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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.
RAVENS OVER BILLS IS WEEK 4 “BEST BET”
CANO WON’T GET CLOSE TO $310 MILLION
AWFUL YANKEE CONTRACTS
The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens are coming off impressive home victories over Cleveland and Houston after an embarrassing season-opening 49-27 loss in Denver.
The Buffalo Bills were no match last week in a not-as-close-as-the-score-looks 27-20 road loss to the New York Jets.
The Ravens are the healthier team entering Sunday’s game and Joe Flacco figures to have a productive game against Buffalo’s injury-riddled secondary. Buffalo rookie QB EJ Manuel could have a rough afternoon against Baltimore pass rushers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil.
This week’s “Best Bet”: Baltimore 27, BUFFALO (+3 ½) 13.
Sunday’s other games
(home team in CAPS)
KANSAS CITY (- 4 ½) 20, New York Giants 13 – The Chiefs are young and hot (3-0). The Giants are showing their age and cold (0-3). Kansas City leads the NFL with 15 sacks and Eli Manning has been sacked 11 times and thrown 8 interceptions.
Arizona 24, TAMPA BAY (-2 ½) 20 – The Cardinals have lost nine consecutive road games but should get the job in Buccaneers rookie QB Mike Glennon’s NFL debut.
Seattle 33, HOUSTON (+2 ½) 24 -- The Texans are tempting getting points at home coming off an embarrassing 30-9 loss in Baltimore, but the talented and confident Seahawks are my top-ranked NFL team until they lose a game.
Indianapolis 26, JACKSONVILLE (+9) 13 – The Jaguars probably will win a game or two this season but it isn’t likely to happen this week against Andrew Luck’s Colts.
Cincinnati 27, CLEVELAND (+4) 14 – The Browns upset host Minnesota last week behind No. 2 QB Brian Hoyer. The Bengals are a much tougher assignment.
Chicago 28, DETROIT (- 3) 24 – The Lions have the offense to easily win this game but the undefeated Bears are undefeated and more consistent. Detroit is 2-8 straight up in its last 10 division games.
Minnesota (+2) 27, Pittsburgh 20 at Wembley Stadium in London – Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is due for a big game and Pittsburgh’s pass protection figures to continue to struggle.
TENNESSEE (-3 ½) 23, New York Jets 14 – The Titans are an overtime loss at Houston from being 3-0. The Jets beat Buffalo last week despite a franchise-record 20 penalties.
Washington 27, OAKLAND (+3 ½) 20 – The Redskins are better than their record (0-3) and the Raiders (1-2) are not.
Dallas 28, SAN DIEGO (+2) 21 – The Cowboys often play their best football in September and they’re playing well now.
DENVER (-11) 45, Philadelphia 28 – The Broncos have been awesome throwing the football and the Eagles have the league’s 29th-ranked pass defense.
ATLANTA (-2) 24, New England 17 – The resourceful Patriots are 3-0 but haven’t faced an opponent nearly as strong as the Falcons. Atlanta is 15-2 straight up in its last 17 home games.
Monday night’s game
NEW ORLEANS (-6 1/2) 30, Miami 20 – The Saints always have a potent pass offense. The big story this season is the improvement on defense. New Orleans is 15-4 straight up in its last 19 home games.
Thursday’s pick was San Francisco 24, ST. LOUIS (+3 ½). The 49ers won 35-11.
Last week’s “Best Bets” results: 10-6 picking winners straight up (32-16 this season)...9-6-1 picking winners against the point spread (23-22-3 this season)...The “Brest Bet” is 2-1 straight up and 1-2 against the spread after the 1-point underdog New York Giants, picked to beat host Carolina 37-23, lost 38-0.
ROBINSON CANO CAN’T BE SERIOUS
Give New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano credit for shooting high as he prepares for free agency. He reportedly wants a 10-year, $305-million contract and strongly suggests that he’ll sign with the high bidder. No discount for the Yankees.
Cano isn’t going to get a $305-million offer from any team. Ridiculous contracts to Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols guarantee that. Giving 10-year deals to stars on the wrong side of 30 is stupid.
Another thing against Cano is the small number of teams that could approach the offer he is dreaming of.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs are among the few teams that might have the financial resources to bid against the Yankees for Cano’s services. Cano would look great in the star-studded Dodgers lineup but every team has a payroll limit –even the Dodgers. I can’t see Cano in a Cubs uniform and I wonder how he’d perform with a non-contending team. My guess: without a lot of hustle or enthusiasm.
The Boston Red Sox this summer locked up second baseman Dustin Pedroia to a deal that will pay him $110 million over 8 years. What a great bargain for the heart of a very good team. Pedroia obviously gave the Red Sox a discount. It was a refreshing move in a greedy sport. He could’ve made significantly more money elsewhere but he opted to stay where he is comfortable and revered. Good for him.
There has to be a reasonable spot between Pedroia’s bargain price and Cano’s pie-in-the-sky dream. If Cano is worth $305 million for 10 years at age 30, what would Mike Trout be worth for a 10-year deal in his mid-20s?
My guess is that Cano will stick with the Yankees – maybe even for $30 million per year – but only for five or six years.
What do you think?
THE WORST OF THE CURRENT YANKEES CONTRACTS
The Yankees, of course, are the masters of outrageous player contracts. The current team is loaded with them.
I don’t think the Yankees underachieved this season. Age and injuries caught up with them. The Yankees were unlucky and they were foolish, too.
Here are the worst current contracts:
Alex Rodriguez – His 10-year, $275-million deal (plus bonuses) runs through 2017. He’ll turn 39 next season and his baseball skills have eroded (he’s in a 3x39 slump), maybe partly because he is “clean.” He needs 6 HRs for a $6-million bonus for tying Willie Mays’ 660 career HRs. He’s staring at a long, long suspension. I wonder if he’ll get the chance. I hope not. How about you?
Vernon Wells – He’s playing on a 7-year, $126 million deal through 2014. The good news: the Los Angels Angels paid $9.5 million of his $21 million contact this season and will pay $18.6 million of his $21 million next season...Wells was an excellent player in his prime but now is an “old” 34 in terms of baseball skills.
Ichiro Suzuki – His two-year deal is through 2014. He’ll make $6.5 million next season. With his declining batting average (.262) and lack of power and walks, he’ll be an expensive 40-year-old reserve. It is unlikely that he’ll last long enough get the 260 hits he needs for 3,000.
CC Sabathia – He’s signed through 2016 (8 years/$162 million). Have all those innings caught up with him?
Mark Teixeira – He’s signed through 2016 (8 years/$180 million). His production is on the decline and he missed most of this season due to injury.
Other contracts for 2014 include:
Alfonso Soriano – He’ll turn 38 in January. He’ll be entering the final season of an 8-year, $136 million contract.
Current Yankees who’ll be free agents for the 2014 season include Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte (retiring), Mariano Rivera (retiring), Phil Hughes (no big loss after this season’s disaster for $7.15 million), Joba Chamberlain, Travis Hafner, Lyle Overbay and keepers Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner and probably Curtis Granderson.
Arbitation eligiblefor 2014: Ivan Nova, David Robertson and Chris Stewart.
Stewart has been brutal down the stretch, offensively and defensively. He had his first chance to be a regular catcher and ran out of gas when it counted most. He hit .193 (11x57) n August and is hitting .121 (4x33) in September...If the Yankees had retained Russell Martin, they probably would’ve made the playoffs. He’s hitting .227 with 15 HRs and 55 RBI for Pittsburgh and doing a great job with the team’s pitching staff.
Top-selling Major League Baseball replica jerseys for the second half of this season (on MLB’s online shop): Mariano Rivera No. 1, followed by (in order) Matt Harvey...Yasiel Puig...Manny Machado...Buster Posey...Clayton Kershaw...Yadier Molina...Andrew McCutchen...Yoenis Cespedes...Mike Tout...Dustin Pedroia...Derek Jeter...David Wright...Miguel Cabera...Bryce Harper...Positive sign for MLB: 16 of the top 20 players on the list are 30 years old or younger.
Sports Illustrated picks the Chicago Blackhawks to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in this season’s NHL Stanley Cup Finals. The Buffalo Sabres are ranked No. 14 in the Eastern Conference, ahead of only the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Panthers.