1. Tornado Update
The twister that ravaged Moore, Okla., is upgraded to an EF-5…Winds reportedly reached speeds of 200 m.p.h….The death toll stands at 24, nine of them children (yesterday’s report of 51 dead was apparently due to the immediate chaos and many of the dead being counted twice and, if you do math well, apparently three times)…Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant pledges $1 million to storm relief through his family foundation…Today happens to be the second anniversary of the Joplin, Mo., tornado, which killed 158 and is the only tornado among the ten deadliest in U.S. history to have taken place in the past half-century.
Don’t credit me–Mike Trout’s mom tweeted that word after her son hit for the cycle (infield single to right side, triple to right center that would have been a double for most base runners, double to left, and home run to center) last night in an 12-0 defeat of Seattle. The Angel centerfielder, 21, is the youngest American League player in history to hit for the cycle. A-Rod also did it before the age of 22, but he was older. New York Giant great Mel Ott, who hit for the cycle in 1929 at the age of 20, is the youngest to do so overall. Last note: Trout actually struck out in his first at-bat last night.
3. “M-I-C…” (“See Ya’ Real Soon!”) “K-E-Y….” (“Y? Because we are implementing changes across the company to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs. While difficult, we are confident that it will make us more competitive, innovative and productive.”)
The Mickey Mouse Club expels nearly 400 ESPN staffers, or approximately 10% of ESPN’s domestic workforce. On the same day the WWL announced that it had hired Birmingham-based college football radio icon Paul Finebaum (“Pawwwwwl!). ESPN is a cash cow for Disney, whose stock has increased 35% in value in the past six months. All of which begs the question, is there ever enough profit to forestall massive layoffs. A source who was laid off yesterday told Deadspin that he was told that the reason for the cuts was that ESPN “needed to make its profit margin.” That is an arbitrarily decided upon figure. It’s not about profit. It’s about HOW MUCH profit will keep investors happy. It’s a f&$% up world, is all I can say.
I’m sure the remaining ESPN staffers will appreciate how much easier it is to find parking at the Bristol campus. Oh, and by the way, the world’s most overpaid sports business reporter, Darren Rovell, had zero tweets about the layoffs. Of course he didn’t.
(ADDED: The suits in Bristol took a page from the Roman army manual yesterday. They practiced decimation. While we think of the term “decimation” or “decimated” to describe a post-apocalyptic scene such as the one in Moore, Okla., the literal meaning is “removal of a tenth.” As punishment Roman army commanders would split their units into groups of 10 soldiers and then they’d draw lots to see which one of the ten men would be executed. Nobody died in Bristol yesterday, but I’m sure for some of them it still feels like it. They have my complete empathy.)
4. Spurs 93, Grizzlies 89 in OT
San Antonio takes a 2-0 lead and 94% of the time, the team that does so wins the seven-game series. I don’t want to overanalyze this (I’ve stated before that it NEEDS to be Heat-Spurs), but I do want to inform those of you who went to bed at a proper hour that Jalen Rose said that Tony Allen deserved a “Pulitzer Prize” (2:26 mark; I categorize this as “One and Dumb”) for his flop job on the foul by Manu Ginobili. Also, worth noting that the flagrant foul had nothing to do with Allen’s scenery-chewing. As referee Steve Javie explained, “
Edd Rush told us to stick it to the Spurs As soon as Manu Ginobili grabbed Allen’s arm in mid-air and unnecessarily created a dangerous situation, it was a flagrant foul.”
Finally, I love the Spurs’ new unis that conspicuously fail to have the team’s name on the front. Instead, just the number and a large spur…which is not spurious. Well done.
5. This is the closest I was able to come to reproducing Drew Magary’s reliably funny and debauched account of sailing aboard the “S.S. Kid Rock” back in March for GQ. Apparently, Bob Ritchie knows how to throw a party on a boat. As Magary wrotes, “Rednecks have more fun than uppity liberal folk like me….(If you’re a redneck) the radio plays songs you actually like.” Me, I’m still searching for any information on a “Pablo Cruise Cruise.”
Jon Bon Jovi doesn’t like Justin Bieber, either.
Cleveland is good at something: Winning the draft lottery. The Cavs win their second draft lottery in the past three years, proving perhaps that David Stern does possess empathy. The problem? There is no LeBron James or Kevin Durant in this year’s draft. Or is there? Do you select Nerlens Noel (John Buccigross: “That would make him the first Noel”) and his surgically-reconstructed knee and limited offensive ability because he is such an excellent shot-blocker (does anyone in the draft even know who Bill Russell is?) or do you go with Ben McLemore because he possesses the most MJ/Kobe-esque qualities and his rapping career is really beginning to take off? Me, I’d trade down –to, like, the second round –and select either Nate Wolters of South Dakota State or that kid from Grinnell (Jack Taylor) who scored 138 points last November.
Sergio Garcia was doing so well in his verbal feud with Tiger Woods until he uttered the “fried chicken” remark. Now he’s just another racist A-hole. Garcia immediately apologized and noted that his remark was in no way meant to be racist. Because, of course, fried chicken is a popular dish in Spain and it’s the first entrée that would come to mind.
I still don’t understand how he survived this. Basejumping + parachute failing to deploy = Death. Or at least it should.
Uh-oh. “Hangover III” is getting nasty reviews. Not as poor as “Medellin”, but not good, either. And by the way, is there a sports equivalent to Doug? A guy who starts every game but rarely plays? He apparently misses most of this film as well. Can you imagine being Justin Bartha, receiving the script for H-III, and thinking to yourself, Really, guys? Again?
Charlotte Bobcats to Charlotte Hornets (Again)
Names we would have accepted:
Charlotte ‘s Web
Charlotte Sometimes (Rejoice, fans of The Smiths!)
Charlotte We’re Even Happier to Forget the Bobcats Era Than You Are
Eastern Conference Finals, Game 1
Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat
TNT 8:30 p.m.
Miami, fresh off its second six-or-more-day break of the 2013 postseason, meet Indiana, which actually took two of three from them this season. I’m fine with Marv Albert and Steve Kerr calling the game, but a live studio feed of Ernie, Kenny and Sir Charles Mystery Science Theater 3000′ing it would be awesome, as well.
As always, Mediumhappy accepts dough-nations. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org via PayPal or to P.O. Box 430, Planetarium Station, NY, NY, 10024. Or just send a good vibe. Thanks.