Fifty years ago last night, the humdrum of what appeared to be another routine Apollo mission to the moon was forever changed by five words spoken by Commander Jim Lovell.
“Houston, we have a problem”.
And so began the saga of Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert. There was no way they would follow in the footsteps of Apollo 11’s Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins, nor Apollo 12’s Bean, Conrad and Gordon. Apollo 11 went to the moon in July 1969, with Armstrong and Aldrin setting foot on its surface on 20 July. Four months later, Apollo 12 took the same path.
As an aside, it would be Dick Gordon’s last space flight; twenty-six months later, he became the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the New Orleans Saints. Gordon was obviously smarter than the man who hired him, Saints owner John Mecom, and the head coach Gordon was inheriting, J.D. Roberts, but Gordon was in over his head against the likes of Jim Finks in Minnesota, Carroll Rosenbloom with the Rams, Al Davis in Oakland, the Rooney sin Pittsburgh, and Donald Francis Shula in south Florida.
Enough football. Back to Lovell, Haise and Swigert. Landing on the moon was out of the question; the new question was simply if they would live or die.
The first three and half months of the 1970s were carrying on the same deadly legacy as the last few months of the 1960s.
Following Apollo 11, ]Hurricane Camille bulldozed much of the Mississippi Gulf Coast the same weekend as Woodstock, killing 256 over five states. Three and half months later came the infamous Altamont Free Concert in northern California, where 18-year old druggie Meredith Hunter was stabbed by Hell’s Angel Alan Passarro, the latter claiming self-defense because he and his fellow Angels were scared the former would attack Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones during their performance.
Less than six days before Apollo 13 lifted off, four members of the California Highway Patrol were shot to death by snipers near Los Angeles. And three weeks after Lovell radioed the Johnson Space Center, four students died at Kent State (fortunately for football fans from coast to coast, one of them was not Nick Saban, then a freshman on the Golden Flashes football team).
The launch of Apollo 13 on 11 April was covered by the three networks, but other than updates from Walter Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley, and Howard K. Smith and Frank Reynolds, there was no special coverage. The night of Lovell’s transmission, the networks were in regular programming (“Here’s Lucy” on CBS; “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” on NBC and a horrendous TV movie on ABC), but Cronkite, Brinkley and Reynolds scurried back to their anchor chairs and updated the viewing public.
The mayday came after an explosion occurred in a liquid oxygen tank on board the command module. It turns out the tank was seriously damaged when it was dropped in preparation for Apollo 10. The tank for Apollo 10 was replaced, and the damaged tank was repaired and placed aboard Apollo 13.
It should not have been. It should have simply been disposed of. However, in 1969 and ’70, the cost of simply replacing the tank may have been too prohibitive to not to try and salvage it.
The damaged tank could only handle 28 volts, compared to 65 volts if the tank were in optimal condition. When temperatures spiked to approximately 185 degrees Celsius (365 degrees Fahrenheit), the internal wiring in the tank melted. When Swigert flipped a switch to stir the cryogenic tanks, the defective one exploded.
Lovell, Haise and Swigert were now on their own, more than 320,000 kilometers (200,000 miles) from earth. Mission Control was rendered useless.
The only hope was to use the lunar module, which Lovell and Haise would have used to land on the moon while Swigert circled above in the service module (the same way Collins did for Armstrong and Aldrin during Apollo 11, and Gordon for Bean and Conrad during Apollo 12), to fly back to earth.
Lovell had to figure out how to guide the lunar module with the service module attached, a totally different animal compared to what he and Haise would have experieneced landing on the moon.
As the trio neared earth on 17 April, they moved back into the damaged service module to prepare for splashdown. Originally, it was believed it would splash down in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Australia, but the trajectory was improved and it splashed at the original destination in the south Pacific.
I learned about Apollo 13 in sixth grade science. Two years later, an episode of ABC’s “The Wonder Years” featured the Apollo 13 crisis as a central plot point. Norma Arnold (Alley Mills) is up late after husband Jack (Dan Lauria) and children Karen (Olivia d’Abo), Wayne (Jason Hervey) and Kevin (Fred Savage) had gone to bed. Just as Kevin walks into the kitchen where Norma is watching television, and Frank Reynolds pops onto the screen with a “special report”. Later in the week, Kevin enters a church and finds Norma praying for the astronauts. The astronauts’ safe return also seemingly eases any tension between Norma and Jack. Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar) sat out this episode.
The three men aboard Apollo 13 never returned to space. The Apollo program ended in December 1972, and it would be over eight years before the first space shuttle launch in 1981.
Lovell, still alive and well at 92, retired from NASA and the U.S. Navy shortly after Apollo 13. His book “Lost Moon” served as the script for the 1995 blockbuster film “Apollo 13”, with Tom Hanks portraying Lovell.
I know of a few people who are not enamored with Lovell.
In August 1999, Lovell was as guest of the Chicago Cubs during a nationally televised game vs. the Houston Astros. Lovell harshly criticized a group of umpires who lost their jobs when they followed Richie Phillips’ dreadful strategy to resign the previous month. The interview, conducted by ESPN announcers John Miller and Joe Morgan, was seen by millions from coast to coast.
Two of the umpires working that night’s game, the infamous Eric Gregg and Paul Nauert, lost their jobs three and a half weeks later. Jerry Crawford, the crew chief for that night’s game, didn’t lose his job, but he was Richie Phillips’ best friend, and I’m certain he won’t shed a tear when Lovell finally slips the surly bonds of this earth and touches the face of God, as Ronald Reagan once put it.
Haise, still alive at 86, was scheduled to fly on Apollo 19, but his number didn’t come up, since Apollo 17 was the last. He was recruited for the space shuttle program, but he got tired of the delays.
Swigert turned to politics in the late 1970s after leaving NASA. His first run for office failed, as he lost the 1978 Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat from Colorado to U.S. Rep. Bill Armstrong, who went on to win the general election and serve two terms.
In early 1982, Swigert announced he would run for U.S. Representative from Colorado’s 6th district, a seat which the Centennial State gained from reapportionment following the 1980 census.
Before Swigert could worry about winning in November, he had to beat cancer, which manifested itself in a tumor in his right nasal passage. He finished radiation treatment in June 1982, but two months later, cancer came back in his bone marrow.
Swigert stayed in the election and won with 64 percent of the vote, becoming the third ex-astronaut to win election to Congress, with the others serving in the Senate.
The first was John Glenn, the living legend who represented Ohio from 1975-1998; the second was Harrison Schmitt, who represented New Mexico from 1977-82. Ironically, the same day Swigert was elected, Schmitt lost his seat to Jeff Bingaman.
Sadly for Swigert, he never took the oath on Capitol Hill. He died 27 December in the same wing of Georgetown University Hospital where Vince Lombardi succumbed to colon cancer 12 years earlier. Swigert was only 51.
Apollo 13 may never have reached its intended destination. However, the courage demonstrated by James Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert will continue to serve as a beacon of hope, especially poignant given what’s happening right now, 50 years after Lovell radioed Houston.
You would think I would be watching LSU and Clemson play for college football’s national championship (at least for the highest level).
I am so convinced Clemson will win I am not watching.
The game kicked off at 19:15. I am self-censoring. The TV is off. I have set my devices to do not disturb. I am not checking any sports sites. I think I’ll go to bed really early, considering I rose at 05:00 and have a lot of work to get done tomorrow morning.
The last time I self-censored was the night of the 2016 presidential election. I watched some crap on LMN, then went to bed early. I had no earthly clue who had won what state.
I went to bed convinced Hillary would win, just as almost every major media outlet predicted.
It wasn’t until I came upstairs, where my mother had the TV tuned to Today, when I learned Trump won.
When LSU played Alabama for the BCS national championship in January 2012, I didn’t watch the game, but I made the mistake of looking at Twitter. It was there I learned just how badly LSU was getting its ass kicked by Alabama. Of course, a few jerks had to rub it in.
This season, I purposely did not watch most of the first half in LSU’s game at Alabama and the Peach Bowl vs. Oklahoma. I didn’t see a score until I came upstairs, because my mother was watching. In each of those games, the Bayou Bengals built up a big enough lead, making it okay to watch. Not tonight. It won’t be that easy vs. Clemson.
Tonight, no social media, Nothing. If I want to watch the game, I can watch a replay on ESPN+. Something tells me those wearing orange are going to be much happier tonight than those wearing purple and gold.
More sports woe in Houston.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred suspended Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow and Manager A.J. Hinch for the 2020 season for their roles in Houston’s sign stealing throughout the 2017 postseason, which ended with the Astros defeating the Dodgers in the World Series.
Houston was also fined $5 million, believed to be a record for a major sports league due to an on-field incident. Too bad Roger Goodell doesn’t have the guts to fine the Patriots that much.
Astros owner Jim Crane went one step farther than Manfred, immediately firing Luhnow and Hinch. Houston has a huge hole in the rotation now that Gerrit Cole is in the Bronx, but it still has many strong pieces in Justin Verlander, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Corriea and George Springer. The question is who will manage them, and who will step into this mess?
I didn’t mention the Oilers blowing the 35-3 lead in Buffalo in the 1992 playoffs, but I figured you knew about that already. It has been repeated ad nausem following the Texans’ collapse yesterday in Kansas City.
On the other hand, Chiefs fans are convinced more than ever the Super Bowl is their destiny. Mahomes is God. The Titans might as well stay in Nashville. Bring on the 49ers or Packers.
Before the season, a Kansas City Star online poll asked “What would it take for you to consider the Chiefs season a success?”. I don’t remember the exact split, but at least 80 percent said either “get to the Super Bowl” or “win the Super Bowl”. If the Titans win Sunday, mental health professionals will be in high demand in the so-called “Chiefs Kingdom”.
Good night, blogosphere. Hopefully I’m waking up to good news in a few hours…but I have my doubts.
Houston called itself “Clutch City” after the Rockets won back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 (vs. the Knicks, led by Patrick Ewing) and 1995 (vs. the Magic, sweeping an Orlando team led by Shaq).
After the last three months, a more appropriate moniker for Houston is “Choke City”.
It began with the Astros. After winning a franchise record 107 games in the regular season, Houston nearly choked in the American League Division Series vs. the Rays, needing a victory in the winner-take-all Game 5 to advance to the American League Championship Series.
The Astros ousted the Yankees in six to move into the World Series for the second time in three years, where Houston would face the Washington Nationals, who were making their first World Series appearance.
Many experts expected the Astros to win the first two games at Minute Maid Park, then go to the nation’s capital and win two of three there.
Instead, Houston lost the first two games at home. The Astros rallied to win the next three in the District of Columbia to gain the series lead, only to choke it away by losing the sixth and seventh games in Texas. It became the first best-of-seven series in any of the three major sports (MLB, NBA, NHL) which use that format where the road team won every game.
Today, the Texans joined the Astros in Houston sports infamy.
Bill O’Brien’s team built a 24-0 lead early in the second quarter of an AFC divisional playoff in Kansas City.
By halftime, the Chiefs led 28-24, as Patrick Mahomes joined Doug Williams as the only quarterbacks to throw four touchdown passes in one quarter of a playoff game. Williams did it in the second quarter of Super Bowl XXII, when the Redskins turned a 10-0 deficit vs. the Broncos into a 35-10 halftime bulge. Washington won 42-10, and Williams was the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Kansas City won 51-31 and earned the right to host Tennessee in next Sunday’s AFC championship game.
Green Bay held on to defeat Seattle 28-23 in the NFC, sending the Packers to Santa Clara to face the 49ers for the other spot in Super Bowl LIV in Miami (Gardens) Feb. 2.
A team from Houston has not played in the AFC championship game since 1979, when the Oilers lost to the Steelers for the second consecutive year. Bum Phillips’ team was hurt by the officials making a bad call on a pass to Mike Renfro which was ruled incomplete but was in fact a touchdown, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered.
Even worse, Houston fans have to watch their former team play in its third AFC championship since relocating to the Volunteer State. The Titans defeated the Jaguars in 1999 before losing to the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV, but lost to the Raiders in 2002.
Barely an hour after the game ended at ARrowhead, a Houston Chronicle columnist wrote it was time for Texans coach Bill O’Brien to leave, reminding readers of past Houston sports failures. One of them was the famous 1983 NCAA men’s basketball title game, when Jim Valvano’s underdog North Carolina State Wolfpack shocked the mighty Houston Cougars, nicknamed “Phi Slamma Jamma” , when Lorenzo Charles caught Dereck Whittenburg’s airball and slammed it through the net with no time remaining. That Houston team featured two of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players, Clyde Drexler and (H)Akeem Olajuwon.
It wasn’t the first time a team from Kansas City stuck it to a team from Houston.
In 1993, the Oilers hosted the Chiefs in an AFC divisional game. Houston entered on an 11-game winning streak, but Kansas City, led by Joe Montana, prevailed 28-20. Following that loss, the Oilers’ fan support plummeted to subterranean depths, and after the 1996 season, they were on their way to Tennessee.
In 2015, the Astros were up 2-1 on the Royals in an American League Division Series and led Game 4 through seven innings. Kansas City rallied to win that game, won Game 5 in Kansas City, and eventually won the World Series. Houston’s 2017 World Series championship took the sting out of the 2015 setback, but the one in 2019 will be hard to forget, no matter if the Astros win another championship or not.
Despite superstars like Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, Chris Paul and James Harden playing for the Rockets in recent years, Houston has not played for an NBA championship since 1995. The window is wide open with the Warriors in free fall, but the Rockets will be severely tested by the two Los Angeles teams in the West, and hopefully Milwaukee if they make it to the Finals.
Approximately 26 hours from now, LSU will either have completed its greatest football season ever, or one of its most disappointing. Hopefully it’s the former. However, I would feel much better about this if the opponent were wearing scarlet and gray instead of orange. Something tells me Dabo is the younger, hipper version of LSU’s former coach–the one in Tuscaloosa, not the one in Lawrence–and has a dynasty going in the the South Carolina uplands.
The last 12 hours of my 43rd year got off to a sour start.
Following my fourth marathon day at Buffalo Wild Wings, I stopped at the QuikTrip in Riverside to fuel the Buick so I wouldn’t have to do it tomorrow.
When I arrived, I noticed a white GMC Yukon sitting in front of pump #4 with the pump in the tank. He was blocking one of the four non-ethanol pumps, and of course, I wanted non-ethanol.
After three or four minutes in the store, I pulled out of the lot in front of the store. Yet all the non-ethanol pumps were not available: the Yukon was still there, one was blocked by a guy fixing his car, another was blocked by a car not getting non-ethanol, and another was in use by someone actually buying non-ethanol.
I waited for three minutes for the Yukon. Nothing.
I finally had to go in and ask the clerks at the cash register to see if the Yukon owner was in the store. Sure enough he was. He told me he would move it. He looked pissed off.
First, it is absolutely RUDE to block a gas pump when you’re done. Move on.
Second, it is even more RUDE to block a pump which has non-ethanol or diesel. EVERY pump–20 of them in this case–has the three standard grades of 10% ethanol gas. And while it was busy, there were eight pumps open for the regular gas.
Third, why the hell do people leave their vehicle in front of the pump when they want to go shop in the store? That’s stupid. Why not pull the car to the front of the store so you don’t have as long to walk?
I am to the point where I might just have to take a trip to Tulsa and chew out the bigwigs at QuikTrip. No, I won’t make a special trip–although I could go for Whataburger–but I will send an angry letter. No cursing, no threats, but just my absolute disappointment at the lack of courtesy.
It was a great day at Buffalo Wild Wings. Robb and Theresa stopped by for an hour. Theresa brought me some of her homemade sausage to take back to Russell.
Yet I’m ready to get back to Russell. Got a lot of work to do between now and Wednesday at noon.
I left B-Dubs upset last night. I was hoping Peggy would stop in Kansas City on her way from Des Moines to Paola. She was in Iowa yesterday to watch Caitlyn play, and she was heading to Courtney and Andy’s home to stay before going to Wichita today for the Ottawa-Friends match. I asked her to consider stopping on her way down I-35, but I never heard from her.
When I left B-Dubs, I made a beeline straight for Overland Park and Cheesecake Factory. I got two slices of cheesecake (tiramisu and Godiva–delicious) and a strip steak. The steak was overcooked and thin, so that taught me a lesson–stick to Cheesecake. I would have been better off making a second stop at Outback on the other side of I-435. Oh well.
I felt very guilty that I didn’t go to Wichita and to Ottawa, where Caitlyn was a member of the homecoming court. I was much harder on myself than they were on me. St. Louis bought a lot of goodwill.
Georgia choked today. The third-ranked Bulldogs gagged to a mediocre South Carolina team 20-17 in double overtime in Athens.
I won’t go into how much I hate overtime in college and high school football. If you’ve read the blog you know my stance.
If anyone in the SEC was going to beat Georgia, South Carolina is the LAST team I wanted doing it.
Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp revealed himself as a gigantic douchebag last year when he vigorously defended then-Maryland coach D.J. Durkin, who helped kill Terrapins offensive tackle Jordan McNair with his gross negligence. Muschamp fired back at anyone who dared speak ill of Durkin and called those who did “soft”.
I never liked Muschamp when he coached Florida, although he dragged the Gators into the abyss, so that was good for LSU. The defense of Durkin sealed it.
Muschamp, Jimbo Fisher, Urban Meyer and Kirk Ferentz are four coaches I would never, EVER want any male relative of mine to play for. Nick Saban is a more complicated matter, one I don’t have time to delve into right now, considering its after 2300 and I want to be back in Russell in 12 hours.
LSU didn’t choke, although the Bayou Bengals had me way too nervous. They traded blows with Florida for three quarters before pulling away in the fourth to a 42-28 victory in Baton Rouge. The Bayou Bengals will be fourth or fifth in the polls tomorrow, depending on where Oklahoma is slotted following its 34-27 victory over Texas in the Red River Rivalry. Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State will be the top three.
Honestly, why do we need polls before the end of October? Most of the early polls are based upon reputation and nothing more. Same with college basketball, where Kansas, Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina are automatically ranked in the preseason no matter what.
Missouri beat Ole M(P)iss 38-27. Good. As much as I can’t stand Florida, I totally depise the plantation in Oxford. I wish there would have been more allegations against Hugh Freeze which would have given the SEC reason to expel the Rebels.
Washington won AGAIN in the National League Championship Series. The Nationals take a 2-0 lead back to the banks of the Potomac. The Cardinals had better find an offense NOW or else there will not be another game at Busch Stadium III until April.
The Yankees beat the Astros 7-0 in the first game of the ALCS at Houston. I can see it now….all the east coast media slobbering over the prospect of commuting up and down I-95. People in Philadelphia might not be so excited about the idea.
It wasn’t a good day for Larry. The Cardinals lost again, and the Blues got hammered 6-3 in Montreal. At least Mizzou prevented it from being a total disaster.
Louisiana’s governor’s election is going to a second round. Incumbent John Bel Edwards failed to reach the necessary 50 percent plus one vote to win in the primary. He will now face Eddie Rispone in a runoff.
Rispone is a carbon copy of former governor Mike Foster–an rich old white man financing his own campaign. Foster didn’t do squat in two terms. He was more concerned about hunting and riding his motorcycles.
Louisiana was a total mess under Edwards’ predecessor, Piyush “Bobby” Jindal. Jindal cut state services and higher education to bare bones and the state swam in red ink deeper than the Mississippi River running through Baton Rouge. Jindal neglected the Bayou State to prepare his presidential campaign, which bombed spectacularly thank God.
Edwards–no relation to former four-term governor Edwin Washington Edwards–has put Louisiana back on solid financial footing. Of course, too many sycophant voters see a “D” next to Edwards name an automatically think he’s evil.
Rispone ran disgusting attack ads against both Edwards and Republican U.S. Representative Ralph Abraham, who finished third. I am so glad I’m not in Louisiana to see this crap.
Politics disgusts me. Period. I hate it. I’m sick and freaking tired of the hatred on both sides. Just because someone has an opposite view to yours doesn’t mean he or she is your mortal enemy. The real enemies are in North Korea, Russia, Venezuela and other countries which would destroy the American way of life.
My 43rd year is down to its last 10 hours. By time I reconnect with this blog, I will be into my 44th. Good night.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Texas Rangers have always been a low-rent, low-class organization in my mind.
The stunt the organization pulled this week simply confirmed it yet again.
The Rangers were scheduled to play a three-game series in Houston against the Astros. While Minute Maid Park, the Astros’ home field, was not flooded, most of Houston was, and every major route in the city was flooded and impassable. Also, the resources of the Houston Police Department and other first responders, already stretched beyond the breaking point, would have been stretched worse to provide security at Minute Maid for the games.
The simple solution to this problem would have been for the Rangers to host the series this week, then go to Houston in September when the Astros are scheduled to come to Arlington for the final time in 2017.
Easy. A lot easier than if the teams were not in the same division, since each team visits the other teams in the league not in their division only once per season.
The Rangers said hell no.
Their excuse: they did not want to “inconvenience” their fans who held tickets for the September series by switching on short notice.
Excuse me, Jon Daniels (Rangers general manager), but what do you think Hurricane Harvey did to the people of Houston? That’s not an inconvenience. That’s what’s called a catastrophe.
Just how catastrophic would it have been if a few thousand Rangers fans could not have attended the series this week? NOT AT ALL. On the inconvenience scale, it would rate at most two out of 10.
THREE games out of EIGHTY-ONE. How many people attend all 81 home games of an MLB team’s schedule? Not many. Likely only those who are retired or not working because they can afford not to work. And even some of those people would probably need a night or two away from the ballpark.
So what if fans don’t show up? The White Sox and Orioles played a game in front of NOBODY two years ago when there were riots in Baltimore following the Freddie Gray shooting. Many a European football match has been played in front of an empty stadium due to hooliganism. Fans are not necessary to play a game. If nobody wanted to show up in Arlington, let them watch it on television.
Instead, MLB forced the Astros to play their “home” games in St. Petersburg at Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays. If the floods weren’t injury enough, MLB insulted the Astros by forcing them into MLB’s worst facility (if not, it’s the second worst; only the Oakland Coliseum rates that badly) and playing in a city which does not deserve to even have an MLB team. The Rays have proven year after year after year they don’t care, always finishing at or near the bottom of MLB attendance.
Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred proved himself a gutless coward. GUTLESS COWARD.
All Manfred had to do was exercise his “best interests of baseball” clause and forced the Rangers to switch dates with the Astros. And if the Rangers didn’t want to play the games in Arlington this week? Fine, they would have forfeited.
Instead of Manfred doing the right thing, he kicked Houston while it was way, way down. As bad as that is, you don’t want to see what I’m going to say about Manfred if he ever approve the designated hitter for the National League.
If this had been the National Football League and it had been the Texans and another AFC South team playing a regular season game, Roger Goodell would have told the team scheduled to play in Houston that it would have to host, and they would have to go to Houston later in the year. That’s that. No appeal.
Had the Saints been scheduled to host Carolina in week one of 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, I’m sure Paul Tagliabue, Goodell’s predecessor, would have asked the Panthers to play in Charlotte, then travel to either San Antonio or Baton Rouge later that season, and Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and then-coach Jon Fox would have had no problem with it whatsoever.
Instead, Rangers GM Daniels uses a cheap, petty excuse to screw the Astros, who are running away with the American League West. Texas is below .500 and only in the wild card race because the DH league is a whole bunch of mediocrity, except for the Astros and Indians at the top and the White Sox, Athletics and Tigers at the bottom. How else would the Twins go from 59-103 in 2016 to leading for the second wild card spot this August 31? If the Rangers played in the National League, nobody in Dallas/Fort Worth would give a damn.
Why am I not surprised by the Rangers’ pettiness? It’s in their orginazational DNA.
It began in 1968, when the Rangers were still the second incarnation Washington Senators.
The team was purchased by a Minneapolis businessman named Robert Short. Short was exiled from the Twin Cities in 1960 when he moved the Lakers to Los Angeles, then made a nice profit by selling them to Jack Kent Cooke in 1965. Cooke and later Jerry Buss turned the Lakers into one of professional sports’ iconic franchises.
Short probably wanted to buy the first incarnation of the Senators and move them to Minneapolis, but Calvin Griffith beat him to the Twin Cities in 1961 and renamed the club the Twins.
The second incarnation of the Senators were a laughingstock, just like the first team was after Walter Johnson retired in the late 1920s. The Senators were fortunate in that the Kansas City Athletics were just as terrible and kept the new Senators out of the cellar many years.
Somehow, Short convinced Ted Williams, probably the greatest hitter who ever lived, to manage the Senators. Williams led Washington to 86 wins in 1969, the franchise’s only winning season in the nation’s capital, and was AL Manager of the Year. Washignton hosted the 1969 All-Star Game at RFK Stadium.
Yet Short only cared about the almighty dollar, and he thought he could not make enough of them in Washington.
Near the end of the 1971, cheapskate Short conned owners into allowing him to move the Senators to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and play in a mionor league stadium halfway between the two cities.
Arlington was just another town on the Dallas/Fort Worth Turnpike (now Interstate 30) not too far from where the new DFW Airport was being built. It had Six Flags, but not much else.
Ten of the AL’s 12 owners at the time–the White Sox (John Allyn) and Orioles (Jerold Hoffberger) said no–let Short take baseball out of Washington. This greatly angered commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who despearately tried to get Short to sell. Yet Short showed he was just as egotistical as he was cheap, refusing an $8.5 million offer from grocery magnate Joseph Dazansky so he could put one over on the nation’s capital.
Williams quit after his first season in Arlington. He hated Dallas/Fort Worth and especially hated the shithole that was Arlingon Stadium, where more than 40 percent of the seats were aluminum bleachers in the outfield, where it was hot enough to fry eggs most days. Whitey Herzog was hired following Williams, but Short thought it was a big mistake from the start.
Herzog said it best when at his first press conference he declared “This is the most horseshit excuse for a Major League team I ever saw”.
Unfortunately, Whitey, the Rangers are still a horsehit organization.
Short forced Herzog to pitch 18-year old David Clyde less than a month after his high school graduation. Clyde eventually became an alcoholic, developed arm trouble, and eventually flamed out of MLB by 1981. The only reason he isn’t considered the worst #1 overall pick in MLB history is because at least he played in MLB, unlike Steve Chilcutt (1966) and Brien Taylor (1991).
Herzog was fired with 24 games to go in 1973 and replaced by Billy Martin, the same Billy Martin who would be hired and fired five times by George Steinbrenner. Martin led the Rangers to 84 wins in 1974, but the better news was Short sold the Rangers to Brad Corbett, a local pipe salesman.
Corbett’s ownership was just as horseshit as Short’s, and the Rangers were pretty terrible for 15 years, save for a season of contention here and there (1977 most comes to mind).
Then came George W. Bush, future governor of Texas and 43rd President of the United States. His predecssor, Eddie Chiles, left the son of the then-POTUS the gift of Nolan Ryan, who was offered a boatload of cash to come north on Interstate 45 from Houston.
Bush turned the Rangers into a semi-respectable outfit. Ryan filled decrepit Arlington Stadium every time he pitched, including once when my brother, father and I watched from the left-center field bleachers for Ryan to face the Brewers in what turned out to be his final season, 1993.
Yet Bush 43 made one gigantic mistake.
The Rangers got a new stadium under Bush’s ownership. Arlington Stadium was demolished in 1994, about 15 years after it should have been.
The bad news? NO ROOF.
Let’s see: we’ll build a new baseball stadium in Dallas/Fort Worth without a roof after fans have suffered for 22 years in the extreme heat in Arlington Stadium, a shithole where many fans had to burn the butts–literally–on metal benches.
I visited the new stadium in Arlington, currently called Globe Life Park, once, in 1996. It was better than Arlington Stadium, but much crappier than Kauffman Stadium, and certainly nowhere as good as PNC Park, which I visited in 2005.
The Rangers are correcting Bush’s gigantic mistake by building a new stadium with a roof, set to open no later than 2021. But the Rangers should have got it right the first time.
If that were the Rangers’ biggest problem, I wouldn’t have such a beef with them.
But it isn’t.
In 1999, when Ryan was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he went in wearing a Rangers cap on his plaque. It turns out the Rangers offered him financial inducements to wear a Rangers cap, even though he pitched four career no-hitters with the Angels and played nine seasons with the Astros. I don’t care if he collected his 5,000th strikeout and pitched two no-hitters with the Rangers.
Last I checked, it’s called bribery when financial gain is offered in return for a favor. If it happened in a political arena, the briber and the bribee would both be in federal prison. Instead, Ryan is a hero in Dallas/Fort Worth, even though he is from south Texas and played the longest with the Astros.
In 2002, the Hall of Fame said enough was enough and told Gary Carter his plaque would have him in an Expos cap, even though he wanted to wear a Mets cap on his plaque. Now the Hall of Fame determines the team cap on the plaque.
Wade Boggs tried that shit when he wanted a Devil Rays(??!!) cap instead of the Red Sox. The Hall of Fame said no.
Too bad the decision is not retroactive. Reggie Jackson should be wearing an Athletics cap, not a Yankees cap.
Catfish Hunter had it right when he insisted on a blank cap on his plaque, not wanting to offend the Athletics or Yankees. Greg Maddux (Cubs and Braves) did the same.
The Rangers continued their reign of error by signing former crack whore Josh Hamilton, the former #1 overall pick who was banned from baseball for a time for extreme drug usage.
It hired Ron Washington, a former admitted coke junkie, as its manager.
And now this.
There are some teams I just will never like.
The Reds are one. Pete Rose can get fucked, and Marge Schott should rot in deepest hell.
The Cubs? Obnoxious fans. Just because your team won its first World Series in 108 years does not mean you rule the earth.
The Marlins? Jeffrey Loria is a fuckwad. Jose Fernandez killed two other people because of his abject stupidity. He is not a hero. Besides, I can’t stand Miami to begin with. I despise the Heat. Dolphins and Panthers just as much.
The Texas Rangers fall into that club.
I hope the Lord has something nice in store for this dirtbag crew, who gave a giant middle finger to their in-state neighbors just because they couldn’t handle a very minor inconvenience.