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.
AWESOME COLLECTION OF TALENT FOR LEGENDS GAME INCLUDES 2,957 CAREER HOME RUNS
ORB SHOULD WIN PREAKNESS BUT BEST BET LOOKS LIKE EXACTAS
MINNESOTA’S TWO SINGLE-A FARM TEAMS CONTINUE TO ROLL
WORTH NOTING IN BASEBALL
Many decades ago – when even many top-notch Major League Baseball players supplemented their incomes with post-season barnstorming tours -- fans in cities such as Rochester got to see star-studded lineups at Red Wing/Silver Stadium. The 2013 Red Wings yearbook highlights such a game played Oct. 12, 1959. The rosters included Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Rocky Colavito, Willie McCovey, Elston Howard, Hoyt Wilhelm, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Junior Gilliam and hometown hero Johnny Antonelli.
Not surprisingly, that exhibition game drew an announced crowd of 7,002 fans. The game grossed $14,144. Each player received $750 and a new belt from the Hickok Company.
American League umpire Ken Kaiser’s annual winter baseball banquets consistently featured some of top stars in the game. Frequent head table guests included Nolan Ryan, Don Mattingly, George Brett, Kirby Puckett, Roger Clemens and Wade Boggs.
But Saturday’s Pepsi Field of Dreams Legends Game at Frontier Field (gates open 4 p.m.; game time 6 p.m.) will feature the greatest collection of baseball legends on one field in Rochester’s history. The 10 former big-league superstars scheduled to appear: Johnny Bench, Wade Boggs, Rickey Henderson, Trevor Hoffman, Reggie Jackson, Pedro Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mike Schmidt Ozzie Smith and Frank Thomas.
That group combined for:
2,954 home runs: Jackson 563 (13th-all time)... Schmidt 548 (15th)...Frank Thomas 521 (t18th)...McGriff 493 (t26th)...Bench 389 (57th)...Henderson 297 (138th)...Boggs 118...Smith 28...Hoffman 0...Martinez 0.
9 Most Valuable Player Awards...Schmidt 3...Bench 2...Thomas 2...Henderson 1...Jackson 1.
37 Gold Gloves...Smith 13...Bench 10...Schmidt 10...Boggs 2...Henderson 1...Jackson 1
6 Hall of Fame plaques...Bench...Boggs...Henderson...Jackson...Schmidt...Smith.
3 future Hall of Fame plaques...Hoffman...Thomas...Martinez.
6 batting titles...Boggs 5...Thomas 1.
14 home-run titles...Schmidt 8...Jackson 4...Bench 1...McGriff 1.
A fortune in career salaries, led by Martinez $146,259,585 and Thomas $104,734,000.
Best seasons by the 10 participants (in my opinion):
Johnny Bench (1970) .293; led NL with 45 HRs and 148 RBI; Gold Glove.
Wade Boggs (1985) .368; 240 hits; 107 runs; 78 RBI.
Rickey Henderson (1990) .325; 119 runs; 189 HRs; 61 RBI; 65x75 stolen bases; .439 on-base percentage...AL MVP.
Trevor Hoffman (1998) 4-2 record; 1.48 ERA; 53 saves;0.849 WHIP(walks+hits/inning).
Reggie Jackson (1973) .293; 32 HRs; 117 RBI...led AL in HRs and RBI...unanimous AL MVP.
Fred McGriff (1993) .271; 37 HRs; 101 RBI...4th in NL MVP voting.
Pedro Martinez (1999: 23-4 record...2.07 ERA...37 walks...313 strikeouts...Cy Young Award.
Mike Schmidt (1980) .286; led NFL with 48 HRs and 121 RBI...Gold Glove...unanimous NL MVP.
Ozzie Smith (1987) .303; 75 RBI; 43x52 stolen bases...Gold Glove...2nd in NL MVP voting.
Frank Thomas (2000) .328; 115 runs; 43 HRs; 143 RBI; 112 walks.
Times Flies Department (ages of the Legends) Jackson 66...Bench 65...Schmidt 63...Smith 58...Boggs 54...Henderson 54...McGriff 49...Hoffman 45...Thomas 45...Martinez 41.
I’M PASSING ON ORB WIN BET IN FAVOR OF EXACTAS
Kentucky Derby champion Orb deserves to be the big favorite to win Saturday’s 138th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, but he figures to return less than $4 for a $2 win bet.
I’m going to pass on Orb to win in an attempt to cash in on exactas (first two finishers in order).
The Preakness is 1 3/16th miles (1/16th shorter than the Derby).
Here’s how I see the nine-horse race from last-to-first:
9th – Titletown Five (30x1 morning-line odds)...Outclassed...0x3 this year...Son of two-time Breeders’ Classic champion Tiznow, but apparently did not inherit much of his daddy’s talent...Only victory in seven career starts was in a maiden race last October...Has won only $87,398...Pressed pace in the Louisiana Derby before fading to finish ninth...Fourth in Grade 3 Derby Trial...Decent half-mile workout (:47 3/5) inspired trainer D. Wayne Lukas to start him in the Preakness...Owners include former Green Bay Packers stars Paul Hornung and Willis Davis.
8th – Govenor Charlie (12x1)...Only three career starts, all this year...Has improved in every race but this is a very tall order...Son of 2007 sprint champion Midnight Lite...Pressed a hot pace to win the Sunland Derby by five4 lengths March 24 but hasn’t raced since...Declared out of the Derby with on bone bruise...Trying to match Bernardini: won the 2006 Preakness in his fourth career start, all as a 3-year-old.
7th – Itsmyluckyday (10x1)...It probably won’t be if you bet on him to finish in the top our...Favored in the Florida Derby and finished second to Orb...In the middle of the pack in the Kentucky Derby but finished a disappointing 15th...Consistent sort: 11 career starts, 5 wins, 2 seconds, 1 third...Won’t be a shock if he wins but it would be a surprise.
6th – Departing (6x1)...Can’t ignore...Three wins in four starts this year...Won the Illinois Derby...Trainer Al Stall believes skipping the Kentucky Derby makes this bay gelding a legit contender in this spot.
5th – Mylute (5x1)...Rosie Napravnik began her career at Pimlico and has dreamed of becoming the first female jockey to win the Preakness...Steadied early in the Kentucky Derby. Rallied late to finish fifth, less than four lengths behind winner Orb...Will be closing late on Saturday...Only victories in 10 starts were his maiden win at Arlington Park and a 10 ¾-length romp in an optional claiming/allowance race at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.
4th – Oxbow (15x1)...Chance at a price...Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens...Post 6 has produced the most Preakness winners (15 since 1908, most recently 1999)...Calumet Farm has had a record seven Preakness winners, but none since 1968...Had an interesting trip in the Kentucky Derby. He was the only horse close to the fast pace set by Palace Malice that had anything left in the stretch. He was second to Normandy Invasion with ¼ mile to run, briefly poked his nose in front at the top of the stretch, ran into traffic at the 3/16th pole and faded to sixth.
SHOW -- Goldencents (8x1)...The Santa Anita Derby winner was a disappointing 17th in the Derby. He got caught is a blistering speed duel with Palace Malice (half mile in 45:33 and three-quarters in 1:09.80) and backed up around the far turn. Was all but eased in deep stretch...Hated the sloppy track. Candidate for huge improvement Saturday...Looms a big threat if jockey Kevin Krigger can set a moderate front-running pace or sit slightly off a suicide pace set by Governor Charlie and/or Titletown Five and then take the lead and hold off the closers for the stretch run.
PLACE -- Will Take Charge (12x1)...My long-shot special...This huge, long-striding colt ran in mid-pack in the Derby until making a strong five-wide move with ¼ mile to run. He ran into traffic at the 3/16th pole, lost all momentum and wound up eighth...Could be dangerous with a clean trip.
WIN – Orb (1x1)...Was very impressive in coming from way behind to win Kentucky Derby by 2 ½ comfortable lengths fort his fifth consecutive victory. But there are questions. How much did he like the rain and slop and how much did the conditions hurt his rivals? Can he overcome the dreaded No. 1 post position? The last Preakness winner from the inside post was Tabasco Cat in 1994. Orb has started from the rail three times and appeared uncomfortable in his first two career starts..8 career races, with 5 wins, 1 third and $2,335,850 in earnings...Can save ground on the rail and should have ample time to pass the rest of the field before the wire.
I believe Orb will win at odds of 1x1 or less. But I’m greedy and can’t settle for a small return. I’ll spend $50...$10 dollar exactas on Orb and Goldencents and Orb and Will Take Charge; $5 exacta box on Orb/Goldencents/Will Take Charge.
Preakness notes: Six of the nine starters ran in the Kentucky Derby:
Orb (won), Mylute (5th), Oxbow (6th), Will Take Charge (8th) and Itsmyluckyday (15th)...D. Wayne Lukas, who has saddled 5 Preakness winners among his 13 Triple Crown victories, will start Oxbow, Will Take Charge and Titletown Five in Saturday’s race...Over the last 25 years, there were only two wire-to-wire Preakness winners (Louis Quatorze in 1996 after flopping in the Derby) and Rachel Alexandra (2009)...Over the last 25 years, 10 post-time favorites won and 9 finished second...Of the last 25 Preakness winners, 22 ran in the Kentucky Derby. Derby horses also had 17 seconds and 17 thirds...Since pari-mutuel betting on the Preakness began in 1911, 67 post-time favorites won. Of those, 27 favorites went off at less than even odds. 17 of those horses won....The Preakness record time is 1:53 by Secretariat in 1973. It won’t be broken Saturday.
MIRACLE AND KERNELS A COMBINED 56-22
The Red Wings (16-25 record) and Double-A (Eastern League) New Britain Rock Cats (20-20) don’t yet appear to be playoff contenders, but Minnesota’s two Single-A full season teams – the Fort Myers Miracle (Florida State League) and Cedar Rapids Kernels (Midwest League) continue to roll.
Fort Myers won 2-0 over Dunedin Thursday night and is 29-10. Cedar Rapids won 7-6 over Burlington and is 27-12.
Star watch: Third baseman Miguel Sano (Fort Myers) leads the FSL in batting average (.368), home runs (10), slugging percentage (.677) and OPS (1.142: on-base percentage + slugging percentage)...Center fielder Byron Buxton hit a walk-off grand slam HR to win Thursday night’s game. He’s hitting .341 with 41 runs, 10 doubles, 4 triples, 5 HRs, 28 RBI and 15 stolen bases.
MARIANO RIVERA CONTINUES TO AMAZE...HARVEY HOT, MARLINS NOT
Mariano Rivera (Yankees) figures to blow a save one of these days – maybe. His 2013 pitching line: 18 games...16 saves...17 1/3 innings...14 hits allowed...1.56 ERA...2 walks...13 strikeouts...0.92 WHIP (walks+hits per inning)...Someone has suggested that it would be an appropriate honor for Rivera to start the All-Star Game for the American League. Why? He’s the all-time relief pitcher. Have him pitch the final inning of the game – not the first inning.
As of Friday morning, May 17, the hitters leading the two major leagues in batting were retreads James Loney (AL Tampa Bay) .367 and Carlos Gomez (NL Milwaukee) .355. Gomez could be the most-improved players in MLB.
The Detroit Tigers lead MLB in batting average (.282) and runs (206). The feeble Miami Marlins are last in MLB in batting average (.223), HRs (23) and runs (113).
Baltimore and Arizona each have a MLB-fewest 12 errors. Washington leads the majors with 32 errors.
Vernon Wells: 2012 Angels 77 games; .230 batting average (56x243); 11 HRs; 29 RBI...2013 Yankees 39 games; .295 batting average (43x146); 10 HRs; 23 RBI.
Matt Harvey (Mets) pitching line: 8 starts...4-0...1.44 ERA...56 1/3 innings...27 hits...14 walks...62 strikeouts...0.73 WHIP...batting average against .143.