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)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Top 5 candidates to replace Tim McCarver on Fox

With news (readily welcomed here) that Tim McCarver would be stepping down from the primary Fox Sports color analysis microphone after 2013, the immediate question is, "who will fill those (sock-less) shoes?"   And especially the big head.  And work with Joe Buck (whose head size rivals Tim's).  With the World Series locked up through 2021 for Fox Sports, the new candidate will almost immediately enter the annals of yore of historical calls, barring a flop out of the gate.  We present 5 candidates that would ably fill the void.  Most of them named "Jim".

1) Jim Kaat



Currently: Part time work on MLB Network.

Pros: Engages the fan and speaks to them, no matter if they are beginner or expert.  Points out the finer elements of the game without being confrontation for the sake of getting attention.  Smooth voice, works very well with partner.

Cons: Is three years older than McCarver and probably not willing to dedicate himself to a full season on the road.

2) Steve Stone

Currently:  Covers the Chicago White Sox on WGN and Comcast Sports Chicago (previously covered the Cubs)

Pros: Long on experience but not as up there in age.  Good national exposure from his Cubs days (of Grace and Sandberg and Dunston).  Really good insight, he is the one announcer who always seems to be telling me what is going to happen before it happens, he can see when a pitcher is tired or batter isn't in rhythm.  And he's more critical of the home team than most.

Cons: Rubs his management the wrong way, found himself shuffled out of the North Side of Chicago for being a little too outspoken.

3) Jim Palmer

 
Currently: Covers the Baltimore Orioles for MASN and WJZ-TV.

Pros: Hall of Famer, knows the game, knows pitching, knows the postseason, great, even voice in the booth, and has done underwear modeling

Cons: May not be interested in the travel associated with national work, doesn't seem to be that interested in growing his career at this point, seems comfortable working in Baltimore and fading into the sunset.

4) Jim Deshaies

Currently: Covers the Chicago Cubs on WGN and Comcast Sports Chicago (having recently left the Houston Astros)

Pros: Extraordinarily entertaining dialogue, uncanny comparisons of history and situations, lack of arrogance, his enjoyment of his craft is apparent.

Cons: Very little national exposure, lack of major league experience in the postseason.

5) Al Hrabosky

 
Currently: Covers the St. Louis Cardinals for Fox Sports Midwest

Pros: Best nickname of any candidate ("the mad Hungarian"), but he is really entertaining.  Brings the "color" to color.  Knows his stats better than he gets credit for.  Long on experience.

Cons: May be a little rough around the edges for national work.  Lack of familiarity nationally. Known as a "homer" announcer.

A moment on McCarver.  He was never my favorite, I like the familiarity with his voice, I'm not questioning that he wasn't knowledgeable, I just always felt like he was lecturing me, or felt like he always needed to be contradicting something on the field to feel like he was contributing.  Second guessing a manager's decision when he doesn't know the players like the manager does.  Making it seem as if a decision (like bunt or bringing the infield in) is a no-brainer whereas statistics say most of those are about 60/40 at best and the manager probably has more skin in the game than him.

Unfortunately, entities like Fox tend to fill these with more name recognition than earned experience, so I expect a Barry Larkin or John Smoltz or Chipper Jones before the above.  Those guys are great on-air guys, but my five choices have demonstrated excellence.  This position goes more to name recognition, unfortunately.

Follow me on Twitter @lhd_on_sports

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sportsman of the Week Ending 3/24/2013

You cannot define "march madness" in greater terms than a 15-seed delivering knockout blows to two heavily favored teams, both by 10 point margin of victories..  But Florida Gulf Coast did what no other 15-seed has ever done, and their senior guard Sherwood Brown was their on-court leader.  Brown poured in 20.5 points per game, shooting 57% from the field, 56% from beyond the arc.  He also collected 15 rebounds over the two games in the Philadelphia pod.  Brown endured two 20-loss seasons to start his career, but now is enjoying the spoils of hard work, at the expense if much higher rated programs.  Sherwood Brown represents all that is right about sports, and he is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sportsman of the Week Ending 3/17/2013

The NCAA basketball conference tournaments are always an exciting time of the sports year, somewhat overshadowed by the next week's festivities, but worthy of recognition.  The ACC is always an epicenter for college basketball, but usually from North Carolina or Duke or Maryland or Wake Forest.  But Miami?  Shane Larkin of the Miami Hurricanes (which has shifted to a basketball school) exemplified the ACC stars of the past, like Duncan or Laettner or Francis or Paul.  The Canes surfed through the field winning by 10 points or more in each of their 3 wins on the way to the ACC title.  Larkin played all but 4 minutes in the 3 games (all wins, 2 over NCAA tournament teams). Averaged almost 24 points, 5 boards, 5 dimes, and 2 steals.  And leadership.  A worthy recipient of the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sportsman of the Week Ending 3/10/2013

Great athletes and sportsmen/sportswomen come in all shapes, sizes, genders...and age.  Bernard Hopkins defied his age (of 48 years) again, in winning the IBF Light Heavyweight Championship Saturday night.  In a 12-round unanimous decision, Hopkins took a technical approach to out punching his 30-year-old counterpart (and young enough to be his son) Tavoris Cloud.  Cloud had been 19-0, but never seemed to be in rhythm in facing the veteran pugilist.  Hopkins moves to 53-6-2 and has definitely cemented himself firmly in boxing lore.  And he is a worthy winner of the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sportsman of the Week Ending 3/3/2013

Sports fans are full in force for spring sports, March Madness on tap, NHL and NBA in the playoff chase, MLB entering the portion of the season where all teams (even the Cubs and Astros and Royals) have a chance.  But we focus on NBA this week, the Oklahoma City Thunder seem to be rounding into form.  And while Kevin Durant is the clear star, Russell Westbrook really stood out this week.  For the week, he averaged 32 points, including a 38 point effort against the Nuggets (in a loss).  But he also shot over 50% with 15 assists and hit over 10 free throws per game.  Westbrook is clearly a key to the Thunder's title run, and this week, the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!