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Monday, February 26, 2024
One of the great stories of the hockey season has been the emergence of Canadian Hockey Teams with a chance to win their first Stanley Cup in over 30 years. The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the middle of the discussion, and they are led by a Captain that is pushing goal records. On Thursday, Auston Matthews scored his 52nd goal in 55 games, imagine a player that gets one you netter per game pretty much. A 70 goal season, very much in play, puts him in elite company of Gretzky, Lemieux, Brett Hull, and more. But most important the Leafs have won seven straight and may be peaking at the right time. Matthews is one of the best NHL stories this year and is a worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Tuesday, February 20, 2024
We enter the inter-regnum (used loosely) portion of the Sports Calendar when there are no playoffs going on, March Madness isn't queued up yet (neither is The Masters), but many sports are going and lots of action to watch every night. Perhaps there is no more action captivating the country than Caitlin mania. Caitlin Clark that is, who has captivated not only the women's basketball sports landscape, but the sports landscape in general. The Iowa Hawkeye scoring machine became the all-time leading scorer in NCAA women's basketball history this week, passing Washington Huskies Guard Kelsey Plum (former Sportswoman of the Week) with her 3,528th career point and she's not slowing down. So much so, she likely will pass men's basketball hoops legend Pete Maravich in points before the conference tournament season. Worth the ticket of admission (as evidenced by the full houses she plays to) Caitlin Clark is the Longhorndave Sportswoman of the Week (repeat winner).
Monday, February 12, 2024
One of the highlights of the American Sports Calendar is the Super Bowl, that cannot be disputed. And the Kansas City Chiefs are becoming synonymous with the big game, at least the last 5 years, in which they've been a participant four times, and winners now three. Super Bowl LVIII did not disappoint as two evenly matched teams, the aforementioned Chiefs and the NFC Champion (and top seed) San Francisco 49ers squared off for the second time in five years in the Big Game. The Niners were slight favorites. But the Chiefs had Patrick Mahomes II. After a stumble start with just 123 yards going into half and his team trailing 10-3, compounded with an interception coming out of halftime, the next generation dynasty QB got lit. Hit for 201 yards and 2 TDs over the last 24 minutes of regulation and an overtime period. The overtime period in which he stamped his third title in five years and second straight championship. Mahomes II was also the Chiefs leading rusher with 66 yards on 9 carries including several back breaking scrambles. The greats win and the greats get recognized as the Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, January 29, 2024
The NFL season entered its penultimate weekend card with the AFC and NFC Championship games and a veteran superstar stole the stage for his team trying to win their fourth conference championship in five years. Mission accomplished. Kansas City Chiefs All Pro Tight End Travis Kelce reminded fans of how dominant he's been in the postseason with a much needed performance in carving up the favored and home-standing Baltimore Ravens for 11 catches and 111 yards and a TD, doing most of his damage in the first half when the Chiefs ran up 14 points on their first two possessions (6 of his catches including his TD) en route to a 17-10 win. In the meantime, Kelce passes Jerry Rice for the most postseason catches in the history of the NFL. History. Of. The. NFL. Travis Kelce was an unstoppable force and the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, January 22, 2024
An amazing sports weekend with Australian Open tennis, NFL Playoffs, NBA and NHL action had perhaps the most shocking result in the third PGA tournament of the year. For the first time in over 33 years, an amateur won a PGA tour event. 20-year-old (barely) Nick Dunlap shocked a pretty deep PGA field to win the American Express in La Quinta, CA. Dunlap torched the courses for a -29 total, including a 60 on moving day Saturday. He held on a shaky tee shot on the 72nd hole to par out for the win. And this was no watered-down field. Justin Thomas. Xander Schauffele. Scottie Scheffler. Jason Day. Patrick Cantlay. All the big names were distanced by the sophomore from Alabama. A name to remember as only the third amateur victor in a PGA event since 1957. Dunlap is a worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, January 15, 2024
In one of the most anticipated College Football Playoff Championship games in recent memory, two 14-0 teams geared up to battle in Houston. Intrigue skyrocketed as two conflicting styles of play... Michigan's running and defense versus Washington's weapon-laden, diverse offense and points would be settled on the field. The former proved superior. The tone was set early on two early breakout runs by Donovan Edwards, who had been relegated to more of a change-of-pace back through the year behind workhorse Blake Corum. But it was Edwards who burst through the Huskies defensive line twice in the first 13 minutes of the game to stake the Wolverines to a 14-3 lead, after which Washington never got closer than a TD. Both Edwards runs were 40+ yards and hit paydirt for the first two touchdowns of the game. He totaled 104 yards on just 6 carries, but his strong start is worthy of the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, January 8, 2024
A thrilling opening semifinal of the College Football Playoffs commenced with both games going down to the last play and both undefeated teams moving onto their first Playoff Finals. Despite being undefeated, the Washington Huskies were slight underdogs to the brand name Texas Longhorns but for most of the 60 minutes, had control of the game thanks to their Heisman runner-up quarterback Michael Penix Jr. Penix Jr. was familiar with the Longhorns from the 2022 Alamo Bowl but took his game to a new level in near perfection in defeat of the Longhorns in the 2024 Sugar Bowl. Penix Jr. was 29/38, with 2 TDs and 430 yards as the Longhorns had no answer for him. He took no sacks and also scrambled for another 30 yards. Penix Jr. takes his act to the Championship game where he'll face Michigan, his toughest defensive test of the year, but for now, is the worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
*Editors note* the Sportsman of the Week goes through Sunday, therefore any result of the College Football Playoff finals will not be rendered until January 14.
Tuesday, January 2, 2024
It's a Longhorndave on Sports tradition that Bowl Season the big players in Bowl games get the nod for Sportsman of the Week honors and this week is no different. While some complain that the Bowl Season was watered down with too many, now watered down with opt outs, the Chick-Fil-a Peach Bowl brought two heavyweight conference contenders who were within a game or two of the College Football Playoff in Ole Miss and Penn State. Two great coaches and loads of talent in a hotbed of college football, Atlanta, GA. And Ole Miss was all gas and no brakes in running up the score on a strong Penn State defense. Rebels Quarterback Jaxson Dart shredded the Nittany Lions defense for 379 yards and 3 TD. While the other 15 yards of passing for Ole Miss was caught by the junior while running for 14 yards and a fourth TD. Ole Miss looks to be a force in the SEC for years to come, including next year when Dart has professed to come back and will be on the Heisman short list. It was a big win led by our Sportsman of the Week!
Wednesday, December 27, 2023
In an LHD on Sports Blog tradition, I am once again conveying my thoughts on who I would vote for if I had a BBWAA ballot for the 2024 National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The BBWAA vote will be revealed on Major League Baseball (MLB) Network on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. The Hall of Fame vote reveal remains one of the most anticipated moments on the baseball calendar and certainly of the offseason. Here is the 2024 National Baseball Hall of Fame Candidates Eligible for vote (via Baseball Reference with prior year percentage total for returning candidates). 75% of all ballots cast must include the players name for induction.
|The Plaque Gallery will add to its fold this year (Credit: Me)
As most readers probably know, the actual voting committee is the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). Prior to 2016, once a member, always a vote. In 2016, several changes to the voting process were made (see my related Blog here) culling the list of voters to those who had covered the game in the prior 10 years. This played out to remove a number of small vote ballots and increase percentages for those on the bubble.
There are a few overarching factors to cover before we get to the specifics.
1) A major, controversial specter over the Hall will continue to be how to handle candidates associated with Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) use in baseball primarily in the 1990s and early 2000s, an era for which many players accused are now on the Hall of Fame ballot although the number is dwindling with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire running out of eligibility. There are players whose on-field performance clearly merits first ballot election, however because of their associated with substances that enhanced their performance, some members (a minority) of the BBWAA have been hesitant to cast votes their way. At least in the 75% needed for induction. Because the official voting rules include the words "integrity, sportsmanship, and character," their reluctance is justified in my mind. For my selection, I will not presume guilt, but if there are legal findings, firsthand accounts (including Mitchell Report) or strong anecdotal evidence of PED use, I will strongly weigh against voting for the candidate. You can count me in the "The PED STJ" type here in a blog I wrote. A constant I hear is "how can it be a Hall of Fame without Bonds, Clemens, Pete Rose, etc." Their accomplishments, records, videos, etc. are more than prominent in the museum portion of the Hall of Fame and museum, but down by the plaques, you won't find them there. Did the crime, do the time.
2) A change in consideration for me is how to assess pitchers. Whereas the 300-win plateau with a low ERA reflective of the dead ball, or pitcher dominated, eras prior to 1970 used to be a norm, it's become increasingly more difficult to get wins in the era of specialty relievers with starters leaving the game before the end of the sixth inning many times in close games. Conversely, however, one would think this would benefit starting pitchers ERA by seldom going through a lineup more than twice in some cases, rarely more than three times. Also, after many years of closers not being strongly considered, Mariano Rivera became the first and only to date unanimous inductee to the Hall, along with high save count Trevor Hoffman and Lee Smith in recent years. The doors have opened a bit in that regard. In the end, for pitchers, I strongly weigh dominance over a reasonable period of time, along with Cy Young Awards, All-Star games, win titles, career saves, and ERA.
3) There is also first and last ballot bias. First ballot candidates some BBWAA voters seem reticent to vote in to protect some sort of integrity of being a "first ballot hall of famer". Evidence, three voters who did not include Ken Griffey Jr. in 2016. Likewise, when a player is on his last ballot (as Tim Raines was in 2017, Edgar Martinez in 2019, and Larry Walker in 2020) voters who previously withheld a vote tend to pay a bit more attention to their candidacy considering it's a final shot and vote favorably.
Tuesday, December 26, 2023
The proverbial "undercard" of the College Football Bowl season continues to play out and the game are thrilling. The "we don't need these games" fall on deaf ears for players and teams that this is the best they can reach. Like Western Kentucky, Conference USA contenders and now Famous Toastery Bowl Champions. What made their effort special was 24 unanswered points over the last 15 minutes coming back from 28-0 and 35-14 led by our Sportsman of the Week at the helm. Caden Veltkamp threw with accuracy and deadly results in bringing the Hilltoppers back to win in overtime 38-35 over the Old Dominion Monarchs. Veltkamp through early and often, 52 attempts with 40 connected and 383 yards and 5 TDs. He also ran another 19 times meaning 71 plays it was him for 400+ yards. And oh I mentioned, a Famous Toastery Bowl victory, the most important thing. Caden Veltkamp is a worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!