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Bill Pucko - Chief Editor

Today's Best

by Tom Verducci, 10/24/14
The philosophy of the modern game to allow starting pitchers to throw fewer and fewer pitches and fewer and fewer innings has turned over more responsibility to bullpens. And the sixth inning, when starters have difficulty pitching to a lineup for the third time, has become the inning of reckoning. Major league hitters posted a .321 on-base percentage in that frame, the highest of any inning this year.

by Frank Schwab, Shutdown Corner 10/24/14
The Broncos are the best team in football right now, by a wide margin. They’ve gone from a team with a historic offense and a so-so defense to a team with an even better offense on paper and a stellar defense.


Home Grown

by Randy Lang, 10/24/14
Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone was asked if he ever experienced anything like losing his top two RBs, Fred Jackson (groin) and C.J. Spiller (collarbone) in a span of nine offensive plays against the Vikings. "Yeah, when I was with the Jets," he said, referencing the loss of Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler in an even shorter span in 2003, when he was our OL coach.

by Matthew Fairburn, 10/24/14
It's not hard to see why Kyle Orton is winning over the people of Buffalo. He works hard and isn't too much different than the people that fill up Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sundays.


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Our Contribution

Returning Home Alone Again

by Bill Pucko, 10/20/14

My first column for Messenger Post Newspapers appeared on July 31, 2008.  It was called "Returning Home Alone." 
I somehow turned it into a sports story by recounting a baseball trip taken with my son Kyle between Rochester and Chicago with stops along the way on I-90, culminating in a visit to Wrigley Field.  But the real point was how difficult the return trip was without him.  Kyle stayed in Chicago for work and I was, as the title implied, returning home alone.
Six years, three months and some 300 columns later I find myself in pretty much the same place.  The youngest of my three children leaves for Queens at the end of this month to begin his career as a forester.  Yes, in Queens.
Carrie was the 1998 and 1999 Section Five diving champion.  She would bring a Disney coloring book to the major meets and color between dives to keep her mind off the pressure.  She also played a little softball.  Her last play in left field for Webster came in the final inning of a sectional championship against Fairport.  She threw out a runner at the plate.  Sports helped get her into Holy Cross.
Kyle was the only member of his senior class on the Webster soccer team to play past high school.  He was third team All-SUNY at Geneseo as a senior on sheer will.  His moment of truth came in a game at St. John Fisher.  He was the victim of a hard foul and a penalty shot was called.  The Knights had a designated shooter but Kyle, as the aggrieved party, insisted on taking it himself.  He missed.  The walk of shame back to the bench couldn't have been any more difficult for him than it was for me in the stands watching that day.
Nathan never met a game he didn't love, but it was evident a few years before the actual moment of truth, that he might not have the ability to play either varsity soccer or baseball at Webster Thomas.  That turned out to be the case.  After playing JV in both sports, he was cut trying out for the varsity.  Twice in soccer.  He took the slights in stride.  Even helped me sculpt a column on the pain of being told you weren't good enough.  There were few hard feelings.
So now Carrie is in Seattle, Kyle is in Missoula, Montana, and Nathan is on his way downstate.  I couldn't be prouder of their ambition and accomplishments.  Still, it might have been nice had one of them been a little less adventurous and stuck closer to home, so we could play a round of golf, have lunch at Sticky Lips, or take in a Red Wings game at the spur of the moment. 
That of course is a totally selfish sentiment.  The point here is, those of you currently buried under the burdens of youth sports, driving to practice and attending games, escaping work to drive forty minutes to see the last five of some contest somewhere, and as often as not, getting lost along the way, are more fortunate than you know. 
Appreciate those moments.  They go by in a blink.  And you'll miss them when they're gone.



from 5/21/14

Tyler Ennis' game likely would have benefited from another season or two in college, but as a possible lottery pick, he probably made the right decision from a financial standpoint.

from 5/20/14
Both Toronto and Minnesota jumped five places this week, with the Blue Jays continuing an impressive rise up the rankings. Toronto is the only team in the AL East with a positive run differential, thanks in large part to the division's best offense -- the Blue Jays have scored the third-most runs in the AL and lead the league in home runs.



by Jeff Brubach, 10/24/14
Oddsmakers expect New Orleans’ Week 8 game at home against Green Bay to be the highest scoring contest of the week, so grabbing any part of this fantasy pie is a solid idea.

by Brad Evans, Yahoo Sports 10/23/14
Due to his occasional cases of fumblitis, Bryce Brown isn't someone you should trust holding grandma's fine china, but his explosion, aggressiveness, plus vision and versatility are highly attractive.