Recent Comments by Howard_T

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I have the urge to do a bit of writing tonight, so please bear with me while I bore you for a few minutes. By way of background, last night was the final game of the season, a rather dismal one, for the Boston Celtics. I'm a season ticket holder, a fan since around 1952, and my adult son and I went to the game. There were a few extra attractions going on, it was the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, but we really wanted one final chance to watch live NBA basketball.

We scheduled our departure from home based on a 7:30 scheduled start, and the idea that we wanted to be a bit early. About the time I rolled the truck out of the driveway, the realization hit that it was an 8:00 game and we would be way early. This is not a problem. North Station, which houses the TD Garden as well as commuter rail, is equipped with a small but good beer garden featuring Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr beers from Munich. These happened to be my son's preferred brands at Oktoberfest last fall, so stopping for a short one before going upstairs to the game was in order. We were still a bit early, but while I stood in line for a couple of "thank you" gifts, my son went for a couple of Sam Adams Summer Ales. "You can't fly on one wing", my mother always said. Fortified as we were, we settled into our places in Section 315.

Pre-game we were treated to a few words from Jared Sullinger, thanking the fans for regularly turning out dressed as something other than an empty seat. An aside here, even with a 25 - 47 record, the team still drew 90% capacity every night. Next, the post-season Red Auerbach Award was handed out. This award is given to the Celtics' player or coach who best exemplifies what it means to be a Celtic. If you know anything at all about Boston sports, you understand how much tradition means to the fans. This year it was Brandon Bass who was honored, and my son and I, and a sizable majority of the fans, agreed with the selection. The final pre-game activity was perhaps the best rendition of the National Anthem that we had heard all season. It was done by a quartet from the Massachusetts Army National Guard, they sang well, kept the tempo quick, put no extraneous notes or flourishes into the music, and looked really sharp in their "dress blues".

Now we move into the first quarter as Washington takes an early lead. My son and I begin a discussion of Kelly Olynyk and what it will take for him to maximize his potential and just how far that potential may take him. We agree that his biggest need is to work on his defense, add some upper body muscle, and put a few more offensive wrinkles into his repertoire. I say he can be a frequent member of all-star squads, while my son says he will make an all-star team or two or three, but will not be an annual selection. We move on to Phil Pressey's game. We agree that he shows a great amount of hustle, a high IQ for the game, and good passing ability. His limitations are inconsistent shooting and lack of size. 5-11 (perhaps an exaggeration) point guards rarely succeed in the NBA.

The end of the first quarter draws near, and my son volunteers to make another beer run. He takes a bit of a scenic route out of the row in order to get a bit closer look at the blond sitting several seats to our right. His assessment is that it was worth the trip.

As the Washington lead gradually increases in the third quarter, we begin a discussion of Christianity, including the evolution of the Nicene Creed, the Nestorian heresy, Manichaeism, Gnosticism, and the nature of the Trinity. The discussion grows deeper, and we begin to draw some curious looks from neighboring fans. Most of the looks reflect a "do I hear what I think I hear?" thought. The game continues as we watch, and our theological discussion is interrupted briefly but frequently to admire one or another really good plays and individual efforts.

Now we get to the fourth quarter. Our theology has exhausted itself, and we begin a discussion of the alienation of younger voters in the USA. My son claims that it doesn't matter whom we elect, it is still the same bunch of old men. I counter that the important thing is not individual or even party, but the entire philosophy of government must be considered. You must discover what sort of governing philosophy you prefer and support those who would place the same into effect. This discussion becomes a bit more heated than theology, but still respectful. The curious looks become brief stares, but I think our neighbors have figured out that we might just be having some fun with this. At least the language used is not too offensive to ladies and minors, and the dreaded F-bomb has been kept in the holster.

The end of the game is at hand. As the final seconds expire, the crowd rises with a warm round of applause and we head for the exit. Our timing on the T is perfect, catching an Orange Line train as the doors close and getting to Downtown Crossing just as a Red Line train rolls in. We are first in line to roll through the exit barrier from the Alewife parking garage, and even the traffic on the way home is lighter than usual. The ride is mostly silent until I remark on the nearly full moon and suggest we howl at it. My son counters with the idea that we should wait until we are home, grab my wife, and all 3 of us go out on the lawn and howl. This would serve only to have our neighbors believe that we really should be committed to a mental health facility, so we refrain.

As we finished the ride home, I thought about what it means to have a 25-year-old son who has grown into a very mature individual. He is now well past the time when you should be his father but not be his friend, and is at the time when he's a really good friend and companion to have. As happened with my father and I, our mutual love of sports has been part of the bond between us. It's a pretty good place to be.

posted by Howard_T at 10:47 PM on April 17

Steinbrenner: We Don't Need Stephen Drew

If Drew gets the $14M per year he wants, then good luck to him. I somehow feel he is rather overvaluing himself. True, he has a very reliable glove, excellent range, and good arm, but do not his deficiencies with the bat, especially against left-handed pitching make his total package worth somewhat less than what he wants?. Scott Boras has been using Drew as a test case to get rid of the rule that requires the forfeiture of a draft pick for signing a tendered free agent. If Drew comes out behind on the deal, does Boras make up whatever difference there might be in compensation? I don't begrudge anything Drew might merit, but he is allowing himself to be used as a pawn by Boras. Boras is interested in increasing his own earnings potential and is doing so by claiming it is doing a good thing for all players.

posted by Howard_T at 03:04 PM on April 16

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Trying to decide who's the most heart warming underdog out of Liverpool and Man City is adorable.

I watched the second half of the Liverpool - Manchester City match when I got home from church on Sunday. I found I had a warm sensation in my heart, but I think it might have been heartburn from the onion bagels.

To be serious, watching that match was perhaps the most involved I've ever been in a soccer match. The tension and drama were coming close to a playoff NHL hockey level.

posted by Howard_T at 03:15 PM on April 15

MLB Admits Error in Calling Gwynn Out at Home

Yes, Mathis' leg is in the baseline before the ball gets to him, but it's while he's in the process of making the catch.

The basic mantra always has been "the runner has the right to the baseline, but he must not interfere with a fielder in the act of making a play on the ball". Take the example of a runner going from second to third as the shortstop settles under a pop-up. The runner, to avoid contact, must deviate from his direct line, even though the shortstop has not yet caught the ball, and indeed might be a second or two from actually making the catch. Why should there be a difference for a play at the plate? If the catcher puts himself into a blocking position, but such a position is not necessary to making a clean catch of a throw, then the runner should be called safe. For example, putting one's leg out into the baseline when one could remain upright should be called obstruction. On the other hand, a catcher forced to the third base side of the plate and into the runner's line by an errant throw should not be considered as obstructing a runner. The rule is an attempt to codify what should happen on plays at the plate in order to minimize injuries. As such, like most well-meaning attempts to legislate things, it takes a lot of time and experience for all to understand how to interpret it.

By the way, the "baseline" with respect to the runner is not the direct line between the bases. Rather, it is the direct line from the runner to the base he is trying to reach as the play is made.

posted by Howard_T at 03:04 PM on April 15

Video: Ball Girl Saves Run in Baltimore

Oriole broom gals

I've not been to an O's game since they moved out of Memorial Stadium, but I do indeed remember some of the antics of the broom girls. They would bring water out to the umpires between innings on the hot days, which I'm sure was not unappreciated, and I remember the occasional sweeping of the tops of the umpires' shoes. Remember, these things were done between the innings. In most parks anyone who interferes with a ball in play is met by the security guys and invited to watch the game on TV from a nearby bar. I may not be remembering this correctly, but I believe at least one ball boy/girl somewhere was relieved of his/her duties on the spot after mistakenly fielding a ball in play.

Ball kids are in a vulnerable spot, since most are stationed not too far beyond the bases. They often also have a stool that needs to be moved, thus slowing their retreat from being involved in a fielding play. I'm waiting for the day one of them is clocked by a line drive or run over by a fielder going hard for a foul pop-up. Teams would be better off using adults, training them, and using a loss of future employment as a means of keeping them in the game.

posted by Howard_T at 08:01 PM on April 14

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

It was a nice send-off

Too bad Martin Brodeur was undecided about his future. Had he declared for retirement prior to Sunday's game vs Boston, I would bet the send-off would have been similar to Smyth's, if not more so. As it was, the New Jersey fans were loud and enthusiastic in their recognition of what Brodeur has meant to the team, the league, and indeed the game as a whole.

posted by Howard_T at 03:11 PM on April 14

Video: Ball Girl Saves Run in Baltimore

Oooh, did I just make such a great play.

Oooh, I am so fired.

posted by Howard_T at 03:03 PM on April 14

Red Sox Manager Rips Replay After Ejection

The question I have is "who provides the replays to those who interpret them?". If it is anyone connected with the home team, it would be very easy to make sure that a replay showing an adverse result to the home team would never reach the eyes of the judges, while making sure those that show the favorable result are featured. In other words, MLB has to take control of all the video feeds that are in use, look at all of the feeds, and only then make a ruling. This now becomes the time consuming nightmare that all have feared. The alternative is to have only one "official" source of video, and this must have an MLB representative supervising not only the actual video feed but also the camera locations, selection of operators, and all other aspects of the system. I'm not holding my breath until that happens.

To me the best solution is to go back to the good, old human eyeball. Yes, umpires will miss calls, but these will tend to even themselves out over time. The 2 disputed calls in NY are a good example. The things that are really necessary for keeping the human-only system are to have better umpire training, a system of discipline for umpires who miss calls due to poor positioning or lack of hustle, and more accountability to the fans concerning poor performing umpires. Sadly, the union will not let this happen easily, so for now we are stuck with a system that is still flawed and might be worse than what we had previously.

posted by Howard_T at 03:01 PM on April 14

Shanahan to Toronto

Players who had been subjected to the heavy hand of Shanahan's disciplinary verdicts are likely to be enjoying this news. It's on the order of "How do you like adversity for a change?".

posted by Howard_T at 12:25 PM on April 13

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Fox News anchor apologizes after congratulating 'NAACP' champions UConn on live TV

Until I saw the clip I thought it was a Fig Newton of someone's imagination.

posted by Howard_T at 04:37 PM on April 10

Oops: Atlanta Braves Set Fire to U.S. Flag

The ghost of Admiral Cochrane gains his revenge! Looks like the red glare of the rockets did the trick.

posted by Howard_T at 04:30 PM on April 10

UConn Wins National Championship

UConn just won the men's NCAA BB championship. Congrats to the Huskies whose run to greatness started way back when they stole a coach from my alma mater, Northeastern University's Jim Calhoun. Now the undefeated Lady Huskies take their shot at making this a double when they face the undefeated Notre Dame ladies. Should be a good one. I believe it is the first time that 2 undefeated teams have met in the women's final.

posted by Howard_T at 11:24 PM on April 07

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Howard, have the Fenway Sports Group roped you in with all the NESN coverage?

Didn't watch it on NESN. Hasn't aired there yet; watched on NBC Sports. Between them and Fox Sports Network they broadcast a lot of top quality soccer. The group here on SpoFi talks enough soccer (excuse me, football) that I have tried to at least figure out what they were talking about. Watched MLS for a bit, but now that Premier League, Euro Champions League, Euro League, and FA Cup are regular occupants of the cable sports channels, I find MLS to be less than top flight - at least on a consistent basis.

I did start watching Liverpool because of the John Henry connection, I must admit, but it is not the only reason for staying with Premier League soccer. I must admit too that I watch NASCAR, initially rooting for the Roush Fenway Group, but not because of the Fenway connection but because of my partiality for Fords. Roush Fenway has lost a bit of my favor lately, so I am beginning to lean toward Petty and their Ford team.

posted by Howard_T at 10:55 PM on April 07

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Andy Carroll just mugged Liverpool's keeper to help West Ham pull to 1-1 at the half.

It all came out evenly in the end. The referee later called a penalty on the West Ham keeper for tripping one of the Liverpool players. It appeared that the Liverpool player was falling as he went toward the ball, the keeper was falling at the same time, and the keepers hand made contact with an ankle. The call might have been correct, but it was oh, so tight.

All 3 goals in this one were the result of referee decisions. On the Andy Carroll mugging, the assistant referee saw clearly that something was amiss on the play, but the referee had given the goal and wouldn't change the call after discussing it with the assistant. The first Liverpool goal was also the result of a penalty, but this one was fairly clear.

posted by Howard_T at 03:32 PM on April 06

Ian Desmond Loses Inside-the-Park Home Run on Replay

rcade, that is the rule as written, but how does one define "stuck"? Is a ball that is under the padding but clearly visible and reachable by a fielder "stuck" or out of play? Here we go with that old judgement thing. Back in the day (oh no, here we go again), the players in our state organization were taught to raise their hands, as Upton did, when they believed the ball was stuck or otherwise out of play. We umpires were taught to allow the play to continue until its conclusion and then go to the ball and determine whether or not the ball was really stuck or out of play. If the fielder touched the ball before the umpire got there, the play would stand. If the umpire determined from first-hand inspection that the ball was indeed unplayable, the correct base awards were made. If on the other hand the fielder was trying to steal a call, he would cost his team whatever was given away by failing to play the ball. So the question is why do the umpires not go out and inspect?

posted by Howard_T at 02:58 PM on April 05

Four strikes and you're out

I call therefore it's right.

Ahhh tron7, it appears you need a calibration on your sarcasm detector.

grum, you are statistically correct, but what I would really like to see is a breakdown of the results after a count has been extended. True enough, there are more opportunities for a batter to be granted favor than a pitcher. How often does a batter or a pitcher get more than a second bite at the apple, as it were?

posted by Howard_T at 04:10 PM on April 04

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

After a couple of years they'll be hard-pressed to explain why we need an ump calling balls and strikes.

You will see umpires occasionally checking the count or number of outs with each other, especially when there has been some sort of interruption immediately after a pitch. Scoreboard operators can be very inaccurate, and I would guess they are incorrect much more often than the umpires. In the meantime, the broadcasters are busy figuring which promo comes next, discussing the best choice for their post-game meal, or doing something other than paying full attention to the game on the field. In youth baseball you are often working a field that has no scoreboard or an inoperable scoreboard. We had a set of signs we used to query each other for count and outs, so the interchange was quite unnoticeable. The only scenario for using replay, thus making it quite obvious that the umpires had lost the count, was for the plate umpire to be unsure and none of the other umpires carrying an indicator. Of course, to have the field umpires carrying an indicator is actually rare at the higher levels.

posted by Howard_T at 04:04 PM on April 04

Some Indians Fans Are De-Chiefing Their Gear

Where's my Boston Irishmen hat? It should feature a burly chap in a wife beater shirt holding a bottle.

posted by Howard_T at 12:17 AM on April 04

Four strikes and you're out

Umpires do not make the wrong call! They might make the incorrect call at certain times, but because the umpire makes the call, and it is a judgement call, the call is not wrong. If replay is used, and the call is overruled, the umpire was not wrong, merely incorrect.

OK, this was about balls and strikes in a count when the pitch, without any action on the part of the batter, may result in either a base runner or an out. I've umpired for close to 20 years, and I've watched baseball for a lot longer than that. Most umpires will not let a borderline pitch determine the ultimate fate of a batter. If the 3-1 pitch is "just off the black at the knees", most will call it strike 2. The same goes for the 0-2 and 1-2 pitch that shave the zone and are called a ball. It may not be absolutely within the rules of the game, but avoiding the probable argument, a delay of the game, and the possibility of the ejection of a player, the marginal call is usually made with the view toward prolonging the at bat. Right or wrong, it happens, and it will probably continue to happen. The other side of the coin is that if you were to take the number of times that such a call favored the pitcher vs those that favored the batter, the resultant percentages would come very close to 50-50.

posted by Howard_T at 12:14 AM on April 04

Through Thick and Thin

Good read.

Interesting stuff, holden. There are numerous examples of what nearly amounts to split personality disorder right here in this northeast corner of the US. Even though they went through 89 years of futility, the Red Sox never lost their true fans. Attendance might not have been great, but the real baseball fans still turned out for the better visitors. Now, after having tasted continuing success, I fear that there will be some wholesale desertions among the 'pink hats' should a few consecutive seasons without championship hopes go by.

The Bruins also never lost their fan base despite the trials and tribulations of the 1960s. It is probably due to the fans being fans of the game before fans of the team. Bruins have always been a 'tough ticket'. In basketball, the Celtics have had some struggles keeping people in the seats after their long run of excellence from the mid-1950s to the 'Big 3' era in the 1980s. Since then, despite some very poor teams and bad luck with the ping-pong balls, the fans have kept coming, and since the championship in 2008, they have been faithful. Even now, after what has to be considered a bad year, there are still a lot of people in the TD Garden. I think many of them might be like this season ticket holder, basketball fans first, long-time Celtics fans second, and not a pink hat in the bunch.

I've left the Patriots out of this discussion because they are a relatively new group. By that I mean they were around for 30+ years but had very little success until the Kraft family acquired the team and began to put a consistently decent product on the field. The football fans came out first, then after the first Super Bowl win casual fans and team fans have packed Gillette Stadium for every game. Here is where I fear the great migration away from the team will come once the era of success is over.

Today's sports' media do not help matters. Even when teams are enjoying success on the scoreboard there is a constant chatter of negativity coming from one or another talking head and so-called expert. I know that these guys have to do something to boost their ratings, and constant home-town boosterism soon wears thin, but how about a little objectivity once in a while. Watch the damn games, understand what is really happening, know that there might be some long-term motivation behind management decisions, and try not to pay attention to those who claim to have some inside knowledge. For fans and the media, the watchword should be "balance, balance, balance".

posted by Howard_T at 05:04 PM on March 31

DeSean Jackson released by the Eagles

Sounds like a perfect pickup for either the Patriots or Raiders.

Raiders maybe, but no chance with NE if his background reveals even a tiny bit of gang-related activity. Hernandez has taught them well.

posted by Howard_T at 02:50 PM on March 28

"The Krafts Are the Worst Owners in the League"

where my parents moved when I went away to college

The real question is not where you grew up, yerfatma, but whether or not your parents let you know they had moved.

OK, sarcasm aside, a smaller, custom-made soccer stadium would be something really nice to have. My off-the-wall guess as to the Krafts' reluctance to build one is the reception they received when attempting to locate a new stadium for the Patriots within the City of Boston or its near environs. Many a politician nearly broke his hand extending it, not for a handshake but for the handout that was expected. Thus the Krafts were forced to fall back on Foxborough, receiving minimal state help in the form of road improvements, and ending up with what has to be considered a second class football facility (but a pretty good shopping mall). I believe it is 'once burned, twice cautious' for the Kraft family. Another theory is that soccer fans in New England do not speak with a loud enough voice to push the outcry for a better team much above the noise level. With the 'big 4' winning championships and having faithful fan bases even when rebuilding, the Revs just don't get the attention they deserve.

posted by Howard_T at 05:42 PM on March 27

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

It's nice to hear that Fortune Magazine is so astute about picking those whose leadership qualities have made such a real difference in the world. Eric Wilbur is not my poster boy for insightful and accurate commentary, but I feel he has this one right.

posted by Howard_T at 05:30 PM on March 27

Doctors Staple Aroldis Chapman Back Together

Just watched Matt Moore of the Rays take a shot directly off the mouth. He looks OK, but I won't be surprised if he looks more like a hockey player than a pitcher. This happened just minutes ago.

OK, replay shows he just got a small piece of the ball with his glove, saving him from some serious damage. By the way, he was able to pick the ball up and get the out at first.

posted by Howard_T at 02:35 PM on March 23

Doctors Staple Aroldis Chapman Back Together

Herb Score, Bryce Florie, and now Aroldis Chapman. Score tried, but never really came back to what he might have been. Florie was, at best, a journeyman. Here's hoping that Chapman will get back to form. He could turn out to be a very good one.

posted by Howard_T at 08:47 PM on March 22

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

The new Trackman-based playtracking system from MLBAM seems to be radar based

It would take some sophisticated radar to look at a baseball in flight and determine its track, velocity, and rotational characteristics. True enough, there are radar systems that can track bullets and recognize them as a threat within microseconds, but these are costly and most are available for military use. The problem is one of target resolution. The higher the pulse repetition frequency (PRF) of a system, the more resolution you gain. In order to put enough energy on the target to get a useful return, you need a greater pulse width (PW). Thus, PRF is limited by the PW required. There are also limits caused by keeping the leading edge of the pulse as sharp as possible, and this becomes more difficult as PRF increases. This is mitigated somewhat by using higher frequency radars, and higher frequencies also lend themselves to smaller equipment. One could use a continuous wave (CW) transmitter (on all the time), and apply the pulse train to the receiver. Switching becomes a bit easier. There's a problem with CW radars in the defense industry in that they are rather susceptible to homing missiles, but I don't think too many MLB teams will resort to that.

Laser tracking systems will work a lot better than radar, but they need to be pointed in order to identify the target to be tracked. The laser beam is very narrow, so if the object it is looking for is not within the beam to start with, chances are that no track will be established. A combination system could be used, whereby the radar finds the object first and slews the laser onto it, but I think you realize the complexity here.

It all comes down to a matter of cost vs results. I have seen the displays on various places that show the pitch velocity, amount of horizontal movement and amount of vertical movement. I seem to remember somewhere seeing a supposed rotational speed as well, but I'm not too sure of this, nor am I sure of the technique that was used to establish the rotational speed measurement. The equipment is certainly available to produce the desired measurements, but is the cost prohibitive enough to keep it away from general use? Weird RF engineer that I am, or at least was, I would love to see this stuff happen just so I could look at the equipment and drool a lot.

posted by Howard_T at 03:25 PM on March 19

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

You glance over, the manager gives you a set of signals that basically say "It's a 2-1 count, and there's an 82% chance the next pitch is a fastball lower in; sit dead red on that, and try to inside-out it the other way".

It doesn't take a super-computer to do that.

It could be done with some quick laptops using an OS other than Windows. The thing that might make it less than possible is the requirement for the manager to be something of a contortionist with great hand-eye coordination in order to get that many signals to a batter in the limited time available.

I can see it now: Batter steps out, 3rd base coach goes through multiple motions of head scratching, shirt pulling, belt buckle touching, arm touching, hand clapping, and hopping up and down. Batter indicates a lack of understanding. Coach starts sequence again. Umpire orders batter back into the box. Batter takes his time. Umpire says to tell that bozo up the line to send you an e-mail if he has that much to say. If you don't stand in, I'll call a strike on you, and he can try some more contortions.

To be serious, a good fiber-optic network setup with 5 or 6 work stations, each dedicated to looking at one or two sets of data can very easily return pretty good answers in short order. One of the stations would be located in the dugout or in close proximity thereto, with the rest being located wherever you pleased. When we were doing system test a few years ago we had anywhere from 10 to 12 laptops running the Solaris OS all networked with a tower computer, also running Solaris, serving as the controller. Most of the laptops were remote and unmanned - about 5 miles from our control station, and their data recording was started and stopped from the controller. The rest of them were collecting data for storage and later analysis. The setup worked really well, and once we had gotten a good handle on what we could do, it reduced our testing and data reduction time by a factor of 2.

posted by Howard_T at 10:18 PM on March 18

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

So is this another manifestation of the expression "putting your opponent's dick in the dirt"?

posted by Howard_T at 01:47 PM on March 18

Enter the SportsFilter NCAA Bracket Contest

Send me your picks, grum. I'll only ask for 10 percent.

I'll do it for 7.5%. If we're going to have a bidding war, we may as well make it profitable. Once you get through with taxes, transfer fees, and explaining to the IRS why you are transferring such a large sum of money out of the country, the extra $25M doesn't matter so much.

Transfer fees and IRS explanations might be avoidable by large knapsacks and a hike into northern Maine or NH. We'll meet at the border, grum.

posted by Howard_T at 01:45 PM on March 18

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

I'm thinking of cooking Shepherd's Pie tonight. It's one of the features at the local pseudo-Irish Pub, so if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me. If I don't do the Shepherd's Pie, then I'll do the traditional 7-course Irish dinner--a boiled potato and a 6-pack.

posted by Howard_T at 04:52 PM on March 17

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Jim Irsay has been arrested for DUI near his home in Indiana. With the continuing attempts by the NFL to limit substance abuse, it will be interesting to see what comes of this. In 2010, Tom Lewand, President of the Detroit Lions was suspended and fined after a similar event. I've always had something of a dislike for the Irsay family after they moved the Colts out of Baltimore at midnight during a snowstorm. My schadenfreude meter is tending toward the high end right now.

posted by Howard_T at 12:36 PM on March 17

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Perhaps the team should be named the Red Greens. Duct tape on the sticks, amazing things built with left over washing machine and Zamboni parts, and the "manly" image typified by the members of the "Possum Lodge" would be irresistible attractions. This might require the team be relocated to Port Asbestos, but that's just a small detail.

posted by Howard_T at 02:53 PM on March 14

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Rich Peverley collapses on bench during Stars/Jackets game.

"Peverly is a character guy who gives it all he has." That's a figurative expression, so when something like this happens, you pray it won't be meant literally. When he was traded with Seguin to Dallas, many of us Boston fans felt his would be the departure that had the greater impact on the Bruins. You could tell by the expressions on the players' faces that they had no interest at all in playing further. This extended to the Blue jackets, since Nathan Horton was a Bruins' teammate. Here's hoping that Peverly will recover from this, have the condition improved, and be able to resume playing.

posted by Howard_T at 11:15 PM on March 10

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Perhaps somebody can setup a SpoFi challenge page as well.

OK, which one of you has a billion $ for the prize?

posted by Howard_T at 05:34 PM on March 08

Miller & Ott traded to St. Louis; Sabres get Halak and Stewart, prospect and two picks

This deal really makes a lot of sense for both teams. It also makes St. Louis a really scary threat to the western half of the NHL. As much as I dislike Ott, he may be the key to this deal, upping the grit from medium to extra-coarse.

posted by Howard_T at 03:38 PM on March 01

How Cities Fared After the Olympics Left Town

They always know how to welcome sailors (and the liberty buses still drop us off there, too).

What happens on cruise stays on cruise. You're giving away all of our secrets. Is Green Street still open for the window shopping?

posted by Howard_T at 02:49 PM on February 26

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

this display of human achievement.

...and he never even took off his jacket!!! AMAZING

posted by Howard_T at 02:43 PM on February 26

How Cities Fared After the Olympics Left Town

Seoul, Korea, Olympics were spread out around the country. It did not seem to be much of a problem, since transportation within the country was fast and convenient. I was aboard USS Midway at the time. Along with another aircraft carrier (USS Carl Vinson, I think) we were playing "security guard" in the Sea of Japan. Other than riding out a pretty good typhoon the cruise was unexciting. We had a few days of liberty in Pusan, and there were some tickets for events available through the ship's special services. I opted for some of the local events that were held in the watering holes of "Texas Street" in Pusan. I've not been back to Korea since 1989, and there was no evidence of any positive or negative change in Pusan.

posted by Howard_T at 04:01 PM on February 25

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Remember the Golden Rules:

Defense wins championships (and bronze medals too).

Singles hitters drive Chevrolets; home run hitters drive Cadillacs (and watch the world series on TV).

You drive for show and putt for dough.

There are probably a dozen related sports cliches like the above, but the last 2 games by the US show the truth of the above. Given a couple of guys who can score, a somewhat above average goaltender, and tight TEAM defense, you can usually defeat even the most high-scoring squad. Perhaps the talent is not there, but the US team looked like it was selected on the basis of goal scoring ability rather than 2-way hockey ability. Finland had only to look at the US-Canada tape to see what would work against USA. A bad bounce, slight defensive mistake, momentary lapse, and the scoring opportunity was there for the Finns. Meanwhile, Finland turned the neutral zone into mud, prevented clean breakouts by the US, and collapsed to the front of the net when in their defensive zone. The US team did not have the pure skating advantage over Finland or Canada that it had over just about everyone else in the tournament, so taking the puck wide and moving through the neutral zone on the perimeter were out of the question. USA Hockey might need to take a long, hard look at those who have selected and coached this team.

Of course, it may well be moot. The Tavares injury will go a long way to discouraging NHL participation in the Olympics. Whether to continue to build the sport in North America via Olympic participation or to continue to build solely through the NHL and college hockey is a tough question to answer.

posted by Howard_T at 01:54 PM on February 22

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Often, when a score might indicate a one-sided game, the saying is "the game was closer than the score indicates". Canada vs USA today was quite the opposite. While USA had some chances, Canada never seemed to be in danger. The way they played in their defensive zone was very much like the Bruins, and since Claude Julien is an assistant, I think he might have had something to do with that.

In yesterday's women's game, the dueling CA NA DA and U S A chants got just enough out of synch that I swear I heard one that went "CA NA DA eh".

posted by Howard_T at 02:35 PM on February 21

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

I've a love-hate feeling about the semifinal pairings. True enough that the regional rivalries are great, and they should produce some great intensity, but Canada vs USA belongs as the gold medal game, not a semi. Sweden and Finland are both good enough to beat either US or Canada in a semi - or the final for that matter - but my North American bias insists on the 2 heavyweights in the final. My biggest fear is that US and Canada will burn themselves out against each other in the semi and the winner will have nothing left against the Scandinavian side.

posted by Howard_T at 02:44 PM on February 19

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Kain Coulter says football is a job, and his $75K scholarship was his pay. Testimony on whether or not college football players should be allowed to unionize was heard by the National Labor Relations Board today (Tuesday).

posted by Howard_T at 11:49 PM on February 18

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Aha! I think I've figured out the man in the hat. The 3 crowns on the top contain sensitive microphones that listen in on conversations to detect seditious thoughts. Since there are 3 microphones, they can use Timed Differential of Arrival (TDOA) techniques to actually locate the speaker. That's where the double eagle comes in. There are video cameras inside the beaks, computer-driven hardware points the cameras when anti-Russian speech is detected, and the man in the hat calls his colleagues in security into action. If problems arise, the baton-shaped device near the man's right ear is a taser, and the egg-shaped thing near his left ear is a gas grenade. And you guys actually think he's just a sports fan. How little you unsuspecting capitalist fools understand. Just look at the suspicious expression on his face. It's a dead giveaway.

OK, can I go back to the 1950s now? There are some commies hiding under my bed, and I have to find them.

posted by Howard_T at 04:05 PM on February 18

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Today's sports news includes the opening of spring training for the Red Sox. Meanwhile, those of us who favor the team are asking "why bother?". If they are training for spring, it appears to have been canceled this year. We are sitting here under about 5 feet of snow, with more in the forecast. Now 'summer training' might be a more appropriate name for the activity, since there will be no spring here.

The real news out of the Boston camp is that their starting pitching log jam has been partly relieved. Ryan Dempster has decided to take a year off. He says he wants to take more time with his kids, and a disc problem in his neck is bothering him and may limit his pitching. It's nice to see a guy with enough integrity to walk away and leave money on the table. He could easily have gone through the motions, made it through spring training, gone on the disabled list, and collected his millions in salary. Instead, he chose to walk away, giving the team a break from the salary and allowing other pitchers more opportunity to get innings. Dempster's lifetime earnings are pretty close to the 9-figure mark, so it's not like he's taking much of a financial hit. Still, the honesty is refreshing.

posted by Howard_T at 03:42 PM on February 17

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Xenon? Interesting post. I had not thought of any use for Xenon beyond lighting products. It's a lot less obvious than blood doping or PED use, there seem to be no harmful effects, as there are with steroids, so why should it not be legal? My opinion is that as long as a performance enhancing technique is not otherwise harmful and it is made available to all, then let it be used.

posted by Howard_T at 04:46 PM on February 16

Manziel Would Draft Himself at No. 1

Fritos vs Doritos, eh? Johnny, they are both made by Frito-Lay, a division of Pepsi. Please put bags and bags of them on your shoulder. You see, Pepsi stock is a part of my portfolio, and the more you consume, the happier I, and all of Pepsi's stockholders, will be.

Perhaps Johnny will be drafted by Houston. A dose of Bill O'Brien teaching him how little Johnny knows about NFL quarterback play might remove some of the hubris and actually turn him into a useful player. You can bet that if he runs his mouth (or Twitter account) too much, there will be some interesting things happening in the locker room.

posted by Howard_T at 10:52 PM on February 14

Derek Jeter to Retire From Yankees After 2014 Season

A couple of things I thought about when I heard this news:

The Statue of Liberty will no longer be the least mobile figure in New York.

The Yankees will try to take some credit for increasing attendance in the parks they visit as Jeter makes his final appearances there.

OK, end of snark. I can echo yerfatma's words, above, about Jeter. He played the game to the best of his ability, which until the past few years was considerable. He brought no disgrace upon himself, his team, or baseball in general, and served the game well with his ability and his actions.

posted by Howard_T at 04:30 PM on February 13

Missouri All-American Defensive Lineman Michael Sam Announces He Is Gay

I could see Sam going to a team with an experienced head coach who has a history of successfully bringing in players perceived as locker room concerns, like New England, or one with an owner or GM that likes the reputation of taking bold risks, like Dallas.

Robert Kraft has been quoted as saying something to the effect of "If he can come in and help the team win, he can play here". That about sums up the attitude that should prevail, and judging from reaction to the news so far, will prevail. You can bet there will be some teams who avoid Sam like the plague, while offering excuses like their need for a player of his skill set or his potential to fit their defensive scheme. Sam was good enough to be the co-defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference, thus anyone who says his skill set "won't fit" might just be trying to hide from something. If he's truly that good, you should be able to fit your defense to him, rather than the other way around.

are you regularly being attacked by women who try to strip your clothes off and sex you?

yerfatma, is this a quiz? If so, I would love to answer "yes", but sadly it is not so. The truth is "irregularly, and only by women of advanced age".

posted by Howard_T at 03:18 PM on February 10

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

One of my personal indicators and my dividing line on being a civilized society or not is the ability for that society to form an orderly line for things.

By that standard, and by the usual behavior of automobile drivers in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, civilization is far away from us.

posted by Howard_T at 03:30 PM on February 08

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I've had the joyful (?) experience of toilets in Asia, Europe, Egypt, and most of the US. None of them were any worse than a porta-potty, in a hot climate, that was long overdue for servicing. I must say that some of those in Egypt showed me exactly why one uses the left hand for sanitary purposes and never uses anything but the right hand for eating.

My introduction to Asian bathroom etiquette came on my second day as a young lieutenant on Okinawa. I sat on one of a row of toilets in my BOQ. Two of the ladies that cleaned the premises walked in, sat down - one on either side of me - and proceeded to have a long, animated conversation in Japanese. I can only guess at the subject.

posted by Howard_T at 05:29 PM on February 06

CBS to Air 8 NFL Games on Thursday Night

A local article showed the list of programs (all sitcoms) that would be displaced by CBS broadcasting NFL football. After looking at the list, I believe that for this reason alone, NFL football on CBS is worth it.

posted by Howard_T at 05:18 PM on February 06

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I see that Bill Belichick and Peyton Manning were in the same foursome during a practice round at Pebble Beach. My question for Belichick would be, "Does Manning scream "Omaha" before every shot, or just off the tee?"

posted by Howard_T at 05:15 PM on February 06

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

The "Breaking Madden" stuff was great. Found myself scaring the cats by laughing uncontrollably. The short gif of "Mom" being knocked over by the snap was eerily similar to Denver's first play from scrimmage.

posted by Howard_T at 05:12 PM on February 03

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Went up to Lincoln, NH to watch the Super Bowl with my son who was up skiing at Loon Mt. Didn't bring my laptop with me, so I'm a bit late commenting on the game.

The game was really disappointing. I didn't much care about the outcome -- there really was no good outcome for a Patriots fan -- but it looked like Denver was never really ready to be there. Seattle showed the efficacy of good preparation, good execution of the things they normally do, and the benefits of having a really good defense.

The commercials this year were really disappointing. The only notable ones were the stray puppy and Clydesdale bit from Budweiser and the time machine thing from Doritos. The time machine one had been previewed, so it lost some of its impact for me. Did the people who buy the air time know something we did not?

I watched portions of both the Puppy Bowl and the Kitty Bowl until the "cuteness" factor threatened to raise my blood glucose levels beyond what is safe. The best thing about these two shows is that the animals are all up for adoption. I would have my name in for a couple of the kittens, but I already have 3 adult cats, and I am in no need of further spontaneous entertainment.

Now that football is finally out of the way, all I can say is "Pitchers and catchers report in 12 days".

posted by Howard_T at 02:23 PM on February 03

SpoFi's 2014 Fantasy Baseball League is Active!

ursus, since I find myself somewhat pressed for time during the summer, I find I'm unable to competently manage a fantasy team. This is my polite way of spinning it and saying I suck at fantasy baseball, but it is true. Thus, the Bloody Sox will no longer appear in the fantasy league. If you could post periodic updates on standings, trades, etc., to the SpoFi home page so I could keep up with things, it would be appreciated.

Anyway, my best to all who compete this year.

posted by Howard_T at 02:06 PM on February 03

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

the sartorial excellence that is the demonstrated here

I had a necktie with that exact pattern. It won me 1st place at many an ugly tie contest. Perhaps the intent is that the uniforms will interfere with the opponent's concentration.

posted by Howard_T at 03:29 PM on January 22

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

I'm loving rcade's timeline. Got that Dealey Plaza feel to it.

Now to find out who was on the "grassy knoll" with the teleprompter for Sherman.

posted by Howard_T at 02:23 PM on January 21

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

You get a fine if you start your 4th line?

How about a fine if you start 5 defensemen? My memory is a bit hazy on this, but my dad and I attended a game in January, 1969, in Boston vs Toronto in which Leafs' coach Punch Imlach put 5 defensemen on the ice to start the game. The intent was to start a brawl, put Boston's top players (Orr, Esposito, and company) into the box, or even better to the dressing room, and then use the advantage that might give Toronto to get an early lead. Basically, it is a 1-game trade of the likes of Mike Pelyk, Jim Dorey, Jim McKenney, and so on for Orr, Esposito, Hodge, and whomever else you can involve. Toronto had a couple of pretty good D-men at the time. Tim Horton, Pat Quinn, and Rick Ley could handle themselves well, but I wouldn't have wanted any two or three of them in exchange for Orr. I remember no action by the league, although Boston won the game, which I suppose was punishment enough.

posted by Howard_T at 02:18 PM on January 21

Dodgers Drive Money Truck to Kershaw's House

He has an out clause after five years.

Ah, but the more important question is whether the Dodgers have an out clause...

The most important question is how many outs Kershaw can record over the next 5 years. Anything less than 2500 means the Dodgers got gypped. (Assuming about 175 innings per season).

Methinks it was not a money truck; it had to be a money convoy - of semis.

posted by Howard_T at 03:21 PM on January 16

Broncos Hold Off Chargers

An interesting analysis of Tom Brady's line calls in the game against Indianapolis was offered in the Boston Herald recently. All I really want to know is why are all linebackers named Mike?

posted by Howard_T at 02:31 PM on January 14