IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Rodon Masterpiece

Behold, the no-hitter. A triumph within a triumph. No other sport offers a midseason moment with as much postgame celebration, a climax of euphoria after a full hour or so of tension (say, from the fifth inning on).

In Chicago, Carlos Rodon hurls a no-no that was thiiiiiiiiiiis close to being a perfect game. Only a Cleveland batter hit on the toe in the ninth inning kept it from being so.

Rodon, a No. 3 overall draft pick in 2014, underwent Tommy John surgery a couple years ago and pitched all of seven innings last year. Last night he pitched more than that.

There have been two no-hitters in the past week, each of them one hit batter shy of being perfect games. No walks or errors in either outing.

And yes, he’s a big boy: 6’3″, 245. Listed.

No No-No’s

Rodon’s no-hitter, in only his 94th career start, got us to wondering who are the best pitchers to never hurl a no-no. The list is rather impressive.

Begin with Roger Clemens… seven Cy Young awards, no no-no.

Continue on to Pedro Martinez…threw nine innings of perfect ball against the Padres, but his Expos did not get him a run. His Montreal team did in the top of the 10th, but San Diego’s lead-off hitter singled off him in the bottom of the 10th. Expos won, 1-0.

Greg Maddux…. led the N.L. in complete games five times, no no-no.

Steve Carlton….six one-hitters for the hurler who has the second-most wins of any lefty.

Grover Alexander… four one-hitters just in 1915. Second all-time in shutouts. No no-nos.

Babe Ruth… sort of. In 1915 he walked the lead-off batter, jawed with the ump and was ejected. His reliever, Ernie Shore, caught retired the next 26 batters without a hit or walk (while that leadoff batter was caught stealing).

Steph Again

The month 12-year NBA vet and future unanimous vote HOF’er Stephen Curry has been having is a high-water mark even for him. Last night he drained 11 three-pointers (in the first three quarters) in Golden State’s 147-109 win at OKC. That’s his 19th career 10 3-pointer game and second in as many games.

Curry finished with 42 points. He leads the NBA in scoring and is having an MVP season.

Only two NBA players have more 10 3-point games than Steph has this week.

And yes, Luka Doncic drained a game-winner in Memphis last night that got more love, but what Steph is doing is magnificent. His coach, Steve Kerr, who played alongside both Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan, articulated it well:

“It seems like every night, even though I say nothing surprises me, I’m still in awe of the shot-making. It’s just incredible. The level of confidence and skill is just stunning. It’s beautiful to watch. It’s a man at the peak of his powers with a lifetime of training and work, and not just on his body, but on his mind. This is a guy who is functioning at a level that very few human beings ever function at in their particular field. It’s just beautiful to watch.

It’s Only “Political” If I Don’t Agree With It

Brett Favre was a magnificent NFL quarterback, as entertaining to watch as he was prolific. And he led the Packers to a Super Bowl win, something that had not happened in Titletown since the 1960s.

But his political views leave something to be desired (as oppose to his d*ck pics, which leave nothing to be desired). It’s not about whether or not you agree directly with Favre’s conservative viewpoints. It’s that he is guilty of what so many (all?) Trump-era Republicans are guilty of: shameless and unadulterated hypocrisy.

Appearing on a radio show yesterday, Favre insisted that politics should stay out of sports. But here’s his tweet from last year:

Let’s see if we can simplify this for No. 5: If it’s stuff you espouse, it’s patriotism. If it’s stuff you do not espouse, it’s “politics.” The ability to see that your views are NOT universal and that in fact someone may hold the complete opposite views, without either of you being a criminal, is what makes us Americans. The inability to do so is what makes someone a Republican.

Wild Kingdom

These two creature clips will make your day…

First, a lion love-in in Tanzania:

Next, rams. This is kinda like the first time you beat your dad in driveway hoops:

Pride Of Ottumwa, Iowa

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Welcome To Hell

Bernie Madoff is dead at 82. If Hell exists, he’s in the midst of the admittance process. Financial news pundits and the WSJ will refer to Madoff as a financier or an investment strategist, but let’s simplify it: he was a thief.

Madoff was a thief and Ponzi Schemer who robbed tens of thousands of people who trusted him with their lives’ savings of millions and millions of dollars. Long may he burn.

To Term A COIN

One of our (former?) readers has long been a cryptocurrency pessimist, comparing it to the 17th Century Tulip Mania. But our reader was talking that way back when Bitcoin was still about $15,000 per coin. This morning one Bitcoin is selling for more than $64,000. Is she wrong or are we simply still in the midst of our mania bubble? I dunno.

But today is a landmark date in cryptocurrency’s evolution, as the company Coinbase (COIN) goes public. What does Coinbase do? I got this from the web:

Founded in 2012, Coinbase is the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, with 56 million verified users in the first quarter. Its online platform allows users to buy, sell, transfer, and store Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

COIN is supposed to open trading later this morning at $250 per share.

April In Arizona

The State Tree, the palo verde, in full bloom.

Stand Back And Stand By And Stand Down

The Inspector General’s 104-page report, titled, “Review of the Events Surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Takeover of the U.S. Capitol,” finds that U.S. Capitol police were “ordered not to use its most powerful nonlethal weapons.”

By whom? And why not? I think we know the answers, don’t we?

Mistress Distress

Comedy

This deserves its own post because of the comic genius involved. This is straight out of a Marx Brothers film except that it’s real life.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Wrong And Wright

Everyone did something wrong at the Daunte Wright traffic stop. But only one person died for it.

Let’s begin with Wright, 20. When he dove back into his vehicle, well, that was just stupid. Now, I’m not a black man and I do know about George Floyd, but once you step out of the car and your back is to the police, jumping back into your car, with your hands out of sight, that’s stupid.

The police stopped Wright for, what—having an air freshener hanging from his rear-view? And an expired license plate? Fine. If he’d looked like me, they would have told him to get it all fixed, I probably never would have had to step out of the vehicle, and I’d be sent on my way.

This morning I found an article from The Gateway Pundit that noted that Wright can be seen in Facebook posts with a gun and flashing gang signs. So what? My guess is that The Gateway Pundit is a fierce protector of 2nd Amendment rights—at least for “real” Americans—and one man’s gang sign is another man’s militia crest. What’s the diff? Color, of course.

Wrong and Right

As someone not directly involved and not a person of color, I’m more angered and frustrated over what happened to U.S. Army 2nd Lieutenant Caron Nazario in Windsor, Va., last December. For a number of reasons:

  • Police in that part of the world are well aware of how many military personnel are in their area and how an inordinately high number of them are minorities. Seeing Nazario in a uniform, their prevailing thoughts of him should have been as an Army officer, not as a black man (and by that I don’t mean that they should treat black motorists differently, but that in the default and faulty cop code, that they should not have gone immediately to their black motorist reactionary tactics).
  • Nazario does everything right, never hides his hands, speaks respectfully, understands that they are giving him conflicting orders that might just get him shot, and is preternaturally calm during the ordeal. He knows that if he puts his hands in the vehicle to dislodge his seat belt he could get shot, so he makes this point to the officer, calmly, while the officer continues to bark aggressively at him, almost daring him to do something wrong.
  • The officer pepper sprays him, in the eyes, from about one foot away. For no good reason.
  • This happened on December 5. That officer never gets fired unless this video goes viral in the past few days. Even though the Windsor P.D. had access to it for the past five months.
  • Finally, when Colin Kaepernick knelt, it was about disrespecting the military. Here’s a man in uniform. And the cops are disrespecting him. Oh, yes, but Blue Lives Matter. That is unless they’re protecting the Constitution and our Congress. Then they don’t. See a common denominator here?

It should be clear by now, too. The sort of stuff that happened to Lt. Nazario and Daunte Wright goes on every day in America. We just don’t always get video. And white people just don’t have to deal with it. When I was a junior in college a few of my friends, after a few beers and in a frisky mood, endeavored to steal the American flag from a Burger King. In the midst of their covert ops mission, the South Bend police arrived. My friends scrambled (no names here; protecting the parties involved) and two of them were caught. Not a single one of them was shot at. Or even roughed up.

Steph Again

As miraculous and awe-inspiring Steph Curry is as a basketball player, he is still not appreciated enough in his own time. Last night Curry went for 53 in a win against Denver (the big news: Jamal Murray tearing his ACL on his left knee late in the fourth quarter). He becomes, I believe, the first player 32 years old or older to go for 50 or more three times in the same season.

Even more incredible, Steph drained TEN 3-pointers in the win. That’s his 18th career game with at least TEN threes. The next most in NBA history is his Splash Brother, Klay Thompson, with FIVE. Then comes James Harden with three.

18.

5.

3.

That’s the kind of in-another-orbit stat that only Wilt Chamberlain achieved. And yes, Steph broke Wilt’s team record for most points last night. Worth noting: Wilt played in about 300 fewer games with the Warriors and averaged more than 41 points per game, whereas Steph averages 23.9.

(yes, I’m referencing myself. Get over it.)

Also something wild: Wilt never made a three-pointer and was only a 55% career free-throw shooter. Steph is the all-time NBA leader in free-throw percentage.

Pop, A Shot

Every last word here from San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is true. Every last one.

And he’s right about Rome. America still has a choice as to whether it’s going to embrace authoritarianism and power (i.e., white supremacy) or citizenship and kindness (i.e., democracy). The fact that it’s even a close fight at this point is staggering. And scary. We are teetering on the brink and we almost lost it all on January 6th. It’s fragile. People still do not seem to comprehend that.

Watters’ World

Here’s the thing about most Republicans: at their core, selfishness is what defines them (the rest just have a hard-on about being anti-abortion; some are both). Something is welfare until it applies to them, then it’s a right.

Cinerama Drama

This is the iconic Cinerama Dome theatre, located on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. It’s within walking distance of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Apparently it will not reopen after the pandemic (if there is an “after the pandemic”) due to financial losses during the pandemic. Real reason: this is highly valuable real estate where condos could make a fortune.

Methinks this theatre, which opened on November 7, 1963, might be able to saved. Surely there is someone, anyone, in Hollywood who is both insanely wealthy and has an emotional connection to the film industry. Someone?

April In Arizona

April is the best month in Arizona. Certainly, the most colorful.

And yet it’s more like autumn in the Northeast or Midwest. Why? Because like autumn there, we’ll get plenty of brilliant and magnificent colors followed by the most inhospitable time of year (the desert summer).

We’ll enjoy these last lovely days (for awhile) by posting a photo a day from foliage within a mile of this MH annex.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Asia Major!

At Augusta, Japanese golfer Hideki Matsuyama becomes the first Asian to triumph at the Masters, as well as the first Asian male to win a major (thus our headline… don’t cancel us!). We also considered “Big In Japan,” “Turning Japanese” and “It’s Refreshing To See An Asian On The Right Side Of A Shot In Georgia.”

Matsuyama becomes the ninth different duffer of the past nine years to win at Augusta National.

The chances are pret-tee, pret-tee good that Matsuyama will light the Olympic cauldron in Tokyo come July. ESPN analyst Andy North, a former PGA Tour pro, estimates the one-stroke win will be worth $1 BILLION-with-a-B or Matsuyama.

Oh, and Bill Simmons had a few things to say about it and did not miss his chance to remind us that he’ll always have Red Sox-Yankees on the brain.

“So I had it. I had the savvy one. ‘Heat of the Moment,’ which was a song that won like five Grammys by a band called Asia in the 80’s. I think Nantz could have gone stealth and done, It was the heat of the moment, Hideki Matsui is our Masters champion. Something like that and then it just would have been really underground. Nobody really would have gotten it. But he just played it chalk. You know what? You just signed a new contract Jim Nantz. We don’t want a scared Jim Nantz. Come up with some sort of line. Anything? Disappointing.”

Gaetz-Stop-O!

The latest on Matt Gaetz. He basically flew down to The Former Guy’s backyard, Doral, to speak at the Women For America First conference, where he channeled Margaret Thatcher, saying, “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, hire a woman.”

Hire a woman.

Or a girl.

Colin Jost had a fine joke on Weekend Update noting that it was refreshing to see women pay Gaetz for an hour of his time.

Oh, and Gaetz may have had an ulterior motive in venturing so near to Mar-A-Lago. A sit-down with The Former Guy. Denied. You’ve served your purpose, Matty. You’re of no use to him now. You’re just another bitch who needs to put her clothes on and get out.

Infrastructure, Bridges

Yesterday, former New Jersey governor and BridgeGate impresario Chris Christie accused President Biden of “lying” about his $2 trillion infrastructure package. Granted, there’s a lot more in it than simply bridges, tunnels, roads, airports, rails and even internet and grid stuff. But, I mean, of all the people to suddenly have a sense of integrity and candor related to bridges…

Meanwhile, a better infrastructure take was offered by Charlotte’s Miles Bridges, who knows how to navigate through traffic in the lane.

Padre No-No

The last Major League team without a no-hitter, the San Diego Padres, finally got off the schneid Friday night. Joe Musgrove, 28, who is a native of El Cajon, just inland from America’s Finest City, no-hit the Texas Rangers in their brand-new ballpark, Globe Life Field.

A few notes:

*The Padres just began their 53rd season. So that’s more than 8,200 games before their first no-no.

*Musgrove struck out 10 and came within one hit batter, in the bottom of the 4th, of tossing a perfect game.

*This was an inter-league game. The Padres and Rangers only meet once every three years.

*The Philadelphia Phillies (1964) have the longest no-hitter drought in MLB history.

*Globe Life Field was hosting its first regular-season homestand. It also hosted the World Series and NLCS last October. In its very nascent existence, it has already witnessed two southern California-based National League teams celebrate wildly on its infield.

*Blake Snell now pitches for the Padres. Which means that while he was denied a chance for a once-in-a-lifetime moment at Globe Life last October, he was able to rush the pitcher’s mound and celebrate his teammate’s no-no just six months later.

SNL Highlights

Two best moments from this weekend’s episode (and Mikey Day really shines in this first clip):

And here’s Bowen Yang as the Titanic iceberg:

A Few Good Tweets

and…

and…

and…

and…

Which One Are You?

by John Walters

During junior year of high school I worked as a member of a hot air balloon chase crew. My friend and I would wake up before dawn on a Saturday or Sunday morning, meet our balloon crew at the launch point, be given a pickup to drive, watch the balloon ascend and then follow these simple instructions: don’t lose the balloon.

Why do balloon chase crews exist? Because hot air balloons have no control over what direction they take. The pilot is able to control altitude via blasts of helium—he or she is like an anesthesiologist, in a sense‚—but wind and atmospheric conditions determine if the balloon heads north, south, east or west. Which is why you need a chase crew to follow it and meet it wherever it lands.

Then there are planes. And you know how those work. Engines, wing flaps, tail rudders. There’s no such thing as an airplane chase crew, not even for gliders. The pilot controls the direction and the destination.

Recently I spoke to my students about the distinction between hot air balloons and airplanes. And how they each have a choice as to which one they want to be as they continue in their careers. Because, as I have learned and maybe you have, too, far too many of us find ourselves being hot air balloons in our careers, in our lives, all of it. And the point I wanted to make to them is this:

That is on you.

We are all airplanes. If we become hot air balloons, that’s because we allowed it to be so.

When I was in my early 30s I was earning a very good salary, working at a magazine that was the zenith of distinction in my field: Sports Illustrated. Moreover, I had a byline in a regular column (“SI View”) every single week. SI View was profitable for my employers and it appealed to readers in that it was a harmless confection of puns, word play, the occasional pithy insight and some needed information.

But here’s the thing: it did not fulfill me. Not in the least. In a normal week I could write the entire column in one day and back in the late 1990s, there were very few outside writing options. I couldn’t freelance for someone else. My editors were loath to deploy me for other assignments because SI View was my mandate (and on its own it made the mag $8 million per year, at least). And, let’s be honest, no one really needed me to do more. It was Sports Illustrated. We were not hurting for writing talent. Rather, our writing talent was hurting for opportunities.

One day I came across a cartoon from The New Yorker. The illustration featured a headstone in a cemetery and the epitaph read simply, “We Watched Sports.” I smiled ruefully.

This, after all, was my job. To watch sports on TV and opine on it. But that was never why I’d wanted to work at Sports Illustrated. I wanted adventure. I wanted to tell interesting stories, hopefully in an artful and trenchant manner. I wanted to be more like Rick Reilly or Frank Deford, not more like Rudy Martzke.

For a sportswriter, I had a terrific salary. Working at the most respected publication out there. And, if I wanted, I had at least five days off per week. I could just show up at the office and read novels or learn a language, really. Nobody would’ve cared.

But I did not want a hot air balloon life. I wanted to fly, not float. My short-term solution was to move to Connecticut, while still writing the column, and report on a book that I’d write about the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team. I recall one day, early in my stay, at practice in Storrs. I attended most every practice. Anyway, associate head coach Chris Dailey, who’d had a burr in her butt about me almost from the day of my arrival because of where I’d gone to college (few people despise Notre Dame more than CD), called out to me. “I took a look at your column,” she said. “Is that all they have you do?”

It wasn’t a question; it was an accusation.

“That’s why I’m here,” I told her.

Piloting my own plane has led to more than a little turbulence over the past two decades. And a lot less income. I might’ve stayed at SI, writing SI View as the internet became a thing, and held onto the gig that Richard Deitsch eventually inherited and ran with. And RD does a great job with it. But I’d have no appetite for tracking Nielsen ratings or watching endless hours of sports television on the weekends (when the TV is on, I’m watching TCM, after all).

If there’s anything I’m proud of, it’s that I didn’t allow the prevailing currents to take me somewhere I never really intended to land at in the first place. I’m still flying. Many’s the day I feel like Ted Stryker, the buckets of sweat streaming down my face as I do combat with both the weather outside and the plane itself. But I’d rather be at the controls, actively, than passively floating against a horizon that I never longed to visit in the first place. Knowing that my only options are to remain in the gondola or to jump.

Are you a hot air balloon?

Are you an airplane?

It’s up to you.

Every day.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Philip Finis

Prince Philip, whose story many of us became familiar with via The Crown, has passed at the age of 99. The Duke of Edinburgh, who married the future Queen Elizabeth in 1947 when he was 26 and she was just 21. Born in Greece into both Dutch and Greek royalties, he served in the British Royal Navy during World War II after being educated in England.

Some of our favorite episodes during The Crown‘s run revolved around Philip, particularly the one where he is off at boarding school. Possibly the best episode in the entire series.

Where Do We Go Wrong As We Grow Up?

It’s Right There In The Name

Let’s not forget that there remain plenty of senators worse than Democrat Joe Manchin. To wit, Mitch McConnell (The GOAT of sinister senators), Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham. But with a name like Manchin (phonetically, please), maybe people should’ve realized he’s an elephant in donkey get-up.

Lately Manchin has said that abandoning the filibuster is a non-starter (he won’t even contemplate returning it to its talking filibuster requirement, which is going to make any updated version of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington a dreadful bore) and yesterday he said that the “the lesson” of January 6 is that we need more bipartisanship.

Wrong, wrong and wrong. The lesson of January 6th is that if you give bullies an inch, they’ll try for a mile. And that if you fail to punish them, they’ll only try again.

Is Manchin a dope? Or is he someone who simply doesn’t realize what he really is?

She Blinded Me With Science

Brazil

Yesterday 4,249 Brazilians died due to a variant of the coronavirus. What began as an epidemiological has morphed into a human catastrophe, as time and time again evidence has shown that governments ruled by narcissistic, ignorant alpha males (we used to call them “macho”) and whose populace put them in power due to a profundity of ignorance and nationalistic tendencies (read: fear of people who don’t look like them) wind up faring far worse than those nations led by intelligent, moderate people.

New Zealand? They’ve basically eradicated the virus.

Brazil, whose president Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the gravity of the virus from the start, is now setting daily records while it eclipses 4,000 deaths per day. Then again, I’ve long thought that men like Bolsonaro and Trump really never worried too much about the death toll as they probably think it’s a way of ridding society of people whom they’d like to eliminate anyway. The old, the weak, the poor.

The Beauty of Twitter

When Luke Skywalker himself reacts to a post about Darth Vader. That’s a scene that was filmed 45 years ago.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

What Happened?

This is Phillip Adams, a former NFL defensive back whose unforgettable career will not play a role in the fact that he will forever live in infamy. Yesterday Adams, from South Carolina, reportedly fatally shot a 70 year-old ER physician (Dr. Robert Lesslie), his wife, two of their grandchildren, and a man working at the physician’s home. Adams then returned to his parents’ home, about a mile away in Rock Hill, S.C., and killed himself.

We hadn’t even had time to report that former NFL wideout and Florida State standout Travis Rudolph had shot and killed a man in Florida last weekend. Now this. What happened?

A safety who had played in 78 games, never as a starter, in five NFL seasons, Adams began with the 49ers but also played with New England, Seattle, Oakland and the New York Jets, finishing his career with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015. Just an assumption: He had great physical talent but teams learned quickly that perhaps there was something not quite stable in his emotional or psychological makeup?

Lesslie had treated Adams after an ankle injury that accelerated his NFL demise. He also suffered at least two concussions. Adams was 33.

A Man Corner

If you’re thinking to yourself, Didn’t they just stage a Masters event five months ago?, you are correct. But they’re holding another one. Bring on the pimento & cheese sandwiches. I’m hoping that they also use the driving range as an impromptu vaccination site and it would be dubbed “Masters and Johnson & Johnson.”

The last eight Masters have had eight different winners and you might see a ninth this Sunday as pre-event favorites includes never-won-it types such as Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau.

Dustin Johnson (Gretzky), who won last November, is also a favorite. Three-time champion Phil Mickelson, 50, is the Gen X favorite.

Keep Going

Since when did they begin scripting Jeopardy! segments? This could have been an SNL sketch (as if SNL would ever parody Jeopardy!) if Rodgers had simply allowed the contestants to keep guessing (“Native Americans?” “People who paid to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri?”).

From Devin Durrant To Kevin Durant

Last night the former league MVP returned after a near two-month hiatus from injuries and went five-for-five from the field, scoring 17 points, as the New Jersey Nets smothered New Orleans, 139-111.

But it got me to thinking: How many millennials are aware that there was once an NBA player, out of BYU, named Devin Durrant? A 6’7″ forward, Durrant was the 25th overall pick in 1984, a draft that included Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and John Stockton. Durrant only played two unremarkable seasons, but he had started every game of his career in Provo and was a 2nd-team All-American in ’84 (no mean feat, considering those dudes in his draft class).

A Rube Awakening

The value of TikTok: a millennial discovering the sheer awesomeness of dead ball era pitching ace Rube Waddell and memorializing his idiosyncratic ways in song. Thank you.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters*

*abbreviated edition today

Mitch-Slapped

Senator Mitch McConnell has a warning, no, a threat, for major corporations who dare to express First Amendment rights: Shut up.

“My warning, if you will, to corporate America is to stay out of politics,” said McConnell. “It’s not what you`re designed for. I’m not talking about political contributions. … I support that. I’m talking about taking a position.”

Isn’t contributing to politicians NOT staying out of politics? Mitch doesn’t seem to be able to make that connection. Moreover, what he’s basically saying is give us your money but do not expect to have any say in what happens with it.

There’s a term for that: taxation without representation.

I forget who came up with that.

And I Did Not Write ‘Hairspray’

Steph Goes Off Again

Occasionally, you’ll find that regular season NBA game where both teams REALLY cared and wanted to win. That was last night’s Bucks-Warriors contest, which the Dubs won 122-121.

Now, keep in mind, Milwaukee only had one Antetekemnpo suited up, and it wasn’t the future Hall of Famer (and reigning two-time MVP). Still, Steph Curry, a two-time MVP himself, went off for 41 points in the Golden State win.

The Dubs are on the outside looking in at a playoff spot. But Curry is second in the league in scoring behind only Bradley “Try The” Beal of Washington.

Hahn SoHo

I don’t know who George Hahn is or how he showed up on my Twitter timeline, but one year in the desert has me longing for that bitchy male New Yorker type that I’d come to adore.

Hahn personifies it.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Waco The Echoes*

*The judges will not accept “Sheer Bliss”

It was 9-0 Baylor just 2 1/2 minutes into the contest. Gonzaga would never be closer than that.

The Bears were dominant. They showed it early with domination of the offensive glass (these Bears are swole), precision three-point shooting and harassing defense. Yes, they were whistled for plenty of fouls. Because they were fouling. But as long as guards Butler and Teague kept burying threes, the late-game foul trouble was not going to be a concern.

The game was largely played with Gonzaga facing a deficit in the teens. Every time the undefeated Zags made a mini-run (eight straight points, once), Baylor swiftly and demonstrably responded. This was a pummeling and by the last four minutes, you could see Gonzaga’s heart wasn’t even in it any more. They’d had enough.

One sour note: Jim Nantz and company kept coyly referring to this as the “greatest rebuild” in the history of sport. But they never had the temerity to say from what Baylor was rebuilding. So for those of you that don’t know, one of Baylor’s players (Carlton Dotson) shot and killed another Bear (Patrick Dennehy) while the two were having an argument while practicing shooting guns. Nearly as bad, Baylor coach Dave Bliss tried to cover it up.

Glad to see Baylor has improved its shot selection in the past 18 years.

The Grift That Keeps On Griving

Oops, he’s done it again.

There’s already no shortage of photos or video clips or quotes that illustrate what both a hypocrite and a crook Donald Trump is. And a lazy one at that. This is simply the latest.

Trump is calling for a boycott of Coke because of the Atlanta-based mega-corporation’s denunciation of Georgia’s new voting law. But he of course is still drinking his favorite beverage, as seen here. What’s most illuminating about this photo is that it gets to the half-assed approach to doing things that Trump has always had. He means to hide the incriminating Coke bottle, but he doesn’t take care to ensure that it is properly out of sight. And there is no one in his inner circle competent enough to notice or brave enough to point it out. After all, he released the photo.

What a dope.

Of course, this will hardly change the cult’s mind. They’re too far gone.

Baddoo Begins

No one’s had a better previous two days than Detroit Tiger rookie Akil Baddoo. On Sunday, making his Major League debut, Baddoo homered on the very first pitch he saw. Yesterday, against the team that released him, the Minnesota Twins, the 22 year-old outfielder hit a grand slam.

(This is how you earn your own Wikipedia page and pronto)

Baddoo hit both of these home runs batting ninth. No player had ever hit home runs in each of his first two Major League games batting from the ninth spot. Ever.

By the way, Derek Jeter had been playing Major League Baseball for more nine years and had earned four World Series ring before hitting his one and only grand slam.

Ranger Things

At their home opener at their brand new ballpark (that hosted the World Series last October), the Texas Rangers shot the double bird to Covid protocols and opened the turnstiles wide.

More than 38,000 fans showed up (but not Gov. Greg Abbott), making it the most heavily attended sporting event since before the pandemic got underway here in late February of ’20 (probably earlier). Oh, and hey, coronavirus cases are up again this week and more than 560,000 Americans have died.

Take me out to the Rangers,

Take me out to the show,

Buy me some sunscreen and hide the flask,

The catcher’s the only one wearing a mask

A Farewell To Unpublished Material

If you’ve ever inadvertently deleted a huge file you’ve spent hours or days creating, you can appreciate the frustration and, yes, rage, that accompanies that moment. So perhaps you can appreciate what a then-unknown journalist based in Paris by the name of Ernest Hemingway endured.

As related in Ken Burns’ PBS series, Hemingway, young Ernest was recently married and living in Paris and stumbling along as a foreign correspondent for The Toronto Star. While covering an event in Switzerland, he met an established writer/journalist who saw brilliance in the young reporter. Hemingway wired his wife, Hadley, to join him in Lausanne.

Thinking she could be of help (the road to hell is paved with good intentions, no), Hadley packed Ernest’s two previous years of unpublished short stories and other works in a valise and boarded a train to Switzerland. Except that something happened to the valise after she gave it to the porter as it never arrived at her compartment.

The bad news: two years of Hemingway’s early work gone. Bad for Ernest.

The potential good news: somewhere in Europe there may sit a valise containing the early unpublished works of the most celebrated American author of the 20th century.