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Boston Preparing to Wrap It Up
[Posted Sunday p.m., prior to Game 5...]
College Football / NFL Quiz: 1) Name the lone representative from each of the following colleges to then be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame. Baylor, Bethune-Cookman, and Clemson. [Hint: The guy from Bethune-Cookman was a guard who was first-team All-Pro from 1971-75.] 2) I get a newsletter from Track & Field News and they just named their prep track Athlete of the Year, Mondo Duplantis, a pole vaulter out of Lafayette, Louisiana, who took the honor in 2017 as well. T&FN, though, has been doing this since 1947 and their list of winners has some great names, going back to Bob Mathias in 1948, when he was at Tulare High School in California, and Milt Campbell, who was in high school in 1952 in the town where I was born, Plainfield, New Jersey. Also on the list is 1960’s recipient, Mel Renfro, who as a high-schooler was big in hurdles and the long jump. Renfro, of course, went on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Cowboys. Where did he go to college? [Hint: West Coast.] Answers below.
It seems like eons ago, but since I last posted I need to note the Red Sox took a 2-0 Series lead on Wednesday behind David Price’s six strong innings, 4-2 over L.A., J.D. Martinez with a big two-run single in the fifth inning breaking a 2-2 tie.
Shockingly, it was Price’s second straight strong postseason start, having thrown six scoreless in the Game 5 clincher of the ALCS against the defending champion Astros.
For the record, I stayed up through 14 innings of the following, taking me to 1:50 a.m. local time. I hadn’t stayed up that late in ages. [And I watched all of Game 4.]
Thomas Boswell / Washington Post
“At 11:40 p.m., Pacific Coast Time, when Game 3 of the World Series was only six-and-a-half hours long, a mere teenager of a marathon, the Dodger Stadium scoreboard broke out dance music by Prince. ‘Dearly beloved,’ the song began, ‘we have gathered here today to get through this thing called life.’
“Really? Not to get through this thing called Game 3? The ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ part of the evening arrived for the Los Angeles Dodgers a few innings later, in the bottom of the 18th inning of the longest game in World Series history – the longest by far in innings or time, a prodigious, preposterous, seven-hour, 20-minute monstrosity.
“That’s when, at 12:30 a.m. Pacific Coast Time – or 3:30 a.m. on the East Coast – Dodger slugger Max Muncy hit a leadoff homer over the left-center field fence off Nathan Eovaldi, who was starting his seventh inning in relief, for a 3-2 victory that cut the Boston Red Sox lead in this Series to two games to one....
“Though many millions of fans, in almost every time zone, except Hawaii, will think of this game only as a rumor, or a squandering of many hours before finally heading to bed, the large majority in this Dodger blue crowd of 53,118 almost surely will think of it as one of the most memorable sports crescendos they’ve seen.
“ ‘There were still 40,000 people in this park when it ended – after what, more than seven hours? What a great Dodger win,’ Dodger Manager Dave Roberts said. Then he added, ‘Our bullpen is actually in pretty good shape for Game 4.’”
Well, we learned the next day this last point of Roberts’ wouldn’t necessarily be so, but for the record, Max Muncy was a hero far beyond his walk-off dinger. In the 13th, he smartly tagged up on a foul pop up that Eduardo Nunez heroically caught off third, tumbling into the stands in doing so, and then with Muncy on second, Yasiel Puig hit a two-out ground ball that was played by second baseman Ian Kinsler cleanly...it should have been game over...until it wasn’t.
Kinsler slipped preparing to make the throw to first, threw it wildly away, and Muncy scored to tie it at 2-2. [In the top of the 13th, the Red Sox had scored when the Dodgers’ Scott Alexander made an errant toss to first to allow Brock Holt to score from second.]
Kinsler’s play brought back nightmares for Red Sox fans of 1986 and the grounder going through Bill Buckner’s legs.
Meanwhile, this whole segment on the Series was set to be all about Alex Cora, who stupidly took out Rick Porcello in Game 3 after just 61 pitches, one run, 4 2/3, which would end up burning out the pen, including the man who was supposed to be the Game 4 starter, Nate Eovaldi, who heroically went six innings, but suffered the defeat.
Cora then stupidly let Eduardo Rodriguez throw 93 pitches in the following, the last a three-run homer to Yasiel Puig to give L.A. a 4-0 lead, Rodriguez having not thrown nearly that many in five weeks, but what follows made it all mute.
George A. King III / New York Post
“The Red Sox are nine innings away from winning the World Series because of their...?
“Starting pitching? No.
“MVP outfielder? No.
“Stellar shortstop? No.
“Genius manager? No.
“Nathan Eovaldi? Getting close.
“How about a bullpen that was considered to be the one department that could turn a wonderful baseball year in Boston into a never-to-be-forgotten disaster?
“Well, thanks in a large part to Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen is a big reason why they are one win away from beating the Dodgers in the World Series.
“Craig Kimbrel’s ninth-inning struggles aside the right-handed duo of Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly gave the Red Sox a chance to come back from a four-run deficit in a 9-6 victory Saturday night in Game 4 in front of a Dodger Stadium crowd of 54,400 that had pockets of Red Sox fans sprinkled throughout the ballpark.
“The victory puts the Red Sox in position to close out the Dodgers in Game 5 on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium. Originally, the Red Sox were going to start Chris Sale. But at the end of his postgame press conference, manager Alex Cora casually dropped the news David Price will start Game 5 and Sale would be available for Game 6 if it is necessary. The Dodgers are going with ace Clayton Kershaw on Sunday night.
“Trailing 4-0 after the Dodgers scored four in the sixth inning off Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Barnes struck out Austin Barnes to end the inning. Spurred on by Chris Sale’s motivational skills in the dugout, the Red Sox shook off a lethargic buzz in the seventh when Mitch Moreland launched a three-run pinch-hit homer off Ryan Madson to make it a one-run game.
“Kelly worked in and out of trouble in the seventh and eighth when he didn’t allow a run and stranded three runners.
“ ‘I wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t build an inning right there,’ Moreland said of Xander Bogaerts leading off the seventh with a walk against Rich Hill and Brock Holt drawing a one-out walk from Scott Alexander. After Jackie Bradley, Jr. popped out against the right-handed Madson, Moreland jumped all over a first-pitch change-up and sent it over the right-center field wall.”
Moreland’s blast made it 4-3, and then Steve Pearce hit a solo homer in the eighth off Kenley Jansen to tie it, the second straight game Jansen had yielded a big homer in the eighth. Rafael Devers then had a clutch pinch-hit to drive in the leading run in the ninth, putting Boston up 5-4, Pearce cleared the bases with a double and the Red Sox ended up with five in the frame off three Dodgers pitchers, making it 9-4, and a Dodgers rally in the ninth fell short, 9-6.
“Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who didn’t have relievers Pedro Baez and Julio Urias, defended removing Hill in the seventh and bringing a struggling Madson into the game.
“ ‘I had a conversation with Rich. He said, ‘Keep an eye on me, I am going to give it everything I have. Let’s go hitter to hitter and just keep an eye on me,’ Roberts said of Hill, who dominated the Red Sox through six innings when they had one hit and didn’t bat with a runner in scoring position.”
Meanwhile, Ryan Madson has been an utter disaster. All seven of the World Series runners the right-hander has inherited have scored.
Dylan Hernandez / Los Angeles Times
“As Dave Roberts journeyed from the bench to the mound Saturday night, the fans in Dodger Stadium started to boo. The closer the manager moved to the mound, the louder the boos became.
“The audience knew something Roberts didn’t: He was making a mistake by removing Rich Hill from the game.
“Then again, the Dodgers were ahead by four runs. What in the name of Jonathan Broxton could possibly go wrong?
“Plenty, it turned out....
“Defeated 9-6, the Dodgers trail the World Series three games to one. Another loss and their dreams of claiming their first championship in 30 years are over.
“And if this season ends without a parade down Sunset Boulevard or Figueroa Street, Roberts will become the symbol of the franchise’s latest failure, just as Yu Darvish was the previous year.
“The front office could be blamed for what happened in the eighth inning, when closer Kenley Jansen gave up a tying solo home run to Steve Pearce, or the ninth, when Dylan Floro, Alex Wood and Kenta Maeda gave up five runs. Andrew Friedman and his army of assistants failed to address the team’s shortcomings in the bullpen, leaving Roberts with undesirable late-inning options.
“But the call to take out Hill in the seventh inning is on Roberts.
“Whatever information the analytically inclined front office provided him about Hill’s effectiveness the third time through the order, however confident the group of decision makers were in the roadmap to victory they designed, it’s Roberts who is on the bench. It’s Roberts who has to observe what’s unfolding on the field and react accordingly.
“And what Roberts saw in Game 4 of the Series is what everyone else in the building saw.
“Hill was dominant. Absolutely dominant....
“He started the seventh inning by walking Xander Bogaerts, but recovered by striking out Eduardo Nunez.
“Up next was a left-handed hitter in Brock Holt.
“Hill had thrown only 91 pitches. Surely, he could have continued. And, surely, he could have retired Holt, or at least had a better chance of doing so than fellow left-hander Scott Alexander, who was excluded from the roster in the National League Championship Series.
“No matter. Roberts yanked Hill.
“A calamity ensued....
“An awful night was made worse when President Trump weighed in on Roberts’ performance. Trump might not know anything about civility, but evidently he knows enough about baseball to recognize Roberts messed up.
“ ‘Watching the Dodgers/Red Sox final innings,’ Trump tweeted. ‘It is amazing how a manager takes out a pitcher who is loose & dominating through almost 7 innings, Rich Hill of Dodgers, and brings in nervous reliever(s) who get shellacked. 4 run lead gone. Managers do it all the time, big mistake!’
“Roberts smiled when he was relayed Trump’s words.
“ ‘The President said that?’ Roberts said. ‘I’m happy he was tuning in and watching the game. I don’t know how many Dodgers games he’s watched. I don’t think he was privy to the conversation. That’s one man’s opinion.’
“Roberts responded well. He always has. He remains a capable and charismatic spokesman for a storied franchise. He’s also a leader who can convince a group of talented players to sacrifice their individual pursuits for the collective good. He’s just not making particularly effective decisions.”
Bill Plaschke / Los Angeles Times
“They led by four runs. They needed eight more outs.
“Yasiel Puig was preening around the bases, Kobe Bryant was leading cheers from behind home plate, Dodger Stadium was roaring like a freight train and swaying like a palm.
“Then, a horrible managerial move. Then, boos. Then, silence.
“One day after winning the longest game in World Series history, the Dodgers suffered a dramatic Saturday night collapse that may lead to the longest winter in baseball history....
“Many will feel this decision should cost Roberts his job. That is unfair and unlikely. He has led the Dodgers to three straight National League West Division titles and consecutive World Series appearances in his tenure.
“ ‘Moves we made all year have worked out. We wouldn’t be in this position if they didn’t,’ said Hill. ‘Things just didn’t work out the way we wanted to.’ It would be hard to imagine that Roberts would be fired after this one awful moment. But then, it’s hard to imagine the Dodgers, just eight outs from redemption, suddenly finding themselves on the verge of extinction. Rich Hill was pulled, and so perhaps was the rug from underneath the Dodgers’ 2018 season.”
Back to Ryan Madson, this is a guy who pitched to a 5.47 ERA in 58 games with both Washington and then the Dodgers, who acquired him on Aug. 31. There was little reason, this year, to believe the 38-year-old would be successful, though, yes, he is second all-time in playoff appearances, and has had past success in the postseason.
That said it bears repeating...seven inherited runners in the series, all seven have scored (though you wouldn’t know this by just looking at the stats).
Finally, it’s on to Game 5, and the aforementioned decision to start David Price rather than Chris Sale raised some eyebrows, with Price going for a second time this postseason on three days’ rest (only the second time since 2008).
Cora said Saturday night that “this is a good spot for David, in a National League park, to start a game. Obviously he’s been throwing the ball well.”
And on the mound for Los Angeles, Clayton Kershaw.
--Manny Machado continued to do his free-agent cause zero good when on Friday, he blasted a ball off the wall in left, but rather than get an easy double out of it, he stood at home, admiring what he thought was a home run. We’ve seen it all year from the guy. This is the definition of an idiot...and into the December file he goes for yearend hardware.
--Lastly, L.A.’s fans were fantastic Friday and Saturday. Good for them.
College Football Review
[Comments written before release of new AP Poll]
Idle this week...1 Alabama, 4 LSU, 5 Michigan, 10 UCF
Running down the remainder of the top ten, and then some....
No. 2 Clemson has now outscored its last three opponents (Wake Forest, NC State and Florida State), 163-20, after a 59-10 demolition of FSU. Trevor Lawrence threw four TD passes for the Tigers who are obviously playing outstanding football on both sides of the line and clearly CFP bound, especially given how weak the ACC is this year.
3 Notre Dame built up a 27-0 halftime lead against disappointing Navy and cruised, 44-22, as Dexter Williams rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns.
But we had a big stumble in the top ten as No. 6 Texas trailed host Oklahoma State 31-14 at the half, battled back valiantly in the second, but fell short 38-35 in Stillwater, a wild finish that had you thinking the opposing coaches were going to come to blows. I didn’t see this as a trap game for the simple reason I felt Texas was for real. I was sadly mistaken.
In a big SEC affair, the “world’s largest outdoor cocktail party,” No. 7 Georgia easily handled 9 Florida 36-17, the Bulldogs outgaining the Gators 429-275, Georgia QB Jake Fromm with three TD passes, and Florida with three turnovers.
So Georgia is now tied with 12 Kentucky, the Wildcats 15-14 winners at Missouri, at 5-1 in the SEC East and these two square off next Saturday in Lexington. Kentucky benefited mightily from a last-second pass interference call on Mizzou that gave Kentucky time to score the game-winning touchdown with zeroes on the clock.
Also next week, No. 1 Alabama and 4 LSU battle in Baton Rouge for the probable SEC West title.
Ergo, next week is massive in terms of the CFP. Assuming Georgia and ‘Bama win, both are almost certainly squaring off in the SEC title game and Georgia would earn a CFP berth with a win. [Clemson and Notre Dame taking the other two berths.]
But of course we’re jumping way ahead of ourselves. And kind of ignoring No. 5 Michigan, who with a win against Ohio State would be able to say they belong in the final four.
8 Oklahoma is saying, ‘Hey, editor, don’t forget about us,’ the Sooners 51-14 winners against Kansas State, Kyler Murray with another terrific game, 19/24, 352, 3-0, plus a TD on the ground.
[Reminder to casual fans...Murray was the ninth overall pick in this summer’s MLB draft by the Oakland A’s...and everyone in the know says baseball is his best sport.]
In a biggie for the American Athletic Conference, Houston beat 21 South Florida 57-36, as Cougars quarterback D’Eriq King had a rather good game, 28/40, 419, 5-2, plus another 132 yards on the ground, with two more scores...seven touchdowns overall. As Ronald Reagan would have said, reading the sports pages prior to his cabinet meeting, ‘Not bad, not bad at all.’
So Houston, 7-1, will be squaring off against UCF down the road in the AAC title game, the Group of Five, New Year’s Six, bowl slot on the line...except a solid Temple squad stands in the way of both. More on this next chat after we see the first CFP rankings.
In other games of note, selected exclusively for you by moi....
14 Washington State had a very nice road win at 24 Stanford, 41-38, as quarterback Gardner Minshaw passed for 438 yards and three touchdowns. The Cougars, out of nowhere, are the best team in the godawful Pac-12.
But I do have to mention Stanford’s All-Everything, Bryce Love, who rushed for over 2,000 yards last season in his junior year, was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, and was a sure-fire first-round draft pick. He’s supposed to be just a terrific guy, smart, you name it, and he opted to stay in school for his senior year, but it’s been nothing but injuries and disappointment. If I had to guess today, though, he’s going to be a fascinating story in next spring’s draft. [Today he rushed for 68 yards on just five carries.]
So much for No. 18 Iowa’s shot at a possible New Year’s Six game (granted, I was the only one saying this), as the Hawkeyes lost at 17 Penn State, 30-24, Iowa having a pass intercepted at the Nittany Lions’ 2-yard line with about 3:20 to play. Iowa had taken advantage of a couple of awful Penn State snaps early on for two safeties, and had scored on a pass from the punter on a fake play, but the trickery wasn’t enough.
Michigan State’s 23-13 win over Purdue is huge for Ohio State and their CFP chances, I’m guessing, as the Boilermakers had just whipped the Buckeyes the week before, 49-20, to hand OSU its lone loss.
Syracuse is a very solid 6-2 after a 51-41 win over 22 North Carolina State, Orange QB Eric Dungey throwing for 411 yards and three touchdowns, while the Wolfpack’s Ryan Finley, following his crappy effort the week before at Clemson, passed for 473 and three TDs of his own.
USC is just 4-4 after a 38-35 loss to Arizona State, also 4-4. It is the first time since 2001 that the Trojans have four losses before the start of November, but as Paul Myerberg of USA TODAY Sports notes: “Nobody cares. Why? Because it’s not unexpected. That’s an issue for the Trojans’ program.” Thank god L.A. fans have the NFL Rams and Chargers (even if they don’t show up for the latter’s games), because not only is USC 4-4, but UCLA is 2-6.
My Wake Forest Demon Deacons awoke from their major slumber to blast Louisville 56-35, as the Deacs’ Matt Colburn rushed for a career-high 243 yards and three touchdowns; payback for him after Louisville rescinded a scholarship offer back when he was in high school. Wake is now 4-4, Louisville a dreadful 2-6, the Cardinals headed towards their worst mark since 2009. The Deacs needed this one badly.
Army, with a 37-22 win at Eastern Michigan, is now 6-2 and bowl eligible a third straight season for the first time in school history. Good for coach Jeff Monken and our soldiers.
Friday night, Boston College (6-2) had a big win against Miami (5-3) in Chestnut Hill, 27-14, as running back AJ Dillon returned from an injury to rumble for 149 yards and a touchdown. BC should get a decent bowl game. [And they play Clemson in two weeks, at home.]
Thursday night, No. 25 Appalachian State went down to Georgia Southern, a solid program (historically in the FCS until moving up, like App State, to D-I), and the Apps laid an egg, losing 34-14. As one of their players aptly put their short stint as a first-ever top 25 team, “It was fun while it lasted.”
Georgia Southern forced five turnovers and their QB, Shai Werts rushed for 129 yards, while completing just one of three passes, though it was a 57-yard TD effort. App State’s starting QB, Zac Thomas, was knocked out of the game on the team’s first drive.
In FCS / Div. I-AA play....
Colgate remained undefeated at 7-0, 38-0 winners over Georgetown. Alum Pete M. alerted me to the fact that the Raiders have yielded six points in their last six....TOTAL!
Who’s the defensive coordinator? Hey, Wake Forest....throw some cash at the guy, now!
And the stage is set for next week’s titanic tussle....7-0 Dartmouth at 7-0 Princeton; Dartmouth a 24-17 winner over Harvard, Princeton routing Cornell 66-0.
And now...the new AP Poll!
1. Alabama 8-0 (60)
2. Clemson 8-0
3. Notre Dame 8-0...you can relax big time, Mark R.
4. LSU 7-1
5. Michigan 7-1
6. Georgia 7-1
7. Oklahoma 7-1
8. Ohio State 7-1
9. UCF 7-0
10. Washington State 7-1...huh
11. Kentucky 7-1
17. Houston 7-1...deservedly so
18. Utah State 7-1...huge for this program...not to be confused with Utah
20. Fresno State 7-1...ditto
22. Syracuse 6-2
23. Virginia 6-2
24. Boston College 6-2
--My Jets fell to 3-5 in Chicago, 24-10, the Bears improving to 4-3. Mitch Trubisky had a solid game in the windy, rainy conditions, 16/29, 220, 2-0, 102.7. But for the Jets, rookie Sam Darnold struggled again in inclement weather, just 14/29, 153, 1-0, 75.8. It didn’t help the Jets had just 57 yards rushing on 24 carries, and that all but one of Darnold’s top four wide receivers was unavailable due to injury.
The Jets were also playing without running back Bilal Powell, who was put on IR with a potential career-threatening neck injury.
If this is the end for Powell, I just have to note what a solid Jet he has been since joining the team in 2011, a fourth-round pick out of Louisville. There were no off-the-field issues, and he played hard each down, rushing for 3,446 yards and a 4.4 average, while catching 204 passes out of the backfield.
The problem was he couldn’t stay healthy, playing a full 16 games just two years out of eight.
Hopefully, Powell can return, if that’s what he wants to do, but this is one Jet who will forever be remembered fondly.
--The pathetic Giants are now 1-7, 20-13 losers to Washington, now 5-2, as once again, Eli Manning’s stats are highly deceptive, 30/47, 316...but with two big picks and a 72.6 rating. Odell Beckham Jr. caught eight passes for 136 yards, but were it not for a late TD the score is 20-6.
I exchange notes each week with a Giants fan after our games and Newt summed it up tonight...is there any reason to watch the last eight? In my case, to see Darnold’s continued development, yes...at least for another few weeks. As for Newt’s Giants, you’d have to be nuts to waste your time as long as Eli is at the helm.
The Jets need a new coach, but, personnel-wise, are headed in the right direction.
The Giants? It will be years before they are competitive again.
Steve Politi / Star-Ledger (NJ.com)...on Eli Manning, prior to today.
“The Giants are rebuilding, and teams do not rebuild with a soon-to-be 38-yeard-old quarterback with a $23 million cap hit. The end is coming. If it doesn’t happen in the coming weeks, it certainly is happening at the end of the season – because, if it doesn’t, the team is truly hopeless.”
--Philadelphia is 4-4 after a 24-18 win in London today against Jacksonville, which is now a rather staggering 3-5. Your Bar Chat “Pick to Click” is in freefall.
Separately, four Jaguars players were detained in London over “restitution of a bill,” the incident happening early Saturday, following what is typically a night off for NFL players. The Jaguars said in a statement: “Any discipline will be handled internally.”
The Sun, a London tabloid, reported the players were accused of trying to leave the London Reign Showclub without paying their tab.
--Cincinnati is 5-3 and headed for another playoff loss after a 37-34 win over Tampa Bay (3-4). Jameis Winston was horrid for the Bucs, four interceptions, before Ryan Fitzpatrick came in to rally them back, only to fall short.
For Cincinnati, the talented Joe Mixon rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns, while Pitt’s Tyler Boyd caught nine for 138 and a score.
--The improving Colts are 3-5, 42-28 winners over the hapless Raiders, who are in turmoil over the roster moves of management, read coach and major domo, Jon Gruden, aka “Chucky.” You have to love how Andrew Luck has returned and is playing well for Indy. There is hope there. There is none in soon-to-be-Vegas...unless they pull a full house with their first-round picks in 2019.
--Pat Mahomes threw another four TD passes for the Chiefs, 7-1, who beat the 3-5 Broncos 30-23 in K.C.
--The Rams are still undefeated, 8-0, following a 29-27 win over Green Bay, 3-3-1. I have to admit I didn’t watch much of the second half of this one, but the Rams do have it all...Aaron Donald being a key to me...but then I’m partial to Pitt players...as in the following....
--...In Pittsburgh, they are asking, who needs Le’Veon Bell? Pitt’s James Conner just gets better and better, 146 yards and two touchdowns today, plus another 66 on five receptions, in the Steelers’ 33-18 win over the Browns; Pittsburgh 4-2-1, Cleveland 2-5-1.
[I’ll comment on the tragedy in Squirrel Hill in that other column I do next weekend. I love this city.]
In an immense tragedy for all of football, especially fans of the Premier League, following a 1-1 tie between Leicester City and West Ham late Saturday, as is customary after a home game, Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s helicopter landed in the middle of the pitch, then took off.
It was about an hour after the match and just a few fans were still hanging out around King Power Stadium. But witnesses saw the helicopter take off, barely clear the stadium, spin around, the engine died, and the chopper crashed in a ball of flames in the next-door parking lot.
It took a while to confirm what virtually everyone knew immediately, Vichai was on board. Five died in all.
Those of you who have followed my coverage of the Premier League know that the 2015-16 title stunningly won by Leicester is one of the top three sports stories, in all the world, the last century and owner Vichai deserved a ton of credit for it.
Vichai took control of the central England club in 2010 and he did what all fans of their team hope ownership does...spend to put a good product on the pitch. It took until 2014, though, for Leicester to get back into the top flight, after a ten-year absence. And then Vichai’s dreams, and those of Leicester, were realized when a team that started as a 5,000 to 1 pick to win it all, did just that.
According to Forbes magazine, Vichai is the fifth richest person in Thailand with an estimated net worth of $4.9 billion, his company being duty-free giant King Power International.
Well, sadly, life goes on, but Vichai will never be forgotten in England....some scores from the weekend....
Liverpool 4-1 over Cardiff; Chelsea whipped Burnley 4-0; Manchester United beat Everton 2-1, and Crystal Palace picked up a big point in drawing with Arsenal today, 2-2, thus ending the Gunners’ 7-match win streak in the PL (11 overall, including other competitions).
I’ll have the standings next time because it’s all about Monday’s game...Manchester City at Tottenham. Frankly, I have no confidence in my Spurs....I would love a draw.
--In the Champions League, it’s already over for Tottenham after blowing another late lead last week, this time to PSV Eindhoven, the game ending in a 2-2 draw that leaves the Spurs with a virtually impossible task in their final three matches (of six) to advance to the Round of 16.
--Xander Schauffele turned 25 on Thursday and celebrated with a win three days later, an important one, the World Golf Championship event in Shanghai. Schauffele birdied his final three holes today, the last one a two-putt birdie from about 30 feet on the par-5 18th hole to beat Tony Finau in a sudden-death playoff and win the HSBC Champions.
It was Schauffele’s third career win and his last two are now the 2017 Tour Championship and a WGC event. No doubt he’s right on the cusp of being seen in the same light as Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
And Brooks Koepka, who remains No. 1 in the world for at least another week after a T-16 this week.
I’ll have more on this next time, but Martin Truex Jr. is fuming after what he called a “cheap shot” by Joey Logano, Logano winning at Martinsville today...just three races left in the Chase for the Cup. Logano has qualified for the finale at Homestead. Truex still can. Regardless, there will be fireworks in the last race.
Which is what the sport needs!
--We note the passing of former NHL president John Ziegler, 84. Ziegler led the league from 1977 to 1992, overseeing a major expansion and a merger with the World Hockey Assocation.
But shortly after a 10-day player strike was settled in 1992, league owners, unhappy with the labor agreement, let Ziegler go. Gil Stein became interim president, and in 1993 Gary Bettman was named the league’s first commissioner, a position he still holds. The post of president has never been filled.
Bettman praised Ziegler in a statement for overseeing the league’s growth from 18 to 24 teams (it now has 31) and said he had been “instrumental in the NHL’s transition to becoming a more international league.”
During Ziegler’s tenure, the share of European-born players in the NHL grew from 2 to 11 percent, with players from the former Soviet Union entering the league for a first time.
In 1979 it was John Ziegler who helped broker the deal that brought the Edmonton Oilers, Quebec Nordiques, Winnipeg Jets and Hartford Whalers from the rival World Hockey Association to the NHL, bringing an end to that upstart league’s short life.
Led by Wayne Gretzky, the Oilers went on to become an NHL powerhouse, winning the Stanley Cup with Gretzky four times from the 1983-84 to the 1987-88 seasons and once more after Gretzky left, in 1989-90.
--The college basketball season is just around the corner (yippee!), but after I posted last time, I have to note that a jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts against two former Adidas employees and an aspiring sports agent in Manhattan federal court, “concluding that it constituted fraud for the defendants to funnel money to the families of college basketball recruits in exchange for the prospects’ commitment to teams sponsored by Adidas.” [Marc Tracy / New York Times]
The three – James Gatto, Adidas’ former head of global basketball marketing; Merl Code Jr., another former Adidas employee; and agent Christian Dawkins – were found guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, after a three-week trial. They face several years in prison, sentencing set for March 5.
This story is far from over.
Top 3 songs for the week 10/30/65: #1 “Yesterday” (The Beatles) #2 “A Lover’s Concerto” (The Toys) #3 “Get Off My Cloud” (The Rolling Stones)...and...#4 “Keep On Dancing” (The Gentrys) #5 “Everybody Loves A Clown” (Gary Lewis and The Playboys) #6 “Treat Her Right” (Roy Head) #7 “You’re The One” (The Vogues) #8 “Positively 4th Street” (Bob Dylan) #9 “Hang On Sloopy” (The McCoys) #10 “1-2-3” (Len Barry...outstanding week...)
College Football / NFL Quiz: 1) The lone representative from Baylor in the NFL Hall of Fame is Mike Singletary; Bethune-Cookman, the great guard Larry Little; Clemson, Brian Dawkins. Kind of shocking only one Tiger in the HOF. 2) Mel Renfro went to high school in Portland, Oregon, and then went on to become a Duck at Oregon....quack quack.
Next Bar Chat, Thursday.