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Thank God for Sports
[Posted early Sunday p.m.]
NHL Quiz: OK, a totally ridiculous one, but I’m pressed for time. Name the five with 30 or more career regular-season hat tricks. Answer below.
Congrats, Phil Mickelson!
College Basketball Review
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the tournament. The only fun the next few days is in the minor conference championships, a few of which wrapped up today. As for the major conference tournaments, unless you have a team out of nowhere run the table (I still think Boston College could be one such team), I couldn’t care less.
So in games of note since last chat....
--Wednesday, Seton Hall, your EXCLUSIVE “Pick to Click for the Final Four,” almost pulled off a great upset of 4 Villanova, losing 69-68 in overtime, as Khadeen Carrington missed one of two free throws that could have won it in regulation, though Carrington had a solid game, 23 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, in trying to pick up the slack from leading scorer Desi Rodriguez, out with an ankle injury.
The Pirates also lost key forward Ismael Sanogo to an injury in the second half. But The Hall, 20-10, 9-8, is a lock for the tournament.
--In an amazing finish that I missed, but saw the replays of, No. 1 Virginia staged a furious rally on the road and stunned Louisville on Thursday, 67-66.
The Cavaliers trailed by two points with 0.9 seconds to play. They didn’t even have the ball.
But on the inbounds, the Cardinals’ Deng Adel turned the ball over when he moved before the inbound and gave possession back to the Cavs (27-2, 16-1). Virginia then inbounded the ball to De’Andre Hunter, who fired up the winning three.
I was following this one online and saw Louisville up by 13 in the second half and thought, well, that one is over, especially given UVA’s offense.
Actually, Virginia scored five points over that final fraction of a second, the first two coming on 2 of 3 free throws by Ty Jerome after he was fouled attempting a shot from beyond the arc.
Jerome missed the third free throw on purpose, but Virginia was called for a lane violation, giving the Cardinals the ball on the baseline. That’s when Adel shuffled his feet.
I have to admit, I forgot the rule on moving in that situation. [Killed that brain cell in a beer joint in Singapore.]
The Cavaliers, by the way, became the first team in ACC history to go 9-0 on the road.
Friday, in the Big Ten Tournament at Madison Square Garden, Penn State upset 13 Ohio State to move to 21-12, but it’s doubtful that will be enough to get to the Big Dance as the Nittany Lions then lost in the semifinals to 8 Purdue, 78-70. [Ohio State finished the regular season 24-8, 15-3.]
Also Friday, 17 Rhode Island will be No. 17 no more after its second straight loss, this one on the road at Davidson (18-11, 13-5) 63-61, the Rams falling to 23-6, 15-3.
Saturday, back to the Big Ten, 15 Michigan beat 2 Michigan State in one semifinal of the Big Ten tourney, 75-64, setting up a Michigan-Purdue final.
Seton Hall, still without Rodriguez and Sanogo, beat Butler (19-12, 9-9) 77-70, the Pirates finishing third in the Big East at 10-8, 21-10 overall. Rodriguez and Sanogo are expected back for the Big East Tournament this week at the Garden.
In a biggie Saturday night, 5 Duke defeated 9 North Carolina in Durham, 74-64, coming back from a 13-point second half deficit as Marvin Bagley III had 18 of his 21 points (to go with 15 rebounds) after the intermission. A highly-entertaining contest, Duke now 25-6, 13-5, while UNC finishes the regular season at 22-9, 11-7. The game also marked the conclusion to Grayson Allen’s home career, Allen with 15.
[Today, Bagley received the ACC’s Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year awards.]
On to Sunday, and a terrific game between 10 Cincinnati at 11 Wichita State, the Bearcats prevailing 62-61, as the Shockers missed three shots the final 15 seconds, including their last possession to win it that was kind of hideous, if you were watching along with moi. As they correctly say, when you think of great one-on-one players...great at creating a shot...it ain’t Conner Frankamp.
So Cincinnati takes the regular-season American Athletic Conference title, but your Bar Chat “Pick to Click” to win it all, Wichita State, will still be no worse than a 4-seed for the Big Dance.
--So much for the big scandal, as reported by Yahoo Sports and ESPN. Arizona coach Sean Miller unequivocally denied accusations he paid star freshman center Deandre Ayton to play basketball at the university in a fiery statement delivered Thursday in Tucson.
“Let me be very, very clear: I have never discussed with [sports agent] Christian Dawkins paying Deandre Ayton to attend the University of Arizona,” Miller said. He added he has never knowingly violated NCAA rules as the Wildcats’ coach, a job he has held since 2009.
Miller took no questions after his five-minute statement, which he read.
So Miller had not coached the No. 19 Wildcats’ most recent game, an overtime loss last Saturday at Oregon, but he was back in his job on Thursday night, with a 75-67 win over Stanford.
Miller received a loud welcome from the home fans at the McKale Center, waving to the crowd as his players smiled and clapped, the Wildcats moving to 23-7, 13-4.
ESPN said it is standing by its report that a wiretap shows Miller talking about a $100,000 payoff to Ayton.
--Murray State became the first to punch its ticket into the NCAA Tournament on Saturday with a 68-51 victory over Belmont in the Ohio Valley Conference championship game, the Racers now 26-5. It’s their first trip since 2012, the year I adopted them for a season and went to a game there (Murray, Ky.). [Fun atmosphere, very nice people.]
Then today, Radford earned its way into the tourney for the first time since 2009, taking the Big South final over Liberty, 55-52, on a buzzer-beating three-pointer. Earlier, Johnny Mac’s UNC-Asheville (the city being beer capital of the USA, according to some), laid an egg in its semi vs. Liberty.
And Lipscomb captured its first-ever bid to the Big Dance with a 108-96 victory over Florida Gulf Coast in the Atlantic Sun championship.
Also, Loyola-Chicago (28-5) earned a bid with a 65-49 win in the Missouri Valley Conference championship over Illinois State.
--According to a USA TODAY Sports salary survey, Coach Mike Krzyzewski topped the table at $9 million this year, with Kentucky’s John Calipari next at nearly $8 million.
--Lastly, the less said about Wake Forest’s season the better. I watched the last eight minutes of their contest Saturday against Georgia Tech (13-18, 6-12) in Atlanta and the Deacs once again sucked down the stretch, committing 22 turnovers, 8 by Bryant Crawford, our supposed star, and the Deacs lost 64-56, finishing the regular season at an atrocious 11-19, 4-14. I have no idea at this point how Danny Manning keeps his job, even if he does have a supposedly solid class coming in.
Needless to say, Deaconwear has been relegated to the bottom of the sports drawer.
A common scene in town this winter.
“Hey, Editor, didn’t you go to Wake Forest?”
“Me? You kidding? I went to, ah, Virginia, remember?”
The Battle for the No. 1 Draft Pick...kind of remarkable, really...standings thru Saturday.
Knicks fans are hoping that we, at 24-39, can join this crowd...and there’s no reason why we can’t!!!
Dave Sheinin / Washington Post
“Last weekend was a typical one for the teams near the bottom of the NBA standings as the season approached its three-quarters pole. Over the course of 48 hours Feb. 23 and 24, seven woeful teams holding first-round draft picks and jockeying for position to claim one of the coveted first few slots played a total of 10 games – and lost them all by an average of nearly 15 points.
“If it wasn’t clear already – and to people paying attention, it certainly was – ‘tanking’ season had arrived in the NBA. The race to the bottom – the contestants being the Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks, seven bottom-feeders all bunched within two games of each other – was on. (An eighth team, the Brooklyn Nets, is also in contention for the league’s worst record but has no incentive to lose after trading this year’s first-round pick.)
“A few days later, it was revealed that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had sent a memo to all 30 teams the week before, warning he was prepared to bring down the ‘swiftest and harshest response possible’ on teams caught purposely trying to lose games.
“Silver’s memo was triggered at least in part by recent comments made by Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who was fined $600,000 after admitting he told some of his players, ‘Look, losing is our best option.’ But the NBA is not alone. To varying degrees, the NHL and Major League Baseball – and to a lesser extent the NFL – also are dealing with controversies involving the practice known as tanking, loosely defined as the systematic writing-off of entire seasons by franchises hoping to rebuild for future success through the draft.
“Though few would accuse any players or coaches of purposely losing through their in-game actions, the steady rise of tanking as a franchise-building model has called into question the binary nature and ethical foundation of sports – that each game is, at its most basic level, a contest between two teams trying their best to win – and has presented fans with a difficult choice between supporting their favorite team’s long-term mission in hopes of a big future payoff or getting fed up with a short-term misery and bailing out.”
The problem is no sport benefits more from bringing in a single transformative player like the NBA does.
But Sheinin brings up the example of the 2011-2013 Houston Astros, who lost an average of 108 games and nearly half their attendance at Minute Maid Park. I didn’t know that “At one point, their games on local television drew ratings of 0.0 – meaning, essentially, no one was watching.”
Well, you know what happened after.
--No matter how you feel about the NFL, you have to admit it does a great job holding at least some of your attention virtually all year, and now we have this still-long wait to the Draft, but this week has seen the NFL Combine and if you have a top ten pick or so, you’re interested. Especially if you’re looking for a quarterback.
Meanwhile the final four teams in the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes are said to be Denver, Arizona, Minnesota and the Jets. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, most of these are looking to structure a short-term deal, say three years, though with a massive guarantee. The Jets, with ample cap space, still could conceivably offer five years for $150 million, most of it guaranteed.
But I continue to believe we should take Baker Mayfield, if he’s available.
--Meanwhile, Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated had the following take on the quarterbacks at the Combine.
“With each year, the ceremonial display of top-tier quarterbacks at the combine becomes less about finding out who these prospects are as people and more about judging how well they were prepared for the moment by a small army of marketing professionals, agents, interview coaches, tutors and mechanical gurus.
“Like a political stump speech, there are certain movements that become so familiar. Take Baker Mayfield on Friday, who said he wouldn’t accept being a backup on any team. That makes him fierce and competitive. Then there was Josh Rosen, who said if a coach wanted him to be a backup, he would find a way to be the best backup quarterback in the league. He’s a team-first guy who is coachable. It rarely feels real, and teams end up spending hundreds of man hours trying to sand off the polish just to get a look at the original colors.
“Then, there was Lamar Jackson.
“The Louisville quarterback is without an agent – he’s co-managed by himself and his mother, and he’ll have a lawyer look over any contract before he signs – and on Friday, there was no army of handlers fussing about like a group of pageant moms. He walked into a media session amid rumors that teams would want him to work out as a wide receiver – a ridiculous notion peddled by certain networks in order to gaslight what they know will be a debate that stretches far beyond sports – and he laughed....
“ ‘I can hit any target on the field, I play with passion, I can lead my team on the field, I feel like I’m the field general when I’m out there. I love to score. I love to put the ball in other receivers’ hands. I’m not a ball hog at all. It may look like it but I’m not.’”
I like what I referenced about two weeks ago. Jackson is Deshaun Watson reincarnate, only even more athletic, and NFL defenses would be glued to him on every play, which opens things up for everyone else on his offense. This is really going to be interesting to see who selects him. No doubt he is now definitely a first-rounder.
Then there are running backs.
Michael Salfino / Wall Street Journal
“Ten running backs have been selected with top-five picks in the NFL draft since 2000. None of them was as big, as fast, and as productive in college as this year’s consensus top running back prospect, Saquon Barkley.
“Barkley raised eyebrows at this week’s NFL Scouting Combine when he weighed in at 233 pounds, about 10 to 15 pounds heavier than the average NFL back. Then he raised heart rates among NFL scouts by running the 40-yard dash in a blistering 4.40 seconds.
“Barkley’s electrifying displays at Penn State had already marked him out as a rare talent. Now, his combination of size and speed is prompting observers to question where he ranks among all-time prospects.”
Barkley’s performance this week has some talking about him being the No. 1 overall pick, which would be the first time since 1995 an RB was so tabbed, that being when the Bengals selected Ki-Jana Carter with the first pick.
By the way, the last ten running backs that were selected in the first five picks of the NFL draft since 2000 are:
Leonard Fournette (2017), Ezekiel Elliott (2016), Trent Richardson (2012), Darren McFadden (2008), Reggie Bush (2006), Ronnie Brown (2005), Cedric Benson (2005), Cadillac Williams (2005), LaDainian Tomlinson (2001) and Jamal Lewis (2000).
--The Jets, as expected for months now, cut defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, having paid the stiff $37 million the past two godawful seasons where he totally mailed it in. By cutting him they created $11 million in cap space for 2018.
--Mets fans are praying for the health of former outfielder Rusty Staub, who is in critical condition in a Palm Beach, Fla., hospital where he has been suffering from a staph infection that has led to kidney failure nearly a month now. In October 2015, Staub survived a midflight heart attack from Ireland to JFK Airport.
Rusty, who turns 74 on April 1 – collapsed on a golf course last month and was rushed to the hospital in a weakened, dehydrated condition, which quickly deteriorated.
It just sucks it’s a staph infection. Boy, you want to get in and out of a hospital as soon as possible.
Aside from being a helluva ballplayer for 23 seasons, nine with the Mets over two different stints (older Mets fans remembering with fondness his heroic play in the 1973 World Series, when he hit .423, 11 for 26 with six RBIs, while playing with a busted up shoulder), Staub has become a New York City institution, post-playing career, involving himself heavily in various foundations, particularly the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, which he established in 1986, distributing $11 million in the first 15 years of its existence to the families of New York area police and fire fighters killed in the line of duty, and then, since September 11, 2001, has received over $112 million in contributions.
And this past January 8, Staub announced that, in conjunction with Catholic Charities (one of the truly great groups of its kind...mused this Catholic...), his foundation had also served 9,043,741 meals to the hungry at food pantries throughout New York over the last 10 years. Remarkable.
--Tyler Kepner of the New York Times had some pieces on the sport this weekend, and while I noted it at the time, it is indeed pretty remarkable that the Toronto Blue Jays hit a total of five triples last year (Baltimore next fewest in the A.L. at 12). The five was the fewest in baseball history. They had three at their home stadium, Rogers Centre, though opponents had 12 there.
The fewest in the N.L. was the Dodgers at 20.
--Kepner also reported on Shohei Ohtani, who pitched in his second game for the Angels on Friday against the Brewers in a B game. It’s estimated there were just 60 in the stands for a 10 a.m. start, but Ohtani impressed, recording eight strikeouts against 12 batters, while giving up four hits.
I said the other day I expected him to start the season in the minors, but the Angels are acting like he will still be part of a six-man rotation, making an occasional start at DH as well.
Veteran catcher Rene Rivera caught Ohtani and said what was most impressive was his slider, which he can paint the corner with.
Ohtani doesn’t seem to be affected by all the pressure, and the ever-present massive Japanese media presence.
--As for the free agents still out there, lots of talk the Washington Nationals want former Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta, but not until his price comes down, Arrieta’s agent being Scott Boras.
Thus far, Yu Darvish is the only free-agent starter who signed a contract beyond three years and worth over $38 million. [Darvish getting a six-year, $126 million deal from the Cubs to essentially replace Arrieta.]
One of the problems with signing the guy is you have to give up your second- and fifth-highest pick in June’s draft, as well as $1 million in international bonus money.
[I wrote the following Sunday morning...]
--At the WGC-Mexico Championship, Justin Thomas set a course record with a 9-under 62 at the Club de Golf Chapultepec, putting himself in position to win his eighth title in his last 32 PGA Tour starts.
But Thomas was four off the lead of phenom Shubhankar Sharma of India, 21 years of age, the youngest player in this elite field, and in his first PGA Tour start.
At one point, Sharma approached 47-year-old Phil Mickelson and Phil said, “Not right now, after the round,” thinking he was media. Then when Phil realized his mistake, he was apologetic and made a point to return to Sharma and wish him “good luck.”
I mean this is how much the kid was flying under the radar. And it’s not as if India has any world class athletes beyond cricket. [Which always amazed me...seriously, the last good Indian athlete in any other sport was Vijay Amritraj, the tennis player, who made a few Grand Slam quarterfinals, but nothing more.]
Well...what a Sunday it turned out to be...
Phil Mickelson, at age 47 and after 4 ½ years, won his 43rd PGA Tour title on the first hole of sudden death against Justin Thomas, after Thomas, finishing well ahead, eagled the 18th in spectacular fashion to take a two-shot lead that everyone thought would be enough, only Phil fought back to send it into OT and then hit the superior tee shot for the win over JT.
Thomas had tied a Tour record with a 62-64 final 36.
Wow, what a shot in the arm for the sport...setting up a phenomenal Masters as it is, let alone if Tiger can play well.
Speaking of Tiger....
-- Woods announced he is playing in next week’s Valspar Championship at Innisbrook, as well as the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill the following week...so four tournaments in five weeks. Woods tweeted he had a good recovery week after his 12th place at the Honda.
Man, that’s ambitious.
--Back to Thomas. Earlier this week he gave an explanation of the deal last Sunday when he had a fan ejected.
“We were walking up on to the tee and this guy, I don’t know who he was talking to, but sounds like it was me, said something like, ‘I hope you hit it in the water, hit it in the water,’ something like that. I just kind of like looked back there. Didn’t say anything.
“Just, again, I feel like there’s no place for that, and I hit it and my ball is in the air – it’s in the middle of the fairway and he’s yelling for it to get in the bunker. I was like, okay, I’ve had enough. So I just turned around and asked who it was, and he didn’t want to say anything, now that I had actually acknowledged him. So he got to leave a couple holes early....
“I would have done it if he said it to (playing partner Luke List), just like Rory (McIlroy) did to the guy that said something to me at L.A. Just because you’re standing behind the ropes doesn’t mean that you can (do that).”
McIlroy mentioned he had a headache after dealing with the crowds at Riviera the first two days he was paired with both Tiger and Thomas. McIlroy added that Woods is at a huge disadvantage having to deal with those crowds.
But as I said last time, when it comes to JT, the crowds in Paris next fall for the Ryder Cup will be vicious. He needs to develop a thicker skin.
--On the LPGA Tour, Michelle Wie captured her first win in four years, since the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, taking the event at Sentosa, Singapore, where yours truly years ago had mega beers on the beach. Good for Wie! Potentially huge for the Tour if she can keep it up.
End of December I was so down on my Tottenham Spurs, thinking the Champions League was out of the question, but after Saturday’s 2-0 win over Huddersfield (Son Heung-min tallying both goals), the Spurs are unbeaten in 17 matches, all competitions, home and away...their longest such streak since 1967.
And now, with Manchester City’s 1-0 win over Chelsea today, suddenly the Spurs are five points clear of the Blues.
The big action this week was once again at the bottom of the standings, with Southampton and Stoke playing to a 0-0 draw, Swansea whipping West Ham 4-1, and Newcastle losing to Liverpool 2-0.
And then also on Sunday, Arsenal fans, already apoplectic over their team’s play this season, are once again calling for the head of longtime manager Arsene Wenger; the Gunners losing 2-1 to Brighton.
So the Standings after 29 of 38...ties broken by goal differential
1. Man City 78
2. Liverpool 60
3. Man U 59*
4. Tottenham 58 ...Champions League line
5. Chelsea 53
6. Arsenal 45
7. Burnley 40
13. Swansea 30
14. West Ham 30
15. Huddersfield 30
16. Newcastle 29
17. Southampton 29 ...relegation line
18. Crystal Palace 27*
19. Stoke 27
20. West Brom 20
* Man U and Crystal Palace square off Monday in their 29th games.
Just a fascinating race to avoid being relegated.
--As hot as the Bruins have been, now second best overall in the Eastern Conference to Tampa Bay, I can’t believe that Thursday’s 8-4 win over the Penguins was their highest-scoring game since 2012.
--I told you last time my Rangers were dead and buried, management opting to clean house and rebuild with a series of big trades.
So what do they do? They go out West and win three straight...6-5 in OT over Vancouver, 3-1 over Calgary, and 3-2 at Edmonton, and just like that, thru Saturday they were 3 points out of the final playoff spot.
In the first two wins, which is the reason why I’m bringing the topic of the Rangers up, goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who has had a horrible season, made some history with back-to-back 50-save efforts, celebrating his 36th birthday Friday with the 3-1 win over the Flames, including what observers said was the greatest save of his career, “a diving palm-of-the-hand blocker stop following a left-right-left exchange that found Mikael Backlund alone from point-blank range on the left side 42 seconds into the second period of what was then a 1-1 game.”
So I looked it up. Truly awesome. Lundqvist was celebrated with “Happy Birthday” in the post-game locker room.
“It felt great,” said King Henrik. “I’m 1-0 as a 36-year-old.”
Saturday night in Edmonton, Lundqvist got a break and 22-year-old backup goalie Alexander Georgiev picked up his first NHL win. He’s the first Bulgarian-born player in the league.
--The first man to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile, Roger Bannister, died Saturday at the age of 88 in Oxford, the English city where he cracked the feat that many had thought humanly impossible on a windy afternoon in 1954.
From the Associated Press:
“Helped by two pacemakers, Bannister clocked 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds over four laps at Osfor’s Iffley Road track on May 6, 1954, to break the 4-minute mile – a test of speed and endurance that stands as one of the defining sporting achievements of the 20th century.
“ ‘It’s amazing that more people have climbed Mount Everest than have broken the 4-minute mile,’ Bannister said in an interview with the AP in 2012.
“The enduring image of the lanky Oxford medical student – head tilted back, eyes closed and mouth agape as he strained across the finishing tape – captured the public’s imagination, made him a global celebrity and lifted the spirits of Britons still suffering through postwar austerity.
“ ‘It became a symbol of attempting a challenge in the physical world of something hitherto thought impossible,’ Bannister said as he approached the 50th anniversary of the feat. ‘I’d like to see it as a metaphor not only for sport, but for life and seeking challenges.’
“He might not have set the milestone but for the disappointment of finishing without a medal in the 1,500 meters, known as the metric mile, in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. Instead of retiring from the sport, he decided to chase the 4-minute mark.
“Swedish runner Gundar Haegg’s mile time of 4:01.4 had stood for nine years, but in 1954 Bannister, Australian rival John Landy and others were threatening to break it.
“ ‘As it became clear that somebody was going to do it, I felt that I would prefer it to be me,’ Bannister told the AP.”
The record lasted just 46 days, as Landy ran 3:57.9 in Turku, Finland, on June 21, 1954.
So the two faced off on Aug. 9, 1954, in what is now called the Commonwealth Games, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Bannister won the race in 3:58.8, with Landy second at 3:59. It was the first time two men had run under 4 minutes in the same race.
Bannister’s brilliant summer was capped off by winning the 1,500 meters at the European Championships in Bern, Switzerland, in a games record of 3:43.8.
Sports Illustrated chose Bannister as its first Sportsman of the Year in 1954. He retired from competition and had a long, distinguished career as a medical doctor, and as chairman of the Sports Council between 1971 and 1974, he developed the first test for anabolic steroids.
Bannister married Moyra Jacobsson, an artist, in1955. They had two sons and two daughters and lived in a modest home only minutes away from the track where he made history.
--The West has experienced super heavy snows in the Sierras, which in the case of the Lake Tahoe area, claimed a snowboarder’s life “after a blizzard packing winds gusting to nearly 150 mph over the ridge tops dumped 3 feet of snow in the mountains.”
The victim was located by Squaw Valley Ski Patrol members after friends reported him missing, “at about the same time a 146-mph wind gust was reported at the top of the resort south of Truckee, California.”
--Westchester County, New York, the big county north of Gotham, has long had an issue with coyotes, but this past week was truly horrific.
From CBS New York: “A series of coyote attacks and sightings have people on edge in Westchester County.
“Officials urge residents to protect themselves, their children and their pets after several incidents were reported in 24 hours.
“ ‘When my son came in last night, I mean he was shaking. You figure it’s nighttime, you know, whatever, not thinking much of it,’ a resident told CBS@’s Tony Aiello.”
I mean it was one police bulletin after another.
“MEMBERS OF THE YONKERS POLICE EMERGENCY SERVICE UNIT WORKING TOGETHER WITH THE WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY LOCATED AND DISPATCHED ONE DANGEROUR COYOTE...”
Authorities cornered an aggressive coyote for hours, before it lunged at an officer. That one was killed and found to have rabies.
But then hours later, an ambulance rushed to the neighborhood after another coyote attacked a mail carrier, biting her leg.
As of this writing, there are still others on the loose, and when you see the videos of these beasts, these are no small coyotes. They are German Shepherd size.
I’m hereby suspending ‘Coyote’ from the All-Species List, and its position of 350 on the ASL is subject to further review.
--We note the passing of David Ogden Stiers, best known for his role as the snooty Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III on the TV show “M*A*S*H.” He was 75.
I was surprised to see he died at his Newport, Ore., home, which is where I’d go for a break each time I went to the Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene. It’s a rustic community on the ocean with an absolutely phenomenal beach (and a terrific aquarium). I might have bumped into him on my long walks. [You too, Mark R.!]
Stiers received two Emmy nominations for his portrayal of Winchester in 1981 and 1982 (geezuz, time flies!), a perfect foil for Alan Alda’s wise-cracking Hawkeye Pierce.
But this might be a reason why I didn’t recognize Stiers in Newport.
“Even today, people call out the name of my character from that show, and I cringe,” he said in 2002. “That’s why I walk so fast and kind of disguise myself. I just can’t have the same conversation 85 times a day.”
It turns out Stiers, who was born in Peoria, Ill., moved to Eugene, Ore., while he was in high school, graduating from North Eugene High, and then attending the Univ. of Oregon (quack quack) for a time but soon left for San Francisco to pursue acting.
--Yikes...from Naples, Florida: “While tracking pythons in Collier Seminole State Park in Collier County, a group of wildlife biologists from the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and land managers from the state park stumbled upon an unsettling discovery: An 11-foot Burmese python that had devoured a white-tailed deer fawn weighing more than the snake.”
This actually occurred in 2015, but has since been peer-reviewed and is set to be published in the Herpetological Review this month, this being a publication I don’t subscribe to (but maybe I should).
The snake weighed 31.5 pounds and the deer 35 pounds, said Ian Bartoszek, wildlife biologist and science coordinator for the Conservancy.
“It almost did not compute,” he said during an announcement of the findings on Thursday.
“We were sitting there just trying to process that an animal this size could get its head around what turned out to be a deer. It’s surreal to see that in the field.”
Ah...if you are eating while reading this, you may want to pick up the text later.
As reported by the AP, “When the researchers moved the snake out of the wild into an open area that day, the stressed python began to regurgitate the deer, Bartoszek said.”
The snake was later humanely euthanized.
The reason why the Conservancy is concerned, though, has to do with the endangered Florida panther, which feeds on white-tailed deer, and with Burmese pythons capable of reaching 20-feet in length, the panther now has competition for its food.
--So I’m reading this travel piece in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal on Lake Malawi, which is one of the world’s deepest lakes and among the largest by area. It makes up about 20% of the total footprint of the tiny, impoverished southern African nation of Malawi.
It’s supposed to be a diving paradise, with the water very calm, but of course all I needed to see was a photo and I’m thinking, ‘I wouldn’t be diving in this place with all the crocodiles around.’
Well the article claims that isn’t a problem, ditto hippos, which “mainly stick to the area’s rivers and don’t make their way anywhere near Likoma Island (where the resort is).”
But... “The proprietors of Kaya Mawa say they regularly test for bilharzia, or schistosomiasis, an acute, chronic disease caused by parasitic freshwater worms that occur in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa: The tests, we were told have always come back negative. The parasites are carried in certain types of freshwater snails that live in reeds.”
And so your editor has made the executive decision to avoid Lake Malawi, and Malawi altogether...no offense to my huge audience from the place. [cough cough...cough....]
Top 3 songs for the week 3/6/71: #1 “One Bad Apple” (The Osmonds...as they went head-to-head with the next group, right LT?...) #2 “Mama’s Pearl” (The Jackson 5) #3 “Knock Three Times” (Dawn)...and...#4 “Rose Garden” (Lynn Anderson) #5 “If You Could Read My Mind” (Gordon Lightfoot) #6 “She’s A Lady” (Tom Jones) #7 “For All We Know” (Carpenters) #8 “Amos Moses” (Jerry Reed) #9 “Mr. Bojangles” (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) #10 “Sweet Mary” (Wadsworth Mansion)
NHL Quiz Answer: 30 or more hat tricks...Wayne Gretzky, 50; Mario Lemieux, 40; Mike Bossy, 39; Brett Hull, 33; and Phil Esposito, 32.
On the all-time goals list, Gretzky is of course No. 1, Hull is No. 4, Espo is 6, Lemieux 10, and Bossy 22nd.
Next Bar Chat, Thursday.