|Articles||Go Fund Me||All-Species List||Hot Spots||Go Fund Me|
|Web Epoch NJ Web Design | (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.|
A Plethora of Sports...suddenly....
[Posted late Tues. p.m.]
***Folks, as Jason Gay describes below, the sports world has suddenly gone nuts and it’s tough keeping up, plus I have other responsibilities, to say the least…but here we go….
U.S. Open Golf Quiz: Since 1980, the Open has been held on the following courses in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania…Baltusrol, Merion, Oakmont, Winged Foot, Shinnecock, Oak Hill, and Bethpage. But since 1920, it was also held on three other courses in those three states (ends up being two of the three), all won by Hall of Famers; Byron Nelson, Gene Sarazen and Bobby Jones. Name these three sites. Answer below.
Darryl Slater / NJ.com
“The Giants finally unveiled their big gamble to the NFL world Monday night.
“Nobody really knew what to expect from coach Joe Judge’s debut, because the coronavirus pandemic wiped out spring practices and preseason games. Would the rebuilding Giants look overwhelmed? Or would Judge immediately establish himself as the next Bill Belichick?
“Neither happened, of course, because one game does not cement or crumble a head coaching career. Judge’s Giants contended for stretches against the Steelers – a clearly superior team – but lost, 26-16, at MetLife Stadium.
“Get ready for a lot of this, Giants fans. Your team still isn’t close to being a playoff contender. Many familiar problems remain – shoddy offensive line play, Swiss cheese secondary, inability to contend in the fourth quarter. The Giants will be lucky to win seven or eight games. They have a long way to go – a tall order for a rookie head coach.”
They’ll be lucky to win five. And that’s after going 4-12, 5-11 and 3-13 the last three seasons.
The Giants were up 10-3 midway through the second quarter and then allowed 23 unanswered points.
They can’t lose like this against the Bears next week or there will be legitimate, early concerns about Judge.
Consider that the Giants rushed for 29 yards on 20 carries, with star Saquon Barkley held to six yards on 15. SIX yards.
How bad was it? Barkley’s numbers were the lowest of their kind in the NFL this century. Since 1970, only seven backs have run for fewer than 10 yards on at least 15 carries. [LaDainian Tomlinson had 7 yards in 2005.]
Quarterback Daniel Jones (26/41, 279, 2-2, 79.2 PR), had his moments, but also a key pick when the team was down 16-10, yet had marched down to the Steelers’ 4-yard-line. The old ‘should have thrown it away or eaten it’ decision.
For the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger returned (after missing 14 games to injury last season) and he looked like the Big Ben of old, 21/32, 229, 3-0, 117.8, while Benny Snell Jr. rumbled for 113 yards in 19 carries. The Steelers are good. They’re a Super Bowl contender for sure.
--In the second Monday night game, the Titans defeated the Broncos in Denver, 16-14, on a Stephen Gostkowski field goal with 17 seconds left, after missing his first three attempts; Gostkowski signed earlier this month after a lengthy career in New England, the Titans having made an abysmal, NFL-worst, eight field goals all of last season.
--Dan Shaughnessy / Boston Globe
“Bill Belichick 1.
“Tom Brady 0.
“We are only one week into a 16-game season, but Belichick on Sunday took an early lead in the silent, subliminal spitting contest regarding who was most responsible for the greatest sports dynasty of the 21st century.
“It was business as usual for Belichick as the Patriots beat the Dolphins, 21-11, at Gillette. With no Brady, no fans, and no help from eight players who opted out because of Covid-19, the Pats beat the Fish easily. Belichick is still the greatest coach of all time, the Dolphins are still Tomato Cans, and New England’s new quarterback Cam Newton is a pretty good runner. The Pats are 1-0 in the coronavirus era.
“Hours later in New Orleans, Brady at times looked 143 years old in his debut against the Saints. Brady completed 23 of 36 passes and threw two TDs, but also threw two interceptions, including a pick-6, in a 34-23 beating. Brady spent a lot of the game yelling at teammates and officials. It was meet-the-new-Bucs, same-as-the-old Bucs. Hoodie must have been loving it in his Foxborough bunker.”
--Mike Vaccaro / New York Post
“Well that was something.
“And, yes: maybe the first Monday of football season is the home office for overreaction, and maybe teams that look like Super Bowl shoo-ins in Week 1 aren’t always as good as they seem, and maybe teams that look like tomato cans in Week 1 don’t always follow the pathway to Palookaville.
“But the Jets sure look like one awful football team. You can qualify that anyway you like – no preseason games, road opener against a division favorite, lots of moving parts all trying to work themselves onto the same page. And that’s fine. And maybe that makes you feel a little bit better in the wake of this 27-17 loss to the Bills.
“ ‘We just really did not play well,’ Jets coach Adam Gase said. ‘It’s disappointing. Watching the guys work all week, the excitement all week…’
“His voice tailed off. He shook his head.
“ ‘We’ve got a lot to work on,’ he said. ‘We’ve got a lot that’s got to get fixed.’
“A lot to get fixed? The Jets, right now, are a football jalopy: a calamity on offense, a catastrophe on defense. The foundational hope, quarterback Sam Darnold, regressed so much it was like he was playing this game in reverse. The defense, though feisty, is severely undermanned and profoundly overmatched.
“ ‘No excuses,’ Darnold said. ‘I have to be better.’
“He does, there’s no question about that, or this season that already seemed destined for 5-11 or 6-10 is bound for something more closely resembling 2-14. But it would actually be better if the Jets could just write this off to the growing pains of a stagnating quarterback. This wasn’t that. This was far worse than that.”
Yup, a very long year for Jets and Giants fans.
Vaccaro’s use of “jalopy” to describe the Jets is absolutely perfect. Wish I had come up with it before I posted last time.
And, egregiously, coach Adam Gase totally failed to handle Le’Veon Bell’s obvious hamstring injury in the first half, letting Bell play further, and now Bell is out a minimum of three games.
--The Trump family attacks on football continued Sunday. A week after Eric Trump tweeted, “Football is officially dead,” and while the Cowboys and Rams were playing on “Sunday Night Football,” the president went after the sport.
“Football’s boring as hell. It’s just not the same, right?” Trump said at a campaign rally in Henderson, Nevada, near Las Vegas, the new home city of one of the NFL’s most iconic franchises, the Raiders.
Trump continued to bloviate that people once asked that events not get scheduled during football games, and now “they say, ‘can you possibly do it during a football game?’”
It all goes back to when Trump was owner of the USFL’s New Jersey Generals and his push to move the USFL schedule from the spring to fall, which ultimately deep-sixed the upstart league. He also failed in a 2014 bid to buy the Buffalo Bills. And then we’ve had the national anthem controversy.
--Two days after Big Ten presidents and chancellors met Sunday to review information about a possible fall football season, University of Nebraska system president Ted Carter was caught on a hot mic saying an announcement was coming later Tuesday.
As for the Pac-12, it is targeting a mid-to-late November return, though nothing official. It is pegging its return, however, on a new rapid testing partnership with Quidel Corporation, a current producer of rapid tests, that would allow the league to test its athletes daily for the coronavirus.
Schools in the states of California and Oregon still have not been cleared by public health officials to resume contact practices, let alone games. The league won’t consider a vote to return until that status changes.
*As I go to post I don’t see an update on Big Ten.
--It seems rather silly to care about the AP Top 25 with so many big players out of action, but for the archives, I’ll list the top ten.
1. Clemson (60…first-place votes)
7. Notre Dame
10. Texas A&M
12. North Carolina
24. Appalachian State
--LSU coach Ed Orgeron said today that most of his team has contracted Covid-19.
“Not all of our players, but most of our players have caught it,” Orgeron told reporters. “I think that hopefully they won’t catch it again, and hopefully they’re not out for games.”
Asked later to clarify, Orgeron said he didn’t know the exact percentage of players who have had the coronavirus.
Per SEC protocols, players who have contracted Covid don’t have to be tested again for 90 days.
LSU, like many programs in the SEC and nationally, has not provided regular reports on the number of players who have contracted the coronavirus.
Two weeks ago, Orgeron said all but two or three offensive linemen missed practice because of testing.
LSU opens its season Sept. 26 against Mississippi State.
Meanwhile, Texas Tech self-reported five more cases on Monday, bringing the team’s total number of positive cases to 75 since players returned to campus in June.
--As for this Saturday’s games…talk about a yawner of a schedule, though I’ll watch Wake Forest-N.C. State at night, because, you know, I’m a Deac!
--Mets fans are thrilled that a sale of the club to billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen has been finalized, Cohen receiving 95% of the team for $2.4 billion (the team valued at $2.475bn), the Wilpons retaining 5%. The sale remains subject to the approval from 23 of the 30 major-league owners, but as I noted the other week, the owners aren’t going to squelch an offer that increases the values of their own franchises, despite Cohen’s past issues with the SEC.
So our long national (or metro area) nightmare is over. The Mets’ new owner is a longtime Mets fan and that’s important. While there’s no guarantee this translates into success, the guy wants to win.
The Wilpons, who bought the team in 2003 from Nelson Doubleday, did build Citi Field, and they made it to the World Series in 2015, and should have gone in 2006, only to lose the NLCS, but there were far more bad times than good, like a six-season run, 2009-2014, when they were under .500 each year.
As Marc Carig of The Athletic notes: “To fans, Cohen may be the devil they don’t know. But after dealing with the Wilpons, it’s clearly preferable to the devil they do know.”
Mike Vaccaro / New York Post
“Steve Cohen is worth $14 billion. That makes him a most unlikely candidate to earn recognition as ‘the people’s choice.’ But, then, we are talking about the New York Mets. And as Cohen, a lifelong fan, can surely expound on: the Mets are always a little bit different. In almost every way.
“And now, pending one last hurdle, they are about to have as an owner the most popular billionaire in New York City. Go figure….
“Mets fans haven’t been this happy since Marty Barrett swung through a Jesse Orosco fastball on the evening of Oct. 27, 1986. The Mets won their second World Series that night, and stood atop the baseball world – but for many Mets fans, that team and that time symbolized something else: the one time the Mets were as one with the swagger of their city.
“The Mets’ prior championship, in 1969, had been a feel-good paradox, good team and better fortune. It is hard to conjure anything representing New York City being an underdog but those Mets were. And in many ways, so have the good Mets teams that have followed – in 1999 and 2000, in 2006, in 2015. Much of that was the re-emergence of the Yankees after the close of the ‘80s, re-staking a claim to the town’s baseball soul that’s held strong for close to 30 years; they cast an enormous shadow.
“But a large part of that was weak ownership, reluctant to spend dollar-for-dollar with the Yankees, hamstrung by its association with Bernie Madoff, highly unpopular among much of its constituency. Nobody likes being a kid brother in sports. The Mets have been the kid brother for more than a generation, and acted the part.
“Not anymore. Not with Cohen. And that is what enlivens Mets fans’ spirits now….
“(What) Cohen represents as much (as his money), for Mets fans, is an attitude. He is one of them. And all you need to do is look at his career: he loathes losing. It is anathema to him. And that makes him even more one of them.
“And it’s that attitude that made him more appealing to Mets fans than the marriage of Sports and Page Six that J-Rod would have been, and certainly more than the plenty-rich guys who own the Devils. This is what Mets fans have craved. And this is what they get now.
“And look: what made George Steinbrenner wasn’t just deep pockets – in fact, he didn’t invest most of his own money at the start. It was his willingness to own the Yankees, in his best days, as a rabid fan might: hustling Reggie Jackson. Jumping into free agency with both feet. Fighting opposing fans in elevators (let’s assume that story was true. It’s a better world if it was).
“The money helped, too, as Cohen’s money will help. But the foundation in The Bronx was built with swagger. It is easy to imagine a similar blueprint emerging in Queens now, too. And easier still to see why that makes Mets fans smile this morning.”
--Commissioner Rob Manfred is hopeful that fans will be allowed into games during the postseason. There have been zero fans thus far.
Manfred, in an online chat Monday evening, confirmed he expects the final three rounds of MLB’s postseason to be played in a bubble, starting with the Division Series.*
“I’m hopeful that for the World Series and the LCS we will have limited fan capacity,” he said. “I think it’s important for us to start back down the road. Obviously it’ll be limited numbers, socially distanced, protection provided for the fans in terms of temperature checks and the like. Kind of the pods like you saw in some of the NFL games. We’ll probably use that same theory. But I do think it’s important as we look forward to 2021 to get back to the idea that live sports, they’re generally outdoors, at least our games. And it’s something that we can get back to.”
*So we learned the bubbles would be held in Texas and Southern California, with the World Series being held at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The ALCS will be at San Diego’s Petco Park, and the NLCS at Globe Life Park.
The ALDS will be at San Diego and L.A,’s Dodger Stadium, and the NLDS at Globe Life and Houston’s Minute Maid Park.
Manfred was speaking as word of the Mets sale to Cohen was hitting and he responded in part:
“Major markets generally have an outsized effect on the economics of the game, and I think it’s important for us to be strong in our major markets. I think that a change in ownership at the Mets is an opportunity to make that franchise as strong as it can possibly be, and I think over the long haul it’s be something that will be good for the game.”
For his part, Cohen issued a brief statement, understanding approval from the other owners may not come until November.
“I am excited to have reached an agreement with the Wilpon and Katz families to purchase the Mets.”
--After I posted last time, the Angels’ Albert Pujols hit home run No. 660, tying him with Willie Mays for fifth all time…A-Rod (696), Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Baroid Bonds (762) in front.
“Legend,” Pujols said, when asked what Mays means to him. “It’s something you dream about. …it’s amazing to have my name in the same sentence as Willie Mays. It’s just unbelievable, really humbling. It’s something I’m gonna tell my kids, my grandkids.”
--Big series taking place in San Diego. The Padres won Monday night, defeating Clayton Kershaw in the process, 7-2, to move to 32-17, the Dodgers 33-15.
Kershaw gave up 3 runs in 6 1/3, striking out 9, while the Padres’ Dinelson Lamet threw seven innings of one-run ball, fanning 11.
--So the other day Kershaw stated that when it comes to extra innings, he’s not a fan of the new rule, where each half-inning starts with a runner at second base.
“It’s not real baseball,” Kershaw told reporters last week after the Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks in 10 innings.
Well, on three specific rules changes, the universal DH, the extra innings rule, and seven-inning doubleheaders, I have to admit, I’m accepting of each…with the following restrictions.
Universal DH: Yes, as Johnny Mac reminded me, no more Bartolo Colon moments, but I just feel at this point it’s long-past-stupid to have two different sets of rules for the leagues. There are far bigger problems in the world than this one.
Extra inning rule: I don’t hate it. The game needs to move quickly, and it isn’t. We are losing young fans at lightspeed. No one wants to see four-hour games, unless it’s literally Game 7 of the World Series, with lots of drama. My compromise would be you start the rule in the 12th inning, perhaps.
Seven-inning doubleheaders: Yes, as long as it’s a single ticket deal. I think a ton of fans would go to such a doubleheader, say June-August, and it makes sense in terms of a labor contract with the players that would give them extra days off…say a mandated six such events on Saturdays (which makes more sense than Sundays in case there is a weather event…if you want to do a twi-nighter, start ‘em at 5:00…brief break between the two games…extra-inning rule applying 8th inning…).
So I solicited some opinion from loyal readers.
Bob S. on extra inning rule: “Thought I would hate this but I actually like it. Makes every extra inning exciting with a lot of strategy. Nothing worse than boring 1-2-3 extra innings that go on for hours. I could go with the 10th inning being a regular one before going to new rule, but that’s it.”
Bob C., former star ballplayer: “I’m opposed to the DH, always have been. It’s not real baseball; but, that ship has sailed… I’m just astounded that baseball players, about 30 years ago, decided to start sucking at the small details of the game like bunting, hit and run, stealing, etc. Then after sucking at those things for 10+ years, they say, ‘See, it doesn’t pay to do those things; let’s just swing to hit 500-foot home runs and strike out three times as much. That will be a much more exciting (and lucrative) version of baseball.’ Brilliant! Not! Yet most years, teams that can play ‘small ball’ tend to win the World Series… And I watch the Dodgers work very hard in spring training every year on small ball. Hmmm….”
I’m saving some of Bob C’s other observations for another chat, but he also doesn’t like 7-inning games. However, “I do like the idea of scheduled double-headers in exchange for more days off. Used to love me some Saturday or Sunday doubleheaders, especially with Tigers (Denny McLain AND Mickey Lolich for one General Admission ticket???!!!). ‘Let’s play two!’”
Jeff S., old fogie (he wrote affectionately) on universal DH: “I am able to ditch some old traditions. I’m all for universal DH. Watching pitchers flail away in the box got old a long time ago.”
“On the continuance of the runner on second ruling for extra innings, I’m more inclined to favor it not be used until the 11th or 12th inning.”
[Shu, glad your rotator cuff issue is resolving itself and you’ll be back on the golf course.]
Johnny Mac: “I view the DH as an abomination, have abhorred it since the day Ron Blomberg came to bat against Luis Tiant. That said, it’s even worse that we have played with two sets of rules for near half a century, and with interleague play it makes it worse. I assume AL won’t give it up, so, unless something drastic happens I will reluctantly accept the inevitable. But I will still hate it.”
On the extra inning rule… “As quirky and contrived as it is, the way pitching staffs are used today makes the 15-16 inning game ridiculous. You can ruin your staff for a week and risk injury to guys doing things out of character. I wouldn’t do it in 10th…maybe the 12th.”
Pete M., an AL guy, likes the DH “and when I watch NL games I grow weary watching the vast majority of pitchers attempt to hit. And I think the skill set of the double switch is way overrated.”
But Pete says only way he’d be in favor of 7-inning doubleheaders is if it meant the regular season started later/ended earlier. “Baseball should not be played in the Northeast and Midwest in March. And we need the World Series to end earlier for the same reasons.”
Whit W. wants a 156-game schedule so that we end up earlier in October, like a week before Nov. 1st. When it comes to extra innings, a man on second after 11 innings. I like his idea that you can’t sub relievers after 11. Just work ‘em to death.
Phil W: “I am anti-DH. I think it diminishes the strategy in a game and don’t understand why a pitcher can’t succeed at the plate in some meaningful way. Having said this, I think the NL should adopt the DH for one reason only, free agency. Without the DH it puts NL teams at a competitive disadvantage because they cannot add the extra 1 or 2 years at the end of a contract.”
Phil agrees with me on doubleheaders, “and everyone should play them league-wide on the same day.” Which is why I like everyone having to do them on Memorial Day and Fourth of July, for starters.
Phil likes the 3-minimum batter rule out of the bullpen, which I have to admit, I really haven’t focused on in watching games, and Phil wants rosters expanded permanently to 40 players, 26 to 28 being declared each day. Interesting. The issue with the owners would be of course how many get the MLB minimum.
Bob P., New England native, doesn’t like seven-inning games, but he notes the worst part of the pandemic “was the cancellation of the Cape Cod League,” the favorite summer pastime for he and wife Lisa.
Which brings up the broader issue of…just what the heck happens with the minor leagues next year?! It’s sad.
--Yesterday, Dallas closed out Vegas 4-1, taking Game 5, 3-2, and advancing to the Stanley Cup final.
The Isles are playing the Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals tonight, down 3-1 in the series.
--The Washington Capitals have hired Peter Laviolette to be their next head coach, replacing Todd Reirden, who was fired from the team in August after two consecutive seasons of Stanley Cup playoff disappointment.
Laviolette, who most recently served as the head coach of the Nashville predators, has 18 years of NHL head coaching experience with the Islanders, Hurricanes, Flyers and Nashville. He has led three teams to the Stanley Cup finals – the Predators in 2017, the Flyers in 2010 and Hurricanes in 2006 – winning the Cup with Carolina.
Looks like a very solid hire. As Capitals GM Brian MacLellan described it, he wanted “experience,” a veteran coach who could get immediate results from a veteran group.
So Laviolette inherits a veteran group that includes Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, the championship window rapidly closing.
In his first full year with Carolina, he led the Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup.
Laviolette had been fired by the Predators in January after a disappointing first half of the season.
--Miami defeated Boston tonight, 117-114 in OT in the opener of their Eastern Conference final.
Nuggets-Clippers Game 7 in the West is taking place as I post.
--Bring on Winged Foot. Tiger Woods said today in his pre-tournament new conference, “Well, I think it’s right up there next to Oakmont and I think Carnoustie as far as just sheer difficulty without even doing anything to it. I think those three golf courses, they can host major championships without ever doing anything to them.”
Winged Foot is getting the U.S. Open for the sixth time, the first since 2006, when Geoff Ogilvy won by a shot as both Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie double-bogeyed the final hole. Ogilvy’s winning score was five over…+5. [Hale Irwin won the Open at Winged Foot in 1974 at +7!]
Winged Foot is a par-70 with just two par-5s and a brutal finishing stretch, five straight par-4s, none less than 425 yards.
As is the case with any U.S. Open, you have to drive it in the fairway or you don’t have a chance.
--No surprises with the PGA Tour’s post-season awards…Dustin Johnson is Player of the Year, and Scottie Scheffler is Rookie of the Year.
Johnson won three times, including twice in the playoffs to claim the FedEx Cup for the first time. He also added seven top-10 finishes.
Justin Thomas won three times and finished runner-up at the Tour Championship, but like last year when Rory McIlroy was Player of the Year, the season-long trophy was the ultimate arbiter.
DJ also won the 2015-16 Player of the Year award.
Scheffler was one of two rookies to advance to the Tour Championship and although he failed to win in his first season on Tour, he finished fifth on the final FedEx Cup points list with seven top-10 finishes.
But Scheffler is missing the U.S. Open because he tested positive for Covid-19. He is said to be feeling fine.
--We had a nice moment late Sunday out in Napa, California, when 47-year-old Stewart Cink pulled off his first PGA Tour victory in eleven years in the Safeway Open, the first event of the 2020-21 season.
Cink’s last win was a memorable one…2009…the time when he broke so many hearts by denying Tom Watson The Open at Turnberry at age 59. It spoiled what would have been one of the greatest sports stories in all of sports. It wasn’t Cink’s fault.
But Harry Higgs grew up in Kansas City, and Higgs remembers being moved to tears watching Watson lose a four-hole aggregate playoff.
“Stewart Cink is enemy No. 1 for Kansas City golf and all throughout today chasing him, I was like, I cannot let Stewart Cink beat another Kansas City golfer,” said Higgs, who gave a valiant effort, shooting 68 to finish second. “This is a much smaller level for me, but he foiled us twice now.”
“People ask me this all the time. I feel like I won The Open Championship that year. I don’t feel like I took it out of Tom’s hands or I disappointed the world,” Cink said. “I don’t care what they all think about that, and I don’t think Tom would ever think that either. I don’t mind sharing the spotlight with him for that. I, in the end, got the Claret Jug and that will never leave my memories and it will never be taken away from me.”
So Sunday’s triumph was the seventh of Cink’s career and it was great his 23-year-old son, Reagan, was on the bag, while his wife, Lisa, who battled breast cancer and beat it, was also in attendance.
--Last time I mentioned John Daly and his recently being diagnosed with bladder cancer. But after surgery and eight days of chemotherapy left him feeling tired, he competed last weekend anyway in a Champions Tour event, the Sanford International, Sioux Falls, S.D., and all Daly did was finish T12…not too shabby. Miguel Angel Jimenez won the tournament, his tenth win on the senior circuit.
Daly will learn in November if the cancer has returned.
--Jason Gay / Wall Street Journal
“My friends, I can’t believe I am saying this, in a sports column, after all we’ve been through these past six months, after crawling out of the no-sports desert of the spring and early summer, but here goes:
“There are too many sports right now.
“Yeah. I said it. I’m grateful for the work, but I’m overwhelmed. I’m guessing everyone who loves sports is overwhelmed. It’s the middle of September, and we are amid the wildest smorgasbord of sporting events in the history of sports. I know that sounds like the sort of nonsense hyperbole sportswriters say, but it’s actually true. There are now days when there are games and events from the NFL, college football, the NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, WNBA, Premier League, F1, Major League Soccer, National Women’s Soccer League, NASCAR, cricket, boxing, bass fishing, and on and on and on.
“Don’t yell at me if I missed your favorite sport. I am sure I missed your favorite sport. I’m probably forgetting like 600 sports, because it seems like every league on earth is playing – except for, you know, the Big Ten.
“And now there are rumblings the Big Ten is considering coming back.
“Folks! Settle down. Get in line.
“I love it, but it’s too much. The calendar is cuckoo. A reader emailed to tell me that on Sunday, bizarrely, the Jets and the Mets played games in Buffalo (baseball’s Blue Jays are spending the season in upstate New York; the Jets were thumped by the Bills). Here in New York City, we just finished the U.S. Open in tennis – now comes the U.S. Open in golf, up the road at Winged Foot in Westchester. They just ran the Kentucky Derby. There’s a Tour de France, and in a couple of weeks, the French Open. The Masters is in November.
“I need to lie down. It’s impossible to keep track of. My television just pulled a hamstring….
“Remember the tumbleweeds of April? Don’t get me wrong – April was a terrible crisis, let’s not repeat that again. But sports was MIA. People were watching grainy old George Gervin and Roger Staubach games. They were racing their pets in their hallway, just for action. Gamblers were gambling on the weather. When Korean baseball showed up, we threw a parade.
“We were starving and desperate. We begged sports to resume. We got excited when Dana White teased ‘Fight Island.’ Now the schedule is packed, completely out of control. I watched ‘SportsCenter’ the other night. The host, Scott Van Pelt, looked like one of those guys in the Coney Island hot-dog eating contest. I wanted to fetch him a glass of water and a bucket.
“The return of the NFL really sent it over the edge. You know how presumptuous the NFL is. Sports were already busy enough, but then the NFL puffed out its chest, marched into the living room, put up a tent and lit a flare. I’m baaaaacck!! the NFL said. Now you can’t go anywhere without hearing someone yapping underneath their face mask about their crummy fantasy team….
“I don’t want to sound like a whiner. This sports surge has put me back in business. I don’t know what I would have done if I had to write about social distancing and virtual school for another six months. Please know: I’m still social distancing. I have two kids at home, virtual schooling, possibly until the year 3000. It’s completely the pits.
“But now there’s sports on TV, morning to midnight. Is it too much of a good thing? I don’t have any time to answer that question. There’s another game on.”
--Sports betting is surging, especially with the return of the NFL. In New Jersey, the biggest market for sports betting outside Nevada, total sports-wagering revenue in August rose nearly 57% compared to last year, to $39.5 million, according to numbers released Monday. From January through August, revenue totaled about $178 million, up 16.5% versus 2019, despite the sports hiatus earlier in the year. [It was just $2.6 million in April.]
About 13% of American adults, or 33 million people, plan to gamble on the NFL this year, down from about 38 million people the previous year, according to surveys by the American Gaming Association.
Personally, I haven’t bet on the NFL the last two years. I don’t follow individual teams well enough to put together a DraftKings lineup, for example, and I’ve never been good on picking point spreads. I won’t be betting on college football this year either.
Nope, just my usual golf and NASCAR lineups, and maybe some college basketball once that season gets going.
--Did you see the story from the Guardian on killer whales? They have been ramming into and damaging sailing boats off the Spanish and Portuguese coasts, leaving marine experts perplexed about the suddenly aggressive encounters.
Orcas are highly intelligent, 40 times more so than humans, and known to follow boats closely, but it’s unusual for them to repeatedly attack the vessels.
In the latest incident on Friday, a 36-foot boat was near A Coruna, on the northern coast of Spain, when an orca rammed its stern about 15 times, the Guardian reported.
Two weeks earlier, a vessel radioed the coastguard to say it was “under attack” from killer whales. The same day, a Spanish naval yacht lost part of its rudder to a killer whale encounter.
We’ve reached out to the orcas for comment, but a spokesman was unavailable.
Top 3 songs for the week 9/14/74: #1 “I Shot The Sheriff” (Eric Clapton) #2 “”(You’re) Having My Baby” (Paul Anka with Odia Coates) #3 “Rock Me Gently” (Andy Kim)…and…#4 “I’m Leaving It (All) Up To You” (Donny & Marie Osmond) #5 “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe” (Barry White) #6 “Nothing From Nothing” (Billy Preston) #7 “Tell Me Something Good” (Rufus) #8 “Then Came You” (Dionne Warwicke & Spinners…super tune…) #9 “You And Me Against The World” (Helen Reddy…do do, do dooo….) #10 “Clap For The Wolfman” (The Guess Who…B week…)
U.S. Open Golf Quiz Answer: The three U.S. Open locations since 1920 outside the main seven in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania were Inwood Country Club, Inwood, NY, won by Bobby Jones in 1923; Fresh Meadow Country Club, Queens, NY, won by Gene Sarazen in 1932; and Philadelphia Country Club, Gladwyne, PA, won by Byron Nelson in 1939.
Next Bar Chat, late Sunday night.