Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sports this 'n' that

With roughly 10 games left in the regular season, last year's World Series participants, the Mets and the Kansas City Royals, will have to take the long route back to the Fall Classic.

The Mets sit 9 games in arrears of NL East leader Washington, which presumably will clinch before the end of the weekend. On the other hand, New York is a half-game out of the first Wild Card spot, behind San Francisco, after getting swept by Atlanta the last three nights. Meanwhile, the Royals were eliminated from the AL Central race on Wednesday, yet sit 5 game behind the 2nd AL Wild Card, presently belonging to Baltimore. Kansas City has not strung together three straight post-season berths since their run of AL West titles in the 70's (1976-8), losing to the Yankees in the ALCS each time. The Mets, meanwhile, have not had consecutive post-season berths since 1999-2000.
I found it amusing that the oddsmakers installed New England as a 1-point home underdog for tonight's game vs. Houston. Bear in mind, too, that these odds were probably in place before QB Jimmy Garappolo was injured Sunday vs. Miami. Rookie Jacoby Bressette would get the start if Garappolo can't, and if that's the case, Bressette would be the first African-American QB to start a game for the Pats in their 57 seasons.

No one trusts the Patriots anymore, so expect a lot of their loyal followers to take the point and expect a windfall come tomorrow morning. Just sayin'.
I've heard of schools in other parts of the country who've had Homecoming queens play football. One even was in uniform a few years ago when she accepted her tiara.

At Troy High, on the other hand, this may be a case where a softball player gets the honors.

Softball star Hunter Levesque is one of six candidates to succeed 2015 winner Ariana Judge as Homecoming queen, with ceremonies set for tomorrow at halftime of the Troy-Shaker game. A mini-bio provided to The Record in today's editions reveals that Levesque has also played junior varsity basketball. The Lady Horses could probably use her on the varsity this winter, and pray she doesn't get injured before softball season starts in April.
Speaking of Troy football, the battle of unbeatens vs. Shaker is sounding like a case of the irresistible force (offenses on both teams) meeting immovable objects (defenses). Both teams are coming off dominant, shut-out wins in their last games. It either is a low-scoring affair, or it'll be a track meet at Picken Field.
Conversely, Troy's varsity soccer teams would be happy to finally win a game. Period. They are a combined 0-14 headed into play today. The women, in particular, have been outscored 31-3 in 7 losses. Ouch! They've been shut out five times in those seven games, with 7 league games, including today, left on the schedule, plus two non-league matches vs. Broadalbin-Perth (Sept. 30) & Heatly (October 8), both at home. Sectional berths, unless things change in the next two weeks, are unlikely this year.
With all the talk about pro athletes taking a stand against perceived racial injustice by taking a knee or sitting during the national anthem, it's nice to know that hasn't permeated down to high school level, at least at home. The players for both Troy and LaSalle stood in line, facing the flag, as Troy senior Lewis Blair sang the anthem last Friday.
ESPN devoted part of its broadcast of Wednesday's Giants-Dodgers game to simulcasting Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully's play-by-play during the 4th inning. Would that MLB Network would do the same if the Dodgers were in their "showcase" before the end of the season. More likely, since the Dodgers will be in the playoffs, either Fox or TBS will give Scully some space in the broadcast booth for one final, national farewell. Expect this to happen for sure if the Dodgers reach the World Series.

Not long ago, there was an online headline I read that said that Dick Enberg would also retire from his current role as play-by-play voice of the San Diego Padres, presumably also after this season. Like Scully, Enberg has dabbled in other network ventures, such as game shows (i.e. Baffle), in the course of his storied career. Enberg & Scully would be the last of the old guard announcers, but with the Padres nowhere near a playoff berth, having languished as a "second division" team in the NL West in recent years, it hardly seems fair that Enberg isn't getting the kind of send-off that Scully, who's logged 67 seasons with 1 team in contrast to Enberg, is receiving. Both are equally deserving in this writer's view.

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