|Articles||Go Fund Me||All-Species List||Hot Spots||Go Fund Me|
|Web Epoch NJ Web Design | (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.|
MLB, FedEx Cup Playoffs, and a look back at Munich 1972
Add-on posted early Wed. a.m.
--The Mets have been playing through a brutal stretch, with home-and-home series against both Atlanta and Philadelphia, the Mets going 5-4 against the Braves, 5-2 versus the Phils, with a 3-game sweep of the Reds in between, just one day off, and then this week’s two-game series with the Yanks at the Stadium.
So Mets fans, especially learning that Jacob deGrom would not start against the cross-town rivals on Tuesday and instead would go Thursday against the Rockies at Citi Field, were just hoping for a split.
But with Max Scherzer vs. Domingo German in the opener Monday night, us fans figured this was in the bag.
But Scherzer was very ordinary, 4 earned over six innings, only 3 strikeouts, and he yielded a solo homer to Aaron Judge after Judge had fanned four straight times against Mad Max, and the Metsies fell, 4-2.
The unexpected hero was German, who threw a season-high 6 1/3, one earned, and the Mets were held to just four hits, one of them a 2-run homer off the bat of Chris Farley, aka Daniel Vogelbach.
Andrew Benintendi drove in the deciding runs off Scherzer with a double in the fifth, and a single in the seventh.
Scherzer also allowed four earned in his start in Atlanta last Wednesday, though the Mets won that one, 9-7. Nonetheless, a little bit of concern, as Scherzer falls to 9-3, 2.33.
On to Tuesday night. A sweep would help the Yankees and their fanbase immensely and keep the boo-birds off Aaron Boone for a bit. A loss for the Mets would be most worrisome.
And the Yanks won again by the same 4-2, Judge hitting a 453-foot bomb for No. 48 off Mets starter Taijuan Walker, and the Yanks getting solid pitching from Frankie Montas, and then a superb 3-inning relief stint from Clarke Schmidt, who got the win.
The Mets’ Pete Alonso was stumbling and bumbling all over the place and now has one home run in his last 20 games. Overall, the Metsies were just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
After what ended up being 27 games in 26 days, the Mets finally get a day off today and need it.
And once again Atlanta is breathing down their necks.
[The Yanks, on the other hand, are 8 ahead of the Rays, 8 ½ over Toronto.]
--The Braves picked up a game on the Mets Monday night in Pittsburgh, 2-1, the runs coming on a Michael Harris II homer.
The 21-year-old centerfielder, a late-May call-up, has been spectacular, your 2022 NL Rookie of the Year, 13 home runs, 43 RBIs, 50 runs, 15 steals, and a .833 OPS in 273 at bats.
Harris has been so good, the hometown product was recently granted an eight-year, $72 million contract extension, that includes club options worth $15 million in 2031 and $20 million in 2032, when he’d still just be 31. So think of it as $107 million over 10 years.
Tuesday, Atlanta beat the Pirates 6-1 and now trail the Mets by just two games. Ugh.
--The Dodgers lost to the Brewers Monday night in L.A., 4-0, but signed Max Muncy to a one-year extension for 2023 at $13.5 million, with a club option in 2024 for $10 million plus incentives.
Muncy has had a brutal season, with his average at .157 as late as July 23, but he’s had a great August, 20-for-60, 7 home runs, and a 1.195 OPS.
The team has confidence in him…35+ home runs for L.A. in 2018, 2019 and 2021.
The Dodgers roared back Tuesday for a 10-1 win as Freddie Freeman had 3 hits, including his 41st double, and four RBIs. He’s doing what the Dodgers signed him to do…hit. 78 RBIs, a .324 batting average, .919 OPS.
Tony Gonsolin pitched five innings for the win and is now a rather gaudy 16-1, 2.10!
But L.A. received some bad news with the revelation that Walker Buehler would undergo a second Tommy John surgery to reconstruct his ulnar collateral ligament. The Dodgers knew they had lost him for the rest of this season, but now it will be all of 2023 as well. Big blow for both the team and Buehler, the 28-year-old 46-16, 3.02 for his career.
--Speaking of gaudy, Justin Verlander improved to 16-3, 1.87 ERA, with six no-hit innings in the Astros’ 4-2 win over the Twins…Carlos Correa’s return to Houston.
Verlander was on a pitch limit of 90 and he had thrown 91. There was no issue with manager Dusty Baker.
“After six innings at 91 pitches, you know it’s not going to be one of those nights,” Verlander said. “Maybe 15 years ago, 10 years ago when I loved throwing 130-something. But not now and specifically not after Tommy John in my first season back.”
--After I posted last time, Washington’s Patrick Corbin had his second straight respectable start, Sunday, yielding only a 2-run homer to San Diego’s, and former Nat, Josh Bell in 5 1/3, but that was it. The Nationals lost to the Padres 2-1, Corbin taking his 17th loss in his inexorable march to 20. [4-17, 6.81.]
--Angels owner Arte Moreno has started exploring options to sell the club after 20 years.
Moreno purchased the club for $180 million in 2003, a year after the Angels won their first and only World Series championship.
The Angels haven’t been to the playoffs since 2014, which is pathetic, given the dollars Moreno has spent.
--Fernando Tatis Jr. apologized to his teammates Tuesday and spoke to the press for a few minutes. He lamented all the people he “failed” by testing positive for a PED.
Golf / FedEx Cup Finale
--The final event at East Lake in Atlanta is now 29 golfers, not 30, after Will Zalatoris pulled out with the back issue that forced him to withdraw from the BMW Championship after he bagged his first PGA Tour title at the FedEx St. Jude.
His agent released a statement that said in part “(Zalatoris’) medical team determined that the source of his back pain is two herniated discs.”
He’ll also miss the Presidents Cup.
Zalatoris would have been No. 3, or three strokes behind No. 1 Scottie Scheffler. He will earn $500,000 for finishing No. 30.
It’s a big story going forward. You don’t want a potential superstar having ongoing issues. I have experts telling me it’s not a big deal, but you don’t Zalatoris to have a Fred Couples situation,
So with the final format…we start what might be a rain-delayed slog….
Cam Smith, Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Sepp Straka and Sungjae Im at -4
--We note the passing of former British Open champion Tom Weiskopf, the immensely talented golfer who won 16 times on the PGA Tour, but was deemed to have underachieved with his lone major triumph at Royal Troon.
Weiskopf died at the age of 79 of complications from pancreatic cancer.
The son of a railroad worker in Ohio, Weiskopf once said he fell in love with the game before he even began to play. His father took him to the 1957 U.S. Open at Inverness and he was mesmerized watching Sam Snead make such pure contact.
At 6-foot-3 – tall for golf in that era – Weiskopf was known for having the best swing in the game, and in 1973, he won seven times around the world, including the claret jug.
But he was known equally for majors he didn’t win – and the competition he faced, particularly Jack Nicklaus, like Weiskopf a star at Ohio State who preceded him and cast an enormous shadow over Weiskopf’s entire career.
Weiskopf had four runner-up finishes in the Masters, the most of any player without a green jacket.
He was famous for saying of Nicklaus: “Jack knew he was going to beat you. You knew Jack was going to beat you. And Jack knew you knew he was going to beat you.”
In an interview with Golf Digest in 2008, Weiskopf said: “Going head-to-head against Jack Nicklaus in a major was like trying to drain the Pacific Ocean with a teacup. You stand on the first tee knowing that your very best golf might not be enough.”
Nicklaus said by phone Sunday on learning of Weiskopf’s death: “Tom was a good friend and one heck of a player, one of the four or five most talented players I’ve ever seen, one of the top five ball-strikers I’ve ever known. That tall straight posture that he had, just so natural over the ball.”
The news of Weiskopf’s death also hit Tom Watson, 72, particularly hard. After Weiskopf was diagnosed in late 2020 with cancer, he reached out to Watson, whose wife Hillary had been stricken with the same disease and died in 2019. “They were on the same protocol,” Watson told Golf Digest somberly on Sunday. “Pancreatic cancer is just so lethal.” Laurie Weiskopf said her husband was declared cancer free late last year, but the disease came roaring back in April.
Weiskopf often blamed drinking for not making the most out of his talent. He gave up alcohol in 2007 and considered it one of his great victories.
He also admitted he was never passionate enough about golf, and his love for the outdoors, particularly hunting and fishing, had him once skipping the Ryder Cup so he could go sheep hunting.
Weiskopf had a temper, too, witness his nicknames like the “Towering Inferno” and “Terrible Tom.”
Weiskopf admitted after winning the U.S. Senior Open in 2005 at Congressional: “I could not accept failure when it was my fault. It just used to tear me up.”
He also once said of his career: “I definitely was over par… Even par would have been three majors and twice as many regular tour wins. I have to admit that. I’ve always been honest with myself.”
Weiskopf did some broadcasting for CBS, ABC and ESPN. He was on call for the Masters in 1981 and from 1985 to 1995.
During the 1986 Masters, as Nicklaus rallied to win his sixth green jacket, Weiskopf was asked by Jim Nantz what might be going through the Golden Bear’s mind as he stood on the tee at the par-3 16th tee. Weiskopf replied with one of the greatest quips in golf broadcasting history, saying, “If I knew the way he thought, I would have won this tournament.”
But then Weiskopf said Nicklaus “is going to fire this at this pin. He’s going to think, ‘Jack, this is the time right now. Make the swing that you are capable of making.’” And Nicklaus proceeded to nearly hole it, the ball skirting just past the cup before stopping three feet away.
Weiskopf went on to develop some terrific golf courses, such as Troon Country Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Loch Lomond in Scotland.
A standard of his design is the drivable par 4, the inspiration for which he said was St. Andrews, where he could drive four of the par 4s, depending on the wind.
“I should have done more,” Weiskopf once told Golf Digest of his career. “But I don’t dwell on it anymore. I will say this, though: If it wasn’t for the fact that I love so much what I’m doing now (golf course design), I would probably be a very unhappy person.”
--The season starts Saturday, with a limited schedule, no top 25 teams in action, though inevitably there will be an embarrassing upset or two.
Thursday, Sept. 1, sees some top 25 teams in action, but we really get going Sat., Sept. 3, with Oregon at Georgia (Atlanta), and Notre Dame at Ohio State.
Wake Forest starts out Sept. 1 against VMI and Coach Dave Clawson finally commented, a little, on the condition of quarterback Sam Hartman.
“I think it’s like other injuries or medical conditions, there are certain landmarks or benchmarks he’s going to have to hit,” Clawson said on an ACC show. “And as this goes on, we’ll know more.”
Hartman has been attending practices. Clawson added: “We’re optimistic that we are going to have him back this season and we’ll know a lot more in the next two weeks as to when that’s going to be.”
Redshirt freshman Mitch Griffis will start against VMI in place of Hartman.
So what’s wrong with the guy? Rumors are rampant and everyone seems to have coalesced around a heart issue. He did undergo a procedure of some kind a few weeks ago after he approached team doctors following a practice.
I mean I believe in privacy and all that…but this isn’t Covid, it’s not monkeypox…and we keep being told it’s non-football related. So, Sam, just allow the doctors to talk about it. You have the support of 100% of the fans, students, everyone.
--Hartman, prior to his issue, was on some Heisman lists, but in terms of the betting favorite, it’s Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, according to BetMGM. Stroud is at 2-1 odds to win the hardware, with last year’s winner, Alabama’s Bryce Young, at 7-2.
USC quarterback Caleb Williams, a transfer from Oklahoma, is next at 6-1, before a big drop-off to Texas running back Bijan Robinson at 16-1.
--The NFL season commences Thurs., Sept. 8, Buffalo at the L.A. Rams. Tampa Bay is awaiting the return of Tom Brady to camp and his hoped for start in the Bucs’ opener Sept. 11, Sunday night at Dallas.
--Baker Mayfield beat out incumbent Sam Darnold for the starting job in Carolina. Good for him.
It is truly rich that the Panthers’ opener is at home against the Browns.
--The Giants dodged a major bullet when it was revealed edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, did not suffer a season-ending knee injury during the preseason game against the Bengals Sunday.
But it was an MCL sprain and he is likely out for the season-opener. At least his ACL and meniscus are intact.
I do have to note for Wake Forest fans that in the Giants’ Sunday night win over Cincy, 25-22, former Wake receiver Alex Bachman caught the winning 15-yard touchdown pass from Davis Webb with 35 seconds to play.
But that was but one of 11 catches for Bachman, 122 yards, and he had a great tackle on special teams. All good for a guy trying to make the team. At least he may have opened some eyes around the league. And worst case, you’d think a game like this, even in preseason, guarantees a spot on the Giants’ or someone else’s taxi squad (or practice squad as it’s known these days).
--In a shocker Monday night at Old Trafford, Manchester United beat Liverpool 2-1 for their first win, with Liverpool now shockingly winless in three.
This is a massive win for manager Erik ten Hag, the fans, and ownership. As promised before the game, a large group of United fans angry at the direction of the club under American owners the Glazer family took part in a protest outside the stadium.
--Ukraine’s Premier League is starting back up. Tuesday, Shakhtar Donetsk took on Metalist 1925 from besieged Kharkiv.
“This will be a unique competition: It will happen during a war, during military aggression, during bombardments,” Andriy Pavelko, head of the Ukrainian Association of Football, told Reuters.
Matches will be played without fans in the stands due to the risk of bombs and missiles. Two top-flight clubs are being replaced in the 16-team league after their stadiums were destroyed in fighting.
FC Mariupol’s whole future has been thrown into question after Russia captured the club’s home city in a brutal three-month siege that Ukraine says killed over 20,000 residents.
Pevelko said much of the impetus to restart the soccer season in the fraught circumstances had come from President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian army, who hope the league will help lift national morale.
Shakhtar is also competing in the Champions League. They are no strangers to war, having had to relocate from their home city of Donetsk in 2014 when the city was captured by Russia-backed separatists.
To start with, matches will only be played in Kyiv, its surrounding region and two western provinces near the border, though that could change. Every time an air raid siren sounds, a daily occurrence in most regions, the game will be stopped for players and match officials to take shelter in basements until the all-clear. Which begs the question, how do the players keep their muscles warm during long delays.
Aside from many stadiums having been blown up by the Russians, thousands of young talented soccer players have either fled the country, joined the military, died, or had no safe place to develop their skills.
--Kyle Larson won Sunday’s late Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International in upstate New York after two weather delays. It was Larson’s second triumph in a row at The Glen, and he also won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race.
And it was Larson’s second win of the year, after capturing 10 races last year on his way to the season championship.
He beat Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott on the final restart, Elliott forced into a runoff area by Larson’s move and he finished fifth, though classy Chase refused to publicly criticize Larson.
So it’s on to Daytona Saturday for the final race before the 10-race playoffs. With 15 different winners, one spot remains for the 16-driver playoffs and among the drivers without a win, Ryan Blaney leads Martin Truex Jr., so all eyes will be on these two Saturday.
--Well whaddya know…Kevin Durant and his people have decided to commit to Brooklyn this season. GM Sean Marks said in a statement: “We have agreed to more forward with our partnership. We are focusing on basketball, with one collective goal in mind: build a lasting franchise to bring a championship to Brooklyn.”
The four-year, $198 million extension Durant signed last offseason kicks in this season.
Next Bar Chat, Sunday p.m.
Add-on up top by noon, Wed.
[Posted early Sunday p.m., ahead of “House of the Dragon.”]
AP College Football Quiz: Time for my annual memory check. The first final AP poll was in 1936. Name the eight schools to win at least four AP titles. Answer below.
--The story in New York, more so than the Mets these days, is the collapsing Yankees.
I keep referring to July 8, when the Yanks were 61-23, on their way to the best regular-season mark since the 2001 Seattle Mariners, 116-46, and with a 15 ½-game lead in the A.L. East.
Now look, after yesterday’s latest debacle, a 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays at the Stadium; $324 million ‘ace’ Gerrit Cole yielding 4 runs in six innings, his record a rather pedestrian 9-6, 3.41.
New York 73-48
Tampa Bay 64-55…8
Yes, the Yankees have gone 12-25 since July 8, 4-14 in August, and the lead is down to seven.
And after Saturday’s loss, manager Aaron Boone, long a voice of calm in the clubhouse, Mr. Even Keel, lost it.
Boone did so when he was asked about a sixth series loss in a row. He’s sick and tired of answering questions about his first place ballclub being in a weeks-long slump that suddenly has the Blue Jays just seven back with 39 to play.
Here is how Boone started his response:
“You can ask all these questions in regards… We’ve answered them until we’re blue in the face. We’ve got to go out and do it. I gotta quit answering these questions about this date. We’ve got to play better period. And the great thing is…”
That’s when Boone wound up and slammed his hand on the table in anger while finishing his thought.
“It’s right in front of us. It’s right here. And we can fix it. It’s right here. It’s there and we can run away with this thing. And we got the dudes in there to do it. We’ve got to do it.”
Boone has also been asked a lot of late why he’s so confident that the Yankees will turn it around.
“I answered this every day,” Boone responded, his voice rising again. “We’ve got great freakin’ players. That said, it’s a tough stretch that we’re all pissed off and frustrated about. We’ve done it for four months, OK. But the offense has struggled for 12 days, OK? That’s what it’s been, OK? We got great players and they know it. They know what they’re capable of.
“It’s a tough time and it’s gut check time and it’s hard right now. And (Yankee fans are) yelling and screaming at them, and that’s part of it. But that’s what gives me confidence. I know we’re a great team when we’re right and we get it rolling. And that’s still right in front of us. Let’s go grab it.”
But as the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden put it today: “The ‘if you want to beat the Yankees, you’ve gotta keep ‘em in the ballpark’ theory has never been more true. The Yankees are 63-27 this year when they homer, 10-21 when they don’t homer. Similarly, they’re 50-6 when they hit more homers than their opponent, 3-19 when they’re out-homered.”
Well the Yanks won today, 4-2, as Andrew Benintendi hit a clutch 2-run homer in the bottom of the seventh and the Yankee pen held on.
The Rays beat the Royals 3-2, so both Toronto and Tampa Bay are now 8 back of New York.
--The Mets played four in Philadelphia this weekend, after losing three of four in Atlanta, and the Metropolitans proceeded to beat Philly’s Aaron Nola, 7-2, Friday night, and then ace Zack Wheeler, 8-2, in the opener of a day/night doubleheader Saturday, before falling in the nightcap 4-1, as the Phils got terrific pitching from starter Bailey Falter and the bullpen.
The Mets finished up Saturday with just a 3-game lead over Atlanta, as the Braves took the first two of their series with the Astros, 6-2 and 5-4.
And then today, in a true ‘Game for the Ages,’ at least with Mets fans, in a game that took 2 hours and 40 minutes just to play five innings, and then a rain delay…a game where Jose Butto made his major-league debut (no relation to former Pakistan prime minister Ali Bhutto, let alone Benazir, as Ken P. remined me)…a game where Nate Fisher made his major-league debut for the Metropolitans as well and, unlike Butto (who yielded 7 runs in four innings), threw three scoreless in relief, the Mets came back from down 4-0 and 7-4 to win 10-9…and survive a poor performance from Superman Edwin Diaz in the bottom of the ninth.
Mark Canha was the offensive hero, two homers, 5 RBIs, bringing the Mets back even at 7-7, and then up 9-8 after the Phils had taken the lead, 8-7, in the bottom of the eighth. Amazing.
Good Lord! A game made all the more important with the Braves’ loss today, 5-4, the Mets now 4 games up. The game ended at about 6:50…or over five hours.
--St. Louis is smoking hot and after winning six straight through Saturday had built a 5-game lead in the NL Central over the Brewers.
Aside from Paul Goldschmidt continuing to solidify his NL MVP credentials, 31 homers, 100 RBIs and a .341 batting average, with a stupendous 1.062 OPS thru yesterday, Goldschmidt is now officially on Triple Crown watch.
Yet the story this week has been the resurgence of Albert Pujols! Holy [Toledo…or Columbia]. Thursday, Pujols launched a pinch-hit grand slam and drove in five as the Cards routed the Rockies 13-0; 40-year-old Adam Wainwright pitching seven scoreless, but Saturday, Pujols hit two more home runs, solo shots, going 4-for-4, boosting his home run total to 692 and moving him past Stan Musial into second place on the career list for total bases.
His first homer Saturday gave him 6,137 total bases. Musial had 6,134. Hank Aaron leads with 6,856.
Pujols is now just four homers behind Alex Rodriguez for fourth all time.
So Pujols, who was hitting .189 on July 4th in his part-time role for the Cards this season, his finale, has gone a tear, with seven homers over his last 14 games, his average up to .269, and his OPS a solid .858.
There is a major positive vibe in St. Louis these days and you don’t want to face them in the playoffs.
Here’s what Mets fans have to be concerned with. First, they must beat the Braves for the NL East title, and second, they need to beat out the Cards for home-field advantage and the bye (along with the Dodgers).
--Speaking of the Dodgers, 83-36 thru Saturday (and on pace for 113 wins), they received a huge shot in the arm with the return from Tommy John surgery of starter Dustin May, who in his first appearance in 16 months, threw five shutout innings in a 7-0 win over the Marlins, allowing just one hit and striking out nine. He is capable of being L.A.’s top pitcher in the playoffs and now has enough time to get into seven-inning shape for same.
--Back to the Brewers, the players were very upset when stud closer Josh Hader was traded at the deadline for Padres closer Taylor Rodgers (among others).
But Hader has struggled mightily for the Padres, yielding six runs in 3 1/3, and now manager Bob Melvin has told Hader he is being given a break from the closer role after ninth-inning meltdowns on Thursday and Friday resulted in San Diego losses.
[Saturday, Luis Garcia got the save in a 2-1 Padres win over the Nats.]
Rodgers has sucked as well for Milwaukee…a veritable suckathon all around.
But wait…he saved the Brewers’ 5-2 win over the Cubbies today! Ice cream for the lad.
--Mike Trout returned for the Angels this weekend in Detroit, but L.A. lost 2 of 3, including 4-0 today as Shohei Ohtani started and exited after four poor innings with a stomach virus, Ohtani now 10-8, 2.83. Trout had 3 hits over the three games.
--I forgot to mention in my midweek Add-on that on Tuesday, Washington’s Patrick Corbin, he of the 4-16 mark, threw six innings, yielding four runs in a no-decision. But he lowered his ERA to 6.96!
Corbin took the mound today against the Padres in San Diego…
--The second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs is often the most exciting in terms of winnowing the field from 70 to the final next 30 at East Lake. Everyone who makes it to the finale is assured of winning big bucks, so there is quite an incentive to get it done in round two.
After 36 holes at the BMW Championship, Wilmington CC, Wilmington, DE….
Adam Scott -8
Scottie Scheffler -7
Cameron Young -7
Corey Conners -7
Jordan Spieth -7
And among those at -6…Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay…as good as it gets.
Entering the final round it was then this….
Cantlay -12 …looking to defend last year’s BMW title
Scott Stallings -11…looking for his first top ten in a major, the Players or a FedEx Cup Playoff
Will Zalatoris had to drop out on his third hole Saturday, 4-under at the time, after tweaking his lower back.
His agent, Allen Hobbs, said in a statement that Zalatoris “felt it was best to withdraw…so he can work with his trainer the next few days to get the inflammation to calm down.”
He’ll tee it up at East Lake, we should assume, today.
So in the end, Patrick Cantlay defended, win No. 8 on Tour, and No. 2 going to East Lake, 2 strokes behind No. 1 Scottie Scheffler.
Zalatoris holds onto the 3-slot.
And Scott Stallings, with a clutch 69, goes from 46 to 12 in the standings to punch his first-ever ticket to East Lake. Good for him. Home upgrades on the way. “Mr. Stallings, would you like two new bathrooms or a Man Cave to die for?”
Adam Scott, with a T5, snuck into the final 30 at No. 29. Good on him.
And Aaron Wise grabbed the final spot, ahead of Shane Lowry, with a huge par on No. 18.
--On the never-ending LIV Golf front, Pat Perez, one of the original 11 LIV players to bring the suit against the Tour, has dropped out. Earlier in the week, Carlos Ortiz did as well. But Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau are among those still part of the lawsuit, which we’ve learned doesn’t go to trial until Jan. 2024…a big blow to LIV.
Perez, 46, only won three times on the PGA Tour and was a malcontent and jerk, but perfect for LIV looking for “colorful” characters.
But he told Sports Illustrated that when it came to the suit, “I didn’t really think it through. I did it to back our guys.”
“I have no ill feelings toward the PGA Tour or any of the players. I’m a LIV guy 100 percent. I’m going to play for them. But I don’t feel any need to go after the PGA Tour. They gave me a wonderful opportunity for 21 years. I’ve got nothing against them, no hard feelings toward anybody. I earned everything I got out there, don’t get me wrong.
“I chose to leave and I’m not looking to come back. I’d like to maybe play the Champions Tour one day if that can work out and that’s why I have not given up my membership. But there is no benefit to doing this. I have an unbelievable deal with LIV and I’m behind them 100 percent.”
Perez inked a four-year deal with LIV in the neighborhood of $10 million guaranteed, according to sources. In two tournaments thus far, he has earned just over $1.8 million, with $1.5 million of that coming via twice being on the winning team.
So many are wondering, with a Jan. 2024 trial date, why continue the lawsuit if you’re LIV. They have 14 events in a new schedule starting next year and the possibility some of them will be able to play in the majors.
--At the same time, LIV is expected to announce seven new signees, including Cameron Smith, after the playoffs conclude next week.
Tiger Woods rallied many of the PGA Tour’s top players at a private meeting in Delaware on Tuesday, and there will be changes made…like possibly a tour within the tour for the elite.
We’ll be talking about the PGA-LIV war through the fall, as LIV holds its final five events of the year, the last at Donald Trump’s Doral.
--After the NFL appealed the first ruling on Deshaun Watson, a six-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy based on allegations of sexual misconduct, Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed a new attorney to issue a judgement, a former attorney general of New Jersey, Peter Harvey. But a settlement for 11 games and a $5 million fine was reached beforehand, even though Goodell had said the league sought a full season.
The NFL thus probably avoided a lawsuit by Watson and the NFLPA by coming up with this solution that all sides, including the NFLPA, agreed to.
This is hardly satisfactory to many. I have to admit, I actually thought eight games was going to be it, not that I in any way thought that would have been the right decision.
In the first ruling by former federal judge Sue L. Robinson, she called Watson’s conduct “predatory” and “egregious.” But Robinson also wrote that Watson’s sexual assault was nonviolent, and she was bound, she said, on the length of the suspension by previous NFL discipline for nonviolent sexual assault.
However, she also noted Watson didn’t show any remorse during the disciplinary process, and on Thursday, he told reporters in Cleveland: “I stand on my innocence. I always said I never assaulted or disrespected anyone.”
Sally Jenkins / Washington Post
“The NFL has a terminal contempt for little people. It specializes in the abuse of the powerless with impunity, and Deshaun Watson’s light suspension and mock penitence, which he couldn’t sustain for even a full sentence, was just another take-us-for-fools offense. Never has the syndrome been more apparent than in Watson’s head-clutching double talk following the announcement he will sit out 11 games and pay a $5 million fine. His non-apology was so sourly cynical and canned, such a combination of bad faith and bad breath, that it made you long for a Listerine rinse.
“He’s sorry. No, he isn’t. He has learned. No, he hasn’t. He takes responsibility. No, he doesn’t. Watson’s utterly insincere written apology after allegedly exposing himself and perving on female massage therapists included everything but a dab at the eyes as he promised to work to become ‘the best version of myself on and off the field.’ Blech. Then he held a news conference and contradicted all of it with a casualness that made it clear it was just hygiene theater.
“ ‘I’ve always stood on my innocence and always said I’ve never assaulted anyone or disrespected anyone,’ Watson said. ‘…I’m going to continue to stand on my innocence.’
Asked if he was so innocent then why did he accept an 11-game suspension, he replied, ‘That was the legal side,’ blithely waving it away with his hand. He agreed to it purely to ‘move on’ with his life and his career after setting ‘pride aside.’
“What was he apologizing for then? Watson responded with all the sincerity of an Animatron: ‘There was a lot of people that was triggered.’ He was saying sorry to ‘all women’ for anything they might have suffered at the hands of someone, only not from him, in any way, because he is so innocent and has so little to really be sorry for.
“Why thank you, Deshaun, for that proffer of a verbal box of chocolates to all the ladies out there, except for the nearly two dozen you have settled civil claims with for exposing yourself and brushing them with your junk while they were trying to work.
“A modest suggestion: Perhaps the NFL has more disciplinary work to do here with the young man before it declares his case closed. ‘All women’ don’t need an apology from Watson, but they do need to see that those on whom he imposed his ‘predatory’ and ‘egregious’ conduct, in the words of disciplinary officer and former U.S. district judge Sue L. Robinson, receive some decent contrition along with reparation. Otherwise, it’s going to be hard to watch NFL football with anything less than a burning coal in the throat.
“Among the ways Watson harmed his victims was in making them ‘fearful’ of his ability to ‘use his status as an NFL player to damage their careers,’ Robinson found. He exploited a major power imbalance – it was a dual offense along with the unwanted touching – and his accusers were right to think they probably could suffer more proportional consequences of his nasty behaviors than he ever would.
“ ‘The message today to all victims is clear, if you believe you have been sexually assaulted by a powerful person, keep your mouth shut and go away,’ victim attorney Tony Buzbee said in a statement.
“The NFL has a major problem with misuse of power – all varieties of it. Watson’s case was just one in a larger power-abuse complex, from Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder harboring serial sexual harassment in his franchise with zero real world penalties to Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ slap on the wrist for boldly trying to cheat the audience via tampering and his flirtation with tanking. There lurks in all of these episodes an underlying sneer and chortle of secret understanding; These men are too rich to care, and there is no NFL punishment they can’t easily absorb and no reputational damage the league won’t help them cure with stage-managed proceedings to quiet the credulous and inferior rest of us….
“Watson wasn’t alone in his two-faced double talk. The 26-year-old was just emulating his elders. Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam seemed to think that cloaking themselves as human rights activists would somehow drug you into forgetting they wagered three first-round draft picks and the biggest guaranteed contract in NFL history on Watson, even as the line of women accusing him of sexual creepism wrapped around the block.
“ ‘We can talk about Deshaun, or we can talk about the major issues the country faces and make a difference,’ Dee Haslam said. “How can we move forward as a country?’ she added, a remark that can’t even be retyped on this page without keening, mascara-smearing laughter.
“There was a lot of talk about ‘counseling’ – mandated for Watson as part of the suspension settlement. There was a lot of insistence that Watson is ‘remorseful’ and reminders that he is young. ‘Is he never supposed to play again?’ Jimmy Haslam asked. ‘Is he never supposed to be a part of society? Does he get no chance to rehabilitate himself? That is what we are going to do.’ Ahh, I see. The Browns traded for Watson because they’re Father Flanagans who want to rescue him.
“Most assuredly Watson deserves a second chance, and nothing anyone does at the age of 26 should be the sum story of their life. But any thinking person must surely doubt whether a partial suspension that allows him to play the final third of the season, a fail-safe $230 million contract left almost untouched by penalty and a false apology and cleansing second-chance narrative calculated to wrap the story up with a bow will do the trick for the young man. Yet this was the convenient attitude also copped by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement; ‘Deshaun has committed to doing the hard work on himself.’
“No, no he hasn’t. He hasn’t squarely apologized to – or even recognized – the women he abused. Clearly, they’re too far beneath him.”
I’m surprised Sally Jenkins didn’t mention what Jimmy Haslam said after stating the team was going to give Watson a “chance to rehabilitate himself. That is what we’re gonna do, OK.”
“You can say that’s because he’s a star quarterback. Well, of course,” Haslam said with a slight chuckle. “But if he was Joe Smith he wouldn’t be [in] the headlines every day.”
--Meanwhile, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles didn’t give reporters any clue on Thursday as to when Tom Brady is coming back. He has been away from the team since Aug. 11 to tend to what has been described as “personal things.”
Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber is co-host of a sports talk show on WFAN here in New York and he said the other day he heard Brady had some issues with his businesses, hinting they could be kind of serious. Brady has stepped away for time off before but mostly during OTAs. I suspect we will learn a lot more this week, because the first game of the season is fast approaching, Sept. 11, when Tampa Bay visits the Cowboys.
--In College Football, which starts up next week, it’s all about the Big Ten’s big reveal…a seven-year media rights deal with CBS, Fox and NBC, which is set to run July 1, 2023, through the 2029-30 season. Annual value $1.2 billion, making it the biggest ever in college athletics.
Fox will air the “Big Noon” game, CBS will have the 3:30 p.m. slot, and NBC will close with “Big Ten Saturday Night” in primetime.
The three will share airing the Big Ten Championship.
Each Big Ten school will earn about $75 million annually from the media rights when USC and UCLA join the conference in 2024.
The Big Ten could add more programs, with Cal, Oregon, Stanford and Washington on the radar.
Other Big Ten sports, including men’s basketball, will air across Fox (and FS1), CBS and NBC, along with the Big Ten Network, of which Fox owns 61 percent equity, and Peacock, NBC’s streaming service.
CBS will broadcast seven football games, but it’s still tied to the SEC through a contract that requires the conference’s top game to be exclusively aired by CBS at 3:30 p.m. Starting in 2024, the Big Ten will occupy that slot.
So, you see one network that is absent in all of the above…ESPN, which rejected the Big Ten’s final offer of a seven-year, $380 million agreement, which included fewer marquee games than the network’s current package.
In games of note this weekend, the third of 38 on the 2022-23 season, Tottenham used another late header from the great Harry Kane to edge Wolverhampton at home, 1-0. Everton and Nottingham Forest tied 1-1. Arsenal whipped Bournemouth on the road 3-0.
But today, Leeds shocked Chelsea 3-0! Dr. W. is hurting. This one could impact the Blues’ late-season top four (Champions League) hopes, cuz as they say in the ‘burbs, ‘ya never know.’
And then Newcastle had an inspired effort at home to draw with Man City 3-3, though City was down 3-1 in the second half. It could have been greater for the black and white.
Tomorrow is a huge one. Liverpool and Manchester United at Old Trafford. The home United fans are going to be out for blood if their boys don’t perform.
LeBron James signed with the Lakers for two more years…$97.1 million…and not everyone is happy.
Bill Plaschke / Los Angeles Times
“Two more guaranteed years of LeBron James?
“Two more years of history, two more years of glamour, two more years of buzz.
“Two more years of injury reports, two more years of bad drama, two more years of embarrassing mediocrity.
“So, Lakers fans, how are you looking at his?
“If you like your basketball with bells and whistles, you will react to Wednesday’s news of James’ new contract with a cheer.
“If you like it with championships, however, you will react with a sigh.
“Me, I think I’ll just scream
“James is arguably the best player in basketball history and will undoubtedly command the league’s biggest headlines this season when he passes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in becoming the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. There was a time when building on the final year of his contract with a two-year extension worth $97.1 million would have been a brilliant decision for a title-contending team.
“Now is not that time, and this is not that place.
“An organization in need of a massive rebuild just signed up for a flashy rerun. A franchise lacking in youth and depth just tied its fortunes to a guy who will play his final guaranteed season at age 39.”
With a player option, it’s virtually guaranteed James will be a Laker during the 2024-25 season.
“Proponents of James’ new contract will say this sets up the Lakers to win now…
“But think, for a moment, about what this extension assumes.
“It first assumes that James is still capable of leading a team to a full-season championship. The truth is that he is not.
“In his three full seasons with the Lakers – not counting the abbreviated bubble championship in 2020 – James has led his group to exactly zero playoff series wins, and only one playoff appearance. He can’t do it by himself anymore, and he can’t do it with brittle Anthony Davis, and now the Lakers won’t be able to bring him another superstar while he’s here.
“The extension also assumes that James will be healthy enough to be the full-time Lakers leader during the regular season. The painful reality is that he will not.
“In those three full seasons, he’s averaged 52 games played. That means he’s missed an average of 30 games a year. That’s more than two missed months per year. Yet they’re giving him an even longer contract? How does that make any sense?....
“Perhaps the biggest argument against extending James can be found in what could have happened if he was allowed to walk after this season when his contract would have expired.
“If James left, the Lakers could have entered the 2023-24 season with more than $70 million in cap space. That would be enough to bring in a superstar while setting the stage for another one the following year. Now that’s a rebuild….
“Instead of beginning the hard work of becoming great again, they decided to settle for just being an attraction again. That may be the Hollywood way, but, contrary to popular belief, it has never been the Lakers way.
“And, by the way, don’t dare compare this with Kobe Bryant’s two-year, $48 million contract that carried his damaged body through the end of his Lakers career. In this town, LeBron James is not Kobe Bryant, nor will he ever be….
“Nonetheless, this extension does undoubtedly prove that James shares one trait with previous Lakers stars. James seemingly runs the team, which could be problematic when he reaches the player-option portion of his contract before the 2024 season.
“Remember when James told the Athletic that he wanted to play in the NBA with his son Bronny? Besides placing undue pressure on his son, who is considered a top-50 prospect as he enters his senior season at Chatsworth Sierra Canyon High, James comments could also place the same heat on the Lakers to draft the son when he is eligible two years from now or risk losing the father.
“Two more guaranteed years of LeBron James?
“A move that ordinarily would have brought out the purple and gold flags instead felt like the raising of a white one.”
Ah yes, Bronny….LeBron and Bronny and all those crypto ads. Just shoot me.
The 1972 Summer Olympics began Aug. 26 and in the first week, swimming is traditionally the lead story, before track and field and gymnastics take over in the back half, and so the star of the show early on was Mark Spitz and his record seven gold medals.
And then it all grew dark. I thought I’d reprise a piece I wrote back in 2002 for another column because over the coming two weeks, you will see a lot of stories on the tragedy of 50 years ago, and for those of a certain age this will give you a brief background.
Back in those days, Yasser Arafat and the PLO were in the midst of a reign of terror.
In May of 1972, three Japanese terrorists hired by the PLO killed 28 at Tel Aviv Airport. It was but one action leading to a tragedy that sickened the world as Arafat’s Fatah organization wreaked havoc on the Munich Games.
Most accounts of the terror never mention Arafat’s name, as if he had nothing to do with it. But the group responsible was just a cover for Fatah.
[Israeli officials dealt with Arafat because they were always afraid that whoever replaced him would be worse.]
12,000 athletes and staff were housed in the Olympic Village, with every precaution being taken to protect them. However, in the early morning hours of September 5, eight armed men managed to infiltrate the compound.
The terrorists, who were to identify themselves as Black September, stormed into two apartments housing some of the Israeli team members. 13 Israelis were rounded up, but in the chaos that followed, two team member successfully escaped, while two others were shot and killed as they tried to do the same. The remaining 9 became hostages.
Black September made their demands; the lives of the hostages in exchange for the freedom of 236 Arab prisoners held in Israel, plus air transportation to fly them and their captives to an unspecified location. If their conditions were not met by 9:00 AM, they would begin killing the Israelis.
Images of the hooded terrorists standing on the balcony were flashed across the world. A standoff ensued.
The terrorists were eventually presented two alternatives in exchange for the release of their hostages; they could be paid a large ransom and given safe passage out of Germany, or West German officials would take the place of the Israeli athletes as hostages. [Understand that just 27 years removed from World War II, Germany was petrified this whole incident would have a huge, negative impact on the world’s impression of a country that had been making tremendous strides.]
Black September rejected these offers. Instead, they demanded a plane to Cairo, saying that by the time they landed the Arab prisoners were to have been released.
The Olympic task force gave in to the request for transportation. At 10:00 PM, the terrorists and the Israeli captives were transported to two helicopters and flown to a military airfield where they would presumably make their escape. Upon their arrival at the airstrip, however, German police launched a surprise attack, only to botch it, underestimating the force they were facing.
For about 90 minutes the police marksmen and the terrorists waged a continuous gun battle. It ended in further tragedy when one terrorist threw a grenade into one of the helicopters, killing all five hostages inside, while the other terrorists shot and killed the remaining hostages. The final death toll was one German police officer, five terrorists and eleven Israeli athletes (including the two killed in the village). The other three terrorists were captured.
In a further tragic twist to the story, many in the world were led to believe that the Israelis had been released. Israel had celebrated the false reports at the time and settled in for the night.
The International Olympic Committee, under heavy criticism, nonetheless decided to resume the Games on September 7th, after a memorial service on the 6th.
Mark Spitz, being Jewish, was sent home after the massacre for his own protection.
Next weekend…the great Jim McKay.
--Oleksandr Usyk retained his three heavyweight titles with a split-decision victory over Anthony Joshua in a rematch on Saturday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
One judge scored it 115-113 for Joshua, but the other two had it 115-113 and 116-112 in favor of Usyk, who defeated Joshua for a second time.
Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs), 35, kept his WBO, ABA and IBF belts and is on a collision course with Tyson Fury – who holds the WBC belt – for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
Fury claimed he was retiring following an April victory over Dillian Whyte, then announced a comeback, then said he was retiring.
All are in agreement, Usyk-Fury should come off, possibly in December, also in Saudi Arabia.
Usyk early in the year joined a territory defense battalion in his native Ukraine when Russia invaded in February.
--How important is it to a franchise to have the team make the playoffs?
I was checking out a story in Crain’s New York Business on Madison Square Garden (whose stock has been in the news recently), and during the pandemic, MSG lost $500 million.
But, thanks largely to goalie Igor Shesterkin, the Rangers’ 10 home playoff games during the spring accounted for an entire quarter’s profit while generating an unexpected $65 million revenue bump for its owner. Sales of tickets, suites, sponsorships, media rights, merchandise and concessions exceeded 2019 levels, MSG Corp. reported Thursday, and season-ticket renewal rates for the Knicks and Rangers have climbed to 91% despite rising prices for hockey games.
The Garden collects about $1.5 million in profit for the average first-round playoff hockey game, and that figure grows during the later rounds as ticket prices rise. Ultimately, the Garden realized an average of $6.5 million in revenue per playoff game and $3.5 million in adjusted operating profit. That means the Rangers’ playoff run accounts for all of MSG Sports’ fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $33 million.
As Crain’s put it: “It also means everyone from the seats to the Garden’s executive suites is praying Igor Shesterkin is hot and healthy again this coming season.”
The NHL regular season is coming up fast…Oct. 11 for New York. But this season we don’t have to deal with the two-week break in the schedule due to the Olympics, so it will be a more normal one.
--The U.S. Open tennis tournament is coming up and it was announced the singles champions will receive $2.6 million this year, the USTA said Thursday. Players will receive $80,000 just for making the main draw and $121,000 for reaching the second round.
This winner’s take is actually less than in 2019, the last year before the pandemic, when the champions earned $3.9 million, but the others earn more. Such as back then, a first-round loser got $58,000 and a player eliminated in the second round earned $100,000.
This year, a semifinalist earns $705,000 and the runner-up gets $1.3 million.
--No one should have to go through what Vanessa Bryant is going through, the graphic images of her late-husband and daughter’s mangled remains floating around out there, though not as yet widespread it seems.
Bryant told a Los Angeles courtroom how she had to run outside her home so her surviving daughters wouldn’t see her cry after reading a local media report about the leaked photos.
“I felt like I wanted to run down the block and scream. I can’t escape my body. I can’t escape what I feel,” Bryant told the court. “I just remember not wanting to react because the girls were in the room.”
I hope she somehow eventually finds peace.
--Excitement down at Myrtle Beach, S.C., home to terrific golf, strip clubs and sharks.
As in two people were bitten by sharks on the same day this week, and they happened seven blocks apart, Monday. One person had a severe bite on their arm, and the other person a less serious bite on their leg. Officials can’t determine whether the same shark attacked both people.
Karren Sites of Pittsburgh, PA (a ton of western Pennsylvanians head down here and just north of the border into North Carolina for their summer vacations), said she was waist-deep in the ocean with her 8-year-old grandson when the shark approached and bit her arm. She said she pushed the beast away until it released her. Sites told local news she “received hundreds of stitches.”
Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the University of Florida, which works with Myrtle Beach to identify marine animal bites, said it appears to have possibly been a medium-sized bull shark, which is rather scary. A big bull shark can rip you into little pieces.
Local resident Johnny Mac, who is known as the Duke Kahanamoku of Myrtle, said between the sharks, gators and coyotes, there is an uprising among the wildlife.
--Speaking of wildlife, the story of the discovery of the moth with the 10-inch wingspan in Washington state is terrifying.
The atlas moth is considered among the largest moths in the world, along with species like the white witch moth, which can have a wingspan up to 14 inches, according to the California Academy of Sciences.
But this is the first known atlas in the States, at least the first to be confirmed by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Investigative Service.
“This is a ‘gee-whiz’ type of insect because it is so large,’ state agriculture department managing entomologist Sven Spichiger said in a news release. “Even if you aren’t on the lookout for insects, this is the type that people get their phones out and take a picture of – they are that striking.”
This is the kind of moth where if I saw it, I’d get out my official Bar Chat Bazooka!
Atlas moths usually live in tropical regions throughout Asia, which makes its presence in Washington all the more mysterious. The USDA says it is not likely the moth can survive here.
--Happy 103rd Birthday to Loyola-Chicago’s Sister Jean!
--Lastly, back to Madison Square Garden….Billy Joel has had a monthly residency there since 2014, but this weekend, Harry Styles took over. Get this…through Sept. 21, Styles will be performing before 15…15!...sell-out crowds! Good lord, that’s mighty strong.
As the New York Post described his opener last night:
“Good evening, New York. My name is Harry,” said the ridiculously charming superstar – who obviously needed no introduction – to one of many deafening roars. “Please feel free to be who you always wanted to be in the room tonight.”
As the Post put it, “In that moment, you could feel the Cult of Harry.”
And there’s nothing wrong with that…especially these days when we otherwise hate each other.
Top 3 songs for the week 8/25/73: #1 “Brother Louie” (Stories) #2 “Live And Let Die” (Wings…fave of mine and Trader George…) #3 “Touch Me In The Morning” (Diana Ross…where…)…and…#4 “Let’s Get It On” (Marvin Gaye…with Diana?...) #5 “The Morning After” (Maureen McGovern…from “The Poseidon Adventure”…) #6 “Delta Dawn” (Helen Reddy…always book the first flight in the morning…) #7 “Get Down” (Gilbert O’Sullivan) #8 “Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose” (Dawn featuring Tony Orlando) #9 “Uneasy Rider” (Charlie Daniels) #10 “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” (Jim Croce….C+ week…)
AP College Football Quiz Answer: Eight schools with four or more titles….
Alabama 12 (last 2020)
Notre Dame 8 (1988)
Oklahoma 7 (2000)
Miami 5 (2001)
Ohio State 5 (2014)
USC 5 (2004)
Minnesota 4 (1960)
Nebraska 4 (1995)
Yes, this quiz is all about Minnesota.
Actually, they were only 8-2 in 1960 and lost the Rose Bowl, but there were no dominant teams that season and in the final AP poll, Minnesota had 17 first-place votes, Ole Miss had 16, and Iowa 12.
Add-on up top by noon, Wed.