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04/28/2016

Clippers Suffer Two Big Blows

[Posted early Wednesday a.m.]

*Folks, this site has significant expenses.  If you haven’t already done so, click on the gofundme link or send a check to PO Box 990, New Providence, NJ  07974.

Baseball Quiz: 120-hour recall test.  So Chicago’s Jake Arrieta joined an exclusive club last Thursday in throwing his second career no-hitter, 30 having done so.

Nolan Ryan (7), Sandy Koufax (4), Bob Feller (3), Larry Corcoran (3), Cy Young (3) and 25 others with two, including Arrieta.  [MLB’s History of the Game section shows Frank Smith with two I hadn’t seen elsewhere (1905, 1908), making it 26.]

Anyway, among the group who threw two, name these six who are all post-1960. Initials: S.B., B.S., H.N., J.M., D.W., B.F.  Answer below.

NBA Playoffs

Boy did things change the past few days, especially out west.  The Warriors received bad news on Steph Curry’s knee, out two weeks with an MCL sprain, so assuming the Warriors dispatch with Houston, Golden State up 3-1 with the series resuming Wednesday, can they then beat the winner of the Clippers-Trail Blazers series, the winner of which now should be Portland following the devastating injury to Clippers point guard Chris Paul, out for the playoffs, most likely, with a broken hand, as well as the season-ending injury for Blake Griffin as he aggravated his quad, an injury that kept him out three months this season.

Portland defeated Los Angeles to even the series at 2-2, 98-84 in Portland, as out of nowhere, former Wake Forest Demon Deacon Al-Farouq Aminu had a career high 30 points, including 6 of 10 from three, along with 10 rebounds.  This is a guy who has been a role player for six years but then he suddenly unleashed this effort.

What would a Portland-Golden State series then look like without Curry?  Portland’s backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum can easily put up 55 between them.

The Warriors’ mindset will just be to somehow survive the Trail Blazers and get Curry back for San Antonio, which we assume will beat Oklahoma City (winners Monday over Dallas to take that series 4-1).

In the East, the Raptors took a 3-2 lead over the Pacers in Toronto, 102-99, as they outscored Indiana 25-9 in the fourth in overcoming a 13-point deficit. DeMar DeRozan finally came up big with 34.

The Hawks also now have a 3-2 advantage over the Celtics following a 110-83 drubbing in Atlanta as each team has held serve at home.  The Hawks blew the game open with a 42-point third quarter that gave them an 89-62 lead.

--The Los Angeles Lakers fired Byron Scott after two seasons and they appear to be targeting San Antonio assistant Ettore Messina, the widely respected Italian coach who won four Euroleague titles.  Luke Walton is also in the mix, ditto Jeff Van Gundy and Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie.

Scott was 38-126, which is awful, the two worst seasons in franchise history, but look what he had to deal with.  Kobe and a bunch of stiffs.

--Golden State’s Steve Kerr was named Coach of the Year.  Portland’s Terry Stotts was second.

MLB...ball bits....

--After all I’ve written on Bryce Harper recently, I have to note his heroics from Sunday that I didn’t get a chance to mention.

The Nationals were playing the Twins in Washington and Harper was to get the day off, but with the Nats trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth, Harper pinch hit to lead off the inning and connected for the first pinch-hit homer of his career to send it into extra innings.  But then manager Dusty Baker kept his word and promptly took Harper out to get his rest.  So then he wasn’t available later.

The Nats were down 5-4 in the 15th, but tied it, and they won it in the 16th on a Chris Heisey homer.  At 5 hours, 56 minutes, it was the longest regular-season game in Nationals’ history.

Thomas Boswell / Washington Post

“For the rest of the year – and perhaps longer, depending on how this season turns out – the Washington Nationals can simply refer to their 6-5, 16-inning win over Minnesota on Sunday at Nationals Park as ‘The Twilight Zone Game.’

“After this one, the Nats will have a hard time believing that any game is lost until the umpires clear the field and order them home....

“ ‘That’s the craziest game I’ve [ever] seen,’ said Baker, who coined the ‘Twilight Zone’ line afterward.”

--Detroit’s Jordan Zimmermann is now 4-0, 0.35 ERA in his first four starts.  But Zack Greinke has a 6.16 ERA after his first five starts for Arizona, though on Monday he picked up his second win, now 2-2, even though he gave up 7 earned in 6 2/3 as the Diamondbacks beat the Cardinals 12-7.

--The Atlanta Braves are now 4-16 after an 11-4 loss on Tuesday to Boston.  The Braves have just three home runs in 20 games!  This is dead ball era stuff.

--Great win for the now 12-7 Mets on Tuesday. Down 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh, Yoenis Cespedes, deep thigh bruise and all, came off the bench for a three-run, first pitch, pinch-hit home run, the first of his career, to tie it and a few batters later the Mets took the lead for a 4-3 win over Cincinnati.  10 of 12 for my Metsies!

--The crosstown Yankees, on the other hand, are a miserable 8-11 after Tuesday’s 10-1 loss to the Rangers.  Pitcher Luis Severino was shelled again and the guy who had such a promising start to his career last season is now 0-3 with a 6.86 ERA.

--The Chicago White Sox are off to a surprising 15-6 start and in their 10-1 win over the Blue Jays, Tuesday, starter Chris Sale improved to 5-0, 1.66.  So much for the Adam LaRoche controversy and the supposed impact on team chemistry. Good job, manager Robin Ventura.

--Chicago baseball fans are spoiled. The Cubs are 15-5.

--Clayton Kershaw got knocked around on Tuesday as he falls to 2-1, 2.43, yielding 5 earned in 7 against the Marlins as Miami beat L.A. 6-3.

--Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen had been mired in a big slump, but following a day off to clear his head, McCutchen blasted three home runs as the Pirates beat the Rockies 9-4 in Colorado to get to 12-9 after a poor start.

--I forgot to note last time the auction of the original “Laws of Base Ball” that sold for $3.26 million, setting a new record for the highest-priced baseball document.  The buyer is anonymous, as put forward by SCP Auctions.

SCP sold a 1920 Yankees’ Babe Ruth jersey for $4.4 million in 2012, as well as the Naismith Rules of Basketball ($4.3 million).

The baseball document relates to the foundation of the game and includes details as to how it was played in 1856.

The original rules were written by Daniel Lucius ‘Doc’ Adams and include restrictions on the weight of the ball and the width of the bat (but no restriction on length).

This adds weight to Hoboken, New Jersey’s claim to be the site of the first baseball game, in June 1846.  Adams was a member of the Knickerbocker baseball club that played in that game, umpired by Alexander Cartwright, who is deemed the real founder of the game, not Abner Doubleday.

Back to the original rules of basketball, they were acquired for $4.33 million in 2010 by University of Kansas booster David Booth, James Naismith being a former Kansas coach, and Booth donated the document to the school.

Also at this past weekend’s auction, Don Drysdale’s 1963 and 1965 championship rings were sold for $110,111 and $91,000, respectively.  [Darren Rovell / ESPN]

*I had Drysdale sign his photo here in New Jersey for me a few years before his death and it’s a beautiful signature...Arnold Palmer like.  Drysdale was way cool.  [When I downsized six years ago, the framed autograph didn’t make the cut.  I need to get it out of storage.  Ken P., hope you still have yours.]

Indulge me on this.  I think I’ve told it twice in 17 years.  But in writing the above I was reminded of a time in the mid-1980s when I drove one Saturday morning to the Larry Holmes Commodore Inn in Phillipsburg, N.J. for a baseball card show.  [Not where Drysdale was.]  So I park my car at this motel, with the car facing a room.  I get out, the door to the room opens up and there is this guy in boxing shorts, yawning and welcoming the day. 

It was World Junior Welterweight champ Aaron Pryor!  “Good morning, Mr. Pryor,” I said.  [He was big then and easily recognizable for any sports fan.]

I just checked my archives, which won’t yield every result, but it seems I last told this story on 7/6/09, and in that same chat is this tidbit on Aroldis Chapman.

“As of this writing, the whereabouts of Cuban pitching sensation Aroldis Chapman are still unknown, Chapman having walked out of his hotel and into a waiting car in Amsterdam, where the Cuban national team was in town for a four-nation tournament. Chapman, a 21-year-old lefty who reportedly throws 100 mph, is no doubt looking to defect and I’m hoping he signs this morning with the Mets and hits the mound shortly thereafter.”

NFL

--As we await Thursday’s NFL draft....

A three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals panel for the Second Circuit in Manhattan on Monday overturned a lower-court ruling that had reversed a four-game suspension for New England’s Tom Brady.

Brady’s lawyers had argued that he was unfairly suspended by the NFL for his involvement in Deflategate, and last summer, a U.S. District Court Judge, Richard M. Berman agreed, so Brady was allowed to play the entire 2015 season.

But the NFL appealed the ruling to the Second Circuit and it’s been assumed the Berman decision would be overturned.

We hold that the Commissioner properly exercised (his broad discretion to suspend players) under the collective bargaining agreement and that his procedural rulings were properly grounded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness,” two of the three judges wrote in their opinion.  “Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the district court.”

Chief Judge Robert Katzmann dissented.  “I am troubled by the Commissioner’s decision to uphold the unprecedented four-game suspension. The Commissioner failed to even consider a highly relevant alternative penalty.”

Judge Denny Chin said evidence of ball tampering was ‘compelling, if not overwhelming” and there was evidence that Brady “knew about it, consented to it, encouraged it.”

The league argued that it was fair for Goodell to severely penalize Brady after he concluded the quarterback tarnished the game by impeding the NFL’s investigation by destroying a cellphone containing nearly 10,000 messages.

Judge Barrington D. Parker said the cellphone destruction raised the stakes “from air in a football to compromising the integrity of a proceeding that the commissioner had convened.”

“So why couldn’t the commissioner suspend Mr. Brady for that conduct alone?” he asked.  Parker added: “With all due respect, Mr. Brady’s explanation of that made no sense whatsoever.”

No one I have spoken to, regardless of whether they are a Brady/New England fan or not, could believe Brady’s idiocy in destroying the cellphone.

Brady’s lawyers could appeal to the full Second Circuit, or even the Supreme Court, but this doesn’t seem likely.  The NFL Players Association also said it was weighing its options.  [If the Supreme Court ever took a case like this, I’m leaving the country.]

So assuming the ruling stands and the NFL enforces the suspension at the outset of the 2016 season, Brady will miss games at Arizona, and home against Miami, Houston and Buffalo, in that order.

The Pats are also without a first-round pick Thursday night in the NFL draft as part of their Deflategate penalties.

Brady’s backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, is the only other quarterback currently on the Patriots’ roster, so they are either drafting one or signing a veteran free agent.

--With Philadelphia quarterback Sam Bradford being unhappy  that the Eagles are drafting another QB with the No. 2 pick on Thursday, there is talk he could end up with the Jets.

Nooo!!!  The numbers work.  Since the Eagles have already paid $11 million in signing bonus money, the Jets would only be responsible for his 2016 base salary of $7 million, which is on the low end of what they have reportedly offered Ryan Fitzpatrick.

As the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Salfino wrote: “Long story short: The Jets couldn’t sign Fitzpatrick for what they thought he was worth because of Bradford’s contract (two years, $36 million deal in March), but now, bizarrely, they could conceivably trade for Bradford and pay him exactly that amount.”

They also could draft Memphis QB Paxton Lynch.

--Mark R. is always telling me go back to the old days of leather helmets in the NFL.  So Gary Belsky and Neil Fine have written a book “On the Origins of Sports” and in the early days, “Helmets were little more than fortified skullcaps, yet the rule writers assumed they would be used as weapons, and they were correct.  What they failed to foresee, however, was that the helmet’s transformation from protective device to missile cladding would prove more harmful to wearers than to their targets.

“As helmet construction improved over the years – the better to prevent skull fractures and concussions – engineering technology outpaced medical understanding.  We now know that as a result of repeated impact, a brain undergoes the kind of intra-cranial ricocheting and twisting that can cause long-term degeneration or chronic traumatic encephalopathy....

“Ask serious fans about the failings of the modern game, and ‘poor tackling’ will top most lists. In part, that is the unintended consequence of helmet advancements that have emboldened players to abandon classical techniques for the reckless, brain-rattling collisions that dominate highlights....

“Some coaches – such as Pete Carroll of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks – are trying to return the safer method to the prominence it held back when players didn’t feel invincible. But old habits are difficult to break, especially among testosterone-fueled young men looking to intimidate and impress. So new habits must be ingrained. That’s why we’d like to see helmets banned – or their use severely curtailed – during football practice, from Pop Warner to the NFL.”

That’s a solid idea. Also the robotic tackling dummy that Dartmouth introduced for its practices.

I have been saying for years that football as a sport was doomed.  But I’ll change my attitude if there was no tackling until ninth grade (flag football until then), and no use of helmets in practices through college. 

One thing about playing flag football until ninth grade is you’ll get a lot more kids who wouldn’t ordinarily be going out for the sport, or playing Pop Warner, involved.

--I couldn’t give a damn about Johnny Manziel, but for the archives I do have to note he was indicted by a grand jury in Texas on a misdemeanor charge stemming from a domestic violence complaint by his ex-girlfriend.

--The Los Angeles Daily News first reported that Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis is now in support of a move to Las Vegas, assuming a government committee there approves financing for a $1.3 billion domed stadium off the Las Vegas Strip.

--We note the passing of longtime New York Jets tackle Winston Hill, 74.  A member of the Super Bowl III Jets, for 14 years Hill wore Green and White and was part of Gang Green’s first ring of Honor class in 2010, along with Joe Namath, Joe Klecko, Don Maynard, Curtis Martin and Weeb Ewbank.

Hill played in 195 consecutive games during his time with New York, 1963-76.  He finished up with a brief stint with the Rams in 1977.  Hill made eight Pro Bowls.

Stanley Cup Playoffs

I posted last time before the end of Islanders-Panthers, Game 6, and New York won it 2-1 at 10:41 of the second overtime on a goal by star John Tavares, thus taking the series 4-2.  If only the Rangers had a player like him; five goals in the series, four assists.

But for the Islanders it was their first playoff series win since 1993!  Next up, Tampa Bay.

Meanwhile, on Monday, St. Louis won its Game 7 against Chicago, 3-2.

Golf Balls

--There was a little confusion over the whole Tiger Woods / U.S. Open situation.  He submitted his registration on April 4, well ahead of the April 27 deadline, but this doesn’t mean much in terms of his schedule.  That said, most are now thinking he plays the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow (May 5-8) prior to the Players Championship (May 12-15), or maybe he holds off to the Memorial (June 2-5).  Golfweek’s Alex Micelli says he is betting on the Memorial, an event Tiger has won five times, including most recently in 2012.

Woods opened up a course he designed in Montgomery, Texas (Bluejack National Golf Club) on Monday and played a few holes with buddy Mark O’Meara.  Tiger commented: “I would not have said I would be here like this five months ago.  I wouldn’t have thought I’d be able to do what I did here now. Or play with my kids again, things of that nature.”

But Tiger didn’t say when and where he would finally tee it up on tour.

Premier League

Leicester City can complete their historic run with a win this coming Sunday at Old Trafford (Manchester United), after Tottenham had a disappointing 1-1 draw on Monday against West Brom at home. The Spurs, though, remain firmly in second with three games to go, which would be the club’s best Premier League finish since 1962-63 (not having won the top division since 1960-61), though they still need some points in their final three matches to ensure a Champions League slot.

Standings...35 of 38 complete...

1. Leicester 35 – 76 points
2. Tottenham 35 – 69
3. Manchester City 35 – 64
4. Arsenal 35 – 64
5. Manchester United 34 – 59

Leicester, which was 14th in the Premier League last season and is owned by Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, has never won the English top-flight title and they’ve now qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history.

Recall, Leicester was 5,000-1 to win the Premier League in August, and still 1,500-1 in October.  Then in November: 500-1.  December: 66-1.  Heck even those were nice odds.

--In the first leg of the Champions League semifinals, Man City and Real Madrid played to a 0-0 draw at Etihad Stadium (Man City) as Cristiano Ronaldo was held out of the match for Real with a thigh injury.  The second leg is May 4 in Madrid.

--On a totally different issue, Tuesday, a jury in a courtroom near Liverpool ruled that 96 Liverpool soccer fans who died in the April 15, 1989 Hillsborough Stadium disaster were “unlawfully killed” because of errors by the police.

As the AP reported: “Relatives of the victims of the 1989 disaster, some wearing Liverpool scarves, were in tears outside a specially-built courtroom after new inquests into Britain’s worst sporting disaster.

“Fans chanted ‘Justice for the 96’ and sang the Premier League club’s anthem, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ after hearing the verdicts.”

Originally, the verdict was ‘accidental death’ following the FA Cup semifinal match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

But the families didn’t give up and the original inquest verdicts were overturned in 2012 following a new inquiry.

The jury Tuesday found that police planning errors ‘caused or contributed’ to the situation that led to the crush, while confirming the behavior of the fans did not cause or contribute to the tragedy.

Criminal charges against individuals can still be brought.

Many of us of a certain age have pretty good memories of this tragedy and others like it of a smaller scale where the fans of rival teams were cordoned off in pens, that then became way too congested, offering few escape routes in an emergency without a crush.  You watch a Premier League game today and the seating is wide open, like any stadium in the U.S.  But it’s amazing looking back how idiotic, and as now proven, criminal, some of the crowd control plans were.

Men’s College Tennis Rankings – ITA Poll (4/26)

1. Virginia
2. UCLA
3. North Carolina
4. Ohio State
5. TCU
6. Wake Forest
7. Georgia

Go Deacs!  I’m a little surprised, though, that Wake, No. 7 the prior week, moved up just one notch after winning its first-ever ACC Tennis Championship, defeating nine-time champ Virginia in dramatic fashion with wins at No. 5 and No. 6 singles to take it 4-3 (Wake securing the doubles point).

It’s been such a lousy stretch for Wake athletics.  Hopefully this carries over into the NCAAs, and to the men’s golf team.

Bushnell / Golfweek Poll (4/22)

1. Texas
2. Illinois
3. Georgia
14. Wake Forest....but we should move up some after a solid second-place finish in the ACC Championship last weekend.

Phil W. alerted me to the fact that the son of a Wake Forest classmate, and friend, Thomas Walsh, out of Virginia, finished ninth.  Very cool. 

Stuff

--Five days after three-time champion Tony Stewart railed against rules in the pits and NASCAR’s lack of a lug nut policy, NASCAR sent a memo to crew chiefs Monday changing the rule.

Teams will now be required to have all five lug nuts “installed in a safe and secure manner” or have the driver risk being called back into the pits during the race.  If the infraction is found after the race, a crew chief will receive a minimum $20,000 fine and a one-race suspension.

--The Kentucky Derby is just around the corner, Sat., May 7.  Analyst Mike Battaglia says Nyquist is “probably the least-respected undefeated horse coming into the Derby we’ve ever had.”

Battaglia sees Nyquist going off as a 3-1 or so top choice after his Florida Derby victory.  Battaglia is Churchill Downs’ oddsmaker and he sees Exaggerator as the second choice. 

I’ll give you Bar Chat’s official pick next week, but I loved Louisiana Derby winner Gun Runner.

--The other day Keith Sargeant of the Star-Ledger had a piece on the amount of money Rutgers spends, and in some cases, makes, on sports...the figures being available because Rutgers is a public institution (state school) and has to report such figures.

For example, despite the fact the program blows, football took in $26.7 million for the 2014-15 sports season, with total expenses of $18.66 million, earning slightly more than $8 million.

Men’s basketball, which really, really blows, still took in $5.932m with expenses of $5.034m, so a profit of nearly $900,000.

But all the other programs cost money.  Women’s basketball had revenue of $1.599m, but expenses of $4.224m, so a loss of $2.624m

Women’s volleyball lost $1.277m, women’s soccer $1.065m.

Baseball had a net loss of $953,800.  Men’s soccer $720,500.

So to make up the difference for the program overall, student fee support is critical, and then you have a “direct institutional subsidy.”

--ESPN play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico is leaving for NBC Sports when his contract expires this summer, according to Sports Business Journal and the Washington Post.  Aside from being the voice of “Monday Night Football,” Tirico calls NBA games and leads the network’s golf coverage.  He started with the network way back in 1991 as a “SportsCenter” anchor and replaced Al Michaels on “MNF” in 2006.

The 49-year-old, ironically, is likely to be in line to eventually replace the 71-year-old Michaels on “Sunday Night Football.”

It also seems Tirico would be available for NBC’s golf coverage at the British Open and the Ryder Cup, as well as the Olympics, and perhaps one day replace Bob Costas, now 64, as prime host.

Sean McDonough is a potential replacement for Tirico on “MNF” and other events.

Think of this.  Since “MNF” launched in 1970, there have been only four primary announcers: Tirico, Michaels, Frank Gifford and Keith Jackson.

--Erin Andrews settled her lawsuit against a hotel owner and operator in the stalking/video case.

While a jury ruled the two parties were on the hook for $55 million, the terms of the agreement reached Monday will probably never be known.

--The Atlantic’s “Big Question” this month: “What is the greatest prank of all time?

I forgot the second part of this one.

Bob Cohn, co-president, The Atlantic:

“In 1982, UC Berkeley beat Stanford on a play that snaked through the Stanford band’s premature celebration.  Students in Palo Alto took revenge by creating a fake issue of The Daily Californian, which declared, ‘NCAA Awards Big Game to Stanford’ above a doctored photo showing a referee negating the play. Seven thousand copies were delivered to Berkeley, where horrified students picked them up on their way to morning classes.”

--The Most Interesting Man In The World as you know has taken off on his one-way trip to Mars.

But before the launch, he sat down for an interview.  Among the questions:

What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“Someone once told me this sage piece of wisdom: the ‘sudden death’ round in High Andean Competitive Tobogganing has a decidedly different meaning than sudden death in, let’s say, hockey.  I was informed of this fact in the nick of time.”

--From the Sydney Morning Herald:

A four-year-old white Labrador called Dayko has been hailed as a hero after rescuing seven people from the aftermath of the Ecuador earthquake – before dying of exhaustion.

“Dayko, a rescue dog for the Ibarra fire service, died on Friday, having spent the previous days searching for survivors in the rubble left by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake which hit Ecuador on April 16.

“According to a post on the Ibarra fire service’s Facebook page, the cause of death was ‘massive coronary myocardial infarction and acute respiratory failure.’  He had been working as a rescue dog for 3 ½ years.

“ ‘We regret to inform you that today the [fire service] is in mourning because [we] just lost Dayko who participated in the work of searching in Pedernales,’ the fire service said.

“ ‘This four-legged friend gave his life in the line of duty.  Thank you Dayko for your heroic efforts in Pedernales and in various emergencies where you were present.

“ ‘You held high the name of the K9 unit.’”

And so ‘Dog’ remains No. 1 on the All-Species List.

--I’m not a Beyonce fan and won’t be buying her new album Lemonade, but how predictable was it that many of her fans would confuse Rachel Roy, the woman with whom Jay Z is rumored to have had an affair, with Rachel Ray, the celebrity chef.

Beyonce has lyrics alluding to Roy, who posted a message on Instagram boasting “Good hair don’t care” in response.

But it was Rachel Ray getting attacked on social media.  Stuff like, “Never watchin ur show again Rachel u r a homewrecker!”  Oh brother.

So here are some of Queen Bey’s lyrics.

“Pray You Catch Me”

You can taste the dishonesty / It’s on your breath as you pass it off so cavalier

“Don’t Hurt Yourself”

Who the f--- do you think I am? / You ain’t married to no average b-tch, boy / You can watch my fat ass twist, boy / As I bounce to the next d---, boy

This is your final warning / You know I give you life / If you try this s--- again / You gon’ lose your wife

My, isn’t this sweet?   And this woman sang the National Anthem at Obama’s 2013 inauguration?!  Amazing.

--Kelly Ripa returned to “Live with Kelly and Michael.”  I have to admit I kind of wanted to see the opening, Tuesday, but then I forgot (never having watched more than two minutes of this show before).

Kyle Smith / New York Post

“On her return to morning TV after admittedly staging a one-woman job action last week – skipping two days of broadcasts after learning her co-host Michael Strahan was dumping her to join ‘Good Morning America’ – Ripa told the studio audience at Columbia and 66th  Street after a lengthy standing ovation that ‘I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts.’

“Not really.  Kelly had only one thought – broiling magma-strength fury of the kind last seen when the Wicked Witch of the West learned someone had just dropped a house on her sister.  Skipping work last Wednesday and Thursday (plus taking scheduled personal days Friday and Monday) was her way of telling her ABC bosses she didn’t appreciate the so-called lack of advance notice about Strahan.  (In fact, he doesn’t join ‘GMA’ until September.*  Five months’ notice isn’t enough for her?)

“That was it: Ripa had a tantrum and gave herself a time-out at the same moment.  Yet by Tuesday Ripa had figured out that what people value in their chat-show hosts is their perceived niceness.  Bryant Gumbel and Matt Lauer could tell her something about that.....

“So Ripa tried to back-date her hissy fit by claiming it was some sort of feminist statement: ‘It started a much greater conversation,’ she said, ‘about communication and consideration and most importantly, respect in the workplace.’

Ever been disrespected?  Ripa’s just like you! Except she makes maybe $19,950,000 more than you.  To work five hours a week....

“Ripa gets paid to do five shows a week. For $20 million a year.  For one-tenth of that, I’d not only do my job as agreed every day but I’d personally Turtle-Wax the CEO’s car every Saturday morning.  It seems that the more you get paid, the more entitled, irresponsible and unprofessional you get to be....

“(Ripa) isn’t an actress – she only ever plays one role.  She’s also not a journalist – her producers run down the guests for her.

In Britain they call the Ripas of the land ‘presenters.’  She’s that, plus now she’s...a diva!  Sure, it’s a sexist term that no one would ever apply to a dude....

“If the New York Giants showed up for work one day and found out there’d been a sudden change involving their single most important teammate (as they did one day in 2004 to find Coach had replaced a Super Bowl-tested quarterback named Kurt Warner with an untested rookie named Eli Manning), they’d simply carry on.  You would.  I would.

“And so would... Kelly Ripa’s bus driver dad.  Ripa let slip, at the end of her scramble to re-establish her sweetie-pie brand on Tuesday, that ‘My dad, who was a bus driver for 30 years, thinks we’re all crazy.’ A bus driver who suddenly stormed out in the middle of the work week wouldn’t ‘start a conversation’ about anything except how quickly he should be fired.”

*After Kyle Smith’s piece, ABC announced Strahan is sticking around just two more weeks.

--Singer Kid Rock discovered the body of his assistant on his Nashville area property Monday following an apparent ATV accident, police said.

30-year-old Michael Sacha is believed to have died after ferrying guests from a cookout on Rock’s Whites Creek estate to an Uber at the property’s driveway around midnight Monday, when Sacha appears to have lost control of the vehicle and crashed on his way back to the residence, police said.

Kid Rock said he was devastated.  He and a friend found Sacha on an embankment late Monday morning and he was already deceased.  [The awful 911 call is online.]

--We note the passing of Billy Paul, 80, a pioneer in the Philadelphia Sound who recorded the #1 “Me and Mrs. Jones,” but only a #37 after (“Thanks For Saving My Life”).

He was born Paul Williams in Philadelphia and his big hit was recorded for Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records, though Paul later sued the duo and others for unpaid royalties (he eventually won $500,000).  Gamble and Huff, however, on Sunday called him one of the great artists to come out of Philly.

In a statement the two said: “Our proudest moment with Billy was the recording of the salacious smash ‘Me and Mrs. Jones.’  In our view, it is one of the greatest love songs ever recorded.”

In an Instagram post, Questlove called Paul “the SPIRIT of the Sound of Philadelphia.”

--In the first four days after his death, Prince’s music racked up almost $10 million in sales, as he sold 654,860 albums, according to measurement firm Buzz-Angle Music, which at $10 per would equate to $6.5 million.

Individual song sales totaled 3 million, or, at $1 per song, another $3 million.

Beyonce’s new release “Lemonade” is No. 1 on iTunes, but Prince has the next four slots.

It’s still unclear who will take charge of Prince’s estate, seeing as he didn’t have a will, which one source puts a value of $300 million on, but others say it’s closer to $150 million.  Sister Tyka Nelson is reported to be the next of kin.

Top 3 songs for the week 4/26/75:  #1 “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” (B.J. Thomas...longest song title ever...) #2 “Philadelphia Freedom” (The Elton John Band) #3 “He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You)” (Tony Orlando & Dawn)...and...#4 “Lovin’ You” (Minnie Riperton...chirp chirp...tweet tweet...)  #5 “Supernatural Thing – Part I” (Ben E. King)  #6 “Chevy Van” (Sammy Johns)  #7 “Before The Next Teardrop Falls” (Freddy Fender)  #8 “Emma” (Hot Chocolate...had to look this one up...ughh...)  #9 “What Am I Gonna Do With You” (Barry White)  #10 “Walking In Rhythm” (The Blackbyrds...good one...)

Baseball Quiz Answer: Six among the group with two no-hitters, post-1960...Steve Busby, Bill Stoneman, Hideo Nomo, Jim Maloney (one of my early faves), Don Wilson (sad ending to his life), and Bob Forsch.

Next Bar Chat, Monday.



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Bar Chat

04/28/2016

Clippers Suffer Two Big Blows

[Posted early Wednesday a.m.]

*Folks, this site has significant expenses.  If you haven’t already done so, click on the gofundme link or send a check to PO Box 990, New Providence, NJ  07974.

Baseball Quiz: 120-hour recall test.  So Chicago’s Jake Arrieta joined an exclusive club last Thursday in throwing his second career no-hitter, 30 having done so.

Nolan Ryan (7), Sandy Koufax (4), Bob Feller (3), Larry Corcoran (3), Cy Young (3) and 25 others with two, including Arrieta.  [MLB’s History of the Game section shows Frank Smith with two I hadn’t seen elsewhere (1905, 1908), making it 26.]

Anyway, among the group who threw two, name these six who are all post-1960. Initials: S.B., B.S., H.N., J.M., D.W., B.F.  Answer below.

NBA Playoffs

Boy did things change the past few days, especially out west.  The Warriors received bad news on Steph Curry’s knee, out two weeks with an MCL sprain, so assuming the Warriors dispatch with Houston, Golden State up 3-1 with the series resuming Wednesday, can they then beat the winner of the Clippers-Trail Blazers series, the winner of which now should be Portland following the devastating injury to Clippers point guard Chris Paul, out for the playoffs, most likely, with a broken hand, as well as the season-ending injury for Blake Griffin as he aggravated his quad, an injury that kept him out three months this season.

Portland defeated Los Angeles to even the series at 2-2, 98-84 in Portland, as out of nowhere, former Wake Forest Demon Deacon Al-Farouq Aminu had a career high 30 points, including 6 of 10 from three, along with 10 rebounds.  This is a guy who has been a role player for six years but then he suddenly unleashed this effort.

What would a Portland-Golden State series then look like without Curry?  Portland’s backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum can easily put up 55 between them.

The Warriors’ mindset will just be to somehow survive the Trail Blazers and get Curry back for San Antonio, which we assume will beat Oklahoma City (winners Monday over Dallas to take that series 4-1).

In the East, the Raptors took a 3-2 lead over the Pacers in Toronto, 102-99, as they outscored Indiana 25-9 in the fourth in overcoming a 13-point deficit. DeMar DeRozan finally came up big with 34.

The Hawks also now have a 3-2 advantage over the Celtics following a 110-83 drubbing in Atlanta as each team has held serve at home.  The Hawks blew the game open with a 42-point third quarter that gave them an 89-62 lead.

--The Los Angeles Lakers fired Byron Scott after two seasons and they appear to be targeting San Antonio assistant Ettore Messina, the widely respected Italian coach who won four Euroleague titles.  Luke Walton is also in the mix, ditto Jeff Van Gundy and Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie.

Scott was 38-126, which is awful, the two worst seasons in franchise history, but look what he had to deal with.  Kobe and a bunch of stiffs.

--Golden State’s Steve Kerr was named Coach of the Year.  Portland’s Terry Stotts was second.

MLB...ball bits....

--After all I’ve written on Bryce Harper recently, I have to note his heroics from Sunday that I didn’t get a chance to mention.

The Nationals were playing the Twins in Washington and Harper was to get the day off, but with the Nats trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth, Harper pinch hit to lead off the inning and connected for the first pinch-hit homer of his career to send it into extra innings.  But then manager Dusty Baker kept his word and promptly took Harper out to get his rest.  So then he wasn’t available later.

The Nats were down 5-4 in the 15th, but tied it, and they won it in the 16th on a Chris Heisey homer.  At 5 hours, 56 minutes, it was the longest regular-season game in Nationals’ history.

Thomas Boswell / Washington Post

“For the rest of the year – and perhaps longer, depending on how this season turns out – the Washington Nationals can simply refer to their 6-5, 16-inning win over Minnesota on Sunday at Nationals Park as ‘The Twilight Zone Game.’

“After this one, the Nats will have a hard time believing that any game is lost until the umpires clear the field and order them home....

“ ‘That’s the craziest game I’ve [ever] seen,’ said Baker, who coined the ‘Twilight Zone’ line afterward.”

--Detroit’s Jordan Zimmermann is now 4-0, 0.35 ERA in his first four starts.  But Zack Greinke has a 6.16 ERA after his first five starts for Arizona, though on Monday he picked up his second win, now 2-2, even though he gave up 7 earned in 6 2/3 as the Diamondbacks beat the Cardinals 12-7.

--The Atlanta Braves are now 4-16 after an 11-4 loss on Tuesday to Boston.  The Braves have just three home runs in 20 games!  This is dead ball era stuff.

--Great win for the now 12-7 Mets on Tuesday. Down 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh, Yoenis Cespedes, deep thigh bruise and all, came off the bench for a three-run, first pitch, pinch-hit home run, the first of his career, to tie it and a few batters later the Mets took the lead for a 4-3 win over Cincinnati.  10 of 12 for my Metsies!

--The crosstown Yankees, on the other hand, are a miserable 8-11 after Tuesday’s 10-1 loss to the Rangers.  Pitcher Luis Severino was shelled again and the guy who had such a promising start to his career last season is now 0-3 with a 6.86 ERA.

--The Chicago White Sox are off to a surprising 15-6 start and in their 10-1 win over the Blue Jays, Tuesday, starter Chris Sale improved to 5-0, 1.66.  So much for the Adam LaRoche controversy and the supposed impact on team chemistry. Good job, manager Robin Ventura.

--Chicago baseball fans are spoiled. The Cubs are 15-5.

--Clayton Kershaw got knocked around on Tuesday as he falls to 2-1, 2.43, yielding 5 earned in 7 against the Marlins as Miami beat L.A. 6-3.

--Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen had been mired in a big slump, but following a day off to clear his head, McCutchen blasted three home runs as the Pirates beat the Rockies 9-4 in Colorado to get to 12-9 after a poor start.

--I forgot to note last time the auction of the original “Laws of Base Ball” that sold for $3.26 million, setting a new record for the highest-priced baseball document.  The buyer is anonymous, as put forward by SCP Auctions.

SCP sold a 1920 Yankees’ Babe Ruth jersey for $4.4 million in 2012, as well as the Naismith Rules of Basketball ($4.3 million).

The baseball document relates to the foundation of the game and includes details as to how it was played in 1856.

The original rules were written by Daniel Lucius ‘Doc’ Adams and include restrictions on the weight of the ball and the width of the bat (but no restriction on length).

This adds weight to Hoboken, New Jersey’s claim to be the site of the first baseball game, in June 1846.  Adams was a member of the Knickerbocker baseball club that played in that game, umpired by Alexander Cartwright, who is deemed the real founder of the game, not Abner Doubleday.

Back to the original rules of basketball, they were acquired for $4.33 million in 2010 by University of Kansas booster David Booth, James Naismith being a former Kansas coach, and Booth donated the document to the school.

Also at this past weekend’s auction, Don Drysdale’s 1963 and 1965 championship rings were sold for $110,111 and $91,000, respectively.  [Darren Rovell / ESPN]

*I had Drysdale sign his photo here in New Jersey for me a few years before his death and it’s a beautiful signature...Arnold Palmer like.  Drysdale was way cool.  [When I downsized six years ago, the framed autograph didn’t make the cut.  I need to get it out of storage.  Ken P., hope you still have yours.]

Indulge me on this.  I think I’ve told it twice in 17 years.  But in writing the above I was reminded of a time in the mid-1980s when I drove one Saturday morning to the Larry Holmes Commodore Inn in Phillipsburg, N.J. for a baseball card show.  [Not where Drysdale was.]  So I park my car at this motel, with the car facing a room.  I get out, the door to the room opens up and there is this guy in boxing shorts, yawning and welcoming the day. 

It was World Junior Welterweight champ Aaron Pryor!  “Good morning, Mr. Pryor,” I said.  [He was big then and easily recognizable for any sports fan.]

I just checked my archives, which won’t yield every result, but it seems I last told this story on 7/6/09, and in that same chat is this tidbit on Aroldis Chapman.

“As of this writing, the whereabouts of Cuban pitching sensation Aroldis Chapman are still unknown, Chapman having walked out of his hotel and into a waiting car in Amsterdam, where the Cuban national team was in town for a four-nation tournament. Chapman, a 21-year-old lefty who reportedly throws 100 mph, is no doubt looking to defect and I’m hoping he signs this morning with the Mets and hits the mound shortly thereafter.”

NFL

--As we await Thursday’s NFL draft....

A three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals panel for the Second Circuit in Manhattan on Monday overturned a lower-court ruling that had reversed a four-game suspension for New England’s Tom Brady.

Brady’s lawyers had argued that he was unfairly suspended by the NFL for his involvement in Deflategate, and last summer, a U.S. District Court Judge, Richard M. Berman agreed, so Brady was allowed to play the entire 2015 season.

But the NFL appealed the ruling to the Second Circuit and it’s been assumed the Berman decision would be overturned.

We hold that the Commissioner properly exercised (his broad discretion to suspend players) under the collective bargaining agreement and that his procedural rulings were properly grounded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness,” two of the three judges wrote in their opinion.  “Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the district court.”

Chief Judge Robert Katzmann dissented.  “I am troubled by the Commissioner’s decision to uphold the unprecedented four-game suspension. The Commissioner failed to even consider a highly relevant alternative penalty.”

Judge Denny Chin said evidence of ball tampering was ‘compelling, if not overwhelming” and there was evidence that Brady “knew about it, consented to it, encouraged it.”

The league argued that it was fair for Goodell to severely penalize Brady after he concluded the quarterback tarnished the game by impeding the NFL’s investigation by destroying a cellphone containing nearly 10,000 messages.

Judge Barrington D. Parker said the cellphone destruction raised the stakes “from air in a football to compromising the integrity of a proceeding that the commissioner had convened.”

“So why couldn’t the commissioner suspend Mr. Brady for that conduct alone?” he asked.  Parker added: “With all due respect, Mr. Brady’s explanation of that made no sense whatsoever.”

No one I have spoken to, regardless of whether they are a Brady/New England fan or not, could believe Brady’s idiocy in destroying the cellphone.

Brady’s lawyers could appeal to the full Second Circuit, or even the Supreme Court, but this doesn’t seem likely.  The NFL Players Association also said it was weighing its options.  [If the Supreme Court ever took a case like this, I’m leaving the country.]

So assuming the ruling stands and the NFL enforces the suspension at the outset of the 2016 season, Brady will miss games at Arizona, and home against Miami, Houston and Buffalo, in that order.

The Pats are also without a first-round pick Thursday night in the NFL draft as part of their Deflategate penalties.

Brady’s backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, is the only other quarterback currently on the Patriots’ roster, so they are either drafting one or signing a veteran free agent.

--With Philadelphia quarterback Sam Bradford being unhappy  that the Eagles are drafting another QB with the No. 2 pick on Thursday, there is talk he could end up with the Jets.

Nooo!!!  The numbers work.  Since the Eagles have already paid $11 million in signing bonus money, the Jets would only be responsible for his 2016 base salary of $7 million, which is on the low end of what they have reportedly offered Ryan Fitzpatrick.

As the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Salfino wrote: “Long story short: The Jets couldn’t sign Fitzpatrick for what they thought he was worth because of Bradford’s contract (two years, $36 million deal in March), but now, bizarrely, they could conceivably trade for Bradford and pay him exactly that amount.”

They also could draft Memphis QB Paxton Lynch.

--Mark R. is always telling me go back to the old days of leather helmets in the NFL.  So Gary Belsky and Neil Fine have written a book “On the Origins of Sports” and in the early days, “Helmets were little more than fortified skullcaps, yet the rule writers assumed they would be used as weapons, and they were correct.  What they failed to foresee, however, was that the helmet’s transformation from protective device to missile cladding would prove more harmful to wearers than to their targets.

“As helmet construction improved over the years – the better to prevent skull fractures and concussions – engineering technology outpaced medical understanding.  We now know that as a result of repeated impact, a brain undergoes the kind of intra-cranial ricocheting and twisting that can cause long-term degeneration or chronic traumatic encephalopathy....

“Ask serious fans about the failings of the modern game, and ‘poor tackling’ will top most lists. In part, that is the unintended consequence of helmet advancements that have emboldened players to abandon classical techniques for the reckless, brain-rattling collisions that dominate highlights....

“Some coaches – such as Pete Carroll of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks – are trying to return the safer method to the prominence it held back when players didn’t feel invincible. But old habits are difficult to break, especially among testosterone-fueled young men looking to intimidate and impress. So new habits must be ingrained. That’s why we’d like to see helmets banned – or their use severely curtailed – during football practice, from Pop Warner to the NFL.”

That’s a solid idea. Also the robotic tackling dummy that Dartmouth introduced for its practices.

I have been saying for years that football as a sport was doomed.  But I’ll change my attitude if there was no tackling until ninth grade (flag football until then), and no use of helmets in practices through college. 

One thing about playing flag football until ninth grade is you’ll get a lot more kids who wouldn’t ordinarily be going out for the sport, or playing Pop Warner, involved.

--I couldn’t give a damn about Johnny Manziel, but for the archives I do have to note he was indicted by a grand jury in Texas on a misdemeanor charge stemming from a domestic violence complaint by his ex-girlfriend.

--The Los Angeles Daily News first reported that Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis is now in support of a move to Las Vegas, assuming a government committee there approves financing for a $1.3 billion domed stadium off the Las Vegas Strip.

--We note the passing of longtime New York Jets tackle Winston Hill, 74.  A member of the Super Bowl III Jets, for 14 years Hill wore Green and White and was part of Gang Green’s first ring of Honor class in 2010, along with Joe Namath, Joe Klecko, Don Maynard, Curtis Martin and Weeb Ewbank.

Hill played in 195 consecutive games during his time with New York, 1963-76.  He finished up with a brief stint with the Rams in 1977.  Hill made eight Pro Bowls.

Stanley Cup Playoffs

I posted last time before the end of Islanders-Panthers, Game 6, and New York won it 2-1 at 10:41 of the second overtime on a goal by star John Tavares, thus taking the series 4-2.  If only the Rangers had a player like him; five goals in the series, four assists.

But for the Islanders it was their first playoff series win since 1993!  Next up, Tampa Bay.

Meanwhile, on Monday, St. Louis won its Game 7 against Chicago, 3-2.

Golf Balls

--There was a little confusion over the whole Tiger Woods / U.S. Open situation.  He submitted his registration on April 4, well ahead of the April 27 deadline, but this doesn’t mean much in terms of his schedule.  That said, most are now thinking he plays the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow (May 5-8) prior to the Players Championship (May 12-15), or maybe he holds off to the Memorial (June 2-5).  Golfweek’s Alex Micelli says he is betting on the Memorial, an event Tiger has won five times, including most recently in 2012.

Woods opened up a course he designed in Montgomery, Texas (Bluejack National Golf Club) on Monday and played a few holes with buddy Mark O’Meara.  Tiger commented: “I would not have said I would be here like this five months ago.  I wouldn’t have thought I’d be able to do what I did here now. Or play with my kids again, things of that nature.”

But Tiger didn’t say when and where he would finally tee it up on tour.

Premier League

Leicester City can complete their historic run with a win this coming Sunday at Old Trafford (Manchester United), after Tottenham had a disappointing 1-1 draw on Monday against West Brom at home. The Spurs, though, remain firmly in second with three games to go, which would be the club’s best Premier League finish since 1962-63 (not having won the top division since 1960-61), though they still need some points in their final three matches to ensure a Champions League slot.

Standings...35 of 38 complete...

1. Leicester 35 – 76 points
2. Tottenham 35 – 69
3. Manchester City 35 – 64
4. Arsenal 35 – 64
5. Manchester United 34 – 59

Leicester, which was 14th in the Premier League last season and is owned by Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, has never won the English top-flight title and they’ve now qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history.

Recall, Leicester was 5,000-1 to win the Premier League in August, and still 1,500-1 in October.  Then in November: 500-1.  December: 66-1.  Heck even those were nice odds.

--In the first leg of the Champions League semifinals, Man City and Real Madrid played to a 0-0 draw at Etihad Stadium (Man City) as Cristiano Ronaldo was held out of the match for Real with a thigh injury.  The second leg is May 4 in Madrid.

--On a totally different issue, Tuesday, a jury in a courtroom near Liverpool ruled that 96 Liverpool soccer fans who died in the April 15, 1989 Hillsborough Stadium disaster were “unlawfully killed” because of errors by the police.

As the AP reported: “Relatives of the victims of the 1989 disaster, some wearing Liverpool scarves, were in tears outside a specially-built courtroom after new inquests into Britain’s worst sporting disaster.

“Fans chanted ‘Justice for the 96’ and sang the Premier League club’s anthem, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ after hearing the verdicts.”

Originally, the verdict was ‘accidental death’ following the FA Cup semifinal match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

But the families didn’t give up and the original inquest verdicts were overturned in 2012 following a new inquiry.

The jury Tuesday found that police planning errors ‘caused or contributed’ to the situation that led to the crush, while confirming the behavior of the fans did not cause or contribute to the tragedy.

Criminal charges against individuals can still be brought.

Many of us of a certain age have pretty good memories of this tragedy and others like it of a smaller scale where the fans of rival teams were cordoned off in pens, that then became way too congested, offering few escape routes in an emergency without a crush.  You watch a Premier League game today and the seating is wide open, like any stadium in the U.S.  But it’s amazing looking back how idiotic, and as now proven, criminal, some of the crowd control plans were.

Men’s College Tennis Rankings – ITA Poll (4/26)

1. Virginia
2. UCLA
3. North Carolina
4. Ohio State
5. TCU
6. Wake Forest
7. Georgia

Go Deacs!  I’m a little surprised, though, that Wake, No. 7 the prior week, moved up just one notch after winning its first-ever ACC Tennis Championship, defeating nine-time champ Virginia in dramatic fashion with wins at No. 5 and No. 6 singles to take it 4-3 (Wake securing the doubles point).

It’s been such a lousy stretch for Wake athletics.  Hopefully this carries over into the NCAAs, and to the men’s golf team.

Bushnell / Golfweek Poll (4/22)

1. Texas
2. Illinois
3. Georgia
14. Wake Forest....but we should move up some after a solid second-place finish in the ACC Championship last weekend.

Phil W. alerted me to the fact that the son of a Wake Forest classmate, and friend, Thomas Walsh, out of Virginia, finished ninth.  Very cool. 

Stuff

--Five days after three-time champion Tony Stewart railed against rules in the pits and NASCAR’s lack of a lug nut policy, NASCAR sent a memo to crew chiefs Monday changing the rule.

Teams will now be required to have all five lug nuts “installed in a safe and secure manner” or have the driver risk being called back into the pits during the race.  If the infraction is found after the race, a crew chief will receive a minimum $20,000 fine and a one-race suspension.

--The Kentucky Derby is just around the corner, Sat., May 7.  Analyst Mike Battaglia says Nyquist is “probably the least-respected undefeated horse coming into the Derby we’ve ever had.”

Battaglia sees Nyquist going off as a 3-1 or so top choice after his Florida Derby victory.  Battaglia is Churchill Downs’ oddsmaker and he sees Exaggerator as the second choice. 

I’ll give you Bar Chat’s official pick next week, but I loved Louisiana Derby winner Gun Runner.

--The other day Keith Sargeant of the Star-Ledger had a piece on the amount of money Rutgers spends, and in some cases, makes, on sports...the figures being available because Rutgers is a public institution (state school) and has to report such figures.

For example, despite the fact the program blows, football took in $26.7 million for the 2014-15 sports season, with total expenses of $18.66 million, earning slightly more than $8 million.

Men’s basketball, which really, really blows, still took in $5.932m with expenses of $5.034m, so a profit of nearly $900,000.

But all the other programs cost money.  Women’s basketball had revenue of $1.599m, but expenses of $4.224m, so a loss of $2.624m

Women’s volleyball lost $1.277m, women’s soccer $1.065m.

Baseball had a net loss of $953,800.  Men’s soccer $720,500.

So to make up the difference for the program overall, student fee support is critical, and then you have a “direct institutional subsidy.”

--ESPN play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico is leaving for NBC Sports when his contract expires this summer, according to Sports Business Journal and the Washington Post.  Aside from being the voice of “Monday Night Football,” Tirico calls NBA games and leads the network’s golf coverage.  He started with the network way back in 1991 as a “SportsCenter” anchor and replaced Al Michaels on “MNF” in 2006.

The 49-year-old, ironically, is likely to be in line to eventually replace the 71-year-old Michaels on “Sunday Night Football.”

It also seems Tirico would be available for NBC’s golf coverage at the British Open and the Ryder Cup, as well as the Olympics, and perhaps one day replace Bob Costas, now 64, as prime host.

Sean McDonough is a potential replacement for Tirico on “MNF” and other events.

Think of this.  Since “MNF” launched in 1970, there have been only four primary announcers: Tirico, Michaels, Frank Gifford and Keith Jackson.

--Erin Andrews settled her lawsuit against a hotel owner and operator in the stalking/video case.

While a jury ruled the two parties were on the hook for $55 million, the terms of the agreement reached Monday will probably never be known.

--The Atlantic’s “Big Question” this month: “What is the greatest prank of all time?

I forgot the second part of this one.

Bob Cohn, co-president, The Atlantic:

“In 1982, UC Berkeley beat Stanford on a play that snaked through the Stanford band’s premature celebration.  Students in Palo Alto took revenge by creating a fake issue of The Daily Californian, which declared, ‘NCAA Awards Big Game to Stanford’ above a doctored photo showing a referee negating the play. Seven thousand copies were delivered to Berkeley, where horrified students picked them up on their way to morning classes.”

--The Most Interesting Man In The World as you know has taken off on his one-way trip to Mars.

But before the launch, he sat down for an interview.  Among the questions:

What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“Someone once told me this sage piece of wisdom: the ‘sudden death’ round in High Andean Competitive Tobogganing has a decidedly different meaning than sudden death in, let’s say, hockey.  I was informed of this fact in the nick of time.”

--From the Sydney Morning Herald:

A four-year-old white Labrador called Dayko has been hailed as a hero after rescuing seven people from the aftermath of the Ecuador earthquake – before dying of exhaustion.

“Dayko, a rescue dog for the Ibarra fire service, died on Friday, having spent the previous days searching for survivors in the rubble left by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake which hit Ecuador on April 16.

“According to a post on the Ibarra fire service’s Facebook page, the cause of death was ‘massive coronary myocardial infarction and acute respiratory failure.’  He had been working as a rescue dog for 3 ½ years.

“ ‘We regret to inform you that today the [fire service] is in mourning because [we] just lost Dayko who participated in the work of searching in Pedernales,’ the fire service said.

“ ‘This four-legged friend gave his life in the line of duty.  Thank you Dayko for your heroic efforts in Pedernales and in various emergencies where you were present.

“ ‘You held high the name of the K9 unit.’”

And so ‘Dog’ remains No. 1 on the All-Species List.

--I’m not a Beyonce fan and won’t be buying her new album Lemonade, but how predictable was it that many of her fans would confuse Rachel Roy, the woman with whom Jay Z is rumored to have had an affair, with Rachel Ray, the celebrity chef.

Beyonce has lyrics alluding to Roy, who posted a message on Instagram boasting “Good hair don’t care” in response.

But it was Rachel Ray getting attacked on social media.  Stuff like, “Never watchin ur show again Rachel u r a homewrecker!”  Oh brother.

So here are some of Queen Bey’s lyrics.

“Pray You Catch Me”

You can taste the dishonesty / It’s on your breath as you pass it off so cavalier

“Don’t Hurt Yourself”

Who the f--- do you think I am? / You ain’t married to no average b-tch, boy / You can watch my fat ass twist, boy / As I bounce to the next d---, boy

This is your final warning / You know I give you life / If you try this s--- again / You gon’ lose your wife

My, isn’t this sweet?   And this woman sang the National Anthem at Obama’s 2013 inauguration?!  Amazing.

--Kelly Ripa returned to “Live with Kelly and Michael.”  I have to admit I kind of wanted to see the opening, Tuesday, but then I forgot (never having watched more than two minutes of this show before).

Kyle Smith / New York Post

“On her return to morning TV after admittedly staging a one-woman job action last week – skipping two days of broadcasts after learning her co-host Michael Strahan was dumping her to join ‘Good Morning America’ – Ripa told the studio audience at Columbia and 66th  Street after a lengthy standing ovation that ‘I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts.’

“Not really.  Kelly had only one thought – broiling magma-strength fury of the kind last seen when the Wicked Witch of the West learned someone had just dropped a house on her sister.  Skipping work last Wednesday and Thursday (plus taking scheduled personal days Friday and Monday) was her way of telling her ABC bosses she didn’t appreciate the so-called lack of advance notice about Strahan.  (In fact, he doesn’t join ‘GMA’ until September.*  Five months’ notice isn’t enough for her?)

“That was it: Ripa had a tantrum and gave herself a time-out at the same moment.  Yet by Tuesday Ripa had figured out that what people value in their chat-show hosts is their perceived niceness.  Bryant Gumbel and Matt Lauer could tell her something about that.....

“So Ripa tried to back-date her hissy fit by claiming it was some sort of feminist statement: ‘It started a much greater conversation,’ she said, ‘about communication and consideration and most importantly, respect in the workplace.’

Ever been disrespected?  Ripa’s just like you! Except she makes maybe $19,950,000 more than you.  To work five hours a week....

“Ripa gets paid to do five shows a week. For $20 million a year.  For one-tenth of that, I’d not only do my job as agreed every day but I’d personally Turtle-Wax the CEO’s car every Saturday morning.  It seems that the more you get paid, the more entitled, irresponsible and unprofessional you get to be....

“(Ripa) isn’t an actress – she only ever plays one role.  She’s also not a journalist – her producers run down the guests for her.

In Britain they call the Ripas of the land ‘presenters.’  She’s that, plus now she’s...a diva!  Sure, it’s a sexist term that no one would ever apply to a dude....

“If the New York Giants showed up for work one day and found out there’d been a sudden change involving their single most important teammate (as they did one day in 2004 to find Coach had replaced a Super Bowl-tested quarterback named Kurt Warner with an untested rookie named Eli Manning), they’d simply carry on.  You would.  I would.

“And so would... Kelly Ripa’s bus driver dad.  Ripa let slip, at the end of her scramble to re-establish her sweetie-pie brand on Tuesday, that ‘My dad, who was a bus driver for 30 years, thinks we’re all crazy.’ A bus driver who suddenly stormed out in the middle of the work week wouldn’t ‘start a conversation’ about anything except how quickly he should be fired.”

*After Kyle Smith’s piece, ABC announced Strahan is sticking around just two more weeks.

--Singer Kid Rock discovered the body of his assistant on his Nashville area property Monday following an apparent ATV accident, police said.

30-year-old Michael Sacha is believed to have died after ferrying guests from a cookout on Rock’s Whites Creek estate to an Uber at the property’s driveway around midnight Monday, when Sacha appears to have lost control of the vehicle and crashed on his way back to the residence, police said.

Kid Rock said he was devastated.  He and a friend found Sacha on an embankment late Monday morning and he was already deceased.  [The awful 911 call is online.]

--We note the passing of Billy Paul, 80, a pioneer in the Philadelphia Sound who recorded the #1 “Me and Mrs. Jones,” but only a #37 after (“Thanks For Saving My Life”).

He was born Paul Williams in Philadelphia and his big hit was recorded for Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records, though Paul later sued the duo and others for unpaid royalties (he eventually won $500,000).  Gamble and Huff, however, on Sunday called him one of the great artists to come out of Philly.

In a statement the two said: “Our proudest moment with Billy was the recording of the salacious smash ‘Me and Mrs. Jones.’  In our view, it is one of the greatest love songs ever recorded.”

In an Instagram post, Questlove called Paul “the SPIRIT of the Sound of Philadelphia.”

--In the first four days after his death, Prince’s music racked up almost $10 million in sales, as he sold 654,860 albums, according to measurement firm Buzz-Angle Music, which at $10 per would equate to $6.5 million.

Individual song sales totaled 3 million, or, at $1 per song, another $3 million.

Beyonce’s new release “Lemonade” is No. 1 on iTunes, but Prince has the next four slots.

It’s still unclear who will take charge of Prince’s estate, seeing as he didn’t have a will, which one source puts a value of $300 million on, but others say it’s closer to $150 million.  Sister Tyka Nelson is reported to be the next of kin.

Top 3 songs for the week 4/26/75:  #1 “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” (B.J. Thomas...longest song title ever...) #2 “Philadelphia Freedom” (The Elton John Band) #3 “He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You)” (Tony Orlando & Dawn)...and...#4 “Lovin’ You” (Minnie Riperton...chirp chirp...tweet tweet...)  #5 “Supernatural Thing – Part I” (Ben E. King)  #6 “Chevy Van” (Sammy Johns)  #7 “Before The Next Teardrop Falls” (Freddy Fender)  #8 “Emma” (Hot Chocolate...had to look this one up...ughh...)  #9 “What Am I Gonna Do With You” (Barry White)  #10 “Walking In Rhythm” (The Blackbyrds...good one...)

Baseball Quiz Answer: Six among the group with two no-hitters, post-1960...Steve Busby, Bill Stoneman, Hideo Nomo, Jim Maloney (one of my early faves), Don Wilson (sad ending to his life), and Bob Forsch.

Next Bar Chat, Monday.