thing involves the definition of the base line. It has nothing at all to do with chalk marks. Generally the baseline is established by the runner's position with respect to the base at the time a fielder is ready to make a play upon him. Look at how often a runner rounds 3rd, goes well into foul territory, and is then involved in a play at the plate. If the play is up the line toward 3rd, the runner might be 5 or 6 feet into foul territory, but his base line is the direct line between where he is when the catcher receives the ball and the plate. It is from that line, not the chalk line, that "running out of the base line" is determined
posted by Howard_T at 04:38 PM on October 27
It's easy to run a non-profit. In the case of the NFL, all they have to do is burn money in salaries for the league officials (not the on-field variety), return money to the teams (read owners), spend a lot on various charities, and at the end of the year, make sure you have nothing left over. Money for the health and safety of players and former players? That would mean the league couldn't pay their executives as much. That can't be a good idea.
Actually, if when I hit Powerball, I plan to set up a non-profit, put my son in charge at an exorbitant salary, put myself and my wife in as consultants, at an even more exorbitant retainer, solicit money for "worthy" causes, making sure that my friends are involved, and become a well-loved and respected member of the community.
posted by Howard_T at 04:11 PM on October 27
I'm also surprised at how the cardinals reacted to the overturned call. I understand being upset, but from what I've read they almost seem to insinuate it shouldn't have been overturned.
The reaction by Mike Matheny is understandable if one considers the "old school" of umpiring. Matheny just didn't think they would consult and overturn. It used to be that calls, even those that were terribly bad and blatantly obvious, were just not overturned. No umpire would overrule a brother umpire on the field, although there would be plenty of discussion in the dressing room after the game. But that was in the days before high definition, ultra-slow-motion, stop action video with long lenses and multiple camera angles. A bad call in today's game is very hard to hide, although those that are incorrect but very close can be explained away and are usually accepted as part of the game. Back in the day the umpire could make his call and stand by it, knowing that there would be few, if any, legitimate criticisms from the fandom. In the case of the dropped throw, the call was obviously bad. The reason has been put forward as the umpire, Dana DeMuth, looking at the contact of the shortstop's foot with the base and not looking at the ball. This is a real possibility, and if so, DeMuth never saw the initial contact of the ball with the glove and merely assumed that there had been a catch. If this is the case, it was a single occurrence bad mechanics, not a bad umpire blowing a call. Even Cardinals fans should admit, begrudgingly I'm sure, that getting the call right was the thing to do.
They're a good team. I'm sure we'll see that before the series is over.
This Boston fan looks upon game 1 as aberrant. I do not expect St. Louis to give away outs as if they were candy on October 31. Whether or not Wacha will be the stopper remains to be seen, but Red Sox batters can do real damage if all you have to offer is a fast ball with little movement. From what I've seen of him, Wacha is a lot better than this, but we will see. The weather is predicted to be cold with wind from the WNW at 4 mph, gusting to 12 mph. That puts the wind blowing out to right field, but not terribly hard unless one's hit coincides with a gust. It shouldn't favor either team. As for the rest of the series, it comes down to the second-level starters on both sides for games 3 & 4, with the possible scratch of Clay Buchholz due to some "shoulder stiffness". In that case Felix DuBront would be pressed into service. The schedule is such that Lester and Wainwright would be available to pitch Game 5 on 4-days rest. I don't hear any fat lady clearing her throat, so my fingernails will remain well-bitten until the final out.
posted by Howard_T at 04:42 PM on October 24
"World Series Cup"
Just wait until the Bruins compete for the Stanley Trophy and Victorino kicks the winning field goal.
posted by Howard_T at 03:26 PM on October 23
I love this time of year when irrational exuberance breaks out as the World Series begins. Mayors and governors make dumb wagers involving local products, fans brag and trash talk, pundits make predictions - usually proven wrong in the end. True baseball fans look forward to some good baseball, and much of that is promised this year.
Then, there is even this rather different bit of trash-talking, or playing, as you prefer.
posted by Howard_T at 01:01 PM on October 23
Jim Leyland retires.
Too bad he could not have gone out a bit closer to the top. Still, he has a solid won-lost record, a WS Champion's ring, and the respect of pretty near everyone in baseball.
posted by Howard_T at 05:12 PM on October 21
I make no prediction of the series winner. My only prediction is as above: It will be a long, grinding ordeal. I just hope it doesn't turn on a bad call or a freak occurrence.
Holden, great fortune in getting to games 3 & 4, especially with your kids who are at the age when they might not appreciate the whole thing, but I'll bet they'll never forget it. Make a SpoFi sign and get your mug on TV so we can see you.
Beaverboard, if your buddy Fran knows about the salt piles in Chelsea, he must be from the Boston area, I'd bet from Charlestown or Everett, or else he was stationed at the Charlestown Navy Yard. If he's from Winthrop, I probably know him. You know as well as I that nobody goes to Chelsea just to see the sights. Great story.
posted by Howard_T at 10:40 PM on October 20
There is some history working on Boston's side. Let's look at it sport by sport:
NBA: Boston Celtics have defeated St. Louis in 3 of 4 meetings. Boston's only loss coming in the 1957-1958 finals when Bill Russell was sidelined with a leg injury.
NHL: Boston Bruins defeated St. Louis Blues in their only Stanley Cup finals meeting, 1970.
NFL: New England Patriots defeated St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI, 2001.
MLB: I'll list these by year.
1946, St. Louis defeated Red Sox. Why did Pesky hold the ball?
1967, St. Louis defeated Red Sox. The Impossible Dream was ended by Bob Gibson.
2004, Red Sox sweep, and who would have believed it?
Looking at the above, it appears that no team from St. Louis has defeated a team from Boston (or New England) since 1967. Not that it really means anything, but it is odd on the face of it. Red Sox will have more difficulty against the Cardinals than they did with either Detroit or Tampa Bay. Cardinals are a much better balanced team than either the Tigers or the Rays. Whichever team manages to take the series, it will be much like the Boston series vs Detroit, grinding, nail biting, heart stopping, and just plain tough.
posted by Howard_T at 01:37 PM on October 20
Fielder has been awful in the playoffs. He has made a career out of finishing the season in September
I watched Fielder a couple of times when he was playing for the Huntsville (Alabama) Stars in AA. His reputation was one of being a feared slugger, and indeed he could put on a show in BP, but his performance in games, while pretty good, didn't seem to bear it out. With the Tigers he looks like a caricature of the over sized, can't get out of his own way hitter.
Detroit was a 2-dimensional team in the playoffs. Their power numbers were excellent during the season, and their starting pitching was outstanding - and that's an understatement. While Boston's starters were not as good and their power numbers were somewhat overshadowed by Detroit's, Boston had a number of other things in their game toward which they could turn.
posted by Howard_T at 01:14 PM on October 20
Thank you, Dr. John, for stirring up a lot of childhood memories. I remember Gene Mack's cartoons in the Boston Globe. He did them for almost every big event in Boston, political, sporting, cultural, or whatever, but it was his cartoons about the teams like Bruins and Red Sox, Harvard and BC football, crew races on the Charles River that were his trademark. The cartoons of Fenway Park and Braves Field really got me going, but 1946-1947 was just a little bit before I began to understand baseball. Still, I remember the parks and my dad telling me some of the lore about them. I also had the pleasure of a game in Briggs Stadium during the mid-1950s. My sister had married a guy from Detroit, and my parents and I visited one summer. It would have been 1956 or so. We sat in the upper deck along the 1st base line - great seats and a really good Detroit team. That was the time of Al Kaline, Charlie Maxwell, Norm Cash, and the like. There were some really good times watching baseball in the old stadiums, and in Fenway Park before it was re-done. Baseball's still great, but I miss the old days.
On edit: I nearly forgot what was my favorite Gene Mack creation. He drew a cartoon featuring a school bus regarding high school football in the greater Boston area. All of the unbeaten teams were depicted riding the bus, and as a team would fall from the ranks of the unbeaten, a cartoon player representing the school would be depicted falling off the bus. I followed the cartoon avidly every week, usually with great envy for the teams that continued their ride. Somehow, my home town never seemed to stay long on the bus.
posted by Howard_T at 11:35 PM on October 18
What horrible positioning by the third base umpire during the 8th inning
Agreed that he was too close. I was always taught to try to get far enough away from the play to see the entire play within my field of view, without having to move my eyes or head. In any case, had he not been there, I still think Midddlebrooks would have been safe. The throw was to the plate side of third, and Pena, because of his positioning, was forced to pivot. From what I saw, had he not contacted the umpire, he could not have gotten the tag on the runner in time.
I can't recall watching a game where the home plate ball / strike calls were so inconsistent as last night's Sox - Tigers tilt.
Dale Scott has one of the most consistent strike zones among MLB umpires. The problem is that it tends to move all over the place. It fits the book definition, but knees get higher and lower, letters get to different places on the jersey, and the plate keeps shifting from side to side. I was shifting between the Bruins and the Red Sox, and within 2 or 3 pitches I was screaming at Scott about his strike zone. He needs help, and is one of the more convincing arguments for umpire ratings and demotions for remedial work to the minor leagues.
posted by Howard_T at 04:34 PM on October 18
So if you are allergic to peanuts, just don't eat peanuts (or any other kind of nuts to which you might be allergic). Of course, it's not that easy. Any number of foods that have nothing at all to do with nuts on the face of it actually contain peanut or other nut products. The facility in which the foods were processed might also process foods made with nuts, and some accidental contamination can occur. All these things are required to be stated on the label, but when large containers of an item are broken down for sale at the concession stand, the label remains on the large container and nothing might appear on the container that the consumer receives. Even a tiny amount can prove fatal to some. I once made a serious mistake when my son's elementary school class had an ethnic foods night. Having lived in Japan, I provided sushi rolls that I prepared with egg among other things. I prepared the eggs in peanut oil. Fortunately, the parents of the child with the allergy asked if anyone had used peanut products before the child ate anything. It could have been really ugly.
posted by Howard_T at 02:55 PM on October 17
The Black and Pink look good together.
Penn State's original colors were black and pink (or pink and black, depending on whom you ask). They were changed to blue and white when the uniforms faded over time, the pink becoming white and the black looking more blue.
posted by Howard_T at 02:41 PM on October 17
What is up with this woman? Does she wear some sort of sign that says "I want to be your crime victim"? Once is an event, twice is a coincidence, and if this sort of thing happens a third time, something needs to be done.
posted by Howard_T at 09:58 PM on October 16
Howard may not be Prussian, but he's got some prescient in him.
Not Prussian, but with a healthy dose of Portugese, Sephardic Jew among several other strains. My mom was one who seemed to have a bit of ESP with things, but she never predicted a winning set of numbers on the lottery.
Verlander will be available, at best, for game 7 unless he can go on 3 days' rest.. Should Peavy or Lester be able to keep Detroit down, Boston has a good chance to go back home with a 3-2 series lead. While Verlander was outstanding in today's game 3, and the Tigers' bullpen had no bearing on the outcome, it was indeed one small mistake that swung the game. In the meantime, the much maligned - at least among many Boston fans - John Lackey over-achieved. The Boston bullpen is also among the over-achievers, but Uehara has been doing what he did in game 3 for much of the season. It may well be that some of Boston's pitching success stems from manager John Farrell being an ex pitcher and later an ex pitching coach.
posted by Howard_T at 12:13 AM on October 16
The Tigers have the Red Sox right where they want to, home field advantage and Verlander on the hill (and should be favored to still win the series). And yet the Red Sox have to feel amazingly lucky at this point. Wow.
To look at it another way, Detroit might just have Boston right where Boston wants to be. Detroit's bull pen is not the team's strength, to say the least. Witness 4 pitchers each being charged a run on Ortiz's slam, and another reliever giving up the game winner. Boston's batting approach all season has been to be patient at the plate, force the starter to throw a lot of pitches, and get to the opponent's relievers. Granted, Verlander is capable of throwing well over 100 pitches and still being ready to make his next start, but if he shows just one little weakness that results in Leyland going to his bull pen, Red Sox can steal one.
posted by Howard_T at 03:26 PM on October 15
Anyone else hate the Cardinals?
I don't hate the Cardinals, but I'm pulling for a Dodgers' win. The reason? If Boston gets by Detroit, once again will be heard the chant; Beat L A, Beat LA. Yes, it's a basketball thing, but it translates to other sports.
posted by Howard_T at 10:29 PM on October 11
Mercury, huh? The team must have put Hermes on waivers so they could try something new, I suppose.
Nah, He just moved to Italy and changed his name. Said something about how he'd rather endorse cars than handbags.
posted by Howard_T at 03:23 PM on October 09
This is a very thought-provoking essay, Uncle Toby. Thank you for sharing it. When I was in my pre-teen years, the town in which I lived started a youth boxing program one summer. I suppose it was an inexpensive way for them to keep the kids off the streets, since the instructor was an amateur boxer who volunteered his time, and very little in the way of equipment was needed. None the less, I participated, got hit a lot, hit some back, and learned much about boxing.
At the same time, I was a boxing fan as well as a would-be fighter. In the years before we had a TV, I would faithfully tune my radio on Friday nights to the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports, for the Friday night boxing matches from Madison Square Garden. Then, lying in my darkened bedroom, I would listen to Bill Corum and Don Dunphy describe the action. It was a ritual for me, and obviously left a lasting impression, even though I can't clearly remember a single one of the fights or even the boxers involved.
My point is that boxing has changed somewhat. The "gentleman athlete" is no longer a boxer, nor is he a martial artist, nor a participant in any one of the individual combat sports -- with the notable exception of collegiate wrestling. Those who are left in boxing are those who are perhaps the least equipped to cope with any success they might have, the most likely to be exploited by corrupt management, and most probably to be taken advantage of by friends and family. They see boxing as a means to escape their situation, but find, once the escape has been made, that they are not able to find a new path.
A boxer enters the sport willingly, with the hope of eventual reward, but without a real understanding of its dangers and costs. The pity is that the reward is very similar to the grapes that were unreachable for Aesop's fox -- a very sour payoff indeed. Ban boxing or martial arts? Right now there seems to be a strong case for doing so, but I really wish there could be a better way found to clean up the sort and make it safer.
posted by Howard_T at 03:18 PM on October 09
Claude Julien, coach of the Bruins, who had Laviolette as his assistant with the B's for a time, commented that being fired 3 games into a season was just as bad as being fired with 3 games left, as Julien was after 79 games in New Jersey. Julien said that either one sucks.
posted by Howard_T at 04:33 PM on October 08
Ahhhh, professional sports. Children's games being played by grown men children.
posted by Howard_T at 04:29 PM on October 08
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