IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

The Cruelest Month

April ends. If you visit cnbc.com, you’d know that it was Wall Street’s best month in more than 30 years. The S&P was up nearly 13% and the Dow was up more than 11%.

Of course, if you read anything else, you might also know that it was likely the deadliest month in the United States in your lifetime. At least 60,000 Americans—the attendance at a packed Notre Dame Stadium pre-1990s—died due to the coronavirus. When April began, only about 3,000 Americans had died due to the virus. A plethora of duplicitous Trump pressers and one Jared Kushner victory lap later, more than 63,000 have perished.

We imagine an extraordinary event hasn’t claimed that many American lives in one month since the Spanish Flu or, before that, the Civil War.

Swelter In Place

As the mercury hits the triple digits here in Devil’s Gulch and the rest of the country begins to get enthused about not thinking in terms of layers, a team of top epidemiologists (some of whom have even made multiple covers of Epidemiology Illustrated) released a report saying that we’ll be dealing with this pandemic at least until 2022.

“The length of the pandemic will likely be 18 to 24 months, as herd immunity gradually develops in the human population,” they wrote, adding, “The idea that this is going to be done soon defies microbiology.”

Soooooo, it may be time to get even more creative with your crock pot. And because your local Republican governor is about to begin easing restrictions on what can or cannot be open (and we can appreciate both sides of this argument), we’re going to rescind our prediction of fewer than 100,000 domestic deaths due to Covid-19 (it could top that number by Memorial Day, after all).

If the pandemic lasts as long as these germ studs say it may, needing to infect at least 60% of the population before it subsides, you could be looking at half a million deaths. If you were worried about your preferred Senior Living community having no vacancies, that likely won’t be a problem.

Amazon’s Wild Day

We imagine Susie B. having a Shirley Temple-level meltdown at the Amazon seesaw of the past 24 hours. First, yesterday, shares of the monolithic middleman delivery service hit an all-time high of $2,475 as it leaps more than $100 in one day before an after-hours earnings report.

Then comes the report, where Amazon (predictably) crushes it. Then, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos releases a statement in which he announces that Amazon will reinvest ALL of its Q1 profits into fighting the coronavirus. “Providing for customers and protecting employees as this crisis continues for more months is going to take skill, humility, invention, and money,” Bezos wrote. “If you’re a shareowner in Amazon, you may want to take a seat, because we’re not thinking small.”

And with that shares of the stock plummeted more than $175. Stay strong, Susie B.

Covers Week Concludes

The Japanese female trio Shonen Knife with their original and guitar-blazing cover of The Carpenters’ “Top Of The World,” which they put down for a 1993 tribute album by various artists called If I Were A Carpenter (clever).

Sports Year 1883

Reilly, left, stood 6’3″

A year of firsts: the first luge competition is staged in Davos, Switzerland; the first professional side, Blackburn Olympic, wins the FA Cup; the first championship ice hockey tournament is held (McGill University of Montreal wins it); and the inaugural Home Nations rugby championship is staged and won by England.

***

In the National League, the Chicago White Stockings score 18 runs versus the Detroit Wolverines in one inning on September 6. That record still stands today.

Also in September, Long John Reilly of the Cincinnati Red Stockings has quite a week, twice hitting for the cycle and in a third game hitting two inside-the-park home runs.

President Ulysses S. Grant is one of 15,000 fans in attendance for the inaugural National League game of the New York Gothams. MH is not sure if this is the first time a president attends a Major League Baseball game but it may be.

****

William Renshaw against defeats twin brother Ernest in the Wimbledon singles final, and again in five sets. Excruciating.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Bears Gone Wild!

At Yosemite National Park in central California, the humans have departed. And now, six weeks or so later, the bears and coyotes and deer have reclaimed the park.

We love it.
Love. It.

No diesel fumes in the air. No noise pollution from thousands of daily tourists. Nature has regained her hold. Like it or not, the planet is a much better place without us. As far as all the other species are concerned, Man is the virus.

Covers Week Continues

If there are three things we love—there are actually more— it’s face-melting covers, all-girl bands, and the unapologetically audacious mid-Seventies rockers Sweet. So while no one will ever top this 1975 performance on Top of the Pops, the Regrettes do their damnedest right here. I wonder if this band has a groupie, for no other reason than that he can begin conversations with, “Regrettes, I’ve had a few…”

Bonin Ribeye

You think you have a good handle on America’ most notorious (known) serial killers. Your friend Maureen, an otherwise pleasant and stable wife and mother of four, constantly suggests true-crime books for you to read. And then without warning you happen upon a trailer for a film that was released in 2002 about a real-life mass murderer named William Bonin.

In 1979 and 1980 Bonin, a Vietnam veteran in his early 30s with a van and a creepy mustache (why anyone was ever dumb enough to take him up on an offer for a ride with those markings is beyond me), murdered and often raped and tortured at least 21 young men in southern California. The number may very well be double that.

Bonin, who recruited at least two friends to join him as accomplices, earned the pseudonym “The Freeway Killer” for where he dumped the bodies. He was captured in the summer of 1980 and executed in 1996. I’d never heard of him before Sunday.

Dining Room Curtain Call

On the Upper West Side, just a few blocks north of MH world headquarters, Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell serenades pedestrians… on Broadway. From his apartment window. Mitchell, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 but has since recovered, sings “The Impossible Dream” a cappella every night. I don’t think he does a Wednesday matinee, though.

This is why we will always love New York.

Sports Year 1882

At a rules meeting, Walter Camp proposes that a team must advance the ball five yards within a span of three downs. Football begins to draw a distinct margin of difference from rugby.

***

I dunno if he talked the talk, but Littlewood walked the walk

On March 6 in Sheffield, England, George Littlewood shatters the 6-day walking record, covering 531 miles on a track that measures 13 laps to a mile. The record still stands today.

****

The American Association, an alternative professional baseball league that places franchises in the “southerly cities” of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Louisville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, makes its debut. These are all, with one exception, “river cities,” and the implication is looser morals, more blue-collar fans. As such ticket prices are lower, games are played on Sundays and—fan yourself with a pocket square—alcoholic beverages are sold on site.

****

In Mississippi City, which is an actual place, John L. Sullivan defeats Paddy Ryan in a 9-round bout to become Heavyweight Champion of America. It is the last major bare-knuckled fight.

***

In the Wimbledon singles final, William Renshaw disposes of a challenger he knows quite well in five sets: his twin brother Ernest Renshaw.

****

Great Scot! Bob Ferguson wins his third consecutive British Open championship. Only four men have done so through 2019, though Ferguson was the third to accomplish the feat.

***

On September 6, the first 100-mile bicycle race in the United States takes place. Seven men ride from Worcester, Mass., to Boston, and it takes the winner nearly 12 hours to finish.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Who came in to our new place of business yesterday? Dustin Pedroia. No, we did not ask for a selfie.

Starting Five

What’s At Steak*

*The judges will also accept “Dead Meat”

Fascinating A-block on The Rachel Maddow Show last night about how the fastest-growing coronavirus contamination areas (outside New York) are A) prison populations and B) meat processing plants. And, as for the latter, President Trump has ORDERED them to remain open while the manufacturers themselves are not particularly interested in safe-guarding their employees, that the CDC is not mandating measures (only recommening the plants follow them, “if feasible,” or “if possible”), and how the Republican governors in states such as Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota are not lifting a finger to acknowledge the danger.

Will this play out the way most Trump crises do?

A) Deny problem exists.

B) Take the opposite of the action necessary to fix the problem, thereby exacerbating it.

C) Deny any culpability in the proliferation of the problem.

D) Finally, after the last horse is out of the barn, and with the barn engorged in flames, close the barn door. And take a victory lap for having done so.

What does that translate to? A month or so from now, hundreds (thousands?) of dead meat plant employees and an eventual shut down of all meat plants. Hope you like salad (oh, yeah, and there’s no chance that migrant workers are contaminated… sure, no chance), which is just a gateway drug to listening to soft rock and wearing fringed vests as a fashion statement.

Good Mourning, Vietnam

Yesterday the U.S.A. breached 58,000 deaths from the coronavirus, or more Americans dead from this illness in less than three months than all of the Americans who were killed in Vietnam over a 10-plus years period.

According to Johns Hopkins University, 58,355 Americans have died due to the coronavirus. The Vietnam war officially claimed 58,220 American lives. The underlying tragedy here is that the coronavirus has yet to spawn any transcendent music or even a notable trend in hair styles or facial hair.

Just Another Reason To Not Be On Twitter

Do you ever get emails that have notable tweets from the past day in them? I do. I don’t want them, but I do. So yesterday I observe a tweet from noted MAGA rabble-rouser Clay Travis wherein he noted, and I’m paraphrasing, that “There have been multiple corroborating witnesses in the Joe Biden sexual assault allegation from 1992. There were no corroborating witnesses in the Brett Kavanaugh case. I cannot believe the hypocrisy!”

Of the Democrats, I presume.

Okay, Clay, I’m with you: Under no circumstances should Joe Biden be confirmed by the Senate to join the Supreme Court.

But we’re talking about the presidency here. Where the man in the White House has been accused by no fewer than 20 women of sexual assault. So if a sexual assault allegation is your bar to the presidency, then Biden is trailing by oh, about, 20 to 1. Never mind that between the two of them, Trump and Biden, only one has ever publicly bragged about sexually assaulting women.

Glad to be off Twitter.

Not excusing sexual assault, obviously. Just noting that Clay moved the sticks.

Covers Week Continues

As I mangle my guitar, I find myself increasingly fancying the music of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, which is one reason I bow down to Foxes & Fossils for this classic of the 1969 classic “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” If you’re going to cover a tune, this is a bear. It’s like three different songs blended into one (hence the “Suite” in the title). And it goes on for about six minutes. Watch the lead guitarist as the song ends. He looks the way someone does when they cross the finish line of a marathon and they’re waiting for someone to drape a medal around their neck.

Sports Year 1881

What happened in the 19th century’s only palindromic year?

In a five-day span—Halloween to November 4—Michigan becomes the first “Western” college football team to travel east and plays three games: at Harvard, at Yale and at Princeton. The Wolverines lose all three, failing to score in two of them, prompting MGoBlue fans to call for the firing of Jim Harbaugh.

***

Andrew Watson makes his debut for Scotland, becoming the world’s first black international football player.

****

The first U.S. Men’s Singles Championship, precursor to the U.S. Open, is staged in Newport, Rhode Island. Richard Sears wins, the first of his seven U.S. Open titles.

****

In boxing, heavyweight champ Paddy Ryan wins a series of non-title bouts while up-and-comer John L. Sullivan wins a number of bouts, also, none of which extend past the eighth round. We see a matchup looming.

****

The King, after he was traded from Chicago to Boston…

Baseball: January: In what will become an annual event for a time, in Chicago, players play a a series of exhibition games on ice… Fleet Walker, a black man, attempts to play for the Chicago White Stockings but the opponents refuse to take the field against him. Three years later Walker will play for the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association… George Gore breaks a record by stealing 7 bases in one game… on September 10 with his team down 7-4 in the bottom of the ninth, Roger Connor of the Troy Trojans hits a walk-off grand slam for an 8-7 win, the first grand slam of any kind in National League history… The championship game between the Troy Trojans and Chicago White Stockings on Sept. 27 is played in a heavy rainstorm in front of 12 fans. Twelve. Chicago wins 10-8…. White Stocking Cap Anson hits .399. So close… His teammate is baseball’s first “superstar,” handsome Mike “King” Kelly, sort of the Charles Barkley of 19th century baseball. A prolific hitter, Kelly is also a first baseman who pulls the hidden ball trick and is known for not touching bases if the umpire is not looking. He’s also a late-night carouser. He tells his fellow players, “I am the ‘only’ player. Why don’t some of you dubs (he said, ‘Dubs’) break a window and get talked about?”… Popular player Chub Sullivan of Boston dies of consumption at age 25. His teammates pay tribute by wearing black crepes as armbands. #IABD

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

Starting Five

Dead Zona

When it gets above 120 F in Phoenix, the tarmac can melt

I’m listening to supposedly intelligent people on ESPN talk about Major League Baseball playing a condensed summer schedule entirely in Arizona and my only thought is, None of these people have ever spent a summer in Arizona.

Okay, Chase Field is an enclosed ball park and maybe you can play as many as three games daily there because if you don’t have fans in the seats, you need not worry about between games clean-up and re-stocking concessions stands or parking. You start with a 10 a.m. game (1 p.m. in the East), then a 2 p.m. game (5 p.m.) and then a 6 p.m. game (9 p.m.). My guess is that the games will also proceed at a brisker pace minus fans so perhaps you can even squeeze in four games daily.

Roger, Pete & Co. played at 5 a.m. on Max Yasgur’s farm and no one seemed to mind

However, as someone who has spent numerous summers in Phoenix (none fondly, really), I’m here to assure you that you do not want to be outside, exerting energy, for a prolonged period of time, any time after 10 a.m. or before 6 p.m. You just don’t. And for those not conditioned to this weather, which would be most Major League Baseball players, this would be awful. And, with no fans in the seats, pretty depressing.

Imagine baking out there in left field at Talking Stick Fields at 3 p.m. local time when it’s 114 degrees outside. Or being a catcher and wearing the tools of ignorance for a prolonged inning. It would be like taking part in the Spanish Inquisition. No. Thanks.

Now, if you want to begin games at 6 p.m. and have games take place through the night until 9 a.m. the next day, as if we’re listening to The Who at Woodstock, that could work. Then baseball would have to figure if it wants to turn its entire fan base into night owls or simply air the games after the fact. But, trust me, given the option, players (once they experience the heat) would much rather play at 3 a.m. in July/August in Phoenix than in sunlight (I would lobby our high school football coaches for two–a-day practices that were held after midnight but they said no… something about circadian rhythms and/or parental consent).

But here’s what will not happen. Games beginning in the late afternoon, outdoors, in Arizona, to accommodate the Eastern Time Zone prime-time schedule. You can’t put dudes outside at 4 p.m. here in July and August. It won’t happen.

So here’s a few alternative ideas: 1) Play the games in minor league ballparks (since the size of the fields, and not the size of the crowds, are all that matters). Here’s a suggestion: Use Pioneer League Northwest League ballparks in the following towns/cities that are heavenly in summer time: Billings, Great Falls and Missoula, Montana; Boise and Idaho Falls, Idaho; Ogden, Orem and Salt Lake City, Utah; Spokane, Wash.

These cities/towns all have the advantage of having far better summer weather and being somewhat remote and not heavily populated. Plus, the out-of-the-ordinariness aspect of it might just be appealing to fans and players alike.

Two Guys, A Hot Toto Cover, And A Pizza Place

It’s an August Saturday night in 2010 and you find yourself in a suburb of Salt Lake City (such things exist) called South Jordan. You’re hungry, so you and a friend stumble into the Pie Pizzeria. You see two nondescript dudes in cargo shorts who don’t look as if they had to cancel dates tonight on the bandstand. The balding, red-headed chunky guy holds an acoustic. The other dude wears a Yankee cap and holds a bass.

You don’t expect much.

Then you listen.

That’s Mike Masse on vocals and Jeff Hall on the bass and backing vocals. As one of the 14 million viewers of this video commented, “Flawless.”

Red States, Blue Angels

In the past few years, the U.S.A. has devolved into becoming part Joseph Heller satire, part Orwellian nightmare (which reminds me, we need to make “Hellerian” its own adjective the way Orwellian is). Today CNN reports that the elite Navy flight squadron, the Blue Angels, will fly over New York City to “salute first responders.”

I’m imagining doctors, nurses and EMTs looking up at the skies and thinking, Yeah, thanks a lot. How about some masks and ventilators instead? The Trump administration never wants America to forget that we are first and foremost a military state (well, a capitalist military state). Meanwhile, you’ve got Mitch McConnell telling states to go bankrupt because the federal govt. shouldn’t have to subsidize blue states when it is New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts that actually subsidize his state, Kentucky. Those three states pay out the most in relation to what they receive from the federal government (from a tax perspective, those blue states are in the red) while Mitch’s home red state has its hands out, taking more than it gives.

A MAGA type never misses the opportunity to gaslight his fellow countrymen.

Forever Live And Die

Let’s take a moment to salute, for no particular reason, the ’80s Liverpool band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. In the early Eighties there was New Wave and there was electronica/synth pop, and while they were all bunched together by classic rock DJs who couldn’t, or didn’t care to, tell the difference, they were not the same.

New Wave were Duran Duran, Blondie, The Police, U2 (not really, but lumped in there), Eurythmics, Culture Club, Haircut 100, ABC, etc. Synth pop were Tears For Fears, New Order, Yaz and these dudes.

Classic tunes here for those of us who were lucky enough to be teenagers in this era. Favorite tunes include “Tesla Girls,” “Secret,” “So In Love,” “If You Leave” and this one, which may be the greatest ear worm of all of them. Released in 1986, it was their last Top 20 hit in the States.

Sports Year 1880

Had he been born in recent times, Walter Camp almost certainly would have moved to Williamsburg and formed a band and/or a hummus luncheonette.

Walter Camp, recent Yale grad, proposes three rules changes that forever change the game of football: 1) Decreasing the number of players on the field for one side from 15 to 11, 2) establishing a line of scrimmage and 3) having the ball snapped back to the quarterback.

***

John L. Sullivan announces that he will fight anyone in America, with or without gloves, for $500.

****

The Chicago White Stockings, who at one point during the season win 21 consecutive games, win the National League pennant.

On June 17 John Montgomery Ward of the Providence Grays pitches a perfect game, the second-such pitching feat in MLB history. The first one had taken place five days earlier, by Lee Richmond of the Worcester Ruby Legs (I don’t know why baseball had such a fetish with colored knickers and and stockings back then, but they did. They just did). Five days between the first two perfect games in the National League—the third and next such outing in the National League will take place in… 1964.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Test-Case Scenario

The thought here is that whoever is around to record human history 100 years from now will remember the coronavirus pandemic as the harbinger for civilization’s true cataclysmic event that not enough world leaders (and their red-cap wearing sycophants) took seriously. While you watch all the corporate-funded PSA’s about how we’re going to get back to normal and better than ever, ask yourself this…

If a disease that only winds up claiming less than 1% (far less, more like 1/10th of 1%) of the world’s population creates this much panic and hysteria and hoarding of goods, what happens if, say, WATER becomes scarce. Or… LAND?

It’s not going to be pretty, and those are the two commodities that will be in short supply when CLIMATE CHANGE comes calling. Do you remember the scene in The Jungle Book when there’s a drought and all of the animals, predators and prey alike, agree to cease operations so that all of the creatures may drink from the same watering hole, since water is so scarce? I do. And here’s the takeaway worth remembering about that: animals, even those genetically predisposed to be antagonistic to one another, are more HUMANE than humans are (Lesson: we need a human analogue of the elephant; a non-predator who can kick ass of anyone he wants; that used to be the United States).

And, yes, that’s just a story. But that actually does happen in real life with wildlife. Mankind, I think, won’t be so diplomatic. Civilization is as fragile as the available water supply. Don’t you forget it.

The King Of Queens

Do you know where the President of the United States was born and raised? The borough of Queens, New York.

Do you know what county of all the counties in the United States has the most coronavirus deaths (3,511, a number that is conservatively low since New York has more than 5,000 deaths that have not been attributed to the disease since the dead were never tested)? Queens, New York.

We’re just running this photo of Donald Trump with wife No. 2 Marla Maples to show that even a quarter-century ago that sh*t-eating grin was fully formed.

Missing Jordan

We haven’t caught either of the first two installments of ESPN’s “The Last Dance” yet —we figure they’ll have plenty of opportunities to re-air it in the coming months—but this little magazine cover from 39 years ago caught my eye. This is how much times have changed.

Sports Illustrated, THE sports publication/media outlet of record for decades until ESPN took the crown in the later ’90s, puts the Tar Heels on its college hoops preview issue and proclaims them the best team in the land. And SI will turn out to be right, as UNC will cut down the nets in four-plus months. But here’s what’s funny. The one member of the starting five who does not make SI’s cover?

Freshman Michael Jordan.

The four who did? Sam Perkins, Matt Doherty, Jimmy Black and James Worthy, along with coach Dean Smith.

Sister Act

Going down a rabbit hole of YouTube music videos this weekend, I discovered the Davies daughters (they’re someone’s daughters), who are incredibly gifted. Meghan plays the guitar and may also be the world’s fastest switcher of capo placements (at the :16 mark) while Jaclyn has the voice of an angel. This cover of Katie Perry’s “Dark Horse” is from 2013.

Ped-O-Philes

Put this in the Sports Year 1875 annex (we miss some events, we’ll come back and ask you to consider moments like this for inclusion). Although baseball and college football were taking their first tentative steps in the 1870s, competitive walking—the sport formally known as pedestrianism—was in full stride. Sports historians say it was the most popular spectator sport in America that decade.

This account of a famous six-day race in Chicago between Yankee blue blood Edward Payson Weston and Irish immigrant Dan O’Leary in 1875 is well worth your time.

Chesapeake (CHK) Energy

Consider this not a suggestion or a warning, but rather an illuminating. Remember a couple weeks ago when Chesapeake Energy (CHK) did a reverse stock split (your 200 shares were converted to 1 share at 200x the current price)? Every informed investment publication warned that this was a move done from weakness, not strength.

We agreed. So did Susie B. A last gasp of sorts as a company was attempting to take its outstanding shares available level down 1/200th, creating an artificial scarcity. STAY AWAY! Right?

Well, as of earlier this morning shares of CHK are up approximately 150% in the past seven days. That’s insane. Does it make any sense? Not to our eyes. But once again, who cares? People confuse be analytically correct in stock market and making money in the market as if they should always be confluent. They needn’t be. All that really matters is the latter. If you chose to be contrarian on CHK after the reverse split and cashed in, good for you. How or why you did it doesn’t matter. 150% in one week’s time is incredible. That’s all that matters.

SHE WON’T BACK DOWN

An incredible image in Phoenix earlier this week as a young ICU nurse, Lauren Leander, silently stood up to the dopes protesting stay-at-home measures at the state capitol. And there’s more to this story than you may have read on CNN.com.

Sports-addled Phoenicians are familiar with the surname Leander. That’s because Tom Leander has been the pre- and post-game (and halftime) TV host for Phoenix Suns games for more than a decade or so here. Maybe closer to two decades, I’m not sure. Tom Leander is Lauren’s father. If you’ve seen the guy who sits next to Tom Chambers on these broadcasts, that’s Tom. He’s a well-known and well-liked figure in the Valley. And he’s probably never been more well-liked (and more despised by some) than he is today.

Now, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably know that I attended a Jesuit high school in Phoenix (Brophy), which is also Tom Leander’s alma mater. He’s two years older than I am. When Tom was a senior he was the starting point guard on what may have been the best Brophy basketball team ever put together: it also had Mark Alarie, the state’s player of the year who would go on to be a four-year starter at Duke (part of Coach K’s first great recruiting class, that also included Jay Bilas and Johnny Dawkins), Rich Zacher (whose younger brother Mike remains one of my closest friends and is also the Arizona Cardinals’ team dentist), Curtis Bruggman (whose son Tyler played quarterback at Wazzu before transferring to Louisville) and a glue guy named Bill Van Dyke.

Anyway, an incredible team (that somehow lost before even reaching the state finals). But in the past two weeks the daughters of two of those teammates have made national headlines. Early last week, I think it was, Bella Alarie was taken fifth overall in the WNBA draft, which is quite a feat for anyone much less a Princeton grad. And now Lauren Leander. These young women have done their Brophy pops proud.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Is someone gonna draft Mekhi Becton’s pops (gray shirt)?

Did You Feel A Draft?

Thoughts, rants, observations from last night’s “virtual” NFL draft:

–New Orleans only had one pick, but ABC/ESPN/Disney and Tom Rinaldi sure turned a plethora of first-rounders into saints. If your pops died or you knew someone who died or you were related to someone who nearly died, YOU garnered your own tinkling ivory feature. If you happened to be the superior player at your position… meh.

Rinaldi almost always goes “Bart’s People” on College GameDay, but for three hours of prime time? Wow. Exhausting. He almost seemed disappointed that none of the players drafted had the coronavirus. On to the picks…

Joe Burrow at No. 1 and Chase Young at No. 2. Both players grew up within about 50 miles of the stadiums in which they’ll play, in Cincy and Washington. Burrow is straight outta 1954. Just he and his parents hanging on the couch. They might as well have been watching Uncle Milty or Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows.”

–Quarterbacks Tua and Justin at 5 and 6, to Miami and San Diego. It was something to hear Nick Saban say that Tua was just about the most popular player ever to go through his program in Tuscaloosa. That’s saying something. Hoping the best for him, but he’s not tall and he has suffered two major injuries already. It’s not that he’s soft, it’s that he plays in such a way where he takes more hits than you’d like and he’s about to play against even bigger, faster, nastier boys. Herbert is laid back, even for SoCal. That’ll be interesting to see.

–By the way, the SEC set a record with 15 first-round picks. Herbie had some fun at the end of the broadcast noting that ESPN’s “SEC bias” has apparently infected NFL scouts and GMs as well.

–The two picks following the two QBs are my favorites: Auburn DT Derrick Brown to Carolina and Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons to Arizona. These are a pair of Quenton Nelson-level locks for this draft. I love what Arizona did, particularly, because they didn’t worry about upgrading offense, they simply took the best player available. Two special non-QB talents here.

–My first giddy moment of the night was the scene at 6’7″, 365-pound LT Mekhi Becton‘s pad when the Jets picked him at No. 11. The Louisville lineman was almost crushed by his pops, who looks as if he’s pushing 400. Loved how Rece noted Mrs. Becton is a caterer specializing in soul food. You don’t say…

–As soon as the Jets passed on a wideout at No. 11, after the GameDay gang had speculated on which receiver they’d pick, my eyes went directly to Jerry Jones and the Cowboys at 17. We know Jerry Jones. He loves sizzle. He loves OU. He loves wideouts. You could feel America’s Team and CeeDee Lamb coming together right then even though it was still six picks away, no?

–Maria Taylor informed us, in her lovely canary-yellow dress, that Iowa OL Tristan Wirfs is so athletic that he can walk on his hands, then they cut to a Wirfs feature in which he did not walk on his hands. The first WTF moment of the night for me.

–How did that Javon Kinlaw-grew-up-homeless story go un-Rinaldi’ed last season? That’s incredible. Riding the metro in D.C. just to stay warm? And what about the 100s (1,000s?) of kids who grow up this way who don’t have the advantage of growing up to be 6’5″ and malevolent? This is where football needs to never be eradicated. It allows for legal assault and for young men to become rich doing so.

–The Raiders took Alabama WR Henry Ruggs at 12 and the Broncos took teammate and fellow wideout Jerry Jeudy at 15. Both AFC West teams, they play twice a year. Honestly, I don’t know which one I’d rather have. But I don’t have a problem with them being the first two wideouts taken. One is mercury-fast and the other is the country’s top route-runner. Both are poison to defenses. If I had to choose one it would be Ruggs simply because he wore a bathrobe to the draft. That must be a first.

–Didn’t know much about Clemson CB A.J. Terrell but seeing him on camera, I liked the cut of his jib. He’s a hometown ATL kid whose intials are AT and name ends in an “L.” Some things you just don’t question. Also liked that Rece noted how the Falcons new unis conjure up The Mean Machine from The Longest Yard.

–And there it is! The Cowboys take CeeDee Lamb. The GameDay crew notes that this will make QB Dak Prescott happy while they try to figure out exactly where Jerry Jones is watching from: his yacht? His Dr. Evil underground lair? A cathouse outside Reno? Who knows? I’m looking at Lamb on the split-screen, but all I see is his girlfriend’s legs which are about a mile long and not covered by any type of garment. By the way, Dak’s older brother died last night. Only 31. Cause of death not announced.

Kenneth Murray to the Chargers. Always liked the OU middle linebacker, and this was the one Rinaldi feature that touched me. Murray’s parents have adopted, ADOPTED, not one, not two, but THREE special needs children. These people are saints. My only guess as to why this never got the Rinaldi Treatment is that the parents put the kibosh on it, which only makes me admire them more. This was the most tremendous epiphany of the night, easily. Murray’s gonna walk into that LA locker room with the maturity of a six-year veteran. Rooting for him.

–San Fran takes ASU’s Brandon Aiyuk at No. 25. I like Aiyuk, but man, you still had fellow receivers Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman and Devin Duvernay on the board. Wow. Aiyuk is 6’0″ but has the wingspan of a dude whose 6’6″. Crazy.

–The most What The WTF move of the night comes next. With all those DUDES at wideout still on the board, not to mention every single RB and TE (not one has been selected yet), and with QB Aaron Rodgers, an all-timer, about to enter his 16th season, the Packers choose…. quarterback Jordan Love?!?

I get it. This is how the Packers replaced the seemingly irreplaceable Brett Favre 16 or so years ago. But Rodgers is a young 36, he’s got no plans to go anywhere. Meanwhile, didn’t the Pack advance to the NFC Championship game just a few months earlier? Man, they just stuck a middle finger in Rodgers’ face. One can only imagine what his State Farm agent (and his other agent) thinks about this.

Can you see the life-sized cut-out of Coach O in the background of the Queen home?

Props to Herbie, who knows how safe his job is and thus doesn’t mind dipping into controversy when the occasion calls for it, for calling this out and noting that he foresees “Drama.” Green Bay should have either taken Tee Higgins (our best WR available), or J.K Dobbins or Jonathan Taylor (a pair of Big Ten RBs who are used to the weather and run hard and tough) or even Cole Kmet, a Chicago kid tight end who would’ve become a fan fave. Instead, they took a QB from California, and while that worked out well the last time, this, I feel, was a stupid move.

–Loved the share-the-earbuds interview with LSU DE Patrick Queen and his pops. Seems obvious that Queen, who only earned a starting spot last season, doesn’t get to where he did without pops pushing him. Loved when they asked Queen what it took to get here and he spoke candidly, “A lot of fights.” Dads, you’re not there to be your kids’ friends. You’re there to help them grow into the men (and women) they can be. What a great lesson.

–Both of Auburn CB Noah Igbinoghene‘s parents were Olympic track athletes? Take that man! Also, this was the most exuberant in-home celebration we saw. They might have been flagged for excessive celebration.

–Love that the first round book-ended with the LSU backfield, as Burrow was selected first and RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire was selected 32nd (by the Super Bowl champion Chiefs). Andy Reid must obviously love what a great pass catcher the 5’7″ Helaire is out of the backfield, as well as a good blocker. But man, it’s tough to pass up talents such as J.K. Dobbins (no one runs angrier), Jonathan Taylor or De’Ande Swift.

We nearly went the entire first round with no RBs selected

Just before the Chiefs took Edwards-Helaire, the GameDay crew mused on the fact that K.C. might take an RB and mentioned a few names, but not his. So it goes…

— I usually like David Pollack, but someone needs to tell him and like yesterday that he should eliminate “bro” from his vocabulary. He’s a grown-ass man on TV. Not a Sigma Nu pledge (Is there a Sigma Nu? I have no idea).

–Forgot to keep track of Desmond Howard’s featured albums and I didn’t join the telecast until the 10th pick, so I may have missed an early one. All I saw was a Bob Marley album and I believe a Miles Davis? Were there others?

–Last note. In the bottom half of the draft, NFL commish Roger Goodell announced that Las Vegas certainly deserves to host the NFL Draft it was robbed of this April, so that he was happy to announce that Las Vegas “will host the 2020 NFL Draft.” Listen, I don’t expect you to get everything right, but at $43 million a year, Rog, I have less patience for these types of errors.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Muffet Retires

Circumnavigate Notre Dame Stadium and you will spot statues erected to Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz. The school’s next coaching statue, to be situated outside the Purcell Center, should be built to display Muffet McGraw.

McGraw, 64, retired yesterday. She departs after 33 years of service, two national championships (the latter providing the most thrilling moment in Notre Dame sports history in decades) and five more championship game appearances. If Geno Auriemma, her old summer camp counselor colleague from the Cathy Rush camps in the early ’70s, did not exist, she might have won five national titles (and lost about 20 fewer games from her career 905-272 record).

Niele Ivey, the point guard from McGraw’s 2001 national championship squad, will be the school’s new head coach.

Taylor, Swift

Those are the surnames of the most highly coveted running backs in tonight’s NFL Draft. The problem is that it’s the year 2020 and running backs of any ilk have almost gone the way of the fullback or the sitcom. There’s a chance that neither are taken in the first round.

De’Andre Swift is the latest gem from the Athens stable that extends all the way back to Herschel and includes Georgia grinders Garrison Hearst, Terrell Davis, Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb. Jonathan Taylor’s alma mater, Wisconsin, can count the NCAA’s all-time rushing leader, Ron Dayne, Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon in just the past quarter-century along with all-timers Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch and Alan Ameche.

Dayne graduated with 7,125 rushing yards in four seasons. Taylor departs school after just three years with 6,174 yards. He’s No. 6 all-time. If he’d chosen to remain in Madison and stayed healthy, he’d surely be the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher after a senior season.

The Commish

Island-wise, Tom Selleck has hopped from Oahu to Manhattan (and, presumably, Staten Island). He has gone from being a Hawaiian shirt-and-shorts Reagan era private investigator to a suited top cop in the nation’s largest city whose name is Reagan.

He’s the patriarch in Blue Bloods (though his pops, who’s played by an actor just six years older than he in real life, is still around and was formerly the NYPD commish). If you haven’t watched Blue Bloods, your mom or grandparents have. I guarantee it. It’s actually been on since 2010 and also stars Boston-area emigres Donnie Wahlberg (who is married to Jenny McCarthy, in case you forgot) and Bridget Moynihan (who is married to my best ballplayer at Camp Winaukee in the summer of 1987).

Anyway, it’s no Law & Order, but it passes muster and is shot on the streets of NYC, so the authenticity is there… unlike some crime shows from the past decade we could mention, such as Castle.

Sweet Jane

What Nelson Mandela was to the anti-apartheid movement, what Mother Teresa was to caring for the sickest and most poverty-stricken anywhere, Jane Goodall is to animal-rights activism. She is a secular saint.

Now 86, the British-born Goodall is still globe-trotting on behalf of all creatures great and small. She is truly one of the most remarkable and inspiring humans on this or any planet—and belongs atop the list of our Aptly Named People club.

We’re big fans here at MH and National Geographic has a new film out titled, “Jane Goodall: The Hope.” Maybe we should see it when it is released.

Sports Year 1879

In college football, the Michigan Wolverines are founded and schadenfreude is introduced to American sports… James Prinsep, 17 years and 252 days old, makes his international football debut for Clapham Rovers. It will be his only appearance. Prinsep will be the youngest international footballer for England for more than a century until his mark is broken in 2003 by an impudent teen by the name of Wayne Rooney… the Providence Grays win the National League pennant… Baseball creates the first reserve clause, as all teams agree (collude) that every team gets five players to list that no other team will touch… John L. Sullivan turns pro and wins his first five bouts…

Two of the most acclaimed boxers of the year, John Dwyer and Paddy Ryan, get involved in a bar room brawl in New York City (before there were the Fighting Irish, there were the fighting Irish)… Jamie Anderson, age 37, wins his third consecutive British Open (and his last). Anderson’s da was the greenskeeper at the Old Course in St. Andrews, where he was born, and also sold lemonade and tea out of a cart there.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

From sub to sublime: Joe Burrow did it.

Beg, Burrow Or Deal: 2020 NFL Draft

Only 47 NFL mock drafts to be compiled between now and tomorrow’s actual NFL draft. At our new job earlier this week we spoke to the mom of an Oregon offensive lineman who’s believed to be a 2nd- or 3rd-round talent. She ordered him a tomahawk steak (it’s just a ribeye with the rib still attached) to celebrate. That’s our NFL Insider report.

Players we LOVE: Auburn DT Derrick Brown, Clemson LB/SS Isaiah Simmons, Texas WR Devin Duvernay (he’s in nobody’s first round and few people’s second rounds; catches everything but the coronavirus). Prefer Jerry Jeudy to CeeDee Lamb as we wonder about the respective defensive talent both men faced (and recall that Lamb missed the first OU game versus Baylor) and while we like Tua, he’s a sub-6′ QB who’s already suffered two major “lower body” injuries before his 22nd birthday. No thanks.

Still a little surprised by the plethora of wideouts slated higher than 6’4″-plus Chase Claypool. There’s a lot of talent in this year’s class (Lamb, Jeudy, Ruggs, Reagor, Higgins, Pittman, Aiyuk, etc.) but Claypool is too big, too fast and has too good a set of hands not to go in the first two rounds. Maybe our blue-and-gold tinted glasses are showing.

Gronk Buc Bonk

Me Gronk. Me like Tom. Tom is Buc. Me play with Tom. Me play for Bucs. Bonk!

What The Fox Says

Last Sunday on his weekly HBO program, Last Week Tonight, now broadcasting as he says from “a blank white void,” John Oliver devoted the entire 21-plus minutes to Fox News’ misinformation campaign. As CNN’s Chri Cillizza, who wrote about the episode said, there are 11 words about Fox New that stood out in Oliver’s presentation:

They only pretend to believe these things on television for money.”

Eggs-actly.

Watch the episode if you have the time. And you have the time.

Harold and Lillian

We came home from the salt-and-pepper mines last Friday and our roommate was gushing about this film she’d just seen on TCM. It was a documentary from 2015 titled Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story.

Harold and Lillian Michelson, the titular subjects of the doc, were a much in-demand couple who were, respectively, a storyboard artist and a researcher. Their work is all over some of the most iconic scenes and films of the past 60 years, which is also how long they were married.

You can rent the entire doc on YouTube for $3.99. The trailer is above. It’s supposed to be very good and how many Marvel movies can you millennials watch, anyway?

Sports Year 1878

Employees of the Lancaster & Yorkshire Railway found the Newton Heath Cricket & Football Club, which is known today as Manchester United… Phillips Andover and Phillips Exeter meet on the football field for the first time. It will become the nation’s oldest high school football rivalry… The Wright Brothers lead the Red Caps to their sixth championship in the past seven years, across two leagues and a pair of cities (Cincy, Boston)… The Harvard-Yale regatta is moved to its permanent location, the Thames River (mispronounced by Yanks) in New London, Conn… At an international exposition in Paris, the Norwegian delegation presents a self-propulsion tool that is well-known in Scandinavia but not so much in the center of culture: a pair of skis. A number of attendees purchase sets. Mountaineer and author Henry Duhamel is one such buyer and he soon becomes the first known person to experiment with them in the Alps. The apres ski lodge is invented 5 hours later.