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[Posted Sun. p.m., prior to Game 5 of the World Series.]
College Football Quiz: The Associated Press has had a college football ranking since 1936. 1) In the Big Ten, name the only two schools to win four or more AP national titles. 2) Name the only four schools in the Big Ten to win an AP national title. Answers below.
Yes, the World Series between the Dodgers and Rays lacked drama the first three games, but then there was no lack of it from the middle innings on in Saturday night’s Game 4, when as the New York Post’s Mike Puma put it, “suddenly all hell began breaking loose.
“Played at a fast-breaking pace, with the thought of a safe lead laughable, the Rays and Dodgers staged a classic at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, that showed both teams’ resolve and moved this series into the up-for-grabs category.”
Brandon Lowe had hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth against Pedro Baez to give the Rays a 5-4 lead. But then in the top of the seventh, pinch-hitter Joc Pederson’s two-out, two-run single off Lowe’s outstretched glove reclaimed the lead for the Dodgers at 6-5.
So in the bottom of the frame, Kevin Kiermaier unloaded against Baez to tie it at 6.
Then in the top of the eighth, Corey Seager’s bloop single to left-center – his fourth hit of the night – gave the Dodgers a 7-6 lead. All seven of the Dodgers’ run scored with two out, extending their postseason record to 57.
That set up the drama of the bottom of the ninth.
With the Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen having entered the game, he struck out pinch-hitter Yoshi Tsutsugo. Jansen then shattered Kiermaier’s bat, with the head of the bat flying to shallow left field, and the ball to barely over the head of second baseman Kike Hernandez.
Joey Wendle then lined out to left field. So two outs, runner on first.
Randy Arozarena, who produced three more hits, including his ninth home run, and tied the record for 26 hits in the postseason, walked to the plate. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts walked to the mound. They could intentionally walk Arozarena, but that would be putting the tying run into scoring position. They decided to instead pitch to him, but carefully.
Arozarena, who was quickly down 1-2 in the count, worked the count full, and fouled off a slider. Jansen came back with another slider and bounced it in the dirt. So now Kiermaier is on second, Arozarena on first.
Up stepped Brett Phillips, the Rays’ hometown hero who grew up in the Tampa area as a diehard Rays fan. He hadn’t had a plate appearance in 10 days. His last hit was a month ago on Sept. 25.
Phillips, who had entered the game in the eighth inning as a pinch-runner, took 10 swings in the indoor batting cage, returned to the bench, when Rays coach Paul Hoover leaned over and told him:
“Let’s go win this thing.”
And on a 1-2 pitch, a cutter from Jansen hung over the plate, Phillips launched it into shallow right-center field. Center fielder Chris Taylor tried to scoop it up, but it shot off his glove. Kiermaier scored from second, tying the game, but once Rays third base coach Rodney Linares saw that Taylor didn’t field it cleanly, he wildly waved his arms, sending Arozarena home.
Taylor grabbed the ball, threw a perfect strike to cutoff man Max Muncy, and halfway to home, Arozarena stumbled and fell. He had no chance to score.
Arozarena quickly got up, and was headed back to third, only Muncy’s throw to catcher Will Smith went off his glove and ended up behind the backstop, Jansen failing to back up the play. Arozarena got back to his feet, turned back toward home, dove and slapped his right palm on home plate.
An incredible ending; the first walk-off hit with a team trailing since Joe Carter’s homer to end the 1993 World Series for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Brandon Lowe said after, “I’m about to live 15 years shorter. My God, I think I lost 10 years on that last play. That’s a storybook baseball game. That was insane.”
“I don’t think I’ll be able to go to bed,” hero Brett Phillips said. “I’m just too excited.”
From the bottom of the fourth, the two teams traded punches inning after inning, scoring a World Series record eight consecutive half-innings, culminating in one of the most dramatic finishes in postseason history.
Bill Plaschke / Los Angeles Times
“October strikes the Dodgers again.
“The unfathomable has happened again.
“The World Series is tied, and a city screams.
“One strike from taking a seemingly insurmountable three-games-to-one lead against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night, Kenley Jansen blew it, Chris Taylor botched it, Will Smith muffed it, and the Dodgers completely lost it….
“One moment, it was potential elation for a team on the brink of a championship. The next moment, that team was staring at its demons.”
So tonight in Game 5, it’s a rematch of Game 1 starters, Clayton Kershaw and Tyler Glasnow.
--In Game 1, Kershaw pitched six strong, allowing just one run, striking out eight, and the Dodgers cruised 8-3 after breaking it open in the bottom of the fifth with four runs to make it 6-1. Mookie Betts homered and stole two bases.
The Rays then evened the series at 1-1 with a 6-4 win in Game 2 behind Brandon Lowe’s two home runs.
L.A. then bounced back to take Game 3, 6-2, as Walker Buehler was dominant again in the postseason for the Dodgers, allowing just three hits, one run, in six innings, striking out 10 and walking one.
In five playoff starts he has pitched to a 1.50 ERA, 39 strikeouts in 25 innings. He is the team’s ace and would be lined up for Game 7, if necessary, potentially Game 6 on three days rest should the Dodgers lose tonight.
College Football Review
[Comments written prior to the new AP Poll…]
The Big Ten (and Mountain West) returned to play this weekend and No. 5 Ohio State showed little rust in whipping Nebraska 52-17, as Justin Fields, a Heisman Trophy candidate, was a cool 20 of 21 for 276 yards and two touchdowns, plus another TD on the ground.
18 Michigan beat 21 Minnesota 49-24 behind a balanced offense.
Friday night, 14 Wisconsin blasted Illinois 45-7 as redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz, making his first college start, was a Fields-like 20 of 21, 248 yards and five touchdown passes. As Ronald Reagan would have told Nancy while reading the Saturday morning sports pages, she making blueberry waffles, ‘Not bad, not bad at all.’
But the big news in these parts regarding the Big Ten was Rutgers winning its first in the conference since 2017, snapping a 21-game Big Ten losing streak, and on the road at East Lansing, the Scarlet Knights beating Michigan State 38-27. What a great ‘return’ for Coach Greg Schiano.
It helped that the Spartans turned it over a sickening seven times, losing five fumbles, but Rutgers at times looked like a real college team for the first time in recent memory. Consider that the Scarlet Knights scored 14 points total through their first five Big Ten games last season.
It’s much more fun in the area when Rutgers is good in sports (and Seton Hall is the same in basketball), so the hope here is that Schiano is successful in building a consistent winner.
Meanwhile, Trevor Lawrence and No. 1 Clemson (6-0) were less than impressive in beating lowly Syracuse (1-5) at home, 47-21. It was 27-21 in the third quarter before the Tigers pulled away.
Lawrence was 27/43. 289, 2-1, including the first pick-six of his career, while Travis Etienne rushed for three touchdowns and 86 yards on 16 carries. Coach Dabo Swinney was a jerk, as he is prone to be, in his post-game press conference, insisting his team put out a good effort when moments before, Lawrence, showing his true character, basically said they sucked.
Jets fans should be even more impressed with the guy. That’s a leader. After they draft him No. 1 next spring, it wouldn’t be too late for Trevor Lawrence to run for Mayor of New York City as well.
No. 2 Alabama (5-0) beat Tennessee (2-3) 48-17 as QB Mac Jones had another Heisman-worthy performance, 25/31, 387, 0-0, with Najee Harris rushing for another three touchdowns and 96 yards.
But the Tide lost star wide receiver Jaylen Waddle for the season, Waddle suffering a broken leg on the opening kickoff. As coach Nick Saban said after, what makes it even worse is he was “not supposed to bring a ball out when you are that deep in the end zone.”
No. 3 Notre Dame is now 5-0 and very much in the CFP conversation with a 45-3 win at Pitt (3-4). The Panthers weren’t helped by the fact that their solid veteran quarterback, Kenny Pickett, was on the sidelines with an ankle injury and his replacement Joey Yellen threw three interceptions.
In two weeks we have ND and Clemson.
6 Oklahoma State is 4-0 after a 24-21 win over 17 Iowa State (3-2). A CFP contender? I’m not convinced yet.
Back in the Big Ten, 8 Penn State was beaten in overtime, shocked actually, by Indiana, 36-35, on one of the great plays in college football history, frankly, especially if Indiana goes on to have a solid season and Penn State recovers to do the same. Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix Jr. converted the two-point conversion in OT with a spectacular run for the pylon; a gutsy call to go for it by up-and-coming coach Tom Allen.
Penn State had outgained Indiana 488-211, but Indiana found a way to get it done, the Nittany Lions coughing it up three times.
Indiana had lost 43 games in a row against opponents in the top 10.
9 Cincinnati is now the clear-cut frontrunner for the Group of Five, New Year’s Six bowl bid, the Bearcats 4-0 after an important 42-13 demolition of 16 SMU (5-1), the Mustangs laying an egg, while Cincy rushed for 313 yards, including Desmond Ridder’s 8 carries for 179 and three TDs, including a 91-yard scamper.
14 North Carolina improved to 4-1 with a solid 48-21 win over 23 North Carolina State (4-2), the Tar Heels’ Javonte Williams rushing for 160 yards and three touchdowns, while running mate Michael Carter added 106 on the ground and a score.
22 Marshall is 5-0 after a 20-9 win over Florida Atlantic, who were playing in just their second game due to Covid issues.
25 Coastal Carolina improved to 5-0 as well with a 28-14 win over Georgia Southern (3-2). Johnny Mac, who has a home down Myrtle Beach way, said that due to limited seating it’s impossible to get a ticket to see the upstart Chanticleers. [Yes, technically, Coastal Carolina is in neighboring Conway.]
Lastly, my Wake Forest Demon Deacons had an impressive 23-16 win over 19 Virginia Tech (3-2), the Deacs’ “walk-on” freshman cornerback Nick Anderson with an amazing three interceptions! Yes, the rest of his career he’ll now carry the tag, “ballhawk.”
For the first time since 1970, the Deacs defeated Virginia and Virginia Tech in back-to-back weeks.
Wake is now 3-2 and once again coach Dave Clawson proved he has the right stuff. Wake fans can nitpick from time to time, as all fans do, regardless of their team’s success, but given what Wake is in bigtime college football, the smallest Power Five school, we are very lucky to have Clawson and to be competitive year in and year out (save for when we play Clemson).
--And now the new AP Poll….
1. Clemson (52) 6-0
2. Alabama (10) 5-0
3. Ohio State 1-0
4. Notre Dame 5-0
5. Georgia 3-1
6. Oklahoma State 4-0
7. Cincinnati 4-0…wow
8. Texas A&M 3-1
9. Wisconsin 1-0
10. Florida 2-1
11. BYU 6-0
12. Miami 5-1
15. North Carolina 4-1
17. Indiana 1-0…good for them!
19. Marshall 5-0
20. Coastal Carolina 5-0
25. Boise State 1-0
*The cheerleading squads of 14 Oregon and 22 USC continue to work out furiously in the ‘Game Within the Game.’
--The Holiday Bowl has become the fourth bowl game to be called off due to the pandemic The bowl game would have been the first year of a six-year deal to match teams from the ACC and the Pac-12.
The Redbox Bowl in Santa Clara and the Hawaii and Bahamas bowls have also been called off.
No doubt there will be more.
--In the only game that mattered to moi…cough cough…the Jets lost 18-10 to the Bills (5-2) to move to 0-7 as we Gun for Trevor.
But it was worrisome early, the Jets up 10-0 midway through the second, before Buffalo became a field goal machine, rookie kicker Tyler Bass making 6 of 8 as Josh Allen threw for 307 yards and rushed for another 61.
For the Jets, Sam Darnold started the game 11 of 13 passing, and finished, get this, 12 of 24, 120 yards, two interceptions, and a rather putrid 29.9 passer rating.
In other words, the Jets, who had only 190 yards of total offense in the game, sucked.
And we love it!!!! I will sleep like a baby tonight…dreams of Trevor Lawrence taking Gotham by storm next fall…the Jets convincing United Airlines to initiate 12 nonstop flights from Newark Liberty to Greenville (Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport), to make it easier for Clemson players to check out the area and future home sites as we turn the Jets into Clemson North.
--In other games most other football fans considered more important, the Steelers held on against the Titans in a battle of the undefeateds, 27-24, as Tennessee kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a 45-yarder to tie it as the clock expired.
Pittsburgh, which led 27-7 early in the third, nearly coughed it up owing in no small part to Ben Roethlisberger’s three interceptions. But the Steeler ‘D’ held Tennessee’s star running back Derrick Henry in check, 75 yards on 20 carries, and then Gostkowski didn’t get it done to send the contest into OT. Pittsburgh is now 6-0, Tennessee 5-1.
--Cleveland, which lost Odell Beckham Jr. early to a leg injury, rode the arm of Baker Mayfield, 22/28, 297, 5-1, 135.6, to a super 37-34 win over Cincinnati (1-5-1), with Mayfield driving the Brownies 75 yards in five plays, capped by a 24-yard hookup with receiver Donovan “Up With” Peoples-Jones, who entered the game with zero catches and then made a spectacular catch to stay in bounds in the end zone.
For the Bengals, rookie Joe Burrow continued to perform superbly, 35/47, 406, 3-1, 112.5.
But the Browns are now 5-2, and the NFL is simply more interesting if Baker and the team reach the playoffs.
--The Saints are 4-2 after a 27-24 win over the Panthers (3-4), Carolina with just 37 yards on the ground, which as they say in the ‘hood….blows.
--Incredibly, Dallas is 2-5 after a 25-3 loss at Washington (2-5), the Cowboys racking up just 142 yards of offense! Eegads, that sucks. Andy Dalton, the starter after Dak Prescott went down for the season, got injured himself and that was all she wrote; new coach Mike McCarthy losing the locker room and no doubt his job, regardless of his contract, soon, unless he finds a way to turn it around, which is largely incumbent on the extent of Dalton’s injury, who suffered a concussion on a dirty hit from Jon Bostic.
--Green Bay (5-1) got back on track after being blown out the week before by Tampa Bay, beating the Texans (1-6) 35-20; Aaron Rodgers with four touchdown passes. For Houston, Deshaun Watson is playing just fine…it’s just the Texans’ defense is non-existent, giving up at least 28 points in its six defeats, J.J. Watt with only three sacks in the seven contests.
--The 49ers improved to 4-3 with a 33-6 win at Foxborough, the Patriots falling to 2-4. Jimmy Garoppolo was hardly scintillating in his return, but good enough, and San Francisco intercepted Cam Newton three times.
It was Bill Belichick’s worst home loss as coach, and the Pats’ first 3-game losing streak since 2002.
--The Buccaneers improved to 5-2 with a 45-20 win on the road in Vegas, the Raiders falling to 3-3. Tom Brady had four touchdown passes.
--The Chiefs are 6-1 after a 43-16 at frigid Denver (2-4), Patrick Mahomes not needing to do much, his defense turning the Broncos over four times.
--Thursday, the Giants shockingly blew a game against the Eagles, 22-21, New York dropping to 1-6, Philly now 2-4-1.
The Giants had a 21-10 lead with 6:17 to go, but then Carson Wentz rallied the Eagles to two touchdowns.
With the game 21-16, however, on third down Giants QB Daniel Jones found Evan Engram running free down the field and Jones hit him in stride, only Engram let it fall through his hands. If he made the catch, the Giants could have run out the clock. Instead, Philly got the ball back.
But also in this game, Jones had an 80-yard run, though he stumbled before making the end zone, though the Giants did take it in for a touchdown after.
Jones turned it over twice but he wasn’t to blame for the loss, even as he did fall to 4-15 as Giants starter.
--The Dolphins used their bye week to announce that rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will take over as starter for Ryan Fitzpatrick when they play Week 8 against the Rams. Tua’s first NFL start will come 351 days after he suffered a dislocated right hip and posterior wall fracture, from which he has completed a remarkable recovery that many thought would derail any thoughts of a professional career.
But the Dolphins were playing well, 3-3, under 16-year vet Fitzmagic. In six games he had completed 70.1% of his passes for 1,535 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
--The Washington Football Team has decided on a name for next season: The Washington Football Team.
Team president Jason Wright said, “I think next year is fast because of how the brand has to come together through uniforms, through approval processes through the league.”
Wimpy…very, very wimpy. You should have selected the virtually seamless name of “Red Clouds,” as I offered, in honor of the great Indian chief of the same name who kicked our butts.
[I’ve been to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where Red Cloud is buried, numerous times and now I’m really pissed I didn’t pay my respects. Then again, long-time readers know I had a scary moment there one time with “Larry.”]
--We note the passing of six-time Minnesota Vikings linebacker Matt Blair, playing with the Vikes 1974-85. He was 70.
Blair, an All-American at Iowa State, led them to their first bowl, the 1971 Sun Bowl, and was so good in the game he was named outstanding defensive player, despite Iowa State’s loss against LSU.
Blair sat out 1972 with an injury suffered in the first game and the NCAA granted him another year of eligibility, making the most of it in becoming a 1973 All-American.
Blair was then selected in the second round of the 1974 NFL Draft by the Vikings. He went on to become one of the great linebackers in Minnesota history and is in the team’s Ring of Honor.
--And Bill Mathis died, 81. Mathis was a versatile running back who was an original member of the New York Jets franchise, playing with the “Titans” / Jets from 1960-69. He was selected an AFL All-Star in 1961 and 1963, and helped beat the Colts in Super Bowl III.
In his 10-year career, Mathis rushed for 3,589 yards and 37 touchdowns. He also caught 149 passes for 1,775 and nine scores.
Bill Mathis was born in Rocky Mount, N.C., grew up in Manchester, Ga., and starred at Clemson and was named a member of the school’s Hall of Fame.
He was actually drafted by both the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers, but his draft rights were later held by the Houston Oilers, who traded him to New York shortly before the start of the league’s first season.
Missing three games due to a knee injury in 1962, Mathis played in every other one of the team’s 143 games over his 10 seasons with the franchise, including the Super Bowl, where he had three catches for 20 yards.
The team announced his death but gave no cause, though he had been known to be suffering from “physical and cognitive issues” for some time.
--In the Zozo Championship at Sherwood Country Club in California, we entered the final round with Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm at the top of the leaderboard, Nos. 2 and 3 in the world, but in the end (just now), Patrick Cantlay picked up his third career tour win with a final round 65, Thomas and Rahm finishing tied for second, a stroke back.
--Tony Finau is 31 years old, very much in super physical shape, and yet he admitted the other day prior to the Zozo Championship that he had a rough bout with Covid-19.
“It got me really good,” he said. He started feeling under the weather on Saturday, Oct. 3, but figured it was the flu. So he drove down to Las Vegas for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and took his test that Monday. When he saw his phone ringing shortly thereafter, he knew exactly what was happening.
“When you get the call, you pretty much know,” Finau said, after shooting an eight-under 64 on Friday at the Zozo Championship. “If you don’t get a call, you just get an email on your phone or the results on the Healthy Roster app that everyone gets.”
Finau, who is not sure where exactly he contracted the virus, then quarantined by himself for 10 days in a Las Vegas condo, away from his wife and four children.
“For the first five days it got worse. I had massive headaches, body aches, and I didn’t feel like doing anything. It got me really good, fatigue wise…it knocked me down, no question about it.”
He lost his taste and smell around the fourth day, and they still haven’t returned – a tough development for the self-proclaimed “foodie.”
Under the PGA Tour’s protocols, Finau would have been eligible to play in last week’s CJ Cup but simply didn’t feel up for it. He did not hit balls until Saturday before the Zozo.
“It was not the experience I thought I was going to have. Most guys are asymptomatic. They’re saying if you’re young and healthy, it’s not a big deal. I think I gained a little bit of respect for the virus, and the precautionary measures our country has taken.”
Finau, as of a few days ago, still hadn’t tested negative, but, as he pointed out, that’s due to dead cells in the body. He is able to play because he is no longer contagious per CDC guidelines.
He finished T11 this weekend.
--Phil Mickelson is a staple at the Houston Open, which again this year is being played the week prior to the Masters…a tradition unlike any other…on CBS, despite the change in the schedule due to the pandemic.
But Phil is on the verge of blowing it off because officials in Houston announced this week their plan to allow a limited number of fans on the property each day.
“For me personally, I don’t like the risk that having that happen the week before the Masters. I just feel like the week before the Masters, like that’s a big tournament we have and I just don’t want to have any risk heading in there.”
I don’t blame him. Look at Finau. And also this week, Adam Scott tested positive prior to the Zozo Championship. Throw in the fan element, and it’s not as if Texas doesn’t have a large number of Covid cases statewide, and it just makes little sense to have fans there.
Phil said he may play the Charles Schwab Cup Championship for the senior circuit in Phoenix instead if it doesn’t have galleries.
Adam Scott, by the way, was the 15th PGA Tour player to test positive and the third top-20 player to do so in recent weeks after Finau and Dustin Johnson.
--Lewis Hamilton did it, taking the Portuguese Grand Prix for his 92nd career Formula 1 victory, one better than the great Michael Schumacher.
Soon Hamilton will also wrap up his seventh world title, matching Schumacher in that category.
Hamilton’s 92 wins come in just 262 starts vs. Schumacher’s 91 in 306. The Brit also has 161 podium finishes to the German’s 155.
I was surprised to see the ‘starts’ matchup, which in this sport is critical in judging racers from days of yore, like Jim Clark, who raced at a time of few races per year on the Grand Prix circuit compared to today. [Clark, who died in a crash in 1968, won 25 of 72 races.]
Juan Manuel Fangio, the “Godfather” of Formula One, as Lewis Hamilton calls him, had 24 wins in 52 starts in the 1950s.
--The Round of 8 NASCAR Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway has been red-flagged due to a rain that was difficult to pick up on radar….very frustrating.
Action was spread out the last few days and continues Monday, so I’ll do the standings next BC.
But newbie Leeds continued to impress bigly with a 3-0 win over Aston Villa on Friday.
Yesterday, West Ham drew with Man City 1-1; Man U and Chelsea played to a 0-0 draw; and Liverpool defeated Sheffield 2-1.
Today, Southampton handed Everton its first loss, 2-0.
Then in the nightcap, Leicester City beat Arsenal 1-0 on a late score by none other than Jamie Vardy.
--Stan Van Gundy was hired as the coach of the New Orleans Pelicans. Van Gundy, 61, had most recently been an analyst for TNT and, separately, established himself as one of the most politically outspoken figures in professional sports through the Twitter account he created in July. On Wednesday, he posted an image on Twitter about voting for Joe Biden, shortly after a separate post calling for gun control legislation.
This will be Van Gundy’s fourth head coaching job. In Orlando, he took the team to the NBA finals in 2009, going 259-135 there, after a 112-73 stint as head coach at Miami, before being replaced in his third season, Pat Riley then going on to take the Heat to the championship. Van Gundy’s last job, 2014 to 2018 in Detroit, was less successful, 152-176.
Now the guy gets to coach a team loaded with young talent such as Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.
--The NBA is reportedly pursuing the idea of a pre-Christmas Day start to the new season, with a reduced schedule of 72 games rather than 82. There would be no All-Star Game or All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, sources told ESPN. The league is considering a two-week break at the midpoint of the season.
But none of this will be easy, with a draft Nov. 18, then free agency and training camps that would need to be open shortly after Thanksgiving. Without a bubble, positive coronavirus tests will follow.
Talks between the NBA and the Players Association have been productive on making the necessary financial allowances considering there will be few if any fans, at least at the start.
No word yet on the NHL and its new season.
--Bob Baffert’s horse, the filly Gamine, tested positive for a banned substance a second time in September after finishing third in the prestigious Kentucky Oaks, according to the New York Times’ Joe Drape, referencing sources involved in the drug test, results of which are not public as yet. Gamine also tested in May.
This is Baffert’s 28th drug violation, and his third in six months, according to public records compiled by various racing authorities.
Neither Baffert nor his lawyer responded to inquiries.
The day after the Oaks, Baffert won his sixth Derby with the colt Authentic.
The Breeder’s Cup World Championships are being held Nov. 6 and 7 at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. Gamine is considered one of the favorites to win the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint race.
In the $6 million Classic, Baffert trainees Authentic and Maximum Security are among the favorites.
It is unclear if the Kentucky horse racing commission’s investigation will be concluded before those races. If the positive test is upheld, the owners of Gamine would have to forfeit the $120,000 she earned for finishing third in the Oaks. Baffert could face anywhere from zero to 365 days’ suspension, depending on how the commission views his history or whether it determines that there were mitigating circumstances.
Next week California regulators will conduct a hearing to decide whether to erase 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify’s Santa Anita Derby win and force his owners to forfeit the $600,000 first-place check, in a difficult case.
--The New York Post had a story on baseball cards today, referencing a Daily Mail piece, and how they are a reliable way to grow your investment portfolio.
In 1988, a mint-condition Mickey Mantle rookie card sold at auction for just $3,300 – 30 years later, the price for a mint-condition Mantle rookie card jumped to a whopping $2.8 million, according to PWCC Marketplace.
“The market’s just on fire,” PWCC director of business development Jesse Craig told the DailyMail.com. “We’re very fortunate to be in the business that we’re in right now during a pandemic and still be thriving.”
Part of the steady market is the fact that cards have a limited supply and hold great emotional value – so will always be in demand and the blue-chip cards have steadily outperformed blue-chip stocks.
PWCC’s index of the top-performing 500 cards based on auction prices has a return on investment of 216% compared to 135% for the S&P 500 since 2008, according to the Daily Mail.
“I think it was kind of this perfect storm this year with coronavirus,” Craig told the Daily Mail. “Everybody’s sitting at home with time on their hands. …They started going through their old stuff, got reinvigorated, started paying more attention.”
Noted entrepreneur and author Gary Vaynerchuk told the Mail, “I don’t think that sports cards are a safer bet than the stock market or Wall Street. But in the super-premium, top 3% of sports cards, they will outpace the stock market over the next several decades. …I think the scarcity at the super-premium – cards [with] less than a thousand in a perfect grading case or production – are very, very attractive pieces of art that have huge potential to outpace blue-chip stocks.”
--James Randi, better known as “The Amazing Randi,” a magician, died. He was 92. For those of us of a certain age, he was ubiquitous on the late-night talk show circuit, and in the afternoons on “The Mike Douglas Show,” and he later became regarded as the country’s foremost skeptic of spoon benders, mind readers and faith healers.
Entertainer, genius, debunker, atheist – Randi was them all. At a young age he developed his act, escaping from a locked coffin submerged under water and from a straitjacket as he dangled over Niagara Falls.
As magical as his feats seemed, Randi concluded his shows around the globe with a simple statement, insisting no otherworldly powers were at play.
“Everything you have seen here is tricks,” he would say. “There is nothing supernatural involved.”
On a 1972 episode of “The Tonight Show,” he helped Johnny Carson set up Uri Geller, the Israeli performer who claimed to bend spoons with his mind. Randi ensured the spoons and other props were kept under Geller’s hands until showtime to prevent any tampering.
The result was an agonizing 22 minutes in which Geller was unable to perform his tricks.
Randi sought to disprove not just those who read palms and minds, but chiropractors, homeopaths and others he saw as predators seeking innocent people’s money.
Randi targeted those he saw as frauds with a tenacity and dedication he admitted was an obsession. His efforts were reminiscent of those of his great predecessor Harry Houdini, the master magician who devoted large portions of his time to debunking spiritualists and their seances.
There were other coups for Randi. For example, he once showed the messages that television faith healer Peter Popoff claimed to be getting from God about his audience were actually coming from his wife through an earpiece.
Randi set up the James Randi Educational Foundation, through which he promised a $1 million prize to anyone who could prove either their own supernatural powers or the presence of a supernatural being. No one ever collected.
Growing up in Toronto, Randi had a nagging desire to question from a young age, and academically, he was bored and teachers acknowledged he was a prodigy far ahead of his peers. He never earned a high school diploma or went to college, but in 1986 was awarded a prestigious MacArthur fellowship.
Penn Jillette, a magician in the mold of Randi, mourned his friend on Twitter: “We will never forget that without Randi, there would not be Penn & Teller. It’s really that simple.”
Randi wanted to see frauds punished, but he recognized most people wanted to believe.
“The true believers,” he said, “will not pay any attention to evidence that does not show what they believe to be untrue.”
When he let his displeasure slip out, though, it was often mixed with wit, as when asked about his final wishes and how he’d like his ashes disposed.
“My best friend is instructed to throw them in Uri Geller’s eyes,” he said. “I’d like him to get an eyeful of my ashes. I think that would be appropriate.”
RIP, the Amazing Randi.
--We note the passing of Spencer Davis, 81, a British guitarist and bandleader whose eponymous rock group had 1960s hits including “Gimme Some Lovin’” and “I’m a Man”…#s 7 and 10, respectively, on the Billboard Pop chart in 1967.
Born in Swansea, Wales, in 1939, Davis began working as a musician while he was a student at the University of Birmingham.
Influenced by the burgeoning British blues and skiffle scenes, he performed in bands with future stars including the Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman and Christine Perfect – later Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie.
He formed the Spencer Davis Group in 1963, with 15-year-old Steve Winwood on keyboards and guitar, his brother Muff Winwood on bass and Pete York on drums. The group went on to tour with the Stones and the Who. The group had seven British top 40 hits before Winwood’s departure in 1967.
Winwood went on to form the psychedelic rock band Traffic and then joined forces with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker in the supergroup Blind Faith.
Winwood said in a statement of Davis: “He was definitely a man with a vision, and one of the pioneers of the British invasion of America in the Sixties. I never went to the U.S. with Spencer, but he later embraced America, and America embraced him.”
Top 3 songs for the week 10/22/66: #1 “Reach Out I’ll Be There” (Four Tops) #2 “96 Tears” (? (Question Mark) & The Mysterians) #3 “Last Train to Clarksville” (The Monkees)…and…#4 “Cherish” (The Association) #5 “Psychotic Reaction” (Count Five) #6 “Walk Away Renee” (The Left Banke) #7 “Poor Side Of Town” (Johnny Rivers…super tune…) #8 “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted” (Jimmy Ruffin…ditto…) #9 “Dandy” (Herman’s Hermits) #10 “See See Rider” (Eric Burdon & The Animals…A- week…)
College Football Quiz Answers: 1) In the Big Ten, only Ohio State and Minnesota have won four or more AP national championships; OSU with five (1942, 54, 68, 2002, 2014), Minnesota with four (1936, 40, 41, 60). 2) The only other two schools from the Big Ten to win an AP title are Michigan (1948, 97) and Michigan State (1952).
Next Bar Chat, Wednesday.