BOB MATTHEWS SPORTS TALK
Weeknights 6:00PM - 8:00PM
on WHAM 1180
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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.
MICHIGAN -2 OVER SU; WICHITA STATE +10 1/2 ARE MY FINAL FOUR PICKS
ALMOST GUARANTEED TO HAPPEN THIS BASEBALL SEASON
HOW RYAN NASSIB FARED HEAD-TO-HEAD VS. GENO SMITH
BOB’S DREAM 2013 NFL DRAFT FOR THE BUFFALO BILLS
Syracuse vs. Louisville (and Jim Boeheim vs. Rick Pitino) in Monday night’s NCAA men’s championship game in Atlanta would be a fitting finale for the Big East as we know it.
I hope to see it happen -- but I’m picking Michigan (-2) over the Orange in Saturday night’s Final Four semifinals.
SU’s trademark 2-3 zone defense has been in excellent form during the team’s current 7-1 run in tournament play. But I believe a bit too much is being made of SU’s defense and too little is being made of Michigan’s offense in this matchup.
The Wolverines are an excellent offensive team. They’ve made almost 50 percent of their field-goal attempts (124x251) in this tournament .
They have the Associated press college basketball Player of the Year in point guard Trey Burke, and three perimeter threats in Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nik Stauskas. Burke is a clutch scorer and distributor. He isn’t likely to panic against SU’s zone. The Orange thrive on transition baskets off turnovers but Burke isn’t likely to be generous.
As well as SU point guard Michael Carter-Williams has been playing, I have to give the edge to fellow sophomore Burke,
Freshman muscleman Mitch McGary gives Michigan a strong inside presence. He doesn’t jump high but has a knack for getting open and the strength to give SU’s back line problems. He decisively outplayed Kansas star big man Jeff Withey in this tournament.
Perhaps the key man in SU’s hopes for a mild upset is James Southerland. The three-point specialist is a streak shooter. If he takes around 10 shots from long range and makes more than half of them, the Orange would be in good shape.
My pick: Michigan 75, Syracuse 70.
Wichita State was an underrated No. 9 seed and already has upset Gonzaga (No. 1 seed) and Ohio State (No. 2) to get this far. The Shockers have the size and depth to hang tough against 10 ½-point favored Louisville. The Cardinals responded to guard’s Kevin Ware’s season-ending broken leg by humiliating Duke in the second half of a 85-63 romp in the Elite 8. I don’t know how much of that emotion will carry over for this game but I’m pretty sure Louisville will miss Ware’s presence on the court.
My pick: Louisville 72, Wichita State 64.
ALMOST GUARANTEED TO HAPPEN THIS BASEBALL SEASON
For the first time, I believe Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals) will have at least as productive a baseball career as Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels).
I don’t remember when two young players of this extraordinary ability entered the majors in the same season. I won’t be surprised if Harper and Trout both win Most Valuable Player awards in the same year -- perhaps even THIS season.
I wonder if they’ll have a rivalry to match Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams in the 1940s or Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Here are some predictions for the 2013 season. Clip and save (someone always does):
The Washington Nationals will lead the majors in regular-season victories.
The Yankees will suffer their first losing season since 1992.
The Houston Astros will lead MLB in losses in their first season in the American League.
The Baltimore Orioles – 29-9 in one-run games last year – will be .500 at best in one-run games this season.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will end their 20-year losing streak.
Division winners: Toronto, Detroit, Angels, Washington, Cincinnati, San Francisco.
Discarded Yankee Rafael Soriano (Washington) will have more saves than Mariano Rivera (Yankees).
The Yankees will not have an Alex Rodriguez bobblehead promotion.
Minnesota rookie center fielder Aaron Hicks will be a Red Wing by July 1.
Johan Santana (Mets) will never pitch again.
The only reason Giancarlo Stanton (Miami) won’t lead the NL in home runs is that opponents will pitch around him.
Cleveland’s Drew Stubbs, Mark Reynolds and Nick Swisher will combine to strike out more than 500 times.
R.A. Dickey (Toronto will lead MLB in complete games.
Derek Jeter will start at shortstop for the AL in the All-Star Game no matter how few games he plays in the first half of the season.
CC Sabathia will have a higher ERA than he weighs for the Yankees.
Justin Morneau (Minnesota) and Alfonso Soriano (Cubs) will be traded before the deadline – possibly both to the Yankees.
Toronto will have a winning record in road games for the first time in 10 years.
Justin Upton, B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward (Atlanta) will combine for at least 100 HRs and 320 RBI.
The most impressive rookie will be outfielder Oscar Taveras (St. Louis).
Kansas City will have fewer than 90 losses for only the second time in the last 10 years.
The Cubs will not win their first World Series since 1908 (I want to get at least one right).
NASSIB HAD THE EDGE HEAD-TO-HEAD OVER GENO SMITH
According to most NFL talent analysts, West Virginia’s Geno Smith’s is the best quarterback available in the first round of the NFL Draft April 25.
But judging by Smith’s four games head-to-head against Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib, maybe Nassib would be the better pick.
Oct. 10, 2009 – West Virginia won 34-13 at Syracuse…Nassib replaced ineffective QB Greg Paulus to start the second half. He was 7x16 for 120 yards, with 2 TD passes and 0 INTs…Smith replaced starter Jarret Brown in the fourth quarter. He was 3x4 for 14 yards with 0 TD passes and 0 INTs.
Oct. 23, 2010 – Syracuse won 19-14 at West Virginia…Both started…Nassib was 5x15 for 63 yards, with 1 TD and 0 INTs…Smith was 20x37 for 178 yards, with 1 TD pass and 3 INTs.
Oct. 21, 2011 – Syracuse won at home 49-23…Nassib was 24x32 for 229 yards, with 4 TD passes and 0 INts. He ran 4 times for 11 yards and 1 TD…Smith was 24x41 for 338 yards, with 2 TD passes and 1 INT.
Dec. 29, 2012 – Syracuse won 38-14 in the Pinstripe in the snow and wind at Yankee Stadium…Nassib was 11x23 for 130 yards, with 2 TD passes. He had 7 carries for 13 yards…Smith was 19x28 for 201 yards, with 2 TD passes and o0 INTs. ..Both were sacked twice.
Totals…Nassib was 3-0 when they were starters in 2010-11-12…In all four games, Nassib was 47x86 (.547) for 542 yards, with 9 TD passes and 1 INT…He had 21 carries for 45 net yards with 1 TD…Smith was 66x110 (.600) for 731 yards, with 5 TD passes and 5 INTs…He had 13 carries for minus-59 yards.
Nassib’s 9x1 TD pass/INT ratio compared to Smith’s 5/5 ratio more than negates Smith’s advantage in passing yardage…Neither did much running the football. That’s not their style.
HERE’S HOPING BILLS PASS ON QUARTERBACKS IN THE FIRST TWO ROUNDS
I hope another team selects quarterback Geno Smith in the first round of the NFL Draft April 25 before the Buffalo Bills are tempted to pick him. I don’t think he’d be a top-20 pick in a year with a normal number of really good QB prospects.
The Bills have only six picks in the 2013 draft: 8th…41st…71st…105th…143rd…177th.
Buffalo has no seventh-round pick and no compensatory picks.
My dream Buffalo draft: The best available linebacker (Jarvis Jones or Dion Jordan) or wide receiver (Corarrelle Patterson or Kennan Allen) with the No. 8 pick…The best available wide receiver (Tavon Austin, DeAndre Hopkins, Terrence Williams or Justin Hunter) or linebacker (Barkevious Mingo, Alec Ogletree, Damontre Moore or Manti Te’o) with the No. 41 pick…One or two of the remaining four picks on QBs. The Bills are due to get lucky on a QB. Long overdue.
I’d be happy with Ryan Nassib with the 71st pick. He figures to be gone by then (ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr, has him going to the Bills No. 41), but I’m not convinced he’s a cut above Mike Glennon, Tyler Bray, Zac Dysert, EJ Manuel or Landry Jones as an NFL QB prospect. Maybe there is a gem hidden in that group.
PETTITTE GIVES YANKEES A TIMELY VICTORY…IS HE A HALL OF FAME CANDIDATE?
Andy Pettitte has pitched bigger games in his long career, but Thursday night’s 4-2 home win against Boston was an important one.
The hurting Yankees were off to a 0-2 start in the season-opening series against the Red Sox and about to embark on a weekend series against the defending American League champion Detroit Tigers.
Pettitte will turn 41 this summer. He now is a terrific example of a “crafty left-hander.” He no longer has awesome stuff but he’s a smart pitcher and makes the most of what he has left.
He is a marginal Hall of Famer and a solid 2013 season would build his case.
Positives on his resume for Cooperstown: 246 regular-season victories. Many Hall of Famed pitchers had fewer wins…Very good .634 career winning percentage (246-142) in the regular season…904/2,323 walk/strikeout ratio…19-11 postseason record (most wins ever)…fifth-or-better in Cy Young Award voting five times (2nd 1996; 5th 1997; 4th 2000; 6th 2003; 5th 2005)…Two 20-win seasons (not bad by modern standards)…Spent most his career with the Yankees (15 seasons with Yankees; 3 seasons with Houston). That never hurts.
Negatives for his bid for election to Cooperstown: Admitted brief use of PEDs… Career 3.85 ERA is high for a Hall of Famer…has allowed more hits (3,258) than innings pitched (3,138 2/3)…Seldom was the No. 1 starter for the Yankees…Selected to only three All-Star Games.
Is Jason Pominville a future Rochester Americans Hall of Famer? I’d say marginal.
Here are his Amerk stats:
2002-03 – 73 games…13 goals…21 assists…34 points…+5 (plus/minus)
2003-04 – 66 games…34 goals…30 assists…64 points…-1
2004-05 – 78 games…30 goals…38 assists…68 points…+1
2005-06 – 18 games…19 goals…7 assists…26 points…+2
Totals: 235 games…96 goals…96 assists…192 points…+7
In 19 playoff games with Rochester, he had 10 goals, 11 assists, 21 points, +7.
Had he played the entire 2005-06 season, he was on pace to have one of the all-time greatest individual seasons for Rochester.
--Americans have won all 14 events on the 2013 PGA Tour (and 16 straight since last year). If that is a problem, the LPGA Tour must wish it had it.
--Undefeated Vyjack (4-0) and Verrazano (3x3) are the horses to beat in Saturday’s Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. It is a key prep for the Kentucky Derby (May 4). Normandy Invasion is an interesting long shot.
--The Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack 2013 live thoroughbred racing season starts Saturday, April 20.