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Remembering Jim Bouton
[Posted Sunday p.m.]
Seattle Mariners Quiz (1977-2018): 1) Name the only four to hit 40 homers in a season. 2) Name the only three to win 100 games in a Seattle uniform. 3) Who was the first manager for the Mariners in 1977. Answers below.
Seattle Pilots Quiz (1969): 1) Name the two to drive in over 75 runs that lone season in Seattle. 2) Name the team’s top winner at 13 games. Answers below.
On the men’s side, in Friday’s semifinals with the Big Three....
1 Novak Djokovic had to go four sets to beat 23 Roberto Bautista, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, as he awaited the second semi, 3 Nadal vs. 2 Federer.
And regarding this one, it was the first time since their contender for the greatest match of all time, the 2008 duel in the Wimbledon final, that Federer and Nadal had matched up at the All-England Club, and Federer prevailed in this one, 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. In 2008, Nadal won 9-7 in the fifth set after four hours and 48 minutes, finishing in something much closer to darkness than daylight.
It’s amazing to think that after 11 years, and all the hundreds of millions of dollars each has won, that they can still push on and on against each other. What makes it even more unusual is Nadal and Federer are the closest of friends, which you just don’t find in this game.
It’s also amazing to think that Federer turns 38 next month, while Nadal, 33, still has that desire as well.
So that set up a great final today, Federer with 20 Grand Slam singles titles, Djokovic with 15 (Nadal has 18); the top three in history.
And it ended up a titanic, historic match, 4 hours 57 minutes, Djokovic prevailing, 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6, 13-12 (7-3). Novak’s 16th Grand Slam; Federer denied No. 21. It was the longest final in Wimbledon history, surpassing by nine minutes the 2008 epic Federer-Nadal battle.
I was following online and then tuned in late in the fourth set and everyone will be talking about when it was 8-7 Federer in the fifth, Djokovic saving two match points, tying it at 8-8, and then eventually prevailing.
It was the first time in tournament history they instituted a final-set tiebreak at 12-12 following an October vote on the issue of prolonged finals.
So Djokovic now has five Wimbledon titles, tying Bjorn Borg (1976-80), with Pete Sampras at seven, Federer eight.
By the way, I saw where tickets on Stubhob.com were going for $5,500, which is above my price range, personally.
On the women’s side, Serena Williams played Simona Halep for the title on Saturday, the first time these two had matched up in a Grand Slam final.
And Halep took her first Wimbledon title, second Grand Slam overall, in preventing Serena from grabbing her eighth Wimbledon crown, Halep breezing 6-2, 6-2, in 56 minutes. Halep also became the first Romanian to win at the All England Club.
For Williams it was all too reminiscent of last year’s final, when she was heavily favored to win before suffering a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Angelique Kerber. As Serena herself put it, “It was a little bit of deer in the headlights,” Williams now having won just two of her last six appearances in Grand Slam finals.
So Serena’s effort to tie Margaret Court’s wooden-era Grand Slam singles record of 24 came up short again, which is unfortunate because it’s not even close who is the best player in the history of the women’s game, and it’s not Court. Serena, 37, is running out of time, and she just got her clock cleaned. She also has nagging ailments that make each Grand Slam event even more important as she knows her future opportunities are few.
And as Sally Jenkins points out in the Washington Post, “Here is a fact: Only three women have won Grand Slam titles after becoming mothers – Court, Evonne Goolagong and Kim Clijsters.”
I forgot to put down the standings at the All-Star break for a reference point later.
Tampa Bay 52-39...6.5
St. Louis 44-44...2
Los Angeles 60-32
[No titanic changes this weekend in the above. Minnesota could have basically put Cleveland to bed, but they failed to complete the sweep in their series today.]
--Some interesting games, and moves, since the break, but what a scene Friday night in Anaheim, as Taylor Cole and Felix Pena combined on a no-hitter in beating the Mariners 13-0, Mike Trout with two doubles, a home run, and six RBIs in the team’s first home game since the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
Helene Elliott / Los Angeles Times
“Tyler Skaggs’ shoes were lined up neatly in his locker. Casual shirts hanging on the rod were pushed to the left, his white pants and red batting practice top pushed over to the right. His glove was on the shelf, waiting to mold itself around his hand. His chair faced sideways, ready for him to plop down and chat with anyone who wandered past.
“At any moment, it seemed, Skaggs would burst into the clubhouse at Angel Stadium on Friday and bring his usual upbeat energy. Instead, his teammates and Angel fans pushed themselves through a pregame ceremony that honored his too-brief life, which ended July 1 when he was found dead in the team’s hotel in Southlake, Texas, due to undisclosed causes. Results of an autopsy are expected to be released in October.
“The Angels’ raw, aching wounds were torn open Friday...but what could have been a sorrowful night had a wondrous ending almost too surreal to be believed. After Taylor Cole and Felix Pena combined to pitch a no-hitter...Angels players – who had worn Skaggs’ No. 45 jersey in tribute for the game – stripped off those jerseys and placed them neatly on the pitcher’s mound. It was stunning and unscripted and all the more beautiful for being from the heart.
“ ‘You can’t make this stuff up,’ said Mike Trout... ‘We score seven runs in the first and end it with 13. Tyler’s birthday is 7/13. We had 13 runs, 13 hits.’”
And then Saturday, the incredible Trout, who seems determined to single-handedly carry the team to a wild-card berth, hit a two-run homer as the Angels beat the Mariners again, 9-2, with beleaguered pitcher Matt Harvey suddenly throwing 5 2/3 of one-run ball to lower his ERA to 6.88 (yes, it’s been a rough season for the one-time phenom). It should come as no surprise that Harvey would summon this effort when it was Skaggs who remained Harvey’s biggest supporter, telling him “you’re always the Dark Knight”.
But back to Trout, he has driven in 12 runs in his last three games, and thru Saturday had 30 homers, 75 RBIs, 74 runs scored (my favorite category on his baseball card) in 89 games, and a 1.124 OPS. How can you not help but love the guy.
I mean it’s pretty simple. Us baseball fans are watching one of the five best performers in baseball history. Fact.
And what makes him even more special is his choosing to stay in Anaheim.
But then today as the Angels completed the sweep over the Mariners to move to 48-46, Mike Trout exited after two innings with a calf issue. The team said after he was “day-to-day,” which allows us to all say together, “aren’t we all?”
--The Dodgers snapped a four-game losing streak on Saturday, 11-2, over Chris Sale and the Red Sox. Sale, after righting the ship following a rough start to the 2019 campaign, is now back in a funk, three straight starts where he’s allowed five earned in each (all Red Sox losses), as he has fallen to 3-9, 4.27.
But Boston, 50-42, is very much in the playoff hunt and Saturday they acquired right-hander Andrew Cashner from the Orioles in exchange for two minor leaguers.
Cashner, 32, is 9-3, 3.83 ERA, for a team that is 28-64 thru Sat. As I wrote the other week, Cashner’s performance is a lite version of Steve Carlton’s 1972 Philadelphia campaign, when he went 27-10 for a club that finished 59-97.
Cashner is in the final season of a two-year, $16 million contract, with Baltimore agreeing to pick up most of the remaining portion of his salary this year.
He gets the nod for Boston Tuesday against the Blue Jays.
The two minor leaguers Baltimore is receiving are both 17-year-olds playing in the Dominican Summer League. It will be interesting to see if one of them emerges over the coming years.
--The Yankees took 2 of 3 from the Blue Jays this weekend, winning today 4-2, as New York got a look at Toronto hurler Marcus Stroman, long thought of as a trade candidate for a spot in the starting rotation. Stroman fell to 5-10, but he has a more than respectable 3.25 ERA, having allowed 3 runs in six innings today.
--I can’t help but note Reds outfielder Phil Ervin’s effort Friday in a 17-9 win over the Rockies in Denver, Ervin going 6-for-6, the first Cincy player with six hits in a game since Walker Cooper, 7/6/49. As Ronald Reagan would have told Nancy while reading the Sunday sports pages, ‘Not bad, not bad at all.’
Ervin then went 1-for-3 in a 10-9 loss to Colorado today.
--The Nationals’ Max Scherzer was put on the 10-day IL with a mid-back strain, retroactive to July 10, but he should be back out on the mound shortly.
--Holy Toledo, the Mets won their first road series since the first week in April, beating the Marlins in Miami two of three this weekend, including today’s 6-2 win, Jacob deGrom finally picking up win No. 5 (5-7, 3.21).
--I noted the other day that the Yankees should have gone after Lance Lynn in the offseason rather than signing J.A. Happ, and on Thursday night (the only game played that night, post All-Star break), Lynn won his MLB-best 12th game, going seven strong, with 11 strikeouts, as the Rangers beat the Astros 5-0. Lynn, 12-4, is now 8-1 over his last 11 starts.
Lynn has also thrown at least 100 pitches in 10 consecutive starts, the second-longest streak in the majors this season, next to Scherzer’s 12 games in a row with at least 100.
--We wish all-time great and Hall of Famer Bob Gibson well, after it was disclosed the 83-year-old is battling pancreatic cancer.
--We note the passing of former pitcher, and author, Jim Bouton, 80. Bouton went 62-63 in his big-league career, but he was 21-7, 2.53, and 18-13, 3.02, for the Yankees in 1963-64, one of the up-and-coming stars in the game before he flamed out with arm issues.
But for some of us of a certain age, his groundbreaking book “Ball Four” represented almost a rite of passage. I was 12 when it was published and devoured it like baseball fans of all ages did. At that age, it opened my eyes to a lot of stuff, but it was the same reaction for virtually every fan. Gee, these guys weren’t all heroes after all. In fact some of them were real jerks.
John Feinstein / Washington Post
“It is difficult to know where to begin when writing about Jim Bouton. If he had never written ‘Ball Four,’ Bouton would no doubt have still merited a New York Times obituary as a former Yankees pitcher who won 21 games in 1963 and 18 in 1964, then tacked on two World Series wins that October.
“But a sore arm cost Bouton his fastball and caused him to end up pitching as a 30-year-old knuckleballer for the expansion Seattle Pilots at the start of the 1969 season. It was also probably the reason he was willing to team with longtime sportswriter Leonard Shechter on a book chronicling that season. Before it was over, Bouton had been sent to Class AAA Vancouver, returned to Seattle and then been traded to Houston.
“Bouton never stopped taking notes. A year later, ‘Ball Four,’ written in diary form, was published and became arguably the most iconic baseball book ever written. Some will argue for Roger Kahn’s lyrically brilliant ‘The Boys of Summer,’ but nothing changed baseball or sports journalism as much as Bouton’s seminal work.
“Never had an athlete written with as much honesty, candor and humor about what life was like inside a locker room. People often compare ‘Ball Four’ to Jim Brosnan’s ‘The Long Season,’ written 10 years earlier, and there’s certainly common ground. But ‘Ball Four’ went to places no athlete had previously gone.
“Bouton shocked people by writing honestly about good ol’ boy Yankee Mickey Mantle – not so much about his home runs but rather his drinking, womanizing and mean streak. His description of joining Yankees teammates on the roof of Washington’s Shoreham Hotel to ‘beaver-shoot’ – check out women through their hotel windows – would be unacceptable in today’s world, and Bouton’s revelation of it infuriated baseball insiders....
“The book also made Bouton into a baseball pariah. When it came out in 1970, he was reprimanded by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who called the book ‘detrimental to baseball.’ Kuhn also asked Bouton to sign a statement saying that the book was fiction. Bouton, naturally, refused.
“Kuhn was hardly the only one to take issue with it. Players and many longtime baseball writers, some of whom considered themselves part of their teams, agreed with Kuhn.
“No doubt many writers were simply jealous. In those days, with the wide-open access the media had, a good reporter could have told many of the same stories that Bouton told. But no one wanted to be drummed from the fraternity.
“The irony is that few loved baseball more than Bouton. He made a comeback with the Atlanta Braves in 1978 – eight years after first leaving the game – and pitched in semipro leagues into his 50s. The final linen of ‘Ball Four’ poignantly expresses Bouton’s feelings about the game: ‘You see,’ he wrote, ‘You spend a good deal of your life gripping a baseball and, in the end, it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.’”
Bruce Weber / New York Times
“The book, originally published with the subtitle ‘My Life and Hard Times Throwing the Knuckleball in the Major Leagues,’ was, in many ways, a chronicle of the insecurities of an athlete, a one-time star, approaching the end of the line.
“ ‘Not only did I have some tenderness in my elbow today, but Sal told me I’ll be pitching in the exhibition game Sunday,’ Bouton wrote early in spring training, referring to the Seattle pitching coach, Sal Maglie. ‘The tenderness will go away, but how am I going to pitch on Sunday? I’m not ready. I haven’t pitched to spots yet. I haven’t thrown any curveballs at all. My fingers aren’t strong enough to throw the knuckleball right. I’ve gone back to taking two baseballs and squeezing them in my hand to try to strengthen my fingers and increase the grip.’
“Some astute reviewers recognized the ardor and the poignant tension in Bouton’s tale; in The New Yorker, for instance, Roger Angell described ‘Ball Four’ as ‘a rare view of a highly complex public profession seen from the innermost inside, along with an even more rewarding inside view of an ironic and courageous mind. And, very likely, the funniest book of the year.’
“But for most readers, Bouton’s personal predicament was overwhelmed by what he revealed about life in the major leagues.
“In Bouton’s telling, players routinely cheated on their wives on road trips, devised intricate plans to peek under women’s skirts or spy on them through hotel windows, spoke in casual vulgarities, drank to excess and swallowed amphetamines as if they were M&Ms.
“Mickey Mantle played hung over and was cruel to children seeking his autograph, he wrote. Carl Yastrzemski was a loafer. Whitey Ford illicitly scuffed or muddied the baseball and his catcher, Elston Howard, helped him do it. Most coaches were knotheads who dispensed the obvious as wisdom when they weren’t contradicting themselves, and general managers were astonishingly penurious and dishonest in dealing with players over their contracts....
“Not surprisingly, the baseball establishment frowned on Bouton, his collaborating editor, Leonard Shechter, and the book....
“A few players, including Elston Howard, claimed Bouton was a liar. And many of an older sportswriting generation felt Bouton had done irreparable damage to the game out of his own self-importance and desperation....
“(But) ‘Ball Four’ was an instant and enduring best seller...In 2002, Sports Illustrated placed it at No. 3 on its list of the top 100 sports books of all time. Perhaps more notable, in 1995, as the New York Public Library celebrated its centennial, it included ‘Ball Four’ as the only sports book among 159 titles in its exhibit ‘Books of the Century.’”
In September 1978, Ted Turner, then the owner of the Atlanta Braves, brought Bouton out of retirement after Bouton had launched a comeback, trying to perfect the knuckler. Bouton, now 39, started five games, going 1-3, 4.97 ERA, though in his win over the Giants, he pitched six innings, yielding zero earned runs. He had gone 11-9, 2.82, for the Braves’ AA Savannah franchise that season. I remember pulling big time for the guy in this comeback bid.
Over the years, Bouton had shrugged off the criticism he faced from the baseball establishment, and he did well financially in his post-playing career, including as a local New York sportscaster, as well as being the first investor in “Big League Chew” baseball gum, plus he authored four other books.
But as the New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro wrote:
“If there was one consequence (from writing the book) that hurt him, it was the Yankees never invited him to Old-Timers’ Day, fearful of how some of the stars of ‘Ball Four’ – notably Mickey Mantle – might react.
“But after Bouton’s daughter, Laurie, was killed at age 31 in a 1997 car accident, his son, Michael, wrote a letter to the New York Times the following Father’s Day, appealing to the Yankees to forgive and forget. The cheers he heard July 25, 1998, were louder than any he’d ever heard as a ballplayer. There were 55,638 people at the Stadium that day; you can bet most were cheering the author every bit as much as the pitcher.”
--I wasn’t even going to write this, but I guess for the record I should, former Mets and Yankees pitcher Dwight Gooden charged with cocaine possession and driving under the influence.
The thing is Gooden, 54, has been a mess for years and years. You hear, and he tells you, he’s sobered up, then he relapses. At a certain point it’s hard to feel sorry for someone. The main thing you hope for is that in one of his episodes he doesn’t kill anyone else.
Gooden was arrested on June 7 in Holmdel, N.J., with the story just coming to light. He faces up to five years in prison. At least some of us have awesome memories of how he burst on the scene and totally dominated the sport, and New York, before he began to stumble.
--Lastly, this weekend represented the 40th anniversary of a chaotic event in baseball history, Disco Demolition Night, July 12, 1979, at Comiskey Park. I wrote the following ten years ago.
From Phil Pepe’s “Talkin’ Baseball”:
“Disco Demolition Night was among the nuttiest promotional events ever dreamed up. In conjunction with local radio disc jockey Steve Dahl, Mike Veeck – the son of Bill Veeck – decreed that any fan bringing a disco record to the ballpark got in for 98 cents. The albums were to be blown up between games of a White Sox-Tigers twin bill. The Tigers won the first game, 4-1, despite albums being flung onto the field by rowdy fans.
“About 50,000 teenagers had showed up, ready to make ‘Burn, Baby, Burn, Disco Inferno!’ a reality. But thousands refused to leave the field, and after a delay of over an hour and a quarter, umpire Dave Phillips awarded the second game to the Tigers in a 9-0 forfeit. For the White Sox, disco really did suck.”
Writing in the New York Times, Joe LaPointe interviewed Rusty Staub, then on the Tigers.
“(The albums) would slice around you and stick in the ground. It wasn’t just one, it was many. Oh, God almighty, I’ve never seen anything so dangerous in my life. I begged the guys to put on their batting helmets.”
Alan Trammell, then the Tigers’ shortstop, said, “I remember from the get-go, it wasn’t a normal crowd.” Staub added, “People brought ladders. They were climbing in from the outside. It was like a riot.”
Jack Morris, then a Detroit pitcher, said “whiskey bottles were flying over our dugout” after Detroit wrapped up the first game. “And then all hell broke loose. They charged the field and started tearing up the pitching rubber and the dirt. They took the bases. They started digging out home plate.”
Even the batting cage was dragged out and trashed. Not the sport’s best moment. Of course five years earlier, 1974, the Indians had 10-cent beer night, “a chaotic event that ended after drunken fans threw debris at bat-wielding players and the Indians forfeited the game to the Texas Rangers."
--The amazing offseason continued, as the Oklahoma City Thunder agreed to trade Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, and some pick swaps.
So the total rebuild of OKC continues. In the three trades of Westbrook, Paul George and Jerami Grant, the team has accumulated seven additional first-round picks lined up through 2026 – plus other considerations.
Westbrook wanted to reunite with former Thunder teammate James Harden, amidst reports a rift between Paul and Harden was “unsalvageable.” Unbelievably, the two didn’t speak to one another for two months during the season, which speaks rather poorly of both.
Paul, 34, has three years, $124 million left on his contract, and it’s possible OKC may yet try to move him elsewhere.
--It turns out Kawhi Leonard signed a shorter contract with the Clippers, three years, $103.1 million, with a player option for 2021-22, in order to line him up with teammate Paul George’s contract, making the two eligible for the 2021 free-agent class.
--In the college game, North Carolina State is now on pins and needles, having received a notice of allegations from the NCAA this week regarding the Wolfpack’s recruitment of former star Dennis Smith Jr. (now on the Knicks).
The NCAA has alleged two Level I violations against the school, the most serious violations under NCAA rules, including a failure to monitor charge against former coach Mark Gottfried, who is now coaching at Cal State Northridge.
It’s serious stuff and there will be penalties. Just how severe remains to be seen.
--No secret I’m a big fan of fellow Wake Forest alum Bill Haas. But the now 37-year-old has struggled mightily since 2018’s Northern Trust event at Riviera, when he was a passenger in a fatal automobile accident in which the driver, a friend who was putting him up for the week, died; Haas being released the following day.
Bill took some time off but since his return, he’s only had a pair of top-10s, and he’s plummeted to 377th in the Official World Golf Ranking, his lowest since 2004, the year he turned pro.
But he started out this week at the John Deere Classic with rounds of 66, 68 and 64, putting him one off the lead of Cameron Tringale and Andrew Landry entering today’s final round.
And let’s just say I have never criticized Bill. I mean I’m the guy that walked six rounds with his mother, Jan, ages ago during one of the Q-Schools. Bill and I drank a beer together there. He’s a great guy. The family is great. If you had to choose just one All-American family in America, it’s them, frankly.
But geezuz, Haas could not have sucked more given his huge opportunity today, shooting an even-par 71, tied for 10th, when you had Russell Henley nail second with a 61!
South African Dylan Fritelli won his first Tour event with a 64.
I do have to add that one guy who could be in virtually all my DraftKings lineups going forward is Collin Morikawa, who finished T-4. Between he, Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff, in terms of consistent play (like top 30s week in and week out), I’m going with Morikawa, though the other two are no doubt looking rather strong themselves. [Hovland was T-16 this week; Wolff T-37, after winning last week.]
--On the Champions Tour, Retief Goosen bagged his first senior major, taking the Senior PGA Championship by two over 65-year-old Jay Haas and Tim Petrovic.
Goosen thus earned an invite to next year’s Players Championship, which is very cool (as well as the PGA).
--But now it’s on to Royal Portrush for The Open Championship. More next time on this.
--Great race at Kentucky Speedway Saturday night, as Kurt Busch battled his brother Kyle for the win, No. 31 in Kurt’s career, at the Quaker State 400.
“What a battle with my little brother. To race him side-by-side, try to play the chess game at 180 mph in the side draft,” Kurt Busch said. “As we drove down into Turn 3 on the last lap, I just stared straight at the No. 18 on his door and I never lifted until I heard him left and then I was like ‘wait a minute, I still gotta miss the wall’ and he gave me just enough room as a true racer would.’”
--We note the passing of former Jets coach Walt Michaels, 89. Michaels was head coach from 1977-82, going 39-47-1, though he led the team to the playoffs his final two seasons.
Frank Litsky / New York Times
“Michaels, a former NFL linebacker, had been the Jets’ defensive coordinator when the team won Super Bowl III over the Baltimore Colts in 1969, a rare moment of glory in the team’s tortured history.
“He took over as head coach from Lou Holtz in 1977 and guided the Jets to a 3-11 record in his first of six seasons in command. The Jets were 10-5-1 in 1982 and 6-3 in the strike-shortened 1982 season fielding a talented group of players like quarterback Richard Todd, running back Freeman McNeil and defensive end Mark Gastineau.
“Michaels took the Jets to the playoffs for the second year in a row that season. But he could not revel much in their success.
“At halftime of their divisional playoff game against the Los Angeles Raiders in January 1983, Michaels received a harassing phone call in the Jets’ locker room. He screamed in anger, sure that the call was orchestrated by Al Davis, the Machiavellian managing general partner of the Raiders. Davis denied it, and a Queens bartender later said that he had made the call on his own.
“The Jets went on to defeat the Raiders, 17-14.
“But a week later, with the Jets about to face the Miami Dolphins at the Orange Bowl in Miami in the AFC championship game, Michaels became furious at Don Shula, the Dolphins’ coach, because the field was not covered, despite three days of heavy rain. Michaels said Shula had deliberately let the field get muddy to slow the Jets’ offense, which relied on speed. Shula said the Dolphins didn’t own a tarpaulin.
“The Jets lost, 14-0.
“The day after that game, Michaels did not show up for the Jets’ final team meeting. Seventeen days later he retired, saying he needed a break. His mother had been dying of cancer late in the season, and he said he was emotionally spent.
“But the New York Times reported that during Michaels’ last meeting with Leon Hess, the Jets’ owner, and Jim Kensil, the team president, he was told to resign, given a $400,000 financial package and encouraged to seek treatment for alcohol abuse. He accepted the terms.”
Michaels was an old-school coach who could be critical of players in front of the team. They either respected or feared him.
--Love this story out of CNN.com.
“A massive manta ray has been filmed repeatedly seeking help from divers, in a remarkable encounter off the coast of Australia.
“Footage shows Freckles the ray approaching the divers, off the Ningaloo Coast in Western Australia, and showing them that it had fish hooks caught under its eye.
“One of the divers removed the hooks after several attempts, and footage of the unusual meeting has gone viral.
“ ‘We were really lucky in that we saw a manta nice and early, and quietly slipped into the water to spend some time with it,’ photographer Monty Halls said in a Facebook post. ‘After a few minutes we noticed that it had some fish hooks buried beneath (its) right eye, and was repeatedly presenting itself to our guide Jake.’
“ ‘This wasn’t my imagination, again and again it came back, turned over, and paused in the water, and – plainly – was looking to us to be helped,’ Halls added.
“ ‘Jake got some pliers, and – made several attempts, with the manta returning each time to allow him another go (it was obviously painful for it). Finally, he managed it, and the manta settled quietly on the bottom and stayed with us for a wee while.’
“ ‘It was an extraordinary half hour or so, and such a clear illustration that these animals have intelligence, trust, and a strong association with folks who treat them with respect,’ he wrote.
“In a video of the incident, Halls said the manta ray recognized the divers from previous expeditions.”
Manta rays, unlike sting rays, cannot harm humans.
--Talk about a nightmare, Thursday night at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey, an outdoor amphitheater that has more than 10,000 uncovered seats (and some covered ones), there was a big storm prior to the Florida Georgia Line concert (I love these guys).
So with flood and tornado warnings, the facility posted a sign outside the venue that read: “Due to severe weather issues, tonight’s show has been postponed. Please stay tuned to the venue’s social networks for rescheduling information.”
But the thing is, the concert was delayed two hours, not canceled, and the band went off at 10:00ish.
However, thousands of course saw the notice and went home, everyone in the state being aware we had a potential severe weather situation.
PNC Bank Arts Center’s official Twitter account posted at 9:40 p.m. that the concert would resume at 10 p.m. with singers Dan & Shay before FGL took the stage.
Too late. The promoters said they will be in touch with ticket holders.
Top 3 songs for the week 7/15/67: #1 “Windy” (The Association) #2 “Little Bit O’ Soul” (The Music Explosion) #3 “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (Frankie Valli)...and...#4 “San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)” (Scott McKenzie) #5 “Don’t Sleep In The Subway” (Petula Clark) #6 “Come On Down To My Boat” (Every Mothers’ Son) #7 “Up – Up And Away” (The 5th Dimension) #8 “Light My Fire” (The Doors) #9 “C’mon Marianne” (The 4 Seasons) #10 “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” (Procol Harum)
Seattle Mariners Quiz Answers: 1) 40 home runs: Ken Griffey Jr. six times, including 56 in each of 1997 and ’98; Jay Buhner three times; Alex Rodriguez three times; Nelson Cruz twice. 2) Only three to win 100 games: Felix Hernandez 169; Jamie Moyer 145; Randy Johnson 130. 3) First manager was Darrell Johnson, who had led the Red Sox to the 1975 pennant. Johnson managed Seattle 1977-80).
Seattle Pilots Quiz Answers: 1) Don Mincher (25 HR, 78 RBI) and Tommy Davis (6 HR, 80 RBI) were the only two to drive in 75. 2) Gene Brabender was a team-leading 13-14, 4.36 ERA.
Jim Bouton was 2-1, 3.91, in 57 games, all but one in relief.
Tommy Davis had a fascinating career, 1959-76, batting .294, with 2,121 hits. He’s best remembered for 1962, when he hit a NL-leading .346 for the Dodgers, slamming 27 home runs and driving in a whopping 153, his only season over 100.
But Davis finished 3rd in the MVP voting, the winner teammate Maury Wills, who hit .299, but most importantly had 104 stolen bases, caught just 13 times, while scoring 130. Needless to say, Davis took advantage of Wills’ always being in scoring position.
Tommy Davis also won the batting title in 1963 (.326). He would later resurrect his career in 1974-75 as the Baltimore Orioles’ DH.
Mets fans fondly remember Davis for his lone season in a New York uniform, 1967, when he batted .302, with 16 home runs and 73 RBIs. He was then part of the trade to the White Sox in the offseason that brought Tommie Agee to the Metropolitans.
1969 Mets, cont’d....
After an intense three-game series against the Cubs at Shea, the Expos came in for three.
July 11: Mets lose their second in a row, 11-4, as all three New York pitchers, Jim McAndrew, Danny Frisella and Jack DiLauro, were hit hard, while Montreal starter Mike Wegener not only pitched 7 2/3 of effective ball for the win, he was 3-for-4 at the plate with 4 RBIs!
July 13: After a Saturday rainout, the Metsies played two and swept the Expos, 4-3, 9-7.
In the first game, Jerry Koosman went all the way for his seventh win, while in the nightcap, the Mets came back from a 6-2 deficit with five in the fourth, going on to win 9-7. Tommie Agee hit two home runs and drove in four, as New York survived a horrible start from Nolan Ryan (3 1/3, 6 runs), receiving 5 2/3 of one-run ball from DiLauro, Cal Koonce and Ron Taylor.
So the Mets finish the home stand 49-36, six games back of the Cubs, and heading for Chicago for three.
Next Bar Chat, Thursday.