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.
SENIOR BOWL QUARTERBACKS FAILED TO IMPRESS
TOUGH NIGHT FOR THE KNIGHTHAWKS
MORE HYPE FOR FUTURE RED WING SANO
HISTORY OF NFL’S NO. 8 OVERALL PICKS
The Senior Bowl was another strong clue that the Buffalo Bills picked a really lousy college draft to decide they desperately need to upgrade the quarterback position.
The Bills are certain to pick at least one QB in the 2013 draft and it won’t be a shock if they select two. The theory is that other teams recently have been very fortunate in selecting QBs and Buffalo is due for long overdue for some luck in that department.
There were six QBs in last Saturday’s Senior Bowl and no one came close to significantly elevating his projected draft status.
E.J. Manuel (Florida State) was the best of the batch. He was 7x10 for 71 yards, with a TD pass and a TD run. He was voted the game’s most outstanding player in the South’s 21-16 win over the North. He was projected as a third-round pick at best and likely will stay there.
Mike Glennon (North Carolina State), a favorite of Bills GM Buddy Nix, was 8x16 for 82 yards but didn’t show off his strong arm or do anything to disprove that he lacks mobility.
Tyler Wilson (Arkansas) looked OK (8x11 for 40 yards). Landy Jones (Oklahoma) looked lost (3x9 for 16 yards). Ryan Nassib (Syracuse) struggled (4x10 for 44 yards; 1 INT and 1 fumble).
The two QBs who did the most to boost their stock in April’s draft were Geno Smith (West Virginia) and Matt Barkley (USC). They didn’t play. Barkley had a legitimate injury excuse. Smith declined an invitation and probably made a wise move.
KNIGHTHAWKS: BAD NIGHT ON THE FLOOR AND AT THE TURNSTILES
The worst development regarding the Rochester Knighthawks is their 0-3 record to start the 2013 National Lacrosse League season.
The best fact regarding the Knighthawks is that there are nine teams in the NLL and eight of them qualify for the playoffs. That’s sort of ridiculous, but not a bad format at the moment for Rochester’s players and fans.
The 16-game regular season will be 25 percent done for the Knighthawks after Saturday night’s home game against the Washington Stealth. It won’t be a “must-win” for Rochester yet, but an 0-4 start coupled with finishing the season with four road games would make the Knighthawks the runaway favorite to miss the playoffs.
Last Saturday night’s 11-7 home loss to the Toronto Rock was especially disappointing for two reasons:
The announced attendance for the defending NLL champions against a traditional rival was a modest 5,762. That’s not good. It was a far cry from the 8,000-plus crowds of the past that often provided extra energy to the team.
The two superstar imports combined for 0 goals and 2 assists -- Casey Powell (0 goals, 2 assists) and Dan Dawson (0 goals, 0 assists). That probably was a fluke. Toronto goaltender Nick Rose was a rock all night. He allowed only one goal in the second half and finished with 40 saves.
Is the departure of so many former fan favorites a factor in the disappointing home attendance? Several of them had a productive weekend for their current teams:
Shawn Evans (Calgary) 4 goals and 9 assists in a 19-12 road victory over Colorado
John Grant Jr. (Colorado) 3 goals and 2 assists
Shawn Williams (Buffalo) 0 goals and 6 assists in a 14-13 home win over Philadelphia (attendance 13,808)
Jordan Hall (Philadelphia) 3 goals and 3 assists.
Scoring goals and attendance are related. The Knighthawks have more than enough potential firepower to wins games and attract more fans to Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. Saturday would be a good time to start.
RED WINGS FANS ARE GOING TO LOVE MIGUEL SANO
The Rochester Red Wings haven’t had a really exciting “can’t miss” prospect and drawing card since left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano was embarrassing opposing hitters in the second half of the 2005 season. It has been even longer since Rochester had a dynamic position player (Ben Revere didn’t stick around long enough to count).
Maybe Aaron Hicks will fill the bill this season. The Minnesota Twins hope he’ll be their starting center fielder and leadoff hitter Opening Day 2014 (after a solid 2013 season in Rochester).
If Hicks doesn’t win over Red Wings fans this summer, Miguel Sano likely will be such a performer. Estimated time of arrival: Spring 2015.
MLB.com’s Johnathan Mayo last week tabbed Sano as baseball’s No. 1 prospect at third base.
Mayo wrote, “After a long signing process, Sano signed with Minnesota in 2009 for $3.15 million (when he was 16 years old). Sano has moved slowly through pro ball, playing last season in Class A. Sano has plus-plus power to all fields, and his plate discipline has improved greatly since his arrival from the Dominican Republic. Defensively, he has a great arm but work remains for him at third base. His bat will play anywhere, however, and the Twins expect him to develop into an elite, middle of the order power hitter.”
Sano’s 2012 performance line with Beloit (Single-A Midwest League):
129 games; .258 Batting average (118x457); 75 runs; 28 doubles; 4 triples; 28 HRs; 100 RBI; 238 total bases; 80 walks; 144 strikeouts; 8 stolen bases; .521 slugging percentage; .893 OPS (on-base + slugging percentage). He led the league in HRs (the second-most was 19), RBI (the second-most was 86) and total bases (the second-most was 218).
He’s 6-foot-3, 210 and still growing, and turns 20 in May. He’ll probably start this season at Fort Myers (Class High-A; Florida State League).
NFL’S NO.8 OVERALL PICKS ARE A MIXED BAG…BUT ONLY Two QBs
The Buffalo Bills will have the No. 8 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
Since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger in 1970, there have been 43 drafts:
Buffalo had two previous No. 8 overall picks: LB Shane Conlon in 1987 and safety Donte Whitner in 2006.
The Bills are focusing on QBs, linebackers and wide receivers.
There have been only two quarterbacks selected No. 8 overall: Jake Locker by Tennessee in 2011 and Ryan Tannehill by Miami in 2012.
The list of linebackers: Ed O’Neil (1974), Conlan, Chris Singleton (1990), James Farrior (1997), Greg Ellis (1998), Rolando McClain (2010).
The list of wide receivers: Frank Lewis (1971), Joey Galloway (1995), David Boston (1999), Plaxico Burress (2000), David Terrell (2001).
The best No. 8 overall picks include DT Gary Johnson (1975), DE Ross Browner (1978), RB Ottis Anderson (1979), DB Mark Haynes (1980), CB Ronnie Lott (1981), OG Mike Munchak (1982), DE Leslie O’Neal (1986), Conlan, OT Antoine Davis (1991), OT Bob Whitfield (1992), OT Willie Roaf (1993), DT Sam Adams (1994), Galloway, Farrior, Burress, OT Jordan Cross (2003), CB DeNangelo Hall (2004), CB Antrell Rolle (2005), Whitner, McClain.
SPECIAL TEAMS: AMERKS GOOD…LANCERS VERY BAD
The AHL Rochester Amerks are enjoying a fine season: 22-15-2-1 record; .588 points percentage (47 of 80 possible points in the standings ranks 10th in the 30-team league).
Rochester is one of only three teams to ranks in the top 10 in both the power play (2nd; 22.0 percent; 39x177) and penalty killing (9th; 84.6 percent; 143x169).
The two other teams ranked in the top 10 in both power play and penalty killing also are having fine seasons: Springfield Falcons; 4th and 4th; 25-11-3-3 record) and Charlotte Checkers (10th and 5th; 28-14-2-3 record).
The MISL Rochester Lancers, currently 7-12 in the seven-team league, rank 3rd in goals scored and have the league’s two top scorers: the amazing 43-year-old Doug Miller (83 points and a league-most 35 goals) and Mauricio Salles (67 points).
Rochester’s problems are obvious: shoddy defense and poor special teams play. Special teams aren’t as important in the MISL as in the AHL – fortunately for the Lancers, who rank last in both power play percentage (22.58; 7x31) and penalty killing (54.55; 18x33).
The Boston Celtics stayed with a few fading stars players for at least one season too long, but give the team credit for a superior effort in Sunday’s 100-98 home victory in double overtime over the Miami Heat after learning that Rajon Rondo – their best player – has a season-ending torn ACL. With a playoff berth now a long shot, it will be interesting to see if Paul Pierce and/or Kevin Garnett will be traded before the deadline for draft picks or younger players.
Michael Carter-Williams obviously would benefit greatly from another year at Syracuse. He needs to put on some weight and polish his game (shoot better and play with more consistency). He might be a lottery pick if he opts for the 2013 NBA draft. But he’d likely be a top-three pick in 2014 – and a first-team All-American -- with a solid junior season.
Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open Sunday for the third straight time. Male Grand Slam winners since the start of 2008: Rafael Nadal 8…Djokovic…Roger Federer 5…Andy Murray 1…Juan Martin del Potro.
ESPN.com draft guru Mel Kiper Jr., who gave the Buffalo Bills a grade of B- after the 2012 draft, gives the Bills a post-season grade of C+. He gave the Bills credit for selecting a starting left tackle and a starting left tackle, but noted that Cordy Glenn “wasn’t among the top 20-25 left tackles in the NFL” and that Nigel Bradham started for “a team that couldn’t stop anybody.” Stephon Gilmore “could be a good one” and thee are “obvious sleepers.”
ESPN.com baseball analyst Jim Bowden last week posted, “The 2013 season is the first year when all five teams in the AL East legitimately can contend for the division title, or at the very least a wild-card berth.”…I disagree. I put the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays the co-favorites, with the New York Yankees slightly above the Boston Red Sox for third place. The Baltimore Orioles will not make the playoffs. They were extremely fortunate last season and have done very little to improve this offseason.
Sportsillustrated.cnn,com’s Don Banks’ NFL mock draft has the Buffalo Bills picking North Carolina State QB Mike Glennon: “The pick doesn’t reflect where Glennon’s stock stands today, but where I think it’s headed. Granted, Buffalo’s need at quarterback is driving this projection of Glennon cracking the top 10. If the Bills don’t find him intriguing, he may very well not make the first round.”…Sounds to me like the Bills could trade down in the first round and still get Glennon.
My revised pick for baseball’s best all-around outfield in 2013: Two-way tie between the Los Angeles Angels and the Atlanta Braves (Justin Upton, B.J. Upton and Jayson Heyward).
As expected, the NFL Pro Bowl Sunday night was pretty much a joke. The NFL crushed the AFC 62-35, at least partly because it took the game a little bit more seriously. When Houston star defensive end lined up to catch a pass on the AFC’s third play from scrimmage, it was obvious that the AFC didn’t exactly come to play. Peyton Manning’s pleas for a legitimate effort fell on deaf ears. Here’s one vote for a skills competition to replace this charade of a game.
The NFL Most Valuable Player will be announced Saturday. I still believe Peyton Manning will win over Adrian Peterson in a close two-man race.
Why New England’s Bill Belichick won’t trade Tom Brady the way he traded Drew Bledsoe: There is no Tom Brady backing up Tom Brady.
Even Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier must realize that his team lacks the firepower to be a solid playoff contender. Let’s see how many games the Sabres win with this roster when they allow more than three goals. So why not trade a surplus defenseman or two for a proven 20-goal scorer or two?