1. Do You Know This Man?
He has a condition known as heterochromia iridium, which in “Sorry, We Didn’t Cover That in Anatomy 101” terms, means that one of his irises is a different color than the other. You should know him –or you will soon –because he should be starting the All-Star Game for the American League.
His name is Max Scherzer and this spring, at least, he has replaced Justin Verlander as the ace of the Detroit Tigers’ staff. Last night Scherzer struck out 10 Baltimore Orioles in a 5-1 win to move his record to 10-0. In stats that matter more that one’s Won-Loss record, Scherzer is second in the A.L. in strikeouts with 116 (Yu Darvish, 127) and third in WHIP at 0.91 (Hisashi Iwakuma of the Mariners, 0.89; Chris Sale of the White Sox, 0.90).
Oh, and Gary Smith Alert: Scherzer’s lone sibling, younger brother Alex, committed suicide one year ago this Friday. Although ESPN the Magazine has already trod this ground.
2. Maybe You’re Amazed?!?
He just happens to be the worlds’ greatest living pop star. He is 70 years young — or six years older than the age at which he once wondered if you’d still need him, if you’d still feed him. And last Friday night Sir Paul McCartney, a.k.a. “Macca” played a three-hour plus set at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tenn.
Unlike American icon Tom Petty, a fellow headliner who has spent the spring playing sets that included a lot of tracks that are found “deep in the albums” (sometimes there’s a reason for that), Macca pulled out the hits. From both his days with the most influential band in pop music history as well as his days with Wings which, on their own, are fringe Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-worthy. Look at this set list.
If you were among the 80,000-plus who witnessed this, you saw history. If this set alone isn’t its own HBO Special in a few months, I don’t know what I don’t know. Here’s Macca opening the show with one of the Beatles’ plethora of perfect pop songs, “Eight Days A Week.” And here he is closing out the second of three encores (someone has been taking “Bruce Springsteen Concert” lessons) with “Helter Skelter.” Fittingly, he ended the third and final encore with “The End.”
3. Pressing Matter
This is Eric Spoto (left). And he can bench-press more than we can. More than you and I combined. And you can probably throw in Dirk Diggler’s max, too. Last month Spoto, 32, of Henderson, Nev., became the world-record holder in the “raw” bench press (no “bench shirt”, which provides stability), hoisting 722 pounds.
4. Tombstone Typo
Former New York City mayor Ed Koch (“How’m I doing?”) died earlier this year at the age of 88. He secured a plot at the Trinity Church Cemetery in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan (north of the George Washington Bridge). According to friends, Koch meticulously planned the details of his burial starting back in the 1980s. Of course, he could not plan a closing date –but he did have his personal launch date down.
Koch died on February 1 but the dates of his life were only recently added to the tombstone. And now Koch, who entered the world on December 12, 1924, will have to wait –but not for an eternity– as workers correct the error. New Yorkers who recall the city’s fearless and feisty mayor would agree that he’d probably get a kick out of this.
5. NCIS: Annapolis
As I’ve noted before, don’t all everyone rush out and search for impassioned columnists to denounce the United States Naval Academy over the fact that three of its football players –all of whom were on the roster last season — are now facing an Article 32 hearing because they are being charged with rape of a female Midshipman.* After all, it isn’t as if the USNA held a signed recruit accountable for reneging on a contract.
Actually, this case is definitely serious and potentially extremely ugly. And not just because of the crime. But because of the potential cover-up. It’s “Steubenville-meets-A Few Good Men.” And it obviously does nothing to disabuse the public of the notion that the United States military is a petri dish for sexual harassment.
And what of Melinda Henneberger, the Washington Post writer/Irish alum who last January informed us why she wouldn’t be cheering for Notre Dame in the BCS NCG? As John Everett (@jeverett15) tweeted, “She’s not going to root for Navy in any more wars.”
*As a matter of fact, yes I did link to a story that was written by a grown man named “Scooby.”
The Best Off-Broadway Show in NYC: (John) Oliver!
As a substitute teacher, John Oliver is doing a terrific job at The Daily Show thus far. It’s not just that Oliver has the right amount of naivete/anger, but the writing staff appears reinvigorated while The Boss is off directing a movie. Last night he broached Sarah Palin’s return to Fox News after leaving only five months ago (“She even quit quitting!”) and then moved on to the fact that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was forced out of office due to term limits (“making him less powerful than Mayor Bloomberg”).
The most inspired moment, and I wish I had the video to show you (try this; it doesn’t work for me) was when Oliver ended the segment by hoisting Ahmadinejad’s signature windbreaker to the rafters to join the coats of Saddam Hussein, Moammar Qhaddafi and Kim Jong-Il. Brilliant, simple idea. A-plus.
Johnny Manziel “can’t wait to leave College Station.” Is he ever actually there? Our incomplete recollection of the Johnny Manziel World Tour since he won the Heisman Trophy has him taking batting practice with the San Diego Padres, attending the Super Bowl and the NBA Finals, playing a round of golf at Pebble Beach, doing remarkably well at the casino, and getting his Cabo Wabo on south of the border.
Never mind that he is still not of legal drinking age (he’s 20).
Carson: “Heeeeeeeeere’s Johnny!”
Manziel: “Wheeeeeeeeeere’s Johnny?”
Some people think that Manziel’s on-field antics remind them of Fran Tarkenton while his off-field antics remind them of Joe Namath. I’d say that, as for the latter, he reminds me more of Ferris Bueller.
Who can blame him, you ask? Sure. Remember, though, that this is a young man who takes all of his courses on-line. And he still has only played one season of college football. This should get even more interesting.
If this is the best that you can do, SportsGrid, you might want to reconsider publishing the post.
Miss Utah, Marissa Powell, is given a second chance on “The Today Show”. A few things:
1) If only we could see the thought bubbles over the head of the actual Miss USA winner, Erin Brady, who was compelled to share her moment with Powell. Can you say, “Death lasers?” Or how about, “Upstaged?”
2) I actually sat on that exact couch in that exact spot last July (to discuss Penn State on the Saturday edition of Today). My responses were less coherent.
3) Would anyone really mind if she replaced Savannah Guthrie tomorrow?
The incomparable Steve Rushin tweets: “NCAA to probe Monsters University.” That’s gold, Jerry.
If you are a New York Mess fan –I’m not, but I find them morbidly fascinating –this is the biggest day in years. The Mess play a day-night doubleheader at Turner Field today. Ace Matt Harvey, a.k.a. Mr. No Decision, takes the hill in the opener. Harvey’s career record since being called up late last July is only 8-6, but his ERA is 2.30 and he has 172 K’s versus just 46 BBs.
Tonight Zack Wheeler, the organization’s top overall prospect and an Atlanta native, takes the mound for his Major League debut.
Harvey is 24. Wheeler is 23. “Mess” is a four-letter word. So is “hope.”
Oh, and if Wheeler is wondering what awaits him, Mess P Dillon Gee pitched eight innings of three-hit, shutout ball and, of course, drove in the Mess’ only run in Atlanta last night. Then, in the ninth –and this was after the game’s start had been delayed four hours due to rain — he allowed a single to Justin Upton and then a home run to Freddie Freeman to lose, 2-1. That is SO Mess.
Flori-Duh (courtesy of The Big Lead)
NBA Finals, Game 6
ABC 9 p.m.
This is going seven, so you can take the night off. Or switch to ESPN for the USA-Honduras World Cup qualifier. I mean, it is going seven, right? And wouldn’t it be wiser for Pop to simply give his Trio Grande the night off in order to be well-rested for Thursday? This would be only the third series (Knicks-Rockets, 1994; Pistons-Spurs, 2005; Celtics-Lakers, 2010) in the past quarter-century to go to a seventh game.