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Monday, November 28, 2022
Three-hundred-yard performances just don't happen in the NFL, but we saw one this week. From an unlikely source, certainly for the team if not individual. Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders shredded a playoff contending Seattle Seahawks defense for 229 yards on the ground plus another 74 through the air for 303 total yards. He led the Raiders in both yardage categories. Add two touchdowns, the last of which was epic. An 86 yard "walk off" in overtime. After being pinned inside their own 20-yard line with 4:20 left, Jacobs ended it all. Busting through the middle it was a track meet to the goal line and he would not be denied. Ballgame.
Monday, November 21, 2022
It was a topsy-turvy weekend of college football in which many of the top playoff contending teams struggled and one seemingly favorite went down. Hard. Tennessee rolled into Columbia, South Carolina, as 22-point favorites and their chanced of making the college football playoffs seemed more dependent on Big 10 and Big 12 losses ahead of them. South Carolina Gamecocks QB Spencer Rattler took that personally. South Carolina struck pay dirt early and often in an absolute bludgeoning of the SEC East runners up. After USC of the East jumped to a 21-7 lead in the first quarter, the track meet began, and Tennessee battled back to cut the Cocks lead to 35-31 late in the 3rd quarter. But South Carolina scored four straight TDs, two on Rattler passes. Overall Rattler threw 6 TD passes on 30-37, no picks, and 438 yards. Tennessee will be left licking their wounds in a Bowl game in Florida on New Year's Day, instead of in the playoffs on New Year's Eve. Thanks to Rattler, the Longhorndave, Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, November 14, 2022
In a really fun and amazing weekend of NFL Football, two traditional powerhouses squared off in the late TV window and thrilled audiences. With the proud Green Bay Packers licking their wounds after 5 straight losses and the sky-high Dallas Cowboys in the frozen tundra, the Packers acted like a cornered wounded animal. While Aaron Rodgers was his usual steady self, it was rookie wide receiver Christian Watson that emerged as a potential future superstar in the league. Watson, who had been plagued with uneven play over the first half of his rookie season, emerged and showed why the Packers believed he can help bring the Packers back to the playoffs. After a disappointing 88 yards on 10 catches in his first six games, he emerged with four big catches, including three touchdowns in the crucial 31-28 win to keep Green Bay in the playoff hunt. His 58 yard catch in the 2nd quarter seemed to boost both the Packers and his confidence and they emerged as winners of their biggest game of the year. Will Green Bay make the playoffs? If so, it'll be due to Watson's emergence. He is a worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, November 7, 2022
Nothing defines October, err, early November, more than the Major League Baseball World Series. For over a century, the Fall Classic has captured the attention of baseball fans as the Commissioner's Trophy is up for grabs in the seven-game series between the American and National League Champions. Until 2022, only one no-hitter had been thrown in World Series history. Make it two. Houston Astros pitcher Cristian Javier dominated the hard-hitting Philadelphia Phillies for six innings of no-hit baseball for a 5-0 win in Game 4 to even the series at 2. The Astros would never look back and win the next two. The stats barely do his effort justice, as there were very few even hints of hard contact and nine strikeouts of his 18 ours. Unassuming and cold blooded, Javier mowed through the Phillies lineup twice (plus two batters) retiring the final 11 hitters he faced after a couple of early walks. Leading 5-0, the Astros then used their well-rested high leverage relievers in Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly to close out the knock-less box score. Javier started two games in the postseason with 11.1 innings and just 1 hit. This was no fluke, and he is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Will all four professional sports in regular or post season, we turn to the consummate fall sport, College Football for our honors. The North Carolina Tarheels have been a surprise in the ACC this year, up to 7-1 (4-0 in conference) under legendary coach Mack Brown. The Heels were in a battle this week, before emerging victorious when it counted, the fourth quarter. Led by freshman quarterback Drake Maye, Carolina ran off the game's final 28 points to overcome a 10-point deficit and turn it into an 18-point victory. Maye threw for 3 TD passes over the game's last 22 minutes, amassed 388 yards and 5 TD in the Tarheels 42-24 victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers. Maye was also North Carolina's leading ground gainer with 61 yards on 14 carries, meaning is 449 yards outshined his opponents who had 25 combined rushing otherwise, literally doing it all for the Heels. Drake Maye has a bright future and showed us why, as the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, October 24, 2022
October is one of the great sports months on the calendar. NBA/NHL starting. NFL in midseason. Golf and motor sports with big end of year action. But it's Major League Baseball that is synonomous with October. And we have a surprise team and hero. The Philadelphia Phillies have basically been bracket busting (a la March Madness style) in surging toward the National League pennant. With several heroes, it was Rhys Hoskins that gave the power to push them to the flag. Hoskins went 3-7 with 3 HR and 6 RBI over the National League Championship series final two games to seal the deal for the Phillies against the San Diego Padres and punch their ticket to the World Series. His fourth hit in the series also a HR. The hits were clutch as well, right when the team needed it. Cutting a lead to 4-2. Tying up a game at 6. Giving his team a 2-run lead. Never a bad time for a HR, but Hoskins was dialed in, and is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, October 17, 2022
In one of the best October weekends of college football in recent memory, a traditional power rising back to glory got their biggest win in a decade or more. In what is one of the biggest rivalries in college football, the Tennessee Volunteers finally overcame 15 years of frustration and adversity in a thrilling defeat of the perennial power Alabama Crimson Tide 52-49 in front of a raucous home crowd. The Vols were led by senior QB Hendon Hooker who was nothing short of spectacular. Against a perennially strong Alabama defense, Hooker lit them up for 21-30, 385 yards, and 5 TD. He also kept 14 times for another 56 yards ending at 441 total yards for the game out of his team's 567. The Vols have surged to the Top 5, and will have many more big games left including a showdown with Georgia and an SEC title game. But Hooker and the Vols got it done, and he is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, October 10, 2022
After an action-packed weekend of Major League Baseball Wild Card Playoffs, four teams emerged. Surprisingly, 3 of the 4 visiting teams pulled off series wins to advance to the League Division Series. One of the most watched and intense series were the San Diego Padres visiting the New York Mets. The 101-win Mets finished tied with the Division Champion Atlanta Braves but did not own the tiebreaker and were relegated to fight for their lives. But it was the talented and plucky San Diego Padres that proved victorious. Facing two of the most-feared pitchers in the National League in Jacob DeGrom and Max Scherzer (the latter a two-time former Sportsman of the Week), the Padres were able to get ahead early in Games 1 and 3 and put away the frustrated Mets. The Padres were led but a surprising weapon in Trent Grisham. Grisham notched 4 hits in 8 AB and added two walks for an OBP of .600. Two of the hits were HR, including a big one early in Game 1 off of Scherzer to push the Padres lead to 3. He also had a rally killing catch in CF in Game 3, robbing an extra base hit which would have tightened up the elimination game. And he scored 5 of the teams 16 runs in the series. The Padres are loaded with superstars, but it was an unsung hero who stole the stage and is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, October 3, 2022
The final stretch, really the last 100m of the 2022 Major League Baseball playoff horse race unfolded before us and the defending World Series Champions showed us they are ready to defend their title. The Atlanta Braves entered the week just behind the rival National League East New York Mets, and left it front with a magic number of one to clinch. Led by key offseason acquisition Matt Olson, the Braves won 5 out of 6, including a sweep against the Mets to take a two-game lead. Olson pounded the Nationals and Mets at a 9-18 clip with an astounding 5 HR and 9 RBI. Including 3 HR and 5 RBI in what is probalby the deciding series in the NL East. Olson has been a star for the underpublicized A's but now may get his chance in the postseason to show his star ability. Matt Olson is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, September 26, 2022
It's starting to get to the interesting part of the College Football season, with conference openers and no longer cupcake out of conference paydays. One of the biggest upsets of the first week was orchestrated by a team that, quite frankly, got beat by a cupcake the week before. The Kansas State Wildcats surprisingly fell to the Tulane (Mighty) Green Wave 17-10 last week in a stunner. Many thought their conference title hopes would be abandoned. Au Contrare. Led by 5th year senior Nebraska transfer Adrian Martinez, the Wildcats beat the 6th ranked and Big 12 favorite Oklahoma Sooners 41-34. Martinez accounted for five touchdowns, including four on the ground, with an efficient 21-34 passing and one TD, but gashing the defense with 148 yards rushing on 21 carries. It's not like the Sooners could gang up on him, with weapon super back Deuce Vaughn also getting as many touches and more than 100 yards. The Sooners had no answers for Martinez, who cemented the Wildcats fourth win in five years over the Sooners. A deserving Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
One of the surprise teams in the 2022 NFL season so far is the Miami Dolphins. They may have turned the corner with their franchise QB and former 1st round (5th overall) pick Tua Tagovailoa. Having built some offensive weapons around him Tagovailoa suddenly is filling the superstar shoes he aspired to fill. This week in what may be a key AFC matchup against North Division favorite Baltimore Ravens, he outdueled former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. Tagovailoa hit 36 of 50 passes for an eyebrow raising 469 yards and 6 TDs (both career highs, his first more than 375 / 6). He had 3 TDs in the 4th quarter, fueling a 14-point 4th quarter (21-point overall) comeback and scoring with 14s left. Winner. And Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, September 12, 2022
An amazing Fortnight in Queens ended with an epic semifinals and finals in the United States (Tennis) Open. On the men's side, it was a rare victory outside of the (arguably) best three players ever (at least measured by Grand Slam wins). But this time, it was a Spanish 19-year-old who has taken the tennis tour by storm. And is now World ranked number one. Carlos Alcaraz appears to be all of the next generation tennis player to battle for years, if not decades to come. In Flushing, he finished off seven straight wins with epic battles. The Finals victory over Norwegian Casper Ruud went 4 sets (one set on a tiebreak). The epic Semifinals against upstart home favorite American Frances Tiafoe went a full 5 sets, two by tiebreak (both Alcaraz sets dropped). It was Alcaraz 5th singles tournament win, first Grand Slam, and he's now 51-9 for the year. First of potentially many Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, September 5, 2022
The Arizona Diamondbacks are on a rebuild and not making much headlines in the top-heavy National League West Division, but one player is making record breaking performances. Zac Gallen is on an absolute tear with his right arm. He is now up to six straight starts without allowing a run (let alone an earned run). Since his last runs allowed August 2, he's now gone 41 1/3 innings with just 16 hits (and 8 walks). He's gone from 6-2 to 11-2 and shaved nearly a point off of his pretty good ERA down to 2.42. His six starts without a run ties a record, he does have a little work to do to catch Orel Hershiser's 59 consecutive scoreless innings. The D-backs aren't that bad of a team, just 5 games under .500 and in third place behind the much more experienced and highly compensated Dodgers and Padres. For this week, Gallen notched 14 innings, 4 hits, 1 walk, and 14 K's in wins over the contending Brewers and Phillies. A story to watch during September, Gallen is a worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
|Sammy Stewart 1979 card|
From then on, can't remember where they came from or how I got them, but a collection was born. A pack of 15 Topps cards (only game in town) was probably 25 cents if it was more than a dime. In parallel I remember mini helmets that came from vending machines for about that price point as well.
The hobby collection took center attention throughout the early 80s, consider my Elementary School days of 1st through 5th grade. My friends (now living in Texas) and I would save up our money (or beg our parents) for packs and study memorize the stats on the back. We had our favorites for strange names (Shooty Babitt or Biff Pocoroba) or local team Houston Astros (Jose Cruz, Tony Scott, or Terry Puhl). There were some that had funny pictures that became coveted as well. Another kid on the street was a Yankees fan, so that immediately thrust cards of that team (Winfield, Reggie, Guidry) to high value. There were new brands like Fleer and Donruss with different and fun designs. I remember liking Kiko Garcia because he played for both my Orioles and Astros. I remember a trade of a Carl Yastrzemski for Willie McCovey card (which I still have) in which it took some negotiation since McCovey had more HR (but the Yaz receiver was from New England).
|Collectable by interesting name alone|
|Another fun name of a player|
Then the bubble of the late 1980s, when production skyrocketed along with artificially high prices (think beanie babies) seemed to attract a different kind of interest. No longer looking for anything but a coveted rookie like Jose Canseco or Doc Gooden or Barry Bonds. Kinds would throw out the "commons" they weren't worth the storage cost. I indulged until late high school, then moved on to more adult things with a collection of nearly 10,000 cards to date.
|Jose Canseco was the thing|
So, looking back, what was the attraction of these? Why were they so much fun? Why is the hobby all but dead these days? Or is it?
The attraction as a youngster was the initial access to the game. Long before cable and even when your local team would be on TV every night, these photos and these statistics were all you had to connect to stars like George Brett or Dale Murphy or Pete Rose or Johnny Bench. If you got their card, you kept it because you knew who it was. Didn't matter what it was worth, it became the center of the collection. Even miscuts, error, or soiled cards (virtually worthless on the market, I even had a Gaylord Perry torn up by the neighbors dog) were cool because it was something different. I remember the excitement when my aunt turned over my older cousin's baseball cards to me and another younger cousin (which we ravaged via an organized free-for-all) before she was going to throw them out, opening the window for some earlier 80s and late 70s additions to the collection.
|Always fun to get superstar cards|
|New to the card business in 1981, Donruss didn't quite have the formula down on bubble gum to avoid a disaster (believed to be Mike Ivie)|
|Cards from Cereal boxes were worth keeping, especially if Fernando|
Later the collection morphed into simulating games on the living room floor with building block stadiums, cards strewn about in defensive configuration, a legit lineup of players (from different generations) and a lego head flicked across the floor for the ball in some sort of organized fashion. I remember one of these games Doug DeCinces made three errors.
My collecting (as mentioned above) seemed to wane as time in high school turned to other interests as happens. At a certain age I could (and would) just drive myself to an Astros game instead of needing the cards for access to learn about players. Computer game simulations came into play where you could have games with real stats determining the outcome (Micro League Baseball and Computer Baseball two of my favorites). The collect-for-value bubble had burst, and no cards were going to be hundreds of dollars for a 50-cent pack find (shocking I know, lesson in economics).
So where does this leave my collection today? I value it. I love looking through it. My 10-year-old inner self feeling of excitement is reinvigorated when I see some 1982 or 1983 cards of my youth. About the time I stopped collecting via packs, eBay came along, and I had resources to go get some older (pre-1980) cards of players I liked or Hall of Famers. The price point wasn't too high to get a Don Drysdale, Yogi Berra, or Hank Aaron. I still like collecting autographs on cards exclusively. Within the last year I've gotten autographs of Pete Rose, Dave Parker, Cal Ripken Jr., and Reggie Jackson (mostly pay-to-play at shows).
|Cards in my collection of those who passed in 2020-2021|
|Recent Autographs on Baseball Cards|
I enjoyed the recently opened "Shoebox Treasures" exhibit to Baseball Cards at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, highlighting the full spectra of the cards from the business side to the fan side, and interactive. The collection has thousands of interesting ones, including the "Holy Grail" displays to include the famous 1909 - 1911 American Tobacco Honus Wagner (which recently sold for over $7M in a private sale) and the 1952 Mickey Mantle (nearly double that) which my dad is sure he had many of before his mom (my grandmother) threw them out. Would you believe that a number of those Mantle cards ended up in the bottom of the ocean?
|Shoebox Treasures in at the National Baseball Hall of Fame|
Another way my cards got me through tough times was during the COVID-induced stoppage of league play, I decided to post a thread of baseball cards to pass the time, you can see that here: my Twitter feed.
Baseball cards had a unique place in my childhood and remain a part of my life today. What I'm going to do with the cards? No idea. But I will say they're in any car I leave here for a hurricane evacuation. And I won't stop collecting. I recently perused some cards on the rack and pack of 20 was near $9 and I kept walking. They might even hold value but that's not what I'm interested in. Give me 17 cards to learn and memorize for a quarter, and I'm a happy kid. What a time it was to be alive!
Monday, August 29, 2022
The Los Angeles Dodgers, probably the model franchise alongside the Houston Astros over the last 7 years, are completely dominating the 2022 season. Now 50 (!) games over .500 the only question is whether their pitching will be as healthy as it needs to be to beat the Braves, Mets, and Cardinals. But their hitting is fine, thanks to their MVP candidate (not likely to win) Mookie Betts. Betts is in line for his fourth Top 5 MVP finish in five years surpassing his career high in home runs and likely leading the league in runs for the third time in five years. This week, Betts went 9-27. with 3 2B and 4 HR, but most of the damage was done over the weekend series against the Miami Marlins where he went 8-15, 2 2B, 4 HR, 5 R, 7 RBI. Team went 4-2 scoring 40 runs in the wins, just bludgeoning opponents. Will Mookie win his 3rd World Series Championship in 5 years? He will certainly have a say in it and is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, August 22, 2022
In an incredible defiance of father time, our Sportsman of the Week whipped up an assault on the hallowed Major League Baseball record book unmatched by any (non-PED) players of all time. The St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols slugged the ball like it was 2012. Or even 2002. The 42-year-old had an amazing week for the surging St. Louis Cardinals that have taken a lead in the National League Central that might not be given up. From Sunday August 14 through Sunday August 21, the machine was 10-17, with 5 HR and 11 RBI. His OPS surged from .743 to .863 in just that one week. The most important thing, the Cardinals went 7-0, and are now 14-1 in games in which he played over the last couple of weeks. In a season in which he promises to retire, he looks like a man in his prime. And he is a worthy (first-time) Sportsman of the Week!
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
After weeks of being in the last few groups and teasing victory, our Sportsman of the Week finally got his first victory on the Professional Golf Association Tour. Will Zalatoris won when it counted, the Fed Ex Playoffs. In the Fed Ex St. Jude Championship in Memphis, TN. Will Z had seven Top 6 PGA finishes in 2022, including three of the four majors (Masters 6, PGA 2-playoff, US Open 2). Sniffing his first win, he almost came up bridesmaid again as his tee shot on the third playoff hole was spared the water but lodged unhittable with a probably drop-penalty coming. Sepp Straka couldn't hold the green either and Zalatoris didn't flinch again in getting a drop, pitch, and putt for an oh so good bogey. The racous crowd roared in approval, and Zalatoris emerged as our Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, August 8, 2022
Another amazing week in Major League Baseball as the playoff picture continues to focus and teams, now after the trade deadline, make their sprint toward Division titles. No team did more for their cause than the St. Louis Cardinals. Let by Nolan Arenado, the Cardinals have won seven straight games, including sweeps of the rival Chicago Cubs and vaunted New York Yankees. Arenado was unstoppable, batting .524 (11-21), with 8 runs, 3 HR, and 8 RBI in six games over the week. The Cardinals averaged 5.5 runs per game which was more than enough to carry the week. As the Cardinals surge into first place over their rival Brewers, Arenado shines as the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
Baseball takes center stage as we transition toward late summer before the fall sports start. And nobody has been a better hitter in baseball than Aaron Judge. The Free Agent to be is putting together an historic season (that surely will result in a huge payday from the New York Yankees or otherwise). Judge continued to torment pitching with another amazing week, netting him his second American League Player of the Week in a row. This week, Judge was 8-23, with 5 HR, 7 runs and 10 RBI in six games. For the season, up to 42 HR and 91 RBI, a great season and there is two months left! Will he surpass the Yankees team record of 61 Home Runs? Will he win the MVP over Shohei Ohtani? Odds are yes to both, but Judge is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Tuesday, July 26, 2022
Another week, another major European sporting event leads to our weekly honors. This time, on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. After three weeks of grueling mountain climbs, sprints, and time trials, the Tour de France wrapped up with a surprise first time Champion. Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark defeated the two-time defending champion Tadej Pogacar in several thrilling climbing duels over the Tour. Stage 11 proved to be the decisive blow in the Alps, as Vingegaard and his Jumbo Visma teammates outnumbered Pogacar and gapped him by nearly 3 minutes which was more than enough to take the Maillot Jaune for good. Pogacar attacked as he could the remainder of the tour, but Vingegaard was too much. Pogacar settles for the white jersey for best young rider, and Vingegaard thrusts himself into Tour de France immortality and is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, July 18, 2022
Another week, another trophy for winning a major British tournament. This time, The Open Championship held at the Old Course in St. Andrew's, Scotland. Not just any Open Championship, the 150th Open Championship. With a field full of the world's best golfers (now across two major tours), it was a first-time major winner that stole the stage. Cameron Smith surged on Sunday from the second-to-last group to overtake the two Saturday clubhouse leaders clear by two strokes. Turns out, his biggest competition was from his pairing partner, Cameron Young. The two Cameron's surged past former Open Champion and four-time Majors winner Rory McIlroy and his pair Viktor Hovland to win first and second. But it was the Australian Cameron who took the Claret Jug. Smith posted his second 64 in the last three rounds to finish an astounding 20 under par. This was after his putter largely abandoned him on Saturday or it would have been even more of a runaway. The 28-year-old smallish Smith with the wispy mustache and Joe Dirt hair showed he can play with all of golf's big boys and is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, July 11, 2022
The Wimbledon (tennis) Championships is always one of the most elite titles in sports and 2022 delivered the first normal tournament in 3 years. It's not often that a lower seed runs through the brackets, but just that happened on the Ladies side. Elena Rybakina entered the tournament at approximate 100:1 odds to shock the tennis world and win the Championships. Rybakina did not exactly storm through the 128-lady field, needing either a tiebreak or third set to win five of her seven matches. Including twice in the final three matches going down one set to love. In the finals against favoured Ons Jabeur, the Kazakh established superiority with consecutive 6-2 sets to raise the trophy. The Championships were her first tournament win since 2020 and only her third in her career. Is the 23-year-old just coming into her own or just put it together for one week? Time will tell, but she is the Longhorndave Sportswoman of the Week!
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
July means baseball takes center stage after an exciting postseason of NBA and NHL. Don't worry, we still have plenty of room for Wimbledon, The Open, Tour de France and other sports. But as we roll through the Independence Day holiday, we give a nod to baseball. Albeit a Dominican Republic rookie. Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners is quickly establishing himself as the American League Rookie of the Year and a superstar to come. This week, Rodriguez hit 9-25 (.360). Add 3 HR, 6 runs, and 6 RBI. All while fueling a 5-2 record as the Mariners battle up the Wild Card standings for their first playoff appearance in 22 years. Rodriguez will make the playoffs, it's just a matter of this year or the next few. And he's a worthy Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, June 27, 2022
What a week for hockey with exciting Stanley Cup Finals games resulting in a new Champion winning it for the franchise since 2001. The Colorado Avalanche followed up their second straight Western Conference top seed with a (pardon the overuse) Avalanche through the playoffs. They finished the grueling postseason at 16-4, with two sweeps and two 6 game series wins, never facing elimination or even losing two in a row. The Finals they were led by their first line center, Nathan MacKinnon in a thrilling victory against the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. The former number one overall draft pick finished the week with 2 goals and 2 assists, but both his goals came in one goal wins, when it counted. MacKinnon logged over 22 minutes per game all four, with the steady hand to lead his team to raising the Cup. Congratulations to our Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, June 20, 2022
A thrilling weekend of golf culminated with a surprise United States Open champion fending off both veterans and younger players alike. 27-year-old Matt Fitzpatrick dazzled on Sunday, outlasting several strong contenders like John Rahm and Scott Scheffler. But it was Will Zalatoris who's hunger for his first major proved the last opponent standing. Fitzpatrick played near flawless golf, hitting every green and ensuring success with a great shot on 18. Zalatoris had a long-shot birdie putt that missed by an inch and Fitzpatrick won his first tournament in the Americas, and his first major. Consistency was the Englishman's calling card all weekend, with a 68-70-68-68 to finish 6-under par. An effort more than worthy of Sportsman of the Week!
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
What a weekend of college baseball action culminating in the College World Series field of eight worthy teams. National seeds went by the wayside Super Regional after Super Regional as only two (Stanford and Texas A&M) made it through to Omaha. One of the teams that spoiled the national seed party was the Texas Longhorns, who spoiled East Carolina's attempt at their first College World Series bid with a thrilling three game series win. Led by the most prodigious home run hitter in the BBCOR (bat-ball coefficient restitution) era of college baseball history, Ivan Melendez. The "Hispanic Titanic" hit his 31st and 32nd home runs of the season (in 65 games) passing legends like Kris Bryant and even pre BBCOR Mark McGwire. The Longhorns started the season ranked Number 1 and got into brutal Big 12 conference play but emerged no worst for the wear and back in Omaha for the 38th appearance, the most all time. Melendez is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
The Stanley Cup Playoffs continue to march toward a champion, and the New York Rangers are a team that few expected to make a strong run yet are positioned to make their first Stanley Cup Finals since 2014. And their strong point has been goaltending. By Igor Shesterkin. The Russian wall has kept opponents at bay, winning 3 games out of 4 this week. It started with a clutch 6-2 victory in the Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 7 against the Carolina Hurricanes on the road in Raleigh, NC, where the Rangers had not won all series and were huge underdogs. Then, starting Games 1 and 2 at home at Madison Square Garden, he held the two-time defending Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning to 2 goals in each game for clutch 6-2/3-2 victories in both. Three wins on the week and a smooth 2 GAA with a save percentage over 94.5%. Will the Rangers win their first Cup in over 25 years? If so, it will be Shesterkin that will be the cornerstone, our Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, May 30, 2022
In a thrilling 7-game Epic Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA, another future generation superstar shone on the league's largest stage. Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum picked up his team from a 1-2 series deficit to the top seeded Miami Heat and led them to a 7-game Copmference Championship victory, including two road wins in Games 5 and 7. In games 4 through 7, Tatum, averaged 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists filling up the scoresheet. More importantly, Tatum and the Celtics may be the best threat of a young team to take on the veteran Golden State Warriors dynasty. Will they be able to do it? Tatum seems to have the confidence and is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Thursday, May 26, 2022
The National Hockey League Stanley Cup Playoffs hits full stride after an exciting opening round, the Top eight teams are battling for a spot in their Conference Finals. One of the more intriguing battles is the "Battle for Alberta" in which the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames are battling to be the only Canadian team left in the playoffs. The familiar foes have lit the lamp at a near unprecedented rate with 36 goals scored in the first four games. Nobody was a bigger force for either team than the Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid. McDavid tallied 9 points in the first three games, with 2 goals and 7 assists while skating to a +6 Plus/Minus. The 25-year-old former number one overall draft pick has cemented himself among the elite in the league. Can he lead the Oilers to their first title since 1990, and the first Canadian team championship since the Montreal Canadiens championship in 1993? Stay tuned, but he is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, May 16, 2022
In what appears to be a dead ball season in Major League Baseball, seems not that uncommon for a no-hitter to be deep into a game on a nightly basis. On pitcher finally finished it off. Los Angeles Angels lefty Reid Detmers finished off a masterpiece CG no-hitter against perennial power Tampa Bay Rays on 108, pitches, 68 strikes. He walked a man and was the benefactor of a fair scoring decision for an error that was pretty textbook and non-controversial. Detmers is a 22-year-old rookie and may provide some hope on the pitching side for a potent Angels lineup featuring three former MVPs and to pair next to Shohei Ohtani as a great 1-2 punch. Will this be the year the Angels get to the postseason? Detmers may be a reason for optimism.
Monday, May 9, 2022
Peak late Spring sports season, we have three of the four major American Sports (five of six if you throw in MLS and NASCAR) with several in playoffs, weather nice. Etc. Oh yeah, it's also horse racing's triple crown season. The first Saturday in May is reserved for the Kentucky Derby. For the first time in 3 years, full crowd and it was everything it was billed to be. Especially if you like upsets. In a 20-horse field, which expanded to the 21st horse just hours before, the longest shot in over 100 years stunned the field. Ridden by our Sportsman of the Week Venezuela native Sonny Leon, 80-1 Rich Strike (strangely not "Strike Rich" like his bettors did) looked like a Ferrari amongst Kia's down the last furlong as it outpaced favorited lower odds Epicenter and Zandon to breeze to victory. Sports. You can't win if you're not in it. The Kentucky Derby served as another reminder and inducted another amazing Sportsman of the Week!
Wednesday, May 4, 2022
While the NHL and NBA playoffs heat up, it was the first baseball player in 2022 that caught our attention. Taylor Ward of the high expectation Los Angeles Angels dominated at the plate in a week in which his team took control of the American League West Standings. Ward batted .448 (13-for-29) with 10 runs scored, two doubles, a triple, four home runs, 11 RBI, two walks and a 1.000 slugging percentage over seven games played (credit MLB.com). While the Angels tallied a 6-1 week to lead the ALW by 2.5 games by the end of the week. On a team with three former Most Valuable Players (Trout, Ohtani, and Rendon), it's Ward who has been the early hero and is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, April 25, 2022
In one of the grandest and most traditional sports, perhaps one of the greatest in that sport etched his name into history in what may be his final competition. Tyson Fury proved his heavyweight boxing championship meddle with a 6th round knockout of contender Dillian Whyte in front of a phrenetic 90K plus home crowd at England's Wimbley Stadium. Whyte seemed overmatched by the largish champion Fury as he faced a constant barrage of punches, with 76 landing including 47 power punches. As the waning seconds of the 6th round ticked down, the referee stopped the fight for a TKO. Fury finishes his career undefeated, with a 32-0-1 (only 10 fights going the distance, none lost). In an era where boxing is finding itself among other combat sports, Fury ends with a record in some of the annals of history. And is a worthy (second time) Sportsman of the Week!
Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Another amazing week in sports, especially American sports, but we go over to the Pacific Rim for an amazing, near impossible or stuff of legend, story. Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) has started just like the American Major League Baseball but has a story never matched. 20-year-old pitching phenom Roki Sasaki (佐々木) of the Chiba Lotte Marines in his second and third start of the young season pitched 17 consecutive perfect innings. Read that again. 17. Consecutive. Perfect. Innings. Sasaki pitched the 16th perfect game in NPB history (first since 1994, 7+ years before Sasaki was born) on Sunday April 10, on a magnificent 19 strike out (including 13 straight) 27 up, 27 down performance. He followed it a week later with 24 up and 24 down before being lifted (by his own admission suffering "some fatigue") in a 0-0 game. For a young arm like that, discretion is definitely warranted. What will Sasaki do for his next act? Check it out on Sunday for his next start. And maybe in a Major League Baseball ballpark in the not-too-distant future! Sasaki is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, April 11, 2022
What a week of sports. It started with the NCAA Men's Basketball finals, transitioned to the Major League Baseball Opening Day, but finished with the iconic Masters tournament, the first with full fans in 3 years. And it did not disappoint. The surging best player in golf lapped the field to win not only his first Masters, but first major. Scott Scheffler has been one of the best up and coming golfers for over a year now. Including his inclusion on the dominant American Ryder Cup team in which his inclusion was questioned, as usually spots go to veterans, to a 4-0 matchup performance. But in Augusta, he was unmatched. Consistency, big shots, and nerves of steel, and talent. Lots of talent. Scheffler is one of the next generation greats, and a worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, April 4, 2022
Tuesday, March 29, 2022
As the blue blood programs rose to the top of the NCAA March Madness heap, Villanova proved once again they were built for tournament play. For the third time in seven years (only six Final Fours) the Wildcats are among the elite. The last two, and three of the last four, they won the National Championship. Against a surging Michigan, and perhaps the most dominant tournament team to date Houston, Villanova moved along relatively easily. Led by a rare senior Jermaine Samuels Jr., they punched their ticket, Samuels Jr. led the team in scoring over the South Regional Semifinals and Finals with 38 points. But it was efficiency that was his calling card, with a 61% field goal percentage as well as 8-8 from the free throw line. All in 68 minutes and only 3 personal fouls enabling his team flexibility in keeping him on the court. Will Samuels Jr. complete his career after his freshman year National Championship in 2018 with another? Our Sportsman of the Week will give his all!
Monday, March 21, 2022
The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is perhaps the most anticipated in the sports calendar with the volume and variety of games and teams all vying for a National Championship. While there are usually some interesting upsets, the Sweet 16 typically recalibrates to the highly ranked teams. Tell that to the St. Peter's Peacocks. With absolutely nobody pushing them through on their brackets, they are dancing through to the second weekend. The face of the amazing two game stretch is probably best personified as Doug Edert. The slight guard came off the bench in both games to lead the team in scoring for the weekend with amazing shot after amazing shot. What he didn't get in playing time, he made up for in efficiency. Edert came through in the clutch in a monumental upset of the 2 seeded Kentucky Wildcats with a near-flawless 5/7 from the field (2/2 from 3-point territory) and 8/8 from the free throw line in a stunning 85-79 overtime win. He followed that up with a 4/6, 1/2, 4/6 performance in the downing of Murray State 70-60. He played no more than 25 minutes in either game but his clutchness defined what the Peacocks did. And that was, survive and advance. Edert is a worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Tuesday, March 15, 2022
All-time home run records are what Ron Burgundy would call a "big deal". And a new one was set at the NCAA college softball level. Jocelyn Alo of the Oklahoma Sooners hit her 96th career home run, passing Lauren Chamberlain (also for Oklahoma) for the home run queen title as it were. Alo did it in her fifth playing season, taking advantage of the COVID extended eligibility. But before anyone calls this an asterisk situation, her breaking home run came in about the same number of games (224) as Chamberlain (220, okay, four more) and I'd put a plug nickel that you can take the 8 HR away from 2020 and Alo will exceed the career total anyway. For reference, this was Alo's 8th HR of 2022. She hit 34 last season. An all time 3rd through 13th all played 236 games or more. Alo is a true legend of the sport and her name will forever be associated with power and greatness! Alo is the Longhorndave Sportswoman of the Week!
Tuesday, March 8, 2022
|The 2022 MLB Lockout has Rob Manfred's name all over it.|
I typically stay out of the business side of sports. If anything, I have a more pragmatic side than most fans. Example, when someone on your team (e.g. Albert Pujols) that you belove is at a priced out of the value point, your team is better off to let him or her go (e.g. St. Louis Cardinals). Fans scream "how could you." I scream, "you had to."
For the unfortunate and, in my opinion, avoidable 2022 MLB lockout, I don't blame owners or players for fighting to maximize their profit from the game, that's what they should do. Owners have the right to lock out and cancel games as leverage. Honestly cancelling games has been a single thing that has brought about progress.
But players have the right to not agree to things they think is unfair (early career salaries, a de facto cap, manipulating player seniority) and wait them out. They are the stars and should get a good portion of the proceeds. So let's get past taking sides.
The rub is that it comes at the expense of the source of revenue and there is collateral damage. The fans. Each of the professional sides is calculating that damage and using it as a bargain to gain leverage instead of treating it as an eroding commodity.
|MLB Fans Patience is being tested. Again.|
In other words, owners think players surely have to concede because they don't want to appear as petulant and probably need the income. We can wait them out.
Players think, no way owners can keep this up, they look horrible. Especially if we tweet about it a lot. Look a Twitter poll favors us. They'll cave.
And here we are.
The overall negotiations are toxic. I recall it was described by media as relatively negotiable issues (dividing up slices of the pie, not fundamentally changing the state of the game) coming into it. Nothing like 1994 in which there were chasms to bridge (drug testing, a recent collusion conviction, etc.). But now, we're talking universal DH, raise the minimums and caps, then sort out minor details like size of bases and playoff teams and pitch clocks in the process. Then as things progressed, it just seemed to spiral downward and it was baffling.
I blame Rob Manfred.
Not necessarily because as the owners' negotiator he's not been giving a reasonable deal I'm not counting dollars. In fact, there were times the owners would move the needle and the players would just walk away without further discussion "unimpressed". As if they were entitled.
I blame Manfred for the tone of these negotiations. A leader leads by getting his point across firmly, but listening and making the other side feel heard. Finding ways to make sure things move forward. I've heard nothing but the opposite. We take one step forward and three steps back because players feel mistreated and unheard. It's on him to ensure that doesn't happen.
|MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has failed the game|
There were ways to approach this in which the tone of the negotiations were set prior to a head. Set the stage with "here's the things we're thinking, what are you thinking?" Okay, let's put that aside and get to the numbers later. Instead it seemed like Manfred just thought they would come in with the rule of law and players would have to agree. Nope. And players were right to stand up. He's really failed the owners.
A good leader removes barriers to ensure customers get their product and Manfred has done the opposite.
As I said, I don't care who gets the bigger piece of the pie. They'll both get pie. I just want there to be a pie. It's the commissioner's job to ensure it happens. And he's failing. Miserably.