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Katie Ledecky and Sydney McLaughlin
Add-on posted early Wed. a.m.
--Sunday night we had a major basebrawl in the Angels-Mariners game…these two teams hating each other before the brawl.
Angels right hander Andrew Wantz hit Jesse Winker (one of the amazing a-holes in the game) with a pitch in the second inning, prompting Mariners manager Scott Servais to motion for Wantz, who was serving as an opener, to be ejected. Both teams and Wantz were given warnings in the first inning after he threw inside to Julio Rodriguez.
The bad blood had started in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game, when Mariners reliever Erik Swanson threw toward Mike Trout’s head. The umpires, though, downplayed any issues stemming from that game.
On Sunday after getting hit, Winker was already exchanging words with the Angels’ dugout, before plate umpire John Bacon and crew chief Adrian Johnson could try to defuse the situation. Winker then started pushing toward the Angels’ dugout, the benches cleared, and what ensued was an authentic fight…not your typical basebrawl where the two sides just shove each other.
As the dust was clearing, Winker, as he went back to his dugout, made an obscene gesture to the crowd involving his middle finger. A short time later, he came out of the dugout and raised both middle fingers to the crowd again, which Winker apologized for after, “especially the women and children.”
So MLB came down hard, disciplining 12 players and coaches, including Angels interim manager Phil Nevin, who received a 10-game suspension for what MLB called “the intentional throwing by pitcher Andrew Wantz while warnings were in place.”
Winker received a seven-game suspension for “actions that caused the incident and for fighting.”
Anthony Rendon, out for the season following surgery on his right wrist, which was in a cast, received five games for coming out of the dugout and shoving his left hand into Winker’s face. His suspension will be served when he returns from the injured list…so beginning of the 2023 season.
But when I first started seeing headlines about the fight, all I cared about, and I’m sure you were all thinking the same, is, ‘I don’t want to see Ohtani or Trout in any of the stories,’ and they weren’t. No injuries.
Except…the Angels then learned right-handed reliever Archie Bradley will be sidelined at least a month after suffering a fractured right elbow while going over the dugout railing. Oh brother.
--Monday, the Yankees fell behind the pathetic A’s at the Little Bandbox That Ruth Didn’t Build, 5-1 early, only to storm back with six runs in the seventh and a 9-5 win to move to 54-20.
New York then won again Tuesday, 2-1, as JP Sears, called up for the start, threw 5 2/3 of scoreless ball.
--The Mets (47-28), after another drubbing at the hands of the Astros (46-27) at Citi Field last night, 9-1, are in desperate need of a win over Houston this afternoon.
--About a month ago I wrote of the Cards’ Paul Goldschmidt and how he’s a terrific year or two away from serious Hall of Fame consideration. After going 1-for-3 with an RBI in St. Louis’ 5-3 win over the Marlins, a day after a 4-for-4 effort, Goldschmidt is batting .347, 24 doubles, 19 home runs, 65 RBIs, 56 runs scored, and a 1.068 OPS. Just hand him the MVP award (sorry, Pete Alonso).
Goldschmidt’s next homer is No. 300 and he is 8 ribbies from 1,000.
--The Braves were dealt a blow as closer Kenley Jansen was placed on the 15-day IL with an irregular heartbeat…not the first time he has had heart issues. He had surgery in 2018 after a recurrence of the same condition. And he had a heart procedure in 2012.
We wish him well.
--Bryce Harper is having surgery on his broken thumb and the Phillies are optimistic he could be back for September, but who the heck knows.
--So I’ve been talking about the mess the Brooklyn Nets were in with Kyrie Irving, who wanted a max extension but, for good reason, the Nets balked. They then gave him an opportunity to seek out a sign-and-trade deal and outside of the Lakers, there were no other teams even interested.
Irving needs a partner to coordinate the max contract, but the Nets weren’t interested in taking back what the Lakers were contemplating, Russell Westbrook, who is due $47 million next season coming off the worst year of his career.
There was some talk Irving would join the Lakers for the $6 million mid-level exception, but that hardly seemed realistic, given Irving would be leaving $30 million on the table.
And so, hours later after this news broke, Irving opted to exercise his $36.5 million option for the 2022-23 season. He’s no longer eligible for a sign-and-trade.
For good reason the Nets wanted nothing to do with giving the guy a max contract and now they’ve got him on a one-year deal. Next summer he can become an unrestricted free agent.
Well, with Kyrie’s move Kevin Durant isn’t going anywhere, and the Nets still have Ben Simmons. Remember him? I actually have more confidence that Simmons will be out to prove something this season, while Irving remains a royal pain in the ass.
Good luck, boys. And note to recent two-way signee Alondes Williams of Wake Forest. There is an opportunity here for you. Bust your butt and you can make the squad.
Mike Vaccaro / New York Post
“There have been a lot of bad actors around the Nets, disrupting what was supposed to be a gilded path to glory. Sean Marks swore a blood oath with a good man and a good coach named Ken Atkinson, pledged they were in the foxhole together do or die, then fired Atkinson and hired a Hall of Fame player, Steve Nash, who has spent two seasons looking like an intern learning on the job.
“Marks and the team’s owner, Joe Tsai, talked all kinds of tough about Kyrie Irving and vaccinations, then caved the moment the Atlantic Division standings became too uncomfortable to look at. James Harden? Harden weaseled his way from Houston to Brooklyn, then weaseled his way out, to Philadelphia.
“None is worse than Irving, of course. His one-man act of subterfuge, a precious should-I-or- shouldn’t-I bit when it came to opting into the last year of his $36.5 million contract, is just the latest in a pattern of petulance. And even by Irving’s standards, his patently absurd explanation to The Atlantic defied all boundaries of shame.
“ ‘Normal people keep the world going, but those who dare to be different lead us to tomorrow. I’ve made my decision to opt in. See you in the fall.’
“Even for a serial phony like Irving, that is beyond belief, unless ‘daring to be different’ can be interpreted as ‘I tried to muscle my way out of town but discovered that the only option for me – maybe – was taking a $6 million one-year deal with the Lakers.’
“He will lead the Nets toward tomorrow with $31 million more than that.
“Talk about a profile in courage….
“The pity of this, of all of this, is that once again Durant is forced to take a front-row seat to the Irving freak show. All Durant has done is his job: consistently, quietly and excellently….in three years (and two seasons) with the Nets he has shown up on time, played hard, and played as well as anyone in the NBA.
“He is 28.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists across 90 games as a Net. He is in the rarefied 40/50/90 shooter’s club as a Net (specifically: 40.9 percent from 3-ponit range; 52.5 overall; 90.0 from the line)….
“Surrounded by a surfeit of snowflakes, Durant has been a pillar of quiet reliability….
“And what has he gained for that? He watched his old crew in Golden State win a title without him. He’s lost two of the three playoff series he’s played as a Net. He had to listen to Charles Barkley say, with some merit, that ‘before KD gets that great respect from all the old heads, he’s going to have to win a championship as the bus driver.’
“If the Nets are indeed going to fulfill their promise, it will be cause Durant seizes this team’s narrative as well as its soul. It will be on him – not Nash, not Marks, not Tsai – to rein Irving in. He really does need to drive the bus….
“With or without the worst actor in the NBA as his running mate.”
--The Knicks continue to build cap space in their pursuit of Dallas point guard Jalen Brunson by unloading veterans Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel, unless with two second-round draft picks, on Detroit.
It now seems a certainty New York will nail their No. 1 target, being able to give him $5 million per year more that what the Mavericks are offering.
--John Wall and the Rockets agreed that his contract will be bought out, with Wall receiving roughly $41 million out of the $47.4 million he was scheduled to make $47.4 million this coming season, his last in what was a four-year contract.
Wall will then join the Clippers for presumably the mid-level exception of about $6.4 million.
Wall played in 40 games with Houston in 2020-21, averaging 20.6 points and 6.9 assists. He played his first nine seasons in Washington and, for his career, has averaged 19.1 points and 9.1 assists.
The guy is 32 in September, but he’s been working out and if he can stay healthy, you’re talking a five-time All-Star who is teaming with a returning Kawhi Leonard and All-Star Paul George.
Ergo, Clippers fans have cause for optimism.
Stanley Cup Finals
--I have to admit I didn’t watch any of Game 6 as the Avalanche prevailed on the road against the Lightning 2-1, their third Cup title in franchise history, the others in 1996 and 2001.
Defenseman Cale Makar won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP in the playoffs. Makar was also the Norris Trophy winner as top defenseman in the regular season. Pretty, pretty good.
Congrats also to Colorado coach Jared Bednar.
--As the hearing before the independent disciplinary officer who will make an initial ruling on what kind of punishment Deshaun Watson will face, the NFL has recommended that the quarterback serve an indefinite suspension of at least a year.
Sue L. Robinson, the former federal judge, will rule either Tuesday or Wednesday. Robinson is jointly compensated by the league and players union, incidentally. She will review the facts gathered by the league during a year-long investigation.
If Robinson followed the league recommendation, Watson and the NFL Players Association would appeal, but under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, commissioner Roger Goodell could make a final determination, or designate another individual to do so.
The NFL will also recommend certain terms that Watson would have to meet before he is reinstated.
Meanwhile, Baker Mayfield is still on the Browns roster, with Cleveland being unsuccessful in trading him away. The Brown had signed Jacoby Brissett in the offseason to start if Watson is suspended.
--Marlin Briscoe, the first Black starting quarterback in the AFL, died Monday. He was 76 and died of pneumonia after being hospitalized.
Briscoe, born in Oakland, California, became a star quarterback at Omaha University before the Denver Broncos drafted him in the 14th round in 1968. Briscoe told the team he would go back home to become a teacher if he didn’t receive a tryout at quarterback. Briscoe was given an opportunity, and after almost rallying the Broncos as a reserve against the Patriots on Sept. 29, earned a start Oct. 6.
Briscoe would start five games, going 2-3-0, and was runner-up for AFL Rookie of the Year, passing for 1,589 yards, while tossing 14 touchdown passes with 13 interceptions. He also rushed for 308 yards.
But Denver didn’t give Briscoe a shot at the starting QB job in 1969, so he asked to be released, whereupon he ended up in Buffalo, becoming a Pro Bowl receiver in 1970 (57 receptions for 1,036 yards, 18.2 avg., 8 TDs).
He also mentored his roommate, James Harris, helping Harris become the first Black quarterback in the AFL to open a season as a starter.
In 1974, Harris played for the Los Angeles Rams and became the first Black QB to win an NFL playoff game. He was also Pro Bowl MVP that season.
Briscoe would go on to become a two-time Super Bowl champion as a receiver with the Dolphins.
--Going back to Sunday after I posted, Padraig Harrington barely held on to win the U.S. Senior Open at Saucon Valley, CC (Bethlehem, Pa.) by one over a surging Steve Stricker.
Harrington started the round 8 shots ahead of Stricker, but Stricker fired a 6-under 65, while Harrington had a pedestrian 1-over 72. This was after Padraig took a five-shot lead into the final round.
A small measure of revenge for Harrington…Stricker having captained the winning U.S. Ryder Cup team last fall, routing the Euros captained by Padraig.
Harrington hadn’t won a tournament of any sort in six years, the last coming in the 2016 Portugal Open. He said having turned 50, he’s on the Champions Tour to “win majors again.”
Sixty-eight-year-old Jay Haas finished T7, a remarkable showing.
--Meanwhile, after posting, we had two more defections to the LIV Golf Series…Matthew Wolff and Carlos Ortiz, both of whom have one PGA Tour win. Wolff is seen as a coup for Greg Norman, being 23 and supposedly a future star, but after bursting on the seen in 2019 and winning his lone event, following an individual NCAA Championship as a sophomore at Oklahoma State, and a T4 at the 2020 PGA Championship and runner-up second at the U.S. Open that year, he has flamed out royally, taking a hiatus to deal with mental health issues.
Ortiz, 31, is from Mexico and ranked 119 in the world. His lone triumph on tour was the 2020 Houston Open. Like whoopty-damn-do.
Jason Kokrak is another expected to jump.
For all the handwringing, none of the top 15 in the world rankings have jumped to LIV, as yet, with the highest ranked ingrates being Dustin Johnson (No. 17), Brooks Koepka (19) and Louis Oosthuizen (21).
The second LIV event is Thursday-Saturday at Pumpkin Ridge outside Portland, Oregon, and the locals are not happy the LIV caravan has parked itself there.
Tuesday, the PGA Tour and DP World Tour (formerly European Tour), announced their “strategic alliance” has been extended for 13 years as an “operational joint venture partnership.”
Details to follow, but it’s great for the Euro crowd.
--Serena Williams’ career could be over after she lost a grueling 3-hour, 11minute first-round match at Wimbledon…7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (7) to 24-year-old Parisian Harmony Tan.
We’ll see if she decides to call it quits after a last farewell at the U.S. Open, which would be appropriate.
--Brittney Griner finally appeared at a preliminary hearing in a Moscow suburb on Monday and the court ruled that her detention, already more than four months on a drug charge, will be extended for six months pending her trial, which is slated to start July 1.
It was Feb. 17, a week before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, that Griner was accused of carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil, when she was stopped at Sheremetyevo International Airport.
The U.S. State Department has categorized that Griner was “wrongly detained,” which means it will no longer wait for the case to play out in Russia’s courts and will try to negotiate her release. Incredibly, if convicted on large-scale transportation of drugs, she could face 10 years.
Griner’s wife, Cherelle, has been highly critical of the government, and for good reason. The State Department inexplicably botched a planned phone call between the two, which State called a “logistical error.”
Russian news media has speculated Griner could be exchanged for a notorious Russian arms trader, Viktor Bout, nicknamed “The Merchant of Death,” who is serving a 25-year sentence on conviction of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and providing aid to a terrorist organization. But the disparity between the two cases makes this rather nonsensical…and unacceptable to the U.S.
--After I posted last time, the USA Track & Field Championships wrapped up in Eugene, Oregon, and I didn’t see some of the comments by sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson until after.
Speaking to reporters after failing to qualify for the final in the 200 meters and for next month’s world championships, and having failed miserably in the 100 meters, Richardson turned herself into an ‘Idiot/Jerk of the Year candidate.’
Instead of fielding questions, she made a statement requesting “respect” from the media.
“Just talk about the weekend as a whole,” a reporter said at Hayward Field.
“No,” Richardson responded. “What I have to say, y’all can all take this interview and do whatever you want to do with it. I’m coming to speak, not on just on my behalf, but on all athletes’ behalf, that when you guys do interviews, y’ll should respect athletes more. Y’all should understand them, coming from whether they’re winning, whether they’re losing, whatever the case may be, athletes deserve way more respect than when y’all just come and throw cameras into their faces.
“Understand how an athlete operates and then ask your questions. Then be more understanding of the fact that they are still human, no matter just to the fact that y’all are just trying to get something to put out in an article to make a dollar. Thank you.”
Richardson, 22, then turned and walked away.
You, Sha’Carri, are an idiot…pure and simple. I defended you last year during the Olympic Trials marijuana fiasco…but what happened this past week in Eugene is that, one, you sought the limelight, and then, two, you could not have sucked more.
Good luck in life. Geezuz.
Abby Steiner, by the way, a recent Kentucky graduate, won the 200 final in 21.77 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year. You go, Girl!
Add-on up top by noon, Wed.
[Posted before late sports stuff…including Game 6 Stanley Cup]
NCAA Baseball Quiz: Name the four schools to win at least five titles. Answer below.
--Friday night in Miami, the Mets took advantage of numerous mistakes committed by the Marlins to win 5-3, Francisco Lindor with a double and home run, 4 RBIs, Taijuan Walker (6-2, 3.03) the win.
The thing is they beat Miami ace Sandy Alcantara, who entered the game with an MLB-best 1.72 ERA. It’s the way they did it, though, that proved once again that owner Steve Cohen made the right move in hiring Buck Showalter as his new manager.
The key play was a double challenge on a double-play call in the sixth inning, game tied at 2-2.
With Tomas Nido on second and Brandon Nimmo on first, Starling Marte hit a grounder that Wilians (sic) Astudillo fielded. Between first and second base, Astudillo tagged Nimmo with his glove, but not the ball. Nimmo was called out, as was Marte on the throw to first. But realizing he hadn’t applied the tag with the ball in his glove, Astudillo requested it from Jesus Aguilar and tagged Nimmo, who was still on the ground between the bases.
The Mets challenged both outs. Not only was Marte ruled safe by a step at first, but also Nimmo was awarded second – on the basis he had been called out and would have reached the base had he kept running.
Lindor then cleared the bases with a double…and that was the game.
As for Showalter’s decision to issue a double challenge, Lindor said: “Buck is Buck. He is very smart, very clever. He probably knows the rules more than any umpire out there.”
Which is very true.
The Mets then won Saturday by the same 5-3, Chris Bassitt with seven strong, and Pete Alonso belting two solo home runs, Nos. 21 and 22, bringing his MLB-leading RBI total to 68. [As in he’s on pace for 140+.]
But they had an awful 3-2 loss today, wasting seven strong from David Peterson, going 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position, including at least three times with a leadoff runner on second…I mean for crying out loud, boys. C’mon. It’s the Marlins.
This is the kind of loss that has Mets fans tossing and turning at night…waiting for the post-70-game swoon we’ve become so used to.
--Freddie Freeman made his emotional return to Atlanta on Friday as the Dodgers came into town. He was a mess, sobbing away in his interview, on the field… “I always told you guys how much I love the Braves, this city,” Freeman said. “You knew I loved this city and this organization a lot, but I think you can tell how much I truly do love this organization and this city. I don’t even know how I’m gonna get through this weekend, guys, if I’m being honest.”
Well, the guy was terrific in his 11 full seasons in Atlanta, but the Braves decided not to pay him and moved on with a guy four years younger, Matt Olson, who they traded for and then signed to a long-term deal. Only time will tell if Freeman’s intangibles exceed what will be similar production in the power department, and fielding.
As for the game Friday, the Dodgers won 4-1, Freeman with a hit and two runs scored.
Saturday, the Braves defeated L.A. 5-3 on an eighth-inning 2-run bomb by the slumping Marcell Ozuna.
--The Yankees reached an agreement in Aaron Judge’s arbitration hearing Friday, meeting him halfway…the team offering $17 million for this season, Judge’s people asking for $21 million…so $19m it was. He picks up an additional $250,000 if he’s selected A.L. MVP, and another $250,000 if he brings home the 2022 World Series MVP.
So Judge hits the free agent market after this season and someone is going to grossly overpay for him. Had Judge accepted the Yankees’ seven-year, $213.5 million contract extension, including $17 million this year, it would have worked out to roughly $33 million per through his age-36 season, and Judge is rumored to be asking for $36 million.
The guy is indeed having an All-World campaign but he’s 30. Let’s see what happens the rest of the season and the playoffs. I maintain he was a fool not to take the Yanks’ offer, maybe squeeze them for more. He could make so much more outside baseball by sticking around here and becoming a true legend, if he manages to stay healthy.
Meanwhile, the Yanks had a big 4-game series at the Stadium this weekend against the hated Astros and in the first contest, Thursday, the Yanks improbably came back from down 6-3 in the bottom of the ninth with 4 to win it, 7-6. The much-maligned Aaron Hicks with a big 3-run homer in the ninth to tie it and Judge with the game-winning single.
But Friday, after Judge had reached his arbitration agreement, the Yanks were held to five hits by Justin Verlander (9-3, 2.22) and the Houston pen, losing 3-1.
And then Saturday, Houston starter Christian Javier and relievers Hector Neris and Ryan Pressly no-hit the Yanks, 3-0. Javier struck out 13 in 7 innings but had thrown 115 pitches.
Gerrit Cole (6-2, 2.99) was a hard-luck loser, yielding just one run in 7.
As good as the Yanks, 53-20, and Mets, 47-26*, have been, with the two best records in baseball, entering play today, the Astros had gone 4-1 against them this week. [Houston sweeping a 2-game set at home against the Mets this week.]
Mets fans would sign up today if you told us we would lose to the Astros in the World Series.
Yankees fans would be mortified to lose to the Astros in the ALCS.
Well today, the Yankees were no-hit another 6 1/3 by Jose Urquidy, until Giancarlo Stanton hit No. 17 to make it 3-1 Astros. D.J. LeMahieu then hit a 2-run homer in the eighth to tie it at 3-3, and then, wouldn’t ya know, Aaron Judge, 0-for-11 since reaching his arbitration deal, hit a 3-run bomb (No. 28) to win it 6-3. A huge win for the Yanks psychologically.
--The Red Sox, who I wrote of last time, have now won seven-in-a-row, 8-3 over the Indians, err, Guardians, today, to get to 42-31, now in second in the A.L. East, 11 behind New York. We know the history of these two. Heh heh.
--No one wants to see the stars of the game go out with a lengthy injury, but it appears that is what happened to the Phillies and Bryce Harper on Saturday night, when he was hit by a pitch from the Padres’ Blake Snell, breaking his left thumb. Harper is out indefinitely.
Just sucks. He was having a super season. 15 homers, 48 RBIs, .985 OPS.
--Tyler Kepner of the New York Times had a story on the Dodgers’ starting pitching staff and how the characters can change year to year, but the results are still the same, generally sterling.
Like Tyler Anderson and Tony Gonsolin going a combined 17-0, Anderson signed to a one-year deal after going 7-11, 4.53, last season for Pittsburgh and Seattle. Gonsolin has had talent, but wasn’t able to stay healthy or L.A. had other options (like Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler, David Price and Dustin May…or Trevor Bauer, until his issues).
Gonsolin is 9-0, 1.58. Anderson 8-0, 3.00. [Gonsolin is going up against the Braves tonight.]
--I have to go back to Wednesday, when Shohei Ohtani struck out a career-best 13 in a 5-0 win against the Royals, a day after he had eight RBIs, thus becoming the first player in baseball history to drive in 8 one night and strike out 10 or more in the next.
But the Angels continue to struggle, 34-40 after a 5-3 loss in Seattle (34-39) yesterday, despite Ohtani’s 16th home run, a 462-foot shot! The night before, the Angels lost 4-3, despite Mike Trout’s triple and 22nd homer.
Trout, 45, and Ohtani, 47, are both on track for 100 RBIs, and maybe 40 homers apiece, yet probably won’t make the playoffs. Ugh.
--Thursday, the Padres’ Joe Musgrove suffered his first loss (8-1, 2.12) at the hands of the Phillies, 6-2, yielding 6 runs in 6 innings.
--In the College World Series, it was Oklahoma and Ole Miss in the best-of-three finals. Game 1, Ole Miss continued its remarkable surge, blasting the Sooners 10-3.
And then as I go to post, Ole Miss bagged their first-ever title, 4-2. Oh, how I’d love to be partying with the, err, you know, who are in summer school tonight…cough cough….
Hey, it’s Oxford!
--Gotta hand it to Tampa Bay. They aren’t two-time champs for nuthin’, having forced a Game 6 back in Tampa on Sunday after a 3-2 win over the Avalanche in Denver, Friday, the Stanley Cup trophy all set to be paraded around for the hometown fans, except the Lightning had other plans.
Ondrej Palat, who has been rather clutch in these playoffs, scored with 6:22 remaining and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 35 shots, delaying the celebration.
Palat scored 18 goals in 77 regular season games, par for the course for him during his long career, but has 11 in 22 playoff games, all seemingly important scores. Actually, last night’s tally was his 16th career go-ahead playoff goal, second in franchise history.
Tampa Bay rallied back from down 3-2 to Toronto in the first round, and then climbed out of a 2-0 hole against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals.
NBA Draft…and aftermath…
--In a mild surprise (anyone who says it was a big surprise is a jerk), Orlando selected Duke’s Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 overall pick over Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, who went No. 2 to Oklahoma City.
No. 3 was Jabari Smith Jr. (Auburn) to Houston. All were a consensus top 3.
Sacramento then went with Iowa forward Keegan Murray, at No. 4, which many legitimately found a bit mysterious, Murray not considered No. 4 material.
Instead, Sacramento’s selection meant that Purdue point guard Jaden Ivey fell into the Pistons’ lap.
Detroit then nabbed No. 13 pick Jalen Duren, the Memphis center, via a 3-way trade with the Knicks and Charlotte, and there is your 2022 NBA Draft winner…the Pistons, who suddenly have a sweet young potential threesome, including last year’s No. 1 overall selection, Cade Cunningham, who after a rough start had a solid rookie season.
Meanwhile, Wake Forest’s Jake LaRavia went surprisingly high, No. 19 to Minnesota, who then traded him to Memphis. Many are questioning this move, but Memphis has a reputation for using analytics to find the right pieces and they obviously believe LaRavia is going to be a rotation mainstay, ditto another first-rounder they traded for, David Roddy of Colorado State.
It’s kind of ironic because I thought Wake should target Roddy in the transfer-portal, expecting Roddy to want to stay in school one more year. Of course I thought LaRavia should stick around, too, so put me in the jerk category along with those who thought Holmgren was the surefire No. 1.
--In Brooklyn, the Nets are a mess. What to do with Kyrie Irving, which has everything to do with the status of Kevin Durant. If Irving doesn’t stay, Durant no doubt will ask for a trade.
Irving has given the Nets a list of sign-and-trade options should the two sides not reach a contract extension…Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Mavericks, Heat, 76ers.
The thing is, he has a $36.9 million player option for next season. If he opts out, he’d be a free agent, and several of the above teams don’t have the cap space to nab him via free agency. Thus the need, probably, for a sign-and-trade.
Meanwhile, the Nets signed ACC Player of the Year, and Demon Deacon, Alondes Williams to a two-way deal after he wasn’t drafted on Thursday and to me, it’s the perfect spot for Williams. The guy obviously has talent, he just doesn’t have a shot. Now he can play some G League ball, work on the shot, and his other talents will begin to shine through. No reason why he can’t be a terrific sixth man down the road.
--As for the chances of Kyrie becoming a Knick, forget it. All the Knicks moves, trading away the 11th pick, acquiring future first-rounders – some of which will come into play when I’m dead, to thanks a lot, Knicks – and freeing up cap space by dumping Kemba Walker on the Pistons.
As of today, the Knicks now have 11 first-round picks and 11 second-round picks in the next seven years.
It’s all about getting point guard Jalen Brunson, a pending free agent. If they don’t Knicks fans will have to storm the Garden and riot. I may have to venture in from the suburbs to do the same.
Dallas owner Mark Cuban, after all, has said he wants to keep Brunson, who had a breakout season, including in the playoffs.
But the Knicks recently hired Brunson’s father, Rick, to join coach Tom Thibodeau’s staff, and can offer him a starring role. Team president Leon Rose also repped Brunson at Creative Artists Agency before coming over to the Knicks, and Rose’s son is Brunson’s current agent. You get the picture.
--Saturday, Portland superstar Damian Lillard took to Instagram, posting a (photoshopped) picture of himself and Kevin Durant decked in a Portland jersey.
That of course sent shockwaves across social media, with some accusing Lillard of tampering.
But the chances of a Durant trade to Portland are minimal for a myriad of reasons, including Portland’s cap space, or lack thereof.
--The NFL will hold a disciplinary hearing for Deshaun Watson starting Tuesday. The hearing will be before Sue L. Robinson, a disciplinary officer for both the NFL and the NFL Players Association. [No relation to Vicki Sue Robinson of “Turn the Beat Around” fame.]
--Texas won the Arch Manning sweepstakes – he being the nephew of Peyton and Eli, grandson of Archie and the top recruit in the 2023 class. Manning picked the Longhorns over Alabama and Georgia.
The one thing about his selection to go to Austin is that he will likely overlap at least one year with Quinn Ewers, who transferred to Texas from Ohio State in December. Ewers is expected to be the starter this season.
--We note the passing of former Colts and Ravens defensive lineman Tony “The Goose” Siragusa, who died Wednesday at the age of 55. No formal cause of death was released but he received CPR at a home in Toms River, N.J.
“The Goose, Tony Siragusa has passed away at 55…” Colts owner Jim Irsay posted to his Twitter account. “I’m heartbroken as is all of Colts Nation.”
Siragusa played seven seasons with the Colts and five with the Ravens, where he won a Super Bowl in 2000. After beginning his career as an undrafted free agent out of Pittsburgh, he played 169 games and finished his career with 22 sacks and five forces fumbles.
“Tony truly was bigger than life, on and off the field,” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said in a statement. “He played the game passionately and relentlessly. Despite not being drafted, he thrived in the NFL for 12 years.
“His post-football life took him so many places but he never forgot Pitt. We could always count on him to send the best recorded Pep Talks to our guys before our biggest games. The Goose leaves a great legacy and he will be sorely missed. Our sympathies to his family, many loved one and former teammates.”
After his playing career, Siragusa worked as a sideline reporter for FOX’s gameday broadcasts and appeared in several movies and TV shows including The Sopranos.
His former teammate, Ray Lewis, expressed his condolences.
“This is a tough one,” Lewis said in a statement. “I love Goose like a brother. From the first day we met, I knew that life was different. I knew he was someone who would change my life forever.”
Siragusa was born in Kenilworth, N.J., where he attended high school and was a state wrestling champ before heading to Pitt.
Sadly, it seems he died just like his father. When Tony was 21, he performed CPR on his dad who suffered a massive heart attack, claiming his life at the age of 48, Siragusa once told Howard Stern.
His father died in his arms. Every day since then, he said, was “the best day ever.”
“If I died tomorrow I told my wife ‘Just put a smile on my face, and put a little Sinatra on.’”
--At The Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., two good friends sat atop the leaderboard heading into today’s final round….
Xander Schauffele -17…seeking win No. 6
Patrick Cantlay -16…gunning for win No. 8
Sahith Theegala -14…would be good for the tour for him to break through
Kevin Kisner -13
Among a group at -11 was Webb Simpson, who desperately needs a top ten to solidify his FedEx Cup Playoff position, and 20-year-old amateur Michael Thorbjornse, a rising junior at Stanford and the 2018 U.S. Junior champion.
A good friend of mine, D.P., knows Thorbjornsen well as they both play out of the same country club in Wellesley, Mass., so there is no doubt a large local following for the lad, this event being about a 2-hour drive from Wellesley. [D.P. was flying home from Ireland today so won’t be there.] By the way, Thorbjornsen is not European, he was born in Ohio.
As for Cantlay, the reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year with four wins last season, this campaign he’s had just one, and that was when he partnered with Schauffele at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Well, I wrote all the above Sunday morning…and, boy, did things change for a bit. Theegala had a one-shot lead over Schauffele late, before a horrendous mistake out of the fairway bunker on 18 led to a double-bogey and T2 with JT Poston. Schauffele, who was struggling, then closed the deal for win No. 6 by two.
I love Theegala because he has major ‘Q-Factor,’ which the Tour deeply needs.
Cantlay had an absolutely shocking +6, 76, to finish T13.
Thorbjornsen had a superb 66 to finish solo fourth. What will the kid do now? Stay in school at Stanford one more year!
--Among those missing the cut were Sam Burns and Jordan Spieth. Also Rickie Fowler, 118th in the FedEx Cup standings. I will not be in the least bit surprised if Fowler jumped to LIV, though he would likely lose all his sponsorships, which are massive. So maybe he’ll stick around.
An exhausted Rory McIlroy, playing in his fourth consecutive event and carrying the weight of the PGA Tour on his shoulders, opened with a 62 and then flamed out…finishing T19 (though with a solid 67 Sunday). He’ll take a well-deserved two weeks off before heading over the pond for The Open Championship.
--We had the U.S. Senior Open this week at beautiful Saucon Valley CC, Bethlehem, Pa., and Champions Tour rookie Padraig Harrington went into the final round with a 5-shot lead over Gene Sauers and Rob Labritz. Shockingly, 68-year-old Jay Haas was T5, 8 back. Go Deacs!
But equally shocking, 64-year-old Bernhard Langer finally did it…missed his first cut in major championships on the Champions tour, having been 63-for-63. Langer missed the cut by two shots.
--PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan held a players’ meeting at the Travelers and announced a series of changes and enhancements to the schedule that will see a return to a calendar-year season as well as significant purse increases in 2023, some of which is a direct result of the threat from the LIV Golf series.
Next year’s FedEx Cup Playoffs field will shrink to 70 players, the top-125 players can earn their exempt status through a series of six fall events after the Tour Championship, and we’ll have the debut of a global series of three events that will be for the top 50 players in the FedEx Cup standings.
Monahan said the tour wants to “make sure our top events are maximized. This is an acceleration of that. We are responding to the current environment that we are in.”
Minutes into Monahan’s Wednesday news conference, LIV Golf announced that Brooks Koepka had officially joined the circuit and will compete in LIV’s second event next week outside of Portland while announcing 45 of the 48 players in the field.
Monahan reiterated his stance from two weeks ago in which any player who signs on to play in LIV events will be suspended form the PGA Tour indefinitely.
“We welcome good, healthy competition. The LIV Saudi Golf League is not that,” he said. “It’s an irrational threat; one not concerned with the return on investment or true growth in the game.”
Starting next year, eight events will receive big bumps in their purses: the Sentry Tournament of Champions will increase to $15 million, while the Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Memorial Tournament and playoff events FedEx St. Jude Invitational and BMW Championship will go to $20 million. The Players Championship will increase to $25 million.
As for LIV, I’ll have a little on the Pumpkin Ridge event in my Add-on, but Saturday they pulled off another coup of sorts in bagging the No. 2-ranked amateur in the world, Eugenio Chacarra, is turning pro and joining LIV Golf. He will be in the field next week.
Chacarra had previously announced that he would be returning to Oklahoma State for an extra year, but the opportunity to sign a contract with guaranteed money was too good to pass up. It is unclear how much he signed for.
“My position is that if a player who is not a member of the PGA Tour or the DP World Tour, and I have not earned money while I have been an amateur, so I can play in this league without problems,” Chacarra told a Spanish newspaper. “This contract gives me peace of mind and ensures the future of my family. I had already achieved everything as an amateur, and now I will be able to gain experience as a professional.”
He continued: “In this circuit, they not only wanted legends, but young players with projection, and Greg Norman has noticed me. Here the philosophy is that the players start with a contract and that gives security, so it would not surprise me that players continue to come in. There will be people who do not think it is good and there are others who have chosen this option.”
Whatever. No one who follows sports will give a s--- about you, kid. So you’ve got your money. Whoopty-damn-do.
I have to keep repeating, the Saudis can only sign so many of these guys. Nine who played in the first event are not in the second field of 48. At what point do Norman and his henchmen say to a Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, ‘Ah, guys…here’s your last payment. Or you can follow Hacksaw Mohammad over there and he’ll take you on a little ride.’
One more…as expected, the R&A said LIV Golf players will be able to compete at The Open Championship. There was too little time for the majors to all get together and develop a policy. They have all fall to do so.
Lastly, Rory McIlroy, asked if he was surprised to learn Brooks Koepka had chosen to join the LIV Series, didn’t hold back.
“Yes, because of what he said previously. I think that’s why I’ surprised at a lot of these guys because they say one thing and then they do another,” Rory said. “I don’t understand that, and I don’t know if that’s for legal reasons or if they can’t, I have no idea. But its’ pretty duplicitous on their part to say one thing and then do another thing.”
Well, Koepka always was a d--- and now he’s got that new trophy wife he has to ply with outrageous gifts to keep happy.
--Katie Ledecky extended her record haul of medals from the world swimming championships to 22 with her latest 800-meter freestyle win on Friday. It was her eighth consecutive time at a world championship or Olympic Games; the first swimmer to win a specific individual event at five successive worlds. Wow!
It was also Ledecky’s 19th gold at a worlds and her fourth this week.
She completed the 400/800/1,500 triple for the fourth time at a single world championship, more than all the other swimmers who managed the feat combined. [Germany’s Hannah Stockbauer, Australia’s Grant Hackett and China’s Sun Yang each managed it once.]
Ledecky has the most medals for a female swimmer in world championships history. Only Michael Phelps, who won 26, has more.
--At the U.S. Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., Fred Kerley claimed the national title in the 100 meters, establishing himself as the favorite in next month’s world championships, also at Eugene’s Hayward Field, and becoming one of the fastest men in American history.
Kerley won the final in 9.77 seconds, about 90 minutes after he had detonated a semifinal heat in 9.76, fastest in the world this year and a time only two American men – Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin – have topped.
Meanwhile, on the women’s side, favorite Sha’Carri Richardson shockingly failed to advance out of her preliminary round, while collegiate sprinter Melissa Jefferson out of Coastal Carolina, who two weeks ago finished eighth at the NCAA Championships, won it. Huh.
Kerley, 27, won bronze in the 400 meters at the 2019 world championships, and he was a surefire gold medal contender for the Olympics – only, controversially, at the urging of his coach, he dropped down to short sprints and ended up winning the silver in Tokyo.
Saturday, we had the Sydney McLaughlin show. The Olympic champion broke her own world record in the 400-meter hurdles, crossing the line in 51.41, breaking her record of 51.46 set last year at the Tokyo Games.
“I mean it’s Track Town USA, what do you expect?” she said afterward. “Every time I come here I can just feel something amazing is going to happen.”
Asked how she was going to celebrate afterward, McLaughlin joked: “Eating some real food besides vegetables. Like a cheeseburger or something, some pancakes.”
Us New Jerseyans are so proud of McLaughlin. In fact last week I drove past her high school, Union Catholic, just 15 minutes away. She’s a great girl, and, little surprise, apparently deeply religious.
Dalilah Muhammad, McLaughlin’s rival, sat out the race with a mild injury but had already qualified for the world championships as the defending champion in the event.
Meanwhile, Allyson Felix, the most decorated woman in track history, finished sixth in the 400, in what was her final national championship race. She will compete in a mixed relay event at the worlds, before her final race in her native Los Angeles in August.
NCAA champion Talitha Diggs of Florida won the 400 in 50.22.
--Wimbledon starts tomorrow, with men’s No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Monday, No. 2 Rafael Nadal Tuesday.
On the women’s side, all eyes are on Serena Williams, making her return after a year’s absence. She opens play on Tuesday, along with No. 1 Iga Swiatek.
If the 40-year-old Williams makes it beyond the third round, I’ll be shocked, and it will be quite a story.
--The New York Racing Association suspended trainer Bob Baffert for one year Thursday for repeated medication violations. He was credited with time served so he’s eligible to saddle horses in New York next Jan. 26, when the forecast is for freezing rain, temps in the upper 20s.
The ban is shorter than the two years Churchill Downs handed down after Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for a substance that is not allowed on race day.
Medina Spirit later dropped dead before he could give his side of the story in federal court.
The NYRA’s decision can’t be appealed.
--Nottingham Forest, newly promoted to the Premier League, signed a forward, Taiwo Awoniyi, from Union Berlin for a club record fee, a five-year deal for a reported $20.8 million.
Awoniyi scored 20 goals in 43 games across all competitions last season.
I only mention this because it is cool that Forest is making such a big commitment. Other PL clubs were interested in the lad.
--I noted the tragic death in Harlem, N.Y., the other day of college basketball player Darius Lee, killed in a shooting at a party, and Johnny Mac passed on that two of his neighbors, and friends, down in South Carolina were retired teachers from St. Raymond High School in the Bronx where Lee went to school and they are both devastated. John, who also coached Lee as an assistant, told J. Mac that Darius would always say, “Coach, just keep pushing me, don’t let me get lazy.” John’s wife was very close to Lee.
--We had an ugly shark attack at Lovers Point Beach in Pacific Grove, a community south of Monterrey, Calif., the other day. The victim was pulled from the water by nearby beach goers who then began giving first aid.
“He was screaming for help, you could tell the sound and the emotion in his voice that there was something definitely wrong and he was slapping the water,” Paul Bandy, one of the Good Samaritans, told KSBW 8. “I wasn’t sure if that was some sort of thing he was trying to get away from him or just trying to draw attention to himself.”
Luckily for the victim, Bandy, a police office, and his wife, a nurse, were paddle boarding nearby and helped the swimmer.
Yesterday, Monterrey Bay shark experts estimated it was a 20-foot long great white that attacked Steve Bruemmer’s leg, stomach, and arm with one giant bite, based off the marks on the severely-injured ocean swimmer.
There was another hero in this story, surfer Heath Braddock, who is an instructor and with a group of children from Kansas at the time, acclimating them to the water, when he heard the cries for help. Braddock used his strength to paddle out 300 feet, getting there to help the paddle boarders.
Braddock said: “His leg wound was the most pronounced, his bone was fully showing. Most of the damage was on his stomach the front side.”
Brueemer held onto Braddock’s ankle as he paddled “as hard as I could” back to shore.
Police and paramedics arrived just as Braddock and his victim did.
Bruemmer is reportedly in stable condition, owing his life to the three Good Samaritans.
A great white shark’s jaw has multiple rows of teeth, and there has been a ‘baby boom’ of great whites, as observed by experts along the northern California coast. Local marine biologists also say that based on past attacks, great whites usually strike once before swimming away. That’s because the predator prefers to eat blubbery sea lions and harbor seals, not people.
Top 3 songs for the week of 6/26/65: #1 “Mr. Tambourine Man” (The Byrds) #2 “I Can’t Help Myself” (Four Tops) #3 “Wooly Bully” (Sam The Sham and the Pharaohs)…and…#4 “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (The Rolling Stones) #5 “Wonderful World” (Herman’s Hermits) #6 “Crying In The Chapel” (Elvis Presley) #7 “For Your Love” (The Yardbirds) #8 “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte” (Patti Page) #9 “Help Me, Rhonda” (The Beach Boys) #10 “Seventh Son” (Johnny Rivers…A week…)
NCAA Baseball Quiz Answer: Four schools to win at least five titles….
USC, 12…last in 1998. The Trojans had a terrific run from 1968-78, with titles in ’68, 1970-74, and ’78, all under legendary coach Rod Dedeaux*.
LSU, 6…last in 2009
Texas, 6…last in 2005
Arizona State, 5…including super teams in 1965, ’67 and ’69, coached by Bobby Winkles**.
*Among the future major leaguers Dedeaux coached were Ron Fairly, Tom Seaver, Dave Kingman, Fred Lynn, Steve Kemp, Mark McGwire and Randy Johnson.
**Among the future major leaguers Winkles coached were Rick Monday, Sal Bando, Reggie Jackson and Larry Gura.
Mets fans just shake their heads anytime they see Reggie Jackson’s name. It was in the 1966 MLB draft that the Metsies selected catcher Steve Chilcott with the No. 1 overall selection. Selecting second, the A’s grabbed Reggie.
Chilcott never appeared in a major-league game. Jackson had a candy bar named after him.
[An underrated candy bar, I hasten to add. Tasted like a Baby Ruth, which as we all know is superior to Butterfinger! Just stirring up the Baby Ruth-Butterfinger debate. When I was a kid, I hated getting a Butterfinger when out trick-or-treating, but was ecstatic at having a Baby Ruth bar thrown in my pillowcase. Those who did so became most-favored neighbors, which was how the U.S. “most-favored nations” trade status first came about. And now you know…the rest of the story.]
A brief Add-on up top by noon, Wed.