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MLB Playoff Chase and lots of football....
Add-On…early Wed. a.m.
--The Red Sox, Blue Jays and Yankees all won their games Tuesday night, Boston beating the Mets, 6-3, in Fenway, so the AL Wild Card standings look like this….
New York 85-67…0.5
This weekend the Yanks go to Boston for three, followed by three in Toronto. Gonna be interesting.
--In the N.L. the wild card race is over….
Los Angeles 97-54…+15.5
St. Louis 81-69…--
You do not want to face the Cardinals in the wild card game, especially when you are one of the two best teams in baseball, but either the Giants or Dodgers will have to.
San Francisco 98-53
Los Angeles 97-54…1
--Crain’s New York Business had a story on the financial impact of the Yankees not making the playoffs. For starters, they are averaging 40% fewer fans than in 2019, or fewer than 24,000 per game this year. Monday against the Rangers, it looked like far less than the 22,000+ announced crowd. Yes, attendance was limited early in the season, but this team has hardly excited the fan base.
By the way, attendance across MLB is off 35%, though at least families returned to the ballpark. It’s the expense-account crowd that hasn’t.
But while falling crowds matter less due to the value of media rights, which have soared, in the case of the Yankees, ticket and suite sales still make up nearly half of the Yankees’ approximately $700 million in annual revenue. For most teams, the ratio is about 40%.
--The Cardinals’ Jon Lester won his 200th game Monday night in a 5-2 win against Milwaukee. Lester allowed three hits and two runs in six innings, as he joined Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke as the only active pitchers with 200 career wins.
So it’s interesting looking at the 37-year-old Lester’s career record. 200-117, absolutely outstanding. A .631 winning percentage. Three Cy Young Award top 4 finishes, 5 times an All-Star, 8 times a 15-game winner (a key metric these days).
And he’s not only 9-7 in the postseason, 2.51 ERA, but also 4-1 in the World Series, with a minuscule 1.77.
Lester is definitely someone the Veterans Committee (or whatever they call it these days) will have on their ballot in the future.
--Kansas City’s Salvador Perez hit his major-league leading 46th home run on Monday in the first game of a doubleheader, the Royals sweeping the Indians. Perez thus broke the record for most home runs by a catcher, Johnny Bench’s 45 set way back in 1970.
Perez’ previous high was 27 in both 2017 and 2018, and he signed a mammoth contract extension with K.C. in the offseason. So good on him!
--Shohei Ohtani hit No. 45 last night in a loss to the Astros, so a tight race for the AL (and major league) home run title.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 46
--For one week, and it’s important to note, one week, Aaron Rodgers resoundingly answered his critics Monday night in Green Bay, the Packers taking out the Lions 35-17 behind Rodgers’ four touchdown passes.
Yes, after his pathetic opening performance in a 38-3 loss to the Saints, with scores of critics, including yours truly, questioning his commitment, among other things, Rodgers said last night, “We tried to show that we cared a little more tonight.”
Asked if that meant there was a perception the Packers didn’t care while being blown out by the Saints, he said, “I think people like to say a lot of bull [bleep], and it’s nice to come in here after a game like this. There’s so much more overreaction on a week-to-week basis now, and it’s nice to get the trolls off our back.”
The week before, Rodgers dismissively called it “just one game” and defiantly added, “If we’re starting to freak out after one week, we’re in big trouble.”
But there were questions, and remain questions, after Rodgers spent the offseason basically saying he never wanted to play another game in Green Bay, and he then didn’t participate in any offseason mini-camps.
Rodgers was a cool 22/27, 255, 4-0, 145.6…near perfect Monday night, with three of the touchdown strikes to running back Aaron Jones (who added a rushing TD), while Davante Adams caught eight for 121 yards.
For the Lions, Jared Goff looked good the first half, the Lions up 17-14 at the intermission, but then the team struggled mightily the rest of the way, Goff finishing 26/36, 246, 2-1, 97.7. It’s going be another long season for Lions fans.
--Sunday night we had a thriller, and a huge win for the Ravens, as they came from behind to beat the Chiefs in Baltimore, 36-35, Lamar Jackson with two fourth-quarter touchdown runs, including the decider with 3:14 left in the contest.
Jackson had a helluva game…239 yards passing, though two interceptions (both by Tyrann Mathieu, including one returned for a touchdown), and 107 on the ground in 16 carries.
Patrick Mahomes was great, 24/31, 343, 3-1, 131.5, though the lone interception was costly, leading to Jackson’s first score in the fourth quarter.
--7 Texas A&M and 16 Arkansas is the big game of the week, Saturday.
9 Clemson at North Carolina State will be interesting. Can the Tigers finally get their offense in gear?
Rutgers at 19 Michigan will be telling as well, for both programs.
And West Virginia at 4 Oklahoma will say a lot about the Sooners’ playoff chances. They need to blow people away, and the Mountaineers are a solid test.
But for us Demon Deacon fans, Wake Forest at Virginia, Friday, is huge.
Action starts Friday from Whistling Straits, and golf fans are anxious to see what pairings the captains, Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington, come up with.
Europe owns the Cup right now, having won it in Paris in 2018, with the Ryder Cup postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Europe has won nine of the last 12…seven of the past nine and four of the past five.
Personally, I’m worried about the American fans going way overboard, into total asshole mode. Due to travel restrictions, most of the Euro fans can’t cross the pond.
At a Tuesday news conference, Steve Stricker called for his side’s fans not to “cross the line”.
Stricker said he expects a “rowdy” atmosphere, but he hopes there will be no repeat of the scenes which marred the last contest on U.S. soil, when Rory McIlroy bore the brunt of the heckling.
So who will Stricker partner with Bryson DeChambeau? Looks like it could be fellow Texan Scottie Scheffler.
As for the captain selecting six rookies, Stricker noted that U.S. rookies have a 40-29-17 record at Ryder Cups since 2008.
Let the fun begin.
--NBA All-Star Ben Simmons reportedly informed the Philadelphia 76ers he would not report to camp.
Dan Wolken / USA TODAY
“If Ben Simmons had attained any kind of actual stature in the NBA, the apparent escalation of his demand to be traded from the Philadelphia 76ers into a standoff with real consequences might have been received with understanding and even a little bit of sympathy….
“But what Simmons has misjudged, to the degree he’s interested at all in shifting the narrative away from his chronic indifference, is the willingness of others to accept invitations to the pity party he’s thrown for himself since melting down in the NBA playoffs.
“Sorry, but Simmons has not accomplished enough in this league to draw that line in the sand. And the 76ers shouldn’t indulge it until the time – and the price – of their choosing.
“More and more, we’ve given professional athletes the benefit of the doubt to engineer where they want to play and who they want their teammates to be. Even with as extreme an example as James Harden, who checked out on the Houston Rockets last season to the point of being unprofessional, there was a general understanding that he’d fulfilled his end of the bargain and it was time to go somewhere else.
“But the way Simmons (and his representatives, Klutch Sports) have attempted to strong-arm the 76ers into making a bad deal so that he doesn’t have to spend even one uncomfortable moment facing up to his failures last season deserves little more than a middle finger thrown back in their faces….
“Whatever offensive shortcomings may have been revealed in high-pressure playoff games last season, there was nothing controversial at the time about the 76ers giving him a five-year max contract. While Simmons is not the first NBA player to want out well in advance of that contract’s expiration date, this isn’t happening because he’s stuck on a losing team or because management has suddenly decided to rebuild.
“This is happening primarily for one reason: Because Simmons did not perform well against the Hawks and got his feelings hurt when the finger was pointed in his direction….
“As bad as it might hurt the 76ers this season not to have Simmons on the floor, accepting a bad deal would be worse – not only for what’s left of their future but as a precedent for the rest of the league. While there’s no tangible way to measure how much credibility a player must earn in the NBA to dictate the terms of his exit, we know that Simmons does not have it.
“If he really plans to sit out until the 76ers trade him, this will stick to him more than passing up a dunk or missing a free throw. At least in those moments, Simmons seemed to have deference for his own limitations. But if he thinks the best solution to this impasse is not to play basketball, he’s lost all touch with reality.”
--The Lakers unveiled a new sponsor for their jersey patches: Bibigo, a South Korean line of dumplings, sauces and frozen meats.
I bring this up, after seeing a blurb in the Los Angeles Times, because the five-year agreement is worth more than $100 million. That’s real money. And a source of revenue that didn’t exist until recently. Most NBA jersey patch deals are going for $7 million to $10 million per year, according to The Athletic.
But as the chief marketing officer of the parent company of Bibigo said: “The Lakers are the No. 1 team in sports. The Lakers are more than just a basketball team. The Lakers, globally, are a cultural icon, especially for young people.”
--This is an amazing story…that of Wally the wandering walrus, all 1,760 lbs. of him. Wally was previously spotted in Ireland, France, Spain and the UK, but marine experts say he has turned up in Iceland, after 22 days of no sightings.
Wally has been identified from scars on both his front flippers, according to Seal Rescue Ireland.
The wandering walrus was thought to have traveled 2,485 miles before reaching Ireland, with the new sighting in Iceland meaning he had swum more than 560 miles from his last known location in Cork.
Wally was first spotted in Ireland in County Kerry in March, and then went along the coast of western Europe, including Spain.
Sea Rescue Ireland said upon receiving the latest news: “We are absolutely over the moon that he’s not only still alive and well, but he is well on his way home to the Arctic.”
I just can’t imagine this.
New Bar Chat, Sunday p.m.
I’ll have an Add-On up top by noon Wed.
Posted Sunday p.m., prior to Mets-Phils and football.
*I was out of pocket all day yesterday…at the Jersey Shore with friends…and have inevitably missed a few things.
Baseball Postseason Quiz: There are six players who have been on the regular-season roster of a World Series winning team 8 or more times. All are Yankees. Name the one who is not in the Hall of Fame. Of course, at your local bar, name the other five as well. Answer below.
--Max Scherzer was superlative yet again for the Dodgers Saturday in a 5-1 win over the Reds, Scherzer throwing seven scoreless as he has to be the new favorite in the Cy Young race at 15-4, 2.08. And in nine starts since being acquired by L.A., Scherzer is 7-0, 0.78 ERA in 58 innings. As Ronald Reagan would have told Nancy while reading the Sunday sports pages, Nancy fixing him Belgian Waffles with strawberries and whipped cream, ‘Not bad, not bad at all.’
The Dodgers then won again today, 8-5 over Cincy (another big loss for the Reds and their playoff hopes) as Clayton Kershaw made his second start since coming back from his latest injury, five innings of one-run ball.
But the Giants keep winning.
Until today, 3-0 losers to the Braves.
San Francisco 97-53
Los Angeles 96-54…1
--In the NL Wild Card race, just a week ago the Mets were only three games out of a playoff spot, despite their overly mediocre season. But they proceeded to lose five straight against the Cardinals and Phillies, teams ahead of them in the playoff chase, and they have become irrelevant at 72-77 heading into tonight’s finale of the Philadelphia series.
Meanwhile, San Diego was 66-49 on Aug. 10, handily in control of the second wild card slot.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the postseason…the Padres have gone 10-24 since, stars Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. getting into it Saturday in the dugout, Machado calling out Tatis for being selfish, and then San Diego lost again this afternoon in St. Louis. What a collapse.
NL Wild Card….
Los Angeles 96-54…+16
St. Louis 79-69…--
San Diego 76-73…3.5
And NL East….
--The Yankees got six scoreless from Corey Kluber in an 8-0 win over the Indians, Friday night at the Stadium, but then they lost yesterday, 11-3, and this afternoon, 11-1, as Gerrit Cole was hit hard, 7 runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 for New York, while falling to 15-8, 3.03. [Bye-bye Cy Young, Gerrit.]
So, you know, getting blitzed 22-4 in two days isn’t exactly what you want to do if you are gunning for a wild card.
But the Blue Jays came into play today having won 17 of 21, and the Red Sox were playing well again, and they both won Sunday.
Make that 18 of 22 for Toronto, five-in-a-row for Boston.
And so the AL Wild Card standings as of this moment….
New York 83-67…1.5
--Shohei Ohtani has been slumping badly the last two months at the plate, but he has five hits over his last three games. Just as importantly, there had been talk he was being shut down for the rest of the season in terms of his mound work, but he started today for the Angels against the A’s, a biggie for Oakland.
And Ohtani came through, even as the Angels lost to the A’s 3-2 in 10 innings. Shohei went 8 innings, 2 runs, 10 Ks, and with L.A. bailing him out with two runs in the bottom of the ninth, he remains 9-2, ERA lowered to 3.28. Ohtani threw 108 pitches. Shut him down now. What a season.
Oh, at the plate, he was 0-for-2, but with two walks…OPS still .952.
--As reported by Jayson Stark of The Athletic, the minor-league pitch clock cut game times by 21 minutes in 2021.
The Low-A West League began experimenting with a 15-second pitch clock in June, and that led to the cut in time. 21 minutes is significant.
The average time of a nine-inning game is up by nearly 20 minutes, just over the last 10 years – and by more than a half-hour since the ‘80s.
Stark, who watched some Low-A West League games, said the first word that popped into his head was “rhythm.” The games had it. “And once that becomes clear, you can’t stop yourself from being obsessed with it.
“I watched a Sept. 7 game between the Stockton Ports and San Jose Giants. It started a little after 6:30 p.m. It was over at 8:47. Do you know how many nine-inning major-league games have been over in 2 hours and 13 minutes this year? That would be two – out of more than 2,000!
“Two words: Dead time. With a 15-second pitch clock, every ounce of dead time was suctioned totally out of that minor-league game. Gone. And not missed. Like at all.”
Bill Shaikin / Los Angeles Times
“Dave Roberts, best manager in baseball history?
“Perhaps that sentence should end with a period instead of a question mark. The Dodgers are in the playoffs, again. Never had the Dodgers missed the postseason in a year Roberts has managed them.
“For all the never-ending second-guessing from an engaged and spirited fan base, this statistic speaks for itself. Nobody in major league history has managed more games with a better winning percentage.
“Roberts’ career winning percentage is .618. That averages to 100 wins per season.
“The San Diego Padres never have won 100 games. Neither have the Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins or Toronto Blue Jays. The Tampa Bay Rays, for all their wizardry, never have won 100….
“The Pittsburgh Pirates have not won 100 games since 1909. The Chicago White Sox have not won 100 games since 1917.
“In the immortal words of Tommy Lasorda, ‘This [freaking] job is not that [freaking] easy.’
“The job is much more difficult today than it was in Lasorda’s day.
“Lasorda was the face of the Dodgers. He commanded the attention, and enormous power over who played and who did not, who stayed in L.A. and who did not. He could share a buffet table of Italian delicacies, or overturn it and yell at his players.
“Today, the front office has most of the power, and a manager shouting at his players and tossing tables aside would be considered out of control. The buzzword in the modern baseball operations department is ‘collaborative’ – not just the general manager and the coaching staff, but a village that includes nutritionists, and biomechanical and statistical analysts.”
Roberts has embraced the organizational village.
Now can the Dodgers, and Roberts, do it again in October?
College Football Review
[As always, the following comments are written prior to release of the latest AP poll.]
We should have a little shakeup in the top ten, not because of upsets, but rather some significant underperformances. And Georgia should expect to see more first-place votes.
No. 1 Alabama won its biggie against 11 Florida, 31-29, as the Crimson Tide stuffed a 2-point conversion attempt by the Gators with 3:10 to play to preserve their No. 1 ranking.
But Florida outgained ‘Bama 440-331, with 245 yards on the ground, so that should trouble Nick Saban and Co. But a win in Gainesville is still big.
2 Georgia had a solid win over South Carolina, 40-13.
3 Oklahoma was unimpressive in holding off Nebraska 23-16, the Sooners’ second mediocre performance of the young season.
4 Oregon whipped Stony Brook 48-7, in a nice pay day for the FCS boys from Long Island.
5 Iowa beat Kent State 30-7.
6 Clemson should fall a spot or two with its 14-8 win over Georgia Tech, the Tigers with only 284 yards of offense. Not a great start for Dabo Swinney’s crew.
7 Texas A&M had its way with New Mexico, 34-0.
8 Cincinnati had an important 38-24 win at Indiana. Next up ...Notre Dame, in two weeks. The No. 12 Fighting Irish beat Purdue 27-13.
9 Ohio State defeated Tulsa 41-20, as TreVeyon Henderson broke Archie Griffin’s school record for freshmen in rushing for 277 yards on 24 carries (Griffin with 239 yards in a game back in 1972). Henderson had touchdown runs of 5, 48 and 52 yards.
10 Penn State will move up a notch or two after a 28-20 win over 22 Auburn, the Nittany Lions’ second win over a ranked opponent early in the season, the first in the opener against Wisconsin.
It was Penn State’s first victory against the SEC since beating LSU in the Citrus Bowl at the end of the 2009 season. Its last regular-season defeat of an SEC team came back in 1990 at Alabama.
In other games…13 UCLA had its bubble burst, losing to Fresno State 40-37. Cross-town rival USC had an impressive 45-14 win at Washington State in interim coach Donte Williams’ first game, after replacing Clay Helton earlier in the week. Backup quarterback Jaxson Dart threw for 391 yards and four touchdowns.
J. Mac’s 16 Coastal Carolina edged Buffalo, 28-25, on the road. A win is a win.
21 North Carolina piled up 699 yards of offense in beating Virginia 59-39. Sam Howell threw five touchdown passes and rushed for 112 yards for the Tar Heels.
For Virginia, they got a school-record 554 yards passing from Brennan Armstrong.
25 Michigan demolished Northern Illinois 63-10. How good are the Wolverines? Don’t know.
24 Miami lost to Michigan State 38-17, in another bad loss for the ACC. Not that the Spartans are bad, they’re 3-0, but the conference is losing every big out of conference contest.
Pitt was another, a 44-41 loser to Western Michigan. And 15 Virginia Tech fell to West Virginia.
Rutgers is 3-0 for the first time since 2012, beating Delaware 45-13.
Boston College is also 3-0 with an easy win at Temple, 28-3
Lastly, Wake Forest is 3-0 after an important 35-14 win over Florida State, as the Seminoles coughed it up six times.
This was a biggie for a number of reasons. The Deacs had to win it and they came through. Second, it’s big for recruiting. And we should be headed for our sixth straight bowl appearance, which is pretty darn good for our little school.
And now the new AP poll….
1. Alabama (59) 3-0
2. Georgia (3) 3-0…surprised they didn’t pick up another first-place vote or two
3. Oregon 3-0
4. Oklahoma 3-0
5. Iowa 3-0
6. Penn State 3-0…not a believer, yet
7. Texas A&M 3-0
8. Cincinnati 3-0
9. Clemson 2-1…down 3
10. Ohio State 2-1
11. Florida 2-1
12. Notre Dame 3-0
13. Ole Miss 3-0…kind of cool
14. Iowa State 2-1
15. BYU 3-0…up 8…two straight Ws against ranked Pac-12 teams.
16. Arkansas 3-0
17. Coastal Carolina 3-0
18. Wisconsin 1-1
19. Michigan 3-0
20. Michigan State 3-0
21. North Carolina 2-1
22. Fresno State 3-1
23. Auburn 2-1
24. UCLA 2-1…down 11
25. Kansas State 3-0
The last time Clemson and Ohio State were both ranked below No. 8 was Nov. 2, 2014.
Wake Forest picked up a few votes for the first time. Gotta beat Virginia on the road this coming Friday if we want to have a shot at a special season.
Boy, there were some clunkers in the early games today, with the offense often non-existent.
--Like in the Panthers-Saints game in Charlotte, Carolina 2-0 after a 26-7 win where the Saints had a whopping 128 yards, while Sam Darnold had another solid effort at quarterback for the Panthers, 26/38, 305, 2-1, 99.1.
--The Las Vegas Raiders are 2-0, opening with wins over Baltimore and Pittsburgh, beating the Steelers 26-17 today in Pittsburgh, as Derek Carr was superb at QB for the Raiders a second week…28/37, 382, 2-0, 126.2.
--Matthew Stafford played well for the 2-0 Rams in their 27-24 at Indianapolis; Stafford 19/30, 228, 2-1, 101.8, receiver Cooper Kupp with nine catches for 163 yards and the two scores.
--Denver is 2-0 behind veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Bridgewater terrific in a 23-13 over the 0-2 Jaguars…26/34, 328, 2-0, 125.6.
For Jacksonville, Trevor Lawrence was not good…14/33, 118, 1-2, 37.2. Wonder Boy has five picks in his first two starts.
--Another of the Big Three rookie QBs, the Jets’ Zach Wilson, also has five interceptions in his first two, including four against the third rook’s team, New England, as the Jets were defeated 25-6 at MetLife Stadium.
Wilson, as opposed to Week One, had few good moments…19/33, 210, 0-4, 37.0.
But the Jet defense was terrific, holding the Patriots to just 260 yards of offense, though the third first-round QB, Mac Jones, was solid, but nothing more…22/30, 186, 0-0, 89.0. Most importantly, he didn’t turn it over, as opposed to Trevor Lawrence and Wilson.
As a Jets fan, I’m going to have a lot of patience with Wilson. This is the youngest team in football, it’s a total rebuild (again), and none of us were ever talking playoffs this season.
--In other games….Chicago beat Cincinnati 20-17 despite generating just 206 yards of offense. The Bengals’ Joe Burrow was picked off three times, one of them returned for a TD by Roquan Smith.
And in this one, another first-rounder, Justin Fields, took over for the injured Andy Dalton at quarterback for the Bears and was ineffective. I guess I really should call it the “Big Four.”
Cleveland won its first, 31-21 over Houston, the Texans' hopes dashed when quarterback Tyrod Taylor left at the half with a hamstring injury after opening 10 of 11 through the air.
In what had to be an immensely boring contest, the 49ers moved to 2-0 with a 17-11 win over the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Dallas needed a 56-yard last second field goal from Greg Zuerlein to beat the Chargers 20-17, both teams now 1-1. Huge win for the Cowboys….
….after their loss in Week One to the Bucs, 31-29.
Speaking of Tampa Bay, Tom Brady threw five touchdown passes in their 48-25 win over the Falcons. The 78-year-old continues to amaze.
--Thursday, it was the same old Giants, suffering a crushing 30-29 loss to the Washington Football Team in Landover, Maryland. The Giants were up 23-17 but couldn’t put the game away, with Darius Slayton dropping a wide-open pass in the end zone.
Washington was down 29-27 as time expired, having missed a field goal attempt, but the Giants were offsides. Kicker Dustin Hopkins got a second chance and nailed the 43-yarder for the win.
It was the eighth time in nine years that New York had started 0-2, the Giants with the worst record in games 1-2 since 2013 (2-16) in the league.
There was a bright spot, the play of quarterback Daniel Jones, who was a solid 22/32, 249, 1-0, 102.2, and 95 yards on the ground.
But while Saquon Barkley ripped off a 41-yard run early, he had all of 16 yards on his other 12 carries.
Giants fans are already in a deep state of depression.
--Lastly, I was watching the CBS “NFL Today” crowd trash Aaron Rodgers, for good reason, after his hideous Week One performance against the Saints, and as they all agreed, it’s time for Rodgers to act like he gives a shit, after his summer of discontent.
So to me, as a sports fan, tomorrow night’s Lions-Packers game is must watch TV…focus on his body language. Either ‘lead’ or get out.
--The PGA Tour’s new 2021-22 wraparound season got underway at the Silverado Resort in Napa, Calif., and entering the final round we had….
Jim Knous (no idea who he is) -14
Maverick McNealy -14
A group of five at -12
But among those 4-back at -10 are Webb Simpson, Phil Mickelson and Will Zalatoris.
However, this tournament is not ending for a few hours and I need to move on.
--Jon Rahm is not a happy camper. Patrick Cantlay won the 2021 PGA Tour Player of the Year award, not him, despite Rahm’s superior record in the majors, as I highlighted the other day.
But Cantlay had four official wins (to Rahm’s lone triumph, the U.S. Open), including back-to-back playoff victories in the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship.
I’m torn on this. When I wrote that Rahm deserved the award because of his T-8 or better performances in five of the season’s six majors, I agreed with writer John Feinstein in his assessment.
But I also said the PGA Tour is under a lot of pressure to reward its season-long champion and Cantlay certainly didn’t back into the Tour Championship. He grabbed it.
Oh well….not losing sleep over this one. The tour did not list who came in second, mentioning only that Cantlay beat Bryson, Harris English, Collin Morikawa and Rahm for the prize.
--Paul Azinger was not happy when he saw that in an interview with Golf Digest, Brooks Koepka disclosed he was frustrated by the way the Ryder Cup takes an individual player away from what he is accustomed to doing at a regular event.
“I’m not sure he loves the Ryder Cup that much, if he doesn’t love it he should relinquish his spot and get people there who do love it,” Azinger said. “Not everybody embraces it. But if you don’t love it, and you’re not sold out, then I think Brooks – especially being hurt – should consider whether or not he really wants to be there. And if you add the Bryson [DeChambeau] dynamic to that, that would be an even easier decision for him.”
Koepka has said his injured left wrist will not prevent him from playing at Whistling Straits, and that he’s committed.
More on this week’s Ryder Cup next time. It should be fun.
In weekend play, Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 3-0; Man City and Southampton played to a 0-0 draw, a highly disappointing result; Man U defeated West Ham on a late Jesse Lingard goal, 2-1, with Ronaldo tallying the first score for United; and Chelsea beat Tottenham 3-0.
So much for the Spurs’ hot start. They’ve been blitzed 6-0 in their last two.
The early season standings after 5 of 38…games – points
[Ties broken by goal differential]
1. Chelsea… 5 – 13
2. Liverpool… 5 – 13
3. Man U… 5 – 13
4. Brighton… 5 – 12
--Kyle Larson won his sixth race of the NASCAR Cup Series season at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday night, passing Kevin Harvick late.
But the story was the post-race feud between reigning Cup Series champion Chase Elliott and Harvick, with Harvick angrily telling the crowd: “I’m ready to freakin’ rip somebody’s head off.”
Harvick took the lead from Elliott with 33 laps remaining but the hard racing for the win caused contact that cut one of Elliott’s tires. After a quick tire change, Elliott exacted his revenge by deliberately slowing in front of Harvick to give Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson a chance to catch Harvick.
Tyler Reddick, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Michael McDowell were eliminated from the Cup playoffs, the field reduced to 12.
--As expected, boxer Manny Pacquiao announced he will run for president in next year’s election in the Philippines. Incumbent Rodrigo Duterte is barred from another term but has been picked by a rival party to run for vice president, in a move critics say is an attempt to cling to power.
Pacquiao has pledged to campaign against poverty and corruption.
--Rolling Stone released the first update of its “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” in 17 years and I’m too tired to be outraged over some of the selections.
But for the record, their Top Ten….
1. Aretha Franklin: “Respect”
2. Public Enemy: “Fight the Power”
3. Sam Cooke: “A Change Is Gonna Come”
4. Bob Dylan: “Like a Rolling Stone”
5. Nirvana: “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
6. Marvin Gaye: “What’s Going On”
7. The Beatles: “Strawberry Fields Forever”
8. Missy Elliott: “Get Ur Freak On”
9. Fleetwood Mac: “Dreams”
10. Outkast: “Hey Ya!”
At least the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” is No. 11.
Top 3 songs for the week 9/20/80: #1 “Upside Down” (Diana Ross) #2 “All Out Of Love” (Air Supply) #3 “Another One Bites The Dust” (Queen)…and…#4 “Fame” (Irene Cara) #5 “Lookin’ For Love” (Johnny Lee) #6”Give Me The Night” (George Benson) #7 “Late In The Evening” (Paul Simon) #8 “Drivin’ My Life Away” (Eddie Rabbitt) #9 “One In A Million You” (Larry Graham) #10 “Emotional Rescue” (The Rolling Stones…just a hideous week… ‘D’ …I was starting my professional career in New York as a clerk/typist earning $175 a week. But we had a great time, right, Manny R.?)
Baseball Postseason Quiz Answer: Frankie Crosetti was on the regular-season roster on eight World Series winning teams, appearing in six of them, 1932-48. Crosetti, a shortstop-third baseman, hit .245 in his career, with 1,541 hits. He was a two-time All-Star. The other five were Yogi Berra (the leader at 10), Joe DiMaggio (9), Bill Dickey (8), Phil Rizzuto (8) and Lou Gehrig (8). Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle were on seven.
I’ll have an Add-On by noon Wednesday.