|Articles||Go Fund Me||All-Species List||Hot Spots||Go Fund Me|
|Web Epoch NJ Web Design | (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.|
Cleveland's Streak Ends at 22
[Posted Sunday before Packers-Falcons...Dodgers-Nationals...]
NFL Quiz: Name the only three schools to send over 400 players to the NFL. Answer below.
--It’s been all about the Cleveland Indians....
Former Met Jay Bruce led the Indians to a 5-3 win over the Tigers, Wednesday, with a 3-run homer for No. 21.
And then Bruce hit a dramatic double in the bottom of the tenth the next night for a 3-2 Cleveland win over Kansas City, No. 22, breaking the modern-day record of the 1935 Chicago Cubs.
But with Cleveland’s 4-3 loss on Friday to K.C., the streak was over, though it was way cool how the Cleveland fans gave their Indians a long, standing ovation when it was over.
[The Indians had a walkup crowd of 4,600 Tuesday; 5,500 Wednesday; and 10,000 Thursday. I believe Friday’s approached Thursday’s total.]
Cleveland bounced back to win Saturday 8-4. And they won today, 3-2, as Corey Kluber threw 7 scoreless to move to 17-4, 2.35, your Cy Young Award winner.
Some stats on the streak. In the 22 games....
Cleveland outscored the opposition 142-37.
They hit 41 home runs...so more homers than runs for the opponents. Francisco Lindor clubbed nine of them.
The Indians trailed in just 9 out of 199 innings.
19 wins from the starting rotation, including four each by Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber.
1.58 team ERA.
200-37 strikeout-walk ratio.
As for the debate whether 22 is really the record, the 1916 New York Giants having that 26-game streak we are all now aware of, one that included a tie, between wins 12 and 13, with the game totally being replayed, I have to go with Cleveland’s streak...but put the Giants at the top with an asterisk.
Here’s the deal. When the Arizona Diamondbacks stretched their recent streak to 13 games, Sept. 6 (Arizona losing their next one), Cleveland’s was at 14 and I was thinking as a long-time baseball fan, ‘Gee, I can’t remember the last time we had two such streaks.’ My Mets, for example, have had a slew of 11-game streaks, but nothing over that, and most teams, I’m imaging, are around 11-14 as a franchise high.
So to give you some perspective, since 1953, aside from Oakland’s “Moneyball” 20-game run of 2002, the best streaks were 18 by the ’53 Yankees, and 16 by the 1977 Kansas City Royals. [The ’86-’87 Milwaukee Brewers also had 16, but this is in no way a true 16-game streak when it is over two seasons....last three in ’86, first 13 in ’87.]
Ergo, yeah, what we witnessed the past week in particular was incredibly special. As the MLB Network folks put it when it all came to an end Friday night, we’re not likely to see something like this ever again. That’s a fact.
So congratulations again, Cleveland. That was incredible. Thank you for thrilling us.
--The Yankees’ Aaron Judge is officially out of his slump, after a two-homer, six-RBI performance on Thursday in New York’s 13-5 win over the Orioles.
Also in that game, catcher Gary Sanchez hit his 31st home run, thus becoming the all-time Yankee catcher for homers in a single season. Yogi Berra hit 30 twice, Jorge Posada once. [Five of Sanchez’ home runs came as a DH and one as a first baseman.]
The most for a catcher in the A.L. while playing the position is 35 by Ivan Rodriguez for Texas in 1999...cough cough...PEDs....cough....hack....
What Sanchez has done, though, is remarkable. As a rookie last year he had 20 homers in 53 games.
Friday, the Yankees whipped the Orioles again, 8-2, behind Luis Severino’s 8 strong, Severino improving to 13-6, 2.93, the clear ace of the staff and your hurler for the looming one-game wildcard playoff.
Saturday it was the same story...Yankees 9, Baltimore 3...Didi Gregorious had home runs both Friday and Saturday, 7 RBIs in the two contests, and let’s just say this is one helluva shortstop. Great glove and he’s knocking the cover off the ball.
Make that three homers in three games as Didi went yard today, but the Yanks lost 6-4, Sonny Gray getting hit hard, 4 innings, 5 earned.
That said, Gregorious has 24 home runs, 81 RBIs, .294 batting average. [His other metrics aren’t that strong, but I frankly don’t give a damn as I attempt to fill in all this stuff before PBS’ “Vietnam” premieres.]
The 24 matches Derek Jeter’s team record for a shortstop, by the way.
--Coupled with Boston’s 3-2 loss to Tampa, the Yanks are just three game back of the Red Sox in the A.L. East.
--As for the A.L. Wild Card race....
Yankees 82-67... +4
Los Angeles... 2
The others are now 4.5 or more back. It will be interesting to see if Mike Trout can get his boys into the WC playoff in New York, which would be delicious....and a helluva lot better than watching the NFL these days.
--The Dodgers are back, winning four straight after their atrocious 11-game losing streak (losers of 16 of 17), including wins Friday and Saturday in Washington, 7-0 and 3-2, that moved L.A. to 7 in front of the Nationals for home-field advantage. Game over.
Friday, Alex Wood went six shutout innings for the win to improve to 15-3, 2.69, as he gets back in the groove at the right time.
Saturday, Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers hit his 38th home run, thus tying the National League rookie record of 38 held by Wally Berger, 1930, Boston Braves, and Frank Robinson, 1956, Cincinnati. [Berger never hit 38 again...F. Robby, well, you know his story...kind of had a good career.]
[The Dodgers play the Nationals tonight.]
--My Mets, prior to heading to Atlanta for the weekend, were at Wrigley Field for three with the Cubs and the Metropolitans were swept, 39-14, the most runs the Mets have ever given up in a three-game series.
As Johnny Mac points out, the Indians gave up 37 total runs in their 22-game streak, and the Mets yielded 39 to the Cubs in 3.
At least in a 7-3 win on Saturday against the Braves, Jacob deGrom won his 15th, 15-9, 3.55; a small ray of sunshine in what has been a totally unwatchable season...though many Mets fans have been tuning into most of it...thus requiring rehab at Cliffside Malibu.
I keep begging the Cliffside folks, by the way. “Hey, I know this is for drug rehab, but my baseball team is driving me to drink, and I love your commercials and the location looks great and I was just wondering .....hello?..... hello? ....”
--I have to note some other games since last post....
Philadelphia’s Rhys Hoskins, as of Friday, had hit 18 home runs in 34 games, after homering in 8-1, 10-0, Phillies wins over the Marlins, Thurs. and Fri. Gary Sanchez had the record for starting off a career with 18 in 45. Amazing.
Remember. Hoskins, as I told you, started off 1-for-13 against the Mets, a single, in his first four games.
Alas, he went 0-for-11 this weekend in a three-game set against Oakland.
--In a 17-7 win over Detroit on Thursday, the White Sox’ Avisail Garcia went 5-for-5 with a homer and 7 RBI. Pretty, pretty good.
--Major League Baseball confirmed the Red Sox are cheaters, fining Boston an undisclosed amount of cash for its role in Applegate and illegally stealing signs.
The money is going towards Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief efforts, but the fact is the Red Sox got away with using an Apple Watch to give their hitters advance notice of what pitch was coming.
“If I know a breaking ball is coming instead of a fastball, that’s a huge advantage to the hitter,” said one scout at Yankee Stadium on Friday night.
Boston is lucky they weren’t stripped of a draft pick. Just cash. Plus, no money was taken from the team’s international signing pool.
--Speaking of international signing pools, Japan’s Shohei Otani, the Japanese Babe Ruth, is reportedly ready to come to the majors, two years ahead of time.
The kid is 23 and at age 25, the way these things work today, he would receive much more money if he waited, but his Japanese team, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, are expected to post him if he requests it. Hokkaido would receive $20 million from whatever major league team signs him.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, Otani’s earnings capability will be severely limited if he does jump this offseason because of the international signing pool, which applies to all players under 25 outside the United States and varies depending on a team’s marketplace.
It can be as high as $5.75 million for the smallest-market clubs, while larger market clubs receive a $4.75 million pool. That’s the total they can spend on all international free agents.
But you can increase that amount by acquiring other clubs’ international pool money in a trade.
At 25, Otani could receive whatever the market bears. The reason he would want to go now is the idea of major riches when he signed his second contract, which if he pans out, could be beyond what he would receive in an initial deal at 25.
For example, the Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million contract.
Otani has a 100-mph fastball with a nasty slider, and can hit it a ton, but there seems little chance he’d be allowed to go both ways...at least on a regular basis.
--Darren Rovell of ESPN notes the impact of Tim Tebow on attendance in his first season in the minor leagues.
Attendance for the Columbia Fireflies, the team Tebow played with through June 28, saw its average crowd size jump 21% from 2016. The St. Lucie Mets, for which he played for after, saw attendance rise 37% over last year.
Baseball America calculated that Tebow was worth nearly $1.6 million in additional tickets, parking, concessions and other revenue.
College Football Review
--Week to week, I’m not in any way trying to cover each game in depth, but I will give the top ten for the archives and then some, and try to provide a tidbit or two that may be different.
All comments are prior to release of the new AP poll, which comes out Sunday afternoon.
But before I begin, I want to reiterate something I wrote a few weeks ago. This year, more than any I can remember, is about the focus on a select group of quarterbacks, because next spring’s draft is said to be as deep as ever at the position. And we all know quarterbacks are everything in today’s NFL.
So I gave you:
“Sam Darnold (USC), Josh Allen (Wyoming), Josh Rosen(UCLA), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), J.T. Barrett (Ohio State), Lamar Jackson (Louisville...Heisman Trophy winner), Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State), and Luke Falk (Washington State). [A step behind these 8 would be Nick Fitzgerald (Miss. State), Riley Ferguson (Memphis) and Matt Linehan (Idaho).”
Looking at the list today, Rudolph, Ferguson and Fitzgerald made major strides this weekend. Washington’s Jake Browning should also probably be part of this discussion.
--No. 1 Alabama moved to 3-0 with a solid 41-23 over Colorado State (2-2), though Rams fans can take heart they beat the spread, which was 28 ½, and at the end of the day, boys and girls....
--No. 2 Oklahoma is 3-0 after destroying Tulane (1-2), 56-14, with quarterback Baker Mayfield having another huge game; 17/27, 331, 4-0.
--In what was setting up to be the biggest game of the day, No. 3 Clemson at No. 14 Louisville, it ended up being a bit of a bust, the Tigers (3-0) routing the Cardinals (2-1) 47-21.
Deshaun Watson’s replacement, Kelly Bryant, was solid again, 22/32, 316, 1-0 thru the air, and another two TDs rushing, while the Clemson ‘D’ held Lamar Jackson very much in check when it counted, early, and while Jackson ended up passing for 317 yards and three TDs, it was hardly a command performance (21 of 42 passing, for one). Clemson’s Dorian O’Donnell returned one of Jackson’s throws 44 yards for a TD and a 26-7 third-quarter lead, plus the Tigers sacked Jackson four times.
Overall, Clemson outgained Louisville 613-433, but it was even worse than that.
--No. 4 USC (3-0) survived a major scare, defeating Texas (1-2) 27-24 in double overtime. USC’s super soph quarterback Sam Darnold wasn’t Superman-like when you analyze the game in detail, 28-for-49, 397, three touchdowns, two interceptions, but he was huge when it mattered most.
First, with five seconds left in the first half and the score tied at 7-7, Darnold hit Ronald Jones II with a 56-yard touchdown pass to give the Trojans the lead heading into the locker room.
Then, trailing 17-14 with 45 seconds to play in regulation and out of timeouts, Darnold engineered a nine-play, 52-yard scoring drive to set up the game-tying field goal.
Then in OT, he threw a 25-yard scoring strike to Deontay Burnett.
--No. 5 Penn State (3-0) annihilated Georgia State 56-0, with Trace McSorley throwing for four touchdowns and Saquon Barkley gaining 226 all-purpose yards, including a Beaver Stadium-record 85-yard touchdown pass from McSorley.
--No. 6 Washington (3-0) whipped Fresno State (1-2), 48-16, behind Jake Browning’s four touchdown passes.
--No. 7 Michigan (3-0) was far from impressive, again, in beating Air Force (1-1) 29-13, with Wilton Speight just 14 of 23 for 169 yards. The Wolverines are numbingly boring on offense, but they have a solid defense, which held Air Force to 1 of 9 passing, though the one completion went for 64 yards and a score.
--No. 8 Ohio State (2-1) defeated Army (2-1) 38-7, as J.T. Barrett had a solid game; 25/33, 270, 2-0, while freshman running back J.K. Dobbins had another outstanding effort...172 yards on 13 carries and two TDs.
--There is a lot of talk after this weekend about No. 9 Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, who was phenomenal in the Cowboys (3-0) 56-21 win over Pitt (1-2) in Pittsburgh, the score being 49-14 at the half, with Rudolph having already thrown for 423 yards and five touchdowns! Before he was replaced, he ended up with 497 yards. Oklahoma State receiver Jalen McCleskey had seven receptions for 162 yards and three TDs before the intermission.
As for my closet ‘second team’ in CFB, Pitt, due to family connections, I made this comment each of the last two seasons, but it bears repeating. It’s amazing how with few exceptions, they haven’t had a solid defense since the great teams of the late 1970s, early ‘80s.
--No. 10 Wisconsin is 3-0 after an impressive 40-6 road win at BYU (1-3) in Provo.
In other games of note....
--I watched a lot of No. 25 UCLA at Memphis, the Tigers pulling off an upset for a third straight season against a ranked opponent in the Liberty Bowl, 48-45.
I watched mainly to see Josh Rosen, who could be my Jets QB next season, and while there is zero doubt the kid has an outstanding arm, his decision making was suspect and his fundamentals were as well. There were far too many unnecessary back foot throws.
Rosen finished 34 of 56, 463 yards, four touchdowns and two bad interceptions for the now 2-1 Bruins.
For 2-0 Memphis, on the other hand, Riley Ferguson’s stock soared, I’m guessing, in terms of the 2018 NFL Draft, as he was an impressive 23/38, 393, 6-1. The guy has a toughness that NFL GMs certainly will be focusing on. I like him.
--Mississippi State is 3-0 after upsetting No. 12 Louisiana State, in dominating fashion, 37-7, as aforementioned quarterback Nick Fitzgerald threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more. It was MSU’s second victory in 18 tries against the Tigers dating back to 2000. LSU was penalized nine times for 112 yards and had two touchdown plays negated by penalties.
--No. 16 Virginia Tech (3-0) beat East Carolina (0-3) 64-17 in Greenville. The only reason why I mention this one is because the Pirates were up 17-7 after the first quarter. So 57 unanswered points! Yikes. The ECU football program is in shambles.
--Vanderbilt is 3-0 after upsetting No. 18 Kansas State (2-1), 14-7.
--In what had been a horrid game in terms of entertainment value (read quality of play), No. 23 Tennessee at No. 24 Florida, with the score knotted at 20-20 with less than 10 seconds left in the game, Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks hooked up with Tyrie Cleveland on a 63-yard Hail Mary to win the game.
It was just the Gators’ (1-1) second offensive touchdown in two games. The Vols fell to 2-1.
--San Diego State is 3-0 after upsetting No. 19 Stanford (1-2), 20-17. The Aztecs had some buzz entering the season and are worth watching in terms of the bowl picture. In the win, they overcame an outstanding performance by Stanford running back Bryce Love, who gained 184 yards on just 13 carries, including touchdown runs of 53 and 51 yards.
--Northern Illinois traveled to Lincoln to face Nebraska, getting paid over $800,000 to do so, and the Huskies (2-1) upset the Cornhuskers (1-2) in truly embarrassing fashion, 21-17, as Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee had two of his three interceptions returned for touchdowns. Afterwards, the athletic director was fuming, but said he still supported Cornhusker coach Mike Riley.
--Rutgers won its first game of the season...65-0! [Over Morgan Freeman State.]
--Boston College (1-2) was humiliated by Notre Dame (2-1) 49-20 in Chestnut Hill, as the Fighting Irish rushed for 515 yards! Josh Adams was 18-229-0, while Brandon Wimbush was 21-207-4. Wow.
--Duke is 3-0 after a 34-20 win over struggling Baylor (0-3).
--The above-mentioned Josh Allen, quarterback for Wyoming, had an absolutely dreadful game, 9/24, 64 yards, one interception, as the Cowboys (1-2) were beaten badly at home by Oregon (3-0), 49-13.
The Ducks are back and will no doubt re-enter the Top 25 this week. Running back Royce Freeman should shortly enter the Heisman conversation as well. The first three games he has 460 yards and nine touchdowns, rushing for 150, 153, and 157 yards...the 157 on Saturday.
As for Allen, his stock you would think is plummeting. He also had a poor opening-week performance in a loss to Iowa, so in his two big showcase games, he flamed out.
--Lastly, my Wake Forest Demon Deacons are 3-0, whipping Utah State 46-10 in Winston-Salem, as the Deacs outgained the Aggies 588-267 (397-77 at the half).
I mean Wake has outscored its first three opponents 131-27. Granted, that’s Presbyterian, Boston College and Utah State (which isn’t Utah), but still, not bad.
Huge test coming up next Saturday, though...at Appalachian State. We must get to 4-0 before our brutal stretch of Florida State, at Clemson, at Georgia Tech, Louisville, at Notre Dame.
It’s up to the coaches to keep the Deacs focused one more week. After this next one, saying “take it one game at a time” will be readily self-apparent.
And now...the new AP Poll!
1. Alabama 3-0 (59)
2. Clemson 3-0 (6)
3. Oklahoma 3-0
4. Penn State 3-0
5. USC 3-0
6. Washington 3-0
7. Oklahoma State 3-0
8. Michigan 3-0
9. Ohio State 2-1
10. Wisconsin 3-0
15. TCU 3-0...moving up rapidly...and playing Oklahoma State next
24. Oregon 3-0...time to get the Duckwear back out!!! I hear “Quack Quack” coming from my Losers Sports Drawer....
25. San Diego State....wow!
31. Memphis...if you carry out the votes
*And Wake Forest received 2 votes!!! But, what’s this? Appalachian State also received 2. Uh oh....
--Next Saturday, ESPN College GameDay is being broadcast from the Big Apple, New York, for a first time.
It’s a first time for good reason, there not being any major college football in New York, unless it is a manufactured game at one of the many sites.
In fact not a single one of the 128 Division I programs plays here, Rutgers being over an hour away from Manhattan, for example, and many would say the Scarlets Knights are a I-AA program anyway.
But the Wall Street Journal set out to determine what the favorite college football teams were in Gotham, so the Journal scoped out five popular running routes in the City, and the spies counted among thousands of passersby, 227 runners or walkers wearing clearly marked school shirts, hats or shorts.
The verdict? Michigan, New York being the top state of origin for out-of-state Wolverines.
No. 2 was the University of Pennsylvania, which is hardly a football powerhouse.
Third was a four-way tie between Yale, New York University, Duke and Stanford.
The only SEC school to crack the top 25 was Vanderbilt (19th).
As the Journal put, New York’s rankings look more like a Gilded Age lawn party than a beer-soaked tailgate.
Not one of the 227 wore Clemson (or Wake Forest). One of the 227 had Alabama garb.
--Will Hobson and Emily Guskin / Washington Post
“Earlier this week, behind the closed doors of a hotel conference room outside Cincinnati, Mississippi State linebacker Leo Lewis explained to NCAA officials what he alleges a booster offered a few years ago to try to get him to attend the University of Mississippi: $10,000 cash.
“Last week in Clemson, S.C., recruits toured the football team’s new $55 million complex, which features an 18-hole miniature golf course, an arcade, and a nap room. Over in Alabama, Nick Saban’s $11.1 million in compensation this year would make him the highest-paid coach in the NFL, even though Alabama football only generates about $100 million in revenue, compared to $300 million to $700 million by NFL teams.
“To some economists and labor lawyers, these stories of boosters waving bags of cash, luxury recruiting palaces and disproportionately large coach salaries are all manifestations of what they believe is a critical problem with college sports in America: The schools are barred from paying the valuable top recruits in lucrative football and men’s basketball. A slight majority of American adults – 52 percent – still believe a full scholarship is adequate compensation for college athletes.
“But the racial divide on the issue is significant, according to a nationwide poll conducted in August by The Washington Post and the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
“More than half of black Americans, 54 percent, support paying college athletes based on revenue they generate, the poll finds. Among white Americans, however, a far smaller 31 percent support paying athletes while 59 percent are opposed. Hispanics split more evenly: 41 percent say athletes should be paid while 47 percent say scholarships are adequate.”
Personally, I would increase the amount of the recently adopted “cost-of-attendance” scholarships. These dollars, roughly around $2,500 for Power Five conference schools (the level is up to the institution), are for costs not covered by a full scholarship (tuition, room and board), such as travel.
Make it $5,000, or more. It just seems you can play with this category.
Also, the athletes should have a long period of time once they are out of school, and if not playing professionally, where they receive extended health benefits through the university, at minimal cost to the athlete, access to medical staff...that kind of thing, which some schools are beginning to adopt in one form or another.
The counterargument (I’m just rambling), would be, ‘But what if we have declining revenues, due to falling paying spectator levels?’
Well freakin’ reduce the salaries professors receive, for one!
And that’s a memo....Bernie Goldberg is here. Bernie, what say you?
[By the way, without Bill O’Reilly, has anyone seen Bernie? Remember Bill O’Reilly? Thus far, civilization has survived without him.]
--So I was half following the NFL action today, because, frankly, I have trouble getting excited about it like I do college football, and at the half in the first round of games we had 6-3, 6-3, 6-0, 10-3....I mean, eegads.
Anyway, among the finals we had....
Tennessee (1-1) beating Jacksonville (1-1) 37-16.
Kansas City (2-0) over Philadelphia (1-1) 27-20, Kareem Hunt with two rushing touchdowns, while Alex Smith was his usual dependable self, 21/28, 251, 1-0, 113.8 passer rating.
Baltimore (2-0) beating Cleveland (0-2) 24-10. [Wake’s Michael Campanaro not doing anything bad, mused the editor, keeping his roster spot another week.]
Carolina moved to 2-0 with a scintillating 9-3 win over the Bills (1-1).
Arizona evened its record at 1-1 with an equally enervating win over 0-2 Indianapolis, 16-13.
I mean this stuff sucks!
At least Tom Brady had the New England (1-1) offense clicking on all cylinders in the Pats’ 36-20 at New Orleans (0-2), Brady a cool 30/39, 447, 3 TDs (294 yards in the first half as the Pats took a 30-13 lead).
For New Orleans, malcontent (read “pain in the ass”) Adrian Peterson, who bitched big time after not playing much in Week One, had 26 yards on 8 carries.
Your Bar Chat “Pick to Click,” the Pittsburgh Steelers, are now 2-0 after beating Minnesota (1-1) 26-9. Le’Veon Bell had a little better game, 87 yards on 27 carries, but only 4 yards on 4 receptions. [I purposefully don’t play DraftKings the first two weeks until I see who’s doing what. I’ll now get into it and take Bell in Week Four.]
And my Jets lost to Oakland 45-20 in just a dreadful contest, though the Raiders’ Derek Carr had a super game (albeit against an O.K. high school defense), with a 23/28, 230, 3-0, 136.6 performance. Michael Crabtree, no relation to Miss Crabtree of “Little Rascals” fame, hauled in the three TD receptions.
So our Tank, Tank, Tank for the home team...and the first pick in the draft...remains in place.
But I do have to add that when I was watching, there was atrocious penalty on Oakland’s Bruce Irwin for slamming a Jet to the ground, only it was not the unnecessary roughness that was called by the referee, it was just football. Another example of the dire future of the sport.
--Washington evened its mark at 1-1 with a 27-20 win over the 1-1 L.A. Rams.
--Thursday night, Houston defeated Cincinnati 13-9, the Texans 1-1, the Bengals 0-2.
Once again for Cincy, we saw “Bad Andy,” Andy Dalton a highly-mediocre 20/35, 224, 0-0, 76.4 rating.
The Bengals have scored 9 points in their first two games (both at home) and it is already desperation time as the team fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese, who had been with the team for 15 seasons. He became offensive coordinator last season.
Prior to the Houston-Cincinnati game, Texans linebacker Brian Cushing was suspended 10 games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Cushing will not appeal, which tells you everything.
He was previously suspended four games in 2010 for testing positive for HCG, a fertility drug, Cushing not capable of bearing a child....best we know.
--I didn’t pick this up after last week’s games and just saw it in Sports Illustrated. It bears repeating:
“After a 46-9 loss Colts coach Chuck Pagano noted that his team had been crushed by the 49ers. They had played the Rams.”
--Television ratings for Week One were not good, off 13% over last season, but this was due in part to the Hurricane Irma coverage, which was a bit more important story, I think we’d all agree. I know I was constantly switching back and forth.
But it is going to be a constant issue this season, after ratings were down 8% last year, which many said was due to intense interest in the presidential election.
Premier / Champions League
Champions League play commenced Tues. / Wed. and when looking at this weekend’s Premier League, you want to see how the leaders responded with two major games inside a week, not the norm.
So in Champions League play, Manchester United whipped AC Basel 3-0; Chelsea destroyed FK Warabag 6-0; Liverpool tied Sevilia 2-2; Manchester City beat Feyenoord 4-0; and my Tottenham Spurs had a nice win, 3-1, against Borussia Dortmund, at Wembley! [Harry Kane two goals for a second straight game.]
[Paris Saint Germain destroyed Celtic 5-0 and Barcelona defeated Champions League runner-up Juventus 3-0, among other games of note. I was kind of curious how Celtic would do...not well.]
So then we go to Premier League games, Saturday / Sunday, and Tottenham, seemingly having beaten the curse at their temporary home, Wembley, with the big win on Wednesday, proceeded to draw, 0-0, against Swansea, at Wembley. Ugh. They looked pretty crappy. Fatigue?
Liverpool continued its poor opening to the PL season with a 1-1 draw against Burnley at home.
Manchester City whipped Watford like a rented mule, 6-0, on the road.
Crystal Palace still hasn’t scored a goal in five games, losing 1-0 to Southampton in Roy Hodgson’s coaching debut.
And then today....
Chelsea / Arsenal played to a 0-0 draw; not good for the Blues, OK for the Gunners.
Manchester United blasted Everton 4-0, spoiling Wayne Rooney’s return to Old Trafford.
So after five of 38 matches...with the focus on the Big Six....
[Ties broken by goal differential (GD)]
T-1. Manchester City 4 (W) – 1 (D) – 0 (L)...13 points...14 GD
T-1. Manchester United 4-1-0...13 points...14 GD
3. Chelsea 3-1-1...10
4. Newcastle United 3-0-2...9...3 straight wins for newbies
5. Tottenham 2-2-1...8
6. Huddersfield 2-2-1...8...another newbie
8. Liverpool 2-2-1...8
12. Arsenal 2-1-2...7
--Aussie Marc Leishman went wire-to-wire in the third event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs in Lake Forest, Il., Leishman’s third PGA Tour win, after a third in the second leg of the playoffs two weeks ago. So, yes, he’s kind of hot.
I’ll get into all the details as we head into the Tour Championship next week at East Lake for all the marbles, including the $10 million bonus, but for now, the top five in points heading into it that have their own fate in their hands, ergo, win and it’s yours:
1. Jordan Spieth
2. Justin Thomas
3. Dustin Johnson
5. Jon Rahm
Rickie Fowler was a stroke from being in the top five.
As for the Top 30 finalists, Louis Oosthuizen (31) and Henrik Stenson (32) barely missed out on East Lake, with Jason Dufner taking the final spot.
Phil Mickelson was 34; one or two shots being all the difference.
Wake Forest’s Webb Simpson is in the final field, 16, but Bill Haas, who started the week No. 30, finished 35. Drat.
Rory McIlroy was among the other big names not moving on.
--Golf Magazine’s latest Top Ten Courses in the U.S.
1. Pine Valley
2. Cypress Point
3. Augusta National
4. Shinnecock Hills
5. National Golf Links of America (Southampton, NY)
7. Pebble Beach
8. Marion (East)
9. Sand Hills (Mullen, Neb.)
10. Pinehurst (No. 2)
20. Riviera...wish I knew someone to get me on this place
23. Bethpage (Black)
25. Kiawah (Ocean)
Top Ten Courses Worldwide
1. Pine Valley
2. Cypress Point
3. St. Andrews (Old Course)
4. Royal County Down (Newcastle, N. Ireland...spectacular)
5. Augusta National
7. National Golf Links
9. Pebble Beach
10. Muirfield (Scotland)
35. Lahinch (County Clare, Ireland, Old Course...I have played this at least 50 times...and it moved up six spots from last survey)
--Golf Magazine’s Top 3 19th Holes:
1. The Tap Room at the Lodge at Pebble Beach...had a beer here, but still have never played golf at Pebble.
2. Winged Foot GC
3. The Ryder Cup Bar, at the Ocean Course at Kiawah...oh yeah, I’ve had quite a few brewskies here. Spectacular setting, even indoors, which makes this one unique.
--Justin Thomas lives in Jupiter, Florida and he was concerned his home would be flooded, or blown away, during Hurricane Irma. What to do with his possessions, including the Wanamaker Trophy he had just claimed for the PGA Championship?
Well, he took the important stuff, including the trophy, to Rickie Fowler’s house down the street, “because he has a safe that’s kind of – that’s built in the ground and is a little more sturdy than I may have.”
In case you were wondering where to store your valuables. I’m heading to Rickie’s after I post this column. I’m sure he won’t mind.
Martin Truex Jr. won his fifth race of the season at Chicagoland today over Chase Elliott in the first leg of the 10-race playoffs for the Cup. He thus automatically moves into the second round, though there are three more races to determine who else does among the 16 qualifiers.
--Forget Mayweather-McGregor, the big fight of the year was supposed to be the world middleweight title fight between Gennady Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Entering the match, the two had a combined record of 86-1-1; Golovkin being 37-0.
Well now it’s 86-1-2, 37-0-1, after a controversial draw.
George Willis / New York Post
“Two weeks after Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor staged a spectacle, Gennady Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez were simply spectacular.
“In a fight that lived up to every bit of the hype, Alvarez and Golovkin staged a 12-round slugfest that had the sold-out crowd at T-Mobile Arena on its feet for most of the much-anticipated middleweight championship bout.
“But the cheers turned to boos when the best fight of the year was ruled a draw, leaving just about all 22,358 fans in the building unsatisfied and wanting more.
“Judge Adalaide Byrd scored it 118-110 for Alvarez, while Dave Moretti had it 115-113 for Golovkin. Judge Don Trella evened it with a 114-114 draw. The Post also scored it 114-114. The draw allowed Golovkin to retain his championship belts from the WBC, WBA, IBO and IBF.
“Though there were boos about the decision, the pay-per-view fight was an excellent test of heart, stamina, and chins. It demands a rematch.
“ ‘Of course, I want the rematch,’ Golovkin said. ‘This was a real fight. I still have the belts. I’m still the champion.’
“Byrd’s scorecard didn’t reflect the closeness of the action and is sure to be discussed in the coming weeks. Known for the unpredictability of her scorecards, she amazingly gave Golovkin just two rounds. The bout was close enough to go one or two rounds in either direction but Byrd viewed another fight than what was in the ring.”
Bob Bennett, the executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, said after that judge Adalaide Byrd needs “a small break” from big fights.
“I’m not going to put her right back in,” Bennett said. “She’ll still be in the business...but she needs to catch her breath.”
Golovkin trainer Abel Sanchez said, “I think she turned in her scorecard before the fight started.”
In five rounds that Moretti and Trella scored for Golovkin, Byrd awarded each one to Alvarez.
You can be assured that Byrd will never, ever do another big fight.
But now I really want to see the replay of this one.
--There hasn’t been a lot of Animal Chat recently, but I will be posting a new “All-Species List” by Tuesday because we’ve had some developments.
Such as in the U.K., where Beavers from Norway were released in Scotland’s lochs and rivers in 2009, which I noted at the time, almost 400 years after being hunted to extinction in the U.K.
So the rodents have settled in nicely, creating new wetlands and helping regulate flood control, and they were recently given official native-species status in Scotland. Go Beavers! [Where will they be in the next ASL? Stay tuned.]
--Wild tigers are being reintroduced in Kazakhstan, 70 years after they became extinct there because of loss of habitat. The WWF is sponsoring the project.
--And this from the BBC: The long-endangered snow leopard has seen its designation improve from “endangered” to “vulnerable.”
Great news. The decision was announced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature – the global standard for assessing extinction risk.
The species does still face serious threats from poaching and habitat destruction.
Snow leopards live in the mountains of central Asia (Himalayas and Russia’s remote Altai mountains), and they were first listed as ‘endangered’ in 1972, which meant there were fewer than 2,500 mature animals, while experiencing a high rate of decline.
Being classified as ‘vulnerable’ means a species has under 10,000 breeding animals left, with a population decline of at least 10% over three generations.
Snow leopards normally hunt at dawn and dusk and are able to kill prey up to three times their own weight, so if you live in the Himalayas, for example, do your chores between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
--But the big story concerned a Financial Times journalist, whose name will remain anonymous here, an Oxford University graduate, who was killed by a crocodile “whilst washing his hands in a lagoon in Sri Lanka during a holiday with friends.” [Daily Telegraph]
The reporter, 24, “is believed to have wandered off from friends in order to go to the toilet, before being ambushed by the reptile as he dipped his hands in the water.”
“He is said to have been seen ‘waving his hands in the air’ in desperation before being dragged under water at a lagoon...located just minutes from a popular surfing beach.”
Sri Lanka has lots of crocodiles, and there have been fatal attacks in April and July this year.
Two crocs measuring 17 feet have been observed or captured in the region since 2016.
--This is one is too much. One of Ireland’s most successful canine athletes has been banned from dog-racing indefinitely after three doping control tests found evidence of cocaine in his system.
As the BBC first reported, Clonbrien Hero will now have some of his prize money and titles withheld. The last big race, July’s Irish Laurels final at Cork, had a top prize of $35,000! I mean that is a lot of prime dog food, know what I’m sayin’?
I know some of you are wondering how this will impact the All-Species List and Dog’s No. 1 ranking. But of course Clonbrien Hero’s owner, Kay Murphy, and trainer Graham Holland, are facing questions.
But they have denied they intentionally gave the dog drugs and are blaming accidental ingestion instead.
“We feel we are being victimized here for something we haven’t done...I’ve been training greyhounds for over 30 years and now I’m accused of doping them,” said Holland
Is it possible Clonbrien Hero is walking the dark alleys of, say, Dublin, looking for coke?
Well, I had to reach out to the All-Species List High Court in Kazakhstan in an emergency request for a ruling and in a moment...the results of the trial.....channeling “Bob and Ray.”
As Marissa Payne of the Washington Post noted, a 2007 study in Ireland found trace amounts of cocaine on 100 percent of currency in circulation there! But “it’s unclear how probable it is that those trace amounts could be transmitted to a person’s hands, then to a dog’s head and eventually the dog’s bladder. For example, a 1997 study of U.S. currency by the Argonne National Laboratory said those small amounts were unlikely to rub off on hands because they become embedded in the fibers of the bill.”
At the same time, there is no evidence cocaine boosts greyhound performance, nor are there any studies cocaine would help track athletes. It could be the contrary.
OK....here is the ruling of the ASL High Court:
“ ‘Dog’ cleared. ‘Man’ drops a notch.”
[It’s also expected that the Irish Greyhound Board will allow Clonbrien Hero to race again once it “has been passed clear,” as the board told the BBC.]
--Dirtball Craig Carton, who is a typical example of why ‘Man’ sucks, resigned from WFAN, due to the “unfounded legal issues currently plaguing me,” as he put it in a statement. He had previously expressed confidence he would be found not guilty of the allegations he was involved in a fake ticket brokering scheme that defrauded investors of $millions.
Give this guy the maximum. [The case may not go to trial until mid-2018.]
What’s funny for followers of WFAN, such as moi, is that now Mike Francesa, slated to retire Dec. 15, is dropping hints he may stick around a while “to save the station,” as he put it...if that’s what WFAN wants.
Classic Francesa, aka “The Pope.” But it’s a very interesting decision for management, though I personally believe there are more than enough folks, both in-house, and outside, who could slide in and give the audience what it wants...a diversion to keep us away from the crappy hard news of the day.
--I just have to report for the archives that White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called for the firing of ESPN anchor Jemele Hill, after Hill called President Trump a white supremacist.
“That is one of the more outrageous comments that anybody could make and certainly is something that is a fireable offense by ESPN.”
ESPN reprimanded Hill, but it does not appear she was penalized in any other fashion. Hill apologized for the remark.
I have no further comment.
--We note the passing of the prolific character actor Harry Dean Stanton, 91. Stanton appeared in countless pictures, ranging from “Alien,” “Paris, Texas,” “Repo Man,” “Pretty in Pink” and, way back, “Cool Hand Luke,” one of the 3 or 4 best pictures of all time, in the humble opinion of your editor. [Stanton sang the mournful tune while Paul Newman visited his mother a final time.]
Stanton was a rare character actor who became a household name.
“It’s just so frustrating when you’re in a supporting role because you only get to express a part of yourself,” said Stanton. “There’s always a stigma attached to those terms: ‘character actor,’ ‘supporting player.’ It bothers every actor, whether they admit it or not. I guess I’ve always resented the fact that you have your humanity taken away by only playing a sidekick role.”
Stanton’s career, post-Naval service in World War II, eventually saw him heading to Hollywood, where he found steady work in the late 1950s and early 60s on television shows such as “Gunsmoke,” “Rawhide” and “Bonanza,” before he broke through on the big screen.
--And we note the passing of mob movie actor Frank Vincent. He was 78.
Vincent is known for his roles in flicks such as “Goodfellas” and “Raging Bull,” and as the crime boss Phil Leotardo on the “Sopranos.”
He leaves us with great memories.
Top 3 songs for 9/16/78: #1 “Boogie Oogie Oogie” (A Taste of Honey) #2 “Three Times A Lady” (Commodores...popular slow dance tune at Wake Forest in the day....cough cough...cough...) #3 “Hot Blooded” (Foreigner...speaking of slow dan....never mind....)...and...#4 “Hopelessly Devoted To You” (Olivia Newton-John) #5 “Kiss You All Over” (Exile..rather sensual week, eh?) #6 “An Everlasting Love” (Andy Gibb) #7 “Summer Nights” (John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John & Cast) #8 “Don’t Look Back” (Boston) #9 “Got To Get You Into My Life” (Earth, Wind & Fire) #10 “Shame” (Evelyn “Champagne” King)
NFL Quiz Answer: Top three schools in sending players to the NFL:
1. Notre Dame 567
2. USC 510
3. Ohio State 458
4. Michigan 385
5. Penn State 378
6. Nebraska 365
7. Oklahoma 358
8. LSU 350
9. Miami 346
10. Alabama 342
71. Wake Forest 129
72. Duke 125
76. Rutgers 118...but much better in recent years
Next Bar Chat, Thursday.