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: October 03, 2015

Howard_T has posted 36 links and 2949 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

NFL Pick 'Em, Week 4: First-Place Jacksonville Edition

For any number of reasons Thursday is a very busy day for me, and I can never seem to get to doing my picks until the very last minute. This week I couldn't even do that. Add to that the idea that this Friday and Saturday put a lot more on the agenda than usual. So now it's Saturday night, and I sit alone without a date. Oh, wait, I'm married and my wife is in the other room. Well there goes that fantasy. Here's the picks.

NY (American Conference) by 12
Cincinnati by 5
Washington by 14
Buffalo by 3
Indianapolis by 16
Tampa Bay by 4
Oakland by 10
Atlanta by 9
San Diego by 15 Yale never built a LOCK as strong as this one.
Green Bay by 10
Arizona by 6
Denver by 13
New Orleans by 7
Seattle by 18

posted by Howard_T at 08:51 PM on October 03

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Pure gold, Mr. B.

posted by Howard_T at 09:57 PM on October 01

NFL Pick 'Em, Week 3: Indy's Bad Luck Edition

Once again we're in panic mode as Thursday kickoff approaches.

New York (National Conference) by 6
Oakland by 3
Tampa Bay by 8
San Diego by 7
Indianapolis by 12 (as the Colts finally are cured of cranial rectumitis)
New York (American Conference) by 9
Atlanta by 4
New England by 16 a bigger lock than the Berendrecht near Antwerp
Oakland by 5
New Orleans by 6
Pittsburgh by 11
Arizona by 7
Seattle by 13
Miami by 2
Denver by 9
Green Bay by 14

posted by Howard_T at 08:27 PM on September 24

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Here are some interesting facts about David Ortiz. What Ortiz would be if he didn't play baseball still requires him to swing a petty big bat.

posted by Howard_T at 03:33 PM on September 24

Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra passes away

Many, if not most, will remember Yogi for his quotes and his unique way with the English language. I will remember him for his remarkable skills both behind and at the plate. (Perhaps I can fill you in on his playing ability, goddam.) As a catcher he had a better than average arm, a very reliable glove, and the ability to manage his pitchers that was superior. In his era, pitches were not called from the dugout. It was up to the pitcher and catcher to run the game. Berra was always prepared for the hitters he would face.

One of the things I most remember was the interaction between him and the opposing hitter coming to bat. One would think that the two were old friends who had not seen each other in weeks or months; not the case in the days of the 8-team leagues without inter-league play. Berra always had a few words with each batter, always in the way of a greeting, never trash talk. With the veterans and especially the stars of the other team, it was frequently more than just a few words.

At the plate, Berra had a lifetime .285 batting average. This is pretty darned good for a catcher, but what made him special was that he was incredibly difficult to "pitch around" with men on base. Many a pitcher tried to throw him pitches out of the strike zone, hoping he would chase, swing, and miss. This was never a good move, as Berra was one of the best "bad pitch" hitters I ever saw. He had the ability to reach out for the pitch outside, high or low, and drive the ball for a base hit. He could also handle the inside pitch better than most.

There still are a lot of characters in the game, but I believe Berra will occupy a place that is unique among them all.

I guess "it ain't over until it's over", but this is pretty final. RIP Yogi, you will be missed.

posted by Howard_T at 02:17 PM on September 23

NFL Pick 'Em, Week 2: Teddy Bridgewater Fail Mary Edition

Just took another look at my picks, and I see that I did not make a choice for Titans at Browns.

Titans by 12

Please add this, and I regret causing any inconvenience due to the fact that I am rapidly becoming senile.

posted by Howard_T at 05:19 PM on September 19

NFL Pick 'Em, Week 2: Teddy Bridgewater Fail Mary Edition

OK, time to catch up on the serious business at hand. Great call by me on the KC-Denver game. Of course, one never quite expects such an ending, but at least it made for great TV.

Now the picks:

49ers by 10
Saints by 3
Cardinals by 16
Bengals by 6
Falcons by 9
Vikings by 2
(Holding my breath) Patriots by 3
Panthers by 5
Dolphins by 14
Ravens by 8
Eagles by 3
Packers by 10
Colts by 9

posted by Howard_T at 12:27 AM on September 19

NFL Pick 'Em, Week 2: Teddy Bridgewater Fail Mary Edition

Just a quick grab at the Thursday night game. I will get to the rest of the picks tomorrow. Right now I'm like a one-armed paper hangar.

Kansas City by 8.

Manning is better than last week, but not good enough. Sad to see.

posted by Howard_T at 08:04 PM on September 17

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

We're in the second quarter of the Vikings - 49ers, and I have once again recalled why Chris Berman should no longer be allowed within 5 miles of a play-by-play microphone. Trent Dilfer is trying his best to sound worse than Berman, but it is not possible. This is nearly unwatchable. Does Berman really have the naked photos of ESPN and ABC executives?

posted by Howard_T at 11:11 PM on September 14

Moses Malone, three time NBA MVP, passes away

First Darryl Dawkins and now Moses Malone. These two were mainstays of the great 76ers teams of the '70s and early '80s. Perhaps the Celtics were fortunate not to have been embarrassed by Philly in '83. Don't forget that the Celtics had lost to the 76ers -- minus Malone who was then with Houston -- the year before. That was the year the Boston fans, knowing that the series was lost as the clock wound down in the Garden, began to chant "Beat LA, Beat LA" to encourage the 76ers. Malone's years with Houston were also some pretty good ones. With Houston in 1980-81 Malone reached the finals, losing to the Celtics that year.

When we watched the great ones from years ago play, we saw them as young men. As the years passed, they remained young in our memories; we forgot that they, like us, would grow older. Now as we hear of their passing, we read the news with a measure of sadness and disbelief, but more so with a sense of our own mortality.

posted by Howard_T at 03:53 PM on September 13

Super Bowl Ditches Roman Numerals

really long time to get to M...

...but only half as long for the cheerleaders to increase to size D?

posted by Howard_T at 05:12 PM on September 11

Super Bowl Ditches Roman Numerals

The NFL is ashamed that its fitness program has taken so long to work. If you are trying to lose weight, would you like to advertise the fact that it's taken you ten years to go from size XL to L?

posted by Howard_T at 04:30 PM on September 10

NFL Pick 'Em, Week 1: Win One for the Duke

Way too many teams to pick to make a dissertation on each. (I hear a chorus of "thank you, thank you, thank you" from the great unwashed.) I will proceed apace from here.

New England by 12
Green Bay by 10
Houston by 3
NY Jets by 6 (as I hold my nose and grit my teeth)
Indianapolis by 10
Miami by 7
Carolina by 5
Seattle by 9
New Orleans by 6
Tampa Bay by 10
Oakland by 7
Denver by 12
Dallas by 17
Philadelphia by 15
Minnesota by 9

posted by Howard_T at 10:48 PM on September 09

Federal Judge Tosses Brady's 4-Game NFL Suspension

I have wanted to add my 2 cents worth to this since the decision came down. The delay is because I have a substantial piece of my forehead missing (basal cell sarcoma removal), and I haven't really felt much like writing. The doctor is sure he got all of the sarcoma, but that doesn't make my head feel much better. I guess he had to scrape down more than a couple of layers of skin to get it all.

So we're on to legal matters. I read the entire text of the decision last night, and as most have pointed out, Judge Berman confined his opinion to procedural matters and not matters of guilt or innocence. For New England fans there are plenty of little hints that Berman is quite suspicious of the NFL's finding that the balls had indeed been deliberately deflated. His continued use of quotation marks to frame the word independent in reference to the Wells report and the authors thereof shows that he believes the Wells investigation to be anything but independent.

On page 7 of the decision, the Wells Report is quoted as saying, "the reduction in pressure of the Patriots game balls cannot be explained completely by basic scientific principles, such as the Ideal Gas Law, based on the circumstances and conditions likely to have been present on the day of the AFC Championship Game." In the next sentence of the decision, Berman further cites the Wells report as saying, "[o]ur scientific consultants informed us that the data alone did not provide a basis for them to determine with absolute certainty whether there was or was not tampering, as the analysis of such data is ultimately dependent upon assumptions and information that is uncertain." The NFL has never disclosed any measurement data of ball pressure, either before the game or at halftime. The results of any such measurements would be dependent on the gauge used, the atmospheric conditions prevailing at the time of measurement, and how long the balls had been contained within that atmosphere. I have read nothing to indicate that such variables were noted in the measurement data. The one measurement mentioned in the decision comes on page 4, in the Background part of the decision, where the Wells Report is again quoted. "During the course of the January 18, 2015 AFC Championship Game, Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson intercepted a pass thrown by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The intercepted ball was apparently handed to the Colts equipment staff, who used a pressure gauge and determined that the football was inflated to approximately 11psi, i.e., below the range of 12.5 to 13.5 psi specified in Rule 2, Section 1 of the 2014 NFL Official Playing Rules ("Playing Rules"). NFL officials collected and tested eleven Patriots game balls and four Colts game balls at halftime and concluded that all eleven of the Patriots' game balls measured below 12.5 psi. The balls were re-inflated to approximately 13 psi and placed back in play." With the stories that the Colts had been "tipped off" about deflation and that there was possibly a "sting operation" going on, I would be very suspicious of any measurement made on the Indianapolis sideline after Colts' personnel in possession of an inflation needle had handled the football. True enough that 11 psi would fall outside the range that could be predicted by the Ideal Gas Law, but once there had been an opportunity for unsupervised handling of the ball, that measurement must be questioned.

The entire paragraph above is my opinion of why the Wells Report, being very lacking in specifics, did not impress Judge Berman. Instead, Berman focused his opinion on labor law and the CBA. The areas Berman chose to use to vacate the suspension were the lack of notice to Brady that he would be subject to a suspension of 4 games, the equating of the alleged offense to the use of performance enhancing substances, the use of the "Competitive Integrity Policy" as the basis for Brady's punishment, the refusal of the NFL to allow the NFLPA to question Jeff Pash, and the refusal of the NFL to provide the NFLPA with investigative files, including witness interview notes.

From what I have read, many attorneys feel that the NFL faces an uphill fight to get Berman's decision overturned. The lack of notice comes in part from using the "Competitive Integrity Policy" as opposed to the "2014 League Policy for Players" (Player Policies). Copies of the Competitive Integrity Policy are provided to team officials and not the players, while the players are provided with copies of the Player Policies. My analogy would be applying Interstate Commerce Commission rules for large trucks to my 2001 Mazda pickup truck. Even if the Competitive Integrity Policy were used, Judge Berman notes that the punishment for a first offense of the equipment rules is a fine of $5,512.

The refusal of the NFL to allow questioning of Jeff Pash and the denial of access to relevant investigative materials might be the most telling reasons that Berman will be upheld by the Court of Appeals. The NFL contended that testimony by Pash would just be cumulative to that already given by others. Judge Berman ruled that since Pash had a role in editing the Wells report, he should have been allowed to be questioned. The NFL claimed that the Wells Report was prepared entirely by the Paul Weiss investigative team, but Berman questioned how Pash, the NFL's General Counsel, came to edit a supposedly independent report. Thus, the NFLPA should have been allowed to question Pash The denial of discovery is also serious. Since the Paul Weiss firm did the actual preparation of the Wells Report, they had access to all pertinent materials. Judge Berman noted that the Paul Weiss firm's role in the investigation seems to have changed from independent investigators to NFL's retained counsel at the arbitration hearing. Thus, the NFL and Commissioner Goodell would have had access to the material, while Brady and the NFLPA did not. Berman states that courts have held that the absence of a statutory provision for discovery does not negate the duty for insuring that all information available to one party is available to the other.

The "general awareness" idea was also questioned. Berman questioned Jeffrey Nash about the meaning of the term, and ultimately Nash said that the term equated to "knew". The Wells Report uses the standard of "more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware..." The suspension letter from Troy Vincent to Brady never says that Brady participated in any deflation scheme. "More probable than not and generally aware" is a low standard by which to hand someone a 4-game suspension. In short, other than the opinion of some people who were out to "get" Brady and the Patriots, there is "no 'there' there".

Now let's consider what most people feel is the truly damning piece of evidence against Brady, the destruction of his cell' 'phone. To start with, there is this from the testimony of Mr. Wells at the arbitration hearing: "I want to be clear-- I did not tell Mr. Brady at any time that he would be subject to punishment for not giving--not turning over the documents [emails and texts]. I did not say anything like that." Brady's contention was that no player had ever been suspended for allegedly failing to cooperate with -- or even allegedly obstructing -- an NFL investigation. Brady was told he would not be punished for not turning over e-mails and texts, Brady claims that he agreed to provide call records that the NFL could use to eventually obtain the information, the investigators had the records from McNally and Jastremski, and that since the NFL had all that was required, why the destruction of his 'phone would be such a big deal. During the proceedings before Judge Berman, Brady admitted it was not a good idea to destroy the 'phone. One can presume anything that he wants from this, but there is no proof of a smoking gun here.

It's nice to be feeling better. I really wanted to read the full text of Judge Berman's decision before I added my contribution. Most of you know that I am looking at this through Continental Blue (the Patriots' home uniform jersey color) glasses. Even at that, there is too much in the decision to negate any idea that Tom Brady sponsored any scheme to bend the rules. To me it appears that Roger Goodell, having had players lie through their teeth to him in other matters, and having been unable to adequately punish them (Bountygate comes to mind), decided he would put an end to such things once and for all. At the same time, a couple of teams saw an opportunity to embarrass New England, and cooked up a scheme, with or without the league's foreknowledge, to trap them. The problem with this was that they could not conduct their little game with the scientific rigor required to prove anything, and if they had, it might have proven nothing other than Gay-Lussac's ideal gas law was correct all along. Could Goodell's mind set have been something like "I will screw the Patriots. The other 31 teams hate them anyway, Kraft will go along with anything and he can't touch me anyway, and I will become the all-powerful commissioner who can do anything he pleases"? It surely sounds like Goodell and his lawyers have learned nothing regarding the CBA and labor law in general. Judge Doty had it right when he asked, "Does Roger Goodell even know there is a CBA?" Thus the question really remains "what will happen to Roger and his minions?" Sadly, it appears that nothing substantial will happen. Perhaps a few of the legal underlings in the office will be asked to seek other employment, but otherwise nothing. You see, the other 31 really do hate the Patriots and are pleased with the whole thing -- that is until the vacating of the suspensions. The problem with this attitude is that any one of them could be next to be set up for punishment whenever Goodell feels he needs to. Perhaps that was part of his reasoning behind going after Brady. If he makes it stick, which owner will challenge him going forward? Looks an awful lot like the technique used by despots everywhere. Maybe the best thing that comes to pass will be the addition to the CBA of truly neutral investigation, punishment, and arbitration proceedings. Other leagues seem to be able to do this. Why not the NFL?

posted by Howard_T at 04:29 PM on September 07

Gotta give a shout out

Could it be that Fiers had a little help?

posted by Howard_T at 12:39 PM on August 23