Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

TMQ Watch: January 16, 2018.

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Yes, we know, we’re way late. It doesn’t have anything to do with something we’ll get to in a moment. It’s just been a matter of it being relatively cold here in the greater Austin metroplex. And like a giant lizard or some other cold-blooded animal, we’ve been curling up and conserving body heat. (We also fell into a time sink Tuesday night reading the archives of Damn Interesting. But that’s another story.)

But the cold spell is starting to break. After the jump, this week’s TMQ. Plus: viewer mail!

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Obit watch: January 18, 2018.

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Dan Gurney, one of the all-time great racing drivers.

In all, according to All American Racers, Gurney drove in 312 races in 20 countries in 51 makes of cars. He won 51 races, including seven in Indy cars and five in Nascar Winston Cup stock cars (all five in 500-mile races in Riverside, Calif.). He twice finished second in the Indianapolis 500.

…alternating with his fellow American driver A. J. Foyt, he won the 24 Hours of LeMans in France in a Ford prototype. It was the first time in that race’s 45-year history that it had been won by an American driver in an American car.
A week after that, Gurney won the Grand Prix of Belgium in a 416-horsepower American Eagle, a car he had designed and built himself. He was the first American in 46 years to win a world championship race in an American car.

Remember the Titans?

Monday, January 15th, 2018

They lost to New England on Saturday.

And head coach Mike Mularkey was fired today.

The Titans finished with a 9-7 regular-season record for the second consecutive season, reached the playoffs for the first time in nine years and won a postseason game for the first time in 14 years, rallying from an 18-point deficit to stun the Chiefs, 22-21, in a wild card game in Kansas City.

He was 21-22 overall.

Obit watch: January 14, 2018.

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

Some more from the past couple of days:

Keith Jackson, legendary announcer.

Edgar Ray Killen is burning in Hell.

David Toschi passed away a week ago Saturday. FotB RoadRich mentioned this to me in the middle of the week – he saw it on a low-rent cable channel – but I had a lot of trouble finding a good obit. I couldn’t find the actual obit on SFGate: I was only able to get at an arthive.org version.

Anyway, “David who”? He was a famous San Francisco PD detective. He was one of the lead investigators on the Zodiac killings.

He was removed from the case after revelations that in 1976 he had sent several letters praising his own work to a San Francisco newspaper writer under fake names.
“It was a foolish thing to do,” he acknowledged at the time.

I don’t remember where I picked up this detail (maybe in the archive.org version), but that “newspaper writer” the NYT doesn’t name? Armistead Maupin, who was working as a reporter for the SF Chron at the time.

But that wasn’t the only reason he was semi-famous, at least among us common sewers connoisseurs:

Mr. Toschi was a personality in the police department even before his involvement with the Zodiac case, so much so that Steve McQueen had borrowed from him for the fictional police officer he played in the 1968 movie “Bullitt.”
“They literally were filming in my dad’s office,” Ms. Toschi-Chambers said. “My dad took off his jacket, and Steve McQueen said, ‘What is that?’ And my dad said, ‘That’s my holster.’ And Steve McQueen told the director, ‘I want one of those.’ ”

(I wonder what that holster was: and if it’s out of production, how much do vintage ones go for? There’s a discussion on defensivecarry.com, but I can’t judge how accurate it is.)

Clint Eastwood also drew on Mr. Toschi for his portrayal of the title character in “Dirty Harry,” Don Siegel’s influential 1971 movie about a San Francisco police inspector, Harry Callahan, who hunts a psychopathic killer. Mr. Toschi, though, was bothered by Callahan’s penchant for administering his own brand of justice. He is said to have walked out of a screening of the movie, which was released when the Zodiac investigation was in full swing.

(Damn shame. He missed out. And I still haven’t seen “Zodiac”.)

Edited to add: this might lead to a longer post later, but: there are certainly worse hobbies in the world than engaging in Steve McQueen cosplay. Though I will concede that could get expensive quick, especially if you go full “Bullitt” and start looking for a Mustang.

TMQ Watch: January 9, 2018.

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

We’ve finished the first week of the playoffs. Would you expect TMQ to be longer, shorter, or about the same?

We expected shorter. We got “about the same”: almost 5,200 words by our count. Of which the first 1,600 (nearly 31%) are devoted to one theme, which we can summarize in four words.

After the jump, this week’s TMQ

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An embarrassment of Rich.

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

Rich Rodriguez fired last night as head coach of the University of Arizona.

Why? Would you believe…sexual harassment?

The former employee on Thursday filed a $7.5 million notice of claim with the state’s attorney general’s office alleging Rodriguez ran a hostile workplace, according to the Arizona Daily Star. A notice of claim is a legal document that signals a lawsuit will be filed.

Arizona Daily Star (really obnoxious about ad blockers). NYT. ESPN.

Part of what makes this interesting is that RichRod was fired, but the university admits it wasn’t “for cause”: this means that they have to pay his contract buyout ($6 million) plus whatever the plaintiff wins (or settles for) in their pending claim against the university. So this could add up quick. And, as the Daily Star notes, this isn’t the only sports related problem the university has.

(Also: why does a university football coach need representation from CAA?)

Rodriguez’s contract was set to run through May 31, 2020. His buyout as of Dec. 1 was $6.45 million, according to USA Today’s annual survey of NCAA football coaches’ salaries. Because he was let go before March 15, Rodriguez will miss out on approximately $3.2 million from a master-limited-partnership provision in his contract. That pay came via publicly traded units on the so-called “Longevity Fund.” Rodriguez was set to receive 25 percent of the value on March 15. If he had been fired any time after that, he would have been entitled to the full value of the fund.

“publicly traded units on the so-called ‘Longevity Fund'”? Have I just not had enough coffee this morning? Or did RichRod have some sort of weirdly structured deal?

TMQ Watch: January 2, 2018.

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Yeah, we can’t believe it, either. We want to try on our best Don LaFontaine voice. “In the future world of 2018…”

And that’s as far as we’ve gotten. “…you will believe that a famous chef sends out an apology for sexual harassment that includes his recipe for cinnamon buns“? Nobody would believe that.

“You will believe that Gregg Easterbrook watched football on New Year’s Eve”? That might work.

After the jump, this week’s TMQ

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Blood watch.

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

The Houston Texas have let several assistants go:

  • special teams coordinator Larry Izzo
  • secondary coach John Butler
  • assistant special teams coordinator Doug Colman

Mr. Izzo’s departure is described as “a mutual parting of the ways” rather than a firing, while Mr. Butler’s and Mr. Colman’s are described as actual firings.

Running backs coach Charles London is leaving the staff on his own without being dismissed. London wants to pursue a quarterback coaching position.
Meanwhile, Texans director of football research Jim Bernhardt is retiring.

Dom Capers out as defensive coordinator for Green Bay. Also inside linebackers coach Scott McCurley and defensive line coach Mike Trgovac. It feels kind of crappy to fire guys after a season disrupted by a quarterback’s injury. But then again, as ESPN points out, the Pack’s defense ranked 22nd out of 32 teams: you can’t blame not having a quarterback for that.

Monday, bloody Monday…

Monday, January 1st, 2018

It has begun.

Jim Caldwell fired as head coach of the Detroit Lions.

Caldwell posted the highest regular-season winning percentage (.563) of any full-time Lions coach in the Super Bowl era, but his 36-28 record included just four victories over teams that finished above .500, and he went 0-2 in the playoffs.

Give the man credit though: in four seasons, none of his teams went 0-16.

John Fox gone as coach of da Bears. He was 14-34 over three seasons, and 5-11 this year.

Fox leaves as the second-worst coach in Bears history, behind Abe Gibron, who had a 27.4 winning percentage. His 5-11 mark this season is two wins better than last season, but it marked the Bears’ fourth-straight season mired in last place in the NFC North.

Edited to add: Not a firing, but Bruce Arians has retired as coach of the Arizona Cardinals, ostensibly to spend more time with his family. (Some coverage has also mentioned that Mr. Arians has suffered from various health issues, too.)

Snoop, call your office, please…

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

Chuck Pagano out as head coach of the Colts.

Pagano’s tenure in Indianapolis ends with a 53-43 overall record, though nine wins from the 2012 campaign were credited to Pagano while he battled and eventually beat leukemia and Bruce Arians ably filled in as interim coach.

The team was 4-12 this year.

Edited to add: And now, Jack Del Rio out as coach of the Raiders, according to ESPN. Haven’t found a good link for this yet. Rumor for the past couple of days has been that the Raiders really want Jon Gruden and are prepared to offer him everything, including equity in the team.

Gregg Easterbrook is going to be more insufferable than usual.

Your loser update: week 17, 2017.

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

Honorable readers:

As of 3:06 PM Central on December 31st, 2017, the Cleveland Browns became the third team in the modern NFL era to go an entire season without winning a game, and the second to finish an entire season 0-16.

Only the 2008 Detroit Lions match Cleveland’s record for futility: the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished their first season 0-14.

In other news, the New York Football Giants actually won their game, improving to 3-13. This may be good enough for second place in the draft: the Colts beat Houston and finished 4-12.

More later, maybe. There will be a ceremonial toast drunk tonight.

Edited to add: Yep. Looks like it’s going to be Browns-Giants for sure. I think the third and subsequent positions are still up in the air until the late games are over.

ETA2: Cleveland.com coverage.

ETA3: Per NFL.com, it’s going to be:
Browns
Giants
Colts
Browns again (traded with Houston for this pick)

I expect Bloody Monday to be interesting. If there are any “Damn, you didn’t even wait to get him in the house” firings tonight, I’ll try to update.

Loser watch.

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

Two articles from ESPN that amused me:

The worst teams in NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL history“. I quibble with their NBA team choice, but the rest of the picks seem sound.

The worst NFL teams ever for all 32 franchises“. The picks for Detroit and Tampa Bay are logical. But were the 1990 Browns worse than the 2016 Browns?