|Articles||Go Fund Me||All-Species List||Hot Spots||Go Fund Me|
|Web Epoch NJ Web Design | (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.|
Tua goes down...ditto 'Bama's chances
[Posted Sunday p.m.]
Baseball Quiz: 1) Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole were the first teammates to finish 1-2 in the Cy Young vote since Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling did so in 2002 for the Diamondbacks. [Verlander and Cole were also the first duo to win 20 games and strike out 300 batters for the same team since Johnson and Schilling that same season.] Anyway, Johnson and Schilling were also 1-2 in 2001. But before that, the last duo to go 1-2 did so in 1974 for the Dodgers. Name the two. 2) And the obligatory easy one. Verlander is one of two to have won Rookie of the Year, a Cy Young and MVP. Name the other. Answers below.
College Football Review
[Comments written prior to release of new AP poll.]
So there was really just one story this weekend, that being the loss for the season of No. 5 Alabama’s quarterback, and potential No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, Tua Tagovailoa, who suffered a devastating hip injury in Saturday’s 38-7 win over Ole Miss (4-6) in Starkville, the Crimson Tide 9-1.
Tua had thrown two touchdown passes as ‘Bama scored on its first five possessions to take a 35-7 lead at the half. But as coach Nick Saban said to ESPN at the intermission, Tagovailoa was on the field for “his last series. We were going to put Mac (Jones) in and we said, ‘Let’s put Tua in before the half for two-minute [drill] just for practice.”
It’s fruitless to try to assign blame. Tua scrambled toward the sideline and was grabbed by two Mississippi State players, who landed on top of him. He was helped off the ground by medical staff, avoiding putting weight on his right leg.
When I heard it was a dislocated hip, my immediate thought was of Bo Jackson and his career-ending similar injury. You have to be careful with the blood vessels in that area.
There will be plenty of time to wonder about Tua and the draft. For now, you just want him to get healthy so he can lead a normal life, first and foremost. But was he rushed back after the ankle surgery in time for the LSU game? Saban and Alabama said that has nothing to do with this one, and you have to believe them.
So we move on....
No. 1 LSU whipped Ole Miss (4-7), 58-37, the 10-0 Tigers up 31-7 at the half, though disturbingly gave up 30 points in the second half to the Rebels as their quarterback, John Rhys-Plumlee, rushed for 212 yards and four touchdowns.
But LSU coach Ed Orgeron got another superb performance from your 2019 Heisman Trophy winner, Joe Burrow, who threw for 489 yards and five touchdowns (319 and three in the first half alone), though Burrow did throw two second-half picks. Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for 172 yards and a score for LSU as well, while receiver Ja’Marr Chase had a rather spectacular eight receptions for 227 yards and three touchdowns.
No. 2 Ohio State (10-0) blitzed Rutgers (2-8) in Piscataway, 56-21, as Justin Fields was a cool 15/19 for 305 yards and four touchdowns, the Buckeyes cruising.
But Rutgers, a 52-point underdog, beat the spread! And the 21 points were the most it had scored in a Big Ten game all season. So with this performance they are relegated to Division II, not Division III.
Down in Death Valley, as Phil W. said, when was the last time a team 7-2 was a 34.5-point underdog going into a game? But that’s what Wake Forest was against No. 3 Clemson. I told you after Wake was going to be playing without two of its top three receivers, critical to our offense, we were in deep trouble, but the Deacs (now 7-3) should not have been embarrassed in the fashion they were, 52-3, as the Tigers (11-0) held Wake to 105 yards of total offense, a 516-105 margin, with Trevor Lawrence finishing 21/27, 272, 4-0, while Travis Etienne rushed for 121 on 16 carries.
I blame Wake coach Dave Clawson for this debacle. He didn’t even try to pass early, saying later, well, ‘Jamie Newman was getting picked off....’ so basically he gave up.
I do have to add, however, for those viewing along with me, that there was one absolutely atrocious non-call on what should have been a Clemson fumble and it wasn’t even close. But when you build up a program like Dabo Swinney, you tend to get all the breaks. That’s just a fact. Now us Wake fans are praying we can manage a split with Duke and Syracuse (Syracuse shockingly destroyed Duke 49-6 yesterday for its first ACC win) and finish the regular season 8-4, which would be great. But hopes for a dream season went up in flames in the loss last week to Virginia Tech and the injury to Sage Surratt.
4 Georgia moved to 9-1 with a 21-14 win at 12 Auburn (7-3), but the Bulldogs were outgained 329-251; Jake Fromm managing three touchdown passes though just 13 of 28 overall. They don’t have a chance against LSU in the SEC title game.
6 Oregon (9-1), in the driver’s seat, along with 7 Utah, for the fourth playoff berth, beat Arizona (4-6) 34-6 in Eugene, as the now No. 1 or 2 QB in the NFL draft, Justin Herbert, threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns.
The aforementioned Utah Utes (also 9-1) beat UCLA 49-3, as Bruins QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson had four of UCLA’s five turnovers, the bloom off Chip Kelly’s boys (now 4-6) after three straight conference wins.
So Oregon and Utah remain on a collision course for the Pac-12 title and the CFP.
It should be zero surprise 8 Minnesota suffered its first loss of the season to fall to 9-1, losing at 20 Iowa (7-3) 23-19. The Golden Gophers, despite 368 yards passing from Tanner Morgan, lost for the ninth straight time at Kinnick Stadium. So much for Minnesota’s CFP hopes, though they still have a shot at a New Year’s Six bowl (a slight one).
9 Penn State (9-1) will get a New Year’s Six bid over Minnesota at this point, the Nittany Lions 34-27 winners over a tough Indiana (7-3) squad, IU outgaining PSU 462-371, but two of its two turnovers were turned into Penn State touchdowns.
Then we had a biggie in Waco, as undefeated 13 Baylor took on 10 Oklahoma and the Sooners shockingly trailed 28-3 with 11:00 to play in the second quarter! It was 31-10 Bears at the half.
And yet OU came all the way back to beat the Bears (9-1) 34-31*, as your 2019 Heisman runner-up Jalen Hurts threw four touchdown passes and rushed for 114 yards, though he did fumble twice.
*OU was the first in the CFP era to overcome a 25-point deficit against a CFP ranked team.
The Sooners improve to 9-1, and will claim they are still in the CFP conversation, but they are likely to face Baylor again in the Big 12 title game, which doesn’t help Oklahoma’s case one bit.
In other games of note...
Jim Harbaugh and Michigan improved to 8-2 with an impressive 44-10 win over Michigan State (4-6), Shea Patterson with a super effort at quarterback for the Wolverines, 24/33, 384, 4-0.
At least Michigan, by its fine recent play, will give us a reason to tune into its season finale with Ohio State, though they will need to get by Indiana first.
[I can’t help but add that Michigan State’s senior quarterback Brian Lewerke sure had a disappointing final two years to his career, especially after a promising sophomore campaign.]
16 Notre Dame improved to 8-2, as it attempts to build a case for New Year’s Six inclusion, blasting 23 Navy (7-2) 52-20, Ian Book with five touchdown passes, four to Chase Claypool (7-117-4), while the Midshipmen turned it over four times.
In 14 Wisconsin’s 37-21 win at Nebraska (4-6), Jonathan Taylor rushed for 204 yards to push his all-time total to 5,634 yards, surpassing Herschel Walker’s record for most yards by a player through his junior season (5,596). The Badgers are 8-2.
As for the Group of Five, New Year’s Six bid chase, the other four teams in the race at the beginning of the weekend with Navy, won.
17 Cincinnati (9-1) beat South Florida (4-6) 20-17 on a Sam Crosa 37-yard field as time expired. It was not a great effort for the Bearcats, who were outgained 438-278.
18 Memphis (9-1) won at Houston (3-7) 45-27 behind Brady White’s five touchdown passes, while picking up another score on the ground.
So it still comes down to a Memphis-Cincinnati AAC title game for the Group of Five bid.
However, two others remain in the chase. 21 Boise State (9-1) beat New Mexico (2-8) 42-9, while 25 Appalachian State (9-1) defeated Georgia State (6-4) 56-27, after being down 21-7 in the first.
But the Apps literally need the other three to lose the rest of the way to stay in serious Group of Five conversation.
So before we see the new AP poll, let alone the new CFP rankings on Tuesday, understand the selection committee said weeks ago that they would take Tua’s health status into consideration when weighing whether Alabama was a final four, so there is simply no way ‘Bama is getting in.
As I noted last time, the fly in the ointment for a one-loss Pac-12 champ (Oregon or Utah) is a Georgia upset of LSU in the SEC title game, Ohio State and Clemson the other two. [I don’t believe Georgia’s vaunted defense will hold LSU’s potent ‘O’ in check.]
And now the AP Poll....
1. LSU 10-0 (54) ...1542 points
2. Ohio State 10-0 (5) ...1478
3. Clemson 11-0 (3) ...1442
4. Georgia 9-1 ...1343
5. Alabama 9-1 ...1263
6. Oregon 9-1 ...1243...quack quack
7. Utah 9-1 ...1155
8. Oklahoma 9-1 ...1144
9. Penn State 9-1 ...1030
10. Florida 9-2 ...984
11. Minnesota 9-1
12. Michigan 8-2
13. Baylor 9-1
14. Wisconsin 8-2
15. Notre Dame 8-2
17. Cincinnait 9-1*
18. Memphis 9-1*
20. Boise State 9-1*
21. SMU 9-1*
23. Appalachian State 9-1*
25. Virginia Tech 7-3...ACC! ACC!...phew, got another in there
*Group of Five / New Year’s Six contenders
--Prior to Sunday’s titanic Jets (2-7) vs. Washington (1-8) contest in Landover, here in the New York area, Jets fans were wondering just what owner Christopher Johnson did on Wednesday. Out of nowhere, Johnson decided to give coach Adam Gase a vote of confidence, saying Gase will be back in 2020.
Why? Why say this? He didn’t need to make a commitment now.
Johnson added, “He’s a good man, he’s a good coach.”
But as Steve Serby wrote: “He’s a good man, yes. He’s a 2-7 coach this season, 25-32 for his career.”
Well, whaddya know? Our freakin’ Jets won another! OK, it’s Washington, but Sam Darnold had a career high four touchdown passes, 121.3 PR, and we had 115 yards rushing! I started to party allll night, but then I realized I had a doctor’s appointment first thing in the morning and I didn’t want the following conversation.
“Editor, have you been partying all night?”
“Ah, ah, ahhh.....Hey, Doc, how ‘bout those Nationals?!”
For Redskins fans, though, take heart in your quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who has been handed the reins the rest of the season. He’s going to be fine, and did some good things today. I’m on record as saying the Giants should have taken him over Daniel Jones, so let’s see where the two are in 2021.
--Dallas moved to 6-4, 35-27 winners at Detroit (3-6-1), who announced this week that starting quarterback Matthew Stafford would be out six weeks with his back injury. Jeff Driskel was solid in relief, 15/26, 209, 2-0, 109.3, plus 51 yards rushing and a score, but Dak Prescott threw three TD passes, even as Ezekiel Elliott, for a second straight game, was held to under 50 yards rushing.
--The Colts are 6-4 after a 33-13 win over the Jaguars (4-6), Indy rushing for 264 yards and three touchdowns on just 36 carries; Marlon Mack 14-109-1, Jonathan Williams, a journeyman, with easily his best game as a pro, 13-116.
Nick Foles made his return for Jacksonville, out since Sept. 8, and was 33/47, 296, 2-1, 92.1.
But back to the Colts’ ground game, that’s the kind of thing that will play well come January in a place like New England, Buffalo and Baltimore, for example...#Winter
--Speaking of Buffalo, we’ve been trying to figure out just what the Bills are and today quarterback Josh Allen was good in a 37-20 win in Miami (2-8), Buffalo 7-3. Allen was 21/33, 256, 3-0, 117.7, plus another 56 rushing and a score.
Abolitionist John Brown had nine receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns for the Bills as well......
....I was just informed this is not the same ‘John Brown’ I was thinking of, that one having been hung after his raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859. I should have known better.
--Wow, what a comeback in Minnesota, the Vikings down 20-0 at the half to the Broncos and then coming back to win it 27-23, in a super exciting finish, Denver’s Brandon Allen not able to take his team in for the winning score inside the five as the clock expired.
Once again, the much-maligned Kirk Cousins had a super game for the Vikes (8-3), 29/35, 319, 3-0, 133.3, even as Dalvin Cook had only 26 yards on the ground, but a score. Denver fell to 3-7.
--New Orleans is 8-2, 34-17 winners over Tampa Bay (3-7) as Drew Brees was 28/35, 228, 3-0, 122.4. I just have to interject that you young folk have no idea how outrageously high these completion percentages are these days. I mean Joe Namath, in the Hall of Fame, was 50.1%, while a contemporary, John Hadl, recognized by a lot of us as a great QB, but not a Hall of Famer, was at 50.4%.
Anyway, the Bucs’ Jameis Winston continued his (lousy) play, going 30/51, 313, 2-4, giving him a 19-18 TD/INT ratio for the season, which truly blows. [Wouldn’t have in the days of Namath and Hadl...but sure does today.]
--Atlanta (3-7) won its second straight after shaking up the coaching staff on defense, 29-3 over Carolina, which fell to 5-5. Pretty impressive...the Falcons, off to their godawful 1-7 start, have suddenly beaten the Saints and the Panthers.
Carolina’s Kyle Allen had four interceptions, offsetting Christian McCaffrey’s 191 yards from scrimmage, including 11 receptions for 121.
--And the Ravens are 8-2 after whipping the Texans (6-4) in Bal’more, as your 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson had another spectacular game, 17/24, 222, 4-0, 139.2, with another 86 yards on the ground. The Ravens’ Gus Edwards chipped in with 112 yards rushing and a touchdown on eight carries; Edwards yet another Rutgers alum. It’s just so funny how Rutgers recruits great athletes, a ton of whom end up in the NFL (ask Bill Belichick), yet the football team in Piscataway is historically bad.
--In late games, the 49ers are 9-1 after a 36-26 win over the Cardinals (3-7-1), Jimmy Garoppolo with four touchdown passes.
--And the Patriots are 9-1 as well, following a tough 17-10 win in Philadelphia (5-5), after the Eagles were up 10-0 early in the second. New England outgained Philly 298-258, as in totally boring. [OK, I watched little of this, following other stuff.]
--Oakland is 6-4 after a 17-10 win over the Bungles, in the Jungle, 0 and 10 is all-right by me.
--But the real story this week was this....Browns defensive end Myles Garrett ripped off Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet and hit him with it in the head in the final seconds of a 21-7 Browns victory, a move that rocked the sporting world and made every national newscast.
Thursday’s incident began with Garrett tackling Rudolph, the quarterback taking exception and initiating the sort of pushing and shoving common to such plays, but also grabbing and pulling at Garrett’s helmet.
Things then escalated when two Steelers linemen got involved and Garrett tore Rudolph’s helmet off, swung wildly and struck Rudolph in the head. The scuffle continued with players tumbling to the ground, with one of the Steelers, Maurkice Pouncey, kicking Garrett.
“I made a terrible mistake,” Garrett said after. “I lost my cool and what I did was selfish and unacceptable.”
Rudolph said, “It was bush league, it was a total coward move on his part. I’m not going to take it from a bully.”
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield called Garrett’s actions “inexcusable” and Fox commentator Troy Aikman said they were “barbaric.”
Mayfield said the incident overshadowed a win that the Browns should be celebrating. “It feels like we lost,” he said.
Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said, “It’s ugly. It’s not something we want in the NFL.”
Aside from the ugliness, the Browns improved to 4-6, perhaps saving first-year coach Freddie Kitchens’ job (at least for another week or two), while the loss dropped the Steelers to 5-5.
But for good reason the game action took a back seat.
Steve Serby / New York Post
“The NFL put its foot down swiftly on Myles Garrett with its indefinite suspension.
“After further review, the other shoe must drop.
“Six regular-season games is not enough.
“Garrett should watch the first 10 games of next season as well before he can opt for reinstatement. Six plus 10 equals 16 games. One full season.
“The NFL has always had to protect these players from themselves.
“For a long time, it never tried.
“Now it has been scared straight into trying by CTE, by the movie, ‘Concussion,’ and has rallied around its player-safety cause.
“It has had more than a few black eyes, more than a few fumbles, with repeated clumsy attempts at tackling its mushrooming domestic-violence issue.
“Maybe this one will be easier for the NFL to get right.
“The league cannot legislate violence out of the game, nor, of course, would it ever want to. It remains the essence of the game. This would kill the most golden of geese.
“The bloodlust crowd will never accept flag football. Neither would casual fans who enjoy the train wrecks of a collision sport.
“Old-time defensive players of yesteryear still complain about protected quarterbacks wearing skirts.
“This has never been, and never will be, a game played by Boy Scouts. Every Sunday, or Monday, or Saturday, or Thursday, is the Super Bowl of testosterone.
“We shouldn’t be asking the NFL to be a paragon of virtue. But the league has an opportunity to send an important message to an audience it fears losing: its future pool, all the kids and their parents who are already wary of the sport’s inherent dangers and are steering the next generation away from football.
“Zero tolerance for barbaric behavior that would get a man arrested on the street for assault and jailed.
“The NFL – and especially Garrett – is lucky it does not have a tragedy on its hands today.
“This is its wake-up call to try to prevent one....
“(Meanwhile) Mason Rudolph, the helmetless victim, has not yet been suspended. He is not blameless here... He deserves one game. Larry Ogunjobi of the Browns got one game. And if Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey drew a three-game suspension for kicking and punching Garrett in defense of Rudolph, how can Garrett get a mere three more?”
Jarrett Bell / USA TODAY
“Frown on fighting, NFL? Well, show just how much by sending a message that makes Rudolph accountable, too. He had a role in the shocking incident that stains the Shield. If not a minimal, Ogunjobi-like suspension, then he should be penalized with a fine.
“Maybe that’s yet to happen as the league contemplates some of the remaining discipline that it has pledged. But he shouldn’t get off scot-free just because getting hit with his own helmet provided the shock-value image no one wants to see.”
David Wharton / Los Angeles Times
“(The) incident has taken its place in a history of sports violence that includes boxer Mike Tyson biting off the tip of Evander Holyfield’s ear and San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal attacking Dodgers catcher Johnny Roseboro with a bat.
“Some of these assaults were prosecuted; others weren’t. At issue is the notion that athletes consent to a certain amount of physical contact every time they step onto the field of play.
“ ‘We always have this big carve-out for sports,’ said Stan Goldman, a Loyola Law School professor. ‘People are horribly injured in boxing and football but we kind of allow it because, the theory is, it’s socially acceptable.’”
Roseboro, by the way, eventually filed a civil suit against Marichal and settled for $7,500. There were no criminal charges.
Lakers forward Kermit Washington was never arrested for the 1977 sucker punch that left Rudy Tomjanovich, then of the Houston Rockets, with a fractured skull and broken jaw.
Mike Tyson was not arrested for his vicious act against Holyfield.
But when hockey player Marty McSorley smashed an opponent’s head with his stick in 2000, Canadian authorities brought assault charges and ultimately sentenced him to 18 months’ probation.
Troy Vincent, the NFL’s head of football operations, said more fines will be forthcoming next week as a result of the brawl. Vincent explained that his first focus was on the four primary individuals and any suspensions that were appropriate, “because that has implications on the roster and may require a transaction for the team. But we will have plenty to sort through next week as well, and I can assure you, there is another wave of fines coming.”
Vincent said he addressed both teams Friday, fining them $250,000 apiece, for starters.
--The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick likes to point out the absurd in telecasts, so he asked the question, “Anyone see my football-to-English decoder ring?” Such as in ESPN’s Booger McFarland marveling during the Seahawks-Niners game about “rush-lane integrity.”
Our Johnny Mac made Mushnick’s recent column, Johnny having entered “confusion protocol” after watching the NFL’s Red Zone channel. With the Ravens inside the red zone, Johnny and the masses were told that the opposing Bengals are third in the NFL in red zone defense.
Johnny was left to wonder why the Bengals were then 0-9.
--Finally, the whole Colin Kaepernick story bores me to tears at this point. I have bigger concerns, and interests, than this guy’s future. And he gained zero new fans with his behavior on Saturday.
Just 15 minutes before he was scheduled to work out for 25 NFL teams at the Falcons’ training complex in Flowery Branch, Ga., as part of a league-warranted event, Kaepernick’s representatives announced the session had been moved 60 miles away to a high school field.
It was a stunning move, and appeared to catch everyone off-guard. Only eight teams, everyone forced to scramble, showed up for the workout, though some team officials in attendance said the former Pro Bowler’s arm talent was “elite” and from the little film we saw, he looked OK, but a lot of us could look OK tossing the ball in the back yard with our friends.
Kaepernick’s representatives said they hijacked the workout so the media could watch and videotape Kaepernick on the field, after the NFL had previously declined to allow any media or cameras at the workout, as the QB had requested.
Kaepernick said after: “I’ve been ready for three years. I’ve been denied for three years. We all know why I came out here. [I] showed it today in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. So we’re waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them stop running. Stop running from the truth. Stop running from the people.”
I was glad to see Boomer Esiason, Bill Cowher and James Brown (in his case carefully) rip Kaepernick on CBS’ pregame show; Boomer noting that Kaepernick has no interest in playing football, he’s just setting up the NFL for another lawsuit.
--Seton Hall isn’t making it easy to root for them as a casual fan with some of the crap they’ve been pulling, but they remain my ‘Pick to Click.’
For starters, the NCAA placed the program on probation for three years, taking away a scholarship for the 2020-21 academic year and limited recruiting in each of the next two seasons as part of a negotiated settlement on a transfer tampering case that started in 2016.
Coach Kevin Willard, who isn’t a likable sort himself, was given a two-game suspension that he already served. Former Seton Hall assistant Shaheen Holloway, now head coach at St. Peter’s University, was suspended for four games.
Holloway was responsible for making 154 phone calls without written permission from forward Taurean Thompson’s athletic director as Thompson was thinking of transferring from Syracuse to Seton Hall, which he did. But Syracuse denied his request to transfer, after which Holloway continued to talk to Thompson.
Willard was penalized for failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance within his program, the coach admitting he didn’t take adequate steps to report or stop the calls when he found out about them.
Anyway, most importantly in terms of those of us with our professional reputations on the line, The Hall is still eligible for postseason play.
So then we have the case of Myles Powell. None other than Willard told us last weekend Powell had suffered a serious ankle injury and would miss significant time, so your editor deduced he might be out until January.
Well there he was in the lineup Thursday against Michigan State, in a huge early season game, Powell heroically scoring 37 points but The Hall falling short, 76-73, as there was a disputed no call at the end with Powell driving to the basket, down 74-73. He was mugged...but it’s still November.
But we found out Powell was healthy just an hour before game time. “Significant time” became zero...as in missed no games.
This afternoon, The Hall had a solid road win at tough Saint Louis (3-1), 83-66, as Powell had 26.
--As for other important games since the last chat, Seton Hall-Michigan State was literally the only one that mattered, though we acknowledge UConn’s nice win over 15 Florida today, 62-57. Party hard, Jeff B.
--Two games of note Saturday night....
In Houston’s 125-105 win over the T’Wolves, James Harden had 49 points, after 47 and 44 his prior two (after I highlighted his first ten-game stats), Harden’s scoring average up to 39.5 for the 10-3 Rockets. Needless to say, this is going to be a big story for the league all season.
The Clippers (8-5) annihilated the Hawks 150-101, as Paul George became the first player in NBA history to score 37 points in less than 21 minutes (20). It was just his second game back from injury, George scoring 33 in a loss to New Orleans on Thursday. But George still hasn’t been on the court with his running mate, Kawhi Leonard, who sat out due to a knee contusion.
--Mark R. asked if me if Sixers coach Brett Brown would be fired before the Knicks’ David Fizdale, a very astute question, as I had noticed Philly was off to a disappointing 7-5 start, considering they are an Eastern Conference favorite. But today the Sixers whipped the Cavs 114-95, so Brown is OK for another few weeks.
As for Fizdale and the Knicks (3-10), I maintain he is out before midseason.
--Mike Trout won his third A.L. MVP award, edging out the Astros’ Alex Bregman, 17 first-place votes to 13, 355 points to 335.
Staggeringly, Trout, who has played eight full seasons, now has three firsts, four seconds, and a fourth in the MVP balloting. You can argue that Bregman deserved it this year, but don’t waste your time.
More importantly, Trout’s three MVPs match the number of career postseason games he’s played, a damning reality for an Angels organization that has been wasting the greatest talent in the sport since Willie Mays, or before.
The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger took the N.L. MVP award over Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich, 19-to-10 first-place votes, Anthony Rendon receiving the other.
Yelich’s chances were hurt big time when he missed the final 18-20 games of the season due to injury.
--After I posted last time, the Mets’ Jacob deGrom won his second consecutive Cy Young with surprising ease, taking 29 of the 30 first-place votes, the Dodgers Hyun-Jin Ryu getting the other.
DeGrom was 11-8, but with a 2.43 ERA over 204 innings, following up on his 10-9, 1.70 ERA campaign in 2018. Yes, the dude has just 21 wins over the two seasons, but no one can dispute he wasn’t the best pitcher in the league. This year he led the majors with a 1.89 ERA from May 22 through the end of the season, and went 3-0, 1.29 ERA in his final five starts in September.
I was a little surprised Justin Verlander got his second A.L. Cy Young award when he beat out teammate Gerrit Cole, 17-13 in first-place votes (13 second-place for Verlander, 17 for Cole).
Cole, because of his utter dominance since end of May, just felt like the winner....20-5, 2.50, 326 strikeouts, but Verlander was 21-6, 2.58, 300 Ks. I mean it was splitting hairs.
Verlander won his first Cy Young in 2011 with Detroit, with three runner-ups. The eight years between Cy Youngs is the longest span in the history of the award, which tells you a lot.
As for Cole, like with Jacob deGrom, May 22 was a key date. After losing to the White Sox that day, Cole went 25 starts without a loss, going 19-0, including the postseason, with a 1.59 ERA and 258 strikeouts in 169 1/3 innings.
[The difference between Cole and deGrom with the May 22 date is you are measuring deGrom starting May 22, while Cole gave up six earned on May 22 and his streak started May 27.]
--Will Smith, a terrific reliever with the Giants in 2019 (6-0, 2.76 ERA, 34 saves), signed a 3-year, $39 million contract to play for the Braves...great move for them.
--Jose Abreu of the White Sox, and pitcher Jake Odorizzi of the Twins both accepted their team’s 1-year, $17.8 million qualifying offers.
--The sign-stealing case against the Astros is growing, which kind of puts a pit in some of our stomachs, as this represents a huge distraction and a major blight on our beloved sport.
In August 2017, as Houston prepared for the playoffs, a front office executive expressed the organization’s desire to steal signs in an email obtained by The Athletic. In the email, the executive asked Astros scouts to try to steal signs from the stands and suggested cameras could be used to do it.
“One thing in specific we are looking for is picking up signs coming out of the dugout,” the sender wrote in the 2017 email, which was provided to The Athletic. “What we are looking for is how much we can see, how we would log things, if we need cameras/binoculars, etc. So go to game, see what you can [or can’t] do and report back your findings.”
While the email doesn’t offer proof the Astros illegally stole signs, this comes on the heels of the initial report from The Athletic that said the team used a system involving a center-field camera at Minute Maid Park that was fixed on the opposing catcher’s signs. MLB is now investigating this.
Former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers has gone on record saying the club illegally stole signs using the center-field camera.
Bob Nightengale / USA TODAY
“Major League Baseball general managers slowly trickled out through the resort courtyard late Thursday morning to catch rides to the airport, talking and laughing with one another, giving their best Thanksgiving wishes, and promising to catch up on the phone.
“One GM stood off to the side, obscured by the tall bushes toward the check-in desk, not talking to a soul.
“Jeff Luhnow, general manager of the Houston Astros, was the man everyone was talking about at these annual general manager meetings, but for all the wrong reasons.
“There may be 30 different agendas at these gatherings, but this time virtually all were united on one front.
“They want to see the Astros go down.
“And go down hard.
“They want the Astros to pay a fortune in penalties, being fined a record amount of money, forfeiting draft picks, international signing bonuses, and two even told USA TODAY Sports they wish MLB would force them to vacate the 2017 World Series title.”
Meanwhile, new Mets manager Carlos Beltran could be in hot water after he has admitted he helped plan the Astros’ sign-stealing system, though Beltran is saying Houston stole signs legally without the aid of cameras. But Beltran and current Red Sox manager Alex Cora had a key role in whatever it is that the Astros came up with, according to The Athletic.
Beltran was the team’s designated hitter in what was his final season, while Cora was a bench coach alongside current manager AJ Hinch.
I’m guessing both Beltran and Cora will face a punishment of some kind once they are interviewed by MLB, while Hinch could be in big trouble.
--We’ll also see how this separate issue ends up, but MLB has proposed a reorganization of the minor leagues that would cut 42 of the 160 teams with major league affiliations, thus throwing many of the 42 cities involved into a state of chaos, some of these teams the lifeblood of their communities.
The proposal, which minor league officials are frantically trying to counter, would cut 42 teams and add two independent franchises for a total of 120 affiliated teams. Eliminating hundreds of athletes from the system would allow baseball to increase the salaries of players on affiliated teams – an issue that has been contended in court – while improving transportation and hotel accommodations, and reducing travel time, among other items.
But for the communities that would lose their franchises, many having recently built new stadiums, it’s a massive blow.
--At the rain-delayed Mayakoba Classic, play was suspended today with a tie for the lead between Vaughn Taylor and Brendon Todd, four holes to go, play resuming early tomorrow morning, your editor now pissed he has the above-mentioned doctor’s appointment. Todd just won the Bermuda Championship.
I’m on pins and needles because I have a DraftKings winning lineup, assuming Harris English, T-3, doesn’t screw up tomorrow in his final holes; not that it’s all about me.
--Meanwhile, at the same tournament on Saturday, Russell Henley, who had opened the tournament with a 66, and was in the top 10 after what he thought was a 69 second round, suddenly had to penalize himself 8 strokes, and thus missed the cut, because he discovered after the round when autographing golf balls for spectators that he had a different brand of ball in his bag and didn’t know how it got there. He then determined he had used that ball for four holes during the round – the ninth through the 12th – and it was a different type of the Titleist Pro V1x he uses.
The penalty is two strokes per hole, for a total of eight penalty strokes.
PGA Tour officials conferred for more than an hour, reaching out to the USGA for assistance, before ruling.
We had the big shootout today – Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Bush – gunning for the Monster Energy Cup; Hamlin, Truex and Busch all under the Joe Gibbs Racing umbrella (or I guess they call it The Gibbs Group). Gibbs won 18 of the first 35 races this year. It’s one of the better stories in American sports how this Hall of Fame football coach transitioned to NASCAR, clearly his true love. Michael Jordan also loves NASCAR, on hand at Homestead to follow his fave, Hamlin.
And so Kyle Busch won it, his second Cup championship, 56th win over all, and he’s just 34. As Ronald Reagan would have told Nancy, she preparing Cream of Wheat on Monday morning while the former president read the sports pages, ‘Not bad...not bad at all.’
Busch and his ‘Rowdy Nation’ are celebrating tonight...no doubt drinking the hard stuff.
NASCAR needs an outlaw and its Kyle.
--Brad K. notes that with the wild turkey situation in New Jersey, particularly the Toms River area, that there should be real concerns for Black Friday shopping crowds, should the turkeys mount an offensive, which I wouldn’t put past them.
Meanwhile, former Met and Yankee player Todd Frazier isn’t letting up on his verbal assault against the turkeys, who have damaged his cars and threatened his friends and family.
--The grades for the All-Species List are irrespective of the politics of a nation where said species live, so we note the Russian Armed Forces bringing in some new recruits for the Northern Fleet’s Arctic brigade, a new Siberian husky squad, Interfax reported.
As reported in the Moscow Times, dogs have been used by the Russian military since as early as 1840, when records showed Russian forces employing dogs during the Caucasian War (1817-1864). There were an estimated 60,000 canines in the Soviet army during World War II. Today, the Russian Armed Forces employ 3,000 dogs, mostly for bomb detection and as guards.
In the Arctic, the Siberian huskies are being deployed as sled dogs. But if you have a dog that barks in Russian and is multilingual, check with our CIA for job openings. To prep for Fido’s interview, tell him to read the Wall Street Journal every day.
--My brother, major gearhead and racing fan, loved the flick “Ford vs. Ferrari,” ditto his wife; ergo, guys, it could be a chick flick. It is a great story, with major star appeal.
Top 3 songs for the week 11/21/64: #1 “Baby Love” (The Supremes) #2 “Leader Of The Pack” (The Shangri-Las) #3 “Come A Little Bit Closer” (Jay & The Americans)...and...#4 “Last Kiss” (J. Frank Wilson and The Cavaliers) #5 “She’s Not There” (The Zombies) #6 “Ringo” (Lorne Greene) #7 “Have I The Right?” (The Honeycombs) #8 “You Really Got Me” (The Kinks) #9 “The Door Is Still Open To My Heart” (Dean Martin) #10 “Time Is On My Side” (The Rolling Stones... ‘A-’ week...)
Baseball Quiz Answers: 1) In 1974, Mike Marshall and Andy Messersmith finished 1-2 in the Cy Young vote for the Dodgers. Marshall pitched in an amazing 106 games in relief, throwing 208 innings, 15-12, 2.42 ERA, 21 saves; Messersmith was an outstanding 130-99 in his career, 2.86 ERA, but essentially washed up at 30. 2) Don Newcombe is the only other player to win the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and MVP awards; 1949 for ROY, 1956 for both the Cy Young and MVP awards as he went 27-7 for Brooklyn.
Next Bar Chat, Thursday.