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A Star Is Born
[Posted Wed. a.m.]
College Football Quiz: Name the last four rushing leaders, 2014-2017. Hint: They came from the Mountain West, SEC and Big Ten...one conference producing two of the four. Answer below.
--Yankees fans are sweating, and rightfully so. After a 10-5 loss to the Twins in Minnesota, and an Oakland 3-2 win over Baltimore there, we have this in the chase to see who hosts the one-game playoff.
AL Wild Card
Yankees 90-55... +2
A’s 88-57... –
In the National League, the Brewers and the Cubs have split the first two games of their critical three-game set, so we have....
St. Louis 81-64...3.5
NL Wild Card
Cardinals 81-64... --
For the stumbling Dodgers, who have played mediocre ball for a long stretch, Manny Machado has been far from a savior...in 48 games and 194 at-bats, Machado has 9 home runs and 25 RBIs, to go along with a .273 batting average and .823 OPS.
Certainly not the kind of play you’d expect from a guy seeking a 10-year, $300 million contract in free agency.
--Tuesday night, it was more of the same for Jacob deGrom. The Mets hurler tossed seven innings of two-run ball but received no run support from the Mets, the Marlins emerging 5-3 victors.
DeGrom fell to 8-9, despite an ERA of 1.71. Yet it was his 26th straight start allowing three runs or fewer, breaking the major league record set by the Cubs’ Leslie “King” Cole in 1910.
It was also deGrom’s 21st straight quality start (six inning, three runs), a Mets record.
So can a guy with a below .500 record win the Cy Young?
DeGrom 8-9, 1.71
Aaron Nola 16-4, 2.29
Max Scherzer 17-6, 2.31
I’m not sure what voters will think. I thought Scherzer was a lock all season until the past two weeks.
DeGrom is slated to face the Red Sox in Tuesday at Fenway Park and if he dominate the potent Boston lineup, that could go a long way to determining whether Jacob gets the hardware.
--Good news from the NFL for once. The ratings for the opening weekend, across the four networks – CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN – showed 16.6 million viewers, about even with the first week of the 2017 season.
The regional games on CBS were actually up 29% from 2017. Regional games on Fox were up 11%.
Fox’s late Sunday afternoon national game – the Carolina Panthers’ win over Dallas – averaged 23.3 million viewers, a gain of 2% over the network’s opening week in 2017.
Last season the opening weekend numbers were down 13% overall, as many viewers were drawn to coverage of Hurricane Irma. So we’ll see how Florence impacts things this coming weekend.
NBC’s broadcast of the season opener on Thursday, first reported as down 8% from 2017, was down 13%, but that game started late.
NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” contest between the Packers and the Bears was down 9% from last year, many viewers no doubt leaving after Chicago took a 20-0 halftime lead.
--Meanwhile, in New York, Jets fans are still pinching themselves.
Steve Serby / New York Post
“When Jets 48, Lions 17 was over, Sam Darnold walked out of the visiting locker room into the arms of his beaming mother and father. ‘Very proud,’ Mike Darnold said.
“It was deafening inside Ford Field as Sam Darnold began bootlegging to his right, then throwing all the way across the field to his left. And you worried that the roof might blow off when safety Quandre Diggs returned a pick-six 37 yards.
“So it took exactly one play – one humbling, horrific pass – for Sam Darnold to realize that he wasn’t quarterbacking San Clemente High School against Dana Hills anymore, he wasn’t quarterbacking USC against UCLA anymore. This was no longer preseason.
“Mike Darnold, father of the rookie quarterback, was asked what he was thinking right then and there.
“ ‘We’re just really happy that things ended this way,’ the father said. ‘He’s good at speaking for himself.’
“You truly learn about a young quarterback when he gets punched in the gut, when he is knocked to the ground physically or emotionally or spiritually or all of the above.
“Josh McCown, who has seen just about everything, sidled up to Darnold on the Jets sideline and might have said something like: ‘Hey, Brett Favre threw a pick-six on his first pass, too. Jameis Winston, too!’
“No matter. Because Darnold didn’t blink. Because Darnold never blinks.
“ ‘On that interception, I was pretty nervous,’ Darnold said. ‘Oh shoot,’ he remembers thinking as disaster struck.
“Then he retreated to the sideline and his teammates noticed him smiling. ‘Can’t get much worse, unless I throw another one, which I knew that I wasn’t gonna do.’
“He wanted this job, he wanted to be the quarterback of the Jets and all that goes with it – the 50 years without a championship and the buttfumble. He wanted this stage, he wanted this moment, when his NFL dream would begin and long-suffering Jets fans would look longingly at him as the Boy Who Would Be Namath. After all the Boys Who Were Not Namath.
“Bloody but unbowed, his team responded to him, rallied around him almost immediately. And every step of the way, on special teams (Andre Roberts’ many happy punt returns) and on defense (four interceptions of a frazzled Matthew Stafford, two by Darron Lee, one a pick-six, a fifth interception in garbage time by Jamal Adams off Matt Cassel).
“ ‘I really believed it galvanized our group,’ McCown said. ‘It really kind of brought us together. It was kind of like a rallying cry, ‘Let’s go and...show people we have each other’s back.’’
“It was right after the two-minute warning when Darnold, armed with uncommon poise and resilience, sent a shudder through the hushed Lions den.
“It was already Jets 10, Lions 7, when Darnold faced a third-and-2 at the Detroit 41. He scanned the field and noticed Robby Anderson streaking free down the left sideline. Lions safety Tavon Wilson tried to chase Anderson down. Darnold let it fly....
“It shouldn’t have reminded anyone of Joe Namath-to-Don Maynard. But Anderson wanted that ball, and he wasn’t going to let Wilson wrestle it away from him.
“And Darnold had his first NFL touchdown pass. He was congratulated by some of his offensive linemen. He trotted to the end zone to share the joy with Anderson who had not been targeted to that point. It was Jets 17, Lions 7....
“A 75-year-old Hall of Fame Jets quarterback was watching excitedly from his Florida home as the youngest starting quarterback in the franchise’s history, the 21-year-old wunderkind whose parents were in the house, was about to take his first baby steps up the heretofore unscalable Mount Namath.
“ ‘Barring any kind of misfortune,’ Joe Namath told The Post before the game, ‘he should be around a long time playing a high grade of football at quarterback.’
“One day, perhaps, you might see Sam Darnold unveiling a Fu Manchu. One day, perhaps, he might decide to play in white shoes. One day, perhaps, he might leave the Florham Park, N.J., cocoon for a bachelor pad in Manhattan.
“Maybe Sam Darnold won’t turn out to be the Second Coming of Joe Namath. The First Coming of Sam Darnold is good enough for now.
Darnold, even with the pick-six, was 16/21, 198, 2-1, 116.8 passer rating. Outstanding.
And the Jets got 162 yards rushing combined from Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell on 22 carries, Crowell scoring twice, including on a 62-yard burst.
Detroit’s Matthew Stafford could not have sucked more...27/46, 286, 1-4, 47.9.
--The Rams whipped the Raiders 33-13 in the other game Monday night, but that was a little deceiving. Oakland led 13-10 at the half, and it was then that Rams fans had reason to question coach Sean McVay’s controversial decision to virtually shut down the Rams stars during the entire preseason.
As Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times wrote:
“Never again should the Rams have to sweat through an opening-game escape like the one they pulled off in an 33-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders.
“Never again should the Rams have to stumble from the brightness of summer expectations into a very dark place where a very black hole nearly consumed them....
“ ‘I think the game was a lot closer than the score indicates,’ said Rams quarterback Jared Goff.’”
Goff finished 18/33, 233, 2-0, 97.2. Oakland’s Derek Carr was 29/40, 303, 0-3, 62.8.
Todd Gurley II picked up 108 yards on the ground, plus another 39 receiving, but just one touchdown, for those playing him in their fantasy lineups, which is how Gurley will be measured all season.
McVay told reporters during the week that his method of not playing the starters all preseason “might not be for everybody,” adding, “I totally respect and understand that people might disagree with that.”
Bill Plaschke: “The Rams came within about 15 minutes of proving those smart people right....
“But the first-week reality will read, whew.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the field, Jon Gruden’s return to coaching in the NFL was a disaster despite keeping it close in the first half. The team and its fans are still reeling from the trade of star linebacker Khalil Mack to the Bears, a decision all on Gruden. It’s looking like a long season for Raiders fans, who have just two more years to watch them in Oakland before they move on to Las Vegas.
--I said after Sunday’s Giants loss, 20-15 to Jacksonville, that Giants fans should relax. It was just the first game and Jacksonville is clearly a Super Bowl contender, especially because of its outstanding defense.
But it is worth emphasizing that Eli Manning hasn’t been really good in three years. I mean check this out.
W-L record, TDs-INTs, passer rating
Eli wasn’t even top ten in passer rating for 2014 and ’15. This is a pretty good measurement of greatness, combined with TD-INT ratio, and in those two years, he was good in one area, around average in the other, and for 2016 and ’17, he was flat-out mediocre at best.
The guy has not been a superstar quarterback, but he has two things going for him. He has two Super Bowl rings and he has been historically durable...and that’s huge.
But he’s now 37, turns 38 in January, and he was a pain in the butt when it came to giving someone else a shot last year at gaining some game experience. Plus he convinced the Giants to release the potential heir apparent in Davis Webb. [Not Eli, personally, but see below.]
Whether you thought Webb had real potential is a different story, but the Giants never gave him a shot, and last year was the time to do so.
So instead, the Giants have placed the immediate future in the arm of a highly-mediocre performer, a year or two away from having to hang it up for good, but because of the two rings and this certain aura in the biggest media capital in the world, many are led to believe the guy is much better than he really is!
Today, Giants fans can be excited by getting to see Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. on the field together, and they can indeed be a potent combination, but if the other Giants, especially Eli, don’t step up their game and beat Dallas this Sunday, the second-guessers will be out in force for Week 3 and 4, the latter a home game against the Saints. Plus if Sam Darnold has another few ‘just solid, nothing spectacular’ games in the interim, you can imagine what Giants fans will be saying...both about the choice of Saquon over Darnold, but also about the selfish Eli who clearly convinced management that he was the guy for the next two seasons to get them back to the playoffs.
Finally, as for the Giants’ offensive line, and specifically the Week 1 play of right tackle Ereck Flowers, give him, and them, another week. I bet they show real improvement. Again, don’t discount just how good Jacksonville might be.
--After I posted Sunday night, I watched Chicago at Green Bay but went to bed with the Bears leading 20-3 after three. And so I missed a comeback for the ages...an injured Aaron Rodgers coming back to play after being knocked out in the first half with a knee injury to lead the Packers to a 21-point fourth quarter and a 24-23 win.
From all the talk in the TV booth, you’d have thought Rodgers’ career was over at halftime. Cue the Hindenburg (“Oh the humanity!”).
Anyway, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth were acting like the entire NFL season was blown up in a flash. Actually, I don’t blame them.
But Rodgers returned to throw three fourth-quarter touchdowns, including the deciding 75-yard catch-and-run TD by Randall Cobb with 2:13 remaining.
The best QB in football was 3-of-7 for 13 yards before he went out in the first half, but 17-of-23 for 278 with the three TDs after he returned.
Meanwhile, in the first half it was the Khalil Mack Show. The newly-acquired All-Pro had a rather impressive start to his Bears career; as in he became the first player since 1982 to record a sack, INT, TD, forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in one half.
New AP Top 25
1. Alabama (54) 2-0
2. Clemson (6) 2-0
3. Georgia 2-0
4. Ohio State 2-0
5. Oklahoma 2-0
6. Wisconsin (1) 2-0
7. Auburn 2-0
8. Notre Dame 2-0...no way they are top ten
9. Stanford 2-0
10. Washington 1-1
11. Penn State 2-0
12. LSU 2-0
13. Virginia Tech 2-0
14. West Virginia 2-0
15. TCU 2-0
17. Boise State 2-0
18. UCF 2-0
Boise State and UCF are clearly going to be battling for the Group of Five, “New Year’s Six,” bowl slot.
Among the potentially big games this weekend, we have....
12 LSU @ 7 Auburn
17 Boise State @ 24 Oklahoma State...virtually must win for the Broncos.
4 Ohio State @ 15 TCU
But Hurricane Florence has already done a number on a few games, the following canceled on Monday.
East Carolina at 13 Virginia Tech; 18 UCF @ North Carolina; 14 West Virginia @ North Carolina State. UCF and West Virginia needed these two to help their resumes.
The Boston College @ Wake Forest game slated for Thursday night was moved up two hours to 5:30...ESPN. A huge game for both...simply the season in terms of fulfilling the potential for something special, or in the case of Wake, turning a minimum 7-5 into something as bad as 5-7.
One more for Saturday, while Duke’s campus is closed this week (ditto North Carolina...haven’t seen the status of N.C. State yet), they will travel to Waco, Texas, to face Baylor...another big one for the Blue Devils, though we learned this week that quarterback Daniel Jones is out six weeks with a broken clavicle, a huge blow for Duke. Very sorry to see this. [I’m sorry for my many Duke friends.]
--Justin Rose choked down the stretch of Monday’s final round at the BMW Championship. Given the rain, and an already saturated course, it was kind of shocking the PGA Tour was able to get this in. It was certainly important to do so; final 30 status for the Tour Championship on the line.
Rose bogeyed No. 18 to allow Keegan Bradley to sneak into a playoff with him, and then bogeyed it again on the first hole of sudden death. Yet Rose still moved to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his fine career, knocking Dustin Johnson from the top spot. Rose is the 22nd player to be ranked No. 1 since the OWGR was established in 1986. He joins Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald as the only English-born golfers to hold the position. Despite the loss, Rose was pumped, tweeting:
“We did it Dad...World Number One. Thank you so much to my family, friends & everybody that has helped me achieve this incredible goal. Also, my sponsors.”
As for Keegan Bradley, what a sweet win for him. He’s been playing better of late so this is no fluke. Yet it was his first win in six years...fourth for his career.
Tiger Woods finished T-6 and has moved back up to No. 21 in the OWGR. He also qualified for the US Open in 2019, when otherwise there was some doubt. All those making the final 30 and the Tour Championship are exempt.
Granted, he would have received an exemption, or through his OWGR, or as a Tour winner, but his 10-year exemption from winning the 2008 Open at Torrey Pines was expiring.
--Among those missing the final 30 and the Tour Championship was Jordan Spieth. It’s been that kind of year for him...highly disappointing. So he misses the final event for the first time in his career, and it turns out he also failed to play enough events this year as part of the PGA Tour’s ‘field enhancement criteria.’ He failed to play the required 25 tournaments in the 2017-18 wraparound season, playing 24, including the upcoming Ryder Cup, which counts as one, but the Tour Championship would have been 25.
The rule requires players who are not lifetime members (think Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh) to play at least one event per year that they have not played in the past four.
--As for the Ryder Cup, as expected, captain Jim Furyk made Tony Finau his fourth and final pick. He was T-8 at the BMW, his 10th top-10 this season, including three of those in majors.
Xander Schauffele may have had a shot at supplanting Finau, but he needed to win Monday and he finished a shot out of a playoff.
--Lastly, Mark R., depressed over how crappy his Notre Dame Fighting Irish look thus far, agreeing with your editor that they don’t belong in the top ten, decided to go to Monday’s round at Aronimink, just days after knee surgery...the course being nearby to where he lives (though with the shuttle system, you had to go miles further).
Anyway, due to his severe disability (he took a crutch for added ‘Civil War injury’ effect), our wounded hero was rewarded with front-row seats in the grandstand at the eighth green, the best location. Good effort, Mark R.
Serena Meltdown, cont’d.....
Martina Navratilova / New York Times
“Serena Williams has part of it right. There is a huge double standard for women when it comes to how bad behavior is punished – and not just in tennis.
“But in her protests against an umpire during the United States Open final on Saturday, she also got part of it wrong. I don’t believe it’s a good idea to apply a standard of ‘If men can get away with it, women should be able to, too.’ Rather, I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the right way to behave to honor our sport and to respect our opponents?
“To recap: The trouble began when early in the second set, Ms. Williams was given a warning for coaching. This one is on her coach: Patrick Mouratoglou was using both hands to motion to Ms. Williams to move forward and got called on it. While it is true that illegal coaching is quite common and that most coaches do it, it’s also true that despite what many commentators have said following Saturday’s events, they are called on it quite frequently and that most of the time, players just shrug it off and know that going forward, they and their coaches now need to behave, because the next infraction will cost them a point. The player is responsible for his or her coach’s conduct. And it is actually irrelevant whether the player saw or heard whatever instructions were given; either way, it is still an infraction.
“Ms. Williams was not happy about this warning and let the umpire, Carlos Ramos, know it. So far, not so bad. (It is also common for the umpire to talk to the player first about the coaching – a sort of ‘soft warning’ before the real warning so that the player has a chance to ‘muzzle’ the coach. Had that been done, nothing at all might have followed – but we will never know.)
“It was a few games later when matters really escalated. Williams lost her serve at 3-1 up and demolished her racket – an automatic code violation that, because it came on top of an earlier warning, resulted in the automatic loss of one point.
“Ms. Williams opted to argue about this: She insisted that she didn’t cheat, she wasn’t coached, and therefore she shouldn’t have been docked. But it doesn’t matter whether she knew she was receiving coaching. She was being coached, as Mr. Mouratoglou admitted after the match, and whether she knew it or not is moot. So at this stage, she had been given a warning – one that couldn’t be dismissed retroactively – and had smashed her racket, an automatic violation. Mr. Ramos, effectively, had no choice but to dock her a point.
“It was here that Ms. Williams really started to lose the plot. She and Mr. Ramos were, in effect, talking past each other. She was insisting that she doesn’t cheat – completely believable, but beside the point – while he was making a call over which he, at that point, had little discretion.”
Martina Navratilova then gets into Serena’s “serious scar tissue” when it comes to the US Open, which I covered in depth last time.
“All of this US Open history, combined, perhaps, with always feeling like an outsider in the game of tennis – I know exactly how that feels – goes some way toward explaining why Ms. Williams reacted the way she did, and most of all, how she just couldn’t let go. But what is clear is she could very much not let go....
“It’s difficult to know, and debatable, whether Ms. Williams could have gotten away with calling the umpire a thief if she were a male player. But to focus on that, I think, is missing the point. If, in fact, the guys are treated with a different measuring stick for the same transgressions, this needs to be thoroughly examined and must be fixed. But we cannot measure ourselves by what we think we should also be able to get away with. In fact, this is the sort of behavior that no one should be engaging in on the court. There have been many times when I was playing that I wanted to break my racket into a thousand pieces. Then I thought about the kids watching. And I grudgingly held on to that racket.
“Ms. Williams was absolutely marvelous toward Ms. Osaka after the match. A true champion at her best. But during the match – well, enough said. The way Ms. Osaka carried herself both during and after the match was truly inspiring.
“So is there a double standard in tennis?
“We do need to take a hard look at our sport, without any rose-colored glasses, and root out any inconsistencies and prejudices that might be there. Tennis is a very democratic sport, and we need to make sure it stays that way.
“But it is also on individual players to conduct themselves with respect for the sport we love so dearly. Because we all look so forward to the next time Ms. Williams and Ms. Osaka play each other; hopefully the drama will come from their magnificent shots and their fierce competitiveness – two athletes showing us how it is done, inspiring us all in the process.”
I could not agree more.
Billie Jean King / Washington Post
“The ceiling that women of color face on their path to leadership never felt more impenetrable than it did at the women’s US Open final on Saturday. Ironic, perhaps, that the roof of Arthur Ashe Stadium was closed for the championship match. What was supposed to be a memorable moment for tennis, with Serena Williams, perhaps the greatest player of all time, facing off against Naomi Osaka, the future of our sport, turned into another example of people in positions of power abusing that power.
“Lost in the craziness of the evening was the fact that Osaka played excellent tennis and won her first major title. Competing against her childhood idol, she summoned her A game and earned her championship – no need for any asterisk in the record book. She was the best player on the court Saturday.
“But that’s not what many will remember. For fans, Osaka’s stellar play was overshadowed by an archaic tennis rule that eventually led to an abuse of power.
“The cause and effect of this unsatisfactory sequence of events are pretty clear.
“The cause was the inconsistent application of a rule – and the rule itself – that led to the warning that chair umpire Carlos Ramos gave to Williams for coaching coming from her player’s box: If tennis would catch up with the 21st century and allow coaching on every point, the situation on the court would never have escalated to the level of absurdity that it did. Every player, after all, still has to play the match – she has to execute on every point, and she should never be held responsible for the actions of a coach. Coaching happens all the time, at all levels of tennis. So why not just allow it?
“The effect was an abuse of power: Ramos crossed the line. He made himself part of the match. He involved himself in the end result. An umpire’s job is to keep control of the match, and he let it get out of control. The rules are what they are, but the umpire has discretion, and Ramos chose to give Williams very little latitude in a match where the stakes were highest. Granted, Williams could have taken some responsibility and moved on after the first warning (and, speaking from experience, it’s debatable whether she knew this was a warning or not), and before the point and game penalties started flying.
“But, for her, and for many other women who have experienced an abuse of power at their workplaces, there was more at stake.
“Did Ramos treat Williams differently than male players have been treated? I think he did. Women are treated differently in most arenas of life. This is especially true for women of color. And what played out on the court yesterday happens far too often. It happens in sports, in the office and in public service. A woman faced down sexism, and the match went on.
“Women have a right, though, to speak out against injustice – as much right as a man. I found myself in similar situations in my career; once, I even walked off the court in protest. It wasn’t my proudest moment, but it may have been one of my more powerful ones. I understand what motivated Williams to do what she did. And I hope every single girl and woman watching yesterday’s match realizes they should always stand up for themselves and for what they believe is right. Nothing will ever change if they don’t.”
Billie Jean goes on and on and on and on....
“Women are taught to be perfect. We aren’t perfect, of course, and so we shouldn’t be held to that standard. We have a voice. We have emotions. When we react adversely to a heated professional situation, far too often, we’re labeled hysterical. That must stop. Tennis is a game, but for Williams and Osaka, it’s also their job, their life’s work. Yes, Williams was heated during the match because she felt Ramos wasn’t just penalizing her, but also attacking her character and professionalism. Her true leadership and character were revealed after the match, in the trophy presentation, when she shifted the spotlight to Osaka. She didn’t have to, but she did. I know her – that’s who she really is, and she knew it was the right thing to do.
“Serena’s a champion. She has done and continues to do the hard work. She was right to speak her mind, to put a voice to the injustice, and she was right to know when to call for the controversy to end.”
Frankly, I’m tired of this angle.
And then there was Kurt Bardella, an opinion columnist for USA TODAY. He goes on and on defending Serena’s actions. He makes the case, in terms of the argument that women get treated worse than men, that sports stars such as “Draymond Green, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning...are synonymous with greatness and emotion.
“What happened to Serena Williams on Saturday during the US Open final was nothing short of a disgrace – and I’m not just talking about her getting royally screwed by the presiding umpire, Carlos Ramos.”
I respectfully suggest that Mr. Bardella couldn’t be more wrong in the treatment of Serena vs. the male cited athletes.
Draymond Green accumulates technical fouls (which costs his team points, and possession...very similar to the point taken away from Serena) all the time....and he faces suspension when his total technical reaches a certain limit. Michael Jordan, LeBron, Kobe, never subjected a referee to a tirade like Serena unleashed. Even at LeBron’s worst, he doesn’t keep coming back again and again, as Serena did. [If he did, he’d get tossed...period.]
Tiger Woods? Are you kidding me, Mr. Bardella? Tiger’s tirades are over his own poor play in key situations....not because of some rules official’s ruling. [Golf fans know, to be fair, that Tiger has gotten some great breaks... ‘the boulder,’ ‘The Masters’ ...but it wasn’t a result of officials caving in to a tirade.]
Peyton Manning? WTF is Bardella referring to? Tom Brady? On Serena’s level? Are you kidding? I mean after the progression of the penalties that she could have just shut up at at any point?
OK...let’s try to follow Bardella’s conclusion.
“Why is a male athlete who curses, poses, rants and raves celebrated for being ‘intense,’ ‘passionate’ and ‘in the moment’ while Serena Williams is vilified for ‘melting down’ and having an ‘outburst’?
“Any other male athlete would have understandably lost it in this situation. LeBron James would have had a meltdown. Roger Federer would have had an outburst. There would have been, at the very least, a barrage of profanity-laced tirades directed at the official. By the end, Serena Williams kept her composure and dignity. Somehow, in this moment, she was cognizant of the broader implications for female athletes that will come after her and she maintained her grace.”
Meanwhile, tennis umpires have taken the side of Carlos Ramos. One told the Times of London that Ramos was “thrown to the wolves for simply doing his job and was not willing to be abused for it.” The Times reported some umpires are considering boycotting Williams’ matches.
--Premier League back in action this weekend and the biggest early game of the season is the leadoff contest Saturday, Tottenham hosting Liverpool. Me vs. my brother...he being a Liverpool supporter. Bro just told me he splurged on a James Milner jersey. I need to get a Harry Kane one before long.
--I didn’t have a chance last time to note the passing of two figures....
Bill Daily, the television actor known for portraying the affable and warmhearted pals on “I Dream of Jeannie” and “The Bob Newhart Show.” He was 91.
In “Jeannie,” Daily played Maj. Roger Healey, an astronaut and best friend of Maj. Anthony Nelson, played by Larry Hagman, whose life changes when he falls in love with smokin’ hot Barbara Eden, err, a blonde genie, played by Ms. Eden. The show ran from 1965 to 1970.
Daily recounted years ago how he was discovered while on the television series “Bewitched” and creator Sidney Sheldon asked if he would try out for the role of “Man in Uniform” on his show.
Daily would later say that he was trying to emulate Bob Hope as a stand-up comedian, and ended up trying to be funny, which is what Hagman wanted, because Hagman only wanted to be the serious guy.
Then, on “The Bob Newhart Show, which ran from 1972 to 1979, Daily played a perpetually jet-lagged pilot, Howard Borden, who was the neighbor of Newhart’s Dr. Robert Hartley. The two were friends in real life, having met back in the 1950s at a Halloween party.
And we lost the great Will Jordan...or shall we say the highly-underrated Will Jordan, who also died at the age of 91.
Jordan was a terrific impressionist who, while he could do the voices of many stars, became best known for his spot-on, full-body imitation of Ed Sullivan.
Sullivan was an awkward, wooden physical presence who mangled words and names, and so Jordan turned him into a bumbling character, who cracked his knuckles, popped his eyes and hunched his shoulders while promising the audience it was in for a “really big show.”
Jordan turned Sullivan into the funny man he wasn’t. He told Gerald Nachman, author of “Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s” (2003):
“The reason it went over was because it wasn’t anything like the real Sullivan,” Jordan said. “It was a partial invention. He never said ‘really big,’ he never said ‘shoo,’ he never cracked his knuckles, he never rolled his eyes up, he never did spins, he never frowned.”
Will Jordan became very protective of his unique impressions of Sullivan, and was pissed when the likes of Jackie Mason and Jack Carter adopted it...borrowing Jordan’s mannerisms. It ended up being far more than those two. Every comedian stole from Will Jordan.
Remember, Jordan made up a lot of his impressions of Sullivan, but the public saw them as real, which was great for Jordan’s act.
After Sullivan died in 1974, Will Jordan developed an act imitating George C. Scott’s Academy-Award-winning performance as Gen. George S. Patton for corporate sales conferences and motivational retreats.
Will Jordan was really the first of the classic impressionists (I don’t agree with the New York Times obit that included Bing Crosby, Groucho Marx and Jack Benny as part of the first group. I think Jordan was all by himself in the purest sense). He blazed the trail for the likes of David Frye, Rich Little, Frank Gorshin, John Byner, Marilyn Michaels and George Kirby.
Personally, I liked Gorshin and Byner. David Frye made his name, and money, doing some wildly successful albums impersonating Richard Nixon. For you younger folk, picture that there was a time when the family would gather around in the living room and listen to a full comedy album. Bill Cosby’s albums were massive in the 60s.
--An off-duty NYPD detective survived a hairy encounter with an unusual burglar – a hungry black bear that wandered into his detached Orange County garage and clawed through his shirt. William Orange, 46, said he heard a growl, and saw the animal’s teeth and eyes after he walked into the garage Sunday evening
“It was pitch black in there,” said the detective.
The wounds were superficial and he got a tetanus shot and went on antibiotics. The bear got away.
--But then we had a far more serious incident.
From USA TODAY: “A missing hiker found dead in the Mount Hood National Forest was killed in a suspected cougar attack, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.
“Wildlife officials said it would be the first fatal cougar attack in the wild in Oregon history.
“ ‘This does have every indication that this is the first fatal attack of a human by a cougar in Oregon,’ said Brian Wolfer, watershed manager with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“The body of 55-year-old Diana Bober was found on Monday off the Hunchback Trail near Welches. Her body was several miles from where searchers found her car last week, near a Ranger station.
“Bober, an avid hiker who often trekked in the Mount Hood and Columbia River Gorge area, was last heard from by family and friends on Aug. 29....
“The medical examiner’s office said Bober’s injuries were consistent with that of a cougar attack.”
This surprised me. There are an estimated 6,600 cougars in Oregon, with the numbers rising significantly the past decade, even though Oregon has a hunt and killed 267 in 2016.
While this was Oregon’s first fatal attack, California and Colorado have had three apiece.
Earlier this year, a cougar also killed a man near North Bend, Washington.
Top 3 songs for the week 9/12/70: #1 “War” (Edwin Starr) #2 “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Diana Ross) #3 “In The Summertime” (Mungo Jerry)...and...#4 “25 Or 6 To 4” (Chicago) #5 “”Lookin’ Out My Back Door” (Creedence Clearwater Revival) #6 “Patches” (Clarence Carter” #7 “Julie, Do Ya Love Me” (Bobby Sherman) #8 “(They Long To Be) Close To You” (Carpenters) #9 “Make It With You” (Bread) #10 “Spill The Wine” (Eric Burdon And War...highly mediocre week...a ‘C’...)
College Football Quiz Answer: Last four rushing leaders.
2017...Rashaad Penny, 2248, San Diego State
2016...Donnel Pumphrey, 2133, San Diego State
2015...Derrick Henry, 2219, Alabama
2014...Melvin Gordon, 2587, Wisconsin
Next Bar Chat, Monday.