Matthews: Hail To The Razorsharks

HAIL TO THE RAZORSHARKS  -- ROCHESTER’S MOST SUCCESSFUL PRO TEAM EVER

The Rochester Razorsharks were all out to defeat the talented Kentucky Mavericks 95-94 Tuesday night before a good-sized crowd at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial for their fourth straight Premier Basketball League championship.

I believe the time is past due to recognize the RazorSharks as Rochester’s all-time most successful pro sports team in terms of winning percentage and titles.

Since Dr. Sev Hrywnak founded the team in 2005, the RazorSharks are 212-36 in the regular season, 30-11 in the postseason, and have won eight championships – one in the American Basketball Association (2006) and seven in the PBL (2008-09-11-14-15-16-17).

Chris Iverson now is 38-3 as head coach of the Sharks. He has been on the team’s coaching staff every season except 2013. Jerice Crouch has played on seven of the championship teams and was Co-MVP of this season’s playoffs with teammate Corey Allmond.

Melvin Council scored 22 points in Tuesday night’s title game and Jordan Railey had the game-winning basket and subsequent blocked shot to seal the deal.

I believe Mauro Panaggio’s great Rochester Zeniths (1978 through 1983) were better and deeper than than the Sharks and win a head-to-head series of any length, but we’ll never know. Even those terrific Z’s (169-66 regular-season record, four division titles and two CBA titles) couldn’t match the Sharks for winning percentage and titles.

A big part of winning the PBL title is securing too-shelf players for this level of pro basketball and keeping them happy so they’ll want to come back. Relative roster stability is a key to PBL success.

Wouldn’t it be great if the winning habits of the RazorSharks could rub off on the Amerks, Sabres and Bills? (I’m giving the rebuilding Knighthawks a pass if they miss the playoffs this season).

REX AND BYLSMA HAVE SOME THINGS IN COMMON

Rex Ryan (Buffalo Bills) and Dan Bylsma (Buffalo Sabres) have some things in common.

Both were hired as head coaches by the Pegulas.

Both had five-year contracts.

Their teams this past season both wilted down the stretch to miss the playoffs – again. The Bills started 4-2 and were 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Sabres were 26-23-10 but then went 7-14-2 in their last 23 games.

Rex got fired one game short of his second full season. Bylsma survived his second season and thinks he’ll be back.

One difference – maybe Bylsma is lucky not to have a twin brother to add to his staff. That didn’t work out real well for Rex.

JOHNNY ANTONELLI TURNS 87 TODAY

Johnny Antonelli, the epitome of “stylish left-handed pitcher,” turns 87 on Wednesday.

He was a pitching sensation at Jefferson High School and a few days after graduation in the summer of 1948, he became the richest “bony baby” to that time, signing with the Boston Braves for $52,000.

One of fewer than 20 Major League Baseball players to never appear in the minor league, Antonelli pitched for the Boston/Milwaukee Braves, the New York Giants,

He began his Major League Baseball career with the Boston Braves in 1948 and later pitched for the New York/San Francisco Giants and the Cleveland Indians. He was offered a contract by the Mets for the 1962 season but decided to retire at age 31. He was tired of travelling and decided to begin his next career as a successful tire entrepreneur.  He operated a chain of stores in the Rochester area.

By far Johnny’s finest season was 1954, his first year with the Giants.  He had a 21-7 record with a league-best 2.30 ERA. He had 37 starts, with 18 complete games and 6 shutouts. In 258 2/3 innings, he allowed 209 hits and 94 walks, with 209 strikeouts.

He capped his great season by winning Game 2 and saving Game 4 in a four-game World Series sweep over the heavily-favored Cleveland Indians.

Johnny finished third in NL MVP balloting, behind only Giants teammate Willie Mays and Cincinnati slugger Ted Kluszewski.

The Cy Young Award began in 1956. Had there been a Cy Young Award in 1954, Antonelli would’ve earned NL honors in a landslide and probably would’ve been selected over Bob Lemon (Cleveland) overall in the majors.

Antonelli’s career MLB pitching line: 126-110 record (.534); 3.34 ERA; 377 games; 268 games started; 102 complete games; 25 shutouts; 21 saves; 1,992 1/3 innings; 1,870 hits allowed; 687 waqlk; 1,162 strikeouts.

He also liked to take his swings. He had 15 HRs in the majors.

As a young baseball fan in the 1950s, it was a great pleasure to happily and proudly follow the successful career of one of Rochester’s greatest Major League Baseball players.

A FEW FUN FACTOIDS ON T.J. YATES

The newest Buffalo Bills quarterback is T.J. Yates. Did you know that...

His full name is Taylor Jonathan Yates.

He’ll turn 30 on May 28.

He has a winning record in seven career NFL regular-season starts (4 wins and 3 losses, all with the Houston Texans).

In 18 career NFL regular-season games, he has 6 TD passes and 8 INTs.

He took one snap with Miami last season. It was in the AFC wild-card game Jan. 6, 2017. Matt Moore was shaken up and Yates came in for one snap. Then Moore returned to action.

In the 2011 NFL college draft, he was selected  in the fifth round (No. 152 overall) out of North Carolina...Tyrod Taylor also was selected in the 2011 draft: sixth round, No. 180 overall, out of Virginia Tech.

SHORT SHOTS

The New York Mets hit seven home runs Tuesday night – three by Yeonis Cespedes – in a 14-4 road romp over Philadelphia. Through 8 games, the Mets lead the majors with 15 HRs. Of course, they can’t keep up that pace and my hunch is that a team relying so much on power to support a young pitching staff is not likely to make the postseason.

Byron Buxton continues to struggle with the Minnesota Twins – but al teast he no longer is batting third in the lineup. He struck out in all three of his at-bats in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss at Detroit. He is batting .069 (2-for-29), with 0 runs, 1 double, 0 @BI, 1 walk and 17 strikeouts.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Wednesday, April 12 – Nate Solder (29)...Ted Ginn (32)...Hisashi Iwakuma (36)...Brad Miller (41)...Paul La Duca (45)...Adam Graves (49)...Lorenzo White (51)...Elaine Zayak (52)...former Amerk defenseman Ron Fischer (58)...Alex Arguello (65)...Reuben Gant (65)...Mike Garrett (73). Vince Gill (60), Andy Garcia (61), David Cassidy (67) and David Letterman (70) are invited to the birthday party.

Thursday, April 123 – Melvin Gordon (24)...Josh Gordon (26)...Lorenzo Cain (31)...Hunter Pence (34)...Steve Pearce (34)...Quentin Richardson (37)...Baron Davis (38)...Patrick Elias (41)...Dana Barros (50)...Quinn Early (52)...Davis Love III (53)...Jose Rijo (53). Bob Kalsu (Buffalo0 Bills) was born on this date 72 years ago and was KIA in Vietnam in 1970.

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