The New York Post, one of the leading tabloid newspapers in the New York tri-state region, ripped ESPN, yesterday, for mistakenly putting up a picture of Aaron Hicks with the graphic, below, “Leads Active Pitchers with 249 Wins.”
Then, the Post wrote, in its accompanying article,
“Hicks, an outfielder, most certainly does not lead active pitchers with 249 wins.
Besides plainly not being Sabathia, Hicks also throws right-handed, where as Sabathia is left-handed. Sabathia didn’t pick up his milestone 250th win, as the Yankees lost, 8-5.”
HEY POST sports editorial staff, you misspelled the word, WHEREAS. Editors of newspapers and magazines know better than to go to press with your incorrect two-worded version, “WHERE AS…….Sabathia is left-handed…”
The lesson here, New York Post, is, if you’re going to rip another news provider for its errors, clean up your own house. You must know scrutiny goes both ways. Your F in spelling is not even irony. You just look plain silly.
You still have great sports writers, though, New York Post, WHEREAS, many newspapers have lost their way. So, keep up the mostly good work, New York Post.
No one is really sure if this shocker occurred because of Ruiz’ great skills in the boxing ring in beating the 6’5″, 240 pound chiseled slab of granite in Joshua. Or, if the champion, Joshua, a Brit who apparently doesn’t enjoy one of the prerequisites of his sport, getting repeatedly punched in the head, had just had enough and decided to hit the mat.
A rumor was being floated around the Garden that Joshua, new to New York City and very much a bon vivant, man-about-town who enjoys his celebrity, wanted to make sure he wasn’t late for his dinner reservations in one of Manhattan’s fancy restaurants. He knows he’ll get a rematch to regain his title belts but you never know if you can get another reservation in some NYC restaurants.
As an event, heavyweight championship fights used to be kind of a big deal, particularly in New York City or one of the Las Vegas hotels. Now, the brutality of boxing that once made it so popular has been overtaken by the even more popular and more brutal sport of MMA fighting, in which fighters not only punch each other in the head but they dropkick opposing heads and ribs, attempting to smash those body parts into unrecognizable formations of bone and sinew.
World boxing champions typically present as the epitome of physical conditioning, if not mental acuity. Andy Ruiz, the new champ of the “glamour” division in boxing, looks like he abstains from the training and road work typical of boxers as they prepare for championship matches. Ruiz, 6’1″ and 265 flabby pounds, appears to prefer his potatoes and tacos to sweat equity.
Muhammad Ali, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, George Foreman….all were great heavyweight champions. Now, you can add to that hallowed list, the name of fellow pugilist, Andy Ruiz, Jr.
So long to boxing as sport. Now, it’s become more like a freak show.
The great Starr won three NFL championships as the quarterback for the dominant NFL team of the 1960s before the Super Bowls began.
by Scott Mandel
Bart Starr, who died on Sunday at 85, ushered in the Super Bowl era, winning two championships for the Green Bay Packers. The most valuable player of Super Bowl I was Bart Starr. And the MVP of Super Bowl II? Starr, once again.
But, it’s easy to forget there were NFL championships before the Super Bowl became part of the national consciousness. And, Bart Starr won three NFL championships, in 1961, 1962, and 1965, before he won the first two Super Bowls.
A 17th round draft choice out of Bear Bryant’s University of Alabama program, Starr was slightly built, didn’t have a passing arm that anyone would mistake for a howitzer, and wasn’t fast afoot. It was no surprise he lasted until the 17th round.
But, all he did was win football games, especially when Vince Lombardi took over Green Bay as the head coach in 1959.
Over the course of their nine seasons, Lombardi and Starr knew only success. A team that had gone 1-10-1 in 1958 (0-6-1 with Starr starting) would never record a losing season under Lombardi. The Packers improved to 7-5 in 1959, played for the N.F.L. championship in 1960, and the first dynasty in NFL history was born, with Bart Starr at the helm.
The two elite quarterbacks in professional football for most of that era were John Unitas, the best forward passer of the 60s, and Starr, who engineered the legendary Lombardi’s offense to perfection.
The difference between them? Unitas had stats, and one important championship in 1956. But, Bart had multiple CHIPS.
Stuck between eras of the N.F.L., Starr won more of the league’s titles than any quarterback not named Tom Brady. The line of demarcation in NFL history tends to be pre-Super Bowl and post-Super Bowl, which began January, 1967.
In the era preceding that first Super Bowl, the game began to evolve into something resembling today’s focus on the passing game. The onset of the forward pass started to push to the side, typical NFL offenses based on the concept of “three yards and a cloud of dust,” which utilized running backs to follow the blocks of the offensive lines to essentially move the first down chains. The forward pass, back in the early 50s, had essentially been used when the running game left offenses in third and long scenarios.
The modern era, which Starr/Lombardi and Baltimore’s Johnny Unitas, coached by Weeb Ewbank, helped usher in, led the N.F.L. on a path to being America’s richest and most popular sport. And while the transition from the league’s wilder early days to its sleek and modern present would quite likely have happened without Starr, he and the Packers helped create the early blueprint for players of the soon-to-be-merged N.F.L. and A.F.L. to follow.
So this is what the Big Red Machine, the legendary Cincinnati Reds of the 1970s, must have experienced with some frequency. The guy behind the plate hitting clutch home runs for a dozen or so years to win games for those Reds of Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, George Foster, and, of course, the legendary Johnny Bench, behind the plate.
Tonight, the guys the Mets employ to catch pitches from their pitchers, also provided the Mets with all the offense they needed to defeat the Detroit Tigers, 6-5, in 11 innings in front of a near-sellout crowd at Citi Field.
Tomas Nido, the defensive-minded backup catcher and owner of a .172 batting average to go along with one home run so far, was the latest to send the injury-riddled Mets to a victory in their final at-bat, drilling a solo homer to right-center field in a 5-4, 13-inning victory over the Tigers at Citi Field.
“Amazing. First walk-off ever — hit or home run. So that was an unbelievable feeling,” said Nido, who was doused not only with Gatorade but also had a large bag of popcorn and bucket full of bubble gum dumped on him as well. “I had one in high school, but this topped it.”
Nido’s third career homer was by far the biggest hit of his short Mets career. Leading off the 13th, he drilled a 2-0 Buck Farmer fastball over the wall, clinching the Mets’ fifth win in six games. It was also the team’s fourth win in their final at-bat in their past five games, and in each of those victories the game-deciding hit was provided by an unlikely source.
“The crazy thing: That was probably the last thing I was thinking, hitting a home run there,” Nido said.
Before Nido’s heroics, the Mets’ starting catcher, Wilson Ramos, showed why the Mets gave up on Travis d’Arnaud early into this season. Ramos, who had been slumping of late, slammed two home runs, one to left center field and the other to the opposite field in right, driving in all the Mets four runs. That production alone was enough for the Mets (25-26) to hold a 4-3 lead going into the eighth.
Until Nido snapped the tie with his big blast, giving Mets catchers today a combined 4 for 6, three homers, five RBI’s, And. to add to this positively Bench-ian game from the Mets catching brigade, Ramos picked off Gordon Beckham at first base with a bullet throw the old Reds catcher would have been proud of.
Going into today’s afternoon contest against the rebuilding, Triple-A talent-level Tigers, Mets manager Mickey Callaway knew his bullpen would be short because of all the arms he had to use last night in a 9-8 loss to these same lowly Tigers.
Callaway was hoping to get five innings from today’s starter Jason Vargas, always a shaky proposition most people wouldn’t bet the farm on. But, once again, Vargas, who doesn’t top 86 mph with his fastball, was able to use his crafty, veteran control to keep the young Tigers off-balance two times through their lineup. Vargas left with a 2-1 lead, having completed five full innings.
It’s not every day you get to witness a matchup of arguably, the two best pitchers in baseball but, yesterday, at Citi Field, the Mets Jacob deGrom, the Cy Young Award winner last season, faced the Nationals’ Max Scherzer, the Cy Young winner the season before that.
Scherzer was trying to help Washington avoid a third straight loss to the New York Mets and a fourth straight loss overall, but he was matched up against right-hander Jacob deGrom, who beat him out for the 2018 NL Cy Young award.
Scherzer’s manager, Davey Martinez, told reporters before the third game of four against the Mets in Citi Field that he thought his ace would be up for the challenge.
“He’s a fierce competitor and he loves to win,” Martinez said. “There’s no other thing for him but winning, so he’s going to out there today and face an opponent that’s pretty good too, but knowing Max he’s going to gives us his best effort and go out there and try to get that win.”
Scherzer’s pitch count was high, but he tossed four scoreless on 73 pitches after the Nats jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, and he picked up three Ks in a 25-pitch fifth that left him with nine strikeouts and 98 pitches overall after five scoreless.
He came back out for the sixth and retired the Mets in order in an 11-pitch frame that ended his outing.
Joe Ross and Matt Grace combined to get the Nationals through the seventh with their 1-0 lead intact, but two runners reached against Kyle Barraclough in the eighth and three runs scored on a bases-loaded double off Sean Doolittle, who gave up a three-run home run as well in what ended up a 6-1 loss.
“Scherzer was amazing,” Martinez told reporters after the loss. “Exceeded the pitch count we thought he was going to have and gave us a chance to win and we just couldn’t close the deal.”
It was another loss for the Nationals, who’ve now dropped four straight overall, three in Citi Field, and 14 of 21 in May.
“No one likes to lose,” Scherzer said after another solid outing in which a potential win was lost in the bullpen.
“Everyone hates losing. Everyone in here hates losing, so you don’t have time to feel sorry for yourself, you play every single day, you have to come out tomorrow and just compete and there’s nothing else you can do.”
Scherzer was asked what the Nationals have to do to keep things from spiraling further out of control after they fell to eleven games under .500 with the loss to the Mets.
“When you face adversity, this is when you reveal yourself,” Scherzer said.
“Whether you have the mental fortitude to come back and know that you can block out all the negativity that’s probably going to surround us right now. You’ve got to come forward to the game with that positive attitude of knowing what you can control, knowing that you have the right mindset that you’re going to go out there and compete and compete at 100%. You have to think of all the little things you can do, and for me that’s really what I’ve been focused on in kind of the past handful of turns in the rotation, of all the little things that I can do to make sure that I’m executing pitches and make sure that I’m throwing the ball the way I want to. It just takes an individual approach when you have adversity.”
Let this be a big shout-out to the biggest reasons New York Mets manager, Mickey Callaway, is now on the hot seat, only one quarter into his second season at the helm since leaving the security of Cleveland for this metropolitan hotbed of second-guessers.
So, you, Robinson Cano. And you, Todd Frazier. And you, Wilson Ramos. Don’t be hiding out there in left field, Brandon Nimmo. You, too. And, let’s not forget Jeurys Familia, either. It’s been a horror show for the ex-Mets closer turned set-up man for the new closer, 24-year old Edwin Cruz, who also hasn’t found the rhthym on his purportedly unhittable fast ball-slider combination.
We can easily extrapolate, based on numbers alone, the Mets record, currently at 22-25 (13-21 over past 34 games) would be significantly better if the above-named culprits were producing at levels commensurate with the backs of their baseball cards.
But, they’re not.
And, Callaway is taking all of the heat for the lack of performance from his key players.
So, even though the Mets pulled out another win tonight in the bottom of the ninth inning over their division rival, Washington Nationals, they are not a team running on all cylinders and haven’t been for over 30 games and counting.
So, even though Amed Rosario beat out an infield single to send the Mets to a dramatic 6-5 walk-off victory over the Nationals at Citi Field tonight, it occurred only after Familia came in to protect a one-run lead in the eighth inning after the Mets had rallied from deficits in the seventh and eighth innings against a very poor Nationals bullpen.
On a 3-1 pitch, with runners on second and third, Rosario hit a three-hop grounder to shortstop. Trea Turner, who didn’t charge the ball. Turner waited on it, double-clutched and his throw was too late to nip the speedy Rosario at first. The on-field celebration began.
“The moment I hit that ball, I immediately thought I had to get there,” Rosario said. “I don’t know if it was the situation of the game, but I got into a full gear at that point.”
Said Callaway: “Rosie just outran the ball. We went crazy.”
Watching this Mets team roller-coaster from the highs and lows of the sport would drive anybody crazy. But, this season will not end well for Callaway or the Mets unless guys like Cano (0-4 tonight and a smattering of boos from the home crowd), Familia, Nimmo, Frazier, and Ramos match the numbers on the backs of their bubble gum cards.
Koepka is showing why he is now the most imperious player in major golf with an explosive marriage of power, finesse and ice-cool emotions
by Scott Mandel
Evolution is inevitable. Who uttered that particular piece of brilliance?
But, really, evolution, as the primary driver of societal and athletic advancement, is inevitable and shows up in every facet of our lives, with the possible exception of the “natural selection” process for the current resident in the American White House.
Charles Darwin would have gone to town on that one, but if he were alive today, he would look at Brooks Koepka and note just how correct his theories of natural selection, in the 19th century, truly were.
Koepka, the product of Florida State University who is built like a linebacker, represents the new wave of golfer on the international scene. Koepka is 6’0″, 215 pounds of pure muscle. He hits the golf ball off the tee 340 yards away, or about 20-50 yards further than the average professional golfer. Koepka is also a self-described “gym rat,” working out with the weights and machines several times per week.
Keopka has become the epitome of the evolution of the sport that once was dominated by a bunch of 165 pound genteel men with plaid pants and cute golf caps. He has brought weight-training into the sport while combining his enormous strength with meticulous technique in his golf swing and all the modern advances of golf technology.
Koepka, who tied for second at The Masters last month, credits his ability to stay on an even keel as one of his best attributes.
This combination has created a veritable monster of the Midway on the most difficult golf courses in the world. This week, Keopka is blowing away the field at the U.S. Open, one of the four major tournaments of the year. Playing on one of the most difficult courses in the country, the Bethpage, N.Y. Black Course, Koepka shot a 63 (yes, a 63!) and a 65 on his first two days.
“It’s massive,” he said. “I don’t think people realize how difficult it is and how you have to let things roll off your back, laugh about it and move on. This game tests your patience, for sure.”
Playing alongside Keopka during the first two rounds of this event was one Tiger Woods, once the heir apparent to Jack Nicklaus as the greatest golfer the world had ever seen but now, at age 43, and several back and knee surgeries into his great career, is merely one of the best golfers in the world. He is probably still a top ten performer and on some weeks, such as last month’s Masters, Woods seems capable of summoning his old talent and beating the field of youngsters on this tour, as he did in gaining his fifth green jacket. But, Woods was unable to sustain it at this major, missing the cut.
It was strange seeing Woods and Keopka, the past and the future of the sport, standing side by side during this tournament’s opening two rounds. One looked fresh and muscular and eager while the other looked like he wanted to be elsewhere.
Perhaps, when Woods watched Koepka tee off from 18 holes each of the days they were paired together, with Koepka drilling the golf ball further than Tiger ever did, it contributed to the veteran’s sense of ill-feeling It was also strange seeing Keopka out-drive Woods off the tee by 40 yards.
But, that’s evolution for you. It’s also age vs. youth.
For further comparisons sake, Nicklaus, considered the greatest golfer in the sports’ history and the winner of 18 Majors, three more than Woods, was also one of the tours longest hitters off the tee, at 5’10”, 190 pounds.
Jack, in his prime, was measured by IBM in 1968, along with other top golfers from that era for their distance off the tee. IBM recorded driving distance data at 11 PGA Tour events. The top 10 players, 51 years ago, averaged 270.2 yards, the average was 264.0 yards and Nicklaus led the Tour at 276.0 yards. Adding 35 yards for increased speed, hotter driver and better ball, IBM estimates Nicklaus would’ve averaged 311.0 last season
Evolution. It’s not just the human body that has gotten bigger and stronger, it’s the equipment and training techniques that have made today’s athlete capable of so much more than those of prior generations.
But, the combination of all of those things with Brooks Koepka’s talent and strong will is how a new champion of golf is being crowned, right here in Bethpage, New York.
The great Dave DeBusschere, the Knicks G.M. in 1985, slammed his fist in joy.
David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA, and voracious Knicks fan, announced Ewing as the number one pick in the draft of the hometown New York Knicks, followed by a crescendo of cheering from the NY draftnicks at the event in June, 1985.
And, Knicks fans thought they were getting the next Bill Russell, the Celtics center who was a shot-blocking machine and the best winner in NBA history.
Knicks fans thought they were getting the Hoya Destroyer, a 7-foot, 240 pound athletic freak who loved to play defense, block shots, and rebound, all in the pursuit of winning championships.
We all know how that turned out. As good a career as Ewing had, the Knicks never figured out that an NBA championship team needs more than one superstar to compete for the ultimate prize. LeBron James, with the Lakers last season, learned that very well, didn’t he?
Tonight’s event will excite the hell out of the winning team’s fan base, make no mistake about that. But, Zion Williamson, sure to be the ultimate prize and number one choice in the upcoming June draft, will need lots of help to turn a terrible team into a competitive one.
The Knicks hope that having the biggest star at the NBA draft lottery will bring long-awaited luck to the downtrodden franchise.
Patrick Ewing, the prize of the first-ever lottery in 1985, will represent the team which drafted him at Tuesday night’s event in Chicago, with the Knicks tied for the best odds (14 percent) of landing the No. 1 overall pick, and the rights to Duke superstar Zion Williamson.
Former rival and fellow Georgetown legend Alonzo Mourning will be representing the Miami Heat, while active players Kyle Kuzma, of the Lakers, and DeAndre Ayton, last year’s No. 1 overall pick of the Suns, will also be on stage.
From Melky Cabrera’s Milestone to Doris Day (Who was a big fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers)
Doris Day is dead at 97. Her irrepressible personality and golden voice made her America’s top box-office star in the early 1960s.
For you young’n’s, who never heard of Doris Day? Think Madonna, but with more talent. And, if you are too young to know who Madonna was, use your power of the Google to figure all this pop culture out.
Melky Cabrera, who’s been with NINE teams in MLB, nearing career milestone
Who would have predicted, back in 2005 when Melky Cabrera was first brought up by the Yankees, would get to within 109 hits of 2000? But, the Melk Man is almost there. Now on his ninth team in his 15-year major league career, Cabrera, who was always a four-tool talent (throw, hit for average, run, field, hit for some power) has 1891 hits, going into tonight’s game. But, don’t ask me which team he’s with. I’ve lost count. No, actually, he hooked up with the Pittsburgh Pirates this year.
Felicity Huffman goes solo during her court battle
Where is actor William H. Macy, spouse of actress Felicity Huffman? Have they decided it would hurt his show business career by showing public support for his wife as she goes to court every day to fight for her freedom?
NBA stars are not all from power conferences
How great is it that the key players in these last set of NBA playoffs come from schools like San Diego St., Weber St. and Lehigh? All the talk about the importance of getting one of the first three picks in the upcoming NBA draft simply doesn’t hold weight when you analyze who the stars of the league are, today. Damon Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Kawhi Leonard? All came from smallish, mid-major schools.
Inflation will be returning to the national consciousness, again. Wait, this is a sports website so, concessions at stadiums and arenas will be exploding in price by 25% or more.
Allow me to re-introduce into the national vocabulary and consciousness, the word, inflation. We are headed there, and it’s going to come quickly.
Remember that middle class tax cut of Trump’s? The one his base loved so much? We knew it was a fraud but now, watch prices of everyday items shoot up, driven by the China tariff war.
Make no mistake, it is a war with potentially, equal or greater short and long-term impact on this country than a war with bullets.
Everything will go up by 15-25%. And, electronics, like an iPhone? 25%. Headphones? 25%. Trump’s tax plan? 25% higher than pre-Trump taxes.
Someone has to pay for the 22 trillion dollar U.S. debt Trump created and his military budget, an all-time record.
Increased wages, limited as they have been, will be eaten up. Tax refunds were eaten up with the first food shopping excursion.
Remember, this guy ran NINE COMPANIES into the ground. Chapter 11, baby. He will say this is short-term, and when China capitulates (never happen), prices will fall and jobs will explode
Milton Friedman, a free-market guy who would support several of Trump’s pro-business tactics would be rolling over in his grave to see how Americans are about to get screwed by this huckster/liar.
Inflation is on the way. As Jim Carville said almost 30 years ago, “It’s the economy, stupid.”
Drake Buys 767 jet plane for $187 million. Jet is shaped like a……well, a long, cylindrical unit…
Guys used to buy expensive cars to cover up their insecurities. I guess being a rap star raises the stakes on phallic insecurity.