BOB MATTHEWS SPORTS TALK
Weeknights 6:00PM - 8:00PM
on WHAM 1180
Email Bob here.
For over 25 years, Bob Matthews has held the title of Rochester's most popular sports writer/commentator. For over 20 years, Bob has hosted WHAM's nightly sports talk program...consistently ranked at the top of his time slot!
From 1978 to 2012, Bob Matthews was a sports columnist for the Times-Union and Democrat and Chronicle and a regular "As the Sports World Turns" contributor to the Gannett News Service. He is the only person to be selected Press-Radio Club Sportswriter of the Year (five times) and Sportscaster of the Year, and was a pioneer inductee into the Frontier Field Walk of Fame.
A Rochester native, Bob graduated from Brighton High School where he played varsity baseball, basketball and served as student council V-P. Bob is also a veteran, serving his country in Vietnam.
Always opinionated and outspoken, Bob's proudest accomplishment is advocating for Frontier Field. His all-time favorite athlete...former Red Wing Luke Easter. One of his sports regrets……not being around for the glory year of the Rochester Royals.
LET’S GO BUFFA-LOSE!!! TIME TO START ROOTING FOR THE BILLS TO LOSE
PATRIOTS OVER JACKSONVILLE IS THE “BEST BET”
ROCHESTER COMMUNITY BASEBALL 2012: $48,000 IN THE RED
LOADED K-HAWKS CUT TO 23: “INSIDE LACROSSE” COVER BOYS
BABE RUTH STILL DOMINATES
ABBY JUST MISSED CATCHING ALEX MORGAN FOR MOST 2012 GOALS
REVISING MY MINI-LIST OF LEGIT NBA TITLE CONTENDERS
13 years and counting.
Now that the Buffalo Bills have officially clinched their 13th straight non-playoff season, it is time for even the team’s most loyal fans to start rooting for the Bills to lose their final two games – at Miami Sunday and home against the New York Jets Dec. 30.
The new fan chant should be, “Let’s Go Buffa-lose…Let’s Go Buffa-lose!”
Three reasons why:
The lower the Bills finish in the standings, the higher they’ll pick in every round of the 2013 NFL college draft. A 5-11 record might be bad enough to land a pick in the No. 6 or No. 7 range. Perhaps high enough to select Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o to begin building a solid linebacking corps?
The worse the record the less chance coach Chan Gailey and GM Buddy Nix will be retained. Doing nothing to positively advance the quarterback situation is grounds enough for dismissal.
If the Bills finish last in the AFC, they’d get a break in the 2013 schedule – getting Kansas City and Jacksonville instead of Oakland and Tennessee)..
Here is Buffalo’s 2013 schedule (it looks much tougher than the 2012 schedule looked before this season began):
Home – Atlanta (current record 12-2), Baltimore (9-5), Carolina (5-9 but impressive lately), Cincinnati (8-6), the AFC West team finishing in the same spot as the Bills – currently Kansas City (2-12).
Away – Cleveland (5-9), New Orleans (6-8), Pittsburgh (7-7), Tampa Bay (6-8), the AFC South team finishing in the same spot as the Bills – currently Jacksonville (2-12).
--The explosive New England Patriots woke up too late in last week’s 41-34 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The massively outgunned host Jacksonville Jaguars figure to pay for it Sunday afternoon.
Week 16’s NFL “Best Bet”: New England 42, JACKSONVILLE (+14.5) 10.
Saturday night’s game
(home team in CAPS)
Atlanta 35, DETROIT (+3.5) 27 – The Falcons are battling for the NFC’s best record and QB Matt Ryan is in league MVP contention. Detroit is 8-3 in its last 11 home games against Atlanta. So what?
Sunday’s other games
MIAMI (-4.5) 27, Buffalo 20 – The Bills beat the visiting Dolphins at home Nov. 15. A sweep is highly unlikely. Buffalo is 8-15 against the Las Vegas point spread (ATS) in its last 23 games and 2-12 straight up (SU) in its last 14 road games.
New Orleans 37, DALLAS (-1) 30 – The Saints are 6-1 SU in the last 7 meetings and the Cowboys are 7-14 ATS in their last 21 games and 1-9 ATS in their last 10 home games.
TAMPA BAY (-3) 24, St. Louis 17 – The struggling Buccaneers, coming off an embarrassing 41-0 road loss to New Orleans, are due for a top effort.
HOUSTON (-9) 33, Minnesota 13 – The Vikings need another huge game from Adrian Peterson to have a chance in this spot and he probably won’t run wild against the Texans.
PITTSBURGH (-3.5) 24, Cincinnati 14 – This has been a disappointing season for the Steelers but it doesn’t often pay to go against them at home against an AFC North rival.
CAROLINA (-9.5) 34, Oakland 14 – The Panthers are a roll and the Raiders are rolling downhill fast. Oakland is 1-5 SU and ATS in the last 6 home games.
Indianapolis 24, KANSAS CITY (+7) – The 9-5 Colts have come too far to slip up against the awful Chiefs.
San Diego 27, NEW YORK JETS (-1) 17 – The Jets have to be demoralized and I prefer slumping veteran Chargers QB Philip Rivers over inexperienced Jets QB Greg McElroy. The 3-point spot is a bonus.
GREEN BAY (-13) 30, Tennessee 10 – The Packers are much more firepower and are getting healthier on defense. The Titans are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 road games.
Washington 23, PHILADELPHIA (+6) – The Redskins are 7-14 SU in their last 21 games in Philadelphia, but they’re catching the Eagles at the right time this time.
Chicago 20, ARIZONA (+5.5) 17 – The slumping Bears shouldn’t be spotting any home team 5.5 points.
DENVER (-13.5) 28, Cleveland 10 – The quest for No. 1 seed in the AFC should be ample incentive for the Broncos to be ready for the Browns.
New York Giants 24, BALTIMORE 20 (+1) – The Giants are desperate for a victory after missing wake-up call in last week’s 34-0 road loss to Atlanta.
SEATTLE (+1) 27, San Francisco 24 – How could any NFL fan not be looking forward to this game? Well, maybe not some Buffalo fans who will dream of how great Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson would be looking in a Bills uniform?
Last week’s results: 9-7 picking winners outright; 9-7 picking winners against the point spread; the “Best Bet” won: Houston (-9) over Indianapolis 33-15.
ROCHESTER COMMUNITY BASEBALL LOST $48,000 IN 2012—FOR NOW
The bottom line says Rochester Community Baseball had a pre-tax loss of $48,000 for fiscal year 2012 but there is no cause for alarm.
“All things considered, it was a season to remember,” RCB general manager Dan Mason said Thursday. “We were glad to bring 112 games to Frontier Field this season. Under the circumstances, it wasn’t a bad year at all.”
Baseball operations for the Red Wings and the adopted Empire State Yankees (tickets sold and concessions) had a profit of $95,000.
The main reason RCB lost money was continued flow of red ink out of Batavia (pre-tax loss of $143,000). RCB operates the NY-P League team for the not-for-profit organization which currently owns it. In return, RCB receives 5 percent per year of the eventual sales price of the franchise. RCB is up to 25 percent of the sales price. A Class-A franchise is worth around $6 million.
“Operating the Batavia franchise is an investment for the future,” said RCB Chief Operating Officer, Chief Executive and President Naomi Silver.
“Eventually, we’ll more than cover our losses.”
Red Wings attendance for 72 home games in 2012 was down from 2011 in both paid tickets (448,024 to 414,398) and turnstile count (280,358 to 251,127). Turnstile attendance for 38 Empire State Yankees “home games” at Frontier Field was 62,164.
“We found out that Rochester is a New York Yankees city when it comes to support for a major league team,” said RCB Chairman Gary Larder, “but the Red Wings are by far Rochester’s team overall.”
Tickets revenue for the Red Wings/Yankees was up 19 percent, concessions revenue was up 15 percent and investment income was up 71 percent.
DEFENDING CHAMPION K-HAWKS SHOULD BE EVEN BETTER
The January issue of “Inside Lacrosse” magazine includes a National Lacrosse League preview and the defending champion Rochester Knighthawks are the cover subject, with Matt Vinc, Cody Jameison, Casey Powell and Jordan (recently traded to Philadelphia in a deal for star forward Dan Dawson). The cover story headline: DYNASTY IN THE MAKING?
The NLL 23-man rosters were announced Thursday and coach Mike Hasen’s Rochester roster appears much stronger than last season’s champions (7-9 in the regular season + 3-0 in the postseason).
Fordwards: left side Cody Jameison, Johnny Powless, Cory Vitarelli, Joe Walters…right side Casey Powell, Dan Dawson, Stephen Keogh, Mike Accursi, Craig Point
Transition – Brad Self, Joel McCready, Alex “Kedoh” Hill, Matt Hummell
Defense – Sid Smith, Paul Dawson, Jamie Batson, Mike Kirk, Tyler Burton, Rory Glaves,Scott Campbell, Dyan Evans.
Goalies – Matt Vinc, Jake Henhawk.
Practice squad – Ian Llord, Tom Montour, Cody McLeod.
PUP (physically unable to perform) – D Ryan Cousins.
BABE RUTH LANDSLIDE PICK FOR ALL-TIME BEST BASEBALL PLAYER
Babe Ruth still rules – thank goodness – at least in the recent ESPN.com “Hall of 100” survey.
A panel of 30 baseball “experts” was assigned to rank their top 100 top candidates for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The choice for No. 1 player as a romp: Babe Ruth 22 votes…Barry Bonds 4…Willie Mays 2…Cy Young 1…Joe DiMaggio 1.
I assume the four votes for Bonds were from people who didn’t do their homework and fail to comprehend that Ruth on beer and hot dogs was more dominant in his era than Bonds was on performance-enhancing drugs in his era…I assume the vote for DiMaggio was from a New York Yankees zealot or a Marilyn Monroe fan.
Players who admittedly used steroids – or are suspected of using them – were eligible without prejudice (or it seems). Unfortunately Negro League players were not considered, keeping Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige, and possibly others, who deserved to be included on the top-100 list.
Here are the results by position (overall rank in parentheses):
Catcher – Johnny Bench (27)…Yogi Berra (56)…Ivan Rodriguez (71)…Carlton Fisk (76)…Mike Piazza (78)…Gary Carter (86)
First basemen – Lou Gehrig (11)…Albert Pujols (19)…Jimmy Foxx (28)…Rod Carew (53)…Rod Carew (53)…Willie McCovey (57)…Hank Greenberg (63)…Harmon Killebrew (64)…Eddie Murray (65)…Jeff Bagwell (68)…Frank Thomas (69)…Mark McGwire (83)…Willie Stargell (84)…Cap Anson (88)…Jim Thome (94)
Second basemen – Rogers Hornsby (15)…Joe Morgan (20)…Eddie Collins (42)…Nap Lajoie (48)…Jackie Robinson (52)…Roberto Alomar (73)…Frankie Frisch (87)…Craig Biggio (90)
Shortstops – Honus Wagner (10)…Alex Rodriguez (18)…Cal Ripken Jr. (31)…Derek Jeter (38)…Ernie Banks (51)…Robin Yount (58)…Barry Larkin (74)…Charlie Gehringer (80)…Joe Cronin (98)
Third basemen – Mike Schmidt (16)…George Brett (30)…Pete Rose (37)…Eddie Mathews (39)…Brooks Robinson (43)…Chipper Jones (50)…Wade Boggs (54)…Ozzie Smith (60)…Paul Molitor (77)…Ron Santo (97)
Left fielders – Barry Bonds (3)…Ted Williams (4)…Stan Musial (8)…Rickey Henderson (14)…Carl Yastrzemski (40)…Manny Ramirez (85)…Jim Raines (96)…Al Simmons (99)
Center fielders – Willie Mays (2)…Ty Cobb (6)…Mickey Mantle (9)…Joe DiMaggio9 (21)…Tris Speaker (25)…Ken Griffey Jr. (34)…Duke Snider (81)
Right fielders – Babe Ruth (1)…Hank Aaron (5)…Frank Robinson (22)…Roberto Clemente (33)…Mel Ott (36)…Al Kaline (46)…Reggie Jackson (55)…Tony Gwynn (61)…Paul Waner (91)…Sammy Sosa (95)
Right-handed pitchers – Roger Clemens (7)…Walter Johnson (12)…Greg Maddux (13)…Cy Young (17)…Tom Seaver (24)…Christy Mathewson (29)…Bob Gibson (32)…Nolan Ryan (35)…Pedro Martinez (41)…Pete Alexander (50)…Bob Feller (59)…Ferguson Jenkins (62)…Gaylord Perry (66)…Mariano Rivera (67)…Juan Marichal (70)…Bert Blyleven (72)…John Smoltz (75)…Robin Roberts (79)…Kid Nichols (82)…Jim Palmer (89)…Roy Halladay (92)…Phil Niekro (100)
Left-handed pitchers – Randy Johnson (23)…Steve Carlton (26)…Sandy Koufax (44)…Warren Spahn (45)…Lefty Grove (47)…Tom Glavine (93).
ABBY JUST MISSED CATCHING ALEX MORGAN FOR 2012 GOAL-SCORING LEAD
The 2012 season is over for the U.S. women’s national soccer team and Abby Wambach – with 4 total goals in the final 2 games of the 10-game Fan Tribute Tour – just missed catching Alex Morgan for team goal-scoring honors:
Alex Morgan – 28 goals and 21 assists for 77 points in 31 games (27 starts)
Abby Wambach – 27 goals and 8 assists for 62 points in 32 games (only player to start all 32 games)
Carli Lloyd – 15 goals and 1 assist for 31 points in 32 games (27 starts)
Sydney Leroux – 14 goals and 1 assist for 29 points in 27 games (0 starts).
The team’s record was 28-1-3 (only loss was 1-0 to Japan March 5 in Portugal).
The team outscored opponents 120-21.
The next game will be Feb. 9 against Scotland in Jacksonville, Fla.
More Abby notes: She has 152 goals in 198 international games…63 of her 152 goals were on headers…She needs 7 goals to top former teammate Mia Hamm’s 158 career international goals…The U.S. is 97-2-7 in games Abby scores a goal.
Reminder: The FIFA women’s soccer Player of the Year will be announced Jan. 7 in Switzerland. I think Abby is going to win.
Buster Olney of ESPN.com. this week posted his first Top-10 Major League Baseball Offseason Power Rankings: The New York Yankees aren’t No. 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9. They’re 10th…Behind the No. 1 Giants, Nationals, Tigers, Reds, the No. 5 Athletics (I don’t agree with that one), Dodgers, Cardinals, Blue Jays and the No. 9 Braves.
One MLB rumor I’m not buying is that the Yankees are waiting for the price to drop on free-agent center fielder Michael Bourn. I assume that means Curtis Granderson would DH or be traded. Imagine a possible Yankees starting outfield of Brett Gardner, Bourn and Ichiro Suzuki. That would provide lots of speed and defense but a TOTAL of 15 HRs max. Very un-Yankeelike.
Minnesota baseball writer Charley Walters projects Scott Diamond, Mike Pelfrey, Vance Worley and Kevin Correia as the top four starters in the new-look Twins’ starting rotation. Top candidates for No. 5 starter include Nick Blackburn, Brian Duensing, Kyle Gibson, Cole De Vries, Liam Hendriks, Sam Deduno and P.J. Walters. Rochester’s spillover starting rotation to start the season should be pretty good. Other candidates for the Red Wings rotation include Esmerling Vazquez, Trevor May and Scott Elarton.
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, my big hope for the Buffalo Bills in the 2013 NFL college draft, received a nice plug from ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. this week: “We all wait for one more game, but Te’o doesn’t need more game tape. Has exceptional instincts, a ton of experience and the ability to read the game. Can attack the backfield. Te’o is a big, strong, prepared tackling presence in the middle of the field. With off-the-charts intangibles, he is the future leader of an NFL defense.”
Nationalfootballpost.com’s updated 2013 NFL mock draft has the Bills selecting No. 7 overall and picking North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon: “Current QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the long-term answer, so they gamble and take the tall, strong-armed Glennon, who has elite arm strength, built struggles with consistency.” At least he’s almost 7 inches taller than Seattle Seahawks rookie Russell Wilson, who flunked Buffalo’s height test.
I’m wondering how Michael Phelps edged LeBron James for 2012 AP Male Athlete of the Year.
Testimony of the popularity of football: Six of the top 10 AP Sports Stories of the Year were related to football (including the Penn State sex scandal No. 1). NFL replacement officials finished one spot (No. 7) above baseball’s World Series (No. 8).
The Web site icethetics.info this week this week selected the logo of the Rochester Americans No. 1 all-time in the 30-team American Hockey League: “The Amerks. A true minor hockey classic. In a league where tradition takes a backseat to filling arenas, it’s comforting to know that some things don’t change. The team was founded in 1956. The current logo has been in use since 1972 – decades longer than any of their AHL brethren. It’s no coincidence that the oldest logo is No. 1 on my list nor is it a coincidence that this mark has been around so many years.”
I STILL SEE ONLY THREE GENUINE NBA TITLE THREATS
Some NBA fans believe the season starts on Christmas Day. Others insist the season really starts when the playoffs begin.
When this 2012-13 season began, I thought there were only three teams capable of winning the championship: Miami, Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Lakers.
My slightly revised opinion: Legitimate title contenders – Miami, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles Clippers (replacing the Lakers).
Next-best (could go all the way on top effort if the Big Three wilt) – New York Knicks, Lakers (maybe Phil Jackson will come to the rescue), San Antonio (one last gasp?)
Would be a huge surprise (to me) – Boston, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago (even with a healthy return by Derrick Rose), Memphis
Would be a shock (to me): Atlanta, Brooklyn, Denver
No way possible –Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas (even with Dirk Nowitzki), Detroit, Golden State, Houston, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Orleans, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, Toronto, Utah, Washington.
HOW ADRIAN PETERSON MEASURES UP WITH 2,000-YARD RUSHERS
Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson needs 188 yards in the remaining two games of the regular season to become the seventh player to rush for at least 2,000 yards in an NFL season. Here are the performance lines for those six running backs:
1973 – O.J. Simpson…2,003 yards rushing in a 14-game season (the five other 2,000-yard rushers played in 16 games)…332 carries…6.0 yards per carry…143.1 yards rushing per game…6 catches for 70 yards…2,073 yards from scrimmage (148.1 yards per game)…13 total TDs
1984 – Eric Dickerson…a record 2,105 yards rushing…379 carries…5.6 yards per carry…131.6 yards rushing per game…21 catches for 139 yards…2,244 yards from scrimmage (140.3 yards per game)…14 total TDs
1997 – Barry Sanders…2,053 yards rushing…335 carries…6.1 yards per carry…128.3 yards rushing per game…33 catches for 335 yards…2,358 yards from scrimmage (147.4 yards per game)…14 total TDs
1998 – Terrell Davis…2,008 yards rushing…392 carries…5.6 yards per carry…125.5 yards rushing per game…36 catches for 310 yards…2,225 yards from scrimmage (139.1 yards per game)…23 total TDs
2003 -- Jamal Lewis…2,066 yards rushing…387 carries…5.3 yards per carry…129.1 yards rushing per game…26 catches for 205 yards…2,271 yards from scrimmage (141.9 yards per game)…14 total TDs
2009 – Chris Johnson…2,006 yards rushing…358 carries…5.6 yards per carry…125.5 yards rushing per game…50 catches for 503 yards…2,509 yards from scrimmage(156.8 yards per game…16 total TDs
At Adrian Peterson’s current pace (through 14 games), here is his projected 2012 performance line: 2,071 yards rushing…330 carries…6.3 yards per carry…129.4 yards rushing per game)…43 catches for 241 yards…2,312 yards from scrimmage (144.5 yards per game)…12.6 total TDs.