Month: November 2015

Pantyhose to combat cold? What an innovative idea!

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JoeNamath-Jets-Cold

ESPN.com New York Jets reporter Rich Cimini wrote Sunday advocating for the induction of Bill Hampton into the Jets Ring of Honor because, as Cimini states, “You can’t write the history of the Jets’ franchise without mentioning Hampton.”

Hampton, the team’s equipment manager from 1964 to 2000, died last week at age 86.

He was a favorite among the team’s players, Cimini writes, and was responsible for Joe Namath’s famous white sneakers. The long-time equipment manager also impacted the game in ways that benefited players through those cold, wet late-season games. Namath’s famous pantyhose commercials was born from one of Hampton’s brilliant ideas.

Cimini writes:

Hampton was innovative. During the run-up to the 1968 AFL Championship, played in nasty cold at Shea Stadium, he and his wife, Dottie, stitched pockets into the uniform jerseys of the skill-position players. Hampton also introduced this radical concept to combat cold weather — pantyhose beneath the uniform pants. It later became the inspiration behind Namath’s celebrated pantyhose commercial in 1973.

The Jets will induct two former running backs, Emerson Boozer and Matt Snell, into its Ring of Honor Nov. 29 when the team hosts the Miami Dolphins.

Jets prep for (possible) rainy Thursday night

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JetsPracticeinRain101015Yes, there is rain in the forecast for Thursday, the day the New York Jets host their AFC division rivals, the Buffalo Bills, and the Bills’ newly minted team captain, IK Enemkpali. (Sure, Rex. That’s not a slap in the face to the Jets at all.)

However, much of the rain for the day, according to Accuweather.com, will fall throughout the day. We may see a few rain drops on players’ helmets – like this – as teams warm up for their Thursday night clash. For the game? Not so much.

But, in preparation for possible wet conditions, the Jets practiced outside, in the rain, Tuesday. The team posted a photo gallery on its website and social media Tuesday night with text stating “The Jets practiced in the elements on Tuesday afternoon to prepare for potential Thursday night rain.”

This morning at Coors Field

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And you know, it could look like this on Opening Day 2016!

Can Dusty make it reign in Washington?

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DustyBaker01It’s down to Dusty and Bud.

It’s Bud. He’s our guy!

No, wait. It’s Dusty.

Last week as the World Series wrapped up, news breaking out of Washington about who the Nationals intended to hire as the team’s next manager left us confused as Yoenis Cespedes in the center field.

But things were sorted out over a couple of days, and we learned that indeed Dusty Baker had been hired as the team’s sixth manager. I have to admit, I never was excited about Bud Black, and in the beginning, I was even less excited about Baker.

You know, all the chatter about Dusty ruining pitchers’ arms and despising on-base percentage will do that to a fella.

The more I heard Dusty speak, however, the more I liked the idea of him managing my Washington Nationals. Listening to Dusty speak will do that to a fella, ya know.

For The Rainout Blog, I thought it would be fun to go back through the years of Dusty’s managing days with the Cubs, Giants and Reds to see if I can find any evidence of how he managed his starting pitchers through those days when bad weather delayed games in the early innings and he had to make the tough decision to go with his starter or give the ball to a long reliever.

That information might be tough to find, but I still wanted to give it a modest go. I’m not going to spend days on this.

So, I Googled “Dusty Baker rain,” thinking that was a good place to start. I’ll probably find nothing, I thought, in the 10 minutes I’m allotting myself on this, likely, fruitless endeavor.

The first item to pop up in the search was this MLB.com story from 2011, when Dusty was managing in Cincinnati. The headline read: “Dusty Baker still seeing Red over rain delay.”

Jackpot!

My 10 minutes were competed in less than 10 seconds.

Here’s a quick synopsis of the article in case, for some reason, you’re not into reading about baseball rain delays as much as I am: Early in the 2011 season, the Reds were playing the Cardinals in St. Louis. A large storm was approaching the area. The home team Cardinals decided to go with a reliever instead of their scheduled starter. Dusty claims he wasn’t given sufficient information regarding the approaching storm – it turned out to be a pretty bad storm around the area – and went ahead with his starting pitcher for the day. Six pitches into the game, rains came and the game was delayed 2 hours and 10 minutes. The Cardinals, after starting a reliever, brought in to pitch their originally scheduled starter after the rain delay. Dusty got mad.

Was there a lack of communications on the Cardinals end?

“I lost my pitcher. And we lost the game,” Baker said the night after his Reds lost the delayed game 4-2 to the Cardinals. “I was upset because we still had action on winning that game, plenty of action.”

One of the positives you hear about Dusty is he’s a players manager who will fight for his team. You would think that would be a basic element of Baseball Managing 101, but as we’ve all learned thought the years of watching the game, it simply isn’t basic at all.

Dusty has taken each team he has managed to the playoffs, and he’s going to do a good job in Washington.

Yeah, I’m still bullish on this team.

None of us are certain who all will be on the field and in the dugout when the Nationals open the 2016 season, but I’m confident Dusty will get the most out whomever is wearing the Curly W… rain or shine.

Cold, and some warm, numbers about the NFL

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PatriotsCold01Once again, the New England Patriots are in the news – sort of – for an air-related topic.

No, Tom Brady and the Patriots have not been deflating footballs, not that I’m generally aware of anyway. This time, the air we’re reference involves wind, specifically at Pats’ football games.

Casino.org has released its study of NFL weather since 1960 and through the 2013 season. The study finds the average wind speed for NFL games in that time period to be 10.27 mph. For the Patriots, wind has soared to an average of 13.05 for games, Casino.org says.

Other teams blowing past the league average are the Giants (12.93), Jets (12.9), Cowboys (11.79), Lions (11.58), Bills (11.57), Chiefs (11.48), Vikings (11.18), Browns (11.08) and Bears (11.06).

You may have noticed two of those teams – the Lions and Vikings – have played many of their home games in domes over the past several years. Interesting.

The study also ranks the top 10 windiest NFL stadiums since 1960. Shea Stadium, the former home of the New York Jets, took the top spot with an average in-game wind speed at 13.9 mph. The Jets moved out of Shea after the 1983 season.

Guess which stadium comes in at No. 2. Yankee Stadium, of course. It’s been a long time since the Giants played there –1973, to be exact – but that doesn’t stop the House that Ruth Built from ranking high on this list.

The windiest active stadiums according to the study’s findings are… well, there are only two: Soldier Field (No. 6) with 11.98 and Arrowhead Stadium (No. 10) with 11.54 mph.

The others include Giants Stadium – that makes sense – Milwaukee County Stadium – Hmmm – Texas Stadium, the Cotton Bowl and Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

Also worthy of note from the study, I guess, is a ranking of teams’ winning percentages when temperatures dip below freezing. The Packers ranked the highest with 20.29 percent, the Broncos came in a distant second with 15.8 percent and the Steelers rounded out the top three at 14.54. The Browns were ninth with 10.91 and the Patriots came in 10th with 10.56 percent, the study claims. Remember, the study goes back 55 years. The Browns, before my time and maybe yours, were once a pretty good football team.

An interesting number to come out of the study is the average temperature of NFL games since 1960: 56.8 degrees. Casino.org says the average game day temperature has increased by 6.99 degrees since 1960.

The Packers, the study says, have the second lowest home game average temperature since ’60. The Vikings rank first at 42.14 degrees despite playing home games indoors from 1982 to 2013. I’m guessing the study did not factor into its averages those indoor home games for the Vikes in which the thermostat was set at a comfy 70 degrees.

Oh, by the way, the Detroit Lions ranked third.

The study also gives rankings to those teams with the highest average temperatures per game. It’s no surprise to find Miami, Tampa Bay, Arizona, Jacksonville and San Diego making up the top five.

Going back out into the cold, the study also ranks the top 10 coldest games since 1960. The NFC title game between the Cowboys and Packers at Lambeau Field – the legendary Ice Bowl game of 1967 – tops the list at -13 degree Fahrenheit. The Packers have five games in the top 10.

Casino.org collected its data, it says, from numerous sources, including pro-football-reference.com. It’s fun to scroll through even though there are a few cringe-worthy references, such as the listing of the “San Francisco Raiders” in one category and mentions of the St. Louis Cardinals – no reference to the move to Arizona – and the “Green Bar Packers” in the Most Turnovers Below Freezing category. Some of the venues included in the windiest stadium rankings seem a little awkward, too.

Tough job, but someone has to do it

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Yeah, I’m afraid of heights — gravity, actually — so I don’t want this job, either. But thankfully this fella was brave enough to do the job of keeping the CBS camera dry so we could all watch Alabama whip LSU sans rain drops on the lens.

Juan Mata delivers PK at rainy at Old Trafford

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