Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sports this 'n' that

With one game left in the regular season, Troy High wrapped up the Southeast Division title in NY's Section II last Friday, routing Mohonasen, 60-6. The Flying Horses, under coach Bob (The Builder) Burns, have outscored their last three opponents by a total of 177-29. Ouch! Niskayuna is the last regular season opponent for Troy, as they finish their 2nd 2-game road trip of the season, on Friday. The Silver Warriors were omitted from the Albany Times-Union's Class A standings online, chalked up to editorial error. I think I read where they're ineligible for the postseason this year for some reason. Maybe that explains it, which means they'll play for pride on Friday. Pride, and maybe some divine intervention, the way Troy's defense has been playing lately......
Conversely, Troy's boys soccer team, 3 years removed from a sectional title, sits at the bottom of their division in the Suburban Council, though the T-U has not updated their standings, due likely to some games having not been reported, a glaring problem that hasn't been fully addressed the last couple of years. Troy closes the regular season tomorrow night vs. long-time rival Christian Brothers Academy, which has also found the going tough this season, having won just 1 game. Troy's women, meanwhile, had a modest 2-game winning streak going into last night's home finale, the result of which was not in today's paper. Still, 4-11 isn't going to get you too far in the sectionals.......
I don't know who the bumbling boob is operating the scoreboard clock at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, but this loser unwittingly cost the homestanding Chargers Monday's game vs. Pittsburgh. Remember the infamous 18 minute gap on a tape of President Nixon during the Watergate mess over 40 years ago? How about the loss of 18 precious seconds, leading to the Steelers' game winning drive? I've heard of falling asleep at the switch, but.......!
Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw exorcised his postseason demons Tuesday night, outpitching Mets rookie Steven Matz as LA evened their NLDS at 2 games apiece with a 3-1 verdict. For his own safety, infielder (Paper) Chase Utley, acquired from Philadelphia earlier in the season, was kept on the bench in the wake of his takeout "slide" on the Mets' Ruben Tejada on Saturday night. Tejada is gone for the season with a broken leg, should be ready to go in time for spring training next year. Utley's moronic agent, Joel (Cry) Wolfe, decided to file an appeal of Utley's 2-game suspension. The hearing won't be until after game 5 has come and gone, but if the Dodgers should lose on Thursday, I'd not be surprised if Wolfe & Utley raise the white flag and decide to waive the appeal, and Utley would sit out the first two games of the 2016 season.

I wrote a blog piece over at Sports Card Forum on Monday where I felt initially that Utley was trying to go old school with his "slide", but upon closer examination, having previously put Tejada on the shelf while with the Phillies 5 years ago, Utley ignored the fact that he should've at least touched 2nd base, which he didn't do. The "neighborhood play", a safety valve for middle infielders such as Utley & Tejada for years and years, hardly exists anymore because of replay. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly made sure of that with his successful challenge, which in some circles, given he was a fan favorite with the Yankees in the 80's and 90's, might be construed as a betrayal of the NY fans that supported him back in the day.

Umpire Chris (no relation to Bob--we think) Guccione totally blew the call, exacerbated by replay reversing his initial out call. Had he paid closer attention to Utley, he'd have called an automatic double play, which would've wiped out the fielder's choice ruled on Howie Kendrick's grounder, and erased the tying run, scored by ex-Valleycat Enrique "Kiki" Hernandez. Instead, play continued. Adrian Gonzalez put the Dodgers up for good with a double, and ex-Met Justin Turner, now a Smith Bros. lookalike with that beard, put the final dagger in his former team with a triple.

Wolfe gets the dreaded Weasel ears for filing the appeal, because, quite frankly, in this case, the appeal process shouldn't apply to something like this. Utley, assuming the neighborhood play was in effect, ran off the field, accepting the initial call by Guccione. I will give him credit for that. The umpiring crew shouldn't have had to accept Mattingly's challenge, in hindsight, because had the six of them gotten together to review the play from start to finish, the entire landscape of the series would've changed. In short, baseball got another black eye as a result.
7 years after leaving WWE, Jonathan Coachman has been the linchpin that has brought the promotion together with his current employers at ESPN.

A former sports radio anchor before signing with the then-World Wrestling Federation in 1999, Coachman now is a SportsCenter anchor, mostly on ESPNews, which will now have interviews with WWE personalities on Tuesdays at 9 (ET). Current champ Seth Rollins was up first, with a montage of clips from the previous night's Monday Night Raw. While Rollins has the look of a rock star (facially, he resembles Nickelback singer Chad Kroeger just a wee bit), his character has all the credibility of a counterfeit dollar bill.

Right now, WWE is stopping short of actually adding to their programming schedule by placing something of significance on ESPN, which last had 1st run wrestling programming in the early 90's, with the ill-fated Global Wrestling Federation, reruns of which, and the AWA from the 80's, air on ESPN Classic. What I think WWE is trying to do is 1) appeal to the youth demo that isn't watching Raw and/or Smackdown! and isn't subscribed to their network, and 2) leverage themselves in case there is an impasse in their current deal with NBC-Universal-Comcast, even with Smackdown! shifting from SyFy to USA next year. Could we see a WWE presence at the Winter X Games? I'd not be surprised. Stay tuned.

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