Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sports this 'n' that

It happens every year, it seems, around the home district.

During Easter vacation week, Section II reschedules games that were postponed during the first two weeks of the high school spring sports season, taking full advantage of the earlier-than-normal starting times for games scheduled for this week. For example, Troy High's softball team was scheduled for a road game at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, a game the Flying Horses came from behind to win, 11-9. However, there wouldn't be any rest, because the team bus would soon turn around and return home for a makeup game vs. Ballston Spa, one that was supposed to have been played six days ago, but was washed out by rain.

End result? Troy loses the, ah, "nightcap", but has another home game on tap today vs. Saratoga. If you think that isn't fair to the Troy girls, consider that after an off-day tomorrow, the ladies are on the road at Niskayuna, then come home for a Saturday special vs. Bethlehem, before taking part in a tournament in Guilderland on Sunday. Whew! In all, Troy's girls will have played perhaps as much as seven games, assuming they win at least one on Sunday, before they come back to class next Monday.

Of course, that could all change because rain is in the forecast for Wednesday through Friday, and......!

The bigger problem is that the spring season is really the shortest for high schools. Ideally, you've got a 6 week-plus schedule for the regular season (Troy's baseball team finishes on May 15 vs. LaSalle), and except for non-league tournaments, games aren't played on Sundays, though they should in an emergency. My thinking is, why not have regular season games on Sundays, and more league games on Saturdays? Troy's baseball team had non-league games scheduled the last three Saturdays. The first, vs. Bethlehem, was moved up four days to April 5, which Troy won. An April 8 varsity road game vs. Amsterdam was cancelled due to, presumably cold weather, although the two schools' JV teams, as reported previously, had played that same day at THS, with the hosts winning in a rout. On April 15, Troy lost a non-league road game to Ichabod Crane (Colonial Council), 9-0. However, that game wasn't reported to the hometown paper, which, due to financial and manpower restrictions, often collects results and publishes when they feel like it. Bad form.

For what it's worth, Troy will look to rebound vs. Saratoga this afternoon.
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It doesn't matter who's in the dugout, there are always going to be cranky whiners online who will complain when the Mets or any other team loses. Current manager Terry Collins, in his 7th season in Flushing, has been ripped repeatedly as the "worst" manager, and yet he has gotten his team to the playoffs two years in a row. So they've lost 5 of 7 to Miami the last two weeks. It's early. They don't get to play the Yankees until a 4-game home & home weeknight series in August, and otherwise will begin to play the AL West next month. Philadelphia comes to town tonight with payback on their collective minds after the Mets abused them in a 3-game sweep in Philly last week. Bear in mind, too, some of the Mets' regular starters aren't hitting up to par yet, but it's still early.

Contrast that with the Yankees, who've gotten steaming hot over the last week, and they've yet to lose at home after sweeping Tampa Bay & St. Louis last week. It's not the pitching that is carrying the Bombers, but rather the rookies, particularly first baseman Greg Bird and outfielder Aaron Judge, the latter of whom has drawn comparisons to Miami's Giancarlo Stanton because of his prodigious home runs. You would be forgiven if you mistook Judge for a football or basketball player or a pro wrestler because of his size (6'7", 280). The early returns have proven the Steinbrenner brothers made the right moves in trading away Carlos Beltran last summer, and letting Mark Tiexiera retire after the '16 season. I picked the Yankees to finish 3rd, but so far, that might not be the right answer after all.......
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The Albany Devils will extend their final season in town by at least another week, having qualified for the Calder Cup playoffs. However, they open at home vs. Toronto, a team that has given them trouble the last couple of seasons. Sure, the team has a radio deal, but despite the playoffs, WTMM, the ESPN radio affiliate in the market, gives the Yankees top priority, and doesn't carry a lot of road games, which can be streamed live on the team's website. Television? Try live web streaming. Spectrum Cable, back when it was still Time Warner Cable, didn't show too many Devils games, home or away, as college teams were given priority, including sharing feeds from the Western half of the state (i.e. RIT). Go figure.
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Spectrum Cable's Toyota Sports Night is only 15 minutes, shown three times a day, including an early morning replay at 6:15 am (ET), but runs 7 nights a week. Since Spectrum News has a weeknight political news program that is a half-hour, why not do the same for Sports Night, and expand the scope, especially for high school sports, which need the coverage more than the pros do. Just sayin'.

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