IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Happy 50th, Chuck! Still winning….

Starting Five

Look who’s not having an RG3 kind of week….

1. All He Does Is Win, Win, Win, Win, Win

Avowed: In our next life we are all coming back as Tom Brady. Judge Richard Berman overturns Roger Goodell’s four-game suspension and Brady will start next Thursday night in the season opener versus Pittsburgh.

Tom denied everything from the start, figuring (correctly) that it was more valuable to play in the Super Bowl and win and let the punitive chips fall where they may than it was to potentially miss the Big Game. He gambled, he won, and then he still got off scot-free. Was there malfeasance and, minimal as it may have been, was he involved? I believe so. Did the NFL actually prove it? No.

The Pats still lose $1 million and two draft picks. As if they care.

2. Where There’s a Wool….*

This is shear madness

…there’s a weigh. This is Chris the sheep, who was found outside Canberra, Australia, and just lost 89 pounds of wool thanks to a kindly shearer by the name of Ian Elkins. If you’ve ever worn an Irish cable sweater on a 90-degree day, you have a tiny idea of what it felt like to be Chris. Released of his fleece, he feels relief.

“Coming up next on ‘Extreme Animal Makeover’….”

*The judges will also accept “Baa Baa, Fat Sheep” and “Ewe Won’t Believe How Large This Sheep Is” and “It Could Be Just About Anything In Sheep’s Clothing”

3. ISIS at Work

This is Aylan Kurdi, one of 12 Syrian refugees (five were children) who drowned when their boat sank before reaching the Greek island of Kos. ISIS is everyone’s problem. And sometimes it takes photos like this one, of a little three year-old boy, to remind people that there are monsters in the world and that they are currently occupying Aylan’s country.

Also, before you start blaming Hungary or Germany for being unsympathetic, ask yourself why hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees aren’t fleeing to Muslim nations that are closer to home — and don’t involve a sea voyage.

4. “Off With His Head!”

I go to SI.com, I see a headline of “Why Roger Goodell Has To Go.” Charlie Pierce said the same thing in Grantland. Steve Politi called for the head of Kyle Flood, the coach of Rutgers, today. When did everyone in sportswriting become young Jon Arryn (I throw that bone out for you Game of Thrones readers), “I want to see him FLY!”

“Off with his head!” is not a universal answer to the world’s problems. And my experience is that most scribes know — and understand — less about what’s going on inside a big operation than the people running it.

Fire someone for corruption? Sure. For a criminal act, or sexual harassment, etc? Sure. But if sportswriters held themselves to the same standard they are holding Roger Goodell, for example, there’d be even more of us unemployed.

5. County Antrim

The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

I saw a photo of this rope bridge on a travel site and thought, So that’s why Game of Thrones does so much of its filming in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Cool spot (I still have a softer spot in my heart for Scottish Highlands, but they’re both gorgeous).

Remote Patrol

Michigan at Utah

FS 1 8:30 p.m.

The David Puddy of coaching, Jim Harbaugh, returns to his old school

What are you still doing here?!? Go turn on the game!!!!

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Feliz Cumpleanos, Salma Hayek!

Starting Five

The search for intelligence on late-night television is finally over

1. Wake Me Up When September Begins

September 3: First FBS college football game of the season, as the Khaki and Blue of Michigan visit Utah.

September 5: Texas (881) at Notre Dame (882)

September 7: Scott Van Pelt launches new Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil SportsCenter.

September 8: Stephen Colbert makes his debut as host of The Late Show. Excellent profile of the South Carolina native last month in GQ, in which he talks about loss and faith and says, “I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.” If only the show has the sizzling magic of Only in Monroe

–Also on Sept. 8, Colin Cowherd’s Fox Sports 1 show makes its debut. Now that was a quickie divorce, wasn’t it? You can tell he’s divorced, by the way, from the dye job in his hair.

2. Josh RosenRosen

Rosen(rosen). Are you sure he’s Jewish (Heyyyy, what’s that supposed to mean?)

So, the UCLA quarterback. A true freshman from the shangri-la-esque community of Manhattan Beach, Calif. A Jewish lad who played at a Catholic high school (though, as he has said, “I’m kinda an atheist”).

Mom attended Princeton (was a classmate of both David Duchovny and Michael Lewis). A descendant of Joseph Wharton, as in Penn’s Wharton School. Dad attended Penn and is now a renowned spinal surgeon (THE Dr. RosenRosen!) and was on a short list a few years ago to be POTUS’ Surgeon General. The parents were national ice dancing champions before they wed.

Dr. Rosenrosen. Can you tell him where the records room is?

Interesting kid, interesting family. Can you imagine a UCLA football parents’ gathering if Cordell Broadus had stayed? P. Diddy, Snoop and Dr. RosenRosen?

3.Nick at Night

It isn’t that it’s past Nick Kyrgios’ bed time. It’s just that he’s a little bored by five-set matches, too.

Aussie tennis player — and infamous on-court gossip — Nick Kyrgios says, “No, mate, you keep that Five-Hour Energy drink for yourself” as he power naps during a changeover at the U.S. Open (not to be confused with a Chang-over, for when a certain Asian-American tennis player competed in Flushing). Kyrgios, 20, lost to Andy Murray in four sets and then went back to sleep 

4. Railroaded*

And the script for Hostel 3 writes itself just like that

*The judges will also accept “You DO Have To Live Like a Refugee”

A couple of thousand migrants/refugees are being detained outside of Budapest’s Keleti station and are being prevented from boarding trains bound to other parts of Europe. Most of them are Syrians, but local officials are trying to figure out how to handle this influx of humans from ISIS-ravaged areas of the Middle East.

In related news, Donald Trump is leading in the polls to become Hungary’s next president.

5. Wipeout

Was this the heaviest wipeout in surf history? Aussie surf mag Liquify thinks so

I honestly don’t understand surfers. And I mean that in an awestruck way, not in a condescending way (for once). That’s Niccolo Porcella, who on July 22nd in Tahiti caught this wave — and then it caught him. Here’s the video.

Not only did Porcella survive this wipeout, but he got right back on his board and sought out the next set. I really need to watch Point Break again and soon.

Music 101

 

Life In a Northern Town

No one gets more One-Hit Wonder-ish in the 1980s than The Dream Academy, but what a fantastic and unusual and visual song this “dream pop” trio gave us. The band, two men and one woman — touring must have been interesting — formed in London and their debut album was produced, in part, by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. This song rose to No. 7 on the Billboard chart in 1985.

Remote Patrol

U.S. Open

1 p.m. —> ?

Serena is vying to become the first calendar Grand Slam gal since Steffi Graf in 1988. We dare you to get in her way.

No. 1 seeds Serena Williams (3:30 p.m.) and Novak Djokovic (9 p.m.) all take the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium today. I’l be watching with Nick Kyrgios.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Beano Cook was born 84 years ago today. As game week is here, it feels right to remember him….

Starting Five

Remembering you left your phone charger back at the hotel. Damn!

1. The Daily Harrumph: League of Denali*

*The judges will also accept “Fit of Peak”

So, are POTUS’ opponents making a mountain out of a molehill (that, as you can see above, is clearly not a mole hill), or is he simply trolling FOX News to new, um, heights by renaming America’s tallest mountain Denali (it does happen to sit in Denali National Park) and relieving it of its former name, Mount McKinley?

And, oh God, what does Sarah Palin think of all this?

McKinley: “Well, it IS good go to be in the news again, but I’m the second guy over 50 to have his photo in MH today and we aren’t even to the 2nd item yet. What gives?”

Well, here’s all that I know: this week POTUS will become the first sitting U.S. president  to visit the Arctic in hopes of showing those of us overly concerned with our Fantasy drafts and whom Taylor Swift will next invite on stage that climate change is very real. As a nod toward that, he’s formally changing the name of the 20,230-foot peak to Denali, the indigenous Athabascan name that most Alaskans have long called it, and away from the name of the third U.S. president to be assassinated.

I’m sure all the usual people will find a reason to decry this move (Obama hates white people), and all the other usual people will find a reason to substantiate it (this is the name Alaskans have long called it). There’s nothing like hearing a bunch of folks who’ve never been somewhere and have no intention of ever going argue about what that place’s name should be.

2. Van-tastic*

Precious Time may be slipping away, but (Cara) Van knows how to enjoy it….

*The judges will also accept anything better you can throw at them

To celebrate his 70th birthday, Van Morrison came home. To Belfast. He played two shows on Cyprus Avenue, the street he immortalized in song on his 1968 classic album, Astral Weeks. See, that’s the big difference between Morrison and his Irish counterpart, Bono. His streets DO have names.

Bono signaling how many billion he would like to be worth….

Speaking of Bono, it was announced that he is now a billionaire and the world’s richest pop star (What about Dr. Dre? Or is he not “pop”?). Six years ago Bono’s investment group   — yes, you read that correctly —Elevation Partners, purchased a 2.3% share of Facebook for $86 million. Its current valuation is $1.5 billion (he is more than Dublin down on that bet),

Facebook has made Bono more scratch in the past six years than all of U2’s album sales and touring have in 35-plus years. If he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for, it’s only because he’s searching in all the wrong places.

3. Reaper Concussions*

Wait a second… Is THIS the film we’re talking about?

*The judges will not accept League of Denial or League of Denali

The movie Concussion will be released on Christmas day. Sports Illustrated had EXCLUSIVE footage of the trailer for at least three hours yesterday (a moratorium that I’m not sure other websites even honored but, hey, ask forgiveness not permission, right?).

I don’t think that this is a scene from the movie, either. I could be wrong. I often am.

The NFL reminds me a lot of Lucky Strike in 1960. It knows its brand is wildly popular even though it also brings about an earlier grave for far too many who play it. Roger Goodell needs to just walk into that pitch meeting with Sterling Cooper and hear someone tell them to stop denying it or apologizing for it. “The NFL: It’s Toasted!”

People still smoke. And people will continue to play football (just like people continue to sit in the upper deck of Turner Field, even though that can also be dangerous).

4. Zibby

I’ve attended many games at Notre Dame Stadium. It was never louder there than at this moment, Zibby’s punt return. The play that showed Notre Dame could compete with USC’s naut of jugger.

A tremendous read on former Notre Dame safety Tom Zbikowski by Mike Vorel of the South Bend Tribune. A couple of personal memories: on my first trip to Notre Dame as an employee of NBC Sports, during the summer of 2006, I was asked to bring along a younger colleague (a good guy, he’d worked with me at SI on Campus).

So, we have somewhat unfettered access to ND players as we are NBC, and this is also Brian Hardin’s first summer as the football SID. And so I am off interviewing Darius Walker and the younger guy is talking to Zibby. And his first few questions are all about what bars Zibby visits during the summer in South Bend. And suddenly there’s a commotion and I think if it weren’t a media member, boxer Zibby would have KO’d him.

Instead, Hardin intervened, I tried to play diplomat, and it was all very awkward for awhile. Thinking back, my colleague had probed a point that even he didn’t know how sensitive Zibby was about it.

Zibby was perhaps not the most gifted player of the Charlie Weis era (Kyle Rudolph? Michael Floyd?), but he’s probably the favorite. Plays such as this helped. And I like what Jason McIntyre added here.

Another friend, Tim Ring, did some research this week and came up with this stat. Tom Zbikowski, 7 career touchdowns in college (two each at least by fumble, INT, and punt return). Charles Woodson, 1997 Heisman winner, 4 career TDS.

Zibby, by the way, should have had 8. His best TD came on an interception return-double lateral right before halftime versus Stanford in 2007 (when both programs were crap), but I believe Trevor Laws was penalized for a personal foul trailing the play. The Pac-12 refs that day, man were they crap.

5. Grange Award!!!

Grange, a former Illini, on Tim Beckman: “What an a-hole.”

Finally, we know you’ve been waiting….here’s our Red Grange Award Watch List. Are you ready? Are you seated? Our Watch List is….EVERYBODY. You should watch every college football player, or at least consider all of them potential winners at this stage. But here are five of my favorites:

1. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia

2. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (yes, I realize he is not playing at Va. Tech).

3. Trevon Boykin, QB, TCU (honestly, I don’t think he’ll win, but everyone else does, and I’m weak and a follower, as you all know)

For this year’s Grange Award, I’m Chubb-thumping…

4. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (but will he still be as good having to wear a full jersey?)

5. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (America loves a great white hope RB and Heisman voters love a guy who shines in a season finale versus Notre Dame).

My preseason pick? Well he’s a Nick (ba ba bow wow) Chubb!

Music 101

September Morn

Why not begin the greatest month of the year with a little Neil Diamond schmaltz? The 1979 mont peaked at No. 17 and became the Brooklyn native’s 30th Top 40 hit. Neil OWNED the 1970s.

Remote Patrol

Hollywood Game Night

NBC 10 p.m.

You only have so many precious minutes on this earth. Go ahead and spend 60 of them watching this heaping, flaming pile of crap (or almost anything else the networks currently air in prime time). I am beginning to think that a while ago the heads of programming at ABC, CBS and NBC made a bet amongst each other as to just how bored (and boring) Americans are and who could air the most inane, useless piece of garbage and still persuade people to watch.

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

“I long to hold you tight/So I can feel you/Sweet lady of the night/I shall reveal you”… Happy 70th to Van the Man!

Starting Five

This adorable photo was chosen with the express purpose of not offending anyone about to read the words below

1. How Can You Not SeeWhat Curt Schilling Meant?

When ESPN suspended baseball analyst/former World Series MVP/former Sports Illustrated co-Sportsman of the Year/three-time World Series champion Curt Schilling last week, they sent out a statement that read, “Curt’s tweet was completely unacceptable, and in no way represents our company’s perspective.”

But why? WHY was Curt’s tweet unacceptable, Norby?

Before we tackle that, a few things worth mentioning: 1) I don’t know if the “maths” included in Curt’s tweet were accurate or not. Let’s assume for the moment they were. I’m quite certain the numbers are not what upset Bristol. 2) It never, never, never ever helps to post a photo of Hitler in support of your argument. Ever. 3) When you have Sarah Palin come out in your defense, there’s a segment of the population that is immediately going to even further dismiss the point you were trying to make.

I’ll confess: In the moment, I too lambasted Schilling. I’m not particularly a fan. But then I decided to explore the logic behind his tweet. The thing, I believe, that everyone (including Norby) finds so offensive is the idea that he was comparing Adolf Hitler and the Nazis to Muslims.

Except…he wasn’t.

Schilling was comparing the Nazi Party to ISIS, and he was comparing Germany, a nation that itself represents and exports mostly beneficial things (BMWs, giant pretzels and, of course, Diane Kruger), to Muslims.

Kruger: Ja!

I hate to tell the haters, but this analogy is accurate. Eerily so. Germany in the 1920s was a depressed state trying to recover from a debilitating war in the aftermath of which the Allied nations held it fully accountable. That, plus war reparations, made its populace resentful (and also unemployed and very hungry).

The Middle East countries in which ISIS operates most effectively are Syria and Iraq. Again, countries depressed by recent wars with a citizenry operating with a low self-esteem as to its place in the geopolitical lunch room.

How could these innocent boys cause such a, um, furor?

The Nazis started out small — the Hitler Jugen, or Hitler Youth, numbered less than 500 lads its first year — but it gained a deserved reputation for being violent and implacable, and it valued loyalty above all other traits. Sounds a little bit like a caliphate we’ve been reading about.

Hitler first heard about the Nazi Party, then joined it, then used his ridiculously persuasive and charismatic rhetorical talents to bring the party under his thumb to advance his goals, which were to create a master, or Aryan, race. Hitler had a goal of excising all people who did not fit this mold from the planet, and he used his SS squads to carry out this plan via mass executions involving gas chambers, ovens, hangings and shootings.

Nazi death squads….

Hitler came to represent Germany because by the time Germany realized the extent of his madness, it was too late to stop him. He had violence and the youth of the country on his side, and he was operating through intimidation.

All ISIS lacks is a charismatic figurehead. But it’s operating from Hitler’s playbook. It is actively recruiting disaffected young people; it brooks no compromise in terms of what its goals are and it accepts no one who does not fully buy into ITS definition of Islam; it uses intimidating and barbaric violence to subdue anyone who would dare threaten its rise: beheading people, throwing homosexuals, while bound, off rooftops, and even cutting off the feet and/or hands of recruits who have dared attempt to escape.

…and ISIS death squads. You’re right, Norby. No resemblance at all.

It’s a different part of the world and its victims are, unlike the Jews, not well-represented by having relatives in the United States, but ISIS really is very much like the Nazi Party.

The essence of ESPN’s misunderstanding, and that of others, is to infer from what Schilling said that the religion of Islam is evil or bent on the destruction of good people by its inherent nature. That would be like saying that Germany is a nation that by its very nature is bent on war with its neighbors. But, of course, he was not saying that at all.

What he was saying is that an extremely radical and violent group, operating within the environs of a larger entity and purporting to speak for that larger entity, may just, if left unchecked. take over the will of that entity. In fact, if Schilling had compared ISIS to a malignant tumor that is on the verge of metastasizing, he would have been no less accurate and probably would not have been suspended.

But here’s the real danger of what transpired last week: fear and panic overtook intelligence. No, Schilling’s 1st Amendment rights were not trampled: no one put him in jail for what he said. But, it’s a very dangerous thing when people have no interest in exploring the verity of your message but are rather only concerned about how what you said makes them feel.

You blew it, Norby. Again.

2. Pajama Party

“Leaving on a jet plane/Don’t know when they’ll be back again…” (the NLCS?)

After Jake Arrieta no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers last night, manager Joe Maddon had them all don pajamas for the flight home to Chicago. This alone may earn Maddon Manager of the Year votes.

The Dodgers have now been no-hit twice in the past 10 days. As someone (or many) tweeted, This is what a $300,000,000 payroll buys these days. L.A. becomes the first team to be no-twice in the same month as the 1971 Cincinnati Reds –who would go on to win a pair of World Series in the next half-decade — and the first to be no-hit in that short a span of time since 1923.

Then again, there was a play in the third inning that was ruled an error (against Starlin Castro) that may just as easily have been ruled a hit. Even Arrieta thought the hard one-hopper hit by Kike Hernandez, misplayed by Castro, was a hit. You decide.

Still, Arrieta,  was masterful, with 12 Ks, including striking out the side in the 9th. He finishes August with a 6-0 record and a 0.43 ERA, which is positively Dodger-ace like.

3. Where’s Corey?

Robinson’s studliness belied by his omission from a publicity still promoting ND’s wideouts

Take a look at this photo and ask yourself what, or who, is missing? That’s Notre Dame wideouts Torii Hunter, Jr., Will Fuller, Amir Carlisle and Chris Brown. Fuller, No. 7, had 15 touchdowns last season. The other three combined to score five TDs, or the exact same number that junior wide out Corey Robinson had all by himself.

O captains, my captains….

And, if that last touchdown in Tallahassee would have counted, you’d have to give Robinson six. So where is he? Why did Notre Dame exclude him from the picture? Is it a by-product of the Four Horsemen strategy, in which you can never have more than four players in a publicity still? If so, how do you explain the shot above?

I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation. We’ll wait to hear from the ND sports info dept.

4. VMAs

Apparently, Justin Bieber cried and Kanye West filibustered. I’m so old. I just don’t care.

5. Daily Kerfuffle: Rovell vs. El Flaco (a.k.a. Bomani Jones)

Darren Rovell chided anyone who would assume that racism is even the least bit involved as to why Maria Sharapova, who yesterday withdrew from the U.S. Open with an acute case of Serena-itis, earns more in endorsements than the world’s greatest female tennis player of perhaps all time.

And then Bomani Jones took him to school...as he is wont to do.

This is not the first Rovell vs. Bomani battle, but I do believe it’s the first since Rovell re-joined ESPN.

Music 101

Mr. Brightside

The summer and fall of 2004 provided a slew of great rock band pop hits: “Float On,” “Take Me Out” and this one by The Killers, in which lead singer Brandon Flowers suspects his gal is cheating on him with Julia Roberts’ brother. Of course.

The tune topped out at No. 10 on the Billboard chart. It’s also the first song that this Las Vegas-based band ever wrote. And still the best.

Remote Patrol

FOX Sports 1 College Football Preview Show

FS 1 9 p.m.

UCLA true freshman quarterback Josh RosenRosen, who has been named starter. His pregame meal consists of a Bloody Mary, a steak sandwich and…a steak sandwich.

To get you in the mood. Host Rob Stone with Joel Klatt, Matt Leinart, Dave Wannstedt and Bruuuuuuuuuuuuce Feldman!

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Happy Birthday, bitch!

Starting Five

Parker and Ward

1. Commonwealth of Shock

I struggled with the above photo. Just three days earlier I chastised (have you noticed I do a lot of chastising? I have) CNN for blacking out the portion of the Hunter Hawker crash where the plane actually touched down –and ended people’s lives.

And so, yes, I could’ve led the way the New York Daily News or New York Post are doing this morning. The difference is that the killer is manipulating me here. That’s exactly why he shot the scene on video. He knew he wouldn’t be around to see this morning’s newspapers.

Two more things. Even though the man who took the lives of Alison Parker and Adam Ward was not wearing one, we have entered the GoPro-to-Facebook-and/or-Twitter Social Media Murder Age. Welcome, all.

Lastly: You can talk about guns, or mental illness, or depression. They’re all part of the problem. But never forget: some people are just evil. Some people are just bad. They’re assholes. And it’s not always a matter of, Well, if someone had loved them better as a child, etc… We often look for reasons as to why someone could be so malevolent. Sometimes, it’s just their nature.

Watson had some terrific insights on yesterday’s tragedy

Fortunately, however, they are always going to be outnumbered by decent people. People like Jaye Watson, an Atlanta-based on-air person who typed these words yessterday.

2. Not a Single Bo Peep*

We haven’t heard Bo diddly from Todd’s son since he resigned

*The judges will also accept “That Little Devil”

You’re 33 years old and the running backs coach at Arizona State. Your dad, who is 50, is the head coach of a that program, which is ranked No. 15 in the preseason AP poll. And then, two weeks before the Sun Devils’ first game, you resign.

The word in Tempe is that Bo Graham had a relationship with a student athlete (I’m hearing a gymnast, who has since graduated), that that is against ASU’s by-laws no matter the age of the student-athlete, that Todd Graham told his son to cut it out, and that Bo went all Johnny Paycheck on his father.

Not that Graham or ASU had shed any light on the details of Bo’s resignation. Former Sun Devil QB Rudy Carpenter tweeted out a cryptic message when the news broke:“Not a good idea 4 college coaches to get caught with students or student athletes. OUCH.” So Rudy’s going to have to wait a little longer before the Sun Devils retire his number.

Tough position for Todd Graham to be in, but one that he helped Foster by hiring his son. In 2007 and 2008, Bo was the running backs coach at his dad’s school, Tulsa, but then left to be the offensive coordinator at Tulsa Central High School (anyone see a pattern developing?).

To Bo’s credit — and Todd’s — Tulsa did lead the nation in total offense those two seasons.

This piece, by Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic from two years ago, is illuminating as to the father-son dynamic at play here.

Is Bo’s transgression as insidious as, say, Auburn maintaining a bogus major (Public Administration) just so football players can remain eligible? Well, no. But it’s more intriguing because it’s all cloak-and-dagger in Tempe at the moment. Oh yeah, and sex.

3. Joey Bats’ Code of Silence

The word from Bautista is, or at least was, mum.

If you haven’t heard, Toronto Blue Jay All-Star Jose Bautista is refusing to speak to Sportsnet, the network that airs their games. The oddity? Both the Blue Jays and Sportsnet are owned by the same company, Rogers Communications.

What’s the problem? Back in May Sportsbet took out a Blue Jay rookie, Devon Travis, for a fluff segment that would show Travis purchasing a suit. It was the network’s idea, but it was Travis who was stuck with the $600 bill. Bautista that that was, in the words of another baseball idealist from an earlier era who also was very protective of a teammate, “Cruddy.”

Tanner Boyle was alos beloved for sticking up for his teammates, although I doubt Lupus ever went to Brooks Brothers

Sportsnet, as its defense, claimed that it did not pay for the suit because it did not want to give off the appearance of having a conflict of interest. You’re way past the “appearance” stage if you work for the same people who own the team that you are covering.

Update: Joey Bats has ended his boycott. Did someone at Rogers finally spring for Travis’ suit? I hope so.

*Thanks to our Canadian correspondent, Moose, who insists that you will not find her email address on the Ashley Madison hack list.

4. Guitar Wizard

Howe, 68, is in the midst of a 27 shows-in-37 nights North American tour with Yes

Yes, a repeat (“See what he did there?”), but I really, really enjoyed speaking with legendary Yes guitarist Steve Howe for this piece in Newsweek. When I first contacted Yes’ management on the Isle of Man or Isle of Wight or one of those cool isles, I sent an email. About an hour later I received a phone call…from Steve Howe himself.

We spoke for hours. He’s a truly funny, self-effacing genius. If you pay attention to “Your Move/All Good People” you’ll note that he plays two very different guitars on the same song and at least three different styles. He truly is a Wizard of Guitar.

5. Justin, Just Out Of Luck

Against a lineup that featured future Hall of Famers Albert Pujols and Mike Trout (okay, sure, I’m projecting, but I’ll go out on that limb), Justin Verlander pitched eight no-hit innings last night. The Tiger ace allowed a leadoff double in the ninth, meaning that he is stuck on two career no-hitters.

Only five pitchers in Major League history have hurled three or more no-hitters: Nolan Ryan (7), Sandy Koufax (4), Bob Feller (3), Cy Young (3) and Larry Corcoran (3).

Notes:

–Corcoran hurled all of his no-hitters before Ryan, Feller or Koufax were born. His three came between 1880 and 1884, all for the Chicago White Stockings (the future Cubs, NOT White Sox) at Lake Front Park.

–Verlander would have joined Koufax as the only pitcher to win both the league MVP and a Cy Young award. He would’ve also become the first pitcher to hurl three no-no’s and sleep with an SI swimsuit issue cover model.

Corcoran went on to a lucrative career as the spokesperson for W.B. Mason

–Koufax won 3 Cy Youngs and Verlander has claimed one. The award did not come into existence until 1956, which is why Corcoran, Feller and Young never won one. Seems kind of unfair: Tommy John can have Tommy John Surgery, Lou Gehrig can have Lou Gehrig’s Disease…but Cy Young cannot win a Cy Young Award?

–Who threw the most one-hit games? I’m glad you asked. It’s a tie between Ryan and Feller, “The Heater from Van Meter,” at 12.

— Corcoran, despite going 43-14 in 1880 and having three other seasons in which he won at least 31 games, is the only one NOT in Cooperstown. Career record: 177-89. Corcoran was also an ambidextrous pitcher.

Music 101

 

 

Leave It (A Cappella)

My personal favorite Yes tune –Yes, I’m jonesing on Yes — and here is the version that only appeared on the B-side of a single. Also, here’s a kickass amateur version by the UCLA Scattertones (Rule 73: Don’t laugh out loud or clap DURING an a cappella performance; it’s not about you). Highly competent college a cappella here. They could take on the Bellas — and the Trebles.

Remote Patrol

Go outside and play. There’s nothing on.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Culkin, a New York City native, landed a role as a mischievous boy in Chicago while…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.  Birthday Boys

In the late 1980s the producers for a John Hughes film set in Chicago’s tony north side suburbs (weren’t they all?) were casting about for a mischievous lad to play the lead role of Kevin McAllister in a film titled Home Alone.

At the time just such a lad lived in the Lincoln Park section of Chicago, and he was even already enrolled in an acting class. He wanted to audition for the film. There was just one problem: his parents, both attorneys, realized that he was just too perfect for the role and they weren’t quite sure that they wanted to raise a child actor.

And so John Mulaney, who turns 32 today, never auditioned for the part, while Macaulay Culkin, who turns 35 today, landed it. And if you know Mulaney at all, you know that he really would have been almost too real to play that part. As it turned out, Culkin did just fine with it.

“And now you know…the rest of the story.”

P.S. If you watch this bit from Mulaney’s stand-up, you can ascertain that he still wishes he’d been given a shot at the role.

2. Notre Dame’s Screen Pass

Artificial Turf? Check!

Luxury Boxes for Well-Heeled Boosters? Check!

Alternative Uniforms? Check!

Truman Show-esque documentary crew hounding players and coaches? Check!

Giant Video Board! Check mate!

In 2007 then Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White told Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune that the Fighting Irish would not have an in-stadium giant video screen in his lifetime. Either White was wrong or he has about two years to live.

Yesterday Notre Dame announced that beginning in 2017 it will place a giant video board in the south end zone, which means that it will be directly in the line of sight of Touchdown Jesus, who undoubtedly hopes that the administration will have the courtesy to leave him the remote the other six days of the week.

Hey, I’m not Anti-Innovation across the board. I like the Shamrock Series unis (especially the all-whites from the ASU game). I cheered when the Irish stopped running their offense out of the famed Notre Dame Box. And I think the video board will be a great help: I’ve always wanted to watch two extremely pale humans named Dylan and Meghan smooch on a Kiss-Cam.

Still not a fan of the Field Turf. And I never will be.

3. The Daily Harrumph! NazIsis Edition

Curt Schilling’s Facebook meme read, well, you have eyes, it’s right above you.

After Schilling posted that yesterday, his employer, ESPN, suspended him.

Curt. Curt. Listen: Never go Hitler. Just…never. There is one exception to this rule: If you happen to be Jewish AND you happen to be funny, then you can go Hitler.

Mel Brooks. Springtime for Hitler and Germany/Deutschland is happy and gay/We’re marching to a faster pace/Look out, here comes the Master Race!”

Woody Allen. “I can’t listen to Wagner. Every time I do, I get the urge to conquer Poland.”

Larry David: “The thing about Hitler I admire is that he wouldn’t take any shit from magicians.”

So , maybe if you’re Jewish and funny. But Curt, I don’t know if anyone has ever told you this, but you look quite Aryan. Your name is quite Aryan. And while that should not matter as you express this idea — comparing a regime that tried to annihilate a religion to, of all things, another religion — it sorta does.

I’ll give Curt this, though. I watched a documentary on Hitler last night just in order to write this item with less ignorance. Hitler’s plan was to intimidate through fear and violence (yes, you already knew that, but he started out this way; it was partially how he rose to power). ISIS is doing the exact same thing. They just lack a dynamic speaker.*

*But, really, ISIS really are a bunch of absolute, craven nihilists. Probably the worst organization of our lifetime. They’re like a Down With People group.

4. Huddle Humbled

Infeld ran through the finish line as Huddle raised her arms in illusory triumph

You know what really blows after running a 10-K? Losing out on a medal on you final step. Those of us who have run non-elite 10-Ks are aware that there is always THAT GUY who sprints the last 20 yards so that he can beat you to the finish line and brag that he came in 1,291st place as opposed to 1,292nd. We loathe THAT GUY.

But, when the race is the Women’s 10,000 meter World Championship, well, you are permitted to be that guy. And so Emily Infeld passed her U.S. teammate, Molly Huddle, on the very last step of the 6.2 mile race to claim bronze. Painful lesson for Huddle, a Notre Dame alum. One she’ll remember at next year’s Olympic Trials.

5. Murder in Roanoke

More senseless deaths

A morning news crew shooting a remote in Roanoke, Va., this morning was murdered when a man approached them, as they were shooting live from the porch of an apartment complex, and fired. Killed were reporter Alison Parker, 24, and videographer Adam Ward, 27.

Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Chattanooga, Littleton, Baton Rouge… (I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few, but hey, there are so many). The fun never ends in America. Keep shooting, cowards. Keep shooting.

As Trenni Kusnierek noted on Twitter after the news broke, there are politicians who are vying for president and openly discussing tweaking the 14th amendment. But nobody will touch the 2nd amendment, now will they?

Keep living in fear, America. And keep feeding that fear, pols. It sells guns, it sells weapons, it sells billion-dollar contracts to manufacturers who have pols (or former pols) on their boards. Keep selling that fear. And yet the last time mainland America was attacked by an actual foreign military was….1918.

Music 101

Light and Day

Easily one of the five best live shows I ever attended: the Polyphonic Spree at Irving Plaza about 7 or 8 years ago. One of the members was the woman now known as St. Vincent. This song also appeared on Scrubs. (note: this was the zenith of this highly underrated sitcom; they should have ended it on this montage. Dr. “Dorkian” had finally figured it all out). They’re a hippy, trippy band from Dallas who at the time had 28 members and were always in danger of losing one for a bit due to pregnancy, but I always enjoyed ’em.

Remote Patrol

Cubs at Giants

ESPN 10 p.m.

Handsome, 6-5 Kris Bryant (20 HR, 75 RBI) probably will never have to pay for his own beer on the North Side

San Francisco, the most dominant team in baseball in even numbered years, hosts the Cubbies, who have won two less World Series in the past 106 years than San Fran has in the past three. Ah, but Chicago has won 6 straight, is 26-11 since the All-Star break, and though they’re in 3rd place in the NL Central, look poised for a wildcard berth. Kris Bryant looks to be the NL Rookie of the Year. October at Wrigley? We can hope.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Happy 45th to Claudia Schiffer!

Starting Five

Heather Thomas and Lee Majors were never part of Cris Carter’s “crew”

1. Daily Harrumph! — The Fall Guy

So….14 months ago Cris Carter, standing next to Warren Sapp (who would one month later be arrested for an incident of domestic violence but NOT be fired from the NFL Network until this past winter after soliciting prostitutes) advised rookies at an NFL Rookie Symposium to “find a fall guy” to take the rap in order to avoid trouble.

And so one of the rookies there, Chris Borland, would later tell two reporters, “I was wondering, Should I just get up and walk out?” A year later Borland, a starting DE for the San Francisco 49ers, retired (Borland didn’t explicitly rat out Carter; he just mentioned the incident without going Testikov on him).

The truly disturbing thing: NFL.com had that video up for a year and nobody noticed (maybe it the league were more popular). And where were the plethora of NFL “Insiders” on this. Yes, SI‘s Robert Klemko was there but he had agreed beforehand to some things being off the record in exchange for access. I can understand his predicament. However, as soon as the NFL posted that video on its state-run website, it was fair game for Klemko and everyone.

Carter apologized last night because he doesn’t want to lose his job at ESPN, but now he belongs in the same corner as Ray Lewis, the one where fraudulent men deign to address issues about character with a straight face. ESPN should fire Carter and hire Borland: he’s the only dude involved here with any integrity.

2. Da Bears!

The stock markets in China sneezed again yesterday, and again the U.S.A. caught a cold. America: We’re China’s Canada!

The DOW Jones became America’s wildest roller coaster yesterday, dropping nearly 1,100 points at the open (Is that bad? It’s not good), then rebounding so as to be down only 200 points before finishing down 588 points, its worst day in four years.

The latest chart of this week’s market…

Now, here’s the thing: this isn’t necessarily bad. It’s not as if the bomb detonated here. The bomb detonated across the Paciific and a breeze wafted it over to us. It’s not like 2007 when Lloyd Blankfein was saying, “Fire? What fire?” as he held a blowtorch in the other hand.

This happened in Beijing, China’s capitol, on Monday. It’s nice when the metaphors write themselves.

The other reason it’s okay (Stocks 101, from someone truly not qualified to teach it). It’s only a BAD day if 1) you are oversaturated in the market and 2) you actually SOLD your stocks.

Solutions: 1) Learn to read the market. Stop trying to sell at the top. As Jim Cramer wisely states, “Nobody ever went broke taking a profit.” This way, when days like yesterday occur, you have cash on hand that will allow you to see yesterday as a Crazy Eddie-type sale (“His prices are insane!”). 2) Follow the advice of Bette Davis in All About Eve: “Fasten your seat belts; it’s going to be a bumpy night.” The ride may be turbulent, but that doesn’t mean you jump out of the plane (sell). Fasten your seat belts, kids, and I guess, sure, take the advice of Wilson Phillips as well.

3. Split-Second Timing

Wilson’s vehicle, far right, heading toward wall. The debris has already struck him in the head.

Last night Indy Car driver Justin Wilson died from head injuries he suffered at Pocono Raceway on Sunday. Wilson simply had the worst of luck. The lead driver in the race, Sage Karam, spun out on Lap 179 of the 200-lap ABC Supply 500. Karam did not encounter any other cars, he simply spun out coming out of a turn.

Karam hit the wall, debris flew, and the nose of his car went airborne, striking Wilson, 37, in the head. No way to avoid such an accident when you’re traveling at 180 m.p.h. It was simply Wilson’s time, if you believe in such things. Wilson most likely lost consciousness, and his car then speared the side wall nose first. He never regained consciousness and died  one day later.

If you watch the video, you’ll note how the announcers’ tones change when, upon seeing the replay for the first time, they realize that the piece of debris struck Wilson. At that point, they know the reality. p.s. The announcers here, especially the Brit, were extremely astute here. They didn’t jump to conclusions, they waited to see the video but then once they did, they didn’t sugarcoat it.

4. U Oughta Know…That We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

I want to be there when Taylor invites Adam Ant onstage to perform “Goody Two Shoes.”

Night 3 at the Staples Center, and Taylor Swift invites ’90s siren Alanis Morissette onstage to perform a duet of “You Oughta Know.” That T-Swizzle is so smart. First, she keeps the tour interesting for herself by brining on special guests all the time. Second, she pays respect to artists who preceded her, knowledgeable that her fame is at its zenith and that it is all fleeting. I’m sure someone like Alanis appreciates playing to a crowd of 18,000 again. It’s difficult to resent a fellow artist for their wild popularity when they’re inviting you to wallow in it with them.

Third, pay close attention to what Taylor does here. She realizes she’s singing the verse with the F-word in it, and she has a wholesome image, and she knows that hundreds if not thousands of fans are videotaping her on their smartphones, so she doesn’t want that to go viral. Thus, in the middle of the verse (3:00) she hands it back to Alanis. Am I overanalyzing this moment? You tell me.

5. The Screen Door Slams…

It’s the 40th anniversary of the release of Born To Run. It’s the first album I bought in high school and still the best I’ve ever owned. And I can still, with only a few lapses, recite the entire volume by memory. Soon after the album’s release, both Time and Newsweek placed Bruce Springsteen on its cover, which was the 1975 equivalent of The Boss doing a Reddit AMA and being part of a Buzzfeed listicle on the same day.

….tonight in Jungleland.

Day of Yore

Hack Miller: Not even the most famous “Hack” to play in the Friendly Confines

93 years ago today, the highest-scoring Major League Baseball game ever played. The Cubs led 25 to 6 over the Phillies at one point before giving up 14 runs in the Phils’ final two at-bats. Chicago held on to win, 26-23. Hack Miller went 4 for 5 with two home runs and six RBI for the Cubs.

Music 101 

Thunder Road

I mean, how can I not?

and then 38 years later…

Remote Patrol

Popeye Doyle: Road rage, circa 1971

Listen. Tonight, ESPN2 is airing the World Armwrestling League in prime time. So, you know, go home, Norby, you’re drunk. Go visit Netflix and watch The French Connection: you’ll learn that Gene Hackman was nearly as bad a cop as he was a high school basketball coach.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Happy 50th to Marlee Matlin…one of two Oscar-winning actresses to appear on Seinfeld, but the only not to appear as herself.

Starting Five

Up to 20 dead, but not the pilot, a British Airways captain.

1. Plane Stupid

“Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s a — BOOM!”

What a lovely day to die such a senseless death.

Up to 20 people may have died in the Shoreham Sussex Air Show disaster on Saturday when pilot Andy Hill failed to negotiate his Hawker Hunter T7 aircraft out of a loop de loop.

Seen one way, it’s terribly bad luck: the plane landed/crashed, of all places, on a busy highway (the A27). One of the victims was out riding his bike and just happened to be on that stretch of the motorway. On the other, there’s an air show taking place adjacent to a busy highway that hasn’t been shut down for the show.

Hill survived the crash but is in a medically induced coma.

By the way, does CNN have any good reason for blacking out the moment of impact? Are they worried about our delicate sensitivities? Do they block out video of police shooting unarmed black men? Not that I recall. That’s crap news reporting.

2. We Could Be Heroes

Do NOT *$%# with Spencer Stone!

Three young Americans — Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, student Anthony Sadler and National Guardsman Alex Skarlatosfoil a gunman’s attempt to inflict carnage on an Amsterdam-to-Paris train last Friday. The three friends disarmed the Moroccan native, who was armed with an AK-47 rifle and who then pulled out a box cutter and severed Stone’s thumb (it has since been reattached) but is now claiming he was just attempting to rob the passengers.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Also, a Brit helped the three Americans, but I believe he was mostly saying, “Jolly good show, Yanks!” and stuff like that.

3. Roll Trump

Red, white and blue….but predominantly white!`

This is the first truly classic photo of the 206 campaign.

The Donald Trump rally in Mobile, Ala., on Friday night draws 30,000-plus (many of whom believed they were going to see Hoover play John Curtis High, but…whatevs) at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. I love Donald’s moxie, but as for his message?

Can’t help but feel that “make America great again” is code for “make America white again.” Which isn’t EVER going to happen, if you understand the nature of dilution.

On the backs of their shirts it read, “Obama You Are Fired.” Well, actually, ladies….

4. Gatlin Gunned Down*

Bolt (yellow) sprinted through the tape, while Gatlin began reaching for it at least five meters out.

A fantastic finish at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing in the Men’s 100M final at the Track & Field World Championships. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt (Jamaica), 29, outlasted American Justin Gatlin, 33, at the tape to win by 1/100th of a second. Bolt ran a 9.79 to Gatlin’s 9.80. It was the first race Gatlin failed to win since the summer of 2013, though these two have have been ducking one another all summer.

Watch the video. Gatlin clearly wants the race to be over about 5 to 10 meters earlier. He knows he cannot hold off Bolt.

Gatlin: faster turnover.

Bolt: longer stride.

I think Gatlin wins this race if he doesn’t start reaching for the tape. To be continued next summer in Rio…

*Special props to yours truly for getting “Matlin” and “Gatlin” in the same post….

5. The A-Rod Issue

What does a man have to do –besides HGH — to have his number retired?

The New York Yankees retired the numbers of two players who may not make it to Cooperstown this weekend: catcher Jorge Posada (20) and pitcher Andy Pettitte (46). Next weekend they’ll retire Avogadro’s Number if they think it will result in a sellout.

Derek Jeter’s number (2) is next, which means that every integer from 1-11 for the Yankees, plus various others (15, 20, 23, 46, 51, etc.) will also be off-limits. Here’s my question, other than the obvious of when will the Yankees be going to triple digits: Will they retired A-Rod’s number?

He’s not a TRUE YANKEE, the naysayers will, um, naysay, but A-Rod is now in his 10th season in New York. That’s half his career. And this is a guy who is the all-time leader in grand slams and is currently No. 4 in home runs. He’s the only Yankee to win the AL MVP award –which he has done twice — since  Don Mattingly did so in 1985 (number is also retired) and the first to win more than once since Mickey Mantle. 

Brian Cashman & Co. will have a thorny issue to deal with the day that No. 13 retires.

Music 101 

Lucky Man

That is known as a Moog synthesizer solo and at the time it made this song even more dreamy and surreal. Listen to the lyrics. Emerson, Lake & Palmer were one of the primordial prog rock bands and also spent a lot of time disabusing folks of the notion that they were ELO. Folks who don’t spell very well. The song, written by Greg Lake when he was 12, reached No. 48 in the U.S.

Remote Patrol

FOR TUESDAY

World Track & Field Championships

Universal Sports 7 a.m.

Sandi Morris: appearing somewhere in Beijing this week, if you can find Universal Sports

Hey, I don’t know how to find it, either. But it’s a good event and technically it is on somewhere. God forbid that NBC, the network of the Olympics, actually place the most sumptuous Rio appetizer on its sister sports network because that is obviously NOT why this network (NBC Sports Network) exists. Maybe they should fire Alex Flanagan and Mike Mayock again. Well done, Peacock.

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Robert Plant turns 67 today and he’s not even ready to put a down payment on a stairway to heaven. Happy Birthday! And we salute your 45-year commitment to long locks. You look like an elder statesman from House Greyjoy.

 

Starting Five

You have to admire the effort here.

1. Border Line Call

Is the Constitution…unconstitutional? Is Donald Trump….correct?

I’m not enough of a scholar to answer the first question accurately, but it may surprise you to hear that I agree with The Donald on his basic point: If you come to this country illegally and have a child here, I don’t believe that progeny is any more of a legal citizen than you are.

Now, as to what to do about it, I’m not sure (My top idea is to put a large velvet rope around the border and to initiate a password). And as to calling some illegal aliens “good ones” and “bad ones,” that’s not my cup of tea. And finally, to argue that America is going to hell in a basket of hands while also arguing that we need to keep out all these (brown-skinned) foreigners who’ll risk anything to be here is, well, can’t you see, a little bit disingenuous.

Buuuut….I do agree with the Donald that you shouldn’t be able to come here illegally, give birth, and call that offspring a U.S. citizen. If you steal a car and then get in a car accident, I’m not sure you should be able to sue the other person involved in the collision, either (Is that a poor analogy?).

Anyway, please clip and save for when all the tweeps criticize me for being a liberal.

2. “Oooooooooooooooooklahoma! (Drill)”

Putting the OU in OUCH

If you’ve played almost any level of organized football (and not received a participation trophy), you are familiar with the Oklahoma Drill. It’s where cockfighing and Thunderdome meet the gridiron.

I always felt there was a little coaching bloodlust and sadism to the drill, but I also recognized that there was no quicker way for a football coach to separate his necessarily violent players from his, well, wusses. Anyway, my old pal from SI, now at ESPN, David Fleming, wrote a wonderful piece about both the history and the importance of the Oklahoma Drill (which, yes, was developed in Norman). Highly recommended for any football fan.

3. Antarctica: The Next Saudi Arabia

Ice shelf? No, water reserve!

Oil and water may not mix, but if you’ve been watching the financial markets lately, they pretty much cost the same now. Actually, water is cheaper.

Look. This is the price of a gallon of Poland Spring water (I understand that tap water is free): $3.16 (it’s very Biblical). And this is the national average price this week of a gallon of gas: $2.72. 

What does this mean? It means that the first country to plant a flag in Antarctica may become the overlords of the 21st century. Yes, there is a U.N. treaty forbidding any one country from claiming ownership, but when has that ever stopped anyone (pilgrims, hint hint)?

4. Sick

Jared Fogle, who earned millions as the Subway pitchman, once was famous for losing weight. Now he’s famous for losing his dignity. The details are in this story but Fogle, 37, who was married bought child pornography and traveled to NYC to have sex with underage teenage girls multiple times.

He’s going away for at least five years.

Yesterday afternoon Subway put out tweets informing consumers that “Jared Fogle’s actions are inexcusable and do not represent our brand’s values. We had already ended our relationship with Jared.” 

I mean, I understand WHY they posted that tweet, but did anyone really wonder whether or not Subway endorsed this behavior the way Fogle endorsed their sandwiches?

By the way, I’m on Team Jimmy Johns.

5. Are We STILL Talking About______?

There’s a huge, huge realm of middle ground between the Cobra Kai and participation trophies. No one ever made an inspirational film a about a kid who sits on the couch picking boogers and watching Phineas and Ferb (although maybe someone should?)

Yes.

Sorry.

So this story appears in Deadspin yesterday, and so I feel compelled to make a few more points.

1) PLEASE: LOVE your children. Love them! That’s awesome. And let them be kids. That, too, is awesome. I know my parents let me be one. But you know what is 100 times better than a _______n _______y? You watching their games in person. Or, even better, you playing games with them.

I used to play my dad one-on-one in basketball every day of the summer. Every freaking day. At the time he was 50 and I was 20 (I am not making this up; he even let me win a few). Also, it was Tempe, Arizona. Outside. We still played.

2) Do not equate James Harrison taking a playoff paycheck when his Steelers lost to a PT. Why not? Because that loser’s share is his payment for the game. NFL players receive 16 paychecks per year, one per regular season game. They get no extra “salary” for playoff games other than those winners’ or losers’ shares. False dichotomy.

3) If you want to give your kid a PT, fine. Great. Go ahead. At the same time, myself and my friends have just as much a right to say we think there’s a better way. To each his or her own.

4) If you don’t want to rush your kids out of childhood, maybe delay their entry into organized sports. Yes, there is a TON wrong with organized sports for kids, starting with the fact that parents and adults are transferring their own egos onto how well a team performs. Got it. But maybe if your kid would rather pick dandelions than play right field, then he shouldn’t be in right field in the first place.

5) I honestly believe, and someone tweeted this to me last night, that you’d do your child a bigger service giving him or her piano or guitar lessons than hitting grounders to him. In terms of setting him or her up for adulthood. If it’s either/or, give me music.

6) I really should have a kid.

7) And lastly….the title of that Deadspin piece is “(Bleep) Winning.” Which, I hate to sound like Donald Trump, is exactly what losers say. Your 6 year-old does not need to be a “winner.” But does he or she need to be fooled into believing they’re a winner when they’re not?

Deadspin was built upon the page views of readers (and writers) whose envy of big-time athletes was extremely thinly-veiled. They’ve always been the cowards who snickered in the lunch room at the popular kids but never had the nerve to say it face-to-face.

For me, the single-most important moment in the history of that site was when Buzz Bissinger looked Will Leitch in the eye and said, “I gotta be honest, I think you’re full of shit.” And I like a lot of Will’s writing, but Buzz nailed it: Deadspin’s aim back then was not to bring fans closer to athletes, it was to humiliate athletes so that they could feel better about themselves.

Deadspin often does some tremendous stuff. Yesterday’s piece on Notre Dame and its campus cops was spot-on.

Music 101

Your Lyin’ Eyes

I had to watch that Eagles documentary last night. Again. Why? (note: Glenn Frey can be seen wearing two different Notre Dame shirts in the doc, even though he is a Motor City native). Beautiful harmonies (“Take It Easy”, “Peaceful, Easy Feelin'” and this sone) and great writing (listen to the lyrics here) are the reasons this band became a mega-phenomenon. They kinda come across as, except for Joe Walsh, guys you’d not necessarily ant to share a private jet with all the time, though. But they did know how to write hits.

This 1975 tune hit No. 2 on the Hot 100 Billboard chart and No. 8 on the Country chart –that’s so Eagles — and won a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Group.

Remote Patrol

Documentary Now!

IFC 10 p.m.

Tonight they’ll spoof Grey Gardens, but in a future episode they’ll actually have fun with the aforementioned Eagles doc. Now that will be fun.

Bill Hader and Fred Armisen spoof classic docs, co-written and produced by Seth Meyers. With tongue-in-cheek intros from Helen Mirren ( <–Uber Cougar). What’s not to like?

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Reeva Steenkamp would have turned 32 today. The man who killed her will be released from prison later this week after having served a full TEN months in prison.

Starting Five

A-Rod’s 25th career grand slam now puts him two ahead of former Yankee Lou Gehrig as the all-time leader in that category.

1. This Is 40

The season of redemption continues. Alex Rodriguez, 40, has almost literally let his bat do all the talking this summer, as he and the Pinstripers are both surprising everyone. A-Rod’s seventh inning grand slam (“An A-Bomb for A-Rod”) rescued the Yanks from a 4-1 hole against Minnesota (Carlos Beltran hit a 3-run shot the night before as the Yanks trailed by the same score, in the same inning) and led them to their 5th win in six games.

New York, at 66-52, remains in first place. A-Rod, who hasn’t instigated a single back-page tabloid scandal all season, now has 25 home runs and 67 RBI, which is already ahead of any of the last four years (he did not play last year, of course).

It’s astounding how little news A-Rod seems to commit now that Derek Jeter has left.

2. Take Me To Church!

A fews days late, but if you still have not seen John Oliver‘s fabulous takedown of televangelism on Last Week Tonight, exposing how these charlatans prey on the devout faith of folks who mistake them as conduits for God’s work, you need to watch. 

At the end of the 20-minute piece, Oliver founds his own church (above), legally. Which is scary.

Almost every week Oliver and his staff put together a humorous version of a 60 Minutes expose that is powerful and simply astonishing. In a sense, they’re putting investigative journalists to shame. What I loved about this piece is that Oliver and his staff had been patiently working on it for seven months in order to illustrated just how crooked these men and women are. Fabulous stuff.*

*Also, thanks to HBO for allowing these bits to appear on YouTube. 

3. Don’t Look Back in Angkor*

The Temples of Angkor are nice and all, but I’ll still take the view driving into campus on Notre Dame Avenue myself.

*We’ll also accept “Oh, The Places You Should Go” and ” Coming in at No. 11: My Mancave.”

So, Lonely Planet recently released a book titled “Ultimate Travel: The 500 Best Places on the Planet” and among the sites not making the list: Gray’s Papaya on 72nd & Amsterdam (are they nutso?) and the Men in Blazers Panic Room.

You can see more on LP’s site.

Lonely Planet‘s top ten: Angkor Temples (need it), Great Barrier Reef (got it), Machu Picchu (need it), Great Wall of China (got it…not to be confused with the Grant Wahl of China, which was an idea I had for the Beijing Olympics in which SI‘s Grant Wahl would provide updates on the soccer…that idea was shot down), Taj Mahal (need it), Grand Canyon (got it), Colosseum (got it), Taj Gibson (just seeing if you were still paying attention), Iguazu Falls (need it), Alhambra (unless they’re talking about the high school in Phoenix, need it) and Aya Sofya (need it).

I’ll take this view, thank you, on a mid-October day.

Up next: Lonely Planet’s guide to “Best Places to Take A Photo to Put on Your Match Profile”: 1) Pyramids 2) Machu Picchu 3) Anywhere you happen to be kissing a dolphin.

Isle of Skye. Prit-tee, prit-tee good.

My personal, no kidding, place you should see: Isle of Skye, Scotland.

4. Yvonne Craig’s List

Wait, are you telling me Commissioner Gordon’s daughter was also the woman in the purple skin-tight outfit? Whhaaaat?

Farewell to Yvonne Craig, who memorably played Batgirl in the third and final season of the wonderfully droll and subversive Batman TV show of the mid-Sixties. As a kid, I didn’t quite realize I was watching a comedy until a few years later.

Craig passed away from lung cancer in Pacific Palisades, Calif. (hint: that’s pretty swank), earlier this week. She was 78. Pretty amusing anecdote herein as to how she was “discovered.” A formally trained ballet dancer, Craig would also land a role as “Onion Slave Girl” in an episode of Star Trek, another iconic show of that era.

Oh, wait, what?  “Orion Slave Girl.” Never mind.

Craig, who later got into real estate brokerage, also appeared in a pair of films with Elvis Presley.

Sadly, what The King is really thinking about at this moment is how badly he is jonesing for a peanut butter and banana sandwich….which is actually quite good for you.

5. Heavy Mettle (Cont.)

The armed combat participation trophy

A few more thoughts on participation trophies before we go….

— The people on Twitter who chide you for spending too much time debating any issue (this, Cecil the Lion, etc.) because we should be discussing items of more gravitas and who then return to discussing their Fantasy draft or whether Oklahoma is a sleeper pick to win the Big 12 this season? Shaddup.

–If I have to pick between living in a country of people who don’t cotton to participation trophies and those who do, I am most definitely picking the former.

–A friend on Twitter made the argument yesterday that a trophy for a child at that age is positive reinforcement for sticking it out. Is there negative reinforcement for not sticking it out? Why are we rewarding people for not quitting? Isn’t that the baseline? It’s a little like Chris Rock’s great rant about African-Americans wanting credit for “what you’re s’posed to do!”

— In the end, isn’t a trophy supposed to represent an individual standing out from his peers? Isn’t it just that simple? If everyone gets a trophy, then no one does. And how does that translate to you loving your child any less than someone who does believe that his kid deserves a trophy for not being special?

Anyway, enough on that. Susie B., I’ll wait for your measured and succinct response.

Music 101 

Ticket To Ride

Missed the anniversary, but 50 years ago last Saturday the Beatles played Shea Stadium (Don Draper took Sally; she was ecstatic). This was the 5th song of their brief, 11-song, 30-minute set. Because of the outrageous crowd noise and primitive speaker system, John, Paul, George and Ringo could not even hear themselves playing and had no idea whether or not they were in harmony or in time with one another. All those gigs in Hamburg must’ve helped here.

No way to just pick one emblematic Beatles song. We’ll have more later. But this has always been one of my favorites, a wistful tune that you can actually play on your six-string without too much effort. The below video was from April, ’65, at Wembley.

How big were the Beatles in 1965? This was the third of SIX No. 1 Billboard hits they had just in that year alone.

Remote Patrol

The Searchers

TCM 10 p.m.

Some people consider this John Wayne’s best western. Others consider it the best western. Still others prefer Marriott to Best Western. Who’s to say? It’s John Ford directing the Duke in Monument Valley, and the kidnapped girl is Natalie Wood. It’s a movie that pulls no punches about the harsh American west, and includes the most iconic closing image in western-dom.

So, yes, if you were paying attention, we referenced Bruce Wayne and John Wayne today.