Recent Comments by Howard_T

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

You have overlooked the warlike reputation of that group of people known as Celts (pronounced Kelts), beaverboard. The Gauls, a Celtic tribe, gave the Roman warriors fits when the Roman Empire expanded. In more modern times, the Gaels, both Scottish and Irish variety, have been worthy nemeses to warriors from England. A Mavericks vs Celtics series would be no problem for the Green. A Maverick is an unbranded or yearling calf. No Irishman worthy of his heritage would hesitate for a moment at the prospect of having some freshly slaughtered beef.

posted by Howard_T at 04:39 PM on May 17, 2022

NBA Playoff Pickem: Conference Finals Edition

My picks:

Celtics in 6
Warriors in 7
Top point scorer: Doncic
Top rebounder: Horford
Top scoring team: Warriors
Team scoring 130: Warriors

Total eclipse of the Suns in round 2 has left me in the cellar. TD Garden is a crazy place to be when the Celtics are in the playoffs, especially in a game 7.

posted by Howard_T at 06:03 PM on May 16, 2022

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Sad to hear of the death of Pistons great Bob Lanier on Tuesday. He is remembered for being a gentleman and generous to a fault. On a lighter note he is remembered for his size 22 shoes. This commercial with Dave Cowens highlights that.

posted by Howard_T at 02:13 PM on May 11, 2022

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

I'll get one after Howard gets one

"Tattoo, tattoo! Lights out in 5 minutes. Now tattoo." OK, that's from my sea duty time, every evening 5 minutes before 4 bells of the 1st watch (2155 if you don't understand the watch system aboard ship). Turns out my sea duty was as a civilian tech rep, but it was the most fun job I ever worked. Home ported in Yokosuka, Japan, and USS Midway was known as Hotel 41. Plenty of opportunity for tattoos in such places as Hong Kong; Subic Bay, PI; and Pattaya Beach, Thailand, but I always found other delights to occupy my time. Our son was conceived in Japan, and my wife and I seriously considered having him tattooed with "Made in Japan" somewhere around his butt. We never did, and now he says he wishes we had. Cool about Len Bias. There are Celtics fans who still grieve.

Don't hold your breath waiting for a tattoo. My fair body has remained unsullied for all of its 81 years, and shall remain so for whatever I have left.

posted by Howard_T at 04:37 PM on May 04, 2022

NBA Playoff Pickem: Conference Semifinals Edition

My picks:

Heat in 5
Suns in 6
Celtics in 7
Grizzlies in 7
Top point scorer: Booker
Top rebounder: Antetekoumpo
Top scoring team: Suns
Team scoring 130: Suns

Celtics looked bad today, and couldn't hit the ocean from the dock. Defense was good, though.

posted by Howard_T at 04:36 PM on May 01, 2022

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Don't blame me, beaverboard. I've never played Indian Pond.

Disclaimer: Anything that I do on a golf course that resembles the game of golf is usually an accident.

posted by Howard_T at 10:51 AM on April 28, 2022

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Let's hear it for BenjaminLeo, president of the Daniel Theis and Dennis Schroeder fan club..

posted by Howard_T at 07:49 PM on April 20, 2022

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

I was cooking for 9 people today; my wife's family came up from Connecticut for dinner and "catching up". Gail's step mother is 92, so there won't be many more chances to get together. I was able to catch bits and pieces of the first half in between trips between the grill, the 3-season porch, and the kitchen. We were settled for dinner on the porch during the 2nd half, but our son (and my assistant cook) made numerous trips to the kitchen to bring us updates. Just before dessert we heard a piercing scream from the kitchen. I jumped up from my seat, knocked over the chair, and damn near broke an ankle in my mad dash. I got there just in time to see the replay that confirmed that Tatum's layup beat the clock. I can bet that the Garden went nuts.

Holy Week is a frantic time for Vergers like me, and beside having company, I was very busy at church. I knew that I would not make it to the game, so I put the seats on Ticketmaster for sale. They sold for roughly double the discounted price that season ticket holders would pay. So essentially game 2 is free for us, and my son and I will be there in our usual place, Section 316, Row 5, Seats 9 and 10. We are looking forward to it. So right now I'm watching the game via the magic of the dvr.

posted by Howard_T at 10:56 PM on April 17, 2022

Enter the SportsFilter NBA Playoff Pickem

My picks:

Mavericks in 5
Timberwolves in 7
Raptors in 6
Warriors in 6
Heat in 4
Celtics in 7
Bucks in 5
Suns in 4
Top point scorer: Durant
Top rebounder: Embiid
Top scoring team: Celtics
Team scoring 130: Celtics

posted by Howard_T at 12:46 PM on April 16, 2022

Steelers Quarterback Dwayne Haskins Fatally Struck by Car

I pray for Dwayne Haskins family. To hear of the untimely death of a child is the dread of any parent. Our son is 33 tomorrow, and since the time he first started going out with his friends and that he or they could drive, I have had many nights when I prayed that the 'phone would not ring. I wonder if Mr. Brandt has any children, and if so whether he ever had reason to worry. He scores about an 11 on my 1-10 total dickhead scale.

posted by Howard_T at 04:58 PM on April 09, 2022

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

That menu makes me miss my years in Japan. Of course, I would not have been able to afford a meal like that in Japan or anywhere else. I wonder what kind of fish was served for the sashimi. Fugu (blowfish) was one of my favorites, but they might have had a problem finding a licensed fugu chef near Augusta, Georgia. What a headline that would make: "Masters Champions Wiped Out by Poisonous Fish".

posted by Howard_T at 09:01 AM on April 07, 2022

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

What goes on in the arena during TV timeouts? At Celtics games there are some funny and entertaining videos, but Atlanta Hawks have taken the prize for originality. I'm glad the Celtics didn't do this on a night when my wife and I were there.

posted by Howard_T at 03:24 PM on March 17, 2022

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

So Mr. Brady has decided to unretire. There will be many reasons for this decision put forward - Brady himself says he has 'unfinished business', but any married man who finds himself at home with some time on his hands will soon regret his decision to retire. Tom, you should have asked me what it is like when your wife realizes that you can now take care of all those nice 'little jobs' that have piled up around the house.

posted by Howard_T at 06:20 PM on March 14, 2022

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Even Ja Morant is incapable of reaching Level 7 at TD Garden with a stray elbow. Thus, he never came close to me. He can come close. The game itself was one of the better ones of the season. Al Horford might have used a banned substance containing waters from Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth before the game. There was one sequence where he was isolated down low with Morant trying to defend. It just wasn't a fair match; 6'1" cannot defend 6'9" in any game. The entire game looked like a month of highlight clips. It's the sort of thing that makes my season tickets worth the price.

Note: My seats are directly below the camera position used for the general full court view of the game. What you see in the video clip is what we see during the game.

posted by Howard_T at 04:01 PM on March 04, 2022

Most NHL Teams Have a Dog

Howard, if you have a goose problem

I have been umpiring for a long time, and I haven't been goosed yet. OK, actually very few of the fields I work are in places that attract geese. There is one field that had a resident flock -- the local bird watchers were all over it because of a rare Greater White Fronted Goose that was hanging out with the Canadian Geese-- but I haven't worked it for years. If you have Canadian Geese using a field, it can be worse than having a large pack of dogs with bowel problems.

Geese can be a real problem for aircraft in flight. The US Air A-320 that had to ditch in the Hudson River is an example. Airports use many methods to keep them away. Boston's Logan Airport often has a Snowy Owl take up residence in the winter. It seems to like the location, and just shows up some years. This is a good thing because it keeps the smaller birds away.

posted by Howard_T at 11:01 PM on February 15, 2022

Rocket Mortgage Wins Super Bowl USA Today Ad Meter

The older a man gets

Commercials? Football game? I guess that's what my wife was watching. I was busy cleaning up after dinner and getting started on a new Spinach and Artichoke Dip recipe for the 2nd half snack. In the meantime, Tuesday night is our monthly Vestry meeting, and I had to write my report. My wife and I watched most of the 2nd half together, but I really wasn't paying a lot of attention to the commercials.

posted by Howard_T at 04:20 PM on February 14, 2022

Harden-Simmons Swap Leads Day of NBA Trades

In the short term, 76ers win the deal, but in the long term, I really believe Nets come out way ahead. We will see.

posted by Howard_T at 07:16 PM on February 10, 2022

76ers and Nets May Swap Ben Simmons and James Harden

The Nets insist that James Harden 'ain't going anywhere'. We have heard that before about many players, but in this case, I think it's true. As well as James Harden can play, he has his limits on defense and with controlling his emotions. I understand the lure of acquiring such an offensive force, but the question would be how he complements the team. Does his game fit right in, or will you have to build a new offense around him? Giving up an All Star quality player in exchange for Simmons is not likely. Nets would need much more in the fashion of draft picks and top young players. 76ers won't go that far, but they would do much to remove the Simmons albatross from their neck.

posted by Howard_T at 02:04 PM on February 09, 2022

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Interesting that the Florio link is broken

Would it surprise anyone that the NFL had something to do with the link being taken down?

The Tom E. Curran Podcast with Mike Florio is still available here. The Deflategate part begins at about 3:30. The issue is not whether or not the balls had been deflated. Rather, it is about the conduct of the NFL in deliberately spreading disinformation (to Chris Mortensen of ESPN), and later suppressing the results of the testing that possibly disproved wrongdoing by New England. This story, as well as the more recent news about hiring practices of the clubs, puts a glaring light on the NFL operations.

posted by Howard_T at 01:45 PM on February 09, 2022

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

From the 'Assault on an Expired Equine' department, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio exposes the NFL's suppression of evidence that would have cleared New England of wrongdoing in the Deflategate affair. We Spofites made reference to the Ideal Gas Law at the time the story first broke, and it turns out that the NFL figured out that it was valid. Is there no end to the corruption that seems to exist in the league?

posted by Howard_T at 04:59 PM on February 08, 2022

What the USMNT Need to Qualify

I caught a little of the 2nd half vs Honduras, tuning in just in time to see Pulicic enter the game. Within seconds he drew a foul, and then later scored the 3rd US goal when the ball found him during a scramble following a corner. I don't know what happened with Pulicic against Canada, perhaps it was good marking, but it might well be "as Pulicic goes, so goes the Nation". The bad news is that I still have to put up with comments from my Nova Scotian cousins about their win over US.

posted by Howard_T at 04:42 PM on February 04, 2022

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

At risk of an accusation of committing felony assault against an expired equine, I submit this piece by Chuck Modano on "Deadspin". It presents some interesting ideas to support Brian Flores against the NFL.

posted by Howard_T at 04:31 PM on February 04, 2022

Tom Brady Retires

Thanks, beaverboard, for the Christopher Price piece on Tom Martinez. It adds a lot of depth to the Brady retirement story.

posted by Howard_T at 06:12 PM on February 02, 2022

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

The nazi flag was red, with the black swastika in a white circle. There was no gold color, and red and gold could be confused with the Soviet red banner with the gold hammer and sickle. I don't understand how anyone who has ever studied even a tiny bit of 20th century history would be confused. It must be the overly high sensitivity of a portion of the population to symbols that they do not like. The Chinese character is FU. Perhaps they should have placed it twice in the design so we could have F U 2.

posted by Howard_T at 06:02 PM on February 02, 2022

Hail to the Washington Commanders

Commanders? Why such a comparatively low pay grade? A commander in the US Navy would not command a large vessel or unit; usually it would be a destroyer or smaller warship, an aviation squadron, or a small naval station. Being known as the Commanders limits the expectations of the team always to be in a subordinate position. Admirals would have been a better choice. The Admiral is in charge of the whole thing; he marshalls his resources and wins the battle. Admirals also are divided into four grades. Rear Admirals are the lowest grade; perhaps a member of the defensive backfield could be called a rear admiral. A misbehaving member of the team might be a Vice Admiral, and a swift wide receiver could be the Fleet Admiral. The name 'Admirals' offers many more opportunities for such sobriquets.

posted by Howard_T at 05:42 PM on February 02, 2022

Accidental Bill Belichick Text Messages At Center Of Brian Flores Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against NFL, Giants

Bill Belichick's problems with technology have been documented, so I'm not surprised at the mistake; the resultant furor will not serve him well. It would not surprise me to hear of the NFL exerting some pressure upon the Kraft family to hasten his retirement. Nonetheless, this is probably what the NFL needs to clean up its act.

Tahoemoj probably can give us a more informed opinion on the merits of Flores's case, but to this uninformed layman it is fairly solid regarding the discriminatory hiring practices. The Rooney Rule is nothing but window dressing, attempting to cover a very messy house. The allegations against the Denver interviewing group are a "he said, she said" sort of thing, and will be hard to prove without some corroboration. The same holds true for the alleged offer of payments for losing games. Without some witnesses, a paper trail, or video it's Ross's word against Flores's.

What is really interesting is the story about recruiting a noted quarterback. According to Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post, that quarterback was Tom Brady. At the time, 2019, Brady was still under contract to New England Patriots. Flores was the former Defensive Coordinator of the Patriots, thus he would have had a somewhat close relationship with Brady. When Flores found out about whom he was supposed to meet, he immediately backed out. Stephen Ross should thank him for that. You can bet that Patriots would have screamed tampering, it would have been easy to prove, and Miami would have paid a heavy price. Instead, Ross chose to denigrate Flores, and by doing so lost a pretty good coach. All it will take to prove the attempted tampering, if true,, is for Brady to tell his side of the story.

Does anyone care to start a prop bet on how much discussion on NFL programming (major national networks and the NFL Network) about the lawsuit takes place during the days leading to and including the Super Bowl? I will take the under.

posted by Howard_T at 01:33 PM on February 02, 2022

Tom Brady Retires

Tom Brady has made good use of his throwing coaches. The more recent is former MLB pitcher Tom House, but most, including myself, had forgotten Tom Martinez, who coached Brady from high school. Brady was a baseball catcher, good enough to at least gain some attention from MLB scouts, but catchers tend to have some bad throwing techniques. They rarely have time to stand and set their feet, so it is mostly all arm strength. I am not surprised that Brady was not a good NFL passer at first. With the benefit of hindsight, I am not surprised that he took advantage of his coaching and applied his well known work ethic to improving.

posted by Howard_T at 12:59 PM on February 01, 2022

Robot Umpires Moving up to AAA Baseball Next Year

I looked at the qualifications required, and were I about 30 years younger, I might apply. The only things I don't have in my experience are attachment to a team and experience with an iPhone. All the rest are there. Working under pressure? How about when your data recording and processing equipment craps out during a flight test when the aircraft is at the end of the runway and ready to go? The penalty for missing flight time was $25,000 per hour. This was in 1969 at Douglas Aircraft when the DC-10 was in test. There have been a few other times when an equipment reset was needed, and delay cost money. Knowledge of the rules? I think I can handle that. The biggest problem is that there's nowhere near where I live that is involved. Of course, if I were ever hired, I would do my best to make it fail. Human beings are fallible, the game is played and officiated by humans, and robots are not needed. Please tell me how a robot can do a decent job of ejecting a furious manager. Right, all of the fun of the good, old fashioned rhubarb is gone. I hate the idea.

posted by Howard_T at 08:50 PM on January 23, 2022

NFL Pickem Champion: Tahoemoj

Congratulations, tahoemoj, your case was well argued and the disposition of your fee is praiseworthy. Well done.

posted by Howard_T at 05:47 PM on January 18, 2022

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Per Front Office Sports, NCAA athletes are doing well in the era of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) marketing. Football players have received nearly half (47%) of the money so far spent. To my surprise, women basketball players have earned 27.3%, far outpacing their male counterparts who have picked up 15.6%. Perhaps this should be no surprise, because many of the more recognizable players turn professional after a very short college career.

posted by Howard_T at 11:01 PM on January 07, 2022

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Another prominent figure in sports has been lost. Dan Reeves, excellent running back on some great Dallas Cowboy's teams passed away at age 77. After his playing career, Reeves went on to coach as an assistant with Dallas and as a head coach at Denver, New York Giants, and Atlanta.

posted by Howard_T at 11:58 PM on January 01, 2022

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Wax nostalgic indeed. I was at the Celtics vs Suns matinee yesterday, and they had the usual moment of silence. I admit that I was nearly in tears. I remember watching him many times during my teens and early 20s in the old Boston Garden. On the fast break it would go something like Russell to K C Jones. Sam Jones would fill the wing to the left, and when the defender moved to stop the ball, KC would flip to Sam who would stop about 10 to 15 feet out on the left side for the quick jump shot off the glass. He almost never missed that shot.

I had to look this up, but he was originally drafted by the Lakers. Because he had to fulfill a military obligation, and then returned to college, the Lakers lost their draft rights. Red Auerbach was in North Carolina scouting players in the area, and former Wake Forest coach Bones McKinney, a friend of Auerbach, told him that the best player in the state was not at Chapel Hill, but was at North Carolina College (now NC Central). Auerbach picked him at #8 in the first round without ever having seen him play.

After his NBA career, Jones coached for some years. He finished his working life as a substitute teacher in Maryland.

posted by Howard_T at 02:06 PM on January 01, 2022

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

One more about John Madden, and it illustrates what sort of human being he was. Begin about 3/4 of the way through, at the 20th paragraph to be exact.

posted by Howard_T at 04:09 PM on December 30, 2021

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

The Turducken will always be associated with John Madden. This story from 2017 explains how the association began.

posted by Howard_T at 02:27 PM on December 29, 2021

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

A giant has passed away. John Madden, legendary football coach and broadcaster, has passed away at the age of 85. There are not enough words to describe his impact on sports broadcasting and on sports video gaming. Rest in peace, John Madden.

posted by Howard_T at 11:11 PM on December 28, 2021

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

I'm a day late with this, but Christmas is a frantic time when you are involved with a church. So Merry Christmas to all. I hope that all have been blessed in the past year as much as we in Howard_T's household. Our son is here visiting for the weekend, and it's always a joy to see him. We had some ice on the roads this morning, and the priest who was scheduled to work our Eucharist couldn't get here. I was on duty as Verger, so rather than disappoint those faithful who showed up, I led a service of Morning Prayer. If you really want to see me in action, look for Church of the Good Shepherd, Nashua, NH, and find the 9:00 AM service of December 26, 2021. Warning! It ain't pretty. So enjoy the holidays, root for your teams, and may all be well with you.

posted by Howard_T at 10:46 AM on December 26, 2021

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Someday, beaverboard, you and I will have to sit down somewhere with a copious supply of malt beverage and spend several hours discussing sports, Boston history and traditions, and whatever else the alcohol leads us to consider. No politics please, I fear that divisions would arise, but we still should do this. Perhaps with a recording machine running so the result could be posted on SpoFi. If you could make it into Boston for a Celtics game, I would like to have you occupy either seat 9 or 10 in row 5 of section 316. By the way, this invitation to a discussion or a game applies to all SpoFites who are in Boston during the basketball season or for that matter anytime.

posted by Howard_T at 01:20 PM on December 20, 2021

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Boxing was the 3rd or 4th favorite sport for me long before I discovered basketball and hockey. I was a fan in the days of Kid Gavilan and his bolo punch (an uppercut with a windup); Sandy Saddler and Willie Pep were still boxing; Boston's own Tony DeMarco was fighting for the title, but he was robbed in Syracuse by hometown favorite Carmen Basilio. Rocky Marciano, another local boy from Brockton, MA, was rising to dominate the heavyweight division. I have probably forgotten a few, but the late 1940s through the mid 1950s were a great time for boxing.

Every Friday night was special for me. Since there was no school the following day, I could listen to the radio for an extra hour. I cannot forget hearing "The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports is on the air", and waiting anxiously to hear Bill Corum and Don Dunphy describe the action from Madison Square Garden. The broadcast always started with, "The organist Gladys Gooding, the soloist Bill Farrell, ladies and gentlemen our National Anthem"...

posted by Howard_T at 01:04 PM on December 20, 2021

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Fenway Park has often been used for football. The field is laid out from the right center field bullpen toward the 3rd base line, roughly paralleling the grandstand seats along the 1st base line. It is 380 feet from home plate to the low wall in right, so adding the few feet of foul territory provides enough room for the field and the end zones. No less than 5 professional football teams have played at Fenway as their home field. The Boston Bulldogs in the 1920s American Football League, the Boston Shamrocks in another iteration of the AFL in the 1930s, and the Boston Redskins of the NFL during the 1930s played home games at Fenway and at Braves Field. Playing in 2 parks is part of the reason for the name 'Redskins'. Originally the Braves when they played in Braves Field, the name was changed upon the move to Fenway Park. George Marshall wanted to retain the Native American symbols used by the team, but he also wanted a tie in with the baseball team whose stadium he used. Thus the name 'Redskins' that kept the Native American image and combined it with the Red Sox name.

Two other professional teams used Fenway. In the 1940s, the Boston Yanks played there.The team was not successful, merged with a team from Brooklyn, and became the New York Yankees Football Team. Ultimately they became the Baltimore Colts and now the Indianapolis Colts. The last professional team to use Fenway is the Patriots. Bench space was an issue for them, so the benches were side by side in front of the left field wall.

posted by Howard_T at 04:31 PM on December 18, 2021

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Buffalo fans make a nice but very pointed gesture.

I once had back-to-back games with a team whose coach, Coach J, was notoriously hard on umpires. The first game was a very tight affair with Cleveland scouts set up behind the backstop with their jugs gun watching Coach J's pitcher. The game ended in a 2-1 loss for Coach J on 2 unearned runs. He was all over me on nearly every pitch. 2 days later I had him again. My partner and I had to walk right by him as we entered the field. Coach J said something to me about my indicator. I replied that it was the large print model for the vision impaired. From that point on, every game I had with Coach J began with several minutes of laughter.

posted by Howard_T at 10:54 AM on December 16, 2021

NFL Covid Numbers Skyrocket

When the virus first hit, this 80-year-old basically cowered in terror. When the vaccine came out, I relaxed somewhat, but I am still careful. I try to live much as I had in the past, but there are concerns. I have 2 underlying conditions that worsen the problem. It makes little or no sense to wear a mask outdoors. Perhaps in a crowd, but with ordinary spacing between people, there seems to be not much of a danger. My son had the virus about 2 months ago. He quarantined, and his symptoms were no worse than a bad cold. He's 33, and had asthma as a kid. He is experiencing shortness of breath from the virus still.

Vaccination is the way to go, but those in political power seem to disregard the reality of natural immunity after having had the virus. Also there is a small number of people who will experience harmful side effects from the vaccine (cardio myopathy, dysmennorhea among women are the 2 I have heard of the most). Those who object on grounds of infringement of liberty, while they might have what is to them an important point, need to take some measures to protect others. Mask wearing is primary. When I lived in Japan, long before Covid-19, masks were a common sight. The people wearing them were trying to protect others. A mask does little to protect the wearer but much to protect others.

This thing will take time to abate, but it will eventually subside. The example is the influenza epidemic of 1918-19. No vaccines, but it went away, or at least it turned into something a lot less deadly. Vaccines help, especially those that work against known variations of virus, non-Covid. Draconian enforcement of a vaccine mandate only causes many people to resist just for the sake of resisting what they see as tyranny.

Final word: Protect yourself and protect others, but don't expect things to get better anytime soon.

posted by Howard_T at 09:32 AM on December 16, 2021

NFL Covid Numbers Skyrocket

When the virus first hit, this 80-year-old basically cowered in terror. When the vaccine came out, I relaxed somewhat, but I am still careful. I try to live much as I had in the past, but there are concerns. I have 2 underlying conditions that worsen the problem. It makes little or no sense to wear a mask outdoors. Perhaps in a crowd, but with ordinary spacing between people, there seems to be not much of a danger. My son had the virus about 2 months ago. He quarantined, and his symptoms were no worse than a bad cold. He's 33, and had asthma as a kid. He is experiencing shortness of breath from the virus still.

Vaccination is the way to go, but those in political power seem to disregard the reality of natural immunity after having had the virus. Also there is a small number of people who will experience harmful side effects from the vaccine (cardio myopathy, dysmennorhea among women are the 2 I have heard of the most). Those who object on grounds of infringement of liberty, while they might have what is to them an important point, need to take some measures to protect others. Mask wearing is primary. When I lived in Japan, long before Covid-19, masks were a common sight. The people wearing them were trying to protect others. A mask does little to protect the wearer but much to protect others.

This thing will take time to abate, but it will eventually subside. The example is the influenza epidemic of 1918-19. No vaccines, but it went away, or at least it turned into something a lot less deadly. Vaccines help, especially those that work against known variations of virus, non-Covid. Draconian enforcement of a vaccine mandate only causes many people to resist just for the sake of resisting what they see as tyranny.

Final word: Protect yourself and protect others, but don't expect things to get better anytime soon.

posted by Howard_T at 09:32 AM on December 16, 2021

NFL Covid Numbers Skyrocket

When the virus first hit, this 80-year-old basically cowered in terror. When the vaccine came out, I relaxed somewhat, but I am still careful. I try to live much as I had in the past, but there are concerns. I have 2 underlying conditions that worsen the problem. It makes little or no sense to wear a mask outdoors. Perhaps in a crowd, but with ordinary spacing between people, there seems to be not much of a danger. My son had the virus about 2 months ago. He quarantined, and his symptoms were no worse than a bad cold. He's 33, and had asthma as a kid. He is experiencing shortness of breath from the virus still.

Vaccination is the way to go, but those in political power seem to disregard the reality of natural immunity after having had the virus. Also there is a small number of people who will experience harmful side effects from the vaccine (cardio myopathy, dysmennorhea among women are the 2 I have heard of the most). Those who object on grounds of infringement of liberty, while they might have what is to them an important point, need to take some measures to protect others. Mask wearing is primary. When I lived in Japan, long before Covid-19, masks were a common sight. The people wearing them were trying to protect others. A mask does little to protect the wearer but much to protect others.

This thing will take time to abate, but it will eventually subside. The example is the influenza epidemic of 1918-19. No vaccines, but it went away, or at least it turned into something a lot less deadly. Vaccines help, especially those that work against known variations of virus, non-Covid. Draconian enforcement of a vaccine mandate only causes many people to resist just for the sake of resisting what they see as tyranny.

Final word: Protect yourself and protect others, but don't expect things to get better anytime soon.

posted by Howard_T at 09:32 AM on December 16, 2021

NFL Covid Numbers Skyrocket

When the virus first hit, this 80-year-old basically cowered in terror. When the vaccine came out, I relaxed somewhat, but I am still careful. I try to live much as I had in the past, but there are concerns. I have 2 underlying conditions that worsen the problem. It makes little or no sense to wear a mask outdoors. Perhaps in a crowd, but with ordinary spacing between people, there seems to be not much of a danger. My son had the virus about 2 months ago. He quarantined, and his symptoms were no worse than a bad cold. He's 33, and had asthma as a kid. He is experiencing shortness of breath from the virus still.

Vaccination is the way to go, but those in political power seem to disregard the reality of natural immunity after having had the virus. Also there is a small number of people who will experience harmful side effects from the vaccine (cardio myopathy, dysmennorhea among women are the 2 I have heard of the most). Those who object on grounds of infringement of liberty, while they might have what is to them an important point, need to take some measures to protect others. Mask wearing is primary. When I lived in Japan, long before Covid-19, masks were a common sight. The people wearing them were trying to protect others. A mask does little to protect the wearer but much to protect others.

This thing will take time to abate, but it will eventually subside. The example is the influenza epidemic of 1918-19. No vaccines, but it went away, or at least it turned into something a lot less deadly. Vaccines help, especially those that work against known variations of virus, non-Covid. Draconian enforcement of a vaccine mandate only causes many people to resist just for the sake of resisting what they see as tyranny.

Final word: Protect yourself and protect others, but don't expect things to get better anytime soon.

posted by Howard_T at 09:32 AM on December 16, 2021

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I am touched by your concern. Actually, most of my friends consider me a bit touched in the head anyway. Nothing bad is going on. My wife had her second knee replacement surgery a few weeks ago, and while she recovers, yours truly functions as nurse. I have been informed by the patient that my bedside manner sucks, but she is still married to me so there's that. Mostly I just haven't had a lot of time to keep up with the pick 'ems. I have been watching you guys, and I enjoy the commentary. It's also been a busy time at church. I'm a member of the Vestry, and our Rector left us rather suddenly. Thus, we have had to do a lot of work in order to maintain our parish and work with the Bishop to get an interim Priest in Charge. Good news is that our Curate, young and inexperienced as he is, has stepped into the breach and is doing a great job until things get settled. We Vergers have been supporting him as much as we can in the liturgical part.

Thanks for checking in on me. No kidding, I really appreciate it. It means a lot, especially at this time of year with just 1 more Sunday left in Advent and Christmas just around the corner. Speaking of which, I send my best wishes to all for the season. Enjoy the holidays and stay safe.

posted by Howard_T at 09:33 PM on December 14, 2021

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

In other news this Monday, OTD in 2012, during a Thanksgiving night NFL game, Jets QB Mark Sanchez earned a place in football fame when he committed the 'butt fumble'.

posted by Howard_T at 08:13 PM on November 22, 2021

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

This from Front Office Sports of Nov. 22.

"Cleveland Guardians fans were finally able to purchase team merchandise for the first time on Friday as the team transitioned from the 106-year old Indians name. However, the Guardians Team Shop sign at Progressive Field fell to the sidewalk and smashed into pieces shortly after the merch went on sale."

Things like this were taken as omens by the ancients.

posted by Howard_T at 02:31 PM on November 22, 2021

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Something called "Front Office Sports" began showing up in my inbox a few weeks ago. I have no idea what button I clicked on by accident, but I'm not entirely displeased. Each day there are one or two interesting things about the business side of sports. Today there's an item that the Cleveland Guardians baseball team might not have a clear path to their new name. There's a roller derby team by the same name that also uses a similar logo and has the domain name clevelandguardians.com since 2013. The baseball team offered 10K for the rights, but the roller derby team has sued, asking for an injunction to keep the baseball team from using the name. The roller derby team will probably settle for more money, but it might be worth watching.

posted by Howard_T at 03:06 PM on October 28, 2021

NFL Pickem Week 8: Bungles No More Edition

My picks:

Cardinals by 6
Panthers by 3
Bills by 16 (lock)
Bears by 13 (lock)
Browns by 7
Lions by 6
Colts by 4
Bengals by 13 (lock)
Rams by 14 (lock)
Chargers by 3
Seahawks by 11 (lock)
Broncos by 6
Buccaneers by 9 (lock)
Cowboys by 8
Chiefs by 15 (lock)

posted by Howard_T at 02:53 PM on October 28, 2021

NFL Pickem Week 7: Thanks Brocephus Edition

My picks:

Browns by 9 (lock)
Packers by 12 (lock)
Chiefs by 7
Dolphins by 8
Patriots by 13 (lock)
Panthers by 6
Ravens by 9
Eagles by 3
Rams by 14 (lock)
Cardinals by 17 (lock)
Buccaneers by 15 (lock)
49ers by 10
Seahawks by 6

posted by Howard_T at 10:20 AM on October 21, 2021

Play the SportsFilter NBA Pickem

My picks:

Bucks by 11
Lakers by 9
Knicks by 6
Suns by 12 (slam dunk)
Hawks by 7 (slam dunk)
Warriors by 8 (slam dunk)
76ers by 10
Suns by 4

Many good games to watch here. Celtics vs Knicks will be fun, not only for the Boston - New York rivalry, but also to watch Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier try to show their former team what it let go.

posted by Howard_T at 03:18 PM on October 19, 2021

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

We who live in New Hampshire, the GRANITE State, look upon sandstone as an inferior material, and that ain't no schist.

posted by Howard_T at 03:11 PM on October 19, 2021

Dodgers Beat Giants in Deciding Game 5

Just don't make the call if it's this dang borderline.

When the plate umpire points at you and yells "did he go?", you have no option. You have to make a call; shrugging your shoulders and saying that you aren't sure will have you umpiring in a T-ball league. Right or wrong, sure or unsure, you give it your best judgment and sell the call like you are absolutely certain. The checked swing call usually appears perhaps 2 or 3 times in a game. Rarely does it happen in the circumstances of Dodgers vs Giants. To make it a reviewable call would eventually lead to some sort of review of balls and strikes. Perhaps an electronic strike zone with a chip in the ball and bat could be done. I hope not. Baseball is played by humans and should be officiated by humans. Neither players nor umpires are perfect, and that is as it should be. A game played by robots, or even worse, played by images on a screen is no game at all.

posted by Howard_T at 06:19 PM on October 15, 2021

Dodgers Beat Giants in Deciding Game 5

Looking at the play from the side, it's easy to see that the swing was checked. I would like to see what Flores saw. He was (or should be) 15 or so feet behind 1st base and a foot or two in foul territory. It's the only practical place from which to call swing or no swing, it's far from ideal. The plate umpire's vision is directed to the ball and the strike zone. Judging the swing, unless it's fairly obvious, is very difficult for him. So it's up to the 1st base blue, and his judgment.

Let's first look at what determines a swing. Back in the day, if the batter "broke his wrists", it was a swing. As video analysis became more common, one could see that the bat would be well into the zone where contact might be made before the batter's wrists snapped. Thus the criteria changed from wrists to whether or not the bat head crossed the plate. This is more difficult to judge than a batter's wrists. Flores could see that batter's shoulders moved toward the ball and were in a position such that arm movement alone would bring the bat to the hitting zone. Flores would also have seen the arms continue moving in the swing. How well he could see the bat makes the difference. To Flores it appeared that the bat was far enough over the plate to constitute a swing. Right or wrong, it's a judgment call.

It's the final out of the last inning of an elimination game. Do you change your criteria for a call because of the situation? All I have been taught tells me that if in my judgment it's a swing in the 2nd inning, it's a swing with 2 out in the bottom of the 9th. You shouldn't apply situation to judgment. Once you do that you need to build yourself a table of how much you change your call versus the game situation. Since the situations will have subtle differences, you will soon find yourself questioning every call you make, based on your feeling for the situation rather than the accepted interpretation of the rules. Yes, I know that the strike zone tends to expand or contract depending on the count, but the immediate consequence is another pitch. This gives both pitcher and batter the chance for a satisfactory outcome. It doesn't end an at bat nor a game or even a season.

Will the call by Flores go down in baseball history as one of the worst ever? Probably not. First of all, the call was difficult to make. You are 100 feet away, trying to determine the position of a moving object, and you have only a few milliseconds to do it. Compare it with Don Denkinger's call at 1st base in the 1985 World Series. The play happened right in front of him and wasn't close. He still got it wrong, and in the days before replay had to live with it. He admitted his error, and all players and knowledgeable fans understood and forgave him. Flores said that he saw the play as a swing. Given the difficulties involved in the call, it is easily understood. Can it be forgiven? That's not up to me, but I will bet it already has been.

posted by Howard_T at 02:43 PM on October 15, 2021

NFL Pickem Week 6: Chucky Got Chucked Edition

My picks:

Buccaneers by 9 (lock)
Jaguars by 6
Bears by 7
Bengals by 12 (lock)
Colts by 16 (lock)
Giants by 6
Chiefs by 13 (lock)
Panthers by 9
Ravens by 7 (lock)
Cardinals by 3
Raiders by 6
Patriots by 3
Steelers by 10
Bills by 16 (lock)

posted by Howard_T at 12:43 PM on October 14, 2021

Raiders Fire Gruden Over Bigoted Emails

One interesting Twiiier comment I saw on a news site mentioned that the emails all were written while Gruden was employed by ESPN. Makes one wonder about ESPN's email policies.

posted by Howard_T at 10:59 AM on October 12, 2021

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

The umpiring nazi in me has been aroused. It's not the umpiring, the crew on the field at Fenway got it right, but the broadcasters and post game analysts were misleading at best.

First the situation. With a runner on 1st base, the batter hits a long line drive to right field. The ball bounces on the ground in front of the low wall, hits the wall, deflects back toward the fielder, hitting him, and then caroms off the fielder's body and over the wall. At this point the ball has gone out of play. What is your ruling? The announcers and almost every fan call this a ground rule double, and while this accurately describes the result of such a play, it does not describe why it is ruled. The play in last night's game confuses the ruling because the ball hit the fielder before going out of play. Here's where the analysts mislead everyone.

First of all, there's no such thing as a ground rule double. When a ball in play goes out of play, there are rules that specify the placement of any runners. If a fair batted ball crosses any boundary after touching the ground, the batter and all runners are awarded 2 bases from their position on base at the time of the pitch. There is no umpire discretion involved. Two from the time of the pitch, that's it. It doesn't matter that the ball went out of play after contacting a fielder. As long as the baseball was not thrown out of play by the fielder, it's still 2 from the time of the pitch.

What if the ball had been thrown out of play in an attempt to stop play and deprive runners from further advancement? Here the rule is clear, but there is still some limited umpire discretion involved. If the throw was intentional, it is still a 2 base award, but the award is given from the position of the runners at the time of the throw. The umpires must now determine where the runners were when the ball went out of play and place them correctly. Other than being aware of where the runners are when the ball became dead there is no discretion available to the umpires. The analysts on the post game were insisting that the umpires could place the runners, but I don't think they understood the subtle difference between an award from time of the pitch and time of the throw and when each applies.

I could give you another 500 words defining time of the pitch, but I will pass before rcade drops the banhammer. I will say that you should pay attention; there will be a quiz.

posted by Howard_T at 04:23 PM on October 11, 2021

NFL Pickem Week 5: Urban's Daily Grind Edition

My picks:

Seahawks by 6
Falcons by 12 (lock)
Bengals by 10
Vikings by (lock)
Steelers by 14 (lock)
Buccaneers by 13 (lock)
Saints by 6
Panthers by 10
Titans by 5
Patriots by 14
Raiders by 8 (lock)
Chargers by 9 (lock)
Cowboys by 13 (lock)
Cardinals by 10 (lock)
Chiefs by 6
Ravens by

Cure or kill week. 8 locks selected. If I go down, the flames will be bright.

posted by Howard_T at 09:43 PM on October 06, 2021

NFL Pickem Week 4: 66 Yard Edition

My picks:

Bengals by 13
Falcons by 6
Bills by 18 (lock)
Bears by 9
Cowboys by 10
Colts by 7
Browns by 3
Saints by 9 (lock)
Titans by 11 (lock)
Chiefs by 13 (lock)
Rams by 14 (lock)
Seahawks by 6
Ravens by 4
Steelers by 3
Buccaneers by 10 (lock)
Chargers by 6

posted by Howard_T at 11:36 AM on September 30, 2021

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Nine

Edmonton by 11 The BPOE lodge travels east to hit the roulette table. Betting red or black doesn't matter, the result is the same.

Winnipeg by 16 Lions don't have enough anti aircraft weapons to shoot down Bombers of any color.

Hamilton by 12 In his quest for the Golden Fleece, Jason never had fierce Tigercats to deal with.

Saskatchewan by 9 Roughriders refuse to be stampeded.

posted by Howard_T at 04:29 PM on September 27, 2021