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: April 23, 2017

Howard_T has posted 38 links and 3303 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

Aviation Loses a Legend: This might have only a tangential relation to sports, but Bob Hoover's long time promotion of the Reno Air Races and his former captaincy on the US Aerobatic Team should qualify. Bob Hoover died on October 25 at the age of 94. He was a former Naval aviator, aerobatic performer, and corporate test pilot for North American Aviation. One of his "signature" performances was his demonstration of the capabilities of the North American "Shrike" Commander, a variant of the twin turboprop corporate Aero Commander business aircraft. He would take the aircraft through a series of maneuvers, and for the climax he would kill both engines, feather the props, execute a full loop, and land the aircraft precisely "on the numbers" (that is, the numbers at the end of the runway). His skills were unmatched. My working life was spent for the most part being in, on, under, and generally around aircraft, and Mr. Hoover was one of the giants I respected greatly.

posted by Howard_T to other at 04:17 PM on October 26 - 3 comments

NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Pairings are Announced: The "Shivering (not Sweet) Sixteen" for 2016 have been selected. Quinnipiac (1), East Regional; St. Cloud State (2), West Regional; North Dakota (3), Midwest Regional; and Providence, Northeast Regional, are the top seeded teams. Northeastern has to be the "Cinderella" team, having overcome a 1-11-2 start to go 21-2-3 in its next 26 games to finish 22-13-5. The regionals start on March 26, and the Frozen 4 begins on April 7 in Tampa, FL.

posted by Howard_T to hockey at 10:12 PM on March 20 - 1 comment

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

Recent Comments

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

A college student was killed by a hammer throw at a track and field event.

I saw this report earlier. What a shame for something like this to happen, especially for someone who was really just beginning his adult life. It shows the value of unceasing attention to what is going on around you. I have often thought about someone getting clocked by a batted ball when I am on the field umpiring. Some of the fields have little or no protection for people in the bleachers along the sidelines. At the level at which I work, the kids generally don't hit the ball all that hard, but if you move up to high school varsity, played on the same field that the middle school uses, you have a real hazard. The people watching the game are often young, non-athletes (girlfriends, little sisters, moms, little brothers) who are busy chatting, working their mobile 'phones, and doing anything except pay attention to the action on the field. Maybe an accident like this will call attention to the hazards that exist for those watching or working at sporting events, and will spur those in charge of the facilities or the events to improve safety.

posted by Howard_T at 05:37 PM on April 23

Former Bull Craig Hodges on Jordan, Kaepernick, and dissent:

Nuance is rarely understood on the social media. Janice, on the other hand, is all over it. She made a friend request on Facebook to me. I turned her down.

posted by Howard_T at 08:18 PM on April 20

Aaron Hernandez found dead in prison; conviction will be voided

I wonder if any sportswriter will be tempted to give him the gauzy victim-of-his-circumstances treatment

Chad Finn in the Boston Globe did quite the opposite in a piece today. Finn makes the case that Hernandez's problems were entirely of his own making, and are not to be excused. There was one brief mention about some believing that the death of Hernandez's father when Aaron Hernandez was only 16 might have pushed him toward the edge, but Finn seems to dismiss this. I can't say that I disagree with Mr. Finn's opinion.

posted by Howard_T at 12:42 AM on April 20

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

This was called a "foul-tip" by Bucknor.

It's unclear from the video whether or not the ball was caught cleanly by the catcher or was "trapped" after hitting the dirt. If the latter, the call would have been a foul ball, not a foul tip, assuming the bat had actually contacted the ball. The difference between a foul tip and a foul ball is that the ball remains in play after a foul tip, but is dead (no more play) after a foul ball. It is obvious from the video that there was no contact between bat and ball. It it possible that Bucknor heard something that sounded like bat and ball contact, but the audio on the tape was not good. If you watch enough baseball, sooner or later you will hear what I mean by that, when on a swing and miss there is something that seems to be the sound of contact, but is something else.

I have been screaming at Bucknor's "inconsistency" behind the plate for many years. He does not do well there. In a 9 inning game, any plate umpire will miss as many as 5 or 6 pitches. It's to be expected, and players and managers will accept it, but some of the strikes he has called would not be strikes in a middle school game. In about 2 1/2 hours I will be behind the plate in a middle school game, and I really hope to do a better job than that. I limit myself to middle school because I am really too old to try to keep up with the varsity kids. I am adequate for middle school, but my performance on a varsity field, especially when it comes to moving to get into position to make a call, would be substandard. The New Hampshire Baseball Umpires Association does all of the varsity and JV high school games in the state. The members have to pass through an apprentice program before being assigned to games, Then their performance is reviewed, usually by the other umpire on the field and occasionally by an observer, and they are assigned to higher levels (i.e. larger schools) as they improve. The important consideration here is that it is the umpires' association that is responsible for quality control. The MLB umpires' union needs to adopt some sort of quality control program that includes suspension for poor performance.

I would last for about half an inning on an MLB diamond before it became apparent that I was over my head. Calling the balls and strikes , believe it or not, is not the physically most difficult part, although it takes perhaps the most skill, judgement, and concentration. High school and middle school ball use a 2-man system, and that means that both umpires will do a good bit of running in the game. That's where my problems begin, since at the age of 76 I am not as fast as I once was, and even in my prime I was not at all fast. Next time you have the opportunity to watch a major league or high minor league game, watch the umpires. Even in the 4-man system there is a lot of running involved especially with runners on base and a ball hit to the outfield. One of the umpires will go out to cover the ball, leaving a base uncovered. That means that the other umpires must adjust to be sure there is coverage in case of a play in the infield. The standard 4-man mechanics take care of this, as each umpire will understand what the others are doing and what he must do. Add to all of this the situational understanding, coverage of runners tagging up after a caught fly ball (who watches which runner), making sure bases are touched by runners, backing up the plate umpire on checked swings, not to mention the times when a ball is tipped and the catcher picks it off the ground, or a batted ball contacts the batter in the box and rolls into fair territory, looking like a fair ground ball, and the plate umpire can't see it. I cannot completely criticize Bucknor because of the many, many things an umpire must deal with on every pitch. His ability when calling balls and strikes must be considered, however.

posted by Howard_T at 01:03 PM on April 19

NBA Playoff Pick 'Em Starts Today

Isaiah Thomas playing for the Celtics despite the tragic loss of his sister Chyna. He's playing hard and has 15 at the half. TD Garden is electric, and I mean literally. They passed out wrist bands with LED lights in them. They are controlled by some remote entity, maybe the Government, and flash various colors. It was alternating red, white, and blue during the National Anthem. Quite a sight.

posted by Howard_T at 07:48 PM on April 16

Aaron Hernandez found Not Guilty of double murder

Worse news, you now have 5 more years there. Hernandez was found guilty on a weapons charge that carries a mandatory 5 in our fair Commonwealth of MA. Of course, 5 more years on top of life without parole is a bit ridiculous.

posted by Howard_T at 08:14 PM on April 15

NBA Playoff Pick 'Em Starts Today

Not your average 1 vs 8 series. This one could be an upset. Nah! Boston in 6 (concensus). Thomas.

Have the Cavs emerged from hibernation? They have, and they are hungry. Cleveland in 5. Kyrie Irving.

Do I hear "Oh Canada"? Wait! There's no ice. That means Toronto has a chance. Toronto in 5. DeRozan.

TNT's home team vs Wizards. Atlanta might steal a couple of games, but that's all. Washington in 6 Paul Millsap.

Westward ho the picker.

Warriors and those from the Rose City hook up. Much as I like Portland, they have no chance. Golden State in 4 Curry.

This one could be the wrestling championship series. San Antonio in 6. Leonard.

One guard must be stopped, but neither will be. Which of the 2 will lack support? Houston in 7. Westbrook.

This could be Doc's last shot at another ring. It won't be easy. Los Angeles in 7 . Hayward.

posted by Howard_T at 01:56 PM on April 15

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Happy birthday, rcade. May you have many more, and may they all be celebrating years that have passed with happiness and prosperity.

posted by Howard_T at 12:53 PM on April 13

NBA Pick 'Em Week 25: All the Marbles Edition

Foiled again! I was umpiring on the ball field yesterday, and as a result I never looked at either my e-mail or SpoFi. Missed the Tuesday games as a result. Heading for TD Garden tonight to watch the Celtics attempt to finish as the number 1 seed in the East. Since Milwaukee is leaving Dellavedova, Antetokouompo, Snell and Middleton home to rest, things look pretty good for Boston. Now for what's left to pick:

Hawks are comfortably in 5th in the East, and have no chance at 4th. Meantime, the Pacers are struggling to stay in the playoffs, and must win or have both Chicago and Miami lose. While Atlanta might be resting some starters, I remember what a resting Hawks team did to Cleveland quite recently. Nonetheless, Indiana by 9. SLAM

Trail Blazers are not moving up or down with tonight's game, nor are the Pelicans going anywhere but to the golf course. That makes this one a tough one to predict. Blazers are at home, so I will go with that. Portland by 11. SLAM

posted by Howard_T at 04:30 PM on April 12

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

That's a balk in anybody's rule book. The pitchers right leg goes almost directly toward the plate. In order for this not to be a balk, the leg must go toward first base. We umpires are taught to use the beginning of the running lane (the double line along the last half of the first base line) as a target. That is, if the pitcher's foot lands on the home plate side of an imaginary line from the pitcher's plate to the beginning of the running lane, it's a balk.

posted by Howard_T at 01:29 PM on April 10

Team USA wins gold over Canada in the IIHF Women's World Championship

The links to the USA Today stories are coming up as "This Site Can't be Reached". It could be my browser (Chrome) or my laptop. In either case, here is an interesting sidelight about one of the lawyers who helped the women's team reach the agreement.

I heard that the women had beaten Canada in OT to win the gold. What a great outcome after so much adversity.

posted by Howard_T at 09:52 PM on April 08

National Review Takes on NFL Relocation Shakedowns

If you consider socialism to be the government controlling the economy and deciding which businesses or individuals receive money from the government, then what Nevada has done may be considered socialism. What the NFL does is anything but socialism. Rather it is a bit of a scam that promises places that will subsidize a team increased economic activity and jobs. In some cases this is true, but much depends on the team ownership to develop the businesses and activities, as well as a successful team, that generate the economic activity.

I agree with tahoemoj about Las Vegas being the last place in the USA that needs largess from the state to attract tourists. Confession on my part: When I was working and we frequently tested at the Tonopah Test Range, I usually flew into Las Vegas, stayed overnight, and drove the 200 miles to Tonopah the next day. I would reverse the process returning to NH. Las Vegas for me was not much of a tourist destination. The tables were a waste of time and money, the shows did not interest me nor fit my musical tastes, and other than the occasional beer or glass of wine, I do not drink that much. If Las Vegas had had an NFL team and any of our tests had coincided with a visit by the Patriots, I would definitely have sought a ticket. Otherwise, I have no real interest in going there, but there are a lot of fans here in New England, and elsewhere, who would go to one of their team's games in Las Vegas rather than another city

posted by Howard_T at 03:36 PM on April 05

NBA Pick 'Em Week 24: Westbrook Triple Double Edition

I posted these in the Huddle yesterday just in case I ran out of time before heading off to the Celtics vs Cleveland game tonight. The Wednesday Lenten Eucharist was brief (priest had an appointment), and something I had going on this afternoon didn't go on. I had included games from Tuesday, both of which I predicted correctly, including a SLAM, but I have deleted those. Do I get a bonus? (Is that laughter I hear?) Anyway, here are the rest of my picks for the week. Please listen carefully, options have changed.

Wednesday, April 5:

Cavaliers ride into Beantown. They have a point to prove. Despite my screaming from my balcony seat they prove it. Cleveland by 6.

Mavericks stampede to the office products corral. There they are clipped. Los Angeles Clippers by 10.

Thursday, April 6:

Second night of a back-to-back for the Celtics after a tough game against Cleveland. Cs do well in these situations. Boston by 8.

T'wolves go to Portland. This is an intriguing match up. Portland by 11.

Friday, April 7:

Hawks fly to Cleveland. Cavaliers love home cooking, and roast these birds. Cleveland by 14. SLAM

Saturday, April 8:

Doc's team hooks up with the Popovich Gang. No rest for anyone. San Antonio by 7.

Sunday, April 9:

New York is invaded by rapacious dinosaurs. The horror movie at Madison Square Garden continues. Toronto by 7.

Monday, April 10:

Washington tries out the former Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons. Detroit is not quite that old school. Washington by 12.

Rockets fly to the Bay Area. The water might make them fizzle. Golden State by 5.

posted by Howard_T at 03:19 PM on April 05

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

I didn't think the officials got many individual calls wrong. Rather, they decided to call the game tightly instead of letting them play. This favored NC's style and tended to inhibit the larger Gonzaga players. I don't believe this was done with an intent to favor either team, but the result certainly was affected. In a game of this magnitude the officials need to keep the whistles quiet.

posted by Howard_T at 02:55 PM on April 04

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

In a desperate effort to avoid having to post my picks from seat 9, row 5, section 316 of TD Garden, I will drop them here. rcade, if you would be so kind as to move them to the Pick 'em, I will appreciate it.

Tuesday, April 4:

Bucks take on the Westbrook AC in Thunder country. Are deer frightened by thunder? Oklahoma City by 8.

Timber Wolves face the Warriors. Sneaky Warriors shoot from long range to avoid fangs. Golden State by 11. SLAM

Wednesday, April 5:

Cavaliers ride into Beantown. They have a point to prove. Despite my screaming from the aforementioned seat they prove it. Cleveland by 6.

T'wolves go to Portland. This is an intriguing match up.Portland by 11.

Saturday, April 8:

Doc's team hooks up with the Popovich Gang. No rest for anyone. San Antonio by 7.

Monday, April 10:

Washington tries out the former Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons. Detroit is not quite that old school. Washington by 12.

Rockets fly to the Bay Area. The water might make them fizzle. Golden State by 5.

posted by Howard_T at 02:43 PM on April 04