Email Bob here.
Call the show:
Phone Local: (585) 222-1180
Phone Toll-Free: (800) 295-1180
Verizon Wireless: *1180
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.
YANKEES OVER-UNDER WINS TOTAL IS 86.5…TEAM’S FANS IN SHOCK?
C.J. FAIR: RELIABLE, UNDERRATED AND THE HEART OF THE ORANGE
DANICA PATRICK ONE TO CATCH FOR FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
NOT BAD FOR AN NBA ALL-STAR GAME
Manager Joe Girardi has high hopes for his 2013 New York Yankees. When spring training began last week, Girardi told reporters, “This team can win 95 games and get to the World Series.”
Most fans of the Yankees probably agree with Girardi. I believe he is dreaming.
The Atlantis Casino in Reno. Nev., has posted the first over/under win totals I’ve seen for the 2013 Major League Baseball season (Not the most reasonable – just the first). There will be more…The Yankees are 86.5 wins. That seems about right to me.
Here are the over/under wins by division (with some comments where appropriate):
Yankees 86.5 wins (The roster looks much better on paper than it figures to perform on the field…Would’ve been the team to beat about five years ago…More than 100 home runs from last season are gone…Most of the familiar names have seen better days…Could get a total of 15 HRs from corner outfielders Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki…Figure to miss catcher Russell Martin (unless you think Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart and get the job done) and closer Rafael Soriano (unless you believe Mariano Rivera still is better at age 43) more than they think)…UNDER (by a few games).
Toronto 86.5 wins (Posted only 73 wins last season but have added Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrara. R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson…My pick to win the division)…OVER (at least 92 wins).
Tampa Bay 86 wins (Excellent starting pitching..Hoping rookie Wil Myers can held Evan Longoria offensively).
Boston 79.5 wins (The managerial switch from Bobby Valentine to John Farrell should alone be worth a few wins; Figure to be healthier this season; Very good bullpen; Question marks in the starting rotation)…OVER (should win at least 82 games).
Baltimore 76.5 wins (A shock, I’m sure, to fans of the O’s…Baltimore shockingly ended a 14-year losing streak with a 93-69 record last season and made the playoffs…But the O’s won an extraordinary number of one- (29-9) and two-run (25-14) games and extra-inning games (16-2). Those things tend to even out and Baltimore made few player moves this offseason…Underrated lineup (watch out for 20-year-old third baseman Manny Machado) and overrated pitching…Much more likely to finish 5th than 2nd)…OVER/UNDER looks reasonable.
Detroit 90 wins (Probably the best team in the AL in by far the AL’s weakest division…Awesome heart of the lineup with the return of DH Victor Martinez and the addition of RF Torii Hunter),,,OVER (easily).
White Sox 80.5 wins (I believe they overachieved last season and are likely so slip)…UNDER (should wsin around 78 games).
Kansas City 79 wins (Lots of young talent but probably a year or two away from pennant contention).
Cleveland 77.5 (Some observers believe the Indians can be a surprise team this season; I don’t see it;),..UNDER (Unlikely to win more tnan 73 games).
Minnesota 64.5 wins (Overhauled pitching staff. Imports will throw harder but will they be better?; Awful middle infield…Who’ll play CF?).
Texas 87 wins (Lost their best player – Josh Hamilton – to the division rival Angels…Won 93 games last season but unlikely to get a chance to lose a third straight World Series).
Los Angeles Angels 89.5 wins (Pitching could be better but they’ll have plenty of run support…Three MVP candidates in Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton)…OVER (should win at least 95 games).
Oakland 83 wins (Underrated; Impressive young starting pitchers; budding star Yoenis Cespedes; new SS Hiroyuki Nakajima might surprise)…OVER (should win at least 88 games).
Seattle 76.5 wins (The fences were moved in but still not enough hitting to contend; assets include Felix Hernandez and 19 games against the woeful Houston Astros).
Houston 59.5 wins (At least they’re consistent: 55-107 in 2011 and 57-107 in 2012; Quick, name five current Astros; The worst team in MLB switches to the better league)…UNDER (50-or-less wins in within their reach).
Washington 90 wins (The Nationals might have the best 25-man roster...Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez head a solid starting rotation…Deep bullpen)…OVER (by a lot).
Atlanta 86 wins (Excellent pitching staff; Dan Uggla and Brian McCann likely to bounce back; added CF Justin Upton; Chipper Jones might regret he didn’t stick around for one more year)…OVER (should win at least 90 games).
Philadelphia 81.5 wins (I think they’re overrated; Infield is slipping due to age and injury: 1B Ryan Howard, 2B Chase Utley; SS Jimmy Rollins; 3B Michael Young; They think ex-Red Wing Ben Revere will be a productive leadoff hitter and center fielder, but he doesn’t take enough walks and has a poor arm).
Mets 74 wins (Too many holes and shortage of money to plug them; 3B David Wright deserves better; Worst outfield in MLB?)…UNDER (Miami will save them from complete embarrassment).
Miami 64.5 wins (Management got its new stadium, gave the fans an impressive lineup to start last season; Team was a 61-101 disaster; Money-saving fire sale ensued; This franchise is a mess; If they trade Giancarlo Stanton, they’d become a Triple-A team).
Cincinnati 88.5 wins (Won 97 games last season and could be better with a healthy Joey Votto (only 111 games last season), new leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo and flamethrower Aroldis Chaman in the starting rotation)…OVER (by several).
St. Louis 85.5 wins (Lots of hitting; weakness is middle infield; Will miss sidelined pitcher Chris Carpenter).
Milwaukee 79.5 wins (Counting a lot on young starting pitchers; Can slugger Ryan Braun avoid PED suspension?).
Pittsburgh 79 wins (Encouraging 63-47 start last season, then collapsed (16-36) – again; A 21st straight losing season appears inevitable)…UNDER (not likely to win more than 75 games).
Cubs 72 wins (Had 57 wins last season and their brightest prospects are below Triple-A; Theo Epstein helped the Red Sox end their 86-year championship drought; Guiding the Cubs to their first championship since 1908 figures to be tougher)…UNDER (That 72-win projection is sure to drop; 65 wins would be a surprise).
Los Angeles Dodgers 90 wins (No excuses for MLB’s new highest-paid team)…OVER (should win at least 95).
San Francisco 86 wins (The Giants have won two NL titles in the last three seasons and will be tough to beat again, especially if Tim Lincecum returns to Cy Young form. I just think the Dodgers will be better).
Arizona 81.5 wins (Solid starting pitching and a loaded bullpen; Figure to miss CF Justin Upton); one of the toughest teams to gauge entering this season).
San Diego 74.5 wins (They should be slightly better this season but they’re in a very tough division).
Colorado Rockies 71.5 wins (They’ll score plenty of runs at Coors Field – opponents will score more)…OVER (They won 77 games last season and SS Troy Tulowitzki is healthy again).
C.J. IS MUCH BETTER THAN FAIR
I don’t know about you, but C.J. Fair is my favorite Syracuse University basketball player. I believe the 6-foot-7 ½, 218-pound small forward is the unsung heart of the team.
Fair is underrated, unselfish and – at times I believe – underappreciated by teammates Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche.
Carter-Williams and Triche are among the best guard duos in college basketball today. But I believe they both shoot too much – particularly Carter-Williams – and that SU would be even better if they shot less and Fair shot more.
In my opinion, SU’s guards should make getting the ball to Fair a higher priority. Next to James Southerland, Fair is the best shooter on the team – and he is a more versatile scorer than long-range gunner Southerland. Fair has a nice mid-range jump shot and enough moves and muscle to score inside.
Here’s how SU”s main offensive weapons compare “shooting the basketball”:
Field-goal shots attempted – Triche 298…Fair 270…Carter-Williams 266…Southerland 203 (in 19 games; 6 fewer than the others).
Field-goal shots made – Fair 129...Triche 128,,,Carter-Williams 99…Southerland 97.
Field-goal percentage – Fair .478…Southerland .478…Triche .430…Carter-Williams .372.
Three-point field goals attempted – Triche 121…Southerland 113…Carter-Williams 90…Fair 34.
Three-point field goals made -- Southerland 43…Triche 37…Carter-Williams 26…Fair 14.
Three-point field-goal percentage – Fair .412…Southerland .381…Triche .306…Carter-Williamd .289.
Free-throw percentage – Fair .832 (79x95)…Triche .741 (80x108) …Carter-Williams .734 (91x124)…Southerland .704 (19x27).
Points per game – Triche 14.9…Fair 14.0…Southerland 13.5…Carter-Williams 12.6.
Minutes per game – Carter-Williams 34.1…Fair 33.6…Triche 33.2…Southerland 26.6.
If Fair had more touches and played more minutes, he’d take more shots and go to the foul line more often. All of that would be good.
With the game on the line, Fair – cool as can be – taking the big shot or at the foul line.
Am I wrong or do you agree?
THUMBS UP TO DANICA PATRICK
Many people – for reasons I’ve never understood – refuse to give Danica Patrick her due credit as an auto racer.
Sure, there are plenty of male NASCAR drivers who are better than her but get a fraction of the publicity and endorsements she attracts, but give her major props for being a fearless pioneer.
They’re probably minimizing her feat of qualifying for the pole position for Sunday’s Daytona 500.
Jimmie Johnson in 2009 became the first driver to be voted Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year.
If Patrick can finish in the top five in NASCAR’s biggest race of the year (her critics think it is more likely that she’ll be involved in a wreck and won’t finish the race) she’d be the early pacesetter for 2013 AP Female Athlete of the Year.
WE SURVIVED ANOTHER NBA ALL-STAR GAME
Sunday night’s NBA All-Star Game in over. Now we can look forward to the REAL NBA season: Jockeying for playoff seeds and then the 16-team playoffs to decide which of four teams will win the championship:
Miami, San Antonio, Oklahoma City or the Los Angeles Clippers.
Sunday’s game went just about as expected: The West, favored by 3 points, won by 5 (143-138). There were 281 points (the over/under was 295).
Chris Paul (Clippers) was the obvious Game MVP (20 points and 15 assists). But I’m not buying the suggestions that he might be the regular-season MVP, too. LeBron James (Miami) had a poor performance by his standards (19 points; 7x18) in the All-Star Game but is a cinch for league MVP for the fourth time.
A few other All-Star Game observations:
Super-quick Kyrie Irving (Cleveland) showed the nation’s NBA fans why he is going to be a superstar. He might be already.
Dwight Howard’s (Los Angeles Lakers) troubled season continued. He sank an early three-point field goal and wound up playing only 14 minutes. I don’t think West coach Gregg Popovich approved of Superman’s shot selection.
One reason the East lost was two players out of their element: Tyson Chandler (Knicks) and Joakim Noah (Chicago) earn their living on the defensive end. There is no defense in NBA All-Star Games – until Kobe Bryant decided to put the clamps on LeBron James late in Sunday night’s game. Kobe obviously was trying to make a point – I just don’t know what it was.
Chris Bosh (Miami) should’ve stayed home. He was 3x9 from the field, including three air balls, and his own coach (Eric Spoelstra) didn’t play him when the outcome was on the line.
Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks) last week said he believes he has time to catch and top LeBron James for NBA Most Valuable Player this season. No way. Anthony is unstoppable when he’s in the groove – and that happens a lot. But James is more consistent offensively and much better defensively.
Rochester Red Wings most career hits in the Minnesota Twins Era (2003 through 2012): Garrett Jones 503…Dustin Martin 361…Luis Rodriguez 342…Trevor Plouffe 334…Chris Heintz 333…Jose Morales 319…Brian Dinkelman 315…Jason Pride 287…Matt Macri 258.
I invite any advocate for field hockey to call my radio show (6 to 9 p.m., on WHAM 1180) and explain why you think your sport is more worthy of being in the Summer Olympics than wrestling.
I wonder if anti-U.S. bias had anything to do with dropping wrestling.
The United States leads the world in Olympic medals (125 total, including 50 gold) but is not good in field hockey. The only medals in field hockey for the U.S. were men’s silver in 1932 and women’s bronze in 1984…For the record, here is the gold medal count for men’s and women’s field hockey: India 8…Netherlands 5…Australia 4…Germany 4…Great Britain 4…Pakistan 3...New Zealand 1…Spain 1…West Germany 1…Zimbabwe 1.
According to reports, if San Francisco QB Alex Smith is traded, the team most likely to deal for him is the Cleveland Browns.
I’m baffled. Tarvaris Jackson wasn’t good enough to see a minute of action last season – even after Buffalo was out of playoff contention – but now he’s good enough to compete with Ryan Fitzpatrick in training camp for the starting job. That battle isn’t likely to draw much ESPN attention to St. John Fisher.
Looking for a potential big-time free agent for the Bills? How about Baltimore Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe? I’m sure new Buffalo defensive coordinator Mike Pettine would be thrilled. Ellerbe is 27 years old and versatile. He’d be a huge upgrade in the 3-4 or 4-3 alignment.
The recession hasn’t hurt NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. He earned $29.49 million in total compensation for fiscal year 2011 ($11.6 million in 2010). Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and NBA commissioner make around $20 million each per year. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman probably makes less than $10 million in annual salary and compensation. You won’t find many NHL players or fans who believe he is underpaid.