by John Walters

Starting Five

Walmart Targets Guns

Yesterday Walmart CEO Doug McMillon sent out a release saying that the megastore would “stop selling ammunition that can be used in military-style assault rifles, would discourage its customers from openly carrying guns in its stores (“I’m headed to produce; cover me!”) and would call on Congress to increase background checks and consider a new assault rifle ban.”

This could be a watershed moment, NYT’s Andrew Ross Sorkin writes. Or it could lead to “a lot of violence,” shrill conservative Megan McCain threatens. Kind of like a Civil War? The one that was necessitated because one part of the country refused to emancipate slaves even though it knew it was the right thing to do? Scoreboard.

Oh, My

The New York Mets have imploded in September before—see 2007, when they lost six of their last seven to finish one game out of the postseason—but nothing ever so bad as last night in Washington.

After scoring five runs in the top of the ninth inning to extend a slim lead over the Nationals to 10-5, the Mets, or their bullpen, surrendered SEVEN runs in the bottom of the ninth to succumb, 11-10. Kurt Suzuki capped the onslaught, all done before Met pitchers recorded even a second out, with a three-run walk off bomb to left.

Before last night the Mets, who have faint hopes for a wildcard berth, were 806-0 in games in which they led by 6 or more runs entering the 9th inning. But here’s what makes yesterday’s ignominy so undeniably Mets: the franchise’s AAA ball club, Syracuse, during a one-game playoff versus the Yankees’ AAA squad, blew a seven-run lead, 13-6, to fall 14-13. That’s So Mets!

Masters Class In Flushing

Last night the female and male GOATs of tennis, Serena Williams and Roger Federer, took the court one after another at the U.S. Open. Serena, who remains one grand slam singles title behind Margaret Court for the most ever (24), dispatched of opponent Qiang Wang in 44 minutes, 6-1, 6-0. She’s headed to the semis.

Federer, who has the most men’s grand slam titles (20), lost in five sets to Gregor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the men’s quarters. We only saw the fifth set, when the sweet Swiss’ seemed burdened by age and/or physical ailments and committed a slew of unforced errors.

Serena turns 38 later this month. Roger turned 38 last month. Will we ever see both advance to the quarters of a grand slam again, to share the court on the same night? Perhaps. But no longer is that a solid bet.

Vienna Waits For You

The Economist, which ranked 140 cities all over the globe on a Global Livability Index, has declared Vienna the world’s most livable city for 2019. The Austrian capital edged out Melbourne, making it the Clemson to the Australian city’s Alabama in these annual rankings.

The next three cities on the list? Sydney, Osaka and Calgary.

Vienna has now won the title two years in a row after Melbourne had taken it seven years straight. And with the infusion of the Herbstreit twins on its roster, there’s no stopping Vienna in the recent future.

Damascus and Detroit were the least livable across the planet and the United States, respectively. The former has been ravaged by civil war most of the decade; the latter has housed the Lions since 1930.

Former Knick Now A Ranger

That seven-foot cadet standing at attention at U.S. Army Ranger School (“Rangers lead the way!”) is former Duke and NBA player Marshall Plumlee. Never as talented as brother Mason, he nevertheless appeared in 29 games over two seasons with the Knicks and Bucks. Now at age 27, the former ROTC cadet just graduated from Army Ranger School at Fort Benning (psst, Marshall, stay low).

That’s pretty damn cool.

Related: a 52 year-old former Navy SEAL, James Hatch, has begun his undergraduate studies at Yale University. Yup, he’s a freshman and he’d be the best dorm roomie ever (I think we know who’s buying the beer).

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