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All Kinds of Sports
Add-On posted early Wed. a.m.
--Monday, the Suns won Game 1 against the Mavericks, 121-114, despite Luca Doncic’s 45.
And Miami took care of the 76ers, playing sans Joel Embiid, 106-92. James Harden didn’t step up for Philly, only 16.
--Tuesday, the Celtics roared back from their dismal Game 1 effort to even the series with the Bucks, 109-86, as Brown and Tatum combined for 59, while Grant Williams had 21 off the bench.
And Memphis, behind Ja Morant’s 47 points, evened its series with Golden State, 106-101. Morant had 18 in the fourth quarter, including the Grizzlies’ last 15. The Warriors’ Klay Thompson had a key turnover down the stretch, allowing Morant to put the game away.
Steph Curry had 27 for Golden State but was just 3-of-11 from three. Thompson was only 2-of-12 and Jordan Poole 1-of-6 from downtown.
Game 3 is Saturday in San Francisco.
--In College Basketball, it’s impossible keeping up with the movement in the transfer portal (assuming you have a life), and I only care about Wake Forest. We picked up a nice guard from Marist who should help, and I’m assuming Jake LaRavia and Davien Williamson both return after testing the NBA waters, but we still need a piece or two.
ESPN+ has an ongoing portal list and St. Bonaventure’s four seniors, all with one year of Covid eligibility left and in the portal, are at Nos. 15 (center Osun Ossuniyi), No. 18 Kyle Lofton (point guard), No. 44 Jarren Holmes (guard) and No. 52 Dominick Welch (guard), all in the top 100, proving, again, what a disappointing season they had for the Bonnies after playing together all those years. They aren’t chopped liver…all would be major contributors elsewhere.
Personally, I desperately want Ossuniyi, but there is zero indication Wake has a shot. [Mark R. equally wants him for Notre Dame.]
I did just see that one of the highest-ranked players in the portal, and most NBA-ready, South Dakota State guard Baylor Scheierman, is transferring to Creighton; picking the Bluejays over Arkansas, Clemson, Duke and Nebraska.
The 6-foot-6 guard averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game for the Jackrabbits, who finished 30-5 last season, before falling to Providence in the NCAA tournament. The guy hit 46% of his 3-point attempts in 2021-22.
--Teams had to cut their rosters from 28 to 26 by noon, Monday, and the Mets made the tough decision to DFA Robinson Cano.
From a pure statistical position, Cano, 39, and having sat out 2021 on a steroids suspension, was a shell of his former self, no longer having the bat speed, and in 12 games was slashing .195/ .233/ .268 with one homer in 41 at-bats.
But he is a positive presence in the clubhouse and none other than Francisco Lindor expressed prior to the move that he’d be more than a bit miffed if Cano was let go.
And the Mets still owed Cano $37 million!
But our Uncle Stevie (owner Steve Cohen) is a different kind of owner…as in a mega-rich owner who wants results…now. I mean he has paintings worth that much. [Not kidding.]
Cano will probably find a job elsewhere with his salary taken care of.
As for Lindor, while he looked unhappy Monday night in the Mets’ loss to the Braves, after the game he said, when asked about Cano’s release: “Sad. I didn’t want to see him go, but I respect the team’s decision. He’s a great guy, great teammate. I wish I (could have) spent more time with him, continue to learn about the game and different things that he has been through in life. But at the end of the day, I’m with the New York Mets and I respect their decision.”
OK…that’s good. But the next week will tell us fans a lot in terms of Francisco’s play.
So the Mets lost to the Braves at Citi Field Monday night, 5-2, in a strange game, weird bounces, lots of dunkers, but then the Metropolitans, who have still yet to lose a series this season, swept the Bravos Tuesday, 5-4 and 3-0, Carlos Carrasco with eight scoreless in the nightcap, which took only 2:18 to play! Oh, were all games this quick.
The Mets (18-8) now need to win Wednesday afternoon to keep their series streak alive.
--But the team across town, the Bronx Bombers, have been playing even better, and won up in Toronto, Monday, 3-2, to extend their winning streak to 10, Gleyber Torres with all three ribbies.
[Yankees fans were wondering if Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo were vaccinated, needing to be so to be allowed to play in Toronto, and it seems that Flintstones vitamins is sufficient…or two Pfizer/Moderna or one J&J jab.]
Tuesday, the Yanks made it 11 in-a-row, 9-1, as Judge hit No. 9. Now 18-6. Toronto 15-10.
The two best teams in baseball right here in New York. Nice change from having the two worst football teams the last five years.
--Dusty Baker became the 12th manager in major league history to win 2,000 games, the first Black man to do it, as the Astros shutout the Mariners 4-0.
Baker’s first win was on April 6, 1993, when he got the job in San Francisco.
--Since I’ve been singing the praises of Mike Trout, I have to note he struck out four times Monday in a 3-0 Angels loss to the White Sox in Chicago.
L.A. then went to Boston and last night, the Red Sox shutout the Angels (now 15-10) 4-0.
--The Oakland A’s are off to an absolutely dreadful start on the attendance front. Monday night, the A’s drew 2,488 for a loss to Tampa Bay. It was the fourth home crowd under 4,500 already this season.
By contrast, their AAA team in Las Vegas drew 6,153 in a game against Tacoma. MLB wants the A’s in Vegas, but this decades-long issue continues, as the A’s have an option to build a park at a different site, but nothing has happened.
Well, make that five crowds under 4,500 as Tuesday, the A’s drew 2,815 in a 10-7 loss to the Rays…Oakland now 10-14.
--Monday, the Hurricanes whipped the Bruins 5-1, and the Maple Leafs (a feature of my table-top hockey game as a kid), skated all over the Lighting, 5-0.
--So then Tuesday, my Rangers started play against the Penguins at the Garden, and New York jumped off to a 2-0 lead, before allowing Pittsburgh back into the game, and after two periods it was 3-3.
That’s when I picked up the game, having watched the Mets complete the sweep of the Braves, and it was scoreless in the third, but only because the Rangers, with three minutes left in regulation had a goal disallowed on a really crappy call. Kaapo Kakko of the Blueshirts was shoved from behind by Pittsburgh defenseman Brian Dumoulin, Kakko then making contact with the Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith, and the Rangers scored on the play…only to have it ruled off…. ‘goalie interference.’
We were then scoreless through the first overtime, and the second OT, and it being 11:30 here in the New York area, I went to bed. Evgeni Malkin then ended it at 5:58 of the third OT for the Penguins.
Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin had a stupendous 79 saves, second most in NHL playoff history.
Very tough way for us to start the series.
Meanwhile the Capitals upset the Presidents’ Trophy winners the Panthers on the road, 4-2.
The Eastern Conference playoffs are truly going to be nuts.
--To clean a few things up, New Zealand’s Steven Alker won the PGA Tour Champions event at The Woodlands on Sunday, with Steve Stricker and Brandt Jobe tying for second.
Alker now has 3 wins and ten top-5s in just 17 Champions tournaments.
--I saw where Sam Saunders, Arnie’s grandson, picked up a T6 in this week’s Korn Ferry Tour event and is 54th in the Korn Ferry standings. Someone to root for…more results like this and he might get a PGA Tour card. He’s a great kid.
Harrison Endycott of Australia picked up his first win at the event in Huntsville, Alabama.
Huntsville was where I met Alabama football legend Billy Neighbors when he was a highly successful stockbroker for Thomson McKinnon Securities. His office was briefly part of my territory and I have to admit, I was a little intimidated meeting him, knowing of the legend, but he immediately put me at ease.
--Greg Norman told ESPN on Monday that he had major commitments to his new Golf league before Phil Mickelson’s controversial comments about the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia were published, after which many committed players backed out.
Norman claims that 30% of the top 50 players in the world had essentially signed on.
Norman said the proposed league, which was being financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, was prepared to launch its 14-event schedule and roster of committed players during the week of the Genesis Invitational, Feb. 17-20. But author Alan Shipnuck published an interview related to his upcoming unauthorized biography of Mickelson.
Norman said a handful of the players who had previously signed with LIV Golf have remained committed to play in the series, which now includes eight events – including five in the U.S.
“To this day, we still have players under contract and signed,” Norman said. “The ones who wanted to get out because of the pressure of the PGA Tour gave back their money and got out. Guys had money in their pockets.”
Mickelson’s agent, Steve Loy, said Lefty had requested a release from the PGA Tour to play in the first LIV event in London in June.
Norman said LIV Golf has received more than 200 registration requests for its first tournament, which will include 48 players competing on 12 four-man teams. He said the list of the players who have registered includes about 15 of the top 100 players in World Golf Ranking and two players who were previously ranked No. 1.
You can imagine some of the schmoes who are applying for the ‘free’ money LIV is offering. Total no-name European Tour players, others like Robert Garrigus, a guy no one gives a damn about. And you’ll have two others, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, who never did anything in the U.S. and are washed up.
Reminder, the LIV event conflicts with the RBC Canadian Open.
--Condoleezza Rice was interviewed by Golf Magazine and asked, “Have you played golf with George W. Bush?”
CR: “All the time. Like his father, he plays really fast. With George H.W. Bush, you had to be ready at 10 and be done by lunch.”
Yup, play fast so I can get to the 19th hole, was always my motto.
--With the Draft being over…those who weren’t selected signed free agent deals with teams to at least get a shot in a mini-camp, and then hopefully formal training camp where they could perhaps make the taxi squad…get a shot in midseason due to injuries, and ya never know.
For example, Wake Forest’s Jaquarii Roberson, a very fine receiver, signed with Dallas. Many years ago he would have been taken in the fifth or sixth round.
--Speaking of receivers…
Adam Kilgore / Washington Post
“The NFL draft offers not only an opportunity for teams to replenish their rosters, but also an annual snapshot of what the NFL believes about how to build a team. We learned this year that wide receivers are more valuable than ever, teams think very little about the 2022 quarterback class and Bill Belichick still doesn’t care what anybody thinks. Here is what to know.
“The wide receiver position is changing before our eyes. The past three drafts have seen high-caliber wide receiver talent flood the league, a culmination of several long-standing trends. The influx of wideouts and ever-growing primacy of the passing game have rattled how teams value wide receivers and created competing models for how franchises seek to acquire them.
“In Thursday’s first round, six teams selected wide receivers in the first 18 picks, including two – the Saints and Lions – who traded up to get their man. In the first three rounds, teams took 17 wide receivers. Meanwhile, the Cardinals acquired Marquise Brown and the Eagles dealt for A.J. Brown, each trading a first-round pick for a veteran wideout on the verge of a new contract.
“The wide receiver movement fit the trend of the offseason. The Packers dealt Davante Adams to the Raiders for first- and second-round picks, and Las Vegas immediately signed him to a contract that pays him $28 million per year. The Chiefs shipped Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins for a similar haul, and Hill signed an extension that averages $30 million per season. On Thursday, A.J. Brown immediately signed a deal with Philadelphia that could pay him $100 million over four years. The non-quarterback glamour position is no longer pass rusher or left tackle. It’s wideout.
“The emerging cost for top wide receivers explains why teams are eager to spend first-round picks on them. It allows them to fill one of the most expensive positions with a player on a cheap rookie contract. Within minutes of dealing A.J. Brown, the Titans used the pick they acquired, No. 18 overall, on Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks.
“The proliferation of spread offenses and the rise of seven-on-seven passing leagues, plus rules that prohibit injurious hits on receivers, have created a legion of NFL-ready wide receivers. The best athletes – the kids who 15 years ago would have been running backs – are selected to play wideout at an early age. They train with greater frequency and specificity than ever before. The pool is thinned less by concussions and fear of going over the middle. If you want to pick the best players, you will be picking wide receivers.
“ ‘Right now in college football, all the best athletes are playing wide receiver and defensive back,’ Washington Coach Ron Rivera said last summer.”
So the issue is signing veteran wideouts to big contracts, or looking for cheaper replacements. Both have worked. For instance, the Vikings traded Stefon Diggs to the Bills for a first-round pick, which they used to take Justin Jefferson.
Diggs, in year seven, had 103 receptions for 1,225 yards and 10 touchdowns last season and signed a big extension.
Jefferson, in year two, had 108-1,616-10.
Meanwhile, teams are increasingly thinking that they can do well with ‘competent’ quarterbacks and don’t necessarily need a superstar at the position. But if they want to go all the way, more often than not, they still need the superstar.
That said, Matthew Stafford is not a superstar…he is highly competent.
Five years ago, after Carson Wentz went down, the Eagles won the Super Bowl with Nick Foles.
In between the two, yes, you had Brady (twice) and Mahomes…superstars.
--Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has been suspended six games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, the league announced Monday.
The suspension came four days after the Cardinals traded their first-round pick in the 2022 draft to the Ravens for wide receiver Marquise Brown.
Hopkins will be allowed to play during the preseason and practice with the team until the beginning of the 2022 regular season. He’s a three-time first-team All-Pro and, turning 30 in June, is coming off an injury-riddled season, including an MCL injury in Week 14 that kept him out the final four games of the regular season, plus Arizona’s wild-card loss to the Rams.
--One of the first mock drafts for 2023, this one by The Athletics’ Dane Brugler, has lots of quarterbacks going early, as opposed to this year, when Kenny Pickett was the first selected at No. 20 by the Steelers, and then it wasn’t until 50+ picks later, in the third round, that the second quarterback was selected…Desmond Ridder of Cincinnati, picked by the Falcons.
But in 2023…Dane Brugler has….
1. Houston Texans: CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State
2. Detroit Lions: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
5. Atlanta Falcons: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
7. Carolina Panthers: Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami
Wake Forest’s Sam Hartman, who is going to be a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender, isn’t a first-round pick, according to Brugler.
--The NFL said it was unable to substantiate claims made by former Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson that the team provided incentives as part of a plan to deliberately lose games to improve their position in the draft in coming years.
Former U.S. attorney Mary Jo White was hired by the league to look into the claims and after reviewing thousands of documents, including emails and internal memos related to the team’s 4-year rebuilding program, which overlapped with Jackson’s miserable 2-year stint as head coach in 2016 and 2017.
“The investigation found no evidence to suggest that the Browns’ Four-Year Plan or the club’s ownership or football personnel sought to lose or incentivized losses and made no decisions deliberately to weaken the team to secure a more favorable draft position,” the league said in a statement.
No Covid restrictions, 150,000 will be in attendance for the 148th Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve…
Yes, Woodford Reserve…perfectly balanced Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey since 1812. Drink responsibly.
It’s going to be pure chaos…20 horses, and two lined up in reserve if one scratches before Friday morning.
Zandon, trained by Chad Brown, was named the 3-1 morning line favorite on Monday as they had the draw for post position…Zandon, with Flavian Prat up, out of the No. 10 slot.
Epicenter, trained by Steve Asmussen, ridden by Joel Rosario, is at 7-2.
The two former Bob Baffert horses, turned over to Tim Yakteen, Messier and Taiba, are 8-1 and 12-1, respectively. Money Mike Smith is up on Taiba.
Post time: 6:57 p.m. ET …on NBC.
Bet with your head…not over it.
I’ll go with Taiba.
--Liverpool advanced to the Champions League final, Tuesday, with a 3-2 win at Villarreal (5-2 agg.) and will now face the winner of the Real Madrid-Manchester City second leg.
--Chase Elliott captured this week’s rain-delayed NASCAR Cup Series race in Dover, Del., Monday, holding the lead the final 53 laps. It was his first of the year, 14th of his career. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was second, his first top-5 in 2022.
--The Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony went off as planned on Sunday night in Nashville, despite the passing the day before of inductee Naomi Judd.
The music played on as singers and musicians mourned Naomi while also celebrating the four inductees; The Judds, Ray Charles, Eddie Bayers and Pete drake.
Daughters Wynonna and Ashley Judd accepted the induction amid tears, holding onto each other and reciting a Bible verse together.
“I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today,” Ashley said of her mother to the crowd while crying.
Charles’ induction showcased his genre-defying country releases, which showed the genre’s commercial appeal. The Georgia-born singer and piano player grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry and in 1962 released the ground-breaking “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music,” which became one of the best-selling country releases of his era. The album contained the monster hit “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and “You Don’t Know Me.”
--A wild fox snuck into the flamingo habitat at the National Zoo in D.C. and killed 25 American flamingos, the zoo announced Tuesday.
Zoo staff discovered the grisly scene early Monday morning. The zoo had 74 flamingos before the massacre.
It’s believed the fox came over from nearby Rock Creek Park and got into the enclosure through a softball size gap in the fence.
Next Bar Chat, Sunday p.m.
[Posted early Sunday p.m.]
Add-On up top by noon, Wednesday.
NHL Stanley Cup Quiz: Name the six franchises who have won the last ten Stanley Cups. Answer below.
--For the record…the first five picks in the NFL Draft….
1. Jaguars: DL Travon Walker (Georgia)
2. Lions: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan)
3. Texans: CB Derek Stingley Jr. (LSU)
4. Jets: CB Ahmad Gardner (Cincinnati)
5. Giants: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon)
7. Giants: OL Evan Neal (Alabama)
10. Jets: WR Garrett Wilson (Ohio State)
--You didn’t hear one bad word from me, for months, concerning my Jets when it came to this year’s draft, namely because with two picks in the top ten, and a basic consensus top ten that was filled with immediate contributors, and the Jets needing everything, except a quarterback, it was going to be hard to screw this up.
The same applied for the Giants, also with two in the top ten…and also needing everything, except a quarterback…both the Jets and Giants committed to QBs Zach Wilson and Daniel Jones for this season, one that is make-or-break for Jones, whose fifth-year option for 2023 hasn’t been picked up as yet.
So with Jets GM Joe Douglas brilliantly trading up, New York then with Nos. 4, 10, 26 and 36, we ended up with arguably the best cornerback (“Sauce” Gardner), the best wide receiver (Garrett Wilson), one of the best edge rushers (Jermaine Johnson, Florida State, at 26), and the best running back (Breece Hall, Iowa State, at 36).
Mission accomplished. Of course we’ll learn in the next 2-3 years if this was truly a great, 1970s Steelers-like class, but no doubt, the Jets will be better this year, and as a fan, as long as Zach Wilson steps up, to roughly the middle of the pack among NFL quarterbacks this season, we’ll be talking playoffs in 2023.
[Mel Kiper Jr. gave only the Jets and Ravens an ‘A’.]
As for the Giants, they picked up edge rusher Thibodeaux and OL Evan Neal, filling two big needs. Like the Jets, they need a lot more, but they should be better.
--I am not into overanalyzing other team’s drafts, since it’s all a crapshoot, always has been, but it’s interesting that the Steelers managed to get Kenny Pickett, from Pitt, to potentially be their franchise QB, perhaps in 2023. It was totally understandable why Pickett was so emotional, and it seems the locals like the selection.
My cousin Marilyn, who lives in Pittsburgh (Greensburg, where my mom grew up), sent me a note very excited about the move. I hope Pickett does well. The NFL is more exciting if the Steelers are good. Kind of like, as much as I loath the New York Yankees, baseball is better off if the Yanks are playing well. [And the NBA would be better if my freakin’ Knicks ever started contending!]
--The Eagles pulled off the trade of the night: grabbing wideout A.J. Brown from the Titans for picks No. 18 and 101. So, Philadelphia adds a No. 1 receiver across from Devonta Smith to help Jalen Hurts. [The Titans then selected Arkansas WR Treylon Burks to take Brown’s place…hardly a fair ‘trade.’]
--I thought the Washington Commanders, despite the world’s worst nickname, pulled off a huge steal in getting North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell with the first pick in the fifth round.
I watched Howell a lot. The guy can play in the NFL…he’s gritty, has terrific athleticism, and could easily be starting before the end of his first year.
--The Arizona Cardinals haven’t worked out an extension with quarterback Kyler Murray, but they did pick up his fifth-year option before the draft.
The transaction means Murray, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft out of Oklahoma, now has a guaranteed salary of $29,703,000 for his fifth NFL season. He is scheduled to make $5.5 million in salary this coming season, but he isn’t expected to agree to play for that price.
So while the Cardinals have retained the rights to Murray for the next two years, the two sides can negotiate a longer-term deal.
--Entering play Sunday, the top five teams in baseball, the Dodgers, Yankees, Mets, Giants and Brewers, were also the top five in ERA.
No. 6 in team ERA was Miami, which has rattled off seven in-a-row to get to 12-8.
The league batting average is still just .231. In 1968, the “year of the pitcher,” it was .237. Blame the ball, short spring training, whatever, but I do believe a lot of it has to do with the generally crappy, read cooler, spring thus far.
--While Miami is playing well, the Yankees took on the Royals in Kansas City, winners of eight straight to get to 15-6. Last night, Gerrit Cole, after his poor start in his first three outings, moved to 2-0, 3.00, with his second straight scoreless effort, 6 innings, in New York’s 3-0 win.
And the Yanks made it 9 in-a-row, 6-4 over K.C. this afternoon, Aaron Judge with two home runs, eight on the year, New York 16-6!
--Friday night, the Mets thrilled the home fans with just their second no-hitter in franchise history, 3-0 over the Phillies, Tylor Megill (4-0, 1.93) going the first five, and then four Mets relievers completed the no-no.
Mets pitchers threw 159 pitches, walking six and striking out 12, and it’s not like Philadelphia just rolled over. There were nine full counts to Phillies batters. They were grinding…just couldn’t get a hit.
Megill has been amazing in place of the injured Jacob deGrom.
But then they played listlessly Saturday night, falling 4-1, and you’re kind of left with a feeling like, whatever.
Tonight the Mets are attempting to win their seventh series to open the season.
--Last Wednesday, the Mets lost to the Cardinals 10-5, having won the first two games of the series, and Cards pitcher Genesis Cabrera drilled the Mets’ J.D. Davis in the top of the eighth, the major-league-leading 19th hit by pitch for the Mets as of that game. This came one day after St. Louis hit three Mets batters.
Everyone knew what was then coming in the bottom of the eighth. The Mets had to retaliate, but they did it the gentlemanly way….reliever Yoan Lopez throwing a 94 mph fastball high and tight to leadoff hitter Nolan Arenado. It was a classic brushback pitch, designed to send a message. It was not that close to hitting Arenado in the head, as the Mets’ Pete Alonso had, for the second time this season the night before.
But Arenado, like a true asshole, made way too much of the pitch, yelled for Lopez to “do it again,” the benches and bullpens cleared, and the teams pushed and shoved a bit.
Arenado was way out of hand, and then ejected for charging the mound, while Lopez remained in the game.
So MLB did the right thing and suspended Arenado for two games, a totally appropriate penalty. Pitcher Cabrera received one game. Arenado appealed.
The Cardinals will be coming into New York for four games beginning May 16 and the Citi Field faithful now have a new target…Arenado. He deserves everything coming to him. Yup, this could be delicious, must-see TV.
--Clayton Kershaw moved past Don Sutton on the Dodgers’ all-time strikeout list Saturday night, striking out seven in six innings (one run) in a no-decision, L.A. eventually blowing it, 5-1, to the Tigers in Los Angeles.
Kershaw now has 2,700 strikeouts in his sterling career, the 26th pitcher to hit that mark, as he moved past Don Sutton’s 2,696.
The future Hall of Famer is pitching great thus far in 2022, 3-0, 2.35.
--The Angels have been playing well, 15-8 after today’s 6-5 win against the White Sox (8-13) in Chicago. Mike Trout had a classic Mike Trout game…2-for-2, a double and home run, 3 walks, and 3 runs scored. It’s this last category that I love so much in looking at his baseball card.
Wednesday, Shohei Ohtani did it again, throwing 5 effective innings of 2-run ball, improving to 2-2, 4.19, on the mound, while going 3-for-5 with an RBI at the plate in a 9-5 win over the Guardians.
BUT…today he was removed from the game with ‘groin tightness.’ Uh oh….
--Trevor Bauer was suspended by Major League Baseball for two years, 324 games. It’s a record-setting penalty for violating the league’s sexual assault and domestic violence policy. The two years is basically the remaining time on his contract. He doesn’t get credit for previous time served (the last 81 regular-season games of last season on administrative leave, plus an additional 18 to begin the 2022 season).
Bauer is the first player disciplined under the sexual assault and domestic violence policy to challenge the league’s decision.
Bauer promptly released a statement announcing he was appealing the suspension.
“In the strongest possible terms, I deny committing any violation of the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy,” Bauer’s statement read. “I am appealing this action and expect to prevail. As we have throughout this process, my representatives and I respect the confidentiality of the proceedings.”
The Dodgers said in a statement that they fully support MLB’s decision and “we will not comment further until the process is complete,” i.e., Bauer’s appeal.
Bill Plaschke / Los Angeles Times
“Thank you, Major League Baseball.
“See ya, Trevor Bauer.
“One of the darkest sagas in Dodgers history took a historic step toward closure Friday when baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred finally left the dugout and did the right thing.
“He yanked Bauer off the mound for two seasons and hopefully out of a Dodgers uniform….
“How convinced was MLB that its investigation proved his guilt? The penalty is one year longer than any other previous suspension for the policy violation. It was announced on a day when the Washington Post reported the existence of a third woman accusing Bauer of sexual assault.
“Bauer will appeal, and that suspension could be reduced, meaning he could still theoretically return to the team, thus there is still a bit of unfinished business here.
“Dodgers, it’s your turn. Now that MLB has spoken, it’s time for you to stand up and be heard.
“Say it. Just say it. Officially, finally, forcefully say that Trevor Bauer will never pitch for the Dodgers again.”
But, again, L.A. has to wait for the outcome on Bauer’s appeal.
Bauer was on paid leave last season, so he got his full $31.333 million. The contract then paid him $35.333 million in 2022, which he is now not receiving, except for the games played before the suspension, and then 2023 is complicated, though not for L.A. Bauer has a player option for $35.333 million, and the Dodgers have a $15 million buyout…so you can see where this is headed.
Then again, if Bauer loses his appeal, the Dodgers are totally off the hook.
The Washington Post on Friday ran a story as Bauer was being suspended concerning a third woman who came forward to accuse Bauer of sexual assault and I read the incredibly disturbing, disgusting, gross account of the woman and her years-long sexual relationship with Bauer and I’m kind of speechless. As in I literally won’t comment further. This third woman is being represented by the well-known attorney, Joe Tacopina.
Just a reminder. MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy, adopted in 2015, gives the league wide latitude to determine discipline even in those cases where there have been no criminal charges.
--Summing up action since I last posted….
Milwaukee wrapped up its series against the Bulls, 4-1.
Golden State did the same to Denver, 4-1.
Philadelphia took out Raptors in Toronto to win that series, 4-2.
Phoenix rode Chris Paul’s record 14-of-14 from the field, 33 points (the first player in NBA playoff history to make 14 field goals without a miss), as the Suns took out the Pelicans in New Orleans, winning that series 4-2.
And Dallas edged Utah, 98-96, in Salt Lake City to wrap up that series, 4-2.
Memphis defeated Minnesota, 114-106, to take it 4-2.
In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals, the Bucks handled the Celtics, 101-89, Boston shooting a putrid 33% from the field, 28-of-84. Giannis, despite not shooting well, with a 24-13-12 line.
In the other game, the Warriors beat the Grizzlies in Memphis, 117-116, in a thriller…Klay Thompson with the big 3 to put Golden State up front, and then the Warriors held off a last-second attempt by Ja Morant.
--Philadelphia is going to be playing Miami in the Eastern Conference semi-finals that begin Monday, but coach Doc Rivers is taking major heat (no pun intended), for allowing Joel Embiid, already playing with a torn ligament in his right (shooting) thumb, to stay in the game, late, with the Sixers ahead by 29 against Toronto and 3:58 remaining in the fourth quarter of the deciding Game Six Thursday.
Embiid sustained a right orbital fracture and concussion trying to defend the Raptors’ Pascal Siakam, and his availability for the series against the Heat is in jeopardy.
Rivers told reporters Saturday, “I’m not upset that he was in. You can make that a big deal if you want. But just go look at every team, and every game, and their guys are in until about the four, three-minute mark. That’s what it is.”
But this is Embiid, already injured, game long in the bag, and it was just an idiotic decision.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler said he will be ready for Game 1 Monday after sitting out Miami’s series-clinching Game 5 win over the Heat, back on Tuesday, with a knee issue.
--In Women’s College Basketball, Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer announced she is retiring after five decades and more than 1,000 victories.
The 74-year-old Stringer, who has been at the helm of the Scarlet Knights since 1995, did not coach this past season while on a leave of absence and the team went 11-20, including a 3-14 mark in the Big Ten, under acting head coach Tim Eatman.
Rutgers said in a press release that Stringer, who has a career record of 1,055-426, will be paid $872,988 as part of the retirement agreement.
I’ve said it before over the years, this was the single most overrated coach, men’s or women’s, in the sport. She led Rutgers to 17 NCAA Tournament appearances and two Final Fours, including the championship game in 2007, and she had Final Four appearances at Cheyney State and Iowa before coming to Rutgers 27 years ago, but she never won a title, hadn’t done squat in ages, is nasty (when you live in New Jersey and follow college sports, you see it), and immensely overpaid…grossly overpaid…like at one point she was the second-highest paid state employee in all of New Jersey, the football coach being number one.
Get this, in April 2021, Rutgers announced it had reached a $5.5 million contract extension with Stringer, who was then expected to remain with the Scarlet Knights until the end of 2025-26 season. But she never coached another game.
--There wasn’t a lot of juice at this week’s PGA Tour event, the Mexico Open at Vidanta (Puerto Vallarta), but what a non-stop commercial for the resort at Vidanta, which they say is attempting to become Mexico’s Disneyland. It looks very cool.
Jon Rahm was among the only ‘stars’ in the field and he looked to take advantage of it.
Heading into today’s final round….
Kurt Kitayama -13
Cam Champ -13
Only two other golfers made the cut who were in the top 40 of the FedEx Cup standings coming in.
So would Rahm pick up win No. 7 in his PGA Tour career and first of the year?
Yes, barely, by one stroke over Tony Finau, Kitayama and Brandon “Dr. Wu” (channeling Steely Dan), both of whom shot 63s.
Finau was off to a miserable start this season and needed this strong finish badly. Now up to 63 in the FedEx Cup standings.
I just have to say, it is amazing how well Rahm speaks English…this only happened in the last few years. He speaks better than 90% of Americans. [As do Scandinavians and Germans, as I’ve mentioned many a time over my 23 years of doing this, and all my travels…but I digress…]
--Seven months after playing his last competitive round, 55-year-old Steve Stricker, made his return after a mysterious illness and took a share of the lead heading into the final round of PGA Tour Champions’ Insperity Invitational at The Woodlands, Texas.
Stricker last played back in early October at a PGA Tour Champions event in Jacksonville, Fla. He had helped deliver a Ryder Cup victory for the U.S. in late September, was ready to get into a steady playing schedule, when he was taken ill, something he says that was never fully diagnosed, but he was hospitalized, lost 25 pounds and playing again was the furthest thing on his mind. Bizarre.
Unfortunately, due to a lightning delay, this one isn’t over as I go to post.
--Tiger Woods played a practice round at the site of the upcoming PGA Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Southern Hills, where he won before, so there’s your sign he’s going to give the PGA a go, and if he feels OK after that, no doubt he’ll play the U.S. Open at Brookline, Mass., in June, and he’ll definitely be at St. Andrews in July for The Open Championship. Can’t ask for more than that.
Well, we can…like contending on a Sunday…but we’ll see.
--Speaking of St. Andrews, with Tiger committing, organizers have said the demand for tickets is off the charts. The R&A received 1.3 million applications for tickets – unprecedented – and attendance is expected to be the largest in the history of the event, with as many as 290,000 fans taking in the action over the course of the week. Practice days will see 80,000 gain admission with 60,000 on each day of the championship. The previous record was set at St. Andrews in 2000, 239,000.
The economic benefit for Scotland is estimated to be around $340 million. It’s also the 150th playing of golf’s oldest championship. I’m already fired up for it.
Imagine how much a hotel room, in town, is going for! No doubt the fare is ginormous.
Just a few games left and it’s a tension convention at the top.
Saturday, Liverpool beat Newcastle on the road, 1-0, while Manchester City whipped struggling Leeds, 4-0, to regain the top by a point.
Burnley continued its fine play in its quest to stay with the big boys another season in beating Watford 1-0.
Today, Tottenham had a must-win game against Leicester City to stay in the top-four / Champions League race and the Spurs came through, 3-1. Harry Kane had the opener and Son Heung-min tallied the other two goals.
Arsenal then took on West Ham and the Gunners prevailed 2-1, back into fourth.
Everton had a must-win situation, hosting Chelsea, as they try to stave-off a first-ever relegation and the Toffees came through with a superb 1-0 performance before a raucous home crowd.
Actually, the fans set off fireworks during the night outside Chelsea’s hotel. They then were relentless in their efforts to rattle the Blues during the game and it worked.
--Standings…Played (of 38) – Points
1. Man City…34 – 83
2. Liverpool…34 – 82
3. Chelsea…34 – 66
4. Arsenal…34 – 63
5. Tottenham …34 – 61 …Liverpool next, then Arsenal
6. Man U…35 – 55
16. Burnley…34 – 34
17. Leeds…34 – 34
18. Everton…33 – 32
19. Watford…34 – 22
20. Norwich…34 – 21 …and back down they go, officially
--Earlier in the week, Liverpool won its Champions League, first-leg, semi-final against Villarreal, 2-0.
And then the club extended manager Jurgen Klopp’s contract through 2026 (or through the PL season that year. Klopp and his staff were already tied down until 2024.
It had been expected that Klopp would take a sabbatical after the 2023-24 campaign. But the German has been re-energized by his side’s chase for the quadruple this season.
--The topic of NCAA president Mark Emmert, who announced he is stepping down, but not until 2023, or whenever the organization finds a successor, bores the hell out of me. Yes, it’s important, but just tell me who his successor is.
The NCAA is a mess…we all know that.
But as Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post wrote:
“The job of NCAA president is not nearly as tough as Mark Emmert made it look, with his powdered wig arrogance and dull ducal lethargy. Emmert’s NCAA was a stagnant moated castle at a time of accelerating change, but the worst part of his legacy is the cynical loathing he bred for the institution. Emmert made the organization’s leaders seem like cake-eaters incapable of fixing their own tumbled walls while the mob gathered with torches.”
Yes, there isn’t a sole on the planet who likes Mark Emmert. And as Jenkins writes:
“There wasn’t a single important NCAA issue that Emmert didn’t take a fatally wrong stance on – that is, when he wasn’t ducking. On his watch, NCAA rules investigations, always inefficient, became morasses of mishandling and irresolution, capped off by his stammering congratulations to the ‘Kansas City Jawhaks’ at the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, provoking Twitter suggestions that perhaps his inept NCAA has had the wrong team under scrutiny since 2019….
“You could call Emmert a con artist, but that would award him too much credit for strategy….
“But nothing compared to the sheer malpractice of Emmert’s NCAA when it came to women’s sports, especially basketball. Emmert should have been fired as soon as it was revealed that he misstated cost-revenue figures in the tens of millions of dollars and insulted the women’s tournament as a money loser. An assessment by attorney Roberta Kaplan showed Emmert had undervalued a prime asset by $100 million.
“In short, Emmert’s NCAA managed to be retro, revenue-stupid and repugnant all at the same time. What a hat trick.”
Ms. Jenkins is recommending Robert Gates for the job. Yes, that Robert Gates, now 78.
--In a study published in the journal Science on Thursday, geneticists analyzed variations in the canine genome and found that breed was responsible for less than one-tenth of differences in behavior among thousands of dogs.
Based on a survey of more than 18,000 owners and genetic sequencing from more than 2,000 of their dogs, breed ancestry wasn’t a very accurate indicator of traits such as how easily dogs are provoked by uncomfortable situations. Dogs such as Rottweilers might be considered more aggressive because of confirmation bias and individual experience, but behavior of individuals within the breed is more diverse than people think, said Elinor Karlsson, lead author of the study and a professor at the UMass Chan Medical School.
“If you want to know about your dog’s behavior, you shouldn’t be listening to what somebody’s telling you about that dog’s breed and how they’re supposed to behave,” Dr. Karlsson said. “You probably know their behavior better than anyone else.”
Mutts were the key to determining whether characteristics were linked to breed. Many mixed-breed dogs that were part Labrador retriever weren’t more friendly to humans than other breeds. Owners suggested in their survey responses that purebred Labrador retrievers were more friendly than other dogs.
--I’ll get into the Kentucky Derby, which is next Saturday, in my Wednesday Add-On.
--Finally, we note the passing of Naomi Judd. Judd, the Kentucky-born singer of the Grammy-winning duo The Judds and mother of Wynonna and Ashley Judd, was 76.
The daughters announced her death on Saturday in a statement.
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory.”
The statement did not elaborate further.
The Judds were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday.
The mother-daughter combo performed scores of No. 1 hits, 14 in all, in a career that spanned nearly three decades. After rising to the top of country music, they called it quits in 1991 after doctors diagnosed Naomi Judd with hepatitis.
The Judds’ hits included “Love Can Build a Bridge” in 1990, “Mama He’s Crazy” in 1984, “Why Not Me” (1984), “Turn It Loose” (1988), “Girls Night Out” (1985), “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain” (1986) and “Grandpa” in 1986.
Originally from Kentucky, Naomi was working as a nurse when she and Wynonna started singing together professionally. Their unique harmonies, together with elements of bluegrass and blues, made them stand out in the genre at the time.
With their six studio albums between 1984 and 1991, they won nine Country Music Association Awards and seven from the Academy of Country Music. They earned a total of five Grammy Awards together on hits like “Why Not Me.”
Early in their career, because Naomi was so young looking, the two were mistaken for sisters.
So I was thinking about the Judds when I learned of Naomi’s passing. It was a time I really was into country music.
I’ll never forget when my old firm, Thomson McKinnon Securities, transferred me down to Raleigh, N.C., one of six moves in two years for me, and I had a region of about 20 offices that were part of Carolina Securities, which Thomson had acquired. Because of my Wake Forest connection, and being single and able to just do what the company asked, I went down there and called it the Barbecue Tour….often long drives in the country between offices…like Goldsboro and Kinston, and I’d ask the managers to take me to their favorite barbecue haunts, thinking I wanted to be wined and dined at the finest establishments in town. They quickly learned that wasn’t me!
But one of my first drives I’m listening to a country station and Randy Travis’ “Forever and Ever, Amen” came on and it was the first time I heard it. I immediately became a fan, and then aside from buying up all of his CDs, I became a big fan of Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Garth, the superstars of that era…and then you had The Judds…who were unique in their own right.
So what I just want to impress upon the younger readers of this column, say those around the age of 30, or younger, is that The Judds were huge…and Wynonna became a superstar in her own right. She was everywhere, on the covers of all the tabloids, battling various issues, particularly her weight, and the best, and easiest comparison to make as to her fame for someone who wasn’t following music in that era is to Adele!
RIP, Naomi. Prayers for Wynonna and Ashley.
Top 3 songs for the week 5/1/76: #1 “Let Your Love Flow” (Bellamy Brothers) #2 “Right Back Where We Started From” (Maxine Nightingale) #3 “Boogie Fever” (Sylvers)…and…#4 “Welcome Back” (John Sebastian…great tune, fun show…) #5 “Sweet Love” (Commodores) #6 “Disco Lady” (Johnnie Taylor) #7 “Show Me The Way” (Peter Frampton…terrific…) #8 “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” (Elvin Bishop…still in my top three all time…) #9 “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Queen) #10 “Love Hangover” (Diana Ross…but ‘B’ week…can’t ignore the crapola on this list…)
NHL Stanley Cup Quiz Answer: Last ten winners of the Cup….
2012…Los Angeles Kings
2014…Los Angeles Kings
2019…St. Louis Blues
2020…Tampa Bay Lightning
2021…Tampa Bay Lighting
Add-On up top by noon, Wednesday.