Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Obit watch: March 16, 2017.

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Bob Bruce. Mr. Bruce joined the Colt .45s in 1962 (he’d previously been with the Detroit Tigers) and pitched for them, winning 15 games during the 1964 season.

Of greater historical significance: when the Astrodome opened and the Colt .45s became the Houston Astros, Mr. Bruce was the starting pitcher for their opening game in the Astrodome.

In five seasons in Houston, Bruce went 42-58 with a 3.78 ERA.

Royal Robbins, noted climber. He was most famous for his advocacy of “clean” (“leave no trace”) climbing.

“I think that we were drawn to our ethical stance because it was harder that way, frankly, and I think whatever’s harder has to be better,” Robbins told Outside magazine in 2010. “That’s why I have so much respect for free soloists these days.”

I’m not sure that I buy the “whatever’s harder has to be better” philosophy, but there is a certain resonance to the meta-idea:

He added of Robbins, “His philosophy was that it’s not getting to the summit but how you do it that counts.”

gonzaga

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Once again, I’ve bet Lawrence $5 that Gonzaga will win the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

This year, though, I did it grudgingly.

It isn’t that I don’t think Gonzaga has a chance: they probably have their best chance in years. It isn’t that I didn’t want to take Lawrence’s money again, after already taking $5 from him when the Cubs won. After all, I should give Lawrence a fair chance to win his money back. And I would feel stupid if Gonzaga did win this year, and I didn’t bet.

So what’s my grudge?

Last fall, Gonzaga hired Melissa Click. Yes, that Melissa Click.

I’d be willing to agree that everyone deserves a shot at redemption. But not on my dime, and not necessarily with my active support. Also, I think part of deserving a shot at redemption involves atonement for your actions, and I haven’t seen any evidence of that from Ms. Click.

On the other hand, it wasn’t the basketball team that hired her, and should I punish them (and Lawrence) for the actions of Gonzaga’s administration? That seems unfair.

So, grudgingly, I am preparing myself to lose $5 betting on a team I can’t quite bring myself to cheer for. Life is suffering.

Obits and firings: March 10, 2017.

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Sweet Angel Divine, aka “Mother Divine”, passed away a week ago Saturday.

She was about 91. (One of the tenets of her religious movement was a disregard for chronological age.)

Mrs. Divine was the widow of Father Divine:

A charismatic preacher since the early 1900s, Father Divine — or the Rev. Major Jealous Divine, to give him his full title — declared in 1932 that he was God and attracted legions of devotees drawn by his message of racial equality, clean living, communal living and cash-only financial transactions.

One of the best things in the St. Clair McKelway collection Reporting at Wit’s End is his profile (with A. J. Liebling) of Father Divine at, more or less, the height of his empire. “Who Is This King of Glory?” might be available online, too, but when I went to the New Yorker website, it looked like you needed a subscription to read it there. In any case, I commend the McKelway/Liebling profile to your attention.

Scot McCloughan out as general manager of the Redskins.

And the Brockster out as quarterback in Houston. Speculation (both in the sports media and from people I know in Cleveland) is that the Browns aren’t going to keep him, either.

The Texans cut their losses with Osweiler after one season. He signed a four-year $72 million contract, including $37 million guaranteed, last year. Even though the Texans won the AFC South and advanced to the divisional round, he played poorly.

Edited to add: Well. The Browns have cut Bobby ThreeSticks now. And nobody thinks His Brockness is going to be asked to hang around. So who’s quarterbacking come fall? The season is closer than you think…,

Silly season.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

A few random items, some more silly than others.

  1. “I like pineapples, just not on pizza. I do not have the power to make laws which forbid people to put pineapples on their pizza. I am glad that I do not hold such power. Presidents should not have unlimited power. I would not want to hold this position if I could pass laws forbidding that which I don’t like. I would not want to live in such a country. For pizzas, I recommend seafood.”
    (I don’t have strong feelings about pineapple on pizza, but I like this guy.)
  2. Wayne Shaw is a backup goalkeeper for the Sutton United soccer team. “His own team referred to him as the Roly Poly Goalie. He is 46 years old, 6-foot-2 and somewhere around 322 pounds, or 23 stone as the British papers usually put it.” During their game against Arsenal on Monday, Mr. Shaw ate a meat pie on the sidelines. There was a spot bet that he’d do this, which paid off at 8-1.
    Problem: Mr. Shaw admitted that he was aware of the spot bet; and, while he didn’t bet personally, he was aware of other people who had. This could be considered “spot fixing”.

    On Tuesday, Shaw was forced to resign from the club after the Football Association’s gambling commission said it would investigate if consumption of the pie was a breach of betting regulations.

    (For the record, it was a “meat and potato” pie. The paper of record does not report the pussy content of the meat pie. Also, note that this silly article already has two corrections appended.)

  3. I haven’t been following this story closely (the Atlanta newspapers aren’t part of my nutritious media breakfast) but the NYT has a rundown of the Atlanta city contracting scandal, which includes bricks through windows and dead rodents left on doorsteps.

Can’t get no sleeves for my records, can’t get no lasers for my shoes…

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

The St. Louis Blues, who are a professional hockey team in the NHL, fired Hitchcock.

Actually, that would be Ken Hitchcock.

Hitchcock, the head coach since Nov. 8, 2011, led the Blues to a 248-124-41 record over six seasons. He leaves with 781 NHL victories, which keeps him one short of tying Al Arbour for No. 3 on the all-time list of regular-season coaching victories.

(Subject line hattip. You know, for a while I thought many of the songs on Brothers In Arms were massively overplayed. I’m starting to come around to the idea that it may be a classic now.)

Thud.

Monday, January 30th, 2017

That’s the sound of the other shoe dropping.

Remember the great Houston Astros hacking scandal of 2015? If you don’t, that’s okay. Briefly: the St. Louis Cardinals were accused of hacking into the Astros computer system and stealing information on players. Christopher Correa, the Cardinals “director of player development” pled guilty to federal charges and was sentenced to 46 months in prison (plus restitution).

MLB has issued their decision on how they plan to punish the Cardinals. Good news: the Astros will get their top two draft choices, plus two million dollars.

Bad news: those draft choices are number 56 and 75 overall.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred ruled the Cardinals are “vicariously liable” for Correa’s conduct despite finding the evidence “did not establish that any Cardinals’ employee other than Mr. Correa (who was the only individual charged by the federal government) was responsible for the intrusions into the Astros’ electronic systems.”

Off the top of my head, I think I would have liked to see a more severe penalty, but I’m not sure what would have satisfied me (other than Correa’s head on a pike outside of Minute Maid Field). Correa, who “declined to answer questions or cooperate with MLB” has been placed on the “permanently ineligible” list. (Yes, that is the same list that includes Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson.)

Interesting (to me) fact that I found while looking up the list: Correa is the second person banned by Commissioner Manfred in the two years he’s had the job. The other one is Jenrry Mejía, who was a pitcher for the Mets until he tested positive for drugs “three times in less than a year”. In contrast, Bud Selig banned one person during his time as acting commissioner and commissioner (1992-2015).

Obit watch and norts spews: January 23, 2017.

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Your Miguel Ferrer roundup: NYT. A/V Club.

Obligatory: he was one of the best things about “Crossing Jordan”, the “Quincy” of the 2000 era except that it sucked.

And yesterday was a bad day for baseball: Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura and former infielder Andy Marte were both killed in separate car crashes in the Dominican Republic. More from the NYT.

A 2015 study by the World Health Organization found that the Dominican Republic had the highest traffic accident death rate in the Americas, 29.3 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Also for the record: Ryan Grigson out as general manager of the Colts, though they are apparently keeping Chuck Pagano as coach.

And no, PeyPey is not being considered.

Random notes: January 13, 2017.

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Actual headline from the NYT:

It’s Baltimore, gentlemen. The gods will not save you from a consent decree.

I feel a possible rant coming on about questionable legislation and questionable journalism, but I’m still trying to pull together information and run this past some friends for a sanity check.

Justice Dept. releases scathing report, says Chicago police officers have pattern of using excessive, unconstitutional force

Investigators excoriated the department and city officials alike for what it called “systemic deficiencies.” The report also said investigators determined that the Chicago police force has not provided officers with proper guidance for using force, failed to hold them accountable when they use improper force and has not properly investigated such incidents. They also faulted the city’s methods of handling officer discipline, saying that process “lacks integrity.”

Everyone together now, on three. One…two…three.

Firings watch.

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Ray Horton out as defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns, who have replaced him with the man known to TMQ as “the tastefully named Gregg Williams”.

You may remember Gregg Williams as the former defensive coordinator for the LA Rams, who started looking for a new job after Jeff Fisher got fired. Or you may remember him before that as a defensive assistant for the Tennessee Titans. Or you may remember him before that as “the guy who got indefinitely suspended by the NFL as part of Bountygate”.

The Redskins fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry, plus a couple of staff members and their strength coach.

And the University of California at Berkeley fired head football coach Sonny Dykes. I think I speak for many people when I say, “UC-Berkeley has a football team? Isn’t that just an expression of toxic masculinity?”

Dykes was 19-30 over four seasons.

Firings watch.

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Chan Gailey was not fired as offensive coordinator of the New York Jets.

He retired. And this seems like a legit retirement: His Channess is 65, and supposedly told the team of his plans at the start of this past season.

However, the Jets did fire five assistant coaches.

Tracy Claeys out as head coach of the University of Minnesota. This is interesting: the team was 9-4 this season, he was 11-8 overall, and won both of the bowl games his team played in during his tenure.

So why fire him? It looks like this is more fallout from the sexual assault issue, which you may remember from mid-December. If you don’t remember it, briefly: ten players were suspended from the team for an alleged sexual assault. The other members of the team sided with the suspended players, “boycotted all team activities for two days”, and threatened not to participate in the Holiday Bowl. Claeys publically supported the players and their actions:

Claeys tweeted: “Have never been more proud of our kids. I respect their rights & support their effort to make a better world!”

He later sort of walked back that cat and promised he’d give $50,000 “to help support victims of sexual assault”. But it still left him kind of crosswise with the administration, and I guess they decided that this was something up with which they would not put.

Blood in the streets!

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

This used to be the “Bloody Monday” thread, where I covered all the firings after the last day of the NFL regular season. But we’ve reached the point now where teams aren’t waiting for Monday to start firing people.

For example, general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Chip Kelly are both out in San Francisco. The official announcement came after the game, but there was widespread “speculation” that they were both out: Baalke actually appeared on San Francisco radio before the games and confirmed his firing.

This is the second consecutive season the 49ers have fired their coach after just one year, having fired Jim Tomsula after the 2015 campaign. It’s the second time since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger that a team has replaced back-to-back coaches after only one full season each, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, with San Francisco also having done so in 1976 and ’77.

San Francisco was 2-14 this year.

(On a side note, is it just me, or are San Francisco’s newspapers mostly really bad? On a second side note, Gregg Easterbrook would be totally insufferable, if he’d been writing TMQ this year.)

Speaking of bad teams, San Diego fired head coach Mike McCoy, which is a good start. Now if they’d just fire the entire rest of the team.

McCoy was 28-38 in four years with the team, and 5-11 this year. You may recall that San Diego gave hapless the Cleveland Browns their only win this season.

This is not a firing, but worth noting: Gary Kubiak is out as head coach in Denver. This seems to be tied to his personal health issues, which I’m really not comfortable discussing or speculating on. I hope he comes back at some point.

There’s speculation that Sean Payton may be moving to the Rams, which should be interesting. Do the Saints want to keep him? If so, why? It seems to me that since their one Super Bowl win, the Saints have been a giant ball of disappointment: almost as if the football gods were out to get them for Bountygate. Is Payton a good coach? Can he do something with the Rams? Or did he just get lucky once?

I’ll try to post updates here if anybody else gets axed today.

Edited to add: more from the “not quite a firing, but” department: Lane Kiffin will be leaving Alabama before the national championship game. It’s not quite a firing because he’d already signed on as head coach of Florida Atlantic, but the general expectation seemed to be that he’d at least hang around for the title game. However, there were complaints about the Lanester showing up late for events: it kind of sounds like Bama got tired of his (stuff) and suggested he leave now.

There are rumors that Jim Irsay may clean house in Indianapolis, but nothing definite yet. Chuck Pagano just held a press conference and said he hadn’t talked to Irsay, and that he expected to be back; I’m sure Irsay is filled with joy at hearing this.

Quick random notes.

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Well, found my 2017 calendar. (Okay, it is a little expensive, and I already have a Gunsite 2017 calendar that I picked up in Tulsa. But I’m taking a flyer on the CIA one because the thumbnails of the art look incredible: I’m seeing this described as more of an art book that you hang on the wall. I’ll do a follow-up once I get it.)

(By way of.)

I’ve never liked the Philadelphia Eagles, but this story makes me feel a bit better about them: Quarterback Carson Wentz bought his offensive line a present.

Each of them is getting a personalized Beretta shotgun.

“I like to go clay shooting and stuff,” added Brandon Brooks. “All I’ve got is a home defense tactical shotgun, short-barrel, so I was looking for one of these.”

The great thing about this? Not only is a cool present, but it should make all the right people’s heads explode.