IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Retweeting myself but I’m in a self-indulgent mood this morning…

Starting Five

Mass Debaters*

*The judges will also accept “Say It Ain’t Joe”

We didn’t watch—again— but everything we read from Twitter informs us that the Democratic party and its denizens/tweeps still conforms to the same rules that they allegedly are so up in arms about. Joe Biden, the older white guy with the best pedigree, doesn’t actually need to have the best performance at a debate in order to have “done just enough” to maintain his supposed lead among the Dems. Where have we heard that type of rationalizing before besides just about every corporate board room in America?

Related: Was having an interesting conversation last night with a cookoutateria coworker last night who just returned from a month in France. His mother lives there full-time and he is a dual citizen. He says that many French want “Frexit” and are concerned about the mass migration of foreigners (read: Africa, Middle East) into France. France is a socialist country where people pay very high taxes but where college and health care are free. And unemployment, especially among the working class, is high.

My friend says that native French are worried about immigrants taking their jobs and also about how they will continue to be able to support such socialist systems with the infusion of so many newcomers. I honestly don’t know if these fears are valid or not; only passing on that the USA is not the only major Western country dealing with this.

As I’ve said before, and I’ll repeat now: I’m not a Republican or Democrat. I’m a Sports Values Party member (SVP!). What does that mean? That I conform to two principles, which are fundamental aspects in sports: 1) the same rules should apply to all and 2) Outcomes should be merit-based (i.e., if you perform better on the field/court, you win; and if you don’t, you lose).

(Beto is the Obama of the 2020 race; but America may not be ready to return to such a political figure right now)

Looking ahead, all I see is a crowded field of semi-socialists and no one with the charisma or dynamic charm (or at least no one who the most powerful members of the party will allow to step up and out: i.e. Beto, Pete, Liz) to take out Trump. Biden or Bernie? Well, if you’re a Never Trumper you’ll vote for a burlap sack of rice over the incumbent (and it will likely have a tariff on it), but if the stock market is where it is today (near a record-high) and it there’s no war or major world crisis, I really do think it’s going to be tough to knock out the Donald.

We’ll see. But all I see is a bunch of soft middleweights who claim they want to take on the school bully. Where’s Nick Saban when you need him?

Black Out

Gregory Cheadle, who was famously singled out by then-candidate Donald Trump as “my African-American” during a 2016 campaign stop in California, is now denouncing the GOP. Speaking to PBS NewsHour last night, Cheadle said he is tired of the Republican party pursuing a “pro-white” agenda and using African-Americans as “political pawns.”

Really? You don’t say?

President Trump took the news gracefully, as is his nature, and told Cheadle he still loved the work he did in Hotel Rwanda. Also assured him that he will not be black-listed if he attempts to stay at a Trump property. Which is nice.

Send In The Clown

Even Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the geniuses who created The Office, never considered this story arc. An employee at an Auckland, New Zealand, ad agency knew that he was going to be terminated. So when he was called in for his redundancy meeting, he was accompanied by an…emotional support clown.

During the meeting the clown blew up balloons and made animal figures out of them. And then when the paperwork was produced for the necessary signatures, the clown mimed crying. This scene has to be better than anything that ad agency has ever produced, no?

To Air Is Human

Who knew that the climate change debate would extend to the visitors’ locker room at Texas. LSU coach Ed Orgeron, who earlier this week said that his team dressed in stifling heat beneath Darrel K. Royal Stadium in Austin due to a dearth of air-conditioning, was yesterday confronted with something worse than burnt-orange truthers. He was met with Texas-produced air-conditioning data.

The Longhorns produced spreadsheet after spreadsheet detailing the locker room temp before the game (68 F) and after (72-73 F). This makes the Longhorns the first team in the Big 12 to run the Spreadsheet Offense. Our work here is done.

Breaking Away Turns 40

If you’ve never seen Breaking Away, which celebrated its 40th anniversary of its release date yesterday, do yourself a favor and go. It’s a perfect film.

Funny, and poignant. And that cast. Dennis Quaid‘s breakout role. Daniel Stern, who would go on to voice the Kevin Arnold adult narrator character in The Wonder Years and be the hapless villain in the Home Alone films. Jackie Earle Haley, who was already an icon for kids my age having played Kelly Leak in The Bad News Bears films. And then Dennis Christopher, who would never have a role anywhere close to this one again, but who deserved at least a nomination for Best Actor at the Oscars.

A group of working-class kids from Bloomington, Indiana, dealing with growing up and growing apart? Handled with humor, pathos and lots of Italian.

Also, if you think about it, three fantastic sports movies based in Indiana were released in a 15-year period: This, Hoosiers and Rudy. And for me at least, that’s the same order I’d rank them.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

T. Boone Checks Out

Thomas Boones Pickens,, Jr., better known as T. Boone Pickens, dies at the age of 91. Pickens was the “Oracle of Oil,” a megabillionaire, who had attend ed Texas A&M on a hoops scholarship, gotten injured, lost the scholarship, and then transferred to Oklahoma A&M (State). He would become synonymous with college donors, as he was to the Cowboys what Phil Knight is to Oregon. The football stadium is named after him.

Just Iffy*

*The judges will also accept “Neigh It Ain’t So”

According to a report in The New York Times, 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify failed a drug test in April of that year, after winning the Santa Anita Derby, but nothing was ever done about it.

Oh, yes, a second drug test was taken for the banned substance scopolamine, and its results confirmed the first finding—three days after the Kentucky Derby. Then the California Horse Racing Board sat on its hands until August 23rd before finally deciding to simply dismiss the case.

So apparently horses can also get white male privilege, as long as they win the Triple Crown.

Smash Fest

With nearly three weeks remaining in the baseball season, Major League Baseball set a record for home runs hit in one season last night. In Baltimore Jonathan Villar hit a three-run homer off Caleb Ferguson of the Dodgers in the 7th inning, the 6,106th home run walloped in 2019.

The previous mark of 6,105 was set in 2017. Before that, the mark had been set in 2000. It’s funny that an Oriole smote that shot since Baltimore has allowed an MLB-record 280 home runs this season.

We don’t know if this is or will be a record, but there are currently 40 MLB players who have hit at least 30 home runs this season. By season’s end there may be as many as 50 who reach that standard. Here is a list of what the annual leaders hit.

Is Super Earth Inhabitable?

Scientists have concluded that K2-18b, by far the least sexiest name for a plant ever, may have water vapor and would be able to support human life (so there’s a chance we can destroy another celestial body. Yay!). The exoplanet, which is eight times the mass of Earth and a mere 110 light years from our planet (if you avoid rush-hour traffic), supposedly was observed to have the signature data for water, hydrogen and helium. Scientists also believe they observed a community theater troupe, but will need to do more testing.

Heeeeeeres’ Johnny!

Our comic fave John Mulaney is on the cover of October’s issue of Esquire, which his parents will find funny since they are both lawyers. Here’s the cover story.

We were all aboard the Mulaney Hype Train a full five years ago. We remember sitting with him in a coffee shop on a cold April day in Greenwich Village and assuring him that someday, yes, he would be a guest on “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.” He seemed doubtful, dubious at best. He’s obviously come a lot further. He’s a good and hyper-intelligent and super-funny dude, and he probably owes at least 101% of that to his parents .

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

John’s Boltin’

Did National Security Advisor John Bolton resign or was he fired? I guess it depends on whose word you take. Oh, wait, one of those guys is Donald Trump? Then I’ll take the other guy’s word.

Word on the street is that President Trump is considering either Dr. Strangelove or General Irko from Planet of the Apes to fill the vacant position. Or Tucker Carlson. You never really know.

“He’s a great general. People are saying he’s the greatest general. Even if he is from another planet.”

Yelich, Youch!

Bad news out of Sud City, as Milwaukee Brewer super-duperstar Christian Yelich fractures his kneecap after fouling a pitch off it. He’s out for the remainder of the season and his chances for a repeat NL MVP trophy are now at risk. Yelich, 27, retires for 2019 with 44 home runs, 97 RBI and a .329 batting average.

Austin Power Outage?

LSU’s Coach Ed Orgeron, who may best be described as the unholy matrimony between Marvel Comics’ Thing and an alligator, alleges that there was no air-conditioning in the visitors’ locker room for the LSU-Texas game Saturday night. Also, that the bath towels were unscented and the body wash was actually also the conditioner (happens a lot at my gym, too, Coach O).

Coach O., speaking to reporters Monday, said that LSU had been tipped off about the lack of A/C (it was 95 degrees at kickoff) by the Longhorns’ previous opponent, Louisiana Tech. So LSU brought their own fans. But when Texas heard about that, it placed the fans in the upper deck of Darrell K Royal Stadium.

Sioux Falls Nearly Does

Here’s a scary term for you: Midnight Tornado (unless it’s the name of my newly formed thrash-metal band, which it is). Two tornados struck Sioux Falls, South Dakota, around midnight last night which made us think a few things: 1) Will we ever get to Sioux Falls, S.D., in our lifetime? 2) How come you never hear about tornados that strike after dark? Are they like Big Ten football games? 3) If it weren’t for social media, could a tornado strike Sioux Falls and level it without anyone outside Sioux Falls knowing about it? 4) Isn’t “Sioux” a cool word and how indebted are we to Native Americans for having cooler words than ours? (Apache and Seminole and Cherokee, all cool words).

Why Not Minot?

The play of last week in college football took place in Duluth, Minnesota, as Cory Carignan of Division II Minot State returned a kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown versus Minnesota-Duluth. Of course this only happened because Carignan, a freshman from Arvada, Calif., initially fumbled the kickoff.

The Beavers would lose, 52-7. This, then, was their only score in their season opener.

Music 101

Rain King

I will always, as the kids say, “stan” for August And Everything After, Counting Crows‘ heavily lauded and even more loudly despised debut album. In between all the Rolling Stone critics decrying the band ripping off Van Morrison and others (because they’re the first band to be derivative?) are some terrific songs. The problem, for me, was always that they released “Mr. Jones” as the first single when there are at least five tunes as good or better on the album: “Anna Begins,” “Round Here,” “Murder Of One,” “Sullivan Street” and our favorite, this one. It still comes on at our restaurant and every time I hear it, I still enjoy that mandolin-melting-into-guitar opening. And finish: “Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah/I ammmmm the Rain King/Yeaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh.”

Remote Patrol

The Great Dictator

4 p.m. TCM

12 Angry Men

8 p.m. TCM

Two classics in one night, as Turner earns the “C” in its name. In the first, Charlie Chaplin, in his first true “talkie,” from 1940, as a Jewish barber who just happens to bear a striking resemblance to a certain ruthless anti-Semitic dictator based on someone you know. Remember, this was released in 1940 when the U.S.A. and Germany were still formally at peace.

Funny thing about Chaplin. He’s not known for it, because you only see him in costume/disguise, but he actually was quite handsome. He had leading man looks. See for yourself:

The latter film, from 1957, puts a dozen men in one room and somehow results in a compelling drama. It’s all about the power of persuasion and the hopeful belief that when faced with the truth, that men may be able to overcome their own deeply held beliefs/prejudices. Watch and observe the final holdouts and tell me if they don’t remind you of any present-day types.


IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Elena!

The WNBA gets lost in the sports shuffle because, let’s face it, it has really never caught on as a pro league even though it’s been around nearly two dozen years. Women’s soccer captured the nation’s imagination greater back in June; women’s hoops only approaches that when Geno goes off on some poor (poorly coached) team.

Anyway, here’s Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics, who this season became the first female (joining the likes of Steve Nash and Larry Bird) to compile a 40-50-90 season: 40% from beyond the arc, 50% from the field, 90% from the free throw line.

The 6’5″ forward, who turned 30 last week, shot 43% from beyond the arc, 51.5% from the field and a ridiculous 97.4% from the line. Because Delle Donne turned down UConn (at the very last minute) and chose to stay close to home and play at Delaware (she has one sibling and he she is special needs), Delle Donne entered the WNBA without the Taurasi-an fanfare to which she was somewhat entitled. But she’s beginning to make up for it. This is a truly remarkable achievement.

ComPatriots

“See you in Septemberrrr”

They’re teammates now. Potential roomies. Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Gisele Bundchen and whatever two random shorties happen to be occupying ABs bed. And you want to watch The Bachelorette? Or Edge NFL Matchup? Good grief.

Incidentally, we LOVE this. It’s everything you’ve ever needed to describe Bill Belichick in 8 seconds or less.

36-1

Cole fanned 15 Ms on Sunday

We’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen—and no one will—that the Astros remain the best team in baseball, primarily because they still have Justin Verlander (and Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke) and you don’t. In the last two games, versus the often hapless Seattle Mariners and the not-hapless Oakland A’s, the Astros have won 21-1 and 15-0, respectively. That’s a two-game, 48-hours, 36-1 explosion.

This on top of Verlander’s no-hitter the previous weekend.

The de facto World Series will most likely be played between the Yankees and Astro next month. The official World Series will be an after-dinner decaf almond milk cappucino.

Summer Fall

Ants Marching

It happened again. Rule No. 1. At our favorite jelly-legs national park spot, Half Dome at Yosemite. A young woman from Lake Havasu City, Arizona, was climbing the cables last week when she slipped and fell, oh, about 500 feet, to her death.

Look at that. People do this every summer. I wussed out (sorry to have squandered someone else’s lottery slot). I’m not ashamed.

The cables were erected in 1919. In 2010 the permit system was established to limit the number of climbers. No word on how the hiker, 29 year-old Danielle Burnett, came to meet her mortal fate other than that she fell and didn’t stop until 500 feet later.

Half Dome is one of, if not THE, most impressive geological formations in North America. Definitely see it. Definitely hike as far as the folks in the picture above. If you decide to go to the top, best of luck. I’ll wait right here.

****

Pardon The Interruption: Gotta run to talk to the redoubtable Ralph Russo for his podcast. Today, 9-10-19, is my first palindromic birthday. Thrilled.

****

And we’re back…

Track Jenny Rules Again

She did it again. Jenny Simpson won her SEVENTH CONSECUTIVE Fifth Avenue Mile this weekend and did so in a course-record 4:16.10.

You could make a solid argument that, outside of this blog and LetsRun.com, Simpson is the most unheralded-relative-to-her-feats athlete in the U.S.A. this past decade.

Simply put, Simpson, a three-time Olympian, has been the best American miler for roughly a decade. She’s the only American female to win a medal in the Olympic 1500 (the metric mile; she won bronze in Rio) EVER. Since the race became an Olympic women’s even in 1972. And Simpson really is a super person, kind and honest and humble and hard-working. We’re just here to give her the love she deserves.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Winner Winner

A classic in Queens as 6’6″ Russian Daniil Medvedev, persona non grata in New York a week ago after trolling the U.S. Open crowd, won them all over in a five-set final for the ages. Related: Medvedev lost to Rafael Nadal but who really cares?

The digits: 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4.

Medvedev nearly lost in straight sets, but rallied to force a fourth set and then a fifth. Then, down 5-2 in the fifth set, he nearly broke serve twice to force a 5-5 draw but then Nadal, 209-1 in his career when winning the first two sets of a five-set match, did what he do.

Nadal now has 19 career grand slams, just one behind Roger Federer, 38, and a torch passing seems inexorable. For Medvedev, 23, it was the breakout moment for a funny and charismatic future champion.

She Brought Her ‘Eh’ Game*

*The judges will also accept “Casa Bianca”

One night earlier in Flushing, 19 year-old Bianca Andreescu of Canada (by way of Romania) upset Serena Williams in straight sets in the U.S. Open women’s final. Andreescu becomes the first Canadian, male or female, ever to win a Grand Slam singles title, and the first person in the 139-year history of the U.S. Open to win the title in her main-draw debut.

A year ago, Andreescu said she was “at home, sitting on my butt” during the Open. Serena Williams, meanwhile, loser a fourth consecutive Grand Slam final since reaching 23 in her career. She remains one behind Margaret Court on the all-time list.

As for Andreescu, the daughter of Romanian immigrants who fled to Canada a quarter century earlier with nothing more than what they had in their suitcases, she was asked if it was more difficult to grow up in Canada as the daughter of immigrants. ““Definitely not,” she said. “No, Canada is such an amazing country. It’s so multi-cultural. I had no trouble growing up having Romanian parents whatsoever. That’s why I love my country so, so much.”

Is USC An Awakening Giant?

And a child shall lead them…

Those of you us putting USC on life support after quarterback J.T. Daniels was lost for the season in the first half of the first game due to a torn ACL, who saw them narrowly escape Fresno State, who watched as they fell behind 17-3 to Stanford at the Mausoleum on Saturday night…we were wrong.

The Trojans went on a 42-3 run to end the contest, boat-racing the Cardinal back to Palo Alto. True frosh QB Kedon Slovis of Scottsdale, the newly installed pilot of USC’s “Heir Raid” Offense, has completed 82.9% of his passes. There’s only one quarterback in FBS with as high a completion rate after two games: MH Red Grange frontrunner Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma.

If USC can tackle BYU in Provo on Saturday (the Cougs may be feeling some momentum after a Lazarus-like win in Knoxville), then upset No. 11 Utah on a Friday night in L.A. (what they did to Wazzu last season) and then beat an overrated U-Dub in Seattle, well, then they’d come to South Bend in mid-October 5-0. It could happen. Never thought we’d be saying that 9 days earlier.

Jackson’s Five

In the most impressive display of the NFL’s opening Sunday, second-year Raven quarterback Lamar Jackson throws five touchdown passes as Baltimore drowns Miami, 59-10. Jackson was one of two NFL QBs yesterday who finished with a perfect 158.3 passer rating (the other being Dallas’ Dak Prescott), though as Fox’s Troy Aikman wondered aloud, and we agree, how can it be perfect if the QB throws even one incompletion (Jackson threw three).

We’re going off on a tangent here, but this is just another example of common sense versus analytics. The analytics guys will tell you that you don’t understand how passer rating works, while the common sense guys (raises hand!) will reply that you don’t understand the meaning of perfect. If something is perfect, by definition it cannot be improved upon. And if you go 17 of 20 passing, as Jackson did, then it can be improved upon. Which is not to say it wasn’t fantastic.

Also worth noting: Rookie Gardner Minshew, in relief of Nick Foles (broken clavicle, will miss at least 10 games), completed his first 13 NFL passes and finished 22 of 25 in a defeat. This is going to derail his grad assistant coaching career for at least a season, we suspect.

UT-shirt

This one has Tom Rinaldi written all over it, and for once I cannot blame him. For a “College Colors” theme day at Altamonte School in Florida, a young student decided to represent his favorite team, the Tennessee Volunteers. But he did not own any official gear, so he made his own T-shirt.

Of course, his classmates bullied him, partly because of the homemade shirt and partly, let’s be honest, because he’s a Tennessee fan living in Florida. But the boy’s teacher went all Facebook in support of him, word got out to the Tennessee athletic department, and now the school has an officially licensed T-shirt based on his design (if you’re looking to buy me a birthday present, Susie B.).

My guess is that the school will soon run out of its official supply. But I wonder if any of the proceeds are going to the boy. Finally, this story ends perfectly in 12 to 14 years when the kids grows up to be a five-star quarterback in Florida but signs with Tennessee. Hope I’m around to see that.

Music 101

You Still Believe In Me

No sound better fit its place and time than the Beach Boys‘ with the southern California coastline of the Sixties. Just another ethereal, melancholy Brian Wilson classic from arguably the greatest pop-rock album ever made. Instruments played on this track include a harpsichord, timpani, clarinet and bicycle horn. They also plucked piano strings with a bobby pin.

Remote Patrol

Set Free

Netlflix

No, this is not Malcolm Gladwell

When John Mulaney sends out a tweet saying that a comedy special is “above and beyond,” we are more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Simon Amstell, 39, is a British comedian and Brits are funnier than we are (unless you’re from Minnesota, which puts you somewhere in between).

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

WUT?!? Don’t they know the first move is to remove the tats?

Starting Five

Antonio!

He’s Antonio! He’s not your dog!

I don’t even know—or care—what the latest Raider nonsense with Antonio Brown actually is. See, kids, not caring about the NFL is good for you.

10-3, Good Buddy

Speaking of which, the Packers defeated the Bears 10-3 in blizzard-like conditions in Soldier Field. The wind was wailing, snow falling diagonally, and hence you can appreciate why both teams could only manage a total of one touchdown and two field goals.

The game’s leading rusher, someone named Aaron Jones, finished with 39 yards on 13 carries. There was reportedly a “game-winning punt.” Lordy. Is it Saturday yet?

Pray For Alabama

Last September, or was it two Septembers ago, it was Puerto Rico that was bludgeoned by a hurricane and the media (bad!) barely covered it. This time it’s Alabama, a land from which I’ve seen zero windbreakers-on-the-ground reports in the wake of Dorian’s destruction. What is WRONG with you people?

Fortunately we have a president who has shown that he will not abandon these Alabamians, no matter what their race or creed. Courage.

Downtown Montgomery, this a.m.

Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide will go ahead with their game versus New Mexico State in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. Sure, some folks will see this as insensitive, with all the downed power lines and flooded-out barbecue joints and such, but we can’t let Mother Nature slow us down.

Casting Abroad

You may view the trailer for the soon-to-be-released film Bombshell and think about what a pig Roger Ailes was. And you’d be right. But can we also take a moment to note that the three major roles went to a pair of Australian women (Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie) and a South African (Charlize Theron)? And they’re all playing American blondes.

What in the good name of Farrah Fawcett (and Grace Kelly) is happening here? Why isn’t the U.S. of A. producing quality blonde bombshell actresses any more? (Obama’s fault, obs). Saoirse Ronan? Irish. ScarJo? Long Island, and not even a real blonde. How are we supposed to Make America Great Again when our greatest blonde actress (Emma Stone) dyes her hair auburn???

Meet Kamuysaurus japonicus

Scientists have discovered the remains of a 72 million year-old dinosaur in Japan. Its name: Kamuysaursu japonicas. The duck-billed dino is not the first of its kind and seems unlikely to displace another dinosaur as the island nation’s most popular giant lizard…

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Devastation

This is an aerial view of the Bahamas after Dorian swept through and basically flattened much of it. But we don’t want to talk about that. Let’s talk about this piece that led off NBC Nightly News last night (fast forward directly to 1:45):

Granted, Kerry Sanders had no control over where the U.S. Borders and Customs Black Hawk helicopter flew, so he had to take what he could get. And the survivors’ stories were compelling. BUUUUUT, on an island nation where the true natives are all black and 99.9% are probably poorer, and hence have been so much more devastated by Dorian’s destruction, aren’t these interviews of presumably well-off white Americans more than a little tone-deaf? Or am I just a social justice warrior? You tell me.

Nancy With The Light Brown Hair

This is women’s basketball icon, Nancy Lieberman, 61, posing for the ESPN Body Issue. Seems like Nancy has not been missing many ab days. Good for her. How long until ESPN asks staffer Rebecca Lobo to pose (what say you, Steve?). Also, can we get Robert Kraft for next year’s Body Issue because it seems unlikely the Palm Beach po po will ever release that video.

Red Grange

Is it too late for us to announce Medium Happy’s Red Grange Timex Watch List? Uh, yeah, the season’s already one week old.

Yeah, well, it’s our site and we’ll do what we want, so here it is:

  1. Jalen Hurts: Only the second player in like, the millennium, behind Johnny Football to rush for three TDs and throw for 3 TDs plus 300 yards in one game. The redemption story is also unbeatable. I don’t care about who’s going to make a better pro or be drafted higher or whose team is ranked higher, if Jalen keeps this up, “Hurts So Good” is gonna be a theme song. Oklahoma.
  2. Trevor Lawrence: But if Jalen does NOT keep this up. Clemson.
  3. Travis Etienne: May have the better numbers out of the Clemson backfield. Clemson.
  4. Max Borghi: He’s the second coming of Christian McCaffrey. From Wazzu.
  5. Jerry Jeudy: Alabama wideout is best at his position in the FBS.

Ruthian Night

This is Michael Lorenzen of the Cincinnati Reds, whom I’ve never heard of, either. Last night Lorenzen became the first person since Babe Ruth, 98 years ago, to record a win, hit a home run and play the outfield in the same game. The curious aspect is how Lorenzen accomplished this feat.

The Fullerton, Calif., native entered the game as a reliever in the top of the 7th and with the Reds up 5-4 on the Phillies. He then allowed a game-tying home run. He pitched a scoreless eighth and then, hitting for himself, smacked a two-run homer (the Reds had retaken a one-run lead in the bottom of the 7th). Then in the 9th Lorenzen played centerfield.

So he equaled a Babe Ruth feat while not even appearing in the game before the 7th inning. “That’s pretty exciting,” said Lorenzen, who has seven career homers. “I’m going to have to look into what Babe Ruth would be making today and sit down with [the front office].”

Was It Lithium?

Now that 33 of the 34 bodies have been recovered from the Conception, the diving boat that was engulfed by flames in the wee hours of Monday morning, the theories about what caused the fire are beginning. Roy Hauser, who designed the craft and founded Truth Aquatics, the company that ran the expedition (he no longer owns it), believes it was a lithium battery charger.

Who knows how any of us would react in that situation, but the captain and four crew members who were sleeping in the wheelhouse, well, their first reaction was to make a mayday call and then climb into a dinghy. Was there not a fire extinguisher? Was the fire already that intense? This wasn’t a few people. This was nearly three dozen souls who must have been making a terrible racket. You can only hope it was over fast.

Music 101

Patience

This is the sound of a band who, at the peak of both their power and of rock ‘n roll itself, had the confidence to do a soft acoustic ballad. Guns N Roses’ flame did not burn long, but it burned every bit as bright as any band that’s ever been. From 1989, it rose to No. 4 on the Billboard chart.

Remote Patrol

Packers at Bears

8 p.m NBC

The pro football, it is back.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

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).

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Soggy Bahama

East of Florida, Dorian reached maximum power and we hear some people have never even heard of a “Category 5” storm. The eye wall of the hurricane has hovered over the Bahamas for the past 36 hours, creating quite a mess over the islands. Good news, though: Alabama is safe.

Why don’t we just listen to this man the next time a hurricane looms?

Boat Tragedy

Twenty-five confirmed dead but it looks as if the total count will be closer to 34 after a diving boat moored off Santa Cruz Island (40 or so miles off Santa Barbara) catches fire at around 3 a.m. Five passengers, all crew members, were able to leap off the 75-foot vessel to safety. The boat was moored just 20 yards off shore, in 64 feet of water.

So the questions are coming: How did the fire start? How did it spread so quickly? Why were the crew unable to notify or evacuate the passengers in time? Was there not a fire extinguisher on board.

That giant wave you see is all the lawsuits that are coming.

Oh, My Nose!

Late in the fourth quarter of last night’s Notre Dame victory at Louisville, Irish quarterback Ian Book threw a long pass out of bounds that struck Cardinal cheerleader Elizabeth Scott in the proboscis.

Nearly 50 years later and a Marcia Brady reference is still relevant:

Of course, since all of life is one Black Mirror episode (declares middle-aged man who writes free blog daily), the injured cheerleader took it as an opportunity to gain more social media followers. She reportedly has a broken nose.

We just wonder where was ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor when all of this was going on? #SheHadOneJob

Major Minors

Now that the AAA minor league baseball regular season, the first in which they switched to using the same baseballs currently being used in The Show, has concluded, we can report the final numbers on home runs.

For those of you scoring at home, that’s a 57% increase in home runs in the course of one season. Something’s up with dem balls, no?

Is Cron’s prodigious power one reason the D-Backs were willing to let Paul Goldschmidt get away?

For those wondering, Kevin Cron of the Reno Aces (Diamondback affiliate) led the American AAA teams in home runs with 38, while Chris Carter of the AAA Mexican League Acereros de Monclava led that league with 49.

Related: The New York Yankees were shut out yesterday for the first time in 220 games, ending the second-longest consecutive games with at least one run scored streak in MLB history. The longest (311) belongs to the 1931-33 Yanks. Oddly, the day before the Yanks did not score before the 8th inning before putting up 5 runs to beat the A’s 5-4. The pitcher who shut out the Yankees on Labor Day? Mike Minor of the Texas Rangers.

The Odessa File

In Odessa, Texas, a white male in his mid-thirties armed with an AR-15 goes on a rampage after being fired from his job and slaughters seven people. Let me guess: he was single?

A few thoughts here…If prayers are supposed to be our weapon of choice against the chronic number of mass murders, why don’t we just fight illegal immigration by praying about it?…Second, if it’s not about guns but rather about mental illness, then shouldn’t we look for common symptoms the way , you know, real scientists do? Let’s see, almost all mass murderers with guns are white males with rage issues. By that assessment, isn’t our president mentally ill?

Allow me to be honest and a little cynical for a moment. I can’t speak for all, but here’s one Northeasterner who comes across these stories almost weekly and thinks, As long as it’s gun-boner Texans shooting other gun-boner Texans, well, there’s something poetic about that. Keep it up. If you don’t have any more sense than to live in Texas, I can’t really help you.

Yeah, I wrote it.