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

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LHD_PotW (275) NFL (109) MLB (107) NCAA (96) NBA (50) NFL Playoffs (47) NHL (41)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/30/2012

In setting the Washington Redskins single season record for rushing yards, this week's Sportsman of the Week led his team to the playoffs on the NFL's biggest stage.  Alfred Morris ran for 200 yards on 33 carries (6 YPC) and three TD's as Washington punched their playoff ticket in a 28-18 victory over the rival Dallas Cowboys in a "winner moves on, loser goes home" game.  The relatively unheralded rookie (6th round pick among leftovers) broke Clinton Portis' single season Redskins rushing record in logging 1,613 yards for the season.  The blog loves breakthrough athletes, and Morris more than fits the bill in capturing this week's Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/23/2012

This week's Sportsman of the Week broke one of the most iconic records in the NFL.  Calvin Johnson hauled in 11 passes (4th straight week of over 10 receptions) for 225 yards in moving his season total to 1892 yards, breaking the 17-year old record held by the 49ers great Jerry Rice.  All this, with one game still yet to play.  Not to mention on a team that has very few other reliable receiver options and a very nondescript running game.  Johnson is truly etching his name among the NFL receiving greats, and an outstanding Sportsman of the Week!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Best Two-Sport Athletes - Baseball and Basketball

This is the third of a four part series examining the best two-sport athletes of the "modern" era.  "Modern" is defined in that I had to see them play (so no Jim Thorpe, Wilt Chamberlain, Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens, Bob Hayes, etc.).  Each of the "big three" American sports (Basketball, Baseball, Football) will be paired with the others with best listed, then one "other" category which will consist of one of those 3, and another sport (olympic sports for example).

Here are the first two parts:
Football and Basketball
Football and Baseball

Criteria are as follows:
1) Playing a high level at both.  Not included are going to be people who were good as prepsters but chose one sports over the other and never competed in college or beyond.
2) Accolades at the higher levels: Halls of Fame, All Stars, playing on title teams, big games, achievement over just playing

These were all off the top of my head (little research done, except after the candidates were identified) so I might have missed someone.  Feel free to set me straight!

So without further ado, the Top 5 two-sport athletes in Baseball and Basketball are below.  This one is a strange match of speed, agility, and hand-eye coordination.

#1 - Dave Winfield
College: Minnesota
Highest Baseball: MLB (OF, 23 seasons)
Highest Basketball: College (Forward)
All Star season (Pro): 12x All Star Game (1977-88)
Honors: First ballot Hall of Famer (2001), 6x Silver Slugger, 7x Gold Glove, AL Comeback Player of the Year (1990), Babe Ruth Award (1992), Branch Rickey Award (1992), Roberto Clemente Award (1994), All-American (1973, Baseball), College World Series MVP (1973 as a pitcher), College Baseball Hall of Fame, Number retired by San Diego Padres (31)
Records: None
Championships: Big 10 Conference (1972 Basketball, 1973 Baseball), World Series (1992)
Comments: Drafted in four professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, ABA, MLB).  Member of the 3,000 hit club.




#2 - Danny Ainge
College: Brigham Young
Highest Baseball: MLB (IF, 3 seasons)
Highest Basketball: NBA (Shooting Guard, 14 seasons)
All Star season (Pro): 1x NBA All Star (1988)
Honors: John Wooden Award (1981), WAC Player of the Year (1981), Consensus First Team All American (1981), Oregon Sports Hall of Fame (1999)
Records: None
Championships: NBA World Champions (1984, 1986)
Comments: A prep sports legend, he is the only person to be a high school first team All-American in football, basketball, and baseball.  He won two state high school basketball titles in Oregon.  Played 4 years at BYU concurrently with playing professional baseball.  Hit his first (of two) career home run just a couple months past his 20th birthday.


#3 - Kenny Lofton
College: Arizona
Highest Baseball: MLB (OF, 17 seasons)
Highest Basketball: College (Point Guard)
All Star season (Pro): 6x All Star Game (1994-99)
Honors: On current Hall of Fame ballot, 4x Gold Glove, 5x Stolen Base Champion (1992-6), Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame (2010)
Records: Indians record for career SB
Championships: National League (2002), American League (1995)
Comments: One of only two players to play in Final Four (1988) and World Series (1995 and 2002), Tim Stoddard, the other, went to the same high school in Chicago.  Didn't play baseball his freshman or sophomore years, walked on his Junior year and played sparingly but was drafted by the Astros.  Played in 95 postseason baseball games.


#4 - Tony Gwynn
College: San Diego State
Highest Baseball: MLB (OF, 20 seasons)
Highest Basketball: College (Point Guard, 4 seasons)
All Star season (Pro): 15x All Star Game (1994-99)
Honors: 2-time All American baseball player, National Baseball Hall of Fame (2007), 5 Gold Gloves (1986 - 1991), 8 Batting Titles (1984 - 1997), Number retired by San Diego Padres.
Records: SDSU record for assists (game, season, and career), Padres records for at-bats, batting average, hits, doubles, triples, runs batted in, runs, walks and stolen bases.
Championships: National League (1984, 1998)
Comments: He was recruited for basketball at SDSU before being convinced to try out for baseball and was drafted by both the NBA and MLB.  He could dunk a basketball even at 5'11".  Member of the 3,000 hit club.


#5 - Mark Hendrickson
College: Washington State
Highest Baseball: MLB (LHP, 10 seasons)
Highest Basketball: NBA (Power Forward, 4 seasons)
All Star season (Pro): None
Honors: 2-time All Pac-10 (basketball) and All Pac-10 (baseball), Opening Day starting pitcher for the Florida Marlins (2008)
Records: None
Championships: None 
Comments: He was also a standout prep tennis player, and won two high school basketball and one high school baseball. He was drafted six times by MLB, and drafted in the NBA as well.  Started his career in NBA while playing semi-pro, then minor league baseball, then went full time to baseball after his NBA career stalled.









Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The 15 "Best Bets" for the Bowl Season

As followers of this blog are aware, I took a $15,750 bath in the regular season betting straight up on TD or more underdogs.  Well I intend to recover in the Bowl Season.  I looked through the 35 bowl games for ATS, straight up, and over/under bets and picked my Top 15 best bets.  For each I will bet $1,000 in JR Ewing bucks, surely I'll cut into my debt.  Good thing the oil business if floating my gambling problem!

All ATS and Over/Under are -110 (with a $1,100 bet).

San Diego State (+125 S/U) vs. Brigham Young (Poinsettia Bowl, December 20, 7:00 CST)
This is a virtual home game for San Diego State.  After stumbling out of the game, this team has won 7 straight games.  BYU has been up and down, think they might be caught in a dog fight here and come up on the bottom.

East Carolina (+190 S/U) vs. Louisiana Lafayette (New Orleans Bowl, December 22, 11:00 CST)
People are excited about taking the Ragin' Cajuns in what is essentially a home game.  But East Carolina is probably the better team.  Another case in which it might be a pick'em but you're giving me a good money line.  I just don't think the Sun Belt is as close to Conference USA as people think.

Southern Methodist (+350 S/U) vs. Fresno State (Hawaii Bowl, December 24, 7:00 CST)The Ponies were a hot team by the end of the year (excepting a curious Rice loss).  Figures that Garrett Gilbert (experience in BCS Championship game for Texas) would round into form under QB coach guru June Jones.  This is an improving team, so was their opponent, but I see a shootout and in my analysis, Conference USA is underrated.

Southern Methodist (+12pts ATS) vs. Fresno State (Hawaii Bowl, December 24, 7:00 CST)
This is a straight hedge (and the only one on the card here).  If it's close, I'll break close to even, if SMU wins, it's double time.

Cincinnati (-7.5 ATS) vs. Duke (Belk Bowl, December 27, 5:00 CST)
I'm not sure I even know what a Belk is, but I know Duke can't hang with Cincinnati.  The middle-top of the Big East was better than people probably think.  Duke was in the weakest ACC division and scuffled at the end (4 straight losses, 5 out of 6).  Cincinnati wins by more than a TD, it's just going to happen that way.

Baylor (Pick'em ATS) vs. UCLA (Holiday Bowl, December 27, 8:00 CST)
Baylor was the hottest team in the Big 12 at the end of the year (4-1, close loss to OU, beat OSU, KSU, and Texas Tech).  UCLA is good but will be challenged by Baylor's offense.  The Holiday is almost always a shootout, advantage Baylor here.

Air Force (-1pts ATS) vs. Rice (Armed Forces Bowl, December 29, 11:00 CST)
Rice is a 6-6 CUSA team, Air Force can be tough to stop.  I'm just figuring that there is no way Rice can go and win a bowl game.  It's near pick'em, Air Force should be confident and control.

West Virginia (-4pts ATS) vs. Syracuse (Pinstripe Bowl, December 29, 2:15 CST)
You'll see a theme on the picks for the bottom half of the Big 12, this was a deep conference and the #7, #8, and #9 teams got good advantages vs. the other conference middle to bottom dwellars.  West Virginia will be familiar with this opponent from the Big East and the trip to Yankee Stadium won't be such a home field as other Big 12 teams.  The Mountaineers can score a lot of points.

Texas vs. Oregon State (57 points O/U, under) (Alamo Bowl, December 29, 5:45 CST)
Texas defense struggled mostly against big time throwing passers (Landry Jones, Geno Smith, Nick Florence) and Oregon State doesn't have one of those.  Texas offense can't score against air.  Oregon State's defense really only struggled against up tempo offenses (Oregon, Arizona).  Combine that with offenses usually struggling in Bowl season b/c of rhythm and you get this result!

Texas Christian (-2.5pts ATS) vs. Michigan State (Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, December 29, 9:15 CST)
I've got the Big 10 down and the Big 12 bottom half (see above) up.  2.5 is pretty tight, my worry here is that the score should be really low with both offenses scuffling and both defenses top notch.  TCU is resilient and Michigan State is likely disappointed in the entire 2012 outcome and this bowl was not what they were thinking in August.

Georgia Tech (+300 S/U) vs. Southern California (Sun Bowl, December 31, 1:00 CST)
I'm not sure what shape Southern Cal is in, but they haven't seen an offense like this.  And USC just doesn't seem to have their act together.  To the point the coach is even on the hot seat (and defensive coordinator, coach's dad, is a lame duck).  With that sort of payoff for the win, I could see this one being a Yellow Jacket roll.

Clemson (+155 S/U) vs. Louisiana State (Chick Fil a Bowl, December 31, 7:30 CST)
Clemson is very talented, losing only to some quality competition.  LSU, to me at least, seemed to play down to opponents and not possess that much special.  Clemson is hungry for a big win, will remember the Orange Bowl debacle last year and being given a few points, should be hungry.  LSU is probably just figuring they can show up and win.

Northwestern (+110 S/U) vs. Mississippi State (Gator Bowl, January 1, 11:00 CST)
Whereas the middle/bottom of the Big 12 is strong, the middle/bottom of the SEC is a little soft.  Mississippi State in a New Years Day bowl game is a stretch (1-4 in their last 5 with an Arkansas win, getting pants by Ole Miss).  Northwestern is searching for their first bowl win in decades (nearly centuries) and are really hungry.  It's a near pick'em game, give Northwestern the intangibles here.

Nebraska vs. Georgia (60 points O/U, over) (Capital One Bowl, January 1, 12:00 CST)
Nebraska's defense couldn't stop some so-so Big 10 offenses, here comes loaded Georgia with weapons all over the place.  Nebraska is probably reeling from missing the BCS, and did I mention they've given up 63 and 70 this year?  The over is a good choice, Georgia will not let off the throttle.

Florida State (-12.5 ATS) vs. Northern Illinois (Orange Bowl, January 1, 7:30 CST)
The MAC had a great year, but they're overmatched here.  12.5 points is not that much, I mean 35-14 is closer than I expect it.  FSU is another team that is proud to be in the BCS and wants to show strong (the ACC has been awful, they should get on track).

Florida vs. Louisville (45.5 points O/U, under) (Sugar Bowl, January 2, 7:30 CST)
Florida's defense is just way too good to allow very many points.  I don't think their offense is going to go bonkers.  I see this as a methodical Gator victory by overpowering the Cardinals and clogging to a victory in the low 30's high 20's to under 10.

Kent State (+155 S/U) vs. Arkansas State (GoDaddy.com Bowl, January 6, 8:00 CST)
Kent State was a 2OT loss away from the BCS.  I don't think Arkansas State was that close.  The MAC has done well interconference.  I see it as a very close pick'em, but I'm getting a good money line here.  I'm taking the Golden Flashes.

So there you have it.  I don't need to win half, I need to win the S/U bets then hit more than 60% of the ATS and O/U bets and I'll be rolling in some holiday dough.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/16/2012

This week's Sportsman of the Week is probably the front runner for NFL MVP among other sure-to-come honors.  Adrian Peterson hit his eight straight week of 100 yards (six of those over 150 yards) in running for 212 yards on 24 carries (8.8 YPC).  His 82-yard TD scamper was his second of that distance in three weeks. But most importantly, the Vikings, won a virtual Wild Card elimination game on the road against the St. Louis Rams 36-22, putting him in position to wreak havoc for defenses in the playoffs should the Vikings claim the Wild Card spot.  Tough schedule down the stretch at Houston and vs. Green Bay, but for this week, AP is a deserving Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/09/2012

I'm going to bend some criteria this week for Sportsman of the Week.  Normally I choose star players with big numbers in important games who came out victorious.  This week, I'm going to choose a quarterback that lost the game. Unfortunately to a rival. For the fourth straight time.  But exemplifies the spirit of sport, and what it means to compete, and be an outstanding young man.  I am referring to Trent Steelman, quarterback for Army, who has started since his freshman year, and been on the losing end against Navy now 4 straight games (4 year starter).  Navy has won 11 straight against the Cadets, further adding to the burn.  Steelman completed 4 of 5 passes for 48 yards and ran for another 96 yards (on 17 carries) including a TD.  But it was his senior poise and decision making that led Army to outgain the Midshipmen 418 yards to 297.  It was just a couple of inopportune turnovers and critical 4th down conversions that didn't work out.  Steelman was distraught on the sideline after the game, but answered all questions in the post-game press conference and will be a fine young man representing our great country in what is sure to be a very successful military career.  I know beating Navy is all he's thought about for 4 years, but he is a proud representative of Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Round Rock, TX, MLB City?

Round Rock, Texas, is throwing its hat in the ring for (presumably) relocating a struggling franchise. Round Rock City Manager Steve Norwood announced:
“This may seem like an ambitious plan, but I think Round Rock could be an ideal location for Major League Baseball,” Norwood said. “I just think it’s logical here. … You’ve got Miami with 400,000 people, Tampa is 325,000 [people], Oakland is 392,000 [people], Denver is 560,000—and here is Austin at 700,000.”
Courtesy Sportslogos.net
Interesting he mentioned two teams that have had very public struggles to get a serviceable stadium, and another which just got one and is now unloading players in what is being called a "bait and switch" for fans. Round Rock is officially 20 miles north of Austin, but the "Metroplex" blends together up the I-35 corridor as Williamson County has been one of the fastest growing counties in the United States since the Dot Com boom. Note the Williamson county does not include Austin proper, but suburbs only, and Travis County (to include Austin) is also busting at the seams with population.  Round Rock has hosted two of the most successful Minor League franchises, the Round Rock Express. In 2000, the original AA Round Rock Express were established after a purchase of the Jackson Generals by a group headed by Nolan Ryan. In 2005, the same Ryan group acquired a second franchise, the AAA Edmonton Trappers, moved them to Round Rock, and moved his AA franchise to Corpus Christi. The AA Express still owns the Top 4 single season attendance records in the Texas league (2001-4) pulling in 2/3 of 1M people each year. Since the AAA franchise moved in, they've been 1st or 2nd in Pacific Coast League Attendance every year since 2007, leading in 2011 and 2012. Enthusiasm must be tempered by limited near term expectation. Reid Ryan, Nolan's son and Round Rock Express president and CEO, who is in Nashville, Tenn., attending the winter baseball meetings, said that it could be difficult for Round Rock to score a Major League team. Reid Ryan stated:
“I think having visions like that are good...but with the rules it takes, unless there [are] some monumental shifts, I don’t see any new markets getting a Major League team in the near future. Baseball is not a sport that has a lot of changes.”
For another blog, it's interesting how an entire college conference landscape can shift in a matter of days, but major league baseball moves can be more decadal in nature. But Round Rock has put Major League Baseball on notice: "We're listening to opportunities and we have the market and baseball history to support it." And they started in AA, have been promoted to AAA, and are now just waiting for the call to the big show!

**Originally posted in Reading Between the Seams by this same author**

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2012 Upset Picks Autopsy

This experiment was nothing short of a disaster.  I had to take out a second mortgage on Southfork and then some to pay these debts.  I ended up losing $15,750 on bets trying to pick TD underdogs to win straight up.  I thought I had the feeling, I really only needed to hit 1/3 each week to make a profit.  And it flopped.  I was 6-34.  Last week I missed all three.  Again.  This time none were really that close (I guess Georgia was, but were they really?).

To make up for it, I'm going to double down.  I'm going to put $1K on 15 bowl games ATS this time.  I guarantee I'll cut into my debts probably erase most.  I won't clear them (not with the typical -$110 per ATS bet).  But I will recover some.  So stay tuned for the 15 "best bets" for the bowls ATS.

And I reserve the right to up the stakes and take it S/U if needed.  Viva la Gambling!

-JR

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/02/2012


The biggest game in any sport this week was the SEC Championship Game (a.k.a. National Championship Semifinal) and Eddie Lacy came up huge.  He broke a key 41-yard TD run in the last 2 minutes of the first half in a game that felt like Alabama might not be able to keep up offensively.  For the entire game, he carried 20 times for 181 yards (9.1 YPC) and 2 TD.  The 6'1" 220 pound Junior seems to be cut from the same cloth as backfield predecessors Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson and his performance in big games matches that legacy.  He is a worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!