by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Chapter 34,692 of “Why I Love Animals So Much.” This is dedicated to our friend AIR who lost a special canine friend yesterday.

Starting Five

Nationals’ League!

Finally, a D.C. phenomenon they’ll write books about that has no concern with the presidency. The Washington Nationals faced five elimination games this postseason, and trailed in all five of them, including the wildcard game that heralded this October playoff season and last night’s Game 7 of the World Series (in both they trailed after the sixth inning) and won all five.

They became the first team to win all four World Series games on the road. They won despite losing their best offensive player, Bryce Harper, to free agency last winter. In Games 6 and 7 they faced former Cy Young Award winners, Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke, and they still won.

Now, about Game 7: Yes, Zack Greinke was working on a two-hitter in the 7th when A.J. Hinch gave him the hook. He’d just given up a one-out home run to Anthony Rendon and a walk to Juan Soto. And so in hindsight, sure, leave Greinke in to face Howie Kendrick. Instead, Hinch lifts Greinke in favor of Will Harris who on his second pitch gives up the go-ahead home run (which struck the right-field foul pole) to Kendrick. 3-2, Nats, who’d go on to win 6-2.

Howie’s go-ahead homer spelled doom in Houston

Blame Hinch if you like, but the Astros’ bats simply stopped producing, AT HOME, when it mattered: Houston did not score a run after the first inning in Game 6 and not a run after the fifth inning in Game 7. In three of its four home losses the Astros scored 3 or fewer runs and only one after the fifth inning, that one a meaningless ninth inning run in Game 2 when they already trailed 12-2.

It was symbolic that the top of the order came to bat last night in the bottom of the ninth—George Springer, Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley—and they all went down meekly via an infield fly and two strikeouts (swinging), respectively.

This entire run began four weeks ago and one day ago when Juan Soto’s eighth inning single somehow found its way past the glove of Milwaukee Brewer right fielder Trent Grisham when Washington trailed 3-2. Instead of a game-tying single it was a go-ahead single plus an error. And the magic had begun.

Washington becomes the first franchise to win four road World Series games. It becomes the first since 1914 (the Boston Braves) to be 12 games under .500 during the season and come back and win the World Series. And it’s a great career landmark for Max Scherzer, who typified this team’s Natitude when he broke his nose during batting practice in June and came back the following day to pitch seven shutout innings. Last night, with a cortisone shot in his back, Mad Max allowed two early runs and then settled down to give the Nats five strong innings.

He typified this team’s resilience and (don’t say it, JW!) grit all season. Congrats, Nats!

Stick To Hostile Takeovers

A peek at why blogging promotes such a healthy lifestyle (I believe that is Petchesky, with beard, in the back)

The memo, distributed to Deadspin staffers on Monday by new corporate vampire bosses G/O Media put it plainly: ““Where such subjects touch on sports, they are fair game for Deadspin. Where they do not, they are not.”

Of course, as the site’s guild pointed out accurately in its rebuttal a day or two later, “Stick to sports” is really a dog-whistle for “Do not speak truth to power.” And while the site that Will Leitch founded in 2005 has/had its flaws, it definitely yearned to speak truth to power.

On Tuesday G/O Media fired top editor Barry Petchesky, a workhorse and a writers’ type of editor. They thought they’d cut off the head. But, in a surprising and heroic move, particularly for 2019, the rest of the staff undertook an “I am Spartacus!” moment and resigned en masse yesterday. This morning the site’s top writer for years, Drew Magary, followed suit.

Will there even be a Deadspin going forward? Will G/O Media advertise for “expert writers” and will those writers take the jobs? Is Deadspin, well, dead?

While we salute Deadspin‘s staff for its heroism, we cannot help but wonder why the staff at SI did not do this earlier this month (or was it last month? Who can recall?). When Maven literally fired HALF of SI’s staff in one afternoon, why didn’t the other half walk out the door in unity? I understand, men and women have bills to pay, private-school tuitions and mortgages, etc.

But, among us journalists, the gesture of the Deadspin staff will not be forgotten. Maybe in a Lt. Col. Vindman world, they were reminded and inspired to do the right thing. Look at me, not sticking to sports.

Finally, from The American President:

“Do you fight the fights you can win? You fight the fights that need fighting.”

“Is the view pretty good from the cheap seats, A.J.?”

Twitter Blasts Facebook

Yesterday Facebook reported its quarterly earnings after the bell. That same afternoon, but earlier, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that his ginormous social media site will no longer accept political ads.

A timely strike, aimed perhaps on making america great again (small letters) but also at Mark Zuckerberg’s blatant disingenousness. Last week Zuckerberg appeared before Congress and behaved as if his site’s running of political ads, though not vetted for truth or accuracy, was a free speech issue as opposed to a collect ad revenue issue.

This morning, Aaron (not Andrew Ross) Sorkin had a few words to say about that in The New York Times. You must read this, as Sorkin sets up a fool-proof argument so as to hoist Z on his own petard in the closing sentence.

Load Management

Week 2 of the NBA season:

–The MVP of the NBA Finals, Kawhi Leonard, sits on the first night of a back-to-back (and what would be a 3 games in four nights stretch) in Utah. Reason? Load management.

–The Rockets beat the Wizards, 159-158, as James Harden goes off for 59 points.

–Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid, a pair of seven-footers playing for undefeated teams, go full wrasslin’ in Philly. Both players are too smart to throw a punch.

–The Suns take a 29-point first half lead on Golden State in San Francisco and hold on to win, 121-110. Stephen Curry breaks his left hand. The Dubs are 1-3 and allowing 126.3 points per game.

Five Films: 1945

By this point in her career Bergman had already played a love interest opposite Bogey, Charles Boyer, Gary Cooper and here Gregory Peck
  1. The Lost Weekend Best Picture Oscar winner stars Ray Miland as an alcoholic writer in New York City. I consider this an aspirational film. 2. Brief Encounter Director David Lean would go on to make beautiful films (e.g., Lawrence of Arabia) but here he makes a film about two married people who meet at a railroad station and fall in love. Strangers On A Train Platform, but no one gets murdered 3. Anchors Aweigh (Are you happy Susie B.?) Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra (skinny) on shore leave together in Hollywood, singin’ and dancin’, which is not to be confused with On The Town, where the two were on shore leave in New York (New York!), singin’ and dancin’. This is the one where Gene dances with an animated Tom ‘n Jerry, in case you had thought Paula Abdul came up with the idea first 4. Leave Her To Heaven Gene Tierney, never lovelier, never crueler. If you’re looking for a “comes in threes” film package, this, A Place In The Sun (1951) and The Godfather II all offer cautionary tales about going boating on a lake with just one other person. 5. Spellbound Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman in an Alfred Hitchcock thriller. Try to keep me away.

5 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. OMG! OMG! OMG!

    “Weeeeee are the champions,
    Noooo time for loooosers
    ‘Cause WEEEE are the CHAMPIONS of the WOOOORRRRLD!” 🙂 🙂 🙂

    So, so happy for the team & the looooooong-suffering fans of the Nats & for the entire DMV – we NEED a little happy after livin’ in this freakin ‘war zone’ the past 33 months.
    Just as for Game 6, I clicked back & forth to ESPN all night to catch the score. Finally, when it got to the 9th inning, I clicked on to the game & worried the entire time if I would JINX them! Man, until that last out, I was a basket case! And I kept trying to remember if you’d ever written about some team down 6-2 in the 9th that came back & WON the game! (Has there been? I figured it was possible, so I sweated it out like everyone else in the DMV!)

    Man, 1st the Caps, then the Mystics, now the Nats! Just call us the “city of champions & that god awful football team”. 🙂

    Tough, er, break for Curry. (sorry, it was just there). No, really, I feel for him. However, what did I say awhile back about the sporting gods looking to “right” things? (Pay attention, Patriots fans, you’re next!) I’m looking forward to hearing from that one owner, the one that crowed how THEY were sooooo much smarter than EVERYONE else in the NBA & had it allllll figured out. Darn, what is his name? Begins with an “L”. Well, chalk one up for the SGs & a big 0 for that guy. And that this is happening AFTER ditching their lifelong Oakland fans & in that new fancy-schmancy arena across the bay in front of all the tech gazillionaires? LOL! Chalk TWO up for the SGs!

  2. Anyone blaming A.J. Hinch for the Astros’ loss is either in the talk radio business or just not paying close enough attention. None of his decisions turned that game.

    The team that hit more homers was 7-0 in the World Series, and 26-6 in the playoffs. In 2019, it may not be much more complicated than that.

    Baseball, of course, has the most random of postseasons. A few plays go differently over the last few weeks and we are sitting here today looking back at a Brewers-Yankees World Series, or Dodgers-Rays. Houston went 65-22 at home through the ALCS and lost then four straight at home in the World Series. They had they best team slugging percentage in MLB history, but in their four home losses in the Series they went 4-for-29 with runners in scoring position. So do you want to say they “faltered on the big stage” or that “the Nationals wanted it more”? Nah — a few balls land differently in the last few innings of a six-month season and the Astros are the champs.

    Grit, karma, destiny, etc., forget about that. If you want to take a life lesson from baseball, it’s this — sh** happens.

  3. 1945 films : (1st, glad to see the musical is finally getting some jdubs’ luv), Mildred Pearce (Joan Crawford’s shoulder pads alone deserved an Oscar), They Were Expendable (John Wayne, WWII, what else do you need to know?) , The Spanish Main (nobody looked better in a corset than Maureen O’Hara & Paul Henreid went against typecasting & is an ACTION star in this one!), & one of my fave ‘Old Hollywood’ Xmas movies – Christmas in Connecticut with Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan & Sydney Greenstreet). 🙂

    Speaking of a “load”…. I was looking over the Lakers schedule last night (no, I will not be watching any game except the one where LBJ passes Kobe for #3 on the ALL-TIME SCORING LIST, which should happen in 2nd half of January I think & thus, I keep track of Sweet Pea’s stats in every game so I know when it’s coming) & I noticed a WEIRD (as in “ARE THEY KIDDING?!”) scheduling snafu – up until around 11/22, almost all Laker games are at home! And then, for the entire next month, they are on 3 almost back-back road trips! For the ENTIRE MONTH! I don’t think I’d ever noticed something like that for the Heat or Cavs when LBJ played with them. Do other NBA teams have (almost) MONTH LONG road trips?! Humphf, I call that a LOAD of, er, crap!

    BTW, I saw LeBron in an interview snippet the other night & he’s trimmed back that awful beard! 🙂 And I swear, he looks like he has MORE hair on the top of his head! Did he have some kind of hair ‘procedure’ over the summer? His body is still looking spectacularly good, especially for an NBA “old man”, soon to be 35 in 2 months. I was thinking that in “NBA years”, this means LBJ & I are now the same age. The “transfer portal” is but a few years away for both of us. 😉

  4. I just saw a screen grab of CNN that ERRONEOUSLY stated “Washington Nationals Bring Divided City Together”. This is infuriating. Let me set the record straight – 93% of DC voters voted for Clinton in 2016. The rest of the DMV also voted in a huge majority for Clinton. There are TWO things that UNITE almost all in the DMV : our hatred for Donald Trump & Daniel Snyder. Only the interlopers, the GOP politicians & their flunkies from OUTSIDE this area (& they are a small minority) keep it from being a landslide. And since they don’t vote here, they literally “don’t count”.

    And speaking of those interlopers, I see that NOT ONE of those Neo-Nazis in the House adhered to their vow today to support the Constitution & move forward with an impeachment inquiry of a bigger THREAT to this country than any “terrorists”. Now that I think about it, Donald Trump is a terrorist. His fraudulent occupation of the WH terrorizes me every freakin day.

  5. Do your home town Arizona Diamondbacks get any love for providing the champs (and runner ups for that matter) with key pitching? If the Dbacks mgmt was not so cheap/inept, we’d probably have a different champ.

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