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[Posted: Wed. a.m.]
Baseball Quiz: Play Ball! Name the eight active players with 300 or more career home runs. [Hint: Mark Reynolds is No. 9 at 294] Answer below.
What a next four days we have in the NCAA Tournament.
All four No. 1-3 seeds (first time since 2009), the 12 best teams in college hoops, two 4s, a 5 and a 12.
And think about the 12 seed...Oregon. The Ducks started out 15-12, 6-8 in the lousy Pac-12. But they’ve won 10 in a row, including decisive wins in the tourney over Wisconsin and UC Irvine. Oregon is hardly a Cinderella. They belong as much as anyone at this stage. Virginia, their next opponent, won’t be resting easy.
But look at these Sweet 16 matchups.
4 FSU v. 1 Gonzaga
3 Purdue v. 2 Tennessee
3 Texas Tech v. 2 Michigan
12 Oregon v. 1 Virginia
3 LSU v. 2 Michigan State
5 Auburn v. 1 UNC
4 Virginia Tech v. 1 Duke
3 Houston v. 2 Kentucky
The Elite Eight, Saturday / Sunday, promises more of the same, probably better.
CBS has to be salivating. Hoops fans are drooling like Homer Simpson in front of a plate of donuts.
--Andrew Beaton and Ben Cohen / Wall Street Journal
“There is something unexpected that seems to happen on the first weekend of every NCAA tournament. The No. 1 overall seed loses to a No. 16 seed in the first round. The nation becomes obsessed with a 98-year-old nun named Sister Jean. The son of a coach hits a game-winner so wild that his father tumbles off the rolling stool he needed because he tore his Achilles tendon celebrating another win the week before.
“But what happened in the early rounds of this year’s NCAA tournament may have been the most unexpected thing imaginable: nothing.
“If you didn’t know a single thing about college basketball and filled out your bracket with the novel strategy of picking the best teams, you’re probably beating that annoying guy in your office who acts like he’s the only one who knows what he’s doing. That’s because all of the best teams won. There were no wild upsets. There are no Cinderellas left. There isn’t even a lovable underdog. Things have been so weird that people were actually rooting for No. 1 seed Duke to survive on Sunday afternoon.
“But this NCAA tournament now has the potential to be the most exciting in years precisely because it’s been dreadfully unexciting so far.
“Zion Williamson? He’s still blowing minds for another week. The Virginia Cavaliers? They’re four wins from vindication. The LSU Tigers? They’re playing without their coach, who was suspended in the wake of allegations that he tried to arrange to pay a player, and making things highly awkward in the most hilarious way. There is North Carolina. Kentucky. Michigan and Michigan State. Gonzaga! It’s almost impossible to come up with a potential Final Four that’s anything other than epic.
“Davids make the first weekend of the NCAA tournament the most spectacular four days in sports. Goliaths are the reason to keep watching.”
--Jerry Brewer / Washington Post...a look back at Duke-UCF...
“In the final seconds, the basketball reached its inevitable destination. It landed on the fingertips of Aubrey Dawkins, the son of Duke’s favorite son, the star of this thrilling yet awkward hoops family reunion, and now the person who could ruin the most fascinating recruiting experiment of Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s career. Dawkins leaped and extended his right arm, trying to guide Central Florida teammate B.J. Taylor’s missed bank shot into the basket. Tip it just right, and he would reduce the fabled Duke freshman class to an NCAA tournament second-round flameout. Hit it a little wrong and, well, the natural order would be so heart-wrenching.
“Which basketball family would survive? The one he grew up in at Duke, where his father, the great Johnny Dawkins, will always be known as the superstar who spurred a dynasty? Or the one he joined at UCF, where his father is the head coach and, suddenly, a Blue Devil antagonist? In the end, it had to come down to blood.
“ ‘An eternity,’ Aubrey said of the wait after he touched the ball. ‘It was up there forever, I felt like, in slow motion.’
“He missed, by millimeters. The tip hit the backboard and rolled around and off the rim.
“ ‘I mean, heartbreak,’ Aubrey said. ‘That’s the only way to sum it up.’
“Final score: Duke 77, UCF 76.
“Lasting impression: Sunday was the night when the young Blue Devils, who have feasted on their hype and highlights and NBA potential all season, proved there’s more to them than spectacle.
“It took Johnny Dawkins – the recruit who changed everything for Krzyzewski when he arrived in Durham, N.C., from D.C. 37 years ago – to push the program’s most star-studded recruiting class to a level of championship resiliency.
“ ‘I was very impressed with the way that Duke, especially with freshmen, was able to withstand some of the shots we were making,’ Dawkins said. ‘It says a lot about their will. It says a lot about their overall mental toughness.’
“Some might say the Blue Devils were exposed in this game. That’s only true if there is another team remaining in the NCAA tournament with a 7-foot-6 center, a head coach who played for and coached under Krzyzewski for 10 years and a legacy player capable of going point for point with Zion Williamson. The Knights, with 7-6 Tacko Fall forcing Duke to the perimeter and Johnny Dawkins employing the perfect game plan and his son scoring 32 points, can’t be duplicated....
“When play stopped for several minutes with 2:08 remaining, Krzyzewski gathered his team. The referees were trying to determine whether a dunk by Fall would count. Taylor had missed a jumper with the shot clock expiring, and it was unclear for a long time whether the ball had hit the rim. Ultimately, the officials decided the ball did graze the rim, and Fall’s bucket counted, giving UCF a 74-70 lead. But Krzyzewski was focused on the bigger picture.
“ ‘I’m not worried,’ he told his players. ‘You guys live for these moments.’
“The confident words mattered. They emboldened Williamson to drive at Fall one more time with 14 seconds remaining and Duke trailing 76-73. Williamson elevated, hung in the air, absorbed Fall’s fifth and final foul and willed a layup into the basket as he hit the ground. He missed the free throw, but with Fall out, Barrett crashed the boards and made the game-winning layup.
“Maybe Duke loses the game if Aubrey Dawkins had been able to finish a lob pass from Dayon Griffin a few plays earlier. Maybe Duke loses the game if Williamson had been called for an offensive foul during his fateful last drive to the basket. But the Blue Devils made the plays under pressure. It was just as Krzyzewski had predicted.
“ ‘I consider him the greatest coach of all time,’ said Williamson, who finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds. ‘When he looks at you and tells you you’re made for this moment, it’s like the most confidence you can be given. So when I went to the basket, I knew it was going in.’....
“In a sobbing locker room, Dawkins’ voice cracked as he said: ‘Look, man, it’s going to always end one of two ways when we invest like we invested: celebrating or we’re going to end in tears. We end in tears. That’s because we invested so much in each other and so much in what we were doing. I love you guys. It’s been amazing coaching this group.’
“Dawkins expressed that love just minutes after his old coach had hugged him tightly and done the same.
“ ‘Johnny’s team was magnificent,’ Krzyzewski said. ‘They were so well prepared. That’s as high a level of any team that we’ve played against all year. They were men.’”
--Conference Records / Power Six thus far....
Big Ten... 10-5
Big 12... 5-5
Big East... 1-4 ...confirmation of a really down year for them
Big 12... 12-7
Big Ten... 9-4
Big East... 9-5
Big Ten 3
--Phil W. passed along some notes from the ACC, such as the fact the conference has the most national titles of any conference (six) in football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball since 2015: Clemson football (2016, 2018), Notre Dame women’s basketball (2018), North Carolina men’s basketball (2017), Duke men’s basketball (2015), Virginia baseball (2015).
And as I noted above, we have more teams in the Sweet Sixteen.
But I thought this note about Coach K was rather remarkable. He now has 96 NCAA Tournament wins, which are more than any other coach in history, but it’s more than all but five teams and eight conferences all-time in NCAA play.
--There are multiple reports this morning that despite being arrested Monday for separate extortion and fraud cases in both New York and California, attorney Michael Avenatti could still cause a major problem for the NCAA as he alleged, even after his arrest(s) that people close to Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, the No. 1 pick in last year’s NBA draft, and University of Oregon player Bol Bol, the son of former NBA player Manute Bol, both received sums from Nike.
“The receipts are clear as day,” Avenatti tweeted Tuesday. “A lot of people at Nike will have to account for their criminal conduct.”
The following was written early Tuesday a.m.
--I noted some of the contract extensions of the past week, and it’s impacting the Mets, teammates and fans with management thus far refusing to give an extension to Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, who is under team control through 2020. DeGrom said he would not negotiate a new deal once Opening Day arrived and here we are, Opening Day, Thursday, deGrom vs. Max Scherzer in Washington and zero sign Mets management is about to cut a deal with their ace and leader.
So teammates such as Noah Syndergaard and veteran Todd Frazier are expressing their displeasure that ownership isn’t recognizing the realities of the market, such as Boston’s move the other day to grant Chris Sale a five-year, $145 million extension on top of the $15 million he will make this year. DeGrom, many feel, should get the same contract.
And deGrom supporters point out that Sale, who turns 30 this coming weekend, has thrown 1,482 innings, while deGrom, who turns 31 in June, has thrown 897 at the big league level, so far less wear and tear.
As a fan, I just want deGrom to get a fair deal so we all can move on, but as I noted last chat, the Mets have been burned before with nine-figure deals to Johann Santana, David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes. You can’t blame them for waiting out 2019, and then offering an extension in the offseason. But the obvious risks there are many-fold, including a pissed off team and fan base, with no telling how that will translate on the field. That said, winning does take care of a lot of other issues.
Noah Syndergaard had expressed his frustration Sunday.
“Jake’s the best pitcher in baseball right now. I think he deserves whatever amount he’s worth. I want to keep him happy, so when it does come time for him to reach free agency, he stays on our side pitching for the Mets. I just think they should quit all this fuss and pay the man already.”
But Noah and teammates were also upset that for some inexplicable reason, Mets management thought it was good to fly the team to Syracuse (after a three-hour bus ride to Sarasota to play the Orioles in an exhibition game) for a meet and greet with fans and workout in the Carrier Dome Tuesday, then they were flying to Washington for the opener Thursday.
The Mets’ Triple-A team is moving to Syracuse and ownership wants the club to get off to a good start with the locals, but, c’mon. You can do something like this during the season.
Syndergaard said, “I don’t think that’s what championships teams do prior to the season.”
So then the chartered flight that was supposed to leave Sarasota on Monday encountered a mechanical issue that led to a 3 ½-hour delay taking off. Needless to say, the Mets’ players were rather agitated.
Meanwhile, back to Sale, ESPN’s Buster Olney had the following take.
“Boston Red Sox owner John Henry did something admirable earlier last month, acknowledging the mistake he made as Jon Lester moved closer to free agency in 2015. If you recall, Boston lowballed Lester on an initial offer, $70 million, for less than half of what the left-hander eventually got from the Chicago Cubs, $155 million.
“The Red Sox lost an ace with a strong postseason history in the prime of his career, without proposing anything close to market value. By doing that, they turned the offseason negotiation into a competition they were destined to lose. ‘I think we blew the signing [of Jon Lester] in spring training,’ Henry said last month.
“Hey, live and learn, right?
“But somebody has to say it: Henry and the Red Sox have made another mistake with a lefty ace, Chris Sale, this time with an outsized $145 million, five-year extension on top of the $15 million he will make this year. In the current context, in the current market, it appears to be a significant overpay and an assumption of enormous risk....
“When he joined the Red Sox, Sale talked about how he wanted to win, and backed up his words with his actions at the end of last season. His fastball velocity dropped significantly in the last month, from 97.6 mph on Aug. 12 to 90.2 mph on Sept. 26, and yet he kept taking the ball through October, giving new manager Alex Cora and his teammates all he had.
“Even after all that, Sale still made himself available to pitch in the World Series, starting Game 1 and contributing four innings, before entering in relief in the bottom of the ninth of Game 5. Riding the adrenaline of the moment – driving the adrenaline, really – Sale threw hard, he spun the ball well and Manny Machado swung over the top of one of his sliders to end the World Series....
“But there is a practical side to Henry...someone who gets the numbers, and the numbers at the end of last season lead to natural questions about whether Sale’s stuff will hold up through even the first years of the deal. Roy Halladay was the best pitcher in baseball in 2010, and less than three years later, in 2013, he was done, his ERA close to 7. Clayton Kershaw is arguably the best regular-season pitcher in history, and now his average fastball velocity drops below 90 mph some days – and for the fourth straight year, he’s dealing with some physical issues. It’s not a question of if there will be a breakdown with Sale, but when; that’s the way it is with all pitchers. Anybody who watched him pitch last October could see the red flags....
“There’s no getting around the fact that Sale’s deal doesn’t really slot into the other payouts in the market, and is probably greater than what other teams would be willing to pay, seven months before he’s actually on the open market.
“It’s Henry’s money, to spend as he sees fit, and maybe he views it as some kind of a Lester penance. He wasn’t going to let this lefty ace get away.”
Well, the above was written early Tuesday, and then around 9:00 a.m., word flashed the Mets, out of nowhere, and deGrom had reached agreement on a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension. The contract replaces his current deal, where he is making $17 million this season following arbitration, and includes an opt-out after 2022 and a club option for 2024.
Mets fans are psyched.
Buster Olney weighed in again.
“If the Mets didn’t finish the deGrom deal, they would’ve been dunked on in about a dozen ways.
“1. Fair or not, the failure to sign deGrom would’ve reinforced the already embedded fan perception that the Mets just aren’t willing to spend like other big-market teams. The Red Sox, Cubs and Yankees will all post payrolls over $200 million, and the Dodgers, Nationals and Giants are close to that. The Mets are closer to $160 million. Sure, they paid heavily for Yoenis Cespedes two winters ago, and took on big dollars to deal for Robinson Cano in order to land the game’s best closer, Edwin Diaz. They signed Jed Lowrie and Wilson Ramos, and expended a large sum in prospect value. But none of that would have mattered if deGrom wasn’t locked up, because he would have become the symbol of that fan unrest. A talk-radio and back-page tsunami would’ve once again rolled over the Mets and their payroll habits.
“2. The Mets ran the risk of alienating their best and most important player. The NL East is saturated with great players, among four apparently strong teams, and the Mets’ margin for error is minimal. The Phillies committed more than half a billion dollars to upgrade their roster, the Braves are the defending champions, and the Nationals might be the most dangerous team in the division, armed with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin. Manager Mickey Callaway has to have excellence and significant production out of deGrom. If the Mets made a business decision and said no to a new deal, deGrom would’ve had the option of making his own business decision and protecting himself, in innings and pitch counts. That’s no way to win a division.
“3. There would’ve been an increased risk the Mets clubhouse would become a very cynical place. It might be that other players would have loved to say what Syndergaard said, but don’t have the stature or the platform to do it. If deGrom hadn’t become part of the many stars landing contract extensions, at least some of his teammates would ask, as Syndergaard did: Why not?
“What they know about deGrom is that he is always prepared, he always competes, he is a model of professionalism, and he is arguably the best pitcher in baseball. The talk among his teammates would’ve become, inevitably: If you aren’t going to pay deGrom, who the heck are you going to pay?
“An executive with another team said Monday, ‘Once players start focusing on something like that – it’s really hard to stop.’”
So here’s what we’ve learned the past two weeks in particular with the rash of extensions from Trout on down. Free-agency is indeed broken...as in top pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel are unemployed as the season starts, and veterans like Adam Jones receive a one-year deal for $3 million, if they’re lucky. [I’m not saying Jones, who turns 34 this summer and is coming off a down power year, is worth an extended deal, but just two years ago, he probably gets something far more than he did the other week.]
One player who bears watching in the future is Boston superstar Mookie Betts, who becomes eligible for a Trout / Harper-esque contract after 2020, at age 28. Betts, today, is saying he’s not interested in an extension, a la teammate Chris Sale. We’ll see what happens next winter and whether he wants to take the risk of playing 2020 with no certainty, or takes a multi-year extension at $30 million+ with an opt-out.
--Arizona lost outfielder Steven Souza Jr., who hit 30 homers in 2017, to a freak season-ending knee injury when the right fielder tore his ACL while scoring in an exhibition game Monday night. His foot appeared to slip on home plate after he touched it on what was a routine, non-contact play.
What this does is open things up for the above-mentioned Jones.
--Bob S. passed along a piece from Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle titled: “Was baseball better 50 years ago? Here are 25 major ways it’s changed.”
Of course 50 years ago it was the Mets defeating the Orioles in the World Series.
So a few of Jenkins’ 25....
A big change is pace of game, 2 ½ hours then vs. 3 hours+ today. Jenkins points to Game 5 of the ’69 Series being played in 2:14. The game times for all five were 2:13, 2:20, 2:23, 2:33, 2:14.
Pitching staffs generally maxed at 10 in those days; the Mets using six in the Series, the Orioles seven.
Pitch counts were nonexistent. “Starters routinely worked well past 120 pitches, and they were durable. The 1969 season featured 982 complete games, led by Bob Gibson’s 28. The Giants had the most as a team (71), led by Juan Marichal (27) and Gaylord Perry (26).
Every postseason game in ’69 was played during the day (the first World Series night game was Game 4 of the 1971 World Series).
The highest-paid player in 1969 was Willie Mays at $135,000. Bryce Harper, based on career averages, will make $45,000 for every plate appearance.
Shifts were little more than guarding the lines or shading outfielders in a certain direction. Now: “There were 34,673 shifts employed in the majors last season. Left-handed power hitters batted .192 when pulling a groundball between first and second base.”
But as Jenkins concludes: “Critics have had baseball at its death’s door since the 19th century, but never forget: A game this resplendent cannot be killed. It still looks magnificently appealing to me.”
--The Eastern Conference has a super tight race for the final playoff spots.
After Detroit lost to Denver last night, 95-92, and Miami lost to Orlando, 104-99, we have the following:
6. Brooklyn 38-37
7. Detroit 37-37
8. Orlando 37-38
9. Miami 36-38
--I half follow the Portland Trail Blazers because of former Demon Deacon Al-Farouq Aminu, a key cog on the team, and they have had a very solid, under the radar season at 46-27, fourth in the West. It’s the sixth-straight season of making the playoffs for coach Terry Stotts.
But in a 148-144 double-overtime win over Brooklyn Monday night, in the second OT, Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, in the midst of a 32 point, 16 rebound effort, was jumping for a rebound and came down awkwardly in a tangle of bodies under the basket. After hitting the floor, the Nets players around him saw the severity of the injury and sprinted away.
Blazers medical rushed to Nurkic, he was taken away on a stretcher, and in the morning we learned he had suffered compound fractures to the tibia and fibula of his lower left leg, a long recovery ahead for him.
A crushing blow for Portland’s playoff hopes, Nurkic averaging 15.4 points and 10.3 rebounds this season.
Star Portland guard Damian Lillard said: “It made me sick to my stomach. I think he tried to tip it in, he crashed the glass and I saw him hit the ground and roll over real quick, and I thought maybe he got hit in the face or something again. As I was walking over there, I saw everybody else turn around real quick and walk away, and then I looked and saw his leg – and you just hate to see that happen to him.”
--Phoenix’ Devin Booker had a game for the ages, in defeat, Monday night, Booker scoring 59 points to become the first player in NBA history with 50 in a game in which his team lost by 30 or more.
Booker had 59 of his team’s 92 points in a 125-92 loss to the Utah Jazz. He hit 19 of 34 from the field (5 of 8 from three), while the rest of the team was 12 of 42.
--We note the passing of Cal Ramsey, 81, a fixture on the New York basketball scene for more than a half-century who starred at New York University in the 1950s, played briefly for the Knicks and remained with them as a longtime broadcaster and community relations representative.
Ramsey, who lived in Harlem since he was young (after being born in Selma, Ala.), honed his skills in the famous Rucker League, and then played at NYU, where he was a teammate of future Boston Celtic forward Tom “Satch” Sanders.
Most of us of a certain generation remember Ramsey fondly as a color analyst for Knicks broadcasts from 1972 to 1982, after which he went into community relations for the team.
In Praise of Gronk
I’m a Jets fan, so of course I hate the Patriots. And I really can’t stand Tom Brady.
But I could never hate Rob Gronkowski. The guy always stood apart in my book. I grudgingly admire Brady’s greatness, but Gronk, even as he was helping beat my team time and time again, was different.
So knowing his health issues, and the risks he was taking in returning for another season, I’m glad he retired, and it has nothing to do with his no longer going up against my team twice a season.
In an Instagram post:
“Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be. But now it’s time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for the rest of my life.”
Gronk is just fun. And he’ll continue to be fun in whatever he chooses to do in the future. Personally, I think he’d be a Tony Romo-esque figure in the broadcast booth, while I can’t imagine I’d go to the kind of movie he’d likely be in should he go the Hollywood route. [NFL Network says Gronk agreed to a deal with a film or television company before the Super Bowl.]
Heck, just thinking out loud, put him in the “Monday Night Football” booth. He’d be better than that other former tight end in their now.
Or maybe President Trump can create a new position... “Ambassador of Fun.” Have Gronk travel around the world, going into pubs, pretending to be a serious student of Impressionism while touring the Musee d’Orsay in Paris....with a weekly television show. I guarantee it would be a wild hit. Anthony Bourdain Lite, if you will. We need some ‘love’ spread around the world. Everyone loves Gronk. It’s a no-brainer.
Anyway...that’s a memo.
As for his playing career, the symmetry between his regular-season statistics and his postseason numbers is pretty startling.
100 starts*...521 receptions, 7861 yards, 15.1 avg., 79 TDs
16 starts...81 receptions, 1163 yards, 14.4 avg., 12 TDs
Only, obviously, the competition is far greater in the playoffs than the overall regular-season, which makes his playoff record even more impressive.
*Gronk played in 115 games, overall, but many of these were in a limited role due to injuries, or his rookie season.
--Separately, regarding the NFL, owners took a major and unexpected step Tuesday to expand instant replay as an officiating tool and address the officiating gaffe that denied the New Orleans Saints a spot in the Super Bowl.
Owners voted 31-1 to make pass interference reviewable by replay. Both interference calls and non-calls by the officials can be reviewed, via a coach’s challenge in the first 28 minutes of each half and by booth review in the final two minutes of each half. The change was ratified on a one-year trial basis.
“I think we got it right,” Saints Coach Sean Payton said.
--UFC star Conor McGregor tweeted he was retiring – for the second time – from his sport.
“Hey guys quick announcement, I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as ‘Mixed Martial Art’ today,” he tweeted.
Hours later, the Dublin-born brawler was accused of assaulting a woman in December and was arrested the following month, though due to Ireland’s strict privacy laws, he was just named in the ongoing investigation.
--Kate Feldman of the New York Daily News had a piece on Todd Rundgren, who at 70 is still touring, and now has his memoir to promote, “The Individualist.”
As you know I’m a big Rundgren fan, his “Hello It’s Me” being in my top three all time, and I liked what he told Ms. Feldman when it comes to today’s music scene.
“There’s a lot of very interesting music out there, but it’s not the first thing you’re going to find or the first thing you’re going to think of it. The first thing you’re going to find or think of is whatever crap is in my Apple News feed, which is usually something about Cardi B. I couldn’t hum you a single Cardi B song and probably never will.
“Music has become part of an overall personal marketing strategy. People are personalities. They make the excuses, ‘yeah, I’m a musician.’ You have put together all of the things that are necessary to ‘make music,’ but you’re a personality. You dress weird, you pick fights with Nicki Minaj. People know more about that than they know about the frickin’ music.”
But Rundgren talks about a song he collaborated with Steely Dan cofounder Donald Fagen on, “Tin Foil Hat,” a takedown of President Trump after the 2016 election. It was part of Rundgren’s “White Knight” album.
During the ensuing tour, he played a music video for the song during a set break to give him a few moments backstage to breathe and change outfits.
Big mistake. Turns out his fan base consists of a lot of Trump supporters.
As for not being in the Rock Hall of Fame, which is rather startling because he not only did some great music, but he also is a major producer, going back to Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell,” Rundgren wasn’t bitter.
“For me, I was 35 years old when they established the Rock Hall of Fame,” he told the News. “I already had three careers. I didn’t need a Hall of Fame to make me feel like I accomplished anything.”
As for the new tour, reunited with Utopia, he’s finally given into playing fan requests during shows, which he had long refused to do.
“There’s no spectacle, no indoor fireworks or supersized snake or Twitter wars. If people, even longtime fans, don’t like his new work, that’s fine. Someone else will, or maybe they won’t. That’s fine, too.
“Rundgren isn’t putting on an act. He is the act.”
--Johnny Mac passed on a piece that will have ‘Man’ falling below that of the Banana Slug on the All-Species List.
From WJLA TV, Arlington, Va. “The latest victims in the growing opioid epidemic are family pets being hurt, on purpose, so addicts can get their hands on opiates.
“And now the FDA is sounding the alarm, sending a major warning to veterinarians.
“It’s a growing nationwide problem and some states like Kentucky, Texas, Utah, and Colorado are also sending out warnings.”
Among the FDA’s recommendations, it is “urging veterinarians to have a safety plan in place in case they encounter someone they believe has hurt an animal trying to get a hold of drugs.”
--And then there was this...a follow-up to my story on the annual desecration of California’s wild flowers each spring. Yesterday, park officials with the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve said that a pair of visitors had set a helicopter down Monday amid the fields of orange blossoms in Lancaster and then proceeded to walk around.
“We never thought it would be explicitly necessary to state that it is illegal to land a helicopter in the middle of the fields and begin hiking off trail in the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve,” official posted. “We were wrong.”
It was last week that Lake Elsinore was forced to close access to the poppy fields in Walker Canyon after throngs trampled on the delicate blooms.
--But we’ll end on a positive note, and a further reason why ‘Dog’ is No. 1 on the ASL. A Virginia police dog found two missing children lost in the woods this weekend, the Powhatan Sheriff’s Office said.
As WRIC television reported, as daylight faded, parents and neighbors spent 45 minutes searching for the two 8-year-old children before calling officials.
The children got lost playing a “chase game,” WRIC reported.
Deputies and K-9 Bane searched the house before entering the woods. From there, Bane tracked and located the children in 15 minutes.
The dog enjoyed Chick-fil-A ice cream as his reward. [USA TODAY]
Top 3 songs for the week 3/25/72: #1 “A Horse With No Name” (America) #2 “Heart Of Gold” (Neil Young) #3 “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (Robert John)...and...#4 “Puppy Love” (Donny Osmond) #5 “Mother And Child Reunion” (Paul Simon) #6 “Without You” (Nilsson) #7 “The Way Of Love” (Cher) #8 “Jungle Fever” (The Chakachas) #9 “Everything I Own” (Bread) #10 “I Gotcha” (Joe Tex)
Baseball Quiz Answer: Active players with 300 home runs.
1. Albert Pujols 633
2. Miguel Cabrera 465
3. Edwin Encarnacion 380
4. Nelson Cruz 360
5. Curtis Granderson 332
6. Ryan Braun 322
7. Robinson Cano 311
8. Giancarlo Stanton 305
Boy, I had no idea Encarnacion was up to 380, and I had missed that Granderson was now a Marlin.
Next Bar Chat, Monday. Enjoy the hoops action.