IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Monday, February 24

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STARTING FIVE

 

Is it just me or is Dale, Jr., headed the wrong way?

 1. Junior Achievement

Rain delayed the Daytona 500 more than six hours so that it took almost 11 hours for Dale Earnhardt, Jr., to cover the 500 miles. In other words, you could have driven 500 miles in the time it took the winner of yesterday’s Great American Race 500 miles. By the way, it was Dale, Jr’s first NASCAR win in 55 starts. Did Ricky Bobby even have that long of a drought?

During the interminable delay, Fox aired last year’s race but a lot of viewers who joined midway during the telecast were unaware of that. So if someone tells you today that they can’t believe Jimmie Johnson won Daytona two years in a row, just smile.

2. Outta Brooklyn, But Not Straight

Collins, fronting Kaman.

The Brooklynettes sign Jason Collins to a 10-day contract and that same night, last night, he becomes the first openly gay player to participate in an NBA game. Which is unremarkable, since no NBA player has ever actually had sex on court…during a game. But it is remarkable in that it breaks a boundary.

And yesterday I tweeted, “Brooklyn: Jackie Robinson and Jason Collins”, which was my way of noting that  a place that has had a total of two pro sports franchises for a combined 16 seasons in the past 70 years broke both the color and the LGBT barriers. Of course, some people decided that I was equating Robinson to Collins in terms of talent or significance. I was not. They’re tweets, kids. They’re not tweetises.

3. “True Detective” Recap

Scars, faces. So Tony Montana is the killer?

Television’s best show ties up the loose ends of 2002. Best moments:

–Rust Cohle to the Marshland Medea, shortly after her confession: “If you get the opportunity, you should kill yourself.” Vintage Rust.

–More vintage Rust. “You’re such a moron. You people will eat your young as long as you have something to salute.” Every week Rust delivers a gut punch to America, and God bless him.

–Cohle to Marty Hart, his final words to him for 10 years, just after their fight: “Nice hook, Marty.”

— Marty to the two young men who had sex with his daughter: “A man’s game charges a man’s price.” Of course, if it’s Marty banging the younger women, well, that’s cool. And it turns out Rust was prophetic (and this is how the series rewards its viewers) when he drolly asked, “Was that a down payment?” in Episode 2.

–The girl in the sanitarium. Perfect. It’s amazing how many minor characters in this series are mesmerizing. Pastor Theriot, Charlie, Lange, DeWall, and now her (there are others; just excellent work).

–Rust throws Marty into the tail light and 10 years later he still hasn’t fixed it. Is this his scar, a reminder to himself of his betrayal of both Marty and his own integrity? Of how he allowed himself to be, albeit briefly, exploited? Or is this how singularly focused he has become?

–I don’t know much, but I do know the old man with the white hair who resurfaced in the office last night is a very, very bad man. He’s Tuttle’s dirty deeds done dirt cheap man.

–Loved the moment when Rev. Tuttle asks what this is all about and Cohle answers matter-of-factly, “Dead women and children” just to see the look on Tuttle’s face. The whole purpose of that visit was for Cohle to let Tuttle know that he was onto him. Let the games begin. Beautiful stuff.

–As someone else noted, both of Marty’s women (Beth and Maggie) order dirty martinis in this episode.

–I’m beginning to wonder what Marty’s older daughter overheard or was told that caused her to create that scene with her dolls. It sounds a lot like what must transpire in the murders. If Rust had seen it, he would have pursued it. But Marty is not Rust. Marty is the guy who writes up the stats.

Marty decleats Rust. That had to hurt.

–There are no wasted scenes or lines in “True Detective.” I’m beginning to think that month Rust spent in Paris “getting drunk outside of Notre Dame” was part of his 2002-2010 exile.

–So, yes, Rust mowed Marty’s lawn. Speaking of grooming, I’m thinking Lawnmower Guy is the Purloined Letter of “True Detective.” Hiding in plain sight. Rust never got his name. Why was he mowing grass that didn’t need mowing? Was the beard hiding scars? Why was he mowing the yard of an abandoned, decrepit school for, anyway? Like others, I suspect we have not one murderer but a cult.

–Going back an episode, am I the only one who thought the tattoo on LeDoux’s right pec looked a little too much like Matthew McConaughey?

–One giveaway that I don’t understand: you can go on IMDB and see how many episodes a character is in. Lawnmower guy, for instance, is slated to return. How did Nic Pizzolatto allow that to happen?

–Let’s not forget that the ALS-type former baseball pitcher from Episode 1 had a devil catcher. I believe we’ll be seeing him again, too.

–Love Pastor Theriot. “All my life I wanted to be nearer to God, but the only nearness is silence.” He may be the second-most, if not THE most, decent person in this entire show. Marty’s younger daughter is No. 1.

-The silent trading of flipped birds between Marty and Rust. Seriously, is this the best love story on television right now?

–Lots of rolling up of sleeves in this episode. Again, nothing ever is a coincidence on this show. Everything conveys something.

–Marty’s tackle of Rust was better than anything the NFL Network showed from the Combine all weekend.

–Terry Guidry, yet another authentic Cajun in this episode. And it’s the second stranger in two weeks who’s told Rust he may have to hurt him.

–After ten years: “Marty.” “Rust.” Love it.

4. So Long, Sochi

The Bear pokes fun at itself? Nicely done, Russia.

The Sochi Olympics, in which Canada ruled the beer sports (hockey, curling) and the USA ruled the stoner sports (anything -cross or -pipe). Also, the Olympics during which a neighboring country’s ruler was overthrown. Also, Team USA claimed the most BRONZE medals. Go, America! Will anything have a greater legacy to Americans’ than Bob Costas’ eye infection? I wonder.

5. Boeheim Watch

People are criticizing Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim for losing it with his team only down two in the final minute at Cameron. I get it. But this wasn’t an NCAA tournament game and, calculated or not, Boeheim sent a powerful message both to officials (be consistent) and his players (I’ve got your backs). Me, I thought Syracuse got hosed more on the previous blocking foul call than on the charge against C.J. Fair (who, by the way,s stepped out of bounds as he caught the pass, but the refs never noticed). The Fair call could have gone either way, it was that close.

Reserves

So, Alec Baldwin is retiring from public life? Jack Donaghy makes some excellent points here –and crucifies MSNBC honcho Peter Griffin –but when you wind up bickering with that many people in that many different arenas, well… (We now pause for the pot to call the kettle black).

****

I saw the final play of the Knicks’ season on Friday night. It was when, with the score tied 113-113 in the first overtime in Orlando –after the Carmelos blew a 14-point second-half lead–Tyson Chandler missed a go-ahead dunk because it bounced off his head and ricocheted up and out of the cylinder. Did Chandler style just a tad much on the play? I thought so.

The Knicks should be a top-five team in the East. Carmelo is one of the three to five best players in the NBA, when he wants to be. Tim Hardaway, Jr., is going to be a stud. If J.R. Smith gave half a rat’s ass, he could be the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. And Amar’e and Tyson still have something left in their tank.

This is just a team that takes on the demeanor of its best player, which is to to be loose and careless. You know who the Knicks are? They’re that kid who’s so smart that he can get away with waking up at 6 a.m. the morning of the exam  to begin studying and still pass it. Except that eventually comes a day when the kid wakes up and thinks the exam is at 10 a.m. but it’s actually at 8 a.m. Those are your New York Knicks.

The Hall

Charter Inductees: Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner

1937:  Tris Speaker, CF; Cy Young, P ; 1938: Grover Cleveland Alexander, P; Eddie Collins, 2B;1939:Nap Lajoie, 2B; Joe Jackson, LF; 1940: Billy Hamilton, OF; Cap Anson, 1B; 1941: Wee Willie Keeler, RF; George Sisler, 1B; 1942: Rogers Hornsby, 2B; Pie Traynor, 3B; 1943: Mickey Cochrane, C; Frankie Frisch, 2B 1944: Ed Walsh, P; Old Hoss Radbourn, P 1945: Lou Gehrig, 1B; Kid Nichols, P 1946: Ed Delahanty, LF; Lefty O’Doul 1947: Pud Galvin, P; John McGraw, INF 1948: Carl Hubbell, P; Addie Joss, P 1949: Harry Heilman, OF/1B; Monte Ward, P/SS

Walter Johnson, alias “The Big Train”, and the only Hall of Famer whose full name has all the same letters, almost in order, as your author’s (plus an “on”)

1950: Cool Papa Bell, CF; Jimmie Foxx, 1B 1951: Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown, P; Josh Gibson, C 1952: Paul Waner, RF; Charlie Gehringer, 2B 1953: Mel Ott, RF; Hank Greenberg, 1B1954: Eddie Plank, P; Dan Brouthers, 1B 1955: “Wahoo” Sam Crawford, OF; John Clarkson, P1956: Chief Bender, P; Bill Dickey, C 1957: Sam Rice, RF; Joe DiMaggio, CF 1958: Bill Terry, 1B; Heinie Manush, LF 1959: Dizzy Dean, P; Tim Keefe, P 1960: Gabby Hartnett, C; Mickey Welch, P1961: Bob Feller, P; Ducky Medwick, LF 1962: Luke Appling, SS; Jesse Burkett, LF 1963 Jackie Robinson, 2B; Zack Wheat, LF 1964: Jake Beckley, 1B; Rube Waddell, P 1965: Ralph Kiner, 1B, Lefty Grove, P

1966

Ted Williams, LF; 1939-1942, 1946-1960, Boston Red Sox

The last man to hit .400 in a season (.406 in 1941), Teddy Ballgame is baseball’s all-time leader in On-Base Percentage (.4817) and seventh in batting average, .3444. Every hitter above him on the list was born in the 19th century. Williams, a 17-time All-Star who twice won the Triple Crown,  is simply the best hitter of the modern era. Only three years of military service as a pilot in World War II prevented him from reaching 3,000 hits (2,654). Fittingly, he homered in his final career at-bat, in Fenway Park.

Smoky Joe Wood, P/OF; 1908-1922, Boston Red Sox, Indians

The great Walter Johnson himself said there was no one alive who could throw harder than Smoky Joe.

Wood is the first player to appear on this list who is not actually in the Hall of Fame, and there’s another player –from this same era–who first pitched for the Red Sox only to play outfield for another American League team, but he is deserving. First, in 1912 he went 34-5 with a 1.91 ERA, 10 shutouts and a no-hitter. He won three games in that year’s World Series for the victorious Red Sox, including striking out 11 New York Giants in one game. For his career Wood was 117-57 with a 2.03 ERA. As a batter he hit .283.

 Remote Patrol

Late Night with Seth Meyers

NBC 12:35 a.m.

While Jimmy Fallon subscribes to the Elvis Method of late-night (“A little less talk, a little more action”), expect Meyers, 40, to be a little more akin to Conan and Dave. He’s not a performer, he’s a writer who is good-looking and personable. Fallon is the guy at the party who’s always on. Seth is the guy you’ll have the 15-minute conversation with about what the dining hall serves for breakfast.

2 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Monday, February 24

  1. I’d like to throw an asterisk marked flag on the statement that Joe Wood is the first player in the JW HOF who isn’t in the real Hall. You inducted Shoeless Joe who isn’t in the Hall for outlandis reasons. Then there’s Joe McCarthy who you inducted, but is technically in the Hall as a manager and not player.

  2. I’m not yet able (‘due to time constraints’ as ESPN’s repeat NBAcasts like to say) to write up my Sochi Synopsis, but I’ll give you this :

    Shani & Shawn. Meryl & Charlie. What did we learn? That the Olympic gods decreed only one DAVIS & WHITE could come up Gold in these Games.

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