Recent Comments by Howard_T

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

...but are they getting more overall people to watch?

I have watched much of the postseason, and I have enjoyed it. However, I do not wear overalls, nor do I know very many people who do. Perhaps people who wear overalls are too busy with other things to watch baseball.

posted by Howard_T at 05:09 PM on October 20

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Games in Arizona under a waxing moon while his brother was a base coach:

grum, you've outdone yourself this time. BTW, thanks for the Bobby Thompson video. I almost got in my truck to head for the State Liquor Store to buy a bottle of Four Roses. I'll make do with a beer later on.

posted by Howard_T at 04:07 PM on October 18

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

ABC News compared last night's walk-off to the Bobby Thompson home run in 1951. Man, did that stir a memory. I was 10-years-old, listening to the game on the kitchen radio as my mom fixed dinner. I was a Braves fan, but for some reason I liked the Giants, or perhaps it was dislike for the Dodgers. I really don't remember the reason, but when Thompson hit the home run, I started jumping around and yelling. My mom was a bit of a fan too, she broke out the bottle of Four Roses, and poured each of us a shot. She was smart enough to sip, I wasn't! Once I could breathe again, I was considerably quieter. Perhaps that was mom's plan all along.

posted by Howard_T at 04:56 PM on October 17

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Well, one good thing came out of last night's Pats' win-that-felt-like-a-loss

Belichick had the Patriots play just well enough to win on purpose. He really wants to keep Rex Ryan around as HC of the NYJ for just a little longer. Ah Bill, you sly devil, you know he's good for 2 NE wins per year.

posted by Howard_T at 04:44 PM on October 17

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 17

I'm running late as usual. I've promised my son "chicken macaroni and cheese" for dinner tonight, and it takes a bit of time. Here we go with abundant babblement.

Ottawa at Hamilton: The REDBLACK will attempt not to become a group of rakeshames, but in so doing might incite the Tigercats to become wranglesome. An Ottawa win here would certainly be ear-erecting. Hamilton by 16.

Montreal at Toronto: The ability of the Argonauts to illaqueate appears superior to that of the Larks. Since the Allouettes have to fly to the big town by the lake, they might avoid becoming a daggle-tailed group. However, their chance of a victory is nuncupatory only. Toronto by 12.

Calgary at Winnipeg: A meeting of two teams in longinquity. From recent performance it looks like the Blue Bombers' chances aren't worth a quadrin. Perhaps the squabbish linemen of the Stampeders will prove to be tardigridous and make jackpuddings of themselves, but I think not. Calgary by 9.

Edmonton at Saskatchewan: The valiant but stalactical Eskimos enter the land of the Roughriders. The Riders are likely to obequitate and not do well in this. The cycopede agrees that nothing is sure, but Edmonton's chances appear to be packthread. Edmonton by 11.

My attempts to uptrain my vocabulary show me to be a gastriloquist. Next week, in the after-wise, I probably will be shown to have maffled.

posted by Howard_T at 04:39 PM on October 17

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

That assumes perfect umpiring, which we do not have.

Robot umps, man. Can't wait.

We do not have perfect players either. Nor do we have perfect men (or women) in anything mankind does. This is the beauty of competitive sports. Because they are played and officiated by imperfect people, the result of the contest is unpredictable. Has there ever been a poll of professional baseball players that asks their preference for human (imperfect) umpires or robot (allegedly perfect) judging machines? I wold bet that the players not only prefer the human element, but would rather have some imperfection to the calling of a game. If you really want perfection, let's go all the way. Develop robot players, robot judges, and the contest will become one among the engineers and software developers to build the better robots. Just wait until general managers look to trade a faster processor for a field programmable gate array.

posted by Howard_T at 10:21 PM on October 15

"How Rebounds Work"

Rebounds work through the combination of Newton's law (a body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion in a straight line, unless acted upon by a force.), the force of gravity (Newton again), and the coefficient of restitution of the basketball. Someone with a high mathematics and physics IQ could probably predict in general terms where the rebounds of shots from certain positions will go. Of course, it's a lot easier to use data accumulated over a number of trials. I'm being a bit facetious with the above, but the best rebounders have long had the game sense to position themselves in the most advantageous position. The smaller players, particularly guards, seem to be better at this than many of the "bigs".

posted by Howard_T at 10:10 PM on October 15

Royals Advance to First World Series Since 1985

I missed today's clinching game, but it has been just a lot of fun watching KC in the postseason this year. They hustle, play great defense, have good pitching, and play with great enthusiasm. I am officially a fan (at least until April).

posted by Howard_T at 10:02 PM on October 15

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Subtlety, yes, but the framing of the pitch must be done very nicely. As an umpire, if I see the catchers glove move after the catch is made, I will usually make a ball call. The only way I won't is if the pitch is obviously a strike or the catcher was crossed up by the pitcher (expecting a pitch outside and getting one inside, etc.). A really accomplished catcher (Molina is the best at the craft) will start moving the glove before he makes the catch, and then continues the motion into the strike zone. When a pitch is just off the corner, it is really hard to tell whether the glove first contacted the ball in or out of the strike zone. The difference might be two or three calls per game, but in a close game that can make a real difference. A catcher who does it well is an artist, all the others are journeymen.

posted by Howard_T at 11:08 PM on October 14

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 16

It's time once again to hear the thrilling stories of the Old West. No, wait a minute, that was the radio intro to "The Lone Ranger". Let's try hearing the bold predictions of someone who has no idea of what he is doing. Some really tough games to predict this week, but that has never stopped me. We press onward.

Hamilton at Toronto: Tiger Cats vs Sailors of Myth. The story is told that just before the steamer Portland sailed from Boston's India Wharf on her ill-fated voyage in November 1898 (She now lies in the depths off Gloucester, MA.), one prospective passenger saw the ship's cat removing her litter of kittens from the vessel. The man opined that if the ship wasn't good enough for the cat, it wasn't for him either, thus saving his life. So sailors and cats have a long-standing relationship, but in this case it's the sailors who should jump ship. Hamilton by 5.

Ottawa at BC: Another set of cats welcomes those who sport the REDBLACK checkered pattern long associated with the lumber and outdoors industries. Cats have been known to climb trees and occasionally get stuck. The best advice is to leave kitty alone. Those in the know claim never to have discovered the skeleton of a dead cat in a tree. Look for Ottawa to be covered in the litter. BC by 17.

Saskatchewan at Montreal: Montreal retires a number, and Roughriders might want to see if Calvillo might want to unretire and play for them. Putting a rookie QB in the saddle against Calgary didn't work. His successor played better, but some mistakes by coaches and players cost them the game. Larks will be flying sky high, and Riders will be trying to stay on the horse. Montreal by 2.

Winnipeg at Edmonton: Blue Bombers will try to land safely on the ice at Edmonton while Eskimos stand by to watch the wreckage. It looks like the Bombers don't have the correct equipment to attempt an ice landing. Eskimos will try to mess up the navigation aids as well, so Winnipeg is in trouble. Although Edmonton has been inconsistent, they will hold together this week. Edmonton by 9.

posted by Howard_T at 03:54 PM on October 10

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Why do two nearly identical pitches produce different results? The answer might lie in the umpire's precise position on each of the pitches. After a pitch, the umpire will almost always straighten up to make the call. He then will place his feet into position to assume his stance, bend and crouch slightly as the pitcher begins his stretch or windup, and only when the pitcher is almost at the release point will the umpire go into his full crouch. We are taught certain visual clues to get us to proper positioning, but most of them depend on the batter's size and stance, and batters move a bit too. I know quite well that as hard as I might try, my head position and foot position are just a little different each time. It is not a great difference, perhaps an inch or two, give or take some fractions, but it is different. Thus the view of each pitch is very slightly different. When 2 pitches are as close to identical as the two in this case, the umpire's head and foot position can easily make one a strike and the other a ball. The .gifs aren't displaying on my laptop for some reason, but can anyone look closely enough at Dale Scott's head and determine if it is in exactly the same spot on both pitches? I don't think it is, nor can anyone determine so. If anything it will be in a slightly different spot on each pitch. The preceding is theory, but it is an entirely plausible explanation for the difference in calls.

posted by Howard_T at 09:30 PM on October 07

The NBA has a new TV deal.

Even the new deal is pretty sweet. $500 Mil plus some part of a deal between Silnas and the 4 former ABA clubs. It's a bit like hitting it big on one of your stocks, the stock paying good dividends and splitting several times. Now your position is "overweight", so you sell a big chunk of it and retain some small portion that is protected from dropping below a certain value. Nice work, Mr. Silnas.

posted by Howard_T at 05:53 PM on October 07

MLB Pace-of-Game Committee Suggests Six New Rules

Or maybe I've just become grumpy as I've aged.

Welcome to the Smelly, Crotchety Organization of Old Farts, aka SCOOF. Remember our motto "Get off the lawn, you stinkin' brats". I do agree with your opinions on the national broadcasts. However, they are tame compared to what NESN trots out during its telecasts of Red Sox games. There are frequent shots of one or another celebrity, usually an advertiser, sitting in the stands with his cell 'phone growing out of his ear. Full innings of play-by-play are lost while our beloved Don and Jerry interview some guest who is promoting a charity event. When there are no guests, the description of game action is superseded by juvenile banter between the two broadcasters. This adds nothing to the production value of the program.

On a brighter note, I watched the MLB Network telecast of the Cardinals-Dodgers game last night, or was it this morning. This was a tight pitcher's duel between Greinke and Lynn, featured a good bit of decision making by the two managers, and showed that baseball does not need a lot of fast-paced action to be an absorbing, cerebral event. Add to this a fantastic 18-inning affair between Washington and San Francisco, where a manager's decision to pull a starter late in a game led to a tie game. Here again, every move, every pitch, every placement of the defense, every approach by a hitter, every little thing that happens in a game had a large impact.

I have been watching the Kansas City-Anaheim series closely as well. KC plays the sort of baseball that might almost be called "throwback". Good pitching, solid defense, apply pressure once you reach base, make the fielders think about what is going on, and you have a game where there is action as long as the ball is not dead. (Unlike other sports, the ball is in play at all times unless stopped by an umpire. The ball is put back into play by the plate umpire when the cause for the dead ball has been corrected and all are ready for play to resume. This previous is not intended to talk down to you all. It's just that some believe the ball is in play only when pitched.) Anaheim has played very, very well in this series, but KC seems to have made the one move per game that made the difference. It's been great baseball in this series, and overall a really good post-season so far.

As long as baseball is played the way the 10 teams involved in this post-season have played, the sport will not die. My hope is that those who announce and comment on the games will spend more time giving insight into the "inside baseball" aspects of the game. As insufferable as Harold Reynolds can be (does he ever shut up?), he still knows the game and can explain it quite well. The same is true of the analysts on TNT and Fox, for the most part.

posted by Howard_T at 01:05 PM on October 05

Watch the Senators beat the Giants in the 1924 World Series.

Amazing! I wonder if someone will do a little research into former owners of the property where the film was found to find out the connection. It could be that someone who owned or worked in a movie theater lived there and had the film left over from showing it.

What really got to me while watching it were the names. These were players my dad talked about when I was just becoming a sports fan. Bucky Harris, Walter Johnson, Muddy Ruel were active when my dad was in his twenties. Thanks so much for sharing, Ufez.

posted by Howard_T at 10:12 PM on October 02

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 15

My lead has been stolen from me. I guess it was the puns that did it. You should never tell a pun to a kleptomaniac; he takes everything, literally. Enough of that. It's time to pick something other than my nose.

Winnipeg at Ottawa: Recent failure against season-long futility is the feature here. Bombers are in the death spiral. To recover they need to apply power, point the nose down, apply opposite rudder and aileron, and hope there's enough altitude to allow the pull out. RedBlacks, meanwhile, have gotten it right only once this season. They have the home crowd, but can the players keep pushing in the face of all the frustration? The two most useless things in aviation are runway behind you and altitude above you. Bombers are in trouble. Ottawa by 4.

Calgary at Saskatchewan: Rough Riders are putting a new jockey into the saddle. Stampeders also are without their regular starter, but the replacement is starting his 3rd straight game. Experience is the best teacher. Calgary by 12.

Edmonton at Toronto: Argonauts want to emphasize their strength on the ground. Eskimos would rather they do not. The old saying about dog sleds is, "The lead dog is the only one who gets to watch the scenery change." If Toronto gets behind early, they will be stuck looking at a lot of canine backsides. Edmonton by 9.

BC at Hamilton: One cat seems to be a bit inconsistent while the other is just waking up and going on the hunt. Since the Tiger Cats own the litter box, they will kick a little bit of litter in the Lions' faces. Hamilton by 8.

We're done here. It's on to Cincinnati.

posted by Howard_T at 03:09 PM on October 02

Royals Steal 9-8 Win Over A's in Epic 12-Inning AL Wild Card

Lester walks off the mound with a good lead in the eighth inning. Lester proceeds to wind up with a no decision in a loss. Lester says to himself, "I really thought I had been traded out of Boston." Crazy game. I guess it was a case of Kansas City not knowing that it should not have been running when behind late in the game. The series vs Angels ought to be a good one.

posted by Howard_T at 11:27 PM on October 01

MLB Pace-of-Game Committee Suggests Six New Rules

OK, my turn:

1. This is already a rule in high school and NCAA competition. The rule also contains exceptions for a swing and miss where the batter loses balance and exits the batters' box and any time there is a play after the pitch (wild pitch, passed ball, stolen base and throw, attempted pickoff). Exceptions are also for foul balls, batter attempting to get out of the way of a pitch, and one or two others that I cannot recall (reminder to self, dig out rule and case books before springtime).

2. I don't like this either. It is used in high school, NCAA, youth baseball, and the like. There are three things that can happen during an intentional walk, any of which can lead to some excitement. a. The batter can reach out and poke a close one to the opposite field. The fielders are usually not really ready for this. b. The pitcher can toss one way too wide for a wild pitch and advance by the runners. c. The catcher can cause a balk by exiting his box prior to the time of the pitch. This is covered by the rule that all fielders must be in fair territory except the catcher, who must be in his box. The time of the pitch is not when the ball is released but when the pitcher is committed to pitching and cannot stop without committing a balk.

3. Why not go back to the old rule of 1 minute between innings, clock started when all playing action has stopped at the third out? The numbers quoted for time of games, 2:35 30 years ago vs 3:02 now is not that great, when you consider that at least 16 of those minutes were added when the time between innings was changed to accommodate the TV advertisers. Go back to the old rule and you now have an average time of 2:46, and that is only 11 minutes longer. Soccer can make do with commercials flashed on the screen and snuck in during stoppages, ice hockey is the same, but the powers that be are backsliding with TV time outs. Advertisers on baseball games could be placated with silent on-screen messages or brief voice announcements. My between half-innings chant for many years was, "Come on, boys, hustle on and off. Let's keep the game moving. look like you're alive out here."

4. That makes sense. Call a ball for every 20 seconds over the limit, as long as the batter has entered the batters' box.

5. Limit the manager or pitching coach's visits to 3 (If a pitcher is changed during the visit, it doesn't count in the 3. Add one per inning for extra innings), but put no limit on infield conferences without a coach present. The umpire knows when it has gone on too long, and he should start out there to break it up after 15 or 20 seconds. If that doesn't happen, it's bad umpiring.

6. The limit should be 20 seconds to pitch or attempt a pickoff. There should be a similar rule for batters to get into the box in 20 seconds after the ball has been returned to the pitcher following a play or the start of an inning or a relief pitcher's 8-pitch warmup. With runners on base, stepping off the pitcher's plate should restart the clock, but the time should then be reduced to perhaps 10 to 15 seconds. Forget about clocks. Let the umpires do the job. Baseball is not a timed game, so if one umpire counts a bit slowly or quickly, let the players deal with it.

Oh heck. Forget about rule changes. Just put me in charge, and I'll have 2-hour ball games. Strike zones enlarged, players forced to hustle on and off. Pitchers made to hurry up and pitch. Batters told to stop fidgeting and get ready to hit. The umpires are in charge of the game once it starts. Let them have the authority to make the game quicker without changing the rules. Slow pitcher who refuses to step it up? Strike zone dead center from top of belt buckle to bottom of belt buckle. Batter who needs to perform yoga exercises between pitches? Strike zone from dugout to dugout and top of backstop to shoe laces.

posted by Howard_T at 11:19 PM on October 01

33 Short Stories about 33

Thanks for that, yerfatma. Celtics open practice for season ticket holders is one week from today. My blood is starting to run green. Rondo's out until mid-November with a broken hand, the team will be run by Paul Pressey and Marcus Smart, Sullinger and Olynyik are the only notables left over from last season, and another lottery finish looks probable. It doesn't matter. When you have been following the Celtics for as long as I have, there's always enthusiasm and pride.

posted by Howard_T at 09:18 PM on September 26

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 14

Holy crap. It's Friday, I haven't even started supper, and I have to get these picks done. Talk about poor planning. Well, here goes:

Montreal at Ottawa: Then there was the man who invented the corduroy pillow. The pillow wasn't much to look at, but it sure made a lot of headlines. The RedBlacks will not have their heads on any pillows but will make the headlines. Perhaps they will use the feathers from the Larks to stuff the pillows. Ottawa by 6.

Saskatchewan at Edmonton: Rough Riders head for Eskimo country with a sniff of first place in the air. Rough riding on the ice can result in some notable tumbles, and so it will be in Edmonton. Edmonton by 4.

Hamilton at Winnipeg: Blue Bombers seem to be down for maintenance while the kitty cats look to be learning how to hunt like tigers. Can the repairs to the bombers be done in time? Can the Tiger Cats avoid being distracted by catnip? Since the Cats are at the airfield, look for the Bombers to fly again. Winnipeg by 6.

BC at Calgary: On the African plain the presence of a lion can cause the zebra to stampede. The only zebras present at this contest will also carry whistles, and they aren't running from anything. So do the Stampeders live up to their name and run amok? The Lions are fearsome and could be mighty hungry. Once the herd starts moving, there will be no stopping the rout. BC by 14.

posted by Howard_T at 06:30 PM on September 26

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

A statistical case for keeping Mookie Betts.

Statistics or not, he passes the eyeball test. Looks like he hustles. He has some tools, he's working on his batting approach, and he's got some pop. He could well be a keeper. They'll put him in the outfield (if there's room), but if Pedroia's injuries prove sufficiently debilitating, he's your 2nd baseman.

posted by Howard_T at 11:22 PM on September 24

Grand Jury Does Not Indict Tony Stewart in Accident

Thought it was a bit low to talk about the weed use by Ward. Hey, the guy's dead, Stewart is absolved of any crime, so leave it at that. I realize that the grand jury record is public, but why include the marijuana use in the DA's statement? De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

posted by Howard_T at 11:19 PM on September 24

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

I cannot find a direct answer to this question, but what I have found seems to hint that the answer is yes. Consider that the team that scores actually retains possession of the ball in order to try for the extra point and then to execute a kickoff, it would seem that scoring a touchdown, or indeed scoring a field goal on 4th down are conversions.

posted by Howard_T at 08:47 PM on September 21

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 13

half his life on a submarine

Not on a submarine, although early in my career I put some equipment aboard them. I put the same equipment aboard USS Pueblo, but we don't talk about that one. I was mostly working with Navy and Marine Corps aviation. Really, though, up until a few years before I retired, half my adult life was spent outside the US. I think owlhouse would agree when I say travel is the best classroom.

posted by Howard_T at 05:50 PM on September 18

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Sitting here banging away on the computer with the TV on the NBA Channel. They're showing replays of various playoff games. Right now it's LA vs Indiana in 2000. The original broadcast was NBC, and the announcer is Bob Costas. I did not realize just how good this guy was when doing play-by-play, and it's quite a revelation to someone who thinks Bob Costas is an insufferable dickhead when he pontificates on one issue or another. You live and learn, I guess.

posted by Howard_T at 05:44 PM on September 18

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 13

I have the odd feeling that owlhouse has somehow tapped into my router and is reading my picks. If that means he has to read everything I write, he will be stricken with terminal boredom, and I will win. Actually, I think our picking ability has a high negative correlation to our knowledge of what we are doing. On to Week (Lucky) 13.

Toronto at BC: Jason's fleece seekers travel west to one of the better harbors on the Pacific Coast of North America. They might think they are in a safe port, but something is waiting. The Eagles knew all along "You Can't Hide Your Lyin' Eyes", and the Argos are about to be jumped. BC by 9.

Edmonton at Hamilton: Two men were ice fishing. Suddenly the ice cracked and there was open water between them and the shore. As they began to drift further from land one said, "What do we do now?" The other calmly answered, "I guess we just go with the floe." Eskimos are good at managing ice floes, and while tiger cats don't mind water, they are ill equipped to handle Eskimos. Edmonton by 4.

Calgary at Montreal: One little rouge separates the Stampeders from unbeaten status. Larks are passerines that lose all their feathers in their first moult. This season is moulting time for Les Alouettes, and without feathers the birds could get sunburned and turn quite rouge. Uncontrollable Rampaging Quadrupeds will scatter the birds. Calgary by 17.

Ottawa at Saskatchewan: The color-confused group from the capitol heads to the land of the Theodore Roosevelt emulators. Rough Riders would like to walk softly and carry a big stick. Using a stick is not a good thing to do if you are a football player and get anywhere near children. They won't need a stick to render Ottawa RedBlack and blue. Saskatchewan by 10.

posted by Howard_T at 03:26 PM on September 18

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Peyton Manning bought 21 pizza restaurants in Denver weeks before Colorado legalized pot.

Those who say there are no ill effects from marijuana use are dead wrong! Obesity will shortly become a major problem.

I'm getting the munchies just writing this'

posted by Howard_T at 03:00 PM on September 18

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Oh gee, Jameis Winston said some bad words, so we have to sit him for a half. Oh the humanity. Jameis Winston is such a sterling character. He is implicated in what might or might not be a rape, has shoplifted from a grocery store, and now he does an obscene performance. I guess a half on the bench is far too draconian a punishment for such an upstanding citizen. Oh well, Winston will soon go on to the NFL, where he will be free to abuse his girlfriend or spouse, take whatever he needs without paying for it, and be generally obnoxious in his conduct. Does anyone wonder where the Ray Rices and Adrian Petersons on the league come from?

posted by Howard_T at 05:39 PM on September 17

Giancarlo Stanton Hit in Face with 88-Mph Pitch

OUCH!!!

posted by Howard_T at 04:30 PM on September 16

Vikings' Adrian Peterson Indicted for Child Injury

Earlier today I saw Peterson's explanation/apology for the situation. I was willing to accept that. It sounded like a man who was unaware of the seriousness of his actions and did not realize his mistake. Once it had been brought to his attention, he seemed contrite and willing to learn from the experience.

Fast forward an hour or two, and all of a sudden comes an allegation that Peterson had also whipped (or switched, or whatever) another of his sons. Now I'm not so sure of the honesty of his earlier statement. His lawyer denies that there is any truth to the story of previous corporal punishment of his other son. The lawyer's name is Rusty Hardin. Doesn't that name sound familiar? I don't know about you, but when you get a heavy hitter like Roger Clemens' old mouthpiece, you are loading up for something.

posted by Howard_T at 11:58 PM on September 15

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I have not seen the video of Johnson's HBP, so I cannot judge. If the pitch hit his hand first, the it should have been called a foul ball. If it hit any other part of his body, including his wrist or arm, before hitting his hand on the bat, then it is a swinging strike.

posted by Howard_T at 09:10 PM on September 13

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

One other thing on a hit batsman. If the batter is hit on the hand while the hand grips the bat, and he is not swinging, he is deemed to have been hit by the pitch. As long as the batter tried to get out of the way and the pitch is not in the strike zone, he is awarded first base. If the batter is determined to have swung, the result of the pitch (fair or foul, out or reaching base) will stand, and the hand is considered a part of the bat.

posted by Howard_T at 09:14 PM on September 12

Vikings' Adrian Peterson Indicted for Child Injury

Adrian Peterson Indicted on Child Injury Charge

From the pictures of the injuries, the admission that Peterson used a "switch", the age of the child (4), and that some of the injuries were to the face, it would appear this has all the makings of a child abuse charge. So if hitting our wife/girlfriend, presumably an adult but maybe not always, gets you some indeterminate suspension from a couple of games to a full season how long should this sort of thing merit? At least the team had the decency to disqualify him for Sunday's game.

...and the New England run defense just got a lot better.

posted by Howard_T at 09:03 PM on September 12

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I have never heard of a strike being called on a pitch that hit the batter

The rule is that if the pitch hits the batter while or after the pitch has entered the strike zone the ball is dead, no runners may advance, a strike is charged to the batter, and he is not awarded first base. Similarly, whether or not the pitch is in the strike zone, if the batter is deemed to have swung at the pitch, it is a strike, and the same rules apply. The plate umpire did the correct thing to confer with the base umpire to determine whether or not the batter had swung. It is unusual to have a strike called on a hit batsman, not so unusual to have the pitch called a ball but the batter ordered to stay at the plate because the batter did not attempt to get out of the way. To have two hit batsman and a strikeout during the same at bat is unheard of, at least to me.

posted by Howard_T at 05:22 PM on September 12

Giancarlo Stanton Hit in Face with 88-Mph Pitch

I truly hope Stanton recovers both physically and emotionally. The latter may be more difficult. Two names from the Boston Red Sox are mentioned in this piece by Tony Massarotti, Tony Conigliaro and Bryce Florie. One an excellent young hitter, the other a swing man/middle reliever, neither was ever quite the same after being struck in the face by a baseball. Herb Score is another example. The only salvation from this whole thing is that there has not yet been another Ray Chapman.

posted by Howard_T at 05:04 PM on September 12

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

FIFA 15 has it all:

Goal celebration notwithstanding, that's the way I get out of bed most mornings.

posted by Howard_T at 10:59 PM on September 11

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 12

I'm slipping into a tie with the omniscient owlhouse. Must concentrate and aim the pun gun more accurately. Let's see if any of these can help.

Montreal at Edmonton: Two peanuts walk into a bar. One was a salted. Alouettes walk int Eskimo country. They too are assaulted. Edmonton by 14.

Toronto at Calgary: A man carrying a slab of asphalt under his arm walks into a bar. He says, "Give me a beer, please, and one for the road too." Argonauts walk into Calgary and try to get one on the road. Rampaging large quadrupeds misunderstand and give them a sound thrashing. Calgary by 17.

Winnipeg at BC: "Doctor, I can't stop singing 'The Green, Green Grass of Home'".
"Hmm, that sounds like Tom Jones Syndrome, but don't worry, "It's not Unusual".
It is a bit unusual to have what appears on paper to be a rather even match. I'll go with the home team. BC by 6.

Saskatchewan at Hamilton: Two man-eating tigers are eating a clown. One says, "Say, does this taste funny to you?" A large group of Rough Riders will eat some Tiger Cats this weekend. It won't taste funny at all, but the Hamilton fans will have indigestion. Saskatchewan by 9.

posted by Howard_T at 10:52 PM on September 11

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

...it will make Penn State as a whole look better? I'm guessing not.

I'm not expecting that at all. If anything it might make certain persons who are involved look a lot worse. There are one or two people who have tire marks from the bus all over them who might just come out of this looking a lot better. This is based on Freeh's admission that he was denied access to all of the relevant evidence that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had because a criminal action was underway. He wrote the report anyway, but neglected to state that it was based upon incomplete data at that time. Had he done so, the actions taken by the NCAA and the Big Ten might have been different, but no less severe regarding the university.

posted by Howard_T at 03:30 PM on September 09

Area Man Buys Bills for $1B

The Pegula family also kicked in the money to build a new ice hockey arena at Penn State (his alma mater) and to fund the upgrade of the hockey team from club status to a varsity sport. The funding also included money for women's varsity ice hockey. At the time the Pegulas funded the Penn State hockey program, his net worth was said to be around $4.5B. I'm guessing it is somewhat north of that in order to purchase both the Sabers and Bills. Here's hoping the guy makes money off the teams and is able to build them back to respectability.

posted by Howard_T at 03:20 PM on September 09

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Penn State bowl ban lifted effective immediately.

This coming about 2 or 3 weeks after Louis Freeh, the author of the report on the Penn State handling of the Sandusky matter, was involved in a single-vehicle accident in Vermont. Was this something more than a coincidence? Sorry, guys, the accident report says Freeh just fell asleep at the wheel and put his SUV into a tree. I do have the feeling that the NCAA just might be having some second thoughts about the ban. Once the trials of Penn State former president Graham Spannier, the VP emeritus and then head of security Gary Schultz, and then Athletic Director Tim Curley begin, a lot more of the story will be revealed. Could be that a lot of people who were absolutely certain of where the guilt should lie just might have to eat a bit of crow.

posted by Howard_T at 10:11 PM on September 08

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Geno Auriemma hit with a secondary violation

It's not like he was trying to hide this. Very likely the NCAA knew what happened all along and initially did not choose to do anything. It took a complaint by another university to prompt the violation decision. Sounds like a competing coach trying to gain an edge save his job for the 2019 (or thereabouts) season.

posted by Howard_T at 03:53 PM on September 05

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

This play is really nothing more than an improvement on stuff that has been run before. I can remember Tim Tebow as a Denver Bronco running a similar pull-up-and-toss play against New England. It went for a completion and good yardage, but only because the linebacker, whose responsibility was coverage on the back coming out of the backfield, instead came up to stop the potential run. With conventional coverage schemes, the safeties, corners, and outside linebackers will need to have clearly defined responsibilities for this play. They will also need to be able to read the play and adjust responsibilities as it unfolds. There seems to be a tendency developing in which teams will use corners who tackle like safeties and safeties who cover like corners. Add to this outside linebackers who can pull and cover as well as a safety and the ability to disguise coverage, even after a play has begun, is enhanced.

To make a long story short, there's really nothing new under the sun, and defensive coordinators will just have to stay up a bit later at night.

posted by Howard_T at 03:46 PM on September 05

SportsFilter NFL Pick 'Em, 2014 Edition

I managed to get into the group, but it doesn't show any score for me. (It shows 0 for everyone else.) I looked at my picks, and they were there as I left them. I guess that means I'm in the group, my picks, including tonight's game which is shown now as "locked", are in for all games, including tonight. I'm confused but amused.

posted by Howard_T at 10:10 PM on September 04

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 11

I've regained the lead, with a small cushion yet? How can this be? I guess the secret is a continual bombardment of Dr. John with verbiage and drivel. If that's what it takes, then let's have at it.

BC at Ottawa: Les Bicoleurs, or is it Les RougeNoirs, have shown some stubborness at home, but sadly that is not often accompanied by success. I'm looking for a reason to pick Ottawa in this one, but I'm like the man who went looking for a pair of camouflage pants. I can't find any. BC by 11.

Calgary at Edmonton: Two antennae met on a roof. They fell in love and were married. The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent. Edmonton was not well received in Calgary last week. Can they return the lack of hospitality in the back end of this home-and-home? I say the Eskimos won't defend their home igloo. Calgary by 6.

Hamilton at Montreal: An invisible man marries an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at either. Judging from the woeful records owned by these two teams, this game might be nothing to look at as well. There's no cup on the line here, just a cup of coffee to keep the fans awake. Somebody has to win this, so I'll say Hamilton by 8.

Saskatchewan at Winnipeg: This one too is the back end of a home-and-home. It will give us a sense of "Deja Moo". "Deja Moo"? What's that? It's the feeling you've heard this bull before. Saskatchewan prevailed at home last week. Deja Moo says the home team will hang on this week. Winnipeg by 4.

A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One is adopted by an Egyptian couple and is named "Ahmal". The other is adopted by a Spanish couple and is named "Juan". Years later Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, "They're twins. If you've seen Juan you've seen Ahmal."

You are hereby warned that I've reloaded my pun gun.

posted by Howard_T at 10:01 PM on September 04

SportsFilter NFL Pick 'Em, 2014 Edition

I'm in (I think), but the site sure was none too intuitive. Wanted a better team name, but it wouldn't let me use "Vulgar Rebellious Rabble". Alas.

posted by Howard_T at 07:32 PM on September 04

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

This is the nuclear physics version of "Kill the Umpire (and anything else that gets in the way)".

posted by Howard_T at 06:30 PM on August 30

New Yorker: The Twilight of Baseball

That and the fact baseball is no longer America's Pastime...

So let me tell you all about "the good, old days". (Stop yawning! Pay attention, there will be a quiz.) My real interest in sports began around 1947-1948, when I was 6 or 7 years old. In the fall there was football. Not professional football, but college and high school. Pick a high school team in eastern Massachusetts in the late 1940s, and you will find its stadium packed with students, families, and much of the local citizenry with little or no connection to the team other than living in the town. Come winter and there was ice hockey. The Bruins were the team to follow in New England, there were fans in Chicago, Detroit, and New York, but in the US that was all. Granted these might have been the glory days for the AHL and the old IHL, but still the appeal of hockey was limited. Our household was a baseball place, and the Boston Braves was our team, but then, my eldest sister dragged me to every Winthrop High School game of baseball or football.

Don't forget in the late 1940s the mass media was limited to radio and print newspapers. The national radio networks covered sports, but such coverage was limited to baseball, the major college football teams, and a note here and there about pro football, hockey, and what might be considered minor sports like track and field. Boxing was still a big deal and received a lot of press and air time. When you read your newspaper or listened to your local radio station, you read or heard about local sports, and coverage of professional sports was limited to the local teams. The rest of the world appeared in the agate type. Television was broadcasting, but TV was still a novelty, and most of us watched only on the black-and-white screen on display in the window of the local TV and radio store. ESPN? What's that?

Once the football season was winding down, the media was dominated by baseball. The "hot stove league" was covered deeply and widely, and this in an era when there was no such thing as a free agent other than those who were just becoming of age. Spring and summer were dominated by baseball. The major leagues, all 16 teams, had the media all to themselves, but the professional minor leagues and the local amateur teams received their share of coverage. If you were a sports fan, you were a baseball fan, you understood the game, you knew the players, the players tended to stay in the same city for an entire career, and the local team was "yours".

So what is the "National Pastime", if it no longer is baseball? Really, there is no single thing. Baseball has lost popularity because of the competition from the other sports. The game tends to be slow, without the more constant action of basketball and ice hockey or the violence of football. It is a more cerebral game, the nuances are not easy to understand, and those who are casual fans just do not look at the game in the same way as someone who has played or been closely involved at a fairly high level. Now that the magic of TV, satellites, mobile devices, and what have you has enabled us to be in touch with whatever team in whatever part of the world we wish to follow, we have that wonderful thing called "choice". We have a menu that rich and varied. No longer are we limited to one or two things, with the occasional rarity thrown in as an appetizer.

If Mike Trout walked into my neighborhood bar, I probably would not recognize him. I would recognize David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and several members of the Red Sox. Then again, if anyone except Tim Duncan, LeBron James, or several members of the Boston Celtics were to walk in, I wouldn't recognize them either. The point is, if you are a sports fan, you will favor one or two sports at the expense of the others. Within those sports you will have one or two teams that you follow closely. You will also follow the superstars, and if they do not get the closeup views of their faces in the media regularly, you won't recognize them either. Who and what you follow is your own choice, and the choices are now so broad that picking out more than a few is difficult.

So enjoy the era, sports fans. Follow whomever you wish, root for whatever sport and team you wish. America's National Pastime is now whatever you want it to be. Ain't it great?

posted by Howard_T at 12:07 PM on August 30

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 10

10 minutes to get this in. I've been threatening to do it all week, but somehow things have kept me from the keyboard at the critical times. Anyway, here goes.

Ottawa at Montreal: Alouettes can't find their way to a win, but Redblacks have the wrong color scheme for Montreal on Labor Day weekend. Look for Montreal to win a squeaker. Montreal by 3.

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan: Ned Kelly, one of the roughest riders ever seen in Australia takes on the blue-coated bombers. Ned will win another round against the blue coats. Saskatchewan by 9.

Toronto at Hamilton: Argos go for a short trip along the lake and run into a bunch of kitties. Ticats have been declawed this season, and Argos are finding their stroke. Toronto by 6.

Edmonton at Calgary: The pretty good Eskimos take on the very good Stampeders. Look for the quadrupeds who run amok to keep the visitors frozen. Calgary by 16.

posted by Howard_T at 07:30 PM on August 29

Annual Patriots trade key piece right before season move

Aside from the "What is up with Belichick and Rutgers?" questions, I have 2 more.

1. What does getting a young tight end, supposedly a good one, but whose abilities were questioned a bit by his coach last week, mean with respect to the health of Gronkowski and Hoomanawanui? Spreading the entrails reveals an ominous sign.

2. Just who the heck is going to play LG?

posted by Howard_T at 05:29 PM on August 26

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

This is old news, but LeGarrette Blount, Le'Veon Bell, and a female friend were involved in a drug-related incident. No charges have been filed, but the police expect to file possession charges against all three, as well as DUI charges against Bell. I post this only because I am curious about something. After last season, quite a few Patriots fans were surprised that Blount was not signed by New England. He had been a valuable contributor to the offense, and his contract would not have been outrageously expensive. What my evil mind wonders is whether or not the Patriots knew something about Blount and avoided signing him just because of the possibility of this sort of problem. New England has become somewhat hypersensitive about these things since the Aaron Hernandez situation.

I realize this will give the NE bashers something to talk about, but I still wanted to put the thought out there.

posted by Howard_T at 09:30 PM on August 22

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 9

I promise there will be no bad puns this week. I think I exhausted my supply anyway. Looks like my picks were just about as bad as my puns. Perhaps we'll do better this time.

Montreal at Winnipeg: Last time they met at the Larks' nest, the Bombers prevailed by a single point. This time the Larks have to travel to the Blue Bombers' hangar. The Bombers have not been flying too high of late, but the Alouettes seem to be stuck on the ground entirely. Winnipeg by 8.

Toronto at Edmonton: Argonauts have shown some signs of life lately, but their schedule has been a busy one. Eskimos meanwhile have been mushing right along. Toronto could give Edmonton a battle, but between 3 games in 11 days and the travel to Edmonton, the Argos might just be a bit worn down. Edmonton by 14.

Calgary at Ottawa: Redblacks nearly pulled one out against Eskimos last week, but lost a close one. Calgary had an easy time with Ottawa at home in week 7, and there is no reason the rampaging quadrupeds should slow down on the road. Calgary by 11.

Saskatchewan at BC: Lions have roared their way to 3 in a row since losing to Winnpeg, although 2 of the wins were tight. Rough Riders have put together 4 in a row since losing to these self-same Lions. This one could be a dandy. Logic dictates Saskatchewan, but BC is due for a strong showing. BC by 4.

posted by Howard_T at 11:14 PM on August 21

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 8

Made it to VA without incident and spent today trying to find wife's ancestors. The Thomas Balch Library in Leesburg has a wealth of resources for genealogy, as well as staff members who are really helpful. Too bad they don't have anything on how to pick the CFL. We ended the day in a graveyard at the Bethel United Methodist Church in Stumptown, found wife's great great grandmother's grave there, and also found that the Fry family was among the most fertile in the area. Hope my CFL picks don't end up in a graveyard. So here we go.

Edmonton at Ottawa: 2 Eskimos were in a kayak for a day of fishing. They grew cold and lit a fire with the expected result. The kayak sank, proving once again you can't have your kayak and heat it too. Redblacks hope Eskimos sink the kayak, but they are likely to end up on the bottom. Edmonton by 12.

Calgary at Hamilton: A cat was charged with littering on the highway. The reason? She had kittens too close to the road. Stampeders will charge the TiCats with something worse than littering. Although Hamilton has shown some improvement, Calgary still has too much horsepower. Calgary by 9.

Montreal at Saskatchewan: Larks are supposed to fly. Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana. Alouettes are having a really rough year, while the Rough Riders are having pretty smooth sailing. None of this makes sense, but picking Saskatchewan in this one certainly does. Saskatchewan by 22.

BC at Toronto: Argonauts shot down the Blue Bombers on Tuesday, just like I predicted. (Wait, I said Winnipeg would beat Toronto? That must have been an impostor, I've been hacked.) BC has had sort of an up and down year. If you were to jump off a bridge in Paris, you'd be in Seine. Trying to pick this game is driving me a bit insane. I somehow see Toronto suffering little or no ill effect from the short interval between games. Toronto by 5.

A person sent ten puns to his friends, hoping that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

posted by Howard_T at 11:52 PM on August 13

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 8

Going on vacation tomorrow. Driving from NH to northern VA (my wife will be searching ancestors' graves while I try to chase campaigns in the Shenandoah Valley), so I might not be able to get the pick in for Winnipeg at Toronto.

Here's the pick for tomorrow, and I'll get the rest in later.

Winnipeg at Toronto: Blue Bombers try to attack the big city by the lake. Will the Argonauts be able to sail before they are blown up? Winnipeg is winning in a stronger conference, and I don't expect a reversal of form just yet. Winnipeg by 6.

Stay tuned for further updates.

posted by Howard_T at 10:32 PM on August 11

Tony Stewart Kills Driver in Dirt-Track Race

Unless Tony Stewart decides to come completely clean and admit it was a purposeful act, the truth will remain unknown. Such an admission by Stewart is about as likely as my 2001 pickup truck winning a Sprint Cup race at Talladega. Regardless, whether or not Stewart bears any responsibility other than being a part of a tragic accident, his career in NASCAR will likely be threatened. His hot temper and impulsiveness will have to be completely cooled. The first time someone shunts him into the wall and he decides to try to duke it out in the pits will result in some pretty heavy suspension time and some pretty good dollars out of his wallet. It would not surprise me greatly if some other drivers put a target on Stewart's car, hoping not so much to wreck him but to anger him to the point that he attempts retaliation. From what I have seen of NASCAR, this sort of behavior is not outside the norm.

Fan reaction to Stewart will be a large part of where his career goes. Those who are his true fans will remain so, and excuse the incident as just a tragic accident that Tony didn't want to have happen. Those who dislike Stewart will be in full cry for his head on a stick. Those who are not passionate in one way or another will be the determinant. If the majority of them falls into the "he should have done better" camp, Stewart could be in for a hard ride. If it's the other way, then life will go on for Stewart, but he will still be carrying this every time he rolls onto a track.

posted by Howard_T at 04:40 PM on August 11

Red Sox owner Tom Werner has become a dark horse candidate to be baseball's next commissioner

Tom Werner could well become a disaster as Commissioner of Baseball. His work with Boston is an example of why this might be. Werner's ideas of making the Red Sox a prime sports attraction have little to do with making the team better. Rather, his ideas are all about "game presentation", the myth of Fenway Park's historical value, and selling the idea of coming to Fenway as an "in thing" to the pink hat group. After the 2011 late-season collapse and the Bobby Valentine debacle of 2012, the World Series win of 2013 was aberrant. 2013 was supposed to be a year during which the young talent developed in the minors while a few established stars (Pedroia, Ortiz, Ellsbury, Lester) gave the team enough cachet to keep the turnstiles moving. Somehow, the rest of the roster had career years, the AL East was weak, and the accident happened.

During the off-season, the decision was made to try to go "on the cheap" for 2014. Rather than keep Ellsbury, albeit at a high price, they let him go, Lester was offered an insult for a contract, the ensuing negotiations were a sham, and Lester was traded. They got a good piece for him in Cespedes, but how long will he be kept? Nelson Cruz was available at a good price, but Grady Sizemore was on the bargain rack. The results are obvious. Young players like Bradley and Bogaerts are playing regularly, but show signs of having needed more time to develop. This is true of the young pitching as well, as the results for de la Rosa and others show flashes of real talent along with much inconsistency.

I don't blame Werner for all of this, but John Henry does not have enough of a baseball background to be making these decisions all by himself. I doubt that Ben Cherington, Sox' General Manager, has the autonomy to make all these moves by himself, so it would appear that Werner has had a big part.

If Werner becomes commissioner, I can see every team having to have an annoying mascot that is given a feature role during games, each team will be required to have some sort of song used as an anthem at some point during the game, gimmicks will become the order of the day, and good, old-fashioned baseball will be secondary.

I think I'm in one of my "Get off the lawn, you damned kids" moods. It feels good to rant sometimes.

posted by Howard_T at 04:16 PM on August 11

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 7

Had a great week building a deck and ramp for a guy with Parkinson's Disease. 8 teenagers and 3 adults, nobody with a lot of carpentry experience, and we got it done in a week. We also put new skirting on his mobile home in the bargain. That being done, it's time to get back to the business at hand.

Saskatchewan at Winnipeg: Both teams are on 2-game win streaks, but Blue Bombers have the better record. On a per game basis, there is little to choose between the 2. I'll go with the home team to defend its airport. Winnipeg by 4.

Edmonton at Montreal: Eskimos are off to hunt the lark, and it looks like the Alouettes will be easy prey. The East is not having a good year, and Montreal is suffering. Edmonton by 14.

Hamilton at BC: The fur is flying and the howling gets louder as this cat fight gets underway. Here again, despite the difference in records, the points for and against of these teams is not greatly different. Lions are the larger cat, so that is the edge. BC by 12.

Ottawa at Calgary: The Redblacks are in for a long Saturday night trying to slow the Stampeders. Here is a case where the disparity in records clearly shows that there is no balance betwen the teams. The Redblacks will be the Black and Blues once the Stampeders have run over them. Calgary by 22.

posted by Howard_T at 11:03 PM on August 06

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Nice digs, Hugh. I spent the years 1973-'78 and 1980-'83 working at the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, just a few miles down Ni Go Sen (Route 2) from Hiroshima. I was a big Carp fan then, and I still have a Carp baseball cap somewhere. A group of us from MCAS Iwakuni used to go to the games quite often. It was a good evening of baseball and beer drinking. Those were good days. The Carp won the Japan Series while I was there (I was at game 7), and one of our group was busted for DUI by a dummy police car. That last one is a long story, but it really did happen after a Carp game.

I just took another look at the photo. The new stadium looks really nice. The Carp were still in Hiroshima Shimin Kyujo (Hiroshima People's Ballfield) when I was there. It was just down the street from the famous Atomic Bomb Dome building.

posted by Howard_T at 10:02 PM on August 02

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 5

Dr. John, next week is the annual week of service for our church youth group. We'll be taking them to Kittery, ME, for a week of painting, repairing, building, or whatever else is needed in the community. I will be off the laptop for the week, so with your kind indulgence, I would like to put in my picks for week 6 right now.

Winnipeg at Hamilton: Blue Bombers drop their loads into the litter box. Winnipeg by 11.

Toronto at Montreal: No dominant team has yet emerged from the East. Perhaps this game will be the springboard for one to start a move. Toronto by 4.

BC at Calgary: Lions are hitting their stride, but Stampeders have been strong all season. The uncontrollable running quadrupeds should prevail here. Calgary by 16.

Saskatchewan at Ottawa: 'Riders, despite their futility, are still more than a match for the RedBlacks. Home field does not help Ottawa. Saskatchewan by 8.

posted by Howard_T at 12:08 AM on July 25

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 5

Looked at this on Tuesday, said, "OK, I'll take care of it tomorrow." Looked again on Wednesday. I was sort of busy, weather was hot and humid, and I figured I could do it Thursday. So Thursday I have to serve as a Lay Eucharistic Minister at a funeral, then I have to shop for some stuff for supper, then the lawn isn't going to cut itself, and then I find out we have company for supper, so I have to cook a little more. I'm finally sitting down at the computer and turn the TV on, look at the guide, and discover that it's Thursday and there's a game today. How did that happen? Oh well, scratch that one. I'll just have to get the other 3 right.

Calgary at Edmonton: Way too late to call anything except the over/under will be more than 40.

Winnipeg at BC: Blue Bombers were flying high, but ran into some Eskimo anti-aircraft fire. This week they have to travel to face some Lions who have been sharpening their claws of late. One of my 3 cats is sitting and staring at me. I think he wants me to pick the Lions. OK, BC by 9.

Ottawa at Hamilton: The color confused from the Capitol broke their maiden last week against the crew from Toronto. They have a much tougher task this week, going on the road to play the cats of a striped variety. I'm still being stared at, so I have to go with the felines again. Hamilton by 15.

Toronto at Saskatchewan: The Argos have had their troubles this year, but then so have the Roughriders. So far, both have beaten Hamilton, but Toronto took down Roughriders in their first meeting. This time, the game is in Saskatchewan, and I believe it will make all the difference. 'Riders by 13.

posted by Howard_T at 11:52 PM on July 24

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

What are they Espys?

The Espys, or more properly, the ESpys, pronounced E Spies, are members of a super-secret group of intelligence gatherers who specialize in the electronics industry. The acronym of course means "Electronic Spy". The group is quite benign, gathering its data from news sources, research papers, professional journals, and interviews with those in the electronics industry. No cloak and dagger stuff here. The work of the ESpys has been critical in developing countermeasures against the electronic capability of nations that are hostile to world peace. As part of the effort to keep this group out of public exposure, ESPN has cooperated by naming a phony awards ceremony after the group, thereby giving good cover to the name.

In other words, if you don't have a good answer, make something up.

posted by Howard_T at 09:07 PM on July 17

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 4

There is something wrong here. First of all, I'm getting my picks in 2 days before the kickoff. Second of all, I'm shown as tied with the eminent Dr. John for first place. This is strange, since Dr. John lives in Canada where they play these games, and my only connection to Canada is my Nova Scotian father. Well, he did teach me the words to "Oh Canada" and "The Maple Leaf Forever", so that's something. Now on with the business at hand. That is, it is time to disabuse myself of any notion that I really know what I am doing with these picks.

Edmonton at Winnipeg: Two teams at 3-0 meet in an early season attempt to establish the pecking order. Wait a minute, the only team that has anything to do with pecking is the Alouettes, and Winnipeg took care of that last week. Eskimos look like they would gladly exchange a peck on the cheek with Bombers, but might experience a slap in the face instead. Winnipeg by 3.

Toronto at Ottawa: Here is one at the opposite end of the structure. Argonauts are 1-2, while the Redblacks are winless in their 2 attempts. While Toronto would seem to enjoy the advantage of having done this a time or two, Ottawa is playing before their home crowd for the first time in the regular season. Home cooking will mean a lot here. Ottawa by 4.

Hamilton at Calgary: Stampeders have been doing just that to their opponents so far, while the striped kitties are hurting. The running quadruped herd should have little difficulty with the cats. Calgary by 16.

Montreal at BC: The birds stumbled out of the gate in week 1, but that was against Calgary, and says more about Calgary than it does about Montreal. Alouettes did manage to outfly the big cats at home, but now they have had to make the long trek to the left coast. The 2500 or so miles is a long way to expect a lark to fly without wearing down its wings. Meanwhile, the cats would lie to feast on birds before their home fans. BC by 12.

posted by Howard_T at 09:21 PM on July 15