IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Friday, September 27

Starting Five

1. Mo-Mentous

Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera and, oh yes, catcher J.R. Murphy (in his 14th career game)

The five greatest New York Yankees of all time:

1) Babe Ruth (3): Baseball’s first home run king, career and season (714 and 60), also has the highest career batting average of any Yankee (.342) and yet still is in the top 20 all-time in career ERA (2.28 in more than 1,200 innings). The greatest baseball player of all time.

2) Lou Gehrig (4) : The New York native and Columbia alum held two  of baseball’s seemingly unsurpassable records, consecutive games played (2,130) and career grand slams (23). Won the Triple Crown in 1934 (even more bizarre because his nickname was “The Iron Horse”). Is also the franchise’s all-time leader in doubles (534), triples (163), and RBI (1,995). The first player in baseball history to have his number retired, Gehrig is one of two Yankees whose name is associated with a disease/surgery. Without him, who would know what “Wally Pipp” meant?

3) Joe DiMaggio (5): The 56-game hitting streak. The Yankee Clipper led the franchise to nine World Series titles in his 13 seasons and was probably the most graceful, naturally gifted center fielder not named Willie Mays in the history of New York baseball. The apotheosis of baseball during its most glorious era, he married the world’s most famous starlet (Marilyn Monroe) and is mentioned in one of Simon & Garfunkel’s most iconic tunes.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: Joltin’ Joe and Marilyn Monroe would have owned the cover of US Weekly for years.

4.) Mariano Rivera (42): 648 career saves, more than anyone in Major League history, and 42 postseason saves, more than double his next closest rival. No. 13 all-time in career ERA (2.20), and the lowest ERA of any pitcher born since Ted Roosevelt took office. The Yankees won 95% of the games that he entered with a lead.

5) Derek Jeter (2): The Yankees’ all-time leader in hits (3,316) and No. 10 all-time in baseball history in that category. Franchise’s all-time leader in Games Played (2,604) and Stolen Bases (348). Led the Yankees to five World Series titles, the most of any franchise in one player era since DiMaggio’s Yankees from 1949-1953.

Sorry, George Costanza, but Mickey Mantle finishes just off the list. I’d put No. 7 at No. 6, closely followed by catcher Yogi Berra (meaning that No. 8 is No. 7).

2. Don’t Go, Cano

Cano to Yankee brass: Come on come through, New York, New York.

ESPN’s Buster Olney only worsens Yankee fans’ day yesterday by reporting that All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, who seemingly led the Yankees in every category this season except for “Games on the DL” and who will soon be a free agent, wants $305 million over the next 10 years. Cano, who is now represented by RocNation, i.e. Jay-Z, turns 31 next month.

Six of the seven players mentioned above played every game of their career for the Yankees. Ruth, of course, began his career with the Red Sox and ended up with the Yankees in what may have been the dumbest trade of all time (“The Curse of the Bambino”). Does Cano’s place in Yankee history matter more or less to him than an extra $20 million or so? We shall see.

The Yankees, at the moment, appear headed for a decline with Cano being the only marquee player, only All-Star position player, on the roster. He is the draw in the coming years and he knows it –at least until the Yankees outbid the Angels for Mike Trout or some similar atrocity.

3. Jim Delany’s Reese Lansing Moment

Lansing: I can keep my arms folded longer than anyone at this network!

Remember the Season 2 premiere of “The Newsroom?” When Charlie Skinner and Will MacAvoy realize that it is ACN president Reese Lansing who has been leaking sensitive information about “News Night” to the tabloids? And they march self-righteously up to his office –a smaller office than we’d expect — and threaten to air the tape they have that proves that he ordered the phone-hacking of Will MacAvoy’s phone last season?

And do you remember what Reese Lansing says? “Go ahead.”

That defiant moment –I’m calling your bluff –was echoed yesterday by Big Ten (a.k.a. B1G) commish Jim Delany, who essentially said –wait, why not let his words speak for themselves?

“Maybe in football and basketball, it would work better if more kids had a chance to go directly into the professional ranks, If they’re not comfortable and want to monetize, let the minor leagues flourish. Train at IMG, get agents to invest in your body, get agents to invest in your likeness and establish it on your own. But don’t come here and say, ‘We want to be paid $25,000 or $50,000.’ Go to the D-League and get it, go to the NBA and get it, go to the NFL and get it. Don’t ask us what we’ve been doing.

“If an athlete wants to professionalize themselves, professionalize themselves. We’ve been training kids for professional sports. I argue it’s the color, I argue it’s the institution. If you think it’s about you, then talk to John Havlicek about that, you’ve got to talk to Michael Jordan about that. These brands have been built over 100 years.”


Earlier this month an U.S.-record 115,109 fans attended the Notre Dame-Michigan game in person. Sure, no one would have attended if there were no players on the field. However, can you name a single player whose absence would have persuaded any fan –other than that player’s mom– to not attend? No.

We love the brands. The colors, the uniforms, the schools, the tradition. Dotting the “I”, touching Howard’s Rock, watching Scott Wolf pose with the cheerleaders. That is why college football is so popular. Yes, the players have talent, but there are very, very few who are the singular reason we attend a game. Johnny Football is special, but he’s one player out of more than 10,000.

If you allowed most of these players to go pro after high school, to play in a minor league for tens of thousands a year in a town such as Dayton or Little Rock, how many would choose that option over a free education plus coeds plus the cache of suiting up for USC or Oklahoma. Very few, I suspect. So, too, does Jim Delany.

Yesterday a conference commissioner, in protecting football, played hardball.

And he had a point.

4. Dexter: Sociopath of Least Resistance

Dexter: I kept wondering how the gang from “CSI: Miami” never caught on to him.


It’s not news that we are in a golden age of television, which is why so many of us don’t attend as many movies as we used to do. That and the fact that one night at the movies can cost half your cable bill if you bring a date (and, egads!, pay for her). So yes, Bono, we are told this is the golden age, particularly on Sunday nights: cult-like viewing of “Homeland” segues into cult-like viewing of “Game Of Thrones” segues into cult-like viewing of “Mad Men” segues into cult-like viewing of “The Newsroom” and “Breaking Bad”, which segues into cult-like viewing of “Boardwalk Empire.”

Honestly, you listened to Will Ferrell rattle off the names of the “Best Drama” nominees at the Emmys on Sunday night and you think, it’s a little like attempting to hold a Most Venal Texas Politician contest. Too many worthy candidates.

Then there is “Dexter”, which stars Michael C. Hall (who is not the kid from “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club”) as a Miami serial killer whose victims all had it coming. For seven seasons “Dexter’s” fans were among the most loyal in TV land, constantly urging us to watch, telling us that it was the best show on TV. And who knows, perhaps they were correct.

Then came this, the eighth and final season. The “Dexter” bandwagon was abandoned even more swiftly than the America’s Cup bandwagon grew. Fans were irate (“Oh cool, thanks for wasting five years of my life,”tweeted Joe P. Clements of Tallahasssee, who may himself be a serial killer) not only at how the season progressed but also with the finale. Suddenly “Dexter” became “The Dirty Game” of 2013 TV, complete with showrunner Scott Buck and executive producer Scott Colleton sitting down with Entertainment Weekly in an effort to defend the choices that they made.

Jason Whitlock has never seen an episode of “Dexter”, but has decided that he hates it because, if you’ve seen anything else Scott Buck has done, and he doesn’t mean this personally, the guy couldn’t spell “cat.”

5. And Now, a Word From Our Sponsors…

The Grotto: Candles in the wind…


Okay, not really, but I did want to promote the launch of “The Grotto”, a weekly podcast that I will host that will concentrate on Notre Dame football, college football and any pop culture news that you and I find intriguing. Here is the inaugural podcast, starring Chicago Tribune writer Brian Hamilton, a good –and honest –friend of mine who has been covering the Fighting Irish since 2007.

The Grotto:

As Brian noted on the cast, the first Notre Dame game that he covered was also known as “the Demetrius Jones Era.” I asked Brian if, considering that Jones never saw the field again for the Irish after the 33-3 home loss to Georgia Tech while he is still covering them seven seasons later, he ever feels envious toward Jones. Also, Brian mentioned that the first live action Notre Dame football he saw was the 2007 Blue-Gold Game and that the game’s MVP was….do you recall?…



….Junior Jabbie. Yes, Junior Jabbie. The J.R. Murphy of Notre Dame football.

Anyway, we’ll have “The Grotto” up every week and this version is certainly a rough cut. As pilots go, it’s no “The Wonder Years”, but I’ll improve. And I’ll line up similarly fantastic guests, even if they don’t know it yet.

Special thanks, by the way, to our podcast producer Brian Foy, whose idea this all was.

Remote Patrol

Breaking Bald: Series Finale

Sunday, 9 p.m.

Walter White: He’s come a long way…unfortunately.








Will Walt stop at a Cinnabon in Omaha before returning to Albuquerque to take out Uncle Jack and the Neo-Nazis? Will Jesse put the lotion in the basket? Will Todd’s crush on Lydia go unrequited? Will Skyler and Marie ever sit down together to watch “Mystic Pizza?” Will Walt, Jr., change his name? Will anyone associated with this series ever again  “have an A-1 day?”

5 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Friday, September 27

  1. Love Mariano, but if “greatest Yankees ever” means most valuable over a career, he is definitely behind Mantle, Jeter, and Berra, and probably behind Andy Pettitte and Whitey Ford. (If you include others who played a notable part of their career for the Yankees, the list of players ahead of Mariano gets way longer – Reggie, ARod, Boggs, Mussina, etc.) It’s just the nature of his position – even the greatest closer of all time has less value than the others, because he only plays an inning or so at a time, a few times a week, when his team already has a lead in the ninth inning. Still a Hall of Famer, though.

  2. I won’t opine on Yankee greats, as I just don’t know enough about them to form a complete opinion. I will say, however, that Mariano’s presence went far beyond his action on the field. As noted in today’s IAH, he won 95% of the games he entered with a lead. That’s a tremendous stat, considering the time frame he has been in the majors. Baseball is very systematic game. Fielders are shifted for a certain player differently than another, relievers are used to offset the batter’s strengths and so on.

    With that said, Mariano’s struck a fear into each opposing manager. Instead of prolonging a switch, the opposing manager would be forced to act prematurely, knowing Mariano would be up in the ninth, if the Yankees have the lead. That, in my opinion, is what makes Mariano great. His stats are off the charts terrific, but the fear he created for opposing teams has no value.

  3. That 95% stat is misleading because it includes games in which Rivera gave up the lead but the Yankees came back to win. And it is not necessarily exceptional. Over the last several decades, teams with one-run leads after eight innings have won roughly 85 percent of the time, two-run leads 94 percent of the time, and three-run leads about 96 percent of the time.

    Mo’s career save percentage is 89%. In about two-thirds of his saves, he came in with a lead of two runs or more. Again, this isn’t a criticism of Rivera. What made Mo great, and truly exceptional, is that he did it over a longer time period than any other closer.

  4. That you seem to not just agree with Delaney but high-five him is, well, not quite horrifying I guess but worse that awful, so I guess I’ll go with disturbing & deflating.

    Question – how many BILLIONS is the sports-media complex shelling out to the universities to cover college baseball these days? And is not the ruination of college basketball by “one & done” enough?

    “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
    –Frederick Douglas

    That the Division 1 big-time football schools & athletic conferences fight to keep their power & MONEY is expected. That you endorse was not.

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