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07/15/2024

MLB, Wimbledon, Euro 24, Jalen Brunson

[Posted early Sunday p.m.]

Brief Add-on up top by noon, Tuesday.

Special Note: I was watching the Mets game yesterday afternoon and towards the end of it, at 6:30 p.m., flipped to see what was leading the national news, and it was then that the first videos of the tragedy in Butler, PA, were just coming in.

I write a big bulk of the Sunday edition of Bar Chat on Saturday mornings, and then I fill in as the weekend progresses.  I hope you don’t think it’s insensitive to be posting the column, but our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, as well as to President Trump and his family.  We are all thankful the headline isn’t even worse.

It’s kind of amazing to think an American president, and the country, hasn’t been through a serious assassination attempt since Ronald Reagan in 1981, given the heated discourse and violence in the nation.

I pray this is the last time we witness an event like Saturday evening for at least another 40 years.

God bless America.

---

Baseball Quiz: Boston’s Jarren Duran leads the majors with 10 triples, and no way he or anyone else will get 20 this season.  20 triples is quite a feat.  Name the last five to accomplish this. Answer below.

MLB

--After losing another series, this time to the Rays during the week, the 56-39 Yankees took on their new big rival, the Orioles, 57-36, in Camden Yards Friday night for an important series heading into the All-Star break.

Gerrit Cole had his finest start of the season, six innings, one run, 7 strikeouts, Cole now 2-1, 5.40, as New York won it, 4-1, Aaron Judge with home run No. 33, and four walks.  The rest of the way, any smart team is just going to walk him because the Yanks have no one behind him.  Friday, Ben Rice was inserted into the cleanup spot and went 0-for-3.

The benches cleared in the bottom of the ninth when New York closer Clay Holmes, leading 4-1, hit Heston Kjerstad in the head with one out.

It was raining and Holmes said his normal sinker ran up and in on Kjerstad.

“You never try to hit somebody in the head...up high like that,” Homes said.

During their previous series in the Bronx, the Yankees had complained about what they felt were too many high and tight pitches by Baltimore’s pitchers.

Well, there was just a little pushing and shoving, no one deciding to act like Earnie Shavers, and order was quickly restored.

New York was keeping its fingers crossed after Jose Trevino injured his left quad scoring a run in the top of the ninth, but he was later put on the injured list.

Saturday, Luis Gil, after a rough stretch, had his second straight impressive outing for the Yanks, 6 innings, one earned, as New York beat Baltimore again, 6-1, and moved into a tie with the Orioles for first in the AL East.

New York 58-39
Baltimore 57-38

Aaron Judge (No. 34) and Juan Soto (No. 23) homered.

But today, it was 9th-inning drama at Camden Yards.  The Yanks’ Ben Rice, reinserted into the leadoff spot, hit a 3-run homer in the top of the ninth to give New York a 5-3 lead, but in the bottom of the inning, Anthony Volpe committed an awful two-out error, prolonging the inning, and Cedric Mullins had a 2-run, game-winning double off Clay Holmes...retribution for Baltimore...who win it 6-5 and go back up top of the division.

--The surging Mets improved to 48-35 Friday night, 7-6 over Colorado at Citi Field, nine home runs in the game, five by the Metsies, two each from Jose Iglesias and Harrison Bader.  The Mets bullpen cracked, again, but Edwin Diaz got the save.

The Mets were suddenly tied with St. Louis for the second wild card spot, though both were only a game ahead of Arizona and San Diego, with four other teams 2 ½ or 3 back as we completed play Friday night.

Earlier in the week, the Mets swept the Nationals.

The positive mojo continued Saturday, Mets beating the Rockies 7-3, Francisco Lindor with a dramatic 3-run, 2-out homer in the bottom of the 8th to seal it.  The Mets’ much-maligned bullpen provided 4 2/3 of one-hit relief.

Alas, today, Colorado hit six home runs, three by Michael Toglia, a switch-hitter with two from the right side and one from the left, and the Rockies prevailed 8-5. The Mets were a pitiful 1-13 with runners in scoring position.

New York restarts the season with four in Miami.  Gotta win three of them.

--Friday night the A’s beat the Phillies in Philadelphia, 6-2, as All-Star Ranger Suarez had another poor outing for the Phils, six innings, 4 earned, falling to 10-4, 2.76.  On May 21, Suarez was 9-0, 1.36, and his ERA was still 1.75 on June 19, but it’s been a rocky road since.

At least Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper returned to the lineup on Tuesday.

But the Phillies had another injury concern when ace Zack Wheeler left the game, Tuesday, with left lower back tightness.  After the game, manager Rob Thomson said he expected Wheeler to make his next start on Sunday.

But then the Phillies decided it was best to give him a full rest over the All-Star break.

Meanwhile, Saturday, Philadelphia rebounded 11-5, Bryce Harper with a triple, homer and 3 RBIs.

And then Sunday, Oakland hit 8 home runs...3 by Lawrence Butler, from nearby Burlington, NJ, and two each from Seth Brown and Brent Rooker, who is having a career year.  Final score...18-3. 

--In a fascinating series, Kansas City improved to 52-43 with a 6-1 win Friday over the Red Sox (51-42) at Fenway.

Boston then turned the tables on Saturday, 5-0, as the Red Sox’ Kutter Crawford had his second straight 7-inning masterpiece (he did the same against the Yankees last Sunday), Crawford now 6-7, 3.04.  All-Star Seth Lugo had an off day, 5 innings, 5 earned, falling to 11-4, 2.48 ERA.

And the BoSox won Sunday, 5-4.

--The Baseball World was abuzz Thursday afternoon, as Pirates phenom Paul Skenes had a no-hitter through seven innings against the Brewers, striking out 11 in the process.

But he had thrown 99 pitches and Pirates manager Derek Shelton (and presumably management) opted not to take any chances, the Pirates holding on for a 1-0 win...Skenes 6-0, 1.90.

Afterwards, Skenes was diplomatic about being pulled. As a fan, I get it.   If he got through the eighth, but at 114, you are potentially playing with fire in the ninth.

On the other hand, as I documented in this space, Paul Skenes threw 120+ pitches more than once last season at LSU.

Skenes has now permitted two runs or fewer in nine of his 11 major league starts.  In 66 1/3, he had 89 strikeouts.

And Paul Skenes will be rewarded with the starting nod in the All-Star Game, a very smart move by major league baseball.  There will certainly be more eyeballs watching the first hour or so.

--The Dodgers demoted right-handed starter Bobby Miller following a brutal outing in the team’s loss to the Phillies on Tuesday night.

The 25-year-old Miler, who was widely regarded as one of the very best pitching prospects in baseball leading up to his strong rookie season of 2023, had an ERA of 8.07 after giving up nine earned to the Phils.

The move comes as the Dodgers are desperate for rotation arms.  Tyler Glasnow (back), Yoshinobu Yamamoto (strained rotator cuff), Walker Buehler (hip discomfort), Clayton Kershaw (recovering from shoulder surgery), Tony Gonsolin (recovering from Tommy John surgery), Dustin May (flexor tendon surgery...and now esophagus issues), and Emmett Sheehan (Tommy John surgery) are all on the injured list.

And you have Mookie Betts (fractured hand) and third baseman Max Muncy (oblique) are also on the shelf.  Oh, and five relievers are on the IL at the moment.

As for Glasnow, he was placed on the 15-day IL Tuesday after experiencing back tightness.  The Dodgers do expect him to be able to rejoin the rotation after the All-Star break.

But remember, as I’ve noted countless times, Glasnow has now thrown 109 innings and he’s never pitched more than 120 in a season.

Saturday, the Dodgers were cruising in Detroit, 9-4 heading to the bottom of the ninth, Shohei Ohtani with a triple, homer and stolen base.

But then the Tigers stunned L.A. with five in the bottom of the ninth, two in the tenth, 11-9 win.

The Dodgers have lost 5 of 6 and at 56-40 are only 7 games ahead of both Arizona and San Diego.

Make that 6 of 7...another stirring Tigers 9th-inning rally, today, this time two runs to win it 4-3.

--Saturday night in San Diego, the Padres beat the Braves, 4-0, Dylan Cease (8-8, 3.99) with 6 innings of one-hit ball, 11 strikeouts, while Atlanta’s Reynaldo Lopez (6 innings, 3 earned), fell to 7-3, 1.88.

--Cincinnati’s Rece Hinds was hitting .216 at AAA Louisville, though with some pop, 13 home runs, but only a .698 OPS, when he was called up by the Reds a week ago.  Through Saturday, all the guy had done was hit five home runs in his first six games, two shy of the record held by Trevor Story, and Hinds had 9 extra-base hits, an all-time record.  Go figure.

Hinds got his shot because Reds outfielder Stuart Fairchild (former Demon Deacon) was placed on the IL.

--The Cubs placed outfielder Cody Bellinger on the 10-day injured list with a left middle finger fracture suffered when he was hit by a pitch in Wednesday night’s 4-0 victory over the Orioles.

Bellinger is batting .269 with nine homers and 37 RBIs.  To me he is a very intriguing trade deadline pickup. His contract is just through 2026, he’s still only 29, and you could catch lightning in a bottle with the guy.

--Tampa Bay shortstop Wander Franco, facing up to 20 years in prison on charges of human trafficking, was formally placed on MLB’s restricted list Wednesday.  He no longer will be paid or receive service time.

“Serious charges,” Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters Wednesday.  “Very concerning.”

Franco is in the third year of an 11-year, $182 million contract, with the big amounts paid from 2026 on.

--The MLB Draft opened Sunday, Cleveland with the No. 1 pick for the first time in franchise history.  They had just a 2% chance to land the top pick in December’s lottery.

Wimbledon

--On the men’s side, the finals were set on Friday, with 3-seed Carlos Alcaraz defeating 5 Daniil Medvedev in four sets, while 2 Novak Djokovic beat back 25 Lorenzo Musetti in three.

Musetti had defeated American 13-seed Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals, while the other American, 12 Tommy Paul, lost to Alcaraz in his quarterfinal match.

Djokovic had knee surgery less than a month before the start of play at the All England Club, raising questions about whether he’d even be able to try to earn his eighth championship at the grass-court major and add to his men’s mark of 24 Grand Slam trophies.

But he got a big break when he moved into the semifinals via a walkover because his quarterfinal opponent, Alex de Minaur, pulled out with a hip injury. So that meant an extra few days off.

Would that matter in the finals?

Alcaraz rolled, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), the 21-year-old’s second consecutive Wimbledon title and his fourth Grand Slam championship overall.

So Djokovic falls short of getting his 25th career grand slam, and now it’s countdown time for Alcaraz...20 to go to tie Novak.

It was nice to see Catherine, Princess of Wales, there to present the trophy to the champion; just her second public appearance since announcing in March that she was undergoing cancer treatment.

--Barbora Krejcikova, a 28-year-old from the Czech Republic and the 31-seed, beat Italy’s Jasmine Paolini, the 7-seed, for the women’s title on Saturday, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.  Krejcikova won the French Open in 2021 but obviously, by her seeding, hadn’t played real well recently and had never advanced past the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Paolini was the runner-up in this year’s French Open as well.  She has a terrific personality and will be a crowd favorite in New York at the U.S. Open.

NBA

--Knicks fans fell in love with Jalen Brunson this season as he was the heart and soul of an exciting team.

And now fans love the guy even more because the unselfish All-Star agreed to a team-friendly contract extension, four years, $156.5 million, the Knicks announced Friday.  By signing the extension this offseason instead of next year, Brunson will make significantly less money - $113 million guaranteed less – than he’s eligible for in 2025.

The reason?  Brunson’s massive discount will allow the Knicks to keep their current roster together and add missing pieces as the team looks to compete for the NBA title this coming season and the year or two after.

“Jalen signing his extension to remain with the Knicks for the long-term shows the dedication and passion he has for the organization, the fans and this city,” Knicks President Leon Rose said in a statement on social media.

It’s all about the salary cap and in this instance, the “second apron level for 2024-25.”  [Don’t ask me for apron specifics.]  Brunson can sign a maximum extension in 2028 or 2029.

And let’s face it, Brunson has always wanted security and he has it.  If he suffers a devastating injury this coming season, he wouldn’t be getting a five-year contract worth about $270 million next offseason.

And Brunson has his father as an assistant coach, Leon Rose is a longtime family friend, head coach Tom Thibodeau is a huge fan, and his college buddies are on the team.

As Mike Vaccaro wrote in the New York Post:

“Some guys say they’ll do whatever it takes to win.

“Some guys actually do those things. In this case, 113 million of those things.”

Yes, as Vaccaro said over the weekend on a radio program, no one needs to be holding telethons for Brunson...he and his grandkids are set for life.  But this was a major decision, and the guy showed his true class.

--The NBA agreed to terms on a new media deal, an 11-year agreement worth $76 billion that assures player salaries will continue rising for the foreseeable future and one that will surely change how some viewers access the game for years to come.  The networks have the term sheets and its up to the league’s board of governors to approve the contracts.

The deal goes into effect for the 2025-26 season.   Games will continue being aired on ESPN and ABC, and now some will be going to NBC and Amazon Prime. TNT Sports, which has been part of the league’s broadcasting family since the 1980s, could be on its way out but has five days to match one of the deals.  That clock begins once the league sends the finished contracts to TNT.

ESPN and ABC will continue to have the league’s top package, which includes the NBA Finals and one of the conference finals series. ABC has aired the NBA Finals since 2003.

ESPN’s main nights will continue to be Wednesday with some Friday and Sunday games.  ABC will air Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons when the NFL’s regular season ends.

NBC will have games on Thursday night after it is done carrying NFL games.  Its other nights will be Friday and Saturday.

Prime Video will have games on Thursday night after it is done carrying NFL games.  Its other nights will be Friday and Saturday.

NBC and Prime Video will alternate who carries the other conference finals series.

--In his third summer league game for the Lakers, Bronny James had eight points on 3-for-14 shooting (0-for-8 from 3).  But he added five rebounds and two steals. First-round selection Dalton Knecht had 25 points for L.A., the team losing 99-80 to the Rockets.

--Next year’s No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, incoming Duke freshman Cooper Flagg, wowed folks on Team USA during its training camp week in Las Vegas when Flagg, part of the select team that scrimmaged against Team USA, showed he was worthy of being on an NBA roster today, at age 17!

Devin Booker, Team USA: “You see how bad he wants it.”

Jaime Jaquez Jr., Miami Heat: “Coop was playing out of his mind.”

Euro 24

Prior to Sunday’s Euro 24 finale between Spain and England, King Charles III sent the following message to England manager Gareth Southgate and all the England players:

“My wife and I join all our family in wishing the warmest congratulations on reaching the finals of the UEFA European Championship – and in sending our very best wishes for Sunday’s match.

“If I may encourage you to secure victory before the need for any last minute wonder-goals or another penalties drama, I am sure the stresses on the nation’s collective heart rate and blood pressure would be greatly alleviated!

“Good luck, England.

“Charles R’” [Reminder...the title is abbreviated as R for the Latin rex, when you are King.]

England had a spectacular 2-1 win on Wednesday over the Netherlands.  Manager Gareth Southgate subbed little-known Ollie Watkins for Harry Kane at the 77’ mark, and then Watkins, England facing extra time again, score tied 1-1 (Kane with the goal on a penalty kick), had a brilliant scoring strike at 90’.  Watkins plays for Aston Villa.

Spain earned a right to play in the final with a 2-1 win over France, 16-year-old Lamine Yamal delivering a stunning goal under the brightest of lights, becoming the youngest goal scorer in European Championship history, and then four minutes later Dani Olmo provided the game winner.  That was Tuesday.

Yamal then turned 17 on Saturday.  He has earned all-time comparisons, and, fittingly, one all-timer showed he’s still going strong.  In Copa America semifinal action, Lionel Messi* scored in the second half after Julian Alvarez’s first-half strike to give Argentina a 2-0 win over Canada. 

Argentina faces Colombia match in Sunday night’s championship in Miami; Colombia a 1-0 winner over Uruguay in their semi, marred by an after-match brawl in the stands, Uruguay’s players going into the stands.

*Last week, photos of a 20-year-old Messi with a baby named Lamine Yamal resurfaced after Yamal’s father, Mounir Nasraoui, posted one to Instagram with the caption “El comienzo de dos leyendas,” which translates to “The beginning of two legends.”

The amazing photo was part of an annual charity drive organized by a local Catalan newspaper in the fall of 2007 and was taken by Joan Monfort, who works as a freelance photographer for the Associated Press.  It was all part of a calendar that was done through UNICEF.  Lamine’s family signed up for a raffle to have their picture taken with a Barcelona player, Messi with  Barca at the time.  And they won the raffle.

Various Barcelona players were paired with different babies. It’s really amazing how it worked out.

--So the story was set for Sunday’s final....Spain took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Nico Williams, assisted by Yamal, England equalized with Palmer at the 73’ mark, and then Mikel Oyarzabal scored for Spain at 86’...2-1.

But it was a pulsating finish, England, at 89’, with two great header opportunities in front of the Spain net, but they were stopped....2-1 final...England now without a major men’s title for 58 years!  This is a great championship...as good as the World Cup.

--Meanwhile, U.S. Soccer fired Gregg Berhalter as manager of the men’s national team, but Jurgen Klopp won’t be the next coach.  Klopp turned down an approach from USSF to be the next manager of the USMNT heading into the 2026 World Cup.

Klopp stepped down from a legendary run at Liverpool after this past season to take a break, and by turning down what would have been an attractive offer, and challenge, Klopp proved he really does want a break.  Coaching at the club level is incredibly demanding.

Golf Balls

--Prior to the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club, North Berwick, Scotland, Rory McIlroy reemerged after his U.S. Open heartbreak and Rory said in the days following the Open finish, he put his headphones on and wandered the streets of Manhattan and the High Line in an attempt to blend in and come to terms with what happened at Pinehurst.

Rory said that looking back at the Open and the final round, “I can vividly remember starting to feel a little uncomfortable waiting for my second putt on 16,” a four-footer.  Rory said the delay, the result of playing partner’s Patrick Cantlay’s slow play, caused him to lose focus and he missed the putt.

“You stand there, it’s hard not to either start thinking about the future or notice before Bryson’s ball is in the fairway or that sort of stuff,” he said. “But again, that’s on me to make sure that I’m in the right headspace.”

On 18, with a three-foot, quick-breaking par putt, Rory said he let DeChambeau’s play affect his decision-making.  As he knew DeChambeau’s ball was far left of the fairway, there remained a chance the American could bogey and McIlroy could two-putt to still make a playoff.  McIlroy said he had to worry about not leaving too difficult of a second putt.

McIlroy missed it, Bryson would get up and down with his spectacular bunker shot and took the tournament.

Rory then withdrew from the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, but because he had plans to stop in Manhattan beforehand, he kept that trip and used it as a way to refuel.

He walked around the city and called people he trusted.  Other than that, he was alone with his thoughts and found things he wanted to work on going forward.  Within a few days, he shifted his thoughts to the future.

So how did Rory do in Scotland, a big event coming a week before The Open Championship?

He did just fine.

After 36 holes, McIlroy was three shots behind leader Ludvig Aberg, who was at -12.

But after 54 holes....

Aberg -17
Robert MacIntyre -15
*
Adam Scott -14
Collin Morikawa -13
Sahith Theegala -13
Sungjae Im -13
Antoine Rozer -13

Rory -12

*Bobby Mac attempting to become just the second native Scot to win his national championship, Colin Montgomerie the first.

As they came down the stretch in today’s final round, MacIntyre eagled 16 to get to -17, tying Scott, who was playing 18.

And Adam hit a superb approach on the par-4, ten-feet for birdie...but missed the putt.

MacIntyre then has a 30-footer for the win...and sinks it!  Great moment for Scotland and Bobby Mac.

[I feel for Scott, 43 years old with not a lot of time to get his 15th career win, and maybe one or two more.]

Frenchman Romain Langasque was third at -15

Rory and Collin Morikawa tied for fourth at -14, along with Aberg and three others; Rory with a pedestrian 68 when far more was required.

But we’re on to Troon.  Should be fun.

--Among those missing the cut were Will Zalatoris, Rickie Fowler and Sepp Straka*.

*You know you’ve made it when you make my notable MC list.

--Singer/songwriter Dave Loggins died the other day at the age of 76.

Back in 1981, an attorney friend invited him to play a round of golf at Augusta National, where he was introduced to CBS Sports golf producer Frank Chirkinian.

Chirkinian was looking to find a theme song for coverage of the Masters, and Loggins said, “Well, I’m the person to write it.”

He then sent Chirkinian a demo, after recording the song in Nashville with a band that included a 12-piece string ensemble while Loggins played guitar and sang vocals.

In early 1982, he took the recording to Augusta to play it for Chirkinian, who told him, “You did good, son.  You did real good.” [Golf Digest]

Yup, the same theme song you’ve heard ever since.  And, yes, there are lyrics.  Chirkinian stuck with the instrumental version.

Loggins, a second cousin of pop recording star Kenny Loggins, had one Billboard Top 40 hit, the #5 “Please Come To Boston,” but he was a prolific songwriter whose works were recorded by the likes of Willie Nelsen, Ray Charles, Tanya Tucker, Toby Keith, Alabama, Reba, Wynonna, Johnny Cash, Smokey Robinson, and Three Dog Night, among others.  He had a No. 1 country hit with Anne Murray on the duet, “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do.”   That earned Loggins and Murray a 1985 Country Music Award for Vocal Duo of the Year. 

Stuff

--China lashed out at the United States over allegations of doping by Chinese swimmers ahead of the Paris Games.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian spoke a day after the World Anti-Doping Agency released an interim report from an investigator who concluded he found no evidence that WADA showed favoritism toward China in its handling of the case.  The investigator said WADA made a “reasonable” decision by taking the word of authorities in China who determined the swimmers ingested a banned heart medication.

In response, one of WADA’s biggest critics, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, said many questions remained.

“We urge the U.S. to respect the Olympic spirt, abide by international law and basic norms of international relations, stop talking to itself and refrain from artificially created false narratives,” Lin said at a daily briefing, and said China considered the WADA ruling to be independent and fair.

The spokesperson asserted that the U.S. goal is to “slander outstanding Chinese athletes and affect Chinese athletes’ participation in the Paris Olympics.”

--Dutch runner Sifan Hassan made history three years ago at the Tokyo Olympics when she won gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m and bronze in the 1500m.  But now she is planning on adding the marathon!  Good lord.  This will be worth watching.  She won the 2023 London Marathon in her marathon debut and then ran the second fastest women’s marathon in history in winning the 2023 Chicago Marathon.

--Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, spotted in a walking boot ahead of training camp, addressed the topic at his youth football camp on Tuesday and said the ankle boot’s purpose was to prevent any future injury problems.

“A couple of hard days of training, and you know, you get a little sore and then you’re going on a fishing trip, and you want to protect it and make sure that things don’t get worse,” Prescott told The Athletic’s Jon Machoa.  “So literally, it’s absolutely nothing.”  The boot was on the ankle he injured in 2020, resulting in a season-ending compound fracture and dislocation.

--Longtime NFL defensive coach Monte Kiffin, football innovator and father to Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin, died the other day at the age of 84.  The elder Kiffin spent 29 years as an NFL assistant and is best remembered for his Buccaneers defenses, which helped win a Super Bowl.  He and Bucs head coach Tony Dungy developed the Tampa 2, a modification of classic Cover 2 defense, changing the way teams still play today. 

[Dungy was fired after the 2001 season due to postseason failures, but he (and defensive coordinator Kiffin) constructed the team that Jon Gruden would win a Super Bowl with the following year, 2002.  Kiffin remained as DC.]

--And on Saturday, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and fitness guru Richard Simmons both died, ages 96 and 76, respectively.

Dr. Ruth catapulted to fame in the mid-1980s with her eponymous “The Dr. Ruth Show” on the Lifetime network, ending many of her shows by urging her audience to “have good sex!”

She wrote a book on loneliness, outlining 100 ways to beat loneliness and live a happier and more meaningful life, that will be released posthumously in September.  That could be interesting.  It’s an important topic.

As for Richard Simmons, boy, he was a character...and important in his own right.  Get people moving!

Today, we learned of the passing of actress Shannen Doherty, 53, who passed away after a years-long battle with breast cancer.  Doherty was a star of “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Charmed.”

Top 3 songs for the week 6/18/66:  #1 “Paint It, Black” (The Rolling Stones...over the years this tune has moved into my all-time top ten...)  #2 “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?” (The Lovin’ Spoonful)  #3 “I Am A Rock” (Simon and Garfunkel)...and...#4 “When A Man Loves A Woman” (Percy Sledge) #5 “Strangers In The Night” (Frank Sinatra)  #6 “A Groovy Kind Of Love” (The Mindbenders) #7 “Barefootin’” (Robert Parker)  #8 “Green Grass” (Gary Lewis & The Playboys)  #9 “Cool Jerk” (The Capitols)  #10 “Red Rubber Ball” (The Cyrkle...B+...)

Baseball Quiz Answer: Last five with 20 triples.

2007 – Curtis Granderson, 23 (DET); Jimmy Rollins, 20 (PHI)
2000 – Cristian Guzman, 20 (MIN)
1996 – Lance Johnson, 21 (NYM)*
1985 – Willie Wilson, 21 (KCR)

*Mets fans remember this fantastic season for Johnson fondly, his best in a solid career.  On top of 21 triples, Johnson had 31 doubles, 9 homers, 69 RBIs, .333 BA, 50 steals, 227 hits, and 117 runs scored out of the leadoff spot.  And he played in 160 games, though the team was only 71-91.

Granderson’s 2007 was outstanding...38 doubles, 23 triples, 23 home runs, 122 runs scored, and a .913 OPS.

Very brief Add-on up top by noon, Tuesday.  Wild card standings, MLB Draft, Copa America final, and a little more.

 



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Bar Chat

07/15/2024

MLB, Wimbledon, Euro 24, Jalen Brunson

[Posted early Sunday p.m.]

Brief Add-on up top by noon, Tuesday.

Special Note: I was watching the Mets game yesterday afternoon and towards the end of it, at 6:30 p.m., flipped to see what was leading the national news, and it was then that the first videos of the tragedy in Butler, PA, were just coming in.

I write a big bulk of the Sunday edition of Bar Chat on Saturday mornings, and then I fill in as the weekend progresses.  I hope you don’t think it’s insensitive to be posting the column, but our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, as well as to President Trump and his family.  We are all thankful the headline isn’t even worse.

It’s kind of amazing to think an American president, and the country, hasn’t been through a serious assassination attempt since Ronald Reagan in 1981, given the heated discourse and violence in the nation.

I pray this is the last time we witness an event like Saturday evening for at least another 40 years.

God bless America.

---

Baseball Quiz: Boston’s Jarren Duran leads the majors with 10 triples, and no way he or anyone else will get 20 this season.  20 triples is quite a feat.  Name the last five to accomplish this. Answer below.

MLB

--After losing another series, this time to the Rays during the week, the 56-39 Yankees took on their new big rival, the Orioles, 57-36, in Camden Yards Friday night for an important series heading into the All-Star break.

Gerrit Cole had his finest start of the season, six innings, one run, 7 strikeouts, Cole now 2-1, 5.40, as New York won it, 4-1, Aaron Judge with home run No. 33, and four walks.  The rest of the way, any smart team is just going to walk him because the Yanks have no one behind him.  Friday, Ben Rice was inserted into the cleanup spot and went 0-for-3.

The benches cleared in the bottom of the ninth when New York closer Clay Holmes, leading 4-1, hit Heston Kjerstad in the head with one out.

It was raining and Holmes said his normal sinker ran up and in on Kjerstad.

“You never try to hit somebody in the head...up high like that,” Homes said.

During their previous series in the Bronx, the Yankees had complained about what they felt were too many high and tight pitches by Baltimore’s pitchers.

Well, there was just a little pushing and shoving, no one deciding to act like Earnie Shavers, and order was quickly restored.

New York was keeping its fingers crossed after Jose Trevino injured his left quad scoring a run in the top of the ninth, but he was later put on the injured list.

Saturday, Luis Gil, after a rough stretch, had his second straight impressive outing for the Yanks, 6 innings, one earned, as New York beat Baltimore again, 6-1, and moved into a tie with the Orioles for first in the AL East.

New York 58-39
Baltimore 57-38

Aaron Judge (No. 34) and Juan Soto (No. 23) homered.

But today, it was 9th-inning drama at Camden Yards.  The Yanks’ Ben Rice, reinserted into the leadoff spot, hit a 3-run homer in the top of the ninth to give New York a 5-3 lead, but in the bottom of the inning, Anthony Volpe committed an awful two-out error, prolonging the inning, and Cedric Mullins had a 2-run, game-winning double off Clay Holmes...retribution for Baltimore...who win it 6-5 and go back up top of the division.

--The surging Mets improved to 48-35 Friday night, 7-6 over Colorado at Citi Field, nine home runs in the game, five by the Metsies, two each from Jose Iglesias and Harrison Bader.  The Mets bullpen cracked, again, but Edwin Diaz got the save.

The Mets were suddenly tied with St. Louis for the second wild card spot, though both were only a game ahead of Arizona and San Diego, with four other teams 2 ½ or 3 back as we completed play Friday night.

Earlier in the week, the Mets swept the Nationals.

The positive mojo continued Saturday, Mets beating the Rockies 7-3, Francisco Lindor with a dramatic 3-run, 2-out homer in the bottom of the 8th to seal it.  The Mets’ much-maligned bullpen provided 4 2/3 of one-hit relief.

Alas, today, Colorado hit six home runs, three by Michael Toglia, a switch-hitter with two from the right side and one from the left, and the Rockies prevailed 8-5. The Mets were a pitiful 1-13 with runners in scoring position.

New York restarts the season with four in Miami.  Gotta win three of them.

--Friday night the A’s beat the Phillies in Philadelphia, 6-2, as All-Star Ranger Suarez had another poor outing for the Phils, six innings, 4 earned, falling to 10-4, 2.76.  On May 21, Suarez was 9-0, 1.36, and his ERA was still 1.75 on June 19, but it’s been a rocky road since.

At least Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper returned to the lineup on Tuesday.

But the Phillies had another injury concern when ace Zack Wheeler left the game, Tuesday, with left lower back tightness.  After the game, manager Rob Thomson said he expected Wheeler to make his next start on Sunday.

But then the Phillies decided it was best to give him a full rest over the All-Star break.

Meanwhile, Saturday, Philadelphia rebounded 11-5, Bryce Harper with a triple, homer and 3 RBIs.

And then Sunday, Oakland hit 8 home runs...3 by Lawrence Butler, from nearby Burlington, NJ, and two each from Seth Brown and Brent Rooker, who is having a career year.  Final score...18-3. 

--In a fascinating series, Kansas City improved to 52-43 with a 6-1 win Friday over the Red Sox (51-42) at Fenway.

Boston then turned the tables on Saturday, 5-0, as the Red Sox’ Kutter Crawford had his second straight 7-inning masterpiece (he did the same against the Yankees last Sunday), Crawford now 6-7, 3.04.  All-Star Seth Lugo had an off day, 5 innings, 5 earned, falling to 11-4, 2.48 ERA.

And the BoSox won Sunday, 5-4.

--The Baseball World was abuzz Thursday afternoon, as Pirates phenom Paul Skenes had a no-hitter through seven innings against the Brewers, striking out 11 in the process.

But he had thrown 99 pitches and Pirates manager Derek Shelton (and presumably management) opted not to take any chances, the Pirates holding on for a 1-0 win...Skenes 6-0, 1.90.

Afterwards, Skenes was diplomatic about being pulled. As a fan, I get it.   If he got through the eighth, but at 114, you are potentially playing with fire in the ninth.

On the other hand, as I documented in this space, Paul Skenes threw 120+ pitches more than once last season at LSU.

Skenes has now permitted two runs or fewer in nine of his 11 major league starts.  In 66 1/3, he had 89 strikeouts.

And Paul Skenes will be rewarded with the starting nod in the All-Star Game, a very smart move by major league baseball.  There will certainly be more eyeballs watching the first hour or so.

--The Dodgers demoted right-handed starter Bobby Miller following a brutal outing in the team’s loss to the Phillies on Tuesday night.

The 25-year-old Miler, who was widely regarded as one of the very best pitching prospects in baseball leading up to his strong rookie season of 2023, had an ERA of 8.07 after giving up nine earned to the Phils.

The move comes as the Dodgers are desperate for rotation arms.  Tyler Glasnow (back), Yoshinobu Yamamoto (strained rotator cuff), Walker Buehler (hip discomfort), Clayton Kershaw (recovering from shoulder surgery), Tony Gonsolin (recovering from Tommy John surgery), Dustin May (flexor tendon surgery...and now esophagus issues), and Emmett Sheehan (Tommy John surgery) are all on the injured list.

And you have Mookie Betts (fractured hand) and third baseman Max Muncy (oblique) are also on the shelf.  Oh, and five relievers are on the IL at the moment.

As for Glasnow, he was placed on the 15-day IL Tuesday after experiencing back tightness.  The Dodgers do expect him to be able to rejoin the rotation after the All-Star break.

But remember, as I’ve noted countless times, Glasnow has now thrown 109 innings and he’s never pitched more than 120 in a season.

Saturday, the Dodgers were cruising in Detroit, 9-4 heading to the bottom of the ninth, Shohei Ohtani with a triple, homer and stolen base.

But then the Tigers stunned L.A. with five in the bottom of the ninth, two in the tenth, 11-9 win.

The Dodgers have lost 5 of 6 and at 56-40 are only 7 games ahead of both Arizona and San Diego.

Make that 6 of 7...another stirring Tigers 9th-inning rally, today, this time two runs to win it 4-3.

--Saturday night in San Diego, the Padres beat the Braves, 4-0, Dylan Cease (8-8, 3.99) with 6 innings of one-hit ball, 11 strikeouts, while Atlanta’s Reynaldo Lopez (6 innings, 3 earned), fell to 7-3, 1.88.

--Cincinnati’s Rece Hinds was hitting .216 at AAA Louisville, though with some pop, 13 home runs, but only a .698 OPS, when he was called up by the Reds a week ago.  Through Saturday, all the guy had done was hit five home runs in his first six games, two shy of the record held by Trevor Story, and Hinds had 9 extra-base hits, an all-time record.  Go figure.

Hinds got his shot because Reds outfielder Stuart Fairchild (former Demon Deacon) was placed on the IL.

--The Cubs placed outfielder Cody Bellinger on the 10-day injured list with a left middle finger fracture suffered when he was hit by a pitch in Wednesday night’s 4-0 victory over the Orioles.

Bellinger is batting .269 with nine homers and 37 RBIs.  To me he is a very intriguing trade deadline pickup. His contract is just through 2026, he’s still only 29, and you could catch lightning in a bottle with the guy.

--Tampa Bay shortstop Wander Franco, facing up to 20 years in prison on charges of human trafficking, was formally placed on MLB’s restricted list Wednesday.  He no longer will be paid or receive service time.

“Serious charges,” Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters Wednesday.  “Very concerning.”

Franco is in the third year of an 11-year, $182 million contract, with the big amounts paid from 2026 on.

--The MLB Draft opened Sunday, Cleveland with the No. 1 pick for the first time in franchise history.  They had just a 2% chance to land the top pick in December’s lottery.

Wimbledon

--On the men’s side, the finals were set on Friday, with 3-seed Carlos Alcaraz defeating 5 Daniil Medvedev in four sets, while 2 Novak Djokovic beat back 25 Lorenzo Musetti in three.

Musetti had defeated American 13-seed Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals, while the other American, 12 Tommy Paul, lost to Alcaraz in his quarterfinal match.

Djokovic had knee surgery less than a month before the start of play at the All England Club, raising questions about whether he’d even be able to try to earn his eighth championship at the grass-court major and add to his men’s mark of 24 Grand Slam trophies.

But he got a big break when he moved into the semifinals via a walkover because his quarterfinal opponent, Alex de Minaur, pulled out with a hip injury. So that meant an extra few days off.

Would that matter in the finals?

Alcaraz rolled, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), the 21-year-old’s second consecutive Wimbledon title and his fourth Grand Slam championship overall.

So Djokovic falls short of getting his 25th career grand slam, and now it’s countdown time for Alcaraz...20 to go to tie Novak.

It was nice to see Catherine, Princess of Wales, there to present the trophy to the champion; just her second public appearance since announcing in March that she was undergoing cancer treatment.

--Barbora Krejcikova, a 28-year-old from the Czech Republic and the 31-seed, beat Italy’s Jasmine Paolini, the 7-seed, for the women’s title on Saturday, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.  Krejcikova won the French Open in 2021 but obviously, by her seeding, hadn’t played real well recently and had never advanced past the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Paolini was the runner-up in this year’s French Open as well.  She has a terrific personality and will be a crowd favorite in New York at the U.S. Open.

NBA

--Knicks fans fell in love with Jalen Brunson this season as he was the heart and soul of an exciting team.

And now fans love the guy even more because the unselfish All-Star agreed to a team-friendly contract extension, four years, $156.5 million, the Knicks announced Friday.  By signing the extension this offseason instead of next year, Brunson will make significantly less money - $113 million guaranteed less – than he’s eligible for in 2025.

The reason?  Brunson’s massive discount will allow the Knicks to keep their current roster together and add missing pieces as the team looks to compete for the NBA title this coming season and the year or two after.

“Jalen signing his extension to remain with the Knicks for the long-term shows the dedication and passion he has for the organization, the fans and this city,” Knicks President Leon Rose said in a statement on social media.

It’s all about the salary cap and in this instance, the “second apron level for 2024-25.”  [Don’t ask me for apron specifics.]  Brunson can sign a maximum extension in 2028 or 2029.

And let’s face it, Brunson has always wanted security and he has it.  If he suffers a devastating injury this coming season, he wouldn’t be getting a five-year contract worth about $270 million next offseason.

And Brunson has his father as an assistant coach, Leon Rose is a longtime family friend, head coach Tom Thibodeau is a huge fan, and his college buddies are on the team.

As Mike Vaccaro wrote in the New York Post:

“Some guys say they’ll do whatever it takes to win.

“Some guys actually do those things. In this case, 113 million of those things.”

Yes, as Vaccaro said over the weekend on a radio program, no one needs to be holding telethons for Brunson...he and his grandkids are set for life.  But this was a major decision, and the guy showed his true class.

--The NBA agreed to terms on a new media deal, an 11-year agreement worth $76 billion that assures player salaries will continue rising for the foreseeable future and one that will surely change how some viewers access the game for years to come.  The networks have the term sheets and its up to the league’s board of governors to approve the contracts.

The deal goes into effect for the 2025-26 season.   Games will continue being aired on ESPN and ABC, and now some will be going to NBC and Amazon Prime. TNT Sports, which has been part of the league’s broadcasting family since the 1980s, could be on its way out but has five days to match one of the deals.  That clock begins once the league sends the finished contracts to TNT.

ESPN and ABC will continue to have the league’s top package, which includes the NBA Finals and one of the conference finals series. ABC has aired the NBA Finals since 2003.

ESPN’s main nights will continue to be Wednesday with some Friday and Sunday games.  ABC will air Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons when the NFL’s regular season ends.

NBC will have games on Thursday night after it is done carrying NFL games.  Its other nights will be Friday and Saturday.

Prime Video will have games on Thursday night after it is done carrying NFL games.  Its other nights will be Friday and Saturday.

NBC and Prime Video will alternate who carries the other conference finals series.

--In his third summer league game for the Lakers, Bronny James had eight points on 3-for-14 shooting (0-for-8 from 3).  But he added five rebounds and two steals. First-round selection Dalton Knecht had 25 points for L.A., the team losing 99-80 to the Rockets.

--Next year’s No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, incoming Duke freshman Cooper Flagg, wowed folks on Team USA during its training camp week in Las Vegas when Flagg, part of the select team that scrimmaged against Team USA, showed he was worthy of being on an NBA roster today, at age 17!

Devin Booker, Team USA: “You see how bad he wants it.”

Jaime Jaquez Jr., Miami Heat: “Coop was playing out of his mind.”

Euro 24

Prior to Sunday’s Euro 24 finale between Spain and England, King Charles III sent the following message to England manager Gareth Southgate and all the England players:

“My wife and I join all our family in wishing the warmest congratulations on reaching the finals of the UEFA European Championship – and in sending our very best wishes for Sunday’s match.

“If I may encourage you to secure victory before the need for any last minute wonder-goals or another penalties drama, I am sure the stresses on the nation’s collective heart rate and blood pressure would be greatly alleviated!

“Good luck, England.

“Charles R’” [Reminder...the title is abbreviated as R for the Latin rex, when you are King.]

England had a spectacular 2-1 win on Wednesday over the Netherlands.  Manager Gareth Southgate subbed little-known Ollie Watkins for Harry Kane at the 77’ mark, and then Watkins, England facing extra time again, score tied 1-1 (Kane with the goal on a penalty kick), had a brilliant scoring strike at 90’.  Watkins plays for Aston Villa.

Spain earned a right to play in the final with a 2-1 win over France, 16-year-old Lamine Yamal delivering a stunning goal under the brightest of lights, becoming the youngest goal scorer in European Championship history, and then four minutes later Dani Olmo provided the game winner.  That was Tuesday.

Yamal then turned 17 on Saturday.  He has earned all-time comparisons, and, fittingly, one all-timer showed he’s still going strong.  In Copa America semifinal action, Lionel Messi* scored in the second half after Julian Alvarez’s first-half strike to give Argentina a 2-0 win over Canada. 

Argentina faces Colombia match in Sunday night’s championship in Miami; Colombia a 1-0 winner over Uruguay in their semi, marred by an after-match brawl in the stands, Uruguay’s players going into the stands.

*Last week, photos of a 20-year-old Messi with a baby named Lamine Yamal resurfaced after Yamal’s father, Mounir Nasraoui, posted one to Instagram with the caption “El comienzo de dos leyendas,” which translates to “The beginning of two legends.”

The amazing photo was part of an annual charity drive organized by a local Catalan newspaper in the fall of 2007 and was taken by Joan Monfort, who works as a freelance photographer for the Associated Press.  It was all part of a calendar that was done through UNICEF.  Lamine’s family signed up for a raffle to have their picture taken with a Barcelona player, Messi with  Barca at the time.  And they won the raffle.

Various Barcelona players were paired with different babies. It’s really amazing how it worked out.

--So the story was set for Sunday’s final....Spain took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Nico Williams, assisted by Yamal, England equalized with Palmer at the 73’ mark, and then Mikel Oyarzabal scored for Spain at 86’...2-1.

But it was a pulsating finish, England, at 89’, with two great header opportunities in front of the Spain net, but they were stopped....2-1 final...England now without a major men’s title for 58 years!  This is a great championship...as good as the World Cup.

--Meanwhile, U.S. Soccer fired Gregg Berhalter as manager of the men’s national team, but Jurgen Klopp won’t be the next coach.  Klopp turned down an approach from USSF to be the next manager of the USMNT heading into the 2026 World Cup.

Klopp stepped down from a legendary run at Liverpool after this past season to take a break, and by turning down what would have been an attractive offer, and challenge, Klopp proved he really does want a break.  Coaching at the club level is incredibly demanding.

Golf Balls

--Prior to the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club, North Berwick, Scotland, Rory McIlroy reemerged after his U.S. Open heartbreak and Rory said in the days following the Open finish, he put his headphones on and wandered the streets of Manhattan and the High Line in an attempt to blend in and come to terms with what happened at Pinehurst.

Rory said that looking back at the Open and the final round, “I can vividly remember starting to feel a little uncomfortable waiting for my second putt on 16,” a four-footer.  Rory said the delay, the result of playing partner’s Patrick Cantlay’s slow play, caused him to lose focus and he missed the putt.

“You stand there, it’s hard not to either start thinking about the future or notice before Bryson’s ball is in the fairway or that sort of stuff,” he said. “But again, that’s on me to make sure that I’m in the right headspace.”

On 18, with a three-foot, quick-breaking par putt, Rory said he let DeChambeau’s play affect his decision-making.  As he knew DeChambeau’s ball was far left of the fairway, there remained a chance the American could bogey and McIlroy could two-putt to still make a playoff.  McIlroy said he had to worry about not leaving too difficult of a second putt.

McIlroy missed it, Bryson would get up and down with his spectacular bunker shot and took the tournament.

Rory then withdrew from the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, but because he had plans to stop in Manhattan beforehand, he kept that trip and used it as a way to refuel.

He walked around the city and called people he trusted.  Other than that, he was alone with his thoughts and found things he wanted to work on going forward.  Within a few days, he shifted his thoughts to the future.

So how did Rory do in Scotland, a big event coming a week before The Open Championship?

He did just fine.

After 36 holes, McIlroy was three shots behind leader Ludvig Aberg, who was at -12.

But after 54 holes....

Aberg -17
Robert MacIntyre -15
*
Adam Scott -14
Collin Morikawa -13
Sahith Theegala -13
Sungjae Im -13
Antoine Rozer -13

Rory -12

*Bobby Mac attempting to become just the second native Scot to win his national championship, Colin Montgomerie the first.

As they came down the stretch in today’s final round, MacIntyre eagled 16 to get to -17, tying Scott, who was playing 18.

And Adam hit a superb approach on the par-4, ten-feet for birdie...but missed the putt.

MacIntyre then has a 30-footer for the win...and sinks it!  Great moment for Scotland and Bobby Mac.

[I feel for Scott, 43 years old with not a lot of time to get his 15th career win, and maybe one or two more.]

Frenchman Romain Langasque was third at -15

Rory and Collin Morikawa tied for fourth at -14, along with Aberg and three others; Rory with a pedestrian 68 when far more was required.

But we’re on to Troon.  Should be fun.

--Among those missing the cut were Will Zalatoris, Rickie Fowler and Sepp Straka*.

*You know you’ve made it when you make my notable MC list.

--Singer/songwriter Dave Loggins died the other day at the age of 76.

Back in 1981, an attorney friend invited him to play a round of golf at Augusta National, where he was introduced to CBS Sports golf producer Frank Chirkinian.

Chirkinian was looking to find a theme song for coverage of the Masters, and Loggins said, “Well, I’m the person to write it.”

He then sent Chirkinian a demo, after recording the song in Nashville with a band that included a 12-piece string ensemble while Loggins played guitar and sang vocals.

In early 1982, he took the recording to Augusta to play it for Chirkinian, who told him, “You did good, son.  You did real good.” [Golf Digest]

Yup, the same theme song you’ve heard ever since.  And, yes, there are lyrics.  Chirkinian stuck with the instrumental version.

Loggins, a second cousin of pop recording star Kenny Loggins, had one Billboard Top 40 hit, the #5 “Please Come To Boston,” but he was a prolific songwriter whose works were recorded by the likes of Willie Nelsen, Ray Charles, Tanya Tucker, Toby Keith, Alabama, Reba, Wynonna, Johnny Cash, Smokey Robinson, and Three Dog Night, among others.  He had a No. 1 country hit with Anne Murray on the duet, “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do.”   That earned Loggins and Murray a 1985 Country Music Award for Vocal Duo of the Year. 

Stuff

--China lashed out at the United States over allegations of doping by Chinese swimmers ahead of the Paris Games.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian spoke a day after the World Anti-Doping Agency released an interim report from an investigator who concluded he found no evidence that WADA showed favoritism toward China in its handling of the case.  The investigator said WADA made a “reasonable” decision by taking the word of authorities in China who determined the swimmers ingested a banned heart medication.

In response, one of WADA’s biggest critics, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, said many questions remained.

“We urge the U.S. to respect the Olympic spirt, abide by international law and basic norms of international relations, stop talking to itself and refrain from artificially created false narratives,” Lin said at a daily briefing, and said China considered the WADA ruling to be independent and fair.

The spokesperson asserted that the U.S. goal is to “slander outstanding Chinese athletes and affect Chinese athletes’ participation in the Paris Olympics.”

--Dutch runner Sifan Hassan made history three years ago at the Tokyo Olympics when she won gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m and bronze in the 1500m.  But now she is planning on adding the marathon!  Good lord.  This will be worth watching.  She won the 2023 London Marathon in her marathon debut and then ran the second fastest women’s marathon in history in winning the 2023 Chicago Marathon.

--Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, spotted in a walking boot ahead of training camp, addressed the topic at his youth football camp on Tuesday and said the ankle boot’s purpose was to prevent any future injury problems.

“A couple of hard days of training, and you know, you get a little sore and then you’re going on a fishing trip, and you want to protect it and make sure that things don’t get worse,” Prescott told The Athletic’s Jon Machoa.  “So literally, it’s absolutely nothing.”  The boot was on the ankle he injured in 2020, resulting in a season-ending compound fracture and dislocation.

--Longtime NFL defensive coach Monte Kiffin, football innovator and father to Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin, died the other day at the age of 84.  The elder Kiffin spent 29 years as an NFL assistant and is best remembered for his Buccaneers defenses, which helped win a Super Bowl.  He and Bucs head coach Tony Dungy developed the Tampa 2, a modification of classic Cover 2 defense, changing the way teams still play today. 

[Dungy was fired after the 2001 season due to postseason failures, but he (and defensive coordinator Kiffin) constructed the team that Jon Gruden would win a Super Bowl with the following year, 2002.  Kiffin remained as DC.]

--And on Saturday, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and fitness guru Richard Simmons both died, ages 96 and 76, respectively.

Dr. Ruth catapulted to fame in the mid-1980s with her eponymous “The Dr. Ruth Show” on the Lifetime network, ending many of her shows by urging her audience to “have good sex!”

She wrote a book on loneliness, outlining 100 ways to beat loneliness and live a happier and more meaningful life, that will be released posthumously in September.  That could be interesting.  It’s an important topic.

As for Richard Simmons, boy, he was a character...and important in his own right.  Get people moving!

Today, we learned of the passing of actress Shannen Doherty, 53, who passed away after a years-long battle with breast cancer.  Doherty was a star of “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Charmed.”

Top 3 songs for the week 6/18/66:  #1 “Paint It, Black” (The Rolling Stones...over the years this tune has moved into my all-time top ten...)  #2 “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?” (The Lovin’ Spoonful)  #3 “I Am A Rock” (Simon and Garfunkel)...and...#4 “When A Man Loves A Woman” (Percy Sledge) #5 “Strangers In The Night” (Frank Sinatra)  #6 “A Groovy Kind Of Love” (The Mindbenders) #7 “Barefootin’” (Robert Parker)  #8 “Green Grass” (Gary Lewis & The Playboys)  #9 “Cool Jerk” (The Capitols)  #10 “Red Rubber Ball” (The Cyrkle...B+...)

Baseball Quiz Answer: Last five with 20 triples.

2007 – Curtis Granderson, 23 (DET); Jimmy Rollins, 20 (PHI)
2000 – Cristian Guzman, 20 (MIN)
1996 – Lance Johnson, 21 (NYM)*
1985 – Willie Wilson, 21 (KCR)

*Mets fans remember this fantastic season for Johnson fondly, his best in a solid career.  On top of 21 triples, Johnson had 31 doubles, 9 homers, 69 RBIs, .333 BA, 50 steals, 227 hits, and 117 runs scored out of the leadoff spot.  And he played in 160 games, though the team was only 71-91.

Granderson’s 2007 was outstanding...38 doubles, 23 triples, 23 home runs, 122 runs scored, and a .913 OPS.

Very brief Add-on up top by noon, Tuesday.  Wild card standings, MLB Draft, Copa America final, and a little more.