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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.
ONLY SURPRISE WAS RUFF LASTING SO LONG…REGIER SHOULD BE NEXT
SUMMER OLYMPICS A MUCH BIGGER PIPEDREAM THAN FAST FERRY
PICKING THE ORANGE OVER THE HOYAS 76-70
COMPARING SABRES AND BLACKHAWKS
The Answer Man checks in for his take on a few hot sports topics:
What do you think about coach Lindy Ruff being fired by the Buffalo Sabres after 16 years?
ANSWER: I’m surprised he lasted this long – 16 years without winning a Stanley Cup and playing for only one (1999). Of North America’s four major team sports, the NHL has by far the most impatient owners in terms of firing coaches and general managers. There were 170 NHL head coaching changes between when Ruff was hired (July 21, 1997) and fired (Wednesday), including many Stanley Cup winners.
I would’ve fired GM Darcy Regier before Ruff. The current Sabres didn’t appear to have the right stuff to be a serious Stanley Cup contender before this abbreviated season began. He no longer is saddled with a frugal owner. Terry Pegula has pledged to spare no expense to bring Buffalo a Stanley Cup. He’d probably have a better chance with a more aggressive GM. The Sabres have too many players who’ve been Sabres for too long. They once were sharp. Now they’re dull.
I believe Ruff will coach again in the NHL. He’s a very good coach who grew stale in Buffalo. Underachieving players on the current Sabres did him in. They should be ashamed of themselves – particularly the ones who said Lindy was too tough on them. I won’t be shocked if he wins a Stanley Cup with another team.
QUESTION: Do you think the Sabres will make the playoffs?
ANSWER: Not unless Regier makes gambles on some significant trades and has more hits than misses. I guess it could happen but I don’t think it will.
QUESTION: Is there any chance the 2024 Summer Olympics will be held in Rochester?
ANSWER: Of course not…not even the Winter Olympics, and that would be a tiny bit more logical.
Rochester doesn’t have enough of almost everything to host the Summer Olympics. For example: Population…Financial resources...Transportation system…International airport…Hotel rooms (need at least 45,000; have 7,265 in Monroe County, and that includes breakfast-and-bed spots)….Existing facilities (including a 70,000-seat Olympic stadium, 20,000-seat arena and vast swimming venue)…Work space for 15,000 media members (it took 10-plus years to add a press box to our 12,000-seat soccer stadium). And that’s just the beginning.
There are no guarantees that the USOC will submit a bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics after passing for 2020. If most of the other 34 cities on the list aren’t interested (Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Charlotte, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Memphis, Minneapolis, Nashville, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Portland, St. Louis, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Tulsa and Washington) why would it be a good idea for Rochester?
But it was sort of neat to be on the exclusive list of 35 cities invited to submit a bid to the United States Olympic Committee.
QUESTION: What did you think about Kobe Bryant predicting a playoff berth after his Los Angeles Lakers easily beat the visiting Boston Celtics 113 -99 Wednesday night?
ANSWER: Good for Kobe coming off one of his team’s best efforts this season (particularly Dwight Howard). If the Lakers continue to play like that and Pau Gasol comes back healthy (foot) in time for the playoffs, they should qualify – only to lose in five or six games to San Antonio, Oklahoma City or the LA Clippers in the first round.
QUESTION: What about Pete Rose griping about his name being erased as the all-time hit leader on 2013 Topps baseball cars?
ANSWER: I agree with him very much...Topps this year has a records feature on the back of cards. For example, “so-and-so is” x home runs behind Barry Bonds’ record of 762.” But for hits, the blurb reads, “so-and-so is x hits behind the record of 4,256.” Pete Rose’s name is omitted….That is unfair, stupid and overkill.
Being banned from the Hall of Fame is proper punishment for Rose for betting on baseball. But Topps erasing his name from the record books is going way too far. Pete Rose played in the major leagues and what he did on the field deserves to be recognized.
QUESTION: What do you think about Buffalo Bills CEO Russ Brandon’s suggestion that Ryan Fitzpatrick is not an absolute lock to be on the team this season?
ANSWER: Too good to be true…When Bills assistant GM Doug Whaley was asked this week what he and GM Buddy Nix look for in a quarterback, he replied, “You have to have a guy with a presence, arm and strength, accuracy and an ability to make people around him better.”
Does that package remind you of Ryan Fitzpatrick?
SYRACUSE HAS BETTER TALENT THAN GEORGETOWN
The Carrier Dome will be rocking even more than usual Saturday when the Syracuse Orange host the Georgetown Hoyas in the latest edition of one of college basketball’s best rivalries (4 p.m., on CBS and WHAM 1180).
The two Big East powers will enter the game tied for the conference lead with Marquette at 10-3. They warmed up for Saturday’s showdown with sharp efforts in home victories Wednesday: SU 84-59 over Providence and Georgetown 90-66 over DePaul.
Here’s how the teams measure up:
Records: Syracuse…22-4…Georgetown 20-4
Scoring: SU 75.2 points per game…Hoyas 65.3
Scoring defense: SU 59.3 points allowed per game…Hoyas 56.1
Scoring margin per game: SU +15.9…Hoyas +9.2
Field-goal percentage: SU .450…Hoyas .466
OPP FG percentage: SU .370…Hoyas .276
3-point shooting: SU 155x474; .327…Hoyas 133x378; .352
Free-throw shooting: SU 391x572; .684…Hoyas 273x4120; .666
Rebounds per game/margin per game: SU 40.1; +5.3…Hoyas 33.2; +1.3
Assists per game: SU 15.2…Hoyas 15.0
Turnovers per game/margin per game: SU 12.4; -4.2…Hoyas 12.5; +1.4
Steals per game: SU 9.8…Hoyas 7.5
Blocks per game: SU 6.5; Hoyas 4.1.
The Orange and Hoyas will meet again Saturday, March 9, noon (ESPN) in Washington to close the Big East regular season with a bang.
My pick: Syracuse 76, Georgetown 70. I figure SU has more potential.
The more C.J. Fair touches the ball, the more I like the Orange.
CLASSIC TWEETS ON ROCHESTER HOSTING THE 2024 SUMMER OLYMPICS
Here were some of the events suggested on #RochOlympicEvents:
See-How-Many Times-You-Can-Make-A-Trip-to-Wegmans-In-A-Day marathon
Finding a public rest room on Main Street
Lawyer phone jingle sing-off
Fastest Garbage Plate consumption
Renaissance Square boxing
Highland Park biathlon
Magic Mountain climbing
Holley squirrel slam
Greece tanning contest (bronze medal to winner)
The Sea Breeze water slide
Getting to Pittsford village down Monroe Ave. from Clover Street during rush hour
AM commute in the snow
South Wedge hipster hurdling
Inner Loop speed skating
400-meter relay through Avenues A-B-C-D
Name That Tune with Walter the Accordian Man.
HOW THE SABRES AND BLACKHWAKS COMPARE
Statistics aren’t always an accurate measure of two teams, but they certainly are when comparing the Chicago Blackhawks (13-0-3 through 16 games this NHL season) and the struggling Buffalo Sabres, who dropped to 6-11-1 through 18 games with a 3-1 loss in Toronto Thursday night.
Here’s how the two teams compare entering this weekend (rank in the 30-team NHL in parentheses):
Wins – Chicago 13 (1)…Sabres 6 (t25)
Points percentage – Chicago .906 (1; 29 of 32 possible points in the standings)…Sabres .361 (13 of 36)
Goals per game – Chicago 3.31 (2)…Sabres 3.61 (17)
Goals allowed per game – Chicasgo 1.94 (2)…Sabres 3.28 (26)
Power play percentage – Chicago 31.7 (1)…Sabres 12.3 (29)
Penalty killing percentage – Chicago 87.9 (3)…Sabres 79.4 (20)
Shots per game – Chicago 30.6 (5)…Sabres 30.1 (10)
Fewest shots allowed per game – Chicago 28.1 (12)…Sabres 33.6 (30)
Winning % scoring first – Chicago 1.000 (t1)…Sabres .556 (25)
Winning % trail first – Chicago .625 (2)…Sabres .111 (t28)
Winning % lead after first period – Chicago .857 (9)…Sabres .500 (t23)
Winning % lead after second period – Chicago .917 (10)…Sabres 1.000 (t1)
Winning % when outshoot OPP – Chicago .800 (t2)…Sabres .400 (t22)
Winning % when outshot by OPP – Chicago .833 (1)…Sabres .308 (22)
Win Faceoff percentage – Chicago 50.4 (t13)…Sabres 45.3 (30)
Fewest penalty minutes per game – Chicago 13.0 (t10)…Sabres 14.8 (24).