IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Program Note: The MH staff is road-tripping to South Bend, so there probably won’t be a new post tomorrow. Adjust your heartbreak accordingly…

Starting Five

Tanaka has pitched two shutouts in the postseason and allowed just two runs in 20 innings, or a .90 ERA

1. Masahiro Worshippers*

*The judges will also accept “Tanaka Blast”

The Young Yankees (not as catchy) are breaking out. Greg Bird hit homers in Games 3 of the ALDS and Game 1 of the ALCS. Aaron Judge hit a pair of homers in the three-game sweep of the Astros in the Bronx, getting RBI in all three games, and Gary Sanchez had two RBI in Games 4 an 5.

But the hidden, under appreciated story? Starting pitching. The Yanks have thrown two shutouts in the playoffs and against Houston, their starters have allowed seven runs in five games. Two of those runs were charged to Sonny Gray, even though he didn’t toss the pitch that scored the runners. So, literally, five runs in five games against the highest-scoring offense in all of baseball.

Last night the Yankees threw a shutout for the second time in games started by Mashairo Tanaka this postseason. Yanks up 3-2 as we return to Houston.

The Astros have two Cy Young Award winners, but the Yankee arms are getting it done.

2. Sun Downers

The look on the face of Jared Dudley (far left) says it all

Holy Smoketree (inside joke)! The Phoenix Suns got run out of their own building on opening night, suffering the worst loss in franchise history, 124-76, to the Portland Trail Blazers. On the opening night of their 50th season, the Suns’ 48-point loss is also the worst in NBA history on an opening night. It could’ve been worse–the Blazers led by 58 before emptying their bench.

The one good note for us Suns fans: Alex Len did not play. He’d never let them lose that badly. But, man, are they going to be THAT bad this season, and is Marvin Bagley III going to return home next year?

3. Do NOT Mess With Cersei

The latest high-profile Harvey Weinstein accuser: actress Lena Headey, a.k.a. Cersie Lannister. Let her do the talking/tweeting:

and

 

and…

and

Earlier this week actress Lauren Holly also accused Weinstein of asking her for a naked massage. The balls on that guy.

4. New Zealand’s New Leader

Suddenly Trump wants to improve relations with the Kiwis…

Meet Jacinda Ardem, 37, who was just elected as the Prime Minister of New Zealand. We are told that “Jacindamania” is sweeping the country and we really do hope Brett and Jermaine write a song about her.

That hand wave, though. Where have I seen it before?

The youth movement is strong. In Austria (not Australia) 31 year-old Sebastian Kurz was just named Chancellor. Kurz is the youngest national leader outside a monarchy anyone can recall. He’s also a quasi-Fascist, running on an anti-immigration platform. A quasi-Fascist from Austria? What could possibly go wrong?

Kurz, Wikipedia tells me, studied seven years at the University of Vienna without obtaining a degree. The Austrians just elected Van Wilder.

5. Checks, and Balances

You know how you intend to pay for your share of the Las Vegas Weekend with the boys and tell your buddy who laid out the cash that you’ll put that check in the mail as soon as you get home and then never do? Well, now you, too, can be president of the United States.

During a June condolence call with the father of a slain soldier, Donald Trump told the dad that he’d be sending him a check for $25,000. This week the Washington Post reported on the phone call to Chris Baldridge, who told them that the check never arrived (all of this probably would never have been dredged up if not for Trump’s obscenely false proclamation on Monday). Baldridge’s son Dillon was fatally shot by an Afghan police officer in June.

 

So now, yesterday, Trump sends the guy the check. And of course a White House spokesperson rebukes the media: “It’s disgusting that the media is taking something that should be recognized as a generous and sincere gesture, made privately by the President, and using it to advance the media’s biased agenda,” said spox (look at us, being all Page 6) Lindsay Walters (thank God, no relation).

We all know that check is never getting sent if WaPo hadn’t exposed the latest Donald Trump lie.

Reserves

Fake Melania?

When did America become one long episode of Monty Python mashed with Curb? My favorite part: “Who happens to be right here…”

****

Trailer for film I’m most excited about this autumn: Molly’s Game, the story of Molly Bloom (sister of Jeremy Bloom), a world-class skier who ran a high-stakes poker game. Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, starring Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba (our sources tell us Sorkin is now dating the real Molly Bloom).

***

Blah Blah O’Reilly

This…

Music 101

Rock Around The Clock

In the original iteration of Happy Days (starring Ron Howard and Henry Winkler), this was the theme song. That version of the show, featuring this 1953 classic from Bill Haley & The Comets, was far more faithful to the ’50s (but alas, not as much of a ratings hit). The song hit No. 1 on the charts.

Remote Patrol

Game 5: Dodgers at Cubs

TBS 8 p.m.

It’s Clayton Kershaw’s turn. Will he finally close out a meaningful series for the Dodgers?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Carry Off Our Hayward Son

A rude welcome to the Eastern Conference for Gordon Hayward, who fractured his tibia and dislocated his ankle minutes into his Boston Celtics debut. The 7th-year forward and All-Star is probably undergoing surgery right now and his return date is unknown. Hayward incurred the injury after colliding with LeBron James as he went up for an alley oop.

The Cavs won 102-99 as LeBron finished with a game-high 29.

At least Hayward wasn’t injured by his own teammate by a punch in the face. That’s what happened in Chicago as 6’11” Bobby Portis Geno-Smith’ed fellow 6’10″er Nikola Mirotic.

2. Points To Ponder

Channeling her inner Tom Petty (“I won’t back down”), ESPN’s Sam Ponder “welcomes” the WWL’s new partner, Barstool Sports, by reminding them that their president, David Portnoy, once called her a See You Next Tuesday.

 

and then…

 

As soon as John Skipper saw these tweets, we imagine he suspended Jemele Hill another two weeks…

3. Relief Belief

Former catcher Kenley Jansen has pitched seven innings of relief in the postseason, allowing 2 hits and zero earned runs

In their last four games, the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen has allowed 2 hits and no runs in 14 2/3 innings. L.A. shushed the Cubs back at Wrigley last night 6-1, and they didn’t even need Justin Turner’s heroics. When your Cy Young-level starters are being backed up by a bullpen that throws goose egg after goose egg, well, good luck. The Dodgers are back to resembling the “Best. Team. Ever?”

4. Vintage Bronx Tale

One of these two dudes will be the American League MVP

It felt like 1996 in the Bronx last night. A 5 p.m start, a gorgeous October evening, and a resilient Yankee squad that overcame a 4-0 deficit in the final three innings. Aaron Judge (22 strikeouts in 45 plate appearances) got it started with a solo homer in the 7th inning.

Then in the eighth, Gary Sanchez, 0-for-13 to that point in this series, smacked a two-run double to the right-center gap to plate the winning runs. Yankees win, 6-4. They’re 5-0 in the Bronx in the postseason.

Chase Headley stumbled, then got up and slid safely into second. Yankee Metaphor Alert.

Meanwhile, the sad ballad of Sonny Gray continues. Despite leaving the game in the sixth inning having not surrendered a run, he would’ve been on the hook for the loss. Gray has now tossed 21 1/3 postseason innings in his career without a SINGLE RUN of support. Not one.

5. Say What?

The latest installment of The Worst Wing has Donald Trump reportedly phoning the widow of one of the four Green Berets slain in the Niger ambush (and where are the Benghazi-like screams for justice on this one?) and saying, “He knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurts.” This news comes from Florida congresswoman Frederica Wilson (Dem), who was in a car with the widow at the time of the phone call, which she says was on speakerphone.

Wilson also claims Trump did not even know the fallen soldier’s name (Sgt. La David Johnson). Trump is denying all of this, adding, “Sad!”

Meanwhile, Trump also claimed that his predecessor “did not call” his Chief of Staff, John Kelly, when Kelly’s son was killed in Afghanistan six years earlier. Technically, that is true. What is also true is that Kelly sat next to the president and First Lady at a breakfast for Gold Star families back then.

Reserves

 Golden State Loses, World Yawns

Just like last year, the Golden State Warriors opened the season A) at home and B) by losing to a team from Texas. The Dubs fell 122-121 to the Houston Rockets. Big surprise? Newcomer Nick Young was the Dubs’ top scorer with 23 points and went 6 of 7 from beyond the arc. You go, Swaggy P!

 

Music 101

Mr. Big

At the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, the London-based blues rock band Free performed in front of 600,000 people and lead singer Paul Rodgers established himself as the smokiest white singer on either side of the Atlantic. The group broke up three years later and Rodgers went on to become lead singer of Bad Company.

Remote Patrol

Baseball Doubleheader Deja Vu

Game 5: Astros at Yankees

FS1 5 p.m.

Game 4: Dodgers at Cubs

TBS 8 p.m.

 

Re-play ball! The Yanks and ‘stros are squared at 2 apiece, while the Dodgers are now 6-0 in the post season.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Pop Goes Off On The Weasel

Asked on Monday afternoon why he had not commented on the four Green Beret troops who were killed in an ambush in Niger nearly two weeks ago, President Trump evaded the question and then said he had written personal letters to the families. But he could not stop there.

““If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls,”  Trump said during a news conference in the Rose Garden. “A lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate.”

Of course, that assertion is just plain fake news. Blatantly false. And it drew the fury of San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate. Popovich phoned Dave Zirin of The Nation and vented:

This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner — and to lie about how previous presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers — is as low as it gets. We have a pathological liar in the White House: unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this President should be ashamed because they know it better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.

The Spurs host the Timberwolves on Wednesday night in their NBA season opener. Curious to see if Trump calls the 5-time NBA champion head coach a “loser” or if he recommends people stop attending NBA games.

What a loser.

2. Yankees Strike Back

A two-out, three-run home run by Todd Frazier in the 2nd inning and a two-out, three-run home run by Aaron Judge in the 4th helped stake the Yankees to an 8-0 lead and they held on to win on a crisp night in the Bronx. Game 4 tomorrow afternoon at 5 p.m. and the Yankees now trail 2-1.

3. Domo Arigoto, Mr. Roboto?

 

Okay, we loved this cover of The New Yorker, but we’re sharing this profile of Vice President Mike Pence, the departer-in-chief. You may have heard that Trump was quoted to have said of Pence’s stance on homosexuals, “He wants to hang them all.”

4. Mogadishu

It happened over the weekend. A truck is stopped at a checkpoint. It accelerates, crashes through a barrier and, carrying several hundred kilograms of military-grade explosives, explodes. The explosions ignites a fuel tanker nearby, sending up a massive fireball.

More than 300 innocent people perish in the capital city of Somalia. An Islamist extremist group. al-Shabaab, is believed to have been behind it.

5. MH Domin-Eight!

So whom do we like now that Clemson, Washington and Washington State have fallen? We really like Ohio State who, despite their one loss, have outscored their last five opponents 266-56. But we’ll respect decorum and wait to elevate the Buckeyes to the top four; they’ll have their shot against Penn State on the 28th.

  1. Alabama 7-0 No one else is close to the Tide (Rat Poison Alert)
  2. Georgia 7-0 Dawgs are No. 3 in Total Defense
  3. Penn State 6-0 Nittany Lions are No. 1 in Scoring Defense, will meet Michigan, who are No. 1 in Total Defense
  4. Wisconsin (6-0) Freshman Jonathan Taylor is nation’s third-leading rusher
  5. TCU (6-0) Frogs have a better road win than Wiscy
  6. Ohio State (6-1) Buckeyes anxious to welcome Nittanies to Columbus
  7. Oklahoma (6-1) One bad quarter may cost the Sooners a shot at the playoff, but Baker Mayfield is the nation’s top-rated passer
  8. Clemson (6-1) Don’t visit the Carrier Dome on a Friday night

Reserves

Enjoy your new partners, ESPN

Music 101

Oh Yeah (On The Radio)

Somewhat under appreciated for his brilliance is Bryan Ferry, but trust me, your girlfriend knows his music. This Roxy Music tune was released in 1980, and it has such a wonderful, can’t-be-classified feel to it.

Remote Patrol

MLB Doubleheader

Game 4: Astros at Yankees

FS1 5 p.m.

Game 3: Dodgers at Cubs

TBS 8 p.m.

Don’t you just love October?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Justin Turner Overdrive

Los Angeles Dodger 3rd baseman and Troll lookalike Justin Turner began his team’s postseason with a three-run bomb and he ended Game 2 of the NLCS last night with another three-run bomb. Hollywoods’ most popular ginger since, well, Ginger, has a .500 OBP this postseason and leads all players in RBI with 10 (including all four in L.A.’s 4-1 win last night).

She, too, could circle the bases

Oh, and the Dodgers are 5-0 in the playoffs.

Finally, yes, today was the 29th anniversary of Kirk Gibson‘s dramatic walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series over the A’s Dennis Eckersley. This was the second walk-off home run in the Dodgers’ postseason history.

2. Rodgers Over And Out*

*The judges will also accept “O Romo, my Romo! Wherefore Art Thou, Romo?” but will not accept “Barr Class.”

Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers breaks his collarbone via a hit by Anthony Barr and may be out for the season one week after Houston Texan J.J. Watt messes up his lower leg and is lost for the season. Doing TV commercials is hazardous to your NFL health (keep your head on a swivel, Clay Matthews).

3. Him, Too? 

As #MeToo was trending on Twitter last night, encouraging victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault to share their stories, NBC’s Al Michaels made a clumsy Harvey Weinstein joke that incited an awkward “Only my L.A. partner” quip from Cris Collinsworth. That led to some folks on Twitter suggesting that we’ve all become a little too P.C.

 

That’s fine if you think this, but we imagine that a lot of people telling the snowflakes not to be so offended by Michaels’ joke become super-offended when a black dude in shoulder pads kneels for the national anthem. I mean, why do they have to get offended by everything???

4. A Minor Disturbance

Arnold Parker? I don’t think so.

After two “meh” Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes that followed a six-year sabbatical, “L-vid” hit his stride last night with an episode that included “Fatwa Sex” and “a minor disturbance.” You just have to know that there is a restaurant manager at a local Brentwood or Pacific Palisades bistro whose opaque responses have been getting under Larry’s skin for years now. Also, having Salmon Rushdie on some 20 years after he was heavily cited on an episode of Seinfeld must have been satisfying. And there’s Elizabeth Banks mocking herself as an awful actress.

Best line? When Suzy to guilt Larry about not attending a children’s dance recital. Larry: “I don’t like to go out of my way to be bored.”

5. Dr. Teeth & The Medicine Show

This is what my tooth looks like AFTER Zach got through with it…

Visited the Phoenix homestead recently, where my old friend (since high school) Michael Zacher, who doubles as the team dentist for the Arizona Cardinals, invited me to visit his office “for a cleaning.”

It was a ruse.

This was before…

Soon as I was in the chair, x-rays were being taken, fillings were being replaced and there was some chatter about “Do you floss? Like, ever?”  Before I knew it Zach’s amazing dental hygienist, Amy Raffa, was giving my choppers a thorough cleaning and then there were appointments and recriminations being made and I was in the chair the following morning at 8:40 for a filling removal and re-fill.

This was after one filling removed and before the new one was implanted. Is that a Hostess Cupcake I see lodged in there?

Anyway, I can’t thank Zach and his staff enough (and they did the entire thing pro bono). It’s weird knowing the same fingers that have been in my mouth have been inside Tyrann Mathieu’s. Zach’s parting message was to ask us here at MH to remind all of you to not be negligent when it comes to your teeth. Not all of you have as good a friend as I have, and it can get awfully expensive if you avoid your local D.D.S.

Reserves

 

J-E-T-S, Mess! Mess! MESS!

It feels as if the Jets got screwed on this call, but they really didn’t. Meanwhile, how did the Kansas City Chiefs mess up this coverage of Antonio Brown so poorly? Who do they think they are, the Georgia Tech defensive backfield?

 

Music 101

Rip Her To Shreds

The MH staff took a field trip Friday night to see Blondie, but were disappointed when Debbie Harry and the gang did not play their punker classic. This 1976 tune never charted, but we love turning it up. Here’s a version from the band’s first TV performance.

Remote Patrol

ALCS Game 3

Astros at Yankees

8 p.m. FS1

Gardner was thrown out trying to leg out a two-out triple in Game 2

For the first time in five games, the Yankees will not be playing a postseason game in the Bronx that is not also an elimination game. Two 2-1 losses in Houston are not as disturbing as striking out 14 and 13 times in those contests. The Astros pitching staff steps down a level after Keuchel and Verlander, and leadoff hitter Brett Gardner (five strikeouts in Games 1 and 2) needs to get on base more.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Jayson Werth won’t catch this; another Cub run will score

Metropolitan Opera

The four largest urban areas in the U.S.A.—New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston—are the last four remaining in the MLB playoffs. We don’t know the last time that has happened, if ever, in any sport. The crack MH staff is researching this.

The Nats, meanwhile, went Bad News Bears in Game 5 with a passed ball-strikeout-RBI-double, catcher’s interference, beaned hitter and a runner picked off first (with the tying run on 2nd) in the 8th inning as they lost to the Cubs, 9-8.

2. Lesser Further Review

Regarding the Jose Lobaton pickoff play: our friend Kimball, a Major League baseball scout, proposed what he calls the “George Brett Rule” for all video replay, and I agree. A call has to be egregious to the level that the visceral reaction is the one Brett had after the pine tar call (or, for example, the “safe” call that robbed Detroit Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga of a perfect game a few years back. If it’s as close as the Lobaton call, you let it go.

Does that mean some missed calls will happen? Certainly. But the umps missed the struck helmet call last night in the Cubs’ infamous four-run fifth inning (the play is not reviewable) and you know what? Life went on. Let’s curb video replay, please. We’re drunk on it and this isn’t the only reason the game lasted four-plus hours.

Rule 6:06

If a batter strikes at a ball and misses and swings so hard he carries the bat all the way around and, in the umpire’s judgment, unintentionally hits the catcher or the ball in back of him on the backswing, it shall be called a strike only (not interference). The ball will be dead, however, and no runner shall advance on the play.

To recap: a play that could NOT be reviewed for an arbitrary reason wound up costing the Nationals two runs. A close play that could be reviewed took two men off base and ended an inning in the 8th for the Nationals. What’s the difference?

3. A Bee In Her Bonnet

Full Frontal host Samantha Bee had to spell it out for would-be Weinsteins, a.k.a. male predators, two nights ago. Worth a listen. “Every day I wake up, take the subway to work, and then don’t masturbate in front of anyone.”

4. The NBA’s Man In Charge

From mechanical engineering student who toted a briefcase between classes while doubling as the captain of the Notre Dame football team in 1987 (the season in which a teammate on his unit, Tim Brown, won the Heisman Trophy) to general partner at Deloitte to, as of last summer, the NBA’s Chief of Operations. I had a chance to spend some time with double Domer Byron Spruell (’87 undergrad, ’89 MBA) the other night. Quite an impressive dude.

5. Trust The Process

Scientists at Arizona State University (Ha!) claim that a subterranean “supervolcano” beneath Yellowstone Park could blow sooner than expected and wipe out life on Earth. Coming This Christmas and starring Bill Paxton (wait, he’s already dead) and Kristen Stewart!

Reserves

Have Another Bacon Donut Cheeseburger

Live look-in at heart disease

A report (mmm) from the Center for Disease Control (Does that come with fries?) claims that obesity (deep fried!) in America has hit an all-time high.

Music 101

Tell Me Something Good

Chaka Khan? Chaka Khan. Featuring the band Rufus. This 1974 hit that went to No. 3 on the Billboard charts was written by, of all people, Stevie Wonder. And it was among the first to use the guitar “talk box.”

Remote Patrol

ALCS: Game 1

Yankees at Astros

FS1 8 p.m.

College Football

Washington State at Cal

ESPN 10:30 p.m.

Luke, I am your father!

You can watch a game from the city that is recovering from Hurricane Harvey or from Berkeley, where the night skies will be filled with smoke and ash as the  Top 10 Cougars try to remain undefeated (you recall two Fridays ago that Top 10 USC was unable to remain undefeated versus these Cougs). Aaron Judge in the postseason: 29 plate appearances, 16 strikeouts, zero home runs.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

The Constant Gardner

Didi Gregorious hit two home runs, but it was the 12-pitch, two-out, ninth-inning at-bat of  Brett Gardner that will resonate for Yankee fans. New York rebounded from a 2-0 deficit against the hottest team in baseball to win the series in five games. Gardner’s two-run single in the ninth, after fighting off six two-strike pitches with foul balls, was emblematic of New York’s resilience.

Yankees win (“Thuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh Yankees WIN!”), 5-2

The Yankees have already won four elimination games this month. Oh, and Joe Girardi never had anything to apologize for. He didn’t load the bases and he didn’t give up the grand salami.

2. Stephen Gets Nats Even

Nat co-ace Stephen Strasburg was too sick to pitch on Tuesday, but fortunately for the Nationals Game 4 was rained out and postponed until last night. And last night Strasburg, still under the weather, which itself was cold and damp and misty (like something you’d see off the coast of Maine) threw seven shutout innings, striking out 12 batters from the world champion Cubs, as Washington won 5-0.

Fly the L, Cubbies.

Weird note: The Nats were kicked out of their hotel because it could not accommodate them for their one-day extension due to the rain. Someone call Costanza! This team needs a new assistant to the traveling secretary.

3. Jon Stewart Explosion

“Calm before the storm? What the ____? How is this not the storm? And what kind of sociopath would use that terminology when people are literally still cleaning up from storms?”

4. The War on 1st Amendment and Women

The dreaded physically and morally repulsive two-fer

So yesterday Donald Trump, a man who frequently makes claims on Twitter that are within minutes proven to be false, says this: “It’s frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever they want to write. People should look into it.”

Of course, people do look into it every day. And if the press writes something that is false, it can be sued for libel. Happens every day, dumb ass.

Then later, someone posted on Twitter (I assume it’s real, but it may be fake) a flier handed out at a Trump hotel recommending that federal buildings no longer air CNN because of their fake news.

Meanwhile, Twitter suspended Rose McGowan’s account after she posted this tweet directed at Ben Affleck:

 

I really hope that RICH WHITE MEN understand that their day of reckoning is coming, and sooner than they expect. Of course, I’ll be swept up with them because I’m 2 of the 3. When I’m burning on a stake, I hope someone remembers I fought the good fight. I’ll be too busy screaming to remind you.

5. Meet Patrick Murray

After Nick Folk’s 0-fer-3 field-goal quagmire on national TV last Thursday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought back 5’7″ Patrick Murray (who made the last 25 kicks, 13 PATs and 12 field goals) that he attempted for the Bucs in 2014. Good friend of MH Greg Auman notes that in high school in New York City Murray won a championship playing Gaelic football and that as far as anyone knows, “Murray is the first openly Gaelic player in the NFL.”

That was just too good not to use.

Music 101

You’ve Made Me So Very Happy

The horns and the unmistakable bedroom voice of David Clayton-Thomas is what sets Blood, Sweat & Tears from the pack. The New York City-based band found its Canadian lead singer when Judy Collins (of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” renown) saw him singing in a club and encouraged the band to go see him. They signed him immediately. This late 1968 tune was actually written by Motown legend Berry Gordy and Brenda Holloway and it rose to No. 2 on the charts.

Remote Patrol

Game 5

Cubs at Nationals

TBS 8:08 p.m.

Jayson Werth and a hirsute pursuit of glory

A quick turnaround from Chicago and an elimination game. Washington’s engine room of Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth are batting .188, .133 and .071, respectively. Who pitches for the Nats tonight? I dunno, but I still have them advancing.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

All Is Lost

Trinidad & Tobago 2, USA 1, last night. All the Tattooed Millionaires needed to advance to the World Cup was a draw against the worst squad in their group. They fell behind 2-0 in the first half and could manage no better than a Christian Pulisic goal in the second half.

Pulisic, 19, is the biggest hope for the future of U.S. soccer. I know, you’ve heard similar words before.

For the first time since 1986, the Yanks will not advance to the World Cup.

Meanwhile, Fox Sports is going to be wondering about its massive investment to cover the 2018 World Cup from Russia.

 

2. Where Was Hollywood?

If you read The New Yorker piece on human pig Harvey Weinstein, you wonder if and hope that he will be going to prison. This isn’t “sex addiction” as his flaks are suggesting. This is serial sexual assault that took place over decades.

It’s wonderful that Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, two of Hollywood’s more powerful actresses, came out and discussed how Weinstein had harassed them. But why did it take until now for Hollywood’s worst-kept secret to come out? And how many actresses had to give blow jobs, etc., because all of this was kept quiet for so long?

Weinstein’s wife, Georgina Chapman, announced this morning that she is leaving him

The entire board of Weinstein’s company needs to go. There were numerous settlements that they knew about over the years. Here is the original New York Times piece that blew the lid off the story. Everyone owes Ashley Judd a debt of gratitude.

Meanwhile, everyone (Ben) in Hollywood now (Affleck) now releasing their “shocked and appalled” statements put themselves in the hypocrisy cross hairs.  

Listen to this by Gwyneth Paltrow, with a smile, from 1998: “Harvey will coerce you to do a thing or two.

By the way, another aging misogynist from Queens…just sayin’, America.

3. California Steamin’

At least 17 people are dead

Your 2017 vintages of California wines are going to have a distinct taste of “ash on the nose.” Here is a list of the wineries affected by the devastating fires in Napa and Sonoma. Still no word on what caused them.

4. Tainted Win?

Is Galen Rupp the Lance Armstrong of American distance running?

On Sunday American distance runner Galen Rupp ended a 35-year drought at the Chicago Marathon for U.S. men, winning with a time of 2:09:19. So what did America’s premier female marathoner, Shalane Flanagan (6th place at the 2016 Olympic marathon), think of Rupp’s win?

That program, the NOP [Nike Oregon Project] has been under investigation for the last two years,” Flanagan said in a conference call with reporters ahead of November 5’s TCS New York City Marathon, which Flanagan and Keflezighi will run. “So as a fan of my own sport, it’s hard to have full excitement and faith when you don’t know all the facts yet. There’s still an investigation going on so it’s hard to truly and genuinely get excited about the performances that I’m watching. 

“And I think it’s really important to consider who you associate with. We don’t get to choose our parents, but we certainly get to choose our friends and our coaches and who we want to include in our circle and put our faith and our trust in. I think it’s really important to think about who you include in your professional circle in this sport, and I think that who you choose to allow in says a lot about you.”

5. The Shield Has Spoken

Will a fist in the air replace taking a knee?

Per a memo from Roger Goodell’s office yesterday, the NFL tells its players, “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem.” That’s fine, but what if players still do not? There’s nothing in the memo that discusses penalties or fines for those players who choose not to stand.

The NFL believes everyone should stand, but stops short of saying it won’t stand for players not standing. What comes next? What if players, instead of taking a knee, hoist a fist in the air or turn their backs to the flag?

You know, when I played football, a coach would say, “Take a knee” whenever he wanted to address us for a minute or two. Who knew the phrase would become so politically charged?

Reserves

Go, Cosmo

Eminem goes off on the prez…

“And any fan of mine/Who’s a supporter of his/I’m drawing in the sand a line/You’re either for or against…”

Music 101

I’ll Be Around

When The Spinners released this song in 1972, it was the B-side of their 45, with the A-side being “How Could I Let You Get Away.” Deejays preferred this tune, which would go on to spend five weeks on the R&B chart.

Remote Patrol

Game 4

Nationals at Cubs

4 p.m. TBS

Game 5

Yankees at Indians

8:08 p.m. FS1

Will the Nats fail to win a series yet again? Will Corey Kluber pitch a second dud in a row?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters*

*Apologies for the tardy column. Recovering from a red-eye flight. When we landed at IdlewildJFK, we had this thought…

 

but then we were gobsmacked when our L.A.-based friend immediately replied to that thought at about 2:10 a.m. local time:

 

Starting Five

Hill Tweet Blues

You know the deets. Our two cents is that if Jemele Hill SAYS this on her 6 p.m. ESPN program as opposed to tweeting it, few would have noticed. As for ESPN, it signed the most lucrative TV rights deal in history with the NFL a few years back. Whether or not you agree with Hill doesn’t matter much—she already has a highly pronounced anti-Trump stance and she openly suggested, to her 770,000 Twitter followers, that if fans don’t like Jerry Jones’ threat, they can boycott the Dallas Cowboys.

She never said she would. She never said they unconditionally should. But all of that gets lost in the optics. I imagine she and ESPN will part ways soon, and should. These are two strikes in short order. We know who she is and we know who they are. Why pretend the marriage will work?

2. Napa

If you’ve visited northern California wine country, you know that it is one of the loveliest (and most expensive areas for real estate) spots in the U.S.A. Arguably the most sublime that is neither a national park nor a beach.

Now, Napa is an inferno (11 have perished). More than 1,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed as well as 103,000 acres. Simply devastating. The cause of the multiple fires, outside of drought and record-setting heat, is yet unknown.

3. The Bears Lost, But They Won

The above two-point rugby-style conversion is all anyone will remember from Chicago’s 20-17 loss to Minnesota on Monday Night Football. Da Bears should have received three points for this play, which helped to overshadow DITKA’S comments that there had been no oppression for the last 100 years. Have you ever heard of Harvey Weinstein, coach? And that’s just this week.

4. I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Iceland!

Everyone’s favorite side (and by far the best-selling kit) at next summer’s World Cup in Russia, outside of their own country, will be Iceland. With their 2-0 win over Kosovo in Reykjavik Monday, they became the smallest nation (Pop. 340,000) to ever qualify for a World Cup finals. Team manager Heimir Hallgrimsson is a part-time dentist.

5. What’s A Wedding Without Rice?

This is the type of story that, when I worked at Sports Illustrated, the editors would have handed to Franz Lidz and he would have knocked it out of the park. Jerry Rice, serial wedding crasher?!? Who knew!

Music 101

These Are Days

I first heard this song this time of year, which is absolutely the best time of year in the northeast with the autumn light and the fall foliage. And I remember thinking, you’ve got a point, Natalie Merchant. You definitely have a point. 10,000 Maniacs never approached the heights of their first two albums, but both were outstanding (don’t call me a Lilith fairy; You’re a Lilith fairy!)

Remote Patrol

World Cup Qualifying

USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago

beIN Sports 8 p.m.

The final qualifier in the hexagonal round. Win and you’re in, Yanks. Draw or lose and it gets messy. The pitch, by the way, was flooded as of yesterday, as you can see above. No word yet on whether the match will be postponed.

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Political Football

Vice president Mike Pence travels from Las Vegas to Indianapolis to pull off a stunt at Lucas Oil Stadium, upstage Peyton Manning’s weekend, and continue to promulgate the inaccurate narrative that the anthem protests have anything to do with the military. Then he flies to Los Angeles on your dime.

I understand leaving an NFL game early to beat traffic, but most of us wait until at least the opening kickoff. Great column here by Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star wondering how we got to a place where the president and vice president of the United States so actively attack the First Amendment and reminds readers that such oppressive behavior is precisely why the Pilgrims left England.

Pence, as everyone has written, knew that he was going to stage this walkout (the Colts were playing the 49ers, the one team that has had at least one player kneel every game since Colin Kaepernick first did so) before he ever arrived back in Indy. This was a coordinated stunt with his boss, an opportunity to rally the base once more at the expense of the NFL and Manning as a ruse to take voters’ minds off what spectacular failures they are as leaders. As men.

From Peter King:

But the vice president of the United States slapped Manning and Pence’s beloved Colts in the face. Whether he’s a puppet for the president or his own man, Pence trumped a day that belonged to the greatest football hero the state of Indiana has ever seen, and he did it for political purposes. He stole Manning’s last great day as a Colt. Mike Pence will have to live with himself for that. 

Finally, here’s an Indiana native who knew how to pay his respects this weekend…

“Take a look around you here at this city, ladies and gentlemen. When I lived here it was like a minimum-security prison with a racetrack.”

2. Touchy Feely

Jay Feely played 14 seasons in the NFL as a placekicker and so he missed a lot of kicks—70, to be exact. But Feely never quite missed one the way he did last Saturday while working as an analyst for Eastern Michigan-Toledo. Going full-bore Pepper Brooks, Feely appears to see EMU kicker Paulie Fricano connect on a long field-goal try (“Off the cross bar!”) when he clearly misses it to the right.

To be fair to Feely, he has often been a guest on Fox News’ Hannity. He often sees things as being good when in reality they are far right.

An aside from another game: I don’t want to hear “Win one for the Josher” ever again, capisce, Bob Wischusen?

3. And That’s A Ginsburn!

Yes, the Jason Aldean cold open (playing Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down”) generated more headlines, as did Michael Che’s second week in a row of strong commentary on Weekend Update. But I just wanted us to pause a moment to appreciate the weekly brilliance that is Kate McKinnon. She’s not just the greatest female cast member since Gilda Radner, she’s one of the most versatile and talented cast members in the show’s history. No one currently in the cast comes close.

At least the SNL writers found a way to repay McKinnon for the last few years of excellence…

This below, by the way, was a great way to tackle something topical…

4. No Wattage

Most of Puerto Rico is still without power, but now Houston is without Watt-age. Secular saint and MH’s pick for Sportsman of the Year J.J. Watt suffered a tibial plateau fracture in the Texans’ loss to Kansas City on Sunday and is out for the season. Through Watt’s efforts, $30 million has been raised to help those in south Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

That’s two season-ending injuries in as many seasons for the defensive face of the NFL. Bad things happen to good people. All the time.

5. Yankees Win! Thuuuuuuuuuuuuuh Yankees Win!!!!!!!

Judge’s glove does not fit like a glove

When is the last time the New York Yankees won a playoff game 1-0? Sixteen years ago, also a Game 3, also trailing 2-0 in a divisional series at the time, also scoring the only run on a home run by a left-handed batter (Jorge Posada) also aided by a tremendous fielding play by the team’s most popular player.

Reserves

I Don’t Know What Is Going On Here, But It’s Not a Backyard Barbecue In Greenwich, I Will Tell You That

 

Submitted Without Comment

 

Music 101

Fortunate Son

If not the best Vietnam war protest song, this 1969 guitar assault by Creedence Clearwater Revival is the angriest (and most candid). John Fogerty, who wrote the song  after receiving his draft notice, has said that it took him no more than 20 minutes to write the song.

Remote Patrol

Baseball Foupleheader

Believe it or not, the Dodgers are fun again

Astros at Red Sox, Gm. 4

1:08 p.m. FS1

Nationals at Cubs Gm. 3

4:08 p.m. TBS

Indians at Yankees, Gm. 4

7:08 p.m.

FS1

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, Gm. 3

10:08 p.m. TBS

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

What The Folk!?!

(Former?) Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Nick Folk misses field goal tries from 56, 49 and 31 yards and the Bucs fall to the New England Patriots, 19-14. Granted, those first two efforts were not gimmes and on the game’s final play, Jameis Winston threw anywhere but near his wideouts from 19 yards out. Still, Folk should have connected on that 31-yarder.

Once a Jet, always a Jet.

2 Hip, Hip, Jose!

The home run king of the first day of the divisional series round was not 6’7″ Yankee Aaron Judge, who struck out four times, but rather 5’6″ Astro Jose Altuve, who hit three home runs in Houston’s 8-2 win against Boston. It’s rare that Dustin Pedroia isn’t the best short dude, albeit second baseman, on the diamond, but that was the case in Houston on Thursday.

3. “You’ll Find Out”

That’s what we’re afraid of, Donald.

During a photo op on Thursday night with military commanders and their spouses, which took place after a meeting with said commanders and before a dinner with the gang and their wives, Trump chirped, “”You guys know what this represents? Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.”

When asked repeatedly by reporters what that meant, Trump gave two vague answers about the having the greatest military, etc., and then finally teased, “You’ll find out.”

I guess we’ll have to tune in. Then again, do we really need another old, rich white real-estate guy mass-murdering people this week? At least he didn’t say, “The calm before the Desert Storm, III.”

4. Now What?

We’ve all been here. Life seems to be going fine and then suddenly our golden escalator, the one that whisks us off our private jet, malfunctions. Courage.

5. Hurricane Harvey

You’re telling me Harvey Weinstein is a pig? No, wait. You’re telling me you didn’t realize Harvey Weinstein is a pig? I thought this was Hollywood’s worst-kept secret.

Reserves

 

Rabbit? RUN!

I think I’m in love with Alison Hammond. This is the best film-related interview to take place in London since that dude from Horse & Hound interviewed Julia Roberts.

 

Music 101

Just Like Heaven

This 1987 song by The Cure has been called the greatest pop song ever written by a few people whose opinions I greatly respect. It’s a wonderfully sad song. By the way, there was no more oft-played CD in my dorm in the mid-Eighties than The Cure’s Standing On a Beach: The Singles compilation (this song came later).

Remote Patrol

World Cup Qualifier

USA vs. Panama

ESPN2 7:35 p.m.

“Mammy, how I love ya! How I love ya!”

Jump back! What’s that sound? Here she comes, full blast and top down. The U.S.A. has two matches remaining in its World Cup qualifying (the last will be versus Trinidad & Tobago, which seems unfair that we have to take both of them on at the same time) and the only certain way of qualifying for 2018 in Russia is to win them both. It could still get in if it ends up with a draw this evening in Orlando, but that might entail a two-leg playoff versus Australia or Syria.

Imagine, needing to take down Syria to advance to Russia…