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.
GREEN BAY “BEST BET” OVER WASHINGTON
THOUGHTS ON THE MAYWEATHER-ALVAREZ FIGHT
DODGERS AMAZING TURNAROUND BY THE NUMBERS
CODY JAMIESON CONTINUES TO SHINE
MANZIEL: SECOND HEISMAN ON THE LINE?
The much-anticipated and wildly impressive debut of Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly’s dynamic offense in a 33-27 victory in Washington Monday night somewhat overshadowed the relative lack of mobility of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.
RGIII obviously was rusty after missing the entire preseason coming off reconstructive knee surgery, but quickness is a big part of his game and he didn’t have his old burst against the Eagles. He wasn’t close to 100 percent.
The Redskins play Sunday in Green Bay and their timing couldn’t be worse. The Packers are coming off a 34-28 road loss at San Francisco and will be fired up for their home opener. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is ready to roll and Clay Matthews will be zeroed in on RGIII all afternoon.
This week’s “Best Bet”: GREEN BAY (-8) 30, Washington 17.
Sunday’s other games
(home teams in CAPS)
ATLANTA (-7) 23, St. Louis 20 – I don’t think the Falcons will start the season 0-2 but the 7-point spread against the improving and underrated Rams is too generous.
PHILADELPHIA (7 ½) 30, San Diego 21 – Opposing defensive coordinators will catch up to Eagles coach Chip Kelly’s super speedy attack soon, but I don’t think it will happen Sunday. The Chargers were 1-7 vs. the NFC the past two seasons and Philip Rivers no longer is an elite QB.
HOUSTON 33 (10), Tennessee 17 – The Texas aren’t likely to sputter early (down 28-7) the way they did in last week’s 31-28 thriller at San Diego.
Dallas 24, KANSAS CITY (-3) 17 – The Chiefs are on the upgrade but the Cowboys are a much tougher test than Jacksonville and could be looking ahead to coach Andy Reid’s return to Philadelphia next week.
INDIANAPOLIS (-3) 27, Miami 13 – The Colts beat visiting Oakland 21-17 last week despite allowing 171 yards rushing. The Dolphins had a ridiculous 20 yards on 23 carries in a 23-10 win in Cleveland.
BALTIMORE (-7) 30, Cleveland 17 – The Ravens have won 10 straight games vs. the Browns. Why should this be any different? Cleveland always has a difficult time stopping Ray Rice and that should loosen things up for Joe Flacco to throw.
BUFFALO (+3) 23, Carolina 20 – I don’t understand why the Panthers are favored. A few early strikes by EJ Manuel should loosen up the running lanes for a big afternoon for C.J. Spiller.
New Orleans 35, TAMPA BAY (-3 ½) 24 – I don’t understand this line, either. The Saints have way too much firepower in this matchup and Drew Brees has a huge advantage over struggling Josh Freeman.
CHICAGO (-6) 28, Minnesota 17 – The Vikings have Adrian Peterson and a shot here if he can help dominate time of possession. The Bears are emerging as an offensive powerhouse and have many more ways to score.
OAKLAND (-6) 27, Jacksonville 10 – Unfortunately, one team almost has to win. The Raiders are bad but this is their home opener and the Jaguars are putrid.
Detroit 24, ARIZONA (+2) 17 – I have a hunch the talented but inconsistent Lions are going to win a second straight game for a change.
Denver 35, NEW YORK GIANTS (4 ½) 27 – The battle of the Manning brothers will produce huge TV numbers. Peyton has more offensive toys to play with.
San Francisco 27, SEATTLE (-3) 24 – Great matchup between two of the NFL’s three-best teams (with Denver?). I’m sticking with Colin Kaepernick at least until his 49ers lose.
Monday night’s game
CINCINNATI (7) 23. Pittsburgh 10 –The Steelers are in bad shape. They already have a long injury list and the Bengals will be fired up for their home opener coming off a 24-21 loss at Chicago. Linebacker James Harrison vs. Pittsburgh will be interesting.
Thursday night’s pick was New England (-12) 24, NEW YORK JETS 7. I figured New England’s defense would step up in support of the injury-depleted offense. I also was counting on Tom Brady to significantly outplay Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith.
Bill Belichick was 14-4 entering this game vs. rookie QBs...He’s now 15-4 vs. rookie QBs after a win over the Jets but the Patriots won by only 3 points (13-10).
Last week’s “Best Bets” record – 11-5 picking winning teams straight up...7-8-1 picking winners against the point spread...The “Best Bet” is 1-0 straight up and 0-1 against the point spread after New England beat 10-point underdog Buffalo but only by 2 points (23-21).
MAYWEATHER A MASTER FIGHTER AND PROMOTER
Floyd Mayweather Jr. thinks he is the all-time greater boxer. His record is aq strong argument: 44-0 with 26 knockouts entering Saturday night’s pay-per-view welterweight unification title fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The fight is billed as “The One.”
Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio put off their bonanza “dream fight” for so long that it really wouldn’t be that huge a deal anymore.
So why Alvarez? And why has Mayweather spent so much time and energy building up his seemingly outclassed opponent?
Because Alvarez is attractive to prospective PPV customers. He’s young (23) and charismatic, with a huge Mexican following. He has a 42-0-1 record, with 30 KOs. Of course, you’ve never heard of most of his victims. He has only one less fight than the 36-year-old Mayweather, but”Money May” has fought much better opponents.
Alvarez might get lucky and upset Mayweather, but that’s not likely to happen.
Mayweather might be the all-time greatest defensive fighter and is savvy enough to avoid enter the ring against an opponent with good chance to blemish his perfect record.
Mayweather will make a record guaranteed $41.5 million for this fight. He has earned it. Nearly every boxing fan respects him for his abiilty. Many fans believe he is too cocky. But that’s just part of marketing himself. Next to Muhammad Ali, no boxer has been a better self-promoter than Mayweather.
Canelo is expected to make around $12 million ($5 million purse money plus guaranteed PPV money).
If Mayweather were all about money, he’d lose this fight on purpose to set up- an even more lucrative rematch. But that isn’t going to happen. Mayweather’s pride wouldn’t allow him to do it. He cares much more about remaining undefeated than cashing in on a Mayweather/Alvarez II.
The Bovada.lv. betting odds:
Mayweather by decision: 10x19 (bet $10 to win $19)
Alvarez by KO, TKO or DQ (4x1)
Alvarez by decision 5x1
Mayweather by KO, TKO, or DQ (11x2).
Most analysts figure Alvarez’s best chance to chance is a knockout – the earlier the better. The big risk is that he could run out of gas in what likely would be a futile bid to KO perhaps the all-time best fighter.
Mayweather bet $280 to win $100...Alvarez bet $100 to win $220...Over/under pay-per-view buys: 1.75 million.
Pro boxing isn’t dead but it isn’t in great shape. Mayweather is the biggest thing the sport has going for it and many observers are wondering who’ll fill the void when he walks away – extremely wealthy and probably undefeated.
My prediction: Mayweather via lopsided decision.
THE AMAZING TURNAROUND OF THE DODGERS
With or without Matt Kemp, the Los Angeles Dodgers will be the likely Las Vegas favorite to win the World Series.
The Dodgers have replaced (I think) the New York Yankees as the best team money could buy.
There is no doubt that the Dodgers have been the best team in the National League since early June, when rookie right fielder Yasiel Puig was promoted from Double-A (June 3) and shortstop Hanley Ramirez returned to full-time duty (June 4).
NL leaders June 3 (seven teams above .500)
St. Louis 38-19
San Francisco 30-27
The Dodgers were 24-32 (13 ½ games behind St. Louis for NL’s best record).
Records of those teams from June 3 through Thursday:
Los Angeles Dodgers 62-28 +34 over .500)
St. Louis 47-42 (+5)
Cincinnati 47-42 (+5)
Atlanta 53-36 (+17)
Pittsburgh 50-38 (+12)
San Francisco 36-54 (18 games under .500)
Colorado 37-52 (-15).
CODY JAMIESON KEEPS GETTING BETTER
The Rochester Knighthawks selected Cody Jamieson No. 1 overall in the 2010 National Lacrosse League entry draft. On Dec. 23, 2010, he signed a NLL-record 10-year contract with uncle Curt Styres’ team. It was an early Christmas present for Rochester lacrosse fans that just keeps on giving.
The Knighthawks have won two straight NLL championships, and Jamieson was MVP of both title games. He is proving to be a worthy successor to Rochester lacrosse legend John Grant Jr.
Wednesday night, the Six Nations Chiefs defeated the host Victoria Shamrocks 11-7 to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven championship series for the Mann Cup. The competition is for Canada’s summer men’s Senior A indoor lacrosse title (east vs. west). Six Nations last won the trophy in 1994-95-96.
Jamieson had a pretty decent performance in Wednesday’s pivotal fifth game: 3 goals and 6 assists. Rochester teammates Steven Keogh (3) and Johnny Powless (2) combined for 5 goals. A total of six Knighthawks are playing for Six Nations.
Rochester star goalie Matt Vinc is playing for Victoria.
Game 6 is Friday night in Victoria. If Six Nations wins, Jamieson figures to be MVP. Ho-hum.
A FEW INTERESTING NFL WEEK 1 TRENDS
Teams winning the turnover battle were 11-1...The only losing + team was the Buffalo Bills.
Las Vegas favorites were 13-3 straight up and 8-7-1 against the point spread (ATS).
Home teams were 9-7 outright and 8-7-1 ATS.
5 of the 16 games were decided by 3 points or fewer and 12 were decided by 7 points or fewer.
Teams scoring first were 7-9.
There were only three 100-yard rushers (including one quarterback) and 19 100-yard receivers.
FUTURE RED WING NAMED MINOR LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The honors keep rolling in for 19-year-old future Rochester Red Wings center fielder Byron Buxton. He this week was named Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year.
He earlier was selected Top Prospect in both of the full-season Single-A leagues:
The Midwest League and the Florida State League. He’s headed to the Arizona Fall League to play against mostly older top prospects.
With Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers, the Minnesota Twins prospect (selected No. 2 overall in the 2012 summer entry draft) hit a cumulative .334 with 49 extra-base hits, 55 stolen bases and 76 walks in 125 games. He led the minors in triples (18) and was second in runs (109).
The big question is when he’ll be reporting for duty at Frontier Field.
He’ll probably start next season at Double-A New Britain and could be a Red Wing by mid-June.
I hope New England’s 13-10 snoozer over the New York Jets will be the worst game on Thursday Night Football this season. ..For the record, Buffalo’s mandatory Thursday night game will be Oct. 3 against the Cleveland Browns.
Texas A&M (featuring Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel) hosts 8-point favored and top-ranked Alabama Saturday afternoon. If Alabama wins, it would give Heisman voters another reason to dismiss Manziel from consideration for a Heisman repeat.
But if Manziel engineers a repeat upset of the Crimson Tide, it would make him tough to ignore.
The Rochester Knighthawks will have only four picks (27th, 37th, 46th and 55th) in the National Lacrosse League draft. The bad news is that the Knighthawks don’t figure to add any impact players. The good news is the team will be trying to become the first NLL team ever to win three straight championships and have a mostly young nucleus of players likely to get even better.
Ralph Wilson Stadium has the 11th largest seating capacity in the NFL. Buffalo is the 32-team league’s second-smallest market. That’s sort of unfair in terms of blackouts.
Syracuse U. product Fab Melo has been invited to the training camp of the Dallas Mavericks. He recently was traded by Boston and released by Memphis. He has a chance for a fairly lucrative NBA career with many teams, because he is large and coordinated. Unfortunately, he has no offensive game and hasn’t shown many signs to suggest that he ever will have.
A federal judge this week ruled that disgraced former cycling superstar Lance Armstrong had a right to lie about himself in two autobiographies and threw out a lawsuit filed by readers accusing him of fraud. The judge said Armstrong was protected by the First Amendment. At the very least, I believe libraries should reclassify the Armstrong books from the biography section to the fiction department.
CHECKING OUT A FEW MLB BATTING LINES OF NOTE
Alfonso Soriano with the Yankees: 45 games; .251 batting average (45x179); 5 doubles; 15 HRs; 47 RBI
Alfonso Soriano with the Cubs before the trade: 93 games; .254 BA (92x362); 24 doubles; 1 triple; 17 HRs; 51 RBI.
Alex Rodriguez (Yankees): 33 games; .294 BA (35x119); 19 runs; 7 doubles; 6 HRs; 13 RBI; 17 walks; 30 strikeouts.
Chris Colabello (Minnesota) – 45 games; .196 BA (27x138); 2 doubles; 7 HRs; 16 RBI.
Brian Dozier (Minnesota) – 131 games; .243 BA (120x494); 30 doubles; 4 triples; 17 HRs; 61 RBI; 45 walks; 103 strikeouts; 11 stolen bases...Showing signs of becoming a power-hitting second baseman.
Russell Martin (Pittsburgh) – 116 games; .234 BA (94x401); 21 doubles; 13 HRs; 51 RBI; 55 walks; 96 strikeouts; 9 stolen bases...In hindsight, the Yankees might have cost themselves a playoff spot by failing to retain him. The Yankees got very littler offense from their catchers this season.
Yasmiel Puig (Dodgers) – 88 games; .339 BA (113x333); 59 ruins; 20 doubles; 2 triples; 16 HRs; 37 RBI; 29 walks; 83 strikeouts; 11 stolen bases...We still don’t know how good he’ll be.
Matt Kemp (Dodgers) – 62 games; .263 BA (60x228); 12 doubles; 5 HRs; 27 RBI; 9 stolen bases; 18 walks; 69 strikeouts...He didn’t contribute much when he was healthy...Hoping to return for the postseason (ankle/hamstring issues). It would be a difficult decision for manager Don Mattingly regarding how much to play him.