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Baseball Quiz: Of the 846 players listed on opening-day rosters and disabled lists, 27.7 percent, 234, are foreign born, as reported by Major League Baseball. Name the top four foreign countries. Answer below.
Can Good Triumph?
Butler vs. UConn
Mike Lupica / New York Daily News: “Great college team, great coach, great story. We never got a sequel to the movie ‘Hoosiers.’ Now we do.”
For the record, in Butler’s win over VCU, Matt Howard may have been only 3 of 10 from the field, but he had a critical offensive rebound and put back down the stretch and was 11 of 12 from the free throw line. Running mate Shelvin Mack had 24. In defeat, Wake transfer Jamie Skeen had 27 but missed some easy chippies, while point guard Joey Rodriguez sucked, going just 1 of 9 from the field. Back to Howard, this once foul-prone forward has not fouled out during Butler’s 14-game winning streak.
In UConn’s 56-55 win over Kentucky, Kemba Walker only had 18 but added 7 assists and 6 rebounds. The Huskies survived a 1-12 night from downtown, while Kentucky’s freshman phenom Brandon Knight was a pathetic 6-23 from the field.
“Something about Saturday night’s Little Teams That Could national semifinal didn’t feel right in the beginning. Now that it’s over – now that Butler is moving forward again and Virginia Commonwealth returns to Richmond with a tremendous tale but ultimately no trophy – it feels even worse.
“Rocky Balboa shouldn’t be allowed to knock himself out. The good guys shouldn’t eliminate each other. They should keep drumming the bad guys from Connecticut, which staved off Kentucky in the nightcap.
“When the most unlikely underdog Final Four matchup since perhaps Texas Western-Utah in 1966 happens, of course someone has to lose. And there will be plenty who argue that at least they bowed to one of their own, and weren’t bludgeoned by 20 points or more by one of college basketball’s traditionally elite programs.
“But from courtside, VCU being sent packing by Butler, 70-62, in a game of this magnitude – a mid-major program snuffing out the dreams of another a step shy of the title game – has got to be a little tougher mentally to digest for the loser. VCU only knocked out giants from the Pacific-10, Big East, Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 – before the Rams were undone by the pride of the Horizon League.
“The truth: There were only two likable programs here this weekend, and one of them just went home.
“You almost feel sorry for Connecticut’s Kemba Walker and Kentucky’s Brandon Knight, as crazy as that sounds. The reputations of Huskies Coach Jim Calhoun and Wildcats Coach John Calipari preceded them long before either kid signed a scholarship, and it directly impacted how their teams have been viewed in Houston this weekend.
“The night before Connecticut and Kentucky matched up in Saturday’s blue-blood semifinal, allegations over illegal benefits received by a player resurfaced, a scandal that already got Calhoun docked three Big East games next season by the NCAA. On the Wildcats’ side, there were revelations that a Calipari staffer had obliterated the rules by making impermissible phone calls to recruits, apparently simultaneously for Memphis and Kentucky.
“The good news is, the survivor of the Little Teams That Could semifinal would get a chance to suit up as Philistines on Monday night and bring the big, bad and very unseemly giant down.”
“It’s been tough keeping up with the college sports scandals this week. They come almost hourly.
“The Fiesta Bowl turned out to be a real fiesta involving strip clubs. Ohio State opened spring football practice amid allegations involving Coach Sweater Vest.
“Auburn football players told HBO they were paid sacks of cash for making sacks.
“New NCAA President Mark Emmert probably wished he’d worn a flak jacket to Thursday’s state-of-the-union news conference.
“Butler (28-9) won its 14th straight game and will wear white hats against Connecticut, a different kind of great story. The Huskies have won 10 straight for a program under increasing scrutiny. Coach Jim Calhoun has had to answer more questions this week about his recruitment of Nate Miles even though the NCAA has already adjudicated the case.”
“College sports need the Butler Bulldogs to pull this off, to bring a dose of humility and honesty back to a game that has never seemed more tarnished. Butler needs to become the example that it is possible to do things the right way and without the endless resources available to the powerhouses, and still leave town with the top prize….
“On and on it goes, every week bringing something new and dirty. Butler is different. Butler is the school that made its players attend class the day of the crushing title game loss to Duke last year, the program with the head coach who looks like he’s never had even a parking ticket.
“ ‘It’s something that separates what we do from a lot of other teams – and I’m not saying a lot of other teams do it the wrong way,’ reserve guard Zach Hahn said, and adding that quick disclaimer is the essence of Butler. ‘But everything we do is for the right reasons.’
“Butler is Shelvin Mack, the guard from Lexington whom hometown Kentucky didn’t bother to recruit – one who already has more tournament victories (10) in the past two years than the Wildcats have in the past six.
“Butler is Brad Stevens, the head coach who comes across like he’s never hurt a fly – one who is so clean that Championship game rival Jim Calhoun begged, ‘Would you just screw up once?’
“Butler is Matt Howard, the mop-haired forward who has become the face of this program – one who is so popular in his hometown Connersville, Ind., that 10 percent of its population, about 1,400 fans, came to his senior day.
“Butler is Blue II, the 61-pound bulldog mascot the fan base idolizes like a canine Justin Beiber – one the NCAA, in its infinite wisdom, barred from tournament games until now….
“The Bulldogs will be underdogs – again. But UConn isn’t nearly as proven an opponent as Duke was a year ago, and they already have taken out Pittsburgh, the top team in the Big East this season.
“Plus, Butler is the experienced team here, the one on the mission. ‘Our focus is a lot better than the Final Four last year,’ (guard Ronald) Nored said. ‘We’re already onto the winner of the next game. We’re older, we’re smarter.’
“ ‘We realize there’s still another game to be played,’ Howard said, ‘and another game to be won.’
As for UConn and the New York Times story by Pete Thamel and Zach Hillesland that broke during the week concerning former recruit Nate Miles, what a pathetic tale. The 23-year-old, a former campus roommate of Kemba Walker, is now basically homeless.
Miles told the Times “he went to six high schools in five years before heading to Connecticut. At one point in high school, he said, he got $250 every three days from an NBA agent that he said a former UConn assistant coach introduced him to. He said he received improper help on at least two of the standardized tests he took to qualify academically to play in college, but for all that he never played a game for Connecticut, or any other Division I university.
“Connecticut and Jim Calhoun have already been punished for a variety of sins in their recruitment of Miles. The NCAA has limited the number of scholarships Connecticut can award, has placed its basketball program on probation and suspended Calhoun for three games next season.”
But surprisingly the NCAA never interviewed Miles himself as the kid refused to take part in the investigation. Now Miles seems ready to talk, as he did to the Times, and the NCAA is taking him seriously, with a representative visiting with his grandmother recently.
The kid is far from credible in many respects, but some facts in his case are no doubt true. Miles is also now branding Calhoun’s statements to the NCAA “lies.” He insists Calhoun knew of Miles’ relationship with the NBA agent, Josh Nochimson. Calhoun denies this.
Miles never actually practiced with UConn, getting thrown out in the fall of 2008 for violating a restraining order. In March 2009, Yahoo Sports detailed his taking gifts from Nochimson “and the hundreds of impermissible phone calls and text messages from Connecticut staff members during his recruitment as a high school player.” [Two UConn assistants resigned shortly thereafter.]
Sally Jenkins / Washington Post…on the state of college athletics, including the debate over scholarships.
“Let’s kill the athletic scholarship! A college campus is no place for ballplayers training for professional careers. You know what else is a scandal? How many culinary students end up cashing in as chefs! And don’t get me started on those med school kids whose only goals are to become doctors.
“What an intolerable climate of professionalization we’ve created at our universities with division I-A football and basketball. How impure that some people should use college as an avenue to the NBA and NFL, and try to collect on their earning potential. We need to get rid of them, so that every campus can become an Ivy and serve nobler purposes – such as training 58 percent of Harvard’s grads to go into finance or consulting….
“What’s learned at a Final Four can’t possibly be as meaningful as what’s learned in the classrooms of most U.S. colleges, especially when it comes to ethics. An athlete accepting a backpack full of cash from an alum is much worse than Gordon Gee spending $700,000 in Vanderbilt University funds on catering.
“God forbid that commercial interests should sully campuses – unless of course it means major corporations funding supposedly independent academic research. Or scholars sitting on corporate advisory boards and loading up with stock. Especially if it’s Goldman Sachs, and you’re the president of Brown.
“All right, end of riff. The intention here is not to excuse the blooming sports scandals at Ohio State, Auburn, Oregon, Connecticut and Tennessee. It’s not to say the Fiesta Bowl is anything but a Caribbean slush fund.
“It’s merely to say that our universities are highly commercialized places, touched by many forms of corruption, and they are used as farm systems all the time, by all kinds of professions. Why are we blaming athletes unduly for this?”
“Auburn. The Fiesta Bowl. Jim Tressel. Southern Cal. Bruce Pearl. Notre Dame. Jim Calhoun.
“What a school year this has been for the NCAA. The hits began early and kept right on coming. Rick Pitino. Michigan. North Carolina. Cecil Newton. Georgia. Alabama.
“Have I missed anyone? Well, John Calipari, but with him, it’s a lifetime achievement award.
“Has there ever been an academic (and we use that term loosely) year with more lying, cheating, poor leadership and all-around misbehaving in football and men’s basketball than the 2010-11 school year?....
“Sadly, the fitting exclamation point on this renegade season would be for Calhoun or Calipari to be cutting down the net at the end. It would seem strange for a good guy to win in what just might be the NCAA’s worst year ever.”
Finally, a Bloomberg study by Curtis Eichelberger finds that women’s basketball lost $109.7 million in fiscal 2010 at the 53 public schools in the six largest conferences whose records are available, while the men’s teams at these universities had operating profits of $240 million. Even UConn’s Lady Huskies lost $723,900. Much of the problem is that coaches in the women’s game are paid very well despite the relatively low revenue base. Even a school like Auburn paid salaries and benefits of $1.14 million on operating revenue of $64,225, and the program posted a $3.16 million operating loss. Yikes.
By the way, UConn women’s coach Geno Auriemma will earn $1.8 million in the last year of his contract, 2013.
--So as I go to post Sunday evening, with most teams having played but three games, our crack staff is not yet prepared to give our EXCLUSIVE predictions based on the first week’s play and won’t do so until next Sunday/Monday, after which teams will have played up to ten games; perhaps a little larger sample than normal.
It’s just that as much as I’d like to tell you the 3-0 Orioles, Reds and Rangers will win at least 135 games each, only a fool would do so this early. Nor am I about to predict the 0-3 Red Sox will finish 9-153 when just about everyone has them as a lock for the playoffs. It just wouldn’t be prudent and if nothing else Bar Chat is just that… prudent. For example, the notoriously slow-starting Mark Teixeira of the Yankees has three home runs in three games as well as seven RBI. Could I say he’ll club around 158 homers and drive in over 302? Of course I could. But it wouldn’t be prudent.
Could I project that the Cubs’ Starlin Castro, 8 hits in his first 13 at bats, a .615 clip, is going to go on to hit .543 this year? Yeah, I could…but it wouldn’t be prudent. Put a gun to my head and I’d say .518 instead.
Is the Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia going to continue to throw shutouts as he did on Sunday? Perhaps. But I can’t tell you with a straight face tonight he’ll go 29-1 with a 0.07 ERA. No, I can’t do that. Perhaps 28-2, 0.26, but let’s wait one more start.
However, the above aside, who wudda thunk the Mets would start 2-1, especially after a typically desultory opening day performance?! Not me, that’s for sure. But am I prepared to say the Mets will thus win 19 instead of 16 games as a result? No. Wouldn’t be prudent.
And so we wait another week. Another week to refine the algorithms that have served us so well over the years. Let others project a 143-19 season for the 3-1 Royals. I can’t do that. It’s what we call…the Bar Chat Difference.
--According to an analysis of major league contracts by the AP, A-Rod is earning $32 million, tops in baseball, and the entire Kansas City Royals’ 27-man roster, including the disabled list, makes $36.1 million. [The Yankees’ payroll is $201.7 million.] A-Rod is baseball’s highest-paid player for the 11th straight year.
The average salary for the 844 players on opening-day rosters and disabled lists (The AP’s list is different from MLB’s by two players) was about $3.3 million, flat over last year.
Philadelphia, by the way, now has the second-highest payroll at $173 million, followed by Boston ($161.4 million), Angels ($139 million), the White Sox ($129.3 million), the Cubs ($125.5 million) and the Mets ($120 million). The totals don’t include salaries owed released players like the Cubs’ Carlos Silva ($11.5 million) and the Mets’ Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo ($18 million+ combined).
Incredibly, second behind A-Rod is Vernon Wells of the Angels at $26.6 million. Just what were the Blue Jays thinking when they gave Wells this kind of money (before he moved on to L.A.)
Injured Mets pitcher Johan Santana is at $21.6 million. If I were a GM, I’d never give another pitcher more than a 4-year deal. If that means retooling the starting staff every few seasons with minor leaguers, so be it.
--Former general manager Lou Gorman died. He was 82. Gorman was the general manager of the Boston Red Sox when they lost to the Mets in the 1986 World Series. Just one strike away from victory. Gorman worked for five major league teams in all, including as executive assistant of the Mets, where he helped build the club in the early ‘80s that would then beat Boston, who he joined after the 1983 season. He stayed with the Red Sox for ten years but among Boston fans was reviled for trading a minor league infielder, Jeff Bagwell, for pitcher Larry Andersen. Not the best trade in baseball history, to say the least. In fact it is easily among the five worst.
--Baseball has a real problem…it’s losing its youth. Matthew Futterman had a piece in the Wall Street Journal that “over the last 16 years, numbers for Little League Baseball, which accounts for about two-thirds of the country’s youth play, have been steadily dropping. And there are signs the pace is accelerating.
“From 2000 to 2009, the latest year for which figures are available, the number of kids aged 7 to 17 playing baseball fell 24%, according to the National Sporting Goods Association, an industry trade group. Despite growing concerns about the long-term effects of concussions, participation in youth tackle football has soared 21% over the same time span, while ice hockey jumped 38%. The Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association, another industry trade group, said baseball participation fell 12.7% for the overall population.”
A lot of kids tell reporters that the sport is too boring.
--Bob Uecker is now in his 41st season in the Milwaukee Brewers’ radio booth. Mark Yost of the Wall Street Journal notes that after retiring from baseball in 1967, six seasons, a .200 batting average in 731 at bats, “Uecker was briefly a scout for the Brewers. But he was notorious for turning in reports that were unreadable and covered with food stains.”
“I knew then that he wasn’t going to make it as a scout,” said former Brewers team owner Bud Selig. “So we decided to try him as a broadcaster.”
Well, the rest is history. The Miller Lite commercials, play-by-play man Harry Doyle in all three “Major League” films, frequent guest of Johnny Carson, who dubbed him “Mr. Baseball,” and an icon in Milwaukee.
So here he is, at age 76 and after two serious heart operations, still doing what he does best…entertain.
--But speaking of broadcasters, Bob S. (not to be confused with Shark Attack Director Bob S.), in reminding me that Vin Scully is now in his 61st year with the Dodgers, the longest such stint with a single team in the history of professional sports, said to put this in perspective, look at the batting leaders for the National League in 1950, Scully’s first year.
Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle didn’t come up until the following season, 1951.
--Great win for Phil Mickelson at the Shell Houston Open, his first since last year’s Masters and the 39th of his sterling career. Yes, you’d have to say he’s back and ready to defend.
--Gil Clancy died. He was 88. Clancy was the Hall of Fame boxing manager who worked with the likes of Emile Griffith, George Foreman, Oscar De La Hoya, Jerry Quarry and Gerry Cooney. But as noted by Richard Goldstein of the New York Times, Clancy was best known for his work with Griffith, a welterweight and middleweight champion.
Clancy was Griffith’s trainer and co-manager when he turned pro in 1958.
“On March 24, 1962, Clancy sent Griffith into the ring against Benny Paret, known as Kid, in a welterweight championship bout at Madison Square Garden.
“Griffith, a native of the Virgin Islands, had knocked out Paret, a Cuban, to take his championship, had lost it back to him and was seeking it once more.
“At the weigh-in for that third bout, as Griffith remembered it, Paret directed a gay slur at him in Spanish. Griffith wanted to attack Paret, but Clancy held him back.
“In the 12th round, Griffith pinned Paret into a corner, then delivered a whirlwind of blows to the head with no response from Paret. When the referee finally stopped the right, Paret collapsed with blood clots in his brain. He died 10 days later.
“As Clancy recalled for Dave Anderson’s book ‘In the Corner,’ an oral history of boxing trainers, he told Griffith before the fight, ‘Anytime you’re inside with this guy, you’ve got to punch until he either falls or grabs you or the referee stops you.’
“Clancy added, ‘I’ve always thought that what happened at the weigh-in had absolutely nothing to do with what happened in the Garden that night.’”
--Former Notre Dame football star Jim Seymour, who also played three seasons for the Chicago Bears, died at the age of 64 of cancer. At 6 feet 4 inches, and weighing more than 200 lbs., Seymour could run 100 yards in less than 10 seconds, unheard of for a receiver so big in those days. He made All-America all three of his seasons at Notre Dame, where he and quarterback Terry Hanratty turned the Irish into an offensive juggernaut. For his career in South Bend, Seymour had 138 receptions, averaging over 15 per catch, and 16 touchdowns.
As a sophomore in 1966 (remember, this was when freshmen were ineligible), Seymour caught 13 passes for 276 yards, which remains a Notre Dame record, in the very first game for both he and Hanratty. Time magazine would feature the two on its cover as part of a revolution sweeping the college game, the discovery of the passing attack.
Seymour would miss three games due to injury, but after the famous 10-10 tie with Michigan State, a game in which Hanratty was hurt, Notre Dame clinched the national title the following week in defeating USC 51-0, a game in which Seymour caught 11 passes for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Jim Seymour would never star in the NFL because he was slowed by an injury he suffered in a college all-star game. In fact he only caught 21 passes in his three seasons with the Bears, but five were for touchdowns. [Bruce Webber / New York Times]
--And former Memphis State player and coach Larry Finch passed away at the age of 60. Many of us remember Finch most for his play at guard for the Tigers from 1970 to 1973, an era culminating in Memphis State’s loss to Bill Walton and UCLA in the ’73 title game, with Finch scoring 29. [This was the game where Walton went 21-of-22 from the field for 44 as UCLA won 87-66. One other player of note for Memphis in those days was Larry Kenon, a great forward, who had 20 in the championship.]
As for Finch, he would later coach Memphis from 1986 to 1997, compiling a 220-130 record with six NCAA tournament appearances.
--I can’t believe Wake Forest has one of the McDonald’s All-American first teamers signed up, shooting guard Chase Fischer out of Ripley, West Virginia. Can it be? The comment in Parade Magazine is: “Though a tad under the radar, according to the recruiting services, Chase was a three-point shooting machine at his high school, averaging just under 40 points a game.”
--Depressing story by Louis Sahagun of the Los Angeles Times concerning the fate of bats and the ‘white nose’ fungus sweeping the country.
“Biologists across the nation are facing a similarly grim scenario. Since it was discovered in New York four years ago, the fungus has swept across 17 states as far west as Oklahoma, killing a million bats. A majority of the dead were little brown bats, which have lost an estimated 20% of their population in the northeastern United States over the last four years….
“Geomyces destructans was first documented in 2007 in New York’s Howe Caverns, a commercial attraction visited by thousands of tourists from around the world each year….
“Now scientists are scrambling to figure out whether the fungus was introduced by a bat or a caver from Europe.”
One biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey said, “We may be looking at phenomenal losses across the country with unknown ecological consequences.”
Aside from devouring mosquitoes, which transmit West Nile, bats feast on agricultural pests damaging to cotton and corn crops. They pollinate plants, including saguaro cactus.
“A recent study published in Science estimates that the value of pest control provided by bats each year is at least $3.7 billion nationwide.”
--As you’ve heard by now, “Mad Men” creator Matt Weiner reached an agreement with network AMC for a 5th and 6th season of the show, with season five now slated for March 2012. And despite talk that two characters had to be eliminated for AMC to agree to a deal, all the main characters are said to be locked up.
--One of the better Tweets from the Bronx Zoo cobra, which was captured after six days.
“Don’t even talk to me until I’ve had my morning coffee. Seriously, don’t. I’m venomous.”
--Ooh baby. Miller Park, Milwaukee, as noted by Bloomberg Businessweek.
“As if Wisconsin didn’t sell enough cheese, the Brewers are offering a French-Canadian staple: fries with brown gravy and cheddar-cheese curds.” Mmmm….cheddar cheese curds….
--So the plan is for polar bear Knut (who it’s now believed drowned after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage) to be stuffed and displayed at Berlin’s Natural History Museum, which I think is totally appropriate, though thousands of Knut’s fans feel otherwise.
--What a terrific tale amidst the gloom in Japan, that being the dog that was rescued after being marooned on a house that had been swept away in the tsunami.
“Local television showed an aerial view of a brown medium-sized dog trotting around the roof of the house – the only part of it floating above water – before disappearing inside through a broken section of the roof.
“The coast guard rescuers, thinking there might also be people alive inside the house, lowered one of their team onto the roof. He tried to coax the dog out, but then went in after tearing a wider opening. He came out with the dog in his arms and they were transported back to safety by boat.”
“Moko the New Zealand bottlenose dolphin has been named on Time magazine’s website as one of history’s most heroic animals.
“Moko, eighth on a list of ‘top 10 heroic animals,’ was recognized for preventing a pygmy sperm whale and her calf from beaching themselves on Mahia Beach in 2008.
“ ‘Successfully doing what humans could not, Moko seemed to communicate with the two whales and lead them safely back into deeper water,’ the citation states.”
Other animals that made the top 10 were Alexander the Great’s horse Bucephalus; Trakr, the dog that found the last survivor in the 9/11 rubble in New York; Cher Ami, a pigeon that flew messages in France during World War I, leading to the rescue of 194 soldiers in Major Charles Whittlesey’s “Lost Battalion,” and the Japanese rescue dog in those first days after the quake that refused to leave his fellow injured canine.
Then there is “Togo the Sled Dog.”
From Time: “In 1925, a ravaging case of diphtheria broke out in the isolated Alaskan village of Nome. No plane or ship could get the serum there, so the decision was made for multiple sled dog teams to relay the medicine across the treacherous frozen land. The dog that often gets credit for eventually saving the town is Balto, but he just happened to run the last, 55-mile leg in the race. The sled dog who did the lion’s share of the work was Togo. His journey, fraught with white-out storms, was the longest by 200 miles and included a traverse across perilous Norton Sound – where he saved his team and driver in a courageous swim through ice floes.”
“Stubby was just another stray before he found his way into an area near Yale University where the 102nd infantry, Yankee Division, was training for World War I. Private J. Robert Conroy found the puppy there in 1917 and named him Stubby on account of his short tail. Although animals were not allowed in the regiment, Stubby was allowed to stick around because he was smart and boosted morale. He learned the bugle calls, the drills and even a modified salute where he put his right paw on his right eyebrow.”
Conroy smuggled Stubby aboard a ship to France, whereupon Stubby, upon being discovered, won over the commanding officer.
“He was allowed to join the soldiers on the front lines, where he was once injured during a gas strike. Having developed a sensitivity to the smell of gas, he was able to save the soldiers as they slept through another gas attack. He even thwarted a German soldier’s attempts to map out the layout of Allied trenches by biting him on the leg and subduing him until U.S. soldiers arrive. By the end of the war, Stubby had served in 17 battles and had developed a knack for locating his wounded comrades. The dog became a lifetime member of the American Legion and later became Georgetown University’s mascot when Conroy went to study law there. Tubby lived until 1926.”
As for “Cheri Ami,” the pigeon: “He flew 12 important messages before being struck by enemy fire. Despite being shot in the breast and leg, he managed to deliver the message, which was found dangling from his shattered leg….Cher Ami, who died in 1919, likely as a result of his battle wounds, was awarded the French Croix de Guerre award for his heroic service and was inducted into the Racing Pigeon Hall of Fame. His one-legged body is on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s ‘Price of Freedom: Americans at War’ exhibit in Washington, D.C.”
“Bucephalus was the famed steed (and) as legend has it, Alexander broke the wild horse when no one else dared go near – not by force but by turning the horse’s head toward the sun, understanding that Bucephalus was simply afraid of his own shadow. No one but Alexander could mount the horse after….So excellent was Bucephalus in battle that when he was once lost, Alexander is said to have threatened the destruction of an entire country unless he was returned (which he was).”
--Rutgers is once again in the news for all the wrong reasons, this time because the University Programming Association, a student-run group that books 140 campus events a year, paid Snooki, of “Jersey Shore” fame, $32,000 to give a campus talk last week. By comparison, Toni Morrison, the author, is getting $30,000 to deliver next month’s commencement address. [Both are absurd.]
So officials are under the gun from irate parents and students and issued a statement that said in part:
“The show [two free shows] was promoted as a comedy act, not an academic program. As with any comedy show, the value of the content is subjective and students choose to attend based on their interests.”
But one trustee, George Zoffinger, said the national publicity about Snooki’s appearance damaged the state university’s image.
“You build a university to have a reputation to help kids get good jobs. Today, it’s a laughingstock – it’s Snooki U. We should be outraged.”
As reported by the Star-Ledger, Zoffinger also criticized school officials for agreeing to pay Morrison $30,000.
“It shows a lack of stature. A great university shouldn’t have to pay for commencement speakers. It should be an honor to be asked.”
Parents are ticked Snooki received $10,000 more than the amount they have to shell out in tuition.
--Finally, we have an early entrant for the Bar Chat “Good Guy Award” and it will be tough to top him, Japanese golfer Ryo Ishikawa who has pledged all of his tournament earnings this year to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in his homeland. Understand Ishikawa is just 19, but if he plays like he did last year his global earnings would come out to about $2 million. He’s also pledging to donate money for each birdie. Despite his age, he’s already won nine times on the Japanese tour and this is one guy I will be rooting hard for when he makes his PGA Tour appearances. I also have to say I heard him during the week when the disaster hit and his responses to questions on the unfolding crisis were both incredibly mature and worldly for one that age.
So let’s get some positive vibes going for this guy, beginning with this week’s Masters. While I’d love to see Phil, Bill Haas, or Freddie win, I’ll really be pulling for Ryo.
Top 3 songs for the week of 4/1/67: #1 “Happy Together” (The Turtles) #2 “Dedicated To The One I Love” (The Mamas & The Papas) #3 “Penny Lane” (The Beatles)…and…#4 “There’s A Kind Of Hush” (Herman’s Hermits) #5 “Bernadette” (Four Tops) #6 “This Is My Song” (Petula Clark….I love you, Pet!) #7 “For What It’s Worth” (The Buffalo Springfield) #8 “Strawberry Fields Forever” (The Beatles) #9 “Somethin’ Stupid” (Nancy Sinatra & Frank Sinatra… underrated tune) #10 “Western Union” (The Five Americans….just an outstanding week, sports fans…I think ’67 is my favorite year)
Baseball Quiz Answer: Top four countries, non-U.S. players. The Dominican Republic, 86; Venezuela, 62; Puerto Rico, 20; Canada, 16.