Flash fall just short of fourth consecutive championship By Jeffrey Levine For almost any team, three championships in four years would be an unequivocally phenomenal outcome, but the WNY Flash aren’t just any team. After bringing championship banners back home to Sahlens Sports Park the last three years, the Flash looked poised to repeat for an unprecedented fourth time. A rocky start to the season, including two loses and a draw, were not the most auspicious of beginnings, but the team pulled together and reeled off two straight months without a loss. That rally helped spur them to the best regular season record in the National Women’s Soccer League and earned the Flash the inaugural Supporter’s Shield. Despite their momentum heading into the postseason as the No. 1 seed, the only advantage the Flash held over the Portland Thorns FC in the championship game were the 9,000-plus fans cheering for the home team. Having previously played Portland to two draws during the regular season, the Flash were well matched, trading scoring opportunities in the first half and outshooting their opponents 18-9 over the course of the game although the teams were tied seven-all for shots on net. When all was said and done, however, the Thorns emerged with a 2-0 victory in a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate. For a team used to winning back-to-back-to-back championships, the shock of not coming home with the title took a little while to set in.
four assists in her first year “It takes time to get over with the Flash. In net, the hump of not winning Franch posted the best the championship when goals against average for you’re so close,” defender any keeper in the league, Brittany Taylor explained. an impressive feat for any “Thinking back from player but especially for a where we started and rookie taken in the first where we ended, we really round of the 2013 draft. came together as a team. “It’s awesome to have Some of the situations we veterans in front of me,” put ourselves in and others Franch explained. “It the opponents pressed Photo courtesy WNY Flash brings me confidence, upon us where we needed The starting 11 for the WNY Flash in the especially them having to come together. We had NWSL Championship. confidence in me. Our to do that a few times in the season. When our backs are against the wall we can relationship is that we have each other’s back. It’s not only the four defenders, it’s the entire team. There are do that.” “[During the season] there’s a bunch of moments moments in the games where my forwards are back where we could have crumbled or we were in a nega- defending and not just watching the back five or six. tive situation where we lost a game or were up and Everyone’s working together. That’s one of the biggest then tied, but this team didn’t accept that,” goalkeep- things I love about my team.” Taylor takes a similar team-first attitude to her role er Adrianna Franch agreed. “We all knew what kind of goal we wanted and we were all on the same page with the Flash. “As a defender it’s just in your nature with everyone coming together to realize them. That and your personality to put in work, sacrifice, to put teamwork has everything to do with why we did as your teammates in position to win championship games. It’s great when your teammates succeed well as we did.” Although the loss was certainly a disappointment, because you know what you’ve done to put them the Flash still put together a very impressive season there. It’s even better than being in the spotlight yourand look ready to repeat that performance in 2014. As self.” For Taylor, Franch and the rest of the Flash, there’s Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd were front and center in leading the Flash to a league-best 36 goals, no telling how far teamwork, sharpshooting and solid Franch and Taylor were key to a defensive unit that defense will carry them next year. If this season was allowed a league-low 20 goals. In addition to solid any indication, it will most likely be straight back to defense, Taylor led all defenders with three goals and the championship game.
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Labor Day signals the end of the summer, the start of school, and, more importantly in Western New York, football games that actually count. It was certainly worth waiting through the offseason to see rookie quarterback EJ Manuel start under center for the Bills. Taking the Patriots down to the last few ticks of the clock on opening day, the new-look Bills were not only proficient but also exciting to watch. While familiar names like CJ Spiller, Fred Jackson and Stevie Johnson contributed on offense, several Bills rookies showed that the future is bright in Buffalo. Robert Woods caught what looks to be the first of many touchdown passes on a beautifully thrown ball to the right side of the end zone, which he followed up with a four-catch 68-yard
day and a two-point conversation. Fellow first-year receiver Marquise Goodwin looked great throughout the post season and after a long tenure by Rian Lindell, Dustin Hopkins looks like the kicker of the future. As the first quarterback off the board in this year’s draft, expectations were sky high for Manuel and he’s played exactly as advertised. So far No. 3 has shown both promise and poise in his first two starts and as he continues to get comfortable with his young receiving corps, more TDs should rain down, that is, when Jackson and Spiller aren’t rumbling into the end zone. In a different kind of football, the WNY Flash entered the post season as the No. 1 seed in the National Women’s Soccer League and looked poised
to contend for their fourth consecutive league title, but lost in the championship game. Although Flash fans have been spoiled with an almost unparalleled string of championships, the season was still a success and the team will be back next season, ready to immediately contend for their fourth title in five years. Speaking of contending, the Sabres will have some new opponents as well as familiar foes to face as they vie for a playoff spot this season. Having the dynastic Redwings in your division is sure to make things harder but if Ron Rolston can get the most out of his young players in his first full season, the Sabres look poised to make it back to the post season.
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Publisher & Editor Marian Giallombardo Associate Editor Jeffrey Levine Feature Writers Paul Adamo, Robert Caico, Rick Davenport, Mike Dyer, Mike Fox, Ivan the Impaler, Joe Kirchmyer, George Kuhn, Jeffrey Levine, Christopher Fee, Adam McGill, Brian Michalek, Ron Montesano, Len Mytko, Gary Reeves, Charles Roberts, Dave Sully, John Williams, Rick Zurak (golf editor) Chief Photographer Jeff Barnes Staff Photographers Ryan Bartholomew, Bob Conlon, Nick LoVerde, Joe Valenti, Mike Majewski, Holly Malinowski Cover photos EJ Manuel by Jeff Barnes, Brittany Taylor courtesy WNY Flash Advisory Board Phil Haberstro, Adam Lingner, Denny Lynch Contributing Writers Kevin Bonk, Todd Etshman, Jack Godzuk, Arun Morace, Bob Plezia, Brian Mazurowski, Dave Ricci Layout & Cover Scott Appleby, Graphic artist Liz Seivert Copy Editors and Office Assistants Len Mytko, Justin Vernold, John Williams Please send your letters, questions, and comments to: Sports & Leisure Magazine, 192 Louvaine Dr, Buffalo, NY 14223 or e-mail email@example.com. Please include your name, address and phone number or your letter can’t be published. All letters and responses become the property of Sports & Leisure Magazine, they may be printed, and are subject to editing. Sports & Leisure Magazine is circulated throughout Western New York and Southern Ontario. All rights and trademarks reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the express written consent of the publisher is strictly prohibited. ©1997 2013 Sports & Leisure Inc.Facebook: Sports and Leisure Magazine and Hugesportz.com
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Manuel’s poise proves to be a silver lining for the Bills By Charles Roberts make mistakes twice,” got to move on to next Manuel said. “I really don’t week.” Buffalo Bills head coach like to make them once. “I was very happy with Doug Marrone described the Overall, at the end of the his demeanor,” Marrone Week 1 loss to the New day, we lost, so I can’t really said of his rookie quarterEngland Patriots as devassay, ‘We did this great, we back. “I think that’s very tating. did that great.’ At the end of important. I think that when “It makes me vomit,” Bills the day, you want to win.” you talk about tests and defensive tackle Kyle Despite the Week 1 loss, process, and what you’re Williams said of the contest, the Bills—looking to end a doing when you’re developwhich effectively came to a 1 3 - y e a r close when absence from Patriots kicker the NFL postS t e p h e n season— Gostkowski appear ready nailed a 35-yard to rally field goal, maka r o u n d ing it 23-21, Manuel. After with just five speaking to seconds remainthe media, ing. Manuel stood Upsetting as alone near his the last-second locker. That loss may have is, until veterbeen, the Bills an running appear to have back Fred scored a longJackson, a term moral victeam captain, tory: Rookie EJ walked by, Manuel showed patting the flashes of why he new face of was the first the franchise quarterback on the back. selected in “There will April’s NFL be more Draft. opportunities, Manuel comm a n , ” pleted 18 of 27 Jackson told passes for 150 Manuel. yards and two “I know,” touchdowns, Manuel said, one to fellow nodding conrookie Robert fidently. “I Woods, the other know.” to veteran Stevie As it Johnson. Equally Photo by Joe Valenti worked out, as important, he Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel looks to prove those oppordidn’t turn the why he was the first quarterback taken in April’s NFL tunities took ball over and Draft. place one was not sacked. week later. And this time, ing quarterbacks, that when In other words, as far as staManuel delivered. The rookhe was out there, it didn’t tistics go, Manuel had a ie quarterback led the team seem any different than decent first day at work. on a nine-play, 80-yard what’s been going on. That’s Beyond the stats, and perdrive, culminating in a twoencouraging and we’ll keep haps above all else, is the yard touchdown pass to working with him. He’ll way in which Manuel carries Stevie Johnson – with just 2 continue to get better.” himself. He seldom, if at all, seconds on the clock – to Although Manuel’s mislooked overwhelmed in his propel the Bills to a 24-23 takes—a few misfires and NFL debut and made no victory over the visiting near-interceptions—were excuses afterward for the Carolina Panthers. minimal, coming up two game’s outcome. “I can’t even tell you how points shy to the division“I was very calm,” Manuel I felt,” Manuel said of the rival Patriots is an experisaid. “…I knew it was my Week 2 victory. “Honestly, I ence that he doesn’t want to first time out there. I felt the just don’t know. I started repeat, regardless of the fact energy of the crowd. It was crying there. I’m not usually that the Bills were 10-point packed; it was a great crowd. an emotional guy. I want to underdogs. We just wanted to go out enjoy those types of things.” “I’m always critical of there and win, but we didn’t. myself because I don’t like to And like I said, we’ve just
Several first and second-year players get the nod for Bills By Charles Roberts The kids are all right. Just ask first-year Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone. Marrone and the Bills entered the Week 1 matchup with the New England Patriots as 10point underdogs. The double-digit slap from oddsmakers, however, likely had more to do with the unknown— a roster deep with rookies and secondyear players—than it did with the past. Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, the 16th overall selection in this year’s draft, opened the season as the starter, with undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel serving as the backup. By doing so, Manuel and Tuel immediately earned a page in the record books; no team since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 has opened a season with only rookie quarterbacks. “I think it’s very difficult. If someone is reading it or hearing it and they’ve not been around those two people, they might say, ‘He’s crazy,’” Marrone said of starting the season with two rookie quarterbacks. “I think that if you’ve been around them and watched them, you’d say, ‘These two guys look pretty darn good.’” Call it crazy, but there’s no denying that Marrone’s approach is unique, especially when compared to his predecessors. During the last decade, the Bills have mixed young signal-callers with the likes of veterans Drew Bledsoe, Kelly Holcomb and Ryan Fitzpatrick, none of whom guided the team to the postseason. Perhaps the fresh approach is just what the doctor ordered. “We both are still learning,” Manuel said. “I think we both have a good grasp on the offense. We both had a lot of reps during the summer camp.” Taking the field with several rookies doesn’t seem to bother Marrone in the least. “I think that’s our situation, and we feel that we’re going to go in to it with the players we feel give us the best chance to win,” Marrone said. “I don’t have a problem if someone is a rookie, a veteran, whatever it may be. Our job as coaches is to make sure we put people on the field that we can rely on and we feel that we can win with. That’s our responsibility and accountability to the rest of the team. To answer your question, no I don’t, I don’t worry.” In fact, when Manuel missed the team’s final two preseason games with an unspecified knee injury, Marrone was ready to move forward with the 22-yearold Tuel. “I’m excited about it,”
Marrone said on Aug. 26, when he announced that Tuel would be the Week One starter, if Manuel wasn’t ready to go. “…Because it’s fun. You’ve got a guy out there that’s played a lot and has a lot of snaps. It’s exciting to get out there and play. It’s a great opportunity for him, if that’s what presents itself.”
re-signed. The Bills will instead look for an immediate impact from rookies Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin, both of whom were impressive throughout training camp and the preseason. “A lot of times with young receivers, when they come into this league, you’re always talking
Photo by Joe Valenti
Undrafted rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel (No.8) staves off competition from veterans Matt Leinart (no. 7) and Thad Lewis (No. 9). For Tuel—who in the matter of four months went from being a longshot to make the roster, to nearly opening the season as a starter—it’s all about dropping preconceived notions. “Just explains that you can never expect, you can never know what’s going to happen in this league; you’ve always got to be ready,” Tuel said. “That’s why I’ve said since the day I walked in this building that I’m going to prepare myself, because you never know what could happen. Even going back in college, I had my redshirt-burned freshman year. The first time I played was in the Coliseum against USC in 2009, so it’s happened to me before. I came here and started just preparing like I was a starter since day one. It can happen.” Tuel’s story is more than just right place, right time, though. The team made a snap decision—three days of practice and a little more than a quarter of play—to cut ties with Matt Leinart, rather than hanging on to him in hopes of rejuvenating his 2004 Heisman Trophy-winning form. But it hardly ends with the quarterbacks. At wide receiver, Marrone and his new coaching staff announced less than a month after arriving in Buffalo that veterans Donald Jones and David Nelson would not be
about, ‘Hey, have some patience in your routes and in what you do.’ And that’s the one thing about Robert [Woods], it’s a great trait from him,” Marrone said of his young receiver. “So when I think about, even pre-draft, when people talked about Robert being NFL-ready, I think that’s what people were talking about, just that patience of finding the zone, patience in running the route and not being too quick.” Rookie kicker Dustin Hopkins beat out veteran Rian Lindell during training camp, while secondyear pro Shawn Powell has control of the punting duties. On defense, the Bills recently parted ways with veteran linebacker Bryan Scott, which will likely result in increased playing time for Nigel Bradham, who is entering his second season. Scott, who was widely considered a team leader, was not the lone veteran released from the defensive side of the ball; the team also waived goodbye in February to linebacker Nick Barnett and strong safety George Wilson. Whether or not the youthful Bills prove naysayers wrong is anyone’s guess. But one thing’s for certain: Veterans are on a short leash.
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Buffalo Bills QBs since Jim Kelly’s retirement
EJ Manuel 2013-Present Acquired: First round draft pick (No. 16 overall, 2013) Record: 0-1 Statistics with Buffalo: 18 completions in 27 attempts for 150 passing yards, 2 TDs and 0 INT. Head coach: Doug Marrone Where he is now: Buffalo’s current starting QB.
J.P. Losman 2004-08 Acquired: First round draft pick (No. 22 overall, 2004) Record: 8-23 Statistics: 558 completions in 941 attempts for 6,211 passing yards, 33 TDs and 34 INTs. Head coaches: Mike Mularkey (2004-05), Dick Jauron (2006-08) Where he is now: Won a United Football League championship with the Las Vegas Locomotive in 2009. After failing to make it back into the NFL full-time with the Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders, he retired from pro football in 2012.
Rob Johnson 1998-2001 Acquired: via trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars Record: 9-17 Statistics: 401 completions in 663 attempts for 4,798 passing yards, 27 TDs and 17 INTs. Head coaches: Wade Phillips (1998-2000), Gregg Williams (2001) Where is now: Mission Viejo High School in California, where he serves as assistant head coach. Fun fact: he won a Super Bowl ring with Tampa Bay in 2002 as the backup QB.
Ryan Fitzpatrick 2009-12 Acquired: as a free agent, via the Cincinnati Bengals Record: 20-33 Statistics with Buffalo: 1,041 completions in 1,742 attempts for 11,654 passing yards, 80 TDs and 64 INTs. Head coaches: Dick Jauron (2009), Perry Fewell (2009), Chan Gailey (2010-12) Where he is now: Backup QB with the Tennessee Titans.
Kelly Holcomb 2005-06 Acquired: as a free agent, via the Cleveland Browns Record: 4-4 Statistics: 155 completions in 230 attempts for 1,509 passing yards, 10 TDs and 8 INTs. Head coaches: Mike Mularkey (2005), Dick Jauron (2006) Where he is now: Working as a broadcaster for his alma mater, Middle Tennessee State.
Doug Flutie 1998-2000 Acquired: as a free agent, via the Toronto Argonauts (CFL) Record: 21-9 Statistics: 598 completions in 1,063 attempts for 7,582 passing yards, 47 TDs and 30 INTs. Head coaches: Wade Phillips (1998-2000) Where he is now: Working as a college football analyst for NBC Sports.
Tyler Thigpen 2011-12 Acquired: as a free agent, via the Miami Dolphins Record: 0-0 Statistics: Six completions in 13 attempts for 55 passing yards, 0 TD and 1 INT. Head coaches: Chan Gailey Where he is now: Unsigned NFL free agent.
Shane Matthews 2004-05 Acquired: as a free agent, via the Cincinnati Bengals Record: 0-0 Statistics: Two completions in three attempts for 44 passing yards, 1 TD and 0 INT. Head coaches: Mike Mularkey (2004-05) Where he is now: Allen D. Nease Senior High School, where he serves as head coach of the football team.
Todd Collins 1995-97 Acquired: via draft (Second Round, 1995) Record: 5-8* Statistics: 215 completions in 391 attempts for 2,367 passing yards, 12 TDs and 13 INTs.* Head coach: Marv Levy Where he is now: After three uneventful seasons in Buffalo, he served as a backup quarterback in the NFL for 13 seasons, retiring in 2010. *Note: Collins’ statistics only include the 1997 season, after Jim Kelly retired. He also started four games from 1995-96 as an injury replacement for Kelly. His full numbers as a Buffalo Bill are a 7-10 record, 284 completions, 519 attempts, 3,218 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.
Levi Brown 2010-11 Acquired: Seventh round draft pick (No. 209 overall, 2010) Record: 0-0 Statistics: Two completions in three attempts for 24 passing yards, 0 TD and 1 INT. Where he is now: Playing in the Canadian Football League (CFL). He spent 2012 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and was signed in 2013 to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ practice squad.
Drew Bledsoe 2002-04 Acquired: via trade with the New England Patriots Record: 23-25 Statistics: 905 completions in 1,531 attempts for 10,151 passing yards, 55 TDs and 43 INTs. Head coaches: Gregg Williams (2002-03), Mike Mularkey (2004) Where he is now: Currently the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Summit Bend High School in Bend, Oregon. He also runs two business ventures: Bledsoe Capital Group and Doubleback Winery.
Billy Joe Hobert 1997 Acquired: via trade with the Oakland Raiders Record: 0-0 Statistics: 17 completions in 30 attempts for 133 passing yards, 0 TD and 2 INTs. Head coach: Marv Levy Where he is now: Keeping out of the public eye and enjoying life with his family and five children after retiring from pro football following the 2001 NFL season.
Fall 2013 The Bills have experience significant turnover at the quarterback position since Hall of Fame passer Jim Kelly retired in 1996. Starting with the most recent, here are the quarterbacks who have played in a regular season game for the Bills since the 1997 season.
Brian Brohm 2009-10 Acquired: as a free agent, via the Green Bay Packers Record: 0-2 Statistics: 27 completions in 52 attempts for 252 passing yards, 0 TD and 5 INTs. Head coaches: Dick Jauron (2009), Perry Fewell (2009) Chan Gailey (2010) Where he is now: Playing QB for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Travis Brown 2001-03 Acquired: as a free agent, via the Seattle Seahawks Record: 0-0 Statistics: 29 completions in 51 attempts for 361 passing yards, 1 TD and 3 INTs. Head coach: Gregg Williams (2001-03) Where he is now: Pastor for Christ’s Church of the Valley in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Trent Edwards 2007-2010 Acquired: Third round draft pick (No. 92 overall, 2007) Record: 14-19 Statistics: 535 completions in 878 attempts for 5,739 passing yards, 25 TDs and 27 INTs. Head coaches: Dick Jauron (2007-09), Perry Fewell (2009), Chan Gailey (2010) Where he is now: Unsigned NFL free agent after being cut in August 2013 by the Chicago Bears following training camp.
Alex Van Pelt 1994-2003 Acquired: as a free agent, via the Kansas City Chiefs Record: 3-8 Statistics: 262 completions in 77 attempts for 2,945 passing yards, 16 TD and 24 INTs. Head coaches: Marv Levy (1994-97), Wade Phillips (1998-2000), Gregg Williams (2001-03) Where he is now: Currently serving as the running backs coach for the Green Bay Packers.
Jim Kelly 1986-96 Acquired: 1st round draft pick (No. 14 overall, 1983) Record: 101-59 Statistics: 2,874 completions, 4,779 attempts, 35,467 passing yards, 237 TDs, 175 INTs Head coach: Marv Levy Where he is now: Retired and living with his family in East Aurora, NY. He runs a number of ventures, most notably the Hunter’s Hope Foundation, which is named for the son he lost to Krabbe’s disease. The organization strives to raise awareness about Krabbe’s and provide advocacy for victims of the disease. Photos: Levi Brown and Brian Brohm by Joe Valenti; Shane Matthews and Billy Joe Hobart courtesy of the Buffalo Bills; the rest of the photos by Jeff Barnes. Data compiled by staff writer Arun Morace.
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Head coaches after Marv Levy all, 2002), Lee Evans Marv Levy (No. 13 overall, Years: 1986-1997 2004), QB J.P. Losman Regular Season (No. 22 overall, Record: 182-112 2004). Postseason Record: After the Bills: Was 11-8 out of football until he After the Bills: He was hired by the retired from coaching Philadelphia Eagles in in 1997, and was 2012. elected to the Pro Where he is now: Football Hall of Fame Serving as the Eagles’ in 2001. Then in senior football advisor 2006, he rejoined the (2012-13). Bills as general manMarv Levy ager, serving in that Years: 2006-07 role until the end of the 2007 season. Notable draft picks/free agent acquiWhere he is now: sitions: S Donte After his two-year run Whitner (No. 8 overas general manager of all, 2006), RB the Bills, he retired Marshawn Lynch (No. permanently from pro Photo by Joe Valenti 12 overall, 2007), LB football in 2007. He is Doug Marrone will be the seventh head Paul Posluszny (No. now retired and living coach of the Bills since Marv Levy. Can he 34 overall, 2007). in Chicago. Since also be the first to bring them to the postretiring, he has writseason since 1999? After the Bills: After ten two books: Game his two-year contract Where he is now: Jobless Changers and Between the with the Bills expired, he after being fired as defensive Lies. retired from pro football in coordinator for the 2007. Cleveland Browns, where he Wade Phillips Where he is now: Retired coached from 2011-12. Years: 1998-2000 and living in Chicago. Since Regular Season Record: 29Perry Fewell leaving football, he’s written 19 Years: 2009* two books: “Game Postseason Record: 0-2 Changers” and “Between the Regular Season Record: 3-4 Lies.” After the Bills: Joined the Postseason Record: 0-0 Atlanta Falcons as defensive *Note: served as interim Russ Brandon coordinator in 2002. Served head coach after Dick Jauron Years: 2008-09 as interim head coach of the was fired nine games into the Notable draft picks/free Falcons in 2003. 2009 season. agent acquisitions: CB/KR Where he is now: Defensive After the Bills: Joined the Leodis McKelvin (No. 12 coordinator of the Houston New York Giants as defenoverall, 2008), LB Aaron Texans (2011-present). sive coordinator in 2010. Maybin (No. 11 overall, Gregg Williams Where he is now: Still serv2009), WR Stevie Johnson ing as the Giants’ defensive (seventh round, 2008), QB Years: 2001-03 coordinator, with whom he Ryan Fitzpatrick, WR Terrell Regular Season Record: 17won a Super Bowl in 2011. Owens, DT Marcus Stroud. 31 After the Bills: He’s still with Postseason Record: 0-0 Chan Gailey the franchise. After the Bills: Served as Years: 2010-12 Where he is now: In 2010 he defensive coordinator/assisRegular Season Record: 16hired Buddy Nix as general tant head coach for the 32 manager and was promoted Washington Redskins from Postseason Record: 0-0 to CEO of the Bills, a posi2004-07. Williams won a After the Bills: Nothing. tion he still holds today. Super Bowl ring with the Where he is now: Jobless New Orleans Saints in 2009 Buddy Nix after being fired from the as defensive coordinator, but Years: 2010-12 Bills’ head coaching position. was fired in 2011 after being Notable draft picks/free investigated for a “bounty” Doug Marrone agent acquisitions: RB C.J. scandal in which he encourYears: 2013 Spiller (No. 9 overall, 2010), aged his players to intentionDT Marcell Dareus (No. 3 Regular Season Record: 0-1 ally hurt members of the overall, 2011), CB Stephon opposing team. Postseason Record: 0-0 Gilmore (No. 10 overall, Where he is now: Serving as After the Bills: TBD 2012) senior assistant defensive Where he is now: One game After the Bills: He’s still with coach for the Tennessee into his tenure as the current the franchise. Titans. Buffalo Bills head coach. Where he is now: After stepMike Mularkey ping down as general managYears: 2004-05 General Managers after er at the conclusion of the 2012 season, Nix moved into Regular Season Record: 14Jim Kelly left in 1997 a role as special assistant 18 John Butler with the Bills. Postseason Record: 0-0 Years: 1993-2000 After the Bills: Joined the Doug Whaley Notable draft picks/free Miami Dolphins in 2006 to Years: 2013-present agent acquisitions: LB Sam be their offensive coordinaNotable draft picks/free Cowart, WR Eric Moulds, tor; was demoted to tight agent acquisitions: QB EJ QB Doug Flutie, QB Rob ends coach after one year. Manuel (No. 16 overall, Johnson. Where he is now: Jobless 2013), WR Robert Woods After the Bills: After leaving after presiding over a 2-14 (No. 41 overall, 2013) LB Buffalo, he became general season as head coach of the Kiko Alonso (No. 46 overall, manager of the San Diego Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012. 2013). Chargers in 2001, a position After the Bills: He’s still their Dick Jauron he held until 2003, when he current GM. died of lymphoma. Years: 2006-09 Where he is now: Starting Regular Season Record: 24Tom Donahoe his first season as general 33 Years: 2001-05 manager of the Bills. Postseason Record: 0-0 Notable draft picks/free After the Bills: Served as senagent acquisitions: QB Drew Information complied by staff ior assistant/defensive backs Bledsoe, RB Willis McGahee writer Arun Morace. coach for the Philadelphia (No. 23 overall, 2003), OT Eagles in 2010. Mike Williams (No. 4 over-
Fantasy football: Playing the waiver wire By Leonard J. Mytko
We all know fantasy championships are won with slick free-agent pickups. Both Colin Kaepernick and T.Y. Hilton should quickly come to mind from a year ago. Even this year’s crop has given us Denver’s Julius Thomas and Oakland’s fleetfooted quarterback Terrelle Pryor right off the bat. But since both of these players should already be owned in your league by now anyway, we’re taking a look at ten more with possible upside. 1. Brandon Weeden, QB, Browns Despite a rough first start, there’s still a pretty good chance his production will eventually go up. With Josh Gordon set to return and a quickly emerging tight end in secondyear man Jordan Cameron, the 30-yearold should get into a groove and push to be more than just a lowend fantasy backup as he currently is right now. 2. Christine Michael, RB, Seahawks Even though he’s No. 3 in Seattle, he’s a back with big-time potential and much more. And even though that future isn’t right now, Seattle has Super Bowl aspirations and he could make a difference to help them get there if an injury or two should hit their top two. So if you get to that point of having some spare room on your fantasy squad, he’d make for a smart and speculative add. 3. Percy Harvin, WR, Seahawks He might not see the field until the halfway point at the earliest, but you’ll have to be quick on the waiver wire draw if you want him for your playoff push should he return, so the sooner the better. Plus, quarterback Russell Wilson will need every ounce of offensive firepower around that time as well so owners should be checking up on Harvin’s status quite regularly leading up to then. 4. Aaron Dobson/Josh Boyce, WR, Patriots With Danny Amendola battling a groin injury and Rob Gronkowski working his way back, New England will need all the help it can get for Tom Brady and the passing attack this year. Julian Edelman and rookie Kenbrell Thompkins are currently holding down the fort, but maybe Dobson or Boyce can step up and pick up some of the slack from time to
Photo by Jeff Barnes
Robert Woods could start seeing a lot more targets in firstyear coach Doug Marrone’s offense. time too. 5. Caleb Sturgis, K, Dolphins He unseated Dan Carpenter for the starting job in Miami before Carpenter came over to the Bills. And despite playing on a team that tends to rank in the lower half when it comes to field goal attempts, the strong-legged rookie out of Florida is off to a hot start with four field goals and 17 points. 6. Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins Here’s another rookie out of Florida worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses. In his last year as a Gator, he caught 45 balls for 559 yards and so far this year he’s got eight catches for 56 yards, which is five more receptions and 31 more yards than starting tight end Fred Davis. Add in some red-zone looks and it’s quite possible he takes over for Davis before the year is over. 7. Robert Woods, WR, Bills Unless you’re in a very big and deep league, he probably went undrafted and overlooked since Stevie Johnson gets most of the receiving headlines here. But the presence of EJ Manuel along with a new coach’s preference could change all of that in a hurry so maybe you’re looking at a new go-to guy in Buffalo’s passing game when it’s all said and done with this season. 8. Knile Davis, RB, Chiefs If you’re looking for a
sneaky backup to add going forward, one place to look might be in Kansas City’s backfield. He’s No. 2 to Jamal Charles and given his injury history, Davis could end up thriving in coach Andy Reid’s offense. So far to date though, he’s got just four carries for 12 yards. 9. Joique Bell, RB, Lions Detroit does have a bunched-up backfield, but the Lions are still a pass-heavy team and even if Reggie Bush is the lead back, can Bush stay healthy all year long? And taking into consideration he’s only played in all 16 games once in the past six years and that Bell is also an intriguing pass-catching option (52 catches in 2012), Bell might be a good second-string back to handcuff your fantasy starters with. 10. Kellen Winslow II, TE, Jets Hard to believe, but just when you thought his days of being fantasy relevant were all but over, he’s back in the fold again. And given the opportunity to contribute again as a member of Gang Green, he’s logged 10 catches for 95 yards with a score in the first month alone. Others to scour the waiver wire for include: Marlon Brown, WR, Ravens; Kenny Stills, WR, Saints; Leonard Hankerson, WR, Redskins; Da’ Rel Scott, RB, Giants; Chad Henne, QB, Jaguars; Bilal Powell, RB, Jets.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Sabres playoff hopes face formidable challenges in new Atlantic Division
By George Kuhn The NHL’s new divisional alignment moves Winnipeg from the Eastern to the Western Conference where they belong and shifts Detroit and Columbus to the east. In a nutshell, this means that Detroit will push the Sabres and all other playoff hopefuls one spot further down the Eastern Conference line for a playoff spot. The Sabres are in the new Atlantic division. Think of this as the “Original six” division with the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and the dynastic Red Wings. Even though the Wings last won the Stanley Cup in 2008, and have lost some significant players to retirement, they are still a powerhouse, taking Stanley Cup champion Chicago to seven tough games in the 2013 Western Conference finals. Rounding out the divisional lineup are the hated Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers. While fan disfavorite Daniel Alfredsson has left Ottawa, Sabres fans can still boo him regularly as he has landed with the Red Wings. In the new alignment the top three teams in each division make the playoffs with two wild cards in each conference. Gone is the automatic spot reserved for divisional champs, which assured the Southeast division an undeserved top three seed when their points total
The New Eastern Conference Predicted Playoff Teams X = Playoff Spot Y= Wild Card
Atlantic Division Boston X Detroit X Montreal X Toronto Y Ottawa Y Tampa Bay Buffalo Florida Metropolitan Division Pittsburgh X Rangers X Islanders X Washington Philadelphia Columbus Carolina New Jersey
would have found them deserving of only a seventh or eighth place finish. With recent champions Boston (2011) and Detroit (2008, 2002, 1998, 1997) as well as a strong Montreal team and improvement in Toronto, even a cockeyed optimist would find it difficult to project Buffalo finishing ahead of any of those teams in the division. That leaves the possibility of a wild card berth but one that they’d have to contend for against Pittsburgh, New York, Long Island, Washington and Columbus, a team that just missed the
playoffs last season and has Vezina Trophy-winning Sergei Bobrovsky in net. The Atlantic could also be called the snowbird division where teams like Buffalo and Toronto and Montreal can escape their frigid winters with an extra road trip to Florida to play the Lightning and Panthers. Here’s a look at how the new divisional rivals project for this season in order of projected finish. Boston The Bruins may have lost the 2013 finals but they won it all in 2011. Their elite talent—coach Claude Julien, goalie Tukka Rask, center Patrice Bergeron, and defenseman Zdeno Chara— will ensure the Bs overcome the loss of Nathan Horton and trading of Tyler Seguin to Dallas for Louis Eriksson, who will more than adequately replace him. Detroit Four Stanley Cups in 12 seasons, the Wings are a consistently elite team. The transition has been seamless from Yzerman, Fedorov and Shanahan to Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Even the loss of superstar Nik Lidstrom has done little to diminish the Wings prowess. Imagine Alfredsson on the top line with Datsyuk and Zetterburg this season! Montreal The Habs won their division and finished second in the conference behind P.J. Subban’s Norris Trophy sea-
All good things come to an end By Gary Reeves TIME WAITS FOR NO MAN – TRUER WORDS W E R E NEVER SPOKEN!!!!! I’ve been w r i t i n g H o c k e y Columns since 1978, starting with the Welland Tr i b u n e , whose circulation covered part of the Niagara Peninsula, for an interim period of 14 years. I then began writing hockey columns for Sports Times and Sports Wrap, Regional Sports Papers covering all of the Niagara Peninsula. In 2002, I received an invitation to write hockey columns for this publication and have continued to do so up until the present. However, it’s time to put my pen to rest and bid my adieu. To Marian, the publisher, Jeffrey Levine, associate editor, and all the staff of Sports & Leisure I thank you for the wonderful relationship we’ve had for the past 11 years. As for all the hockey players and parents who have followed my hockey
columns, I wish you all the success that life has to offer and I only hope that I was able to contribute in some small way. At this time I
would like to introduce Mark Zarbo, who spent four years as a trainee in my hockey skills clinics. Mark played Junior A for the Youngstown Phantoms and Cedar Rapids Rough Riders of the U.S. Hockey League and the C.D. Selects of the Eastern Junior Hockey League. Mark also played Division I hockey for Bentley College in 2006 and 2007 and RPI in 2007 until 2010. Mark graduated in 2010 with a B.S. in Business and Management. In the fall of 2011 he had an internship roll with the Buffalo Sabres, scouting
and breaking down video for the 2012 NHL entry draft. Mark is currently enrolled in the University at Buffalo and is scheduled to receive his Doctors Degree in Physical Therapy in 2014. Mark presently operates hockey clinics and offers team instruction throughout the Buffalo area using, might I add, all the skill levels, mechanics and techniques that were taught to him in the Gary Reeves Pro Skating Hockey Skills Clinics. Recently, Mark and I have had some great brainstorming sessions and I have no doubt that the proverbial student surpassing his mentor will surely occur. Last but not least, Mark will continue writing hockey columns for this magazine; only the name will change. I now bid my departure to you all and wish all the young upcoming hockey players success in their endeavors, and may they continue to read the informative Hockey Skills Columns in the Sports & Leisure. -Gary Reeves
son along with strong rookie campaigns from Brendan Gallagher and Alex G a l c h e n y k . Everything went right for the Canadiens last season, can they do it again or maybe do better? Ottawa Expect improvement from Ottawa with 2012 Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson back from injury and new free agent Bobby Ryan an upgrade over the fading Daniel Alfredsson. With Photo by Joe Valenti Jason Spezza at cenSteven Stamkos was the NHL’s leading goal scorer in 2010 and 2012. ter and Ben Bishop in goal, the Sens the corner sooner than blueline. have top talent at every posiexpected. New coach Ron Buffalo tion. Rolston was a breath of fresh The Sabres are coming off Toronto air as he took over midway perhaps the most disappointExpect an improved and through last season and ing season in franchise histomore physical team in made it to the north side of ry where fans serenaded Toronto with free agent .500 with his win-loss their displeasure chanting David Clarkson from New record. Several Rochester “Goodbye Darcy” following Jersey. Imagine if Patrick players joined their former the dismissal of longtime Kaleta scored 25 goals and coach in Buffalo and acquitcoach Lindy Ruff. Star playyou’ll have an idea of the ted themselves well. Rolston ers Thomas Vanek and Ryan toughness and skill that elevated Mike Weber to a Miller enter the last year of Clarkson brings to the Leafs, more prominent role and the their contracts facing in the tradition of Wendel defenseman responded with impending free agency. If Clark. Dave Bolland comes stronger play. Tyler Myers is both players are gone by next over after winning the cup expected to rebound from summer or sooner, the with Chicago and brings his disappointing performSabres will be left with little another strong physical playance following a summer of talented veteran leadership. er while soft Mikhail intense physical conditionBuffalo was probably the Grabovski and Clarke ing and an improved mental worst passing team in the MacArthur head out the focus. Goaltending is strong NHL last year and had quite door. The Leafs also signed for now with Miller and a few underachieving playfree agent goalie Jonathan Jhonas Enroth. Christian ers. GM Darcy Regier has Bernier from LA who should Erhoff is a stud on the backsmartly traded away some of give them a strong 1-2 tanline and first round pick this veteran deadwood for dem in net with James Rasmus Ristolainen is draft choices with Paul Riemer. expected to play at age 18. Gaustad netting a first Tampa Bay Florida rounder used to select With mediocre goaltendWell, the weather is really Zemgus Girgensons who will ing and without former frannice in south Florida in the make his Sabres debut this chise player Vincent winter, how can anyone year. Gauastad was a fan Lecavier, Tampa Bay will ride expect the Panthers players favorite because he hit but he superstar forwards Steven to concentrate on hockey? never scored even one goal Stamkos and Martin St.Louis Can you name five players in 38 playoff games. as far as they can take them. on this team other than exAdvantage Regier. The latest That Stamkos can score 60 Sabre Brian Campbell? And to depart was Nathan Gerbe goals (2011-12) in the defendid you really even rememwho, aside from a promising sive-oriented NHL is a testaber that he is a Panther? 17-goal rookie performance, ment to his amazing abilities Jonathan Huberdeau won had done little with the while St. Louis is the reignrookie of the year and secSabres, no pun intended. ing NHL scoring champion. ond overall pick Alex Barkov Regier cautioned fans to Much is expected from top will try to do the same this expect some more suffering draft pick forward Jonathan year. Otherwise, there’s not before new young players Drouin. Defenseman Victor much going on here. can make things better. Hedman is a horse on the But the Sabres may turn
Tour Allegany County on a tank of gas By Bob Timkey
Allegany County hosts enough outdoor attractions and activities to fill your family’s vacation days for a week or a weekend. Spend less time travelling and more time relaxing on your next getaway and be sure to check out these attractions: Snowmobiling Trail www.acfsnow.org The Allegany County Snowmobiling trail boasts over 400 miles of terrain and is easily accessible from NYS Route 19. Rushford Snowmobiling Club maintains many of the trails as they weave through private property and the Hanging Bog Wild Life Management Area. Often, sled dog teams can be seen training on the trail. Snowmobiling is a destination sport that brings a welcome contribution to the local economy. A typical day of riding includes a big breakfast, a full day of exploring trails and an evening at a bed and breakfast or motel. Allegany County has invested in a fleet of 20 Class A grooming machines to groom select trails to provide the best riding conditions possible. You’ll enjoy easy access to Allegany State Park and Letworth State Park from the sled routes. Trails open the day after muzzleload deer season ends and remain open until April 1. Tall Pines ATV Park www.TallPinesATVPark.com Formerly known as Kent Farms and famous for selling Christmas trees and wreaths, Tall Pines ATV Park is set upon a fourth generation working farm. The current generation recently built an
Photo by Bob Timkey
Moss Lake is one of the regions many natural attractions. club house, serving dinner on ATV ride park with 60 miles Friday and Saturday nights. A of groomed trails, all on their fully-staffed and furnished private property. Trails range pro shop serves golfers from easy to intermediate to throughout the season. The difficult. An obstacle course staff golf pro offers lessons, and motocross track has been apparel, equipment tips and built for expert riders and all fittings. Despite the upscale ages are permitted to ride name, Wellsville Country with parental consent. Free Club is a public course, fairly maps are distributed with priced at $25 for greens fee every admission and patrons with cart. There are 40 new have access to grills and electric carts and new traps showers for their post riding were added this season, proleisure. viding excellent value to Tall Pines is now a fully golfers. This walker friendly equipped campground as par 71 course is set upon fairwell with tent sites and 11 ly level terrain and features cabins available for overnight excellent scenery including stay. The highly successful the Genesee River flowing Tough Mudder obstacle through beautiful greens and course running race selected fairways. The course is cenTall Pines as the site of their trally located just 85 miles Buffalo area race this summer from Buffalo or Rochester and built over a dozen miliand has attracted many native tary style obstacles, some of Buffalo and Rochester resiwhich will remain on the dents to retire in the area. grounds year round. Plenty of tee times are availWellsville Country Club able during the golf season on www.WellsvilleCountryClub Saturday and Sunday after.com noons and the club house is Wellsville Country Club is available for private parties one of four courses in such as hosting wedding Allegany County. The club receptions, graduation parboasts an 18-hole golf course ties, proms, birthdays and with a fully complimented
fund raising galas. Allegany County Pheasant Program www.AlleganyCountyPheas antProgram.com The Allegany County pheasant program is supported by local inmates at Allegany County Jail who raise day old chicks to maturity, which are then stocked throughout the county. Pheasants are released on private property where hunting is allowed. Six years ago, when the program began, 250 birds were raised and released. The program has grown each year and over 1,600 birds were raised and released this year attracting hunters from Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. The program is a self-supporting, charitable organization. A $30 associate fee is charged for membership and no county taxpayer money is used to fund its efforts. This year, an NRA grant allowed for construction of an additional brood house, allowing for more birds to be raised in each coming season. Lion’s Club Trout Derby Every fishing season, the Genessee River is stocked with over 300 trout for the annual weekend tournament. Local businesses sponsor tagged fish and each tagged fish netted earns the fisherman a prize of up to $3,000 per fish. With nearly $30,000 in prize money swimming around a 10 mile stretch of the river as it flows south from Wellsville, this tournament is always a crowd pleaser. Hunting Program Allegany County boasts
some of the best small game hunting in New York State including pheasants, squirrel, rabbits and turkey. During White Tail Deer Season, 46,000 acres of state land are open for hunting. Hunters are attracted primarily from the Buffalo and Rochester areas. FESTIVALS & EVENTS Wellsville Balloon Rally The annual balloon rally features over 40 hot air balloons. At 35 years, it is the longest running balloon rally in the eastern half of the United States. There is no charge for licensed balloon owners to attend and private or commercial balloons are welcome. Four flights are scheduled during the course of the weekend along with a crowd-pleasing balloon glow. Hot air balloon rides are available to the public and sure to delight the thrill seeker in you. Cuba Garlic Festival If you haven’t tasted garlic ice cream, you haven’t lived. Seven live bands, cooking shows and historical presentations make the Cuba Garlic Festival an event you don’t want to miss. Wellsville Ridgewalk & Run This challenging walk and running race features 5k, 10k, and half marathon distance running competitions. Over 1,200 participants typically register to attempt the feat. Beginning at the base of Alma Hill, the event culminates at the summit, which is the highest peak in Western New York. Aid stations along the route provide water and snacks to runners and hikers. Incredible autumn scenery
and magnificent views make this charitable event a favorite among runners and outdoor enthusiasts. Civil War Reenactment An annual Civil War period reenactment is performed to the 1812 Overture live. Actors prepare for their roles by dressing in authentic, handmade wardrobes and eating, sleeping and living as though they are actually in the Civil War Era during the days of preparation leading up to the reenactment event. This is a must see event for history buffs. Lodging: A trip to Allegany is an opportunity to stay in the area’s premier bed and breakfast, The Lodge. The inn’s owners came to Allegany County six years ago because of its natural beauty: the hills, valleys, lakes, and rivers. Houghton College sports fans typically stay when visiting for games and equestrian events and motorcyclists, hunters and hot air balloon enthusiasts fill most of the other weekend vacancies. The main room at The Lodge is available for breakfast and lunch meetings and is often utilized by local businesses for its warmth and charm. The Lodge has attracted visitors from 37 states and from around the world. Please note: no children under 16 are allowed as The Lodge remains a quiet retreat for adults. Pets are also not allowed. One visit to Allegany County is only enough to fall in love…you’ll be back.
Enjoy Cattaraugus County this Fall Community Sports Report
Looking for something to do for a day or an evening? How about a getaway for the night or the weekend? Where do you want to play today? Make your plans to visit the Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County. Immerse yourself in a simpler way of life along New York’s Amish Trail. Enjoy the autumn beauty as you drive the country highways and byways through this Old Order Amish community. You will come upon Amish bug-
gies that go a comfortable speed of 10 mph. — don’t be in a hurry, slow down and appreciate the countryside. See information below on obtaining a free map of Amish Country. Then, as Mother Nature paints the hillsides with her brushstrokes of autumn’s colors, and as we reach the annual passing of the harvest moon, The Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County offers sunny, crisp days and cool nights filled with exciting opportunities that await the adventuresome
in spirit. Vibrant hillsides of ever changing hues add to an already exciting Enchanted Mountains Fall experience. Are you looking for someplace for a scenic view of the autumn hills? Visit Sky High Adventure Park, Griffis Sculpture Park, Rock City Park, Bear Mountain Resort and Pfeiffer Nature Center for views that will take your breath away! Must see events: Ellicottville: Rock ‘n Oldies Weekend, September 21 - 22; Fall Festival, October 12 and 13. Become a “Night
Crawler” at Sky High Adventure Park, as they offer climbs in the evening or relax and enjoy the colors on a fall chair lift ride at Holiday Valley, the last weekend in September and first three weekends of October. Nightmare Hayrides: Get the scare of your life Photo courtesy Cattaraugus County Tourism riding on this Picked to perfection at Pumpkinville. spooky hayride. Dayton. at Rock City Park, Rte 16 Then walk through the maze Gowanda: Historic South, Olean. and barn as live scary creaHollywood Theater in Salamanca: Falling Leaves tures all around you go bump Gowanda is haunted! Festival, October 5-6. in the night. This runs weekDiscover why October 25-27 Little valley: First annual ends during October. and October 31. WILMA (We Invite Local Pumpkinville in Great Discover what’s naturally Manufacturers and Artisans) Valley will officially open on yours in Cattaraugus County: event October 19 and 20. September 14. Enjoy the spirThe Enchanted Mountains of Come out and see what local it of the harvest, the beauty of Cattaraugus County in businesses have to offer and the Enchanted Mountains Western New York… Where shop their one-of-a-kind and a day of family fun at the Do You Want to Play Today? products. Local businesses farm. They will be having For more information on are welcome to sign up and their fall festival from these and many other fall display their wares during October 12-14. Watch freshly activities and events or if you this event. picked apples being washed would like a free copy of the Leon: 2013 Annual AQHA and squeezed to create the Enchanted Mountains of Trail Challenge Family Event greatest cider you’ve ever Cattaraugus County Activities (Formerly Extreme Cowboy tasted, perfect for washing Guide; please call 1-800-331Family Event), September 28. down homemade pumpkin 0543 or e-mail info@enchantSouth dayton: Make a doughnuts. Pumpkinville is edmountains.com. Also, visit Difference Day, October 26. open daily, 9am – 7pm, www.EnchantedMountains.co To include movies, crafts, through October 31. m or on their Facebook Page. games, Halloween costume Olean: Gem, Mineral & contest and A Taste of South Fossil Show, October 11 – 13
SPECIAL FALL PULLOUT 2013
Autumn angling action heating up now
The seasons are changing and local fisheries start to feel the need to feed in advance of winter. Fall is perhaps the best time of year for fishing, with just about every species of game fish and panfish alike gorging before water temperatures head directly south. Salmon and Trout Salmon have moved into the shallows around their spawning streams on Lake Ontario, with fish now well in range of pier casters and shore anglers alike. When a good cold rain occurs, expect fish to start heading into the streams to vie for the best spawning sites and the action should only get better as September moves to October. Oak Orchard Creek, Eighteen Mile Creek from Burt Dam to the mouth at Olcott harbor and the Lower Niagara River get most mention, but do not overlook the smaller feeders when water levels are right. Casters working large Cleo spoons or ripping large Rat-LTraps experience vicious strikes and hard-charging runs from big Chinooks during transitional light periods, but do not overlook salmon skein drifted below a float through slower moving, deeper waters of streams and near creek mouths. Salmon capitalize on every morsel they can eat before enduring the rigors of spawning and the end of their lifecycle. This year DEC biologists and field technicians will be working the streams in an effort to collect information to determine effectiveness of the pen-rearing programs, a method of raising fish stocks that is believed to create stronger stream imprints on the growing smolts. Officials will be seeking to collect scale and snout samples to determine origin of fish caught by anglers, so if you are approached, please help out in this important study endeavor. Lake Erie streams start seeing the annual fall run of rainbow trout in major tributaries, with larger fish showing more abundance as the fall wears on. This is perhaps the best time of year for steelhead action, as fish are fresh from the lake and still full of feistiness, something diminished as fish hold in streams through winter. Cattaraugus Creek, Canadaway Creek and Chautauqua Creek all show
Photo by John Maloney
Rich Davenport (left) and Mike Rinallo show off a couple impressive bass caught while fishing Cassadaga Lakes. strongest activity, but smaller and pig presentations worked streams like Big Sister, along such areas work well Delaware and Eighteen Mile when fish are holding tight, Creek in Derby provide great while a spinnerbait works action in a smaller setting. great to cover water and trigger Perch and Walleye the more aggressive fish into According to Lake Erie strikes. Action happens Fisheries unit chief Don throughout the day, with hot Einhouse, abundance of yeltimes driven by weather and low perch and walleye in Lake light levels. Erie’s eastern basin has never Smallmouth bass on shown stronger. Trawl surveys Chautauqua start schooling show high abundance of 2010 into feeding packs around and 2012 year class walleye creek mouths across this “lost” inhabiting waters between finger lake, with small Rat-LBuffalo and Barcelona, which Traps taking top mention bodes very well for strong when encountering such phewalleye fishing for years to nomenon. Cassadaga Lakes come. Although seasonal and Honeoye also show great movements westward certainly action for bass anglers looking have begun, a growing resident to get into the last open water population on the eastern side follies of the year. still offers strong opportunity New License Structure comfor walleye anglers through ing October. Slow trolling stick NYS Sporting licenses will baits along the bottom in be restructured starting waters exceeding 40 feet, or February 2014, as a new bottom bouncing worm harlicense system and season nesses can deliver good catchdates are implemented as part es when weather permits. of the Governor’s 2013 execuYellow perch abundance offtive budget. Season-long fishshore is about as high as it has ing licenses purchases starting ever been, and large ringbacks in February will carry a 365packed in schools feeding on day from date of purchase emerald shiners means hot validity, vs. the current action when anglers can find October 1 to September 30 the right bait. Areas west of structure. Expect to start hearSturgeon Point and east of ing more information on this Sunset Bay in waters between change starting around the 60 to 70 feet get most mention. first of the year. Electronics are a must to find Remember, take a kid fishing, the schools, which can move and give the gift that lasts a lifeabout from day to day, making time. reconnaissance runs during Rich Davenport is cothe day necessary, but once founder of you find the schools action is WeLoveOutdoors.com, an fast and furious throughout avid Outdoorsman and memthe day. ber of the NYSOWA. His Bass works are also published in NY Inland bass fishing peaks as Outdoor News, Walleye.com weeds begin to recede and and the Buffalo News. Rich is offer tremendous forage for also the Recording Secretary grass crabs and minnows alike, for the Erie County Federation and big largemouth bass key of Sportsmen’s Clubs, on this in advance of winter. Secretary of the Western NY Although most docks will be Environmental Federation, out of the water on lakes like member of the Erie County Chautauqua and Conesus, Fisheries Advisory Board and reducing the visible structure is the Co-Chairman and bass anglers love to target, outRegion 9 Rep NYSCC Big side weed edges and points Game Committee. this time of year are hard to To contact, email beat for rod-bending action. Jig firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy Niagara County Parks
Trail runners of all experience levels will surely enjoy the spectacular view at Bond Lake.
Where the pavement ends and the fun begins By Kevin Bonk Trail running may be perceived as difficult and dangerous compared to the flat terrain of your local running route. However, running off the pavement can be a very rewarding and fun experience. The first time I was introduced to trail running was at the 2011 Boston, NY Mud Run; full of mud (obviously), hills, rocks, and a few other obstacles. Ever since, I make it a point to enjoy the serenity and challenge of a trail run as often as possible. While your body will get a great workout using new muscles to adjust to the terrain, the benefits reach beyond the physical. Replacing speeding cars and crowded running paths with chirping birds and trees provides a relaxing workout experience to help you forget the day’s worries. Trails don’t have to be overly challenging or messy to be considered a trail but, if pounding the pavement with your running shoes has been your normal routine here are a few tips for getting started on the trail. Even though there are risks for injury with any type of exercise, trail running must be approached with a slightly greater level of caution. If this is your first trail run, test your skills on flat easy terrain. Many local parks have short trails running through the
woods, alter your normal running route and give them a try. If it leaves you wanting more, step it up to more challenging terrain. However, don’t push it in the beginning, run slower than your normal pace and start off with one trail run a week slowly increasing the distances and frequency of your runs. Trail running puts greater stress on your leg muscles and ankles so don’t be afraid to walk some parts either. If hurdling logs and rocks like you’re in an action film doesn’t meet your skill level, slow down and walk around any obstructions on the trail. Paying attention to a few key points will make hitting the trail manageable and safer. Adjusting your stride will help you keep the ground beneath your feet and not in your face. Lift your feet a little higher than you normally would on the road or treadmill. When tackling a steep hill bring your stride in about a third of the normal distance but, try to keep a rhythm. Avoid looking straight down at your feet; keep looking straight ahead three or four steps. This will allow you know what’s coming and give you time to react. Don’t forget to take a look around once and a while either, with Fall upon us, nature provides a colorful tapestry for your eyes to feast on. Just keep focused on the hard parts of the trail and
FALL 2013 • SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE • WWW.HUGESPORTZ.COM
slow down to take in Mother Nature. Running off the beaten path takes patience, focus and a good pair of running shoes. Buying specialized shoes are not necessarily required, but having a good supportive shoe with traction and tread are definitely required. Remember you’ll be running over uneven and sometimes slippery terrain, pick a shoe that’s flexible and will protect your feet. Any hiking or nature trail provides the perfect opportunity to run, if you can walk it you can run it! A local favorite of mine is Bond Lake Park in Niagara County. With numerous loops and routes, you can vary your distances and difficulty. With mainly gentle inclines and a few steeper hills and turns it’s a good place for beginners. The landscape of open fields, orchards, and pine forests provide a diverse environment to escape the bustle of the city. Trail running is a unique experience for the runner looking to get more out of their workout. With added care and the right equipment your off road experience will be safe and rewarding. So if your looking to shake up your normal running routine don’t stop at the end of the pavement, keep going you might be surprised were the trail will take you.
Batavia Country Club provides that golf in the country experience By Ron Montesano At the time of the year when leaves turn color, Western New York’s golf courses come alive with beauty and savings. Batavia country club, located midway between Buffalo and Rochester on Batavia-Byron road, will no doubt offer both pleasures, to the delight of Niagara frontier golfers. When paying a green fee, golfers will easily recognize a brand-new look to the Batavia country club clubhouse. “We worked for three months last winter to renovate the entire lower level,” noted club manager Chris Pompa. “The restaurant, bar and rest rooms all have an updated appearance, to provide a better experience to Photo by Ron Montesano our golfers.” In addition to The bucolic, foothills setting of Batavia Country Club still has its perils. the clubhouse improvedemands three great strikes for a chance at triangle of 4-3-4, where a golfer will approach ments, a fleet of brand-new Club Cart golf carts birdie. Seventeen and eighteen bring a golfer the greens with a mid-iron on most days. The arrived at the course in 2013, enhancing the home to a well-deserved stop at the 19th hole. home hole on the outward nine scrambles trip around Batavia’s 7200-yard course. For golfers interested in an extra bit of bang along a ridge to a green sighted adjacent to the Superintendent Nick Pompa, part of the for the buck, Fall rates go into effect on clubhouse. owning family and a lifer at the course, has the September 23rd. Green fees will drop to $15 on Each side blends a few holes over flat terrain fairways, tees and greens in extraordinary with a majority that ascend and descend the shape. 2013 was kind to the course and Pompa hills that define the property. It’s not uncomtook advantage to ensure the health of grasses mon to watch your ball rise and bench into an throughout both nines. Appropriate aeration elevated fairway or cascade down from an eleand care ensured that the course played fast, vated tee. firm and true throughout the entire season. The back nine is played entirely across Batavia gets its golfers off to a memorable Batavia-Byron Road. Ten and eleven ease the start. Back-to-back par fives offer birdie golfer into the inward half, playing as midchances at each of the first two holes. If you’re length, par four holes. The fun begins with the up for a test, march all the way to the back of march up the par-five twelfth. The fairway on the 2nd hole, from where you’ll travel 580 this three-shot hole climbs up to a ledge near yards before you reach the green. Batavia’s front the 13th hole and 16th tee, the highest point nine has the ability to stretch to 3800 yards, the on the entire property. Thirteen is a brilliant, longest side in the region. The third hole is a one-shot hole, slightly uphill to a green disbeautiful par three over water. Enjoy the view guised behind a seeing-eye bunker. Holes 14 but don’t forget to hit your best shot or you’ll and 16 share the same, tumble-down tee ball, come up short and wet. separated only by fifteen, a par four that again Hole four makes a monumental climb, albeit rises upward to the ledge. a gentle one, up a slope to the shelf where the Sixteen is the most memorable hole on the remainder of the front nine awaits. Four and course, in the eyes of many. A curvy three-shotfive are stout par-four efforts and demand ter that bends eternally right before settling at strong drives to leave manageable approach a green ensconced in a hollow, the par five shots. Six through eight feature a challenging
weekdays, $15 on weekends, for 18 holes of golf and one of those new carts. Tom Moynihan, the teaching professional on staff, will continue to offer lessons throughout the remainder of the season. From the physical (putting, short game, full swing) to the mental (pre-shot routine, course management), Moynihan passes on to his students his expertise in all areas of the game of golf. Batavia country club is a true member’s course. The club offers leagues four days a week, with times and levels to offer a place for golfers of every ability. Junior golfers benefit from the chance to attend a week-long junior clinic and compete in a junior championship at the end of each season. If you’re a fan of the fare at the Lodge at Batavia country club, get your fill this Fall. The Lodge will remain open this off-season for parties, banquets and weddings alone. Batavia country club is currently offering a valuepacked membership package for 2014. If you register and pay now, you’ll play for free through the end of the 2013 season, a bonus of at least two months of golf. Visit the Batavia country club website at http://bataviacc.com. Sign up for the club’s weekly newsletter for free and receive a free bucket of range balls when you play your next 18 holes. Newsletter subscribers are automatically entered into weekly drawings for prizes ranging from rounds of golf to a full season membership. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain! For information on parties and banquets, visit http://thelodgeatbataviacc.com.
WWW.HUGESPORTZ.COM • SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE • FALL 2013
At 77, Charlie Bacon still enjoying harness racing By Brian J. Mazurek One would think at the age of 77, it would be time to sit back and enjoy life. Just sit around and watch the days drift away. For trainer/driver Charlie Bacon, that is exactly what he is doing right at Batavia Downs, right behind a sulky, and enjoying life, enjoying the feeling he gets working with the horses. And the days, well, every one is a cherished one. Bacon, at the age of 77, the oldest trainer/driver in Western New York, could be second in North America behind Mark Aubin, who is 79, and still is driving currently at Pompano Park. Bacon, who has been driving with a pari-mutual license since 1978, still has a small stable of two horses and that’s more than enough to keep his hand in harness racing, a sport he loves so much. “My wife says I’m stupid,” Bacon responded when asked about still being involved in harness racing at the ripe age of 77. “We’ve raised our kids...all turned out pretty good...but I just love the game and don’t want to leave. I couldn’t stay at home and not be at the track and do this anymore. It would drive me crazy not to do this.” Bacon currently trains and occasionally drives Sheza Pacific Barb and Yankee Elizabeth. These two are more than enough to keep him going and energized, but he added, “Sometimes I let the young
Photos by Jon Cramer
Charlie Bacon warming up a horse. kids take over the driving. Not always, but sometimes.” While never being mistaken for a driver like John Campbell or Tim Tetrick, Bacon never had the luxury of driving for any powerful stables or driving full-time. Bacon has won more than 700 times in his career and earned over $1.4 million in earnings. But it’s not about the glory, it’s about the sport that he loves so much. “If I ever had done this full-time, I wouldn’t have been able to feed our family. It’s always just been a hobby of mine,” he said. “I started working with horses in Georgia with my grandfather back in the 1960s,” Bacon said as he reflected on how he was introduced to the horses. “I then came north and
worked on some farms with horses. I worked for the Rapones, Fred Griffin and Woodrow Henderson. I remember Woodrow telling me, ‘Charlie, go get your license to drive.’ And in 1978, I got it.” Bacon said of the first few years of driving, “We didn’t have the fancy statistics and all that. You had to have your horse ready to race back then. You used to see horses run as 13 and 14 year olds. You don’t see that much anymore. The breeding, the track and the equipment is so different now than it was back then. You used to train a horse to his ability...now it’s just speed because there is money to be made. But it wears on a horse more than it did a few years back.” And while harness racing
Buffalo Raceway completes 2013 season on good note By Brian J. Mazurek
Photo by Jon Cramer
Ray Fisher Jr. won the 2013 Buffalo Raceway driving title. involved in a serious spill on July 12th, still managed to take the driver’s title with 149 victories and over $750,000 in earnings. John Cummings Jr. was second with 145 wins and made just over $850,000. In the training race, JD Perrin took the title with 78 victories, beating Gerry
Sarama who finished with 70. A total of six track records were either equaled of lowered including the allage trotting mark that was set by Crazy About Pat with a 1:56.3 time. Buffalo Raceway will be hosting a Handicapping Challenge each Saturday beginning in October as simulcasting takes place Tuesday through Sundays in the clubhouse area. The track will be hosting a Breeder’s Cup festivities on November 1-2, thoroughbred racing’s biggest weekend of the year. Also, Buffalo Raceway will have a new race announcer in 2014 as Gabe Prewitt has moved from the Hamburg oval’s booth. Prewitt will now be calling the action from Pompano Park in Florida. The racing is expected to resume in early January at Buffalo Raceway, pending New York State Racing and Wagering Board approval. For more information on the track including promotions and simulcast schedule, go to http://buffaloraceway.com.
with me.” And now, Bacon sees young drivers today and noticed a difference compared when he first started out. “It’s different now. Some guys get their license and they think they know everything and that isn’t the case. You gotta keep learning, read the racing program to see what your horse can do. It prevents you from doing something stupid. But some guys don’t bother.” He added in disbelief, “I saw someone bring six whips to drive with. I couldn’t believe it...you only need one. Plus you have to learn how to drive without one...there’s no need for a whip...you gotta use your hands and mouth. I can usually tell if a young guy is going to make it or not and we’ve got a few here (at Buffalo Raceway) who look good and have their heads on straight. They are going to make it.” While the horses go faster now than in years past, Bacon said that doesn’t bother him. “You just have to deal with it. It’s the name of the game now. Looking back over his
SPECIAL FALL PULLOUT 2013
The 2013 harness racing season at Buffalo Raceway was deemed a success as the handle for the year increased 21 percent from 2012, the third straight season it showed double-digit increases. “We were very pleased that the harness racing players have taken notice of Buffalo Raceway,” Jon Cramer, Buffalo Raceway director of operations, explained. “The improvements we have made over the years including the new video system and our relationships with our simulcast sites have been very beneficial. Our ontrack patrons enjoyed the grandstand renovations and we know that a few of our promotions worked well and will be back in 2014.” The backstretch renovations over the past couple of years have included the building of six new barns. The purses for the horsemen increased five percent and averaged over $80,000 per night. Ray Fisher Jr., who was
has evolved to what it is now, Bacon still recalls his first several years on the track. “Dave Vance and John Schroeder,” Bacon said with an obvious tone of respect in his voice, “Those two really gave me some lessons. They’d never tell you when you did something right, but they sure did make it known when you did something wrong. Ken Ball and Fred Haslip I have respected throughout the years and still do. They helped me along too.” Bacon went on to say, “I really did love racing against Dave Vance. I’ll never forget one time when I first started out and I was sitting second behind Vance’s favored horse in a race. I pulled out and along side him at the half-mile and he looked at me and said, ‘Get back in that hole where you belong.’ Of course, I dropped back in. When we got back into the paddock, Vance came up to me and said, When the best horse in the race is in front of you and the second best horse in the race is behind you, don’t pull out until the end.’ I still keep that lesson
driving career, which spans over 35 years and 7,100 races, Bacon recalled his most memorable race, and it was one he’d like to forget. “Oh, that was a bad night in the early 1990s at Vernon Downs,” Bacon said. “I’ve been probably involved in 20-25 accidents over the years, but it was once said it was one of the worst in harness racing history. It was actually shown on CNN. I was sitting second behind Jack Bailey Jr. I believe and we went to the half in like 58 seconds. Well, Bailey’s horse broke and I was sitting second. My horse went down and I was pitched so high in the air that three horses went underneath me. I ended up with a broken collarbone, dislocated shoulder and torn rotator cuff. I remember Tim Lanpher broke his hip in that accident. It was bad, really bad.” And over the years, the trademark of Charlie Bacon has been the toothpick. Whether he’s warming up a horse, working in the stalls, paddocking or driving in a race, the toothpick is just as noticeable as his red, black and white driving colors. “I’ve always had one in my mouth,” he said laughing. “I think it started back when I was young with a piece of straw. Always have to have something in my mouth. I even go to sleep with one in my mouth. It doesn’t please my wife Ada too much either. She’s woken up on more than one occasion with a toothpick jabbing in her.” Charlie Bacon may have not been the top trainer or driver over the years on the Western New York circuit, but one thing is for certain, he loves what he’s always enjoyed doing and that’s something that makes him a winner and young at heart...even at the age of 77.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Kemp, Kelly rule world of Bills’ Cards By Mike Dyer It’s been 56 years since Jack Kemp launched his professional football career, but the former sensational quarterback for the Bills still rules the world of
a r e a sports cards. The former Bills captain, one of the greatest players in American Football League history, is pictured on the six most expensive Buffalo cards of all time. His 1960 Fleer rookie card is valued at $120 in mint condition but trails his 1963 Fleer and 1965 Topps cards in price. Kemp, former congressman and the 1996 Republican vice president nominee, played in the Canadian Football League before he led the Bills to two AFL championships. A native of Los Angeles and graduate of Occidental College, Kemp was the 1965 AFL Most Valuable Player after directing Buffalo to a 23-0 thrashing of the San Diego Chargers in the league title game. Other top Bills cards depicting O. J. Simpson, Cookie Gilchrist, Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, Paul Maguire and Andre Reed are sought after by Buffalo collectors. Gilchrist, who died in 2011 at the age of 75, was the first AFL player to ever rush for 1,000 yards. He did that in 1962 while averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He played for the Bills from 1962 to 1964. Cookie’s 1963 Fleer rookie card sells for $30. There is no reason to introduce Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas to Bills collectors. A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Kelly passed the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances. Kelly was MVP in the United State Football League in 1984 and his Topps USFL rookie card sells for $60. Kelly, a graduate of the University
of Miami (Fla.), finished with 237 touchdown passes for Buffalo and he set an NFL record of 44 completions in one game. No. 12 will always be a fan favorite. When Kelly wasn’t throwing, Thurman Thomas was running. The Oklahoma State graduate led the American Football Conference in rushing in 1990, 91 and 93. He is the Bills all-time leadng rusher
with 11,938 yards. His 1989 Score rookie card is popular at $8. Controversial O. J. Simpson, hoping to be paroled, is still in demand with his 1970 Topps rookie card selling for $80. That was as high as $1,000 during O.J.’s trial in 1994. The Bills, who played greats like Bill Shaw, Joe DeLamielleure, Joe Cribbs and Ruben Brown, will always be in demand with card collectors. Here are the most expensive Bills football cards: 1963 Fleer Jack Kemp $150 1965 Topps Jack Kemp $150 1960 Fleer Jack Kemp RC $120 1966 Topps Jack Kemp $120 1962 Fleer Jack Kemp $100 1964 Topps Jack Kemp $100 1970 Topps O.J. Simpson $80 1961 Fleer Jack Kemp $80 1984 Topps USFL Jim Kelly XRC $60 1964 Topps Daryle Lamonica RC $60 1963 Fleer Cookie Gilchrist RC $30 1965 Topps Cookie Gilchrist $30 1965 Topps Paul Maguire $20 1970 Topps O. J. Simpson $80 1985 Topps USFL Jim Kelly $20 1960 Fleer Paul Maguire RC $18 1989 Score Thurman Thomas RC $8
1986 Topps Andre Reed RC $8 1986 Topps Bruce Smith RC $8
2013 Topps Baseball In mid-summer Topps released its 2013 baseball second series of cards. Like the first series, this 330card lot is filled with stars and super-stars. Any series that includes Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, David Wright, Matt Harvey, David
Ortiz, Mariano Rivera and Robinson Cano has to be saved. There are rookie cards for Jose Fernandez and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Don’t let this get away from you. Here are the top cards in Series II: Albert Pujols (350); Yoenis Cespedes (362); David Wright (400); Roy Halladay (410); David Price (429); Jose Bautista (441); Michael Cuddyer (449); Troy Tulowitzki (453); Paul Goldschmidt (454); Johan Santana (484); Hanley Ramirez (487); Stephen Strasburg (500); Andy Pettitte (508); Carlos Beltran (527); R. A. Dickey (554); Matt Harvey (577); Jose Fernandez RC (588); David Ortiz (595); Mariano Rivera (600); Robinson Cano (612); Miguel Cabrera (660); Hyun-Jin Ryu RC (661). Upcoming Shows The season saw its first area sports card show on Sept. 11 at the Leonard Veterans of Foreign Wars Post on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga. The next show is Oct. 9. Nov. 24 is the date of the all-day sports collectors show at the Hearthstone Center in Depew. More than 100 dealers will be buying and selling at the show run by East Amherst’s Rob Schilling. Mike Dyer, a Cheektowaga resident, is retired after spending 47 years as a newspaper reporter, author, and editor of “Who’s Who in Baseball.” He staffed sports events in baseball, football, hockey and basketball and has voted for the Baseball Hall of Fame since 1983. Send emails to email@example.com.
Trends in baseball By Robert Plezia
first, and similar statistics. coach. When Newer stats like swinging you look at the Baseball is an at the first pitch, hits on first workload, espeever-changing pitch; base runner’s time from cially physical, of sport. Here are first to third, times moved the hitting coach some up-to-date from first to third, times vs. the pitching trends you might moved first to third/opportucoach, and the not be aware of. nities, times scored from secnumber of hitStrikeouts (SO) ond, times scored from secters/team and the We’ve all been ond/opportunities, etc. are work they reading about being kept. require vs. pitchthe large number Stats on these plays measers, the hitting of strikeouts in ure not only a player’s speed coach job is games the seabut also his decision making much more physically son. As of Sept. 2, Yu Darvish process; is he risky (too many demanding. (Tex.) has collected 256 SO; put outs) or does he have Hitting Coaching Darvish is the leading SO great base-running judgpitcher in the MLB with ment. a SO per inning of 1.35. Fields are now qualiIf the rate of SO this seafied for distances of son continues, this year fences (a hitter’s park, a will be the ninth straight pitcher’s park), and the season in which MLB player’s performance at has seen a new record those fields. A hitter’s for total strikeouts in a performance vs. each season. This year, in the pitcher he has faced at total 3,526 games played each park; a pitcher’s recently, each game has performance vs each hitan average of 7.5 SO. If ter at each park. Pitcher’s this rate continues, there pitches by hitter, by will be 36,462 SO in inning, by outing; how MLB in 2013. many times does he Hitting throw a fastball in an We have also seen inning, a game, and in batting average, on base what situation. A curve, percent and slugging a slider, a change, percentage numbers strikes/pitches an dropping over the last inning, game, a player, decade. In 2000, the and others too numeraverage MLB line was Photo by Jeff Barnes ous to list here. .270/.345/.437. The Barry Bonds in his record year As noted in the title of average line in 2013 so 2001 had 73 HR, 177 BB, 93 SO, 156 H. this section, there are far is .253/.317/.398. many different descripOver the last century tions for these stat departSwinging is instinctive. there have been cycles in ments. We found 12 MLB And if you talk with the offense and pitching, with teams with employees who Chinese and their position on “dead ball” era, HRs in the had “analytics” in their title; instinctive martial arts, they ‘30s, the offense spurt in the however we know of an MLB say it takes up to 10,000 reps 1960s, than lowering of the team with such a deptartfor a move to become instincmound, DH, etc. But there ment but it is not noted in tive. have been no rule changes in MLB. And there may be MLB And sportsmen say hitting the last 10 years. teams with different descripa baseball is the most difficult One noticeable trend has tions and titles of these feat in sports. been the pitchers throwing departments. If that is the case, this fits harder. In 2013, the average These “stats” can be used in that reps are the basis for velocity for all fastballs (fb) in a number of ways, studymost of baseball practices. If thrown by pitchers with at ing pitchers, hitters, for that is the case, the use of least 10 innings recorded is trades, studying free agents, more than one coach would 91.6 mph. That’s a full two and many other situations. insure better quality and miles faster than the average Baseball Tracking more reps. fb in 2002. And the elite I was at PNC Park (Pit.) The toughest part in hitstarters will average 95 mph this year and saw a system ting is with change of speeds, for up to nine innings. And where a person stands on the so a flame thrower has a disthe “flame throwers” who top of the center field tinct advantage at any speed average 97.9 routinely get it fence/wall, and uses a device at any time. up to 106, such as Aroldis that is able to track a ball Analytics (Research, Chapman of the Reds. from the pitcher’s hand Baseball Info, Architect Another contributing fac(release point) to the catcher’s Systems, etc.) tor could be MLB is now, glove. And within seconds, it Within the last 10 years, more than ever, an internaregisters into a stream of many MLB teams have develtional league with players numbers, in the stadium, oped “statistical departfrom all over the world, which tells how many inches ments” that keep track of including Darvish and the ball dropped or went up hundreds of pages of individChapman. Of course, all and how far the ball went to ual stats of each MLB and these reasons apply to the hitthe right or to the left. (There AAA player. Most are offenters as well. The cycle of the is no degrees of movement, sive stats, but there are also hitters catching up to the but each pitch is charted defense and base running pitching speed therefore which shows the slope of stats as well. Stats such as at could occur and the current each pitch.) bats, base hits, strikeouts, trends could flatten or Video taping base on balls, hit by pitch, reverse. All MLB games are taped and other stats for both the Hitting Coaches today. These tapes can be furpark and the pitcher have When you look at coaches ther broken down by hitter, been kept for many years. rosters today, you will find pitcher, by fielder making a A la “Moneyball,” the use each team with at least two play, runners, ump’s calls, of the stats has changed. pitching coaches, one in the ump’s accuracy in calling While there was a large bullpen and one in the strikes, etc. These tapes are emphasis on a players’ ondugout. The pitching coach stored usually by player and base percentage, more interand bullpen coach have been used to study the player; est is now paid to a player’s around for many years. pitchers can review the hits that produce RBIs, Over the last 10 years more upcoming lineup, the hitters hits/outs with RISP (runners hitting coaches have made can study pitchers motions, in scoring position; with a their way onto MLB rosters. teams can look at a player for runner on third, runner on Today, 13 or 43 percent of a specific position to trade for second, runner on second MLB teams have a hitting and many other uses. and third, etc.), RBI from coach and an assistant hitting
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Buffalo Bills trivia
Is professional boxing making a local comeback?
secutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons? The NFL has a. Andre Reed kicked off the 2013 b. Eric Moulds season, and the presc. Lee Evans ence of EJ Manuel d. No other Bill has has given Bills fans done it. hope that the long 7. Only six Bills playoff drought may have caught at least finally be over. The 10 touchdown passes following questions in a season. Who is remind us of some of the only Bill ever to the more prominent catch 11 in a season? players ever to wear a a. Andre Reed helmet sporting a b. Bobby Chandler buffalo. c. Billy Brooks 1. Nate Clements d. Elbert Dubenion leads all Bills defen8. C.J. Spiller sive backs with 12 rushed for 1,244 career forced fumyards in 2012. Who bles. Who ranks secwas the last Bill ond among team DBs before Spiller to reach with 10? the 1,200-yard mark a. Henry Jones in a season? b. Jairus Byrd a. Fred Jackson c. Nate Odomes b. Willis McGahee d. George Wilson c. Marshawn Lynch 2. Who is the only Photo by Mike Majewski d. Antowain Smith player ever to lead Underrated wide receiver Stevie Johnson 9. Which of these the Bills in both keeps churning out 1000-yard seasons for the Bills. Bills never rushed for rushing yards and 12 or more touchreceiving yards in the downs in a season? a. Pete Gogolak same season? a. Thurman Thomas b. Scott Norwood a. Terry Miller b. Travis Henry c. Steve Christie b. Ronnie Harmon c. Robb Riddick d. Rian Lindell c. Joe Cribbs d. Cookie Gilchrist 5. Only two Bills have ever d. Thurman Thomas 10. In 1991, Jim Kelly set been named to eight consec3. Who is the only player the team record for most utive Pro Bowls; Billy Shaw in team history with two passing touchdowns in a and who? punt return TDs in one seaseason. How many did he a. Tom Sestak son? throw that year? b. Steve Tasker a. Keith Moody a. 41 c. Bruce Smith b. Nate Clements b. 40 d. Ruben Brown c. Roscoe Parrish c. 38 6. Stevie Johnson has put d. Leodis McKelvin d. 33 together three consecutive 4. Who is the only Bills 1,000-yard receiving seakicker ever to attempt 46 sons. Who is the only other field goals in a single seaBill ever to have three conson?
Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo have a rich history of boxing going back to the 1800s but in recent years, save for a few brave promoters, the area has had sporadic cards at best. Things are looking up for these areas with Rochester and Turning Stone Casino, and maybe now Buffalo, again holding regular shows. Turning Stone Casino continues to provide quality cards at their Event Center. They have featured eight cards in the last two years, many of which had world title implications. Turning Stone is located in Verona, N.Y., which is a few miles east of Syracuse. Their show on Aug. 23 was the season-ending Friday Night Fights on ESPN 2. Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson made his promotional debut and spent the week there entertaining fans. The event featured two world title bouts and four undercard fights. Buffalo’s Guillermo Sanchez (13-10-1) fought on 48-hours notice and it showed as he was stopped in the fifth round of a scheduled 10. •••••••• A professional boxing card was promoted by Pretty Girl Promotions on Aug. 8 in Rochester. But for a slight drizzle of rain at Frontier Field it was a beautiful and exciting night of boxing. Hector Camacho, Jr. fought in the main event and escaped with an eight-round unanimous decision over Lee Murtagh. With the win, Hector, Jr. improved to 56-5-1 while Murtagh returns to Ireland at 33-15-1 after scores of 77-71, 77-71 and 76-73. The eight-round semi-final on paper looked like a mismatch with Ryon McKenzie of Canastota by way of the Bahamas sporting a 14-0 record against Hamid AbdulMateen’s record of 3-4-2. The mismatch turned into a chess match with McKenzie getting the slight edge of the first three rounds. Abdul-Mateen
By Bob Caico
By Mike Fox
Answers 1.b 2.c-1983 3.d 4.a 5.d 6.d 7.c 8.b 9.a 10.d
By Bob Caico Tony Campbell has opened a boxing gym called Big Brother Boxing at 921 Sycamore Street on Buffalo’s east side. Training the boxers there are Ross “The Boss” Thompson and Frank McLaurin. Not only do they offer excellent coaching but the quality of fighters there may be second to none. On July 20, Thompson took his team to Tennessee to participant at the Bobby Hughes Invitational. Mike Stevens won three bouts and took home the championship belt at 152 pounds for Thompson’s first national champion since he turned to coaching after his stellar amateur and professional career. Next they took a team of four to the Paul Murphy National Invitational in Atlanta at the end of August. Super-heavyweight Alex Dedovets, 162pound Donnie Marshall and Mike Stevens added more championship belts for the gym as each took first place laurels. Jack Grady was runner-up in the tournament going 2-1 at 141 pounds. Also training at Big Brother are professional fighters Meacher Major, Michael Jackson and Greg “Juice” Brady. The gym is open from 4 to 8 Monday through Friday.
•••••••• The Westside Boxing Club’s on West Ferry Street. in Buffalo will host an amateur show on Oct. 5 at the Matthew Glab Post on Abbott Road. The Westside club boasts some of the toughest boxers around and this should be an excellent show. The following week Adalberto Diaz-Padilla and his father Rick Diaz will travel to Las Vegas to work the corner of Rochester’s Kenny Abril (146-1) who has been training at their gym. Abril will take on undefeated Brad Solomon (20-0) on the under card of the Tim Bradley-Juan Manuel Marquez fight. Also on that card will be Orlando Cruz, who is trained by Juan DeLeon, as he takes on Orlando Salido for the vacant WBO featherweight title. •••••••• On Sept. 28 there will be a great amateur show for those interested in the fight game. Victory MMA will host a card at the Sportsplex at 90 Ridge St. in North Tonawanda with 10 amateur boxing bouts followed by 10 amateur MMA bouts in the cage. Fans of both combat sports will be getting a real treat. •••••••• The annual Rochester St. Martin Boxing Club spon-
sored Puerto Rican Festival amateur boxing show was held Aug. 11. Competition also included clubs form Rochester’s ROC Boxing, Brampton, Ontario, Syracuse Westside, Buffalo PAL and new clubs from Albion and Spencerport. Paris Davis (RSM) rsc-2 Joe Sylvestro (ROC) Quenton McKnight (RSM) rtm Abdoar Abbi (RSM) Francisco Vargas (Syracuse) dec Alex Colon (Albion) Steve Massaro (Syracuse) dec Tyler Cipolane (Spencerport) Kamron Overton (RSM) dec Greer (RSM)
Lamar Allen (Buffalo PAL) dec Perjst Dhaliwall (Brampton) Justin Hopkins (Buffalo PAL) dec Gregory O’Neill (RSM) Tracy McGruder (RSM)dec Josh Ramos (Syracuse) Niasheen Williams (RSM) dec Naural Sran (Brampton) Michael Reeves (RSM) rsc-1 Harmon Sran (Brampton)
Photo by Bob Caico
Promoter Mercedes Vasquez-Simmons in Rochester after her boxing show in Rochester last month. kept it close though and opened a cut over McKenzie’s right eye in the sixth. The chess match continued in the last two rounds but the early lead was the difference as McKenzie remained unbeaten by taking a majority decision. Scores were 78-74-78-74 and 76-76. The remaining four bouts were scheduled for four rounds each with three of them ending oh so quick. First lightweight Alberto Machado of Rio Pieta, Puerto Rico, improved to 4-0 with his third KO at 1:03 of round one. A terrific body shot put Andrew Moreno (0-3) of Indiana down for the count. Machado is trained by Team DeLeon and promoted by Miguel Cotto. The next bout lasted 19 seconds longer as cruiserweight Greg Brady of Buffalo improved to 3-1 with his third KO over Martez Williamson (1-3) of Alliance, Ohio. A right to the top of the head dropped Williamson and the fight was over at 1:22. Not to be outdone, lightweight Lavisas Williams of Rochester blitzed Roel Moreno of McAllen, Texas with rights and lefts to the head and body from the opening bell. A final right to the jaw dropped Moreno for a count of eight but was unable to continue. Time was 46 seconds of the first. Williams improves to 2-0-1 while Moreno slides to 0-2.
Brandon Williams of Rochester took a unanimous decision over Luis Esquillin of Philadelphia in a slow fourrounder. The best round of the fight was the second when Williams (2-0) unloaded with lefts to the body that slowed Esquillin (2-5-1). Williams pecked away with his jab to shut out his opponent by identical 40-36 scores. •••••••• Rochester’s Mercedes Vazquez-Simmons, president of Pretty Girl Promotions, plans her first card in downtown Buffalo on Oct. 4 at the Buffalo-Niagara Convention Center. Mercedes is the first Latina woman to be a full time promoter and is presenting her fourth card (first three in Rochester) in a little over one year. Buffalo fighters Jordan Gaines (2-0), Emmanuel Colon (3-0), Michael Jackson (debut) and Eric Pulmeri (debut) are scheduled to fight in the preliminaries. Rochester fighters Jamell Tyson and Brandon Williams will also appear in separate bouts. Ten fights are scheduled in all. The boxer worth the price of admission will be cruiserweight Greg Brady of Buffalo. Brady lost a majority decision in his first pro bout in 2011 but has now won four straight bouts in 2013 all by knockout. Brady (4-1) is trained by recent Buffalo Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Ross “The Boss” Thompson.
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WWE Battleground PPV: Ryback will bring his Appetite for Destruction By Ivan the Impaler He’s been known as Ryan Reeves and Skip Sheffield. He’s been both cheered and hated by fans. And he’s been known for his huge appetite — both literally and figuratively. There is nothing subtle about Ryback. The WWE Superstar isn’t a high-flyer or scientific wrestler. He simply used his 290 pounds of pure power to thrash his way to the upper tier of the WWE food chain. He radiates an intimidating presence, striking fear into other wrestlers. If a hapless backstage employee or caterer should be in his way, they’ll pay the price for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ryback will be part of the WWE Battleground PayPer-View in Buffalo on October 6th at First Niagara Center. His opponent wasn’t certain at the time we went to press, but all indications point to a showdown between he and C.M. Punk. Last year, Ryback got his first shot at the WWE Title when he faced Punk, the defending champ, in a Hell in a Cell match. However, Ryback lost due to a conspiracy between Punk’s then-manager, Paul Heyman, and rouge referee Brad Maddox. Punk and Heyman have since had an ugly split after Heyman turned his back on his protégé. At the September 15th Night of Champions PPV, Punk won the right to get Heyman in the ring. As
Photo courtesy WWE
Ryback intends to make a statement at WWE’s Battleground PPV. Punk was pummeling his former manager, Ryback came out to put Punk through a table, help Heyman win and then carry Paul to safety. Is it safe to say that Ryback is now a “Paul Heyman Guy?” “I wouldn’t say that just yet” declares Ryback. “I haven’t forgotten that Heyman conspired against me in the Hell in a Cell match last year and cost me the title…What I saw (on September 16th) was C.M. Punk bullying around Paul Heyman, who’s not a wrestler. I didn’t like that and decided to take matters into my own
hands.” (Ryback would later say on Raw that he would never let C.M. Punk “bully” Paul Heyman again.) When it was suggested that Ryback has been guilty of bullying people himself, he firmly denies the charge. “I’m not at all being a bully. What I do give people is an opportunity. I give them the opportunity to show courage; to stand up for what’s right in the American Tradition — the chance to show the courage to be a Man.” “As for October 6th in Buffalo, I have a feeling that C.M. Punk isn’t too happy
with what happened. (We’ll soon) find out if he wants to get in the ring with The Human Wrecking Ball…I have no problem with shellshocking Punk for costing me the WWE Title.” Ryback, under his previous ring name of Skip Sheffield, was part of one of the most memorable nights on WWE Raw. In 2010, he and six other rookies known as the Nexus tossed around John Cena while destroying the ring and much of the set. “That’s a night I’ll never forget,” recalls Ryback. “We had one opportunity to make an impact; had we not, you probably wouldn’t have seen many of us around much longer. We were talented guys coming up through the development system; we’re all still here with the exception of Michael Tarver. That night was very special.” He didn’t rule out Nexus reforming down the road, but stressed that for now, they’re all happy doing their own thing. Growing up in Nevada as Ryan Reeves, Ryback played high school football and baseball; he also played the latter in junior college. His uncle is former pitcher Randy St. Claire, who played nine seasons in the majors between the Expos, Twins, Reds, Braves and Blue Jays. (Randy has been a major league pitching coach and currently works with the Mets’ AAA affiliate in Las Vegas.) Ryback
played third base, shortstop and first base, noting he was a good power hitter who batted in the .350/.380 range. He didn’t wrestle in high school because baseball and wrestling overlapped, but often trained with the wrestlers for physical conditioning. “Looking back,” he says, “I wish I wrestled. I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done, but it would’ve been nice to have that background.” In the Tough Enough competition where he first caught the eye of WWE, trainer Al Snow marveled that Ryback was always eating. ALWAYS. Ryback’s response: “Hey, the Big Guy loves to eat — you gotta eat to stay big…I’m in the gym three hours a day; I do a lot of conditioning. If I ate like a regular person, I’d only be about 250 pounds.” Ryback would beg WWE to “feed me more” opponents; perhaps he also meant power bars. He started watching wrestling when he was five years old. When he was 13, he won a contest to be a guest bell ringer at a WWE show in Vegas. “I met all the guys. From that point on, I knew I wanted to wrestle. I didn’t know how it would work out, but I wanted to try because I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. And as it turns out, it is.” Ryback’s immediate goal, of course, is to be the WWE Undisputed Champion and
the World Heavyweight Champion.” I feel like I’m going to be one of the mainstays in WWE for the next ten years” he says. “I love this lifestyle; there’s nothing better in the world…Ryback is championship material and will be in main events for many years to come.” And if he isn’t in the main event? He’ll be somewhere backstage, beating the snot out of anyone who refuses his generous offer to show “Courage.” UPCOMING LOCAL EVENTS Sat. Sept. 21- UFC 165 (PPV) - Air Canada Centre Toronto, ONT, Canada - 6 p.m. Sat. Sept. 21- Upstate Pro Wrestling (UPW) - Eagle’s Club, 1200 Buffalo Rd. Gates, NY - 6 p.m. Sat. Sept. 28- Empire State Wrestling (ESW) St. Johnsburg Fire Hall, 7165 Ward Rd. - North Tonawanda, NY- 6:30 p.m. Sun. Oct. 6 - WWE Battleground PPV - First Niagara Center - Buffalo, NY 7:30 p.m. - Head downtown and Follow the Buzzards! Sat. Oct. 12 - Neo Wrestling Federation - 4536 Portage Rd. - Niagara Falls, ONT, Canada- 7:30 p.m. Sat. Oct. 26 - UPW Braun’s Bar & Grill, 11891 Main St., Akron, NY - 5 p.m. Sat. Nov. 30 - ESW Keenan Center Arena Lockport, NY - 7 p.m.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Local collegiate soccer shining stars
Photo by Paul Hokanson/UB Athletics
Goaltender Ainsley Wheldon is one of the best between the pipes in Buffalo. By Adam McGill The 2013 collegiate soccer season is underway and some young stars are already starting to stand out. To help distinguish the faces in the crowd, here are some of the shining soccer stars to look for in Western New York this fall. D Alex De Carolis, Canisius College Surprisingly, the sophomore defender has been one of the team’s best offensive weapons. De Carolis scored two goals and added one assist in the first three games of the season. De Carolis was also named to the Preseason All-MAAC Team and was one of only two underclassmen on the squad. F Breanna Catipovic, Niagara University Catipovic (Kenmore, N.Y.) has a knack for finding the back of the net. The criminology major scored on a corner kick in a game earlier this month against Binghamton after a beautifully placed ball from Kori Thorne (Penfield, N.Y.). It was Catipovic’s third goal of the season and certainly won’t be her last. M Russell Cicerone, University at Buffalo Cicerone transitioned his strong club soccer resume
into a starting spot with the Bulls and he hasn’t disappointed since earning the promotion. The left midfielder scored three goals in the first three games of the season and has been Buffalo’s best offensive weapon. He will continue to show up in the box score game after game. M C.J. Scirto, Buffalo State College Scirto (Lockport, N.Y.) is the best offensive weapon on Buffalo State and is looking to build on his breakout 2012 campaign. The senior leads the team in shots game after game and is not afraid to fire one at the net. Scirto will likely lead the team in points when it is all said and done, so make sure to keep an eye on this veteran midfielder. F Briana Smith, Canisius College Smith (Buffalo, N.Y.) scored five goals in her first seven caps of the season and is leading the team in nearly every offensive category. The senior has amazing touch and can finish anywhere inside the box. Expect big things from the forward in her final season on Main Street. M/F Watson Nicholas, Niagara University Watson scored two goals
through his first three games with the team, including a game-winner. The freshman has also added three assists. Nicholas will be a fixture of the team’s offense for years to come. G Ainsley Wheldon, University at Buffalo Wheldon’s final season in Buffalo will be one to remember. The senior was already named MAC Conference Defensive Player of the Week in the beginning of September after going 2-0 with one shutout and a sensational one-goal effort. She has kept Buffalo in every game this season and will always give her team a chance when she is between the pipes. M Shannon Yokopovich, Buffalo State College Yokopovich (Webster, N.Y.) scored six goals last season and was named to the 2012 All-SUNYAC Second Team. The senior scored in her very first game in 2013 and is primed to have another big season for the Bengals. Yokopovich is one of the leaders of this team and the senior is ready to end her Buffalo State soccer career with a bang.
Sports & Leisure’s 2013 All-Fall Team By Dave Ricci Be honest, when the calendar turned to September we all muttered some version of the phrase “wow! Where did the summer go?” While it’s hard to bid farewell to summer, fans of the Western New York high school sports scene have plenty to look forward to in the coming months as football, soccer, volleyball, field hockey, tennis, golf, swimming and cross country are all underway. From the endless potential of Canisius’ football team to Tonawanda High School’s ribbon cutting of the New Clinton H. Small Stadium there isn’t shortage of great stories and great athletes. Some steal headlines every week, while some are unsung heroes and other are up-and-coming youth. Here’s a peak at some of the kids who should be making news this fall. Qadree Ollison, football, Canisius The 2012 Buffalo News Co-Player of the Year, Ollison is as good as it gets in WNY. Maybe even all of New York State. An amazing talent. Nigel Davis, football, St.Joe’s The Marauders are pinning their hopes on Davis and the speedy running back is up to the challenge. Can’t miss All-WNY first teamer. The Wheatley’s, football, Canisius Brothers TJ and Terius Wheatley make an already great Crusaders team that much better. Nick Valone, football, St. Mary’s Monsignor Martin Athletic Association first teamer and the league’s Special Team’s Player of the Year. As clutch as they come. Brad Zaffram, football, Canisius All-WNY first teamer who played wide receiver, linebacker and strong safety last season for Sweet Home. Another weapon on an already solid team. Chris Woodard, football, North Tonawanda Several times last year Jacks coach Tony Truilizio referred to his single caller the real deal. Now, as a junior, Woodard is living up to expectations as a leader and with the stats he puts up. Woodard can lead NT back to gridiron glory. Brian Stoldt, football, Alden QB for the three-time defending Section VI Class B champion Bulldogs. Stoldt was a NYS third team selection last year. Kalyn Compeau, soccer, Tonawanda High School The 2012 soccer Player of the Year for Metro Source and Tonawanda News. Compeau has incredible skill. First Lady Warrior to score a goal at Tonawanda’s New Clinton H.Small
Photo by Dave Ricci
Kayln Compeau, last year’s soccer player of the year, posing at the brand new Clinton H. Small Stadium. Stadium. Carissima Cutrona, soccer, Williamsville South Few players have created as much of a buzz in the WNY soccer community as Cutrona has. Very gifted and it would be hard to find anybody who would have a negative word to say about her. Simply amazing. Remmington Zaepfel, soccer, Sacred Heart The Sharks lost 10 seniors but Zaepfel is one of the best in WNY and will keep Sacred Heart a contender for the MMAA playoff crown. Scored the first ever goal at Tonawanda’s new Small Stadium on Aug.30. Lauren Lepovich, soccer, Kenmore West Metro Source 2012 Rookie of the Year, Lepovich is skilled and a great on field leader. As upbeat and likable a kid you will ever meet, but an absolute buzzsaw on the field. You don’t want to get in her way. Back after suffering scary injury during the indoor season that almost cost her the sight in her right eye. Jillian Zamorski, soccer, Nichols Came to the Big Green by way of Holy Angels. Was supposed to be cornerstone of the rebuilding Angels program, but finds herself starting over as newest member of one of the elite programs in New York. Hard work and good attitude have helped Zamorski win over her new soccer family. Erin McCormick, soccer, Mt. St. Mary No student was more vocal or more passionate when it came to leading the fight to save Holy Angels. McCormick will bring that tough, never say die attitude to her new school as the Thunder’s starting goalie. Gretta Dry, soccer, Lockport One of the gems of the Lady Lions basketball program, Dry is no slouch on
the pitch either. Had two multi-goal games in first week of season. Bryan Daigler, soccer, Sweet Home Scoring machine and a solid all-around player for a very strong Sweet Home club. Abby Borkowski, volleyball, Kenmore West Coach Kelly Strong said Borkowski was the strongest eighth grader she has ever had. High praise considering Strong has coached two all-time West greats Kaley Vasquez (Daemen) and Sarah Pray (Geneseo) as eighth graders. Borkowski has great all-around skill. A future captain for sure. Leanna Metzger and Gabby Hansen, volleyball, North Tonawanda The Lady Jacks 1-2 punch at outside hitter. Both in year three of varsity, Hansen and Metzger are two big reasons why the Jacks are ready for a run at the Niagara Frontier League title. Kelsey Yeates, volleyball, Niagara Wheatfield Great all-around player and heart and soul of Falcons team that is the favorite to win the Niagara Frontier League title. Kailee Ballou, volleyball, Eden Another solid all-around player in this elite program. Carolyn Hopkins, cross country, Williamsville South Won three races in the girls division of the JFK Cross Country Invitational in September. Only the start of what should be great season. MacKenzie Hadaway, field hockey, Kenmore A key member of this joint team of Kenmore East and Kenmore West, Hadaway was a rock in net as she helped the DevilDogs win the Barb Field Tournament.
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Unwrapping a mystery: Who will we see in Buffalo on Opening Day 2014? By Joe Kirchmyer I guess we can now go ahead and call 2013— the first year of Buffalo’s affiliation with the Toronto Blue Jays—a success. For starters, the team finished four games above .500 with a 74-70 record, good for third place in the International League North. Additionally, the team contended for a playoff spot right down to the wire before finishing 6.5 games back of division leading Pawtucket. Such a run was a rare occurrence during the team’s previous relationship with the New York Mets. Fans also had an Photo courtesy Buffalo Bisons opportunity to see some Will Kevin Pillar spend the entire high-profile players in season in Buffalo next year or get action, including several the call up to Toronto? who spent time in Buffalo while on injury through the 2016 season. rehab assignments. “We’ve seen a tremendous Excitement surrounded the response from fans, both arrival of players such as longtime followers and new Chien-Ming Wang, J.A. supporters, since affiliating Happ, Ricky Romero, Jose with the Blue Jays,” Bob Reyes, Josh Johnson and Rich, owner of the Buffalo Melky Cabrera. Bisons, said. “We’ve found a Couple that with an great teammate in the Blue increase in attendance of Jays and every element of approximately 800 fans per our business is better with game and a jump in related the strong commitment of revenues, and it was no surour major league partner.” prise when the Bisons and “We believe in the Toronto Blue Jays announced a twoBlue Jays and the direction year affiliation extension on their organization is going,” Aug. 29 that lengthens the Rich continued. “The future player development contract
is bright for the Blue Jays and we want to be a part of what is sure to be exciting seasons to come in Toronto and Buffalo.” Bisons vice president and general manager Mike Buczkowski was also happy to address the future of the team on the field shortly after the conclusion of the 2013 season. He believes next year’s squad will be deep in quality pitching. “I think most of the prospects we’ll see next year will be pitchers based on what we saw here and in Double-A this year,” Buczkowski said. “Sean Nolin is one guy that we had up here at the end of the year that we expect to see on our roster next year. Marcus Stroman was a Double-A starter all year, and we could even see Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison back as both are still coming back from Tommy John surgery. Deck McGuire pitched in DoubleA New Hampshire this year and had a bad first half but pitched much better in the second half. And as for relievers, John Stilson pitched here and did very well for us.” Addressing the “everyday guys,” Buczkowski said it’s possible we might see Ryan Goins back at shortstop for the Bisons to start the year as
he’s yet to play a full season of Triple-A ball. He also hopes to see prospect catcher A.J. Jimenez in Bisons gear to begin the season following his brief end-of-season stop in Buffalo in 2013. “Kevin Pillar is an outfielder who came up from Double-A and hit over .300 for us, and then there’s outfielder Brad Glenn who played up here the last couple of weeks of the season and hit some home runs,” Buczkowski added. “The wild cards are (outfielders) Anthony Gose and Moises Sierra. They’ve both had their ups and downs and could both wind up in Toronto or back here in Buffalo next season.” •••••••• Player transactions can at times be fast and furious, but Buczkowski found himself wheeling and dealing the
evening of Aug. 22 just prior to the Bisons home game against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Buczkowski’s evening began with the acquisition of Eric Church, who was then immediately traded for the rights to Matt Harvey. Harvey was then shipped off for none other than “The Polish Rifle” himself, Ron Jaworski. Confused? Not if you realize that Aug. 22 was Mystery Ball Night at Coca-Cola Field, where fans had an opportunity to purchase autographed baseballs at $20 a pop, with proceeds from the event going to charity. Hundreds of balls were available, and gone about 20 minutes after the gates opened at 6 p.m. Buczkowski was spotted among those purchasing one of the wrapped balls, which are signed by a wide variety
of individuals from baseball players and other athletes to actors, musicians, entertainers and more. Buczkowski’s ball carried the autograph of singersongwriter Eric Church, which he traded to a country music fan for a ball autographed by New York Mets phenom pitcher Matt Harvey. Harvey was then exchanged for the football great from nearby Lackawanna. As for me, I ended up with baseballs autographed by J.P. Arencibia and Chien-Ming Wang at the end of my first Mystery Ball Night experience. There was one trade involving a prospect that helped me acquire Wang. I look forward to seeing everyone on Thursday, April 3, for Opening Day 2014!
Fantasy baseball By Mike Fox
As the 2013 baseball marathon draws to a close, it’s time to give recognition to some of the noteworthy—and not so noteworthy—accomplishments season, each of which had considerable bearing on the outcome of fantasy leagues across the land. Fantasy Batting MVP This was expected to be a three-man race between Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout. Braun, of course, cheated his way out of the race, but the other two heavyweights did not disappoint, and Chris Davis is deserving of consideration here as well. In 2012, Cabrera was the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years last season, and actually improved his stats in all three categories in 2013. Were it not for Davis’s remarkable home run pace, Miggy would be cruising to his second consecutive crown. At first glance, it would appear that Trout digressed from his record-setting rookie season, with reductions in homers, stolen bases and runs scored. A closer look reveals that he showed improvement in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage, so those other declines were probably more attributable to a general decline of the Angels offense than to a sophomore slump. Much like last year at this time, the 22-year-old Trout is still the jewel of any keeper-format fantasy league. It could be argued that Davis was actually the most valuable fantasy player of 2013. Sure, Miggy and Trout were amazing, but the entire fantasy world saw it coming, so their price tags were sky-high. Davis was still available in the middle rounds of most fantasy
Photo courtesy MLB Pressbox
Fantasy owners wish they had not said “si si” when CC Sabathia’s name came up. drafts, and when a midround pick comes anywhere near the 50-homer plateau, success is sure to follow. Best Batting Bargain Davis deserves recognition again here, but when judging the best bang for your fantasy dollar, it’s hard not to zero in on St. Louis’s Matt Carpenter. He was likely nothing more than a roster filler pick (if he was even drafted in your league), yet sported a .300 batting average almost all season, and will lead the majors in runs scored in 2013. The fact that he carried roster eligibility at four positions in some formats enhanced his value even further. Alfonso Soriano had a 30100 season in 2012, but nobody expected him to do it again this year at age 37. He did. Even more remarkably, of the top 30 home run hitters of 2013, only Carlos Gonzalez stole more bases than Soriano. Worst Batting Bargain If we don’t count lying, cheating, suspended players, this award has to go to L.A.’s Matt Kemp. After
falling one homer short of a 40-40 season in 2011, Kemp has produced a combined 28 homers and 18 stolen bases over the past two injury-marred seasons. Pitching MVP Perennial favorites Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez faltered, but Clayton Kershaw just keeps getting better. The 25-yearold Kershaw turned in the most dominant season of his already impressive career, with an ERA under 2, and his customary K-perinning pace. Kershaw will win the NL Cy Young Award for the second time in three years, and the AL Cy should go to Max Scherzer, the new ace of the Tigers. His ERA was a full run higher than Kershaw’s but he ranked highly on the leader board in WHIP and strikeouts, and nobody will come close to his win total in 2013. Best Pitching Bargain Rookie right hander Jose Fernandez went undrafted in most fantasy leagues, yet proceeded to post a 2.19 ERA and strikeout 187 batters before the Marlins shut him down in midSeptember. Even more impressively, he managed 12 wins while pitching for the worst major-league team not based in Houston. Worst Pitching Bargain Verlander and Matt Cain were among the more notable underachievers this year, but the hardest fall from grace had to be that of CC Sabathia. The supposed Yankees ace was off most draft boards by the fifth round, but he’ll finish the season with by far the worst ERA of his 13-year career, along with the expected corresponding bloated WHIP. In 5x5 roto leagues, fantasy owners would have statistically been far better off benching CC all year and taking a zero.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE