Recent Comments by Howard_T

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

This is from owlhouse territory, the Canterbury Park Racecourse. The jockey says there is quite a bit of national exposure for this. There have been no comments from the horses or jockeys that were trailing him.

posted by Howard_T at 12:10 AM on April 25

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

a couple of novels and an esky

Most of my games will be played on public school grounds, so alcohol is strictly out of the question. If you even try to light up a tobacco product inside your car with the windows closed on school grounds, it will cost you a quick $100. Noo Hampshuh is slowly moving away from the state motto, "Live Free or Die".

posted by Howard_T at 12:15 AM on April 22

Fan Hit in Head by Foul Ball Through Home-Plate Netting

I was at Fenway Park with my son, then younger than 10, sitting in the left field grandstand seats quite close to the wall that parallels the left field foul line. During batting practice my attention was momentarily distracted, and I looked up to see a screaming line drive just a few feet away and heading directly for my son. I could not have reacted quickly enough, but at the last second a glove interspersed itself between the ball and my son's face. It was far too close a call, and I will never do that again.

posted by Howard_T at 12:06 AM on April 22

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Somebody call in the linesmen and break up this hockey fight. Too bad if they do, it's just getting good. The problem with Edmonton's young talent is that Edmonton just doesn't get much exposure in the US media. Whenever they do, the youngsters are fully appreciated for their skills, do not seem to be suffering from poor coaching, but are stuck in a city that does not draw a lot of attention for much of anything. I'm not trying to run Edmonton down, but the city just doesn't hit the headlines much, for sports or anything else. Sooner or later, one or more of these players will move to a stronger team in a more noticeable city, and then the recognition will come.

posted by Howard_T at 03:24 PM on April 20

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Two hour and two minute Sunday night baseball game

Not bad, but I took a middle school game through 7 full innings in 1:45 last Friday afternoon. With middle schoolers, who so often stand with the bat on their shoulders, turning the game into a walk-a-thon, it is rather extraordinary to get it done in less than 2 hours. The key, as holden has suggested, is for the pitchers to throw strikes and the batters to respond by swinging at them. Even at the MLB level the umpiring has a lot to do with it as well. A generous strike zone, as long as it's consistent, will speed things up considerably. It's too bad so many umpires seem to have a strike zone that limits what a pitcher can do.

posted by Howard_T at 03:15 PM on April 20

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

A Rod and Signature significance.

That great baseball analyst (and former Federal Reserve Bank Chairman) Alan Greenspan had the exact term for this. He called it "Irrational Exuberance", and the term seems to fit exactly. Of course, Mr. Greenspan was talking about economic expectations during the "dot com" stock market bubble of the 1990s. The dot com bubble was out at the plate in 2000.

posted by Howard_T at 03:08 PM on April 20

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Why I didn't a-know thet, Tahoemoj. Tell me, did it dig up a bone for Barbie Benton?

two sets of laws of aerodynamics (with one pertaining to the human form)

Did any of you know that Howard Hughes invented a bra for Jane Russell that highlighted her best feature (or features, to be more accurate) for her role in The Outlaw?. Hughes took advantage of his experience in aircraft design to develop a sort of articulated lift for MS Russell, and the result was, shall we say, spectacular. The secret is that she did not like the Hughes design, and made a substitute from one of her own bras padded with tissue and re-shaped with tightened straps. Howard Hughes once commented, "There are two good reasons why men go to see her. Those are enough."

posted by Howard_T at 03:18 PM on April 18

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Just devastated. Heading out to slug down some Patron,

I was never a fan of Sabado Gigante, but I did watch it every once in a while. Don't tell my wife, but the feature I really appreciated was the bevy of lovely and well endowed ladies that populated the program.

My meager kingdom to have Hee-Haw available on Netflix.

There's an occasional re-run on RFDTV, if your cable or satellite provider carries that channel. I watched Hee-Haw for the same reasons I watched Sabado Gigante. As you might suspect, I fulfill both requirements to be a dirty old man.

posted by Howard_T at 12:49 AM on April 18

NBA Playoff Pick 'Em

OK, here goes. I am absolutely thrilled to once again go to a Boston Celtics playoff game -- or 2 or 3. It should be 2 for sure, but my son's girlfriend might want to go to game 4. I would complain, but she's my fitness trainer as well as son's girlfriend, and a really nice person to boot.

Atlanta vs Brooklyn: The no stars Hawks should have little difficulty with Brooklyn. On the "blind hog and acorn" theory, Nets will take one game, but the rest will be no contest. Atlanta in 5.

Cleveland vs Boston: Isaiah Thomas goes absolutely bonkers, averages 36 per game, a trio of Celtics defenders wears down LeBron James to the point where he loses his temper in game 3 and is ejected and suspended for attacking an official, and the Celtics win the series. All this will happen sometime in the next two nights, and then I will awaken from the dream. Cleveland in 5.

Chicago vs Milwaukee: The Bucks have been a bit of an enigma, looking unbeatable on some evenings and quite ordinary on others. On the other hand, the Bulls have suffered all year from injury, and at times seem to have stopped listening to Coach Thibodeau. Rose is back, but is he back to his top form? I look for the Bucks to stop here. Chicago in 6.

Toronto vs Washington: Raptors are a talented bunch. Landry Fields, DeMar DeRozan, and Louis Williams can fill the nets, while Valanciunas can get the ball off the boards. Defense could be a problem for them. Washington lacks the scorers of Toronto, but Wall and Gortat sre a tough combination to stop. One thing that Wizards have is the playoff experience of one gray bearded Paul Pierce. His presence on the floor, on the bench, and in the locker room will keep Washington focused. This will be no easy series, but it's Washington in 6.

Golden State vs New Orleans: The best team in the NBA against one that crawled into the post season in its last game. To quote Ogden Nash, "A remarkable bird is the Pelican, his beak holds more than his belly can." New Orleans will stick its beak into Golden State, but will wind up with a belly full of Warriors' basketball. Golden State in 4.

Houston vs Dallas: Who cares about the NBA championship; this one is for the championship of Texas. It could very well prove to be the best series of the 8 being played in the first round. Rockets have Jams Harden and Trevor Ariza to do their scoring, and with Dwight Howard back they have a third threat. The Mark Cuban AC counters with Monta Ellis, Dirk Nowitzki, and Chandler Parsons. The question for Dallas is whether or not Rajon Rondo is able to work within the system and support the others. I watched Rondo for his years in Boston, and I know he saves his best for the big moments. This series is the one I will watch when it's available. I look for Dallas in 7.

Los Angeles Clippers vs San Antonio Spurs: Doc Rivers vs Gregg Popovich; Tim Duncan vs Blake Griffin; Kawhi Leonard vs J. J. Reddick. The matchups in this one are intriguing. The only problem with this series is that too many of the games will be in the Pacific time zone. I mean, I'm a night owl, but that's ridiculous. The big difference between these two clubs is at the point guard position. Chris Paul against Paddy Mills might be spectacular. As good as Mills has been this year, I look to Chris Paul to guide the Clippers and sell plenty of insurance. Los Angeles in 7.

Portland vs Memphis: Trail Blazers might have problems if Chris Kaman and Nicolas Batum miss any time in this one. Both are questionable for game 1. Damian Lillard can make up a lot of the Portland offense, but can he do enough without the others? Injuries are a problem for Memphis as well. Tony Allen, one of the best defenders in the league, is coming back from a hamstring strain and is questionable for game 1. Mike Conley is likewise questionable after missing the last 4 games with a sprained foot. Beno Udrih is a competent backup at the point, but after him only rookie Russ Smith is left. Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Jeff Green will provide sufficient offense for the Grizzlies, and can also play enough defense to slow Kaman and Batum. Memphis in 6.

High scorer in the East: DeMar DeRozan High scorer in the West: James Harden Ejected player: Yannick Noah (on a flagrant 2) 3-point moneyball (scoring average): 36.2

posted by Howard_T at 12:29 AM on April 17

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

My favorite romantic sports feud

This was no feud, rather it was friendliness to excess. Back in 1973, Yankee teammates pitchers Floyd Peterson and Mike Kekich engaged in occasional wife swapping. Look at item 6 in the link. It grew to the point where the two actually traded wives. I always wondered if there was a player to be named later in that trade.

posted by Howard_T at 11:17 PM on April 15

NHL Playoff Pick 'Em Starts Now

With the Bruins alternating between highly entertaining and brutally incompetent this season, I haven't paid a lot of attention to the NHL this season. I will attempt to pull a few out of my hat.

Montreal vs Ottawa: Senators might just pull Montreal's old trick of introducing a relative newcomer in goal, having him go on an insane hot streak, and steal the series. Ottawa in 6.

Islanders vs Washington: Two words: Ovechkin, Trotz. With Ovechkin playing really good hockey and Trotz having sold his defensive responsibility schemes, the Caps are looking strong. Washington in 5.

Chicago vs Nashville: Blackhawks talent is not music to the Music City team. Chicago in 5.

Calgary vs Vancouver: It took a bit of time, but Vancouver seems to have jelled. Calgary can be tough, but not tough enough. Vancouver in 7.

Pittsburgh vs Rangers: Penguins have to be the playoff team that has done the least with the most talent. There are others in this category, but none made the playoffs. Rangers are solid from top to bottom. Rangers in 4.

Detroit vs Tampa Bay: Red Wings made the playoffs through the grace and ineptitude of a few other teams. Tampa Bay has a lot of young talent. Tampa Bay in 5.

Minnesota vs St. Louis: This is another pairing of a solid team with some depth against a good team that plays hard. Go with the Blues here. St. Louis in 6.

Winnipeg vs Anaheim: Duck! It's the Jets. Jets (at least those of the US Navy and Marine Corps variety) can't fly without JP-5 fuel, while ducks do nicely on whatever they can find. Jets will be grounded and ducks will swim placidly on the frozen pond. Anaheim in 5.

Goal scorers to watch: Ovechkin is an easy pick. I have to look at Stamkos, Tavares, and Monahan, but figure Washington to get put on the power play often enough to give the nod to the Russian. Top Scorer is Ovechkin.

Note for Ufez, if you put up an NBA pickem, I'm in. I have my seats for the first 2 Celtics home games, section 316, Row 5, Seats 9 and 10. Go Celtics. Nice thing this year is that the team does not charge the season ticket accounts until the games are scheduled and necessary. Two years ago they made buying a full playoff package a part of the season ticket renewal, then had to credit the accounts for games not played. It wasn't exactly fair, but there are worse things done.

posted by Howard_T at 05:11 PM on April 15

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Perhaps the Leafs will go out and get Chiarelli

Their current roster would be all in favor of same. Chiarelli would give many of them high-priced, long-term deals that could keep the Leafs irrelevant forever. He might even trade Phil Kessel back to Boston for a couple of bags of pucks.

posted by Howard_T at 01:34 PM on April 15

Aaron Hernandez convicted of 1st-degree murder

I can think of a few things to give him in a going away party. A copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People would be useful. A supply of Soap on a Rope is always handy in a prison environment. Perhaps some boxing lessons, a few "how-to"books on easily crafted weapons, and a contacts list of those who can supply certain contraband goods will serve him well.

posted by Howard_T at 01:22 PM on April 15

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

This story from The Christian Science Monitor tells why the Padres have signed a former pitcher each year for about 20 years. It makes me like the team even more, and actually gives me a reason to like Larry Lucchino.

posted by Howard_T at 06:54 PM on April 10

Who are the "Franchise Four"?

Who do you pick as your #4 Boston player (behind Young, Yaz, and Williams)? Ortiz or Martinez?

I'm not sure whether or not I would include Yaz. The case for him is strong, witness his contribution to the club for so many seasons, but there are some, Foxx, Doerr, even Ruth, who might also be included. Given that Yaz is included, I might pick a 4th who was not all that great on the field, but whose contributions to the club extended over some 3-score years. That would be Johnny Pesky, teammate of Williams and fixture with the team until his death in 2012.

Johnny Pesky? You're all laughing at me now. That's the trouble with you punk kids; you don't know anybody who played before 1975 or so. You young whippersnappers ought to bone up on your history some day. Now get off my lawn!

posted by Howard_T at 01:41 AM on April 10

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Were there actual fans who thought that though?

I should have said "talking heads" rather than fans. Nonetheless, as bad as the talking heads are in Boston, they don't live in a vacuum. There are more than a few fans who actually think they might just have a clue.

posted by Howard_T at 12:29 AM on April 07

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Mookie Betts is on pace for 300 or so home runs.

Isn't Betts one of the players so many BoSox fans were anxious to trade to the Phillies for Cole Hamels? After 5, Hamels line is 4R, 4ER, 5H, 3BB, 6K, 4HR. Meanwhile, Clay Buccholz is at 5IP, 0R, 1H, 1BB, 6K. The mantra was "We don't have an ace, get Hamels". But to be sure, the season is 162 games long. Patience, patience in all things.

posted by Howard_T at 04:47 PM on April 06

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

reffed by the officiating crew from the 1972 Olympics gold medal game

It's a strange phenomenon that has happened to me and more than a few others when officiating a game. You mess up a call early on. You can't change it, you begin to tighten up, and sure enough along comes another tight call -- and sure enough, you get it wrong. By now you want to find the secret tunnel exit to get you off the field, but it's closed today. It seems to be a guaranteed outcome that you will have a few more tight calls, and whether or not you get them correct, the crowd will be all over you. The shot clock call toward the end of the game was clearly wrong, but probably excusable. With the crowd noise, a buzzer that was not very loud, and the need to have your eyes looking in two places at the same time, it is not an easy call. I do not believe the call had a significant effect on the outcome, but under the circumstances it sure looked bad.

posted by Howard_T at 11:07 AM on April 05

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

RIP Eddie LeBaron

Here is a short autobiography that talks about LeBaron's Marine Corps service. He downplays much of what he experienced, but judging from the actions in which he participated, he was one very tough customer.

posted by Howard_T at 10:36 PM on April 03

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

On another subject, there have been one or two April 1 items on Facebook and in various news articles. After posting about a pickup basketball game with Michael Jordan and a few others, Brady posted a Photoshop version of his face superimposed upon someone in a full body cast. The photo sported a supposed Michael Jordan autograph. Another is a report of the Boston Red Sox trading Shane Victorino and most of their prospects to Detroit for David Price. Boston Celtics' forward Kelly Olynyk fooled everyone in tonight's game vs Indiana. Despite running into a Shavlik Randolph elbow while doing some one-on-one before the game, and having an eye that looked like he had gone a round or two with the UFC Heavyweight champion, Olynyk went out and scored a team high 19 points. The eye took 4 stitches to put back together, but I guess that Olynyk, being Canadian, has something of a hockey player mentality.

The biggest April Fool story of the day is that despite a misspent youth, and a highly questionable adult life, yours truly made it to his 74th birthday on April 1 without spending any significant time being incarcerated. We haven't quite reached the doddering stage yet. I'm signed on to help out umpiring sub-varsity high school and middle school baseball this spring. We'll see if the season will ever start, since many of the fields still have snow on them. Some of the more fortunate schools are able to use indoor facilities, but most, especially the smaller ones up north, will not be on the field for quite a while yet. Perhaps I'm fooling myself by thinking that I can keep up with the kids, but I'm feeling good, so why not?

posted by Howard_T at 12:45 AM on April 02

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

I would suggest unbelievably fortunate. A few inches lower and they are trying to reattach his head. Unlucky to the extent that the contact was below the visor. Very lucky that the rear of the skate blade did not poke directly into the eye.

My wife had foot surgery a week ago and had the bandages removed yesterday. The stitches on her right foot look a lot like those on Miller's face. Come to think of it, it looks a bit like one of Gerry Cheevers' old masks.

posted by Howard_T at 12:23 AM on April 02

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

It's an idiotic rule. On occasion I worked on a flight line testing one or another aircraft system. Often we were working with engines turning and no access to any communication with the pilot in the cockpit. We usually had to relay numbers for switch settings. The way we communicated single digit numbers from 6 - 9 was to hold up 5 fingers on one hand, place the other hand in front with the first knuckles even with the heel of the rear hand, and hold up the required number of fingers to add to the number required. It was a system that was well understood by all. The other part of this was always to flash the digits one at a time. For example, the number 17 would be flashed by first holding up a single finger and then holding up the 5 and 2 digits using both hands as described above. Do you think that NCAA referees and scorekeepers might be able to figure out such a system?

posted by Howard_T at 11:07 PM on March 31

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Early favorite for sportswriter of the year.

The guy gets paid for crap like this?

posted by Howard_T at 09:35 PM on March 30

The Hidden Value of a Knuckleballer

I have heard this idea before, and there seems to be merit in it. The reverse might be true as well. When Boston used Tim Wakefield as a closer, coming in behind a pitcher with a "conventional" fast ball, batters seemed to have a great deal of difficulty slowing themselves down to the knuckleball. The same phenomenon applies to a driver who, after 2 hours of 70 mph interstate driving, slows to 50 on an off ramp. It seems like you are crawling.

posted by Howard_T at 03:20 PM on March 25

Obama Proposal Could End Taxpayer-Subsidized Pro Sports Stadiums

For what it's worth in relation to the arguments over public funding of sports venues, I offer the following. The emotional attachment to a team in your city can be quite strong, even if you never go to one of their games. Walk around anywhere in New England and look at the number of Patriots, Bruins, Red Sox, and Celtics hats, shirts, and jackets. I would bet that fewer than 25% of those who sport the gear have been to a game of that team in the past season, or perhaps even the past 5 seasons.

I have just renewed my Boston Celtics season tickets. It's something of a luxury, although the cost for the 2 seats is not a budget buster for me. I have tried to make it to at least one Patriots game per season, but did not this year. I don't think I will try for the coming season, either. The seats are expensive, getting to and from the games from southern NH is a real pain, and the seats that are usually available are located "somewhere in the Town of Foxborough". While I am a baseball and hockey fan, I will not go to Fenway Park, and I probably won't go to TD Garden for a Bruins game. I can get my baseball fix with a collegiate level wooden bat game at the local park. College hockey is readily available, with 3 teams within less than an hour's drive and 4 more in Boston.

So why did I choose the Celtics for season tickets rather than one of the other teams? First of all, I go back to the 1952-53 season with the team. I lived in the town of Winthrop, MA, which by public transportation was less than 30 minutes away (if connections were good). The cost for a game was affordable for a kid of 11 or 12 who was in the process of getting filthy rich by delivering newspapers. The best bet was to get my dad interested in the team and talk him into going to a game. The Celtics became the only championship winning team in Boston, and continued a winning tradition throughout the 1960s and well into the 1970s. I was absent from the area for most of those years, but I still followed the team.

I know I will not attend all 43 of the games in the coming season (ticket plan includes 2 exhibition games), so why renew? I will use a number of the tickets as prizes for fund raisers at my church or for the PTO at the school where my wife works. I will sell a few to a couple of people I know who want to go to the occasional game but don't want the hassle of buying tickets through the team and having to figure out whether the seats are any good. Still, I'll eat a few, but I really don't worry about it. In short, while the money I spend could be used for something else, it isn't that I'm taking food out of my wife's mouth. I'm not wealthy, but I am certainly comfortable. Thus, I can afford a few luxuries, and the Celtics are one of them.

posted by Howard_T at 11:47 PM on March 20

Formula E Racing Comes to U.S.

The changing cars halfway through just proves that electric cars will never work unless you have a regular car also.

Drive your local commutes everyday but if you want to take a trip forget it.

That's the kind of thing that buggy owners said about gas-powered "automobiles" over 100 years ago. If you really think this is the be-all-end-all of battery tech, then you're probably going to be very surprised in the (near) future.

Electric vehicles at this point in their development are not quite there as a replacement for the internal combustion engine (ICE). Range and refueling (charging) times do not compare favorably. The hybrid vehicle offers the best compromise between fully electric and fully ICE. Admittedly, Tesla has come close to a practical fully electric vehicle, but is not quite there yet. Battery technology has been in development for over a century, but until the last quarter century or so there was little progress. When newer materials for battery production were introduced, batteries got a lot better. The lithium-ion (LIon) device is now a standard, but other than incremental improvements to the LIon battery, nothing of great importance seems to be on the horizon.

Having said that, the technology that might make all-electric vehicles not just practical but preferable is in a stage of development that might be ready to break out. I am speaking of higher-temperature super conducting materials. These materials offer low resistance paths for the conduction of electricity when temperatures are held higher than those usually associated with super-conduction, that is temperatures of liquid nitrogen or lower. Private industries are working with carbon fiber, weaving it into transmission cables. The technology has great importance for the transmission of electricity over distance, and if used for the windings of electric motors, it could improve their efficiency as well.

In short, batteries are not the wave of the future, but there are other things that might make the present state of the art battery suitable to be the fuel source for all-electric vehicles.

posted by Howard_T at 11:55 PM on March 16

"Why not go for 70?"

Forgive me if someone has cited this previously, but when a statue of Dominique Wilkins was recently unveiled in Atlanta, Larry Bird's comment was, "I'm sure it does not show him in a defensive stance." Some things never change.

posted by Howard_T at 05:47 PM on March 14

The NFL free-agency period begins with a slew of major moves

I assumed letting Browner shop around was because they were resigning Revis . . .

Now Browner has gone to New Orleans for 3 years at $18 million. There's some guaranteed money there too, but I can't recall what it was. Supposedly the Saints wanted him so they could better cope with some of the tall receivers in the NFC South.

posted by Howard_T at 01:37 AM on March 13

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I was unaware of cities and states singling out certain occupations for taxation while not charging others the same tax. I am not a lawyer, but what I do know from history is that laws that are unequally applied usually do not stand review by higher courts. I would bet that Hillenmeyer and Saturday have a decent chance of prevailing in the courts.

One sneaky thing to do might be to have one's agent research the tax laws of each NHL city and state. If such laws are on the books, have the agent get one's contract restructured so that games in those cities or states are paid at a very low rate, and the difference is made up in other games. If such contracts are allowed by the NFL, it could raise a bit of nasty with taxes.

posted by Howard_T at 09:57 PM on March 10

Hassan Whiteside's Cinderella season

Whiteside's latest adventure has cost him a game and some money. His hit on Olynyk was unnecessary, unthinking, and basically stupid. Here's a link to the Boston Globe article with a video. Look at where Whiteside's elbows are when he shoves Olynyk. It's nearly a head shot, and the NHL might have given him 5 games.

I nearly lost my breakfast when I read of Dwayne Wade's comments. Evidently Whiteside did not learn enough from Wade about how to get away with cheap shots, and Wade has called him out. Wade is nothing but hypocritical when he talks about others. In the 4th quarter, as Boston was beginning to pull away, Wade put a shot on Isaiah Thomas that put Thomas to the floor. Thomas had to leave the game, he is badly bruised on the back and arm, and will have tests to determine if there is any further damage. Add this to Wade's take down of Rondo a few years ago that put Rondo out for the duration of the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals and his shove of Darren Collison in the 2012 post season. In short, Wade has a history of cheap shots that have not always been adequately dealt with by the NBA.

posted by Howard_T at 09:42 PM on March 10

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I'm not sure Mr. Packard's statement that players from a visiting team are subject to state income taxes is universally correct. I worked for a company in New Hampshire, which has no personal income tax. I spent a lot of time working for my employer in states that had personal income taxes. As long as my employment was considered as temporary with a fixed time limit, and I maintained my home of record in New Hampshire, I was generally exempt from paying any tax to the other state. Our accountants kept track of where I was working and the applicable laws. They would warn me were I remaining too long in one place, and they would then start withholding income tax as applicable. Suffice it to say, they never had to withhold any state income tax from me. Each state law is different, so Mr. Packard might well be correct for certain states, but what he has written does not apply everywhere.

My son is now employed as a state tax researcher, so I will ask him what he knows of the subject. His problem is that although he is a New Hampshire resident his employer is in Massachusetts. Thus he gets to pay his dues to the "Peoples' Republic".

posted by Howard_T at 03:06 PM on March 10

Baseball's fight with fatigue

I read someplace that coffee was the substitute of choice when the amphetamines disappeared from the dugout. Could this explain why a certain doughnut chain advertises on so many sporting events. "America runs on Dunkin".

posted by Howard_T at 01:39 PM on March 07

Curt Schilling Declares War on Twitter Trolls Abusing His Daughter

The jerks who decided to spew the garbage on Schilling's daughter very likely presumed that their anonymity would protect them. Surprise, surprise, it turns out that Mr. Schilling is tech savvy enough that he was able to expose them for what they are. The nearest thing I can come up with is to have a couple of high school yoyos talking stink about your daughter while you are waiting around the corner of the hall for a teacher's conference. I'm fully in favor of Schilling's actions on this.

Perhaps the standard on the internet ought to be "would you dare to say these things to someone's face?" If by doing so you would be taking a serious risk of having your facial features permanently rearranged, it might be a good idea not to say what you are thinking.

Schilling included a bunch of links in his blog. I did not follow any of them, but the urls all led to stories about suicides that were due in some part to harassment on the internet. Having your daughter ripped on twitter, but being strong enough to survive is one thing. Having your teen age son or daughter take his or her own life because of the harassment is quite another. I really don't think Schilling was strong enough in his reaction.

posted by Howard_T at 11:12 PM on March 02

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

I always loved his first name, Orestes. Nobody with a name inspired by Greek mythology could be all bad, and this Red Sox fan enjoyed watching him on TV whenever the White and Red varieties of hose paired up. He was an exciting and colorful personality. RIP.

posted by Howard_T at 05:04 PM on March 01

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Anthony Mason, dead at 48.

Shocked to see this. Mason was one of those guys who was never considered "indispensable superstar", but was certainly a "glue" player. By that I mean he was usually not seen, but certainly made a lot of things stay together. RIP.

posted by Howard_T at 05:52 PM on February 28

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

to mix and match a bit, Harold "Betty" Stark

Stark received his nickname as a plebe at Annapolis in 1899. There was an entertainer named Betty Stark who was quite popular at the time.

As long as you're talking about admirals, why not include William F. "Bull" Halsey. He disliked the nickname, was usually known as "Bill" in Navy circles, but the press and public forced it upon him. There is an apocryphal story that "Bull" might have started as a simple typo when a right middle finger or index finger missed by one key.

posted by Howard_T at 03:54 PM on February 23

Igor Larionov reflects on playing for Red Army, and what is wrong with North American hockey

"Throw it in deep and forecheck. Set up the trap when the other team gains control in its own end." This seems to be the mantra for today's game. The only real creativity you see now is on turnovers in the neutral zone or the offensive zone, and avoiding these keeps players from trying to do something other than the throw and go game. The skating skills in today's game are as good or better than they ever were. Perhaps that's part of the problem, defensemen are more mobile than "back in the day", so forwards cannot maneuver as freely as they once did. One theme keeps coming back to me: "Widen the rinks to the international standard". Of course, this means that owners will have to give up a few rows of high-priced seats. So much for that idea.

posted by Howard_T at 03:32 PM on February 23

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

disgruntled point guard Benedict Cumberbatch

So now he can play imitation games?

The Imitation Game is worth the price. A bit of WWII and cold war history, a bit about Asberger's Syndrome, and a bit about attitudes toward homosexuality. Good stuff.

posted by Howard_T at 09:15 PM on February 21

Chargers, Raiders Pursue Shared Stadium in Los Angeles

Baltimore's Inner Harbor is a good example. Having Camden Yards and the Ravens stadium in the area instead of somewhere in the 'burbs has made a huge difference there.

The Inner Harbor had been "renewed" before Camden Yards and the Ravens' Stadium were built. It has been a continuing effort in Baltimore to build on what had been started with the Pratt Street and Light Street Pavilions and the Aquarium. The pavilions offered some good restaurants and shops, and the Aquarium attracted a lot of people to the area. Over the years historic ships and other things have been added. The point is that Camden Yards replaced a chunk of underutilized land with a baseball park, thereby bringing a lot more people to the Inner Harbor shops and restaurants on game days. I'm sure the Ravens do the same. The point is that the Inner Harbor development was well underway before either stadium was built. It moght be that the stadia were located as they are because of the Inner Harbor's success.

posted by Howard_T at 12:09 AM on February 21

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Yup, they fired a ref right after the game to cover up a scandal that didn't yet exist.

Now the referees union is demanding an apology from ESPN for its shoddy reporting. There was no on-field official fired, but supposedly an NFL employee was. What a mess the NFL has made of this whole thing.

posted by Howard_T at 11:27 PM on February 19

Revealed: the ghost game bet on around the world ... that never actually took place.

At Boston Celtics home games there is usually a halftime game between 2 youth teams. Believe it or not during one of these the 2 guys sitting next to us had a not unsubstantial bet on it. Some will bet on anything.

posted by Howard_T at 11:22 PM on February 19

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Nice bit of writing, dfleming. Hope it works out well for you, and I'll be looking for more.

posted by Howard_T at 09:40 PM on February 12

NFL Pick 'Em Contest, Final Scoreboard

Looks like I have lived down to my reputation as a prognosticator once again. I really enjoy participating in these. Many thanks, rcade, for doing it. I know it can be a lot of work.

posted by Howard_T at 09:30 PM on February 12

Semi-regular update: Julio Franco is still playing baseball.

Damn. And he's 5 months younger than me.

Hey, he's only 18 years younger than I. Why shouldn't he be on the field? I can still work as an umpire, although it's at a level considerably below what Franco does. It's still baseball, still a sport that can be played/officiated by people of all ages, and still a lot of fun.

posted by Howard_T at 03:42 PM on February 11

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Somehow the idea of Gordie Howe being a mere mortal is repugnant to me. This story of a recent tribute to him had me alternately smiling and nearly in tears of sadness. My brother-in-law, Bob, who worked at one time for the Michigan League of Credit Unions, told a story about his encounter with Howe at some sort of business get together. Bob told of bumping into something as he got up from the banquet table without looking to see what was around him. He says that the contact nearly knocked him down, and at first he thought he had bumped into a post or something else really solid. It turned out to be Gordie Howe, and yes, it was a solid object. Bob apologized, and he says that Howe sort of chuckled, said something about not worrying about it, but Bob was convinced that Howe was secretly thinking that he had taken and dished out a few thousand harder hits than that.

posted by Howard_T at 01:20 PM on February 08

DeflateGate Accusations Mean It's Time For Coach and Owner To Be Banned From NFL

the resolve of Belichick and Brady to stick around

It might add to their resolve just a bit, but football is Belichick's life, and has been since his childhood as the son of a coach. Brady, on the other hand, enjoys the game far too much to give it up anytime soon. I fear it will take serious, possibly career-ending, injury for him to sit down. How many more years? Who knows? You can bet it's not money motivating him. When he retires he will do the same thing I do, that is keep his wife working, live off his investments, and write snarky comments on SpoFi.

posted by Howard_T at 03:41 PM on February 07

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

It's always a good idea to wear a cup, but it seems this guy needs to wear his inside the shorts.

posted by Howard_T at 03:35 PM on February 07

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

My wife and I had quite a day yesterday, and believe it or not it was at her urging that it happened. I guess she must think I have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, because she talked me into going to the Patriots' Super Bowl parade with the argument that I might not ever see another one. She even took a day off to go with me. Somehow, I've managed to turn a Virginia native and long-time Baltimore resident into a New England fan of all sports. Maybe she has another motive, I might need to hire a food taster, but since I do most of the cooking, I'm probably OK.

Getting to the parade was not the easiest thing we've done. Rather than drive to a T station, we took the commuter rail. Train was 45 minutes late, it was standing room only after the 2nd stop, but it got us there with time to spare. The T from North Station was another mob scene. All that was lacking to compare it to rush hour in Tokyo was the guys pushing you into the train. We got to a good spot on Park Street, up the hill a ways so we could see over the heads of most of the crowd. The weather was not bad for Boston in February, ao the wait of over an hour was not too unpleasant. Lot's of kindred spirits to talk to, the police were handling things with smiles and getting cooperation from most (only 2 arrests in our area as we waited), and the time went by quickly.

The scene was wall-to-wall people. From our vantage point a few yards up Park Street from the corner of Tremont you could see down to the corner of Boylston and Tremont. Both sides of the street were about 4 to 6 people deep and shoulder to shoulder. I have not seen any official estimates of how many turned out, but my guess is the high 6 figures or even into the 7 figures. As the parade passed the fans erupted into cheers and the players were into it. Gronkowski was his usual howling, dancing self. Brady was quiet, and his 5-year-old son was sleeping on his shoulder. Edelman was on the roof of his duck boat. The traffic light at the corner of Park and Tremont nearly gained a place in sports infamy as Edelman ducked out of the way jut in time to avoid what would have been the best hit of the season on him. It was a really fun time.

The day wasn't nearly over for us. After lunch and a movie (The Imitation Game was right in our sweet spot -- autism for my wife and military history for me) and an early dinner at The 4s it was on to the Celtics game. This turned out to be a reprise of the parade, as Robert Kraft and 5 of the players, including Malcolm Butler, were brought onto the court at the end of the 3rd quarter to take a bow. A standing O ensued that extended much longer than the usual couple of minutes between quarters. The Patriot influence seemed to jave an effect on the game, as a couple of good defensive plays, including a Jae Crowder interception of an inbounds pass intended for Galinari, gave Boston the win.

So thanks, wife, for encouraging me to do this and for sharing it with me. Some of us are really lucky to live in this area and to be able to have some great people to share it with.

posted by Howard_T at 06:04 PM on February 05

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

There's no way an old man could use the bathroom in only 98 seconds.

Not true, rcade. I fully qualify as old, have the usual urinary tract difficulties associated with men of my age, and yet, as long as I haven't been trying to hold it for 5 or 6 hours, I am in and out in a bit over 60. And as for you, yerfatma, the position you describe is useful only for those times after extensive alcohol consumption when unaided standing is borderline impossible. You younger guys can go ahead and make fun of us old farts, but we're still hanging around and using the urinals with the best of them.

posted by Howard_T at 10:56 PM on February 03

Patriots Win Super Bowl 0x31 After Epic Last-Second Interception

The real secret to the Patriots' victory is revealed.

posted by Howard_T at 06:09 PM on February 02

Patriots Win Super Bowl 0x31 After Epic Last-Second Interception

Most of the commentary seems to be on the 2nd and 1 call on the interception. Carroll's explanation of his thoughts on the call is quite understandable. The field matchups were not favorable for a power run, the clock situation played into the selection, and the pass in this case seemed to be the better option. So Pete says the whole thing is his fault, but based on the factors that went into the decision, there's a case that it is not. That throws the onus onto Russel Wilson. Did he misread the defense? Did he throw a bad pass? The answer is no to both questions. Some say the primary receiver was Matthews. I have looked at the play numerous times (I'm a glutton for watching all the good things for the Patriots that happened in the game), and I paid particular attention to Matthews on the outside (on my 18th or 19th look that is). He was covered by Browner who jammed him at the line and proved to be strong enough to hold him up long enough that Wilson would not have had a lot of time left to make a throw. Browner was still with Matthews as the ball was released, and headed for the point of the catch/interception as the ball was in flight. Butler had been beaten in practice by the play when it was run by the scout team and Jimmy Garropolo. To the kid's credit, he learned his lesson well and recognized the look, jumped the route, and beat the receiver to the spot by about 1/4 of a stride. Wilson's pass was accurate, thrown with good velocity, and cannot be considered a bad throw. His decision making was sound as well. As he released the ball, the receiver was moving to the ball, and the defender was not directly covering him. It's a play that should have been a completion, but Butler made a hell of a play. So what's the answer to the question of who takes the blame? Simply enough, it has to come back to Pete Carroll. It was not a dumb call, it was not the wrong call. The problem was that Carroll over-coached the play. Bang away on 2nd down, and the worst thing that will happen is a 1-yard loss. This still gives you time to bang away one more time, and if you don't make that one, throw on 4th.

I don't remember Seattle ever trying to use the zone read play during the game. I fully expected to see it at least once or twice. Did I miss it? The zone read play might have been the ideal call on the goal line, even though New England had their jumbo defensive package on the field.

As the game went on, the thought I had most often was "who the hell is Chris Matthews?" At the end, it was "who the hell is Malcolm Butler?"

On Kearse's stop-drop-roll-kick-hey-I-caught-it act: My reaction was "if that proves to be the critical play in Patriots losing I think I might kill myself". When Butler made his play, my reaction was "Oh My God, he intercepted it". I didn't believe it at first, thinking he had merely broken up the play. The replay showed the play for what it really was, a classic case of "do your job".

Commercials and halftime show were lost on me. I never pay much attention to those. I wanted to throttle the singer of the Nation Anthem. Why do people treat it as a piece of performance art? It is the National Song, and it needs to be treated with the respect it deserves. Sing the notes as they were written, pronounce the words as they are meant to be pronounced, and please-please-please keep the tempo somewhat above Grave, probably around Andante. Please forgive the pet peeve of an old fart who wants the kids off the lawn (if I ever find it again under the snow).

The random thought occurred to me shortly after the game was that it was just like the NBA. That is, forget about the first 3 3/4 quarters. Just tune in for the last 5 minutes, and you'll see everything you need to see. Of course, that will never hold true for football, but how much action can you pack into the last 5 minutes of a football game? Wow!

The only really noticeable difference between the two teams that I could really notice was the difference in discipline between the Patriots and the Seahawks, particularly at the end of the game. It seemed that the Patriots went from play to play, were excited by the good things, shrugged off the bad things, and just went on. The Seahawks seemed to be more interested in trash talking and showing off. OK, I watched Gronkowski, but everybody knows he's an overgrown 12-year-old. Particularly unfortunate was the fight during the kneel-downs at the end. Regardless of cause, it did not reflect well on Seattle's players or their coaching staff. I fully understand that the frustration level for Seattle was incredibly high, but discipline needs to be maintained.

Seattle is a really good football team. One can easily make the case they are better than New England, but on this field on this day, Patriots won. Fluke? Maybe. At various times during the game Seattle deserved to win, then deserved not to win, then should have won, then lost the opportunity to win. Who was better yesterday? Coin flip.

Tom Brady needs to have a better title than "Tom Terrific". In homage to Reggie Jackson of Mr. October fame, how about the sobriquet "Old Man Winter" to salute Brady's incredible record in games played from the 1st of November on.

posted by Howard_T at 05:16 PM on February 02

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em Contest, Super Bowl 0x31 Round

I've waited long enough. It's time to show my incredible ignorance once again.

There's no way I could pick otherwise. New England by 6.

Since Wilson wants to be a running back, the most passing yards belong to Brady.

Patriots' offensive line proves a point. LeGarrett Blount piles up the most rushing yards.

LaFell and Gronkowski take defenders deep, and this gives th most receiving yards to Edelman.

...and as part of his top yardage total, the first TD belongs to Edelman.

There will be more than one sack, but one will be made by Jamie Collins.

NE finds a way to keep McCourty fresh by sneaking his twin brother into the game. McCourty gets an INT.

Final score is Patriots 30, Seattle 24, for a total of 54.

Total after Q1 is 7.

Total after Q2 (halftime) is 17.

Total after Q3 is 34.

posted by Howard_T at 03:19 PM on February 01

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

What is this "snow" thing I keep hearing about?

Think of the worst sandstorm you have ever experienced on the Outback. Then think that the sand isn't coming from the ground, but it is somehow being transported from outside Australia. Next, think that it is very slippery, very cold, very windy, and there is the possibility that your electrical power will fail. Finally, remember that you will have to move all that has piled up so you can get to work the next day. Of course, if you are a lazy retired bum like me, you could leave it until April or May and just let it melt.

posted by Howard_T at 10:52 PM on January 28

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

How about ball pressure at the end of the game -- 2 selections, one for each team.

Another nonsensical option would be the length of the halftime, or at least an over/under.

posted by Howard_T at 10:44 PM on January 28

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Put the final exam on the Toro last night and again today (Wednesday). It passed with flying colors, but I did learn one thing about Briggs and Stratton engines. They do not run worth a shit without fuel in the tank. Problem was I filled it before the storm, then did the driveway Tuesday night, Had to redo the driveway a bit after the plow came by, but not too bad. Also gave the guy across the street a break by taking the plow pile off his driveway. Finished the sidewalk this morning. Where the plows had banked the snow, the piles were about 5 feet high. Got about 3/4 of the way through the sidewalk when it quit, so I had to stop and refuel. When the business end of the snow blower is only about 2 feet high, tackling a 5-foot pile is not easy. Push the machine in, undercut as far as possible, lift the front end in order to bring down the overhead, reverse it out, go back forward to pick up some more. Lather, rinse, repeat. FWIW, Nashua got 33.2 inches -- most in NH and it broke a 126-year record that even I am not old enough to remember. yerfatma and beaverboard, I would sing a chorus of We are the Champions, but I don't have the energy.

posted by Howard_T at 05:18 PM on January 28

New MLB Commissioner: We May Ban Defensive Shifts

except if it's goofy

So there will be an exception for a Disney character?

posted by Howard_T at 05:05 PM on January 28

Martin Brodeur to Announce Retirement.

3 words: He will be missed!

posted by Howard_T at 05:03 PM on January 28

"Give 'em the works, Cubby! We ain't got a minute to lose!"

This had me laughing, even though I skimmed the reading. Somehow these guys come off as better reporters than what passes for journalists on some media.

posted by Howard_T at 05:01 PM on January 28

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I could show up at Howard or yerfatma's place with my dog toting a small keg of brandy under her chin

Come on over , beaverboard, but make it a large keg. Son and his girlfriend are hunkered down with my wife and I. Only problem with this is that my kitchen has been taken over while the young'uns bake cookies, and the TV is stuck on chick flicks.

After supper I will put my new Toro to its biggest test so far. I fueled it and checked the oil after using it for the "warmup" act last week. Two spare shear bolts are on hand in the garage, so I think I'll be OK. My old Yard Machines beast gave me about 10 years before the auger clutch burned out while the machine was trying to eat some ice last year. Right now kid and girlfriend are out with shovels trying to get a start on things. I think they're bored. The official total is about 27 inches here in Nashua (we're on the NH-MA line on the west bank of the Merrimack River), and it's still coming down pretty well. My biggest problem is Reynaud's Syndrome. It means my circulatory system has problems pushing blood to the extremities. 20 minutes in the cold, even with gloves, means 15 minutes indoors to get some semblance of feeling back in my fingers.

would be unless it was Social Security check day and even then the banks are closed and you wouldn't want those old codgers trundling down the drifty sidewalks

Direct deposit is the way I go. And watch who you call an old codger. I'm not a codger, just old. yerfatma, I think you might be getting a bit more snow than I am getting, since you are a lot closer to the coast.

While we are passing out accolades for snowblower manufacturers and the like, I want to commend the Public Works guys here in Nashua. The plow drivers have been out since before midnight last night, and they have come by our back street 2 or 3 times since. I guess the routes and driver combinations are kept constant from year to year. I asked the guy who does our neighborhood to try not to pile the snow up too high at the end of our sidewalk (I live on a corner) so I could move the snow a little more easily. I want to keep the way to the street clear since the kids who go to the nearby elementary school use the walk and would otherwise have to walk in the street. The plow driver takes care of it every storm. These same guys also drive the trash trucks, so a week like this can be a man-killer. Lots of overtime, but a killer nonetheless. Thanks, guys.

posted by Howard_T at 04:50 PM on January 27

New MLB Commissioner: We May Ban Defensive Shifts

A statement like this, uttered in seriousness, ought to immediately disqualify Manfred from further service as Commissioner of Major League Baseball. From the Rules of Baseball:

Starting and Ending a Game:

4.02 The players of the home team shall take their defensive positions, the first batter of the visiting team shall take his position in the batter's box, the umpire shall call "Play" and the game shall start.

4.03 When the ball is put in play at the start of, or during a game, all fielders other than the catcher shall be on fair territory.

(a) The catcher shall station himself directly back of the plate. He may leave his position at any time to catch a pitch or make a play except that when the batter is being given an intentional base on balls, the catcher must stand with both feet within the lines of the catcher's box until the ball leaves the pitcher's hand. PENALTY: Balk.

(b) The pitcher, while in the act of delivering the ball to the batter, shall take his legal position;

(c) Except the pitcher and the catcher, any fielder may station himself anywhere in fair territory.

I can just imagine what a rewrite of 4.02 and 4.03 might involve. It might make War and Peace look like a tweet. Ridiculous!

posted by Howard_T at 04:17 PM on January 27