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Bob Matthews' Column

The Answer Man Checks In To Wrap Up A Busy Sport Week

 
Posted May 30th, 2014 @ 11:56am

 

THE ANSWER MAN CHECKS IN TO WRAP UP A BUSY SPORTS WEEK

 

Did the LPGA mess up in Rochester?

 

Not really. Sadly, Rochester ran out of sponsors.  At least for now. The LPGA outgrew our town.

 

The “new” LPGA Championship will be played in a much larger market, with much richer sponsors, significantly more purse money and network TV coverage. It might even draw bigger galleries.

 

 If there is any blame in the departure of the LPGA Tour from this community’s sports scene, point the finger at the three former huge companies that couldn’t  keep up with the times and dragged the community down with them.

 

We were fortunate to have those three mighty companies for as long as we did. Being the home base for three of the 10 major sponsors of the Olympics was awesome. Think about that.  I wonder if we fully appreciated what we had. Those days are long gone and are not coming back.

 

Many of the folks who once worked for the Big Three still have jobs in our community, but with smaller companies that aren’t in the market to sponsor pro golf tournaments.

 

With Wegmans out of the picture, I can’t think of another potential sponsor of a regular LPGA Tour stop in Rochester in the future.  Can you? Maybe a number of them will get together to lure the LPGA back some day. But that probably won’t be soon.

 

I never thought the LPGA Tour would leave Rochester. But if you told me 30 years ago that Rochester’s three most prestigious companies would fade out the way they have, I wouldn’t have believed that, either.

 

Rochester still is a great place to work – if you have a job – and a great place to raise a family. We still have many assets and things to be proud of. Being one of the best stops on the LPGA Tour no longer will be one of them.

 

For a short time, we were the only city in the country with men’s and women’s pro bowling tournaments in the same year . That was special, too. We survived losing them – though Olympic Bowl didn’t outlast them for long. I assume Locust Hill and Monroe Golf Club will survive just fine.

 

What about Tom Golisano and Scott Congel as possible partners in a bid for the Buffalo Bills?

 

Frankly, I think the Bills will win a Super Bowl before Golisano and Congel buy the team and build a domed stadium in West Seneca, on land owned by Robert Congel, Scotts’ dad.

 

 But how’s this for a scenario:  Parking space could be a problem at the West Seneca stadium site, maybe they could use Medley Centre as a parking lot for Rochesrer fans and shuttle them to the games. By the way, the land in West Seneca is an abadoned shopping mall site. Sound familiar?

 

Which team will win the American League East?

 

This no longer is baseball’s best division but it could be the most competitive.

 

Toronto has the most offense. The top five hitters are ridiculous. The pitching lacks quality depth.

 

Baltimore might have the best starting lineup when everyone is healthy – and they haven’t been yet this season. Pitching has been disappointing.

 

Boston has been a disappointment overall but never can be discounted.

 

The Yankees are the Yankees. The current lineup would’ve been significantly better five years ago, but these guys are pros and remain dangerous. The pitching has been surprisingly solid.

 

Tampa Bay always is resourceful and doesn’t figure to completely fade away.

 

I believe the AL East winner will be – the team that signs the best starting pitcher for the stretch run. History says that will be the Yankees. Picture Jeff Samardzija, the frustrated Chicago Cub,  in pinstripes. But my hunch is the Blue Jays. Samardzija starting plus that awesome lineup would be tough to beat.

 

Can the Miami Heat be beaten for the NBA championship?

 

I don’t think any team in the NBA today could beat a team with LeBron James on it in a best-of-seven series. Not even San Antonio or Oklahoma City. Best-of-three or best-of-five, maybe. But best-of-seven, I won’t believe it until I see it.

 

How did the fans do in early balloting for baseball’s All-Star Game starters?

 

No major complaints yet. It’s early. But Giancarlo Stanton (Miami) and Yasiel Puig (Dodgers) are fourth and fifth, respectively, among National League outfielders and obviously should be in the top three

 

I’m not surprised Derek Jeter is the leader at shortstop in the American League. My only surprise is that he’s not the league’s overall  top vote-getter (Mike Trout is, and I’d never complain about that). The best AL shortstop so far this season has been Alexei Ramirez (White Sox) by a mile. He’ll be selected as a reserve and enter the All-Star Game after Jeter’s two at-bats.

 

Should New York State pursue legalized betting on pro sports?

 

Of course. Why not? Millions of sports fans bet with offshore services or illegally outside of Las Vegas. Many more sports fans would like to bet. The bookies make the money now. Why not have the state take the bets and use a big chunk of the profits for education?

 

There already is betting on horses in New York state. And there already are casinos – in most places.  So what’s the difference?

 

I give New Jersey major props for trying to break the Nevada monopoly or sports gambling. If it works, I hope New York follows the lead.

 

England has had legalized sports betting for more than 100 years. They’re civilized. So why not here?

 

What did you think about this week’s E-Poll Market Research project, “Who is the Most-Hated Man in America?”

 

I think the folks polled did a great job making Donald Sterling No. 1 on the list (92 percent of the people familiar with him “dislike” him).

 

The only other sports figures in the top 10 were O.J,. Simpson tied for third (88 percent) and Aaron Hernandez (81 percent…five other people who probably would’ve given O.J. and Hernandez a thumbs down no longer are with us).

 

I was happily surprised than Bud Selig didn’t make the list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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