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Just Another Week in College Football
Add-on posted early Wed. a.m.
--The Mets are in the midst of a truly pathetic streak. Fighting to hold onto the NL East lead, New York has gone 5-6 against cellar-dwellers or teams more than 20 games below .500.
Monday night, the Cubs beat the Mets 5-2 at Citi Field, hitting Mets starter Chris Bassitt hard and handing him his worst loss in months.
Last night, Chicago beat the Metsies and Jacob deGrom 4-1, as once again the Mets bats were silent…a distressing trend during this streak.
DeGrom wasn’t helped by one of the worst calls you’ll ever see, a bunt play where the Chicago batter ran out of the baseline, on the grass, was hit in the head by the throw from the catcher, and ruled safe, a run scoring on the play. It wasn’t a challengeable call, and then it led to another run.
DeGrom did tie a major league mark with a 39th consecutive start of allowing three earned runs or fewer (six innings, 3 earned), a record he shares with Jim Scott, 1913-14.
But while the Mets are still a half-game in front of the Braves, who snapped a 3-game losing streak in San Francisco last night, 5-1, as Kyle Wright won his 18th, New York must get some production from the DH slot, with the combo of Darin Ruf and Daniel Vogelbach, get this, 6-for-73! [Ruf 1-for-31, Vogelbach 5-for-42]
--The Yankees, on the other hand, have won 7 of 9, and for now the panic is over.
Tampa Bay 79-62…6.5
Last night, Aaron Judge hit Nos. 56 and 57, just four from Roger Maris, as the Yanks beat the Red Sox in Boston, 7-6 in 10 inning, Gleyber Torres with a base-clearing 3-run double in the top of the tenth.
--The Dodgers clinched the AL West for a ninth time in 10 seasons, beating the D’Backs 4-0 Tuesday, Clayton Kershaw with seven scoreless as he improved to 8-3, 2.44.
Los Angeles, 98-43, is on track for 113 wins, after winning 106 in each of the last two full seasons.
--Monday night, Mike Trout homered in his seventh straight game, one shy of the MLB record held by Dale Long (Pittsburgh, 1956), Don Mattingly (Yankees, 1987), and Ken Griffey Jr. (Seattle, 1993). The Angels lost the game, though, 5-4 to the Guardians.
And the streak ended at seven…the Angels losing to Cleveland 3-1 last night, Trout 0-for-3.
AP Poll (Sept. 11)
1. Georgia (53 first-place votes) 2-0…flipped with Alabama
2. Alabama (9) 2-0
3. Ohio State (1) 2-0
4. Michigan 2-0
5. Clemson 2-0
6. Oklahoma 2-0
7. USC 2-0…up 3… best since Sept. 2017
8. Oklahoma State 2-0
9. Kentucky 2-0…up 11…best ranking since Oct. 2007
10. Arkansas 2-0…up 6
11. Michigan State 2-0
12. BYU 2-0…up 9
15. Tennessee 2-0…up 9
16. North Carolina State 2-0
19. Wake Forest 2-0…up 4
24. Texas A&M 1-1…down 18!
Notre Dame went from No. 8 to out of there! First time unranked since Sept. 17, 2017, snapping a streak of 80 straight poll appearances, which was fourth in the country behind Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia among active runs.
And now the Fighting Irish have lost quarterback Tyler Buchner to a left shoulder (clavicle) sprain (high-grade AC joint sprain) that shelves him for the season as he requires surgery.
--There isn’t one high-profile game on Saturday. So we should expect an upset or two, right?
--After losing to Georgia Southern in Lincoln, Nebraska head coach Scott Frost was fired. I didn’t realize Georgia Southern picked up $1.42 million to make the trip to Cornhusker territory. I would have thought more like $900K as these things go. So even worse for Nebraska.
“Here’s $1.42 million farthings, you young lads…and while you’re here, why don’t you humiliate us.”
Frost was a horrendous 16-31 in his 4+ seasons in Lincoln, with his best season 5-7.
I mean, this is Nebraska! Now the school has to cough up nearly $16.2 million to buy out Frost’s contract. Things got so desperate, understand that if they kept Frost until Oct. 1, the buyout cost would have decreased to $8.1 million.
Georgia Southern, as you are aware, wasn’t the only Sun Belt Conference team to humiliate a big time program. Marshall, it was reported, received $1.25 million to beat Notre Dame. Appalachian State received $1.5 million to go down to College Station and beat Texas A&M. Aggie coach Jimbo Fisher should have the $1.5 mil taken out of his $9 million per salary. That would only be right.
--Monday night, the Broncos were driving while trailing the Seahawks 17-16, as Russell Wilson, Denver’s new quarterback, was making his return to Seattle.
It was also the debut for the Broncos’ new head coach, Nathaniel Hackett, and on third-and-14, Wilson completed a short pass to Javonte Williams for nine yards to bring Denver to the Seahawks’ 46-yard line with 1:11 left, facing a fourth-and-five, Denver with two timeouts.
The Broncos just spent a $zillion on Wilson to be their franchise QB for the rest of the decade, but Coach Hackett decided not to go for the first down. Instead, he opted to run the clock down to 20 seconds, call a timeout and attempt a 64-yard field goal with Brandon McManus to take the lead. McManus missed wide left. Hackett’s explanation afterwards was absurd…how his goal was to just get to a 64-yard attempt, basically.
“I was surprised by it,” color analyst Troy Aikman said on ESPN after the game. “We [Joe Buck and I] were surprised by it. We were caught off guard by the time out. Like everybody, we couldn’t quite understand why they were letting so much time come off the clock. They went with McManus and that was the decision Hackett made. He trusted McManus’ leg more than he trusted Russell Wilson to be able to convert there on fourth down. That will be heavily dissected as we move through the week and it won’t sit well with Russell Wilson.”
Tuesday, after sleeping on it, Nathaniel Hackett admitted he made a mistake.
“Looking back at it, we definitely should’ve gone for it,” the coach said.
Seahawks safety Jamal Adams was carted off in the second quarter with what coach Pete Carroll deemed a serious injury to his left quadriceps tendon.
Adams has missed nine games over his first two seasons with Seattle, five due to a torn should labrum that required surgery. He’s missed time for a broken finger, which he then rebroke in training camp.
He’s a key figure in the defense. After the Seahawks acquired him from the Jets in 2020, they signed him to a four-year, $70 million extension last summer that made him the NFL’s highest-paid safety.
--The Cowboys announced Tuesday that quarterback Dak Prescott will not be placed on injured reserve, as first feared, according to owner Jerry Jones, who told a local radio station he thought Prescott could return within four games.
The quarterback suffered a right thumb injury in the disappointing home loss to the Bucs in the opener, and now Dallas faces Cincinnati in Week 2. If Prescott was placed on the IR, he’d have to miss a minimum of four games.
--So I only caught a bit of Sunday night football, and listened to ESPN Radio Sunday afternoon driving out to the Pittsburgh area, in terms of following Sunday’s action.
But just a few thoughts….
--I was shocked at the Giants’ performance, 21-20 over the Titans on the road. Yes, Saquon Barkley is officially back after his 18 carries, 164 yards performance, a touchdown and the go-ahead two-point conversion.
The rushing total was his highest since Dec. 22, 2019 and the third most of his career.
Barkley tore his ACL and sprained his MCL in a 2020 Week 2 contest. He missed the remainder of the season and was highly mediocre last season on his return.
And then we had Daniel Jones with a solid performance at quarterback for the Giants, Jones’ future on the line this season (at least if he is to stay in New York), and he went 17/21, 188, 2-1, 115.9. Good for him.
--As for my Jets, yes, the same old, same old…24-9 losers to the Ravens at MetLife Stadium in beautiful East Rutherford, NJ.
Joe Flacco, subbing for the rehabbing Zach Wilson, needed 59 passes to pick up 302 yards, 5.2 per, which ain’t good, sports fans.
Rookie running back Breece Hall, who I think is going to be a real star, had a poor debut for the Jets, fumbling inside the red zone in the third quarter.
Lamar Jackson wasn’t great for Baltimore, 17/30, 213, 3-1, 98.4, but it was good enough.
--I missed the ending to the BMW PGA Championship and as some golf scribes overseas have described it, it was a shootout for the ages between Shane Lowry and his good friend Rory McIlroy, Lowry coming out on top.
After Jon Rahm shot a sizzling 62 early to become the leader in the clubhouse at -16, Lowry (-7 in the final round) and Rory (-5) provided the late fireworks, with Lowry tapping in for birdie at the 18th and then having to wait and see if Rory could produce something special to force a playoff.
But Rory’s long eagle putt on the final hole stopped less than an inch short…great drama.
It was Lowry’s first win since the British Open in 2019 and what made it more special was how Lowry, and Rory, were as vocal as any in expressing their displeasure at the site of 15 LIV golfers at Wentworth.
“I wanted to go out and win this tournament for myself, first and foremost, but I think for this tour and everyone that has stayed loyal to this tour,” Lowry said. “I really feel like this one is for the good guys.”
Rory and Rahm finished T2, and LIV’s Talor Gooch did finish fourth; yet another example of why I felt Gooch, among all the defectors, was the one who is going to lose the most. He was just breaking through on the PGA Tour, and seemed destined to be a fixture at the top of leaderboards for the next decade, when he bolted. He’s got his money, but he would have made gobs as the revamped PGA Tour now stands and actually created a legacy.
Well, it was a week of barbs, back and forth, at the DP World Tour’s most important event.
“There’s been a lot of petty comments in the last few weeks and I’m not going to comment on them,” said LIV golfer Ian Poulter, who then proceeded to comment.
“I’ve spoken to the guys a lot in the last number of months, none of which seemed to have a problem with me, my age making a decision that I’ve made,” Poulter said after the first round. “So I’m not going to comment on people’s comments, that have said stuff on socials and in front of you guys, I’m not going to play the clickbait game. I’m just not playing it.”
So one of the LIV golfers who teed it up was Sergio Garcia, who then shot an opening-round 76 and withdrew without a reason.
Eamon Lynch / Golfweek
“However implausible it may seem now, once upon a time Sergio Garcia enjoyed a reputation that was, if not quite the gold standard, then at least a couple of notches above junk status. That was when he was a teenage phenom scissor-kicking down the fairway in pursuit of Tiger Woods, when success – particularly in major championships – seemed not only assured but imminent. In the almost 20 years that elapsed before that major win finally came, Garcia didn’t mature, his only growth apparent in a disposition that became more sullen, more entitled, more petulant and more unprofessional.
“The data set for Garcia’s dickish behavior was augmented right up until his final regular event on the PGA Tour, where he has earned more than $54 million, before bonuses. At May’s Wells Fargo Championship, he bellyached about an unfair ruling before announcing, ‘I can’t wait to leave this tour. I can’t wait to get out of here…’ His words fell like a welcome rain on the usually arid world of rules officials.
“Garcia decamped to LIV Golf with a lengthy resume of gauche antics, select lowlights of which include flinging his shoe into a gallery, flipping off spectators, spitting into the cup, and getting booted from a tournament in Saudi Arabia for defacing five greens during an extended conniption (that he found the Saudis limit for unseemly conduct is an accomplishment at least as impressive as winning the Masters). But like other LIV defectors, he wants to continue cherry-picking the most important stops on the tours he left behind. The BMW PGA Championship, for example, which was held this week in England.
“The Spaniard had been asked about the chilly reception likely awaiting at Wentworth and his response sounded a note of selfishness that was wholly on-brand: ‘What I’m going to do is support the European tour and that’s all I can do. Whoever doesn’t like it, too bad for them.’
“The ‘them’ for whom it was too bad included the many competitors who objected to the presence of 18 LIV members in the field [Ed. 15 teed it up in the end]; the DP World Tour itself, which made clear the LIV outcasts were in only under legal duress; and the luckless players on the alternate list, who were denied 18 opportunities to compete in their tour’s premier tournament.
“Garcia’s professed support of the DP World Tour has never been much in evidence at its flagship event, where he has appeared only twice in the past 22 years. On his last showing, in 2014, he quit after one round. If nothing else, this week indicated how little he has changed in the intervening years.
“In Thursday’s first round, Garcia shot a 76 that had him firmly at the arse-end of the leaderboard. He was finished by the time news broke of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, which prompted a suspension of play and reduced the championship to 54 holes. When matters resumed on Saturday, he was announced as having withdrawn. A few hours later, he was sideline at the Texas-Alabama game in Austin, 5,000 miles from Wentworth. He did not extend tournament organizers the courtesy of an explanation for his WD.
“There were other WDs, but Garcia was the only LIV member to commandeer a precious spot in the field and then abandon it after 18 indifferent holes. His was also the only WD intended as a middle finger to the DP World Tour and its unwelcoming members. To interpret it as anything else demands a generosity that he has not earned.
“So why did Garcia enter a tournament at which he wasn’t welcome, played on a course he doesn’t like? Because LIV expects its infantrymen to present themselves at every significant event for which they are eligible – to normalize its existence, to grab world ranking points, and to otherwise disrupt the status quo. And LIV doesn’t own a man more infantile than Garcia.
“It’s futile to wonder if Garcia’s reputation among his peers will be hurt by this latest unprofessionalism since one cannot further diminish that which has already been rendered fecal….
“It’s unlikely that Garcia will exhibit the same contempt for his new employers as he did for the DP World Tour and his fellow players at Wentworth, not least because the boss is known to get sawed off at dissent. He’s obliged by contracts and cash to meet his commitments on LIV’s circuit. All that was required to fulfill the obligation he assumed at Wentworth was professionalism and courtesy. Predictably, he was again found wanting.
“Whatever the amount that greased Garcia’s palm for the jump to LIV, it didn’t buy him the one thing he has never possessed, nor apparently ever sought: class. Not even MBS can gift him that. At some point, the Saudis will glumly realize just what they have bought. Too bad for them.”
The DP World Tour is thinking of fining Garcia a hefty sum.
Into the December file he goes. I might have something special for Sergio.
--Padraig Harrington won his third Champions Tour event in his last seven starts, including the U.S. Senior Open and only one finish outside the top four.
Harrington, 51, won the Ascension Charity Class in St. Louis by one over Y.E. Yang.
Padraig now has winnings of $2,430,703 this year, which isn’t all bad for a ‘senior’ lad.
--So Sunday night when I arrived in the Pittsburgh area, my cousin Aimee invited some of us to Latrobe Country Club (Arnold Palmer’s place) for dinner, courtesy of her husband Michael.
In all my years in the area, I had never been there. Michael and Aimee are members and Michael, knowing my love for golf, told me after we had sat down and I had gotten my beer, “Take your beer and I’ll show you around.”
And so I saw Arnie’s locker! And his father Deacon’s. The locker room is a pretty simple place. Nothing ostentatious, like some of the high-end courses I have been to in my life. Arnie’s locker is just mixed in there with all the others.
And I saw “Arnie’s table” in the Grill Room. No one sat there but Arnie. But of course, he invited folks over to sit with him.
But back upstairs at our dinner table, with only two other tables occupied (it being a Sunday night, an ugly weather day, and not many people being on the course, as I observed driving in), Michael goes, “See that older gentlemen over there?”
I had been observing the folks at the table but couldn’t make out one individual due to him being blocked from my line of sight.
“That’s Doc Giffin.”
“Doc Giffin?!” I replied. “Holy s---.”
Doc Giffin was Arnie’s right-hand man. You didn’t do anything without getting Doc’s approval first. Arnie didn’t do anything from a business standpoint without consulting with Doc.
Doc is 93, turning 94 in November.
When Doc’s dinner party was leaving, they had to pass our table and I got up to introduce myself, explaining I was a Wake grad, and he was totally comfortable, as no doubt about 6.5 million people like yours truly had gone up to him…and I told him my Baltusrol 1980 Toy Cop story of guarding the players’ parking lot, and how cool Arnie was each morning, and Doc said, “I was there.”
So a special moment for me. And a big thank you to Michael K.
--I left on Sunday before the men’s final at the U.S. Open so congratulations to 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, a most deserving champion and a needed shot in the arm as Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal’s best days are probably limited to another year or two, max, especially with the last two.
Alcaraz, the 3-seed, took out 5-seed Casper Ruud in four sets. With the victory, the Spaniard is the new world No. 1, becoming the youngest to do so. Had Norway’s Ruud, only 23, won he would have become No. 1.
These two, with hopefully Frances Tiafoe, Daniil Medvedev, and one or two others, should keep interest in the men’s game at a high level the next 5-10 years.
--Anthony Joshua agreed to terms to challenge WBC world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury on Dec. 3, with the fight expected to take place in Cardiff, Wales.
Former WBA-IBF-WBO world heavyweight champion Joshua was outpointed for a second successive time by Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk on Aug. 20 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. But despite back-to-back losses, Fury offered him a title shot.
Yes, so much for Fury’s retirement, you can add.
So it’s Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) vs. Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs).
I missed that Usyk announced he will not fight again in 2022 due to injury, which is why Joshua received another opportunity.
--The NBA suspended Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver for one year and fined him $10 million after an expansive independent investigation into the organization’s workplace culture concluded that he had used racial epithets and treated female employees by a different standard than their male counterparts, among other violations of the league’s policies.
The investigation, which included 320 interviews and a review of 80,000 documents, concluded that Sarver had “repeated or purported to repeat the n-word” at least five times “when recounting the statement of others,” corroborating allegations made last year by former Suns coach Earl Watson.
The report also stated that Sarver had “made many sex-related comments in the workplace” and “made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women.”
Sarver is banned from attending all NBA and WNBA games and from team facilities. The 60-year-old real estate developer also cannot be involved in his organizations’ business operations or league meetings. The $10 million fine is the maximum allowed under NBA rules.
But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stopped short of issuing a lifetime ban to Sarver, a punishment doled out to former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was caught on tape making racist comments in 2014.
--So I receive this local alert Tuesday…a black bear was spotted at Giralda Farms in Madison (N.J.) and to be on the watch. And I’m like, ‘That’s where I walk a lot!’ It’s a beautiful place for getting some exercise, but I’ve always been worried about a rabid coyote ripping my leg to shreds. Well, I think I’ll pass from walking in the area at times when I know there are no other people around.
--But in Australia, a man died after being attacked by a kangaroo he had been keeping as a pet, police say.
A relative found the 77-year-old man with serious injuries on Monday at his home in Redmond, about 250 miles south of Perth.
When the ambulance crew arrived at the rural property, the kangaroo prevented them from treating the man. Police say they were then forced to shoot the marsupial. The man died at the scene.
This, shockingly, was the first fatal attack by a kangaroo in Australia since 1936.
Back in July, a kangaroo left a 67-year-old woman with cuts and a broken leg after it attacked her on a walk in Queensland.
And a 3-year-old girl suffered serious head injuries in an attack in New South Wales in March.
I’ve told you about my experience with kangaroos long ago, when I was in Tasmania, at a game preserve to check out the Tasmanian Devil (which is smaller than you might picture, but incredibly vicious), and in this game park, with koalas sitting on Rangers’ shoulders for you to pet, you also had kangaroos just hopping about. At one point this kangaroo comes up to me and he’s just as tall…I’m looking at the Giant Rat eye level. I was scared to death. This ain’t no cuddly beast, boys and girls. They are strong as hell, can beat you to a pulp just through kicking you, and they have sharp teeth and claws.
Next Bar Chat, Sunday p.m.
[Posted Sunday a.m.]
NOTE: Folks, I’m posting early Sunday morning because I need to head off to Pittsburgh for family business, and with the long drive and such, won’t be covering NFL action, U.S. Open men’s final and other stuff.
I’ll try to post an Add-on by noon, Wed. It will be brief.
Baseball Quiz: 1) Aaron Judge is pursuing Roger Maris’ 61 home runs from 1961. Before Maris, name all the players who hit 50 in a season. 2) The other day I was watching an MLB Network game and the issue of 400 total bases came up. Babe Ruth holds the record, 457, set in 1921 (204 hits, 44 doubles, 16 triples, 59 home runs). But while there were a ton of players with 400 in the ‘live ball’ era, the 1920s and 30s, since 1940 until the steroids era, name the only three to reach the 400 mark. [Hint: All between 1940 and 1980.] Answers below.
--The Yankees hosted the Rays Friday night for the start of a crucial three-game set, after the Rays took 2 of 3 down in St. Pete last weekend, and the Yanks got off to a poor start, losing 4-2, and it was all about outfielder Aaron Hicks.
Following a pregame ceremony honoring Derek Jeter’s Hall of Fame induction, Hicks proceeded to misplace two straight fly balls in left field in the fourth inning, the Rays turning a 1-0 lead into 4-0, the fans showering Hicks with chants of “Joey Gallo” immediately after.
So Hicks ran into the dugout after the inning ended and disappeared down the steps and into the clubhouse, Estevan Florial taking over for him in left field.
Hicks has been atrocious, 10 for his last 86 at the plate, .116. For the season he has a .622 OPS. And as all Yankees fans know, the team owes him $30 million over the next three seasons.
Meanwhile, Aaron Judge had two hits and an RBI, but no home runs.
On to Saturday afternoon…and the Yanks got their mojo back, blasting the Rays 10-3 on 15 hits, Aaron Judge with three of them, no homers, but his 120th RBI.
So the lead is back to 4 ½ heading into today’s finale. The Rays then travel to Toronto for five massive games there, especially in terms of the wild card race.
Tampa Bay 78-59…+1
Then again, getting the third wild card position, or 6th in the seedings, means you face the AL Central winner, today, Cleveland or Chicago. That would be easier than facing Tampa Bay or Toronto, at least on paper.
--The Mets have gone just 4-4 against some of the worst teams in baseball, Washington, Pittsburgh and Miami, but after beating the Marlins 11-3 last night (following a dreadful 6-3 loss Friday, losing first-place in the process), the Mets found themselves back on top of the NL East Sunday morning, after the Braves lost to the Mariners in Seattle, 3-1.
--The NL Central-leading Cardinals are 82-58, six games back of the NL East leader and the critical bye in the playoffs (the Dodgers are 95-43), after beating the Pirates in Pittsburgh last night, 7-5.
Albert Pujols tied A-Rod for fourth all-time with home run No. 696 (one of three hits on the night). Incredibly, with his 17th on the season, he can reach 700.
--Yes, we should not worry about Mike Trout’s back, at least for now, as he homered in a franchise-record sixth game in a row last night, No. 34 on the season, as the Angels, behind Shohei Ohtani’s five solid innings on the mound (before developing a blister), beat the Astros 6-1.
Trout now has 10 home runs in his last 16 games, while Ohtani has allowed three runs or fewer in eight consecutive starts as he improved to 12-8, 2.55.
--The big news in baseball this weekend was the announcement Friday that MLB’s competition committee approved a slate of rule changes that will go into effect next season. The changes include the implementation of a pitch clock, restrictions on defensive shifts, and larger bases.
The Players Association, which has four of the competition committee’s 11 members, voted against the pitch clock and limiting shifts. The vote to increase the size of the bases, from 15 inches square to 18, was unanimous.
But as of Friday, in 2023, major leaguers will play with a similar pitch clock to that used by minor leaguers this season. MLB pitchers will have 20 seconds to begin their throwing motions with runners on base and will get 15 seconds to do so with the bases empty. [In the minors it is 14 seconds to start their motions with the bases empty and 18 seconds with at least one runner on base…19 seconds in Triple A.]
According to MLB, the average time of minor-league games went from 3:04 in 2021 to 2:38 in 2022, when pitch timers were instituted.
The change regarding defensive shifts means teams must designate two infielders who will stay between second and third base, and all infielders must be on the infield dirt when pitchers are on the rubber.
And MLB intends to boost stolen base attempts and player safety with a number of other changes. Pitchers will now be allowed to step off the mound twice per plate appearance, for a pickoff throw or for any other reason. A third time stepping off the rubber will result in a balk unless an out is recorded on a runner.
Increasing the size of the bases may decrease collisions at first base.
Spring training is going to be way important for lots of heretofore deliberate pitchers, for one. And it wouldn’t be all bad if teams begin to shape their lineups around speed, as was the case in the 1980s with teams like the Cardinals.
--Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post noted that Aaron Judge’s 19-home run lead over Kyle Schwarber, as of Friday (now 18, Schwarber homering Saturday), is the most since Babe Ruth hit 54 and the next-best duo of Hack Wilson and Jim Bottomley managed 31 in 1928. In the 93 seasons since, only Jimmie Foxx – who beat Ruth by 17 homers in 1932 and 14 homers in 1933 – has approached such a gap.
Old-time baseball fans know, and Svrluga points out, however, that the all-time record is also held by Ruth.
In 1920*, Ruth hit 54 and next highest was George Sisler with 19. Then the following year, 1921, Ruth had 59 and Bob Meusel and Ken Williams were next at 24. It’s stuff like this that further proves Ruth was the greatest power hitter of all time.
*Ruth homered more times that year than all but one other team.
I wrote in my Add-on Wednesday, “Not a lot of high interest games this weekend.”
Well, we all got interested real fast, didn’t we? At least I said the “most intriguing contest” was Appalachian State at Texas A&M.
We almost had an upset for the ages, but in the end, No. 1 Alabama, a 20-point favorite over Texas down in Austin, needed some spectacular late play from Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young to pull out a 20-19 win on a 33-yard Will Reichard field goal with ten seconds left, this after the Longhorns’ Bert Auburn nailed a clutch 49-yarder to put Texas up 19-17 with 1:29 remaining.
But that gave Young too much time to work his magic, somehow eluding a sack that would have been a killer and turning it into a 20-yard scramble that set up the winning kick.
No. 2 Georgia whipped Samford 33-0, and 3 Ohio State took care of Arkansas State 45-12, C.J. Stroud with four touchdown passes, Marvin Harrison his prime target (7-184-3!).
4 Michigan rolled over Hawaii 56-10. 5 Clemson beat Furman 35-12.
[Thursday, coach Dabo Swinney received a massive new contract that makes him the second-highest paid coach in college football. As in a 10-year extension worth $11.5 million per year, which runs through the 2031 season. Nick Saban makes more, and Georgia’s Kirby Smart is now behind Dabo. Clemson has 11 consecutive 10-win seasons, with two national titles under Swinney.]
But then we had that “intriguing” matchup down in College Station, App State at 6 Texas A&M, and a Mountaineers team that had yielded 63 points to North Carolina last week, in that amazing 63-61 shootout, gave up just 186 yards of offense to the Aggies and held off A&M, an 18-point favorite, 17-14. Mammoth. Great for App State.
For A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, he of the $9 million per contract, his boys have a brutal schedule and could be headed to a 5-loss season. Couldn’t happen to a better guy, smirked the editor.
7 Oklahoma rolled over Kent State 33-3.
But then we had our other massive upset, a titanic one, as Marshall defeated 8 Notre Dame 26-21. Marcus Freeman is now 0-3 as head coach of the Fighting Irish, going back to last year’s bowl game. For Marshall, quarterback Henry Colombi, who has played at Utah State and Texas Tech, was efficient, and running back Khalan Laborn picked up 163 yards on 31 carries.
What a hugely embarrassing loss for the Notre Dame faithful. And another big win for the Sun Belt Conference. [Plus Georgia Southern beat Nebraska in Lincoln, 45-42. I forgot Clay Helton is the coach for the Eagles.]
But wait, there’s more!
No. 9 Baylor lost to 21 BYU 26-20, a major win for the Cougars, who can make more of a statement next weekend against Oregon.
Meanwhile, 10 USC showed that they could be a real playoff contender, beating Stanford 41-28 in a game that was 41-14 heading into the fourth quarter.
Caleb Williams is the early Heisman favorite, 20/27, 341, 4-0; Pitt transfer Jordan Addison with another big effort, 7-172-2.
But the Trojans also have a big addition in the backfield, Oregon transfer Travis Dye, who rushed for 105 yards and a score on just 14 carries.
The excitement is back. The cheerleaders looked solid, playoff ready, as well.
And this is all good for college football.
In other games of note….
12 Florida was “upset” by 20 Kentucky 26-16, the Wildcats dominating on ‘D’, including a pick-six of Anthony Richardson.
24 Tennessee beat 17 Pitt in overtime, 34-27, in a fun game to watch. Good to see Tony Dorsett on the sidelines. He looked great, given his health issues.
Virginia Tech stuffed Boston College 27-10, holding the Eagles to four yards on 26 carries.
Duke is 2-0 after beating Northwestern 31-23.
Rutgers annihilated Wagner 66-7, as you would expect.
And finally, for my Wake Forest Demon Deacons, quarterback Sam Hartman returned and he looked like the Sam Hartman of old. Lots of errant passes, but then some terrific ones, as the No. 23 Deacs won at Vanderbilt 45-25, beating the 13.5-point spread in the process, and we all know the import of that, boys and girls. Because at the end of the day….
Anyway, Hartman was 18/27, 300, 4-0, and, critically, as us Wake fans understand, his favorite target A.T. Perry benefited, 5-142-1. Perry needs to be involved and Hartman knows how to do that.
In two weeks, Wake Forest hosts Clemson. But the Deacs need to take care of business next Saturday against Liberty (which has beaten Southern Miss and UAB to start off).
--Laine Higgins of the Wall Street Journal on the “transfer frenzy that is turning college football rosters upside down.”
USC has 26 new players through the transfer portal, though it lost 19 players to transfers. Good lord!
The big change in the rules that led to the chaos was not just granting players on rosters in the fall of 2020 a bonus year of eligibility because of the pandemic, but the change in 2021 that lifted the requirement that athletes in certain sports, including football, sit out for a year after switching schools.
The Journal analyzed the change in football rosters provided by 55 of the 65 teams in the Power five conferences, plus Notre Dame. The analysis showed that an average of 17 players per team put their names in the portal during the 2021-22 academic year. These same teams took on 10 transfers in that time span.
Pac-12 teams have brought in an average of 13 players this season, with 19 players leaving teams on average. The ACC had the most stable rosters, with 8 players transferring in on average and 15 leaving.
Clemson is an example of the opposite side. The Tigers added only two players last offseason who are not freshmen, and one is a walk-on who has since earned a scholarship.
--The Jets did the smart thing, announcing Zach Wilson would not start until at least Week 4 so he can be 100 percent after his knee surgery, so that meant former Raven Joe Flacco would be starting for the first time against his old team, for which he won a Super Bowl in 2013, but which traded him in 2019.
--Josh Allen and the Super Bowl favorite Bills put a hurt on the defending champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFL opener, Thursday, 31-10 in Inglewood, Calif.
Allen was superb, with a few bobbles…26/31, 297, 3-2, 112.0; Stefan Diggs with eight receptions for 122 and a touchdown. Allen also ran for 56 yards and a TD.
Matthew Stafford was under the gun the whole game, sacked seven times, just 29/41, 240, 1-3, 63.0, while Cooper Kupp had a heroic effort, 13 receptions for 128 and the lone score.
In the women’s final on Saturday, it was No. 1-ranked Iga Swiatek against 5 Ons Jabeur.
Jabeur was a finalist at Wimbledon in July, losing to Elena Rybakina. She defeated Caroline Garcia in their semifinal.
Swiatek, a 2-time French Open champ, defeated No. 6 Aryna Sabalenka in her semi.
And Swiatek then picked up Grand Slam No. 3, 6-2, 7-6. Put me on Team Iga! A good, humble champion. Go Polska!
--On the men’s side, it’s a Carlos Alcaraz-Carson Ruud final tonight.
Alcaraz, the 19-year-old budding star from Spain and the 3-seed, beat American Frances Tiafoe in one semifinal, 6-7, 6-3, 6-1, 6-7, 6-3. This after the Spaniard had defeated Jannik Sinner in a quarterfinal match for the ages, the classic lasting 5 hours and 15 minutes, ending at 2:50 a.m., the latest-ending match in U.S. Open history.
Norway’s Casper Ruud, the 5-seed, had an easier time in his semi, taking out 27 Karen Khachanov of Russia in four set.
Back to Tiafoe, he became the first American man to reach a U.S. Open semifinal in 16 years, the last being Andy Roddick in 2006.
--The Queen’s death had a major impact on the BMW PGA Championship on the DP World Tour, as play was suspended Thursday, with 30 of the 144 players in the field yet to finish their first rounds, and then tournament officials opting to cut the event to 54 holes, which was kind of ironic, given all the sniping taking place between the 18 LIV golfers in the tournament and the regular PGA/DP World Tour folks.
Like Rory McIlroy, early in the week, commenting that the LIV golfers would be tired playing 72 holes.
Well, after two rounds….
Soren Kheldsen (Denmark) -12
Viktor Hovland -12
Tomas Detry (Belgium) -11
Rafa Cabrera Bello -11
Rory McIlroy -11
Francisco Molinari -10
Matthew Jordan -10 (England)
Adrian Otaegui -10 (Spain)
Shane Lowry -10
Talor Gooch -10 …Boooo Booooo
--Jon Rahm gave a pass to the European Tour veterans who were eligible for the BMW such as Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia, but suggested the likes of Talor Gooch and Abraham Ancer were out of line for showing up at an event in which they had never played.
Billy Horschel (defending BMW champ) echoed the thoughts: “I honestly don’t think that the American guys who haven’t supported the Tour should be here. Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch…you’ve never played this tournament, you’ve never supported the DP World Tour. Why are you here?”
Rory McIlroy said his relationship with former Ryder Cup teammates Westwood, Poulter and Garcia is nonexistent.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve got much of a relationship with them at the minute,” McIlroy said. “But again, if you’re just talking about Ryder Cup, that’s not the future of the Ryder Cup team….the future of the Ryder Cup is the Hojgaards (twin brothers Nicolai and Rasmus), Bobby Mac (Robert MacIntyre) and whoever else is coming up. They are what we should be thinking about and talking about.”
Shane Lowry, who I thought months ago was a classic LIV candidate, had some very harsh words for the LIV golfers in attendance.
The Irishman said there are “some lads I’d shake hands with” and others he “wouldn’t” and says some of the players were in London this week to be disruptive.
“I can’t say I’m 100 percent okay with everyone being here, but there are some of the guys I kinda don’t mind them being here, given what they’ve done for the tour over the years,” Lowry told Sky Sport, no doubt referring to a Lee Westwood.
“There are certain guys I just can’t stand them being here to be honest and I don’t like it that they’re here. I think the one thing that has annoyed me over the past few months is how disruptive they’re all trying to be and I get they’re here to get world ranking points and all that but in a way I think they’re here for that and to be disruptive, I don’t think they’re here for anything else.
“Anyone who knows me knows I don’t like confrontation, I’ll stay low, I’ll do my thing, that’s the way I’ll be. The lads I’ve known them for years, some became very good friends. But I haven’t seen them in a long time now so, I don’t hang out with them any more, don’t go for dinner but that’s because we haven’t seen each other. Look, there are certain lads I’d shake hands with and there are certain players I wouldn’t.
“If I put myself in those guys’ shoes, would I be here this week? No, it would be too uncomfortable for me.”
--U.S. Presidents Cup captain Davis Love III filled out his lineup for Quail Hollow Club, Sept. 22-25. And it’s a most impressive one.
Captain’s picks Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth, Billy Horschel, Cameron Young, Max Homa and Kevin Kisner, join qualifiers Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, Sam Burns and Tony Finau.
The International team, ravaged by LIV defectors like Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann, have their work cut out for them.
Captain Trevor Immelman’s team consists of Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im, Tom Kim, Corey Connors, Mito Pereira, Adam Scott, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Cam Davis, Si Woo Kim, K.H. Lee, Sebastian Munoz and Taylor Pendrith.
Eegads…this will be a rout of epic proportions. Maybe after the first day they should just have drinking contests.
--Scottie Scheffler was named the 2022 PGA Tour Player of the Year in voting by the Tour’s membership. Scheffler received 89% of the votes, besting Rory and Cam Smith.
Scheffler thus becomes the first player to win Korn Ferry Player of the Year, PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year honors. That’s cool.
--Here’s another case of ‘wait 24 hours.’ With Queen Elizabeth’s death on Thursday, the Premier League decided to postpone all ten of its games, with all other English, Welsh and Northern Irish football and senior Scottish football postponed as well.
At first I thought the PL had missed a huge opportunity to have packed stadiums honor the Queen with their applause, which would have been a great scene. King Charles had left it up to the sports league to act as they saw fit.
But while we were told policing was not a factor in postponing this weekend’s games, it is understood it could be a consideration next weekend, with the state funeral looming.
The teams cannot be happy. All we’ve been talking about is the congested schedule given the World Cup in November. And for teams in the Champions and Europa League competitions, it’s a mess. So we’ll see. This is what happens when you give the World Cup to a Qatar that can’t hold games in the summer.
Speaking of the Champions League, it started with midweek games last week and Chelsea lost to Dinamo Zagreb, after which the Blues fired manager Thomas Tuchel. They had gotten off to a poor start in Premier League play as well. Chelsea then immediately hired Graham Potter, the Brighton manager, who was clearly on their radar for a long time.
Brighton sits fourth in the PL table.
Elsewhere in the Champions League, Man City whipped Seville 4-0, Erling Haaland with two more scores.
Liverpool was blown out by Napoli 4-1, and Tottenham beat Marseille 2-0, Richarlison with both goals, his first two as a Spur.
--Five people died after the small charter boat they were aboard capsized, authorities in New Zealand said, in what most believe was a collision with a whale. Another six people aboard the boat were rescued.
Police said the 28-foot overturned near the South Island town of Kaikoura. The Kaikoura mayor, Craig Mackle, said the water was calm at the time of the incident and the assumption was that a whale had surfaced from beneath the boat. Mackle added there were some sperm whales in the area and also some humpback whales traveling through.
Locals helped in the search but the mood in the town was somber, Mackle said, because the water was so cold and they feared for the outcome of anybody who had fallen overboard.
Mackle also said he thought often of the possibility of boat / whale collisions given the number of whales that frequent the region.
Kaikoura is a popular whale-watching destination. The seafloor drops away precipitously from the coast, making for deep waters close to the shore.
--Sometimes waiting 24 hours isn’t enough. Such is the case with BYU and the Duke volleyball player who claims she was the victim of racial heckling.
BYU said Friday after an “extensive review” of the incident it found no evidence of such behavior.
Duke’s Rachel Richardson, who is Black, alleged that she repeatedly heard a racial slur directed at her during an Aug. 26 match from someone sitting in BYU’s student section. Richardson’s godmother also said the player was called a racial slur “every time she served.”
BYU banned a fan from all its athletic events shortly after Richardson’s allegations but has lifted the ban following its investigation, which the school says included reviewing all available video and audio recordings and contacting more than 50 people who attended the event, including some Duke athletes and staff members.
“From our extensive review, we have not found any evidence to corroborate the allegation that fans engaged in racial heckling or uttered racial slurs at the event,” BYU said Friday in a statement. “As we stated earlier, we would not tolerate any conduct that would make a student-athlete feel unsafe. That is the reason for our immediate response and our thorough investigation.”
BYU apologized to the fan “for any hardship the ban has caused.”
BYU communicated the results of the investigation to Duke before releasing its statement, the school told ESPN, and the schools’ athletic directors have been in regular communication throughout the investigation.
BYU’s AD, Tom Holmoe, met with Richardson on Aug. 27, after which Richardson praised Holmoe for his approach.
DUKE AD Nina King on Friday expressed the university’s support for Richardson and all members of the school’s volleyball team.
Richardson’s godmother, Lesa Pamplin, had initially drawn attention to the alleged slur by tweeting about it. She said Friday she did not accept BYU’s findings.
South Carolina women’s basketball team recently canceled a home-and-home series against BYU, citing the incident at the Duke-BYU volleyball match.
Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley issued a statement later Friday, saying she stands by her decision to cancel the series.
I have yet to see any further comments from Rachel Richardson.
Top 3 songs for the week 9/11/76: #1 “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty” (KC & The Sunshine Band) #2 “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” (Lou Rawls) #3 “Play That Funky Music” (Wild Cherry)…and…#4 “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight” (England Dan & John Ford Coley) #5 “A Fifth Of Beethoven” (Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band…one of the three or four worst songs in the history of the world…) #6 “You Should Be Dancing” (Bee Gees…dreadful…) #7 “Lowdown” (Boz Scaggs…awesome album…) #8 “Let ‘Em In” (Wings) #9 “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (Elton John & Kiki Dee) #10 “Summer” (War…good one…but some godawful entries here…D+ week…)
Baseball Quiz Answer: 1) Players before Roger Maris’ 61 in ’61 to hit 50 homers in a season.
Babe Ruth…60 (1927), 59 (1921), 54 (1920), 54 (1928)
Jimmie Foxx…58 (1932), 50 (1938)
Hank Greenberg…58 (1938)
Hack Wilson…56 (1930)
Ralph Kiner…54 (1949), 51 (1947)
Mickey Mantle…54 (1961), 52 (1956)
Willie Mays…51 (1955)…he hit 52 in 1965
Johnny Mize…51 (1947)
Lou Gehrig hit 49 twice (1934, ’36)
Ted Kluszewski, 49 (1954)
Ruth, 49 (1930)
Among others who hit 49, post-Maris, were Harmon Killebrew (1964, ’69) and Frank Robinson (1966).
Pre-steroids era, after Willie Mays’ 52 in 1965, we then just had George Foster, 52 (1977) and Cecil Fielder, 51 (1990).
2) 400 total bases between 1940 and 1980:
Stan Musial, 429 (1948)…230 hits, 46 doubles, 18 triples, 39 home runs
Jim Rice, 406 (1978)…213, 25, 15, 46
Hank Aaron, 400 (1959)…223, 46, 7, 39
Very brief Add-on up top by noon, Wed.