|Articles||Go Fund Me||All-Species List||Hot Spots||Go Fund Me|
|Web Epoch NJ Web Design | (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.|
Remembering Bart Starr
[Posted Sunday p.m. ...before the conclusion of the Charlotte, err, Coca-Cola 600.]
Stanley Cup Finals Quiz: So Monday it’s St. Louis and Boston, a rematch of the 1970 Cup Finals which the Bruins won, 4-0. Name the top two scorers and goalies on each team in the regular season. I’m suspecting long-time hockey fans will miss one. Answer below.
The Indy 500
Prelude to today’s action....
This year is kind of special...it being 50 years since Mario Andretti’s historic win at the Brickyard in 1969. As every racing fan knows, however, no Andretti has won since...Mario, son Michael, or grandson Marco and the others.
Michael, 56, won five Indy 500s as a car owner, and he has led more laps than anyone who never won the race, 431 in 16 races. Michael’s 32-year-old son, Marco, was barely beaten at the finish line by Sam Hornish Jr. in his first Indy 500 in 2006.
Jeff Andretti, Mario’s younger son, was named rookie of the year at Indy in 1991 but was severely injured when his car rammed the wall in the 1992 race after the right wheel hub of his car broke. John Andretti, the son of Mario’s twin brother, Aldo, was 0 for 12 in the Indy 500.
So Sunday, just Marco was once again in the field, starting 10th. He has finished third at Indy three times since the 2006 race, “in which he took the lead from his father on the 198th of 200 laps. With Michael Andretti trying to block Hornish, Marco appeared to have won – but Hornish caught him in the last 450 feet. Marco finished second and Michael third.” [Dave Caldwell / New York Times]
Trivia: Who finished second to Mario Andretti in 1969? Answer: All-American Dan Gurney. Gurney broke my brother’s heart, and many others, in finishing second at Indy in 1968 and 1969, and third in 1970, before he hung it up to focus on car ownership.
Well, today we had a superb race...in all fashions. Terrific action from start to finish, with a big crash thrown in with 22 laps (of the 200) to go, though no one was hurt, which is always most important.
Frenchman Simon Pagenaud, the son of a grocery store owner, won his first 500 in a stirring final lap duel with American Alexander Rossi. It truly was great stuff, the lead changing hands five times during the last few trips around the world’s most famous oval.
Pagenaud became the first from France since Rene Thomas in 1914 to take it. [There are others who were born in France but claim other nationalities. Some inaccurate stories out there on this.]
The margin of victory over Rossi, 0.2086 seconds, was the seventh-closest in 103 years at the Brickyard.
The win was special for Team Penske as well. It was 50 years ago that Roger Penske brought his first entry to Indy. He now has three wins in the last five races.
Marco Andretti never had the car, finishing 26th. My ‘out there’ pick, Conor Daly, finished 10th.
I have to say this two or three times a year, having been to Indy, and Daytona, and countless other racing venues. I have tremendous respect for the drivers, at all levels. And I have zero patience for those dissing the sport.
Plus every race is an excuse to party down, Wayne!
After Milwaukee won the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals at home, there was little doubt who would be facing the Golden State Warriors in the finals. Until there was.
Toronto roared back to take the next four, including last night’s clinching Game 6 in Toronto, the Raptors stunning the Bucks, first, in Game 5 in Milwaukee, 105-99, and then Saturday 100-94.
So Toronto is headed to their first NBA Finals in franchise history.
It’s pretty simple. Kawhi Leonard stepped up his game, scoring 29.8 points per in the six contests, hauling down 9.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists, above his regular season average in all three categories, while Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged less than his season average in points and rebounds, and others on the Bucks, such as Khris Middleton, didn’t step up their own games in the Toronto series.
Toronto also got some stellar play from point guard Kyle Lowry, averaging 19.2 points and shooting 48.8% from three in the conference finals. And backup Fred VanVleet has been huge.
You have to feel good for the fans in Toronto. As I’ve written for years, there are no better fans in all of sports than Raptors fans...incredible loyalty despite one failure after another in the playoffs.
And you have to admire Toronto management, who jettisoned a highly-successful coach in Dwane Casey for Nick Nurse, the feeling being they had to shake things up to get to the next level.
The other big move of course was the trade last July that brought disgruntled star Leonard to the Raptors from San Antonio, along with veteran Danny Green, for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poetl and a first-round pick, plus cash from both sides.
It was a probable rental, in the case of Leonard, and it paid off. Few expect the soon-to-be-free agent to stay up North, but all Leonard does is win.
Kawhi, after last night’s 27 point, 17 rebound performance, downplayed his own achievements.
“I don’t really judge my game like that. I’m more of a team-aspect, see-what-my-team-is-doing [guy]. I just want to win. I don’t care about being the best player. I want to be the best team. I’ve always said that.”
And he’s being sincere. That is Kawhi Leonad.
Coach Nick Nurse said, “I’m seeing a level of competitive greatness out of him. It’s just his willing us to win and him grabbing those rebounds and willing those shots in, almost it seems like, and going down and locking up somebody and taking the ball from them. It’s what it is; it’s great competitive desire.”
As for Leonard’s future, that’s for another day. Just enjoy him in the Finals. There is no reason why Toronto can’t hang in there with Golden State.
Charles Barkley is going with the Raptors, pointing to the Finals not starting until Thursday, which gives the banged-up Leonard some time to get healthy.
“There’s no player in the NBA who I’d rather have more than Kawhi Leonard,” Barkley said in last night’s postgame show for TNT. “He’s a drama-free superstar. ...He just wants to win.”
As for the Warriors’ Kevin Durant, he is expected back at some point in the Finals from his calf injury, but the fact is the Warriors have won five straight without him, including the sweep of Portland in the conference finals.
So this has sparked more chatter about the Warriors being better without Durant. Of this notion, Durant said: “That’s not facts.”
“It’s been that way since I got here, that it’s the Warriors and KD,” Durant said Friday. “I understand that, and I felt like my teammates and the organization know exactly what I’ve done here off and on the court to become a part of this culture, stamp my flag in this culture and this organization.
“I know what I bring to the team, but I also know a lot of people on the outside don’t like to see us together, and I get it.”
Yup, he’s a goner, though he should stay in Golden State.
One team that has emerged as a landing spot for Durant is the Los Angeles Clippers. The thing is, the Clippers have long been seen as a favorite to land Kawhi Leonard.
Marc Stein of the New York Times sent NBA Twitter into a frenzy the other day when he wrote: “Within the last month, very smart and plugged-in people I have consulted say that the Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as an equally dangerous threat to the Knicks to sign Durant away from Golden State. And I believe it.”
The Clippers do have two max slots, after all, and they were always going to make a run at Leonard and Durant, but were just viewed as more of a longshot for the latter.
On the other hand, I agree with those who are saying Durant would be a fool to come to New York if no one else joins him...but us Knicks fans don’t want Kyrie Irving. At least I’m in the camp that doesn’t want the guy.
--One more on the Warriors. Charlotte’s Kemba Walker made the All-NBA team, and Klay Thompson of the Warriors did not, which will cost Thompson about $30 million, because he won’t be eligible for a five-year, $221 million supermax from Golden State as a result. The most the Warriors can offer him now is five years for $191 million.
The first All-NBA team was comprised of Giannis, James Harden, Steph Curry, Paul George and Nikola Jokic.
Second team: Joel Embiid, Durant, Damian Lillard, Kawhi, Kyrie Irving.
Third team: Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, Rudy Gobert, LeBron and Kemba Walker.
Many expect the whole supermax contract situation to change.
--In college basketball, Michigan decided on former Wolverines player Juwan Howard to be its next head coach, replacing John Beilein, who left for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Howard has been an assistant coach with the Miami Heat since 2013, but he was part of the 1991 recruiting class at Michigan known as the Fab Five – Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson and Howard.
But Howard has never been a head coach, thus it’s a huge risk for Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel.
Yes, Howard can tell recruits, I played in the NBA for 19 years. I coached in the league for six. I’m buddies with LeBron, and I can help you get in the league.
But no head coaching experience for such a high-profile program is a concern for sure. He needs veteran assistants, including men who know the ins and outs of the NCAA rule book, as the Detroit Free Press’ Jeff Seidel put it.
--On a totally different topic, Samantha Pell of the Washington Post had an extensive piece on the growing number of ACL injuries among our youth playing basketball. For example, three elite Washington-area high school basketball players suffered the injury during a six-month span this past season.
“We are pushing our kids to the limit where they are playing 365, 24/7,” said John Klimkiewicz, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and joint replacements in the D.C. area. “As you increase the number of exposures, I don’t care. If you go down the ski slope enough, you’re going to hurt yourself. It’s kind of a little bit of a time bomb.”
Neha Raukar, a senior associate professor in the department of emergency medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Minneapolis, said early sports specialization is “an American public health disaster.” Raukar equates repetitive stress to fatiguing of the muscles, with hundreds of microtears occurring every day through strenuous activities.
Klimkiewicz said girls ages 15 to 25 are five to eight times more likely to tear their ACLs playing basketball than boys.
Of course for both girls and boys, it’s about the race to land college scholarships, with kids specializing in the sport and playing it year-round at increasingly younger ages, juggling participation in middle or high school teams with playing on AAU teams and attending all-star camps.
Heck, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver admitted the NBA needed to look into “load management,” and possibly reduce the 82-game season. “Maybe it’s too many games on the players’ bodies,” especially when you consider the playoffs.
--Hyun-Jin Ryu’s scoreless innings streak for the Dodgers ended Saturday night in L.A.’s 7-2 win over the Pirates, the streak ending in the second inning at 32. Ryu went six innings, gave up 10 hits, but just the two runs, walked none, and struck out three to improve to 7-1, 1.65, as the 32-year-old lefty has emerged as a true star in the game.
Ryu has given up just four walks in 65 1/3, while striking out 62. Phenomenal stuff.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers are kicking butt, 35-18, after an 11-7 win today over the Pirates, seven games up on the second-place Padres. They have the third best staff ERA in baseball, and second-best (to Tampa Bay) starting staff at 2.93 (thru Sat.).
And there’s Cody Bellinger, 18 HR, 48 RBIs, .386 batting average...he’ll be in the hunt for a Triple Crown all season, with Christian Yelich (21-43, .325).
--And Pittsburgh’s Josh Bell. Talk about a breakout season. This is a guy who showed promise in 2017, when he hit 26 home runs and drove in 90, though batting just .255. Then last year he regressed to 12-62, .261.
But he’s 26 (turning 27 in Aug.) and something has clicked...Bell already with 16 home runs, 47 RBIs, a .339 BA, 1.110 OPS. He’s become someone to see if you’re a Pirates fan...a guy who can put fannies in the seats of that great ballpark in Pittsburgh.
--The Yankees had their seven-game winning streak snapped in storm-ridden Kansas City today, 8-7 in 10 innings. Domingo German, who came into the game 9-1, got a no-decision but saw his ERA soar to 3.43, after yielding 7 earned in 5 innings, giving up 4 homers.
The Yanks are nonetheless 34-18, two ahead of 31-19 Tampa Bay...Boston now 6 ½ back at 28-25, which is still a huge improvement from their putrid start. So the beer will continue to flow at Fenway this summer, and at the end of the day.....
I do have to go back to the Yanks’ mid-week series against the Orioles. Shortstop Gleyber Torres hit a bunch of home runs, giving him 10 against Baltimore in 11 games for 2019! He has four multi-homer games against them...this season. According to STATS, this equals the record for multi-homer games against a single opponent in one year! He also has the most homers against a single opponent before June, and he is the first player to have 10 of his first 12 home runs come against one team.
And I can’t help but note gutty CC Sabathia, who on Wednesday threw five innings of 4-run ball, despite his arthritic knees that now force him to miss a start, for career win No. 249, New York taking that game 7-5, Sabathia 3-1 in his final campaign.
--The Mets are back to .500, 26-26, following a 4-3 win over the Tigers today, thus completing an exciting 6-1 homestand when manager Mickey Callaway’s job seemed to be on Death Watch. But off to Los Angeles and the Dodgers. Uh oh.
--Mets fans can only smile at the struggles of Angels pitcher Matt Harvey. Inexplicably, Los Angeles signed him to a one-year, $11 million deal for 2019 and Harvey, who hasn’t been the same since 2015, has pitched 48 innings, allowed 11 home runs, with a 2-4 record, to go with his 7.50 ERA in 10 starts. To put both Harvey and Angels fans out of their misery for a while, the team just put him on the injured list with an “upper back strain,” the latest insult a 2 2/3 innings performance in a 16-7 loss to the Twins on Thursday, where the “Dark Knight” gave up four homers and eight earned runs.
In his first three seasons in the majors (2012-3, 2015...TJ surgery in between), Harvey had an ERA of 2.53. Since then it has been 5.65.
--Speaking of the Twins....they are the true marvel of baseball this spring. FanGraphs projected them to win 85 games this season; Baseball Prospectus pegged them for 81. Today they are on pace for 112*, with a league-leading .692 winning percentage. With the Cleveland Indians reeling from injuries and the refusal of their front office to come to the rescue and spend some money, the Twins are poised to run away with things in the AL Central. Heck, they’re already 10 ahead of Chief Wahoo and Co. [Oops, can’t say that anymore...sorry. My apologies to my many friends on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, especially “Larry,” who scared the s—t out of me one day years ago.]
*Today, in a 7-0 win over the White Sox, Minnesota’s Jake Odorizzi improved to 7-2, 2.16.
I mentioned when the Twins were in New York the other week that they were just a fun team, and that Minnesota fans should be psyched. Well they’ve only gotten better since.
By the way, after today they have a staggering run differential of 111. Next best is Houston at 89. As Larry David would say, “Pretty, pretty good.”
--Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez is on the hot seat, to say the least. But he probably gets a little more time because of the early-season injury situation. After a 9-6 win today over the Marlins, they are 22-31.
That said Martinez has lost the support of a key Washington-area sports figure, WaPo’s Thomas Boswell:
“From Day 1, he has been just a step too far beyond his depth....
“Last May, Nats relievers were concerned that Martinez was managing ‘like it’s September in May.’ This year, it has been more of the same but with the added twist that it sure looks as if Martinez, whether he knows it or not, wants desperately to win every game – for the standings but also to preserve his job.
“If the Nats decide to give Martinez more time, with a healthier lineup and a weak schedule helping his team get up to $200 million-payroll cruising speed by the All-Star Game, that might work.
“But with the Nats nine games behind the Phillies, if the double whammy of lame fundamentals and a poor (and poorly managed) bullpen keeps dogging the Nats, then I will understand if the team loses patience and decides that someone – maybe anyone – would be a better match for this team than Dave Martinez. He’s a fine role model for many. Just not, it seems, a very good big league manager....
“When you’re just one more bad skid from a dozen-game deficit and a 90 percent chance of ‘wait till next year,’ then it’s probably time to get Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter, Mike Scioscia or ‘other’ on the horn.
“Watching bad things happen to nice people is sad. But so is watching these Nats under Martinez.”
NFL...death of a legend, Bart Starr...
We learned today that Bart Starr, the Green Bay Packers quarterback and catalyst of Vince Lombardi’s powerhouse teams of the 1960s, has died. He was 85. Starr had been in failing health for years.
Pete Dougherty / Packer News
“The quarterback who guided the Green Bay Packers to five NFL championships and was as popular as any figure in franchise history has passed away.
“Bart Starr, who served as the extension of coach Vince Lombardi on the field during the Packers’ glory days of the 1960s.
“ ‘We are saddened to note the passing of our husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Bart Starr,’ the family statement said. ‘He battled with courage and determination to transcend the serious stroke he suffered in September 2014, but his most recent illness was too much to overcome.
“ ‘While he may always be best known for his success as the Packers quarterback for 16 years, his true legacy will always be the respectful manner in which he treated every person he met, his humble demeanor, and his generous spirit....
“ ‘His love for all of humanity is well known, and his affection toward the residents of Alabama and of Wisconsin filled him with gratitude. He had hoped to make one last trip to Green Bay to watch the Packers this fall, but he shall forever be there in spirt.’
“Starr’s place in Packers lore is cemented by his role in Lombardi’s 1960s Packers dynasty, which remains the most successful seven-year stretch in NFL history with five titles, including wins in the first two Super Bowls.
“ ‘The Packers Family was saddened today to learn of the passing of Bart Starr,’ Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement. ‘A champion on and off the field, Bart epitomized class and was beloved by generations of Packers fans. A clutch player who led his team to five NFL titles, Bart could still fill Lambeau Field with electricity decades later during his many visits.’
“He is most famous for leading the legendary drive and scoring the touchdown on the iconic play in Packers history, the quarterback sneak against Dallas that won the Ice Bowl in 1967.
“The Ice Bowl drive and sneak were the culmination of the Lombardi-era Packers’ will to win, toughness and discipline that Starr embodied as quarterback of those teams.
“ ‘That’s the sign of a champion,’ Cowboys tackle Ralph Neely told the Green Bay Press-Gazette after the Ice Bowl. ‘They needed a score, and Starr got it for them.’
“Starr’s jersey No. 15 is one of only six numbers retired in Packers history. [Ed. expect a quiz next fall.]
“Starr also had a long but mostly unsuccessful tenure as Packers coach, from 1975-83. His teams were 52-76-3 (.408 winning percentage) and qualified for the playoffs only once in his nine seasons.
“But long after the Packers fired him as coach, Starr remained extremely popular with fans because of his role as leader of Lombardi’s Packers on the field and his gracious manner off the field. For years he drew by far the longest and loudest ovation of all the players who were honored at halftime of the team’s annual game honoring its alumni.”
As a quarterback, Starr had a career record of 94-57-6 (.622) and was 9-1 in the postseason. His 196 games played was the most in Packers history until Brett Favre surpassed him in 2004.
“Starr’s highly successful NFL career began as a long shot. The Packers drafted him the 17th round in 1956, the 200th player selected overall, from the University of Alabama. His once-promising career at Alabama had been derailed by a leg injury and then a coaching change that de-emphasized Starr’s strengths as a drop-back passer. In his senior season, Starr split playing time at quarterback for an Alabama team that went 0-10.*
*If you’re wondering if Bear Bryant was coach then, hardly. It was Jennings Whitworth. No offense to the Whitworth family, but their father, uncle, brother, whatever, was not a real good coach. Try 4-24-2 from 1955-57. Bear took over in 1958, when a young Joe Namath was beginning to play high school ball in Beaver Falls, PA; Namath later catching the eye of the ‘Bama coaching staff, and the rest is history for us Jets fans. Just to ramble, I know I’ve mentioned this a few times over the years, but there are one or two videos of a young Joe Namath on YouTube and what a tremendous athlete he was. If only he hadn’t suffered all those knee injuries.
Back to Starr....
“An obscure player coming into the NFL, Starr performed well enough to make the Packers’ roster as a rookie and play his way on and off the field during one of the worst stretches of Packers history. In his first three seasons in the league, he was 3-15-1 as a starter and threw 13 touchdown passes and 25 interceptions.
“But when Lombardi joined the Packers in 1959, Starr’s prospects brightened, even if it took the young quarterback some time to convince the coach he could lead the team.
“Starr took over as the starter in the last five games of Lombardi’s first season and went 4-1. Then in 1960, Starr was benched after losing the opener, only to regain the job in Week 5 and eventually lead the Packers to the NFL title game.
“They lost the championship to Philadelphia that season, but Starr and Lombardi never would lose a playoff game again. That would include winning championships in the 1961, ’62, ’65, ’66 and ’67 seasons.
“Starr’s postseason passer rating of 104.8 remains the highest in NFL history among those meeting the minimum experience standards.
[Ed. I didn’t think this was possible, given the evolution of passer rating, but consider this. Bart Starr threw 15 touchdown passes and just 3 interceptions in 10 playoff games. This is versus a regular season career ratio of 152-138. Far tougher competition in the former. I’d call that nothing but ‘clutch.’ Tom Brady, by the way, is at 90.5....73-34, TD/INT.]
“In September of 2018, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers talked about how much he appreciated receiving letters of encouragement from Starr during the early years of his NFL career.
“ ‘It meant the world to me because I knew I had the support of one of the greatest players of all time,’ Rodgers told Peter King of NBC Sports.”
Starr was the son of a career officer in the Army, growing up primarily in Alabama in a highly-disciplined home, which helped Bart develop a will to succeed. Perfect for the highly-demanding and detail-oriented Lombardi.
“They were very tough people,” Starr said of his father and Lombardi in 2015. “My dad was one tough hombre. That made it easy for me to work with a man like Lombardi, because I was accustomed to that with my father. It was a blessing.”
And we were blessed to be able to watch Bart Starr as sports fans, the Ice Bowl being one of my first vivid sports memories as a kid, watching on a little black-and-white in our dining room ...a snowstorm developing outside.
Dr. W., fellow Demon Deac alum and one who was growing up at the same time, talked this afternoon about one of his early heroes being Starr, and the Packers, clearly because Starr played at Alabama, where the esteemed preemie baby doc spent his childhood, “and because he always seemed like a pretty classy athlete and human being. For the same reason, I always liked the Knicks (Bradley and Frazier) and the Red Sox (because Yaz was on the team). Since I didn’t have any real local pro teams to root for – I embraced a more selective national search for heroes. Being a winner and a decent human being topped the list for criteria. I wonder if my choices would have been different if Facebook and Twitter existed back then.”
Well said, friend (and fellow DraftKings fan).
I have my own comments on social media further below.
ESPN released its postseason schedule for college football on Thursday and I must say, I agree with USA TODAY’s Dan Wolken that it kind of sucks.
You see, the College Football Playoff semifinals will be played Saturday, Dec. 28. ESPN/ABC will broadcast 18 bowl games before the semis, but then you’ll have 15 bowls after, not including the national championship game, over the nine days following.
“This is like going to a restaurant and being served the main course and the dessert before the salad.
“Sorry, but the order matters. And if the College Football Playoff semifinals are supposed to be the centerpiece of the sport, they should be the last games played every year – preferably on New Year’s Day, followed by the national championship nine or 10 days later.
“But in two out of every three years in this playoff system, it won’t work that way because the CFP is set up to value the Rose Bowl, and to a lesser extent the Sugar Bowl, over and above anything else.
“To be clear, this is not ESPN’s fault. ESPN didn’t pay $7.3 billion over 12 years for the Playoff with the idea that it would shove the two games it spends all year hyping into a random spot on the schedule – making ratings more difficult and sucking the wind out of the subsequent bowls.
“It’s happened because the original concept of the Playoff was to put the semifinals on New Year’s Day when the Rose and Sugar were hosting them and on New Year’s Eve when the other four games – the Peach, Fiesta, Cotton and Orange bowls – came up in the rotation. CFP executive director Bill Hancock even boasted that the playoff would ‘change the paradigm of New Year’s Eve’ and get people to stay home and watch football rather than go out and party.
“But when that proved to be an utter failure, the CFP decided it couldn’t defy the Rose Bowl’s protected place at 5 p.m. Eastern on Jan. 1, so it moved the semifinals to the Saturday before New Year’s Day, where they would have a better shot of drawing viewers.”
But now the semifinals are stuck right in the middle of the schedule.
Granted, it’s still not even June, and we’ll have all fall to bitch about this, but I like Wolken’s ultimate ideal.
“(If) the Rose Bowl just has to be on the afternoon of Jan. 1, so we can wax poetically about the sun setting over the San Gabriel Mountains, put the first semifinal at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day, followed by the Rose Bowl at 5 p.m., followed by the second semifinal at 9 p.m.”
Then again, this only works if Jan. 2 is a Sat. or Sun. Otherwise, we would need the national holiday extended to Jan. 2...which it should be anyway. Hell, some nations, such as Japan and China, take an entire week off at some point during the year, why can’t the U.S. add one more day?!
[It should be Jan. 2, more so than the day after the Super Bowl.]
--Kevin Na is an interesting figure. I can’t say I was a real fan when the guy was going through the yips years ago on his drives and approach shots...endless waggles. But today there is zero reason not to like him, and he just captured PGA Tour win No. 3 at Colonial, the new Charles Schwab Challenge, by four strokes over Tony Finau (another highly-likable guy).
And Na proved how classy he is by giving a very cool car that comes with the win to his long-time caddie. Now that’s a good guy.
Jordan Spieth had a good shot to break his winless streak, but performed poorly in the final round, ending up T-8, though at least he is trending in the right direction.
On to one of the better non-majors of the tour schedule, The Memorial at Jack’s place. A great field will be there.
--I love how Tiger Woods dissed gambler James Adducci, the bettor who won a bit of infamy – and $1.272 million – placing $85,000 on Woods to win at Augusta. Adducci then doubled down, wagering $100,000 that Woods would win the next three majors, hoping for a $10 million payout.
Woods was at an event in Las Vegas the other day when a fan asked Tiger, who was hitting balls, about Adducci’s initial gamble.
“F—king great bet,” he said to raucous cheers. “Dumbass for the Grand Slam part, though.”
--The Champions Tour held its Senior PGA Championship and Ken Tanigawa of Japan won his second event. No offense to the Tanigawa’s, but this is hardly helpful in generating excitement for a tour that is lacking it bigtime these days.
--I watched the final of the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship on Wednesday, Duke vs. Wake Forest, and kudos to Golf Channel for superb coverage. Wake lost, 3-2, but it was great stuff.
It also gave me another example of why I hate social media. I use Facebook to just post my articles, and maybe spend another 30 minutes or so a week otherwise checking things out.
So I posted congratulations to Duke for their win and a friend from Wake Forest blasted our team for “choking.”
It’s freakin’ women’s golf! It’s college! How many of these women, like Wake’s Jennifer Kupcho, or Arkansas’ Maria Fassi, for that matter, the individual NCAA winner this year, will go on to have a truly lucrative professional career? Anyone who has read this column over the years knows how many times I write of the disparity in earnings between the top male golfers and those of the LPGA Tour. To put it mildly, if you want to make a lot of money, you don’t choose women’s golf.
So since I know that, I treat the NCAA women’s golf championship a little differently than I would, say, Chris Webber, long ago, choking in the Men’s D-I hoops title game. Webber, and his Fab Five, were headed to NBA riches, after all.
But the women of Duke and Wake Forest? C’mon. They are both worthy of nothing but praise, and they put on a tremendous show for anyone who cared to tune in.
The Lady Dookies won their seventh title, while the Lady Deacs failed to win their first, but that’s OK.
I’ll save my criticism for Wake’s hoops team (namely the coach), or if the football squad blows a 38-20 fourth quarter lead.
But not the Wake Forest girls. A great year...they just fell a little short.
As for the Wake Forest men...the D-I golf championship started Friday, with the 30-team field cut to 15 at 54 holes today, and then those 15 battling on Monday for the final eight slots and match play, while the individual title is decided tomorrow as well.
And the Deacs comfortably qualified for Monday. The program has had issues recently when it gets to crunch time, but they were ranked No. 3 coming in and they need to at least make the match play portion to call it a successful season.
--A shark attack killed a 65-year-old California tourist off the coast of Maui Saturday. The man encountered the shark about 60 yards off of Kaanapali Beach at around 8:30 a.m. local time. A police report notes the man was unresponsive when rescuers got to him, one of his legs having been bitten off at the knee.
I haven’t seen what the suspected shark might be.
It was the first shark attack off Maui this year, but the third in the state in 2019.
The last fatal attack was in 2015, a snorkeler off Maui.
[Don’t have time to report on the alligator attack in Florida, but the woman is alive. Just be careful when you answer the front door at all times these days, just as we do here at global HQ for Bar Chat.]
--You’ve all seen that picture of the traffic jam on Mount Everest. It’s nuts! But it’s all about money. Nepal desperately needs it. This is a major source of the government’s revenue, and it’s the livelihood of all attached to it, including the Sherpas.
Speaking of which, with climbers mandated to take a Sherpa, at top dollar, there are serious questions just how qualified some of the Sherpas actually are, let alone the climbers.
As of Saturday, 10 climbers had died scaling Everest this climbing season (20 in the Himalayas overall), with most of the deaths attributed to weakness, exhaustion and delays on the crowded route to the summit.
Robin Haynes Fisher (44) died in the so-called “death zone” known for low levels of oxygen on descent from the summit, an official said.
“He died because of weakness after a long ascent and difficult descent,” Murai Sharma of the Everest Parivar Treks company that arranged his logistics told reporters. “He was descending with his Sherpa guides from the summit when he suddenly fainted.”
An Irish climber, Kevin Hynes (56) died in his tent at about 21,000 feet, after turning back before reaching the summit.
Other victims have fallen during the descent.
But, again, just how experienced are some of those attempting the ascent?
And back to the Nepalese government. They issued a record 381 permits this year, costing 10,000 euros each, or about $11,000. When a weather window develops, as we had this week, it’s like all 381 suddenly want to reach the peak at once. Throw in at least one Sherpa per climber and you really have 750 treading the path to the top.
Literally, there are only about 9-12 ‘good-weather’ days to scale the summit each season.
--The president of French soccer champion Paris Saint-Germain is the latest sports official implicated in a sprawling five-year corruption probe that keeps spreading, as reported by the Associated Press.
Prosecutors in France have implicated Nasser al-Khelifi – who leads Qatar-owned PSG, is chairman of Qatar-owned broadcast beIN sports, and sits on the executive committee of European soccer body UEFA – in “active corruption.” They linked him on Thursday to payments allegedly helping Doha win hosting rights for track and field’s world championships.
The IAAF, track’s governing body based in Monaco, is at the core of allegations of bribery, extortion and systematic doping.
The wider case led to exposing state-backed Russian doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Suspected vote-buying in Olympic hosting contests are also part of ongoing investigations.
That’s the easiest part to wrap your head around. The corruption in vote-buying, whether it is for hosting the Olympics, track and field championships, or the World Cup.
On the doping end, Russian runner Lilya Shobukhova won three Chicago Marathons from 2009-11, and also won in London. But after she paid off athletics officials to ensure her doping stayed hidden, in 2014, she was eventually banned, after which she turned whistleblower, describing a Russian doping program, with money flying all over the place. It was in November 2015, that the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA, detailed orchestrated doping in Russian track and field, and IAAF complicity.
It’s sickening that so many innocent athletes suffered as a result, but this goes back to the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Remember when the East German women's swim team showed up to that one? One of my high school classmates was a victim, a girl who had dominated the Pan-Am Games the year before and was a favorite for Montreal, but came away without a medal. We later learned all the East Germans were, in effect, men...and that is not a stretch in the least. [I’m leaving KH’s name out because she might not want to be mentioned in this context, but she was the best...and we were so proud of her here in Summit.]
--James Holzhauer extended his winning streak on “Jeopardy!” to 27 on Friday, winning $74,400 to blast through the $2 million mark in earnings...$2,065,535; only the second player to pass that threshold, Ken Jennings on top at $2,520,700.
Holzhauer has begun donating some of his winnings to charities in his home town of Las Vegas.
But the 34-year-old’s dominance was tested on Thursday, when Nate Scheffey, a technology consultant from New York City, held the lead by as much as $11,200 early in the episode. Holzhauer came back to top Scheffey by $16,308.
Holzhauer almost got the Final Jeopardy clue wrong on Friday, as his scribblings on the card showed. Had he missed it, though, he still would have emerged victorious but with a final score of just $4,400.
--Botswana has lifted its ban on elephant hunting in a country with the world’s highest number of the animals, a decision that has brought anger from some wildlife protection groups.
There are an estimated 130,000 elephants in the southern African nation, and of course the lifting of the ban raises concerns about a possible increase in illegal poaching to supply the ivory trade.
“Expect mass culling next,” the chief executive of WildlifeDirect, Paula Kahumbu, said in a post on Twitter, adding that the impact of Botswana’s decision will be felt across Africa.
Botswana has long been a refuge for elephants on a continent where tens of thousands have been killed over the years for their ivory.
Understandably, though, with such a large population in Botswana, there are growing conflicts between humans, particularly farmers, and elephants.
The government says, for now, that hunting will resume “in an orderly and ethical manner” but does not say how it will be regulated.
That said, Botswana only has two million people and it does have a lot of space for animals to roam.
Neighboring Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa collectively have about 126,000 elephants, so together with Botswana, they account for half of all of Africa’s elephants.
--I saw in Army Times that “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) is coming to about 600 cinemas nationwide for just two days – June 2 and June 5 – to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the June 6, 1944, landing of Allied forces in Normandy. This is one movie best seen in a theater. Try to catch it.
If you forgot, the film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, but was upset in the Best Picture category by Harvey Weinstein’s “Shakespeare in Love.”
Top 3 songs for the week 5/29/71: #1 “Brown Sugar” (The Rolling Stones) #2 “Joy To The World” (Three Dog Night) #3 “Never Can Say Goodbye” (The Jackson 5...easily in their top three...)...and...#4 “Want Ads” (The Honey Cone) #5 “It Don’t Come Easy” (Ringo Starr) #6 “Put Your Hand In The Water” (Ocean) #7 “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Aretha Franklin) #8 “Sweet And Innocent” (Donny Osmond) #9 “Me And You And A Dog Named Boo” (Lobo) #10 “Chick-A-Boom” (Daddy Dewdrop)
Stanley Cup Finals Quiz Answer: Top scorers and goalies.
Phil Goyette* 29-49-78
Red Berenson 33-39-72
Jacques Plante 18-9-5
Ernie Wakely 12-9-4
Glenn Hall 7-8-3
*This was former Canadien and Ranger Goyette’s only season in St. Louis. If you got this, you’re good.
I forgot Ernie Wakely, and assumed Hall was the primary backup to Plante. Plante was 41 years old, Hall 38.
Bobby Orr 33-87-120
Phil Esposito 43-56-99
John McKenzie 29-41-70
John Bucyk 31-38-69
Gerry Cheevers 24-8-9
Eddie Johnston 16-9-11
Hockey was great in this era. Fun time to be a kid just getting into the game.
This series would be the scene of the great Bobby Orr’s phenomenal sports moment. If I remember, more on it next time. [I have 1.68 brain cells left....it is very tough.]
1969 Mets, cont’d....
The 18-19 Mets headed to the Houston Astrodome for a three-game weekend series against the Astros, and let’s just say it was a disaster.
May 23: Mets lose 7-0, Tom Griffin with a complete game shutout, five hits, 13 strikeouts.
May 24: Mets lose 5-1, Larry Dierker* (another underrated hurler for his time, ala Jim Maloney, Chuck E.) with the complete game, 11 Ks; Jerry Koosman the loser for the Metropolitans.
May 25: Mets lose 6-3, Denny Lemaster and Fred Gladding besting Tom Seaver, who was rocked for five earned in four innings, Seaver dropping to 6-3, 2.44.
This is depressing. Mets are now 18-22, a full 9 games back of Chicago! Why do I follow this team?!!! I’m freakin’ 11 years old...I should be prepping for a lifetime career at IBM or AT&T, rather than watching this garbage.
*Dierker would go 20-13 this season, age 22, but would end his career, essentially, at age 29, 139-123, 3.31.
Next Bar Chat, Thursday.