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.
STEROIDS TAKE A TOLL ON COOPERSTOWN
WALL OF FAME COMMITTEE SNUBS SABAN AGAIN
IS CANO THAT MUCH BETTER THAN PEDROIA?
THESE RED WINGS CAN FIELD
BASEBALL’S NEGATIVE LEADERBOARD
Baseball’s Hall of Fame is the latest victim of the sport’s Steroid Era.
This will be induction weekend in Cooperstown but the attendance will be way below normal.
Why? Because the new Hall of Famers always are the major attraction, and this year’s three inductees died a long time ago:
Catcher Deacon White—Generally considered to be the greatest catcher of pro baseball’s first decade (1870s). He was an excellent bare-handed defensive catcher and a dangerous hitter, leading his league in batting twice and RBI three times...But one has to wonder how great the pitching was if catchers didn’t wear gloves and no living person ever saw him play. He retired in 1890 and died in 1939, shortly before the Hall of Fame opened....One of the early top players to protest being sold or traded without compensation...His great grandson will accept his plaque.
Umpire Hank O’Day -- He began his baseball career as a pitcher and is the only man to spend full seasons in the majors as a player (7), manager (2) and umpire (30)...He was the plate umpire for the first World Series game in 1903 and worked five of the first seven World Series...He worked 10 World Series overall, second only to Rochester product Bill Klem’s 18...He made the call on the play that turned the unfortunate Fred Merkle into “Bonehead” and cost the New York Giants the 1908 National League pennant. ..He was the oldest umpire ever in the big leagues when he retired at age 68 in 1927...His 2,710 games as a plate umpire were second only to fellow Hall of Fame Klem. For much of his career, one or two umpires worked games, with the better ump usually working home plate...He died July 2, 1935...His great grand nephew will accept the plaque.
Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert – He owned the New York Yankees from 1915 until his death Jan. 13, 1939. Under his guidance, the Yankees were transformed from an average team to the most successful team in pro sports...He purchased Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox and built Yankee Stadium...Prior to owning the Yankees, he was a colonel in the National Guard and represented New York state in Congress from 1899 through 1907...His grand niece will accept his plaque.
White, O’Day and Ruppert were elected to the Hall of Fame by the newly-formed Pre-Integration Era (1876-1946) branch of the veterans committee. Otherwise, there would’ve NO new Hall of Famers this year.
Last January, the Baseball Writers Association of America announced it had elected no one for the Class of 2013. In an obvious protest over the Steroid Era, the Cooperstown-worthy stats of a significant number of otherwise qualified players on the ballot were ignored because they were suspected of using steroids.
First-time eligible “clean” Craig Biggio appeared on 68.2 percent of the ballots (75 percent were required for election). Roger Clemens (37.6 percent ) and Barry Bonds (36.2 percent) fell far short of being elected, despite seven Cy Young- and seven MVP awards, respectively.
Hall of Fame officials were prepared for the BBWA’s failure to elect any new Hall of Famers. They knew they couldn’t approach the estimated banner turnout of around 70,000 for the 2007 induction of Cal Ripken Jr., and Tony Gwynn, or even last year’s 20,000 for Barry Larkin and Ron Santo.
Here’s what they came up with:
The star power will be provided by the expected visit of 41 of the 62 living Hall of Famers. They’ll be participating in autograph signings and a downtown parade Saturday night. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, Rickey Henderson, Johnny Bench, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson and Gaylord Perry are among the legends expected to participate.
On Sunday, a dozen Hall of Famers who never had formal inductions will be honored. Living Hall of Famers will read the plaques of the deceased Hall of Famers who never had formal induction ceremonies -- Lou Gehrig in 1939, Rogers Hornsby in 1942 and the entire Class of 1945 (no ceremonies due to World War II travel restrictions).
Gehrig was selected to the Hall of Fame in a special election in 1939 but was too ill to attend the induction ceremonies. He died in 1941 and never made it to Cooperstown.
Gehrig’s introduction by fellow iron-man Cal Ripken Jr. figures to be the highlight of the weekend. Yankee fans who’ve been tortured by the Alex Rodriguez mess should find paying homage to a true Yankee hero a refreshing change of pace.
This figures to be a one-year lull for Cooperstown, with the Class of 2014 expected to include several big inductees likely to attract baseball pilgrims from near and far. Biggio figures to be elected on his second try. Fellow holdovers Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza also will get plenty of support. First-time eligibles Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas also will likely be elected right away.
If you’re looking for something to do Sunday, Cooperstown is about 175 miles and a 2 hour, 50-minute drive from downtown Rochester.
BILLS’ WALL OF FAME CEREMONY: INVITE O.J. ... ANOTHER SABAN SNUB
The Buffalo Bills will honor the team’s 28 Wall of Famers in ceremonies at halftime of the Sept. 15 home game against the Carolina Panthers.
It always is a good idea to remind loyal fans of when the Bills were good.
I know this isn’t a popular opinion, but I believe the team should send an invitation to O.J. Simpson (the original Wall of Famer in 1980). He obviously could not attend – and probably wouldn’t if he could. The reception from the capacity would be interesting to say the least.
There will no new Wall of Fame this year. That means the selection committee again failed to do the right thing and elect Lou Saban over the objections of owner Ralph Wilson.
Saban obviously deserves to be on the Wall of Fame. You know it. I know it. The selection committee knows it.
Wilson blew another chance to do the right thing and forget his stale vendetta against Saban long enough to give the former coach the honor he deserves.
Saban is dead. But better late than never. It isn’t too late to right a wrong that is a much poorer reflection on Wilson than on Saban. Am I wrong?
IS CANO THAT MUCH BETTER THAN PEDROIA?
I’m not saying New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano is overrated. But I am saying Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is underrated.
The Red Sox and Pedroia this week agreed to terms on a 7-year contract extension worth $100 million through 2021...This is the final year on Cano’s current contract with the Yankees and there is speculation that he’ll be looking for a long-term deal worth $20 million per year.
Is Cano that much better than Pedroia? I don’t think so.
Here’s how they compare:
Cano – turns 31 in October...1,314 career games; .308 batting average (1571x5105); 771 runs; 353 doubles; 28 triples; 198 HRs; 784 RBI; 335 walks; 661 strikeouts; 37x65 stolen bases; .354 on-base percentage; .504 slugging percentage; .858 OPS; .986 fielding percentage; 86 errors...MVP finishes: 22nd, 17th, 3rd, 6th, 4th...2nd Rookie of the Year.
Pedroia – turns 30 next month...957 career games; .303 batting average (1146x3783); 618 runs; 270 doubles; 12 triples; 96 HRs; 467 RBI; 400 walks; 379 strikeouts; 116x146 stolen bases; .371 on-base percentage; .457 slugging pe4rcentage; .828 OPS; ,991 fielding percentage; 39 errors...MVP finishes: 1st, 9th...1st Rookie of the Year.
In terms of hitting stats, Cano has the advantage in most departments. He also gets more style points.
Pedroia has the advantage in intangibles. He hustles more and sets a better example for teammates. He is a better base-runner and the more reliable fielder. He’s almost two years younger than Cano and probably could’ve made more money by signing with another team. We’ll see if Cano does the same to remain a Yankee.
They’re both terrific players. Short term (the next three years or so), I’d prefer Cano. Long term , I’d prefer Pedroia.
RED WINGS LEAD INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE IN FIELDING
Remember the bad old days of 2010 (53-91 record) and 2011 (49-95) Rochester Red Wings fans? They were the team’s worst back-to-back seasons in a very long time.
There are plenty of things to like about this season’s Red Wings, who won 6-3 over visiting Lehigh Valley Thursday to boost their record to a season-best five games above .500 (56-51). The victory boosted Rochester to 15-7 in July and 36-21 since May 27. They’re 14-4 in their last 18 games at Frontier Field and 23-9 at home since May 16.
There has been plenty of player movement between Minnesota and Rochester. Unlike recent previous seasons, the Red Wings have received plenty of quality help from Double-A New Britain.
One of the most impressive things about this season’s Red Wings is the defense. These guys are good and quite a contrast from what we’ve seen in the previous few years. Rochester leads the 14-team International League in fielding percentage and has the fewest errors (66), including a mere 14 in the last 38 games.
Isn’t it more fun to attend games at Frontier Field when the home team is pretty darn good and plays defense in a manner that wouldn’t embarrass a Little League coach?
MLB’S NEGATIVE LEADERSHOP
Here are some of MLB’s “leaders” in bad categories”
Worst record – Houston Astros 34-67
Worst run differential – Houston -160...Miami -93...White Sox -65
Lowest team batting average, fewest runs, fewest HRs – Miami .232; 319; 60
Most strikeouts (batter ) – Chris Carter (Houston) 131...Mike Napoli (Boston) 128
Most walks issued (pitcher) – Jason Marquis (San Diego) 68
Most blown saves – Jim Johnson (Baltimore) 6...James Russell (Cubs) 6
Errors (player ) – Pedro Alvarez (Pittsburgh 3B)
Errors (team) – Angels 73...Dodgers 73...Houston 73
Most times caught stealing (player) – Starling Marte (Pittsburgh) 10...Norichika Aoli (Milwaukee) 10
Most times hit by pitch – Shin-Soo Choo (Cincinnati)
Losses by a pitcher – Joe Blanton (Angels) 13
Hit batters (by a pitcher) – Doug Fister (Detroit) 14
Fewest stolen bases (team) – St. Louis 25...Detroit 29
Highest team ERA – Houston 4.88
Highest opposing batting average – Minnesota .280
Worst record in one-run games – Toronto 10-19...Cubs 12-21
Worst record in extra innings – Texas 1-6...Detroit 3-9
Worst inter-league record – Colorado 3-12...Milwaukee 3-9
Most grounded into double play – Matt Holliday (St. Louis) 22...Albert Pujols (Angels) 18.
The American Hockey League’s all-time leader in games played and assists and points by a defenseman – Bryan Helmer – has retired. He played 1,117 regular-season games and had 435 assists and 564 points in portions of 19 AHL seasons with eight teams. He also played in a record 159 AHL postseason games. The 41-year-old native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., played for the Springfield Falcons last season. He was a First Team AHL All-Star in 1998. He also played in 146 NHL games with four teams.
Now Lance Armstrong is saying the U.S. Postal Service should’ve known he was a serial doper while it was sponsoring his cycling team during the Tour de France glory years. All the while, he was telling the world he was clean and ripping everyone who challenged him. This guy has no shame.
Here’s the AFC East forecast from ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd (he’s really good): New England 10-6 and no Super Bowl threat...Miami 9-7...Buffalo 6-10...New York Jets 5-11.
Buffalo Bills quarterback FJ Manuel is No. 3 in NFL rookie licensed replica jersey sales (April 1 tjhrogh June 30), behind only Manti Te’o (San Diego KB) and Tavon Austin (St. Louis WR)...The top 10 hottest-selling jerseys among all players: Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III. Adrian Peterson, Peyton Manning, Ryan Tannehill (surprise), Tom Brady, Ray Lewis (retired), Aaron Rodgers, Brian Urlacher (retired).
Underrated free-agent signing by Los Angeles Clippers: center Byron Mullens (two-yrears for $2 million; player option for second year). He’s 24 years old and had a career year with the Charlotte Bobcats last season: 10.6 points and 6.4 re4bounds per game. His main asset for the Clippers will be his outside shot (31.7 three-point percentage last season). Clippers starting center DeAndre Jordan is no threat from the perimeter.
You can always count on ESPN to sell the Buffalo Bills short. In this week’s “NFL 25-and-under” organizational rankings, Buffalo is 27th in young talent, ahead of only Chicago New Orleans, San Diego, Jacksonville and Oakland. The knock on the Bills: Buffalo had a lot of young starters last season, but most of them probably should not have been on the field.”...The encouraging words: “Stephon Gilmore and Marcell Dareus are a pair of talented young building blocks (on defense). EJ Manuel and Robert Woods should be the beginnings of the same kind of youth movement on offense, and Corey Glenn played much better at left tackle than many expected him to coming out or college.” ... The top 10 teams on the list: Seattle, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Washington, Green Bay, St. Louis, Tampa Bay,Carolina, New England and Indianapolis...The Jets are No. 11 and Miami No. 19.