Friday, June 12, 2009

Ask Sports Sturm: Bethpage, August, and Cleveland

guerin1 Before we get into some of the other items we have for today, I do want to offer you a picture and a thought about the rare Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 tonight in Detroit.

First, I am a big fan of the man with the beard on the left. Bill Guerin is one of the classiest humans I have ever met in pro sports. I want success to find him, and to get his name on the holy grail (again) would make me very happy.

Also, I am not a big fan of the Detroit Red Wings. They are my life-long hockey nemesis. I wish failure upon them and even more failure on their fans. It is very similar to my feeling about the Spurs, so before you email me and tell me how jealous I am - let me cut you off at the pass and admit it. I am. It doesn't mean you have to be smug about it, and it sure doesn't mean you have to win all of the time.

Anyway, now that I have declared my love for Guerin and my hate for the Wings, let's figure out what the Penguins are up against tonight as they try to win a Game 7 on the road in the Stanley Cup Finals.

You may recall that this series was tied 2-2, and then Detroit dominated Pittsburgh in Game 5 with a 5-0 drubbing. Well, in series tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has gone on to win the Cup 14 of 19 times. BUT, only once has the loser of Game 5 gone on to win Game 7 on the road. That is what Pittsburgh must do - what only the 1971 Montreal Canadians did, with rookie netminder Ken Dryden.

Meanwhile, there have been 14 Game 7's in the Stanley Cup Finals in all. The home team has won 12 of them. The two road wins in a Game 7 are the previously mentioned '71 Canadians and the seldom mentioned '45 Red Wings who went into Toronto and won Game 7. That is right. 2 times in the history of hockey has a team won a Game 7 on the road in the Finals - 1945 and 1971. There have been 6 cracks at it since 1971, but the home team won every time.

Added to that evidence is the fact that Detroit is 11-1 at home in these playoffs and you can see the odds are rather tall. But, Pittsburgh has already won a Game 7 on the road in Washington, so they know they can do it.

But can they do it on the big stage, against the mighty Red Wings? Don't bet your house.


Ok, on to this week's stuff:

Back-to-Back Tiger Slam

Hey Bob,

Love the show! Tiger Woods is defending his US Open title next week and I was wondering has anyone ever won every major back to back. Tiger has won back to back at the Masters, PGA, and British Open. So i was thinking if he wins at Bethpage next week him would be the only golfer in history to win all four majors back to back. I know that you are not the golf expert but you are probably the only one who would actually take the time to get the answer. Thanks and again love the show but TOM BLOWS.

P1 John

Well, John, if you thought Tiger would be the first ever to do this insane trick, you are right. He has almost done it already, but he has not won back-to-back US Opens. He merely won 2 in 3 years.

Here is the list of those golfers who can claim that they defended a major title the following year:

Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Tiger Woods

US Open: Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Curtis Strange

British Open (since WW1): Walter Hagen, Bobby Locke, Peter Thomson, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington

PGA: Denny Shute, Walter Hagen, Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods

That's right. He has won back-to-back PGA titles twice. He is Tiger Woods.

Keep in mind that only 6 golfers have won as many as 8 majors total, so to win 2 of each is quite unlikely. In fact, only Tiger and Jack have won the career slam more than once. They have each done it 3 times already.


Fizzle in the Sun

Here is a study about the reputation of the Rangers and the premise that they always fizzle in the hot summer. Is it true?

A friend of mine was giving me crap for being a Rangers fan yesterday. They kept saying that the Rangers always collapse after the All-Star break. This seems to be conventional wisodm. I wanted to check the numbers so I put together a month-by-month table comparing wins, losses, %, runs scored and runs against from 2000-2008.

MonthAvg WinsAvg LossesWin %

Table Tutorial

While May is the best month, July is a close second and April is by far the worst. I just don't see this as a trend that shows the Rangers continuously collapsing. They've just been bad throughout the year. Makes me feel better about the good start.




Another Sports Title For Cleveland

Here's one for your consideration-With Orlando winning game 3, does that leave Cleveland as the only team to have made an NBA Finals and not won a game? And then ending that 6 game finals losing streak, is that the longest in NBA history? Sports. - love, Donovan

That is right, Donnie-doo. Cleveland is the only team in the NBA who has made the Finals, and has never won a game (0-4 in their '07 sweep from the Spurs). I suppose that is still better than the Clippers, Nuggets, Hornets, Timberwolves, Grizzlies, Raptors, and Bobcats who have never made the Finals period. Heck, the Bobcats have never made the playoffs. But, Cleveland does continue to Rock.


1-0 At the Ballpark

Finally, as I was watching Kevin Millwood work his magic last night, my mind began to race about the 1-0 game at the Ballpark over the 16 seasons it has existed.

With a little help from the Rangers PR department, I put together a helpful summary of the 8 games for you to check out:

DateWinning TeamLosing TeamWPLP
4/28/94TexasTorontoK BrownA Leiter

Table Tutorial

Given my love for the sports oddity, I couldn't help but notice that Texas had done it 4 times ever, with 3 coming against the Toronto Blue Jays.

But here is the big fun. Last night was game #1219 ever played at the Ballpark, thus, with 8 1-0 games ever played there, that makes it something that happens 0.006% of the time. A fairly rare feat.

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