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Virginia vs. Texas Tech
[Posted Sunday p.m.]
1969 Mets Quiz: As opposed to last week’s MLB start to the season being March 28, in 1969, the Mets didn’t start what turned out to be a special, Miracle, season until April 8th. Name the starting lineup that day. Answer below.
The semifinals Saturday weren’t exactly classics, but the first one will certainly be remembered for a final sequence.
Auburn was down 57-47 with 5:24 remaining following a 3-pointer by Virginia’s Ty Jerome. But then Auburn stormed back, led by Bryce Brown’s trio of threes, and suddenly it was 61-57, Auburn, with 0:17 left to play, game seemingly over.
Kyle Guy then hit a clutch three from the corner to cut it to 61-60, and with 0.07 seconds remaining, Auburn’s Jared Harper missed the second of two free throws, Ty Jerome with the defensive rebound.
But Auburn had fouls to give, fouling UVA twice. Then on the final inbounds play, the officials, and virtually everyone watching, including Auburn legend Charles Barkley, missed a double dribble on Jerome. Eventually, Jerome got the ball to Kyle Guy who went up for the game-winning three, only to be fouled by Samir Doughty.
Steve Serby / New York Post
“You wait your whole life for this, you work your whole life for this, and you are 0.6 seconds from the national championship game...then the dream you have dreamed from the time you were a little boy becomes a nightmare, and exhilaration turns to devastation.
“By a referee’s call that will live in infamy in Auburn.
“A controversial call that was the right call...at the wrong moment.
“At the worst possible moment on the worst possible stage.
“Doughty had brushed Guy and now he sat patiently at his locker, a lion-hearted tattoo on his chest, answering question after question, the tears trying to dry in his eyes after Virginia’s 63-62 win over Auburn.
“He was clearly wrestling with what he and his teammates considered this injustice of a lifetime and taking the high road at the behest of coach Bruce Pearl.
“ ‘I didn’t feel like I fouled whatsoever,’ Doughty would eventually say. ‘Everybody in the locker room honestly thought it wasn’t a foul, but I don’t know, I gotta see it.’
“When Guy’s shot missed, the Auburn players started celebrating more history.
“And then they weren’t. And Pearl was raging in disbelief. Because referee James Breeding had been slow with the whistle.”
J.D. Collins, the national coordinator of officiating, said: “[Breeding] ruled that Doughty moved into the airborne shooter, making contact with Guy while taking away his landing spot. The foul was a violation of Rule 4, Section 39.i, which states, ‘The defender may not ‘belly up’ or use the lower part of the body or arms to cause contact outside his vertical plane or inside the opponent’s vertical plane.’”
So Kyle Guy goes to the foul line for three shots, Virginia down 62-60. Guy, an 81.8 percent free-throw shooter, hit the first two and Pearl tried to ice him with a timeout. “I was terrified,” Guy said.
He made the third, sending Virginia to the title game Monday night, a year after making the worst kind of history as a 1-seed losing to 16-seed UMBC.
Jerry Brewer / Washington Post
“By grit, by luck, by any basketball means necessary, Virginia lives. The Cavaliers cannot die, it seems. They will not die. After years of collecting despair in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, they have been granted a spring full of grace. Drama, too. But mostly grace.
“For the first time in team history, they will play for the national title Monday night, and for that, they should thank the doughty referee who called a controversial last-second foul on Samir Doughty. They should thank the unshakable Kyle Guy, their latest unforgettable clutch savior, who stepped to the line and made the three biggest free throws of his life to nip Auburn, 63-62, on Saturday night at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“And they should thank the Tigers and their coach, Bruce Pearl, who has been called a scoundrel for his rule-violating sins but who handled the gut-wrenching defeat with so much class that it makes it much easier for Virginia to move forward without an overwhelming amount of defensiveness.
“Just a week ago, the Cavaliers advanced to the Final Four via one of the greatest games in tournament history, an 80-75 overtime classic against Purdue. Mamadi Diakite was their legend on that night for tossing in an improbable buzzer-beater to complete an improbable three-point possession that forced overtime. Now there’s Saturday’s wild finish to commit to memory. And there’s another tournament hero to embrace for eternity. Diakite will gladly make room for Guy.”
In the nightcap, Texas Tech emerged victorious, 61-51 over Michigan State, setting up a finale on Monday between two teams that have never played for the title. In fact, Texas Tech has like one title of any consequence in the school’s history, a women’s basketball championship back in 1993.
And the Red Raiders won while their best player, Jarrett Culver, was missing in action, 3 of 12 from the floor, 10 points, but Matt Mooney picked up the slack, scoring 22, including three second half 3-pointers.
As for the Spartans, their star point guard, Cassius Winston, made only 4 of16 shots, with just two assists. Kenny Goins, the hero of the game against Duke, didn’t score at all.
The Red Raiders’ stifling defense held the Spartans to just 15 of 47 from the field, 31.9%. The 51 points were a season low.
Michigan State has now been to eight Final Fours in the last 21 seasons under coach Tom Izzo, but it has just one title, back in 2000, over that span.
--If Kyle Guy hadn’t gone to the line and hit three in a row for the win, we’d be talking about the fact that Virginia was 3 for 9 from the foul line prior to this.
--The over/under on the title game is the lowest in 20 years, 117.5-118 in some of the sportsbooks, last I saw. Ergo, 62-56?
I mean after 63-62 and 61-51 semifinals, it only makes sense.
--With one game to go, the conference records for the tournament:
Big 12 8-5
Big Ten 13-8
Phil W. reminded me that the ACC has finished .500 or better in each of the last 32 tournaments. The Big Ten has the next longest streak at 13.
College Hoops Notes....
--So last time I noted that John Calipari had signed a lifetime extension at Kentucky after UCLA had been granted permission to talk to him.
And if I had been posting a Bar Chat, say, on Thursday instead of Wednesday morning, I would have written that UCLA was on the verge of hiring TCU’s Jamie Dixon, who had major success before he went to TCU at Pitt. It was to be a triumphant homecoming for the North Hollywood native, Dixon’s father a screenwriter.
But Dixon’s candidacy apparently ended Friday, due to insurmountable issues concerning his $8 million buyout at TCU, as people close to the situation told the Los Angeles Times that the Horned Frogs were unwilling to lower the amount and the Bruins refused to pay it even after identifying Dixon as their top candidate.
TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the school did not even enter into negotiations with Dixon regarding the buyout. And then TCU chancellor Victor Boshini informed the paper that Dixon had reaffirmed his commitment to remaining at the school.
So picture this is UCLA, and they are failing to cough up Dixon’s buyout, after offering Calipari a six-year, $45-million contract, which would have nearly tripled the amount made by Steve Alford before his dismissal in late December.
The L.A. Times says it’s probably donor fatigue, after paying $3.6 million to buy out Alford, a little more than a year after having paid roughly $12 million to buy out football coach Jim Mora.
So now it’s expected UCLA will pivot to Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin, or a fallback like St. Mary’s Randy Bennett, Texas coach Shaka Smart, or former Bruins point guard and onetime Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson.
OR...it could wait for the Lakers’ Luke Walton to become available, with their season ending in less than a week.
OR...they could make a play for Virginia’s Tony Bennett or Texas Tech’s Chris Beard, though Texas Tech said they have the resources to keep Beard.
Personally, I’d go with Luke Walton.
Cronin, on the other hand, is a safe pick, his teams having made it to the NCAA tournament nine consecutive seasons, though without advancing past a regional semifinal.
--Virginia Tech’s Buzz Williams is moving on to Texas A&M. “Coach Williams made a very positive impact on the culture of our basketball program at Virginia Tech,” athletic director Whit Babcock said. “We appreciate all that Buzz and his staff did for our students and our program.”
Williams did a super job, taking a dead program and going 100-69, with three straight NCAA Tournaments for the first time in program history. Prior to that, he did a terrific job at Marquette. Lifetime he’s 253-155.
Multiple sources told CBS Sports that Texas A&M, with the help of boosters, is prepared to pay Williams more money – easily north of $3 million annually – than it’s ever paid for a basketball coach in its history. This is after the school is on the hook for approximately $5 million for Billy Kennedy and his staff, who were fired in March after eight seasons and two NCAA Tournament appearances.
A&M also gave football coach Jimbo Fisher a 10-year, $75 million contract in August after firing Kevin Sumlin.
Williams is a Texas native.
Among those in the running to replace Williams is reportedly Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard.
But...it now seems Wofford’s Mike Young is the choice.
--Vanderbilt hired Memphis Grizzlies assistant and former North Carolina star Jerry Stackhouse to be its next basketball coach, Stackhouse succeeding the recently fired Bryce Drew, who went just 40-59 in three seasons, including a winless SEC mark for 2018-19.
Stackhouse has been considered for a number of NBA head coaching positions after success in coaching the Raptors’ G-League team.
Good job by Vandy. Stackhouse will turn this program around.
[Vandy’s new athletic director, Malcolm Turner, was a successful G-League president, but has no college administration experience.]
--Kelvin Sampson signed a contract extension to remain with the Houston Cougars through the 2024-25 season, the school announced Thursday.
Sampson will receive a reported $18 million over the next six seasons. He had been the primary candidate for the Arkansas job once the Razorbacks fired Mike Anderson.
Houston had a super season, 33-4, losing in the Sweet 16 in a terrific contest against Kentucky.
--Speaking of the Razorbacks, Arkansas ended up hiring Nevada’s Eric Musselman, who had led the Wolfpack to three NCAA tournament appearances in four seasons, though this year’s edition ended in highly-disappointing fashion. That said he was 86-20 his last three.
Musselman, 54, has also been a head coach in the NBA for three seasons, with Golden State and Sacramento, going 108-138.
--Zion Williamson was the runaway choice for AP men’s college basketball player of the year, claiming 59 of 64 votes from AP Top 25 voters.
Freshman teammate RJ Barrett earned two votes, with Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter, Michigan State’s Cassius Winston and Murray State’s Ja Morant each picking up one vote.
BUT...Tennessee’s Grant Williams, not Hunter, was on the first team, along with the other four.
The second team has:
Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga
Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech
Markus Howard, Marquette
Ethan Happ, Wisconsin
Carsen Edwards, Purdue
The third team:
Dedric Lawson, Kansas
Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga
PJ Washington, Kentucky
Kyle Guy, Virginia
--But Zion Williamson is under the microscope for a different reason, following a tweet from attorney Michael Avenatti Friday that Nike executive Carlton DeBose bribed Williamson and other five-star recruits to attend schools associated with the Nike brand.
Federal prosecutors in New York have accused Avenatti of attempting to extort Nike. Avenatti claims Williamson’s mother, Sharonda Sampson, received money from Nike during her son’s recruitment. Avenatti shared a 41-page document over social media, but it did not contain anything specific mentioning Williamson.
Duke said it was “looking into” the allegations.
Nike said it will “continue its cooperation with the government’s investigation into grassroots basketball and the related extortion case.”
--Texas won the NIT championship, 81-66 over upstart Lipscomb.
--In the Women’s Final Four, Friday, Notre Dame advanced to the championship game to face Baylor, the Fighting Irish topping UConn, 81-76, while the Bears beat Oregon 72-67.
And so tonight, in the final, Notre Dame trailed 66-55 after three (the women play four quarters), only to take a 77-76 lead with under 3:00 to play, but Baylor prevailed for its third national championship 82-81.
--On Thursday, Notre Dame women’s coach Muffet McGraw made a splash in an interview when she said she was no longer hiring men as assistant coaches. Then at a news conference she said:
“We don’t have enough female role models, we don’t have enough visible women leaders, we don’t have enough women in power. Girls are socialized to know when they come out, gender roles are already set. Men run the world. Men have the power. Men make the decisions.”
Women made up 59.5% of Division I women’s basketball head coaches in 2018, according to NCAA data, down from 63.6% a decade earlier. Men make up 100% of Division I men’s basketball head coaches.
“So yes, when you look at men’s basketball, and 99% of the jobs go to men, why shouldn’t 100 or 99% of the jobs in women’s basketball go to women?” McGraw said. “Maybe it’s because we only have 10% women athletic directors in Division I. People hire people who look like them. And that’s the problem.”
Women made up 11% of Division I ADs in 2018, according to the NCAA. [Rachel Bachman / Wall Street Journal]
--Will Hobson / Washington Post
“Sylvia Hatchell, the University of North Carolina’s Hall of Fame women’s hoops coach and one of the most revered figures in the sport, is under investigation over allegations that she made a series of racially offensive remarks – including one suggesting her players would get ‘hanged from trees with nooses’ at an upcoming game if their performance didn’t improve – and that she tried to force players to compete through serious injuries, according to interviews with seven people with knowledge of the investigation, including six parents of current players.
“The parents spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution for their daughters. A larger group of parents made the allegations at a meeting with university administrators last Thursday evening in Chapel Hill, N.C.”
In a statement, North Carolina said it would have no further comment until the review is completed.
--Last Sunday, in the race for the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, we had:
6. Detroit 39-37
7. Brooklyn 39-38
8. Miami 38-38
9. Orlando 38-39
But tonight as I go to post:
6. Brooklyn 41-40
7. Orlando 40-40
8. Detroit 39-41...lost four in a row, including today, 104-91 to Charlotte
9. Miami 38-42
A huge choke job by the Heat, who lost their fourth in a row to Toronto this afternoon, 117-109. They could be eliminated with wins by Brooklyn and Orlando later...and the Nets just clinched a spot with a 108-96 win over the Pacers. Orlando is playing Boston as I post.
--In their home opener Thursday, the Mets were shut out by Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals 4-0 and for the next two days, with an off day Friday, there were tons of stories on the Mets’ failure to hit in their home park, Citi Field.
From 2012 to 2018, the organization twice brought in the outfield fences in an effort to boost scoring, but the Mets still rank last in the majors in home batting average (.230), OPS (.677) and runs per game (3.72) during those years, as reported by the Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond. Yet on the road, the Mets, in those seven seasons, have the fifth-best batting average (.255), resulting in 4.5 runs a game.
The Mets have a .487 winning percentage at home, a .485 percentage on the road. Every team posts a better record at home than on the road, but none has a smaller advantage than the Mets.
Last season, the Mets hit .215 at home (vs. .252 on the road), the worst batting average at home since the 1968 Yankees hit .210.
Saturday, however, the Mets broke through with five solo home runs on the way to a fine 6-5 comeback win over the Nats.
And then today, they scored nine runs. Only one problem. They fell behind 12-1 to Max Scherzer and the Nationals, as Mets pitchers allowed 12 walks in the first six innings! Final 12-9.
I do have to add that Washington reliever Trevor Rosenthal has failed to get any of the nine batters he has faced thus far out, seven of them scoring. Ergo, he has an ERA of INF (infinity).
Meanwhile, in Wednesday’s 6-4 win over the Marlins in Miami, Jacob deGrom went seven scoreless, striking out a career-high 14. And he homered.
DeGrom’s ERA the past two seasons is 1.56. His ERA his past 30 starts is 1.40. In those 205 innings, he has allowed eight home runs.
The reigning Cy Young Award winner also tied Bob Gibson’s major league record with 26 consecutive quality starts, and extended his record to 31 consecutive starts allowing three runs or fewer.
It’s been an interesting first nine games for my Metsies. They are 3-3 facing Washington’s Scherzer, Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, and 3-0 against the Marlins.
If the Mets are to win 90, they have to play .500 ball, but beat up on the Marlins and the Reds in the 26 games between the two...or something close to that.
--The Yankees issued a somewhat optimistic injury report on third baseman Miguel Andujar, who it is feared will require season-ending shoulder surgery. Andujar, in the midst of a two-week rehab schedule that is to determine his fate, is at least fielding ground balls.
But with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki going on the shelf with a left calf strain, the Yanks are currently without these two, as well as ace Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Dellin Betances and Didi Gregorius.
The Yankees swept the Orioles in Baltimore this weekend, however, hitting seven home runs today in a 15-3 pasting of the O’s. It was the most home runs the Yanks have hit on the road since May 30, 1961. They hit 14 for the three games.
Encouragingly, Gary Sanchez slammed three home runs today, and now has six on the young season, after a miserable 2018.
--Meanwhile, Baltimore’s Chris Davis, who signed a seven-year, $161 million ($23 million per) contract in January 2016 that runs through 2022, hit .168 last season, the lowest average since 1900 for a player who qualified for the batting title; Davis also striking out 192 times in 470 at-bats.
This season he is off to a 0-for-23 start with 13 strikeouts, after going 0-for-4 today. Going back to last season, he is now zero for his last 44 at-bats! [1-for-60 since Sept. 8.] The longest streak ever for a non-pitcher is Eugenio Velez, who went 46 straight at-bats without a hit.
[Velez’ last two seasons in the majors, 2010-2011, were with the Giants and Dodgers, going 9 for 55 with San Francisco in 2010, and 0 for 37 with the Dodgers in 2011.]
--The Indians’ Trevor Bauer had a no-hitter after seven innings but was pulled by manager Terry Francona in Cleveland’s 4-1 win over Toronto on Thursday.
But Bauer had no problem with the decision, having thrown 117 pitches. Toronto’s Freddy Galvis then broke up the bid for a combined no-hitter with a leadoff single in the ninth inning.
Cleveland hasn’t had a no-hitter in 38 years; Len Barker’s perfect game against the Blue Jays on May 15, 1981.
--The war of words between former Mets Ron Darling and Lenny Dykstra escalated further this weekend with a scathing piece in the New York Post by Dykstra, fighting back against Darling’s allegation in his new book, “108 Stitches,” that Dykstra ripped into Red Sox pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd during the 1986 World Series with a racist tirade so revolting, Darling couldn’t bring himself to print the words that came out of Dykstra’s mouth.
But Dykstra vehemently denies this happened, and three of his teammates have publicly supported him.
Understand as a Mets fan, we love our broadcasting team of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Darling, but watching the games is uncomfortable these days because of the subtext. Darling now can’t say anything, and you know the other two feel for their friend, but they aren’t talking either.
And then in his piece in the Post, Dykstra, an awful person, does speak the truth in wondering why Darling, who was called “Mr. Perfect,” “Mr. P,” would try to divide the ’86 Mets.
“His lie has driven a stake through the heart of that whole team and taken away from something that was so special. That’s what’s so upsetting.
“If he were to apologize, I wouldn’t accept it. I don’t think he’d mean it anyway.
“This is going to cost him: maybe his job, definitely a lot of money. I’m going to sue Mr. Perfect, his co-author Daniel Paisner and St. Martins Press.
“And I’m going to serve him the papers while he’s in the booth.”
--Canadian Corey Conners picked up his first PGA Tour title at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio today, defeating Charlie Hoffman and Ryan Moore.
Now it’s on to Augusta and The Masters...a tradition unlike any other...on CBS...
Can’t wait. More next chat. [Pssst...I put some coin on Webb Simpson, looking for good karma because of the following...]
--What a cool moment on Saturday, as Wake Forest senior Jennifer Kupcho, the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world, pulled off some late heroics in her final round to win the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
Kupcho shot a 5-under 67 to beat Maria Fassi by four shots, after Fassi had taken a two-shot lead earlier in the round, before Kupcho eagled No. 13, and birdied 15 and 18 to close with a rush.
Kupcho was last year’s NCAA individual champion.
The race for the title, and the separate one for the other two Champions League slots, is even tighter after this week’s staggered action.
Wednesday, my Tottenham Spurs finally broke a 5-game PL winless streak with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace in the debut of their new, spectacular stadium, which unfortunately for the Spurs was six months late, Tottenham the last two seasons playing at Wembley.
Man City beat Cardiff 2-0, and Chelsea whipped Brighton 3-0.
Friday, Liverpool beat Southampton 3-1.
But then Sunday, Everton upset Arsenal 1-0, a huge break for Tottenham, as well as Chelsea and Manchester United.
So the standings...38 matches in the season....
1. Liverpool 33 games...82 points
2. Man City 32...80
3. Tottenham 32...64
4. Arsenal 32...63
5. Chelsea 32...63
6. Man U 32...61
Chelsea plays West Ham, Monday.
*Fulham and Huddersfield have already been relegated, and Cardiff will need a miracle to avoid being the third.
Imagine being a Huddersfield fan. Their record is 3-5-25 (W-D-L), with just 19 goals in 33 games! Eegads.
--In the FA Cup semis, Saturday, Man City defeated Brighton 1-0, while today, Watford had a spectacular comeback from 2-0 to force extra time, and then coming out on top, 3-2 over Wolverhampton.
So it’s Man City and Watford for the championship May 18, Watford’s first FA Cup final since 1984.
--And Tuesday, the Champions League quarterfinals kick off, with Tottenham hosting Man City. These two also still have to play in the Premier League. Not an easy task for the Spurs.
--Kyle Busch won his third race of the season at Bristol, beating out brother Kurt.
--Darrell Waltrip announced he is retiring from the FOX Sports broadcast booth at the end of the season, thus ending a 47-year Hall of Fame career as a driver and broadcaster.
--1960 Heisman Trophy winner, Joe Bellino, the first Navy player to win the award, died the other day at the age of 81.
Richard Sandomir / New York Times
“Bellino was an explosive, relatively undersized (5-foot-9) running back whose Heisman candidacy most likely began in late November 1959, when, as a junior, he rushed for three touchdowns, including one for 46 yards, in a 43-12 rout of Army.
“It was a prelude to his 1960 season, when he rushed for 834 yards, then a Navy record, and 15 touchdowns. A versatile two-way player, he would also switch to defensive back and return kicks and punts as the Midshipmen compiled a 9-2 record.
“By the end of the season, Bellino was a national star and the front-runner for the 1960 Heisman, college football’s most prestigious award. He posed on the cover of Sports Illustrated wearing his standard dress blues....
“Bellino learned he had won the Heisman – by an overwhelming point total – when he was summoned from his electrical engineering class by Rear Adm. John F. Davidson, superintendent of the United States Naval Academy.
“ ‘I’m very pleased,’ Bellino later told reporters. ‘I feel very happy because we as a team and a brigade had such a good year.’....
“Navy’s 1960 season ended on a down note, however, when Missouri defeated the Midshipmen in the Orange Bowl in Miami, 21-14, holding Bellino to just 4 rushing yards.”
Bellino was then drafted in 1961 by the Washington Redskins and the AFL’s Boston Patriots, but he had to put his professional aspirations on hold, serving four years in the Navy.
His commitment fulfilled, Bellino signed with the Patriots in 1965, but he had a poor three-year career in the AFL. He later conceded that four years in the Navy had diminished his passion for the game when he returned.
But as Richard Sandomir writes:
“While at Navy, Bellino found an admirer in a young football fan named Bill Belichick, a future coach of the Patriots, whose father, Steve, was an assistant coach at the academy. The first football game Bill Belichick remembers was the one in which Bellino scored three touchdowns against Army.
“When Joe graduated in 1961, he gave me his midshipman cover,’ or cap, Bill Belichick told Navy’s athletics website after Bellino’s death. ‘Fifty years later, I gave it back to him because it belongs in his family.’”
--They held the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday and a Bob Baffert horse, Roadster, edged past another Baffert horse, Game Winner, by half a length. Both horses are headed to the Kentucky Derby.
Mike Smith was aboard Roadster. Baffert said of the Hall of Famer, “He does things that are unbelievable. I left him alone [with no instructions] and he was on his own. ...They should induct him into the hall of fame again.”
Most importantly, however, action at Santa Anita went off without incident Saturday, after 23 horses had died at the track since Dec. 26.
“The fans (30,713) didn’t let us down given what they’ve been reading,” Baffert said. “They showed up. They love racing. They brought their families. They’ll always remember the Santa Anita Derby. It was so comforting to see all these fans show up. They know at the end of the day we love our horses. We wake up worrying about them and go to sleep worrying about them. To me that’s what made it a great day.
“It was getting to the point where there was nobody out there defending us. You don’t have to burn the house down because the pipes are bad. We can work through this.”
--From the BBC: “A suspected rhino poacher has been trampled on by an elephant then eaten by a pride of lions in Kruger National Park, South Africa.
“Accomplice poachers told the victim’s family that he had been killed by an elephant on Tuesday. Relatives notified the park ranger.
“A search party struggled to find the body but eventually found a human skull and a pair of trousers on Thursday....
“Kruger National Park has an ongoing problem with poaching and there remains a strong demand for rhino horn in Asian countries.
“On Saturday, Hong Kong airport authorities seized the biggest haul of rhino horn in five years, valued at $2.1 million.”
--From ABC News: “A Canadian woman said her ‘mom instinct’ took over last week when she fought off a cougar that mauled her 7-year-old son in their backyard.
“Chelsea Lockhart was doing household chores on Friday afternoon when she heard her son, Zachery, scuffling with something outside their home in Lake Cowichan, Vancouver Island. She said she rushed to the backyard to look for the source of the commotion and found the boy fighting for his life.
“ ‘I ran downstairs...turned the corner and saw this animal on my child,’ she told CTV on Tuesday. ‘He was on the ground and the cougar was attached to his arm....I just leaped on it and I tried to pry its mouth open.’
“She said she doesn’t know where she gained the strength, but she fish-hooked the juvenile cougar by the mouth and managed to pry him off.”
Zachery survived the attack with only a gash on his head and a few cuts to his neck and arms.
Officials with the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service said they found two cougars, both juvenile males, about 20 yards away from the family’s home. They were both hungry and looking for food, according to the service.
The cougars were euthanized.
Vancouver Island has had several cougar attacks over the past few years.
--A 17-foot python was caught in Florida this weekend. It was carrying 73 developing eggs. And that’s what you call an invasive species, sports fans!
--Disgraced sports radio host Craig Carton was sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison Friday in a nearly $7 million ticket resale scam meant to pay off his gambling debts.
Judge Colleen McMahon, though, greeted him with “Colleen from New York. First time, long time.”
Then she laced into him.
“Your marriage is over, your kids are terrified...reputation in tatters,” she said, as Carton sat expressionless. “Craig Carton, you have indeed descended into a hell of your own making.” Carton also has to complete 150 hours of community service and pay $4.8 million in restitution.
Carton rose to fame as half of WFAN’s “Boomer and Carton” show. He convinced deep-pocketed hedge funders to plunk down millions of dollars for blocks of tickets to Adele, Metallica and Barbra Streisand shows; promising big returns on resales – but never delivered.
Instead, Carton kept about $4.8 million for himself in a kind of Ponzi scheme to pay off debts he accrued as part of a gambling addiction gone awry.
--Great to see Mick Jagger recovering well from his heart valve surgery. The Stones are probably rescheduling their North American tour dates for July on, the dates to be announced in the coming weeks.
--Adam Sandler is returning to “SNL,” hosing for the first time on May 4, alongside musical guest Shawn Mendes.
Top 3 songs for the week 4/5/75: #1 “Lovin’ You” (Minnie Riperton...chirp chirp...cheep cheep...) #2 “Philadelphia Freedom” (The Elton John Band) #3 “No No Song” (Ringo Starr)...and...#4 “Express” (B.T. Express) #5 “You Are So Beautiful” (Joe Cocker) #6 “Poetry Man” (Phoebe Snow) #7 “Lady Marmalade” (LaBelle) #8 “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” (B.J. Thomas) #9 “Have You Never Been Mellow” (Olivia Newton-John) #10 “My Eyes Adored You” (Frankie Valli... ‘B’ week...)
1969 Mets Quiz Answer: Opening Day lineup...Mets, and Seaver, losing 11-10 to the Montreal Expos, in Les Expos’ first game as a franchise.
Tommy Agee, CF
Rod Gaspar, RF
Ken Boswell, 2B
Cleon Jones, LF
Ed Charles, 3B
Ed Kranepool, 1B
Jerry Grote, C
Bud Harrelson, SS
Tom Seaver, P
Seaver was victimized by three...three!...errors from Ken Boswell, Tom Terrific yielding 4 runs in five innings, but just two earned. The Mets blew a 6-4 lead, and trailed 11-6 in the bottom of the ninth, but rallied back for four, three on a Duffy Dyer pinch-homer, only to come up short.
That was hardly an intimidating lineup for the Metsies, but us fans would learn to love a lot of 2-1, 3-2 victories, as the season went on. And Bar Chat will be there every step of the way.
The New York Daily News’ Dick Young had this little anecdote about the opener and Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau.
“Mons. Drapeau learned a valuable lesson, a vignette of life in New York. He was to throw out the first ball. About an hour before the ceremony, a man from the Mets walked up to him, held out a shiny new baseball, and said: ‘Mr. Mayor, this is the ball you will use. Please put it in your pocket so you will be sure to have it.’
“ ‘Certainment,’ said Mons. Drapeau.
“The mayor then made the rounds, lunch in the director’s room, shaking hands in the Diamond Club, visiting the players in the dugouts. Lo, the big moment approached. Arthur Richman, who worries about such things, sidled up to Mons. Drapeau.
“ ‘Mr. Mayor, do you have the baseball?’
“ ‘It’s all right,’ said the mayor. ‘I place it in the dugout.’
“ ‘You what?’ said Arthur Richman.
“ ‘It is all right,’ said the mayor. ‘I put it on the seat at this end of the Montreal dugout. You will find it there.’
“The man ran across the field and into the dugout. He looked where he had been told, and saw what he had expected to see. Nothing. He went back to the mayor. ‘It is gone,’ he said. ‘Somebody took it. I will get you another. Please put this one in your pocket.’
“ ‘Who would take it?’ said the puzzled mayor of Montreal.”
Yours truly, about to turn 11 years old, was home with Opening Day Fever. My mother was pretty strict in my youth, but from at least 1968-71, she was rather remarkable in believing my stories each spring. And I always seemed to recover to head back to school the next day.
Next Bar Chat, Thursday.