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07/20/2017

Number 2000!

[Posted Wed. a.m.]

Mets Quiz, Part Deux: 1) Tom Seaver is the leader in games started, 36, which he did three times.  Who is the only other Met to start 36 in a season?  2) Name the five to lose 20 games in a season.  3) Name the six to win 20 games for the Metsies. Answers below.

The Open Championship Quiz: 1) Who am I? I won in 1981, initials B.R.  2) Since 1921, only two Scots have won The Open.  Name ‘em.  3) Post-1921, only two have won five Opens.  Name ‘em.  Answers below.

MLB

--I have to go back to Sunday night and the second game of the Red Sox-Yankees’ day/night doubleheader, the Yanks having won Sunday afternoon 3-0.  They then lost the nightcap 3-0, as David Price (5-2, 3.39) looked like the pitcher Boston handed a mammoth contract to, throwing 8 scoreless, with the Yanks’ Masahiro Tanaka throwing 7 2/3 of effective ball himself.

But the key was a spectacular catch in the deepest part of center as Jackie Bradley Jr. robbed Aaron Judge of a two-run homer in the top of the eighth.  One of the better clutch catches in recent years.

The Yankees then hit the road after their split at Fenway and lost on Monday at Minnesota, 4-2, with Aaron Judge continuing to struggle post-All-Star break, 1-21 with zero RBI.

[Ken Davidoff of the New York Post mentioned two examples of a post-Derby jinx...The Phillies’ Bobby Abreu in 2005 had 18 homers in 323 at-bats pre-Derby, six homers in 265 at-bats afterward, while the Mets’ David Wright had 20 homers in 339 at-bats pre-Derby in 2006, six homers in 243 at-bats post-Derby.]

But last night the Yanks won 6-3, as the resurgent bullpen threw 5 1/3 scoreless, while Judge went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Bartolo Colon, in his first start for the Twins, allowed four runs in four innings.

After the game, though, the Yanks announced a big trade with the White Sox, acquiring veteran third baseman (and New Jersey Little League World Series hero) Todd Frazier, plus relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle.

Frazier is only hitting .207 but he’s a solid fielder who can also play first and he has pop, 16 home runs, after blasting 40 for Chicago last season.

Robertson, a one-time Yankee closer, is having a solid year, 4-2, 2.70 ERA, 13 saves, while Kahnle is intriguing with 60 strikeouts in 36 innings.

In return, the White Sox pick up three Yankee prospects (plus reliever Tyler Clippard), but none of the frontline ones in terms of, say, 2018.  [Outfielder Blake Rutherford, currently in Low-A, is highly-rated.]

The Yanks, with Michael Pineda going down to Tommy John surgery, still need help in the rotation and you can be sure GM Brian Cashman will address that.

Great move for Yankees fans.

After Tuesday’s play....

A.L. East

Boston 53-42
Tampa Bay 51-44...2
Yankees 48-44...3.5

--With the Mets’ season more than over, the clubhouse is turning into a tension convention, as many of the veterans know they are on the trading block (manager Terry Collins saying Tuesday, “You’re a New York Met until you’re not”), while Amed Rosario (SS) and Dom Smith (1B) continue to light it up at AAA

So Monday the Metsies had another desultory loss at Citi Field, 6-3 to the Cardinals, as reliever Hansel Robles, who had been demoted to AAA back in May, was called on for the first since then and promptly gave up a deciding 3-run homer to Tommy Pham.  Get this, over his last four outings with New York, including his last three back in May, Robles has given up 13 earned runs in 3 1/3!  [He threw a scoreless inning in a mop-up role last night.]

Tuesday, New York lost 5-0 as once again they failed to show up, the Mets dropping to 41-50.

The highlight, so to speak, was Gov. Chris Christie, who is a diehard Mets fan, catching a foul ball and then getting booed.  He gave the ball to a youngster.

--Clayton Kershaw, and the Dodgers, won again, 1-0 over the White Sox in Chicago, Kershaw going 7 scoreless, scattering 7 hits, and fanning 7.  He is now 15-2, 2.07, with no one else in the N.L. at even 12 wins.  [Kenley Jansen had his 24th save and along with his 0.88 ERA, has walked just 2 in 41 innings, while striking out 62.]

As for the Dodgers, it’s now a staggering 30 of 34, the best 34-game streak in the franchise’s history.

NFL

--Hard to believe that training camp starts next week, but will Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott be there?  I’m sure he will, but boy is he going to face a lot of questions, and a potential suspension down the road.

Elliott’s behavior off the field has not been good and on Monday the report broke that Sunday night there was an incident in a Dallas bar. According to multiple sources, including as first reported by 105.3 FM in Dallas, a 30-year patron at the Clutch Bar said he was physically assaulted and taken to a hospital for injuries that were non-life-threatening.

But while no arrests were made and Elliott was not named on the police report, there is an ongoing investigation.

Ordinarily, as the “wait 24 hours” guy, I would leave it at that.  But late Monday a man who claimed to be an eye witness said that Elliott “didn’t throw the punch.”  The guy told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he had a good view of events as he wanted to take a selfie with Elliott.

Now this guy’s version is that Elliott was just chillin’ and the victim was “getting loud toward the vicinity” of Elliott, when the witness saw “an overhand right come over the back” of Elliott and land “square” in the victim’s face, laying him out.

Elliott has been facing an allegation of domestic violence all offseason, but has not been charged.  The NFL has to complete its own inquiry and either take action or say Elliott is innocent.  But now this.

Ezekiel, though, has done other stuff, all of it stupid, that he has to learn, quickly, only hurts his stock in a big way...including endorsements.

--One of the more interesting stories in the league is how the Washington Redskins are unable to negotiate a long-term contract with Kirk Cousins, so once again he has been “franchised,” a second straight season.  So the guy who has been setting records for the franchise will no doubt be a free agent next season.

It shows you everything when team president Bruce Allen talked about the team’s decision in a video posted on the Redskins’ website and he freakin’ called him “Kurt” rather than “Kirk” five times! [Needless to say, Bruce Allen is now in the December file for award consideration.]

Now to be fully transparent, Allen claims in the video that Cousins, “on May 2...(was) made an offer that included the highest fully guaranteed amount upon signing for a quarterback in NFL history ($53 million) and guaranteed a total of $72 million for injury....

“But despite our repeated attempts...Kirk has made it clear that he prefers to play on a year-to-year basis,” said Allen.

Well, cry not for Cousins, as he makes nearly $24 million for 2017, after earning a similar amount last campaign on his first “franchise” tag.  [He is the first QB to ever play two straight seasons under it.]

The thing is the team views Cousins as good, just not great.

If, after next season, the team decides he is still the best option for 2018, Washington could franchise Cousins again, only this time it would be for $28 million.

So Cousins kind of likes this season-to-season largesse.

Golf Balls

--I love watching the British Open (“The Open”) every year; the bits on the local town, everything about it.  For many who aren’t able to travel, it’s a tremendous travelogue. 

As for the favorites, Westgate Las Vegas SportsBook has Dustin Johnson at 12-1, ditto Jordan Spieth, and then Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm are at 15-1.

I’m going with local favorite Tommy Fleetwood.

NBA

The Houston Rockets are for sale, which appears to be a surprise to many around the league.  It is an interesting story, especially since the Rockets have obviously made a commitment to going for it in a big way next season with the acquisition of Chris Paul. 

So as reported by ESPN.com, Forbes estimates the Rockets are worth $1.65 billion, which I find kind of startling, the eighth-most valuable franchise.  Just 10 months before Forbes gave this estimate, the Clippers sold for a record $2 billion, and Forbes had estimated them at $575 million.

Houston team president Tad Brown said the Rockets were not rushing the process.  Leslie Alexander, the team’s owner, said the time is right, knowing the “franchise is in great shape with the players, coaches and management team in place.”

The story is this pending sale has no impact on whether the team can keep spending, like on Carmelo Anthony, if they so choose.  [Please, Houston, do it!]

And while I may think the franchise values are outrageous, the television agreement signed three years ago for $24 billion, plus great TV ratings the past few Finals, equals a lot of money.

Stuff

--Roger Federer partied hard Sunday night following his record win at Wimbledon.  It was also partly a celebration of his upcoming 36th birthday and he said afterward on Monday: “Yeah, my head’s ringing.  I don’t know what I did last night.  I drank too many types of drinks, I guess.”

I didn’t know there is a winner’s ball after the event, and as Federer put it: “After the ball we went to – what would you call it?  I guess it’s a bar, and there were almost 30 to 40 friends that were there.  We had a great time.  Got to bed at 5, then woke up, and just didn’t feel good.”

--The great Bob Wolff, a radio and television broadcasting legend, died at the age of 96.  Among Wolff’s many claims to fame, he holds the distinction of being the first broadcaster to handle play-by-play for championships in all four major professional sports – the World Series, the NFL Championship, the NBA Championship and the Stanley Cup finals.

Wolff had a 77-year career, recognized as the longest in sports broadcasting history, according to Guinness World Records, and Wolff and Curt Gowdy are the only broadcasters to be honored in both the baseball and basketball halls of fame.

Wolff had a nearly six-decade relationship with Madison Square Garden and was the television play-by-play voice for the Knicks’ world championships in 1970 and 1973, broadcasting the Knicks for 27 years and the Rangers for 20.  He also had a 33-year run as the voice of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Upon leaving the Navy in 1946 (Wolff having been with the Seabees in the Solomon Islands during the war), he ended up in Washington and joined a local radio station as its sports director and the following year launched his television career at WTTG, and as the voice of the lowly Washington Senators. He would remain with the franchise for the next 15 seasons, even as it relocated to Minnesota in 1961.

So the following year, Wolff was in line for one of the Mets’ broadcasting jobs, National League baseball returning to New York in 1962, with Wolff to be alongside Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner.

But the Mets dragged their feet and Wolff chose NBC to be the play-by-play man on its Game of the Week telecasts. The Mets then hired Lindsey Nelson.

Wolff was a fixture for those of us in the New York area not just on Knicks and Rangers telecasts, but he was the voice of the ECAC Holiday Festival (when this was huge stuff for the college hoops game), the Millrose Games, and the Golden Gloves.

And he was behind the microphone for the first sports telecast on what became known as MSG Network – a game between the Rangers and the Minnesota North Stars in Oct. 1969.

“I think, if you added all the time up, I’ve spent about seven days of my life standing for the national anthem,” he once said.

Wolff donated 1,400 audio and video recordings totaling some 1,500 hours, to the Library of Congress in 2013, much of it from an era when broadcasts were erased or not recorded at all.  [Mets fans bemoan that all the old – virtually all of them – “Kiner’s Korner” editions were erased.  You had to be around then to know how great these were, Ralph Kiner interviewing the star of the game after a Mets contest, the player sitting around with a can of Rheingold, and you knew they got a cheapo watch or a $20 gift certificate for appearing, but the stars all did.]

Bob Wolff never retired. He worked for a Long Island station doing sports stories until the end.  His wife of 72 years survives him.

--We also note the passing of actor Martin Landau, 89.  Landau did it all, from his role as the master of disguise on “Mission: Impossible,” the hugely popular 1960s/early 70s television series, then met success on the big screen with an Oscar for his portrayal of aging horror-movie star Bela Lugosi in 1994’s “Ed Wood.”

“Mission: Impossible” also starred Landau’s wife, Barbara Bain, but the two left the show at the end of the third season amid a contract dispute,

Landau had been offered the role of Mr. Spock on “Star Trek” but turned it down.

“A character without emotions would have driven me crazy; I would have had to be lobotomized,” he explained in 2001. Instead, he chose “Mission: Impossible,” and Leonard Nimoy capitalized on his opportunity.

Nimoy then later replaced Landau on “Mission: Impossible.”

Landau struggled for a while but got a solid role in “Tucker: The Man and his Dream,” the 1988 Francis Ford Coppola film that garnered Landau his first Oscar nomination.

He then received another Oscar nomination as the adulterous husband in Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

And then Landau’s third nomination was for “Ed Wood.”  In accepting his Oscar, Landau said, “There was a 10-year period when everything I did was bad.  I’d like to go back and turn all those films into guitar picks.”

I always liked Martin Landau.  He just seemed to exude class.  RIP.

--Brad K. passed along a story out of Arlington, Virginia from NBC4 Washington, on a recent string of raccoon attacks.

“One resident received 87 stitches last week after she was attacked by a raccoon...Another resident took photos of a raccoon using a doggy door.”  Yikes.

The Arlington Animal Welfare League said it would not help remove the marauders because the problem is related to the neighborhood’s trash rules.

Top 3 songs for the week of 7/14/79: #1 “Bad Girls” (Donna Summer)  #2 “Ring My Bell” (Anita Ward...godawful...)  #3 “Hot Stuff” (Donna Summer...ditto...)...and...#4 “Chuck E.’s In Love” (Rickie Lee Jones)  #5 “She Believes In Me” (Kenny Rogers)  #6 “Boogie Wonderland” (Earth, Wind & Fire with The Emotions...one of their worst...)  #7 “Makin’ It” (David Naughton)  #8 “I Want You To Want Me” (Cheap Trick)  #9 “Shine A Little Love” (Electric Light Orchestra)  #10 “Gold” (John Stewart...easily one of the worst weeks in the history of music...)

Mets Quiz Answers: 1) Tom Seaver started 36 games three seasons (1970, 73, 75).  Jack Fisher is the other, 1965.  2) 20-losses: Roger Craig, 24, 1962; Jack Fisher, 24, 1965; Craig, 22, 1963; Al Jackson, 20, 1962 and 1965; Jerry Koosman, 20, 1977; Tracy Stallard, 20, 1964 (Stallard known for giving up Roger Maris’ 61st home run while with Boston).  3) 20-game winners: Tom Seaver, 25, 1969; Dwight Gooden, 24, 1985; Seaver, 22, 1975; Koosman, 21, 1976; Seaver, 21, 1972; David Cone, 20, 1988; R.A. Dickey, 20, 2012; Frank Viola, 20, 1990; Seaver, 20, 1971.

The Open Championship Quiz Answers: 1) American Bill Rogers won in 1981.  2) Sandy Lyle, 1985, and Paul Lawrie, 1999, are the only Scots to win since1921.  3) Peter Thomson (Australia) won five (1954, 55, 56, 58, 65) and Tom Watson (1975, 77, 80, 82, 83).

***So this is the 2,000th Bar Chat! Yes, that’s right.  I started out doing three very short ones a week, and then I cut back to two but lengthened them.  Needless to say there is a stupendous amount of material here and I have covered some big issues with amazing depth when you consider the first one was in February 1999.  The whole steroids in baseball issue, for example, and virtually all of Tiger Woods’ career, to cite another. [Since day one, I have logged in each edition into a notebook.]

I do want to thank Johnny Mac, Shu, Brad K., Phil W., Mark R., Ken P., Dr. W., Pete M., Steve G., Jim D., Bob S., my brother and Jeff B., among countless others, for their support and material.

And I can’t help but thank....Oscar Bonavena, Ernie Shavers, “Smokin’ Joe Frazier, Jean Ratelle, Rod Gilbert, Vic Hadfield, Eddie Giacomin, Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr, Bobby Hull, Keith Magnuson, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Willis Reed, Dave DeBusschere, Gail Goodrich, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Wilt Chamberlain, Bailey Howell, Harthorne Wingo, Tom Chambers, Emerson Boozer, Curtis Martin, Freeman McNeil, Wayne Chrebet, Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann, Franco Harris, Ken Stabler, Bart Starr, Nick Mangold, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Rich Rollins, Vada Pinson, Dave Kingman, Jerry Koosman, George Theodore, Danny Napoleon, Ron Hunt, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell, Tris Speaker, Buzz Capra, Hank Aaron, Bob Friend, Vern Law, Chico Ruiz, Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee, Ron Swoboda, Bud Harrelson, Mike Piazza, Greg Luzinski, Anna Kournikova, John McEnroe, Dan Gurney, A.J. Foyt, Mark Donohue, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Denny Hulme, Bruce McLaren, Pedro Rodriguez, David Pearson, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, “Junior,” Jack Nicklaus, Curtis Strange, Lanny Wadkins, Bill Haas, Jay Haas, Jerry Seinfeld, Jonathan Winters, Bob Hope, Bob Newhart, Carroll O’Connor, Paul Newman, John Snow, Arya Stark, James Gandolfini, Muhammad Ali, Michael Johnson, The Beatles, Kinks, Zombies, Beach Boys, Four Seasons, Tommy James and the Shondells, Frank Sinatra, Jack Jones, Petula Clark, Marilyn McCoo, Peggy Fleming, Sophia Loren, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, George Washington, Abe Lincoln, James Polk, Jack Kemp, Ronald Reagan, the Men and Women of our Armed Forces, Jean-Claude Killy, Lindsey Vonn, the 1980 U.S. Men’s Hockey Team, Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, Gary Cohen, Howie Rose, Don Imus, Tim Russert, “60 Minutes,” Jim Nantz, Cousin Brucie, Marv Albert....

Plus...Willie Wilson, Tim Duncan, Joe Namath, Tom Seaver, Arnold Palmer and...Jerry Mathers as “The Beaver.”

Next Bar Chat, Monday.



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Bar Chat

07/20/2017

Number 2000!

[Posted Wed. a.m.]

Mets Quiz, Part Deux: 1) Tom Seaver is the leader in games started, 36, which he did three times.  Who is the only other Met to start 36 in a season?  2) Name the five to lose 20 games in a season.  3) Name the six to win 20 games for the Metsies. Answers below.

The Open Championship Quiz: 1) Who am I? I won in 1981, initials B.R.  2) Since 1921, only two Scots have won The Open.  Name ‘em.  3) Post-1921, only two have won five Opens.  Name ‘em.  Answers below.

MLB

--I have to go back to Sunday night and the second game of the Red Sox-Yankees’ day/night doubleheader, the Yanks having won Sunday afternoon 3-0.  They then lost the nightcap 3-0, as David Price (5-2, 3.39) looked like the pitcher Boston handed a mammoth contract to, throwing 8 scoreless, with the Yanks’ Masahiro Tanaka throwing 7 2/3 of effective ball himself.

But the key was a spectacular catch in the deepest part of center as Jackie Bradley Jr. robbed Aaron Judge of a two-run homer in the top of the eighth.  One of the better clutch catches in recent years.

The Yankees then hit the road after their split at Fenway and lost on Monday at Minnesota, 4-2, with Aaron Judge continuing to struggle post-All-Star break, 1-21 with zero RBI.

[Ken Davidoff of the New York Post mentioned two examples of a post-Derby jinx...The Phillies’ Bobby Abreu in 2005 had 18 homers in 323 at-bats pre-Derby, six homers in 265 at-bats afterward, while the Mets’ David Wright had 20 homers in 339 at-bats pre-Derby in 2006, six homers in 243 at-bats post-Derby.]

But last night the Yanks won 6-3, as the resurgent bullpen threw 5 1/3 scoreless, while Judge went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Bartolo Colon, in his first start for the Twins, allowed four runs in four innings.

After the game, though, the Yanks announced a big trade with the White Sox, acquiring veteran third baseman (and New Jersey Little League World Series hero) Todd Frazier, plus relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle.

Frazier is only hitting .207 but he’s a solid fielder who can also play first and he has pop, 16 home runs, after blasting 40 for Chicago last season.

Robertson, a one-time Yankee closer, is having a solid year, 4-2, 2.70 ERA, 13 saves, while Kahnle is intriguing with 60 strikeouts in 36 innings.

In return, the White Sox pick up three Yankee prospects (plus reliever Tyler Clippard), but none of the frontline ones in terms of, say, 2018.  [Outfielder Blake Rutherford, currently in Low-A, is highly-rated.]

The Yanks, with Michael Pineda going down to Tommy John surgery, still need help in the rotation and you can be sure GM Brian Cashman will address that.

Great move for Yankees fans.

After Tuesday’s play....

A.L. East

Boston 53-42
Tampa Bay 51-44...2
Yankees 48-44...3.5

--With the Mets’ season more than over, the clubhouse is turning into a tension convention, as many of the veterans know they are on the trading block (manager Terry Collins saying Tuesday, “You’re a New York Met until you’re not”), while Amed Rosario (SS) and Dom Smith (1B) continue to light it up at AAA

So Monday the Metsies had another desultory loss at Citi Field, 6-3 to the Cardinals, as reliever Hansel Robles, who had been demoted to AAA back in May, was called on for the first since then and promptly gave up a deciding 3-run homer to Tommy Pham.  Get this, over his last four outings with New York, including his last three back in May, Robles has given up 13 earned runs in 3 1/3!  [He threw a scoreless inning in a mop-up role last night.]

Tuesday, New York lost 5-0 as once again they failed to show up, the Mets dropping to 41-50.

The highlight, so to speak, was Gov. Chris Christie, who is a diehard Mets fan, catching a foul ball and then getting booed.  He gave the ball to a youngster.

--Clayton Kershaw, and the Dodgers, won again, 1-0 over the White Sox in Chicago, Kershaw going 7 scoreless, scattering 7 hits, and fanning 7.  He is now 15-2, 2.07, with no one else in the N.L. at even 12 wins.  [Kenley Jansen had his 24th save and along with his 0.88 ERA, has walked just 2 in 41 innings, while striking out 62.]

As for the Dodgers, it’s now a staggering 30 of 34, the best 34-game streak in the franchise’s history.

NFL

--Hard to believe that training camp starts next week, but will Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott be there?  I’m sure he will, but boy is he going to face a lot of questions, and a potential suspension down the road.

Elliott’s behavior off the field has not been good and on Monday the report broke that Sunday night there was an incident in a Dallas bar. According to multiple sources, including as first reported by 105.3 FM in Dallas, a 30-year patron at the Clutch Bar said he was physically assaulted and taken to a hospital for injuries that were non-life-threatening.

But while no arrests were made and Elliott was not named on the police report, there is an ongoing investigation.

Ordinarily, as the “wait 24 hours” guy, I would leave it at that.  But late Monday a man who claimed to be an eye witness said that Elliott “didn’t throw the punch.”  The guy told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he had a good view of events as he wanted to take a selfie with Elliott.

Now this guy’s version is that Elliott was just chillin’ and the victim was “getting loud toward the vicinity” of Elliott, when the witness saw “an overhand right come over the back” of Elliott and land “square” in the victim’s face, laying him out.

Elliott has been facing an allegation of domestic violence all offseason, but has not been charged.  The NFL has to complete its own inquiry and either take action or say Elliott is innocent.  But now this.

Ezekiel, though, has done other stuff, all of it stupid, that he has to learn, quickly, only hurts his stock in a big way...including endorsements.

--One of the more interesting stories in the league is how the Washington Redskins are unable to negotiate a long-term contract with Kirk Cousins, so once again he has been “franchised,” a second straight season.  So the guy who has been setting records for the franchise will no doubt be a free agent next season.

It shows you everything when team president Bruce Allen talked about the team’s decision in a video posted on the Redskins’ website and he freakin’ called him “Kurt” rather than “Kirk” five times! [Needless to say, Bruce Allen is now in the December file for award consideration.]

Now to be fully transparent, Allen claims in the video that Cousins, “on May 2...(was) made an offer that included the highest fully guaranteed amount upon signing for a quarterback in NFL history ($53 million) and guaranteed a total of $72 million for injury....

“But despite our repeated attempts...Kirk has made it clear that he prefers to play on a year-to-year basis,” said Allen.

Well, cry not for Cousins, as he makes nearly $24 million for 2017, after earning a similar amount last campaign on his first “franchise” tag.  [He is the first QB to ever play two straight seasons under it.]

The thing is the team views Cousins as good, just not great.

If, after next season, the team decides he is still the best option for 2018, Washington could franchise Cousins again, only this time it would be for $28 million.

So Cousins kind of likes this season-to-season largesse.

Golf Balls

--I love watching the British Open (“The Open”) every year; the bits on the local town, everything about it.  For many who aren’t able to travel, it’s a tremendous travelogue. 

As for the favorites, Westgate Las Vegas SportsBook has Dustin Johnson at 12-1, ditto Jordan Spieth, and then Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm are at 15-1.

I’m going with local favorite Tommy Fleetwood.

NBA

The Houston Rockets are for sale, which appears to be a surprise to many around the league.  It is an interesting story, especially since the Rockets have obviously made a commitment to going for it in a big way next season with the acquisition of Chris Paul. 

So as reported by ESPN.com, Forbes estimates the Rockets are worth $1.65 billion, which I find kind of startling, the eighth-most valuable franchise.  Just 10 months before Forbes gave this estimate, the Clippers sold for a record $2 billion, and Forbes had estimated them at $575 million.

Houston team president Tad Brown said the Rockets were not rushing the process.  Leslie Alexander, the team’s owner, said the time is right, knowing the “franchise is in great shape with the players, coaches and management team in place.”

The story is this pending sale has no impact on whether the team can keep spending, like on Carmelo Anthony, if they so choose.  [Please, Houston, do it!]

And while I may think the franchise values are outrageous, the television agreement signed three years ago for $24 billion, plus great TV ratings the past few Finals, equals a lot of money.

Stuff

--Roger Federer partied hard Sunday night following his record win at Wimbledon.  It was also partly a celebration of his upcoming 36th birthday and he said afterward on Monday: “Yeah, my head’s ringing.  I don’t know what I did last night.  I drank too many types of drinks, I guess.”

I didn’t know there is a winner’s ball after the event, and as Federer put it: “After the ball we went to – what would you call it?  I guess it’s a bar, and there were almost 30 to 40 friends that were there.  We had a great time.  Got to bed at 5, then woke up, and just didn’t feel good.”

--The great Bob Wolff, a radio and television broadcasting legend, died at the age of 96.  Among Wolff’s many claims to fame, he holds the distinction of being the first broadcaster to handle play-by-play for championships in all four major professional sports – the World Series, the NFL Championship, the NBA Championship and the Stanley Cup finals.

Wolff had a 77-year career, recognized as the longest in sports broadcasting history, according to Guinness World Records, and Wolff and Curt Gowdy are the only broadcasters to be honored in both the baseball and basketball halls of fame.

Wolff had a nearly six-decade relationship with Madison Square Garden and was the television play-by-play voice for the Knicks’ world championships in 1970 and 1973, broadcasting the Knicks for 27 years and the Rangers for 20.  He also had a 33-year run as the voice of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Upon leaving the Navy in 1946 (Wolff having been with the Seabees in the Solomon Islands during the war), he ended up in Washington and joined a local radio station as its sports director and the following year launched his television career at WTTG, and as the voice of the lowly Washington Senators. He would remain with the franchise for the next 15 seasons, even as it relocated to Minnesota in 1961.

So the following year, Wolff was in line for one of the Mets’ broadcasting jobs, National League baseball returning to New York in 1962, with Wolff to be alongside Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner.

But the Mets dragged their feet and Wolff chose NBC to be the play-by-play man on its Game of the Week telecasts. The Mets then hired Lindsey Nelson.

Wolff was a fixture for those of us in the New York area not just on Knicks and Rangers telecasts, but he was the voice of the ECAC Holiday Festival (when this was huge stuff for the college hoops game), the Millrose Games, and the Golden Gloves.

And he was behind the microphone for the first sports telecast on what became known as MSG Network – a game between the Rangers and the Minnesota North Stars in Oct. 1969.

“I think, if you added all the time up, I’ve spent about seven days of my life standing for the national anthem,” he once said.

Wolff donated 1,400 audio and video recordings totaling some 1,500 hours, to the Library of Congress in 2013, much of it from an era when broadcasts were erased or not recorded at all.  [Mets fans bemoan that all the old – virtually all of them – “Kiner’s Korner” editions were erased.  You had to be around then to know how great these were, Ralph Kiner interviewing the star of the game after a Mets contest, the player sitting around with a can of Rheingold, and you knew they got a cheapo watch or a $20 gift certificate for appearing, but the stars all did.]

Bob Wolff never retired. He worked for a Long Island station doing sports stories until the end.  His wife of 72 years survives him.

--We also note the passing of actor Martin Landau, 89.  Landau did it all, from his role as the master of disguise on “Mission: Impossible,” the hugely popular 1960s/early 70s television series, then met success on the big screen with an Oscar for his portrayal of aging horror-movie star Bela Lugosi in 1994’s “Ed Wood.”

“Mission: Impossible” also starred Landau’s wife, Barbara Bain, but the two left the show at the end of the third season amid a contract dispute,

Landau had been offered the role of Mr. Spock on “Star Trek” but turned it down.

“A character without emotions would have driven me crazy; I would have had to be lobotomized,” he explained in 2001. Instead, he chose “Mission: Impossible,” and Leonard Nimoy capitalized on his opportunity.

Nimoy then later replaced Landau on “Mission: Impossible.”

Landau struggled for a while but got a solid role in “Tucker: The Man and his Dream,” the 1988 Francis Ford Coppola film that garnered Landau his first Oscar nomination.

He then received another Oscar nomination as the adulterous husband in Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

And then Landau’s third nomination was for “Ed Wood.”  In accepting his Oscar, Landau said, “There was a 10-year period when everything I did was bad.  I’d like to go back and turn all those films into guitar picks.”

I always liked Martin Landau.  He just seemed to exude class.  RIP.

--Brad K. passed along a story out of Arlington, Virginia from NBC4 Washington, on a recent string of raccoon attacks.

“One resident received 87 stitches last week after she was attacked by a raccoon...Another resident took photos of a raccoon using a doggy door.”  Yikes.

The Arlington Animal Welfare League said it would not help remove the marauders because the problem is related to the neighborhood’s trash rules.

Top 3 songs for the week of 7/14/79: #1 “Bad Girls” (Donna Summer)  #2 “Ring My Bell” (Anita Ward...godawful...)  #3 “Hot Stuff” (Donna Summer...ditto...)...and...#4 “Chuck E.’s In Love” (Rickie Lee Jones)  #5 “She Believes In Me” (Kenny Rogers)  #6 “Boogie Wonderland” (Earth, Wind & Fire with The Emotions...one of their worst...)  #7 “Makin’ It” (David Naughton)  #8 “I Want You To Want Me” (Cheap Trick)  #9 “Shine A Little Love” (Electric Light Orchestra)  #10 “Gold” (John Stewart...easily one of the worst weeks in the history of music...)

Mets Quiz Answers: 1) Tom Seaver started 36 games three seasons (1970, 73, 75).  Jack Fisher is the other, 1965.  2) 20-losses: Roger Craig, 24, 1962; Jack Fisher, 24, 1965; Craig, 22, 1963; Al Jackson, 20, 1962 and 1965; Jerry Koosman, 20, 1977; Tracy Stallard, 20, 1964 (Stallard known for giving up Roger Maris’ 61st home run while with Boston).  3) 20-game winners: Tom Seaver, 25, 1969; Dwight Gooden, 24, 1985; Seaver, 22, 1975; Koosman, 21, 1976; Seaver, 21, 1972; David Cone, 20, 1988; R.A. Dickey, 20, 2012; Frank Viola, 20, 1990; Seaver, 20, 1971.

The Open Championship Quiz Answers: 1) American Bill Rogers won in 1981.  2) Sandy Lyle, 1985, and Paul Lawrie, 1999, are the only Scots to win since1921.  3) Peter Thomson (Australia) won five (1954, 55, 56, 58, 65) and Tom Watson (1975, 77, 80, 82, 83).

***So this is the 2,000th Bar Chat! Yes, that’s right.  I started out doing three very short ones a week, and then I cut back to two but lengthened them.  Needless to say there is a stupendous amount of material here and I have covered some big issues with amazing depth when you consider the first one was in February 1999.  The whole steroids in baseball issue, for example, and virtually all of Tiger Woods’ career, to cite another. [Since day one, I have logged in each edition into a notebook.]

I do want to thank Johnny Mac, Shu, Brad K., Phil W., Mark R., Ken P., Dr. W., Pete M., Steve G., Jim D., Bob S., my brother and Jeff B., among countless others, for their support and material.

And I can’t help but thank....Oscar Bonavena, Ernie Shavers, “Smokin’ Joe Frazier, Jean Ratelle, Rod Gilbert, Vic Hadfield, Eddie Giacomin, Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr, Bobby Hull, Keith Magnuson, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Willis Reed, Dave DeBusschere, Gail Goodrich, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Wilt Chamberlain, Bailey Howell, Harthorne Wingo, Tom Chambers, Emerson Boozer, Curtis Martin, Freeman McNeil, Wayne Chrebet, Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann, Franco Harris, Ken Stabler, Bart Starr, Nick Mangold, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Rich Rollins, Vada Pinson, Dave Kingman, Jerry Koosman, George Theodore, Danny Napoleon, Ron Hunt, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell, Tris Speaker, Buzz Capra, Hank Aaron, Bob Friend, Vern Law, Chico Ruiz, Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee, Ron Swoboda, Bud Harrelson, Mike Piazza, Greg Luzinski, Anna Kournikova, John McEnroe, Dan Gurney, A.J. Foyt, Mark Donohue, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Denny Hulme, Bruce McLaren, Pedro Rodriguez, David Pearson, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, “Junior,” Jack Nicklaus, Curtis Strange, Lanny Wadkins, Bill Haas, Jay Haas, Jerry Seinfeld, Jonathan Winters, Bob Hope, Bob Newhart, Carroll O’Connor, Paul Newman, John Snow, Arya Stark, James Gandolfini, Muhammad Ali, Michael Johnson, The Beatles, Kinks, Zombies, Beach Boys, Four Seasons, Tommy James and the Shondells, Frank Sinatra, Jack Jones, Petula Clark, Marilyn McCoo, Peggy Fleming, Sophia Loren, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, George Washington, Abe Lincoln, James Polk, Jack Kemp, Ronald Reagan, the Men and Women of our Armed Forces, Jean-Claude Killy, Lindsey Vonn, the 1980 U.S. Men’s Hockey Team, Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, Gary Cohen, Howie Rose, Don Imus, Tim Russert, “60 Minutes,” Jim Nantz, Cousin Brucie, Marv Albert....

Plus...Willie Wilson, Tim Duncan, Joe Namath, Tom Seaver, Arnold Palmer and...Jerry Mathers as “The Beaver.”

Next Bar Chat, Monday.