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The Olympic Village...not ready...
[Posted Wed. a.m.]
Golf Quiz / PGA Championship: With the PGA upon us, time for a memory check. 1) From 1964-68, name the winners. [B.N., D.M., A.G., D.J., J.B.] 2) Name the only five to win the PGA 3 or more times. 3) In 2012, who finished second to Rory McIlroy at Kiawah’s Ocean Course? [Initials D.L.] Answers below. [Reminder, you can’t pull out a domestic from your desk drawer unless you get ‘em all right.]
--White Sox hurler Chris Sale apologized for his behavior that resulted in him being given a five-game suspension after he tore up some throwback jerseys Chicago was supposed to wear on Saturday.
“I have regrets, because I play 33 times a year at most in the regular season. So I put a lot of emphasis on when I play and I take a lot of pride in work that I do,” Sale told MLB.com on Monday.
Sale said he was sorry for fans who came to see him pitch and his teammates, especially the White Sox bullpen, which was pressed into extensive action with his absence. But then he said:
“Do I regret standing up for what I believe in? Absolutely not. Do I regret saying business should not be first before winning? Absolutely not.”
Then he threw manager Robin Ventura under the bus.
“Robin is the one who has to fight for us in that department,” he said. “If the players don’t feel comfortable 100 percent about what we are doing to win the game, and we have an easy fix – it was as easy as hanging up another jersey and everyone was fine. For them to put business first over winning, that’s when I lost it.”
Sale didn’t think the uniform they were assigned to wear Saturday was comfortable, so he cut them up during batting practice. He told MLB.com: “I didn’t want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in.”
Chris Sale must be miserable to live with, I can’t help but muse. He’ll be starting on Thursday against the Cubs.
[The suspension cost Sale $250,000 of his $9.15 million salary. He was also fined $12,700 – the cost of the destroyed jerseys.]
One more...there is talk the Dodgers want Sale, especially as it appears Clayton Kershaw not only isn’t close to coming back, there is real concern his season could be over. The pitcher himself isn’t saying much but as manager Dave Roberts has said, “surgery is more of a possibility.”
--As a Mets fan, I can’t help but give Yankees GM Brian Cashman major kudos for the trade he pulled off with the Cubs, sending closer Aroldis Chapman, a free agent at the end of the season, to Chicago for 19-year-old top shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres, along with former Yankee pitcher Adam Warren and two other minor leaguers.
The Yankees have a few solid shortstop prospects in their system and nothing wrong with stockpiling a few. Can always shift one to second or third, and/or package them in future deals, just as the Cubbies did with Torres.
And just when I and others had buried the Yanks, they have suddenly won 8 of 10 to pull within four games of the second wild-card spot, winning their first two without Chapman, 2-1 and 6-3 over the Astros in Houston...Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller closing out both.
As for Chapman going to the Cubs, great move for them as well...unfortunately. At least he didn’t go to the Nationals.
The Cubs have struggled against left-handed hitters in late-inning situations, and Chapman has limited them to a .123 batting average in his career...one home run in 309 at-bats.
Also, when it comes to the Cubs’ division opponents, the Cardinals haven’t scored in their past 25 innings against Chapman, while in his career he has held the Cards to an .099 batting average with 51 strikeouts in 31 innings.
Chapman also has a lifetime 0.90 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 40 innings against the Pirates, who are batting .145 against him. [Mark Gonzales / Chicago Tribune]
--The Washington Nationals, who wanted Chapman in the worst way, have seen their bullpen blow their last two games to the Indians in Cleveland. The Nats are 4 up on the Marlins, 4 ½ on the Mets.
--The Cardinals have already exceeded their home run total for all of last season.
--Just a little more color on Mike Piazza (and Ken Griffey Jr.’s) Hall of Fame induction on Sunday. The crowd of 50,000 was the second-largest ever, according to various sources, the biggest I believe being for Tom Seaver.
Piazza was only the second Met after Seaver and regarding Tom Terrific, he’s had a long bout with Lyme disease so he was unable to make the trip from California.
Kevin Kernan / New York Post
“Mike Piazza crushed another big home run Sunday.
“The former Mets slugger delivered a stirring National Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech...touching on everything from Teddy Roosevelt, to the strength he gathers from his Catholic upbringing, to baseball’s place in America, especially after 9/11, to his father’s incredible impact on his 427-home run career....
“Piazza’s day began early when he attended 7:30 Mass at St. Mary’s Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, on Elm Street, a 10-minute walk from the Hall of Fame. As he left the brick church, he met with Father John Rosson, who beamed and said, ‘We have a celebrity in church this morning.’
“Piazza asked for and received a special blessing from the priest. Piazza signed autographs and took pictures for about 15 minutes with the parishioners. In his speech, Piazza credited his mother, Veronica, too.
“ ‘She gave me the gift of my Catholic faith, which has had a profound impact on my career and has given me patience, compassion and hope. Pope Benedict the XVI said, ‘One who has hope, lives differently.’ Mom, you raised five boys, and you were always three for me.”
It is rather bizarre having two of golf’s four majors in just two weeks, but you can thank the Olympics for really screwing up the schedule.
And now just be aware if you don’t live in the New York metropolitan area that the weather forecast is awful. As in there is no way they are getting this tournament in on time, and I will guarantee now they are playing at least 18 holes on Monday. It’s depressing.
So we’ll see what golfers can stay patient, while this course is going to get very wet.
--I was reading the latest Golfweek and back to The Open at Troon, recall that Colin Montgomerie, 53, made the cut; one of many 50-somethings that I wrote of at the time who did so.
But I wasn’t thinking about how Troon was where Monty’s father, James, was the longtime club secretary, with Monty still a member at the club where he grew up.
What’s pathetic is that this was Montgomerie’s last appearance at Troon and, potentially, his last Open Championship, yet only 150 or so spectators surrounded the 18th green when he finished on Sunday and only about 20 stood to applaud him, according to GW’s Alistair Tait.
“It hardly was Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus or Tom Watson on the Swilcan Bridge at St. Andrews. Montgomerie was acutely aware of his flat farewell after signing for a 5-over 76 and a 17-over 301 total. It wasn’t what the tournament ‘host,’ as Montgomerie dubbed himself, had envisioned....
“R&A officials, Royal & Ancient members and hordes of spectators turned out to watch Watson play his final round at St. Andrews last year amid the early evening’s fading light. R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers and championship chairman Peter Unsworth were the only dignitaries waiting to shake Montgomerie’s hand as he walked off the 18th green. No Royal Troon members joined them.”
Kind of sad, actually, but befitting Monty’s career. 31 European Tour victories, fourth all time, but not one triumph in the U.S., let alone a major. He was surly and not a gallery favorite.
Now before I get started, while there are already major problems in Rio, and I expect it to be a disaster, I do have to say we had similar stories for Athens and Sochi when it comes to the rooms.
There are 31 buildings in the Olympic Village, housing 18,000 athletes and officials, and a spokesman for the Australian team said, “We’re having plumbing problems, we’ve got leaking pipes. We’ve got electrical problems. We’ve got cleaning problems. We’ve got lighting problems in some of the stairwells,” so they refused to move in.
Mike Tancred, the spokesman for the team, said, “We did a stress test on Saturday, turned on the taps and flushed the toilets, and water came flooding down the walls.”
Kitty Chiller, the head of the Australian delegation, said: “Water came down the walls, there was a strong smell of gas in some apartments and there was ‘shorting’ in the electrical wiring. We have been living in nearby hotels because the village is simply not safe or ready.” [Irish Independent]
Understand these buildings are 17 stories each and as of Monday, only 12 of the 31 had passed safety inspections. Forget the plumbing; to me the scary part is the electrical wiring. On Sunday, three was a “small fire” where the Dutch team is supposed to stay. Heaven forbid something happens in the dead of night, athletes having partied, tired from their competitions.... and a fire breaks out because the wiring can’t handle all the appliances/cellphones that are plugged in.
[The “small fire” occurred when a technician was working on a fuse box.]
Then you have the issue of raw sewage. USA TODAY’s Martin Rogers reported Tuesday:
“A giant pipe running from downtown churns human waste into the marina [on Guanabara Bay] at certain times each day. Rats roam around in the waste. The stench makes uninitiated visitors feel like vomiting or fainting.”
And you’ve heard the stories of viruses and dangerous bacteria in the water.
As for the other big elephant in the room....
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president sir Craig Reedie said previously that his organization wanted the IOC to “decline entries for Rio 2016 of all athletes” submitted by the Russian Olympic and Paralympic committees.
Sally Jenkins / Washington Post
“The latrines that failed a stress test in the Olympic Village are the perfect emblem for the International Olympic Committee. You can see the shoddy innards and peeling plaster on that wilting, corrupt organization in its refusal to issue a blanket suspension against Russia for state-sponsored doping. The IOC is such a broken toilet that the only athlete it decided to definitively punish is the whistleblower, Yulia Stepanova.
“State-sponsored doping is different from other doping. It’s one thing for an individual to take certain risks with his or her health to help him or her perform better than a competitor. Every aspirational working person alive does that to a certain extent, from a roofer on Vicodin to a college professor on Ritalin. It’s a personal choice. But state-sponsored doping is something else entirely. When athletes are pressured to take a needle or a pill at peril of displeasing a governmental strongman and given substances without informed consent, when officials are told to cover up positive tests and have to flee the country for telling the truth about it, that’s a human rights violation.
“It’s a critical distinction, and it’s a distinction the IOC declined to make, because it’s too busy climbing into financial beds with said governmental strongmen. There was zero chance the IOC was ever going to penalize their business partner Vladimir Putin, who gave them a $51 billion construction project in Sochi. Thomas Bach’s declaration that the IOC decision on Russia ‘was reached after hard debates’ was laughable. They debated for three hours, not even long enough for one of the ice sculptures on their buffet tables to melt....
“If the IOC was really concerned about individuals, it would allow Stepanova to compete.
“Stepanova, an 800-meter runner, has been cleared to resume competition by the international track and field federation. She served a two-year drug ban from 2011 to 2013, fully paid her debt and showed enormous courage in outing the Russian state program. The IOC has left the decision on whether to ban other Russian athletes to 28 individual sports federations – so Stepanova, 30, should be able to compete, right? Wrong. In Stepanova’s case, her reward from the IOC for exposing the Russian doping system is an individual ban for failing ‘ethical requirements,’ as well as for technical reasons. The IOC, that champion of individual rights, reasons that it has no system in place to accommodate an individual athlete under a neutral flag.”
But as I wrote last time, now you have this rush to get Russian athletes approved through their individual sports federations. For example the International Tennis Federation approved Russia’s seven tennis players for Rio immediately after the IOC’s decision not to ban the country’s athletes.
Yet no Stepanova.
The IOC’s statement, in saying she did not satisfy the IOC’s “ethical requirements,” added: “The executive board would like to express its appreciation for Mrs. Stepanova’s contribution to the fight against doping and to the integrity of sport.”
And get this. IOC president Bach said the organization was “expressing its gratitude” to Stepanova by inviting her and her husband to Rio as guests! You can’t make this stuff up.
USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) chief Travis Tygart described the decision to exclude Stepanova as “incomprehensible,” adding it will “undoubtedly deter whistleblowers in the future from coming forward.”
Dan Roan / BBC Sports
“The critics will ask how can it be that a rigorous testing program can at all be completed in just a few days? The decision by the IOC has been widely condemned. It’s opened up divisions in the Olympic family. WADA, for example, wanted a total ban; athletes’ representatives are at loggerheads with those who run their sports.
“Many will argue, if not now – when the entire anti-doping program appears to have been subverted by a host nation – then when will a total ban ever be issued? The IOC has come through difficult moments in the past – the Olympic boycotts of the Cold War years, the Ben Johnson doping scandal, the Salt Lake City bidding controversy – but there have never been a few days like these.
“Sadly for the IOC, having been held up as a model of sports governance, that status is now in some jeopardy.”
For its part WADA “stands by” its recommendation last month of a full Russia team ban. WADA also can’t believe Stepanova wasn’t allowed to compete in Rio under a neutral flag.
“Ms. Stepanova was instrumental in courageously exposing the single biggest doping scandal of all time.”
--Some of us are shaking our heads at the word the NFL completed its seven-month investigation into former quarterback Peyton Manning and concluded he did not use human-growth hormone or any other PED.
This goes back to last December’s Al Jazeera America documentary “The Dark Side: The Secret World of Sports Doping,” wherein a pharmacist named Charlie Sly talked of helping pro football and baseball players cheat, implying in one scene that Manning took HGH prescribed by an Indianapolis anti-aging clinic and shipped to wife Ashley Manning.
Sly then recanted his statements and baseball players such as Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman have sued Al Jazeera for libel. [Al Jazeera America is now defunct.]
Matt Bonesteel / Washington Post
“Manning has issued multiple denials – calling the documentary ‘complete trash, garbage’ – and hired private investigators to interrogate Sly....
“According to an NFL statement, Manning and his wife were ‘fully cooperative with the investigation.’ The league also received medical records pertinent to the case, (Adam) Schefter reports, and ‘determined there wasn’t any evidence that any violation had occurred.
“Initiated in January, the investigation was led by the NFL’s security and legal teams with support from expert consultants and other professionals. The investigation involved witness interviews, a review of relevant records and other materials, online research, and laboratory analysis and review. Separately, the NFL’s investigation continues into the documentary’s allegations made against other NFL players*, which involve different lines of inquiry and witnesses,’ the league’s statement reads.”
*The NFL Players Association is recommending the four in question not cooperate with the NFL. Since Manning was retired, the NFLPA said it couldn’t prevent Manning from doing so.
None of this smells right.
Michael Jordan spoke out about racial tensions, pledging $2 million to two charities to help improve relations.
Jordan, who has been criticized over his failure to address social issues in the past, told ESPN:
“I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent.”
“As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence [Ed. his father was shot dead in 1993 at a roadside rest stop], and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers.
“I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.”
Jordan will donate $1m each to two charities working to improve relations between police and communicates – the Institute for Community Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Jordan saying he hoped the resources “will help both organizations make a positive difference.”
--The situation with Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets more worrisome. I’m thinking my personal theory that he will hang it up after the Daytona 500 next February is looking better and better.
Earnhardt on Monday said it would be another week before he made an announcement about whether he would return for Watkins Glen International, a road course race Aug. 7; Dale Jr. having already announced he wasn’t racing this weekend at Pocono.
Earnhardt said he continues to deal with concussion-like symptoms, including issues with balance and nausea. “I can’t play around at this age and with my history I definitely don’t need to get cute.”
--As you would expect, with quarterback Deshaun Watson returning, Clemson is the preseason favorite to repeat as ACC football champion, according to a poll of 191 media members.
Of course fellow alum Phil W. had to pass on the depressing outlook for our Wake Forest Demon Deacons, picked last in the Atlantic division.
Watson is the runaway preseason pick for ACC Player of the Year, with Florida State running back Dalvin Cook receiving a few votes.
--Sad day in college football last weekend as we learned Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler were killed in a car accident in Wisconsin. Additionally, LSU placekicker Colby Delahoussaye was injured, sustaining burns to his legs. The car, driven by Sadler, lost control on wet pavement and crashed into a tree.
--I apologize for forgetting to note that Chris Froome won the Tour de France on Sunday. The Kenyan-born Brit also won the Tour in 2013 and 2015. All of us are just happy there wasn’t a major terror incident, but then we had Nice during it.
--Roger Federer announced he would miss the rest of the tennis season, including the Olympics and the U.S. Open as he rehabilitates his knee. He tore the meniscus in his left knee after the Australian Open and then had surgery in February, the first of his 18-year career. Now doctors are telling him that if he wants to play another few years, “I must give both my knee and body the proper time to fully recover,” Federer on his Facebook page.
Federer was a finalist at the Open last year.
--From the New York Times:
“After a woman got out of her car in a Beijing animal park and was mauled by a tiger, her mother also left the car and was killed trying to save her, the local government has said.
“At least one tiger mauled the women on Saturday at Badaling Wildlife World in a section that allows people to drive their own vehicles through a Siberian tiger enclosure....
“Surveillance video that circulated widely online showed a woman exit a car, then walk to the other side of the vehicle, where she was attacked a few seconds later by a tiger. As the animal dragged her away, her husband and mother jumped out in an attempt to rescue her.
“The woman left the car because of an argument with her husband, reported The Legal Evening News, based in Beijing....
“The woman who was first attacked was badly injured, and her mother, who left the car in an effort to save her daughter, was killed....The woman’s husband was uninjured, as was their child, who remained in the vehicle, the Beijing News said.”
‘Tiger’ is No. 3 on the All-Species List.
--Brad K. passed along this AP tale out of Bangkok:
“Election officials in northern Thailand think they can buy off a gang of monkey vandals with fresh fruit and vegetables, after about 100 macaques tore up voter lists publicly posted ahead of next month’s referendum on a proposed constitution.
“District official Surachai Maneeprakorn said a large population of the monkeys lives behind the Buddhist temple where the polling station they raided Sunday is set up in an open hall.”
So officials installed sliding glass doors protecting the reposted lists. “If they’re smart enough to find a way to open the doors, that will be problematic.” said another official.
‘Macaque’ is hereby put on probation for an indeterminate amount of time.
Top 3 songs for the week 7/25/64: #1 “Rag Doll” (The 4 Seasons...doh! I thought a week ago this wouldn’t make the rotation...my bad...) #2 “A Hard Day’s Night” (The Beatles...love the tune, but never liked hammer sound... ‘dink dink’...wish they had talked to me first...) #3 “I Get Around” (The Beach Boys)...and...#4 “Memphis” (Johnny Rivers...love this one...but just wish brilliant ‘bridge’ was worked in twice...) #5 “The Girl From Ipanema” (Getz/Gilberto...back in the day, featured in every high school stage band, with the obligatory beautiful girl on vocals...at least this was the case at my high school...initials S.M., Summit readers...) #6 “The Little Old Lady (From Pasadena)” (Jan & Dean) #7 “Can’t You See That She’s Mine” (The Dave Clark Five) #8 “Dang Me” (Roger Miller...one of the most underrated artists/composers/writers/producers of all time...) #9 “Wishin’ And Hopin’” (Dusty Springfield...another great one...) #10 “Keep On Pushing” (The Impressions)
Golf Quiz Answers / PGA Championship: 1) 1964-68 winners: Bobby Nichols (64), Dave Marr (65), Al Geiberger (66), Don January (67), Julius Boros (68). 2) 3 or more wins: Walter Hagen, 5; Jack Nicklaus, 5; Tiger Woods, 4; Gene Sarazen, 3; Sam Snead, 3. 3) In 2012, David Lynn finished second to Rory McIlroy at Kiawah. Have we heard from Lynn since?
Next Bar Chat, Monday.