by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

If this pooch hires Sarah Sanders as his press secretary…

Starting Five

Manny San Diegan

What’s Spanish for “Not worth it?” The San Diego Padres just rewarded shortstop Manny Machado with THE LARGEST FREE AGENT CONTRACT IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN SPORTS—for now. Ten years and $300 million, but that’s just the figure  Bryce Harper, a more attractive free agent, can lay at his prospective employers’ feet as they, too, explore free agency.

Machado, 26, hit 27 home runs with 107 RBI last season while not finishing in the top 100 in WAR ratings. Moreover, where sabermetrics don’t really venture, Machado has a sullen nature that seem not to make for a jubilant clubhouse. At best, he’s aloof. What have the Padres paid for? A slightly less affable Robinson Cano.

May we please bring these uniforms back to San Diego?

Granted, Cano was five years older when he signed with the Mariners in 2013, but in five seasons he has put together three All-Star campaigns while Seattle has appeared in zero postseason game. Granted also, the Padres have a bounty of hot young prospects. The problem is, Machado has never struck us much as a leader and that is part of what the Padres are paying him to be. A 10-year face of the friar franchise. It’s not fair to attempt to compare him with Tony Gwynn, sure, but can he at least try to be Benito Santiago?

2. He Doth Protest Too Much (> 1,100 Times)

The latest scathing report by the not-failing New York Times is the product of two years of Trumpian tactics of intimidation, pressure and humiliation on those who would dare to investigate him (i.e., do their jobs). Sounds as if somebody watched The Godfather and The Godfather II. And if you don’t think you have time or the stamina to read the entire thing, the NYT even provided a Cliff’s Notes version with four bite-size takeaways.

Flynn, Manafort, Cohen, Papadopoulos, Stone (more to come): This is the man who is actually draining the swamp

You don’t have to read the story, but click on it because the opening photo (not shown here) by Doug Mills is worthy of a Pulitzer. We did read the story, and while it’s easy to get lost in the legal and political jargon, this, like all Trumpian issues, distills down to schoolyard behavior: the class bully, under intense scrutiny by his peers, attempts to turn the tables by publicly accusing them of being the bullies. That’s all any of this is: the best defense is to go on offense.

3. In Haarms’ Way

Purdue won at Indiana’s Assembly Hall for the third time in a row, a first for the Boilermakers, thanks to a late tip-in by 7’3″ Dutch center Matt Haarms. The gang in Bloomington had been yelling “F**k Haarms” most of the second half after he was T’ed up. But he got the last laugh, reaching over a Hoosier defender for the decisive tip-in in the 48-46 win. The Boiler Up crew is now surprisingly in first place in the B1G. Matt Painter is a terrific coach.

Hoosier hotshot frosh Romeo Langford did not even attempt a shot in the second half, which will inspire thousands of “Wherefore Art Thou” tweets…

4. It’s Not That I’m Lazy, I Just Don’t Care

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the release of Office Space, and besides Mike Judge and his film never getting their due at the time for its greatness and prescience, he probably deserves a residual from every episode of The Office, both BBC and NBC versions, that appeared later. Damn, it feels good to be a gangster.

No one under the age of 60 has ever sat in a cubicle or worked in an office park or looked at an Excel spread sheet and not seen and/or quoted this film. And who knew Gary Cole was this funny? Here’s The Ringer with an oral history

5. Back To The Salt Mimes

Another late-to-the-game entry, but we really enjoyed this performance by comic magician Matt Edwards on Britain’s Got Talent a few years back. He reminds us a little of Smeagol (and not his alter-ego Gollum) from the Lord Of The Rings films.

You can feel the skepticism from Simon early on. The act takes awhile to build. But eventually Simon, too, is won over.

Edwards made it to the semi-finals, eventually finishing 2nd in the Public Vote.

Music 101

Loves Me Like A Rock

Despite that unfortunate ‘do, Paul Simon served up pop hits for a quarter-century and extended his career another 25 years before finally exiting late last summer (to retirement, not death). This was from an early Seventies appearance on the NYC-based Dick Cavett Show, where the Queens native was a frequent guest. Notice, it’s around 15 years before Graceland and Simon—no dummy—is already surrounding himself with African-American side musicians and backup singers.

So plentiful have the hits been for Simon that you might be surprised to learn that this 1973 tune, not one that fans immediately mention, peaked at No. 2 on the charts.

Remote Patrol

North Carolina at Duke

9 p.m. ESPN

The Heels’ Nassir Little is raw but athletic and gifted. Kind of like a sane version of Vernon Maxwell.

Scalpers are asking in the ‘hood of $2,500 a ticket for tonight’s battle at Cameron Indoor. That’s the Zion Effect, as the Tar Heels (20-5) are not quite the powerhouse that won the national championship just two seasons ago, but they’ll be up for their first of two scheduled meetings with their top-ranked Tobacco Road neighbors (22-2) . Former President Obama will be in attendance, as will good friends of ours who have front row baseline seats.

2 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. as I am sure you know, Cano is now a Met because he didn’t fulfill that contract.

    EW also did a write up on Office Space. Aniston was a must have because they needed box office appeal

  2. It didn’t sound right that Machado wouldn’t be in the top 100 in WAR so I looked it up. While he is not listed in the ESPN top 100, that has to be a mistake. His WAR of 5.7 would put him at 23 on the list.

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