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Bill Pucko - Chief Editor

Today's Best

by Jon Heyman, 10/23/14
One day we had fun Hunter, the quirky Giants' famed homer hitter Hunter Pence. The next day we had fun-killer Hunter, the no-nonsense Giants' infamous homer surrender-er Hunter Strickland.

by Richard Obert, Azcentral Sports 10/23/14
Transgender athletes have been allowed to play on their preferred teams in at least 10 states, according to Trans Athlete.According to the National Federation of High Schools, 32 states have some sort of policy on transgender athletes with some stating they have to play on the gender-specific sports, according to what is on their birth certificates.


Home Grown

by Matthew Fairburn, 10/23/14
The Bills have made a change on the offensive line. After a few rough games in a row, rookie fifth-round pick Cyril Richardson has been replaced as the team's starting left guard in favor of Kraig Urbik, who started all 16 games at right guard for the Bills in 2013. Erik Pears was still running with the first-team offense at right guard.

by Chris Burke, 10/23/14
The Bills have gutted out two wins over the past three weeks to stay in the division race. On the other hand, they also have scored more than 17 points just once since Week 2 ... and it was in a loss. Unless now-injured running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson were the problem (and they weren't), Buffalo has to come up with some other answers.


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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 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.

by Jamie Eisenberg, Buffalo News 10/22/14
Bryce Brown should be the No. 1 running back to target this week in all leagues off waivers. Tre Mason of the Rams is a close second – call him running back 1A – but Brown has a higher ceiling. Even when Jackson comes back, Brown could still remain the featured option for the Bills.