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Tiger's Character Questioned Anew
Cleveland Indians Quiz: 1) Who am I? I had six consecutive 100-RBI seasons, 1934-39. 2) Who is the only Cleveland pitcher to win 24 in a season since 1950? Answers below.
--How bad are the Mets? They took an Astros reject and inserted him into the starting lineup, 33-year-old journeyman, Rick Ankiel. After fanning twice in three at-bats in his first game for the Metsies, he has struck out 37 times in 66 ABs this season.
“There is not enough Budweiser in this city to make the Mets look pretty.
“The lineup, starting rotation and bullpen are in shambles and the only potential immediate help from below will be in New York today to have his sore right collarbone examined. But it will take more than even a healthy Zack Wheeler to sanitize this mess.
“Dillon Gee gave the Mets almost no shot last night with a dreadful performance that became a 10-4 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
“The Mets (14-22) lost their fifth straight, but at least snapped a seven-game streak in which they scored three runs or fewer. Too bad the scoring didn’t occur until after the Cardinals had grabbed a 9-0 lead and were just looking to finish the game.”
I blame Bush.
Meanwhile, Manager Terry Collins is a goner. I thought he would be if the team started 15-25 and lo and behold, we’re almost there.
You know Collins is history when he makes a statement as he did the other day in explaining the behavior of mercurial Jordany Valdespin.
“I don’t answer to fans. They don’t play this game. They have no idea what goes on. They have no idea what goes on in there. They have absolutely no idea what it means to be a professional teammate at this level.”
--After I posted Sunday evening, the White Sox’ Chris Sale threw the third one-hitter in three days in the majors, joining Shelby Miller and Jon Lester when he defeated the Angels 3-0. Sale needed just 98 pitches for his first career shutout.
--The Washington Post’s Norman Chad was discussing the pathetic Astros and how they are of course a lock for their third consecutive 100-loss season, which is quite a feat.
After Tuesday’s play, the Astros are 10-30 with a 5.81 team ERA, which is a full run higher than next worst in the A.L., Toronto, at 4.79.
And the Marlins are now 11-28. But a case can easily be built that the Mutts could end up the season right there with these two. [The Mets are now last in the N.L. in team ERA, 4.59.]
--Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore is 7-0, 2.44. As Ronald Reagan would have said...not bad, not bad at all.
--Wow...the Cubs signed second-year first baseman Anthony Rizzo to a seven-year, $41 million contract. Great move. Rizzo has nine home runs this year and clearly seems like the real deal. This contract will save the Cubbies a lot of money down the road as Rizzo was going to be eligible for four arbitration seasons, rather than three due to his status.
--The New York Post points out that the Yankees’ Hiroki Kuroda has the fifth best ERA among A.L. pitchers with at least 200 innings since the start of last season. Kuroda’s 3.13 ranks fifth behind only Justin Verlander (2.52), Felix Hernandez (2.76), David Price (3.00) and Chris Sale (3.01).
--Grey Flannel Auctions was set to auction off a corked bat supposedly used by Mickey Mantle, with an authenticator revealing cork inside. But then the Mantle family issued a lengthy statement claiming the whole thing to be a sham, and Grey Flannel removed the bat from the auction block.
“The claim has spread throughout the Internet, and news media outlets nationwide have repeated and republished the marketer’s false claims, baseless implications, and purported statements of the marketer’s so-called authenticator.
“The statements and suggestions that Dad used a corked bat more than 49 years ago to cheat at the game he worshipped are false. Let us be clear: Dad didn’t need and never used a corked bat. Mickey Mantle was honest about the way he played the game that he loved and to which he devoted his professional life....Our Dad’s legacy must be protected and the injury to his reputation must be corrected – he does not deserve to be the subject of these outrageous fabrications.”
Let’s Go Ran-Gers!
What a Monday night in the NHL with two Game Sevens...in New York and Boston.
“Game 7 would be, early on, an entire lineup of exasperated Capitals skating hard against Henrik Lundqvist, which was not a fair fight. Nothing is a fair fight right now against Lundqvist, who is currently performing nightly headstands in the crease and stopping pucks with his teeth – his canines, not his molars.
“He shut out the Caps for two straight elimination games, for 120 minutes, and the Caps are not a bad team – until they finally became a bad team, demoralized and aimless, losing 5-0 to the Rangers Monday night at the Verizon Center.”
“There was a moment Monday, one that will be lost in yet another restless offseason, in which it seemed it could be Alex Ovechkin’s night. In one first-period shift, the Washington Capitals right winger crushed helpless New York Rangers defenseman John Moore in the open ice. He then tracked down Steve Eminger and delivered another low. And before he returned to the bench, he lined up Ryan McDonagh, jarring him. The boards rattled. Verizon Center roared.
“But as the clock wound down, and another spring of hockey ended in the District, Ovechkin was left to look down at his feet, glance up at the scoreboard, and consider another long summer ahead. His early hits scarcely rattled the Rangers, and his lone shot couldn’t get past infallible New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist, so Washington is back in a familiar spot: Wondering when and how – and, more increasingly, if – the Ovechkin-led Capitals will ever advance deep into the NHL playoffs....
“Vacant disappointment crossed his face. These are the only playoff memories Ovechkin has, and they fit with the blown three-games-to-one lead against Montreal in 2010, the inexplicable second-round sweep against Tampa Bay the following year. The more the Capitals try to distance themselves from their organization’s shaky postseason past, the more they seem to add chapters to it.”
“Trailing by three goals in the third period and still by two with less than 90 seconds left in their season, the Bruins scored twice in a span of 31 seconds to tie it and then eliminated the Maple Leafs on Patrice Bergeron’s goal at 6:05 of overtime to win 5-4 in Game 7....
“According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Bruins are the first team in NHL history to win a Game 7 after trailing by three goals in the third period.” [AP]
I watched the overtime and kind of felt sorry for Toronto. They hadn’t been to the playoffs since 2004 and then blow this one.
Now the Rangers and Bruins face off, beginning Thursday. Incredibly, this is the first time they’ve matched up in the playoffs in 40 years. It should be fun. Brings back great memories for those of us of a certain age.
J.R. Smith and the Knicks
The awful shooting continues for J.R. as he went 7-for-22 from the field in another ugly loss to the Pacers in Indianapolis Tuesday night, 93-82.
So since his suspension in the Celtics’ series, he is 26 of 91 from the field (.285) and 10 of 37 from downtown (.270). At least he has been consistently bad, in front of or from behind the arc.
The playoffs aren’t the time for life lessons, but J.R. could easily be throwing away a long-term contract from the Knicks, while he, more than Carmelo Anthony, cost the team big time.
Separately, it just needs to be noted the Bulls shot 25.7% from the field (19-74) in their loss to the Heat the other night, 88-65. Nate Robinson was 0-for-12.
The Players Championship...a look back...
So I posted last BC about an hour after Tiger Woods won at Sawgrass and need to add a few things concerning the “fifth major.”
I didn’t realize at the time that Sergio Garcia caught major grief from the fans after hitting in the water twice at No. 17 on Sunday. Playing partner David Lingmerth said after he was dismayed by the crowd’s “heckling.” “Some of the crowd weren’t acting great against him and that made me feel a little weird,” said the Swede.
Drunks at a golf tournament really piss me off...they should be booted out immediately.
Regarding Saturday’s incident between Garcia and Woods when they played together, Garcia blamed Woods for a bad shot and, indeed, Woods caused the crowd to cheer on Garcia’s backswing by drawing a fairway wood from his bag, signaling “a swashbuckling shot from the rough,” as noted by Karl MacGinty of the Irish Independent.
But MacGinty adds, “Video footage of the incident showed Tiger frantically waving for silence and gesturing towards Garcia at the time.”
“Despite this evidence, Woods suggested afterwards that marshals had told him Sergio had already played. A simple apology would have been more appropriate.” [Ed. Marshals deny they said anything to Woods.]
But, as MacGinty noted when it comes to the whining Garcia:
“In one sense, Sergio must be congratulated for refusing to bury his dislike for Woods under the sickly-sweet, sugar-speak usually uttered on Tour. ‘I’m not going to lie, he’s not my favorite guy to play with,’ Garcia said. ‘He’s not the nicest guy on Tour.’...
“Found guilty and pilloried by the masses, Garcia’s parting words on Sunday were pithy: ‘It sounds like I was the bad guy here. I was the victim.’
“Sport expects its champions to be made of sterner stuff. Instead of accepting adversity and using it to steel himself, Garcia appears to have regressed, not grown, through experience.
“Woods, on the other hand, is like a warrior, like Jack Nicklaus.”
And as to that drop on the par-4 No. 14 on Sunday...Bob Harig / ESPN.com:
“For the third time this year, Tiger Woods had an issue with a penalty drop, this time incurring no penalty during the final round of his victory at The Players Championship on Sunday.
“When Woods’ tee shot...found a lateral water hazard that runs to the left of the fairway, he had to take a drop that was questioned by NBC’s Johnny Miller as being ‘really, really borderline.’
“At issue is determining where the ball last crossed land and went into the hazard. Woods ended up taking a drop that was 255 yards from the pin. His 3-wood tee shot, which he said was a ‘pop-up, big, high hook,’ started well to the right and then ‘went way left,’ Woods said.
“The only way to know where the ball crossed the hazard line is to have seen it from the tee. Woods consulted with playing competitor Casey Wittenberg and Wittenberg’s caddie/coach, Adam Schriber, to determine where to drop.
“ ‘I saw it perfectly from the tee,’ Wittenberg said. ‘I told him exactly where I thought it crossed, and we all agreed...I told him I thought it crossed on the corner of the bunker right where he took his drop, and it’s all good.’
“Wittenberg was questioned several times about the drop and the ball flight, which he said was hooking into the water.
“ ‘Yes, for sure, there is no doubt, guys,’ he said. ‘The ball crossed where he dropped.’”
A PGA Tour official, Mark Russell, said “The problem is on television, that area looked the same, and they thought he dropped up there where it splashed. He dropped it 60 yards back of that. The players had the view of it.”
“Woods must long for the days when the golf world obsessed over his swing changes (all four of them) and questioned his coaches (all three of them). He was criticized for not playing enough tournaments and not giving the tournaments he did play enough notice that he was coming.
“Some complained he practiced so early in the morning that paying customers didn’t get a chance to see him. Others complained he didn’t sign enough autographs. Most of it was petty.
“Now it’s his integrity on the golf course that’s being questioned....
“(On the 14th hole of the final round, Woods) hit what he called a ‘pop-up hook’ with a 3-wood from the tee, and the ball landed in the water left of the fairway. Consulting with Casey Wittenberg, he dropped it some 255 yards short of the green. Woods then hit a remarkable shot short of the green, pitched on and missed a 6-foot putt to take double bogey.
“The Internet has been alive with video showing the ball’s flight on the 14th, along with analysis dissecting what was and was not said by a TV analyst, and seemingly endless theories on how the ball could possibly have crossed land where Woods took his drop.
“The chatter won’t stop, even though there is nowhere to go with it....
“Decision 26-1/17 says a penalty would not be appropriate because it comes down to an honest judgment.
“Of course, this might not be the that big of an issue except that Woods in his most recent tournament – the Masters – was guilty of taking an illegal drop...He eventually was docked two shots, but spared disqualification by the Masters because officials said they erred in not talking to Woods about the drop before he signed his scorecard. The rules back up that decision, though this one (Rule 33-7) is subject to interpretation. It could have gone either way.”
And then you have that deal with Garcia on Saturday. Ferguson:
“Woods’ mistake was not doing what just about every other tour player would have done – look over to the other player to determine who was away. This would require eye contact, and there wasn’t much of that in the third round.
“Garcia’s mistake was not doing what just about every other tour player would have done – say something to Woods, instead of calling him out on TV....
“Lost in this mess is that Woods is playing golf at a very high level. He is four short of Sam Snead’s record for PGA Tour career wins. He is a month away from the next major, where he will be the heavy favorite again. Woods is motoring right along.
Chuck Muncie was one of the most talented running backs of the 1970s and 80s. Starring at the Univ. of California, Muncie was runner-up to Archie Griffin of Ohio State for the 1975 Heisman Trophy and the Saints selected him with the third pick in the ’76 NFL draft.
At 6 feet 3, 227, Muncie had power with speed. In his nine seasons with the Saints and Chargers, he finished with 6,702 yards for a 4.3 average, including his breakout 1979 season where he gained 1,198 yards on the ground with a 5.0 avg. In 1981 with San Diego, Muncie had his other 1,000-yard season, 1,144, 4.6, with 19 TDs to lead the league.
But Muncie also suffered from drug abuse (starting at Cal), which cut his career short as the NFL suspended him after testing positive for cocaine, and he served time in prison in a drug case.
Archie Manning said years ago, “Chuck was one of those backs who come along every 8 or 10 years. He could have been one of the all-time greats. He was that big and fast.”
“He basically slept through every meeting. We’d break the huddle and I would just time it where I walked by him and told him exactly what he was going to do. I don’t know what he was doing during the week, but he wasn’t thinking about football.”
Muncie did in the end turn his life around and established a foundation that helped kids steer clear of drugs and the kinds of bad decisions that nearly destroyed him.
Muncie was born in Uniontown, Pa., a hardscrabble area I am most familiar with, south of Pittsburgh.
--Top prep basketball prospect Andrew Wiggins, out of Huntington Prep in W.Va., signed a letter-of-intent to play at Kansas. The 6-foot-8 Toronto native chose Kansas over Kentucky, North Carolina and Florida State. Both of his parents attended FSU and the Seminoles had signed Wiggins’ teammate. Wiggins is being touted as the next LeBron.
Kansas has signed four among the top 50 nationally and will compete with Kentucky and their hugely touted incoming class.
--For Premier League football fans, Wigan became the first team to be relegated and win the English F.A. Cup in the same season following a 4-1 loss at Arsenal on Tuesday that ended its eight-year stay in the league.
Separately, Manchester City fired manager Roberto Mancini one year after he delivered the club’s first English league title in 44 years.
--Brad K. passed along this story from the Sunday Mail of Zimbabwe:
“In a grim karmic twist, a suspected poacher illegally hunting African elephants was trampled to death by his prey...
“The bloodied remains of Solomon Manjoro were found by rangers in Charara National Park near Lake Kariba in northwestern Zimbabwe....Authorities say Manjoro and his accomplice, Noluck Tafuruka, 29, went into the park with two rifles looking for elephants when one of the animals apparently attacked.”
I’d say Noluck had least had the good luck not to be the victim, though he was arrested later.
--When I was growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Dr. Joyce Brothers was everywhere. Known as the mother of mass-media psychology because of her firm, pragmatic guidance issued via the airwaves, Brothers, who died the other day at the age of 85, was a bridge between advice columnist like Ann Landers, who got her start in the 1950s, and the self-help advocates of the 1970s and afterward.
Brothers had her own nationally syndicated TV shows ( a slew of them in different variations) and would pop up on everything from “The Tonight Show” to variety and game shows. It was on the latter, specifically “The $64,000 Question,” where she gained her first notoriety, winning the top prize - $64,000 in 1955 – only the second person, and the first woman, to do so. She won due to her knowledge of boxing.
Top 3 songs for the week of 5/15/71: #1 “Joy To The World” (Three Dog Night) #2 “Never Can Say Goodbye” (The Jackson 5...easily my favorite of theirs...) #3 “Put Your Hand In The Hand” (Ocean)...and...#4 “If” (Bread) #5 “Me And You And A Dog Named Boo” (Lobo) #6 “Brown Sugar” (The Rolling Stones) #7 “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Aretha Franklin) #8 “Stay Awhile” (The Bells) #9 “I Am...I Said” (Neil Diamond) #10 “Chick-A-Boom” (Daddy Dewdrop)
Cleveland Indians Quiz Answers: 1) Hal Trosky drove in 100 runs, six consecutive seasons, 1934-39, including 162 in 1936. Trosky was just age 21-26 during his streak, but two years later, in 1941, he only played in 89 games and retired because of migraine headaches. Trosky returned to farming in Iowa, came back for a spell with the White Sox in ‘44, sat out 1945, and returned briefly in 1946. 2) Gaylord Perry won 24 in 1972. If you were thinking Early Wynn, he won 23 twice.