Thursday, December 31, 2020
Collin Sexton led Cleveland with 28 points with Darius Garland adding 21 points in the first game of a six-game road trip.
Cleveland visits the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night in their next game.
1) Cleveland's big men battled foul trouble throughout the game and it showed against Domantis Sabonis, who scored 25 points and finished with 11 rebounds and 7 assists.
Ioka was certainly the "B-Side" despite carrying the title into the ring and that was because of the talent of opponent Kosei Tanaka, who besides being undefeated, had won titles for the WBO at 105, 108, and 112 pounds.
Tanaka had also been in what some (including TRS) had awarded the fight of the year for 2018 in his flyweight title victory over Sho Kimura and in another great fight over former light flyweight champion Ryo Taguchi, so Tanaka was the featured fighter in this bout.
Tanaka's charisma and exciting style had caused him to be tabbed as the next star from Japan to invade the United States similar to Naoya Inoue and plenty of top opponents waiting for him, all Tanaka had to do was push aside Ioka to begin the process of coming to America.
That would prove a tall task as the slightly larger Tanaka was expected to control the fight from distance, with Ioka's pressure attempting to take the battle to the inside.
For the first four rounds, the fight was evenly fought as I gave each man two of the first four rounds, but it was Tanaka walking forward with Ioka boxing from distance.
Tanaka was doing well in the fifth when the tide turned from an Ioka left hook caught a charging Tanaka and drove him across the ring and down to the canvas with seconds to go in the round.
Tanaka may have been saved by the bell in the fifth, and Ioka dominated the sixth as he sent Tanaka down again with a counter left hook with Tanaka gamely finishing the round.
Tanaka's tactics changed in the seventh and he became very aggressive in his attack and won the stanza clearly on my card.
The eighth seemed to be moving in the same direction as Tanaka was controlling the exchanges by moving to the inside, but as Tanaka pressed forward Ioka blasted him with the counter left hook that knocked Tanaka out on his feet with the referee grabbing Tanaka to hold him up as he immediately ended the fight.
For Ioka, this win was a career-defining victory that could set him up for eventual fights against the survivor of the WBA/WBC unification fight between Gonzalez and Estrada or Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who is a mandatory fight for the winner of Gonzalez-Estrada.
For Tanaka, he may have hit that "wall" that all fighters hit where their talents are evened out by fighters that are larger than they can handle at a certain level.
Tanaka could decide to return to the flyweight division, where he could rule the division for quite a while or stay at 115 pounds, where he has the skills to be competitive but may not have the punch resistance against the best that the division has to offer.
It's been an interesting year in boxing and this fight gives 2020 a solid ending to the year.
I'm planning an awards post for the year in boxing sometime in January.
Let's all hope together for a better year in 2021...
Wells, who is best remembered as "Mary Ann" from the 60s TV program "Gilligan's Island" and one of the protagonists of the question considered by so many people since the show began- Mary Ann or Ginger?
Wells didn't have another starring vehicle after Gilligan's Island, but always stayed busy in guest roles on television shows, many theatre productions, and stayed very involved with the Gilligan franchise and its various reunion films and specials along with voice work on the cartoon show of the early 80s, Gilligan's Planet where Wells voiced both Mary Ann AND Ginger.
Wells wrote a memoir and Gilligan's themed cookbook and worked in recent years as an ambassador for MeTV, which currently runs Gilligan's Island in syndication.
The gimmick with Lenny and Squiggy was usually this- Laverne or Shirley would be talking amongst themselves and describing it as disgusting, slimy, or something like that with Lenny and Squiggy then bursting through the door with Squiggy bellowing "hello!".
Berlinger had a co-starring rule in an Elvis Presley flick "Spinout" and a brief TV series of his own entitled "Warren" that starred Berlinger as an Archie Bunker-type character.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
The Hall of Fame second baseman played for five teams but remembered mainly for his seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, had fallen in the eyes of some in recent years due to his commentating work with ESPN on Sunday Night Baseball and his vocal outbursts against some of the players that have an excellent HOF argument and work on the various committees to keep players out of Cooperstown with cases such as Ron Santo and perhaps soon Dick Allen passing away before their induction.
But Morgan the player was sublime, combining power and speed at a position that hadn't been seen since at least the days of Rogers Hornsby and perhaps ever.
Known for his flapping elbow that every kid in the 1970s imitated, Morgan's first six seasons with the Reds after being acquired with Houston earned him two MVP awards, All-Star appearances in each season, and four Gold Gloves.
When you consider that Morgan was traded to the Reds at the age of 28 and had spent his previous seasons with Houston in the cavernous Astrodome, it makes you think about how his lesser statistics with the Astros could have been affected by playing his first seven seasons in a pitchers ballpark.
After Morgan's numbers began to decline in 1978 and 1979, Morgan was allowed to leave as a free agent and he began to find employment by teams looking for a part-time player, pinch-hitter, and veteran leadership with Morgan playing for the 1980 NL West champion Astros, two seasons with the Giants including the surprise contending 1982 Giants with Morgan slamming a homer to eliminate the Dodgers on the final game of the season on the day after the Dodgers had eliminated the Giants from the divisional race, and for the 1983 NL champion Phillies before one final season with Oakland before retirement.
It's sad that Joe Morgan to some generations will be known as the grumpy guy keeping candidates out of the Hall of Fame and the mediocre announcer instead of the Hall of Fame player that reinvented the second base position.Goodbye to Phil Niekro at the age of 81.
Yet another member of the hall to pass in 2020, Niekro won 318 games in a career spent mostly with the Atlanta Braves and along with perhaps, Hoyt Wilhelm ranks as the best knuckleball pitcher in the history of the game.
Niekro combined with his brother Joe to give the Niekro's the record for most games won by a brother combination with 539 victories that nosed out the Perry brothers, Gaylord and Jim's total of 529.
Niekro also won twenty or more games three times and holds a few statistics that are unlikely to be broken for a long time.
121 wins after the age of 40- Highly unlikely to be broken
5,404 Innings pitched- With the manner that pitchers are handled today, that's not going to be surpassed until robots pitch.
The last pitcher to win 20 (21) and lose 20 in the same season (1979), unlikely in the age of relievers getting more and more decisions.
Niekro is also, along with a few others, the player that recommended that the Indians place Chief Wahoo on their caps in 1986.
McDaniel pitched for four teams from 1957-75 and notched over twenty saves in a season for the Cardinals, Cubs, and Yankees in the age of closers being known more as "firemen" and would pitch more than one inning in an outing.
McDaniel was also known for his devout religious beliefs, which he wrote about in a monthly pamphlet that he sent to every major league player during his career.
Jim Bouton mentioned McDaniel and "Pitching for the Master" in Bouton's book "Ball Four".
Goodbye to Phil Linz at the age of 81.
Linz was a light-hitting backup infielder for the Yankees in the 1960s, but became remembered more for an off-field incident than his play.
Linz was on the team bus in 1964 after the Yankees had lost a road game in Chicago to the White Sox and began to play "Mary had a Little Lamb".
Manager Yogi Berra confronted Linz and after the incident, first baseman Joe Pepitone had a cut knee and the Yankee front office decided that Berra had lost control of the team and would be fired at the end the season.
Jim Bouton also writes of this incident in "Ball Four".
Goodbye to Rogelio Moret at the age of 71.
Moret was known as one of the more enigmatic pitchers in the game for Boston in the 1970s and was thought to have the potential to be far better than he performed despite records of 13-2 in 1973 and 14-3 for the 1975 American League champions.
Moret's value was quite high in 1975's offseason and he was traded to the Braves, where he spent one season before a trade to Texas as one of the five players sent to the Rangers for Jeff Burroughs.
On April 12, 1978, Moret was the Rangers scheduled starter against Detroit, but was seen in a catatonic state with his arm held straight ahead of him with a slipper in his hand.
No one was able to get Moret to respond to anything said or done to him and Moret was taken away to a psychiatric facility for treatment with Moret pitching only a few games later in the season before a promising career was over at only 29.
Monday, December 28, 2020
Andre Drummond led the Cavaliers with 24 points and 14 rebounds with Collin Sexton contributing 22 points for the victorious Cavaliers.
Cleveland will attempt to grab another victory on Tuesday at home against the New York Knicks.
1) Andre Drummond is a center that seems to be out of vogue as a post-playing big man, but what places him out of what teams are looking for is what makes him so effective.
Drummond's post moves are antiquated compared to today's centers, but basic can be quite efficient.
2) Philadelphia played without Joel Embiid in the pivot and that aided Drummond in his big game, I'm sure, but this was a blowout from the start.
The aging Dwight Howard was no match for Drummond and I'm not sure that Howard at this stage of his career will be a good replacement for the fragile Embiid on nights that Howard will be needed to replace him.
3) Kevin Love left the game in the second quarter after re-injuring the calf that caused him to miss the opener and much of the preseason.
4) Can the Cavaliers continue their run of fine play with the rash of injuries that have occurred in each of the first three games?
Still, one would think that the Browns would find a way to squeeze this one out and celebrate- even with backup receivers, but what they didn't count on was the player that they relied on most to develop butterfingers as Baker Mayfield fumbled three times, including on the final drive on a fourth and one from the Jets 16-yard line and left the Browns still awaiting a clinching for the postseason after a 23-16 Jets win.
Baker Mayfield threw a career-high 53 passes, completing 28 for 253 yards, but turned the ball over on those awful three fumbles.
Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt each rushed for a touchdown, but rushed a combined total of a mere 39 yards on the afternoon.
Austin Hooper led the receivers with seven catches for seventy-one yards, while recent practice squad promotee JaMarcus Bradley caught six passes for sixty yards in the defeat.
The now 10-5 Browns still can make the playoffs with a win over Pittsburgh next Sunday at home in Cleveland or an Indianapolis loss at home against the one-win Jacksonville Jaguars (Yeah, right).
The ability to run play-action passing plays.
Sunday, December 27, 2020
The top four wide receivers and two starting linebackers will be staying in Cleveland watching on television as their team attempts to either clinch a playoff spot or at minimum continue to control their own destiny.
Linebacker B.J. Goodson tested positive for Covid-19 and his contact with the remaining five in the team's recovery pool area and resulted in the other five being placed on the contact list.
What that means for beyond next week is this- Goodson will also miss the season finale' against Pittsburgh, while the four WR's and linebacker Jacob Phillips can return for the Steelers game, assuming that they do not test positive in the next five days.
For the game against the Jets, this takes the wide receiver and linebacker depth chart and tosses it into the trash for the week.
The Browns lose their top wide receivers in Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge, and Donovan Peoples-Jones and two starting linebackers in Goodson and Phillips.
Cleveland will use recent waiver claim Marvin Hall at one receiver and elevated two others from the practice squad in Derrick Willies and JaMarcus Bradley.
The interesting name of the three receivers is Willies, who caught three passes in the Browns' upset overtime win over Baltimore in 2018 before fracturing a collarbone the following week in practice.
Hall caught four passes for over 100 yards for the Lions in week eight this season but was waived a month later and was claimed by Cleveland.
While the losses at the receiver position are major, the Browns have two excellent running backs in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to attempt to grind it out and Hunt is capable of lining up at receiver as well.
Cleveland also stresses the tight end position in the Kevin Stefanski offense and carry four capable pass catchers in Austin Hooper, Harrison Bryant, David Njoku, and Stephen Carlson, so look for action from all four of these players.
The bigger concern may be an already weak linebacker corps losing Goodson and Phillips.
Mack Wilson is likely to return to the lineup after being inactive last week against the Giants and the Browns promoted Montrel Meander from the practice squad.
Malcolm Smith and Tae Davis will also see increased snaps at linebacker and the Jets could see an already vulnerable Browns defense as even more so without Goodson and Phillips and decide to play smashmouth football themselves.
Special teams could also be affected with Kha'Darel Hodge as a key downfield man and Donovan Peoples-Jones returning punts in recent weeks.
Backup running back D'Ernest Johnson should be the replacement on punt returns.
It'll be an interesting Sunday for the Browns on a day they need to win most....
Collin Sexton scored 32 points to lead the Cavaliers in the win with Andre Drummond adding 23 points and 16 rebounds in his return to Detroit for the first time since the trade that sent him to Cleveland.
Cedi Osman scored 22 points off the bench and Darius Garland scored 21 points with 12 assists to help the Cavaliers to their second win in as many games.
Cleveland returns home Sunday night to host the Philadelphia 76ers.
Friday, December 25, 2020
Goodbye to Bird Averitt at the age of 68.
Averitt led college basketball in scoring when he averaged 33.9 points per game in the 1972-73 season for the Pepperdine Waves, but Averitt's best success as a pro came with his second team when he averaged 13 points a game as part of Hubie Brown's guard rotation with the 1974-75 ABA champion Kentucky Colonels.
Collins was selected by the Bulls over two future Hall of Famers that were taken in the second round in Nate Archibald and Calvin Murphy.
Thursday, December 24, 2020
Each will also have a tribute to someone from sports that is not famous for any of the big four team sports as well...
Goodbye to Jim Hanifan at the age of 87.
Scott made five Pro Bowls and was first or second-team All-Pro on five occasions.
Perhaps the second season together for Collin Sexton and Darius Garland will show the chemistry that was missing in their first season as a pairing as Sexton scored 27 points and Garland scored 22 as the Cavaliers won their opener 121-114 over the Charlotte Hornets in Cleveland.
The Cavaliers had seven players in double-figures scoring, including all five starters.
Cleveland will be off until Saturday when they will play at Detroit as the front part of consecutive road games with the latter trip seeing the team travel to Philadelphia.
Sexton has time to be more than the top scorer on a bad team, this season is key in seeing his game begin to be more than one-dimensional.
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
I'll be picking up where I can and picking the bowls until New Year's Eve and those games!
Other than the arrival of veteran big man JaVale McGee, who played in just one preseason game, former first-rounder Thon Maker as a depth big man, backup guard Dameyon Dotson, and the Cavaliers first-rounder in Isaac Okoro from Auburn, this team looks pretty similar to the one that wasn't very good in 2019-20.
Most of the offseason talk centered around last season's addition Andre Drummond and whether he would even return to the team with a huge contract player option for 2020-21.
Drummond picked up the option, so Cleveland has a year to figure out if they want to trade him and bring in other young talents, attempt to re-sign him to another contract, or allow him to walk away at the end of the season and gain tons of cap space.
Drummond's 28.7 million would provide the team with lots of cap space to absorb a bad contract in order to gain a coveted young player and/or draft picks in trade and because it expires at the season's end, trade partners will not be in short order as the season progresses.
While the NBA seems to have moved past Drummond's type of interior big man, Drummond is still good for 16 points and 15 boards a night and he'll keep the pain clean as a rim protector.
Veteran JaVale McGee was signed from the Lakers as the backup muscle and an interesting signing was 2016 lottery pick Thon Maker, who at 23 is worth a look on a bad team as a development player.
At power forward, Kevin Love will miss the opener with a calf injury and even though his play is in decline and Koby Altman signed him to an awful contract that will pay him over 31 million in each of the next two seasons and 28 million the year after those, Love is still a very reliable option when he is on the floor.
Love averaged seventeen points and just under ten rebounds last season and it's reasonable to expect those numbers again this season. At 32 now, it's not hard to see that contract getting heavier over the next two seasons until the final year when Love might be able to be moved to a contender that will see him as an avenue to clear cap space and help as a role player.
Harsin took over at Boise State in 2014 replacing the program's top coach in their history (Chris Petersen) after one season as the head coach at Arkansas State, where he finished 7-5 and won a share of the Sun Belt title for the Red Wolves.
Harsin replaced Gus Malzahn at Arkansas State, who is the same coach that Harsin will be replacing at Auburn.
Harsin's first team at Boise was the only Bronco team to grab the Group of Five slot in the "New Year's Six" bowl games as the 2014 Broncos were selected for the Fiesta Bowl and defeated Arizona in Phoenix 38-30.
Harsin coached teams would win 52 games in the next five years and five more this season in the year of Covid-19, Boise State won three Mountain West championships (2014, 2017, and 2019), and would add two more bowl trophies to the Boise trophy case with wins over Northern Illinois in the 2015 Poinsettia Bowl and Oregon in the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl.
Still, Harsin's teams often disappointed Bronco fans when it meant the most, losing the 2018 Mountain West championship on the Blue Turf at home in overtime to Fresno State, losing the most recent title last week to San Jose State, and while Harsin won less than ten games only one (nine in 2015) time, that means that under his watch, Boise State never lost fewer than two games in a season.
While that may seem to be an insanely unrealistic expectation from a fan base, keep in mind that Boise State is the powerhouse of the Mountain West, and more is expected of the Broncos than almost any other team at the G-5 level.
To me, it feels like this is a move that both parties are likely quietly pleased with.
Recent emails from Harsin to school officials had shown Harsin being very displeased with the Mountain West, their television money, and other grumblings, and with the opportunity to coach in the SEC available, you certainly cannot blame Harsin for moving on.
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
I decided to finish it with some small edits as a post devoted entirely to the Golden Boy.
I'll continue to try to catch up over what seems to be an incoming huge snowstorm.
Paul Hornung's recent passing at the age of 84 was more than the loss of yet another legend of days past, it brought memories of what sports used to be, and how sometimes a player is more than just the numbers.
The 1956 Heisman winner from Notre Dame as the only Heisman winner to ever play for a team with a losing record (2-8) is a member of both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fame and was the first overall pick by the Packers in the 1957 draft.
Cleveland did just in a workmanlike fashion in a 20-6 victory over the New York Giants at Giants Stadium that put them in position to possibly clinch a playoff berth next Sunday in the very same Giants Stadium against the Jets.
Baker Mayfield completed 27 of 32 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns with seven different Browns catching two or more passes.
The now 10-4 Browns will face the no longer winless Jets next Sunday and depending on how other games in the playoff picture go, could clinch a playoff spot with a victory.