Recent Comments by Howard_T

NFL Pick 'Em Week 14: Just Endure The Suffering Edition

Loin lamb chops, soaked in a brine solution and seasoned with garlic, butternut squash, broccoli, chocolate mousse, and red wine for dinner tonight. Have to make the picks quick so I can get started on the stove. I may lose, but I will dine well.

Kansas City by 6
Detroit by 12 LOCK
Cleveland by 3 (my upset special for the week)
Tennessee by 7 (#2 upset special)
Miami by 9
Carolina by 10
Washington by 7
Pittsburgh by 12
Indianapolis by 6
Jacksonville by 14 LOCK
San Francisco by 11
Atlanta by 22 LOCK
New Orleans by 9
Seattle by 4
New York (National Conference) by 6
New England by 7

posted by Howard_T at 05:11 PM on December 08

NBA Pick 'Em Week 7: 60 Points in 29 Minutes Edition

It wasn't even a full moon last week. Wha hoppen?

I spent a lovely 2 1/2 hours this afternoon with the 'phone on speaker waiting for a human so I could complete my annual enrollment for Medicare Supplement and Prescription Drug insurance. You young whippersnappers just don't know what you are in for. The tech part went easily. Found the plans, put them into the electronic shopping cart, filled out the questionnaire, and hit Submit. Then the site told me I needed to call and make a "voice signature". I called, thinking it would be just a few minutes. Yeah, right. Had to listen to the agent repeat a several paragraph agreement containing many multi-syllable tongue twisters that she had no end of problems with, then had to swear on the life of my only child that I had filled out the questionnaire honestly. Such a fun day.

Maybe the picks will be easier, but Cleveland will not be staying in a Trump hotel in NYC, the Clippers have started to take Doc Rivers seriously, Russel Westbrook is on a tear, and the Lakers have enough players that they can give you a game. here goes:

Cleveland by 6
Los Angeles Clippers by 4
Toronto by 9 SLAM
San Antonio by 10 SLAM
Oklahoma City by 12 SLAM
Los Angeles Lakers by 10

posted by Howard_T at 09:58 PM on December 06

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

The Curse of the 1994 Heisman Trophy has now run its course.

That is eerie. Why is the theme from "The Twilight Zone" playing in my head?

do-do-di-do do-do-di-do...

posted by Howard_T at 09:42 PM on December 06

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

The BBWAA passed a measure today mandating that all Hall of Fame ballots be public starting in 2018. It remains voluntary for this election

It remains to be seen if this will deter someone with some sort of axe to grind from stiffing an otherwise deserving candidate. This is not necessarily to say that one should always vote for the orthodox picks, but the electors should be held to make a valid case for their vote.

posted by Howard_T at 05:29 PM on December 06

Three conference champions and Ohio State walk into a stadium...

I am somewhat bummed that the choice for the final spot came down to Penn State and Washington, and Washington prevailed. It's not that Penn State is really good enough for the final 4; they're not. Rather I think that Michigan is better than either Washington or Penn State, and they should be in as the #4. Putting Michigan is the final 4 would have meant a Penn State vs Washington Rose Bowl, thus settling the question of which is the better team. Washington's out-of-conference schedule included a weak Big 10 team (Rutgers) and a couple of 1AA teams (at least I think Idaho and Portland State are 1AA). Penn State played only FBS teams, lost narrowly to Pitt when Penn State was missing much of its O-line, D-line, and linebacker groups. The loss to Michigan was bad indeed, happened when Penn State was still banged up, and likely would have been a loss anyway.

Was the thinking in the committee such that including Ohio State precluded another Big 10 team from the playoffs? It almost appears that was the case, and if true, then limit the final 4 to the ACC/SEC/PAC 10/Big 10 conference champions only. Will other conferences complain about this? Of course, but the answer is to go to 8 teams, make teams cut one of their out-of-conference tackling dummies from their schedule, and start the conference championships a week earlier. The TV networks would love this, the NCAA would have to hire extra staff to count the money, and the fans would have something else to watch.

As a true, long suffering Boston fan, I say "Wait 'til next year".

posted by Howard_T at 05:39 PM on December 05

All-Star Game No Longer Decides World Series Home Field

I didn't know we had a Chili Bordello either.

You might have to search the newspaper morgues to find anything about it. Don't forget, this was 30 years ago. I do remember they had to fire one of the waitresses; she was 15-years-old and serving alcohol. It was that kind of place.

posted by Howard_T at 04:26 PM on December 03

NBA Pick 'Em Week 6: Doc Rivers Will Smash Edition

Just checked the scores. WTF?

Here are the rest of my picks:

Cleveland by 6
Houston by 8

posted by Howard_T at 11:07 PM on December 01

NFL Pick 'Em Week 13: No Tie for Gary Kubiak Edition

As I watch the 4th quarter of Dallas vs Minnesota, here come the rest of the picks.

Dallas by 17 LOCK as above.
Chicago by 6
Denver by 7
Atlanta by 10
Baltimore by 7
Cincinnati by 3
New Orleans by 9
New England by 12 LOCK
Green Bay by 15
Oakland by 10 LOCK
San Diego by 6
New York (National Conference) by 3
Arizona by 10
Seattle by 6
Indianapolis by 17 LOCK

posted by Howard_T at 11:03 PM on December 01

All-Star Game No Longer Decides World Series Home Field

The beautiful people hated Jacksonville's Super Bowl.

I lived in Jacksonville for about 6 months in 1986. I remember it as a great place to get oneself into trouble. Every few weeks my running mate and I had to drive from Cecil Field (extreme western edge of the city) to Mayport (on the ocean) to do some work aboard whatever aircraft carrier was in port. The drive took exactly 2 beers each from Cecil Field to Mayport, which left us with one more beer each to finish on our way to lunch. Lunch was a pitcher at Joanne's Chili Bordello (good looking waitresses in bustiers), and then it was time to hit the strip club. Please note this was in my "younger, drunker, stupider" days, and I was in between wives.

I have no idea why the "beautiful people" could hate a city with entertainment options like this.

posted by Howard_T at 10:55 PM on December 01

CFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Final Standings

Congratulations, bender, that was quite a finishing kick you put on. Many thanks to Dr. J for running this show each year. It's always fun.

posted by Howard_T at 10:43 PM on December 01

NFL Pick 'Em Week 13: No Tie for Gary Kubiak Edition

For tonight. More later.

Dallas by 17. LOCK

posted by Howard_T at 06:42 PM on December 01

NBA Pick 'Em Week 6: Doc Rivers Will Smash Edition

Tonight's picks first. The rest later.

Cleveland by 12 SLAM
Golden State by 10

posted by Howard_T at 06:38 PM on December 01

Brazilian Soccer Team Lost in Plane Crash

This afternoon Fox News had some coverage of the accident. Their South American sports affiliate had some people travelling aboard the flight to cover the team. Fox showed some video taken just before takeoff that shows the team members. Seeing their excitement and joy at being involved in a championship game is heart wrenching.

Fox also reported that the Medellin, Colombia, team has asked that the championship be awarded to Chapocoense.

The aircraft involved was a BAE-146 short-range regional jet. It is also known as the Avro RJ-85. The type was first placed in service in 1983, which makes it nearly geriatric in terms of commercial aviation. The type did have a good safety record. Fox says that the flight crew reported "an electrical problem" prior to the crash. There have also been reports of insufficient fuel on board.

Nothing more needs to be said other than


posted by Howard_T at 03:31 PM on November 29

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

What the camera doesn't show is the Jets would-be tacklers doubling over with laughter at Brady trying to emulate a pulling guard. They didn't have the energy to hit him.

posted by Howard_T at 02:16 PM on November 29

NHL's Newest Team: The Vegas Golden Knights

There's a report that one of the minority owners is a certain NFL tight end of some notoriety. It will be rather interesting to see what happens when Rob Gronkowski shows up to watch his team.

posted by Howard_T at 11:01 PM on November 23

CFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Grey Cup Edition

Where did that come from? I actually picked up 5 points and drew even with someone who actually knows what he is doing? Amazing! Buoyed by recent success, we venture on with trying to pull another good result out of my backside.

The Game: Stampeders try to avoid becoming enshrouded in the red and black haze that seems to hang like a pall over Ottawa (or is that just smog?). Ottawa tries to keep the hoof prints from staining their nice checked shirts. The thundering herd will overwhelm the bi-colors. Calgary by 15.

The MVP: Quarterbacks get all the glory. Just once I would like to see some lowly offensive lineman get an MVP award. It is they who make all possible for the show off QB anyway. Alas, it will never happen. Mitchell

The Total Score: 54.5 is the line, and that doesn't seem like much, especially with a high-scoring team like Calgary. My logic last week failed, but not by much. This week I perhaps have learned my lesson. UNDER

The Tiebreaker: Total yards thrown by QB's is the metric this week. I sense that it will not be as great a number as many would think, although I see Bender has low-balled it a bit. For me, I will go with 463, and hope nobody throws a halfback pass to mess up the numbers.

posted by Howard_T at 10:54 PM on November 23

NFL Pick 'Em Week 12: Friggin' Lasers Edition

You could say that Brock Osweiler was green with envy at the result of the game. Actually he was green with a fair probability of suffering damage to his eyes. Any idiot who shines a laser into someone's eyes, particularly a green laser that has a greater than legal output, could be found guilty of assault with intent to injure. At least that is the law in a nmber of states. In Mexico? Who knows.

Enough of a tirade. I'm off to my wife's stepsister's place in CT, a 3 1/2 hour drive under normal conditions. I do not look forward to it, but at least I don't have to cook.

Detroit by 12
Dallas by 10
Pittsburgh by 6
Tennessee by 9
Buffalo by 11
Baltimore by 6
Atlanta by 15 LOCK
New York (National Conference) by 18 LOCK
New Orleans by 7
Miami by 10
Houston by 6
Seattle by 8 LOCK
New England by 16 LOCK
Oakland by 12
Denver by 3
Philadelphia by 14 LOCK

posted by Howard_T at 10:28 PM on November 23

NBA Pick 'Em Week 5: Michael Jordan of Greatness Edition

I thought I might have been starting to move a bit, but last week proved to be really bad. It's a long season, so they say.

San Antonio by 14 SLAM
New Orleans by 6

The latter pick has me worried, as Minnesota has some real talent. They just don't know how to put it together and play for 48 minutes yet. Blowing a 15-point lead (from the end of the 3rd quarter to mid-4th) to a 19-0 Boston run was not pretty.

posted by Howard_T at 11:16 PM on November 22

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

The usual strange things happening at the Harvard-Yale game this year. I don't believe anyone called for a measurement.

posted by Howard_T at 03:09 PM on November 20

CFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Division Finals Edition

The conference finals are upon us. This is becoming almost as intimidating as my final in Differential Equations, but it is a lot more fun. When I opted to major in Electrical Engineering, nobody told me I would in effect be minoring in math. Ugh. Let's see if I can get 2 + 2 to come out where it should.

Edmonton at Ottawa: The winner of this one gets to keep the traditional (not the uniform jersey) shirts of the loser. Will the Eskimos end up dressed in red and black checks, or will it be Ottawa arrayed in nice warm fur lined parkas? Red and black is not the "look" in Canada this year. Ottawa by 11

BC at Calgary: No matter how big the cat, it cannot stand in the way of a group of rampaging, runaway quadrupeds. Stampeders will not let the big kitties slow them down in the least. Calgary by 15

Now for the selection of the best realtor of the weekend. That is, who can pile up the most yardage. All 4 QBs are among the league's top 5, so this is not easy. I will go with #2; he will try harder. Avis er Mitchell

I can claim some expertise on the subject of sacks. I worked in a supermarket for a few months when I was in high school. It was in the days before the "paper or plastic" routine had even been heard of. You got paper or nothing. Football sacks are another matter. Calgary and BC are the league leaders in this category, they play each other, so who do you pick? Somehow the image of a guy in a cowboy hat bagging the groceries sticks in my head. Calgary

posted by Howard_T at 03:56 PM on November 17

NFL Pick 'Em Week 11: Blocked PAT for 2 Points Edition

I'm proud to be a member of the group rcade refers to as those in mid-table obscurity. In the NBA or NHL, the only ways out are either to spend one's way out through the free agent stars or to blow up the roster and endure several seasons of mediocrity. I have no problem with mediocrity; I've been performing that way for a lot of years. As far as buying up the free agents goes? When one is on Social Security, a small pension, and drawing down the 401k for his income, the resources are sparse. Do I sound like I'm in poverty? Far from it, but I won't be buying the Celtics any time soon.

Carolina by 8
New York (National Conference) by 16 LOCK
Cincinnati by 10
Kansas City by 9
Arizona by 12
Detroit by 3
Dallas by 14 LOCK
Pittsburgh by 18 LOCK
Tennessee by 6
Los Angeles by 12
Seattle by 7 LOCK
New England by 6
Washington by 9
Oakland by 7

posted by Howard_T at 03:27 PM on November 17

NBA Pick 'Em Week 4: All Hail the Clippers Edition

Out of the cellar at last. Let's see if I can keep up the effort.

Toronto by 8
LA Clippers by 6
Minnesota by 12 SLAM
Utah by 9
Golden State by 4 (I'll Be there)
L A Clippers by 10

posted by Howard_T at 07:32 PM on November 16

Shohei Ohtani hits a ball out of a domed stadium.

Does Japan have designated hitters?

It used to be that the Pacific League did not use the DH while the Central League did. I understand that the rule has become similar to what happens in the US, because there is now interleague play in Japan. In other words, Pacific League teams use the DH when playing in a Central League park. Nippon Ham is a Pacific League team, thus could use Ohtani as a DH when playing on the road against a Central League team. Does this happen? I have no idea.

posted by Howard_T at 10:14 PM on November 15

Shohei Ohtani hits a ball out of a domed stadium.

And he will be able to be posted for MLB bidding for the 2018 season.

I watched a bit of the discussion on the next video that followed grum's link (many thanks, grum, it took me back to my years in Japan). The topic was what would Ohtani's role be on an MLB team. If he were to go to a National League team, it would be more difficult for him to pitch as well as play every day than it would be in the American League. In the Junior Circuit (I thought I would drop that term to see how many of you remember it), he could very nicely DH whenever he was not pitching. As a bonus, when he was on the mound, an AL team could use the DH for one of the position players other than pitcher. I don't know what Ohtani thinks of his role, but I can see a team in MLB trying to convert him out of pitching. What say all of you?

posted by Howard_T at 05:12 PM on November 14

CFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Division Semi-Finals Edition

Playoffs? Playoffs? OK, I will resist continuing with the obvious.

Edmonton at Hamilton: Once again Eskimos attempt to make a bunch of cats do their bidding. The last time they tried they were successful. Can they do it again? With enough catnip and a laser pointer to steer the cats where Eskimos want them to go, they will do it again. Edmonton by 6

Winnipeg at BC: Westward ho the Bombers. Is this a good idea? The old saying is "third time's a charm, and BC wants to avoid a threepeat loss. BC by 8

The kicking game is always unpredictable. The basic fact is that the more your team scores, the more opportunities you have to kick. Taking a wild guess I will say Medlock.

111.5 points is not all that huge a number. It works out to about 28 points per team, and that is attainable by most in the CFL. Give me the OVER.

posted by Howard_T at 05:03 PM on November 10

NFL Pick 'Em Week 10: I Blame Bill Belichick Edition

I have tried to get a lot of help in making my weekly picks, but so far my cats have refused to assist. I think they are running their own pick-'em, because they seem to be very interested whenever I put the schedule up on either the TV or the computer. Hmmm...

Baltimore by 7
Tampa Bay by 14
New Orleans by 3
Kansas City by 8
Atlanta by 9
Tennessee by 6
Los Angeles by 14 LOCK
Jacksonville by 4
Washington by 9
San Diego by 15 LOCK
Arizona by 12 LOCK
Dallas by 6
New England by 10
New York (National Conference) by 7

posted by Howard_T at 04:45 PM on November 10

NBA Pick 'Em Week 3: Enes Kanter Edition

The champ is off to a rather slow start. Just wait until all my injuries are healed.

New York by 17 SLAM
San Antonio by 14
Chicago by 6
Los Angeles Lakers by 8

posted by Howard_T at 04:14 PM on November 09

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

My New Hampshire ballot had a space for the NFL MVP selection. It included Tom Brady's name. Some guy in the next booth, who was from Chicago and who claimed he was my dead neighbor, said the ballot was illegal because Brady had missed too much of the campaign. I expect the whole thing will end up before the Supreme Court, where James Comey will testify that the investigation revealed nothing new.

posted by Howard_T at 04:52 PM on November 08

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Twenty

Our attention shifts to the land to the north as we attempt to act like an expert. Depending on what happens Tuesday I might just try to see if some of my Nova Scotian cousins might sponsor me for residence there.

Winnipeg at Ottawa: Once again the clash of the colors; blue versus red and black. Winnipeg might try to run the score a bit, but the checkered shirt group will not allow that. Winnipeg by 12

Montreal at Hamilton: Cat against bird here, and the bird's wings are in bad shape. Little birdie is a quick snack for the Tiger Cat. Hamilton by 16

Toronto at Edmonton: The Argonauts have about as much chance against the Eskimos as a drunken sailor has against a hostess in a Yokohama bar. Edmonton by 18

Saskatchewan at BC: Yes, I could hold the pick until Saturday. Would I be any smarter on Saturday? Doubtful. Consensus seems to be Lions; I am not of a contrary nature. BC by 14

posted by Howard_T at 05:00 PM on November 03

NFL Pick 'Em Week 9: Concussion Protocol Edition

For me the expression "Fantasy Football" describes my efforts to make picks.

Atlanta by 14
Dallas by 21 LOCK
Philadelphia by 3
Kansas City by 12
Miami by 9
Minnesota by 3
Pittsburgh by 17 LOCK
Los Angeles by 10
New Orleans by 6
Green Bay by 15 LOCK
San Diego by 7
Oakland by 3
Seattle by 2

posted by Howard_T at 04:45 PM on November 03

NBA Pick 'Em Week 2: Who Needs Kevin Durant? Edition

OK, I'm back. We have a week-long thing going on at our church that involves one-on-one meetings with guest clergy from various places in the US at which we discuss issues pertaining to our spiritual place, the health of our parish and the Church in general, and ways to perform and encourage ministry. There are small group meetings at breakfasts, luncheons, and dinners. We have a nightly Evening Prayer session, after which we break up into larger groups for another session with one of the clergy. It has been quite interesting, very rewarding, but has kept me very busy. I have a few minutes to get all my picks, NBA, CFL, NFL, in place, so here goes.

I can't believe that the Celtics won last night. Horford was missing, Crowder rolled an ankle early, but they prevailed. Amir Johnson shooting treys? WTF?

Cleveland by 12 SLAM
Golden State (Thursday) by 9
Chicago by 6
Golden State (Friday) by 8

posted by Howard_T at 04:38 PM on November 03

NBA Pick 'Em Week 2: Who Needs Kevin Durant? Edition

I'll be quick. Was going to the game, but things happen. Horford is out with a concussion, so that changes things.

Chicago by 7
LA Clippers by 12

I'll get the rest later.

posted by Howard_T at 06:27 PM on November 02

Patriots Trade Jamie Collins to Browns for 3rd Round Pick

If Collins could have proven he's worth Von Miller money, he might have gotten paid by New England. Earlier in the season, when Hightower was out, Collins wasn't performing all that well on a consistent basis. Now that he is teamed with Hightower, he looks better. Problem is Patriots have to pay them both, as well as a number of other people, and there just isn't cap room. Elandon Roberts had done well filling in for Hightower, but is a bit nicked up. Patriots can do nicely using Roberts instead of Collins for the balance of this season, then use the compensatory pick for someone of equal or better value than Collins. Just think of New England as "Football, Incorporated".

posted by Howard_T at 03:36 PM on October 31

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Etrigan, I was just about to post something on this myself. The Ringer's article is comic gold. thanks for it; I'm glad I had finished my coffee before reading it.

Anyway, here is a link to videos of "Dildogate" . It would appear there was no deflation of the object in question. The video by the fan in the crowd is rather funny. Notice how all of the players leave the area in a hurry. Then the officials look at the object. I imagine the dialogue was something like:
Man, what the &$^ is that?
We gotta get it off the field. Pick it up.
I ain't pickin' that thing up, you pick it up.
You're closer, you go ahead.
No man, I'll just kick it over to the sideline. Let the ball boy deal with it.

posted by Howard_T at 03:27 PM on October 31

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Nineteen

Look out, bender, your Costanza possibilities are in jeopardy.

Edmonton at Hamilton: Edmonton is the Eskimos and have dogsleds. Hamilton is the Tiger Cats. Cats don't pull no sleds; cats do what they wanna do; you don't tell no cats when to go and where to go. Hamilton by 9

Ottawa at Winnipeg: Blue Bombers will be repainted in a red and black color scheme. Ottawa by 6

BC at Saskatchewan: The large cats will cause the unhorsing of the Riders. BC by 17

Calgary at Montreal: The rampaging quadrupeds thunder into that most cosmopolitan of North American cities. Small birds take flight in fear -- with good reason. Calgary by 7

posted by Howard_T at 04:16 PM on October 27

NFL Pick 'Em Week 8: Farewell Arian Edition

Time for the picks. Football picks, that is. I would do better with my nose than I do with football, but you really don't need to know that.

Tennessee by 12
Cincinnati by 9
Arizona by 14
Detroit by 3
Kansas City by 16 LOCK
New England by 17LOCK
New York (American Conference) by 8
Oakland by 6
Seattle by 9
Denver by 12
Atlanta by 3
Dallas by 10
Minnesota by 16 LOCK

posted by Howard_T at 03:59 PM on October 27

Enter SportsFilter's Pace Mannion NBA Pick 'Em Contest

It's time for the defending champion to see if he can continue the glory. I have a feeling that it won't be easy this year; you guys have been doing your homework. We will see.

Cleveland by 18 SLAM
Golden State by 11 SLAM
Philadelphia by 4
Houston by 9
Boston by 6
Portland by 8
Cleveland by 12
Golden State by 7

posted by Howard_T at 04:06 PM on October 25

NFL Pick 'Em Week 7: Hoodie 1, Surface 0 Edition

Too late to pick the Thursday game. I would have picked Green Bay too. Alas.

Los Angeles by 9
Miami by 7
Cincinnati by 17 LOCK
Indianapolis by 3
Oakland by 7
Baltimore by 14 LOCK
Detroit by 6
Kansas City by 12
Philadelphia by 3
Tampa Bay by 6
Atlanta by 9
New England by 7
Arizona by 7
Denver by 9 LOCK

posted by Howard_T at 10:57 PM on October 20

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Eighteen

I'm too late to pick the Thursday game in the NFL, so I will spend my time here. I note with some satisfaction that the "blind hog and the acorn" theory has been proven once again with my picks of last week. Really, I have no clue about the CFL, but trying to get a result is still fun.

Hamilton at Ottawa: The checkerboards squeaked by the kitties last week. Does that mean the TiCats will return the favor? Nope. Ottawa by 6

Toronto at Calgary: The way Toronto has gone this year, I think they would lose in a football game against the Calgary Flames, let alone the Stampeders. Calgary by 24

Montreal at Saskatchewan: The East is least this year. Alouettes will not change that perception in the slightest. Saskatchewan by 10

Edmonton at BC: A trip to the Pacific Coast is always a pleasure for anyone. It will be especially so for the Eskimos. Edmonton by 6

posted by Howard_T at 10:47 PM on October 20

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

hire a good engineer to resolve the issue

The impression I get from the several articles I have seen on this is that the League is responsible for the setup, and that the laptops and ancillary equipment are put in place only a matter of hours before the game. I find this a bit hard to believe, but nothing the NFL does would surprise me. What needs to happen is that the NFL hire a really good network engineering firm to put a fiber system in place in each stadium. The basic architecture of each system should be identical, that is the equipment (switches, routers, cable) should be identical models from the same manufacturer in each stadium. Things like cable runs, equipment positioning and so on would, of course, be dependent on the stadium layout. The weakest link, if things are done right, would be from the end of the fiber at the sidelines to each laptop. The only sure way to prevent any RF interference would be to use some Ethernet Cat-5 cable, but then mobility would be restricted. I guess now that Belichick is a grandfather, he has the right to distrust all things "techie".

posted by Howard_T at 05:13 PM on October 20

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

One never knows what a fan might come up with. With the price they charge for seats in the vicinity of this fan, one would think that a bit more "couth" might be involved. Perhaps this was not his first beer of the evening.

I was at the game last night (please note that today is Thursday, but no Huddle has been posted yet) and while I did not see the incident in the gif, there was a better one that was captured on the Jumbotron. During the T-short toss, one fan was standing, holding a nearly full beer. A tossed T-shirt struck the head of a fan in front of him and bounced up and landed edge on in the beer. It couldn't have been placed any more accurately. I really wish I had been videoing the Jumbotron.

posted by Howard_T at 04:59 PM on October 20

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Bill Belichick hates Microsoft, Microsoft says everybody else loves it, and the NFL stands by Microsoft. For $80 Million did you expect anything else? Of course, Belichick is not alone in his feelings for Microsoft, which I'm sure a few in our community might share.

In Microsoft's defense, the problem most likely lies in the stadium infrastructure. In my working days I had the same problems when setting up the data networks needed to pull the data from the systems under test to the remote control location. Once the test sites upgraded their infrastructure to dedicated fiber-optic cables and decent switches/routers, life became a lot easier. Using wireless is touchy and requires some very careful frequency management. The NFL needs to hire some good network people to set something up that runs on fiber, has plenty of redundancy, and keeps Norwood (MA) Airport's tower from calling plays at Gillette.

posted by Howard_T at 03:28 PM on October 19

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

The only way to fix it was to wipe the server and start over.

This sounds like you might have a job in a Hillary Clinton administration. Good career move?

posted by Howard_T at 03:06 PM on October 18

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Seventeen

Time for some more picking madness. If I continue at my present rate, I will be in the Costanza position before Hallowe'en.

Ottawa at Hamilton: I am red-green colorblind, so I have to be careful picking this. It is a case of RedBlack checks against black and yellow stripes. Stripes look better than checks. Hamilton by 10.

Winnipeg vs BC: The Bombers fly west. Many years ago, "Going West" was a euphemism for dying. It might be the same for Winnipeg. BC by 6.

Saskatchewan at Toronto: With the Blue Jays still going in the ALCS, will anyone notice the Argonauts? They might disappear from the public eye for the moment, but will be very noticeable on the field. Toronto by 10.

Montreal at Calgary: Alouettes fly to the prairies to face the Stampede. They will be trampled when they land. Calgary by 17.

posted by Howard_T at 10:20 PM on October 13

NFL Pick 'Em Week 6: Stand Up for Colin Kaepernick Edition

Ok, where was I. Oh yeah, after a culinary masterpiece (would you believe leftovers?) we are back to finish the picks. Denver vs San Diego is repeated for your convenience.

Denver by 10 (Just looked at the score -- oops)
Buffalo by 6
New England by 12
Tennessee by 14
Philadelphia by 3
Jacksonville by 3
New Orleans by 7
Los Angeles by 6
Baltimore by 11
Pittsburgh by 17 LOCK
Green Bay by 10
Atlanta by 6
Houston by 9
Arizona by 15 LOCK

Glad to hear your feet stayed dry, rcade, and I pray your neighbors who have suffered damage will have a good outcome.

posted by Howard_T at 10:05 PM on October 13

NFL Pick 'Em Week 6: Stand Up for Colin Kaepernick Edition

I'm late fixing dinner and my wife is growling at me. Here's the pick for tonight, and I'll be back later for the rest.

Denver by 10

posted by Howard_T at 06:55 PM on October 13

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Sixteen

Late again. Do I have to stay after school to make it up? Only missed one game, so the damage is limited. Let's see what sort of catastrophe we can concoct from the rest of the picks.

BC at Winnipeg: Lions would seem to have a bit of an edge here, but the game is at the Bombers' airport. Looks like the Lions will have to travel with the rest of the pets -- in a crate in the cargo bay. Winnipeg by 6

Edmonton at Montreal: Eskimos in the big city go hunting for birds. They will feast. Edmonton by 16

Calgary at Toronto: The Stampeders head to another of the big cities looking to run roughshod over a hapless group of sailors. The only fleece these Argonauts will see is on the blankets covering their remains. Calgary by 14

Dr. John, a screwdriver, duct tape, 5-minute epoxy, and a can of gasoline can fix anything. Get to work on that computer.

posted by Howard_T at 02:18 PM on October 08

NFL Pick 'Em Week 5: Touchdown John Kuhn Edition

I am much later than I wanted to be to get these picks in, but I was helping out as a Lay Eucharistic Minister (does readings, Psalms, serves the Chalice) at the funeral of a long-time and very much beloved lady of our parish. It was the first time I have ever seen one of our priests lose emotional control at one of these things. That will tell you just how much the deceased was loved.

Anyway, off to the picks. I can see that most seem to see my Patriots as a heavy favorite. I agree about the favorite part, but it will not be the blowout that some expect. We will see.

Arizona by 6
New England by 10 LOCK
Philadelphia by 3
Indianapolis by 12
Miami by 14 LOCK
Washington by 6
Minnesota by 15 LOCK
Pittsburgh by 17 LOCK
Denver by 10
Cincinnati by 3
Los Angeles by 9
Oakland by 16 LOCK
Green Bay by 21 LOCK
Carolina by 7

posted by Howard_T at 05:41 PM on October 06

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

This is an interesting tale of how Vin Scully's career got its start. I had no idea that this had happened, and I just might have heard the game since I was a Boston University fan back in the late 1940's and early 1950's and used to listen to the games whenever I could. Of course, I would not have known I was listening to Vin Scully or the Man in the Moon.

posted by Howard_T at 10:33 PM on October 03

NFL Pick 'Em Week 4: Throw the Ball Jameis Edition

I tried to get in on some of the media conferences via telephone this week, but nobody would buy the idea that I was Walt Patalski from Buffalo, so I couldn't get any inside information. Inside or outside, it does me little good, as I slowly slide toward the bottom of the table. Ah well, try again.

Cincinnati by 6
Indianapolis by 3
New England by 7
Washington by 17 LOCK
Detroit by 9
Atlanta by 9
Baltimore by 6
New York (American Conference) by 10
Houston by 14
Denver by 14
Dallas by 6
Arizona by 19 LOCK
New Orleans by 3
Pittsburgh by 12
Minnesota by 6

posted by Howard_T at 04:29 PM on September 29

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Fifteen

I missed last week because of our annual vestry retreat where we plan the direction of the parish for the coming year. Thus, I was in beautiful Byfield, Massachusetts, while all ofyou were busily piling up the points. Perhaps the week off will sharpen my picking skills, and I will be able to have a better result this week.

Edmonton at Winnipeg: If this is the "Leg Up Bowl", then I will have to consider the lower limbs in my prediction. I have never seen a photograph of an Eskimo that shows off the legs. Bombers during WW II had Nose art that often featured scantily clad ladies with very shapely legs. I will go with the good looking ones. Winnipeg by 10

Calgary at Hamilton: Tiger Cats are just like my 3 felines; they are usually sleeping whenever you want them for something else. Stampeders are doing just that on their 11-game run. Cats better wake up or get trampled by the rampaging quadrupeds. Calgary by 12

Ottawa at BC: Red and black is not the "in" color scheme this year in fashionable Vancouver. Lions don't particularly care what color are the clothes they shred. BC by 9

Toronto at Montreal: Les Alouettes say "bienvenue au Montreal", but the Argonauts growl "stick it in your poutine, pal". Rather rude of the fellows from Toronto, and you can expect the game to go the same way. Toronto by 6

posted by Howard_T at 09:49 PM on September 28

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Correction to the above: Because the game went into extra innings, 21 strikeouts is not a record. Once the extra innings are started, a 9-inning record is meaningless. It is a franchise record for Boston, and the number of strikeouts by the staff in a single season for the franchise was broken today. The final count of Rays put down on strikes was 22, final score was 3-2 Boston - their 11th win in a row - and the winning run scored on the strangest play at the plate I have seen, major league, minor league, high school, middle school, or even Cal Ripken League baseball. I cannot describe it adequately, but on a 2-base hit by Ortiz, Pedroia attempted to score from 1st base. The throw to the plate was accurate and in plenty of time. Pedroia tried to evade the tag with a series of contortions, was actually tagged, but the ball came out of the catcher's mitt and rolled away. Strange.

posted by Howard_T at 05:27 PM on September 25

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Update to the above, 2 more Rays went down on strikes in the 9th to bring the total to a major league record 21. The game is tied 2-2 after 9 innings.

posted by Howard_T at 04:41 PM on September 25

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle


Boston pitchers have struck out 11 consecutive Tampa Bay batters from the 4th through 7th innings today. The total for the game is so far 19, and Rays are batting with one out in the 8th. The 11 straight is a major league record. The announcers have been saying all day that plate umpire Sam Holbrook's strike zone is extremely wide today, and the bit of the game I have seen confirms this analysis.

posted by Howard_T at 04:19 PM on September 25

Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez Dies in Boating Accident

When I heard of this today I immediately thought of the accident that took the lives of Tim Crews and Steve Olin several years ago. Bobbie Ojeda was also seriously injured in that one. The Crews/Olin/Ojeda accident happened when their boat ran under a low pier on a lake. That was a tragedy as is today's news.

David Ortiz asked the Tampa Bay Rays to cancel their planned pre-game tribute to the Boston hitter. They had a moment of silence for Fernandez, during which Ortiz was visibly affected. Fernandez had seen Ortiz hit a home run during an exhibition game in Cuba, and when Fernandez was finally able to come to the USA, the first jersey he bought bore Ortiz's number. Ortiz later befriended Fernandez. Today Ortiz had Fernandez's initials and number written on his cap below the Red Sox logo.

posted by Howard_T at 04:10 PM on September 25

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I watched the ESPN game last night during which they simulcast an inning of Vin Scully's broadcast. The thought occurred to me that while all other broadcasters use a color commentator, Scully works alone. Thus, he has the time and space to give us the musings of his most fertile mind. Perhaps he is the only play-by-play broadcaster who is good enough to pull this off. As an example, he was speaking of a player who frequently slid head first, and he told of how the belt buckle scoops dirt off of the infield and usually deposits it down the pants. He then mentioned that this player, should he ever hit an inside the park home run, might be said to have hit an "under the park" home run. We mortals can only wish we had such a command of language.

posted by Howard_T at 09:52 PM on September 22

NFL Pick 'Em Week 3: Bud Grant on the Gjallarhorn Edition

Enough of the frivolity and banter, it's time to get on with business. We must leave the question of the reduction of excessive testicularity for another time.

New England by 3
Arizona by 12
Oakland by 10
New York (National Conference) by 3
Miami by 14 LOCK
Jacksonville by 9
Green Bay by 10
Cincinnati by 6
Carolina by 10 LOCK
Tampa Bay by 10
Seattle by 7
New York (American Conference) by 3
Pittsburgh by 16 LOCK
Dallas by 7
New Orleans by 7

posted by Howard_T at 08:17 PM on September 21

NFL Pick 'Em Week 3: Bud Grant on the Gjallarhorn Edition

so I'll thank you from threatening my reproductive organs...

I might also suggest then you avoid trying this.

The link is alleged to be untrue.

posted by Howard_T at 08:02 PM on September 21

NFL Pick 'Em Week 3: Bud Grant on the Gjallarhorn Edition

If grum wins, that would give him two balls, and some of us still have none.

Is there a plan to rectify that?

I have consulted the veterinarian who takes care of our cats, and he says he can do the job quickly and painlessly. The procedure is also quite inexpensive.

posted by Howard_T at 03:23 PM on September 21

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

I think sometimes announcers good enough to last get too comfortable in a gig and start letting their facade fall away.

That's certainly one possibility. Another one is that they are never comfortable with what they are and what they can do. They start trying to come up with something new or better, and when it falls flat, they begin to look vulnerable. It snowballs from there.

Somehow I've never been tempted to take a healthy bite out of some lady's back. It might be because I do not prefer the position required to execute the maneuver. Of course lately I have no opportunity to use any position. It's hell to get old.

posted by Howard_T at 10:20 PM on September 20