Game Preview: Portland Thunder at Philadelphia Soul

The Portland Thunder had a tough week, although no one outside of San Jose had an opportunity to see how tough it was. They lost on the road to the undefeated San Jose Sabercats by a comfortable amount and lost top WR Jamar Howard to an injury for the next couple of months.

Their reward for getting past that game? Now they’ll travel across the country to take on the league’s OTHER undefeated team.

Game Day Breakdown: Portland Thunder vs. Philadelphia Soul. The Soul best the Thunder in yardage, points, and turnovers on offense and defense.

They’ll try to make up for Howard’s absence with more plays to former Soul receiver V’Keon Lacey as well as former fourth receiver Perez Ashford, who produced career highs in Howard’s absence in San Jose.

However, the defense will also have to try to slow down the league’s top scoring offense, as the Soul average 61 points per game. (The Thunder’s last two opponents, San Jose and Arizona, are second and third in the league, respectively).

Fourth down looks like it could play a huge role in this game, as well, as the Soul lead the league in fourth-down conversion rate, having converted nine of their 12 opportunities, while the Thunder are tied with the Voodoo for last in the league, having converted just three of 11 chances. The Soul are second in the league in stopping fourth-down conversions as well, having given up a first down on just three of 12 fourth-down plays.

All in all, the Thunder are going up against a better team while missing one of their biggest weapons, on the road, across the country…it’s going to be pretty difficult to get back to .500 on the season.

On the bright side, because the game isn’t in San Jose, Thunder fans will at least have the opportunity to see how the team looks against a potential ArenaBowl team.

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“Sons of Thunder” coming to Ora.tv April 30

From the Ora.tv press release:

Sons of Thunder is a reality sports documentary series following the rigorous process of building a professional sports franchise from the ground up, airing now on Ora.TV. The show tells the story of Portland, Oregon’s fledgling Arena Football League team, the Thunder, and their journey to the first kick off of their inaugural season. You will see, hear, and feel the grind, the politics, and the lifestyle of these elite athletes through the eyes and ears of each of their personal trials and triumphs, up to and including game day.

All eight episodes of SONS OF THUNDER will be available to stream free, anytime, anywhere on Ora.TV on April 30.

You can watch Episode 7 right now at this link.

Why the DH should be baseball’s standard in one simple analogy

Recently, a couple of professional pitchers got into a public argument about whether or not the DH should come into the National League the way it has basically every other league in the world. In case you’re unfamiliar with baseball, the viewpoints are summarized neatly in the analogy below (analogy is mine, so if you love/hate it, tweet me: @BeaudryDFW).

A restaurant has a really popular way of producing dinners. They have phenomenal chefs that, because of how involved their product is, require four days’ rest between work days. The restaurant’s owner doesn’t want the chefs to burn out, so he hires five of them and they work once a week. There are sous chefs and other assistants that help out on a part-time basis each day, but their roles are limited.

The restaurant also has eight waiters. They do a great job, are highly compensated, and they are among the best in the world at what they do.

At the end of the night, the chef and his assistants clean all the dishes. It’s one of those necessary tasks that is part of each person’s job description but isn’t really considered important enough to hire someone for. There’s space for nine people to do the dishes, so the waiters and the chef finish it off, since they’re paid the most.

The restaurant is crazy popular! The eight waiters sometimes struggle to serve every customer with complete satisfaction. How do they fix this problem?

A National League fan would have the chef come out on occasion on his day of work and wait tables. Sure, he won’t be very good at it as it requires a completely different skill set than the one he’s paid for, and it will take away from his performance in the kitchen, but chefs have been doing this a while in other places, so that’s the way it should be done.

An American League fan would simply hire another waiter. Since there isn’t any more room in the dish washing area, he can join the sous chef and other assistants in skipping the dish washing. Service is improved, the quality of the food remains as high as possible, and someone else has a job.

Perez Ashford: Personal Protector Extraordinaire

Every half begins with a kickoff. In a typical Arena Football League game, you’re likely to see 15-plus kickoffs, a few of which will go through the narrow uprights for a touchback, some of which will be onside kicks, and you’ll have a couple of electrifying returns.

What doesn’t happen often, except to the Portland Thunder this year, is a bar ball.

A routine play turns into a panicked free-for-all as the ball careens wildly off iron, falling to the ground, where a kicking team recovery typically results in a red zone possession or a backbreaking touchdown.

In the past three games, the Portland Thunder have managed to avoid a turnover on a bar ball* thanks to new wide receiver Perez Ashford’s quick reactions and playmaking ability.

Continue reading Perez Ashford: Personal Protector Extraordinaire

A requiem for Russell “Bodie” Westbrook’s 2015 season

As foretold in the prophetic HBO series The Wire, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s season ended exactly as we should have expected, with the Thunder missing out on the playoffs. In fact, this entire NBA season (especially post-All Star Break) was described in Season 4.

The key to the interpretation is Russell Westbrook – I’m far from the only person to associate him with Bodie every time I see him. Not only does he look similar to J. D. Williams as he played Preston “Bodie” Broadus throughout the series, but he plays basketball exactly like Bodie approached the Baltimore streets.

The criticism of Westbrook is that he doesn’t always have the big picture in mind. He doesn’t have perhaps the gift of organization and always doing the right thing that will do the most good. However, he shows up every day. He’s extremely loyal. He’s always going out to do his best in the way he sees as best. When he doesn’t respect D’Angelo, he doesn’t do what he says and does what he thinks is right. When Westbrook maybe isn’t running what Scott Brooks draws up, he’s doing the exact same thing. And maybe Westbrook is the one who’s right after all.

Let’s look at how Season 4 played out for Bodie vs. how the 2014-15 season played out for Westbrook and the Thunder.

The Wire, Season 4: The Barksdale crew has been all but destroyed. Avon is gone (others online have gone so far as to say Kevin Durant resembles Avon; I don’t see it much, but he was the kingpin and Durant, similarly, was the league MVP). Everyone but Bodie, Poot, and Slim Charles is dead, in prison, or otherwise out of the game. Continue reading A requiem for Russell “Bodie” Westbrook’s 2015 season

You Can’t Go Home Again (Especially Wearing the Road Team’s Uniform)

Former Thunder QB Danny Southwick was the starter for the Spokane Shock as they visited Portland on April 9. Did his time in training camp help him or the Thunder? Were there any conflicts of interest among his former teammates? Why was he still in Portland throughout the weekend? Find all the answers in my newest article on ArenaFan.