by John Walters

Starting Five

Snake Shack

One…two…three…perhaps as many as four Surrender Cobras spotted wearing German uniforms during its 2-0 defeat to South Korea. Let the schadenfreude begin! Here’s the deal: with Mexico crumbling 3-0 to Sweden, all the defending World Cup champions needed to do was beat South Korea. Which entered the match 0-2.

Ozil: the illegitimate grandson of Peter Lorre says, “Rick! Rick! You’ve got to hide me, Rick!”

Instead, Germany allowed a goal off a corner kick in stoppage time and then an empty netter. Auf wiedersehen.

2. Summer of Dictators Continues

In June it was Kim Jong-Un. Now, on July 16, one day after the World Cup final in Moscow, President Trump will meet Vladimir Putin in Moscow for a summit. The two will reportedly discuss whether Kawhi and LeBron can coexist in Los Angeles.

3. Civility Wins! (In the Detroit Tiger Clubhouse)

You can still say anything demeaning you want about anyone if you’re the President of the United States (or a blogger!), but that sh*t won’t fly in the Detroit Tiger clubhouse. The franchise fired pitching coach Chris Bosio yesterday for making a demeaning remark to a member of the staff. No one is sure exactly what or to whom Bosio’s remark was about, but  the former Major League hurler who once threw a no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway is gone.

Bosio, 55, was also the Chicago Cubs pitching coach when they won the World Series two years ago.

4. The Gallopin’ Grandma

This is Emma Gatewood, the first woman to solo the Appalachian Trail and complete it. The year was 1955 and by that time Gatewood was already 67 years old and had given birth  to 11 children. She was  already a great-grandmother.

Gatewood is profiled in a new feature in The New York Times called “Overlooked,” in which  obituaries are written about people who are long dead but may have been somewhat, um, overlooked at the time of their passing (yours or mine should be appearing in the year 2132).

Walk on, Emma. Walk on….

Why she took to hiking is an intriguing story that I’ll leave you to find out for yourself. But she was the first woman to hike the 2,050-mile trail, the first person of either gender to do so multiple times (three in all), and by the time she died at the age of 85, she’d also hiked the 2,000-mile Oregon Trail.

If you’re thinking, Maybe she just couldn’t stand to be around her husband…you’re right.

5. L.A.Bron?

So you think Brentwood? Or should I pull a Kobe and copter in from Newport Beach?

We’ll know by the end of the day tomorrow, right? LeBron James either opts to remain in Cleveland or to become a free agent, no? Our guess is that, while Utah is the better fit and Philadelphia is his best bet for returning to the NBA Finals (to lose) a couple more times and that Boston would say, “Thanks, not interested,” our guess is that he follows his manifest destiny and heads to Los Angeles.

He already has two homes there, he wouldn’t be the first superstar to don a Laker jersey at the peak of his career or later (Wilt, Kareem, Shaq, Karl, Gary, to name a few), and that the Lakers just have the mystique.

Exclusive look at Laker preseason scrimmage

And if you think this is all just a ploy to inveigle Susie B. to return to the Comments section, well, maybe you’re correct.

Would LeBron (now L.A. Bron or LeBrea) insist on joining the Lakers on the condition that they acquire Kawhi Leonard? Perhaps. Remember, Kawhi grew up in the L.A. area and it seems as if he just wants to go home. A Laker team of LeBron, Kawhi and Kyle Kuzma would certainly be an upgrade, but they’d still be lacking enough dead-eye three-point shooters (sure, LeBron is a terrific three-point shooter, but he needs a marksman to dish off to when he’s doubled).

Kuzma averaged 16.1 and 6.3 as a rookie. He was arguably the steal of the draft. Do NOT lose this kid.

Notice I didn’t mention Lonzo Ball. He’s a good player and his shooting will (MUST) improve, but he’s not indispensable. And I’ve gotta think L.A. Bron would not exactly mind if LaVar were not around. Magic Johnson is enough off-court hot air for one NBA franchise.

But if the Lakers deal Kuzma to get Kawhi, they’re making a fatal error. They’d be dealing a taller, younger, less traumatized version of Kawhi to get Kawhi.

Also, I don’t know that you need Paul George. Just another limousine parked outside of Katsuya, know what I mean?

Music 101

Beautiful Sunday

Did you order the one-hit wonder? Well, here it is. Daniel Boone‘s 1972 ode to the sabbath, which is pretty much the polar opposite of Johnny Cash’s classic “Sunday Morning Coming Down” (written by Kris Kristofferson), peaked at No. 1 in four countries and went to No. 15 in the U.S. The British musician’s real name is Peter Green.

Remote Patrol

World Cup

England vs. Belgium

2 p.m. Fox

Citizen Kane

They’re both through to the Round of 16, but who cares? They don’t like each other, plus Harry Kane of England is in the lead for the Golden Boot (most goals.). You have to think Belgium will hold out Lokaku.

9 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. per the England-Belgium game, you should read a column on the Ringer about the tiebreaker. Basically while both teams are through, the 2nd place team actually goes to the easier side of the draw than the 1st place team. If the two teams tie, because of all the tie-breakers being equal, it goes to how many yellow+red cards the teams have. That is whoever has less would be number one. So the piece makes the point (jokingly) that the teams should try to get yellow cards in order to finish 2nd. Or just throw the game, but that is too obvious. Funny read.

  2. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to HOLD ONE’s BREATH FOR 2 FRIGGIN WEEKS & try to, er, function? Ain’t easy! And it’s not just that! It’s felt like I’ve had one of those ACME anvils hanging over my head for these weeks & even the entire past year, just waiting & dreading for LBJ to slink off into the western sunset. I HATE IT! And you know what, it’s a MISTAKE! I think *I* am LeBron James’ good luck charm! I start watching & BOOM, he wins his 1st championship, then his 2nd, & eventually his 3rd, all while going to 7 straight Finals (ok, sure, he went to 2 Finals before me, but did he win a ring? He did not!). Hence, I am his good luck charm! 🙂 And I WON’T be watching LBJ in a Lakers uniform! (Or Clippers).

    Thank goodness the WC has been distracting me somewhat. I watched the last Belgium game because you said they were your fave team & well, I like them too! 🙂 They & England are my 2 faves. As for the pre-WC media designated ‘4 Favorites’ (Brazil, Spain, Germany & France), NONE of them have seemed impressive to me! Germany deserved to lose & I won’t be shocked if none of them reach the Final. As for FOX, the late-night show has gotten MUCH better the past week because they added a REAL host. However, I’m furious with FOX because since Monday, they haven’t (& won’t at least for the rest of the week) re-broadcast any of that day’s games at night so I have not been able to see! WHY would they do that?!

    About the USA Track & Field Championships – I was disappointed. I watched almost all the coverage (until the nearby lightening strike halted Sunday’s live show) & while the athletes that were THERE did well, so many of the ‘name’ track stars were not even competing. PLUS, the event itself was flat! Heck, the Diamond League events this spring-summer have had more sparkle. Part of the “flatness” of course is because over HALF the stands were empty (reminded me of pathetic 2016 RIO!), but the organizers could have done a MUCH better job of “producing” the event into a big deal. Question – are you surprised at Shelby Houlihan’s sudden emergence as a 1500 winner? She’s 25 so not exactly a youngster & I don’t remember her challenging our Jenny in the event before, let alone beating her. Maybe I just haven’t noticed her in that event till now? Don’t get me wrong, the more talented runners we have, the better, I just get suspicious at any sudden athletic emergence.

    Speaking of a “suspicious” athletic event – the Tour de France gets a VERY late start this year (not till July 7th!) & OUTRAGEOUSLY, Chris Froome is being allowed to compete. For those unaware, 2 MONTHS AFTER last year’s Vuelta in Aug-Sept, it was revealed he tested positive for using 3-4 times the allowable amount of an asthma drug (you can’t move a foot & not run into a asthma “sufferer” in sports such as cycling & XC skiing….yeah, ok). He SHOULD have been suspended & not been able to ride again until his case completed the conviction process, but nope, he not only has not been suspended a day, he rode & won the freakin Giro in May. I’ve thought that team was dirty since DAY ONE & even though much has now been revealed about them, they are somehow still able to compete at all the events. The fact that their team finances are 3-10 times that of every other top-level cycling team, I’m SURE has nuthin to do with it…

  3. One more thing – can anybody explain WHY Kawhi wants to be a Laker? Sure, he’s from LA but he says NOTHING to the press (or fans) & to be on a team that is SHOWBIZ central with media hounding you every day to win the next championship ASAP, I am flummoxed why he thinks that would be a good fit for him.

    And I loved your Peter Lorre mention. 🙂 1st, it’s true, the kid looks uncanny like PL & 2nd, is there a millennial who knows who Lorre is? 🙂 Ok, for all you with your hands up, name another PL movie besides Casablanca! 😉

    • Susie B.,

      This is a great point. It is said that Kawhi (his “people”) feels like his brand isn’t being capitalized in San Antonio, yet he doesn’t post on any social media platforms or do, well, anything. Feels to me that Kawhi is trying to be someone he is not, which will most likely bite him in the butt. I’m all for power of the player, but I feel like this is going to mirror the Kobe, Nash & Howard Lakers rather than it will the Kobe & Shaq Lakers.

      I’d like to think LeBron is smart enough to see all of this, but we shall see.

      • Kawhi should play with Sweet Pea in CLEVELAND! He’d never have to say a word to the media & no one would even notice. 🙂

        And you’re right – it’s nutty if Kawhi is suddenly worried about his “brand” when he makes NO (or little) attempts to connect with fans/media/sponsors. I think I’ve only seen ONE commercial ever with Kawhi. I actually have no problem with a player who doesn’t want to fool with the “frills” of the NBA life but a Laker who won’t talk to the media day after day after day will be crucified by them & their fans.

  4. Speaking of the Appalachian Trail (which is not on my bucket list), I highly recommend “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson, the son of a sportswriter from Des Moines, Iowa. It was a great adventure into the unknown, and I can’t wait to dig into Emma’s story. Thanks for sharing!

  5. jdubs – while I like both ENG & BEL, I’ve (co) rooted for ENG since 1998 & hope they, er, finish 2nd in their group as their path forward would be much easier! It’s HT right now, the score is tied & BEL is “ahead” with 2 yellow cards! England’s either going to have to start sliding into a bunch of Belgians or, er, accidentally “own goal” it. Or would that get them into trouble?

    • Good news, Eng did not have to resort to such, er, “underHANDed tactics”, they lose fair & square. Which means Eng faces Columbia next. Won’t be easy but I think they can beat them. And if they do, they face either Sweden or Switzerland (with the cute boy-band goalie). Both beatable by England & easier than Brazil (especially now that they have their confidence back & Neymar’s hair under control). 🙂

      Plus, I think Belgium can beat Japan & Brazil (&/or Mexico), so both my fave teams could get at least to the Semi-Finals! Whoo-hoo!

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