Who am I?

I'm from Houston, a graduate of the University of Texas, a fan of the Houston Astros and Houston Texans. But this blog will be about the "greater sports", whatever that means.

Follow me on Twitter: @lhd_on_sports

Labels

LHD_PotW (180) MLB (85) NFL (78) NCAA (66) NBA (42) NFL Playoffs (32) NHL (31)
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Monday, July 20, 2015

Sportsman of the Week Ending 7/19/2015

Another great week for Sports, with the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the Open Championship in Scotland, and a crucial week for the Tour de France.  It is baseball we turn to, and this week's Sportsman laid claim to the best player in his sport.  Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim did what no other player in baseball has done in weeks.  Score a run on (recent Sportsmand of the Week) Zack Greinke.  Trout led off the All-Star game with a 2-strike home run to boost the AL to an early lead.  He later scored another run.  Even more amazing, his first All-Star Game at bat in his first four appearances.  Single.  Double.  Triple.  Home Run.  And if that wasn't enough, he won a game Friday night with a walk-off home run for his first place Angels.  A great show earning Trout our Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sportswoman of the Week Ending 7/12/2015

For the second week in a row, we venture to the women's sports arena. And it's not for lack of competition, but outstanding performances.  Serena Williams is doing what no lady in the sport of tennis has ever done.  Dominate at a level that is unbelievable.  And an age older than most (33).  In majors.  She won Wimbledon (again) and a major (again).  In fact, she's the defending champion in all the majors.  Now if she wins the U.S. Open (which she has won the last three) she will have won a calendar Grand Slam.  Joining Steffi Graf (19) and Margaret Court (28) as the only ones to do it in the same calendar year in the Open era.  She's showing no signs of slowing down.  It's time to mention her in the conversation of best female athletes ever.  And is our sportswoman of the week (for the second time).

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sportswoman of the Week Ending 7/5/2015

With a number of major sports events going on, the FIFA Womens World Cup took center stage this week, with four traditional powers battling for the trophy.  It was the United States that prevailed, and the championship game performance by our Sportswoman of the week did what may never be replicated.  American Carli Lloyd not only scored a hat trick, but she did it in the first 16 minutes of the game.  It was her fourth straight game with a tally (during each of the knockout round games). She also contributed a goal and an assist on Tuesday in the crucial semifinal defeat of the Worlds Number 1 team Germany.  On the World's biggest stage, Lloyd is our deserving Sportswoman of the Week!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sportsman of the Week Ending 6/28/2015

Some of the pitching in Major League Baseball has been impressive this year, so for the third week in a row, we go to the bump.  Los Angeles Dodgers right handed pitcher Zack Greinke has had a long run of success.  This week, he went 13 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball with just 7 hits, 3 walks, and 11 strikeouts. Throw in another 7 innings in his previous start and he's over 20 straight scoreless.  In his last 11 starts, he's only allowed more than 2 runs once for six more more innings every outing.  His 1.58 ERA leads the major leagues and Greinke's Los Angeles Dodgers are second in the National League with 43 wins.  Greinke is another arm worthy of the Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sportsman of the Week Ending 6/22/2015

Another week and another no-hitter.  Almost perfect game.  Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer baffled the Pittsburgh Pirates 26-up, 26-down through the first 8 2/3 innings on Saturday.  Then after a hit by pitch (he leaned his elbow in), the 27th out secured the no-no.  Ten strikeouts and 106 pitches. This was coming off a complete game shutout with just one hit and one walk.  So total over the last two outings.  2-0, 18 IP, 1 H, 1BB, 1 HBP, 26 strikeouts.  Some are calling it the best two-game stretch in pitching history.  Certainly worthy of the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

All-around NCAA Men's Athletic Programs Honors 2014-15

As the 2014-15 Academic year draws to a close, we recognize those Division 1 schools that have the best all-around athletic program.  Specifically, schools that made the football postseason (102 spots, 78 bowl teams and 24 FCS playoff teams), a berth to the NCAA Basketball tournament (68 spots), and a College World Series regional (64 spots).  Only 250 or schools would be eligible to qualify (limited by Division 1 football, ~130 FBS, ~120 FCS).  Of that, fourteen schools made the honor role.

It's surprising to see perennial all-around powers like Stanford, North Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Arizona State, Southern California, Oklahoma, Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, and Tennessee all missing one postseason or another.

Here we rank those teams by postseason performance.

** Yes, there are many other schools that have more points than these, but to play in this game, you have to make ALL THREE postseasons **

Here are the points available

1 - Qualify for postseason
2 - Win a regular bowl game, first round basketball, make CWS Regional final
4 - Qualify for a (non-playoff) Big Six Bowl game, Sweet 16, CWS Regional Champion
8 - Win a non-playoff Big Six Bowl game, Elite 8, make College World Series
16 - Qualify for Football playoffs, Final 4, CWS semifinals
24 - Win a CFP playoff game, make NCAA Finals, make CWS Finals
32 - Win National Championship

We also look at the best athlete turning pro for each school.

1. Oregon Ducks (27 points)
Football: Lost CFP National Championship (Ohio State 20-42)
Basketball: Lost round of 32 (Wisconsin, 65-72)
Baseball: Lost on Regional (1-2 record)
Best Team: Football
Best Athlete: Marcus Mariota (football, QB, 2nd overall NFL draft pick)
Highlight of year: Defeating Florida State in Rose Bowl (59-20)

2. Louisville Cardinals (13 points)
Football: Lost Belk Bowl (Georgia 14-37)
Basketball: Lost Elite Eight (Michigan State, 70-76)
Baseball: Lost in Super Regional (Cal State Fullerton, 1-2 record)
Best Team: Basketball
Best Athlete: DeVante Parker (football, WR, 1st round NFL draft pick)
Highlight of year: Defeating Notre Dame in football in South Bend (31-28)

3. Arkansas Razorbacks (12 points)
Football: Won Texas Bowl (Texas 31-7)
Basketball: Lost round of 32 (North Carolina, 78-87)
Baseball: Lost in College World Series (0-2 record)
Best Team: Baseball
Best Athlete: Andrew Benintendi (baseball, OF, 7th overall MLB draft pick)
Highlight of year: Defeating Texas in Texas Bowl (31-7)

4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11 points)
Football: Won Music City Bowl (LSU 31-28)
Basketball: Lost Elite Eight (Kentucky, 66-68)
Baseball: Lost in Regional (1-2 record)
Best Team: Basketball
Best Athlete: Jerian Grant (basketball, PG, projected 1st round NBA draft pick)
Highlight of year: Defeating LSU in Music City Bowl (31-28)

5T. Louisiana State Tigers (10 points)
Football: Lost Music City Bowl (Notre Dame 28-31)
Basketball: Lost round of 64 (North Carolina State, 65-66)
Baseball: Lost in College World Series (1-2 record)
Best Team: Baseball
Best Athlete: Alex Bregman (baseball, SS, 2nd overall MLB draft pick)
Highlight of year: Defeating Wisconsin opening football weekend with a comeback (28-24)

5T. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (10 points)
Football: Lost FCS playoff quarterfinals (North Dakota State 32-39)
Basketball:Lost round of 64 (Wisconsin, 72-86)
Baseball: Lost in Regionals (1-2 record)
Best Team: Football
Best Athlete: Casey Schroeder (baseball, C, 8th round MLB draft pick)
Highlight of year: Defeating Richmond (36-15) in football playoff

7T. North Carolina State Wolfpack (8 points)
Football: Won St. Petersburg Bowl (Central Florida, 34-27)
Basketball: Lost Sweet Sixteen (Louisville, 65-75)
Baseball: Lost in Regional Finals (2-2 record)
Best Team: Basketball
Best Athlete: Logan Ratledge (baseball, SS, 13th round MLB draft pick)
Highlight of year: Defeating Duke in ACC play (87-75) and Villanova in 2nd round of NCAA basketball tournament (71-68)

7T. UCLA Bruins (8 points)
Football: Won Alamo Bowl (Kansas State 40-35)
Basketball: Lost Sweet Sixteen (Gonzaga, 62-74)
Baseball: Lost in Regional Finals (3-2 record)
Best Team: Basketball
Best Athlete: James Kaprielian (baseball, P, 16th overall MLB draft pick)
Highlight of year: Defeating SMU in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament (60-59)

9. Maryland Terrapins (7 points)
Football: Lost Foster Farm Bowl (Stanford 21-45)
Basketball: Lost round of 32 (West Virginia, 59-69)
Baseball: Lost in Super Regional (Virginia, 0-2 rec)
Best Team: Baseball
Best Athlete: Brandon Lowe (baseball, 2B, 3rd round MLB draft pick)
Highlight of year: Defeating Michigan/Penn State on road in inaugural Big 10 football season.

10. Ole Miss Rebels (6 points)
Football: Lost Peach Bowl (TCU 3-42)
Basketball: Lost round of 64 (Xavier 57-76)
Baseball:Lost in Regional (0-2 record)
Best Team: Football
Best Athlete: Senquez Golson (football, CB, 2nd round NFL draft pick)
Highlight of year: Defeating Alabama in football (23-17) 

11. Iowa Hawkeyes (5 points)
Football: Lost Taxslayer Bowl (Tennessee 28-45)
Basketball: Lost round of 32 (Gonzaga 68-87)
Baseball: Lost in Regional Finals (2-2 record)
Best Team: Basketball
Best Athlete: Brandon Scherff (football, G, 5th overall NFL draft pick)
Highlight of year: Defeating North Carolina in basketball on the road (60-55) 

12T. Oklahoma State Cowboys (4 points)
Football: Won Cactus Bowl (Washington 30-22)
Basketball: Lost round of 64 (Oregon, 73-79)
Baseball: Lost in Regionals (1-2 record)
Best Team: Football
Best Athlete: Michael Freeman (baseball, P, 8th round MLB draft pick)
Highlight of year: Defeating Oklahoma in football in Norman (38-35)

12T. San Diego State Aztecs (4 points)
Football: Lost Poinsettia Bowl (Navy 16-17)
Basketball: Lost round of 32 (Duke, 49-68)
Baseball: Lost in Regional (1-2 record)
Best Team: Basketball
Best Athlete: Terry Poole (football, G, 4th round NFL draft pick)
Highlight of year: Defeating St. Johns in first round of NCAA basketball tournament (76-64)

14. Texas Longhorns (3 points)
Football: Lost Texas Bowl (Arkansas 7-31)
Basketball: Lost first round of NCAA tournament (Butler, 78-70)
Baseball: Lost in Regional (0-2 record)
Best Team: Football
Best Athlete: Myles Turner (basketball, PF/C, projected 1st round NBA draft pick)
Highlight of year: Winning Big 12 baseball tournament


Five of these fourteen have made it two years or more on this list (sorted by straight years making the list)
4 - Louisville
3 - Oregon, Oklahoma State, San Diego State
2 - Texas

By conference
3 - SEC (Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss)
2 - ACC (Louisville, North Carolina State)
2 - Big 10 (Maryland, Iowa)
2 - Big 12 (Oklahoma State, Texas)
2 - Pacific 12 (Oregon, UCLA)
1 - Big South (Coastal Carolina)
1 - Independent (Notre Dame)
1 - Mountain West (San Diego State)

Images courtesy of NCAA/Sportslogos.net

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sportsman of the Week Ending 6/15/2015

An amazing amount of sports this week, but one player leaped from obscurity to grab the headlines.  San Francisco Giants pitcher Chris Heston did what no other pitcher has done this year.  Threw a no-hitter.  The 27-year-old rookie in just his 12th career start dominated the (first place) New York Mets lineup on Tuesday for 9 IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 11K, and an unusual 3 HBP.  In a manageable 110 pitchers.  He also racked up 2 hits himself and 2 RBI in a 5-0 Giants win.  It was the fourth straight season that a Giants pitcher has tossed a no-hitter (Cain 2012, Lincecum 2013 and 2014).  Heston is our improbable Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sportsman of the Week Ending 6/8/2015

After an epic sports weekend that saw the French Open Finals, playoff basketball and hockey, and the start of the Women's World Cup, it's horse racing that captured the nation.  Of course we are talking about American Pharoah ridden by Victor Espinoza who won the first Triple Crown of horse racing in 37 years.  There is no question that Espinoza was on the best horse, but to guide the colt over a mile and a half in the second best time (among triple crown winners) and 12th best all-time is something special.  You can't get trapped early, you can't hit the throttle too early, you can't let up down the stretch.  He did everything right.  For three races.  And he joins a very elite fraternity.  Triple Crown jockey.  And our Sportsman of the Week!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Sportsman of the Week Ending 6/1/2015

As the Stanley Cup semifinals winded down, the Chicago Blackhawks seemed to will their way past the Anaheim Ducks.  Captain Jonathan Toews seemed to be in the middle of the action at all points.  Coming into the week tied 2-2 in the series, the Toews scored two late goes in Game 5 miraculously top send the game to overtime (but an eventual 5-4 loss).  In Games 6 and 7, Toews continued to be in the middle of the action, skating to a +2 in a Game 6 victory, and scoring two goals himself in Game 7 on the road in Anaheim.  When the going gets the toughest, the Blackhawks look to their captain, our Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Four reasons why it is okay to be a "Bandwagon Fan"

The context of being called a "bandwagon fan" is usually quite negative.  The implication is that you only support your team if they are winning, and then switch allegiances to winning teams if they are not.  To sum it up, you're the guy or girl at school, work, the bar cheering on every team that is winning and usually reminding others why your team is the best.  And you know what?  You should not be blamed.  It's normal, and even healthy in a sports fandom.

Examples of teams that have been accused of having bandwagon fans.  The Dallas Cowboys.  The Miami Heat.  The New York Yankees.  The Detroit Red Wings.  The Texas Longhorns.  Mostly teams that have won, and won a lot.  Whenever they are good, it seems like people you didn't even know watch sports start showing up at events with team hats and T-shirts and talking with sudden knowledge of the next game, match up, players names, etc.  And there is good reason why.

1. Winning is why we watch sports
When teams win, the media covers them.  They're the lead story on ESPNs Sportscenter.  Their games are on in the prime time slot every week (or multiple times per week).  Sports web pages start running in depth articles about players, coaches, fans, city, chemistry, etc.  It becomes easy to follow them.  You learn about the players.  They win.  You get that adrenaline rush.  You get drawn in (drawn in again, if you've been gone a while).  You look forward to dedicating time to watch them play.  This is everything right with sports!  The bandwagon fan loves to win!

Dallas Cowboys become America's Team when they are winning


2. Losing sucks
Watching a team you love lose is tough.  Watching them lose a lot takes some of the sports passion away.  We've all been there before, the team we cheer for and follow just doesn't get it right.  They blow leads, their best players get hurt, they get blown out.  Who wants to watch this (insert Cubs joke here)?  The point is, when your team loses (like the Cowboys the last decade) you don't buy T-shirts, you don't talk about your team incessantly, you don't talk smack.  That doesn't mean you're not a fan, you're just a fan in hibernation (I've been one for the Astros for four seasons now).  The bandwagon fan doesn't talk about their team when there is nothing to talk about.

Only Chicago Cubs fans seem to wallow in losing


3. Sports is a national affair now
There was a day when you really only could watch your local team every game.  Maybe one national game a week.  Even College Football only showed games that could be counted on a hand or two.  Now (even without pay packages) there are national games almost every day during the season.  Suddenly players like LeBron James and Mike Trout are seen multiple times a week.  Teams like the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers, and Detroit Red Wings are on at least once a week.  Makes it MUCH easier to follow a popular team.  In some ways, the game coverage by outlets like ESPN dictate which teams you are going to see more and which teams they think are worthy of following.  The bandwagon fan is just playing along.

When Kobe Bryant is on TV every other night, fans will follow


4. With free agency, sports has evolved from team fandom to player fandom
The free agency era has been with us for a few decades now.  But only in the past 5 - 10 years has it seemed that players flip much more quickly.  LeBron James free agent signing announcements become prime time events.  News of Alex Rodriguez free agency literally preempted the decisive game of the World Series.  Football not quite as much, but Demarco Murray certainly was a name in the news this offseason.  This means that fans follow players.  Who change teams.  And they change who they cheer for (see #3, it's a national affair now).  Yes, when LeBron played for the Miami Heat, it seemed like everyone was cheering for Heat.  Now he is back with the Cleveland Cavaliers and yes, there are more fans watching the Cavs.  This is natural.  We have our favorite team with local ties, then our favorite players.  We cheer for those players wherever they are.  Because the bandwagon fan loves superstars!

Fans of LeBron James are justified in changing their loyalties


Can bandwagon fans take it too far?  Absolutely.  Don't act like you've been the guy that's cheered for the Cowboys every year when you haven't ever been to a game or can't name their defensive coordinator.  Don't throw your 27 World Series rings and talk about how great Babe Ruth was when you really just liked Derek Jeter (who wouldn't).  Don't talk about Hockey Town USA if you've never even visited Detroit.  You can cheer for the teams, but don't overplay your hand.  You are a bandwagon fan...know it and know your place.  And all is good.

So is the bandwagon fan annoying?  You bet.  Just like other teams' fans that cheer on while your team loses.  Is their fandom justified?  I think the four reasons above show why it is.  These fans are not going away.  But they're alright, so long as they know their place!