Recent Comments by Howard_T

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I didn't see the play live - Vestry meeting at church - but I have seen the replay a couple of times. Gruesome. They are saying dislocated ankle and broken tibia. Report is that the break is clean and there's no ligament or blood vessel damage. All that is good news, but he still won't be back before the playoffs, and may miss those.

posted by Howard_T at 12:07 AM on October 18

Enter SportsFilter's NBA Pick 'Em

Back late last night from Atlanta and the Vergers Meeting, so now it is time to flat lay the hammer on this thing. Here we go.

LeBron may be out or at least hurting, Boston is deep, quick, and unconventional.

Boston by 6

With Chris Paul to feed him, Harden might score abundantly, but not yet.

Golden State by 12 SLAM

Philadelphia must not be underrated, but Washington will be strong early.

Washington by 9

T-Wolves are going to surprise a lot of people, but then there's Popovich

San Antonio by 8.

Knicks take the first step down the road to a tank job. They don't have to try hard.

Oklahoma City by 19 SLAM

Whose sneakers will be over the wires outside the Staples Center? Not the purple ones.

Clippers by 16 SLAM

Bucks are in NBA "No-Man's-Land", too good to lose a lot, too bad to win a lot.

Cleveland by 11

New Orleans has the twin towers. Bet on one of them being gone by the trade deadline.

Golden State by 13 SLAM

posted by Howard_T at 05:01 PM on October 16

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

couple of bumpkin features reporters reviewing French specialty wines..

Preseason doesn't easily lead to insightful analysis. What the pair in question are attempting to do is twofold. First is to "sell" the team to the fans so attendance will stand up. I'm not sure this is really necessary this year; the Celtics cut off full season ticket sales some weeks ago. The second thing is to sell the broadcast to the viewers. NBC Sports Boston is heavily invested with the team (in broadcast time, not money), broadcasting not only the games but also a number of Celtics related features. Ratings must stay high, or else. Those like me who have been Celtics fans for a really long time make allowances for Tommy (Heinsohn) being Tommy and for Mike Gorman (play-by-play) just letting him run. We expect it, and while it grows old, we rather like it. It's very much like your aging uncle who tells the same corny jokes, but the fat envelopes at Christmas and birthdays make up for it.

posted by Howard_T at 06:09 PM on October 13

Enter SportsFilter's NBA Pick 'Em

Thanks, rcade, for once again taking up the unenviable task of running the pick 'em. I truly appreciate your efforts, and I enjoy attempting to impose my superior knowledge of all things hoops upon the other competitors. I will invoke the spirits of Togo Palazzi and Fat Freddy Scolari, along with the TD Garden Leprechaun, to guide my choices. Picks will be in on Monday, once I get back from Atlanta.

posted by Howard_T at 05:48 PM on October 13

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Seventeen

My picks for this week are in yesterday's Huddle. If you could move them or enter them, it will be appreciated. Thanks, Dr. J.

posted by Howard_T at 08:21 AM on October 12

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Seventeen

For the same reasons as above, please place these into the CFL pick 'em post. Bien merci.

Suddenly resurgent Tigercats host those wild horses. Cats shouldn't hang around the Calgary stables; they will get stepped on. Calgary by 17

Redblacks did well against the Lions last week. Looks like the road won't be such a rough ride. Ottawa by 3

Bombers host another variety of cat this week. This larger breed does well. BC by 6

Argonauts travel to face the team with the unpopular name. No Golden Fleece to be had here. Edmonton by 12

posted by Howard_T at 04:24 PM on October 11

NFL Pick 'Em Week 6: Undefeated Chiefs Edition

I will be on an airplane tomorrow (annual meeting of the Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church in Atlanta), thus I will not have time to put in my NFL picks. Please transfer this to the NFL pick 'em post.

Carolina by 4
Green Bay by 13 LOCK
Houston by 20 LOCK
New England by 10
New Orleans by 7
Washington by 8
Atlanta by 16 LOCK
Baltimore by 7
Jacksonville by 3
Oakland by 6
Arizona by 6
Kansas City by 6
Denver by 17 LOCK
Tennessee by 12

posted by Howard_T at 04:12 PM on October 11

United States Eliminated from World Cup Qualification

My cousin who lives in Trinidad has been all over me on Facebook today. Oh the humanity!!!

posted by Howard_T at 11:41 AM on October 11

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Sixteen

A 3-way tie for the lead! "You can cover 'em with a handkerchief", says the track announcer. Let's see if we can stay in the bunch, or even better put a little daylight behind me>

Tigercats against the Blue Bombers. Only the Grumman F-4F Wildcat and F-6F Hellcat had feline success against bombers, and that was 75 years ago. Winnipeg by 10

The cavalry face the ancient sailors. The only thing that seems to make a difference here is the venue. Toronto by 6

Redblacks go to the Lions' den. Unless the Lions have been well fed, Redblacks might be devoured. They put up a good fight but... BC by 3

The team with the name that must not be mentioned goes to meet the little birds. Alouettes will not be able to fly in this one. Edmonton by 13

posted by Howard_T at 06:41 PM on October 05

NFL Pick 'Em Week 5: Cam Newton's Spoiled Yogurt Edition

A good week (I have no idea how it happened) has placed me into the upper middle class of mediocrity. My chances of taking the lead are about the equivalent of those that several NFL teams have of winning the Super Bowl. My pick for tonight just changed after hearing that a certain tight end for Patriots will not play. Such fun.

Tampa Bay by 7
Indianapolis by 10
Buffalo by 3
Philadelphia by 9 LOCK
New York (National Conference) by 14
Pittsburgh by 16 LOCK
New York (American Conference) by 12
Detroit by 8
Miami by 6
Oakland by 3
Seattle by 5
Green Bay by 10
Kansas City by 12 LOCK
Minnesota by 6

posted by Howard_T at 06:26 PM on October 05

The most important news about the NHL this season: Jagr will play!

are there any SportFi'ers who were yet to be born in 1990?

Just for reference, my kid was born in 1989, and I was 48 at the time. Yes I'm that old.

posted by Howard_T at 08:34 PM on October 02

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Fifteen

Knocked out of the top spot and the transistory fame it brought, but still in a good place, I soldier on.

The Redblack need to figure themselves out, while the Roughriders are in danger of coming to earth. Ottawa by 8

Little birds should not go anywhere near large rampaging quadrupeds. Feathers will fly. Calgary by 15

Tigercats finally used their claws, but I cannot believe that Argonauts will not prevail. Toronto by 11

Team nickname TBD will have their anti-aircraft artillery out to try to shoot down the Bombers. I spent my working life messing with aircraft self-protective systems, and I know they can be effective. Winnipeg by 6

posted by Howard_T at 06:12 PM on September 28

NFL Pick 'Em Week 4: I Won't Stand for That Edition

I would take a knee here, but that makes it really hard to type. I'm not standing at the laptop either; that would be a waste of energy, and at my age there's little enough left.

Green Bay by 10
New Orleans by 16 LOCK
Cincinnati by 9
Atlanta by 23 LOCK
Jacksonville by 12
Detroit by 9
New England by 7
Dallas by 6
Pittsburgh by 14 LOCK
Tennessee by 3
Arizona by 8
Philadelphia by 9
Tampa Bay by 13 LOCK
Denver by 6
Seattle by 5
Kansas City by 16 LOCK

I am truly amazed that after last week's debacle nobody wound up with a negative score. Might it happen this week?

posted by Howard_T at 05:57 PM on September 28

NCAA Coaches, Adidas Executive Face Charges

You can bet that one or more of the assistant coaches or Adidas execs now charged will be offered a "deal". That is something to the effect of "We can put you away for about 20 years, but if you tell us what we want to know about Coach X or company exec Z, you will get sentenced to about a year and be out in 8 months. It's your choice, pal." There will be a lot more heads on the chopping block before this is over.

What I greatly fear is that NCAA recruitment will become so restrictive that players from the lower end of the economic spectrum will not be able to afford event the one-and-done year. The players that might have taken advantage of that will noe go overseas for a year or more before looking at the NBA. College basketball will become a lot less interesting when that happens.

posted by Howard_T at 06:31 PM on September 27

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Fourteen

another new name in first place. Is it you?

It's me, it's me. Oh my goodness it really is me. How long can this euphoria last? Let me down easy, CFL.

The wild, wild west for the rougenoir. Will their late surge be enough to ground the Bombers? Ottawa by 11

Another scrap for litter box rights. Never bet against the larger cat. (I watch my 2 boy cats go at each other, and although they are of near equal size, the slightly larger one prevails about 3 out of 4 times.) BC by 26

Little birds against the mythical sailors. The only time a bird did anything bad to a sailor it was an albatross. Of course, the sailor had to do in the albatross first, so there is that. Toronto by 8

Roughriders against Stampeders. My spell checker doesn't like either one. Roughriders will have to hold their horses lest they get trampled. Calgary by 14

posted by Howard_T at 05:33 PM on September 21

NFL Pick 'Em Week 3: Rushing Leader Kareem Hunt Edition

Well now, a 4th best for the week has pulled me out of contention for the Costanza and into a competitive position for the upper levels. Not that this Easter egg hunter has a realistic chance, but...

Los Angeles (National Conference) by 12
Baltimore by 6
Denver by 17 LOCK
Indianapolis by 9
Tampa Bay by 10
Miami by 18 LOCK
Atlanta by 16 LOCK
Philadelphia by 7
Carolina by 10
Pittsburgh by 13 LOCK
New England by 14
Tennessee by 7
Green Bay by 21 LOCK
Kansas City by 27 LOCK
Oakland by 3
Arizona by 6

posted by Howard_T at 05:17 PM on September 21

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

inside the ring(s)

Well said, sir.

Trevor Bauer has managed to end two such 22-game winning streaks. The first as a member of UCLA's team in 2010.

posted by Howard_T at 06:03 PM on September 16

NFL Pick 'Em Week 2: Undefeated Jaguars Edition

Hmmm... not bad for the first week, just 3 points out of the Costanza position. I will have to work on this. There were some interesting results in Week 1, possibly due to a lack of preparation during the preseason. OK, laser focus, I will do my job!

Houston by 6
Tampa Bay by 7
Carolina by 14 LOCK
Baltimore by 9 LOCK
Indianapolis by 4 LOCK
Kansas City by 6
New England by 10
Tennessee by 8
Pittsburgh by 9
Miami by 3
Oakland by 17 LOCK
Seattle by 14 LOCK
Denver by 3
Los Angeles (National Conference) by 6
Atlanta by 10
Detroit by 13

posted by Howard_T at 03:44 PM on September 14

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Thirteen

It would appear that mathematics has become a challenge for some in administrative positions. I am certain that a brief course in differential equations or perhaps spherical trigonometry will bring all back into regular order. In the meantime I will soldier on, counting with my fingers to figure the spreads, trying to advance in the standings.

Roughriders visit the litter box, where the kitties are feeling their catnip. Too bad the big horsemen are all set to put the kitties up a tree. Saskatchewan by 6

The candidates for a change of team name come to the lakeside to play the Argos. 4 Ls don't make a very nice word, but maybe adding a W will help. Edmonton by 8

The Lions will face the Stampeders, and it won't be just a bunch of wildebeests coming at them. This will be some heavyweight critters, and the Lions will not be able to duck. Calgary by 14

After falling against the previously hapless kitties, Ottawa had red faces and black thoughts. Alouettes meanwhile were swallowed whole by some hungry Lions. This is not a good time for a little birdie to face an angry Redblack. Ottawa by 11

posted by Howard_T at 11:10 PM on September 13

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

I lived in Jacksonville briefly some years ago. I'm willing to bet the apartment complex where I lived is underwater. I hope that rcade and family are staying feet dry and all is well. Prayers for all.

posted by Howard_T at 02:24 PM on September 11

Enter SportsFilter's NFL Pick 'Em Contest

and is trying to cheat his ass off.

Fatty, as a fellow resident of the Granite State, you should recognize it as "Yankee ingenuity".

posted by Howard_T at 09:54 PM on September 07

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Twelve

Since Dr. J. seems to be among the missing (hope nothing is amiss), I will join the parade. Picks, picks, picks. I feel like a 5-year-old with finger to nose. At least I don't have to eat the results, just a lot of crow as I fail.

Alouettes face the Lions, but cats just love to eat little birdies. BC by 16

Roughriders try to trample the Bombers. The automobile replaced the horse, and the automobile has been superseded largely by the airplane. So it will be here. Winnipeg by 8

Tigercats at Redblacks needs no comment. Poor kitties. Ottawa by 19

Stamps at (Team Name TBD) has one team trying to continue its excellence and the other trying to get back to winning ways. Momentum counts. Calgary by 14

posted by Howard_T at 06:36 PM on September 07

Enter SportsFilter's NFL Pick 'Em Contest

Looking forward to another great season of political statements, gratuitous violence, brain damage, and - oh yeah - football. Will New England go undefeated? Will Buffalo and the New York Jets sink to new lows as they try to lose their games with each other? The question of the year is whether or not Howard_T can win the pick 'em. OK, everyone, DO YOUR JOB. Leeeettttsss Goooooooo!!!

New England by 6
Buffalo by 10
Washington by 3
Tennessee by 7
Houston by 11 LOCK
Detroit by 13
Pittsburgh by 20 LOCK
Atlanta by 16 LOCK
Cincinnati by 4
Los Angeles (National Conference) by 3
Carolina by 7
Seattle by 6
New York (National Conference) by 8
New Orleans by 4
Denver by 13 LOCK

posted by Howard_T at 01:51 PM on September 07

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

embracing him as he dealt with the loss of his sister

You would understand had you been in TD Garden for the game after the tragedy happened. By the way, since when is any of us "reasonable"?

posted by Howard_T at 08:19 PM on September 06

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Eleven

Picks for the week before we head up north for the weekend.

Redblacks visit the Larks, but the only red and black birds that I know of are Cardinals. Sorry, Alouettes, your own nest will be uncomfortable. Ottawa by 14

If Saskatchewan were in the East, forget about the national psyche; the entire geography of Canada would have to be reordered. Blue Bombers would be very confused about their travel plans. Saskatchewan by 9

Edmonton (team name tbd) will vie for the championship of Alberta at Calgary. Has the controversy over Edmonton's team name had anything to do with their recent slide? Maybe, but the slide will continue. Calgary by 6

Toothless, clawless Tigercats host the unsteady Argonauts. Even powerless pussycats can get what they want by purring and starring in YouTube videos. Not enough, Hamilton. Toronto by by 22

posted by Howard_T at 11:44 AM on August 31

Turner Field is Now Georgia State's Football Stadium

I've been to games both in Fulton County Stadium (vs Pittsburgh in ' 96) and in Turner Field (US vs Japan in the'96 Olympics). I doubt I will get to a game at the new park, but I lived less than a mile from where they built it. If anyone wants to remember Fulton County Stadium, the seats are now in use in Nashua, NH's Holman Stadium. They were bought cheaply and used as part of upgrades to Holman.

posted by Howard_T at 09:41 PM on August 29

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

The play came at a critical point in the game with Jays holding a small lead. Subsequent at bats in the inning showed that Boston likely would have put up some runs. As it occurred Boston managed to take advantage of a tired bullpen and get the win. The look on the pitcher's face was priceless.

posted by Howard_T at 11:07 AM on August 29

...and Maybe the Dynamite Fizzles

I read some further information on the trade this morning. Supposedly, Danny Ainge gave Cleveland all of the available information he had about Isaiah's hip before the deal was agreed upon. The Brooklyn pick was included in order to sweeten the deal because Isaiah might have to miss part of the season. Otherwise, the deal would have been for the protected pick from the Lakers via Philadelphia. Ainge is upset because he feels that Cleveland knew Thomas was injured and is now complaining because they found out he was injured.

There is precedence for Cleveland getting an additional 2nd round pick. When the Celtics traded with Oklahoma City for Jeff Green, they found out that he had a heart condition that resulted in his missing a full season. The Celtics appealed to the Commissioner, who awarded Boston a second round pick from Oklahoma City.

posted by Howard_T at 11:08 AM on August 28

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Somehow Fenway Park has escaped this trend, but I am still waiting for something like "Dunkin Donuts Field at the Fenway". Of course, it's not at the Fenway, just nearby.

For those unfamiliar with the City of Boston, the Fenway is part of a series of parks that extend around the city to form what is called"The Green Necklace". Fenway Park is a few short blocks from the park named The Fenway.

posted by Howard_T at 10:50 AM on August 28

...and Maybe the Dynamite Fizzles

In a sense this is the pre-trade physical. Although the 2 sides in a trade agree on everything, it's not done until the players pass their physical. Irving was supposed to have his today.

So how does this trade work? The rumors are, according to Wojnarowski, that the last thing Cleveland wants is to void the deal. They are hoping for additional compensation, but Danny Ainge isn't about to give up anything too good. Tatum and Brown are out of the question, as is the Lakers' pick from Philadelphia. The best they might get is one of the basket full of 2nd round picks Boston owns.

If I were in charge, as I really should be, I would counter Cleveland's concerns about Thomas with Celtics' own worries about Irving's knees. Just tell Cleveland to take it or leave it. True, you will wind up with a pissed off Isaiah and Jae Crowder, but think of what Cleveland would be up against. Perhaps the Cavs best move would be to dump LeBron and Kyrie, not to the same team, and get a ton of good draft picks. I believe this might have been done by a certain Mr. Ainge recently.

posted by Howard_T at 05:12 PM on August 26

Edmonton Eskimos Face New Calls to Change Name

After a brief study of the City of Edmonton, I have a few suggestions. Perhaps something related to the petroleum industry will work, try Drillers or the more technologically recent Frackers. Prospectors or Sourdoughs relate to the city's connection to the Klondike gold rush days. The largest shopping mall in North America is in the city, so the Mall Rats might do. Since many of Ukrainian ancestry live in the Edmonton area, could the Ukes be a possibility? There's one way to preserve a bit of alliteration. Since the largest ethnic group in Edmonton is European, call the team the Edmonton Euros.

posted by Howard_T at 11:09 PM on August 24

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Thanks Grum. It's actually less rare than I had thought. Still, 33 games over 100+ years of baseball makes it pretty special. Fister was deemed to be washed up by many. There's still life there.

posted by Howard_T at 12:09 PM on August 23

Boom goes the dynamite.

My thoughts as a Celtics season ticket member:

I am really going to miss Isaiah Thomas. He was fun to watch.

Jae Crowder was one of the few who could actually play some effective D on LeBron or other 3s or 4s. I hope that Jaylen Brown can raise his game on D in a hurry.

Ante Zizic might be a sleeper or he could be just another Euro stiff. My bet is he will be a journeyman if coaching doesn't ruin him.

To quote one of the talking heads: "What are the odds of a high draft pick turning into a superstar the caliber of Kyrie Irving?"

Tickets for the Cavaliers game in Boston on Feb 11 were going for about 5X face value before the trade. It's going to be the day Paul Pierce's number goes to the rafters. Bet on a ticket being unavailable at any price now.

posted by Howard_T at 12:04 PM on August 23

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Doug Fister is spinning a most unusual game for Boston in Cleveland tonight. Through 8 innings he has allowed only 4 base runners. Two were by the base on balls, one a hit batsman, and the other was the only hit of the game by Cleveland -- a lead off home run by the first batter Fister faced in the game. By virtue of the double play, Fister faced the minimum number of hitters (3) in every inning except the first. As I type, Fister is coming out for the 9th with an 8-run lead to work with.

Update: Fister retired the side in order to record the one-hit shutout. How many times has a pitcher faced only one more than the minimum number of batters, getting 27 outs in 27 batters after a home run?

posted by Howard_T at 11:02 PM on August 22

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Ten

Well!!! It's a good thing I check out SpoFi on the weekends, even though there is usually very little activity. So it's off to the cottage for Dr. John. Is that a "cottage" like those once owned by the multi-millionaires in Newport, RI? While the rest of us frantically pound away at the keyboard and call upon every bit of intelligence we need to make our picks, Dr. John is resting in the country, sitting in the porch rocker with a cold microbrew or perhaps a nice chilled Nova Scotian red wine in hand. Enjoy it, Dr. J; you deserve it.

Bombers against the little birds looks to be no problem. The larks have barely fledged while the bombers have flown and successfully completed several missions. Winnipeg by 16

Eskimos make ready for the rested Roughriders. Could this be a trap for the team that does not lose? That's not very likely. Edmonton by 13

Lions don't wear red or black, and they wouldn't look good in either color. They have fearsome claws and big teeth, but the stubborn bi-colors from the Capitol City will avoid a mauling. Ottawa by 6

Knock knock. Who's there? Argo. Argo who? Argo to Calgary and lose again. Calgary by 21

posted by Howard_T at 06:05 PM on August 19

Skunk In The Outfield : How A Trick Play Almost Broke Baseball

Thanks for this, Grum. I am really glad that I have never been on the field when something this bizarre happened. At least once per season, sometimes more, I have to explain the baseline rule to a coach or player; more often to a fan. I can understand a fan or young player not knowing the rule, but a coach, even at the middle school level, ought to spend a few hours reading the rule book and the case book. So many things can happen on every pitch or play that it is hard for the casual fan to follow. But the uncertainty and the possibilities are what make baseball as much fun as it is.

posted by Howard_T at 12:42 PM on August 18

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Nine

Making the picks while celebrating the anniversary of the Battle of Bennington. John Stark led a group of New Hampshire militiamen to Bennington where they caught a foraging party of British regulars by surprise. The defeat caused the British to rethink the plan for a force to come north from New York to join Burgoyne's force for a drive eastward to Boston. Without the reinforcements, Burgoyne was brought to battle at Saratoga and defeated. The whole course of the war was changed.

Eskimos go into their game with the Blue Bombers in rather the same position as the British in 1777, that is undefeated. Bombers are at their own aerodrome and have made 3 successful flights in a row. Eskimos might get themselves into a bit of trouble here. Winnipeg by 8

There are those who say tht a cure for continuing poor results is a brief vacation in a pleasant lakeside setting. so will it be for the Redblack. Ottawa by 12

Lions tried to chew on a bit of horse meat in Saskatchewan last week but were severely mauled for their efforts. Now a different set of livestock is coming to the Lions' den. Can the Lions recover? Calgary by 6

Montreal vs Toronto means Canadiens vs Maple Leafs, Alouettes vs Argonauts, and Blue Jays vs Expos. Oh yeah, that ended a whie ago. So did any resemblance of football excellence between the two big eastern cities. Argos are at home, so I will go with that. Toronto by 9

posted by Howard_T at 12:23 AM on August 17

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

What? No visible condiments? No mustard, no relish, no (ugh) ketchup! If this is communion, it is without the consecration of the Elements by the inclusion of the sacred condiments. Heresy, Mr. Kessel, heresy!

posted by Howard_T at 05:56 PM on August 15

Ezekiel Elliott suspended by NFL

For some reason I had Desmond Bryant on my mind rather than Ezekiel Elliott. At my age this is a dangerous sign. Anyway, I was very clumsily trying to make the point that political correctness, in so far as it tends to presume the guilt of unpopular persons or ideas, is as harmful as the civil asset seizure laws. I really shouldn't try to reason late at night.

posted by Howard_T at 10:49 AM on August 13

Ezekiel Elliott suspended by NFL

all totally made up, too.

Please note that I never claimed that any allegations made against Bryant were false. Once such allegations are made, they must be proven before anyone is punished. The unfortunate thing is that there are federal laws that permit one who is merely suspected of a crime to have his assets seized before any trial. This usually renders the accused unable to mount a defense, since he has no means to pay an attorney. These laws are being looked at now, and there is some movement to easing them. Back to Bryant's case, the league may suspend him out of "concerns about his moral character", but this is possible only due to the nature of the contract between the league and the players' association. Were Bryant an employee of a private corporation, he could be suspended, but once no charges were brought, his employer would be required to reinstate him and make some settlement of back pay and allowances.

To make a long story short, the league can do whatever it wants because of the draconian nature of the agreement with the NFLPA. Whether it is right or not is a matter of opinion. My opinion is that the NFL has allowed itself to be influenced by political correctness, but in the NFL's defense, had they not done so, the probability is that there would have been an adverse reaction in the media. We all know that Roger Goodell could never permit that.

posted by Howard_T at 11:14 PM on August 12

Ezekiel Elliott suspended by NFL

Blame political correctness run amok for this sort of thing. One who is accused of anything that the masses deem inappropriate is convicted in the court of public opinion regardless of the facts. Investigations into the circumstances surrounding the incident will usually take weeks, if not months and years. Yet during all this time the "guilty party" stands accused, and all who give him any support or employment are equally guilty. By the time the investigations are complete, the story is old news and any exoneration of the person involved is ignored. Thus the NFL is forced into imposing a suspension without considering what the investigation reveals. To be honest, I am often guilty of this behavior. I know I should wait for the facts, but it is far too tempting to jump into the argument, and when a team of which you are not a fan is involved, it's way too easy.

posted by Howard_T at 05:30 PM on August 12

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Eight

Making picks while sad that the Wichita Lineman is no longer on the line.

Ottawa has dreams of an upset, Edmonton has visions of an easy win. Neither will happen, but Eskimos will prevail. Edmonton by 8

Argonauts go to la belle ville to meet gentile Alouette. The larks ascend. Montreal by 6

Bombers land in Hamilton and find that the Tigercats are buried at the bottom of their own litter box. No relief in sight.Winnipeg by 16


Lions visit the RoughRiders looking to feast on some meat. They get fed a sparse lunch, but it's enough. BC by 4

posted by Howard_T at 08:13 PM on August 09

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

I always thought the saddest plate appearances of all time were some of my attempts at batting when I was playing softball.

posted by Howard_T at 12:31 PM on August 09

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

I would be sorely tempted, if put into a situation like that with a sweet young thing, to put on a performance that might be a lot more interesting than cricket, but would end in some incarceration for me. A bed at a match? A bit of wine for the lady? There are some possibilities here.

posted by Howard_T at 04:30 PM on August 06

Cubs Give Steve Bartman a World Series Ring

posted by Howard_T at 11:13 AM on August 03

Cubs Give Steve Bartman a World Series Ring

You think hearing "Sweet Caroline" on Saturday afternoon is bad? My wife uses it as her ring tone. Aaaaaarrrrggghhhh!!!

posted by Howard_T at 11:13 AM on August 03

Cubs Give Steve Bartman a World Series Ring

Can we arrange a trade for "Sweet Caroline"? Perhaps we can get another club involved and "Meet the Mets" could be a throw-in.

posted by Howard_T at 09:36 PM on August 02

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Seven

On a nice quiet evening here in New Hampshire it is time to once again make some picks. After some of the shenanigans we witnessed last week, we wonder if it is really possible to apply any logical reasoning to making your choices. Perhaps gathering the cats together and having them decide would be good. Last time I did that they would pick only Hamilton Tigercats and BC Lions, so that didn't work too well.

The Stampede obliterated Hamilton last week, but can they run over Toronto in the same manner? It won't be a 59 point margin, but it won't exactly be a cliff hanger either. Calgary by 18

What just happened part 1: Montreal looked like there's no way Blue Bombers could come back on them, but all of a sudden it's a one-point win for the Bombers If Ottawa gets a lead, their defense should try to use barbed wire, claymore mines, and perhaps some armored vehicles. Winnipeg by 6

What just happened part 2: Edmonton is leaving the door wide open for a BC upset, but then the universe rights itself and Edmonton pulls away. In the meantime, Hamilton begins to wonder if not showing up would have been a good option last week. I'm not sure there is enough left of Hamilton to show up this week. Edmonton by 17

For better than 3 quarters BC was in top form. Then Edmonton put up the stop sign, and BC obeyed. Rough Riders do not have any signs to show, so Lions will not slow down. BC by 14

posted by Howard_T at 09:34 PM on August 02

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Six

Can't wait until tomorrow to finish these. Wife and I will do a day in Boston tomorrow; plans are a harbor cruise followed by dinner and drinks with our son. The kid has moved into a new place in North Quincy, so he wants to show it off. It's not all pleasure; wife needs to visit the Charlie Card Store to get her new Senior Fare card for the Boston MBTA. It gets you half price, but for my wife this includes the sad realization that she has now reached the age of official old fart status. So sad.

The picks:

Alouettes vs Blue Bombers features little feathery birds against things that drop highly lethal eggs. Every once in a while a bird strike will bring down an aircraft, but most bird strikes tend to hurt the bird a lot more. Winnipeg by 8

The saying is that offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships. I'm not trying to predict the ultimate league outcome, just one game. Edmonton by 3

Riders seem to be falling off the horse lately, while the Argos find some fair sailing in spots. Toronto by 15

Poor little kitties find themselves in the middle of a pack of rampaging quadrupeds. It will not be pretty. Calgary by 18

posted by Howard_T at 11:10 PM on July 26

111 NFL Brains Examined By Neuropathologist

The New York Times has managed to sensationalize the headline by quoting the raw numbers without including the qualifying statement that appears later in the article. In Dr. McKee's words and with more explanation in the article:

<<"There's a tremendous selection bias," she has cautioned, noting that many families have donated brains specifically because the former player showed symptoms of C.T.E.

But 110 positives remain significant scientific evidence of an N.F.L. player's risk of developing C.T.E., which can be diagnosed only after death. About 1,300 former players have died since the B.U. group began examining brains. So even if every one of the other 1,200 players had tested negative which even the heartiest skeptics would agree could not possibly be the case the minimum C.T.E. prevalence would be close to 9 percent, vastly higher than in the general population.>>

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to cast the study in a bad light. I'm merely complaining about the tendency of some media to make more of a story that it deserves. The problem is that this story deserves a lot of attention, and there is a real problem there. But when the NYT screams loudly, a lot of doubters will automatically reject the numbers as being in error or being "cooked" in some manner. Thus many will not read beyond the headline before the nay-saying begins.

It is now apparent that the NFL cannot continue to function as it is. It almost looks like as more padding and "better" helmets are introduced, the number and severity of injuries increases. Does the better equipment give players a false sense of security? The players are bigger, stronger, and faster than before. How does this contribute? I would like to see if this problem exists in rugby. The players wear minimal head protection and no pads to speak of. The rules of rugby tend to eliminate the high speed collisions we see in football, but there are still plenty of hits.

Another thing that needs to be done, or at least needs more attention, is the nature of head injuries and the sort of injury that produces CTE. Is a hit to the side of the head worse than a direct straight on hit? What about twisting motions or the sudden back and forth motion associated with whiplash? Much more is needed, and perhaps the NFL (and the NHL that seems to have its own problem with head injuries) could do the right thing and begin funding some research.

Here endeth the sermon.

posted by Howard_T at 12:09 AM on July 26

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

If Kyrie heads West and LeBron follows

If Kyrie is traded before or during this season, Boston might become the default power in the East. This said whether or not LeBron stays in Cleveland this season. Now here's Cleveland's problem (and incidentally LeBron's): LeBron has already hinted at a desire to move to LA next season, thus anyone except Lakers trading for him will be trading for a 1-year rental. Thus the value to be returned to Cleveland is lessened. Even the lessened value of a 1-year LeBron could be great enough that the team acquiring him gives up so much that having LeBron does not make them better. The only thing that Cleveland management can do is to somehow appease Kyrie, get him and LeBron to "kiss and make up", and see what they can do to improve the team enough to actually win the finals this season. My take is that this is "Mission Impossible" (RIP Martin Landau).

posted by Howard_T at 06:41 PM on July 21

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Five

Since I don't think that Montreal and Ottawa will be in a 4 or 5 hour delay for moose attack, zombie apocalypse, or snow, I guess I will not be able to pick that one. Wednesday night football makes no sense to me. Thursday is bad enough, but Wednesday?

Anyway, here are the rest of the picks.

Tigercats have played like tame kittens while Eskimos have had the sled dogs running in high gear. Edmonton by 6

Winnipeg are coming off a win in Toronto, but have to fly all the way west to face hungry Lions. BC by 13

The Stamps seem to be the consensus choice this week. Who am I to argue? Calgary by 10

Thanks to the vagaries of the CFL schedule we get a second crack at picking Ottawa. The problem is that nobody is picking them. I won't either. Toronto by 7

posted by Howard_T at 10:33 PM on July 19

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Four

Once again we find ourselves in a slow spiral toward the bottom of the standings. No matter, there is always hope. I feel a bit like the birds that come to my backyard feeders. They peck away and peck away until they find exactly the right seed or nut for their taste. So it is with my picks; pecking away until I actually get one right.

Argonauts showed they might have something in holding off Ottawa, or did Ottawa show that they lacked something in losing to Toronto. I don't know, but I will give Argos credit for a bit of momentum. Toronto by 6

Alouettes need to be careful about allowing a group of rampaging quadrupeds into their stadium. Birdies get hurt. Calgary by 12

The color-confused group from Ottawa will find a tall order to fill in the land of the Eskimos. They will fall short. Edmonton by 9

Cat fights tend to be noisy, lots of yowling before the engagement, hissing and screaming during the very brief battle, and some muttering and licking of wounds afterward. The cat fight in Hamilton might be similar, although not as brief. Look for the striped cats to be licking their wounds while the tawny cats walk away with tails held high. BC by 3

posted by Howard_T at 06:08 PM on July 13

Peter Karmanos close to selling Hurricanes for $500 million

I was never a Whalers' fan, but I loved the fact that the Bruins had a rival within the New England area and required a drive of less than 2 hours (from southern NH) to see. I still see the occasional set of flukes on a Whaler t-shirt at various events around Boston.

posted by Howard_T at 05:49 PM on July 13

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

This ESPN headline is just terrible.

...but very understandable. ESPN is a television (well, cable TV anyway), and as such lives on its ratings. I seem to remember something about the New York metropolitan area being the largest TV market in the USA. (or maybe 2nd, I don't know for sure) On the other hand, Seattle, while a really nice place to live, even when it rains, is not a terribly large market. Thus, the headline "Mariners' Star's Walk-Off Wins All Star Game" would not excite a very lareg fan base. One must also understand that the next Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN happens to be Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees. No matter where these 2 teams are in the standings, ESPN will hype the rivalry every time.

By the way, Judge is worth the price of admission until opposing pitchers and scouts find the holes in his swing.

posted by Howard_T at 06:39 PM on July 12

What football will look like in the future

Started, got through about 8 or 10 iterations, and gave up. There's an answer in there somewhere, but I think it's 42, and like Douglas Adams, nobody knows the question.

Back in my pre-teens and teenage years I used to read a lot of science fiction. Some of it was written like this, as a long and somewhat disjointed narrative, but this has the advantage of having graphics and a bit of interactivity. The odd thing is that the sci-fi I used to read might have had a computing or writing device such as the one that produced this story as one of it's main characters.

posted by Howard_T at 02:27 PM on July 11

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Well how about that? News has just come that the Celtics have traded Avery Bradley and a 2nd round pick to Detroit for Marquis Morris. The salary differential saves Boston about 3.5 million, more than enough to put Hayward on the roster. Morris is a 6'9" forward who can score (averaged about 14 per game last season) and can rebound a bit. Considering what went on in the summer league last night, the plan might be to move Jaylen to the 2 position. It still looks like Jae Crowder is going too, but the sign-and-trade is no longer necessary.

posted by Howard_T at 12:09 PM on July 07

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

First of all, there's no possibility of Utah keeping Hayward. He is a free agent who has agreed to a deal with Boston. The deal cannot be consummated until Boston is able to do it without exceeding the salary cap. Reports say that the difference right now is something like 300K. So the question is why do you have to get rid of a 4 - 7 Million contract. Simply enough, Ainge needs another piece for this year in order to have a chance at beating Cleveland in the playoffs. Marc Gasol is supposedly available for the right price, and one that is not exorbitant.

A couple of things are coming into play here. First of all, a trade of Crowder, Smart, or Bradley will not bring enough of a return. The biggest reason for this is that the other GMs around the league think they have Ainge over a barrel, and they will take every advantage. Another thing is that Boston wants something else from Utah for Crowder. It would not be a major piece, more like a draft pick, but it would be something useful in making another deal down the road for a Gasol or his ilk.

posted by Howard_T at 08:31 AM on July 07

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

The latest product of the rumor mills is a possible sign-and-trade deal between Utah and Boston. On the face of it, this is not necessary, since Hayward has already agreed to the deal with the Celtics. The idea is for Utah to sign Hayward and then receive Jay Crowder in trade. This gives Boston the ability to move Crowder's $7 million (with 3 years remaining) in order to fit Hayward under the salary cap. A trade with Utah eliminates the need to balance salaries as would be required when executing a trade in ordinary circumstances.

If a deal of Crowder to Utah cannot be done, then one of the trio of Crowder, Avery Bradley, or Marcus Smart must be traded. While any of those 3 would help any team in the NBA, the return to Boston (in draft picks preferably) would be less than market value. The sign-and-trade makes a lot of sense.

posted by Howard_T at 02:03 PM on July 06

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Three

My wife and I are "up north" this week in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. we enjoy it up here, and we spend the time relaxing, going to some of our favorite restaurants and activities, and just relaxing. Today we got high, but not like you think. We rode the cog railway to the top of Mount Washington, the highest peak in New England and 3rd highest east of the Mississippi River. The cog railway has been around since 1866, and is quite a different way to climb a mountain. It was a fun day, but now it is time to get to serious business.

Lions make the long trek eastward to face the Alouettes. It is said that travel is broadening, but I think that is in regard to certain parts of the anatomy due to poor eating habits and lack of exercise rather than expanding one's outlook. In this case, Lions will be doing the educating. BC by 11

Blue Bombers need to take wing against the Stampeders. You are clear for takeoff. Winnipeg by 6

The old saying is "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Toronto fooled me last week when I actually took the seriously. Ottawa by 16

Tiger Cats have to sharpen their claws in order to handle the Rough Riders. Instead they will do what all embarrassed cats do; sit there licking themselves. Saskatchewan by 5

posted by Howard_T at 10:40 PM on July 05