by John Walters

Starting Five

Here Come Da Judge

How did New York Yankee right fielder Aaron Judge celebrate his 25th birthday last night? By hitting a home run and making a Jeets-style hustle catch, going into the seats, at Fenway Park. The Yankees, THHHHHEEEEEE Yankees win, 3-1.

Is a new Yankees-Red Sox rivalry brewing? Bob Klapisch believes so.

2. ESPN Layoffs

Those were the days....

Those were the days….

I was thinking about this yesterday: In May of 1995 two friends from Sports Illustrated and I embarked on a crazy, ambitious tour of Europe (What were we thinking???). Anyway, near the end of the trip my good friend Dave Gabel, a Houston Rockets diehard, and I, a Phoenix Suns, fan had seen enough museums and slow wait-staff service and were completely obsessed with finding out how our favorite teams were doing against one another in the playoffs.

But how to find out? There was no cable TV. There was no internet. There were no cell phones. We  didn’t want to spend the money to find a phone to call the USA. We were in Paris and could not find a sports bar that aired the games. So each morning we’d head out to find the International Herald Tribune and search for the scores. Or maybe it was the USA Today. Anyway, that day’s edition of the paper would only have the USA sports scores from two days earlier, which is why we dubbed it the “USA Todays Ago” (get it? Yes, you do.)

Anyway, that was the world in which ESPN thrived. But we no longer live in that world. Twitter and your phone has made ESPN’s “sports nation” concept mostly obsolete. The net still does excellent work: College GameDay and Scott Van Pelt‘s show come to mind.

However, it, like Sports Illustrated in the Seventies and Eighties, is never going to monopolize the sports landscape in the way it once did. That’s what yesterday’s layoffs illuminated. If all of this makes ESPN a little less hubristic, that would be a good thing.

Still, my heart goes out to anyone who lost their job and is reading this. Also, it’s a minor quibble, but I disagree with my friend Richard Deitsch’s policy of not releasing names of those fired until the people themselves announce it. Some of those names are bigger names, and that’s news, especially if your beat is sports media. Losing your job is tough—believe me, I know—but it’s no less difficult for a football or basketball coach as it is for Ed Werder or Jay Crawford. No one gave Steve Sarkisian the option of waiting until he was comfortable about discussing his dismissal before reporting it.

Also, a special shout-out to Jane McManus, whom I don’t know well, who was laid off by ESPN and then went in and taught her J-School class at Columbia University last night. That’s a tough woman. And what a lesson she provided her students.

Finally, to Brett McMurphy: a good friend and an amazingly dogged reporter. He breaks college football news before people in that school’s SID office know about it. I’m not worried about Brett’s future and in a sense am happy for him, because ESPN grossly underused him. You’re free, my friend.

I’ll have more on the layoffs in a Newsweek story later today….

3. Draft Day

Dudes We All Know You’re Never Going To Regret Having Picked: Solomon Thomas, Christian McCaffrey, Myles Garrett, O.J. Howard, Corey Davis, T.J. Watt aaaaaaaand Deshaun Watson.


I’m curious to see where Jake Butt, he of the torn ACL in the Orange Bowl, goes. The Jaylon Smith of this draft. Speaking of which, yeah, curious to see where DeShone Kizer goes. Both Kizer and Mitch Trubisky are northern Ohio kids, so I’m not going to be surprised if one of them is plucked at No. 12 by the Cleveland Browns. But if Cleveland uses the No. 1 pick on a QB, any QB, they should be relegated to the CFL and let’s bring up the Calgary Stampeders.

4. How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

Lovely and talented and Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova is out with a memoir titled Unstoppable, but that’s just what fellow pro tennis star Eugenie Bouchard wishes someone would do: Stop her.

“”I don’t think that’s right,” Bouchard said yesterday, referencing the 15-onth doping ban Sharapova, who turned 30 last week, just finished serving. “She’s a cheater and so to me, I don’t think a cheater in any sport should be allowed to play that sport again.”

Eugenie, c’mon. Russians never cheat!

5. If A Tree Falls On Bumper-To-Bumper Traffic….


I’ll take “Reasons To Live In Kansas” for $100, Alex.


Music 101

Baba O’Riley

Why does this 1971 tune from The Who have its title and not “Teenage Wasteland?” It is a combination of two of Pete Townshend’s mentors/influences, Indians spiritual master Meher Baba and musician Terry Riley. So how come it isn’t Baba Riley? I dunno, okay. Shaddup! While this song rightly belongs on any “Greatest Rock Songs” list that goes to 100, it failed to chart in the U.S. and the U.K.

Remote Patrol

The President Show

11:31 p.m. Comedy Central

I’ve been banging the drum for Donald Trump impersonator Anthony Atamaniuk for awhile now, and tonight his show makes its debut. He’s Trump, all the time. As Stephen Colbert advised him last week, “How do you expect to impersonate a right-wing blowhard night-after-night and be successful?” Ha.

5 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. That tree falling on a busy highway but seemingly managing to hit nothing has a Buster Keaton-esque quality (there you go JW, I’ve made a reference that will please that age 70+ demo you’ve been hoping to attract).

    Dear Bob Klapisch – I know the tri-state media set would like nothing more for Yankees-Red Sox to get back to its early-2000s status, but did you actually compare Aaron Judge, Greg Bird and Luis Severino to Jeter, ARod and Mo? This Yankees team was projected to be around .500, so let’s maybe wait until April is over before we get too excited.

    Interesting juxtaposition between the Klapisch article and the ESPN bit — one criticism of often voiced outside the NE corridor was that for a long time ESPN seemed to be all New York and Boston teams, all the time. Perhaps that was a bit player in the network’s slide.

  2. I am shocked at some of the people being let go by ESPN. And LIVID that self-absorbed blowhard scum like SAS not only is employed but enjoys ever growing power & income.

    Also, can you answer me how ESPN supposedly has a “LIBERAL AGENDA”? Because they fired that baseball guy for being obnoxious?

    I’ve also been pissed the last month or so after reading that ‘Mike & Mike’ will be ending soon. Apparently, Greeny is to get his OWN morning show, based in NYC. If this is Greeny’s idea, it is pure hubris. If it is some nitwit suit’s at ESPN, then they should be FIRED. The pairing of Greeny & Golic is lightning in a bottle – individually, the shortcomings of each are very apparent, but TOGETHER, they accentuate each other & like a magic trick, you no longer notice any annoying personal tics/habits of each.

    I’ll watch some of the Draft tonight mostly just to see where McCaffrey lands. Also, I’ve been an avid watcher of college football, especially these last 12 years, but I’d never heard the name Kubitsky until 3 weeks ago. How is this guy now the projected #1 QB pick & possibly #1 overall?! Is everyone in the NFL & its media suffering from group hysteria or is this guy REALLY a diamond discovered in a haystack?

  3. AMZN. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 21 more times. Looks like I’ll have a 26-bagger tomorrow!

    How soon before it cracks $1000 & then how soon before a stock split?

  4. Susie B!

    I’ve never heard of this Kubitsky guy, either! I’ll look into it. 🙂

    I’m a Manhattanite, which is to say I don’t really listen to the radio much and I NEVER EVER listen to sports radio so I’ve got no words on Greeny.

    Bully for you (and for me) on AMZN. I’m still in single-bagger territory, but I’m happy.
    I think AMZN will cross $1,000 before 4th of July (unless we start a war) and can picture Bezos getting itchy feet for 10-1 split when it climbs over $1,200. Just a guess.

    By the way, I was at the ACME in Nashville two nights ago (everyone should go once before they die to both) and my friend Randall will vouch for me, they had a “Suzy B. Blonde” beer in cans and I ordered one.

    • And I’d never heard of that guy “TRUbisky” either! Ha! Sheesh. In my defense, I just kept hearing his name on ESPN the past few weeks but had not READ any stuff on the NFL draft. I THOUGHT they were saying “KUbisky”! 🙂

      Was the beer good or at least drinkable? With that awesome name, I hope so! 🙂

      Since Nov 2011 & except during the Olympics & TDF, I’ve watched/listened to ‘Mike & Mike’ every weekday morning when I’m getting up & ready for work. I know Simmons can’t stand them or the show, but I think it’s the PERFECT AM sports talk show – updates on last night’s & upcoming games/events, phone & in-person interviews with various athletes/coaches/GMs, & some goofiness, usually supplied by the co-hosts’ opposite personalities & backgrounds. I’d almost NEVER checked ESPN in the mornings before I started watching/listening to that show & will NOT continue to just watch Greeny. Over the past 6 years, whenever one is out, there’s a sub host & there has been NO pairing even close to M&M. Adnan & Golic are good together but still not as good. I’ve read that maybe Trey Wingo will become Golic’s new co-host. He was on with Golic a few weeks ago & it was DREADFUL! I like Wingo but that pairing made BOTH boring & there was NO CHEMISTRY at all! It’s hardly a tragedy when one of your fave TV shows goes off the air, but damn, I LIKED that show & will miss it terribly.

      About McCaffrey – I’m thrilled he was picked in the Top 10, but not too happy he went to the Panthers. At least it wasn’t the hated Steelers or Cowboys.

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