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NIT, transfer portal, Billy Smith, the Penguin

Wednesday 3/20/24

Boston College defeated a diminished Providence team last night in the NIT to advance. I don't know--I think that's pretty cool. Was in Providence, a tough place to play for opponents. I know people aren't that into the NIT and now schools are opting out. I look at it like a bowl game in football. Teams get more practice and playing time, they can build for the next season, they get a little exposure, and fans of the team have another game to watch, or games if that's the case with basketball. A problem right now is that the transfer portal opens up before bowl and tournament season is done. You can't have that. The NIT was a big deal for people my parents' age. I like a BC-PC game, wish there were more of them. There's an episode of Wings where the brothers and their friends--all of whom seemingly went to one of these schools--gather to watch a big basketball game between them. That's kind of quaint now, and it was quaint then, too, to be honest. Regional New England stuff. But I love regional New England stuff. I love New England.

I saw that it was on this day in 1988 that Islanders goalie Billy Smith won his 3000th game. You don't think of Billy Smith as playing in 1988. He actually had one more season left. Those Islanders rosters didn't turn over that much after their dynastic run--which really dates to their pre-dynastic run in the late 1970s. The warriors got old and aged out, some probably before their time on account of all of those postseason battles. We tend to view Smith--those who do--as coming to his end in 1984, with that final Cup run, the so-called Drive for Five. But no--there he was with Kelly Hrudey, splitting time that following season before becoming the back-up.

Here's an interesting baseball tidbit: the career high of home runs in a season by Dodgers and Cubs third baseman Ron Cey--the Penguin--was 30, which he achieved once. And yet, Cey finished in the top ten in the National League in home runs nine times. We must always consider the era in which a player played.


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