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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.
BRUINS-BLACKHAWKS IN FIRST SHOWDOWN FOR THE STANLEY CUP
2013 NFL PREVIEW MAGAZINES NOT HIGH ON THE BILLS
A GREAT DAY FOR ANDY PETTITTE
BASEBALL HOT AND NOT
TOUGH TRIP TO ERIE, PA., FOR LISA’S BOOBYTRAP
MIGUEL SANO PROMOTED TO DOUBLE-A: RED WINGS NEXT STOP?
The Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins – two of the NHL’s “Original Six” teams – have played in the Stanley Cup Finals a total of 29 times since 1927. But they’ll meet for the first time in the Finals starting Wednesday night in Chicago.
Most NHL fans were looking forward to a showdown between Chicago and Pittsburgh, the consistently two-best teams in the abbreviated 48-game regular season. Maybe the explosive Penguins also were looking ahead too much.
The Bruins humiliated Pittsburgh, outscoring the Penguins 12-2 in a four-game sweep. Pittsburgh stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were held pointless.
The early odds (courtesy of covers.com) favor Chicago but I’m not sure why: Chicago bet $145 to win $100...Boston bet $100 to win $125.
Both teams have momentum. Boston trailed Toronto 4-1 with 11 ½ minutes left in regulation in the decisive Game 7 of the first round. The Bruins rallied to win 5-4 in overtime in a finish some long-time Boston observers called the most amazing comeback in that sports-crazy city’s history.
Boston then went on an 8-1 roll vs. the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh to reach the Finals.
Chicago trailed Detroit 3-1 after four games in the Western Conference semifinals and then – sparked by Buffalo native Patrick Kane -- went 7-1 against the Red Wings and defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings to reach the Finals.
The Blackhawks were the better team in the regular season: Chicago – 36-7-5 record...+53 goal differential (155-102)...Boston 28-14-6 record...+22 goal differential (131-109). Who cares? That means nothing now.
Chicago has the home-ice advantage and the Blackhawks are 9-1 at home in the playoffs. But Boston is a more than respectable 5-2 on the road. Chicago is 3-4 on the road. Boston is 6-3 at home.
The Blackhawks earned the Presidents’ Trophy this (best record in the regular season) but I’m sure they aren’t the slightest bit concerned about the so-called “Presidents’ Trophy Hex.” The Presidents’ Trophy has been awarded 27 times to15 different teams) since it began for the 1985-86 season. The Presidents’ Trophy winner has gone on to win the Stanley Cup only seven times (eliminated in the first round six times).
Both teams have hot goalies: Corey Crawford (Chicago) 12-5 record; 1.74 goals-against average; .935 save percentage...Tuuka Rask (Boston) 12-4 record; 1.75 goals-against average; .943 save percentage.
Both teams have poor records in the Stanley Cup Finals: Boston is 6-12 in 18 trips to the Finals and Chicago is 4-7 in 11 trips to the Finals.
NFL 2013 PREVIEW MAGAZINES NOT HIGH ON THE BILLS
The flood of NFL Football Preview 2013 magazines has begun and the first three aren’t expecting much from the Buffalo Bills:
Pro Football Weekly Preview 2013 – Buffalo is No. 29 in the preseason power rankings and picked to finish third in the AFC East with a 7-9 record...”Doug Marrone inherits three offensive playmakers in C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson and Stevie Johnson, a blue-chip D-line and two young playmaking DBs. But until the Bills find an answer at quarterback, among many other things, Buffalo will remain home to the league’s current symbol of futility.”
Pro Football Weekly ranked NFL players by position. Here are the No. 1-rated players and how Buffalo fared (in parentheses) : QB Aaron Rodgers (Kevin Kolb 30th)...RB Adrian Peterson (C.J. Spiller 13th)...WR Calvin Johnson (Stevie Johnson 26th)...TE Rob Gronkowski (no Bills in 25 listed players)...C Maurkice Pouncey (Eric Wood 10th)...OG Mike Iupati (no Bills listed in the top 20 listed; ex-Bill Andy Levitre is No. 2)...OT Duane Brown (no Bills in 25 listed players)...DT Vince Wilfork (Kyle Williams 8th and Marcell Dareus 9th)...DE J.J. Watt (Mario Williams 7th)...ILB Patrick Willis (no Bills in 25 listed players)...OLB DeMarcus Ware (no Bills in 28 listed players)...CB Darrelle Revis (no Bills in 28 listed players, not even Stephon Gilmore)...Safeties Earl Thomas (Jairus Byrd 2nd)...kick returner Jacoby Jones (Leodis McKelvin 2nd).
Sporting News Pro Football 2013 – Buffalo is No. 29 in preseason power rankings and picked to finish third in the AFC East...”The Bills are much more likely to be competing for the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2014 than they are a Super Bowl....The Bills lack elite talent at several positions, most notably quarterback, wide receiver and linebacker. Expectations are understandably low considering that the team is installing new offensive and defensive systems under a first-year head coach...It would be a stretch to say the Bills are anywhere close to competing for a playoff spot.”
Athlon Sports Pro Football 2013 Preview – Buffalo is picked to finish fourth in the AFC East and is 14th in the AFC power ratings...”New coach. New quarterback. Same results...After 13 years without playing in the postseason, it’s hard for even the most fervent fan (that’s you, John the Optimist) to be optimistic that another coaching change will mean anything. Doug Marrone does represent a fresh face and the promise of young ideas. The addition of EJ Manuel as a potential franchise quarterback does make the team more interesting to follow. Mike Pettine, a well-respected coordinator, will make the defense better. But in a division dominated by New England and with a schedule much more difficult than in 2012, it will take more than one offseason to undo all the mistakes of the last decade in Buffalo.”
The bottom – There is fresh optimism in western New York regarding the 2013 Bills, but the prominent preview magazines haven’t jumped on the bandwagon.
PETTITTE WINS 250TH SAME DAY SON SIGNED BY YANKEES
Few baseball pitchers gave enjoyed a day better than New York Yankees veteran left-handed pitcher Andy Pettitte on Saturday.
He recorded his 250th career victory in the New York Yankees 3-1 victory over the host Seattle Mariners and his 18-year-old right-handed pitcher son Josh Pettitte was selected by the Yankees in the 37th round of the June entry draft.
This is an appropriate time to reevaluate Pettitte’s hopes of being voted to baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Pettitte is the 47th pitcher to win at least 250 games in MLB history. Of those other 46 to reach that milestone, 34 already are Hall of Famers. Two others are sure to be elected when they become eligible: Tom Glavine and Randy Johnson. One other eligible pitcher still has a chance (Jack Morris). One other has a good chance when he becomes eligible (270). One has been linked to steroids (Roger Clemens) and is at the mercy of the voters. Jamie Moyer (269 wins) isn’t likely to be elected when he becomes eligible. Bobby Mathews (297 wins), Tommy John (288), Jim Kaat (283), Jimj McCormick (265) and Gus Weyhing (264) haven’t been elected yet and probably never will be.
Pettitte has more victories than 30 Hall of Fame pitchers (exluding Hank O’Day, a former pitcher who was elected as an umpire).
The two best and worst things going for Pettitte’s Hall of Fame chances:
Good – His .633 career winning percentage would rank 15th among the 69 Hall of Fame pitchers...He holds the record for the most postseason victories (19). In the postseason, he is 19-11 (.633 – matching his regular-season winning percentage) with a 3.81 ERA.
Bad – Every Hall of Fame pitcher has a lower career ERA than Pettitte’s 3.85...He admittedly briefly used PEDs to help recover from arm problems in 2002 and 2004.
BASEBALL: HOT AND NOT SO HOT
Los Angeles Dodgers rookie right fielder Yasiel Puig enjoyed a fruitful first week in the majors: 7 games; .464 batting average (13x28); 2 doubles; 4 HRs; 10 RBI; 27 total bases; plus a few throws reminding oldtimers of Roberto Clemente.
David Ortiz (Boston) has 5 HRs and 14 RBI in his last 10 games.
Boston is 6-2 in its last eight games and making 2012 manager Bobby Valentine look bad. The Red Sox were 89-93 with him last season and are 39-25 without him this season.
Ex-Red Wing Jesse Crain (White Sox) has 24 straight scoreless innings and hasn’t allowed a run in his last 25 appearances.
Kansas City has five straight wins. The bullpen hasn’t allowed a run in 17 2/3 innings over the last six games.
Mariano Rivera (Yankees) on Sunday posted his 23rd save in 24 opportunities this season and boosted his MLB record to 631 saves.
Felix Hernandez (Seattle) on Sunday threw his 22nd career no-decision when pitching at least seven innings and allowing one or no runs.
The Yankees are 9-0-2 in season series vs. Seattle since 2003.
Jordan Zimmerman (Washington) is 11-0 in his last 18 starts at Nationals Park.
The Phillies have homered in 14 straight games.
Dan Uggla (Atlanta) had 2 HRs in Sunday’s 8-1 win at the Los Angeles Dodgers and leads MLB second basemen with 222 HRs since the start of the 2006 season (No. 2 Robinson Cano has 178 HRs over that span).
Mike Minor (Atlanta) is 13-2 with a 2.33 ERA in his last 20 starts over the last two seasons.
Nick Swisher (Cleveland) ended an 0x26 slump with a single Sunday.
Cleveland has lost 11 straight road games.
Josh Hamilton (Angels) continues to struggle. He was 0-x5 with two strikeouts Sunday. His batting average is .212 (50x236). He has 8 HRs, 18 RBI and 65 strikeouts.
Matt Moore (Tampa Bay), 8-0 with a 2.18 ERA entering June, is 0-2 with an 18.00 ERA this month.
Alcides Escobar (Kansas City) has a .191 batting average and a .221 slugging percentage in his last 32 games.
The Mets are 3-8 vs. Miami. The feeble Marlins are 10-41 vs. all the other teams this season.
The struggling Rochester Rhinos (1-7-4 record and outscored 23-7 this disappointing season) must be looking forward to back-to-back home games June 21 vs. Antigua Barracuda FC (0-10 record and outscored 39-5) and Phoenix FC (2-8-3 record and outscored 23-14).
Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack 2011 Horse of the Year and fan favorite Lisa’s Boobytrap and owner/trainer Timothy Snyder had a rough trip to Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pa., Sunday, for the $100,000 Satin and Lace Stakes for fillies and mares. Lisa’s Boobytrap, sent off as the 3.30-to-1 co-second favorite in the field of 10 going 5 ½ furlongs, set all of the pace with fellow Finger Lakes invader Interrogate. They began to tire at the eighth pole and Interrogate drifted out and forced Lisa’s Boobytrap to check sharply. She finished last but was moved up to ninth when the stewards dropped Interrogate to last for interference.
Minnesota Twins 20-year-old slugging prospect Miguel Sano was promoted to the Double-A (Eastern League) New Britain after hitting two more home runs Sunday for the Fort Myers Miracle of the Advanced Class-A Florida State League. The Miracle have a 41-19 record and Sano leaves leading the league in home runs (16), runs (51), on-base percentage (.424), slugging percentage (.655), and OPS (1.079) and is 3rd in RBI (48). He’s 9x11 stealing bases. Next stop: Rochester, Opening Day 2014?
The Syracuse Crunch, bidding for their first AHL Calder Cup, are down 2-0 to the Grand Rapids Griffins in the best-of-seven Finals. Grand Rapids won 3-1 Saturday and 6-4 Sunday in Syracuse. The next three games will be in Grand Rapids.
Maybe if Wegmans LPGA Championship winner Inbee Park can win four or five of this year’s LPGA majors, French Open champion Serena Williams won’t be a runaway winner of Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year.
The season is over for the Rochester RazorSharks after a loss to the Bloomington Flex, 88-77, Sunday at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. Bloomington won the best-of-three series 2-0. Sunday’s 77 points were just 2 points above the franchise record-low 75 points (Dec. 16, 2007). The RazorSharks now are 3-1 in championship games at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. The team expects to move to the Dome Arena in Henrietta for next season.
The Western New York Flash are playing the best soccer in the NWSL. They’re on a 4-0-1 roll and are the only team to beat the league-leading Sky Blue FC (7-2-1 record). Abby Wambach is tied with Alex Morgan (Portland) for the NWSL goal-scoring lead with 6. The Flash play at Washington Saturday and at Chicago June 19. Their next home game is against the Seattle Reign (with Hope Solo) Sunday, June v23, 4:05 p.m., at Sahlen’s Stadium.