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A Playoff for the Ages
Add-On posted Wed. a.m.
Folks, not an easy stretch for your editor. I’m heavily involved in cleaning out a house that had been in the family 55 years, largely by myself, and then yesterday, I somehow screwed up something with my email and spent over two hours on the phone last night with tech support…to no avail. [If some of you are wondering why I’m not responding to your missives, this is the reason.]
Anyway, just clearing the table on a few items. Hopefully, things are reasonably back to normal this weekend, aside from another six hours at the house.
--Here in New York, it’s been all about thumbs down, thumbs up. Some of the players, sensitive to being booed despite their godawful play since the All-Star break, took to giving the thumbs down when they had a big hit…the thumbs down intended for Mets fans. As it was led by stars Javy Baez and Francisco Lindor, this was explosive.
Baez said: “When we don’t get success, we’re going to get booed. So they’re going to get booed when we have success.”
Both apologized, sort of, but not really in the case of Lindor, who just doesn’t get it, despite his 10-year, $340 million contract, though the fans then gave a big thumbs up to the Mets for their sweep on Tuesday of the Marlins at Citi Field, extending their win streak to four.
Now understand…if you look at the schedule, it looks like only three in a row, but the Metsies won the completion, Tuesday, of a game suspended way back in April, so an April 11 result, and then won the 7-inning nightcap.
Michael Conforto, having as bad a season as anyone can have, especially given his importance to the lineup, played a starring role in both games and Baez helped mightily in the opener with a daring dash to home from first on a single to left the leftfielder muffed. It completed a stirring bottom of the ninth comeback from a 5-1 deficit.
But back to the thumb issue, Mets announcer Gary Cohen summed it up succinctly in comments yesterday, while speaking with his partners Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling.
Cohen started the conversation by saying how the culture current players have grown up with is very different from previous eras, noting that coaches and managers hardly yell now and are more positive all around.
Partly because of this, Cohen said, the current situation potentially “leaves players less prepared for the negativity that exists in society, and negativity that gets expressed now with more vitriol than ever on social media.”
He added that it can be difficult for players to discern the difference between the online browbeating with more “measured” criticism from the media and level-headed fans.
But Cohen added, ditto Hernandez, that the players are more distanced from the world than ever – solely due to the pandemic and reporters for two years not being allowed in the clubhouse for interviews. So they’re all alone, and there becomes more of an “us against the world,” mentality.
Yet the real issue is Lindor. As the New York Post’s Joel Sherman opined:
“Baez is an accidental tourist. He will be a Mets footnote. A guy who will really learn what boos sound like at Citi Field when he shows up in his next team’s uniform.
“Lindor is furniture. He has a 10-year contract that does not even begin until next season. And that 10-year contract is central to why Lindor is the focus. When he was traded to the Mets, Lindor had no control. He lacked a no-trade clause.
“But he did have control beyond this season. And it would not have taken Ph.D. dissertation-level research to know that if you accept the mega-contract to be The Man here, what the downside is: A passionate fan base holding you accountable if things go wrong. The boos are going to rain – and so are calls to sports talk radio, critical columns and voluminous nasty social media posts….
“Thus, participating in juvenile thumbs-down hand gestures to symbolize booing back at the crowd says so many bad things about Lindor and his surroundings. Where was someone who has been a Met a while – a Michael Conforto or a Jacob deGrom – to be the adult in the room and explain how wrong this would spin if it got out.”
Well, at least for Tuesday, the fans were back on Baez’ and Lindor’s side. How long it lasts is up to the players.
--Meanwhile, former Met, shortstop Amed Rosario, became the first player on record, since at least 1920, when RBIs became an official stat, to go 5-for-5, with five RBIs, an inside-the-partk homer and a drive over the fence, as the Indians beat the Royals last night, 7-2.
Rosario, still just 25, had an outstanding 2019, but like so many others, was mediocre in limited action in 2020, as the Mets then put him in the package for Francisco Lindor. All Rosario is doing is totally outplaying Lindor, batting .290 with pop, to Lindor’s .224 with little pop. And, ahh, Rosario is slightly less expensive. Just another awful decision by the guys in the front office.
--As for the Yankees, a funny thing happened on the way to the World Series. They’ve suddenly lost four straight, including the last two nights to the Angels, 8-7 and 6-4. Shohei Ohtani slammed his MLB-leading 42nd homer in the first one, and then stole home last night. He’s up to 88 runs scored.
Unfortunately, he missed a scheduled start on the mound with a sore wrist.
Monday, the Yanks’ Corey Kluber made his first start since May 25, having been out with a shoulder strain, and he allowed five earned in four innings.
With the Yanks and Red Sox suddenly losing, things are tightening back up.
AL Wild Card
New York 76-56…+2
--Mookie Betts returned for the Dodgers recently and in a 3-2 win over the Braves at Dodger Stadium, proclaiming himself pain-free from his bone spur in the right hip, the source of discomfort for four months, Betts clubbed his second home run in two nights and robbed Atlanta of a home run, before a riveting dash from first on a double by Corey Seager.
Walker Buehler allowed two runs in seven innings with a no-decision. It was the 26th time in 27 starts he has logged at least six innings. Pretty awesome. Buehler is 13-2, 2.05 ERA.
--Not for nothing but Bryce Harper is having an outstanding season, .306 batting average, 26 home runs, 63 RBIs, 79 runs scored, .420 on-base percentage, 1.014 OPS. Quite a return to form and the Phillies are hanging in there in the NL East.
Thru Tuesday’s play….
New York 65-67…5.5
--It wasn’t known right after Patrick Cantlay took down Bryson DeChambeau in their stirring six-hole playoff at the BMW Championship that Cantlay had grabbed the sixth automatic spot on the Ryder Cup team, but he now joins Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, and Justin Thomas.
U.S. Captain Steve Stricker will name the remaining six players via captain’s picks following this week’s season-finale Tour Championship and Tony Finau is a lock, ditto Xander Schauffele and Jordan Spieth.
As for the final three, you have Harris English, Daniel Berger, kind of out of nowhere, Sam Burns, Scottie Scheffler…maybe Webb Simpson, though I’m guessing the three will come from the first four. Phil Mickelson would love to be on the team, but he has said all the right things and would get it if he’s not selected. He hasn’t been playing great at all since Kiawah (actually, he’s sucked…and he knows it…).
Well, with the first four (not Webb) all in the Tour Championship, Stricker might have a relatively easy go of it.
But then….who does he pair with the volatile, and highly unlikable (especially among his fellow players) DeChambeau, who after Sunday’s playoff once again refused to talk to the media.
The European team is decided on Sept. 12 and 13, with the Euro Tour’s BMW PGA Championship. Captain Padraig Harrington then has three captain’s picks.
The Ryder Cup begins Sept. 24 at Whistling Straits, the Euros the defending champs, after they blitzed the U.S. in France….way back in 2018!
--As for the Tour Championship, it’s a staggered start in terms of the scores…the part Jon Rahm complained about the other week.
Patrick Cantlay -10
Tony Finau -8
Bryson DeChambeau -7
Jon Rahm -6
Cam Smith -5
Harris English -4
Abraham Ancer -4
Jordan Spieth -4
Sam Burns -4
And the rest, including Morikawa, DJ, Rory, Xander, Brooks, Matsuyama…should be fun.
As for Patrick Reed, who qualified 30th despite not playing in the two playoff events due to his double pneumonia, he’s out of the hospital and as of now will give it a go.
--The Patriots cut quarterback Cam Newton, committing to rookie Mac Jones, a major surprise. But it seems Newton didn’t ingratiate himself with the organization when he missed a number of practices because of a Covid protocols “misunderstanding.”
--Indianapolis quarterback Carson Wentz and two teammates went on the reserve/Covid-19 list on Monday. As the Indianapolis Star’s Gregg Doyel wrote, this only added “to the Dumpster fire that this 2021 Colts preseason has become, because Wentz doesn’t care about his new teammates, his new city, none of it. According to NFL Network, Wentz and the other two Colts put into quarantine Monday, receiver Zach Pascal and center Ryan Kelly, didn’t test positive for the coronavirus themselves. No, they’ve been quarantined as ‘close contacts.’
“Only unvaccinated players can go onto the reserve/Covid-19 list as a close contact with someone who has tested positive.”
Left tackle Eric Fisher tested positive last week, but Wentz, Kelly and Pascal were close contacts with an unnamed staffer – not Fisher. All of the players seem to be unvaccinated.
“This was so avoidable, but these guys, for whatever reason, have decided to ignore every credible bit of scientific evidence to listen to crackpots or despots or whatever voice is trying to tell them: Pssst, you know better than every credible epidemiologist in the country.
“Hell, do these guys even know what an epidemiologist is?....
“Carson Wentz is the worst of the bunch, in a football sense, because he’s the most important player on the team. He’s the most indispensable player on the roster, and the Colts have no idea if he’ll make it through any given week without having to go back onto the Covid-19 list simply for being too close to a teammate who tests positive. I’ll remind you that, when the Colts acquired Wentz, I defended his arrival despite the reports out of Philadelphia that had called him a bad teammate. And selfish.
“Well, what do you know.
“Turns out, Carson Wentz is a bad teammate. He’s selfish. Turns out he fits right into this Colts locker room.”
--We have the first full weekend of the CFB season, highlighted by Alabama-Miami, Penn State-Wisconsin, LSU-UCLA and Clemson-Georgia. So many high-profile teams, i.e., Clemson and ‘Bama, are starting anew with new quarterbacks, so who the heck knows until Week 3 or 4. But it’s good to have the game back.
We had a real tragedy in New Jersey on Monday. A lifeguard was struck and killed by lightning at a beach in South Seaside Park, six others injured. It was a day that didn’t feature severe storms, like we are about to get here thanks to Ida’s remnants, and have had, all summer.
So a lifeguard and a golfer have been killed by lightning in my state, among the very few such victims nationwide.
Next Bar Chat, Sunday.
[Posted Sun. p.m., prior to Yankees – A’s.]
I’ll have an Add-On by Wednesday a.m.
Baseball Quiz: With Yasmani Grandal’s 8-RBI game the other day, just another excuse to ask, who are the only two in baseball history to drive in 12 runs in a single game? Answer below.
--The Yankees extended their winning streak to 13 (matching a number last attained in 1961), beating the Athletics in Oakland on Friday, 8-2, as Gerrit Cole threw six shutout innings, improving to 13-6, 2.80.
But the streak ended Saturday, the A’s rebounding 3-2.
Nonetheless, quite a run for the once-beleaguered team and its manager, Aaron Boone, who I noted recently, had legitimately been within a game or two of being fired, on three separate occasions, as the Yankees struggled to find themselves, and hit in the clutch.
But it’s been the guys who were long expected to power the club, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, who have been on a roll. You know I hate the Yankees, but strictly as a baseball fan, I’m kind of happy for Stanton. By all accounts a good guy, who hasn’t lived up to his ginormous contract, owing mostly to injuries, but is still a player who can have a huge impact on a team’s playoff prospects.
Until Saturday, Stanton had clubbed four homers and driven in eight in the Yanks’ previous five games.
AL East standings as I post….
Tampa Bay 82-48
New York 76-53…5.5
AL Wild Card….
New York 76-53…+2
--To give you a sense of how quickly the Mets’ season went sideways, the team was 45-37, with a four-game lead in the NL East, the last time ace Jacob deGrom pitched, July 7. He’s been on the shelf since, and the Mets have gone 17-30, now 7 ½ back of Atlanta entering play on Sunday.
DeGrom underwent another MRI and it was clean, as have previous ones been, and it seems the team is furiously attempting to now ramp him up, for possible availability the final two weeks of the season, but most of us fans are like, ‘why bother?’ Despite a nice come-from-behind win Saturday night, 5-3 over the Nationals on a three-run pinch-hit homer by Michael Conforto, they are going nowhere.
For the record, they finished up their 13-game ‘trail of tears’ against the Dodgers and Giants 2-11. Ah, that’s not good, sports fans.
But they won their second-in-a-row today, 9-4 over the Nats.
That said, Philadelphia and Atlanta also won and the NL East standings thru today….
New York 63-67…7.5
NL Wild Card standings as I write….
San Diego 69-62…1.5
St. Louis 66-63…3.5
--Saturday night, the Mets finally did the right thing and retired Jerry Koosman’s No. 36. Only two other Mets players, Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza, have been so honored.
Koosman was 140-137, 3.09, in his Mets career, 222-209, 3.36 overall, including a 20-13 season for Minnesota in 1979.
Koosman broke into the starting rotation in 1968 and was 19-12, 2.08, finishing second to Johnny Bench in the Rookie of the Year balloting, a year after Tom Seaver won the honor, and this dominating duo would lead the Metropolitans to the Miracle World Series championship in 1969, Koosman 17-9, 2.28.
Most importantly, in Mets postseason play in ‘69 and ‘73, Kooz was 4-0, including 2-0 against the vaunted Orioles in ’69.
Nothing but very fond memories of this man, and glad the Mets woke up (thank you, Uncle Stevie). It was great to see Koosman with his four grandkids there to share the special day.
--I love when the greats perform in the clutch (unless it’s against the Mets), and such was the case Thursday night in San Diego as the Dodgers’ latest acquisition, Max Scherzer, tossed 7 2/3 of shutout ball in front of a sellout crowd, stifling the struggling Padres 4-0.
Scherzer recorded 10 strikeouts in his fifth start as a Dodger, and is now 4-0, 1.55 ERA for Los Angeles. That’s why this terrific organization, in need of another stud pitcher if they want to repeat as World Series champions, went out and got one of the great clutch pitchers of his era.
NL West standings….
San Francisco 84-46
Los Angeles 82-48…2
--As alluded to above, Yasmani Grandal, in his first game off the injured list on Friday night, drove in eight runs, on two home runs, a double and single.
Grandal became the first catcher to record multiple eight-RBI games since RBIs became official in 1920, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. He also is the fourth player since 1920 with two career, four-hit, eight-RBI games, joining Nelson Cruz, Mookie Betts and Jimmie Foxx. Anytime you are included in a conversation with “Double XX” is a good day.
Meanwhile, the White Sox beat the Cubs, 17-13, in Grandal’s big game, but were shut out 7-0, Saturday.
--MLB, and the Players’ Association, extended Trevor Bauer’s paid leave for a seventh time, until Sept. 3.
The matter is now in the hands of Los Angeles prosecutors, who will decide whether to charge Bauer. There is no timeline for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
--The 2021 season is officially underway, and Scott Frost’s Nebraska Cornhuskers once again laid an egg, as Illinois, under new coach Bret Bielema (formerly at Wisconsin), defeated Nebraska 30-22 in Champagne, IL.
Frost, a one-time hero in Lincoln for the Cornhuskers at quarterback, was thought to be the savior of this once-great program, but here’s his early record.
The last time Nebraska finished a season in the AP final top 25 was 2012, and at 25th. That’s kind of staggering.
In the other ‘big’ game of the opening weekend, UCLA blasted Hawaii 44-10, a nice win to start the season for coach Chip Kelly. We’ll find out next week in Pasadena if UCLA has finally turned the corner when the Bruins take on LSU, Saturday, in one of the best games of the Week 1 slate. [LSU’s team had moved to Houston this weekend to avoid Hurricane Ida, but hopefully Baton Rouge is spared major damage. I’m assuming the game will still go on at this point. LSU has been through this scenario before.]
One more CFB note…Fresno State whipped UConn 45-0, the Huskies’ 31st defeat in 34 games against Football Bowl Subdivision competition since coach Randy Edsall’s return in 2017. In its first game as an FBS independent, UConn allowed 538 yards of offense, while picking up just 107 itself. Ugh.
--I thought a headline in the Washington Post spelled it out best, following the formal announcement the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 are banding together:
“It’s not clear what the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 are doing, but they’re doing it together.”
Right now, frankly, this ends up being much ado about nothing. Yes, there could be some intriguing new matchups, though nothing is written in stone as yet.
The big issue for now is the planned expansion of the College Football Playoffs from four teams to 12, which the three conferences have expressed concerns over because it would likely tilt heavily to the SEC. However, the Pac-12 is for expansion of some kind, ditto the others, and in late September, the powers that be are slated to reach some kind of consensus. Personally, I’ll accept going to eight teams, as long as a Group of Five school is one of the eight, every year, to give the underdog a shot at winning it all. A 12-team playoff is absurd and will do too much damage to the minor bowls.
--The second leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs, the BMW Championship at soft and vulnerable Caves Valley Golf Club, Owings Mills, Md., saw Bryson DeChambeau fire a second-round 60, missing a 6-foot birdie putt on 18 that was for 59, for a one-shot lead over Patrick Cantlay.
DeChambeau then stumbled on the back nine in Round 3, after getting it to -23, and entering the final round we had the following leaderboard…as the playoff field would be cut from 70 to the final 30 for next week’s finale at East Lake in Atlanta.
Sungjae Im -18
Abraham Ancer -17
Rory McIlroy -17
Sam Burns -17
Sergio Garcia -17
Of these, Garcia entered the week at No. 44 in the standings and needs to stay essentially in the top seven to assure a spot at East Lake, having moved up to 27 as he plays the final 18.
And Garcia survived, finishing T6 for 28 at East Lake.
But then there was Bryson and Cantlay, and with Cantlay making some huge clutch putts down the stretch, even after leaking some oil, he found himself in a playoff with DeChambeau at -27.
And on the first playoff hole, No. 18, Cantlay was off the green with his approach on the par-4, Bison in good shape for a birdie attempt; Cantlay hits a magical chip…and we move on….
On to a fifth freakin’ playoff hole, it turns out…as your editor wants to post…and eat!
And then a sixth…fourth time playing the 18th. Cantlay makes a 17-footer for birdie, Bison’s nearly 9-footer….he misses it!
Cantlay captures win No. 5, and the No. 1 slot for the Tour Championship.
Wow, what an incredible tournament for golf fans and the sport! Huge!!! Hell, my brother and I were constantly calling each other down the stretch. As we said after, the reason everyone can really respect golf, and the PGA Tour, or Champions Tour, is because it’s a sport everyone can play, at all ages! I’m old…have ailments…but I love to play golf! I can.
Most of us sure aren’t playing football, baseball or hockey.
In my Add-On next time…I’ll get into the FedEx Cup finale at East Lake.
Finally, what a great course for a playoff event. Awesome job setting up the 18th amphitheater.
--United States Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker said he’s spoken individually to Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka about putting their running feud to rest for the good of American golf, and each has agreed it won’t be an issue at Whistling Straits.
Koepka acknowledged after his opening round 70 at the BMW Championship that he had spoken to Stricker and told him, “For one week, we’ll put everything aside. It’s not a big deal.”
DeChambeau has been boycotting all post-round interviews with print reporters since he was widely criticized for his idiotic Covid-19 comments concerning vaccinations.
--I love Saturday night Cup Series races, and the Coke Zero Sugar 400 from Daytona was the last opportunity for drivers to qualify for the 10-race playoff series that crowns a champion.
And what a wild finish we had as Ryan Blaney took the lead on a frantic overtime restart and never looked back, winning in dramatic fashion as cars wrecked behind him going down the backstretch.
The yellow flag was displayed as Blaney entered Turn 3, signaling the end of the race and he had a second consecutive win (3rd of the season, 7th of his career).
The race was the final chance for the likes of Austin Dillon and Matt DiBenedetto to qualify, both needing to win it outright, but in the end, Tyler Reddick took the last of the 16 spots, advancing on points with a seventh-place finish.
--Before the weekend’s action commenced, Manchester United confirmed it had reached an agreement to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus. It’s a two-year deal for the 36-year-old superstar.
Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 games in his spell at Old Trafford before leaving for Real Madrid in 2009.
It’s a dramatic move, as it was thought Manchester City was going to land the forward.
However, Ronaldo has opted to return to United where he spent six years and won three Premier League titles, one Champions League, two League Cups and one FA Cup – all under manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
So a real shot in the arm for Man U, and a blow to City, which missed out on another striker option after main target Harry Kane committed to Tottenham.
Ronaldo is a five-time Ballon d’Or winner (best player of the year, worldwide, in soccer), and overall five-time Champions League winner (once with Man U, four times with Real Madrid).
He’s the all-time Champions League scoring leader with 134 goals in 176 appearances.
Yes, he’s 36, but still capable of magic when healthy.
--Ten-man Chelsea held on for a 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday after defender Reece James was sent off just before halftime. Chelsea had taken the early lead, but Liverpool drew level in controversial circumstances when, after a review, the referee ruled that James had handled on the line as he kept out a Sadio Mane effort and awarded a penalty and sent off the Chelsea fullback.
The images showed the ball had struck James’ thigh before bouncing up against his arm and while Chelsea argued they were robbed, Mohamed Salah calmly drove home the spot kick.
But down to 10 men for the second half, Chelsea held firm against a wave of Liverpool attacks to secure a critical point. Yes, it’s early, only Game 3 of 38, but the Big Guns only play each other twice so at season’s end, Chelsea fans may look back on this one with great pride.
Also on Saturday, Man City blasted lowly Arsenal 5-0 (seems strange to write this).
Today, Tottenham hosted Watford, and while Harry Kane was not a factor, Son Heung-Min was, tallying the lone goal of the game, another 1-0 win for the Spurs.
Kane, whose contract runs to 2024, had reaffirmed his commitment to the club just six days before the transfer window closes on Aug. 31.
A key was last Sunday, as the Spurs hosted the Wolves and he received a huge ovation from the fans; Kane a bit surprised how quickly they were willing to forgive and forget the fact he wanted to leave.
Speaking of the Wolves, they lost 1-0 to Man U in today’s late game.
So after the opening three weeks of play, kind of out of nowhere, Tottenham is the only 3-0-0 team, three 1-0 victories. I honestly thought before the season started that we were headed to the kind of start Arsenal is having.
--Action begins Monday in Flushing Meadows, and it’s going to be a crowded schedule after expected rain Wednesday and Thursday, owing to the remnants from Hurricane Ida (and maybe some unrelated rain tomorrow). But the weather looks great after, with no heat waves.
It’s really all about Novak Djokovic and his quest for a Grand Slam, especially with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, as well as 2020 champion Dominic Thiem, out of the field due to injury.
Aside from becoming the first to win the calendar Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969, Djokovic could pass both Federer and Nadal in GS titles, all three now at 20.
But aside from Djokovic having to deal with the after-effects of playing in brutal conditions at the Tokyo Olympics, there are serious challengers remaining in his way – namely Alexander Zverez, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Meanwhile, on the women’s side, without Serena Williams in the field (injury), it’s about Naomi Osaka, who will try to rebound at the tournament where she feels most comfortable.
World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty stands in Osaka’s way.
--We note the passing of Jerry Harkness, 81, star of the Loyola University Chicago’s integrated basketball team that won the 1963 NCAA championship, along the way defeating a Mississippi State team that had previously refused to play against Black athletes.
Richard Sandomir / New York Times
“The 1963 tournament, and in particular Loyola’s second-round game against Mississippi State on March 11, illustrated the racial tension that was prevalent in sports in the early 1960s. The all-white Mississippi State Bulldogs had chosen not to go to three previous NCAA tournaments, to avoid facing Black opponents.
George Ireland, the coach of the Loyola Ramblers, had been irritating rival coaches by starting four Black players, including Harkness, violating a practice at the time of playing no more than three.
“ ‘I don’t know if it was unwritten rules he didn’t go by, but putting in four Blacks at the time was not popular at all,’ Harkness told the Chicago Tribune in 2018.
“The game, in East Lansing, Mich., was covered by more than the usual number of reporters and photographers for a regional semifinal matchup.
“ ‘You don’t realize history is being made until I went out to shake the captain’s hand at Mississippi State and I saw all these lights go off, clack, clack, clack,’ Harkness said….
“Though the Ramblers had received hate mail early in the tournament, there were no incidents during the game. Loyola won easily, 61-51, and Harkness led all scorers with 20 points.
“ ‘They were perfect gentlemen, just like any other team we played,’ Joe Dan Gold, the Bulldogs’ captain, said afterward. ‘They beat us on the offensive backboard.’
“Loyola’s victory preceded by three years a more heralded game in the civil rights history of sports: the NCAA final between Texas Western, which started five Black players, and the all-white Kentucky team. Texas Western won, 72-65.”
The Ramblers beat two-time defending champion Cincinnati for the title, 60-58 in overtime, after trailing by 15 points midway through the second half.
--A brave mother in California fought off a mountain lion – with her bare hands – as it attacked her 5-year-old son outside their Calabasas home on Thursday, authorities said.
The unnamed woman punched the 65-pound animal and wrestled it away from her child. The mountain lion had dragged the child “about 45 yards” across the front lawn in the wild attack, said Capt. Patrick Foy, a spokesman with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” Foy said.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” he said.
The parents drove their boy to the hospital and staffers there alerted authorities to the attack.
Foy said the kid sustained traumatic injuries to his head and upper torso but was recovering in stable condition at a Los Angeles hospital.
Thankfully, a wildlife officer sent to the scene spotted the mountain lion “hissing” at him and shot and killed the animal on site, authorities said. I can’t imagine the fear in the neighborhood if they hadn’t found the beast.
The mother goes in the December file for award consideration.
--The pistol used to kill the notorious outlaw Billy the Kid in the days of the American Wild West was auctioned off for $6.03 million, a world record for a firearm.
The Colt single-action revolver owned by sheriff Pat Garrett had been estimated at $2-3 million and saw “lively bidding” on the phone, online and in the room in Friday’s sale, the auction house Bonhams said.
“It stands as a relic of one of the most important and well-known stories of the Wild West,” Bonhams said.
It said the gun was in “very good” condition with “well-worn grips.”
Garrett used the .44-caliber gun to shoot Billy the Kid – who was born Henry McCarty but also went by William Bonney – in the chest on July 14, 1881, in New Mexico. The gunfighter died at the age of 21.
The previous record for a firearm was $1.98 million, set by Christie’s in 2002 for a pair of flintlock saddle pistols carried by George Washington during the Revolutionary War, Bonhams said. They were gifts from his friend and ally the Marquis de Lafayette.
A double-barrel hammer shotgun that Billy the Kid took from a sheriff’s deputy and used to kill him as he escaped from jail in April 1881, sold for nearly $980,000 at Friday’s auction, well above estimates of $200,000 to $300,000.
--According to researchers at the University of Michigan, and a peer-reviewed study released last week, eating a single hot dog shaves 36 minutes off a human life. In contrast, the study found that eating nuts could add 26 minutes to someone’s lifespan.
So when you see something like this, you immediately think of national treasure, and one of the greatest athletes of our time, Joey Chestnut.
“Interesting, I might need to eat more nuts to go back in time,” tweeted the 13-time Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest champion, who owns the record for eating 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes, and, by the study’s calculation, would’ve lost one year and 15 minutes of his life for consuming his estimated 19,200 hot dogs over 16 years.
--Ed Asner died today, 91, surrounded by loved ones.
Asner won seven Emmy Awards, five for playing Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” one of the five greatest sitcoms of all time. The other Emmys were for his roles as slave ship master Captain Davies in the miniseries “Roots” and Axel Jordache in the miniseries “Rich Man, Poor Man.”
When he saw the script for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” he said, “I knew it was a winner. This was gold.”
Asner was also known for his political activism, which he said limited his acting opportunities, calling himself Hollywood’s “resident communist.” This bothered a lot of folks…I was like, “whatever.”
--Singer Kid Rock says he canceled his weekend shows in Fort Worth, Texas, venue Billy Bob’s, because his bandmates have Covid.
“I am pissed,” Kid Rock wrote on his website Friday, in typical Rock fashion. “Over half the band has f---ing covid (not me), and before u s—t for brains bloggers and media trolls run your mouths, many of them, like me, have been vaccinated.”
Rock and his band performed at the Sturgis Bike Rally in South Dakota on Aug. 8, which was labeled a “super spreader” event due to its huge crowds and cavalier nature. It’s a fact that the annual event was responsible for over 100 new Covid cases this go ‘round as of mid-week.
Top 3 songs for the week 8/27/77: #1 “Best Of My Love” (Emotions) #2 “I Just Want To Be Your Everything” (Andy Gibb) #3 “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher” (Rita Coolidge)…and…#4 “Easy” (Commodores) #5 “Handy Man” (James Taylor) #6 “Whatcha Gonna Do” (Pablo Cruise) #7 “Just A Song Before I Go” (Crosby, Stills & Nash) #8 “Float On” (The Floaters…great tune…) #9 “Don’t Stop” (Fleetwood Mac) #10 “Stawberry Letter 23” (The Brothers Johnson…popular song at Wake Forest…it being fall of my sophomore year, a year that would go down in the history of academia as one of the three worst ever, all institutions, all divisions…actually, most folks say it was easily the worst year among Power Five schools…)
Baseball Quiz Answer: Only two to drive in 12 runs in a single game…Jim Bottomley, St. Louis Cardinals, 9/16/24. The future Hall of Famer went 6-for-6…two home runs (including a grand slam), one double and three singles, in a 17-3 win over Brooklyn.
Mark Whitten had 12 RBIs on 9/7/93 for the Cardinals, all on his MLB record-tying four home runs.
I’ll have an Add-On by Wed. a.m. up top.