by John Walters
Tweet du Jour
The Swedish national team have endured Islamophobic attacks because of its Muslim player.
The team gives inspiring response. pic.twitter.com/B9SWrFk1As
— CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) July 2, 2018
Avert your eyes and ears, Marco Rubio!
Down 2-0 midway through the second half to Japan, Belgium (MH’s pick to win the World Cup with two header goals to even it up before the 90th minute. Then, in stoppage time, the Belgians score on the most beautiful goal that you’ve ever seen, basically a transition basket in hoops.
In the 94th and final minute, Goalkeeper Thibault Coutois grabs the rebound, rolls an outlet pass into the middle of the pitch to Kevin De Bruyne while the Japanese are napping, and a three-on-two (it was actually five on four) break ensues. It only took two passes before Nacer Chadli scored the game-winner on the game’s final kick.
It was a pure moment of beauty, no matter whom you were rooting for.
Here at MH, unlike at the White House, we believe in empathy. So take a moment, go back and watch the video, and keep your eyes on Japan’s No. 3, Gen Shoji. He’s the dude immediately trailing the ball (i.e. De Bruyne) after the outlet pass. He outruns all of his teammates and comes within one stride of stopping the game-winning assist and slides, fruitlessly, toward the Chadli’s kick. There are no points for trying, but we want to recognize the fact that he could not have done anything more.
2. “Lonzo, Rondo. Rondo, Lonzo.”
For reasons unbeknownst to most thinking hoops observers, the Lakers added another thirtysomething former All-Star to their squad yesterday. Point guard Rajon Rondo, a career 30.9% three-point shooter who is best with the ball in his palm, will join the Lakers. Just what they need: another point guard who cannot spread the floor. Well done, Magic/King James.
This will be Rondo’s sixth NBA franchise since 2014. We love the guy, he’s the best Connect Four player we’ve ever seen, but why is he so itinerant? JaVale McGee remains the best acquisition the Lakers have made, shy of LeBron.
3. DeMarcus Where?!?
Not to be outdone, the Golden State Warriors announced the signing of 6’11” double-double machine DeMarcus Cousins, the owner of the most intimidating glare in the NBA. If anyone can put a smile on Boogie’s face, it’s the Splash Brothers.
Cousins/Steph/Durant to open up the new SF arena gon be crazy. RT @DannyLeroux: I am beyond ready to see DeMarcus Cousins on a good team.
— Andy Liu (@AndyKHLiu) April 4, 2015
(Check the timestamp on that tweet. How did you know, Andy? How did you know????)
A reminder: Cousins is an eight-year veteran and a four-time All-Star with career averages of 21.5 ppg and 11.0 rpg who has never taken part in a playoff game. Not one. He’s overdue and he’s more than ready.
4. Max Madness
Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer is one of the two/three best pitchers in baseball the past half-decade. Three Cy Young Awards in two leagues. He’s led his league in WHIP four of the past six seasons, this one included. He’s led his league in Wins two of the past five years, not including 2018.
The Boston Red Sox, meanwhile, have baseball’s most potent offense. They lead the MLB in both runs and doubles and are second or third behind the Yankees and/or Astros in every other category. So when the Red Sox met the Nats in D.C. last night, you knew something had to give.
What you could not have expected is that Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello, himself a former Cy Young Award winner and, like Scherzer and most great pitchers of this era, a former Detroit Tiger, would come to bat with the bases loaded and smack a base-clearing double. Porcello came to bat early in a scoreless game; there was no reason to pinch-hit for him. Meanwhile, Scherzer entered the game with an ERA just above 2.0 and a WHIP near 0.80.
And then Porcello, in his first at-bat of the season, on an 0-2 pitch that was a fastball down the middle, torched Scherzer with a shot to the left-center gap for three runs. When is the last time a Cy Young-winning pitcher had a 3-RBI hit off another Cy Young-winning pitcher? We don’t know the answer to that. Who do you think we are, Elias Sports Bureau???
The Red Sox won, 4-3.
Rule No. 7: You can attend a baseball game on any given night and see something that’s never happened in the sport before.s
5. Barney and the Cave Rescue
Yes, it was terrific news to learn that all 12 member of the Thai boys soccer team, plus their coach, were found alive (apparently, no one ate anyone else). I even saw someone tweet that they broke down and cried when they heard the news, which I find odd since that person had obviously never met any of them. I mean, people live and die every day. Okay, maybe I’m just an old man with a frozen heart…
Anyway, two things: 1) because of where they are located, deep in a web of caves, many of which are submerged under water right now, they may be trapped there (although food and water can be brought to them by divers) for weeks, even a month or two. This makes the “rescue” even more intriguing, since it’s now entered its “The Truman Show” phase. I mean, isn’t this better than any season of Survivor? If only it were a dozen hot young men and women trapped with Jeff Probst instead of 12 barely pubescent Thai boys. If only it were so….
2) All of this reminded me of one of the greatest sitcom episodes of all time, “Barney and the Cave Rescue” from The Andy Griffith Show. The set-up: Barney Fife gets himself into a concatenation of scrapes in which he overreacts to situations and becomes the laughing stock of Mayberry. Soon after, Andy and Barney and their girlfriends, Helen Crump and Thelma Lou, go on a picnic. Andy and Helen get lost in a cave.
What happens next is why this has always been one of the top five sitcoms ever to air. Andy and Helen escape on their own, but when they return to town the clandestinely learn that Barney has organized this massive search party. They don’t want him to look even more foolish, so they return to the cave unbeknownst to all and allow Barney and the search crew to rescue them. In 22 minutes a wonderful story of ego, pride and friendship is shared. If you’ve never seen it, I’ve thrown up the YouTube link. It’s outstanding.
While Carly Simon and James Taylor were making beautiful music together as husband and wife, they were also making beautiful music together. This No. 5 hit from 1974 was actually written and recorded by African-American siblings Inez and Charlie Foxx 11 years earlier and rose to No. 7 on the pop chart. Dusty Springfield and Aretha Franklin would also record versions but it was Taylor, who saw the original duo perform the song at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater, who induced his wife to put it on her album (because this be the first and only time white musicians “borrowed” from black musicians). Their version remains the most well-known.
In recent years James has sung it live as a duet with their daughter, Sally, while Carly has done the same with their son, Ben.
England vs. Colombia
2 p.m. FOX
Thus far four European sides are through and two South American sides are through to the quarters. The other Asians can go bugger off.