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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.

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Monday, December 27, 2021

PEDs and the Hall of Fame. The final judgment.

Credit: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Nothing seems to get baseball fans, especially those who focus on the history of the game, more invigorated in disagreement than the annual Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) vote for recently retired players eligible for the greatest honor in the sport, induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.  And over the past 10+ years, there has been no more polarizing an issue than how to handle players who were known to have used Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs, a.k.a. steroids) during the 1990s and early 2000s until testing began in earnest in 2002.  The debate has probably reached its crescendo, as two of the most famous (or infamous depending on how you look at it) PED users enter their 10th and final year of eligibility on the BBWAA ballot.

Iconic facade of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

The two players of debate are, of course, Barry Bonds, the all-time and single season home run king, and Roger Clemens, who won a record seven Cy Young awards and sits third on the All-Time Strikeout list (trailing only Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson).  Both have been on the ballot for nine full years, the last three voting results sitting stagnantly at between 59% and 62% of the writers' votes well short of the 75% needed for induction and no meaningful indication of increasing.

In addition to the final stand for Bonds and Clemens, two interesting cases in their first year of eligibility are Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz.  The former was once suspended for an entire year for PED violations, the latter never suspended but admitted to a positive test prior to enforcement with suspension.  How will voters who omit Bonds and Clemens from their ballots treat A-Rod and Big Papi?

The NBHOF has provided no guidance in terms of how they expect voters to handle the PED complexity specifically, which shouldn't be a surprise.  But this stance draws the ire of BBWAA voters who want to do the right thing but aren't sure what the right thing is.  The complex nature of PEDs with relation to a vote for induction brings about polarizing opinions that will be explored below.  

This Blog is not intended to pick a side or draw a conclusion. There's no perfect answer and arguments can and are being made on both sides.  I seek to clarify people's thoughts and hope to get respect for opinions other than your own.

Before we delve into the logic behind voting for, or withholding a vote for, a player who either tested positive for PEDs or is beyond a reasonable doubt to have used PEDs, there are some clarifications about the Hall of Fame and its voting that should be introduced for context.

Clarification #1) Major League Baseball does not own/or operate the NBHOF.

Major League Baseball has no official authority over the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which is a non-profit (unlike MLB) governed by a Board of Directors (of which MLB has no oversight or input).  It is worth noting that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is on the Board but not in a Chair role.  So, the NBHOF operates independent of MLB and has its own authority to decide on how it governs itself regardless of what MLB desires or wants.  MLB certainly has influence and an overwhelmingly collaborative relationship, note that it is the NBHOF that does not allow individuals banned from baseball (including the deceased) to be inducted, not a decision that MLB imposed.

Clarification #2) The NBHOF (and its museum) ignores the PED issue altogether

A good chance to note the separation of the entities of the NBHOF and its museum.  The NBHOF is the community of players inducted by various means (not the least of which is vote of the BBWAA) which are celebrated by plaques in the Hall of Fame Gallery of the museum.  The museum proper is the co-located space spanning multiple floors celebrating the achievements of the sport, including countless items of memorabilia, various media (photos, jerseys, gloves, hats, videos, narratives, statues) that provide fans context to the history of the game dating back to the Mid 19th Century.  It would be highly unlikely that at any time a reference to PEDs would be included on a plaque of an inducted member.  However, the Museum contains a display case in its history showing the controversy, with numerous artifacts and items as a lesson to fans of what took place, who the characters were, and how it played out. 

NBHOF display telling the story of PEDs

Barry Bonds Home Run #756 on Display with historic Clemens strikeout memorabilia in the background

Clarification #3) By not inducting PED users, the full story of baseball is not presented in the museum

The NBHOF museum shows all the great players, moments, records, regardless of whether plaques are included in the gallery.  It would make no sense to only show things by those inducted.  In fact, Pete Rose has a very prominent place in the museum with jerseys, videos, etc. showing his all-time hit record.  The hit king is in the Hall of Fame.  Museum.  No, his plaque is not in the gallery because of other reasons.  But he is not ignored.


Pete Rose full display of hit record

Barry Bonds HR record celebrated 

Clarification #4) The BBWAA voting members are at fault for keeping PED players out

A majority of BBWAA voters are checking the box FOR Bonds and Clemens.  There isn't some big conspiracy that the writers don't want them in.  Most of them do. However, 75% is a difficult threshold under these circumstances.  As will be discussed below, there are rational reasons to exclude known PED users (however you determine what defines "known").  A reaction from fans is recently "I hate the writers".  No, you hate 40% of the writers, not most writers.

Clarification #5) The NBHOF provides no guidance whatsoever to BBWAA voters

I mentioned above that the NBHOF is silent on the PED issue, which is true.  However, there are rules provided which, like any legalese, can be interpreted by the end user (but in this case, not challenged in court).  This is what opens up differing opinions.  Specifically, rule #5 which cites an integrity clause is overwhelmingly cited as contentious.

5. Voting: Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

Bluntly, "Integrity, Sportsmanship, and Character" come into question on the issue and are left to the eye of the beholder.

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/26/2021


It's getting down to crunch time in the National Football League with just three games left coming into the weekend and log jams at the top of several Divisions as teams vie for playoff berths.  No Division is more tightly bunched than the AFC North in which the best team was 8-6 and the worst was 7-7.  Anybody's division.  The Cincinnati Bengals stepped up on the rising right arm of their top overall draft pick in 2020, Joe Burrow.  The former Heisman Trophy winner torched the depleted Baltimore Ravens for 525 yards and 4 touchdowns in a dominating 41-21 thrashing of their Division Rival.  The win puts the Bengals up a full game on the entire Division including tiebreakers on all teams except the Browns.  They will likely make their first playoffs since 2015 and seeking their first playoff win since 1990.  For the second time, Joe Burrow is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/19/2021


Nothing less than the most productive season in Division 1, Football Bowl Subdivision history.  That is what our Sportsman of the Week earned in 2021.  Bailey Zappe of Western Kentucky sealed his season with a 422-yard, 6 TD performance in a Boca Raton Bowl romp against Appalachian State.  The Hilltoppers torched the Mountaineers for 52 points through 3 quarters in the record-breaking performance.  overall, Zappe ended the season with 5,967 yards and 62 touchdowns, breaking records of Texas Tech's B.J. Simons 5,833 in 2003 and Louisiana State's Heisman and National Champion Joe Burrow's 60 TDs in 2019.  Zappe's Hilltoppers started the season a meager 1-5 with competitive losses to bowl teams like Michigan State, Army, and Texas San Antonio.  But they then went on a run through the second half of October through the end of the season winning 8 out of 9, dropping only a rematch to UTSA in the Conference USA Championship Game.  Zappe's name is etched in college football lore and he is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week! 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/12/2021


What a finish to certainly will go down as one of the most memorable Formula One racing seasons.  Fans around the world were glad to see a full schedule and two drivers dominated down to the last race for all the marbles.  Only once in the past seven seasons did the F1 Driver's Championship come down to the last race.  But in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the 22nd race of the 2021 season (most of any season), 7-time total, and 4-time defending Champion Lewis Hamilton on the Mercedes team and upstart Max Verstappen were level in points.  Winner.  Takes.  All.  And then.  It came down to the final lap.  With Hamilton firmly in control of the race, the safety car leveled the gap and Red Bull Racing's Verstappen took advantage.  The Dutchman loaded up on new tires (not available to Hamilton without losing his position) and passed Hamilton early in the final lap and there was nothing the Brit could do (besides protest some of the decisions on the restart which is beyond the scope of this Blog.  And Verstappen won his first Championship at age 24, just a year older than Hamilton when he won his first in 2008.  Is this a changing of the guard?  Or will Hamilton get the first back to win his eighth championship in 2022?  Stay tuned, that season might top this one.  But in the meantime, Max Verstappen is the 2021 Formula One Champion and the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/05/2021


What a grand finale for College Football as the Conference Championships took center stage, with the best teams having a last chance to impress the College Football Playoff committee, the best players garnering last minute Heisman Trophy votes, and settling the entire bowl season.  No game was bigger than top ranked Georgia Bulldogs going against their SEC nemesis #3 Alabama Crimson Tide looking for their first win in 7 tries.  It will have to wait until the eighth.  Rare underdog Alabama took it to the Dawgs led by their sophomore quarterback phenom Bryce Young.  Already in the conversation for Heisman trip to New York.  Now the odds-on favorite to raise the trophy.  Young rose to the occasion in their biggest game hitting 26 of 44 passes for an SEC Championship Game record 421 yards and 3 TD.  Perhaps better, no interceptions or fumbles lost (he ran for another 49 yards and a fourth TD).  The Tide got the number one seed in the Playoffs and Young looks poised to lead the Tide to yet another Championship after he likely takes home the Heisman hardware.  Young is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week~!

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/28/2021


What a weekend for college football as the final regular season week produced huge matchups and lots of hate.  Perhaps no more hate north of Alabama was felt in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as the state's beloved Wolverines took on the hated Ohio State Buckeyes.  While the rivalry is storied and easily Top 5 in college football no matter the circumstance, the stakes were significantly higher this week as Michigan was riding an 8-game losing streak against the perennial powerhouse Buckeyes and the teams were both ranked in the Top 5 coming in.  Big 10 title on the line.  Playoff spot on the line.  Enter cold weather and snow and it was the American dream for a football fan.  But this turned into a nightmare for the Buckeyes.  In Big 10 football style, Michigan lined up and took control of the game at the line.  The beneficiary was Hassan Haskins.  He put the team on his back with 28 carries for 169 yards and 5 TD, personally outscoring the Buckeyes in the 42-27 Wolverines victory.  And it wasn't the kind of effort where it was a few long runs.  Every time Michigan had the ball, Haskins pounded for 5 yards, 7 yards, 2 yards, 6 yards shedding tacklers on the way to setting up his team for good 3rd down distance.  Michigan scored a TD on its last 5 possessions that didn't end the half keeping Ohio State at bay.  What a win for Michigan and while the Sportsman of the Week goes to Haskins, his offensive line deserves much of the credit as well! 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/21/2021


The NFL is rounding the midseason battles and heading into a stretch run.  One team to watch is the Indianapolis Colts, as from a trend perspective, they're headed in the right direction.  This week they obliterated AFC Playoff contender Buffalo Bills on the road 41-15, led by their upstart running back who is entering elite status.  Jonathan Taylor shredded the Bills defense for 185 yards and 4 TDs on the ground, then added a TD catch to end with total yards over 200.  The Bills had only once given up more than 24 points in a game but Taylor scored that on his own!  Taylor now has at least one TD in eight straight games (Colts are 6-2) with 100 yard games in 5 out of 6, and 6 out of those 8.  The Wisconsin stud in his second year has two 1000 yard seasons and seems poised for a stellar career.  Taylor is a deserving Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/14/2021


Hockey season is back, this time for a regular full season and one of the legends of the current game is showing he hasn't lost a step in his older age.  Washington Capitals left winger Alex Ovechkin continues to climb up the all time scoring charts and shows now sign of slowing down.  Ovi led the Caps to four big victories during the week to thrust them to within a point of the Metropolitan Division lead.  His two goals during the week pushed him to 742 career total, for fourth all time (trailing only Gretzky, Howe, and Jagr).  He added six assists along with a plus six in the four wins.  The Caps are looking for another Stanley Cup playoff run and their first chance to lift the cup since 2018 when he took home the Conn Smythe Trophy.  This week, he gets the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week trophy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/7/2021


The 2021 NASCAR season ended in dramatic fashion with four top teams vying for the Championship.  Unlike other motor sports like Formula 1, the NASCAR playoff format ensures four teams compete for the Season Championship in the last race.  Some argue that it's not fair to the best team or two in that they may have been the best over the full season but not win a title.  But frankly, that's the way it is in most sports in which one game or series decides the winner no matter the regular season records.  Well this year, the top regular season driver won the NASCAR Cup Series Championship.  Kyle Larson and his number 5 team of Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) had won 9 races over the season entering the championship race in Phoenix.  Make it ten.  It was not a foregone conclusion over the mile track, as each of the Playoff 4 teams led or would even be considered favorites at any point.  But a clutch final pit stop and restart after a yellow thrust Larson's number 5 HMS team out front and he would not be caught.  He didn't have to win the race to win the championship, but he did.  In his first year in the 5 car, Larson brought his team the title.  Fitting end to a great season.  Larson is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, November 1, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/31/2021


No player was scarier on Halloween Weekend for defensive players than all world running back Kenneth Walker III as he single handedly won the intrastate rivalry, dealt the Michigan Wolverines their first loss of the season, and surged toward the top of the Heisman Trophy favorite board.  The Michigan State Spartan shredded the Wolverines defense for nearly 200 yards (197 to be exact) and five, read that FIVE touchdowns.  It was all the offense the Spartans needed to outscore the Wolverines 37-33 and move to 8-0 themselves and into the Big 10 title discussion.  Trailing Michigan 30-14, Walker III ran to pay dirt three times in the second half (including two 2-point conversions) from 1 yard, 58 yards, and 23 yards to deflate the favored Michigan squad.  An impressive effort in a huge game, nets Walker III our Sportsman of the Week!

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/24/2021


What a week of baseball playoffs, culminating in two very successful franchises punching their ticket to the 2021 World Series.  The Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves.  Both of them slayed tough Wild Card competition who were red hot, but it's a Braves slugger that was the big difference.  OF Eddie Rosario made big hit after big hit to guide the Braves past the Los Angeles Dodgers to advance them to their first World Series this millennium (okay 22 years).  Rosario bludgeoned the Dodgers in the NLCS  at a 14-25 clip, 3 HR, 9 RBI, and threw in a double and a triple.  His hits were clutch, including a walk off single in Game 2, 2 HR in Game 4, then a momentum changing 3-run HR in the decisive Game 6 to stand up a 4-2 win.  Whenever clutch was needed, Rosario answered.  And on to the World Series for our Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, October 18, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/17/2021


The Dallas Cowboys may FINALLY be for real and it's because they built up offensive weapons all over the place and their defense isn't bad.  This week, in an extraordinarily entertaining game, the Cowboys beat the longstanding dynasty (albeit waning) New England Patriots in overtime.  While QB Dak Prescott torched the Patriots defense time and time again, it was receiver CeeDee Lamb that hauled in most of them.  Lamb hauled in 9 receptions (career high) for 149 yards (career high) and 2 TD (tied career high) including the overtime winner after the Patriots won the toss and had to punt.  Targeted just 11 times, Lamb got just about everything thrown his way and for the first time since Barry Switzer stalked the sidelines, the Cowboys look like serious Super Bowl Contenders.  Will America's team finally win a title for the first time in 25 years?  They will if Lamb keeps it up.  He is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/10/2021


The Major League Baseball postseason hit full throttle this week and big teams and big names took center stage.  A surprise surging team was the Boston Red Sox.  On a wild final Sunday of the regular season, they Red Sox stage a huge comeback to avoid having a one-game playoff against the Toronto Blue Jays.  Bought them a one game blood bath against the Yankees.  And a win.  Turn the page to the ALCS against the Tampa Bay Rays and they stormed to a 3-1 series win in the ALDS.  The star?  Enrique 'Kike" Hernandez.  Overall the Sox went 4-1 against the two best teams in the AL East.  Hernandez was 10-18, 3 doubles, 2 HR, 5 runs, 6 RBI in the 4 wins.  Perhaps his most dramatic at bat was a series walk off against the top seeded Rays on a Sacrifice Fly.  He was nothing short of unstoppable in taking the Red Sox to their second ALCS in four years.  He has played in 3 of the last 4 World Series, winning a title last year.  He may make it 4 out of 5.  Our Sportsman of the Week!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/3/2021


The last week of the Major League Baseball Season produced drama as the last few playoff spots were grabbed in the final weekend.  One of the most contested races were between the two best teams in baseball (in win total), the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers.  The preseason World Series favorite Dodgers trucked along the regular season, but always found themselves looking up at the Giants in the standings.  Going into the final week, they stayed that way.  Despite the efforts of our Sportsman of the Week.  Trea Turner, a mid-season acquisition by the cash and prospect rich Dodgers, sealed a National League batting title by torching opponents all week.  Turner went 11-24, 8 runs, 11 RBI as the Dodgers won all games and positioned themselves to nip the Giants at the finish line.  It was not to be, as the Giants held out.  But the Dodgers earned a Wild Card berth and, if they win, will face the Giants with a chance to finally get the upper hand and advance in the World Series.  Turner will be a big factor, and is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, September 27, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/26/2021


Sixty six.  66.  Sesenta y seis.  A number never before breached by a field goal kicker.  On a successful Field Goal at least.  Until Sunday.  What appears to be the best kicker of at least this generation or maybe ever, Baltimore Ravens uber-leg Justin Tucker both wowed the entire NFL fan population and punched another hole in the Detroit Lions gut by kicking the longest field goal in NFL history.  A record that may not ever be broken.  With three seconds left after the heavily favored Ravens converted a near impossible fourth and 19, they found themselves with no choice but to send out Tucker to convert a record 66-yard FG to win 19-17.  Mind you, in his career, he'd only converted one of five from 60+ yards.  Make it two of six.  Note the other was also against the Lions, also as time expired, also a 2 point win.  Tucker cemented his legacy with a highlight for generations and a record for maybe ever.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/19/2021


The first two weeks of the NFL has provided a number of tight games, upsets, surprises and top performances.  And upsets.  Two of the biggest wins so far have been executed by the Las Vegas Raiders led by our Sportsman of the Week Derek Carr.  Shuffled a tough schedule to start, hosting the formidable Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football, then travelling to menacing Pittsburgh for a noon start (over three time zones) to face the Steelers.  2-0.  After a thrilling overtime on Monday Night, including 10 points in the last 4 minutes, including a last minute FG drive for the tie, Carr led his team to a 33-27 victory essentially twice as a TD was overturned the Raiders survived a Ravens possession to win on a 31 yard TD pass.  Head to Sunday in Pittsburgh in which Carr led a workmanlike effort to down the Steelers with ease 26-17.  Two of their biggest contenders behind them, the Raiders schedule lightens up.  Carr has clocked a 66.7% completion rate, 817 yards (that's over 400 per game) and 4 TD.  The Raiders have vaulted themselves into contention in the AFC, two showdowns with the Kansas City Chiefs loom but Derek Carr is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week! 


This is Derek Carr's second Sportsman of the Week honor and at eight years, believed to be the longest duration between as he was the 91st Sportsman of the Week in 2013!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Sportswoman of the Week Ending 9/12/2021


An exciting and unpredictable finish punctuated the 2021 United States Open (of Tennis) and the biggest surprise was on the ladies side of the bracket.  Youth was served as teenagers Leylah Fernandez (Canada) faced off against Great Britain's Emma Raducanu in what turned out to be a straight set victory for the latter. Raducanu became the first qualifier to make the Finals of the Open and didn't drop a set throughout the two week tournament.  She never even needed a tiebreak.  Fernandez did some heavy lifting in ousting favorites such as Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber and actually beat 3 of the Top 5 seeds.  But Raducanu was just too amazingly hot to stop.  Raducanu may be on the precipice of a stalwart career and is the Longhorndave Sportswoman of the Week!

Monday, September 6, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/5/2021


In the biggest game of the college football kickoff weekend, the biggest win was by the Georgia Bulldogs.  Led by their defense, they defeated the defending ACC Champions 10-3 in an effort that felt like the Tigers couldn't score if they had 40 quarters instead of four.  While the Bulldogs offense struggled, their defense struck for the only touchdown of the game in a big win over the Clemson Tigers 10-3.  Senior Chris Smith made a quick break on a ball and did the rest with his legs and blocks in scoring a classic "Pick-6" which was the difference in the game.  While certainly his effort wasn't the only part of the defensive domination, he represents the Dawgs in their big win and made a huge statement in being SEC East Favorites.  Chris Smith is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, August 30, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 8/29/2021


Football and tennis are kicking up for the fall, but baseball is still the National Pastime of summer.  And one of the greats of the game in a small market is getting the attention he deserves as one of the greatest at this position.  Not just this year.  But of all time.  Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals is rewriting the record books for a catcher right in front of our eyes.  We should open them and see.  He had as good a week as anyone in baseball this year.  Seven games, with home runs in six of them, 14 RBI, only 5 K, with 5 BB, and 10 hits in 28 AB.  Oh, and he led his young Royals team to a 4-3 record on the road against 2 playoff contenders over .500.  All adds up to a strong Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, August 23, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 8/22/2021


There may not be a more appropriate 500th Sportsman of the Week than to look to a man who hit his 500th Home Run this week.  You can't make this up.  Miguel Cabrera etched his name next to baseball elite when he clobbered his milestone home run.  He was a hero in 2003 when he emerged as a post season phenom in securing a world Series for the Florida Marlins, and now he puts another stamp on his Cooperstown passport in getting 500 home runs.  Cabrera clobbered number 500 against Toronto Blue Jays hurler Steven Matz in a game in which the Tigers won in a resurgent season as they rebuild.  Next up. 3000 hits hoping to become the (Aaron, Mays, Palmeiro, Murray, Rodriguez, Pujols, and two of those have some PED issues.)

Monday, August 16, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 8/15/2021


It's been a while since we've featured a No Hitter in the Blog, but here we are again.  This time the rub is, there was no way to expect it.  The Arizona Diamondbacks are the worst team in baseball.  They have been in rebuild mode for a few years and this second half is just the dog days of summer.  So all the better to have something to reward their patient fans.  And Tyler Gilbert did just that.  In his first career start, he tossed a no hitter against playoff contending San Diego Padres.  It was the first pitcher to throw a no hitter in his first career start since 1953.  And with eight no hitters, the season with the most no hitters since 1900.  Without overpowering stuff, walking two, but no hits.  What a day for the Diamondbacks and for Gilbert and what a great day for Baseball.  Tyler Gilbert is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Sportswoman of the Week Ending 8/8/2021


What a fortnight in Tokyo as the world came together despite a global pandemic to celebrate the 2020 Olympics.  In 2021.  It's hard to nail down a single star, but one great athlete achieved something no American had done before.  Win 11 Olympic Medals in Track and Field.  Veteran Track superstar Allyson Felix, at her fifth Olympic games dating back to her 18 year-old debut in Athens in 2004 when she won a silver medal in the 200.  Felix snatched a bronze in the 400m individual, and gold in the 400m relay to leave Tokyo as the most decorated track athlete in American history.  The 400m relay represented a passing of the torch (no pun intended) as the anchor leg was ran by rising superstar Athing Mu, a 19 year-old who (do the math) was a two year old baby when Felix debuted in Athens.  Felix will go down as one of the greatest track athletes in what has been one of the greatest eras of women's track, and is a worthy Longhorndave Sportswoman of the Week!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 8/1/2021


The first week of the Olympics is usually defined by swimming greatness, and the United States is historically a big player.  The Tokyo 2021 (err 2020) Olympics did not disappoint.  Caeleb Dressel led the American charge with a five Gold Medals across his myriad of events.  Exceeded in one Games only by American swimming legends Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps.  The best freestyle swimmer in the World, he won the 50m and 100m, while also collecting a Gold on the 4x100 freestyle relay.  Butterfly his next best stroke, winning the 100m and contributing to the epic medley relay Gold in which the United States has never lost but is facing larger and larger challenges.  Dressel won every event he entered besides the 4x100 mixed medley, a new event in which the United States finished a disappointing fifth.  In any event, Dressel has etched his name in United States Olympic history and is a worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, July 26, 2021

Sportswoman of the Week Ending 7/25/2021


Sports fans around the world has waited in anticipation for the quadrennial Summer Olympic Games and in these times, had to wait an extra year.  The Tokyo 2020 Olympics kicked off this weekend a year late without fans, but with the competition as fierce as ever.  One of the early surprises in the Games was the emergence of a young, American woman who won the first ever female gold medal for the United States in Taekwando.  Anastasija Zolotic of Colorado Springs, CO, bolted through the competition, beating the World #2 in the semifinals and World #4 in the final match.  The 18 year old Zolotic has surged to the top in winning junior competitions three years ago, and won a championship at the Pam Am Games in 2020.  Zolotic is probably a name you didn't know a week ago, but represented the United States well and is the Sportswoman of the Week!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 7/18/2021


What a three weeks on the roads and mountains of France, as cycling's greatest event unfolded over an amazing backdrop.  A year after being postponed until fall, the Tour de France went back to its original schedule and put some normalcy back to cycling.  But the more things change, the more they stay the same.  2020 surprise winner (and prior Sportsman of the Week) left a lot less drama in this years tour, dominating from the first week through the parade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris to win back-to-back tours.  Slovenian Tadej Pogacar was a man among boys despite only being 22 years old.  A rare talent of unmatched climbing skills with ability to time trial and burst on a sprint stage with steel nerves makes it seem as if he may not lose for several years.  Several.  He won Stage 5 (time trial), took the Maillot Jaune on Stage 8, then won Stages 17 and 18 in the Pyrenees to make it easy.  There was no other rival.  He was a champion this year and will be a champion in years to come.  Our Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Sportswoman of the Week Ending 7/11/2021


What a fortnight in England for the number one seed in a dominant effort to take home one of Tennis's most prestigious trophies.  Ashleigh Barty stormed through her seven matches and three seeds to win her second major, but first Championship of the All England Club also known as Wimbledon.  Barty stumbled out of the game needing a full three sets to win her opener, then didn't drop a set until the finals.  She jumped out to an early lead against 8 seed Karolina Pliskova then didn't look back, taking the first and third sets 6-3.  The Australian Ash notched her second Grand Slam tournament adding to her 2019 French Open victory.  I'm going on a limb to say it won't be her last, and she is a dominant Longhorndave Sportswoman of the Week! 

Monday, July 5, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 7/4/2021


The NBA Finals are on tap to start this week, and two surprise teams punched their ticket to the finals.  One team did so without their biggest star in the final, clinching Eastern Conference Final games.  The Milwaukee Bucks lost two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo to a knee injury in Game 4 and needed someone to step up.  That someone arrived in the person of Khris Middleton, our Sportsman of the Week. Middleton put the Bucks on his back to lead them past the resurgent Atlanta Hawks (who were buffered by the return of their star Trae Young in Game 6).  Over the Games 5 and 6 which punched the Bucks to their first finals since 1974, Middleton 58 points and 17 rebounds in the double digit victories.  Playing team ball, he also contributed with 15 assists when the Hawks tried to shut him down.  It's unclear whether Antetokounmpo will return to help the Bucks in the Finals, so it may be Middleton's stardom needing to shine if the Bucks are to get their first NBA title since 1971.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 6/27/2021

The Tampa Bay Lightning are looking to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions and while having a complete team, they've relied on their goalie the most when their backs are against the wall.  Andrei Vasilevskiy stepped up in Games 5 and 7 to pitch shutouts after his Tampa Bay Lightning fought the New York Islanders at 2 games to 2, then 3 games to 3.  He stopped all 39 goals over the two wins, including clinging to a 1-0 lead in pivotal Game 7.  Vasilevskiy has won the Vezina for best goalie in the NHL in 2019, he was runner up this year, but is likely to lead his team to back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships.  And is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week! 


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 6/20/2021


An amazing sports weekend ended with an amazing victor for the first major of his golf career.  Just a few weeks removed from what will likely be the most disappointing weekend of his career when it's all said and done, Jon Rahm answered any mental anguish with a magnificent performance in the United States Open.  Rahm punctuated a magnificent back 9 on his fourth round with two physics defying birdies on 17 and 18 to take a one stroke lead over Louis Oosthuizen who was a few groups back and essentially finished against the course.  Oosthuizen finished the last 3 holes at par, but it was a bogey on 17 that doomed him from keeping a tie with Rahm and going to extra holes.  Rahm was disqualified from a tournament just a few weeks ago when he tested positive for COVID and with a huge lead, was not able to play on Sunday.  The US Open was a financial and career reconciliation in winning the Spaniard's first major tournament in what might be many for the highly ranked 26 year old.  He is a rising star in the sport, and the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, June 14, 2021

Sportswoman of the Week Ending 6/13/2021


Winner.  Best way to describer our Sportswoman of the Week.  Win the singles.  Win the doubles.  At a Grand Slam.  Of course we're talking about Barbora Krejcikova.  An improbable unseeded single, and highly seeded double did things that haven't been done in decades.  Krejcikova began the weekend by downing another improbable finalist in Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the French Open finals at Roland Garros 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.  To cap off her weekend, she then won the doubles on Sunday with fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova beating Iga Swiatek and Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4, 6-2.  Entered Paris and never lost a match.  None of this was expected.  Krejcikova looked all the part of a Top 10 singles talent while not being ranked in the Top 30.  The Czech will be soon.  And our Sportswoman of the Week!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 6/6/2021


The NBA Playoffs are kicking as we're down to the Top 4 (okay one 5) seeds in each conference battling for the Championship.  Most eyes were on the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers who were fraught with injury during the regular season but seemed poised to make a run because, well, they have LeBron and Davis.  Not so far says Devin Booker.  The 24 year-old budding superstar put his team on his shoulders to easily close out the Lake Show in Games 5 and 6 after the first two games were split.  Booker poured in 77 points, 18 rebounds, and 8 assists during the week to guide his Phoenix Suns to double digit victorys and slay the dragon.  The 2-time All Star has led the Suns to its first Playoff Series since 2010 and it looks like they'll be a force for years to come.  Booker is the future of the league and the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, May 31, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 5/30/2021


An epic weekend of sports commenced on Memorial Day weekend, unlike 2020 in which the country was imperiled with COVID shutdowns.  Memorial Day always anchors the Indianapolis 500 and this year's race more than lived up to the billing.  Historic even.  As Brazilian Helio Castroneves won his career record tying fourth Indy and the first in 12 years.  And he did it with style.  In what many described as the most entertaining (and statistically fast) race in recent memory as there was lots of action and passing rewarding 135K (partial attendance) fans who waited after missing last year.  The 46 year-old Castroneves beat out young stars like Alex Palou and Pato O'Ward to show experience over youth.  The race featured intriguing pit strategies but at the end, it was tactics and timing and the veteran shined.  Helio Castroneves is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, May 24, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 5/23/2021


What a week in sports.  But rarely is there a story of a legend of the sport doing things well beyond one would think his age would allow.  Phil Mickelson.  Fifty.  Never a Sportsman of the Week winner until now.  His last major was the 2013 Open Championship (commonly called the British Open) in July 2013 but he was edged out by first time Tour de France winner Chris Froome. Taking the back seat no more.  At age 50, Phil Mickelson won the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Championship for his sixth major.  His first was 17 years ago (when literally at 33 some thought he may never win one).  He's won all four majors, this was his second PGA to go with two green jackets.  Mickelson was the only golfer with three rounds at 70 or better the first three days (runner up Brooks Koepka was the only with 3 at 71 or better).  Sunday of the PGA Championship weekend seemed more like match plays as lower placed golfers surged but Mickelson and Koepka battled down the stretch with Mickelson holding on for the win.  What a weekend and what a golfing legend, and a first time Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 5/16/2021


As a period of transition engulfs the Colorado Rockies franchise with the loss of key players, corner infielder Josh Fuentes stepped up to deliver a decent week for the struggling ball club.  With the Rockies floundering with the worst record in Major League Baseball, Fuentes put his team on his back for the week and led them to a 3-2 record by going 11-22, 2 HR, and tallying two or RBI in each game he played (13 total in five games).  His May batting average is warming up with the weather now at .347 to offset a struggling May.  The Rockies aren't going anywhere this year, but Fuentes is a player to watch, and the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, May 10, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 5/9/2021


Two for one sale, No Hitters are cheap!  I promise, my Blog isn't all about No Hitters but wow, we can't go a week without one happening.  This week two, but we give the nod to the pitcher on the team who hasn't pitched one since 1969.  Baltimore Orioles left handed pitcher John Means flummoxed the Seattle Mariners for no hits, no walks, and no errors over 9 innings.  The sole base runner?  Reached on a strikeout wild pitch.  That's how close to a perfect game.  The 28-year old Means is in his third year of being a workhorse starter but this was his first complete game or shutout.  The Orioles have been punching bag in the rough and tough AL East but this could be a turning point for the proud franchise.  John Means earns the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week! 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 5/2/2021


No Kentucky Derby jockey has ever won two Derbies in an eight month span.  Leave it to COVID to change that.  John Velazquez was brilliant on a second tier horse to win the 2021 Kentucky Derby for Medina Spirit.  What's amazing is the similarities to the 2020 Derby ran on Labor Day Weekend.  Both times it was legendary Bob Baffert's only entry.  Both times the horse wasn't the favorite.  Both times, Velazquez led him to victory.  Pretty much wire to wire from the Clubhouse turn on.  The stretch was harrowing four wide as horses had a clean run, but Velazquez and Medina Spirit would not be denied  It was great that fans could see, and Medina Spirit jockey John Velazquez is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, April 26, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 4/25/2021


Three weeks in a row a no hitter in Major League Baseball?  According to MLB, no.  According to our Blog?  Yesssssss!  Arizona Diamondbacks lefty Madison Bumgarner navigated start to finish against the defending National League East champion Atlanta Braves and did not allow a batted ball in play that resulted in a runner that was not an error or fielders choice.  In fact, there was just one error in the game.  Bumgarner is an unlikely source for such a feat.  While in his prime he was one of the most feared pitchers in the League, including a 2014 World Series MVP (for which he won a Sportsman of the Week) to his credit, he has not been as effective.  He hasn't had a complete game since 2017.  A shutout since 2016.  What a performance and what a Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 4/18/2021


Two weeks into the MLB season and two no hitters.  It's not supposed to happen like this.  Especially early in the season where pitchers are presumably working up their pitch count.  Last week, Joe Musgrove did the improbable.  This week, Chicago White Sox hurler Carlos Rodon almost did the impossible.  A near perfect game.  The lefty took a perfecto into the 9th but on a fluke (or characteristic) unhittable sharp breaking ball, hit a batter on his foot with one out.  No worries, he retired the next two batters and preserved the no-no for an 8-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians.  Rodon, a 3rd overall pick in the 2014 Amateur draft, has struggled with injuries with only 11 starts in the last 2 years (2019-20).  It was Rodon's second complete game and first shutout.  And of course, first no hitter.  He did it and further reminded baseball fans how fun baseball is.  Our Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, April 12, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 4/11/2021


What a first full week for Major League Baseball and unbelievably we have our first no hitter!  Of 2021 and for the San Diego Padres!  With teams concerned about pitch counts and 10 person bullpens, Joe Musgrove ensured none were needed.  Facing just one more than the minimum, Musgrove sent down 27 Texas Rangers without allowing a hit.  Ten strikeouts, no walks and just a hit by pitch.  It was Musgrove's first complete game and, consequently, his first shut out.  Could not have come at a better time.  The Padres are expected to compete with the World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers and if they can get this sort of performance out of Musgrove, they just might unseat the champs.  A worthy Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, April 5, 2021

Sportswoman of the Week Ending 4/4/2021


Sports fans across the United States were deprived of March Madness in 2020.  The reward in 2021 is that much sweeter.  After recognizing as a Sportsman of the Week a player on the men's side last week, it was the Women's Final Four that was the story of the weekend.  Enter an all Pac 12 final, and enter our Sportswoman of the Week from the National Champion Stanford Cardinal.  Haley Jones of the Cardinal led a 4 guard attack that couldn't be slowed down in two, single point Final Four victories.  Jones chipped in 24 points in the semifinal against South Carolina Gamecocks, then another 17 against fellow Pac 12 rival Arizona to end the Final Four averaging over 20 points a game.  The Stanford Cardinal were champions for the first time in 29 years and Jones is the deserving Sportswoman of the Week!

Monday, March 29, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 3/28/2021


Another week of March Madness and we can't get enough of the action.  In the backdrop, top national seed Gonzaga is pushing to be the first undefeated NCAA Men's Basketball National Champion team since 1976.  So far this season, only one team has kept the Bulldogs within 10 points.  Neither of the teams they played this week kept them that close.  Led by Sportsman of the Week Drew Timme, Gonzaga averaged 17 point victories over the 8 seeded Oklahoma Sooners and 5 seeded Creighton Blue Jays.  Timme filled the box score in all categories, averaging 26 points (30 vs. OU, 22 vs. CU) and 9.5 rebounds.  He also got 4 assists per game so he wasn't greedy.  Gonzaga has long been a tournament darling but plays the favorite as they try and navigate to their first National Championship.  It will be Timme and teammates that can make it happen, he is a worthy Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 3/21/2021


What an opening weekend of March Madness.  In an unpredictable season impacted all along the way with games rescheduled and cancelled but culminating in one of the biggest events in American Sports.  The NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball tournament.  This time last year sports fans ate a bitter pill when there was no possible path forward for the tournament as the country grappled with cancelled events and lock downs.  But the tournament was wide open on the first weekend.  On the Men's side, Oral Roberts Golden Eagles were one of the surprise teams, shocking one of the short-list tournament favorite Ohio State Buckeyes in overtime.  Not to be outdone, the 15-seed proceeded to defeat the Florida Gators in the second round.  Sweet 16 ticket punched.  They were led by experienced and talented forward Kevin Obanor.  The junior number "0" led the team with an average of 29 points over the first two games, and not only that, added 11 rebounds in both games.  He added 4 steals in the Florida win as well to be a complete stat sheet filler.  Oral Roberts next gets third seeded Arkansas.  Will they add another major program to their belt?  Our Sportsman of the Week Kevin Obanor will lead the Golden Eagles and make a good run at it!

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 3/14/2021


Spring sports are the best.  Even better when they're winter sports disguised in Spring.  Oh wait, it's actually winter another week.  Even despite clocks changing.  Got it.  Not the first time this Blog points to one of the great athletic events for a Sportsman of the Week in the Iditarod.  And not the first time our Sportsman of the Week took the title.  Dallas Seavey was the 12th ever winner of the Sportsman of the Week honor, but worthy again.  This week in the annual Dogsled Super Bowl as it were, Seavey won his fifth Iditarod (last SOTW was his first win) in 7 days, 14 hours, 8 minutes and 57 seconds.  The race was shortened to ensure a clean finish and without risk of COVID interruption.  At 34 years old, he ties the all time record of Rick Swenson and is poised to break his record in future years.  I'd love to give you a day by day analysis but I wasn't on the course and the ESPN coverage was spotty.  Let's just say Seavey is good and deserves Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, March 8, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 3/7/2021


Combat sports are in a transition phase, as traditional boxing (on the 50th anniversary of Ali-Frazier I) give way to what might be considered more action packed (read, shorter, fewer rounds) mixed martial arts.  The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has continued to evolve in style, substance, and quality to take the main stage.  And last Saturday's UFC 259 (doesn't quite have the roman numerals like Super Bowls) provided action and surprise.  The action was defending champion Jan Blachowicz (Poland) versus the previous undefeated Israel Adesanya (Nigeria) in the Light Heavyweight (oxymoron anyone, dudes are 200 pounds) division.  Blachowicz was a +185 underdog but controlled Adesanya to demonstrate superiority.  Per the fight stats showed clear dominance for Jan as he had more strikes, significant strikes, take downs (3 to 0), and match control.  Resulted in an easy unanimous decision.  The 38-year old Blachowicz used his experience this time, but Adesanya is probably a champion of the future.  Great historical matchup, and a worthy Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Sportsman of the Week Ending 2/28/2021


The NBA is hitting its Spring stride and a familiar name is positioning his team for a potential deep NBA Playoff run and potential first title in 50 years (and you think your favorite team hasn't won in a while).  Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks has his team at the third seed and feared hoping to at least win the Eastern Conference since 1974.  The two-time reigning NBA MVP lit up opponents this week with 3 games of brilliance.  36-38 points in each game (37 PPG average), 13-15 made FG, throw in average 11 rebounds and 6 assists and not a bad week.  Oh, and 3 wins.  He's also the reigning defensive player of the year so complete two way threat.  Will the Bucks finally break through?  Will Antetokounmpo  win a third MVP?  To be determined, but he is our Sportsman of the Week!