by John Walters
Tweet Me Right
Chapter 34,692 of “Why I Love Animals So Much.” This is dedicated to our friend AIR who lost a special canine friend yesterday.
Finally, a D.C. phenomenon they’ll write books about that has no concern with the presidency. The Washington Nationals faced five elimination games this postseason, and trailed in all five of them, including the wildcard game that heralded this October playoff season and last night’s Game 7 of the World Series (in both they trailed after the sixth inning) and won all five.
They became the first team to win all four World Series games on the road. They won despite losing their best offensive player, Bryce Harper, to free agency last winter. In Games 6 and 7 they faced former Cy Young Award winners, Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke, and they still won.
Now, about Game 7: Yes, Zack Greinke was working on a two-hitter in the 7th when A.J. Hinch gave him the hook. He’d just given up a one-out home run to Anthony Rendon and a walk to Juan Soto. And so in hindsight, sure, leave Greinke in to face Howie Kendrick. Instead, Hinch lifts Greinke in favor of Will Harris who on his second pitch gives up the go-ahead home run (which struck the right-field foul pole) to Kendrick. 3-2, Nats, who’d go on to win 6-2.
Blame Hinch if you like, but the Astros’ bats simply stopped producing, AT HOME, when it mattered: Houston did not score a run after the first inning in Game 6 and not a run after the fifth inning in Game 7. In three of its four home losses the Astros scored 3 or fewer runs and only one after the fifth inning, that one a meaningless ninth inning run in Game 2 when they already trailed 12-2.
It was symbolic that the top of the order came to bat last night in the bottom of the ninth—George Springer, Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley—and they all went down meekly via an infield fly and two strikeouts (swinging), respectively.
This entire run began four weeks ago and one day ago when Juan Soto’s eighth inning single somehow found its way past the glove of Milwaukee Brewer right fielder Trent Grisham when Washington trailed 3-2. Instead of a game-tying single it was a go-ahead single plus an error. And the magic had begun.
Washington becomes the first franchise to win four road World Series games. It becomes the first since 1914 (the Boston Braves) to be 12 games under .500 during the season and come back and win the World Series. And it’s a great career landmark for Max Scherzer, who typified this team’s Natitude when he broke his nose during batting practice in June and came back the following day to pitch seven shutout innings. Last night, with a cortisone shot in his back, Mad Max allowed two early runs and then settled down to give the Nats five strong innings.
He typified this team’s resilience and (don’t say it, JW!) grit all season. Congrats, Nats!
Stick To Hostile Takeovers
The memo, distributed to Deadspin staffers on Monday by new corporate vampire bosses G/O Media put it plainly: ““Where such subjects touch on sports, they are fair game for Deadspin. Where they do not, they are not.”
Of course, as the site’s guild pointed out accurately in its rebuttal a day or two later, “Stick to sports” is really a dog-whistle for “Do not speak truth to power.” And while the site that Will Leitch founded in 2005 has/had its flaws, it definitely yearned to speak truth to power.
On Tuesday G/O Media fired top editor Barry Petchesky, a workhorse and a writers’ type of editor. They thought they’d cut off the head. But, in a surprising and heroic move, particularly for 2019, the rest of the staff undertook an “I am Spartacus!” moment and resigned en masse yesterday. This morning the site’s top writer for years, Drew Magary, followed suit.
Will there even be a Deadspin going forward? Will G/O Media advertise for “expert writers” and will those writers take the jobs? Is Deadspin, well, dead?
While we salute Deadspin‘s staff for its heroism, we cannot help but wonder why the staff at SI did not do this earlier this month (or was it last month? Who can recall?). When Maven literally fired HALF of SI’s staff in one afternoon, why didn’t the other half walk out the door in unity? I understand, men and women have bills to pay, private-school tuitions and mortgages, etc.
But, among us journalists, the gesture of the Deadspin staff will not be forgotten. Maybe in a Lt. Col. Vindman world, they were reminded and inspired to do the right thing. Look at me, not sticking to sports.
Finally, from The American President:
“Do you fight the fights you can win? You fight the fights that need fighting.”
“Is the view pretty good from the cheap seats, A.J.?”
Twitter Blasts Facebook
Yesterday Facebook reported its quarterly earnings after the bell. That same afternoon, but earlier, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that his ginormous social media site will no longer accept political ads.
A timely strike, aimed perhaps on making america great again (small letters) but also at Mark Zuckerberg’s blatant disingenousness. Last week Zuckerberg appeared before Congress and behaved as if his site’s running of political ads, though not vetted for truth or accuracy, was a free speech issue as opposed to a collect ad revenue issue.
This morning, Aaron (not Andrew Ross) Sorkin had a few words to say about that in The New York Times. You must read this, as Sorkin sets up a fool-proof argument so as to hoist Z on his own petard in the closing sentence.
Week 2 of the NBA season:
–The MVP of the NBA Finals, Kawhi Leonard, sits on the first night of a back-to-back (and what would be a 3 games in four nights stretch) in Utah. Reason? Load management.
–The Rockets beat the Wizards, 159-158, as James Harden goes off for 59 points.
–Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid, a pair of seven-footers playing for undefeated teams, go full wrasslin’ in Philly. Both players are too smart to throw a punch.
–The Suns take a 29-point first half lead on Golden State in San Francisco and hold on to win, 121-110. Stephen Curry breaks his left hand. The Dubs are 1-3 and allowing 126.3 points per game.
Five Films: 1945
- The Lost Weekend Best Picture Oscar winner stars Ray Miland as an alcoholic writer in New York City. I consider this an aspirational film. 2. Brief Encounter Director David Lean would go on to make beautiful films (e.g., Lawrence of Arabia) but here he makes a film about two married people who meet at a railroad station and fall in love. Strangers On A Train Platform, but no one gets murdered 3. Anchors Aweigh (Are you happy Susie B.?) Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra (skinny) on shore leave together in Hollywood, singin’ and dancin’, which is not to be confused with On The Town, where the two were on shore leave in New York (New York!), singin’ and dancin’. This is the one where Gene dances with an animated Tom ‘n Jerry, in case you had thought Paula Abdul came up with the idea first 4. Leave Her To Heaven Gene Tierney, never lovelier, never crueler. If you’re looking for a “comes in threes” film package, this, A Place In The Sun (1951) and The Godfather II all offer cautionary tales about going boating on a lake with just one other person. 5. Spellbound Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman in an Alfred Hitchcock thriller. Try to keep me away.