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 22, 2014

Howard_T has posted 35 links and 2721 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

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

Big deals at the deadline; help or hurt?: Here is a team-by-team sampling of the in-season trades that had an effect on that year's pennant race. This year's deadline was about 15 minutes ago. Who did well, who did poorly, and who did nothing? I disagree with at least one of the author's selections, but I'll add that as a comment later.

posted by Howard_T to baseball at 04:14 PM on July 31 - 18 comments

Recent Comments

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

The story on Shields has historically been that if you don't get to him early, you won't get to him. Last night reinforced that idea. The KC bullpen wasn't that bad, but once you are down 4, allowing even one more is not acceptable. Baumgartner is a beast of mythical proportions. I didn't turn to this game until quite late -- Bruins were in a beauty against San Jose -- but the little I saw and heard, and what I had seen in previous games, told me that he is scary.

posted by Howard_T at 03:04 PM on October 22

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Thoughts and prayers to everyone affected.

And from myself as well. Stay strong, Canada, we are with you.

posted by Howard_T at 02:50 PM on October 22

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

...but are they getting more overall people to watch?

I have watched much of the postseason, and I have enjoyed it. However, I do not wear overalls, nor do I know very many people who do. Perhaps people who wear overalls are too busy with other things to watch baseball.

posted by Howard_T at 05:09 PM on October 20

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Games in Arizona under a waxing moon while his brother was a base coach:

grum, you've outdone yourself this time. BTW, thanks for the Bobby Thompson video. I almost got in my truck to head for the State Liquor Store to buy a bottle of Four Roses. I'll make do with a beer later on.

posted by Howard_T at 04:07 PM on October 18

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

ABC News compared last night's walk-off to the Bobby Thompson home run in 1951. Man, did that stir a memory. I was 10-years-old, listening to the game on the kitchen radio as my mom fixed dinner. I was a Braves fan, but for some reason I liked the Giants, or perhaps it was dislike for the Dodgers. I really don't remember the reason, but when Thompson hit the home run, I started jumping around and yelling. My mom was a bit of a fan too, she broke out the bottle of Four Roses, and poured each of us a shot. She was smart enough to sip, I wasn't! Once I could breathe again, I was considerably quieter. Perhaps that was mom's plan all along.

posted by Howard_T at 04:56 PM on October 17

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Well, one good thing came out of last night's Pats' win-that-felt-like-a-loss

Belichick had the Patriots play just well enough to win on purpose. He really wants to keep Rex Ryan around as HC of the NYJ for just a little longer. Ah Bill, you sly devil, you know he's good for 2 NE wins per year.

posted by Howard_T at 04:44 PM on October 17

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 17

I'm running late as usual. I've promised my son "chicken macaroni and cheese" for dinner tonight, and it takes a bit of time. Here we go with abundant babblement.

Ottawa at Hamilton: The REDBLACK will attempt not to become a group of rakeshames, but in so doing might incite the Tigercats to become wranglesome. An Ottawa win here would certainly be ear-erecting. Hamilton by 16.

Montreal at Toronto: The ability of the Argonauts to illaqueate appears superior to that of the Larks. Since the Allouettes have to fly to the big town by the lake, they might avoid becoming a daggle-tailed group. However, their chance of a victory is nuncupatory only. Toronto by 12.

Calgary at Winnipeg: A meeting of two teams in longinquity. From recent performance it looks like the Blue Bombers' chances aren't worth a quadrin. Perhaps the squabbish linemen of the Stampeders will prove to be tardigridous and make jackpuddings of themselves, but I think not. Calgary by 9.

Edmonton at Saskatchewan: The valiant but stalactical Eskimos enter the land of the Roughriders. The Riders are likely to obequitate and not do well in this. The cycopede agrees that nothing is sure, but Edmonton's chances appear to be packthread. Edmonton by 11.

My attempts to uptrain my vocabulary show me to be a gastriloquist. Next week, in the after-wise, I probably will be shown to have maffled.

posted by Howard_T at 04:39 PM on October 17

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

That assumes perfect umpiring, which we do not have.

Robot umps, man. Can't wait.

We do not have perfect players either. Nor do we have perfect men (or women) in anything mankind does. This is the beauty of competitive sports. Because they are played and officiated by imperfect people, the result of the contest is unpredictable. Has there ever been a poll of professional baseball players that asks their preference for human (imperfect) umpires or robot (allegedly perfect) judging machines? I wold bet that the players not only prefer the human element, but would rather have some imperfection to the calling of a game. If you really want perfection, let's go all the way. Develop robot players, robot judges, and the contest will become one among the engineers and software developers to build the better robots. Just wait until general managers look to trade a faster processor for a field programmable gate array.

posted by Howard_T at 10:21 PM on October 15

"How Rebounds Work"

Rebounds work through the combination of Newton's law (a body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion in a straight line, unless acted upon by a force.), the force of gravity (Newton again), and the coefficient of restitution of the basketball. Someone with a high mathematics and physics IQ could probably predict in general terms where the rebounds of shots from certain positions will go. Of course, it's a lot easier to use data accumulated over a number of trials. I'm being a bit facetious with the above, but the best rebounders have long had the game sense to position themselves in the most advantageous position. The smaller players, particularly guards, seem to be better at this than many of the "bigs".

posted by Howard_T at 10:10 PM on October 15

Royals Advance to First World Series Since 1985

I missed today's clinching game, but it has been just a lot of fun watching KC in the postseason this year. They hustle, play great defense, have good pitching, and play with great enthusiasm. I am officially a fan (at least until April).

posted by Howard_T at 10:02 PM on October 15

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Subtlety, yes, but the framing of the pitch must be done very nicely. As an umpire, if I see the catchers glove move after the catch is made, I will usually make a ball call. The only way I won't is if the pitch is obviously a strike or the catcher was crossed up by the pitcher (expecting a pitch outside and getting one inside, etc.). A really accomplished catcher (Molina is the best at the craft) will start moving the glove before he makes the catch, and then continues the motion into the strike zone. When a pitch is just off the corner, it is really hard to tell whether the glove first contacted the ball in or out of the strike zone. The difference might be two or three calls per game, but in a close game that can make a real difference. A catcher who does it well is an artist, all the others are journeymen.

posted by Howard_T at 11:08 PM on October 14

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 16

It's time once again to hear the thrilling stories of the Old West. No, wait a minute, that was the radio intro to "The Lone Ranger". Let's try hearing the bold predictions of someone who has no idea of what he is doing. Some really tough games to predict this week, but that has never stopped me. We press onward.

Hamilton at Toronto: Tiger Cats vs Sailors of Myth. The story is told that just before the steamer Portland sailed from Boston's India Wharf on her ill-fated voyage in November 1898 (She now lies in the depths off Gloucester, MA.), one prospective passenger saw the ship's cat removing her litter of kittens from the vessel. The man opined that if the ship wasn't good enough for the cat, it wasn't for him either, thus saving his life. So sailors and cats have a long-standing relationship, but in this case it's the sailors who should jump ship. Hamilton by 5.

Ottawa at BC: Another set of cats welcomes those who sport the REDBLACK checkered pattern long associated with the lumber and outdoors industries. Cats have been known to climb trees and occasionally get stuck. The best advice is to leave kitty alone. Those in the know claim never to have discovered the skeleton of a dead cat in a tree. Look for Ottawa to be covered in the litter. BC by 17.

Saskatchewan at Montreal: Montreal retires a number, and Roughriders might want to see if Calvillo might want to unretire and play for them. Putting a rookie QB in the saddle against Calgary didn't work. His successor played better, but some mistakes by coaches and players cost them the game. Larks will be flying sky high, and Riders will be trying to stay on the horse. Montreal by 2.

Winnipeg at Edmonton: Blue Bombers will try to land safely on the ice at Edmonton while Eskimos stand by to watch the wreckage. It looks like the Bombers don't have the correct equipment to attempt an ice landing. Eskimos will try to mess up the navigation aids as well, so Winnipeg is in trouble. Although Edmonton has been inconsistent, they will hold together this week. Edmonton by 9.

posted by Howard_T at 03:54 PM on October 10

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Why do two nearly identical pitches produce different results? The answer might lie in the umpire's precise position on each of the pitches. After a pitch, the umpire will almost always straighten up to make the call. He then will place his feet into position to assume his stance, bend and crouch slightly as the pitcher begins his stretch or windup, and only when the pitcher is almost at the release point will the umpire go into his full crouch. We are taught certain visual clues to get us to proper positioning, but most of them depend on the batter's size and stance, and batters move a bit too. I know quite well that as hard as I might try, my head position and foot position are just a little different each time. It is not a great difference, perhaps an inch or two, give or take some fractions, but it is different. Thus the view of each pitch is very slightly different. When 2 pitches are as close to identical as the two in this case, the umpire's head and foot position can easily make one a strike and the other a ball. The .gifs aren't displaying on my laptop for some reason, but can anyone look closely enough at Dale Scott's head and determine if it is in exactly the same spot on both pitches? I don't think it is, nor can anyone determine so. If anything it will be in a slightly different spot on each pitch. The preceding is theory, but it is an entirely plausible explanation for the difference in calls.

posted by Howard_T at 09:30 PM on October 07

The NBA has a new TV deal.

Even the new deal is pretty sweet. $500 Mil plus some part of a deal between Silnas and the 4 former ABA clubs. It's a bit like hitting it big on one of your stocks, the stock paying good dividends and splitting several times. Now your position is "overweight", so you sell a big chunk of it and retain some small portion that is protected from dropping below a certain value. Nice work, Mr. Silnas.

posted by Howard_T at 05:53 PM on October 07

MLB Pace-of-Game Committee Suggests Six New Rules

Or maybe I've just become grumpy as I've aged.

Welcome to the Smelly, Crotchety Organization of Old Farts, aka SCOOF. Remember our motto "Get off the lawn, you stinkin' brats". I do agree with your opinions on the national broadcasts. However, they are tame compared to what NESN trots out during its telecasts of Red Sox games. There are frequent shots of one or another celebrity, usually an advertiser, sitting in the stands with his cell 'phone growing out of his ear. Full innings of play-by-play are lost while our beloved Don and Jerry interview some guest who is promoting a charity event. When there are no guests, the description of game action is superseded by juvenile banter between the two broadcasters. This adds nothing to the production value of the program.

On a brighter note, I watched the MLB Network telecast of the Cardinals-Dodgers game last night, or was it this morning. This was a tight pitcher's duel between Greinke and Lynn, featured a good bit of decision making by the two managers, and showed that baseball does not need a lot of fast-paced action to be an absorbing, cerebral event. Add to this a fantastic 18-inning affair between Washington and San Francisco, where a manager's decision to pull a starter late in a game led to a tie game. Here again, every move, every pitch, every placement of the defense, every approach by a hitter, every little thing that happens in a game had a large impact.

I have been watching the Kansas City-Anaheim series closely as well. KC plays the sort of baseball that might almost be called "throwback". Good pitching, solid defense, apply pressure once you reach base, make the fielders think about what is going on, and you have a game where there is action as long as the ball is not dead. (Unlike other sports, the ball is in play at all times unless stopped by an umpire. The ball is put back into play by the plate umpire when the cause for the dead ball has been corrected and all are ready for play to resume. This previous is not intended to talk down to you all. It's just that some believe the ball is in play only when pitched.) Anaheim has played very, very well in this series, but KC seems to have made the one move per game that made the difference. It's been great baseball in this series, and overall a really good post-season so far.

As long as baseball is played the way the 10 teams involved in this post-season have played, the sport will not die. My hope is that those who announce and comment on the games will spend more time giving insight into the "inside baseball" aspects of the game. As insufferable as Harold Reynolds can be (does he ever shut up?), he still knows the game and can explain it quite well. The same is true of the analysts on TNT and Fox, for the most part.

posted by Howard_T at 01:05 PM on October 05