|Articles||Go Fund Me||All-Species List||Hot Spots||Go Fund Me|
|Web Epoch NJ Web Design | (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.|
It's San Francisco vs. Kansas City
[Posted Sunday p.m. ...time for “Curb Your Enthusiasm”...]
NCAA Scholarship Quiz: What are the maximum NCAA Div. I scholarships for the following sports? Baseball, Basketball, Football (both FBS and FCS), Golf, Soccer, Track & Field (includes X-Country). For the women, given the number for Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, and Track & Field. Answers below.
NFL / Conference Championships
--In the first game today in freezing Kansas City, Cinderella Story Tennessee jumped off to a 17-7 lead on the strength of more rumbling from Derrick Henry, 12 carries for 63 and a touchdown.
OK, you might have thought, here we go again. The team that had just defeated the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots, and the 14-2 Ravens, both on the road, would ride Henry the rest of the way for another titanic upset.
But then Patrick Mahomes and Co. ended up scoring touchdowns on five of six possessions for a 35-17 lead at 7:44 in the fourth, Henry reduced to a total spectator, finishing 19 for 69. Despite a nice Titans scoring drive to cut it to 35-24, aided by a pass off a fake punt, with 4:18 left, that was your final score.
Mahomes was superb, 23/35, 294, 3-0, 120.4, plus 53 on the ground, including a 27-yard touchdown run for the ages that put the Chiefs in the lead, 21-17.
It’s amazing K.C. returns to the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years. Chiefs fans have earned it.
--As for the NFC Championship, if you needed proof that you don’t have to spend a top draft pick on a running back, look no further than undrafted Raheem Mostert. It took him a few years to find a team that would give him a shot, the 49ers did, and this year he began to shine, 772 yards and a 5.6 yards per carry average in the regular season.
Then today, all he did was rush for 160 yards and three touchdowns...in the first half...San Francisco racing to a 27-0 halftime lead, outgaining the Packers 225-93, Aaron Rodgers turning it over twice. Game over.
Oh, Rodgers and the Pack did cut it to 34-20 with 8:13 left to make things interesting for a few more minutes, but Robby Gould formally sealed it with a 42-yard field goal, his third of the game, and the final was 37-20.
Raheem Mostert ended up with 220 yards on 29 carries, four touchdowns, the second-most yards in NFL playoff history. It was also the most rushing yards for a San Francisco running back in franchise history, which is rather remarkable.
So we have a great matchup in the Super Bowl...San Francisco’s super defense and ball-control offense vs. Patrick Mahomes and all his weapons.
--Separately, I was early in thinking former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, who clearly deserved to be fired, perhaps 2 or 3 years ago, rather than just the other week, was at the same time the perfect candidate to be offensive coordinator for the New York Giants. And the other day he was tabbed for same.
Garrett went to college at Princeton, and played backup QB for the Giants from 2000-2003 behind Kerry Collins, though he didn’t throw a single pass those four seasons. He did, however, make an impression on management for being a class act and total team player.
Yes, the question becomes will Garrett be a good offensive coordinator? He helped in the development of Tony Romo and Dak Prescott, and there’s no reason he can’t be a good mentor to Daniel Jones.
I just like the move because you bring in an experienced coach to work under rookie Joe Judge, who at the same time has the perfect personality. He’s not a threat to Judge. Of course it was the same personality that was detrimental to Garrett’s success as a head coach.
--I didn’t have a chance last time to note the sudden retirement of Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly, the five-time, first-team AP All-Pro (the real definition of greatness), who steps away from the sport at the age of 28. Good for him. Since 2015, we have seen the following age 30 and under players hang it up in the prime of their careers: Andrew Luck, Rob Gronkowski, Calvin Johnson, Doug Baldwin, Kam Chancellor and Patrick Willis.
Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller, who runs the Retired Players Association, which tries to prepare players for life after the NFL, told the New York Times’ Ben Shpigel that the current generation has learned from older players who have been vocal about their health problems.
“Players are definitely getting smarter,” Eller said. “They are gathering information to make some tough decisions. I don’t think we had some of that information.”
For his part, Kuechly missed seven games because of concussions between 2015 and 2017. We wish the pride of Boston College the best in the future and nothing but good health.
--Mark R. notes that with the addition of defensive back Donnie Shell to the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the announcement of the 15-member Centennial Slate the other day, that makes five Steelers to make the Hall from the 1974 draft; the others being Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster.
Shell, out of little South Carolina State, was undrafted, another pick of Steeler scouting genius Bill Nunn who I’ve written of before. Nunn specialized in scouting the historically black colleges and aside from Stallworth and Shell, he was largely responsible for Pittsburgh bringing in the likes of L.C. Greenwood, Mel Blount, Frank Lewis, Dwight White, Joe Gilliam and Ernie Holmes.
The only thing we know when the new AP poll is released Monday afternoon is that 1 Gonzaga and 2 Baylor will remain just that...1-2. The rest is once again a muddled mess after another week of upsets.
Wednesday, we had a slew of upsets in the top ten, as 18 Seton Hall beat 5 Butler on the road, 78-70, behind Myles Powell’s 29, 19 in the second half.
Alabama, not a great club, handed 4 Auburn its first loss, 83-64, and South Carolina beat 10 Kentucky 81-78.
Thursday, Washington State upset 8 Oregon at home, 72-61.
And then yesterday, 11 Louisville (15-3, 6-1) beat 3 Duke (15-3, 5-2) 79-73 at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke’s second straight loss after losing at Clemson Tuesday.
4 Auburn lost again, rolled by Florida (12-5, 4-1) 69-47, the Tigers falling to 15-2, 3-2.
Resurgent DePaul (13-5, 1-4) beat 5 Butler (15-3, 3-2) 79-66.
And a poor Kansas State squad (8-9, 1-4) upset 12 West Virginia (14-3, 3-2) 68-55.
At the same time your “Pick to Click” Seton Hall Pirates won a terrific contest at Madison Square Garden yesterday over St. John’s (12-7, 1-5) 82-79, as Myles Powell went off for 29 again, this time with 23 in the second half. He is the leading second-half scorer in the nation, which tells you a lot.
The No. 18 Hall will be movin’ on up further as they improved to 14-4, 6-0, with their eighth straight win and they are still playing without their second-best player.
Seton Hall has a real opportunity. They play great in Madison Square Garden and they are hoping to be a 4-seed, or better, in the East, with the Garden hosting this year’s East Regional. [The Pirates would have to win two in Albany to then make that happen.]
Meanwhile, 7 San Diego State will take advantage of all the week’s carnage ahead of it, moving up at least two spots as the Aztecs remained undefeated (19-0, 8-0) with a 68-55 win at home against Nevada (11-8, 4-3). ‘Experts’ knock SDSU’s schedule, but they are the only undefeated team in college basketball and that’s really all you need to know.
I had the opportunity after the Seton Hall-St. John’s game to watch my “Pick to Surprise,” No. 20 Colorado at Arizona, and after winning at Arizona State earlier in the week, the Buffaloes were absolutely hideous, falling to Sean Miller’s young squad 75-54. Colorado is now 14-4, 3-2; Arizona 13-5, 3-2.
It’s funny how the announcers for this one on Fox refused to say anything good about the loathsome Coach Miller, but he does have some raw talent and they could make some noise down the road.
In another game with meaning, two teams headed in the wrong direction, both badly in need of a win, Penn State improved to 13-5, 3-4, with a 90-76 win over 21 Ohio State, the Buckeyes falling to 12-6, 2-5, and no doubt into oblivion come Monday’s AP poll.
And today, Rutgers showed that Seton Hall isn’t the only story in New Jersey this hoops season. The Scarlet Knights improved to 14-4, 5-2 in the Big Ten, with a 64-56 win at home over Minnesota (10-8, 4-4). I watched this entire contest and Rutgers is a gritty club, coach Steve Pikiell doing a terrific job getting them to buy into his system of tough defense and hitting the boards.
Bet get this. When tomorrow’s poll is released, Rutgers deserves to enter the top 25, or be one or two slots away. The thing is, Rutgers hasn’t been in the AP Top 25 since 1978-79! Amazing, isn’t it? In fact, I looked it up...they haven’t had a better than .500 record in any of the conferences they’ve been in since 1990-91!
One more. Minnesota sophomore Daniel Oturu is quite the player. He’s averaging 20.3 points, 12.1 rebounds, prior to today’s 19 and 9, but at 6’10” he looks like a coming Giannis, a raw, but rapidly developing talent.
It’s not even spring training and what is readily apparent is this coming season is going to suck, on so many levels. It’s already depressing as hell to just think of how bad it could get.
[It’s at times like these that Mets fans are lucky they have such a terrific broadcasting crew in Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez, because so often in the coming season we are going to need their honesty and perspective.]
Since last chat so much more has happened, but consider that in an online survey of 1,010 adults, including 810 MLB fans, conducted Thursday and Friday on behalf of ESPN, 58% of respondents said the Astros players should have been penalized by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, with 76% of MLB fans saying they would support MLB taking additional steps to punish players who were involved in sign stealing.
61% of MLB fans say they are paying a lot of attention to the scandal, with 86% viewing the situation as serious, 57% saying it’s very serious. Put me in this last camp.
At least we have the finding that 49% say doping was worse than this scandal, vs. 24% who say sign-stealing is worse.
While 60% of adults and MLB fans alike say the scandals make no difference in their likelihood to watch MLB games, around a third of fans say they are less likely to watch the Astros or the Red Sox.
76% of MLB fans believe most teams were using technology to steal signs, but it’s just the Astros and Red Sox who got caught.
Dylan Hernandez / Los Angeles Times
“Prepare for an entire summer of Baseball McCarthyism, which could make the recent sign-stealing saga the greatest existential threat to the sport since the Black Sox Scandal of 1919.
“Accomplishments will be viewed with greater suspicion. Whispers will turn into shouts. Rumors will become accusations.
“This is sports in the age of social media.
“Regardless of whether the commissioner’s office made the right decisions by dignifying what were basically internet rumors, the fact it believed responses were necessary speaks to the ways news is now spread and consumed.
“Platforms such as Twitter and Instagram have made it possible for information and ideas to bypass traditional gatekeepers. A downside is that the threshold for allegations to enter mainstream conversations has been lowered by several orders of magnitude, blurring the line between fact and fiction. In terms of sharing opinions, more important than the veracity of a story is how quickly and widely it spreads.
“The conditions are perfect to make the public wonder if MLB is populated by a bunch of cheaters.
“The perception of fairness, accurate or not, is the foundation of any competition. As the decline in interest in scandal-ridden sports such as boxing and track and field have demonstrated, disillusioned fans are bad for business....
“The last two days were prime examples of the threats presented by social media.
“The rumors that surfaced already were widely circulated in baseball circles. But journalists who cover the sport, for the most part, are responsible enough to not report stories that can’t be confirmed.
“An anonymous player without direct knowledge whispering about how an opponent might be enhancing his performance isn’t news. Now, if the accuser is willing to put his name behind that claim, that’s another matter. And that’s basically what happened.
“The allegations that Astros players wore concealed buzzers came from someone who claimed to be the niece of former player Carlos Beltran. The person posted on Twitter that current Astros players Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman wore buzzers on their right shoulders. However, Marly Rivera of ESPN reported on Twitter that the Beltran family said the person behind the account wasn’t related to them.
“By then, the accusations were everywhere on social media. Suspicions intensified when a video circulated on Twitter depicting Altuve instructing his teammates to not rip off his jersey after a walk-off home run.
“As operators of their own social media accounts, players such as Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood and Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer weighed in. And this is where the story became news and prompted a response from MLB.
“The Trout rumor gained a mainstream audience when NBC Sports Northwest published a story Thursday based on an Instagram post from an unverified account by a person identifying himself as David Brosius, son of Scott Brosius. NBC Sports Northwest’s story was the basis of a subsequent article that appeared on a New Jersey-based news website. [Ed. NJ.com]
“But the story regained steam again Friday, when a Yahoo Finance reporter tweeted comments from a conversation with Bauer, who repeated the allegation against Trout. Bauer later walked back his comments, but the damage was done. MLB felt compelled to step in, again.
“MLB tried to preempt such problems by instructing teams to not comment on the punishments it leveled against the Astros earlier in the week for using technology to steal signs. What the league underestimated was the anger players had against the Astros.
“The commissioner’s office now finds itself with a dilemma. Threatening to fine players for speaking out against the use of electronic devices to steal signs will make MLB look as if it’s trying to cover up a practice that many observers believe is widespread. Not doing so would lead to more days like the last two. Either way, the game will be diminished.
“And if this is the new normal, the season on the horizon will be long and exhausting.”
So an example of the kinds of stories that are emerging is former Cy Young Award winner Jack McDowell accusing Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa of having a camera-aided sign-stealing system installed when he was with the Chicago White Sox in the late 1980s.
McDowell made his major league debut for the White Sox in 1987, and pitched 12 seasons in the majors, but never played for La Russa, who was fired by the White Sox during the previous season. But McDowell, on Charlotte radio station, described a system that he said was put in place by La Russa.
“We had a system in the old Comiskey Park in the late 1980s,” McDowell told radio station WFNZ Friday. “The Gatorade sign out in center had a light; there was a toggle switch in the manager’s office and [a] camera zoomed in on the catcher.
“I’m gonna whistle-blow this now because I’m getting tired of this crap. There was that – Tony La Russa is the one who put it in. ...He’s still in the game making half a million, you know? No one is going to go after that. It’s just, this stuff is getting old where they target certain guys and let other people off the hook.”
McDowell alleged in the radio interview that the next day’s starting pitcher would sit in the manager’s office, watch the catcher’s signals and would alert White Sox batters with the light in the Gatorade sign.
“I’ve never said anything about the old system we had because once we got to new Comiskey [in 1991], I didn’t know if there was one or not,” said McDowell, who won the Cy Young Award in 1993. “There were rumors that we had one, but it wasn’t as out there as the first one was where they forced the pitcher who was pitching the next day to go in there and flip on the toggle switch and stuff.”
You know what, Jack McDowell? This story of yours bores me to tears. You’re a jerk. I’m not going to bother my readers with any other crap like this. Even if true, which I highly doubt, it was 33 years ago!
--As for the dysfunctional Mets, who clearly didn’t ask the right questions of Carlos Beltran, or didn’t care to ask, they are now competing with the Astros and Red Sox for a new manager and suddenly the likes of Buck Showalter and Dusty Baker are back in the conversation.
The Mets let Beltran twist in the wind for three days after AJ Hinch and Alex Cora had been fired, Beltran being the only player mentioned in MLB’s report for his role. As in the Mets had to let him go.
But there are some now wondering, why was Beltran the only player singled out by MLB?
Gabe Lacques / USA TODAY
“Does MLB have further specific details – corroborated or not – of the Astros’ cheating, yet lacked either a preponderance of evidence or the stomach for an ugly, protracted fight against some of the game’s biggest superstars?
“Can the Astros’ on-field rivals and fans across the world put this behind them without a pound of flesh – belonging to a blue-chip name like Bregman, Altuve, Springer?
“It’s quite possible that there are so many pissed-off parties around the game that further details – or at least some degree of specificity regarding which players did what – emerge. And that might provide relief to the Astros themselves; without it, they all might as well go up to the plate with a Waste Management receptacle around their waist, as that’s how millions of people will remember them...
“That brings us back to Beltran.
“It’s worthwhile to note that, other than earning a championship ring as a DH, he benefited very little personally from the sign-stealing scheme. Beltran, then 40, batted just .231 in his final major league season. He received just three at-bats in the World Series and 21 overall in those playoffs.
“And it remains unclear the extent to which he dabbled in illegalities of the Astros’ scheme.
“ ‘Approximately two months into the 2017 season, a group of players, including Carlos Beltran, discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams’ signs and communicating the signs to the batter,’ it reads.
“The report then details Cora’s extensive involvement, leaving the reader to ponder if Beltran was dropped in there merely to sully his future with the Mets, or if he had a much greater role left unsaid because, as a player in 2017, he was not Manfred’s specific target....
“Perhaps a comeuppance will come to whichever Astros deserve it. For now, however, it is just Beltran taking the fall, his dream of managing a big league team dashed at least for the moment.
“Will another chance emerge in the years ahead? It would seem terribly unfair if it doesn’t.”
Mike Vaccaro / New York Post
“Brodie Van Wagenen did a fascinating thing Thursday afternoon.
“During a conference call that was supposed to explain why he and the owners of the Mets decided to fire a manager, the most eloquent and compelling testimony he offered instead was why, for the sake of the franchise, Steve Cohen has to arrive as soon as possible to eradicate the Mets of the reckless likes of the sitting general manager.
“It was hard for a lot of us on the conference call to believe what Van Wagenen – and, to a less degree, Jeff Wilpon – were telling us, which is why several of us kept asking the question in various ways. Because early on, Van Wagenen seemed to hint that the first time he and the Mets’ politburo had asked Carlos Beltran for details about his involvement in the Houston fiasco was earlier this week.
“And...well, that couldn’t be right. Right?
“As early as the GM meetings in November, which was when the first real smoke around the Astros’ sign-stealing story began to surface, not long after Beltran was hired by the Mets, he was peppered by reporters’ questions about his 2017 season in Houston. And there had been rumors swirling about the Astros for years.
“The Mets – specifically Van Wagenen – had taken great care to talk about just how exhaustive and comprehensive their interviewing process had been. Round after round, layer after layer. We were assured that whoever emerged from the reality-show rigors of this process would be vetted to within an inch of his life.
“Surely the Astros question came up in passing, right?
“And yet time after time Thursday afternoon, Van Wagenen insisted they hadn’t talked about this at all. This left only two possibilities.
“One: He was lying, which, given that one of the reasons Beltran found himself in scalding hot water was for the very same thing, seemed fairly preposterous. This wasn’t exactly a call teeming with forthcoming facts, so it would’ve been just as useful for Van Wagenen to say he wasn’t comfortable getting into details, leaving it at that. But that’s only if he’d actually asked about Houston.
“He repeated he didn’t ask about Houston.
“And that means that for all the questionable baseball moves Van Wagenen made as a rookie GM, many of which he was rightly roasted for, those were all appetizers on the way to seeing just how ill-equipped he really is for this job. Basically, this was his strategy: If I close my eyes and wish it all away, it’ll all go away....
“We gave him too much credit. You can bet Steve Cohen, wherever he was, was taking notes.”
I feel bad for Beltran, though he should not have lied to New York sports reporter Joel Sherman as he did in November about his involvement in the scandal. As reported by Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY, Beltran pleaded with the Mets during the week to retain him, telling them he could handle the heat. He wanted to apologize in a press conference. He had spent 20 years in baseball and told Mets’ ownership and front office that he had plenty of experience persevering storms.
But the Mets gave in to the inevitable. He was, however, allowed to make a statement.
“Over my 20 years in the game, I’ve always taken pride in being a leader and doing things the right way,” Beltran said, “and in this situation I failed. As a veteran player on the team I should have recognized the severity of the issue and truly regret the actions that were taken.
“I am a man of faith and integrity and what took place did not demonstrate those characteristics that are so important to me and my family. I’m very sorry. It’s not who I am as a father, a husband, a teammate, and as an educator.”
As Bob Nightengale notes, will anyone of those fired in this debacle ever have a role in the game again?
“Let’s be honest, the Red Sox weren’t going to fire Cora if he wasn’t under investigation, and told a lengthy suspension was coming.
“The Astros weren’t going to fire Hinch if he wasn’t already suspended a year, knowing that MLB encouraged a greater punishment.
“But the Mets had a choice here.
“They could have saved Beltran.
“Instead, they folded.
“And they won’t be the last.”
--Meanwhile, amidst the s--tshow, on Tuesday, we learn if anyone will be joining Derek Jeter (and Marvin Miller and Ted Simmons) in next summer’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
There are four big question marks.
Can Larry Walker, in his tenth and final year on the ballot, zoom up from last year’s 54.6% all the way to the required 75%?
Will Curt Schilling, in his eighth year, hit 75% after gaining 60.9% last year? Or will it take another year? Clearly Schilling is hitting the magic mark at some point. [He deserves it.]
But the real story is once again Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. Both are in their eighth years, two more after this one.
Clemens received 59.5% and Bonds 59.1% last year, up 2.2% and 2.7%, respectively over the prior year.
It was in 2017 that Clemens, 54.1%, and Bonds, 53.8%, took their big leaps, up 8.9% and 9.5% over 2016.
However, as the Washington Post’s Thomas Boswell noted the other day:
“The Astros just added a dark, ugly underline to the resume of every cheater, big and small, who has been nailed.
“Let Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens into the Hall of Fame? Never. If this Astros ugliness doesn’t convince moral relativists to find some backbone and admit that sometimes there really is a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ - and that the wrong must be punished – then what will?”
Personally, I’ve given up. Life is too short to blow a gasket on this topic. Let Bonds and Clemens in, but not until year ten, and maybe put their plaques out in the courtyard on some benches.
--Standings thru Saturday
1. Milwaukee 38-6
2. Miami 29-12
3. Toronto 28-14
4. Boston 27-14
1. LA Lakers 34-8
2. Denver 29-12
3. LA Clippers 30-13
4. Utah 29-13
--The fifth-best team in the West, 27-15 Dallas, continues to be led by the spectacular play of 20-year-old superstar Luka Doncic.
In just the past two games, Doncic had a career-high eight 3s on his way to 35 points in a 120-112 win over Portland, and a spectacular 25-15-17 triple-double in a 127-123 win over Sacramento.
Doncic leads the NBA with 12 triple-doubles this season, and is averaging 28.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 9.0 assists per game. He will singlehandedly bring in ratings come playoff time. But it would help Dallas if 7’ 3” running mate Kristaps Porzingis could get over his latest injury, a knee issue. He’s averaging 17.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, when he is on the court, and he’s still not fully back from the ACL he suffered in Feb. 2018. With Doncic, the two can combine to be a monster duo if Porzingis ever got back to full health.
--I was surprised Clemson running back Travis Etienne opted to return for his senior season. The fourth-rated back in the draft, according to Mel Kiper Jr., Etienne was expected to declare he was heading out, but instead on Friday he wrote on social media that he’s “not done dreaming here at Clemson.”
Gotta admire the kid, as he quoted Matthew 16:26: “What will it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”
“I look forward to earning my degree from this great university and continuing to fight with my brothers on the team to make you proud during the 2020 season,” Etienne wrote on Twitter.
He has rushed for 4,038 yards in his first three seasons, a staggering 7.8 yards per carry average.
So now for the sake of the kid and his family we pray that he stays healthy. He’s taking a massive risk. It would only be just that Trevor Lawrence and Etienne tie in next year’s Heisman Trophy vote.
Houston, we have a problem. Mikaela Shiffrin is in a major slump. Well, if you can call 2nd, 3rd, and 3rd in her last three World Cup Alpine races a slump that is.
You just have to understand that Shiffrin is the least confident great athlete of our time. She’s highly fragile mentally, by her own admission. After Shiffrin finished third in a slalom night race in Flachau, Austria, Tuesday, her worst finish in the discipline in two years, she told the press, “I am not somebody who really believes in myself.” The girl was on the verge of tears.
And then she finished third in the giant slalom yesterday in Sesthriere, Italy.
Shiffin had won a giant slalom and slalom in Austria at the end of December and now this ‘slump,’ at the expense of her chief rival, Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, who won the last two slaloms and tied for the win in the GS Saturday.
So suddenly Shiffrin’s lead in the Slalom after five of nine races is just 80 points.
And her overall points lead has shrunk bigly as well.
The season is just half over. An interesting sports story the rest of the way.
Unless you are a fan of Liverpool, and maybe one or two other clubs, this PL season has been a yawner.
OK, I’m writing from the standpoint of a Tottenham fan, whose team is floundering badly, scoreless in its last three (with Harry Kane on the shelf), including Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Watford. We are eight points from the fourth and final Champions League berth and that margin seems totally insurmountable at this point.
In other games yesterday, Sheffield (whose fans have cause to be excited), tied Arsenal 1-1, and Man City drew with Crystal Palace 2-2.
Today, Liverpool did it again, 2-0 over Manchester United, capped off by a spectacular goal in extra time by Mohamed Salah. The boys now have a staggering 16-point lead with a game in hand.
Leicester City lost to Burnley on the road, 2-1.
1. Liverpool 22 – 64
2. Man City 23 – 48
3. Leicester City 23 – 45
4. Chelsea 23 – 39
5. Man U 23 – 34
6. Wolves 23 – 34
7. Sheffield 23 – 33
8. Tottenham 23 – 31
--32-year-old Andrew Landry was running away with the title at The American Express in La Quinta, Calif., today, six shots up after his twelfth hole, but then he came back to the field, Abraham Ancer finished off a 63 and the two were tied, Ancer in the clubhouse, Landry teeing off on 17.
But then Landry sealed the deal with birdies on 17 and 18 for a two-stroke win, his second career victory on the PGA Tour.
--Happy Birthday to Jack Nicklaus, who turns 80 on Tuesday.
--As you’ve gathered over the years, I do not follow the UFC, but you can’t avoid knowing the whole career of Conor McGregor, especially if the first paper you read online every morning is an Irish newspaper, as is my habit.
McGregor indeed made a helluva statement on his UFC return Saturday in Vegas, taking just 40 seconds to overpower veteran American Donald Cerrone.
McGregor had been out of action for 15 months but exploded into life from the first bell of the welterweight bout at UFC 246. After bloodying Cerrone’s nose with some shoulder strikes in the clinch, McGregor stepped back and a precision head kick high over the guard landed square on Cerrone’s jaw, sending him crumpling to the mat...over.
--More bad news from Santa Anita Park. Two more horses have died, Friday and Saturday, making it four since the new race season started on Dec. 26.
In total, at least 41 horses have died there since Dec. 2018.
Needless to say, animal rights activists are up in arms once again, and I can’t blame them. One of the horses, Uncontainable, had “two very long periods last year when he wasn’t raced, which likely indicates injury and the need for special attention by veterinarians,” said PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo in a statement to the New York Daily News.
--Following years of controversy, it’s official. Actor Hank Azaria has said he is stepping down from being the voice behind the Indian character Apu on The Simpsons. He has performed the voice of the convenience store owner since Apu was created in 1990.
But of course there were those who said Apu reinforced racial stereotypes. But Apu himself seemed comfortable in his own two-dimensional skin.
--You know the idiom “you don’t want to know how the sausage is made”? Well, that’s more than appropriate for some future Polish sausage.
You see, investigators in Poland fear a pig farmer, last seen on December 31, may have been devoured by his own livestock after a neighbor discovered bones on the property, reports say.
Lubin District Prosecutor Magdalena Serafin told Polish publication Gazeta Wroctawska (I’m not a subscriber) that remains believed to be that of the farmer were found eight days after he was last seen on his farm in Lubin, a town about 260 miles west of Warsaw.
Folks in the area may want to check the label if they are buying sausage at the market and look specifically for “human byproducts.”
According to Gazeta Wroctawska, the body was entirely eaten, with just a few bones and skull fragments remaining.
--Finally, once again the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame embarrassed itself with this year’s selections for induction – Whitney Houston, the Notorious B.I.G., Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, T. Rex and the Doobie Brothers.
No Dave Matthews Band, once again no Todd Rundgren.
But Depeche Mode? Nine Inch Nails? T. Rex? Let alone the pathetic need these days to add rap acts. Rap can have its own HOF.
It’s the freakin’ music executives who hold sway in this vote and they can take the Grammy awards they take home for producing or whatever and shove them up their ass. They have made a joke of what started out as a terrific project. My only trip to Cleveland to visit the shrine was long before it went off the rails. I used to want to go back. Not today.
Remember, I wrote of how the Dave Clark Five one year picked up enough votes for enshrinement, but, as proven later, Jann Wenner blocked it and by the time the DC5 had gotten in, two of its members had died. For that, Wenner will forever be enshrined in Hell.
[I have zero problem with Whitney Houston and the Doobie Brothers.]
Top 3 songs for the week 1/19/63: #1 “Go Away Little Girl” (Steve Lawrence...underrated entertainer...) #2 “Telstar” (The Tornadoes) #3 “Hotel Happiness” (Brook Benton)...and...#4 “Tell Him” (The Exciters) #5 “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” (Bobby Vee...has stood the test of time..) #6 “Limbo Rock” (Chubby Checker) #7 “Two Lovers” (Mary Wells) #8 “My Dad” (Paul Petersen) #9 “Pepino The Italian Mouse” (Lou Monte) #10 “Hey Paula” (Paul and Paula...next up, The Beatles!...)
NCAA Scholarship Quiz Answers: Scholarships for various sports.
Football FBS 85
Football FCS 63
Track & Field (incl. X-Country) 12.6
Track & Field 18
Now of course a lot of this is Title IX related, and I’m not getting into the number of scholarships for women’s rowing, 20, and I’m not getting into the stories you heard related to the College Admissions Scandal.
My point is it is tough for baseball and men’s golf in particular. Yes, you have to chop them up. I know I’ve written this before, but for baseball it’s a sensitive topic for a private school like Wake Forest with a high tuition, competing in the sport against state schools North Carolina and North Carolina State, for example. It’s not easy...ditto golf.
But if you are a parent, and your daughter shows some athletic ability, you have an idea where to potentially channel their energies.
Next Bar Chat, Thursday.