|Articles||Go Fund Me||All-Species List||Hot Spots||Go Fund Me|
|Web Epoch NJ Web Design | (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.|
Another Look Back at a Special Sunday
[Posted Wed. a.m.]
MLB Quiz: From George Will... Who averaged 301 innings per season during the 1950s with 237 complete games? Answer below.
Ian O’Connor / ESPN.com
“Past winners of the Masters gathered upstairs in the champions’ locker room because they understood what they were watching and knew they needed to do something special for Eldrick Tiger Woods. Bernhard Langer, Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott – they all realized they could not just close up their lockers, say their goodbyes and jump into their luxury cars for a ride back to their privileged lives.
“Langer, 61, was the group elder, the leader of the band. The former winners showered after their rounds, shared a drink and watched Woods play the 72nd hole on TV.
“ ‘We heard a big cheer,’ Langer said, signaling the end of one of the greatest American sports stories ever told. ‘And we all said, ‘Let’s put our jackets on and go down there and congratulate him.’ And that’s what we did.’....
“ ‘This is a very special moment in the history of the game of golf, and of Augusta, and of Tiger himself,’ Langer said.
“Nobody who was here on this surreal Sunday will ever forget the way the earth moved or the way the roars rose above the towering pines. Nobody will ever forget the scene of Woods’ son, Charlie, falling into his father’s arms like Tiger fell into his father’s arms after his record-shattering, barrier-blasting victory as a 21-year-old in 1997. Woods had said his children thought of him as a ‘YouTube golfer,’ as a dynastic force on internet highlights and video games but as something entirely different in the flesh.
“The back injuries and ineffective surgeries had left Woods imprisoned by debilitating pain. He couldn’t walk or sit down or lay down or pull himself out of bed. The epidurals and cortisone shots provided him no relief.
“ ‘They only knew that golf caused me a lot of pain,’ Woods said of his children.
“Physically and emotionally....
“Woods refused to let anyone or anything rain on his parade. He suffered consecutive bogeys at Nos. 4 and 5 to fall three back of Molinari and appeared destined for yet another major near-miss. But Tiger’s caddie, Joe LaCava, started cursing out his player. Then Woods ducked into a restroom and cursed out himself before emerging a new man.
“LaCava had told him earlier, ‘Never lose the tenseness, but be loose out there. Don’t carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.’....
“The walk up 18 represented nothing short of golf’s answer to a religious experience. People who had attended dozens of Masters couldn’t recall the crowd being so deep along the fairway and around the green. It seemed there wasn’t a man, woman or child in the house who was rooting for anyone but the balding terminator in red....
“Charlie and Sam saw their pops win, Tiger said, ‘just like my pops saw me win here.’ The Woods children and an entire generation of boys and girls discovered something Sunday they never really knew.
“Eldrick Tiger Woods is not a YouTube highlight, or a video game superhero. He is a very real golfer, the kind we will never see again.”
Vincent Hogan / Irish Independent
“The great migration to see Tiger Woods climb the hill up Augusta’s 18th spoke less of a desire to witness a tournament win than an historical event.
“It announced the new Masters champion as someone chasing everything again. Jack Nicklaus’ 18 Majors; Sam Snead’s 82 PGA Tour victories; Nicklaus’ six Green Jackets. Woods talked of ‘just plodding’ his way around the most murderous topography in golf, but it never remotely felt humdrum or banal.
“Certainly not now as the great throng roared his name, ‘Tiger, Tiger, Tiger.’
“He was headed again for Butler Cabin, for another Jim Nantz interview marinated in familiar sanctimony. But even old Jim couldn’t thieve the sense of tumult, the rumble of something epochal unspooling in north Georgia....
“Through the worst (of Tiger’s problems), this kind of day no longer seemed reachable to Woods, which maybe explains the catch in people’s throats as he tapped in for bogey and a one-shot victory.
“Because Tiger brings a different noise. He ‘moves the needle’ as Gary Player put it on Saturday. It almost ceases to be about golf, titles, trophies, even Green Jackets when his thunder starts to roll. There’s something elemental about the connection he has with people.
“Nobody needs or wants him to be a social worker.
“So his persona is a mix of poetry and homicide; beautiful, imaginative shot-making and easy, unapologetic intimidation. Gossamer and steel wool.
“Woods injects a tingle into the elegant light of a place like Augusta, a boxer’s energy almost. He scowls, he spits, he uses a docker’s vocabulary.
“To watch him stride a Major fairway with the solemn demeanor of someone doing the stations of the cross shouldn’t really feel like glimpsing art. But it does. In the history of sport, nobody’s flaws have been parsed and analyzed more brutally. It doesn’t matter.
“With Tiger, days like this invoke the sense almost of a religious parable....
“He seemed so hopelessly distanced from days like this; from big leaderboard charges; from days when it felt as if the ground beneath him might actually be quivering to his stride. The truth is nobody gave a damn if he’d been caught in flagrante with every last cocktail waitress in Florida.
“They wanted Tiger back. They wanted the game tingling with his electricity again.
“And that’s what we got at Augusta National....
“(Tiger) won this tournament in ’97 by 12 strokes, a record 44 million Americans (a 65% increase on ’96) turning in to watch the final-round coverage on CBS....
“But then the great lie of his private life unraveled and, as it did, Tiger Woods slipped into infamy and slowly physical infirmity.
“After that crash into the fire hydrant, he appeared on the front page of the New York Post for a record 21 consecutive days, surpassing even the coverage devoted to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“Coming up 18, that was the backdrop to everybody’s thinking now. There wasn’t quite the rupture of marshalling control we’d seen at East Lake last September, but people just wanted to push close.
“To reach out and touch him if they could.
“He tapped in from a foot for bogey and then the dam of emotion broke. First a clenched fist, then both arms towards the heavens.
“A one-time ghost was Masters champion again.
“ ‘Now I know why I’m balding,’ he’d grin later in the media room. And Tiger Woods looked younger than he’d ever done.”
It was two years ago, at the Champions’ Dinner, that Tiger told some of his compatriots that he was finished.
“I could barely walk,” he said. “I couldn’t sit. Couldn’t lay down. I really couldn’t do much of anything.
“Luckily, I had the procedure on my back, which gave me a chance at having a normal life. But then all of a sudden, I realized I could actually swing a golf club again. I felt if I could somehow piece this together that I still had the hands to do it. The body’s not the same as it was a long time ago, but I still have good hands.”
Jack Nicklaus tweeted after: “A big ‘well done’ from me to Tiger. I am so happy for him and for the game of golf. This is just fantastic!!!”
Seventeen months ago, Tiger Woods was ranked 1,999th in the world, his reputation in tatters, his back pain unending.
2007 Masters champ Zach Johnson said ten minutes after Tiger won: “I’m just ecstatic for golf, I’m ecstatic for him. It’s hard to put into words right now...so hear me out when I say I don’t know what a better comeback in sports is. I’m sure there are probably ones you can argue, but in my lifetime, I don’t think I’ve seen a comeback like this.”
Thomas Boswell / Washington Post
“Tiger Woods plays golf with his hat on so we don’t see his balding head, meaning many found it easy Sunday to mistake this year’s 43-year-old Masters champion – the once and current king of golf’s most glowing moment – for the elegant 21-year-old who won his first green jacket here 22 years old and one day earlier.
“Nothing about Woods – neither his fit, super-athlete appearance, nor his fierce focus perfectly matched to his utter calm, nor his powerhouse play – betrayed the reality of what the world was watching. If we were not told that Woods’ one-shot victory in the 83rd Masters to claim his 15th major championship was taking place at this very moment, we might have believed we were looking at tape from the early 2000s. And, caught in our own time warp of a fantasy, we might even say: ‘Tiger’s not just back. He still looks like he’s in his prime.’
“Of course, that is not only false; it is the absolute opposite of the truth – which is what made this day so superb for sports and so deeply gratifying for Woods. The young Woods, fist-pumping in victory but icy in private, will be remembered with awe. This old Woods, with rings of pain like those circles inside the oak trees here, will be recalled with deep affection and a steadily increasing regard.
“Everyone adapts, endures and sometimes even changes for the better in the face of a lifetime’s physical pain, self-inflicted failures or embarrassments. Few great, rich, famous athletes looked less touched by that harsh side of life than Woods did 11 years ago. Since then, few could match him for injury or a self-doubt that became so deep that, at the Masters champions dinner two years ago, he conceded to his peers, ‘I’m done.’
“Luckily for us all, when Woods’ last tap-in bogey putt dropped in the hole Sunday, Tiger’s hat finally came off. And so did the lid that he has kept on his emotions for almost all of his career. The man with the yacht named ‘Privacy’ flipped the switch and, finally, invited the whole world into his heart....
“Now Woods and his game are well and truly found. And the golf world will tingle with new energy for years.
“Beyond that, the imagination strains. We will wait many a year – or perhaps even measure it in generations – before sports sees another lightning bolt that shocks us from head to toe like this electrifying day at the Masters.”
Jason Gay / Wall Street Journal
“All that’s really left now in sports is for the Cleveland Browns to win the Super Bowl.
“Because Tiger Woods did it.
“Maybe you had a strong opinion about whether or not he’d ever do it again.
“Tiger Woods, win another major? It tended to be a polarizing topic.
“Absolutely yes, said the believers. He’s Tiger Woods, you dingbats.
“Absolutely not, said the skeptics. Have you dingbats watched Tiger Woods play golf for the past decade?
“It took 11 years to answer one of the biggest, most lingering questions in sports. Tiger Woods, now 43 years old, won the Masters on Sunday – his 15th major tournament victory and his first since June 2008, when Americans still answered their cell phones, and ‘Game of Thrones’ was a bunch of books.
“Do you remember what the world was like in 2008? Humans traveled by covered wagons called Hummers. We subscribed to products like cable TV and even this hilarious contraption called a print newspaper. The President of the United States was John Adams. A fellow named Tom Brady was the quarterback of the New England Patriots.
“A lot happened to Tiger Woods after that. Yes: that is putting it mildly. Let’s no relive it all here....
“We grew used to another Woods: still breathtakingly famous, but flawed and seemingly broken. He became hard to watch. Woods was a reminder of how life could turn, how imperfection and age could make anyone mortal.
“It also reminded everyone of this: Golf is hard. It’s so, so hard. Even for Tiger Woods.
“Now he’s turned back the clock. Woods won this Masters in a red mock turtleneck that conjured up nostalgia from all those youthful victories past. He beat the demons and the broad-shouldered millennials who grew up with his poster on the wall. He won the tournament from behind on the last day, the first time he’s ever done that at a major. And because bad weather pushed up the start in Augusta, Woods also did it before 2:30 p.m. ET, which meant everyone had the rest of Sunday to spend time with their kids, or their pets, or their blackjack dealers, or whatever you’re up to on weekends these days....
“I want to be careful here. Masters weekend can get really syrupy with sentimentality; all that sotto voce ooziness from Jim Nantz starts to feel like a wedding toast that never ends. Augusta National is a weird joint. But if that scene on 18 didn’t move you, I got nothing for ya, pal.
“Now it’s as if the planets have realigned. One of earth’s great sports figures has reassumed his place. Everyone’s going into work Monday talking about Tiger, Tiger, Tiger. Well, that, and the ‘Game of Thrones’ premiere.
“Life’s a little more exciting when Tiger’s rolling, is it not?”
--I didn’t have a chance to get into the sportsbook angle of the Masters last time, but you all saw the story of the bettor who took advantage of 14-1 odds to place an $85,000 wager on Woods at William Hill’s outlet in Las Vegas. It was 39-year-old Wisconsin day trader James Adducci, his first sports bet. A $1.275 million payout, $1.19 million plus his initial bet, a check for which he was presented on Monday.
Adducci told Golf Digest, the wager was “everything I had that I could afford to lose. I just thought it was predestined for him to win.”
Funded by the sale of some Amazon stock, Adducci took a backpack full of cash from a Las Vegas bank to the William Hill sportsbook in the SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino in a rideshare, sitting alongside a mother and daughter on the way in order to “save $2.”
“This is a story for the ages,” said Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US. “Tiger climbs back to the top, and a guy from Wisconsin, on his first sports bet ever, wins over a $1 million betting on him. We congratulate both James and Tiger on their epic wins.”
William Hill’s Nick Bogdanovich told USA TODAY that the sportsbook took an overall loss of “seven figures” on Woods’ win, with other major firms divulging huge payouts Sunday, including FanDuel and DraftKings. William Hill said it was the largest payout for any non-Super Bowl bet.
Meanwhile, it turns out James Adducci has an extensive criminal record, per an investigation by USA TODAY, with court records showing multiple domestic violence convictions.
--So as I watched Mets-Phillies on the tube Monday night, I was following the Nets-Sixers Game 2 across the street from Citizens Bank Park online, and at 65-64 Philly, caught the halftime show and Charles Barkley and Shaq having a disagreement on whether Joel Embiid had committed a ‘flagrant 1 or 2,’ and then went back to the Mets game, figuring I’d flip the Nets on in the fourth quarter.
No need...Philly, I saw, went on a 21-2 run to start the third, but I didn’t know until this morning that Nets coach Kenny Atkinson didn’t call a timeout until this moment, the Sixers on their way to a record-tying 51-point third, 51-23, Philadelphia cruising 145-123.
So 80 points in the half for the 76ers. In the postgame interview, Embiid was a total (cue Jeff Spicoli) when asked about the hit to Nets center Jarrett Allen’s chin.
“I wasn’t surprised (I got a Flagrant 1). I saw the replay. Obviously, it wasn’t intentional. I got him pretty good and I’m sorry about it,” Embiid said before a 10-second break for laughter with teammate Ben Simmons. “OK. I’m sorry about it. It wasn’t intentional. It’s just trying to be aggressive. I’m not usually humble. That’s why (Simmons) is laughing. But, uh, yeah, I was trying to be aggressive.”
Then in the second game of the night, the Los Angeles Clippers were playing Game 2 in Oakland against Golden State and were down 31 points in the second half, 94-63 with 7:31 remaining in the third, after getting whipped in Game 1. Series basically over.
But the Clippers scored a staggering 31 points in that final 7:30 to trail only 108-94 after three, and then went on to outscore the Warriors 41-23 in the fourth for the 135-131 win...the largest comeback in NBA playoff history.
Lou Williams had 36 points off the bench for L.A.
So Nets-Sixers, Clippers-Warriors, each tied at 1-1.
--Tuesday, Portland took a 2-0 lead over Oklahoma City, 114-94, with Lillard and McCollum combining for 62, Russell Westbrook held to 14 points on 5 of 20 shooting from the field.
And Toronto evened its series with Orlando at 1-1 with a 111-82 thrashing of the Magic, Kawhi Leonard with 37.
--We note the passing of John MacLeod, 81, the most successful coach in Phoenix Suns history, 579-543 over 14 years, including an improbable run to the NBA finals in 1976, where the Suns lost to the Boston Celtics.
A team that went only 42-40, the ’75-’76 edition went on a dramatic run that included taking out the top-ranked Golden State Warriors for the Western Conference championship in seven games.
The finals against the Celtics featured a tense fifth game, the teams tied at 2-2, that went into triple overtime at Boston Garden and into the history books.
From the Associated Press:
“Coming back from far behind, Phoenix tied the game at the end of regulation play and again at the end of the first overtime. Many fans swarmed the court after the Celtics star John Havlicek sunk a shot at the end of the second overtime to put Boston ahead, 111-110. But the referees ruled that a second remained on the clock and cleared the court.
“The game, with an unruly capacity crowd in the stands, went into a third overtime because of a canny decision. With that one second remaining, the Suns Hall of Fame guard Paul Westphal called a timeout, even though Phoenix had none left. That cost the Suns a technical foul and gave Boston another point on a successful free throw, but it also gave the Suns the ball at center court for a final play. The Suns forward Gar Heard took the inbounds pass, shot and tied the score, 112-112.
“ ‘Credit that move to Paul Westphal,’ MacLeod told the New York Times. ‘He thought of it while we were trying to map out a play. But with all those fans surrounding him, taunting our players and causing more fights, how could a coach coach? It was the most dangerous situation I’ve ever been in.’
“In the end, the Celtics triumphed, 128-126, and won the series, four game to two. The Suns, nicknamed the Sunderella Suns for their unlikely run, went on to appear in eight more playoffs and two more Western Conference finals under MacLeod.”
MacLeod was placed in the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor in 2012. He coached at the University of Oklahoma prior to his time in Phoenix, and then coached at Notre Dame after. He would return to the Suns as an assistant, and then had stints with Denver and Golden State.
--In College Basketball, LSU decided to reinstate men’s basketball coach Will Wade, who was suspended March 8 for refusing to meet with school officials regarding alleged recruiting irregularities. After meeting with Wade and NCAA compliance officials, LSU determined Wade did not violate his contract and could continue to coach the Tigers next season.
Wade, according to Vice Chancellor Joe Alleva, “answered all questions and denied any wrongdoing in connection with recently reported allegations of irregularities in college basketball recruiting.”
Wade was allegedly caught on an FBI wiretap discussing an offer for then-recruit Javonte Smart. He was suspended before LSU’s final regular-season game against Vanderbilt and then missed the SEC tournament and the Tigers’ three NCAA tournament games.
A lot of us were surprised to see the announcement Wade was reinstated.
Dan Wolkens / USA TODAY
“On a not-so-quiet Sunday night, somewhere in between the euphoria of Tiger Woods winning the Masters and the social media buzz over the final season premiere of HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones,’ LSU announced that it had ended its 38-day suspension of basketball coach Will Wade.
“The announcement’s timing was fortuitous. By morning, any conversation about LSU reinstating a coach whose own words on an FBI wiretap suggested he was willing to buy a recruit had all but disappeared from the national consciousness.
“But LSU’s twin statements Sunday night – one from athletics director Joe Alleva, the other from Wade himself – raise more questions than they answer. And given both the gravity of the initial allegations and the school’s dramatic action to suspend Wade right before his team was about to play in the NCAA Tournament, LSU’s lack of transparency about why it changed course simply isn’t good enough....
“(If) all it took for Wade to be reinstated was meeting with LSU and denying everything, why didn’t he do that immediately after the Yahoo Sports report about the contents of the wiretap on March 7?
“Wade has changed attorneys since then and seemingly gotten different advice, but a couple other things have changed, too. For one, college basketball season is over, which means anything that happens with an LSU coach is going to be a relatively minor headline outside of Louisiana for the next six months. Second, LSU’s program has been on the verge of a mass player exodus with Smart, Tremont Waters, Jaz Reid, Emmitt Williams and Skylar Mays – essentially all of the Tigers’ best players – declaring for the NBA draft (they could still decide to come back).
“Make no mistake, if LSU has a gutted roster and a vacant coaching position this spring, it’s back to the bottom of the SEC for the foreseeable future. And it’s certainly worth wondering whether Alleva, an already unpopular athletics director...would even be allowed to make a decision on a new coach if it were to come to that.
“In other words, is a panicked and embattled LSU administration willing to dig in for Wade now that he’s said the magic words, or did the decision Sunday simply buy them time to see what more might come out about Wade in the trial, potentially freeing them of the financial obligation of his buyout?
“LSU’s statements only muddied the water in Baton Rouge Sunday night. Somehow, that seems like exactly what they intended to do.”
--St. John’s has made an offer to Porter Moser, the 50-year-old coach of Loyola-Chicago who reached the Final Four last year. St. John’s had also been in talks with Iona coach Tim Cluess, with Cluess’ buyout believed to be an impediment. Cluess has lots of local ties, while Moser doesn’t. Cluess has led Iona to six NCAA tournaments in nine seasons and seemed to be a natural for the promotion.
But then Moser turned down the Johnnies, leaving St. John’s to find a way to nail down Cluess.
--I missed that Virginia’s Ty Jerome, through his father, had apparently announced he was heading to the draft during the Final Four, a lot of folks, including moi, believing he was returning for his senior season.
Wrong. Jerome announced Monday he was heading out, along with teammate De’Andre Hunter, which had been expected.
But wait...there’s more! Fellow guard Kyle Guy announced Tuesday afternoon he was declaring for the NBA draft, though he left open the possibility of returning. As in if after the camps, he’s told he’s not a first-rounder, it might make sense to return. No doubt with one more year at Virginia, he’d be a high first-rounder in 2020.
College underclassmen and international early entrants to the NBA draft have until April 21 to declare (as Zion Williamson officially did the other day as well). They can withdraw their names later if they decide they’re not quite ready to go pro.
There are two big camps after this date, then May 14, the NBA holds its draft lottery.
Then May 15-19 you have the NBA’s draft combine, though the very top prospects, say, like Zion, have no reason to show up for this.
College underclassmen who want to retain their NCAA eligibility have until May 29 to withdraw their names.
The NBA has a separate withdrawal date, June 10, which mostly pertains to international players.
June 20 is NBA draft day.
--In a truly stunning development, the Tampa Bay Lightning were swept in four by the Columbus Blue Jackets, 7-3, last night in Game 4. It was one of the biggest upsets in playoff history, any sport, as Toronto became the first team in the expansion era, 1967-68, to lead the league in points and go winless in round one. As I noted the other day, this is a Toronto team that scored 128 points in the regular season, 21 more than Boston and Calgary.
Columbus is coached by John Tortorella, who led the Lightning to the Stanley Cup championship in 2004. The Blue Jackets face Boston or Toronto next.
Also last night, the Islanders completed a stunning 4-0 sweep of their own, taking out the Penguins 3-1. They will face either Washington or Carolina in the next round.
And the Vegas Golden Knights went up 3-1 on San Jose with a 5-0 win in Vegas.
--It’s Yankees-Red Sox in the Bronx this week, the Yanks getting a needed boost from pitcher James Paxton, who threw eight innings of two-hit ball, 12 strikeouts, as New York took game one last night, 8-0, the Red Sox now a pathetic 6-12, the Yanks 7-9.
Boston’s Chris Sale took the loss, allowing 4 earned in five innings; Sale, he of the mammoth contract extension that some questioned, is now 0-4 with an 8.50 ERA.
Before the game, Yankee first baseman Greg Bird became the latest to go on the DL, Bird with plantar fasciitis. He’s slated to miss at least a month.
--The Milwaukee Brewers (12-6) rode the bat of NL MVP Christian Yelich the last two nights. Yelich hit three home runs and drove in a career-high seven in Monday’s 10-7 win over the Cardinals, and then last night, in an 8-4 win, Yelich hit his ninth homer of the season, driving in another three.
So Yelich is off to a .357 start, nine home runs, 25 RBIs, an OPS of 1.246. As Ronald Reagan would have told Nancy while reading the box scores, ‘Not bad, not bad at all.’
The Mets (10-7) received a 14-3 spanking at the hands of the Phillies (10-6) in Philadelphia last night, as Mets starter Steven Matz didn’t get a single out, exiting in the first having allowed eight runs, six earned.
The Mets’ pitching staff, supposed to be a strength, has a league-worst 5.65 ERA. The starters, supposedly among the top three or four in baseball, at least the front four, have an ERA of 5.62.
--The slumping Dodgers got a big boost Monday, as Clayton Kershaw returned for his season debut and threw seven innings, allowing just two runs, striking out six, walking none, in just 84 pitches, the Dodgers defeating the Reds 4-3, Kershaw with a no decision.
Tuesday, the Dodgers (11-8) beat the Reds 6-1 behind Kenta Maeda.
--Mike Trout has returned for the Angels, but L.A. has lost to the Rangers Monday and Tuesday, Trout 1 for 6 with three walks in a DH role.
--After a 13-2 start, Seattle has now lost five in a row to fall to 13-7, the latest a 4-2 loss last night to Cleveland, but the Mariners extended their record streak of hitting at least one home run in their first 20 games.
--USA TODAY reported that the percentage of African-American ballplayers this season is only 7.7%...68 among the total of 882 players on opening-day rosters, injured lists and restricted lists.
11 teams don’t have more than a single African-American player on their 25-man roster, including three teams that don’t have one. There are three African-American players on active rosters in the entire National League West.
When Ken Griffey Jr. made his major-league debut 30 years ago this month, there were twice as many African-American players, with 15 alone on the 1989 All-Star team – which didn’t include Griffey – including six who were later inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with All-Star MVP Bo Jackson. There were just seven African-Americans in last year’s All-Star Game.
“I don’t think it’s the intent of baseball not to have black ballplayers,” Griffey told USA TODAY Sports, “but we have to find a way to get these kids back. We lost them to football. We lost them to basketball. We lost them to golf. People don’t see how cool and exciting this game is.
“The NFL and NBA has done a better job than we have in showing the fun side of the sport, having people talk about it whether it’s on social media, commercials or the news.
“Really, it’s not a black problem or a white problem, but it’s a baseball problem.”
--Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson imposed a deadline of midnight Monday for reaching a contract extension, otherwise he’d play out his existing contract this coming campaign and bolt for free agency.
Wilson was upset he had fallen to 12th in terms of annual average salary among quarterbacks, after being second behind Aaron Rodgers, when Wilson signed a four-year extension in 2015.
Rodgers is back atop the quarterback pay scale after signing an extension last year that averages $33.5 million.
Well, then early Tuesday morning, Wilson announced he and the Seahawks have come to an agreement...a 4-year, $140 million extension in new money that includes a $65 million signing bonus, making Wilson the NFL’s highest-paid player.
--The Patriots signed veteran wide receiver DeMaryius Thomas to a one-year contract that could be worth up to $6 million.
But Thomas, who spent 8 ½ seasons with Denver before being traded to Houston midway through the 2018, tore his Achilles’ tendon on Dec. 23, was released, and had some legal issues after. Nonetheless, the Patriots were undeterred.
Premier / Champions League
First off, Monday, in the Premier League, Arsenal defeated Watford 1-0 to move back into the top four.
1. Liverpool 34 games – 85 points
2. Man City 33 – 83
3. Tottenham 33 – 67
4. Arsenal 33 – 66 ...ahead on goal differential...
5. Chelsea 34 – 66
6. Man U 33 – 64
But Tottenham faces Manchester City at Etihad Saturday, though its final four opponents are Brighton, West Ham, Bournemouth and Everton.
The thing is, Tottenham also faces Man City today! In the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal. Twice in four days. And without Harry Kane, and other key members, out with injury.
Yesterday, in the Champions League, Barcelona eliminated Manchester United 3-0 (4-0 agg), as Lionel Messi scored twice in the first 20 minutes...game over.
But then Ajax completed a giant upset of Juventus, eliminating Cristiano Ronaldo and Co., 2-1 (3-2 agg).
Little Ajax of Amsterdam and the Dutch league, incredibly young, with teenage captain Matthijs de Ligt’s deciding goal yesterday, have secured a place in the semis against the Man City-Tottenham winner.
--Charles Van Doren, Part II....
Al Freedman, a deputy producer for NBC’s “Twenty One,” met Van Doren and thought he would be the perfect contestant to cast against Herb Stempel, “the rumpled reigning champion of the game show.”
Valerie J. Nelson / Los Angeles Times
“When Van Doren finally agreed to appear on ‘Twenty One,’ he asked to play it straight but was told that no one did.
“ ‘Once I saw him, I knew my days on the show were numbered,’ Stempel told The Times in 1994. ‘He was tall, thin and WASP-y, and I was this Bronx Jewish kid. It was as simple as that.’
“Stempel and Van Doren first faced each other on Nov. 28, 1956, playing three tie games. Producer Dan Enright waited until the night before their second match to tell Stempel he would be taking a dive.
“On Dec. 5, 1956, the script called for Stempel to flub a question: Which movie won the Academy Award for best picture in 1955? It was ‘Marty,’ and Stempel had seen it three times but he answered ‘On the Waterfront.’
“As Van Doren made a record 15 appearances on the show, his shy, gentle manner brought hundreds of letters a day praising him as America’s hope for a more cerebral fugure.
“On March 11, 1957, after a series of tie games staged to heighten the drama, he lost to attorney Vivienne Nearing when he failed to correctly identify Belgium’s king.
“He walked away with $129,000, a quiz show record at the time, the equivalent in 2019 of $1.15 million. NBC hired him to be a cultural correspondent on the ‘Today’ show, where he discussed non-Euclidean geometry and recited 17th century poetry.
“Stempel, bitter over losing to Van Doren in a fixed game and resentful that producers wouldn’t let him have an honest chance at beating the champion the country worshipped, sought out reporters to write about the scandal but could provide no corroborating evidence.
“Finally, the notebook of a woman filled with answers was seen by another contestant, who complained. Another contestant mailed a registered letter to himself with an exact description of his coaching and the answers – evidence that could be used by the courts.
“The New York district attorney’s office launched an investigation of quiz shows in 1958 that showed rigging was rampant, but for reasons that were never made clear, the judge impounded all the evidence.
“On a hunch, Richard Goodwin – then a rookie lawyer for the House subcommittee on legislative oversight – reopened the case and pieced together the truth. His findings led to congressional hearings and the passage of laws regulating quiz shows.
“While investigating Van Doren, Goodwin found him charming and admitted in his 1988 book, ‘Remembering America: A Voice From the Sixties,’ that Van Doren ‘almost got away. I wanted him to.’ When Goodwin met with the House panel in closed session, he said he saw no need to publicly destroy Van Doren, since in his mind the networks were the villains and the sponsors benefitted. The committee agreed.
“Goodwin instructed Van Doren to avoid saying anything publicly but NBC gave him a choice: Send a telegram declaring his innocence to the committee or lose his job on the ‘Today’ show. Van Doren sent the cable.
“Goodwin sought advice from Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, who told him that Van Doren personified the quiz shows to the public.
“ ‘It would be like playing ‘Hamlet’ without Hamlet,’ he said. ‘You’re not pursuing an innocent victim, but a willing participant.’
“Testifying before Congress in 1959, Van Doren’s confession began, ‘I would give almost anything I have to reverse the course of my life in the last three years.’”
Van Doren avoided publicly commenting on the quiz show scandal until 2008, when, at 82, he wrote a first-person piece for the New Yorker, which revealed little.
--We already knew this, but the great white shark, according to research published Tuesday in Nature, is scared of killer whales.
“When confronted by orcas, white sharks will immediately vacate their preferred hunting ground and will not return for up to a year, even though the orcas are only passing through,” said Salvador Jorgensen, senior research scientist at Monterey Bay Aquarium and lead author of the study.
--A dog was found swimming more than 135 miles from shore by workers on an oil rig in the Gulf of Thailand. A worker on the rig said on his Facebook page that they saw the dog last Friday swimming toward the platform. He said they were lucky to spot it because if there had been waves it probably would not have been visible.
The dog made it to the platform, clinging to the support structure below deck without barking or whimpering.
The crew managed to lower a rope and secure it around the dog’s neck and haul it up. The crew speculated the dog might have fallen off a fishing trawler. It was delivered by boat Monday to the southern port of Songkhia and declared in good shape after being taken to an animal protection group.
--We note the passing of actress Georgia Engel, who played the charmingly innocent, small-voiced Georgette on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” She was 70, cause unknown because she was a Christin Scientist and didn’t see doctors.
Aside from her role as Georgette, Engel also had recurring roles on “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Hot in Cleveland.” She received two Emmy nominations for Moore’s show and three for “Raymond.”
Top 3 songs for the week 4/15/78: #1 “Night Fever” (Bee Gees) #2 “Stayin’ Alive” (Bee Gees) #3 “Lay Down Sally” (Eric Clapton)...and...#4 “Can’t Smile Without You” (Barry Manilow) #5 “If I Can’t Have You” (Yvonne Elliman) #6 “Dust In The Wind” (Kansas) #7 “The Closer I Get To You” (Roberta Flack with Donny Hathaway) #8 “Jack And Jill” (Raydio) #9 “We’ll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again” (England Dan & John Ford Coley) #10 “Our Love” (Natalie Cole...generally godawful week, reflecting my equally godawful year academically at Wake...but I did have fun!...)
Baseball Quiz Answer: Hall of Famer Robin Roberts averaged 301 innings and threw 237 complete games during the 1950s for Philadelphia, winning 20 or more for six seasons, 1950-55. Roberts finished with a 286-245 lifetime mark (234-199 with the Phillies), 3.41 ERA. He did have a penchant for giving up home runs, 30+ from 1953-60, but he only walked 1.7 per nine innings.
If you were wondering about Warren Spahn, in the ‘50s, he had eight 20-win seasons, but threw ‘only’ 300 innings twice and had 215 complete games.
1969 Mets, continued....
April 15...win at Philadelphia, 6-3, behind Gary Gentry
April 16...loss at Pittsburgh, 11-3...Jerry Koosman and Nolan Ryan roughed up
April 17...loss at Pittsburgh, 4-0...Jim Bunning with six scoreless, nine Ks, for the Bucs
The Mets are now 3-7. Ugh.
Next Bar Chat, Monday.