On the Board Issue # 2
Cut-On-A-Dime (and 6" of snow)
Wrong Forecast, Right Outcome
This is something new: the weather prognosticators got it wrong? Nah, really? Never. Impossible they say. "Coating to an inch in the Philadelphia area and possibly 1-2" in the Northern and Western suburbs," the local Philly weather forecasters were calling for. How about no. That amount was probably what fell to the ground in the first hour or so. Nearly half a foot of snow fell on Sunday, most of which dropped onto the frozen surface at Lincoln Financial Field at the height of the Eagles and Lions that afternoon.
The FOX telecast came up with some innovative graphics on the screen to be able to continue to show the yard markers throughout the game. Referees and players dug their cleats into the piles of snow to gain footing. Pigskins were loose in the hands of the Lion's Quarterback, Matthew Stafford (he fumbled 3 times and threw 1 pick) and Nick Foles threw his first interception of the year for the Eagles, too.
Both teams looked rather sluggish at the onset of the game. No one expected this volume of frozen precipitation, especially at the pace in which it was cascading from the clouds above. Fans enjoyed the snow bowl, but I am sure a certain level of intoxication needed to be reached to achieve this effect. The second half of the game commenced with an onslaught of Eagles scoring, followed by a fourth quarter dominance by Lesean McCoy, who is the NFL's leading rusher, now heading into the last three weeks of the season with 1,305 rushing yards. The home team persevered through the slow start and seemingly white out conditions to overcome the Lions, 34-20.
Home games for the Ravens, Steelers and Redskins were affected as well. The Miami Dolphins defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field last Sunday. Ryan Tannehill, QB for the Dolphins, played in his first ever game with the appearance of snow. And what did he do? He completed 20 passes in 33 attempts for 201 yards, 3 touchdowns and a 48 - yd run of his own. The Steelers had a late lead in the game, but Miami scored with less than 3 minutes in regulation. Pittsburgh gave it the "old college try" on the last play of the game with a series of laterals and runs down the sideline, one of which could have enabled Antonio Brown to score the winning TD. Unfortunately, Mike Tomlin's precious pal, the sidelines, costs them the victory. Brown stepped out of bounds on his way down the field, negating what would have been a miraculous finish to the game. It was all for not, and the Steelers playoff hopes became as bleak as the weather conditions.
The Kansas City Chiefs didn't mind the climate as they traveled to DC and annihilated the Redskins, 45-10. The Chiefs scored on their first 4 touchdowns, sealing the deal very quickly for the lowly football team in our nation's capitol. RG 3 will now have a snow day for the rest of the season, as he is sitting out these last three games. The Chiefs, meanwhile, still hope Santa brings to them a division title under their tree this year.
Our last highlighted game to recap was between the Vikings and the Ravens. Baltimore, the home team, prevailed in a 29-26 unbelievable game that included multiple lead changes and a treacherous time for anyone attempting to keep score at the end of this match-up - there were 5 scores in the final 2 minutes! The finishing tally came from Joe Flacco's arm when he found rookie Martin Brown in the end zone. The win enables the Ravens to keep pace, with clear vision to the final wild card spot. Don't count the defending Champs out just yet - they are getting healthy at the right time and are winning at the right point of the season.
By the time Sunday was over, the snow ceased, but the lasting memories for home town fans in Philadelphia and Baltimore were embedded. LeSean, aka "Shady" McCoy reached legendary status. He set an Eagle record with 217 rushing yards in one game. Ravens fans were rejuvenated with their last second stunner. On the negative side, Steelers and Redskins fans lament in the agony of their defeats. You can't win them all, and, for followers of the DC and Pittsburgh teams, you haven't really won much this year, so you should be used to it by now.
Old Time Baseball Challenged
Home Plate Collisions
Do you agree with the MLB decision to outlaw home plate collisions?
Safe at The Plate
It's a play that's been everlasting in Baseball. It's an exciting moment that does not occur in every game, but, when it does, you're probably on the edge of your seat viewing it. It's the only physical contact that was permitted in the MLB. Was is the operative word in that last sentence.
Beginning next year, MLB has decided to outlaw home - plate collisions. On the heels of the NFL's enhanced stance on the prevention of concussions, the league decided to end arguably the most exciting part of the game. Sure, walk off homers are the biggest thrill, but, collisions at the plate in baseball were timeless. It depicted the rare element of aggression in a sport that George Carlin poked fun at years ago for lacking grit. In this instant, true will and toughness would be gauged, when the runner would round third, eyes widening as he fixates on the catcher guarding the plate. The runner seeks to bowl him over to score a run for his team, while the catcher is the last line of defense positioning himself to thwart his counterpart's efforts.
I am all in favor in the human element in sports. I understand the epidemic of concussions in sports these days, but I have to admit I will miss this play. I was too young to remember his playing days, but Pete Rose set the standard on how to pummel the catcher and put one's own body at risk for the benefit of the team. This is a lost art in the sport that will now be eliminated.
In addition to the NFL's awareness prompting the MLB decision, another catalyst behind the ban came from San Fransisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy. He lost his catcher, Buster Posey, for half of a season due to an injury relating to a home plate collision. Bochy, himself, lost his playing career due to concussions."... The risks involved, I think it's not worth it..." he told reporters of the New York Daily News. Joe Girardi, Manager of the New York Yankees, and also a former catcher, disagrees with the ban. "I lost time as a catcher being run over a couple different times, but I thought it was part of my job," he told the newspaper, "and I enjoyed the contact... Now I'm not so sure everyone enjoys contact. But I love football, so I liked it."
With collisions barred, the next discussion in baseball relating to this is runner safety. If the runner can't forcefully attempt to jostle the ball free by thumping the man holding it, can the league ensure his safety, too? Catchers don protective gear; runners do not. The league stated they will continue to evaluate this and will outline rules of proper protocol for both the runner and the catcher when a run is being attempted to be scored on a play at the plate. Stay tuned.
Is his time fading away?
Return of the Black Mamba
I really don't want to get into the story about Kobe Bryant and Jim Brown. If you haven't heard about it, google it. Jim Brown is an old school athlete and never frets from voicing his opinion. So, too, is Kobe Bryant. It was only a matter of time until their words encountered one another. I am resting my case on this topic. Let's move on...
For the first time this season, Kobe Bryant played a game after suffering an Achilles tear last year. His 2013-14 debut ranked as the highest game viewed on the NBA.TV station this year (this was then surpassed two days later when the Pacers and Heat met for the first time since last postseason). All of the hype,articles and interviews over the return of Mr. Bryant. He played, scored nine points and turned the ball over eight times. When your turnovers almost match your point total, that's not a good game. At 35 years old, his comeback story will be one that's told with great ambition.
The Lakers are hovering around the .500 mark thus far this season. Granted, most of these games were without Kobe, but how much will an aging superstar recovering from a severe injury improve a sub-par team? With other players such as Steve Nash and now Steve Blake out, the ball will literally be handed to the Black Mamba. Kobe will man the point over the course of the next month or so. For a man notorious for wanting that final shot, and making that final shot of the game, how effective can such a player be in a position that's understood to be one that creates plays, not finish them. Time will tell. I've always said that Kobe Bryant is the type of athlete that you demonize when he is your opponent, but, if he wore your team's jersey, he'd be your God. Over his illustrious career, he has overcome many obstacles - from being a young superstar in the throws of NBA championships, to being able to coexist on the same team for so long with arguably the greatest center of all time in Shaquille O'Neal - to name a few. These next few weeks, and most likely the rest of this season, will be the ultimate test for the 5 - time NBA champion.