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Add-On posted late Tues. p.m.
--Monday, the Braves and Yankees played a rather historic game in Atlanta, the first showdown in MLB history in 120 years between teams with winning streaks of at least nine games.
And the Yanks took their streak to 10 with a 5-1 victory, behind Giancarlo Stanton’s home run and two-run double, New York’s’ pitching doing the rest.
Make that eleven in-a-row, barely, as the bullpen bent in the bottom of the ninth but didn’t break, Yanks over the Braves 5-4.
--The Mets, on the other hand, were blown out by the Giants tonight at Citi Field, 8-0, and are now 2-9 in this hideous 13-game stretch against the Dodgers and Giants that has consigned us to oblivion. Yeah, I’d say that’s not getting it done.
--We note the passing of former Detroit Tiger catcher Bill Freehan, 79. In 2018, his wife revealed he had dementia, and he had been in hospice care.
Freehan, in his long career with the Tigers, 1961-76, hit 200 home runs, drove in 758, and hit .262…terrific numbers for his era that included being an 11-time All-Star and five-time winner of the Gold Glove (1965-69).
So in 1982, his first year of eligibility, the Hall of Fame voters awarded Freehan with 0.5% of the vote. Some of us just shake our heads, especially given some of the chumps in the HOF, including at catcher. [I’m looking at you, Ray Schalk’s relatives.]
Freehan was third in balloting for the AL MVP in 1967, and then the runner-up in 1968 to teammate Denny McLain, who won 31 games. Freehan hit 25 home runs and drove in 84, in the year of the pitcher, as he helped lead the team to the World Series championship over the Cardinals that year (Mickey Lolich with three wins).
[Freehan caught 155 games in both 1967 and ’68, an enormous amount that you’ll never see matched again today, for sure. Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez, for example, never caught more than 153 games in a season, and that was when he was 24.]
“Bill was our leader, and we had a lot of independent guys, but he got everyone to come around,” McLain told The Detroit Free Press upon Freehan’s death. He said that Tigers pitchers were “supposed to throw the ball from the same position every time, and he knew if you were off and could then keep you in one place.”
Freehan, McLain added, “got the most out of a pitcher that you could get.”
In the 1968 World Series, in Game 5, Freehan had a key block of the plate on Lou Brock, trying to score from second on a single, only to be gunned by left fielder Willie Horton, Freehan getting the job done on his end.
Brock insisted he had touched the plate before the tag, but this was long before instant replay. The Tigers rallied for a 5-3 win in that game and then captured the last two of the Series, Freehan catching the final out in Game 7 on a foul pop-up.
By the way, while playing at the University of Michigan, Freehan hit .585 in 1961…which needless to say still stands as the record. .585!!! Goodness gracious! And he played tight end on the football team.
So rest in peace, Bill Freehan. It seems it’s been a struggle in your final years. You deserved better, but you are greatly appreciated and loved.
--Sally Jenkins / Washington Post
“There were a lot of seamy, disputable side questions in Trevor Bauer’s court hearing, such as whether that phrase his lawyers used, ‘wholly consensual,’ comes with any limits as to what you’re allowed to do to somebody. But you don’t need to answer that charming legal query to believe Bauer doesn’t belong in the privileged space of a Major League Baseball dugout right now and instead belongs in a psychological evaluation. For that, Commissioner Rob Manfred only needs to consult the records….
“Regardless of the courtroom decision, Manfred and MLB still have a lot to sort out here. They have placed Bauer on temporary paid administrative leave from the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the pitcher remains under a criminal investigation into the woman’s complaints by the Pasadena police. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported last week that a second woman sought a protection order against Bauer for allegedly threatening in a text message to kill her, among other menaces. That other complaint, by a woman in Ohio in 2017, also raises plenty of difficult, if not unanswerable, questions.
“Again, the best and fairest thing Manfred can do is to go by the records, those things that can be confirmed and defined as fact on four corners of a piece of paper. Such as, did Bauer send this Snapchat message to the Ohio woman, as she alleged? ‘Like the only reason I’d ever consider seeing you again is to choke you unconscious punch you in the face shove my fist up you’re a—skull f--- you and kick you out naked. And obviously I would never do something like that to anyone. So cant even enjoy the one thing I sometimes enjoyed with you.’
“Bauer’s agent and lawyer Jon Fetterolf ‘strongly’ questioned the ‘validity’ of the Snapchat message. But in correspondence with the woman’s lawyer last year, obtained by the Post, Fetteroff did not challenge the authenticity of the same Snapchat message. As for the alleged text threat, the Post found it came from a number that matched one registered to Bauer. The woman is cooperating with MLB investigators, who will surely be able to ascertain with some certainty whether they came from Bauer….
“Manfred should not need anything else to suspend Bauer indefinitely while his behavior toward women is more deeply investigated… Manfred has the power to refer Bauer to a board for psychological work-up as well as potential counseling and treatment. He should use it. Make it mandatory if Bauer wants to resume his pitching career.
“It’s not Manfred’s job to determine whether Bauer should be criminally charged or liable. It’s Manfred’s job to make Major League Baseball a sport the audience can watch without twitching in anger and recoiling.”
--Any golf fan knows the story. Before finally closing the deal yesterday at the Northern Trust in a Monday finish, and on the first hole of sudden death, Tony Finau hadn’t won since the spring of 2016, and the Puerto Rico Open. Between then and now, Finau had 8 seconds, 39 top tens*, and had finished No. 19, 6, 7, and 17 in the FedEx Cup final points standings from 2017-20.
*Top ten No. 40 with one win compares with Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, and Rory McIlroy, who all had at least 40 top tens in the same 5-year period, with a minimum of six wins (Rahm and McIlroy…Thomas had 13, DJ 12).
Finau has been a mark of consistency, and yesterday he was a very popular champion in the first leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Good on Tony.
Mark Cannizzaro / New York Post
“The numbers were damning.
“And they kept accumulating.
“It looked for much of the Monday finish…that the trend was about to continue, because world No. 1 Jon Rahm was setting the pace for most of the round and he looked bulletproof and Tony Finau, though playing well, was trailing.
“Then Finau put an end to it.
“Finau put an end to Rahm’s reign…for the moment….
“Good for Finau. One of the classiest, nicest guys in the game. Good for him. No one more deserving.
“Finau, 31, not only overtook Rahm, the 54-hole leader and the hottest player on the planet, but he did it while shooting 65 and defeating 28-year-old Aussie Cam Smith in a playoff.
“Smith was two days removed from the third-round course-record 60 he shot on Saturday. But Finau was better when it counted. Finally.”
Meanwhile, Finau locked up a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. He’s the perfect teammate in such a format and he was 2-1 as a rookie last time in Paris.
--Scary story involving Patrick Reed that emerged Monday during the Northern Trust telecast, when his wife revealed, through CBS commentator Amanda Balionis, that Reed has been in a Houston hospital battling bilateral pneumonia.
Reed, who withdrew from the last two PGA Tour events, had released a statement to Golf Channel on his condition.
“I just want to update everyone…First and foremost – thank you all for your support. The good news is, my ankle is okay. The bad news is I’ve been in the hospital with bilateral pneumonia. I’m on the road to recovery, once I’m cleared from the doctors – I look forward to returning….”
Justine Reed told Balionis in a text: “He’s doing much better. It was very scary the last few days…I do know that he will not be able to play in the BMW [this week]. We’re just taking it one day at a time.
According to WebMD, bilateral interstitial pneumonia is a serious infection that can inflame and scar the lungs.
-- “Mr. Ranger,” Rod Gilbert, died the other day, age 80. Gilbert is the New York Rangers’ all-time goals and scoring leader.
Rangers owner James Dolan said in a statement: “I am deeply saddened by the passing of Rod Gilbert – one of the greatest Rangers to ever play for our organization and one of the greatest ambassadors the game of hockey has ever had.
“While his on-ice achievements rightly made him a Hall of Famer, it was his love for the Rangers and the people of New York that endeared him to generations of fans and forever earned him the title, ‘Mr. Ranger.’
“Everyone in the Rangers organization mourns the loss of a true New York icon,” Rangers’ president and general manager Chris Drury added. “Rod’s remarkable talent and zest for life personified this city and endeared him to hockey fans and non-hockey fans alike.”
Born July 1, 1941, in Montreal, Gilbert played with the Rangers from 1960 to 1978. Across parts of 18 seasons, he tallied 406 goals and 615 assists as a winger, for a total of 1,021 points in 1,065 games. Gilbert added 34 goals and 33 assists in 79 playoff appearances, including two trips to the Stanley Cup finals.
From 1970-77, Gilbert scored 30, 43, 25, 36, 36, 36, and 27 goals…that’s consistency.
Gilbert’s final season was 1977-78, and as future Rangers’ star, Ron Duguay, noted the other day, the first person to greet him that year as a rookie was Gilbert, who showed him New York.
“The first time I walked into Madison Square Garden to sign my contract, he was the first man to meet me,” Duguay recalled. “And he took me out that night, too, kind of a celebration, and that was the beginning of a long relationship.
“He was such a likable person that he left an immediate impression on you. So yes, he was my introduction to the New York Rangers. And that stayed with me through all my time as a player and my post-playing career.”
I’ve told this story a few times over the 22 years of this column. You have to picture, at age 8, it was 1966, and while in 1965 I started following baseball, I didn’t become a big fan until the following year, religiously reading box scores and listening to the games and such. My father took my brother and I to a few games at Shea Stadium.
But then I became a Jets fan, and I probably really started following the Rangers (the Knicks beforehand) in detail the 1967-68 season.
I find it fascinating to think about how we all became sports fans. I knew my father followed sports, but he didn’t force me to do the same. He just saw me begin to get interested, and I devoured the morning newspaper every day before I went to elementary school, and you just begin to pick things up.
But the thing about Rod Gilbert is that when I first started following hockey and the Rangers, I’d see “Gilbert” in the box scores, and then listening to my first games with Marv Albert, then the voice of the Rangers (and Knicks), I’d hear him talk about this player “Joe-bear.”
I swear, it might have taken me a month to figure out they were one and the same!
Throughout his career, Rod Gilbert truly was a class act and he was an amazing ambassador for the City. Former Met Rusty Staub (and Walt “Clyde” Frazier) were others that immediately come to mind when you think of New York icons, in the truest sense….and wouldn’t you know, the three ended up with their own restaurants/clubs, that I went to on more than one occasion, in the case of the first two. Haven’t been to Clyde’s relatively newer place yet.
Yours truly has such fond memories of the Rangers of my youth…Gilbert playing on the “GAG Line” (Goal-a-Game)…Vic Hadfield, Jean Ratelle, and Rod Gilbert.
It was a great time to be a Mets, Jets, Knicks and Rangers fan. They were all in sync in what were my formative sports fan years. Hasn’t been that way since.
--My New York Jets suffered their second brutal injury in days, as we learned offseason free-agent signing, linebacker Jarrad Davis, emerged from the preseason game Saturday against the Packers with a high ankle sprain that will likely keep him out for the first five games of the regular season.
Defensive end Carl Lawson ruptured his Achilles tendon earlier in the week.
The Jets have zero depth at LB, and a fifth-round pick, Jamien Sherwood, is next up. And Sherwood played safety in college at Auburn.
--After I posted early last Sunday, Ryan Blaney captured his second NASCAR Cup series win of the season, sixth of his career, in an exciting finale at Michigan International Speedway. [Your editor winning with his DraftKings lineup a second straight week…but not enough to retire on, I hasten to add.]
--Interesting tidbit put out by the Wake Forest athletic department. The football team has a 44-20 record against North Carolina institutions since the turn of the century in 2001.
Wake also has the highest win percentage and the most overall wins among its Big 4 rivals when they play one another during that time span as well.
Wake Forest: 30-20
North Carolina: 29-23
N.C. State: 26-21
The Deacs have reached a program-record five straight bowl games, third-longest in the ACC, trailing just Clemson and Miami (FL), yet the Deacs never receive any preseason respect.
--Lastly, the other day I was thinking, gee, haven’t lost any old Rock and Roll icons in quite a while. But today we learned of the passing of Charlie Watts, the Rolling Stones’ drummer of 58 years, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards the only ones lasting longer.
I have a great photo of Jagger, Richards, Watts, Bill Wyman and Brian Jones, from 1965-6, that accompanies an autographed album, “December’s Children (And Everybody’s),” that admittedly is perhaps a forgery (though I have the certificate saying it’s not), but at least the photo is real. [As Tony Soprano would have said, ‘Whaddya gonna do?’]
Watts, 80, died weeks after pulling out of the Stones’ U.S. tour following emergency heart surgery.
The quiet, elegantly dressed Watts was often ranked with Keith Moon, Ginger Baker, and a handful of others as a premier rock drummer, his style in keeping with the scruffy beginnings of a group that would rocket to superstardom.
Watts joined early in 1963 and largely held himself apart, through the drug abuse, creative clashes and ego wars that helped kill founding member Brian Jones, drove bassist Bill Wyman and Jones’ replacement Mick Taylor to quit and otherwise made being in the Stones the most exhausting of jobs.
The Stones began, Watts observed, “as white blokes from England playing Black American music” but quickly evolved into their own distinctive sound.
Watts had his eccentricities – he liked to collect cars even though he didn’t drive and would simply sit in them in his garage. But he was a steadying influence on stage and off as the Stones defied all expectations by rocking well into their 70s, decades longer than their rivals the Beatles.
Jagger and Richards agreed on little at times except for their admiration of Charlie Watts, both as a man and a musician. Richards called Watts “the key” and often joked that their affinity was so strong that on stage he’d sometimes try to rattle Watts by suddenly changing the beat – only to have Watts change it right back.
Jagger and Richards could only envy his indifference to stardom and relative contentment in his private life.
But to the world, Watts was a rock star, and he once said the experience could be frightening. “Girls chasing you down the street, screaming…horrible!...I hated it.”
Next Bar Chat, Sunday p.m.
[Posted early Sunday p.m., prior to conclusion of Mets-Dodgers and other late afternoon/early evening events.]
I’ll have an Add-On up top by Wed. noon.
Baseball Quiz: The Cy Young Award was first handed out in 1956. Name the only 11 pitchers to win both the Cy Young and MVP awards in the same season. Answer below.
--Last Wed. morning, Mets owner Steve Cohen tweeted: “It’s hard to understand how professional hitters can be this unproductive. The best teams have a more disciplined approach. The slugging and OPS numbers don’t lie.”
That afternoon, the Mets had a stirring 6-2 extra-inning win over the Giants in San Francisco, but then they lost the first three of a four-game series in Los Angeles, the Metsies scoring all of six runs in the three combined…4-1, 3-2, and 4-3. Just awful.
Back after just a third of the season had been played, Mets fans looked warily at the schedule and 13 consecutive games in August against the Dodgers and Giants, and in the first nine of the 13, they are 1-8. We knew this would be the season, and it has been. It’s Game Over.
NL East standings as of Saturday.
New York 60-63…7
Regarding the Dodgers, I do have to note that on Friday, Walker Buehler improved to 13-2, 2.11, in allowing 2 earned in 7 2/3 against the Mets.
Saturday, Max Scherzer went 5 innings, yielding 1 earned, for the win, Scherzer now 11-4, 2.65.
The Dodgers entered play Sunday, just 1 ½ behind the Giants.
San Francisco 79-44
Los Angeles 78-46…1.5
And they have long locked up a wild card slot at worst.
Wild Card standings….
Los Angeles 78-46…+10.5
San Diego 68-57…---
The Reds have been playing terrific, exciting ball.
--As for the Braves, they took advantage of the Orioles this weekend, stretching their winning streak to nine, 16 of 18, with a 3-1 win in Baltimore today.
Baltimore’s losing streak is now 18, as earlier in the week, they became the first team in the AL’s 120-year history with multiple losing streaks of at least 13. Good gawd. The current one is the longest streak in the majors since Kansas City dropped 19 straight in 2005.
By the way, good seats are available in Baltimore these days.
--In the American League, the Yankees have been the story this month. Incredibly, you can point to three different times this season where manager Aaron Boone was a loss or two from losing his job, general manager Brian Cashman less so, but also on the hot seat.
And now the Yankees (whose game with the Twins today was postponed by Tropical Storm Henri), have reeled off nine-in-a-row, and have cut the Rays’ lead in the AL East to just 4.
Tampa Bay 76-48
New York 72-52…4
In the wild card race, the Yanks have taken control.
New York 72-52…+2
For the record, in the Yanks’ 7-1 win over the Twins, Gerrit Cole threw six shutout innings as he moved to 12-6, 2.92.
--Since I last posted I have to note Shohei Ohtani’s performance last Wednesday, as the Angels defeated the Tigers 3-1 in Detroit. All Ohtani did was throw 8 innings of 1-run ball, walking none, striking out 8, and needing just 90 pitches to do so. Oh, and he slammed his 40th home run of the season. A pretty good day’s work.
Meanwhile, Tigers fans have been waiting for Miguel Cabrera to hit his 500th home run, but he’s gone homerless his last eight games.
However, he hit #500 today, except it was in Toronto, off Steven Matz.
And I have to note that Detroit Hall of Famer, Jack Morris, was suspended indefinitely from his television analyst gig after using an accent often used to mock Asian people as Ohtani came to the plate in Wednesday’s game. Morris apologized later on the telecast, but it was too late, and the suspension, in my opinion, is deserved.
--MLB and the Players’ Assn. agreed to extend Trevor Bauer’s administrative leave through Aug. 27, hours after a Los Angeles County Superior court judge rescinded a protective order against the Dodgers pitcher.
Bauer, 30, continues to be paid during the administrative leave – which began back on July 2 – but still faces potential discipline from MLB along with a criminal investigation from the Pasadena Police Department after a pair of sexual encounters with a San Diego woman at his residence.
Bauer and his legal team have contended that both instances were consensual, but the woman complained she was punched and sexually assaulted while unconscious.
But key details emerged during a four-day hearing to determine if a protective order against Bauer would remain.
In explaining her decision, the judge said there was no supporting evidence that Bauer was likely to cause the accuser harm or contact her again. Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman also said Bauer did not exceed the limits the accuser had set during sex.
But the accuser did go the hospital following the second encounter with Bauer in May, and she was diagnosed with an acute head injury and assault by strangulation. A forensic nurse who examined the woman afterwards testified this week she noticed rather significant injuries I won’t discuss here because it’s brutal.
--In a sweeping reordering of the trading-card universe, unions representing players in MLB, the NBA and the NFL have struck exclusive agreements with a new company controlled by online sports-merchandise retailer Fanatics Inc.
The deals break the grip that incumbent Topps Co. had held on the baseball-card market since the 1950s. NBA and NFL players had contracts with Panini America, Inc.
In a memo sent to baseball players Thursday, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that his union’s deal is more than 10 times bigger than any previous one the union has ever struck. He added that it is part of a series of recent deals that will generate nearly $2 billion through 2045.
Fanatics has emerged as one of the more aggressive forces in sports merchandizing, with founder, and executive chairman, Michael Rubin, already a co-owner of both the Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. The company has partnered with virtually every major North American professional sports league for merchandising sales and lately has signaled its intent to enter areas such as ticketing and online betting.
Fanatics is currently valued at $18 billion following a new round of funding, nearly triple its valuation from just a year ago.
As for Topps, good luck. It is in the process of going public through a combination with a special-purpose acquisition company, a deal with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corp. II. Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner acquired Topps back in 2007.
--Jets fans had a tough week, losing key pass rusher Carl Lawson to a ruptured left Achilles tendon, a very tough injury to come fully back from, though with a new procedure developed in recent years, you saw how Kevin Durant has returned rather well from the same injury. So there is hope.
Lawson had been the Jets’ big free-agent signing in the offseason, 3 years, $45 million, and he had looked awesome thus far in training camp. Just a massive blow, especially for a team in desperate need of a pass rush, period.
But Saturday in Green Bay, rookie Zach Wilson looked terrific as the Jets beat the Packers 23-14. As one writer put it, an “A-plus” performance, as Wilson appeared to be “NFL-ready” in just his second preseason game, completing 9 of 11 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson never looked flustered.
“His process is light years ahead of what a normal rookie’s process will be,” head coach Robert Salah said.
Wilson and the other big free-agent signing, wide receiver Corey Davis, are bonding rapidly and that bodes well for the offense.
During the Packers broadcast, they interviewed Aaron Rodgers, who heaped praise on Wilson.
“He can throw the heck out of it,” Rodgers said.
--The 49ers waived former first-round draft pick Josh Rosen on Tuesday.
Rosen has had a vagabond existence since being the No. 10 overall pick in the 2018 draft by the Cardinals out of UCLA. After one season, he was sent to Miami, and in 2020, the Dolphins selected Tua Tagovailoa, and with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick as his backup, Rosen was cut and then signed by Tampa Bay to their practice squad. The 49ers then signed Rosen.
But Rosen was playing behind another first-round pick, rookie Trey Lance, who is slated to back up Jimmy Garoppolo.
--Legendary quarterback Brett Favre is warning parents not to let their children play tackle football before the age of 14, lest they greatly increase their kids’ risk of eventually developing the neurodegenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Favre did a public service announcement for the Concussion Legacy Foundation, which has cited a 2019 study by a team of researchers from Boston University that concluded for every 2.6 years of playing tackle football, an athlete’s risk of CTE doubles. Someone who played tackle football for 14.5 years, the study found, was 10 times more likely to develop CTE than someone who spent fewer years playing.
Favre said in 2018 that while he considered himself “lucky” not to be in worse condition, he felt his short-term memory and ability to recall basic vocabulary had “gotten a lot worse.”
--The Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC are set to announce this coming week an agreement to join forces, a move that comes in response to the SEC’s move to add Big 12 powerhouse programs, Texas and Oklahoma. Fear quickly set in that the SEC’s bold strike to move to 16 teams would center too much influence in one of the “Power Five” leagues and lead to a wave of realignment similar to a decade ago.
The proposed alliance could theoretically squash any fears of such a wave in one fell swoop.
The conferences will likely agree to begin scheduling nonconference matchups exclusively with each other, and with this, there would be little need to go pillaging one another – or adding any of the remaining Big 12 schools – for an edge in upcoming media rights negotiations.
But now we’ll see what happens with the remaining eight teams in the Big 12.
The PGA Tour moved the finish of the first round of the FedEx Cup playoffs, the Northern Trust Open at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, NJ, to Monday, with Tropical Storm Henri bearing down on the region. Thankfully, the course didn’t get pounded today with wind and downed trees but still tons of rain and potentially into Monday morning.
So we have this extremely rare, mid-tournament break, and we’ll see what happens, with the FedEx Cup field being cut from 125 to 70 for next week’s second leg at the BMW Championship, which this year is being held in Owings Mills, Maryland.
After three rounds….
Cameron Smith -16
Jon Rahm -16
Erik van Rooyen -15
Justin Thomas -14
Tony Finau -14
You have to understand this area has already had a ton of rain, including this past week, so the golfers were throwing darts on the soft greens, with Cam Smith firing a course-record 60 on Saturday.
--But the world’s number one, Jon Rahm, criticized the FedEx Cup format, which awards the player who is No. 1 in points heading into the Tour Championship, with a two-stroke advantage, the top player starting at 10 under, while the next player is 8 under, and various breakdowns down to the bottom five of the 30 starting at even par.
The system, in its third year, mirrors what would have been a point distribution and allows for there to be one winner of the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup. Previously the Tour Championship had a winner with the possibility of a separate FedEx Cup winner.
“I don’t like that at all,” said Rahm. “No. I think you have the playoffs itself, and if you win the first two and if you don’t play good in the last one…you can end up with a really bad finish.
“I don’t like it. I understand the system. And the way I was told by one of the PGA Tour officials, [if] I’m a Patriots fan and the Patriots win everything to get to the Super Bowl and they don’t win the Super Bowl, you don’t win the Lombardi trophy, right?
“My answer was, they still finished second. They have to understand that golf is different.”
Rahm’s point is that a golfer could win every tournament all year and still just have a 2-stroke advantage at the Tour Championship.
But the tour has tried to balance having some volatility during the playoffs while rewarding players for a strong season. Coming into this week, Collin Morikawa was first in FedEx points, but didn’t make the cut. He’s projected to drop to No. 6, and will still easily qualify for the Tour Championship, regardless of how he does at the BMW.
Look, it’s not easy to put together something everyone will like. I think the way it is set up now is as fair as you could make it. It’s also about television. You can’t have a rout going into Sunday.
--Harry Kane traveled with Tottenham to take on Wolverhampton today and he saw some action, even as the rumors continue he will sign with Manchester United. Kane’s Spurs beat the Wolves 1-0 on an early Dele Alli penalty kick, his first league goal in 17 months, as his game had disappeared.
But the once-dynamic Alli’s career appears to have been resurrected under new manager Nuno Espirito Santo, who had been the Wolves’ highly-popular manager the last four seasons before moving on to Tottenham.
In other contests in Week Two, Liverpool beat Burnley 2-0, Manchester City whipped Norwich 5-0 (Jack Grealish with his first tally for City), Southampton tied Man U 1-1, and Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-0.
For the Gunners, it was the first time in their 118-year history that they opened a league campaign with two defeats and zero goals scored.
--Rafael Nadal became the latest to announce he would not be participating in the U.S. Open, joining Roger Federer and defending champ Dominic Thiem on the men’s side, and a slew of top women in their bracket.
Nadal pulled out with a left foot issue, which flared up in his loss at the French Open to eventual champion Novak Djokovic. Thiem announced earlier this week he was out because of a lingering wrist injury.
As for Djokovic, still seeking the Grand Slam, whether or not he can return to top form after the grueling week in Tokyo and the withering heat, is yet to be seen. No one would be surprised if he went out early.
The Open starts a week from Monday.
--Long-time New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist announced his retirement, and almost immediately, the Rangers said they would retire his No. 30 jersey next season, a great move. The King, “King Henrik,” will get a proper sendoff.
For 15 years, Lundqvist was the face of the franchise, with 459 regular season wins in net and a Vezina Trophy to boot.
It was in the playoffs that he really shined. While his won-loss record in the postseason was just 61-67, he played to a 2.30 GAA, vs. his 2.43 for the regular season. He didn’t choke, it’s just unfortunate Lundqvist couldn’t lead the Rangers to a Stanley Cup.
But fans understand that. He never had a Hall of Fame-caliber supporting cast, for example.
--I was moving furniture and garbage out of a house all day Saturday and only caught a little of the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene Oregon, but it was a terrific meet to hold right after the Olympics, and would have been a pisser to be at.
Among the winners were 20-year-old Norwegian, and Olympic gold medalist Jakob Ingebrigsten, who won the signature event, the Bowerman Mile, in 3 minutes 47.24 seconds, which was a national and meet record. This kid is good. Love watching him.
In the women’s 100 meters, Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, the two-time Olympic gold medalist in the event, ran the second-fastest women’s 100-meter time in history with her win yesterday in 10.54. The only woman who has run faster is world-record holder Florence Griffith Joyner at 10.49.
Right on her heels were teammates Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.73) and Shericka Jackson (10.76), duplicating their finish in Tokyo.
But in last place was Sha’Carri Richardson, who hasn’t competed since the Olympic Trials due to a drug suspension for marijuana. Richardson ran 11.14.
“I’m a warrior,” Richardson said. “My passion will always come out. This last month was a journey for me. That’s no excuse because I’m an athlete. Today was a day, but it’s not every day. It’s not the end of the world. If you choose to count me out, the joke’s on you.”
The women’s 200 was won by Mujinga Kambundji of Switzerland in 22.06, with American bronze medalist Gabby Thomas coming in second at 22.11.
Allyson Felix was eighth in 22.60. I’m not sure how much longer she’ll race, knowing she’s already announced Tokyo was it when it comes to the Olympics.
Canadian Andre de Grasse, gold medalist in the 200 and winner of the bronze in the 100 in Tokyo, captured the Pre Classic men’s 100, in a quality field, running a wind-aided 9.74.
Olympic silver medalist Fred Kerley was second in 9.78 and fellow American Ronnie Baker was third.
In his first race since his disappointing finish in Tokyo, Noah Lyles won the 200 in a meet-record 19.52.
Meanwhile, the final race of Athing Mu’s long and illustrious season was the best of her short career. The 19-year-old from New Jersey, winner of the gold in the 800, repeated the feat, topping her own American record with a 1:55.04 victory against a field that included all three medalists from Tokyo.
And Dalilah Muhammad won the women’s 400 hurdles, the event she had finished second to Sydney McLaughlin in in Tokyo, McLaughlin not in the field yesterday.
--Manny Pacquiao lost on his return to the ring after a two-year absence, upset by Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas, who won by unanimous decision to retain the WBA (super) welterweight title.
Ugas was only drafted in on Aug. 10 for the Las Vegas fight to replace the injured Errol Spence Jr.
It was Pacquiao’s first bout since beating Keith Thurman for the WBA welterweight title in July 2019.
Asked if this was his final fight, the 42-year-old Pacquiao said, “I don’t know.”
The eight-division world champion, who now has a record of 62-8-2, added, “That’s boxing. I had a hard time in the ring making adjustments. My legs were tight. I’m sorry I lost tonight, but I did my best.”
Pacquiao, immensely popular in his native Philippines and a legislator, could run for president.
He had been stripped of the WBA title in January because of inactivity.
--Lastly, we note the passing of singer and guitarist Don Everly, half of the brotherly hit-making machine that really were the first of the harmony-makers who followed, including the likes of the Beach Boys and the Beatles. He was 84.
Everly and his younger brother Phil, who died in 2014, hit it big in 1957 with “Bye Bye Love,” which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard pop chart and was followed by the No. 1 “Wake Up Little Susie.”
The Everly Brothers had 15 top tens overall, including No. 1s “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” “Bird Dog,” and “Cathy’s Clown.”
Top 3 songs for the week 8/21/76: #1 “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (Elton John & Kiki Dee) #2 “You Should Be Dancing” (Bee Gees) #3 “Let ‘Em In” (Wings)…and…#4 “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” (Lou Rawls) #5 “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight” (England Dan & John Ford Coley) #6 “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty” (KC & The Sunshine Band) #7 “Rock And Roll Music” (The Beach Boys…not their best…) #8 “Kiss And Say Goodbye” (Manhattans) #9 “Get Closer” (Seals & Croft) #10 “Turn The Beat Around” (Vicki Sue Robinson…C+ week…)
Baseball Quiz Answer: The 11 pitchers to win both the Cy Young and MVP awards in the same season.
Don Newcombe, 1956
Sandy Koufax, 1963
Bob Gibson, 1968
Denny McLain, 1968
Vida Blue, 1971
Rollie Fingers, 1981
Willie Hernandez, 1984
Roger Clemens, 1986
Dennis Eckersley, 1992
Justin Verlander, 2011
Clayton Kershaw, 2014
I’ll have an Add-On up top by Wed. noon.