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Monday, April 19, 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
Monday, February 22, 2021
There's a changing of the guard on women's tennis, no doubt about it. And it played out in the first Grand Slam tournament in 2021. Japan's Naomi Osaka knocked off American legend Serena Williams in the Australian Open semifinals which had all the making of a passing of the torch. Serena had little to defend against the younger, more athletic Osaka. Neither did fellow American Jennifer Brady who put together a great tournament to even get to the finals, but could muster no more than the 7 games Serena did over 2 sets. Only Garbine Muguruza could win a set against Osaka and along with the two Americans, the only ones to win 4 games in a set. The 23 year old Osaka looks all the part of a humble tennis superstar, and this is her second Sportswoman of the Week!
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
An annual rite of Spring (or at least late winter) is the restart of the NASCAR season in warm and sunny Florida for the Daytona 500. Well at least it was warm and later, the rain that precluded the sun abated. As unpredictable as the weather was the result of the race. With former Cup champions Denny Hamlin leading the most laps, and Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski leading the final lap, it seemed certain a winner would be from the Final Four of 2020. Au Contraire. After Brad took out Joey, it was underdog Michael McDowell who took the checker after a fiery final lap and a yellow flag just before he was passed by 2020 Cup winner Chase Elliott. It was McDowell's 358th Cup Series career start. And first Cup Series race victory. He was listed somewhere between 66-1 and 100-1 at the start. But he's number one so far in 2021 and now punched his ticket to the NASCAR playoffs. Michael McDowell is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, February 8, 2021
Hard to call it an upset when the winning quarterback already has six Super Bowl title. Make it seven. But he wasn't the only experienced player on the field for the winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His partner in crime from the New England Patriots days tight end Rob Gronkowski joined him and made two huge touchdown catches in the first half to send the Swashbucklers on their way to an easy 31-9 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. That Buccaneers quarterback of some renown, Tom Brady, hit his favorite tight end twice for touchdowns in a short 9:32 span to take a 3-0 deficit to a 14-3 lead they would never relinquish. Gronk led the Buccaneers receiving corps in targets, catches, and yards (in addition to touchdowns) showing once again his big game ability. When he wasn't catching passes, he was a key run blocker on the edge helping the Pirates in Pewter Pants rush for 4.5 yards per carry to keep the Chiefs defense off balance. Brady to Gronkowski will go down in Super Bowl lore, and the latter is a deserving Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, February 1, 2021
It's the bye week for the NFL before the Super Bowl, which means we turn toward Spring Sports. The National Hockey League is in full throat and a new star has emerged. American net minder Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks emerged to snipe three victories (two against the Ottawa Senators, the other against the Winnipeg Jets), each allowing 1 goal. And his Canucks charge toward the top of the North (a.k.a Canada) Division looking up at the big market Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. Overall 100 shots faced in the 3 games, 3 in. My math says that's 97% save percentage, which is pretty good. The 25 year-old Demko will be a key if the Canucks can make a run toward the Stanley Cup, and is our Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, January 25, 2021
What a weekend of NFL Playoff Football with the the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs headed to the Super Bowl crowned in their respective conferences. While the quarterbacks stole the headlines for good reason, with 3 of the 4 being former MVPs, it was a defensive player who may have been the reason his team won. Buccaneers LB Devin White was a force that could not be contained for the second week in a row. He was a tackle machine with 15 total tackles, including 9 solo, which was double the other players on the field for either team. But perhaps his most opportunistic game changes was when he scooped up a fumble on the Green Bay Packers initial possession of the second half and returned it 21 yards to the Green Bay 8 yard line. One play later, the Bucs were up 28-10, a lead they would never relinquish on their way to a narrow 31-26 win. Defensive players usually relinquish the accolades to the offensive weapons but not this week. Devin White is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, January 18, 2021
What a performance on what may go down as the greatest college football team of all time. Alabama completed their perfect season with a thrashing of third ranked Ohio State Buckeyes 52-24 in a game that was pretty much over by halftime. Two players stood out statistically and I'm giving the Sportsman of the Week nod to the one that played the entire game. Alabama QB Mac Jones was near perfect in a technical dismantling of the Buckeyes defense. He finished the evening only missing on 9 passes on a 36-45 virtuoso performance, tallying 464 yards (including 353 in the first half) and 5 TD. His favorite target was Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith who caught almost half the yards at 215 on 12 catches for 3 TD. But after Smith left with an injury at halftime, Jones kept the pressure on with a back-breaking TD pass at the end of the 3rd quarter to put the Crimson Tide up by 20 or more points permanently. It was close choosing between the two, but surrounded by superstars, Jones was the leader and a deserving Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, January 11, 2021
For the first time in National Football League (NFL) history, a playoff weekend featured six (6) games of action and all but two of the playoff teams. And it was spectacular. The games featured several veteran quarterbacks presumably in their final couple of years (Brady, Brees, Roethlisberger, Rivers) but it was breakthroughs by younger players that stole the show. Maybe none more than Buffalo Bills phenom Josh Allen. Playing in his first home playoff game, his efforts gave Buffalo their first playoff victory in 25 years with a thrilling victory over the Indianapolis Colts 27-24. Their last victory was shortly after their four consecutive American Football Conference championships and even before the "Music City Miracle" heartbreaking defeat two decades ago. Allen threw with pinpoint accuracy completing 26/35 passes for 324 yards and 2 TD. But it may have been his legs that were more important. With a rushing game stuck in neutral, Allen ran for 54 yards on 11 carries and another TD to lead his team in rushing as well. All in all he accounted for 355 of the Bills 397 yards (taking away the sacks) and all three touchdowns. Allen looks all the bit of a bargain at number 7 overall draft pick in 2018 and has he and the Bills poised for many more playoff victories. Perhaps this Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. Josh Allen is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, January 4, 2021
Amazing we enter our 10th year of Sportsmen and Sportswomen of the week, we continue where we started. College Football Bowl Games. One of the highlights of the sports calendar. Admittedly 2020-21 was a tough year for Bowl Games, but they ended in a surprising star in the College Football Playoff (something that didn't exist 9 years ago). The Sugar Bowl was dominated by Ohio State and led by who may have given the most clutch performance in 2020-21. Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields shredded the favored Clemson Tigers defense and made victory look easy. After a completely lackluster, even poor performance in the Big 10 title game, Fields came to life. And played the game of his life. Fields completed 22/28 passes for 385 yards and six touchdowns. Six. He also ran for 42 yards just to keep the chains moving. Time and time again he dropped back and made key passes to guys in coverage to break the will of the Tigers. All this after suffering what appeared to be a game ending rub injury on what was ruled a controversial targeting on Clemson's James Skalski who (according to referee and replay ruling) "targeted" Fields in the ribs with his helmet leaving him wincing upon walking or throwing and Skalski sidelined for the rest of the game. But Fields persevered in an heroic effort. They'll need a repeat performance to beat the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National Championship game, but Fields was definitely the man of the match and the Sportsman of the Week.