Howard_T's profile

Name: Howard Titus
Location: Nashua, NH
ZIP: 03062
Gender: Old Alpha Male, hoping no young stud steals the herd.
Member since: April 08, 2006
Last visit: December 19, 2014

Howard_T has posted 36 links and 2760 comments to SportsFilter and 3 links and 265 comments to the Locker Room.

Sports Bio

Native Bostonian, with all attendant baggage still attached. Braves fan until they left for Milwaukee (yes, I'm that old), then it was the BoSox by default. Love all sports, but the favorites are baseball, hockey, football, and hoop, in that order. Used to umpire baseball at the Babe Ruth, Legion, and High School level. At my age, there are too many sports memories to really pick a favorite. Maybe it is Bill Russell's first game in Boston Garden. Another is the time when I was just back from Viet Nam and my dad took me to a Bruins game. This was in the glory days of Orr. Toronto was the opponent, they started 5 defensemen (really), and the fight started within the first minute or so.

Recent Links

Montreal Canadiens Jean Beliveau dead at 83: Montreal Canadiens have reported that Hockey Hall-of-Fame member and Montreal legend Jean Beliveau has passed away at age 83. Beliveau played 20 seasons for Canadiens, winning 10 Stanley Cup Championships, 5 of them coming when Beliveau wore the captain's C. He also served as a member of the team's management, earning 7 more cups along the way.

posted by Howard_T to hockey at 12:26 AM on December 03 - 2 comments

The Big Guys Get Their Way: The NCAA Board of Directors has given the 5 big conferences what amounts to near autonomy to set their own rules. It appears that football teams will now be ranked from Division 3 through FCS and FBS, with the largest 5 conferences in a new division called the Juggernaut Division.

posted by Howard_T to general at 11:26 PM on August 07 - 0 comments

Celtics Guard, Lakers Exec Bill Sharman Dies: Bill Sharman, high-scoring guard for the Boston Celtics, and later coach and executive with the Los Angeles Lakers has died at age 87. In the championship years with the Celtics, the mantra "Russell to Cousy to Sharman", describing the Boston fast break, was the equivalent of baseball's "Tinker to Evers to Chance".

posted by Howard_T to basketball at 03:15 PM on October 25 - 0 comments

The Bridgetown Senators?: This from Christopher Stuart Taylor of the Huffington Post tries to explain a possible bit of Canadian tax evasion on the part of Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. The dodge involves setting up business relationships between Canada and Barbados. The businesses will then be taxed at the 2.5% Barbadian rate rather than the 30% Canadian rate. While the author leads with a Senators' connection, the actual investigation conducted by the CBC has nothing to do with the team. I'm sure Melnyk is clever enough to keep purely Canadian businesses out of the "Bajun" connection. Note: No matter which side (Canadian or Barbadian) is puling a fast one here, I'm on the bad side. My dad was from Nova Scotia, my mom from Barbados, and I still have family in both places.

posted by Howard_T to hockey at 01:32 PM on October 11 - 0 comments

Johnny Pesky, 1920-2012: Boston Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky died today at 92 years of age. He had been associated with the team in one capacity or another nearly continuously since 1942. Pesky, nee Paveskovich, is most remembered for the right-field foul pole that bears his name in Fenway Park.

posted by Howard_T to baseball at 05:12 PM on August 13 - 6 comments

Recent Comments

The Boston Celtics have traded Rajon Rondo to Dallas

Talking heads in Boston were falling all over themselves talking about how Rondo was not helping the team, was playing badly -- perhaps on purpose -- and it was about time the got rid of him. In the next breath, these same guys were bitching and moaning that the Celtics had not gotten enough for him. Dwight Powell's main function was to remove splinters from the bench using his ass. Why Dallas wanted him is beyond me, but it probably has something to do with cap hits. Jameer Nelson is here to fill in until Marcus Smart is physically ready to play heavy minutes every night. Until then look for Phil Pressey to pick up a lot of minutes. Oddly enough when Pressey was at the point instead of Rondo, the team played faster and better. Pressey's problem is that he is about 5'10" tall.

Brandan Wright might have some use, but he is a bit undersized for a center, and the power forward/center spot in Boston is rather crowded. His contribution remains to be determined. Jae Crowder might be the excuse to move Evan Turnover Turner, but I don't know if Crowder can play the 2-guard spot as well as the small forward. I'll probably go to the game tomorrow night, although I doubt any of the new additions will see any time. It's mostly to get a look at Andrew Wiggin.

Hey, we get a $12.9 Million trade exception, a 1st round pick, and a 2nd rounder for all this. The picks will be well down in the order, barring disaster in Dallas, but with all the picks Ainge has accumulated in the past couple of years, he can probably move some of the down-table stuff for the lottery. As long as the team doesn't try to jump into the same tank as Philadelphia, I'm OK with it.

posted by Howard_T at 01:56 AM on December 19

Can True Sports Fans Switch to a New Favorite Team?

The teams I grew up with are still in existence, still contend from time to time, and are still worth watching. There's one I no longer watch nor follow nor favor. I didn't "grow up" with the Patriots, but they came into existence when I was in college, so they sort of grew up with me. The one exception of teams that I grew up with that I favor is the Braves. My dad was an ardent Boston Braves fan, my oldest sister used to take me to games, and I followed the team closely. It took me some time to get used to being a Red Sox fan, and I still followed the Braves during their successful Milwaukee years. I cannot like the Atlanta Braves for a variety of reasons. Let's just say they aren't what they were (nobody is after 62 years) and let it go at that.

for NoMich, I understand being unable to watch a team can have an effect on fandom. I will say that I was a Bruins and Celtics fan long before I ever saw a game on TV or in person. Cable had not been invented and we did not own a TV until I was about 12. There was this thing called a radio, the Red Sox, Braves, Bruins, and Celtics games were always on, and I was a faithful listener. Johnny Most, high above courtside, could paint a picture with words better than anyone else I ever heard do a basketball game. My fandom started with my ears and not my eyes.

posted by Howard_T at 04:06 PM on December 17

Served up on a platter for SportsFilter

Played slopitch one year with a cricket player.

I had the same experience when I lived in Egypt. The guy was from Turks and Caicos, had a good arm, used a glove and was sure-handed, mostly played outfield and had range. Batting was quite another story. It took nearly a full season to get him to stand still and not shift his feet around as in cricket. Even then the guy had some power. Once he got the hang of a batting stance and approach, he turned into a pretty good hitter.

posted by Howard_T at 03:48 PM on December 17

The FSU Problem

I have long looked at those universities who seem to place athletic success above all other things at the school with a highly negative bias. As time passed and I came to meet people who had actually gone to these places, I found that some of them really did provide a quality education. Auburn and Virginia Tech have programs in aerospace engineering that are among the best in the country. I've worked with graduates of those schools who impressed me greatly with their knowledge and ability. My son is a Penn State grad. Before you start up about Sandusky and the rest, I get it. What the administration did to try to protect the school was bad, but also understand that there was more to this than just a football program. Before he made his choice, we looked deeply into academics and programs. (He also looked deeply into the selection of bars, but that's another story.) Once you look at academic programs among the Big Ten schools, you will find that all of them are excellent. The athletes who attend are encouraged to do well in their studies. I am not familiar with the schools of the southwest and far west, but admittedly some seem to place the team ahead of the school.

Now I look at Florida State. If I had a college-age kid, I would be ashamed to send him there. There seems to be no pretense on the part of the school to be anything except a football team, and to make it a winning team, anything is acceptable. I will not proclaim Jameis Winston guilty of anything until a jury convicts him, but I will condemn the State of Florida and the university for being less than meticulous in its initial investigation of the rape claims. I find the Florida State situation frighteningly similar to that at the University of Miami a few years ago. While the majority of Miami football alumni have gone on to good careers in football and outside the game and have become leaders in their community, there is one glaring example now spending his time in a Massachusetts jail awaiting a murder trial. One aside here, I do not include the University of Florida in my condemnation of Florida schools. My brother-in-law (wife's sister's husband) is a Gator through and through. He has done pretty well for himself, is a joy to know, and is a fine person. I would prefer to think he's typical of Florida grads.

The question is why things like the Winston situation happen. When a kid shows a high level of skill in a sport, he seems to become "the golden child". That is, because he is so good at what he does, he is in a privileged place among his peers. (Another aside, when I was in high school, our assistant principal had 2 favorites who could get away with anything. Athletes and good math students were on a pedestal. I was not an athlete, but I still got away with mayhem.) If you take a kid without a solid background in responsible behavior and put him in the sort of situation that a heavily recruited high school athlete encounters, you are likely to have created a ticking time bomb. These kids understand they are being judged by a different standard, and some of them are willing to push it too far. Do I have any suggestion about how to fix this? Without a total overhaul of contemporary American society, I do not. It is a sad situation. Sports fans who are as deep into sports as we SpoFites can only stand and ineffecively cluck our tongues.

posted by Howard_T at 04:45 PM on December 16

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Sid's got the mumps, 13th NHL'er this season

This could put a dent into the crop of future NHLers among the sons of current NHL players. One of the complications of mumps among adult and teen age males is "orchitis" which can lead to sterility. Is the MMR vaccination not done outside the US?

posted by Howard_T at 01:58 PM on December 14

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

You might not recognize the name "Ralph Baer", but the chances are he might well have had an impact on your life. You see, Ralph Baer, who died yesterday at age 92, was the inventor of the video game. He took an idea that might have some usefulness and turned it into the multi-billion dollar video game industry of today.

I met Ralph Baer for the first time in 1969, when I was given an assignment to work in the information systems division of Sanders Associates in Nashua, NH. There we worked on systems that adapted user-interactive displays for use in defense and industrial applications. My particular system was for the data reduction system for the DC-10 flight test program at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, CA. In order to test the displays to make sure there were no empty spots (CRT displays that were raster scanned were the technology of the time. The pixel style display of today had not been invented yet.) and that the display moved evenly with the controls (keyboard commands usually, the mouse had not been invented yet, either.) a simple program had been set up. Think of 2 vertical lines, one at each side of the display, but not quite at the extremity. In the vertical center of each line is a small opening. In front of each line is a vertical bar that may be moved vertically and horizontally. There is also a bright dot that at the beginning of the test program is moving randomly. When the dot is contacted by one of the movable bars it changes direction. The dot also changes direction whenever it hits the top or bottom limit of the display area or hits the stationary vertical bar. Should the dot enter the opening in either stationary bar, the event is recorded.

If the above sounds familiar, it is the game "Pong". Needless to say that we engineers who worked in the lab were quite enthusiastic in our testing, and when we couldn't get the noontime cribbage game going, the game was the substitute. Mr. Baer really did not expect the game to turn out to what it came to be. The whole idea was to develop the interactive display into a useful tool, which we certainly did. The thing that triggered the gaming use was that Mr. Baer set up a display with controls in the patent office during the patenting process. The patent office employees couldn't resist it, so the patent was drawn broadly enough that Sanders Associates, later Lockheed-Sanders, and now BAE Systems, made money every time a video game system was sold. The intellectual copyrights ran out in the late 1990s, but they kept the company in good shape during the occasional lulls in defense procurement.

To Mr. Ralph Baer I owe a debt for the years of employment at Sanders/Lockheed/BAE Systems. Because of him, and a lot of others like him, I earned a good salary, was able to put a few bucks away, and I am now comfortably retired. The rest of you owe him a debt for letting you waste so much of your lives with the various versions of Madden, NHL, NBA, NCAA, and the rest.

posted by Howard_T at 11:47 PM on December 08

CFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Final Standings

...and a good time was had by all. Dr. John, these contests are always fun, and we are all indebted to you for putting them together. Many thanks.

posted by Howard_T at 10:20 PM on December 04

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I know nothing of Barry Hearn, but the way he approaches business reminds me a bit of Victor Kiam, he of the "I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company" fame and former owner of the NE Patriots. Kiam ran into trouble with the press by defending his players after one of them exposed himself to a female reporter in the locker room. Both Hearn and the late Mr. Kiam seem to be from the same "keep your name before the public and say things they will remember" school of marketing.

posted by Howard_T at 10:16 PM on December 04

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

And now you know...the rest of the story.

Good (with rising inflection) day.

posted by Howard_T at 09:16 PM on December 03

Montreal Canadiens Jean Beliveau dead at 83

One of the benefits to being "old" is having had the privilege of watching some of the legends of various sports. I saw Bill Russell's first game in Boston and watched Ted Williams' incredible ability at bat, and I am now watching another generation of those who will someday be called "legend". I saw Jean Beliveau play once. It was enough to realize how wide was the gap between some pretty good Bruins teams of the early- and mid-1950s and the Montreal Canadiens of that era. The Richards, Geoffrion, Bert Olmstead, Dickie Moore, Doug Harvey, and Jacques Plante were on the ice, but the presence of Jean Beliveau lent an air of the "invincibility of royalty". Beliveau's effect on the team was such that they behaved as one would expect the best to behave. That is, they played hard but fairly, did not back down, and always played well. Giants such as Beliveau do not appear often. He will be long remembered.

posted by Howard_T at 03:59 PM on December 03

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Contempt of court or something.

It's certainly not true in all jurisdictions, but I remember reading something about a juror who deliberately tried to get out of jury duty by deliberately messing up a trial. I do not remember any details, but I remember something about a contempt finding and a heavy fine.

posted by Howard_T at 11:49 PM on December 02

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Docket is a shining example of the overprivileged athlete who thinks his comfort and convenience are the only things of importance in the world. If I am a prosecutor or defense attorney in Arizona, as soon as his name appeared on a list of potential jurors, I would challenge for cause. What cause? How about being a blathering idiot? I would think there is no way this man could pay attention to what is being said in the trial to allow him to make a judgement. Let him sit in the pool, do not excuse him from reporting to the court and staying for the full day, but never let him be part of a jury.

posted by Howard_T at 05:09 PM on December 02

MLB umpire Dale Scott comes out as gay in quietest way possible.

The real takeaway from this is that there is a Referee magazine.

There are about 19,000 people employed as referees or umpires in the US. That is, these are people who list this as an occupation and draw a paycheck for it. I would suggest there are at least that many more who, like me, umpire as a sideline or hobby. We still receive pay for it. To deserve this pay, we try to maintain our skills as best we can. Referee magazine offers stories and "how to" tips for whatever sport is in season. It also has features on fitness, diet, and exercise. It's a good resource.

posted by Howard_T at 04:57 PM on December 02

CFL Playoff Pick 'Em, Grey Cup Edition

It's Saturday night, and I finally have a bit of time to breathe. This has been a busy week. I was baking pies for Thanksgiving all day Wednesday, went out late Wednesday night to blow about 6 inches of heavy, wet, white crap off my driveway and front walk, and drove to my wife's sister's place in CT for dinner on Thursday. This last involved about 7 hours of driving round trip from NH to Wilton, CT. Still, it was fun to get together with family and friends. Friday was the Celtics vs Bulls, then after that shopping for bird feeding supplies, groceries, and some Thai food at a new place in town. Today I had to assist as a lay minister at a funeral - sad time when a 48-year-old mother of two passes suddenly - then cooked an early supper so our son and his girlfriend could get out on time to meet some friends who were home for the holidays.

All this leads to making a pick for the Grey Cup. For this entire CFL season I've been operating under "the blind squirrel finds the occasional acorn" theory. This must have been a mast year for the oaks, for I have finished near the top in the regular season, and I'm in contention in the playoffs. So once again I will put on my gray suit with the bushy tail and see if I can do this again.

The game: The "experts" give Hamilton the defensive nod and Calgary the edge on offense. This would seem to make the offensive/defensive phases a wash, and would put the game in the hands of the special teams. Nay not so, say I. It will come down to a battle between the big ugly guys who populate the front end of each team, and if that war proves to be a draw, then whoever makes the fewer mistakes will win. I say Stampeders seem to be more likely to hold together for the longer time. Will it be a tight game coming down to the last possession, or will it turn into a blowout? I say the score will indicate a clear superiority by one team, but the game itself will be much closer than the score indicates. Calgary by 13.

MVP: With 3 downs to make gain, a longer and wider field, deeper end zones, and pre-snap motion allowed, the CFL is a passing league. Nonetheless, an exceptional running back can be the difference. I see the winning QB also being the MVP. My pick is Mitchell.

Points: The game will not be played in adverse weather conditions, but each side has a stout defense. 52.5 is not a lot of points to be scored by 2 powerful offenses; 28 - 25 would be enough. In this one, the total score will exceed the over.

Passing yardage: This will go over 500 yards, but how much over? I figure I moved about 650 square feet of 6 inch deep snow on Wednesday. This gives me 325 cubic feet moved. At 62.4 pounds per cubic foot of water, and a water content of about 30% (3 inches of water per 10 inches of snow), I moved about 6000 pounds. Let 10 pounds of snow equal 1 yard of passing, and adding 1 yard for good measure, the 2 QBs will throw for a total of 601 yards.

posted by Howard_T at 09:43 PM on November 29

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

A good look here by Bill Speros in his Obnoxious Boston Fan blog at baseball in the Dominican Republic, with a bit of history and some cultural/economic aspects thrown in. It starts out a bit Boston-centered, but there is much of a broader view.

posted by Howard_T at 08:56 PM on November 29