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: August 31, 2015

Howard_T has posted 36 links and 2935 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

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

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Just like their two legal mavens who've spent the last 6 months telling us Brady has no hope.

From all that has been reported from Judge Berman's courtroom, it sounds as if the NFL is in trouble. The little voice in my head says there is something going on that is not being heard. My feeling is that the NFL has put itself into a position where it must have the full 4-game suspension in order to maintain some semblance of credibility. Brady might or might not accept a lesser suspension or no suspension and just a fine. If he has to admit guilt, there will be no such settlement. Meanwhile, Berman is trying to tell both sides in no uncertain terms that they won't get a settlement on those terms and they have to back off. Berman truly wants a negotiated settlement if one is possible. If he is forced to rule, it will be an all or nothing call -- 4 games or a complete vacation of the suspension. The last thing he wants is to have to make a judgement against either party and wind up having the case go to the Court of Appeals. If the case does go to a higher court, the possibility is there that Berman's ruling will be reversed, and no judge ever wants that to happen, right or wrong. Thus, I suspect that Brady isn't quite out of the woods yet. Even if Berman throws Roger Goodell out of his courtroom, there will be an appeal, and on and on we go. Consider it a welfare project with long-term employment for lawyers and sports writers.

posted by Howard_T at 10:45 PM on August 20

Little League Team Throws Game at World Series

I had a situation when umpiring a Babe Ruth entry league (13-year-old kids who were of marginal skills) where one team could win the top seed for the playoffs, while the other team was going nowhere. The problem was a strict time limit that prohibited a new inning from starting after a certain amount of time. The game was not yet official, time was running short, and the team with playoff aspirations, leading on the scoreboard, could not afford a "no game" ruling. (Ties were not replayed or played as a suspended game. They were just treated as if they had not been played. Blame a shortage of fields and umpires and the competing pressures of other activities.) The coach of the team leading asked me what I could do to make sure the game got past the top of the 4th, and thus became official. I advised him I could do nothing other than encouraging hustle, but that he could make sure his batters swung at anything reasonable, did not waste time getting to the plate, and if all else failed, deliberately make outs. I made sure that the other coach was aware this was going on, and that if he objected, I would try to stop the other team from doing this. As it turned out, he did not care, his kids understood the situation, and all went well.

This is quite different from playing to lose in order to gain advantage, but it still involves a failure to give one's best effort at all times. Perhaps I wold have better said that speeding up the game was his responsibility, and how he did it was up to him, as long as it was within the rules of baseball. Losing a game in order to gain a more advantageous playoff situation has happened a number of times, but doing it in so blatant a manner should be punished.

posted by Howard_T at 01:51 PM on August 19

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

being outside the base paths, those runners would have been out for that reason, I believe.

The base paths aren't exactly what most people think they are. The base path is not defined as the nice straight line between those canvas sacks. The base path is established once the play on a runner begins. Now usually the runner is trying to take the shortest route, and this is on that nice straight line. Now picture this. With one out the batter-runner hits a base hit to the outfield. On the play a runner, let's say from first, is thrown out attempting to get to third base. The batter-runner, thinking that this is the third out of the inning turns to run directly across the infield toward the third base dugout. About the time he gets halfway to the mound (closer to second than first), the fielders and the batter-runner wake up to what's going on. The ball is thrown to the second baseman at the bag, and the batter-runner heads directly to the bag. Instead of setting up a rundown or otherwise attempting to make a tag, the second baseman looks at the umpire and asks him to declare the batter-runner out for being out of the baseline. While this is going on, the batter-runner makes it to the bag and the umpire says "safe". Why? The play on the runner was started when the runner was on the grass of the infield between the mound and second. Thus his baseline is the line directly between where he is and the bag, and he is given a 3-foot margin on either side to evade a tag. As long as he does not go outside this line, the runner is not out. When the second baseman chose to ignore him, and the runner sneaked in, the umpire correctly ruled "safe". Nobody ever believes me when I tell them this, but it was in the case book, and was on the exam one year.

posted by Howard_T at 01:27 PM on August 12

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

but in this instance would it still matter?

No run may score if the third out of an inning is the result of the batter-runner being put out prior to reaching first base or if the third out is a force play on a preceding runner. I have never heard of any call being made after a fielder abandons an attempt to make a play on a ball, whether or not the ball is subsequently touched by a non-player.

Here is the excerpt from the rule book of the exceptions to a run scoring:

EXCEPTION: A run is not scored if the runner advances to home base during a play in which the third out is made

(1) by the batter runner before he touches first base;

(2) by any runner being forced out; or

(3) by a preceding runner who is declared out because he failed to touch one of the bases.

(b) When the winning run is scored in the last half inning of a regulation game, or in the last half of an extra inning, as the result of a base on balls, hit batter or any other play with the bases full which forces the runner on third to advance, the umpire shall not declare the game ended until the runner forced to advance from third has touched home base and the batter runner has touched first base. An exception will be if fans rush onto the field and physically prevent the runner from touching home plate or the batter from touching first base. In such cases, the umpires shall award the runner the base because of the obstruction by the fans.

What saves the umpires from having egg all over their faces is the fact that the batter-runner passed one of the preceding runners. He is out, but since he has already touched first base, exception 1, above, is not satisfied, and additionally, since the batter-runner is out, all forces are removed. Runners failing to advance to a base may be called out by the umpire, but since it becomes a time play, the run would score anyway. The rule of equity (what umpires use when the situation is FUBAR -- a great acronym used often in the US Armed Forces) would say in this case that had all things gone according to the normal course of play, the run would have scored and the game would be over. As I said before, along about January the rule books and case books come off the shelf, and the study begins.

posted by Howard_T at 11:11 PM on August 11

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

in a way that helps their team

It might also hurt their team. Spectator interference is a judgement call on the part of the umpires. They judge what bases would have been gained had the interference not occurred, and since it is a judgement call, it cannot be appealed nor is there replay involved. The umpires will usually get together and work out the call, but it is not without possibility that they might go a little heavy on the home team if they suspect some deliberate act. The best example I can think of is spectator interference vs the ground rule double, or to put it into rule book language, a 2-base award for a batted ball that bounds over a fence into dead ball territory. In this case, a runner at first is also awarded 2 bases and is stopped at third. In the case of spectator interference, the 2-base award is not automatic. The umpires could award 3 bases to the runner and 2, or even 3 or 4, to the batter-runner.

posted by Howard_T at 09:22 PM on August 10

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Marshawn Lynch revisits the play call that determined the outcome of the Super Bowl.

posted by Howard_T at 02:40 PM on August 10

Texans RB, Arian Foster Publically Declares Himself an Atheist

Oh man, I am so close to agreeing with the sentiment on that shirt...

posted by Howard_T at 02:38 PM on August 10

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

You have it exactly correct, grum. Once the batter-runner reaches first, and the runner from third base has touched home plate, the game is over. Any subsequent action is meaningless. If indeed the batter-runner is out because he passes a preceding runner, his being out negates any force play, and the "time play" situation (run scoring before the third out is recorded) comes into effect. The other possibility, that of force plays at 3rd and 2nd, if they are the final 2 outs of the inning, could negate the run, but having a security guard touch the ball causes a dead ball. Thus, the runners and the batter-runner are placed at the last base earned, unless forced to advance, in which case the batter-runner is awarded first, and the others are awarded 2nd and 3rd, as appropriate. To be really specific, the security guard touching the ball should be considered spectator interference, and the umpires will award bases as their judgement determines where everyone should end up. It is situations such as this that make umpires at every level stay up late at night studying the rule book and the case book.

posted by Howard_T at 02:36 PM on August 10

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Seven

I thought I was going to have to miss out on the BC vs Edmonton game, but I see they're not scheduled for another 15 or 20 minutes. No lengthy prognostications, just the facts, ma'am (and if you remember who said that, you might be as old as I am). BC wins it by 12.

Montreal at Ottawa: I still refuse to be fooled by Redblacks' early success. Montreal by 8.

Saskatchewan at Toronto: Argos are at home, sleeping in their own beds, sleeping with their own partners (we think), and blissful in their own city. Does this make for an easy win? No, it does not, but they will win anyway. Toronto by 4.

Winnipeg at Hamilton: Tigercats looked good against Argos last week, but Blue Bombers have done well also. Still, the cats are in the doughnut shop, and that has to mean something. Hamilton by 9.

posted by Howard_T at 09:48 PM on August 06

Roger Goodell Upholds Tom Brady's 4-Game Suspension on Appeal

I just ran across this blog tonight. It is perhaps the most reasoned analysis of the whole thing. It is written by a lawyer, Steph Stradley, who is also an NFL fan. The blog article is rather lengthy, but it is worth the read, if only to see a more or less neutral view. In response to rcades comment about leaks, above, MS Stradley makes note of the leaks and puts them in the category of "a bright, shiny object" intended to distract people from paying attention to the main point of contention.

My take on the leaks is that it is a deliberate attempt by the NFL to sully the reputation of the Patriots and Brady, thus making it more difficult for them to defend themselves in the so-called court of public opinion. This string of e-mails should be indicative of the NFL's attitude during this whole thing. Admittedly this is from a Patriots' web site, but the e-mails were sent and were not edited before being published on the site. Take them for what they are.

posted by Howard_T at 10:35 PM on July 31

Roger Goodell Upholds Tom Brady's 4-Game Suspension on Appeal

I find compelling the legal analysis offered by the lawyer and sports journalist Lester Munson.

Who works for ESPN.

There seems to be a pattern here of sources within the NFL leaking information, both false and somewhat accurate, if incomplete, to ESPN. (Absolutely false statements about the ball pressures and an incomplete statement about Brady's 'phone records.) The tactic seems to be to get the focus placed on supposed misconduct by Brady and the Patriots, rather than any stretching of the CBA. It's a bit like handing a can of gasoline and a book of matches to an arsonist and making him promise not to start any fires.

posted by Howard_T at 03:42 PM on July 31

The IOC announces Beijing as the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

It's like the bad joke about Chinese food: Have the Olympics and 13 years later you want to have the Olympics again.

posted by Howard_T at 03:30 PM on July 31

Roger Goodell Upholds Tom Brady's 4-Game Suspension on Appeal

I was shocked the NFL filed a suit pre-emptively to defend itself within minutes of announcing the appeal decision.

Why be shocked, rcade? The NFL was dead sure that the NFLPA would follow through with its stated intention of going to court over the suspension. They filed as soon as they could in order to have the idea of "first to file" in their favor, thus having a better chance of New York being the venue for the actual hearing. The motive for doing this is that their case might not be as solid as many think. When I skimmed through the NFLPA's filing, I noted that there was precedent that precluded Brady from being punished for violations related to equipment; such violations were found to be the fault of the team and not the individual. There were also precedents that players had not been punished for "general awareness" of violations. The New Orleans "Bountygate"* and the Miami bullying** cases were specifically cited. The NFLPA is claiming that the specific punishment by suspension of Brady would be an illegal expansion of the NFL's disciplinary procedures. Much is based on "The Law of the Shop" labor practices.

*The NFLPA claims that members of the New Orleans defense other than those actually punished for offenses must have been "generally aware" of the bounty practice, but were not punished.

**Similarly, the NFLPA's claim is that in the Miami bullying case, members of the offensive line other than Richie Incognito must have been "generally aware" of the bullying and did nothing to stop it. They too were not subjected to discipline.

posted by Howard_T at 12:37 PM on July 31

Roger Goodell Upholds Tom Brady's 4-Game Suspension on Appeal

The NFLPA based its filing in MN on the facts that the NFL did business there and had a franchise there. It's the same idea as suing Walmart in Detroit, for example. You would rather get a hearing there than to enter the suit in Bentonville, Arkansas. The NFL offices being in NYC is one of the reasons that the judge who initially ruled on the appeal in MN gave in his decision to move it all to NYC.

posted by Howard_T at 04:51 PM on July 30