Author Archives: David

Red Sox wins; Cardinals seeing red

The Red Sox did what I thought they would last night. They closed out the Astros in Houston and clinched their fourth American League pennant this millennium. Boston now awaits the Dodgers or Brewers in the World Series.

MLB executives, especially commissioner Rob Manfred, have to be having multiple orgasms over the probable Dodgers-Red Sox World Series. They were loathing a potential Brewers-Indians or Brewers-Athletics World Series when the postseason began. Now, they have one of their three most desirable matchups (Dodgers-Yankees and Cubs-Yankees were the others).

The Red Sox and Dodgers have played only once in the World Series–way, way, WAY back in 1916. That’s before the Curse of the Babe. Ruth was a 21-year old hotshot left-handed pitcher for that year’s Red Sox, and Boston easily won the series in five games.

Two interesting things about the 1916 World Series.

First, the first two games were in Boston, the next two in Brooklyn, then it was back to Boston for the clincher, not the 2-3-2 we are used to seeing. The format was presumably 2-2-1-1-1, the same as the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals.

Second, the Red Sox opted to play their home games at Braves Field, home of the future artists known as the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves. The Sox moved their games out of Fenway to shoehorn more fans into Braves Field, which opened in 1915. In 1914, when the Braves swept the Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series, the National League team played their home games at Fenway due to the decrepit condition of their rickety old stadium, the South End Grounds.

I am very pessimistic about the Brewers tonight. Hopefully there’s a game tomorrow. But I have my doubts.

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Speaking of decrepit, that would accurately describe the Arizona Cardinals. They were demolished 45-10 by the Broncos last night in Glendale, and frankly, it should have been worse.

Denver led 35-3 at halftime, and State Farm (nee University of Phoenix) Stadium sounded more like Mile High or whatever it’s called these days. It was a throwback to the days the Cardinals played in front of tons of aluminum and a few fans (mostly visiting team, especially when the Cowboys were there) at Sun Devil Stadium on the other side of the Phoenix metro.

I knew the Cardinals were seriously screwed when they hired Steve Wilks. Wilks has no business being a head football coach at any level, especially the highest level of football.

This buffoon was a head coach just once before moving to Arizona, and that was in 1998 at mighty Savannah State, a perennial punching bag for Power Five teams willing to exchange a few hundred thousand dollars for the right to win by 70 to 80 points. When Wilks coached there, Savannah State was Division II. And the team went 5-6 under Wilks’ leadership.

Wilks’ professional playing experience consisted of one year in Arena Football with the Charlotte Rage. Are you kidding me?

Ron Rivera, who was Wilks’ boss in Carolina before the latter was hired by the Cardinals, conned Michael Bidwill and Steve Keim good. Then again, Steve Keim is a known drunk, so it wasn’t hard to pull the wool over his eyes.

If the Cardinals wanted an African-American coach, why not hire Herm Edwards? He got a job in the Phoenix area not long after Wilks when Arizona State hired him to succeed turd Todd Graham. Edwards’ failure with the Chiefs was not all his own doing; he had a lot of help from terrible drafting, free agent signings and trading by Carl Peterson, who clearly was awful without a strong personality as a head coach like Jim Mora with the USFL’s Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars and Marty Schottenheimer in Kansas City.

Josh Rosen threw not one, but TWO pick-sixes in the first quarter. Geez, the Cardinals could have brought back Ryan Lindley, John Skelton, Max Hall, Kevin Kolb or Stan Gelbaugh to do that instead of wasting the tenth overall pick in the 2018 draft.

Then again, Rosen has zero protection. The Cardinals have had a woeful offensive line for their entire stay in the desert. In my opinion, it has been really, really bad since the glory days of Dan Dierdorf, Conrad Dobler, Tom Banks and Tom Brahaney in the 1970s, when Don Coryell led St. Louis to NFC East titles in 1974 and ’75.

Arizona’s defense is Chandler Jones, Patrick Peterson and a whole lot of crap. Peterson and Jones deserve better than this. They are true professionals and would be All-Pros if they played on a halfway decent defense.

Larry Fitzgerald, WHY did you come back for this? Your professionalism and dedication to the Cardinals is admirable. But you could have easily rode off in to the sunset. All you’re doing is pushing back your Hall of Fame induction.

Wilks is by far the worst Cardinals coach I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. And I can remember all the way back to Jim Hanifan (1980-85). Dave McGinnis was mocked and went 17-44 in three and a half seasons, but his teams never looked as absolutely awful as the Cardinals have under Wilks. Buddy Ryan was pretty bad, but at least the defense was fierce in 1994. Too bad he hated offensive players and had no clue what to do at quarterback.

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Starting next year, Wimbledon is implementing the tiebreak in the final set when the score reaches 6-6.

I will only watch tennis if someone pays me a ton of cash, and that hasn’t happened. And I will NEVER watch Serena Williams. But I think this is dead wrong.

I understand why the All-England Club is doing this. They want to avoid marathon last sets like the one between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut in 2010 in a match that took 11 hours and three different days to complete, with Isner winning the fifth set 70-68.

I totally disagree with doing this in what is supposed to be tennis’ signature event. This is a grand slam event, the most prestigious championship on earth. It should be EARNED. And if it takes 138 games in the final set to do so, so be it.

If Wimbledon wants to implement the tiebreak in the final set, it should not be at 6-6. It should be at minimum after 8-8, maybe 10-10 or 12-12. And that rule should be in all five sets for men or three for women.

The Australian and French Opens, the other grand slams, have not announced they will. implement a tiebreak in the final set. However, I’m certain they will be under enormous pressure to do so now that the U.S. Open and Wimbledon have them.

Using a tiebreak in the final set at Wimbledon is the same as The Masters using a sudden death playoff if there is a tie for the low score after 72 holes.

The Masters bills itself as the premier event in golf, although I will always believe it is The Open Championship. If The Masters is so high and mighty, why not make those tied play a fifth round? If it’s television they’re worried about, there are enough cable channels which would salivate at the chance to televise a round from Augusta for 18 holes. Besides, The Masters rarely allows full 18-hole coverage anyway, so how hard would it be to cut in for the last nine? Also, I’m sure CBS could pre-empt The Price Is Right, The Young and the Restless, and The Bold and the Beautiful for one day.

The U.S. Open was the last golf major to require a full 18-hole playoff if there was a tie after 72 holes. Last year, that ended and it became a two-hole playoff, which wasn’t necessary when Brooks Koepka won it outright. That’s even worse than The Open (four holes) and PGA Championship (three holes). All majors should be the full 18-hole playoff. Sudden death is just fine for a regular tournament in late October, mid-January or early August. But not for the majors.

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I’m guessing ESPN is going to try to force the officials to speed up the Mississippi State-LSU game in Baton Rouge tomorrow night. That’s because the network is scheduled to show the Rockets-Lakers game from Los Angeles at 2130 CT (1930 PT), which will be LeBron’s first regular season game at Staples Center. It would probably anger the suits in Bristol, as well as two of America’s four largest metropolitan areas, if a trivial football game in the Southeastern Conference goes overtime.

LSU and Mississippi State are not teams which throw the ball on every down. I hope 3 1/2 hours is enough time to get the game in, because college football games drag on and on and on! I remember non-televised games when I was attending LSU could last as short as 2 1/2 hours. But every game in the SEC is now televised, so that’s not happening. Not unless the NCAA wants to return to the terrible idea of starting the clock after the ball is spotted on a change of possession, an experiment which failed miserably in 2006. Not stopping the clock after a first down would be a good start. Maybe that rule could be limited to the final two minutes of the first half and final five of the second, much the way the out-of-bounds timing rules change in the NFL in those periods.

CBS is notorious for forcing the games in the late window (1525 CT on doubleheader days; 1505 on non-doubleheader games) to speed up in order that 60 Minutes starts on time, either 1800 or 1830 CT. Fox doesn’t care, because it never airs new episodes of The Simpsons (JUST END IT ALREADY!) on Sunday nights before 1900 CT.  Actually, Fox prefers longer games in the late window when it has the doubleheader, so it can switch to bonus coverage, then Terry, Howie, Michael and Jimmy can drone on and on until 1900.

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I have a runny nose this morning. Using lots of tissues. Need to stop by the store before I leave Kansas City.

Just saw I was close to 1700 words. Time to end it.

Astronomical a-holes

Thanks to two MORONS in Houston last night, the Astros may not have the opportunity to defend their World Series championship.

In the first inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, Jose Altuve launched a fly ball to deep right-center. Boston right fielder Mookie Betts backed up to the wall and leaped in an attempt to reel the ball in, but a pair of assholes had to reach over the fence and attempt to catch the $12 baseball.

Right field umpire and crew chief Joe West, an umpire whom I think should have been put out to pasture 25 years ago, this time got it right. As much as I dislike the Red Sox, he got it right by calling the fans for interference and calling Altuve out. Houston manager A.J. Hinch came out to argue and got West and the MLB command center in New York to review the call, but it stood.

The Red Sox ended up winning 8-6 and now lead the ALCS 3-1.

Worse, the Astros let the stupid sacks of shit who interfered with Betts to stay inside Minute Maid Park.

At least Jeffrey Maier was thrown out of Yankee Stadium in 1996 when he reached well over the right field fence and stole a ball off the bat of Derek Jeter which would have either been caught by Orioles right fielder Tony Tarasco, or at most, been a double.

Right field umpire Rich Garcia, one of the best umpires in the game (and one of the stupidest, because he drank Richie Phillips’ poisoned Flavor-Aid three years later, costing Garcia his job and a possible spot in Cooperstown) did not see Maier reaching over Tarasco’s shoulder and called the play a home run for Jeter. Of course, there was no instant replay in 1996, but he also made a colossal mistake by not getting the other five umpires together and at least asking if someone else had a better view. Crew chief Larry Barnett also bears some of the blame for not calling for a conference when Baltimore manager Davey Johnson came out to argue. Johnson would have had every right to find Maier and kick him in the nuts.

Of course, the Yankees’ #1 super fan, then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, treated Maier as a conquering hero by giving him a key to the city. David Letterman praised him on his late night show. Unfortunately for Rudy and the rest of the nation, he redeemed himself big time (and then some) five years later in the face of unspeakable evil.

Back to Houston last night.

This morning, one of Kansas City’s most respected sports talk radio hosts, Soren Petro, stated on WHB 810 AM that the fans should be able to jostle with players on the field on a fly ball. He said the fans pay good money to sit in the seats close to the field, and they should be able to do as they please if the ball and/or a fielder come close to them.

Petro also went on to say West had no right to interject himself into the play and call fan interference. He also said he abhorred replay in baseball.

I’m not a fan of replay in baseball in nearly all instances. But had West NOT called fan interference, I would have supported replay, even if the call went in favor of the Red Sox, who aren’t my least favorite team (they’re above the Reds, White Sox, Rangers and Marlins for sure), but I certainly don’t care for. I’m not a huge Astros fan, either, but they were the team I followed the most living in Louisiana for 29 years.

WHAT THE HELL?

Soren, you sir stated something so idiotic it does not justify me taking my time to refute it. However, I’m not someone to just let it be, so I am going to respond.

Fans have NO RIGHT to interfere with play. NONE. They buy a ticket to be a spectator, not an active participant in the game. The game is for the players, the coaches, officials and anyone who has an active role in the game, whether it be on the field, in the press box, or somewhere else in the stadium/field/arena. Fans of the home team at a Major League Baseball game should know better than to reach over the fence in an attempt to catch a $12 baseball. They should especially know this in a postseason game.

Because these two C U Next Tuesdays could not keep their hands to themselves, they may have very well cost their beloved Astros a return to the World Series. These two “fans” should be found and tarred and feathered. At the very least, the Astros, Rockets and Texans should ban these people FOR LIFE. And MLB should do the same to them at all 30 parks. Of course, the Red Sox may have season tickets in right field at Fenway waiting for them.

Do not attempt to compare these two garbage sacks to Steve Bartman.

Bartman did not reach over the fence down the left field line at Wrigley Field and attempt to interfere with Moises Alou. Bartman’s hands were straight up in the air, as were the hands of several other fans in that section, attempting to catch the foul ball. Mike Everitt, the left field umpire that night at Wrigley, made the right call by determining no fan interference.

The hate Cubs fans heaped upon Bartman was sickening. Steve Bartman didn’t do a thing wrong. Not a thing. The Cubs only had themselves to blame for (a) melting down in the eighth inning of Game 6 by giving up eight runs to the Marlins, and (b) melting down again in Game 7. It is a crying shame Bartman can no longer go to an MLB park and enjoy the sport he loved to play and coach. It is a crying shame he could not be in Cleveland the night the Cubs ended their 108-year championship drought. It is a crying shame he could not be at Wrigley when the Cubs received their World Series rings.

Shame on you, Houston Astros, for letting these fans remain in the ballpark. I’m certain the Royals and nearly every other MLB team would have told these pieces of fecal matter to leave and never come back, just like the idiot who poured beer on and flipped off the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill in Foxborough during last Sunday’s game with the Patriots.

Maybe the Astros will find the intestinal fortitude (a term used way, way, WAY too much by legendary World Wrestling Federation announcer Gorilla Monsoon) to at least get the series back to Boston. But I have my doubts.

We’re heading for a Red Sox-Dodgers World Series. Heaven help us.

Students, STAY OFF THE FIELD!

I almost had the score right on the Georgia-LSU football game last Saturday.

I said 37-17 Georgia. The final? 36-16.

However, I had the wrong team winning.

LSU played its best game in a long, long time, and certainly its best since Ed Orgeron took over from Les Miles two years ago. I didn’t think LSU had it in the bag until it was 29-9 in the fourth quarter. I was just waiting for the Bulldogs to make a big comeback. I thought it would happen in the second half, when they made the adjustments after falling down 16-0 at halftime.

It never came. The Bayou Bengals won, and several thousand idiots stormed the field and cost LSU $100,000 because it violated Southeastern Conference policy, which demands schools keep people who have absolutely no business being on the field (or court) from going onto the playing surface and endangering the safety of the players, coaches, officials, working media and security personnel.

Those idiots who stormed the field should be forced to pay the fine. Every student who was at the game should be forced to contribute part of the fine. LSU scans student identification cards at every game, so there would be a way to find out the students who went to the game and punish them.

Sadly, U.S. Representative Garret Graves, who represents Baton Rouge in the House, started a Go Fund Me page to pay for the fine. IDIOT. Graves is encouraging this lawless behavior by raising money for the fine. Rep. Graves, there’s a lot more pressing issues in Congress than covering the ass of students who don’t know how to behave like civilized humans. You should be ashamed of yourself. You are an embarrassment to your constituents and Congress by doing this.

Alabama comes to Baton Rouge November 3. Oh boy. If the Bayou Bengals pull off the shocker there, fans are certain to storm the field and cost LSU a $250,000 from the SEC. Worse, I fear the safety of Nick Saban would be in peril. LSU fans have shown their ass time and again when Saban’s Crimson Tide have been in Death Valley by shouting “F**K SABAN” so loudly it can be picked up by CBS and beamed from coast to coast.

Bill Self was not hurt when Kansas State students stormed the court in Manhattan the last time the Wildcats beat Kansas, but he had to dodge several angry students who came after him. I would not put it past LSU fans to do the same to Saban, especially since LSU fans feel he betrayed LSU by going to Alabama.

Come on. I don’t like Saban being at Alabama, but LSU fans cannot complain. Saban went to the NFL for two years with the Dolphins before going to Alabama. He did not go straight from Baton Rouge to Tuscaloosa. After all, Saban took LSU into the ionosphere of college football and it stayed there under Miles until the night of January 9, 2012. Even though LSU has yet to make the College Football Playoff, the Bayou Bengals are still winning 8, 9 or 10 games in most seasons and going to a bowl. Do they really want a return to Curley Hallman and Gerry DiNardo (and the last two years of Mike Archer)? I saw bad, bad, BAD LSU football aplenty in the early 1990s, and up close in 1994. This is as far from bad as possible.

If the student shenanigans happen again November 3, LSU students should be banned from the home finale vs. Rice two weeks later. Actually, they not only should be banned from the Rice game, but the first Southeastern Conference game of 2019 vs. Auburn. Maybe that would send a message to the morons to act civilized.

Maybe LSU needs to confine students to the upper decks. Reserve two sections in each upper deck at the far ends for students. Unless someone has a bungee cord, no way they’re getting down there.

I miss the people at LSU and around Baton Rouge, but I am now very glad I wasn’t there. I cannot stand crowds, and it would have driven me absolutely insane to see idiots breaking the law and costing their school $100,000.

I ended up spending part of my birthday in Ottawa with the Cox family watching Caitlyn play volleyball. She’s on the junior varsity right now, but will be on the varsity in 2019. Ottawa has a strong program and she is very fortunate to be playing there, just as older sister Courtney did many years ago. I drove straight home from Ottawa to Russell because of the forecast of snow. Made it home at 2240.

I was dead tired Sunday and Monday. Dead tired. I slept through most of Sunday, staying awake long enough to eat steaks with my parents at lunch, then late to get some work done. Monday was little better; I stayed up through the night Tuesday, with a nap here  and there, to make sure I got my work done on time.

No wonder I slept 11 1/2 hours last night and this morning. I woke up 80 minutes later than I had planned. Lucky for me, I could get the work done in plenty of time. So that worked out.

The Brewers are now down 3-2 in the National League Championship Series to the Dodgers. The only good news is (a) the series now goes back to Milwaukee and (b) Clayton Kershaw is done for the series. However, I’ve seen enough Brewer failure through the years that I know the end is near.

Brewers survive; I must drive

Well,, the Brewers tried to give it away last night. Fortunately, they didn’t, and held on to beat the Dodgers 6-5 in game one of the National League Championship Series.

I listened to the second inning driving from Minsky’s to the hotel. Manny Machado hit a leadoff home run off Gio Gonzalez. I screamed to myself I knew it would happen. Therefore, I chose not to put myself through the ringer and watch the game. The Brewers ended up taking a 5-1 lead in the fourth, and I finally watched a few batters in the seventh.

I went to bed right after that. Luckily I wasn’t awake to see the Dodgers rally.

Game two is at 1500 today. I’ll be out and about so I won’t have to torture myself. Houston and Boston play at 1900 to open the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park.

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My day has taken an unexpected turn. Actually, it took the turn last night just before I left Minsky’s.

I looked up the weather and saw the chance of snow in western and central Kansas for Sunday has increased greatly. The timing could not have been worse for a potential late morning return: by 0800 in Hays, 0900 in Russell, and 1100 in Salina. And worse, there is going to be accumulations from 2 to 4 inches in Hays and Russell.

Yikes. And tomorrow is only October 14.

Last October 14, I was running around in shorts with no sweatshirt. I wore a floral print shirt on my birthday, the same one I wore to eat with my dad, Brenda and Dorinda in Baton Rouge exactly six months later.

This October 14, I was going to be wearing a turtleneck and sweatshirt to drive home. I was afraid it wasn’t going to be enough. I was hitting myself (mentally only) for not packing my parka.

Now, I’ll be waking up in my own bed Sunday.

I’m driving home right after Ottawa plays volleyball. It’s not a bad drive–US 59 to Lawrence, then Interstate 70 home. US 59 is four lanes and controlled access between Ottawa and Lawrence, and I won’t have to go through the city of Lawrence (especially the KU campus) since K-10 goes around the west side to I-70. It will be about the same time (four hours) as going from Kansas City to Russell.

I drove home from Kansas City in the late, late hours on my 37th birthday (2013) to beat bad weather. I drove from Emporia to Abilene to Russell on my 30th birthday (2006), not getting home until after 11. Therefore, it’s nothing new.

It isn’t the worst thing to be going home early. Probably a good thing. Lots of work to do.

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LSU plays Georgia in a supposedly huge Southeastern Conference game today. I hate to say it, but Georgia is going to run roughshod over the Bayou Bengals in my opinion. I can’t see LSU staying close for long. I like the Bulldogs 37-17. I won’t be watching that, either.

The final hour of my 42nd year is underway. In 45 minutes, year #43 officially starts.

Brewers in (extremely) rarefied air

Tonight, the Dodgers and Brewers begin the National League championship series in Milwaukee. The roof will certainly be closed.

Good thing Bud Selig demanded it when Miller Park was built. At least the Brewers don’t have to worry about freeze outs in April like the Red Sox, Cubs, White Sox, Twins, Indians and Pirates often have to put up with, and the Royals, Cardinals, Rockies, Phillies, Reds, Yankees, Mets, Orioles and Nationals sometimes do, and the Blue Jays did before Skydome (now Rogers Centre) was built. Even the Rangers and Braves have had a game iced out every so often. The Rangers won’t have to worry about that anymore starting in 2020 when their retractable roof stadium opens next to Jerry World.

The Dodgers, of course, are one of baseball’s iconic franchises. Dem Bums, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider and Don Newcombe, then Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Tommy Lasorda in Los Angeles. Clayton Kershaw has done just about everything in his Hall of Fame career except win a World Series. He could cement his plaque in Cooperstown if the Dodgers win it this year, especially when the American League champion, the Red Sox or Astros, will be heavily favored in the World Series.

The Brewers? Put it this way: the Dodgers have won 48 games in the World Series and six championships, and since 1969, have won two World Series and lost in four others. Tonight will be the Brewers 36th postseason game in franchise history. The sweep of the Rockies in the division series brought the franchise’s all-time postseason record to 17-18.

The franchise didn’t even begin in Milwaukee. It started life in 1969 as the Seattle Pilots. The original owner of the Pilots, Dewey Soriano, was grossly undercapitalized, and there was no suitable stadium anywhere near Seattle for Major League Baseball. The bond issue to build the stadium which became the Kingdome was approved in 1968, but even if construction began immediately, it would not be ready before 1971.

The idea in Seattle was to begin in 1971, along with a new team in Kansas City, which lost the Athletics to Oakland after the 1967 season. However, Stuart Symington, a U.S. Senator from Missouri, demanded Major League Baseball grant Kansas City a new franchise in 1969, or he would introduce a bill to revoke MLB’s antitrust exemption.

It was a reverse move of how the New Orleans Saints were born, when, in 1966, Senator Russell Long and U.S. Representative Hale Boggs agreed to introduce legislation to provide the National Football League an antitrust exemption to merge with the American Football League if New Orleans were granted a franchise.

Baseball commissioner Spike Eckert–who would be fired by owners at the end of the 1968 World Series–and American League president Joe Cronin bowed to Symington’s threat, and American League owners did not want an imbalanced schedule where every team would be force to sit for at least two periods per season, so they awarded Soriano and William R. Daley, who almost moved the Cleveland Indians to Seattle (before the Indians almost moved to New Orleans), the Pilots.

If baseball wanted to do it right AND appease Symington, the best idea would have been to give Kansas City and either Montreal or San Diego a franchise in 1969, and have Seattle and the other city wait until 1972 so the Kingdome would be ready for sure.

The Pilots had to pay the Pacific Coast League $1 million since the minor league club which played in Sick’s Stadium had to relocate to accommodate the Pilots (the minor league team didn’t move far–to Tacoma). Sick’s Stadium wasn’t up to MLB standards, and it was hastily expanded, but still short of the 30,000 minimum capacity. Worse, the plumbing often got clogged by overflow crowds, and visiting teams had no hot water for showers on many a day and night.

Soriano was meeting in secret with Bud Selig, then a Milwaukee automobile magnate, to sell the Pilots. Selig would then move the team to Milwaukee to become the Brewers. Milwaukee had been without MLB since the Braves left for Atlanta after the 1965 season, hosted the White Sox for 10 games in 1968 and 11 more in ’69, and the attendance for those games was triple that what the team averaged in Chicago during those seasons.

The deal between Soriano and Selig was consummated in Baltimore on the opening day of the 1969 World Series, but Washington state called in its political heavyweights, the same way Louisiana and Missouri did.

The Evergreen State had two very powerful Democratic U.S. Senators at the time, Warren Magnuson and Henry “Scoop” Jackson. They, along with Washington attorney general (and future successor to both) Slade Gorton, went to federal court to block the sale and give MLB to find an owner which would keep the team in Seattle.

Two potential deals failed. Soriano and Daley fell into bankruptcy, and came very close to a deadline which, if the players and staff had not been paid, would have made the players free agents and left MLB with 23 teams, not 24, for 1970.

Meanwhile, the Pilots were training in Arizona, not knowing where they would be playing 81 games in 1970. The moving trucks which left Arizona with equipment stopped in Salt Lake City, not knowing whether to drive north or east.

Finally, six days before Opening Day, bankruptcy judge Sidney Volinn awarded the franchise to Allan H. Selig. The Pilots were now the Milwaukee Brewers.

Selig originally envisioned the Brewers wearing the Braves’ colors of scarlet and navy, but it was too late to order new uniforms, so the new Milwaukee team took the field in the Pilots’ colors, royal blue and gold. The colors stuck through 1993, after which the Brewers went to navy blue and old gold, and even added green for three seasons (1994-96).

Milwaukee’s early teams were terrible. The Brewers played in the American League West in 1970 and ’71, building impressive rivalries with the Twins and White Sox. Then, inexplicably, they were moved to the AL East in 1972 when the Washington Senators became the Rangers. MLB would have been just fine keeping the Rangers in the East; after all, the Dallas Cowboys competed in the NFC East. Instead, the AL stunted the Brewers-Twins and Brewers-White Sox rivalries until 1994, when all three were (briefly) in the AL Central together.

The Brewers didn’t enjoy a winning season until 1978. To be fair, though, the Expos were horrid until 1979, and the Padres didn’t succeed until 1984, but since the Royals went the full five games with the Yankees in the 1976 and ’77 ALCS, Milwaukee fans were getting restless.

In 1978, the logo which has been called “the most clever in all American professional sports” was created. The famous ball-in-glove logo shaped in a lower case “m” and “b”. The asshole who changed that logo after 1993 needs to be found and beaten brutally. Why the team won’t wear the logo full-time is beyond me.

In 1981, the Brewers made the playoffs due to Bowie Kuhn’s asinine decision to split the season because of the players’ strike which cancelled games from June 12-August 8. Milwaukee had the best record in the AL East in the second half, earning it the right to play the Yankees in the best-of-five series to determine which team went to the ALCS. The Brewers lost the first two games in Milwaukee, but somehow won the next two in the Bronx before losing game five.

The next year, manager Buck Rodgers was fired with the Brewers below .500. In came Harvey Kuenn, and Milwaukee rocketed to the top of the division, thanks to “Harvey’s Wallbangers”, consisting of sluggers Gorman Thomas, Ben Oglivie and Cecil Cooper, and steady hitters Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. The pitching staff was led by Cy Young winner Pete Vukovich and closer Rollie Fingers, the anchor of the “Swinging A’s” bullpen on Oakland’s championship teams of 1972-74.

However, the Brewers nearly blew it. They went into Baltimore on the final weekend of the regular season with a three-game lead over the Orioles. Earl Weaver, who was retiring at the end of the ’82 season, led his club to three straight victories,  leaving a winner-take-all game 162. The winner of that game would be on a plane to Anaheim for the ALCS vs. the Angels, who barely held off the Royals in the West. The loser would go home.  (There was a potential playoff in the NL West, where the Braves held a tenuous one-game lead over the Dodgers.)

The Brewers somehow pulled it together on October 3, 1982 and won 10-2. However, Milwaukee foundered on the west coast, losing twice to the Angels and standing on the brink of elimination.

The cold and hometown fans warmed up the Brewers, who won three straight and earned the right to face the Cardinals in the World Series.

Mike Caldwell pitched the game of his life in the World Series opener, shutting out the Cards 10-0. St. Louis won the next two games, but Milwaukee rallied to win Games 4 and 5 at County Stadium. As the Brewers loaded the plane at General Mitchell International Airport the evening of October 17, 1982, Milwaukee was one win away from its first World Series championship since 1957, and its first sports title since 1971, when Oscar Robertson and Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) led the Bucks to a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Bullets for the NBA title.

Wisconsin needed the Brewers to win. The Packers hadn’t done a blessed thing since Vince Lombardi left the sideline following Super Bowl II; the Bucks always seemed to come up empty, losing in the 1974 finals to the Celtics and then falling short time and again in the playoffs after that; and Wisconsin football and basketball were second-worst in the Big Ten consistently (Northwestern kept the Badgers from the bottom).

It didn’t happen. The Cardinals bombed the Brewers 13-1 in game six, then claimed game seven 6-3 to celebrate on the Busch Stadium turf.

Milwaukee was done for a long, long time. The Brewers came close to winning a division title only in 1992, falling just short as the Blue Jays were on their way to the first of back-to-back World Series titles. In November 1997, Milwaukee baseball fans got some great news: the Brewers were moving to the National League.

The Royals were the first team asked to move from the AL to the NL, since the leagues did not want to have an odd number of teams and be forced to stage interleague play every day (that would come in 2013 when the Astros moved to the AL). The other idea, to place the expansion teams in one league, was vetoed by the AL., because it did not want to cede Florida to the NL (the Marlins started in 1993). Therefore, one team was asked to switch from the DH league to the No-DH league.

Kansas City made perfect sense. The Royals would have been in the NL Central with the Cubs and Cardinals, meaning St. Louis and Kansas City would play for something much more meaningful than three picayune interleague games in late August.

Instead, David Glass, chairman of the board which ran the Royals following founder Ewing M. Kauffman’s death in July 1993, said no. claiming Kansas City was an “American League” city.

Next up? The Brewers. Bud Selig, chairman of the owners council and acting commissioner (he became full-time commissioner in July 1998) said yes in about one-eighth of a nanosecond.

The new league did nothing for the Brewers. In 2002, Milwaukee went 56-106, eight games worse than the Pilots did. The Brewers reached .500 in 2005, barely missed out on the wild card in 2007, then finally reached the playoffs in 2008, finishing second behind the Cardinals in the NL Central. Milwaukee traded for the Indians’ CC Sabathia at mid-season, knowing he was a rental (he signed with the Yankees in the offseason and promptly helped the Bronx Bombers to their 27th, and most recent, World Series title), then fired Ned Yost (yes, Kansas City, THAT Ned Yost) in September with the Brewers trailing the Mets for the wild card.

Milwaukee ended up losing its division series in four games to the eventual World Series champion Phillies. The Brewers hovered around .500 in 2009 and ’10, then won the NL Central in 2011, thanks to Zack Greinke, who won a Cy Young in 2009 with the Royals.

To get Greinke, the Brewers had to significantly mortgage their future. Traded to Kansas City were a couple of prospects, shortstop Alcides Escobar and outfielder Lorenzo Cain. Escobar and Cain, along with Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, gave the Royals what many termed the deepest farm system in baseball. With hotshot catcher Salvador Perez already in the bigs, the Royals were looking towards 2014 as the year they hit the big time.

How right they were.

The Brewers defeated the Diamondbacks in the 2011 division series, but lost to St. Louis in six in the NLCS. The Cardinals went on to defeat the Rangers in seven in the World Series.

Milwaukee regressed in 2012 and ’13, but in 2014, started 20-7 and led the NL Central by as many as 6 1/2 games. Yet a disastrous final six weeks left the Brewers barely above .500, 82-80. The Brewers plummeted to 68-94 in 2015, earning manager Ron Roenicke, who led the team to the 2011 NL Central title, a pink slip. In came former MLB utility man extraordinaire Craig Counsell.

Many suggested the Brewers tear it down and rebuild from scratch, much the way the Astros did in the early 2010s when they lost over 100 games for three straight years, bottoming out at 51-111 in 2013. Milwaukee looked like it was doing that in 2016, when it went 73-89.

Then  came 2017. Most expected the Brewers to occupy the basement of the NL Central, and possibly one of the worst teams in baseball.

Instead, Milwaukee’s youngsters played out of their minds. The Brewers led the NL Central (over the defending World Series champion Cubs) in July, and even though they could not hold that lead, stayed in the wild card race to the bitter end, falling only one game short of the Rockies. An 86-76 record whetted fans’ appetite for 2018.

And here we are. The Brewers fashioned the best record in the NL, trailing only the Red Sox, Yankees and Astros overall. Milwaukee has its best chance to win a World Series championship since the days of Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews and Lew Burdette. The Packers have won plenty since Brett Favre’s arrival, but Green Bay is almost two hours north on Interstate 43, and the team stopped playing games in Milwaukee in 1994, so some Milwaukee fans feel quite detached from the Packers.

I’ve followed the Brewers since 1984, the first year I was old enough to follow MLB. That year, the Brewers made history by playing a 25-inning game against the White Sox. That, and 1987, when the Brewers started 13-0 and Molitor fashioned a 39-game hitting streak, was about it for me until 2008. Then 2011 was it until now.

I had given up on the Brewers when they were swept in a five-game series at Pittsburgh near the All-Star break. Yet they’ve won 11 straight as they head into the NLCS.

I hope the Brewers can pull it off. But I’m always a doubter. I don’t know if the starting pitching can hold up against Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger. I don’t know if Christian Yelich can continue to hit out of this galaxy against Kershaw. I don’t know if Moustakas and Cain can regain the magic of 2014 and ’15 when they helped the Royals win two AL pennants and a World Series. I don’t know if Knabel, Hader and Jeffress can get the key outs.

Prove me wrong, Milwaukee. Prove me wrong. Change my doubt into faith.  Hopefully that  the Brewers are playing in Boston or Houston the night of October 23.

 

 

Celebrate Christopher Columbus!

Happy Columbus Day! Yes, Monday was the OBSERVATION of Columbus Day. Today is the ACTUAL Columbus Day. The New World is 526 years old. Next year it can apply for tax-exempt political group status. Bad joke I know.

Why the hell did LBJ sign the bill in 1968 to move the holiday observations to Monday? What’s wrong with a Wednesday holiday? The celebration of Independence Day didn’t move to July 2 this year when the 4th was on Wednesday. Memorial Day not being on May 30 as it was through 1970 (except when Monday falls on the 30th, which it did in 1977, ’83, ’88, ’94, 2005, ’10 and ’16) and instead being on the last Monday of May does a great dishonor, in my humble opinion, to the men and ladies who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. Heck, Veterans Day is always on November 11, and it also honors the millions of living veterans. They deserve their day,  yes, but those who have departed this earth need to have a special designated day, too, not just a Monday to make it convenient for a three-day weekend.

This doesn’t apply to Labor Day, which always has been the first Monday of September.

The app I have been using to track sleep quality said I snored for a total of 10 minutes last night. Hopefully it was just noise from the CPAP. But I feel just fine. I woke up at 0730, the perfect time for today.

It is nasty. Very nasty. Rain everywhere. Chilly. But that’s better than it being 80 and raining. The Chiefs are in Foxborough Sunday night  (if you live in the eastern two-thirds of Kansas or western Missouri and don’t know it yet, you are living under a rock), then are on Sunday night the NEXT week to host the Bengals. That means sports fans in Kansas City can make both the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup race in the afternoon and the football game in the evening. YIPPPIEEE!!!

The rain will definitely affect the big high school football game in Overland Park tonight between Bishop Miege and St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas’ stadium at least has some bleachers on the visiting side, unlike Miege, where fans from Rockhurst had to stand shoulder-to-shoulder two weeks ago. A game of this magnitude should be at a larger facility. Children’s Mercy Park, looking in your direction…or what about Kansas’ stadium in Lawrence?

What do I do with this weather? At least until I go to Minsky’s this afternoon. Maybe I’ll see Tori Smith (nee Weber) at Buffalo Wild Wings. She got married last month to her longtime beau Micah. I sent her a (inexpensive) gift from their registry even though I wasn’t invited. I would have (politely) said no anyway. It has nothing to do with the last two wedding receptions I’ve been to. Just wasn’t in the mood.

Last full day of my 42nd year began at 0916.

in honor of Rose Royce…

Rude and disgusting people

**DISCLAIMER**
I am sorry about all the cursing. I wish I didn’t have to. But it’s been that bad. 

Today has been hell. As bad as it was discovering the hotel in Lenexa was an island in the middle of a sea of construction, it would get worse. Much worse.

First, I should never, ever have assumed Peggy Cox told me not to come to Ottawa Saturday to watch Caitlyn play. I am very sorry I said that. I should not have.

When I left the hotel around 3:00 to go back to Johnson County, I backed out and happened to bump another car. I was scared shitless. I looked at the lady like I didn’t know what to do and I was so scared I almost took a dump in my pants. I screamed out loud and she got scared, but her husband told her I was screaming at myself, not her. He said everything was okay. I am very grateful. If they think I’m a total fool, then that’s fine. I don’t blame them.

The only good thing about today was getting my car cleaned.

Then came two incidents at two places along State Line Road that boiled my blood.

The first was at the QuikTrip just off I-435. I stop there quite often for gas and a drink, and sometimes to use the restroom. That QuikTrip is one of only a few which has no-ethanol gasoline.

I HATE ETHANOL. I HATE IT. It is dirty, it causes farmers to farm too much corn and not enough other crops, and it significantly reduces gas mileage. I was royally pissed later this evening when I found out Trump wants to allow the use of E-15 gas year-round. Asshole. Fuck you Trump. .It has been proven E-15 is 6 to 8 percent less fuel efficient than non-ethanol gas.

At the QuikTrip at State Line and 435, there are four pumps with non-ethanol fuel. Yet when I arrived at 4:15, all four pumps were occupied by customers buying non-ethanol fuel.

There are 16 pumps at this QuikTrip which do not have non-ethanol or diesel fuel at the pump. Diesel customers are not common in a big city, although I’m sure that QuikTrip gets some. Why the HELL do customers who want to buy the cheap shit have to block those who want to buy non-ethanol fuel? I complained to the ladies working the registers, but nobody seemed to care.

When I exited the store seven minutes later, three of the same vehicles which were blocking the non-ethanol pumps were still there!!!!! I saw one woman who was driving one of the blocking vehicles in the store.

That is pure rudeness right there. When you are finished pumping gas and you want to go into the store, please pull up to the front of the store and let someone else pump gas, especially when it’s blocking a non-ethanol pump and there are only four on site. At least she returned to a car after two minutes waiting and I was able to get my ethanol fuel.

What really pissed me off to no end was the other two vehicles sitting there in front of the non-ethanol pumps. A guy in a van with a Kansas plate (Franklin County; lordy, lordy he’s from Ottawa) was eating. EATING! Give me a break.

There was a woman in a black Toyota sitting there talking on her phone. She had the phone in her ear when I arrived at the store, and when I finally finished fueling, 12 minutes after arriving, SHE WAS STILL ON HER FUCKING CELL PHONE.

Okay, talking and driving is dangerous. But sitting in front of a gas pump at QuikTrip is not a place to conduct business or gab. If the woman’s conversation was THAT IMPORTANT, she should have parked somewhere else at the station. In her case, it would have been just as rude to take up a parking space for someone who wanted to go into the store, but there was plenty of parking at the back of the site (closest to 435).

Even worse, the woman was blocking a non-ethanol pump. What a rude bitch.

I was so pissed off about this I sent an angry message to QuikTrip through its Facebook page explaining this. I believe the stations which have non-ethanol fuel should post signs for customers who are not purchasing non-ethanol to avoid using those pumps if at all possible, and if not possible, to move immediately following fueling.

I only park my car in front of a pump when I am paying inside the store, and I only do it if there are more than half the pumps open. If it isn’t, I will fuel first, pull up to the front, then go in, or vice versa. Two credit card transactions is not the end of the world.

Then came the second incident I am pissed about.

I went shopping at the beautiful Super Target at 135th and State Line. Nice, big store, wide aisles, good selection. I will shop at Target any day of the week. NEVER WALMART. Lousy motherfuckers.

The shopping part was good. I went to the restroom, since I didn’t go at QuikTrip.

There was a man in the higher urinal, so I had to use the kiddie-sized one. Not a big deal.

But once the man in the other urinal finished, he just walked out WITHOUT WASHING HIS HANDS.  I’m lucky I didn’t pee all over myself. I was that angry.

I have a hard and fast rule: any time I use a public restroom, I must wash my  hands. I NEVER go without washing my hands in a public restroom. NEVER. That is absolutely disgusting to walk out without washing your hands. I’m wondering if he went home and touched his wife and kids with those nasty hands. Hopefully he isn’t married and doesn’t have kids.

I refuse to use a rest stop restroom on I-70 because they often lack soap to wash hands. I’ve encountered that many times at the one near Ellsworth, and also at the one near Solomon. I don’t use Solomon anymore, because Salina (westbound) and Abilene (eastbound) are close enough. The Ellsworth one is only westbound, and that’s why I try to stop before.

I wish there were a way the restroom door would lock if someone didn’t wash their hands. I would be willing to wait that disgusting piece of shit out until he washed his hands.

After what happened in Target, I was actually happy to sit in traffic on Missouri Highway 150 for a few minutes. I went all the way out to Independence to pick up Outback tonight. Then I had a 40-minute drive back west and north.

I’m going to try to forget about the rude people sitting in front of gas pumps and the disgusting man at Target. But I’m sure I will encounter many more of both types…probably before I leave Kansas City.

 

Persona non grata in Baton Rouge and Ottawa

My 42nd birthday is shaping up to be the worst since I was half that age.

My 21st birthday in 1997 was a horror show. The day before, a Sunday, I got a flat tire driving back from my parents’ home in New Orleans to Baton Rouge to be back at LSU in time for class Monday. My mother had to come rescue me, because my father could not, since he was on company business in Brazil. It happened to be the day after LSU’s football team beat then-number one Florida, a game I didn’t attend because I was suspended from working with LSU’s sports information office because of a resignation letter I wrote the previous Sunday. Herb Vincent reinstated me the day after my birthday, and he should not have. Now that I look back on it, I’m glad I wasn’t at the game. It was a complete drunken madhouse.

The day of my 21st, it poured and it was chilly. My mother and I went to an appointment with the therapist I was seeing at the time (he was no Crista).

My 30th was hell. I covered a state tennis tournament, drove to Abilene for a football game, then back to Russell so I could be in Stockton the next morning for a volleyball tournament. At least I don’t have that to worry about.

My 39th was pretty bad, too. I was still devastated by all that went on in the summer of 2015 (starting July 17, at least) and my financial woes were wearing me way down.

My first hope was to be in Baton Rouge for the LSU-Georgia football game. Michael Bonnette, LSU’s longtime sports publicity director, suggested it to me when I was there in April for baseball. I made reservations for a hotel and a rental car.

That plan went awry in late August. Dan Borne, the public address announcer, said no way to me helping him spot in his booth. Then Michael refused to help me get a credential or even a ticket. Then tickets cost at least $150–and they’re now going for at least $350.

The next idea was to go to Ottawa to watch Caitlyn play volleyball. Peggy seemed open to it last week. Then last night she gave the hint that she did not want me there because an old friend of hers would be there.

Now I was stuck with a hotel room in Lenexa I couldn’t cancel. I booked there because it was much easier to drive from there to Ottawa down Interstate 35 than it was from the area around KCI, which is where I normally stay. I decided to make the trip anyway. Better to wallow alone than in the basement of my house.

When I got to the hotel, my jaw dropped. The area around the hotel looks like Panama City after Hurricane Michael. Construction EVERYWHERE. And the hotel lobby fronts the street, and there is only room for two cars to pull up and unload. Of course, the unloading area was clogged by ride share cars.

The parking area was a garage on the back side of the hotel…with three flights of stairs to descend to get to the back entrance. Holy fucking shit.

Worse, there was only one way to get out of the stupid garage, and you had to turn right and drive away from Interstate 435 before you could U-turn and go in the proper direction.

I was very upset. VERY UPSET. I would never have touched this hotel with a ten-meter pole if I had known. Besides, there is absolutely NOTHING around the hotel, and it would take 20 minutes to drive into Overland Park or Olathe to find something.

I was very, very, very fortunate I was able to cancel the reservation without penalty and book back across the river.

I’m now praying I have leukemia. I want to have leukemia. It would be far better than the shitty life I’m living.

 

I slept until 1020 this morning. Best thing I could have done. I made sure I was nowhere near an establishment which shows college football on television today. And I’m darn sure I won’t be near one tomorrow. No desire to see the NFL, either.

In fact, I am so ready to give up Buffalo Wild Wings, at least in Kansas City. I haven’t been since August 17, and I don’t think that will change any time soon. I’m not too keen on going in Salina, either.

I’m so glad another Saturday is almost over. College football is too much to take. European universities do just fine without athletics. American universities are spending too much money on sports.

ENOUGH!

The Brewers are now tied with the Cubs for the National League Central lead, and tomorrow is the last day of the regular season. Milwaukee could have ended this had it not been swept in a five-game series in Pittsburgh in July. Had the Brewers won twice, the division would be theirs. Had they one just once, at least the worst they could do would be a one-game playoff, albeit in Chicago. Now Milwaukee has to win and hope the Cardinals, who were eliminated from playoff contention today, beat the Cubs to avoid the trip down Interstate 94. And the Brewers could still be forced into the wild card game, where they would likely face Clayton Kershaw.

That’s all. I need to sleep and get the heck out of Kansas City tomorrow.