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[Posted Wed. a.m.]
Baseball Quiz: With the retirement of Angels manager Mike Scioscia, he finished his career ranked No. 5 in games managed with one franchise, 3,078. Who are the four in front of him? Answer below.
MLB...it’s playoff time!
Major League Baseball couldn’t have asked for a more exciting beginning to the postseason, including Monday’s two division tiebreakers (which were technically extensions of the regular season).
The Brewers beat the Cubs 3-1 at Wrigley in a taut affair, and the Dodgers beat the Rockies 5-2 in L.A.
In the latter, the Dodgers’ Walker Buehler, who has been the team’s best pitcher the second half of the season, threw 6 2/3 scoreless, while L.A. rode the homers of Clay Bellinger and Max Muncy.
The losers then squared off in Chicago for the wild-card and it proved to be an historic affair, a record-length Wrigley Field playoff game, 4 hours, 55 minutes, Colorado moving on to face Milwaukee in the NLDS on Thursday after a dramatic 2-1 win over the Cubbies in 13 innings. Thurs the Cubs ended up with just two runs combined on Monday and Tuesday.
Last night, after Kyle Freeland threw 6 2/3 of shutout ball for Colorado, Chicago tied it in the eighth on a two-out RBI double by Javier Baez.
And so it remained knotted 1-1 until the 13th when the Rockies strung together singles by Trevor Story, Gerardo Parra and Tony Wolters against Kyle Hendricks. Wolters hit .170 during the season as a backup catcher.
Back to Kyle Freeland, he finished the season at 17-7, 2.85 ERA for Colorado, including 9-1, 2.49 the second half.
Give the Rockies a ton of credit. They had to fly out to L.A. for Monday’s tiebreaker, and then back east to Chicago for the sudden-death contest. Now, at least they can Uber it to Milwaukee for their next challenge.
Atlanta plays Los Angeles in the other NLDS on Thursday, the Dodgers opting to go with Hyun-Jin Ryu over Clayton Kershaw.
The A.L.’s wild-card game is tonight in New York, the Yankees sending Luis Severino to the mound (a mild surprise to some), while the A’s are going with the bullpen, starting off with Liam Hendricks.
--The Yankees drew 3.48 million this season, the highest since 2012, television viewership on YES up by 10% as of the last ratings book.
But how big is the wild-card game financially? As reported by Aaron Elstein of Crain’s New York, if the Yankees beat the A’s?
“A reasonable place to start is $50 million. And it doesn’t end there....
“Last season the Yankees piled up $297 million in ticket and suite revenue, according to disclosures the team makes to holders of the bonds used to pay for the construction of their stadium. That sum was $67 million higher than the previous season. Nearly all of the increase stemmed from the team going deep into the playoffs last year.
“The team hosted six postseason games, which suggests each game generated about $10 million in additional revenue for the team. The $67 million figure is before refunds for World Series games that fans bought tickets for but were not played, at least not in Yankee Stadium. Victory Wednesday would lead to a best-of-five series and perhaps two best-of-seven affairs after that, which at $10 million per home game could mean $70 million or $80 million.”
But this is the least of it. With two consecutive playoff appearances, the Yanks are set to raise tickets prices, a rumored 10%+ on season-ticket plans, for example. And on the field success puts the team in position to demand more from advertisers, and official sponsors.
--The Minnesota Twins fired Paul Molitor, a year after he was named A.L. Manager of the Year for guiding the Twins to the 2017 playoffs. This season he was 78-84, and 305-343 in four campaigns.
So we have four managerial openings in baseball; including Scioscia, Toronto’s John Gibbons and the Rangers’ Jeff Banister, the latter two having been fired.
Ryder Cup Disaster...final thoughts....
Mark Cannizzaro / New York Post
“When the U.S. Ryder Cup team’s chartered jet from France arrived in Atlanta on Monday afternoon, word of Patrick Reed’s published rant about being ‘blindsided’ by captain Jim Furyk not pairing him with Jordan Spieth had circulated and left some team members livid at his audacity.
“Reed was quoted in the New York Times saying he wanted to play with Spieth, but Spieth didn’t want to play with him and that Furyk never stepped in to pair the two of them in what turned out to be a 17 ½ to 10 ½ European drubbing of the Americans.
“Reed went 1-2 in this Ryder Cup, which included two losses while paired with Tiger Woods, once on Friday and once on Saturday. They lost to Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood both times. He won a garbage-time singles match Sunday after the outcome had already been decided.
“ ‘The issue’s obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me,’ Reed said in the interview with the Times. ‘I don’t have any issues with Jordan. When it comes right down to it, I don’t care if I like the person I’m paired with or if the person likes me as long as it works and it sets up the team for success. He and I know how to make each other better. We know how to get the job done.’
“Reed and Spieth were 4-1-2 when paired together in the 2014 and 2016 Ryder Cups and, including Presidents Cup play, they’re 8-1-3 overall. Furyk opted to pair Spieth with his close friend Justin Thomas and the pair went 3-1 together.
“One member of Team USA was shocked when he saw Reed complaining about not being paired with Spieth.
“ ‘He is so full of s—t,’ the source told The Post on Monday. ‘Blindsided my ass. He begged to play with Tiger.’”
Reed was also ticked he sat both Friday and Saturday afternoon.
“For somebody as successful in the Ryder Cup as I am, I don’t think it’s smart to sit me twice,” he said.
The source told the New York Post that Saturday morning, the second time Reed was paired with Tiger, “He (Reed) would have shot 83 on his own ball [Ed. I saw another observer say Reed would have shot 85]... He totally screwed Tiger.... I saw firsthand how bad of a team player he was. Eleven players understood the concept of team golf and only one didn’t. Unfortunately, that once proved to be too costly for the team to overcome.
“I feel so bad for Jim (Furyk), because he was an unreal captain. He would have run through a wall for all 12 of the guys. Unfortunately, there were only 11 players that would have returned the favor.”
First off, the “source” is being a bit disingenuous, seeing as how few of the Americans seemed to understand the team concept, which was my point last time in terms of alternate-shot, afternoon play.
Back to Reed, his wife, Justine, had a public argument with the Golf Channel commentary team over their coverage of her husband.
“He was the leading point scorer for the last two Ryder Cups... Yet you change the most winning pairing in American history in Patrick and Jordan.
“Patrick never said he didn’t want to play with Jordan. Maybe you should ask Jordan why he didn’t want to play with Patrick. You don’t have to love the people you work with – but when you have chemistry and success, you go with it.”
Joel Beall / Golf World
“(When) the Americans were asked about the (Spieth/Reed) split at the post-event press conference, Spieth was diplomatic, saying it was a group decision that all were involved in. Furyk also jumped in, saying ‘Jordan and Patrick have been great in the past. Whether that’s a point of contention or not I felt we had two great pairings out of it. So it was totally my decision and my call.’
“A moment which Reed called B.S.
“ ‘I was looking at (Jordan) like I was about to light the room up like Phil in ’14 [Ed. when Mickelson criticized captain Tom Watson after the disaster at Gleneagles].’ Reed said. He added, ‘Every day, I saw ‘Leave your egos at the door.’ They (the Europeans) do that better than us.’”
--And then we had this, from James Corrigan of the Daily Telegraph:
“Anger among the United States team over their dismal Ryder Cup defeat boiled over in the post-match festivities when their two top-ranked players, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, had to be separated after a flare-up.
“So much for this new era of Stars and Stripes camaraderie. Witnesses recounted how the pair almost came to blows after they had been invited into the Europe team room, a few hours after the resounding home success at Le Golf National.
“The reason for the bust-up was not known, but it was a huge surprise as they are regarded as best friends....
“Johnson’s partner, Paulina Gretzky, prompted rumors of a rift between the pair when she deleted every picture of Johnson from her Instagram account. She was said to be close by when the row erupted. One of the European players’ wives also witnessed the incident, and an insider reported that she was ‘clearly shocked and upset by the nastiness, which was very threatening.’”
[Golf Digest confirmed the report, saying Paulina and Koepka’s girlfriend were part of the near fight.]
Shane Ryan / Golf Digest
“In the 18 Ryder Cups since 1983, the first year that the modern era became truly competitive, the United States has accumulated 108 ½ singles points to Europe’s 107 ½. The Americans have won the 12-match singles session in 10 of those 18 years. It’s remarkably tight, but a look at the pairs matches in that time span tells a very different story. In those matches, Europe leads the U.S. 158 ½-129 ½ and has won the cumulative battle (16 matches over four sessions) in 14 of the 18 competitions.
“The Euros have been so dominant, in fact, that it’s hard to think their pairs success hasn’t bolstered their singles record – there have been several Ryder Cups where the Sunday session was a mere formality, and on those occasions a palpable sense of prolonged dread infected the American teams. The not-infrequent death marches certainly yielded more losses than they might have in a less enfeebling atmosphere. In other words, the razor-thin singles margin would probably be significantly better for the Americans if they weren’t so bad in pairs.
“Which stands to reason. In the vast majority of Ryder Cups, the U.S. has arrived with the better team on paper. Match play is famously volatile, but you’d expect them to win a slim majority of their singles matches. You’d also expect them to win the majority of their pairs matches, because golf is golf and the skills should translate.
“They don’t, and because they struggle so mightily with partners, they lose entire Ryder Cups....
“You might hate the truth, but it’s cultural. It’s absolutely cultural.
“Anyone with the temerity to suggest such a thing, much less believe it, is immediately overwhelmed by media pundits and average fans who retreat to the smug high ground of conventional wisdom and overwhelm you with practical explanations.
“Uh, dude, you’re overthinking it. ...the Europeans just played better.
“It’s not complicated. The Americans just couldn’t make putts.
“Furyk’s pairing were terrible.
“The golf course took the driver out of America’s hands.
“The Europeans just care more.
“And fine, some of that stuff is true, and the people who propagate it will think this article is a load of B.S. But – sorry – it’s not enough. Not by a longshot....
“The answer is about teamwork, and fellowship, and collective spirit....
“Here’s what I know: Even on the odd years when the Americans win the pairs matches, there is something stiff and repressed and a little awkward about them, as though they’re feeling things that beg to be expressed, but have been confined to the subconscious. (I don’t come from the exact same background as most professional golfers, but it’s close enough, and I feel the same things. I am stiff, repressed, awkward.) And while there may be such a thing as the ‘strong-but-silent’ type, most times when we talk about emotional stoicism, we are in fact talking about a repression that can be harmful in life and relationships.
“Here’s what I believe: Americans are preternaturally good at neglecting certain emotions, especially as they pertain to the hidden things that bind us to each other. We are encouraged to do so; we are tacitly rewarded for isolating ourselves....
“There is something about the bond between teammates that is expressible for European Ryder Cup golfers, but that remains a total mystery for the Americans. There’s a kind of platonic love – defining it that way would leave Americans deeply uncomfortable, but Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari embraced it – that flows through them. Come the Ryder Cup, Ian Poulter is more than a prickly egomaniac; Rory is more than a faltering legend; Jon Rahm is more than a ball of fury; Justin Rose is more than a remote enigma. They find strength in one another, but it’s more than that – they disappear into one another, and the entity they form is stronger than the ingredients that comprise it. They are a team in the most mystical sense of the word. It makes them all better.
“The Americans, however, remain themselves. Occasionally they play well enough to win, but there is no transformation. They are a collection of individuals who have grown up playing an individual sport – who have in many cases chosen golf precisely because they found team sports difficult to manage emotionally – and that’s what they remain. Any bond they create is forced, temporary, and therefore fraudulent. This is a team whose best pair in decades wouldn’t play together in 2018 because of what one of the player’s wives alleged is a personal rift. They believe in themselves above all else. It probably makes them better in majors, but it ruins them for the Ryder Cup....
“(The) more you consider the results, the more you understand that the differences between the two teams cannot be explained by anything but culture. It’s not a matter of skill, or desire, or effort. It’s a matter of learned values and perspective relating to what people mean to each other. It’s something ingrained, beyond their control.
“The fact that this Ryder Cup turned out a certain way – that it keeps turning out a certain way – is nobody’s fault. Not the players, not the captains, not the fans. Everybody on that course wanted the same thing, and they went about it with the same intentions. They just happen to come from two separate worlds, and that makes all the difference.”
Geoff Shackelford / Golfweek
“Pity the 12 American Ryder Cup players, vice-captains and even former captains who will be subjected to 24 months of how-do-we-regain-the-Ryder Cup suggestions. The man in for the biggest earful? Steve Stricker, the likely 2020 leader at Whistling Straits and vice-captain for the last two American efforts.
“There isn’t much mystery to what induced the latest American loss on European soil, a run that will extend to 29 years now.
“The golf course was masterfully rigged* to mute America’s emphasis on distance over accuracy.
“The greens were kept at a pace more typical of a European Tour event than a PGA Tour stop.
“The Europeans looked more comfortable on a course they play annually.
“Fans delivered home team energy that inspired clutch performances.
“The Europeans appeared to be the more elastic team when it came to pairings while the Americans looked like they’d run out of gas.
“ ‘I feel like, you know, everyone on Tuesday felt tired, and then Wednesday, things started coming around,’ U.S. captain Jim Furyk said, assessing a team that played at East Lake on Sunday, took a chartered red-eye and hunkered down at the Waldorf Astoria in Versailles and tried to regroup.
“Physically, most of the players never looked right. Tiger Woods sounded like he was going to fall asleep mid-interview Saturday evening. Even a rested Jordan Spieth appeared spent after four emotional matches with Justin Thomas, suffering a Sunday blowout loss to Thorbjorn Olesen.
“Stricker will not have to worry about similar fatigue in 2020. The PGA Tour playoffs will have been completed a month before the Ryder Cup. But as for building a team around a golf course, that’s always been a risky endeavor in the selection process.”
*As I saw Adam Schupak describe, given Euro captain Thomas Bjorn’s masterful setup for Le Golf National to suit his team’s strengths, and America’s weakness, the fairways were narrowed “to the width of the aisle of a DC-10,” while “growing the rough longer than Tommy Fleetwood’s flowing locks.”
The Euros, by the way, had a combined 233 competitive rounds at Le Golf National, compared to just eight by the Americans, the course being the annual site of the French Open. Only Justin Thomas made an effort to play in the tournament this year and, whaddya know, he proceeded to go 4-1.
Kevin Van Valkenburg / ESPN.com
“When the Ryder Cup comes to Whistling Straits in 2020, Phil Mickelson will be 50 years old. Tiger Woods will be 44. It’s quite possible they will once again be players on the American Ryder Cup team. Maybe they’ll qualify on points, or maybe their good friend Steve Stricker, the man likely to be the U.S. captain with the event headed to his home state of Wisconsin, will add them for veteran leadership. Maybe the two men who have been the twin pillars of American golf for 20 years will get one more shot at redemption in this event.
“But because nothing is guaranteed in life or in golf, this week in Paris also might be the end for both men. And if it is, maybe that’s for the best. They can put down the clubs, pick up a pairings sheet, or throw in an earpiece....Both men can pass the burden on to the next generation of Americans. They had their chance.
“What happened to the Americans this week in Paris – with the U.S. squad suffering one of its most demoralizing defeats ever...wasn’t entirely Woods’ and Mickelson’s fault. Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world, went 1-3. He was almost as bad. But Woods and Mickelson, a combined 0-6, get to own the majority of it, in part because everyone knows they weren’t just players – they had a hand in the planning, too. Mickelson wanted the veteran players to have more input, and he stepped on Tom Watson’s neck to get it. It helped them in Hazeltine, and they got plenty of credit. But when it goes bad, as it did this week, you have to own that, too.
“Woods went 0-4 and looked sullen, distant and weary throughout the week....He’s just the fourth player to go winless in four matches since 1979. Mickelson went 0-2 and, in a fitting yet depressing moment, dumped his tee shot in the pond on the 16th hole, then shook hands with Francesco Molinari to concede their match, the clinching point and the Ryder Cup for the Europeans.
“Tiger’s fans will point to Phil and say he never should been on the team. Phil’s fans will point to Tiger and say he has never once shown he truly cares about this event, and that he makes everyone he plays with worse, even if through no fault of his own.
“It’s time to stop making excuses for either of them.
“It’s unfair to suggest they don’t care. That’s nonsense, and an insult to anyone who knows them, even a little bit. Both of them care a great deal, even if they show it in very different ways.”
But Phil now has 22 losses in this event, most of any player in history on either side. Tiger has 21, the second most. Ironically, they both passed the previous loss leader at 20, captain Jim Furyk.
Furyk’s four captain’s picks – Tiger, Phil, Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau – went 2-10-0, Finau responsible for the 2, while Bjorn’s four picks – Poulter, Garcia, Paul Casey and Henrik Stenson – were 9-4-1 overall.
Ian Poulter is 5-0-1 in Ryder Cup singles.
Francesco Molinari became the first European player to go 5-0 at a Ryder Cup. Molinari did this while never playing the course’s final two holes. Sergio Garcia teased his teammate, “You know this golf course has 18 holes?” “Really?” Molinari said with a straight face. “I think I played them on Tuesday.”
--On paper, no titanic games this week...no top-10 matchups.
19 Texas and 7 Oklahoma is important, if only to show whether the Longhorns are really improved. 5 LSU at 22 Florida is kind of big, except I think Florida blows and if the Tigers can’t win this one, put them in the ‘pretender’ category and take away some scholarships.
If 13 Kentucky is for real, they must win at Texas A&M.
But there are two that standout, to yours truly. No. 6 Notre Dame at 24 Virginia Tech, though Mark R., fret not. And Boston College at 23 North Carolina State. Are the undefeated Wolfpack contenders or pretenders?
And we have Illinois (2-2) at Rutgers (1-4). How will the Scarlet Knights react to the news they get to stay in the state...for the time being; my petition to relegate them to North Carolina denied because I forgot to pay the $20 mandated fee. [Let alone give my real name...just as I’ve omitted to do in this space for almost 20 years.]
--Clemson’s clutch receiver Hunter Renfrow (as in he emerges every College Football Playoff), had an interesting point, as reported by ESPN.com’s David Hale. Clemson has been dealing with the transfer of senior quarterback Kelly Bryant, after Bryant got word he was being demoted for freshman Trevor Lawrence.
As I noted the other day, the key was that with a rule change this year, you can play up to four games (which can be spread throughout the season) and still be redshirted...or transfer, as in Bryant’s case.
So Renfrow said, “Now Week 4 every year is going to be the trade deadline, and everyone is going to make decisions. I don’t like that part of it. When you commit to a school, when you commit to a team, that’s your team, right?”
Renfrow added the majority of the veteran players haven’t taken the decision personally.
“He made a decision, and you have to stand beside him. He’s always made the right decision. If he’d been kind of a toolbag and was off on his own a lot, that’s one thing. But he’s always been for the team and always made the right decision. So you just have to stand behind him and support him.”
Well, first off, I’d use “toolshed,” not “toolbag,” but then I’m old school. Better yet I’d cue Jeff Spicoli.
Speaking of Spicoli, due to the Judge Kavanaugh hearings, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Caddyshack,” and “Animal House” are having a revival...the Holy Trinity of comedy from that general era.
--I looked at the FCS (Div. I-AA) Coaches Rankings for the first time this year:
1. North Dakota State
2. James Madison
3. Kennesaw State (Owls)
4. Eastern Washington
5. South Dakota State
8. Elon...Elon at No. 2 JMU this week...Good luck, Shu!
20. Colgate...Raiders face Christy Mathewson’s* 1-4 Bucknell Bison in Lewisburg, Pa., this weekend. Go Pete M.!
*The great Hall of Fame pitcher, always remembered each Fall for his 1905 World Series exploits, attended Bucknell and is buried there.
Last week I was at a local political deal and met a guy who went to the school and the first thing I said was, “Gotta get there to see Christy’s grave site.” Dude was shocked. He said he guessed not one student had any idea who was lying in the local cemetery. Only one of the ten best players in the history of baseball!
--Monday night, the Chiefs moved to 4-0 as sensational quarterback Patrick Mahomes (28/45, 304, 1-0, 89.5) had his worst game of the young season, statistically, yet still led the team on two fourth quarter drives of 60 and 75 yards, Kansas City coming from down 23-13 to beat Denver (2-2) 27-23. It was the first time since 2004 Denver had blown a 10-point fourth-quarter lead at home.
But K.C. caught a huge break when on the deciding drive, Mahomes faced second-and-30 from their 31 and completed a 35-yard pass to Demetrius Harris down to the Broncos’ 11 at the 2-minute warning. Except for one thing...the play should never have counted because the play clock expired before the snap, but referee Craig Wrolstad’s crew missed it.
Denver also blew it when early in the second, Mahomes scrambled and hit Travis Kelce on a key 29-yard pass play to the 3, though the Broncos’ defense stiffened, holding the Chiefs to a field goal, but Mahomes was past the line of scrimmage on the pass and Denver coach Vance Joseph failed to drop the challenge flag, when it appeared he was about to do so.
And of course you had the play where Mahomes, a righty, converted a key third down on a toss using his left hand as he was pressured from the right. From such plays legends are born.
Mahomes in four games now has 14 touchdown passes, no interceptions, and a 126.5 passer rating.
--Sunday night’s affair, after I had posted, was a disaster for the Steelers as they fell at home to the rival Ravens, 26-14, Pittsburgh held to 19 yards on the ground, Ben Roethlisberger throwing 47 times but for only 274 yards.
So with the Steelers 1-2-1 (Baltimore is 3-1), what’s the deal with no-show Le’Veon Bell? Pittsburgh is entertaining trade offers for him.
Bell is passing up more than $855,000 per week, but there is word he might return to Pittsburgh in their bye week, after their sixth game.
I don’t know, but the $14.544 million that Bell was to be paid under the franchise tag this season isn’t all bad.
--Johnny Mac asked if I had seen the Indianapolis-Houston ending on Sunday and I hadn’t, but for the record since it got a lot of press after, Colts coach Frank Reich went for it on fourth down in their own territory in OT, failed, and it ended up costing Indy the game 37-34.
“I’ll address it now: I’m not playing to tie,” Reich said after. “I’ll do that 10 times out of 10. That’s just the way it’s got to roll.”
The Colts had it fourth-and-4 from their own 43-yard line when quarterback Andrew Luck’s throw to receiver Chester Rogers was incomplete, giving Houston a short field to work with to win the game and a few plays later, kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn did just that with a 37-yarder as time expired. [Reich also called a timeout just before Fairbairn’s first attempt – which Fairbairn pushed wide right.]
In the end, though, as the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore wrote: “Reich’s choice backfired horribly, and he’ll be crushed for it. But it was dramatic to watch and fascinating to debate, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
--As for the state of the New York Giants, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News summed up the frustration of their fans, and some of their players:
“Imagine being Odell Beckham Jr. and watching the Rams, a prospective employer this past offseason, light up the Los Angeles skies on Thursday Night Football, and then turning around on Sunday and enduring another lame offensive performance with a Giants team he’s committed to long-term.
“Nothing short of maddening. It’s amazing Beckham kept it together as much as he did during this 33-18 loss to the New Orleans Saints, which dropped the Giants (1-3) into the NFC East basement.”
Seven receptions, just 60 yards.
“Waste. An accurate depiction of what the Giants seem to have done with their 2018 season and with OBJ so far.
“Brandin Cooks went over to the Rams in a trade with New England and L.A.’s offense is surging.
“The Giants, after discussing a possible OBJ trade with the Rams in the spring, eventually re-signed him to a five-year, $90 million contract extension instead. But all the hard work Beckham put in to rehab his surgically-repaired left ankle and his attitude means nothing if Pat Shurmur and Eli Manning can’t get their star wide receiver the ball.”
Something to watch the rest of the year. Beckham has his money now. If I were him I’d be tempted to just try to avoid injury if the Giants’ season continues to spiral downward.
[Pittsburgh superstar receiver Antonio Brown has just 29 receptions in the first four games for a 9.4 average per catch, though at least he has three touchdowns. Brown, unlike OBJ (thus far), has been bitching up a storm. Doing the same is Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers over the play-calling of head coach Mike McCarthy.]
Back to the Giants, they continued a streak of offensive futility that in this modern era of big offenses, and/or no-show defenses, is kind of unfathomable. They haven’t scored 30 points since the season finale in 2015.
--Meanwhile, the Giants’ Meadowlands stablemates, the Jets, are in equally pathetic shape, though without the expectations the Giants had coming into 2018.
That said, there isn’t a single Jets fan who doesn’t want coach Todd Bowles fired. [If you think he’s the long-term solution, you’re nuts.]
Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post described Bowles’ post-game press conference following their 31-12 beatdown by the Jaguars on Sunday.
Vaccaro: “It was an A-to-Z fiasco. How do you figure that, Coach Bowles?
Bowles: “I wish I could sit here and explain it because we weren’t very good.”
Vaccaro: About all those wide-open Jags receivers galloping gallantly (and uncovered) all across the secondary...?
Bowles: “I don’t know why. We ran that all week and we knew it was coming.”
Bowles: “I don’t know why we didn’t play well.”
Vaccaro: “No. This is not a good look. And it is a terrible soundtrack....
“Bowles is a good man; when given the similar chance to run it up on the Lions in Week 1 that (Jaguars coach Doug Marrone) delighted in doing Sunday, he passed and took a knee. But this is the NFL. There are no sportsmanship trophies available. Nobody plays for the Lady Byng. You’d better show results. Short of that, at least prove you have some answers.”
--Finally, needless to say the death of the high school football player in Georgia, due to a head injury, and the condition of Tennessee State LB Christion Abercrombie, is weighing heavily on the future of the sport overall. Thankfully, as of this morning, Abercrombie is said to be showing “small signs of progress” with each day, according to his coach and relatives. But otherwise we have zero details on the kid’s future health.
You can bet there will be fewer football programs in Georgia next year, for one.
--The first of three federal trials tied to the FBI’s investigation into nefarious recruiting tactics in college basketball began on Tuesday, and as reported by CBSSports.com, Casey Donnelly, attorney for defendant James Gatto, a former high-ranking executive at Adidas who’s been charged with wire fraud and conspiracy, said in her opening statement that Gatto’s orchestration of a $100,000 payment to Louisville five-star prospect Brian Bowen was a way to “level the playing field.”
Louisville coach Rick Pitino was fired after Bowen’s illicit commitment to the program became known through the federal probe.
But Gatto’s legal team introduced a new school, Oregon (quack quack). The school, better known as Nike U., supposedly offered “an astronomical amount of money” to recruit Bowen to play for the Ducks. And Arizona, according to the initial testimony, was involved to the amount of $150,000 to land Nassir Little, a projected 2019 lottery pick who is going to be playing at North Carolina this season. [Of course...Chapel Hill....]
I’m giving Arizona a break because I love the nearby Sonora Desert Museum.
--Senior Vice President of Animal Attacks on Humans for Bar Chat, Bob S., passed along the following from the Daily Mail.
“Anthony (M., no reason to include his last name), a contract worker from Hollis, Oklahma, died at a remote drill site accessible only by helicopter on Monday,” mauled to death by a female grizzly bear and her two cubs on an Alaskan island.
“State troopers said (Anthony), who worked for Idaho-based Timberline Drilling, had been working at a drill site on the edge of the Hecla Greens Creek Mine in southeastern Alaska when he was attacked.
“He was mauled by the three bears, all of which were killed before they arrived.”
Hecla is one of the world’s largest silver producers and the mine is located about 18 miles south of Juneau on Admiralty Island. The location is famous for its coastal grizzlies, known locally as brown bears, and has the densest population, or most bears per square mile, in North America.
Consider this. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates 1,500 brown bears roam the island!
But run-ins with the bears on the island are fairly unusual, with one non-fatal attack the past three years.
In June, a grizzly did kill a man hiking in Eagle River, a suburb of Anchorage.
--Peggy Sue Gerron Rackham of Lubbock, Texas, died Monday. She was 78. And who was Peggy Sue Gerron? The woman who inspired Buddy Holly’s 1957 hit, “Peggy Sue.”
Gerron was born in Olton, Texas, but moved to Lubbock, where she attended high school and met Holly and his friends. In an interview with the Associated Press, tied to her 2008 autobiography, “Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue?: A Memoir by Buddy Holly’s Peggy Sue,” Gerron said, “We were very, very good friends. He was probably one of the best friends I ever had.”
Top 3 songs for the week 10/2/76: #1 “Play That Funky Music” (Wild Cherry...big tune my first semester at Wake Forest...however, I threw no ice at anyone as I was bar-hopping...) #2 “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight” (England Dan & John Ford Coley) #3 “A Fifth of Beethoven” (Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band....easily one of the worst five tunes of the century...probably the millennium, though I’m really not familiar with some of the tunes of the 1300s....)...and...#4 “Disco Duck” (Rick Dees & His Cast of Idiots...see #3...) #5 “Lowdown” (Boz Scaggs...everyone wore out the Silk Degrees album...top 20 all time) #6 “Devil Woman” (Cliff Richard) #7 “Summer” (War...awesome...) #8 “If You Leave Me Now” (Chicago) #9 “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty” (KC & The Sunshine Band) #10 “Still The One” (Orleans)
Baseball Quiz Answer: Four managers with more games with one team than Mike Scioscia.
1. Connie Mack...7466
2. John McGraw...4424
3. Bobby Cox...3860
4. Walter Alston...3658
Next Bar Chat, Monday. I’m going to a NASCAR race, Sunday in Delaware, and really don’t know when I’m posting the next one.