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Add-On…posted Wed. a.m.
--Giannis Antetokounmpo was listed as “questionable” for Game 1 in Phoenix, but he hit the court and looked just fine, with 20 points and 17 rebounds in 34 minutes, as in Milwaukee attempted to pull off a con job on his condition in the days leading up to it.
But Giannis, and Khris Middleton’s 29 points, weren’t nearly enough as the Suns’ Big Three, Chris Paul (32 points, 9 assists), Devin Booker (27 points) and Deandre Ayton (22 points, 19 rebounds) handily beat the Bucks, 118-105.
Paul, gunning for his first title, was in total control, and Ayton’s 22-19 effort was the first 15-15 game in a Finals debut since San Antonio’s Tim Duncan against the Knicks in 1999.
Game 2 in Phoenix, Thursday.
--The Atlantic Hawks reached an agreement with interim coach Nate McMillan to accept a full-time role after he led an improbable run to the Eastern Conference finals against Milwaukee.
McMillan, 56, was named interim coach after Lloyd Pierce was fired when the team had a 14-20 record. The Hawks then went 27-11 the rest of the way, only to be the underdogs against the Knicks, and then No. 1 seed Philadelphia, before injury issues against the Bucks.
--Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic led Slovenia to its first Olympic berth in men’s basketball on Sunday, Doncic with 31 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists in Slovenia’s 96-85 win over Lithuania.
Stanley Cup Finals
--Tampa Bay can wrap things up in Tampa tonight, leading Montreal 3-1 in their series.
Montreal had staved off elimination on Monday, beating the Lightning 3-2 in overtime in Game 4 in Montreal, setting up a Game 5.
The defending champion Lightning won it last year without fans, due to the pandemic, so they deserve to wrap it up before a packed house, followed by a big boat parade.
--But the NHL is still reeling from the death of Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks, who died after a “fireworks malfunction” at a Fourth of July party.
An initial autopsy carried out on the 24-year-old on Monday found he died as a result of chest trauma caused by a fireworks blast.
He had been in a hot tub at a house party in Novi, Michigan, at the time.
Initially, the story was he died from a head injury suffered while getting out of the tub.
“There appears to be some fireworks that accidentally went off and launched in the direction of Mr. Kivlenieks and others who were seated in the hot tub,” a police spokesman said.
Police in Novi later said the mortar-style firework tilted slightly and started to fire towards the group. Kivleniek and the others tried to scramble out before getting hit.
He was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
--The Yankees entered play Tuesday a whopping 10 ½ games back of Boston, 6 back of Tampa Bay, which is lined up for a wild-card slot, 5 ½ back of Oakland for the other wild-card, with other teams also ahead of the Yanks for the WC.
So at 42-41, what should the Yankees do?
Veteran sportswriter Bob Klapisch, now with NJ.com (Star-Ledger), said:
“Don’t even think twice….
“(GM Brian) Cashman won’t publicly tip his hand, but he has to know catching the Red Sox isn’t realistic and a wild-card berth isn’t close enough to warrant any kind of go-for-it nonsense.
“This is instead Cashman’s chance to inject speed and athleticism into a franchise that’s sorely lacking both. The Yankees looked a step behind the Mets all weekend, just as they were against the Red Sox at Fenway [Ed. where they were swept.] My suggestion to Cashman is to work on Hal Steinbrenner and convince him it’s pointless to wait for the outcome of the Bombers’ eight games with Boston this month. That’s a guaranteed time waster.
“Besides, if the second-generation Boss still needs to be nudged towards reality, the Yankees’ disaster in Sunday’s opener should’ve been conclusive.
“Gerrit Cole and Aroldis Chapman, who started the season as the franchise’s most bankable weapons, were both destroyed by the Mets. There’s no silver-lining, G-rated description here – the ace and the closer were equally humiliated in the Mets’ 10-5 ambush.
“Cole, when the Yankees needed him, couldn’t get out of the fourth inning, and Chapman blew his second save of the week, leaving the game without retiring a batter. Manager Aaron Boone can prattle on all he wants about the ‘important’ West Coast trip this week, but the truth is, the Bombers no longer have a dependable arm to start or finish games. And they think a monster hot streak could be just around the corner? Sorry, no.
“Cole and Chapman say they’re working through mechanical issues, but that’s just bad camouflage. No discerning person buys it. Truth is, both pitchers are casualties of Rob Manfred’s recent ban on sticky substances.
“Cole…has posted a 5.24 ERA since June 1. He’s been lit up by the Red Sox and Mets in back-to-back starts. Even more surreal was the booing from the stands after Cole was knocked out in the fourth – it was merciless. He looked like he was in a trance on Zoom after the game, in total shock. One talent evaluator I spoke to said Cole’s current slide, ‘reminds me of Gerrit Cole as a Pittsburgh Pirate’ before the right-hander landed in Houston and mysteriously pumped up his spin rate. (Actually, not so mysterious; now we know why.)
“Chapman is just as lost: he’s allowed 14 earned runs in his last nine appearances….
“Opposing executives now see the Yankees with a distressed ninth-inning asset, but even if Cashman goes scorched earth on a rebuild moving Chapman would be impossible. He makes too much money (only half-way through a three-year, $48 million deal) and is too dysfunctional to be trusted.”
Yup, it’s going to be interesting in Gotham the next few weeks.
But last night in Seattle, the Yankees blasted the Mariners 12-1, as Jameson Taillon (4-4, 5.05) had his best outing of the season, seven innings, one run, while Luke Voit busted out with a 5-for-6 effort, 3 RBIs.
--Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Monday he doesn’t expect pitcher Trevor Bauer to return to the team when his seven-day administrative leave ends Friday.
“I don’t see it happening,” Roberts said Monday, before an ugly 5-4 loss to the Marlins that ended L.A.’s nine-game winning streak.
As I noted last time, MLB would need approval from the players’ union to extend the leave another seven days.
--Shohei Ohtani will play both ways in next week’s MLB All-Star game, though it hasn’t been decided exactly when he will take the mound.
And he proved he can do both last night in Anaheim, the Angels beating he Red Sox 5-3, as Ohtani pitched seven strong innings, yielding just two runs and no walks, just a wee bit better than last time when he gave up seven runs in 2/3 of an inning. Ohtani is now 4-1 on the mound with a 3.49 ERA.
Plus he doubled in a run, RBI No. 68. As Ronald Reagan would have told Nancy while reading the Wednesday morning sports pages, Nancy preparing his favorite blueberry pancakes, ‘Not bad, not bad at all.’
The Angels also moved to 43-42, former Mets outfielder Juan Lagares chipping in with a super catch robbing Boston of a two-run homer.
--The Cubs lost their 11th-in-a-row to the Phillies last night, 15-10 in Chicago, their worst losing streak since 2012, as Jake Arrieta got mauled again, yielding seven earned in 1 2/3, his ERA ballooning to 6.30.
After compiling a 2.57 ERA through his first five starts of the season, the 35-year-old has produced an 8.55 mark over his past 12 starts, easily the worst such stretch in baseball.
Afterwards, Arrieta tried to convince anyone who was listening that he still has it. He’s on a one-year, $6 million contract for the Cubbies this season, so at this point, an easy decision for Chicago.
Meanwhile, Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen and Rhys Hoskins became the first Phillies trio with a HR and four RBIs in a game since 2009 and the fourth trio to do it for the Phillies since RBIs became official in 1920.
Banned sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was not on the final Olympic roster released Tuesday by USA Track and Field, a decision that means the American 100-meters champion’s positive test for marijuana will cost her a chance at running on the relay team in Tokyo, in addition to her spot in the 100.
Richardson’s 30-day suspension for the positive test ends before the relays on Aug. 5, which left open the possibility she could win a medal as part of the 4X100 relay team, but USATF had two discretionary picks beyond the top four finishers in the 100-meter final at trials and chose not to offer a spot to the 21-year-old sprinter.
In a statement, USATF said it was “incredibly sympathetic toward Sha’Carri Richardson’s extenuating circumstances” and “fully agrees” that international rules regarding marijuana should be reevaluated.
“So while our heartfelt understanding lies with Sha’Carri, we must also maintain fairness for all of the athletes who attempted to realize their dreams by securing a place on the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team,” the statement read.
In this case, that meant offering the remaining relay spots to the sixth- and seventhen-place finishers, each of whom moved up in the pecking order after Richardson’s DQ. They are English Gardner and Aliea Hobbs.
USATF added: “All USATF athletes are equally aware of and must adhere to the current anti-doping code, and our credibility as the National Governing Body would be lost if rules were only enforced under certain circumstances.”
I do see their point. We all just wanted Sha’Carri on the team.
Incredibly, the opening ceremonies are July 23.
--We had all the Round of 16 action Monday, Manic Monday, where all 16 fourth-round singles are scheduled on one day, and Roger Federer, 39, became the oldest man to reach Wimbledon’s quarterfinals with a straight set win over Lorenzo Sonego. It was his record-extending 18th quarterfinal at the All England Club. Federer turns 40 on Aug. 8.
Novak Djokovic made his 12th quarterfinal, whipping Cristian Garin 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.
No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev, however, was upset by No. 14 Hubert Hurkacz, in a match suspended in the fourth set because of rain that finished on Tuesday. Medvedev had been ahead 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-3, 3-4 when they stopped play. He then lost the fourth and fifth sets, 6-3, 6-3.
4-seed Alexander Zverev was also ousted by 16 Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Canada is excited to have Auger-Aliassime and Dennis Shapovalov (who defeated 8 Roberto Bautista) in the quarterfinals.
On the women’s side, No. 1 Ash Barty, No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka and former champ, No. 25 Angelique Kerber moved into the quarterfinals, which were then held Tuesday.
Americans Coco Gauff and Madison Keys were eliminated.
And Barty, Sabalenka, Kerber and 8 Karolina Pliskova advanced to the semis, so we end up having a strong women’s final four after all.
Once again, no Americans are left in the action on both the men’s and women’s sides.
--British wild card Emma Raducanu left her fourth-round match against Ajla Tomljanovic breathing heavily and being helped by trainers. A few moments later, the match referee announced that Raducanu, 18, would not return and the match was over.
Hours after the match had been completed, Wimbledon said there would be “no statement” from Raducanu on Monday night.
“Nice slow breaths, that’s it,” the trainer was seen telling Raducanu after the teen called for a medical timeout trailing 6-4, 3-0. “Take deep breaths, you can do it, you’re OK.”
The unknown Raducanu, ranked No. 338 in the world, had suddenly become the toast of England over the past week after pulling three shocking upsets to reach the Round of 16.
John McEnroe caught heat for suggesting “it got a bit too much” for Raducanu, adding she became “emotional” and could not handle the pressure in front of thousands of fans on No. 1 Court.
In the first semifinal Tuesday at Wembley Stadium, Italy and Spain played to a 1-1 draw in regulation and overtime, before Italy prevailed in penalty kicks, 4-2.
Today, it’s England and Denmark in an enthralling matchup.
--We note the passing of former UCLA head football coach Terry Donahue, who died Sunday evening at the age of 77 after a two-year battle with cancer.
Donahue guided the Bruins to their longest stretch of football glory under a single coach, including four Pac-10 championships and tied for another. He became the first coach to win a bowl game in seven straight seasons (1982-88), and his teams finished ranked in the top 10 nationally five times (also in the 1982-88 stretch).
The won the Rose Bowl in 1983, ’84 and ’86.
Donahue took over in 1976 from Dick Vermeil and proceeded to go 151-74-8 in 20 seasons.
--No secret that ESPN, the culture surrounding the network and the dysfunction, is worthy of multiple books, of which there have been same.
And so this week, Rachel Nichols was forced to apologize to ESPN colleague Maria Taylor on air Monday after a leaked audio from a year earlier revealed Nichols, who is white, complaining about Taylor, who is black, getting Nichols’ NBA Finals hosting gig last year for what she believed were “diversity” reasons.
“So the first thing they teach you in journalism school is don’t be the story. And I don’t plan to break that rule today or distract from a fantastic Finals,” Nichols said to open “The Jump” on ESPN 2. “But I also don’t want to let this moment pass without saying how much I respect, how much I value our colleagues here at ESPN. How deeply, deeply sorry I am for disappointing those I hurt, particularly Maria Taylor, and how grateful I am to be part of this outstanding team.”
Former NBA players Richard Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins, Nichols’ co-stars on “The Jump,” expressed support for Nichols.
Clips obtained by the New York Times showed Nichols talking to Adam Mendelsohn, an adviser to LeBron James, while she was in the NBA bubble last July. Nichols was unaware her video camera was on while she was on the phone, and it was recorded and uploaded to an ESPN server.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world – she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols said in one clip. “If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity – which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it – like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.
“I just want them to go somewhere else – it’s in my contract, by the way; this job is in my contract in writing,” Nichols added.
Tuesday, ESPN then sidelined Nichols from her usual role as sideline reporter at the NBA Finals, replaced my Malika Andrews, but she reportedly will continue to host “The Jump” on-site during the week.
--We note the passing of filmmaker Richard Donner, 91. Donner helped create the modern superhero blockbuster with 1978’s “Superman” and mastered the buddy comedy with the “Lethal Weapon” franchise.
Donner gained fame with his first feature, 1976’s “The Omen.” A then-unheard-of offer followed: $1 million to direct “Superman.” Donner repeatedly faced off against producers over the need for special effects that would convince the audience that a superhero could really fly. In the title role, Donner cast Christopher Reeve, who was associated with “Superman” for the rest of his life.
By the 21st century, the genre was dominating the box office in the U.S. and thriving overseas. The heads of Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment both worked for Donner when they were starting out in Hollywood.
In 1987, Donner cast Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as a mismatched police pair in the buddy-cop action film “Lethal Weapon.” The film was a smash, spawning several sequels and a TV show.
Donner was a passionate animal advocate, rescuing dozens of dogs over the years and fighting against the captivity of killer whales.
--A grizzly bear attacked and killed a person who was camping in western Montana early Tuesday after having wandered into the area where the person was camping, the Powell County sheriff said.
The attack happened between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. in Ovando, a town of fewer than 100 people about 60 miles northwest of Helena, according to a spokesman for the Montana Dept. of Fish Wildlife and Parks.
“There was an earlier contact with the bear prior to the event,” Sheriff Gavin Roselles said. “The bear basically came back into the campsite. It wandered into a campsite a couple different times.”
A team of law enforcement and wildlife specialists has been assembled to track down the bear, officials said.
Fish and Wildlife official Greg Lemon said his understanding is that the victim was part of a group on a bike trip. Other people were camping in the vicinity of the attack.
A video camera from an Ovando business caught footage of a grizzly bear Monday night, wildlife officials said. A bear also got into a chicken coop.
In April, a backcountry guide was killed by a grizzly bear while fishing along the Yellowstone National Park border in southwestern Montana.
Ovando is on the southern edge of the remote Bob Marshall Wilderness, a 1,500-square-mile expanse of public forests known to be home to an estimated 1,000 bears. It’s the largest concentration of grizzly bears in the contiguous U.S., the area including Glacier National Park.
Next Bar Chat, Sunday p.m.
[Posted Sunday p.m. …prior to Mets-Yanks’ second game…and end of PGA event.]
No midweek Bar Chat…except I will have some kind of Add-On by Wed. a.m., given all the events happening later, including Wimbledon on Monday.
Frankly, I have a ton of stuff goin’ on in my life right now.
Including…I don’t know where I’m going to be living down the road…
NBA Quiz: The Milwaukee Bucks have just one NBA championship, 1970-71. Name the six who played 79+ games in the regular season, the main rotation. Answer below.
--It’s Milwaukee vs. Phoenix in the NBA Finals, as the Bucks wrapped things up in Game 6, without Giannis Antetokounmpo for a second straight game, taking out Atlanta 118-107 Saturday.
Khris Middleton again came up big for the Bucks with 32 points, including a spectacular decisive third quarter where he had 23 of them, 16 straight at one point.
Trae Young returned for Atlanta after being out two games with a bone bruise in his right foot, but the young superstar was clearly not 100 percent, hitting just 4 of 17 from the field, 0 for 6 from downtown.
Thursday, in Game 5, Milwaukee had taken a 3-2 series lead, 123-112, as Brook Lopez, out of nowhere, exploded for a playoff career-high 33 points on 14 of 18 shooting (26 points in the paint). Middletown had 26, Jrue Holiday 25, and Bobby Portis, subbing for Giannis, chipped in 22 points and 8 rebounds.
So this was big for the franchise, and now the question is, will Giannis, with his hyperextended left knee, be available for Game 1 against Phoenix on Tuesday? They don’t have to play him, and could be cautious, holding him out another two days for Game 2, Thursday.
--Phoenix wrapped up its series with the L.A. Clippers, 4-2, taking Game 6 130-103 in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Chris Paul, the future Hall of Famer who is finally going to his first NBA Finals, poured in a playoff career-high 41 points, 16 for 24 from the field (7-8 from three), while dishing out eight assists.
The Suns are an exciting team with young stars Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, and while Milwaukee-Phoenix is destined to get historically low ratings, it gives the likes of Booker and Ayton, along with Khris Middleton, a chance to juice their Q-ratings, and place their names and faces more into the national consciousness.
This is Phoenix’ first appearance in the Finals in 28 years (1992-93), while Milwaukee hasn’t been to the Finals since 1973-74…47 years!
--Separately, the final roster for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics:
Bam Adebayo, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Jerami Grant, Zach LaVine, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Love, Kevin Durant, Jrue Holiday, Damian Lillard and Draymond Green.
Commentator Jalen Rose had to walk back his comment that Kevin Love was the “token white.”
Stanley Cup Finals
Not exactly exhilarating, I think you’d all agree, as the defending champion Lightning attempt to wrap things up in four games Monday night in Montreal, Tampa Bay having taken the first three contests 5-1, 3-1, 6-3.
I was talking to an old friend, Mark S., who has relocated from New Jersey to the Tampa-St. Pete area recently, and as the two of us once shared New York Rangers season tickets back in the 1980s, he was impressed by how rabid the Tampa Bay fans were down there, which is good to hear. Sports is Good! World is Bad!
The great Washington Post sportswriter Thomas Boswell, who retired this week after 52 years, would probably agree with that sentiment.
--Shohei Ohtani slammed two more home runs Friday night as the Angels defeated the Orioles in Anaheim, 8-7. Ohtani now has 30 in the Angels’ first 81 games (L.A. 40-41).
Shohei became the third player to have 30 or more home runs before the All-Star break in the past 10 seasons, joining Chris Davis in 2013 (37) and Christian Yelich in 2019 (31).
He also joined Hideki Matsui (31) as the only players born in Japan with a 30-homer season. Ohtani’s six multihomer games (three this season) are tied with Matsui for the second most by a Japanese-born player (he trails only Ichiro’s seven). And with the two homers on Friday, Ohtani had 13 in his past 15 games, the most in any 15-game span in Angels history.
Oh, and Friday night he stole his 12th base.
Saturday, Ohtani was 0-for-2 with three walks as the Angels beat the O’s again, 4-1, to improve to .500, 41-41. He has a 1.067 OPS. And Ohtani has 51 extra-base hits in L.A.’s 82 games. I’ve been emphasizing the XBH total all season. It would be amazing if he got to 100, though as the home run pace is likely to fall, he would need a boatload of doubles to make up the difference. Through Saturday it was 17 doubles, 4 triples, and the 30 home runs.
One more…Ohtani has scored 59 runs.
But, in the interests of full disclosure, I do have to note Ohtani’s disastrous mound appearance on Wednesday against the Yankees in New York, where he yielded seven hits and 4 walks in just 2/3 of an inning, allowing 7 runs, his ERA soaring to 3.60.
Only this proved to be a disastrous game for the Yanks, who blew a big lead and lost 11-8, as the Angels scored 7 runs in the ninth, including four on a grand slam by Jared Walsh off Aroldis Chapman, who walked three batters in front of Walsh.
*I am posting before the end of today’s Angels game, but Ohtani has hit No. 31.
--I’ve written about this fact before, but it’s not like Trevor Bauer was headed to the Hall of Fame prior to him signing a mammoth 3-year, $102 million contract in the offseason with the Dodgers.
After an 8-5 start this year for the Dodgers, he’s 83-69 lifetime, 3.79.
What Bauer did was parlay a short-season Cy Young performance in 2020 with 253 strikeouts in 213 innings in 2019, though with a 4.48 ERA, into the monster contract because he was a free-agent in the right place, at the right time.
The Dodgers were the best team in baseball and had just won the 2020 World Series and didn’t need Bauer, but they signed him anyway.
The Mets, on the other hand, and new owner Steve Cohen, actually offered Bauer 3 years at $105 million.
And boy are Cohen, the team and its fans happy the guy opted for L.A. And boy, do the Dodgers wish they had ignored him.
You see, we all knew, any casual baseball fan knew, Trevor Bauer came with a lot of baggage, starting with an over-the-top social media presence and a history of controversial statements.
But the Dodgers, and Mets, didn’t contemplate that this same rough personality could also treat women like he does much of humankind…like dirt.
So now Major League Baseball has suspended Bauer, with pay, (technically placing him on seven-day administrative leave) while it investigates accusations made by a woman who, while agreeing she had consensual sex with Bauer twice, didn’t think that part of the deal was that she would be punched and choked in the process.
For MLB to extend the ‘leave’ would require approval from the players’ union.
Bauer has not been charged, though Pasadena police are investigating him for felony assault.
At the same time, he is who he is.
The Dodgers, and Mets, could have seen this coming. Cohen and Co. dodged a bullet. The Dodgers’ and their pristine image are taking a huge hit.
--Meanwhile, the Dodgers are taking care of business on the field, reeling off eight straight thru Saturday to move to 52-31, a half-game behind San Francisco at 52-30.
Make that nine straight…beating the Nats again today, 5-1.
So get this…I mean, this is amazing.
The Dodgers haven’t lost since they suffered a combined no-hitter at the hand of the Cubs on June 24.
And the Cubs haven’t won since that game! Now losers of nine-in-a-row after a 3-2 loss to the Reds today.
All together now, like that old reality show… “That’s…In…Credible!”
--Speaking of the Mets, Game 1 of this weekend’s Subway Series with the Yankees at the Stadium was rained out, and then Saturday, the Metsies had 14 hits, 13 of them singles, and whipped the Yanks 8-3.
The man the Mets signed when they lost out on Trevor Bauer, pitcher Taijuan Walker, is now 7-3, 2.44, after no-hitting the Yanks through five, and yielding two earned in 5 2/3 before exiting with a big lead.
As in the Mets are rather pleased with the 3-year, $23 million (assuming player option is picked up in 2023) deal they worked out for Walker, who has been more than they could have hoped for thus far, including becoming a real leader on the team.
But they lost starter David Peterson, potentially for months, to an oblique injury and the Mets’ starting staff is reduced to Jacob deGrom, Walker and Marcus Stroman…and then question marks, though rookie Tylor Megill has looked good in his two starts.
Well, this afternoon, we had a classic. It was the first game of a day/night doubleheader, only seven innings, and the Mets, Stroman on the mound against Gerrit Cole, fell behind early 4-1, Francisco Lindor with a key error leading to two unearned runs.
But the Mets tied it at 4-4 off Cole, knocking him out after just 3 1/3, his earliest exit since 2016!
The Yanks then took a 5-4 lead in the fifth off Stroman, and that’s where it stood heading to the top of the seventh.
Aroldis Chapman entered for the Yanks. As every New York area baseball fan knows, it has been a tale of two half seasons, make that tale of two quarters.
Chapman began the year allowing just one earned run over 18 innings in his first 18 appearances. He had a 0.39 ERA after his first 23 games, 43 strikeouts in 23 innings.
But over his last eight outings, heading into today, he allowed 11 earned, over 5 2/3.
And today, he gave up a leadoff home run to Pete Alonso to start the seventh, game now tied 5-5, hit the next batter, walked the one after that, beleaguered Aaron Boone removed him, the Mets proceeded to explode for six runs overall, and won it 10-5, setting up a delicious series finale tonight.
Chapman’s ERA, after blowing his fourth save opportunity in his last nine attempts, is 4.71.
The Yanks are 41-41 overall. Oh, how some of us wish George Steinbrenner was still alive. He would have literally been boiling in his press conferences…steam coming out of his ears.
--Back to the Nationals, they had been surging prior to the Dodgers series, moving to 40-38, putting pressure on the NL East-leading New York Mets, but now they’ve suffered four straight losses and, just as big, have lost slugger Kyle Schwarber to a right hamstring strain, which Schwarber suffered Friday night, attempting to stretch a single into a double. All Schwarber had done was go off on an historic run, 16 homers in 18 games, powering the Nats’ run.
Schwarber could be out weeks, a massive blow.
--The Tigers’ Eric Haase, a catcher-left fielder, had just a few cups of coffee in the majors 2018-20, but he’s been given a chance this year and in 36 games has slammed 11 home runs, including two, 3-run shots Saturday in Detroit’s 11-5 win over the White Sox.
The thing is, the first homer was an inside-the-park job. He has four multi-homer games as part of his 11 round-trippers. Good for him.
And not for nuthin’, but the Tigers, after a 9-24, 19-31 start, have gone 18-15 since to improve to 37-46. It’s a start in the right direction for the long-suffering franchise.
Make it 38-46, the Tigers beating the White Sox again this afternoon, 6-5, Haase with two hits and a ribby.
--In the College World Series, Mississippi State defeated Vanderbilt 9-0 in a deciding Game 3 on Wednesday to capture its first title.
Actually, the first NCAA championship of any kind in school history! A record crowd of over 24,000 was in attendance in Omaha, many of them Bulldogs fans.
Vandy had taken Game 1 8-2, before being blitzed 13-2 and 9-0.
--Entering the final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, Michigan, we had….
Troy Merritt -14
Joaquin Niemann -14
Hank Lebioda -13
Cam Davis -13
Brandon Hagy -12
Six at -11
Not exactly ‘must-watch’ TV, to be honest, though Niemann is an exciting young golfer who is obviously going to be a force for at least the next 15 years. This would be a big one for him.
Well, after regulation we had a three-way playoff between Niemann, Merritt and Davis.
Davis, an Aussie who is easy to confuse with fellow Aussie Cam Smith, when you are just reading leaderboards, Smith 27 (and with three wins on tour), Davis 26, then blew a birdie putt for his first win on the first hole of sudden death, Niemann eliminated with a bogey.
And Davis and Merritt both parred the second hole, and, you know what? I’m closing things out here…needing to post so I can enjoy tonight’s Mets-Yanks Subway Series finale.
--Bryson DeChambeau missed the cut this weekend and declined a request from a PGA Tour official to talk to the media for a second straight day on Friday. He had won the event last year.
DeChambeau struggled in his two rounds after he and his longtime caddie, Tim Tucker, parted ways on the eve of the tournament. Tucker had been on the bag for each of DeChambeau’s eight PGA Tour victories. DeChambeau’s manager, Brett Falkoff, described the parting as mutual, but others on-site with knowledge of the situation say it was Tucker who quit just hours after being on the bag for the pro-am.
DeChambeau told ESPN that the two are merely taking a break as they did when Tucker quit in 2017 only to return the following year.
As for blowing off the media, he was the defending champion, after all, and a Rocket Mortgage ambassador.
According to a reporter from The Detroit News, in Friday’s second round, DeChambeau did make one comment, that coming at the par-3 fifth hole after a heavy wind directed his wedge shot into a greenside bunker. “I hate golf.”
Brooks Koepka, never one to miss an opportunity to take a dig at Bryson, tweeted a shoutout to his caddie, Ricky Elliott, writing, “Couldn’t do it without my guy Rick!”
Tuesday, Bryson is playing in a made-for-television exhibition in which he is paired with Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. The four players will be riding in carts at Moonlight Bay in Big Sky, Montana, for the charity event that begins at 5 p.m. ET on TNT.
--Speaking of Mickelson, he was furious with a story in the Detroit Free Press this week, perfectly timed for his appearance at the Rocket Mortgage tournament, that brought up a 2007 racketeering trial that featured one Jack Giacalone as the defendant, an alleged major organized crime figure in Detroit. One of the witnesses in that trial was a seedy character – Dandy Don DeSerrano, who was a bookie who was once a Vegas casino host from 1994-2002.
Dandy Don was given immunity by Federal prosecutors who used him as a witness against Giacalone. And in the course of the proceedings, it was revealed there were ties between Mickelson and DeSerrano.
Giacalone’s attorneys found out that Dandy Don stiffed Lefty out of some serious gambling winnings, like $500,000.
As reported by Tom Edrington of Dogleg News, the transcripts turned up in May of this year as Giacalone is in hot water with the Feds again for an overdue federal tax bill of $537,222.
This was a period when Lefty and his buddies were betting big on sports and Mickelson’s lawyer, Glenn Cohen, said on Tuesday that DeSeranno didn’t pay Phil what he was owed, “and that was it.” Cohen claims Phil and his friends had no idea as to DeSeranno’s background.
So the story was a huge embarrassment for Mickelson, who helped juice the gate at the Rocket Mortgage tournament by his presence. He said he’d never come back to the event, yet he made the cut.
But Phil finished T74, ahead of only Byeong Hun An and last-place Will Zalatoris.
Zalatoris, while making the cut, has suddenly hit a wall. After finishing 8th at the PGA Championship, he is 59, MC, 77.
--Hideki Matsuyama had to pull out after the first round due to testing positive for Covid-19. Tour officials were unable to say whether Matsuyama has been vaccinated, but the tour does not test fully vaccinated players. Ergo….
Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler played the first-round with Matsuyama, so they weren’t exactly thrilled by the development.
Fowler had a decent tournament, for him, finishing T31 and improving to 114 on the FedEx Cup points list, as he seeks to stay in the top 125 to secure his card for 2022.
It’s now officially interesting. We are down to four teams.
Italy beat Belgium 2-1 in one quarterfinal and will face Spain in the semis; Spain and Switzerland playing to a 1-1 draw in regulation and overtime, before Spain won it 3-1 on penalty kicks.
And in the other semi we have England, 4-0 winners over Ukraine on Saturday, facing surprising Denmark, which defeated the Czech Republic 2-1 in its quarterfinal tilt.
After Denmark lost the opening game of the tournament, with Christian Eriksen suffering cardiac arrest on the pitch, the Danes have used that moment for inspiration, as Eriksen left the hospital days later and visited the team. It’s a great sports story.
Ditto England’s, which has advanced to its first European Championship semi-final since 1996. My man Harry Kane of Tottenham had two goals Saturday, and now has three in his last two, fulfilling the role of captain like the nation has been crying for, while manager Gareth Southgate has finally got his boys believing in themselves and playing exciting football.
As the sports world and its fans are aware, Sha’Carri Richardson was one of the breakout stars of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon, winning the 100-meter race to qualify for the Tokyo Games, only to be hit with a one-month suspension this week for what many of us see as a dumb reason. Sha’Carri smoked pot.
Steve Politi / Star-Ledger
“The rule is dumb now and the rule was dumb nine years ago….
“Marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug, unless the event is charades and the ‘performance’ is intended to make your party guests roll on the floor in laughter. Weed is fully legal in 18 states – including Oregon… Why on earth are they still testing for it?
“To be clear: ‘They,’ in this case, are officials from the USADA, and they have no choice. The real problem is that WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, still has cannabis on its illegal substance list with cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and other drugs that don’t give world-class athletes a competitive advantage.
“This is where the rules-are-rules crowd is going to pipe up and declare that Richardson should have known what she was doing was wrong – and she did. But her reason for using marijuana is just as heartbreaking as the suspension itself.
“She had found out days before the trials that her biological mother had died, a devastating piece of news that was delivered to her by a reporter she did not know. She had a panic attack, she told the ‘Today’ show on Friday, and used the marijuana to get through it.”
Richardson handled it well, with class, and it seems a certainty she’ll be added to the 4X100 relay team as that event is after her 30-day suspension is up. At least she better be! It’s a no-brainer.
Richardson knows she made a mistake and said she’ll be the world champion next year…the Worlds also in Eugene, by the way, a huge deal for the area.
Boy, I have to admit I haven’t really followed this, and it was too bad that Serena Williams’ pursuit of a 24th Grand Slam title was cut short again, this time just 34 minutes into her first-round match when she lost her footing on the Centre Court’s slippery grass and suffered a leg injury.
So coupled with defending champion Simona Halep missing the event with a calf injury, and world No. 2 Naomi Osaka taking an extended break from the pro tour for reasons of emotional well-being, Wimbledon, like the French Open, was missing a lot of juice on the women’s side.
Heading into tomorrow’s Round of 16 play, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Daniil Medvedev are still in on the men’s side, along with American Sebastian Korda.
Sebastian Korda? Yes, he’s the brother of golfers Nelly and Jessica Korda! What a family!
On the women’s side, No. 1 Ashleigh Barty is still in it, along with American Coco Gauff as they enter Round of 16 play tomorrow as well.
On June 6, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced the following resolution:
“That these United Colonies are, and of a right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.
“That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.
“That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.”
Lee’s resolutions were debated, but the Second Continental Congress was unable to pass them.
On June 11, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert L. Livingston and Roger Sherman were appointed to draft a declaration. Jefferson prepared the first draft, with slight improvements being made by Adams and Franklin. Lee’s resolution of independence was adopted on July 2 by a vote of 12 to 0, New York abstaining. Then the actual Declaration was approved on July 4, after the Congress made some further changes.
John Adams wrote his wife, Abigail, two letters on July 3. In the second he said in part:
“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
Rather prescient, I think you’d agree, if but two days off. [Source: “The Declaration of Independence,” edited by Wim Coleman.]
The Declaration wasn’t published for the first time until July 6, as it appeared in the Pennsylvania Evening Post under the title ‘A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled.’ The Evening Post was a four-page paper and the Declaration covered the entire first page and part of the second. Imagine sitting in a tavern as it came out. Oh, the Bar Chat!
Of course you should all know the amazing story of how Jefferson and Adams both died, 50 years later, on the Fourth of July. Adams, not knowing Jefferson had died before him, famously saying, as legend has it, “Thomas Jefferson still survives.”
The great Joey Chestnut was gunning for his 14th Mustard Belt in 15 years on Sunday at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Chestnut set a world record of 75 dogs and buns in 10 minutes last year, at the ‘undisclosed location’ due to the pandemic, but today it was back before throngs of loving fans, as he sought to exceed Rafael Nadal’s 13 French Open titles.
And so about five minutes into the contest, Chestnut with a 46-32 lead over Geoffrey Esper, ESPN suddenly had major technical issues and we caught about 20 seconds of the remaining action, though Chestnut exceeded his record with 76 dogs and buns to get No. 14, Esper second at 50.
A truly momentous occasion for a man who generations from now, parents, grandparents, great aunts and uncles, will be telling the little ones, maybe on a day they are eating their first wiener, ‘Kids, pull up a chair…grab me a beer from the fridge while you do…and let me tell you about the great Joey Chestnut…’
In the women’s contest, seven-time champ Miki Sudo sat out because she is expecting her first child this month, which would be a wee bit disconcerting for the baby to be… ‘Eegads, what’s going on!’…and in her place, Michelle Lesco won it by swallowing 30 ¾ wieners.
How mediocre is that? Sudo holds the record at 48.5.
I just have to add that right after the telecast, I caught a little of the American Kennel Club’s Agility Premier Cup and, boy, these dogs are incredible running through the obstacle course. So freakin’ intelligent.
I mean we’re talking about voting rights these days. Why can’t Dogs vote? They’re No. 1 on the All-Species List for a reason, and ‘Man’ is No. 298 for another reason as well.
--The NFL fined the Washington Football Team $10 million following a law firm’s investigation into the franchise’s workplace culture that led commissioner Roger Goodell to conclude that for years the team’s workplace environment was “highly unprofessional,” particularly for women.
The fine is the largest levied in NFL history.
“Bullying and intimidation frequently took place and many described the culture as one of fear, and numerous female employees reported having experienced sexual harassment and a general lack of respect in the workplace,” according to an NFL statement.
Tanya Snyder, owner Dan Snyder’s wife and newly announced as the co-CEO this week, will assume responsibilities for all day-to-day team operations and represent the WFT at league meetings for at least the next several months, according to the NFL, while Dan Snyder will focus on a new stadium plan and other matters.
There are many who say the penalty wasn’t large enough.
You know, I’ve grown to kind of like the Washington Football Team name. Evidently a lot of others in the area do as well. When they suck, you can easily just flip it around to WTF.
--The Washington Post’s Gus Garcia-Roberts had an extensive report on Bob Baffert, 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, and how California regulators “embarked on a secret effort to exonerate Baffert after the horse’s positive test for a banned substance, according to confidential records obtained by The Washington Post that fully detail the saga for the first time.”
“The legal records, which draw from dozens of emails, memorandums and other materials that have not previously been made public, show how officials delayed action, contradicted their own plans and rewrote existing rules to Baffert’s advantage. At one point, the regulators’ effort included searching for exonerating evidence in a literal haystack….
“Justify tested positive for scopolamine, an anti-nausea medication said to have potential performance-enhancing effects in horses, after winning the Santa Anita Derby in April 2018. Without that win, Justify would not have qualified to run in the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the Triple Crown, a month later. But the scuttled test result remained secret until the New York Times reported it in 2019.”
What wasn’t known until know, however, were the inner workings of the California Horse Racing Board, which during this episode were shrouded in secrecy.
It’s complicated, but another instance that doesn’t look good for the embattled Baffert.
--As expected, since I last posted the NCAA cleared the way for athletes to profit off their name Thursday, the eve of legislation becoming law in several states that would allow for such compensation.
--Hey, kids….the “Sopranos” prequel is almost here. “The Many Saints of Newark,” long-delayed by the pandemic, is now due out on HBO Max and in theaters Oct. 1, 2021. The film will be available to stream for 31 days before it leaves HBO Max.
I read an extensive story on it by Amy Kuperinsky of the Star-Ledger (NJ.com) you can probably easily find online if you’re interested and it sounds great.
For new readers, I will always say the ‘ending’ of the series was perfect. I know many disagree.
Top 3 songs for the week 7/5/69: #1 “Love Them From Romeo & Juliet” (Henry Mancini) #2 “Spinning Wheel” (Blood, Sweat & Tears) #3 “Bad Moon Rising” (Creedence Clearwater Revival)…and…#4 “Good Morning Sunshine” (Oliver) #5 “One” (Three Dog Night) #6 “Get Back” (The Beatles with Billy Preston0 #7 “Crystal Blue Persuasion” (Tommy James & The Shondells…in my top three all time) #8 “In The Year 2525” (Zager & Evans…in my three worst of all time) #9 “Color Him Father” (The Winstons) #10 “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” (Marvin Gaye…some great tunes, spoiled by a few lousy ones…A-…cudda been ‘A’…)
NBA Quiz Answer: Six players 79+ regular season games on the 1970-71 champion Milwaukee Bucks….
Kareem 31.7 points, 16.0 rebounds
Oscar Robertson 19.4 ppg, 5.7 reb., 8.2 asst.
Bob Dandridge 18.4 ppg, 8.0 reb.
Jon McGlocklin 15.8 ppg
Greg Smith 11.7 ppg, 7.2 reb.
Bob Boozer 9.1 ppg, 5.4 reb.
Lucius Allen was the seventh man.
The Bucks, under coach Larry Costello, beat San Francisco in the opening round of the playoffs 4-1 (Milwaukee in the Western Division back then), then the Lakers 4-1, before taking out the Bullets in four games for the title.
Next Bar Chat, Sunday, July 11…though look up top around Wed. a.m. I will have a little “Add-On.”