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The Antonio Brown Saga, cont'd....
[Posted Wed. a.m.]
Baseball Quiz: This is an easy one, but need to do it since I mentioned Christian Yelich reaching the exclusive 40/30 (HR/SB) club last weekend. Name the four in the 40/40 club. Answer below.
--In an awful blow to the Milwaukee Brewers’ postseason hopes, MVP candidate Yelich fouled a ball off his knee on Tuesday night in Miami, and the team announced hours later that he was out for the season with a fractured kneecap.
Yelich had just achieved the above-noted accomplishment, seemingly on his way to his second MVP crown, while the Brewers had drawn to within a game and a half of the second wild card, but losing him could signal the end of their prospects.
Just the other day, Cubs shortstop Javy Baez went down with a thumb injury (a hairline fracture) and he’s out until at least the playoffs.
--Yankees fans have to be excited by the stellar pitching of James Paxton. Including 6 2/3 of shutout ball Monday in New York’s 5-0 win over Boston at Fenway, Paxton has now won his last eight starts and is 13-6, 3.96. So with Masahiro Tanaka and Domingo German*, the front three is in good form.
*Though Yankee manager Aaron Boone is acting like German is not going to be starting in the playoffs, as they try to limit his innings. Confusing.
The Yanks did get Gio Urshela back from injury and he homered in his first start. But outfielder Mike Tauchman was placed on the injured list with a calf strain that will keep him out for the rest of the season, though Giancarlo Stanton is finally expected back soon to get game action before the playoffs.
As for the Red Sox, so much for being defending World Series champs. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was fired after Sunday night’s game. It wasn’t a surprise to many in Beantown. Legendary Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaunghnessy had been writing Dombrowski would take the fall for the Red Sox’s disappointing season, and there were no objections from Boston’s ownership.
After Sunday, the Red Sox were 76-67, 17 ½ back of the Yanks.
Dombrowski was duly criticized for not shoring up the bullpen in the offseason, while a four-year, $68 million contract for Nathan Eovaldi, and a five-year, $145 million extension to Chris Sale, backfired.
--Jacob deGrom and reliever Seth Lugo kept the Mets’ season alive Monday in a 3-1 win over the Diamondbacks at Citi Field, though they were still 4 back of the Cubs for the second wild card.
But the Mets have a real problem with Noah Syndergaard, who has been bitching up a storm over who he throws to. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes, ‘Thor’ had an 8.10 ERA in two games with Travis d’Arnaud catching, a 5.09 ERA with Wilson Ramos in 15 games and a 2.45 ERA with Tomas Nido in 10 games. And he threw seven shutout innings the only time he matched up with veteran Rene Rivera, who was recently called up. So he wants to throw to the latter two, not Ramos, though all Ramos has done is bat .301 with 14 homers and 71 RBIs.
Mets management is playing hardball, as they should. This isn’t the time of year for Noah to play diva. I agree with manager Mickey Callaway. “You can’t make everybody happy and it’s not about making guys happy. It’s about winning at this point.”
Yet the Mets beat the D’Backs again last night 3-2, and with the Cubs losing 9-8 in ten in San Diego, suddenly the Mets are just three out, but a lot of teams in front of them, though they can pass Arizona if they complete the sweep tonight at Citi Field.
--N.L. Wild Card Standings....
Washington 79-64... +2.5
Chicago 77-67... ---
Milwaukee 76-68... 1
Philadelphia 75-69... 2
Arizona 75-70... 2.5
Mets 74-70... 3
--The Dodgers clinched their seventh consecutive N.L. West championship Tuesday with a 7-3 victory over the Orioles in Baltimore, the second-earliest N.L. West clinching since the 1975 Cincinnati Reds, Sept. 7. [Back when there were two divisions.]
--After I wrote of the Astros’ 21-1 rout of the Mariners on Sunday, Monday, facing Oakland pitcher Mike Fiers – who was working on a streak of 20 consecutive starts without suffering a loss (May 1st the last ‘L’) – Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Robinson Chirinos all homered in the first inning, giving Houston a 6-0 lead, and then homers by Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley and Alvarez again helped push the margin to 11-0 after the second inning. Final score was 15-0, Chirinos homering a second time.
Alvarez, the 22-year-old rookie out of Cuba, thru Monday now had 24 home runs and 72 RBIs in 71 games, along with a 1.082 OPS.
Zack Greinke was the beneficiary, going six scoreless, improving to 5-1 in a Houston uniform after the trade with Arizona, 15-5 overall, 2.99 ERA.
The Houston rotation has performed thusly:
Verlander 18-5, 2.52
Cole 16-5, 2.73
Greinke 15-5, 2.99
Wade Miley 13-4, 3.35*
*Well make that 13-5, 3.71, after Miley gave up seven earned in a 1/3rd of an inning as Oakland recovered Tuesday to beat the Astros 21-7, behind a franchise record-tying 25 hits.
Houston became the first team in the majors to score 20 or more in a game and allow 20 or more runs in a different game in a three-game span since Aug. 6-7, 1894, when the Brooklyn Bridegrooms did it, according to STATS.
The Astros are the third MLB team to have three straight games decided by 14 or more runs and the first since the 1800s.
Meanwhile, in the race for best record in the A.L. and home-field advantage in the ALCS should things play out to form....
New York 95-51
The Dodgers are at 94-52.
--A.L. Wild Card Standings....
Tampa Bay 87-59... +1.5
Oakland 85-60... ---
Cleveland 85-61... 0.5
--There aren’t any big matchups this weekend, but we’ll learn more about both No. 1 Clemson and Syracuse as they meet up at the Carrier Dome, while No. 2 Alabama is at South Carolina. Neither game is expected to be tight but Syracuse in particular has a lot to prove after being dismantled by Maryland.
Pitt is a decided underdog as it travels to Happy Valley to play Penn State. 19 Iowa is at Iowa State for their big rivalry contest.
But in all actuality, North Carolina at Wake Forest, both 2-0, is a very intriguing early-season matchup. [6:00 p.m. Friday]
--Is it too soon to consider a scenario where three SEC teams meet in the CFP with Clemson? Of course not.
Here are the teams on the schedule ahead for the four SEC teams that will be battling for at least two of the four slots, which already seems a certainty.
Georgia (SEC East): Notre Dame, Florida, Auburn, Texas A&M
Alabama (SEC West): Texas A&M, LSU, Auburn
LSU (SEC West): Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Texas A&M...and already beat Texas
Auburn (SEC West): Texas A&M, Florida, LSU, Georgia, Alabama...and already beat Oregon
Needless to say, Ohio State and Oklahoma fans will be screaming if even two SEC teams are in, but the Big Twelve seems weak (currently just two in the top 25), and Oklahoma would appear to have a cupcake schedule, save for the Texas game Oct. 12.
Ohio State has its usual gauntlet, and the Big Ten has seven in the top 25, though there are huge question marks with some of them, like Michigan, whereas I think you can fairly safely say that the SEC powers (five in the top 10, plus No. 16 Texas A&M) are legitimate.
--Big goings on in Los Angeles as USC athletic director Lynn Swann “resigned,” though he was really fired by new USC President Carol Folt.
Bill Plaschke / Los Angeles Times
“Lynn Swann never should have been the USC athletic director in the first place, and it’s about time someone finally decided to end a misguided tenure filled with ineffectiveness, indifference and more biting scandals than big football victories....
“This was Folt smartly beginning a massive overhaul of a Trojans athletic department that has become a national embarrassment. This was the new boss commencing a cleansing of the nation’s only university athletic department recently involved in the two announced FBI probes into college sports.
“There was Tony Bland, former USC assistant basketball coach, pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery in the college hoops scandal. Then there was Donna Heinel, former senior associate athletic director, allegedly accepting $1.3 million in bribes in the college admissions scandal.
“All of this was just in the last year, all while the USC football team was finishing with its first losing season in 19 years, everyone led by Swann, who had such a distant connection to his job that in the middle of the scandals he was seen at a sports memorabilia convention in Virginia signing autographs for money....
“(Folt) is intent on bypassing tradition and completely reshaping Trojans athletics from the outside. Her announced search committee for the new athletic director is filled with academics and business leaders who are also not connected to the department. These are all good things.
“For the last 26 years, USC athletics have been run by former Trojans football players whose main qualifications for the job were, well, that they were former Trojans football players. Mike Garrett, Pat Haden and Swann did not have any previous experience running a major athletic department when they were hired. With the exception of Garrett’s fortunate hire of Pete Carroll – he wasn’t his first choice – their inexperience showed.
“Garrett was in charge during the massive Reggie Bush-related NCAA sanctions, Haden was involved in the Lane Kiffin debacle and Steve Sarkisian disaster, and virtually Swann’s entire era was enveloped in football coaching controversy and scandal....
“The cronyism has to stop. The jock mentality has to end. The preference given to someone simply because they attended USC cannot continue....
“The university doesn’t need a sports guru, it needs a business guru. It doesn’t need a coach, it needs a chief executive. This ultimate insider school should, for once, crave the viewpoint of an outsider....
“Swann is gone, a new sheriff is in town, and USC appears to be finally on the verge of moving its athletic department out from underneath the shadow of Tommy Trojan.
“It’s about time.”
Meanwhile, despite all the chaos, the USC cheerleaders continue to maintain their top five status in the nation...and at the end of the day....
--Jemele Hill, the oftentimes controversial former reporter and anchor at ESPN, who now writes for The Atlantic (great publication), has a piece in the October issue that is rather thought provoking.
Just a snippet....
“In the summer of 2018 Kayvon Thibodeaux, who was then ranked as the top high-school football player in America, visited Florida A&M University, in Tallahassee. When a player of Thibodeaux’s caliber visits a perennial football power – say, Alabama – it’s called Wednesday. But when he visits a historically black college or university (HBCU) like Florida A&M, it threatens to crack the foundation on which the money-making edifice of college sports rests.
“ ‘I really just wanted to learn the history of FAMU,’ Thibodeaux, a defensive end who received a scholarship offer from the school after his freshman year in high school, told me. ‘And I wanted to show there were more opportunities out there than just big-time Division I schools.’
“Ultimately, and perhaps inevitably, Thibodeaux announced that he was going to one of the top football programs in the country, the University of Oregon. ‘Nobody wants to eat McDonald’s when you can get filet mignon’ is how Thibodeaux put it. But over the course of the five months between his visit to FAMU and his decision to enroll at Oregon, Thibodeaux – who gushed about the historically black university on social media – galvanized alumni and boosted national awareness of the institution. It was a moment of hope for HBCUs, and it should have been a moment of fear for the predominantly white institutions whose collective multibillion-dollar revenues have been built largely on the exertions of (uncompensated) black athletes.
“The NCAA reported $1.1 billion in revenue for its 2017 fiscal year. Most of that money comes from the Division I men’s-basketball tournament. In 2016, the NCAA extended its television agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting through 2032 – an $8.8 billion deal. About 30 Division I schools bring in at least $100 million in athletic revenue every year. Almost all of these schools are majority white – in fact, black men make up only 2.4 percent of the total undergraduate population of the 65 schools in the so-called Power Five athletic conferences. Yet black men make up 55 percent of the football players in those conferences, and 56 percent of basketball players.
“Black athletes have attracted money and attention to the predominantly white universities that showcase them. Meanwhile, black colleges are struggling. Alabama’s athletic department generated $174 million in the 2016-17 school year, whereas the HBCU that generated the most money from athletics that year, Prairie View A&M, brought in less than $18 million. Beyond sports, the average HBCU endowment is only one-eighth that of the average predominantly white school; taken together, all of the HBCU endowments combined make up less than a tenth of Harvard’s.
“Why should this matter to anyone beyond the administrators and alumni of the HBCU’s themselves? Because black colleges play an important role in the creation and propagation of a black professional class. Despite constituting only 3 percent of four-year colleges in the country, HBCUs have produced 80 percent of the black judges, 50 percent of the black lawyers, 40 percent of the black engineers, 40 percent of the black members of Congress, and 13 percent of the black CEOs in America today.
“In a country where the racial wealth gap remains enormous...institutions that nurture a black middle class are crucial. And when these institutions are healthy, they bring economic development to the black neighborhoods that surround them.”
So Jemele Hill asks the obvious question. “What if a group of elite athletes collectively made the choice to attend HBCUs?
“Black athletes overall have never had as much power and influence as they do now. While NCAA rules prevent them from making money off their own labor at the college level, they are essential to the massive amount of revenue generated by college football and basketball. This gives them leverage, if only they could be moved to use it.....
“If promising black student athletes chose to attend HBCUs in greater numbers, they would, at a minimum, bring some welcome attention and money to beleaguered black colleges, which invested in black people when there was no athletic profit to reap. More revolutionarily, perhaps they could disrupt the reign of an ‘amateur’ sports system that uses the labor of black folks to make white folks rich.”
Yes, as Jemele Hill admits, it’s pretty tough to compete with Clemson’s $55 million complex for football players if you’re North Carolina A&T.
But with basketball, I can see a high-profile high school player being the first in this era to opt for a HBCU. The issue is that player doesn’t get the television coverage. But if he’s that good, the networks will find a way to cover him.
And, just thinking outside the box, it would be a player whose own parents are highly-educated, ‘professional’ types who both attended HBCUs.
Meanwhile, Ms. Hill holds out hope for a Fab Five-type story. “What if instead of enrolling at Michigan they’d gone to Howard, taking the Bison, rather than the Wolverines, to the Final Four?”
That would be a helluva story.
--After posting Sunday, the Patriots showed why they are No. 1. As much as some of us hate them, Brady and Belichick are quite a combination. For only the second time in Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s career he lost a game by 30 points, 33-3, with Brady going 24/36, 341, 3-0, 124.9, while Big Ben was a miserable 27/47, 276, 0-1, 65.6. Pittsburgh had just 32 yards on the ground, which even for Week One, has to be a big concern. We all love James Conner, but he’s not Le’Veon Bell.
But the Pats now add Antonio Brown this Sunday. For one week, and probably a lot more, the retirement of Rob Gronkowski is just not a big deal. ‘Next up’ a clear mantra in Belichick’s world.
Then Tuesday night, we had a bombshell, the Pats reportedly blindsided by a lawsuit accusing Brown of rape and sexual abuse.
Brown was to practice with the team for a first time today, Wednesday, and no word as I go to post from the NFL on whether the seven-time Pro Bowler is being placed on the exempt list, which would keep Brown off the field while the league conducts an investigation into the lawsuit filed by Britney Taylor, his former trainer.
Taylor alleges Brown sexually assaulted her on three occasions in 2017 and ’18.
My policy in over 20 years of Bar Chat is not to comment on such cases when they first come up, and an attorney representing Brown said, “He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations.”
Nancy Armour / USA TODAY
“Antonio Brown hasn’t just crashed the NFL’s 100th birthday party, he’s hijacked it.
“The league planned on this season being a six-month celebration of its best games, biggest names and most iconic moments. Instead, it’s going to be all about AB, and there’s not a damn thing the NFL, the New England Patriots or even the iron-handed Bill Belichick can do about it.
“Brown’s former trainer accused the receiver of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in Florida. It’s far too soon to make a judgment on the allegations; there are text messages that, if authentic, are troubling, while Brown’s attorney called the allegations a ‘money grab’ and said any sexual encounters were consensual.
“It will be weeks, and more likely months, before there’s any resolution to the lawsuit. Which means the NFL and the Patriots are stuck with this never-ending sideshow.
“No matter how many times Belichick tries to stonewall and say the Patriots are on to whoever they’re playing that week, it won’t stop the questions about Brown. Anytime Commissioner Roger Goodell appears in public, he’ll be asked for an update on the wide receiver or to assess the various possible outcomes....
“The NFL had to have hoped the AB circus would fold its tent once he signed with the Patriots. Belichick doesn’t make allowances for anyone, even Brady, and the assumption was that Brown would toe the line just as Randy Moss and Chad Johnson did.
“Anybody who really believed that hasn’t been paying attention the last six months. Heck, just the last six days should have been enough....
“No doubt the NFL and, probably, the Patriots are wishing they could make this all go away. But Goodell can’t suspend Brown, not without some proof there is merit to the lawsuit. If the Patriots cut Brown, they’d be out the $9 million they gave him as a signing bonus.
“No league commands attention like the NFL. But it has met its match, and then some, with Antonio Brown.”
--Jets fans are panicking after Week One, and for good reason. We blew the Bills game, and now we face the Browns next Monday night, after which the schedule reads New England, Philadelphia, Dallas, New England. Ugh. And since 2017, only 12 of the 97 teams that started the season 0-2 recovered to make the playoffs.
But the Jets’ Le’Veon Bell touched the ball just six times after the Jets took a 16-0 lead with 7:00 left in the third quarter of the Buffalo game, and they have to feed him a lot more against the Brownies.
Well, they made some personnel moves Tuesday, waiving kicker Kaare Vedvik and signing Sam Ficken, a former Penn State product who spent some time with three teams, though with only six field goal attempts, hitting three, with Green Bay.
And they also made a trade with the Patriots, the first between the two since Bill Belichick bolted New York for Foxborough in 2000, in acquiring veteran receiver Demaryius Thomas in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round pick.
Thomas, a four-time Pro Bowler, is recovering from an Achilles tendon injury he suffered last year, but what makes this all a bit ironic is with the Antonio Brown situation developing after the trade was announced, one wonders if the Pats are kicking themselves for not waiting 24 hours.
--Giants fans know their team isn’t as good as the Cowboys, so the opening 35-17 loss wasn’t a shock, but they are rightfully bitching that Saquon Barkley only had 15 touches; 11 carries for 120 yards, four receptions for 19. That has to change.
--It was only natural that with all the preseason talk of the Dolphins ‘tanking for Tua,’ especially following some of their personnel moves, with a demoralizing 59-10 loss to the Ravens, being outgained 643 to 200, that many Miami players would be calling their agents, asking them to pursue a trade, as reported by Pro Football Talk. The report states the players believe the coaching staff – despite saying differently – isn’t serious about trying to compete and win. The Dolphins, responding to the story, said they have not heard from any agents or players regarding a trade.
But the point is, this has been the most obvious story going into the 2019 NFL season. Miami wants a shot at Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, or perhaps Oregon’s Just Herbert, as part of their rebuild. The most recent trades of talented receiver Kenny Stills and tackle Laremy Tunsil only added to the talk.
--Al “Hoagy” Carmichael died the other day at the age of 90. Carmichael, a running back/receiver/return man in his NFL and AFL career (1953-58, 1960-61), scored the first touchdown in the old American Football League while playing for Denver in 1960.
Carmichael caught a 59-yard touchdown pass from Frank Tripucka on Sept. 9, 1960, in the Broncos’ 13-10 win over the Boston Patriots at Nickerson Field on the Boston University Campus in the AFL’s inaugural game.
Carmichael was a first round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers after he had served in the Marine Corps following his college career at USC. He played at both running back and wide receiver for the Pack, but in 1955-56, he was a highly effective kick returner, returning one for a score in each season and averaging 29.9 and 28.1 per return those two seasons. In 1956, his 106-yard kick return was an NFL record.
In 1960 with Denver he rushed for 211 yards and two touchdowns, and caught 32 passes for 616 yards (19.3) and five more TDs, while averaging 26.4 per return on kicks.
Later in life, Carmichael worked as a Hollywood stuntman and double in dozens of movies.
--In looking back at the U.S. Open men’s final, I didn’t realize as I posted that the Big Three had won the last 12 majors...three calendar years. As Daniil Medvedev said after: “I can say that I’m sure all of us, we’re fighting our best to make this transition. It’s really tough because these guys are playing good tennis. I don’t know what else to say. They are just playing amazing tennis.”
Nadal, with 19 majors, to Federer’s 20, and Djokovic’s 16, said: “I feel honored to be part of this battle. I would love to be the one who has [the most], yes. But I really believe I will not be happier or less happy if that happens or not. What gives you happiness is the personal satisfaction that you gave your best. In that way, I am very, very pleased with myself.”
--From USA TODAY:
“A Colorado boy is recovering and now telling his heroic tale after he tried to fight off a mountain lion with a stick last month.
“Pike Carlson, 8, of Bailey was in a wooded area with his brother heading toward their neighbor’s house Aug. 21 when the 65-pound animal pounced, he told local TV stations.
“ ‘I was just punching, trying to grab anything that I can, like a stick,’ Pike told KUSA-TV. ‘I did find a stick and I tried to get it in the eye, but soon the stick snapped.’
“Pike and the animal rolled down a hill as his older brother ran home to get their parents. Pike’s father, Ron Carlson, was quick to the scene.
“ ‘It was just chewing on him,’ Carlson told KMGH-TV. ‘That’s the motion I picked up, and that made me snap.’
“Carlson had only a pocket knife, but as he approached the animal mauling his son, the mountain lion let go.
“ ‘That parental instinct to protect your child kind of kicks in,’ Carlson told KUSA-TV. ‘It never even entered my head that I was about to tangle with something that could kill me. All you know is you have to do something. It doesn’t matter what happens to you, you’ve got to protect your children.’
“When Carlson grabbed his son, the boy’s entire face was bleeding, with his scalp opened in several places, Carlson said.
“ ‘It was something that no parent should ever see,’ he told KUSA-TV.
“Pike’s skull, jaw and orbital bone were cracked, and the boy needed more than 60 staples, KMGH-TV reported. He also will have surgery on his eyelid.”
The mountain lion was euthanized a day later, state wildlife officials said.
There have been 22 mountain lion attacks on people in Colorado since 1990, three of which were fatal.
Top 3 songs for the week 9/11/65: #1 “Help!” (The Beatles) #2 “Like A Rolling Stone” (Bob Dylan) #3 “Eve Of Destruction” (Barry McGuire)...and...#4 “You Were On My Mind” (We Five) #5 “California Girls” (The Beach Boys) #6 “Unchained Melody” (The Righteous Brothers) #7 “I Got You Babe” (Sonny & Cher) #8 “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” (James Brown) #9 “It Ain’t Me Babe” (The Turtles) #10 “The ‘In’ Crowd” (Ramsey Lewis Trio...terrific week... ‘A’...)
Baseball Quiz Answer: 40/40 Club....
Alfonso Soriano 46 (HR) 41 (SB), 2006, Washington
Alex Rodriguez 42-46, 1998, Seattle
Barry Bonds 42-40, 1996, San Francisco
Jose Canseco 42-40, 1988, Oakland
Larry Walker came close to a 50/30, 49-33, 1997, Colorado
Hank Aaron, by the way, is a member of the 40/30 club, 44-31, 1963, Milwaukee
1969 Mets, cont’d....
The Mets were 2 ½ back of the Cubs as Chicago came to town for two games at Shea.
Sept. 8: In front of 43,274 fans (48,930 total), in the rain on a Monday night, Jerry Koosman (13-9) threw a complete game, striking out 13, the Mets winning 3-2 to cut the lead to 1 ½. Tommie Agee hit a 2-run homer off Bill Hands in the third, and then Wayne Garrett singled home Agee, who had doubled, in the sixth after the Cubs had tied it at 2. Bill Hands (16-13) was the loser for Chicago. The Cubs argued loudly that Agee was out at the plate on a bang-bang play.
After the game Koosman admitted to hitting Cubs third baseman Ron Santo with a pitch after Bill Hands had knocked down Agee in the first.
“They threw at Tommie,” said Kooz. “I had to do it to end it right there. If I don’t, they keep doing it, and they keep getting away with it....I’ve seen three, four, five of our guys get knocked down and our pitcher never come close to their men.”
Gil Hodges said: “You don’t have to talk about things like that. Talk isn’t necessary. They know what to do for each other. Our boys will take care of our boys.”
Sept. 9: Tom Seaver bested Ferguson Jenkins before over 51,000 paid (58,436 in all) adoring fans, 7-1, Seaver the complete game to go to 21-7, Jenkins 19-13, as Donn Clendenon and Art Shamsky took him deep. Chicago manager Leo Durocher had switched from Ken Holtzman to Jenkins and boy it didn’t work out. At one point a black cat walked in front of the Cubs dugout and seemed to stare them down (Shea known for strays that lived under the stands...and an occasional rat, the two going hand in hand). Yes, it was an omen.
So now the Expos came into town to face the surging Metsies, including a Wednesday twi-night doubleheader.
Sept. 10: In the opener, it took 12 innings but the Mets won 3-2 on Ken Boswell’s game-winning hit. Montreal starter Mike Wegener went 11, striking out 15, and the Mets’ Jim McAndrew also threw the first 11, before Ron Taylor picked up the win.
But when the Mets pulled it out, team owner Mrs. Joan Payson was beckoned out of her first-row box and received the plaudits and thanks of the 23,500 fans in attendance because the Mets had moved into first place by a percentage point at 8:43 p.m., the Shea scoreboard flashing....
NY Mets 83-57... .593
CHI Cubs 84-58... .592
[The Expos had now been in 12 extra-inning games in their first year and lost them all. In fact they had yet to score after the ninth inning all season.]
Sept. 10: Well the Mets won the nightcap 7-1, Nolan Ryan (6-1) going all the way, striking out 11, as the Expos committed three costly errors.
It was nearly midnight when the Mets completed their sweep and they had a full one-game cushion over the Cubs. A few champagne corks were popped in the clubhouse. Tom Seaver poured it into paper cups for the boys.
Some wondered, where had the champagne come from? It didn’t seem like the kind of thing Gil Hodges would do.
“No,” said Seaver. “Some of the guys visited a winery this afternoon and brought back three bottles of champagne, and three of sparkling burgundy.”
Kind of funny how Tom Terrific described the purchase, seeing as he would later start his own winery in Napa Valley...but that’s looking a bit into the future. [Larry Fox / New York Daily News]
Sept. 11: The Mets made it seven in a row, 4-0, Gary Gentry the complete game shutout over Montreal to even his mark at 11-11.
So the Mets were now 85-57, two up on the Cubs, who were in a swoon of historic proportions, having lost eight straight through Sept. 11.
On Aug. 16, Chicago was 75-44, 9 games ahead of the Mets. They were now 84-60, down 2.
Next in...the Pirates for four.
And next Bar Chat, Monday.
We remember 9/11.