Skip to content

WNBA ‘offs Commence Tonight

The WNBA playoffs with a new format open tonight with two games as the defending champion Chicago Sky face the (16-20) New York Liberty (I read “it” wrong and the Liberty snuck in winning their last 3 tilts) followed by the Las Vegas Aces meeting the (15-21) Phoenix Mercury.

Both the Sky and Aces headed their conferences with (26-10) records.

Tomorrow night the (25-11) Connecticut Sun face the (22-14) Washington Mystics before the (22-14) Seattle Storm play the (18-18) Dallas Wings.

The higher seeded team in all 4 series gets the first 2, perhaps only 2 at home in the best of 3 first round series, however, somewhat incredibly a decisive game 3, if necessary would be played in the lower seed’s building. Ouch!

 

45 Years Since Elvis Presley Died

This year in which the Butler (Austin) did it, portraying Elvis so well in the movie “Elvis,” today is the exact 45 year anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death on Tuesday August 16, 1977.

 

Mr. Presley aka “The King,” was so great for so long a period of time, another record breaker, basketball’s Wilt Chamberlain, who also died on a Tuesday, commented that those criticizing, largely out of fear, his “outrageous” style in the 1950’s, were standing on line to buy tickets to see Elvis perform in Las Vegas and other places in the 1970’s.

Time marches on inexorably, so many greats gone, today remembering as great a performer as ever was, while wondering where 45 years disappeared.

The “King” may be dead, but oh how long he has and will live.

070a67ca54831a9f02541f76a8c5ec71_large

Click below to view Elvis sing “Jailhouse Rock” from the 1957 movie of the same name.

Elvis Presley. Jailhouse Rock.( From the movie Jailhouse Rock.1957.) 

Oh Could Rico Carty Hit!

Tonight as is almost always the case the Sunday night game, inaugurated by ESPN in 1990 matches the Yankees and Red Sox.

I choose to recall a Sunday night game when they were so rare and the great hitter Rico Carty.

Rico Carty was one of the greatest hitters I ever saw play.

If there was a hitter’s Hall of Fame, Rico Carty would be a serious candidate.

Once in a July 4th, Sunday night game, in 1976, I believe 14 years before regularly scheduled such games, Carty homered to get the Indians within a run of the Yankees, who held on to win the game and eventually the American League Pennant.

Yankees’ broadcaster praised Carty after the home run. “Oh can he hit!” Mr. Rizzuto remarked.

That was high praise from a baseball great. It also was well deserved as Rico Carty could really hit.

Rico Carty, pictured above.

Share this:

Remembering David McCullough

It is not the acclaim and prizes, specifically The Pulitzer, that I remember and admire most about writer David McCullough, (hopefully his love of and emphasis on history will inspire more of the same), who died days back, at age 89.

“They,” unfortunately do not make too many, if any David McCullough types these days. He loved history and brought it to life in such books as biographies of the second U.S. President, John Adams and the 33rd, Harry S Truman. (The S did not stand for anything).

Mr. McCullough narrated in the movie about the famed horse, Seabiscuit and as with James Earl Jones and very few others, one can see paying just to hear David McCullough read the phone book. (I believe Jones got involved with similar “placement”).

Let’s face it my love of history mainly concerned sports but at least I had that. These kids today …..

Also and I remember this best, McCullough commented on the constant placing of the word “like” (I am guilty of it also and I do NOT LIKE it) in modern language.

Paraphrasing Mr. McCullough talked of President Kennedy’s famed inaugural speech being “It’s not LIKE what your country can do for you, but LIKE what you can LIKE do for your country.”

Let’s try to upgrade and appreciate those like (I hesitate to use that “L” word) David McCullough!!

 

David McCullough taught us that history is for everyone

The renowned author, David McCullough, pictured above.

“History, really, is an extension of life,” McCullough wrote. “It enlarges and intensifies the experience of being alive, like poetry and art or music.”

 

Remembering Olivia Newton-John

Before I saw the radiant, outside beauty of the great performer, Olivia Newton-John, who died far too early at age 73 amidst this “heat of hell summer,” days back, I was aware of and admired her songs a great deal.

Seeing her, (somewhere a small Newsweek photo I cut out remains) evoked, say running back, Marcus Allen “going over the top!”

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and looks are so over valued in this life, yet I note Olivia Newton-John was beautiful.

More important, she was a gifted performer with incredible presence and charm. She did so much good in her life.

3 Letters and confluence in 1981: MTV began, I bought my first VCR and ONJ (Olivia’s and other videos played). I recorded. It is/was both good and bad to do so.

Luckily, we are blessed that recordings preserve the performances of greats such as Olivia Newton-John.

One is shown below. It probably will be taken down. Certainly, it as with life, will come to an end.

Thank you Olivia Newton-John, whom I saw perform brilliantly later in her great career, for all the good that you did while on this planet.

Click below to see Olivia perform “Make A Move On Me.”

 

 

Watch UFC 278 at Hoops Cabaret and Sports Bar in New York City

The beautiful Hoops Cabaret Girls invite you to watch UFC 278 featuring Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards with them on Saturday night, August 20, at the world’s sexiest sports bar, Hoops Cabaret. 

UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman looks to continue his run of  dominance in the 170-pound division when he defends his title against Leon Edwards in the main event of UFC 278. 

Usman and Edwards both bring lengthy winning streaks to their clash. Usman has won 19 straight bouts, including five successful title defenses since capturing the belt in March 2019. Edwards is on a nine-fight winning streak. His most recent loss came against Usman when the two fought in December 2015.

The three-story Hoops Cabaret is a great place to watch sporting events, with multiple giant screens, Hi-Def TVs, and a giant Video Wall. Every seat has a clear view of the action. 

Hoops Cabaret combines the fun of a sports bar with the excitement of a gentlemen’s club. “The UFC is very exciting,” said Hoops girl Selena. “And so is a lap dance from a Hoops girl!”  

“Hoops is a sports fan’s dream come to life,” exclaimed Hoops girl Bianca. “Visit the club and have a great time with us, and be sure to check out the truly unique VIP Man Cave on the second floor.” 

HOOPS Cabaret and Sports Bar

  • 48 West 33rd Street, New York City
  • ***Court-side, Mezzanine and VIP seating
  • ***Super VIP “Man Cave”
  • ***Full Menu, Drink Specials

World Series Redux Notes

All three of the past weekend’s inter-league series matched teams/franchises with multiple World Series clashes.

The Cardinals and Yankees have met in 5 World Series, the former winning in 1926, 1942 and 1964 and the latter triumphing in 1928 and 1943.

Pittsburgh (Pirates) won both W.S. meetings vs Baltimore (Orioles), each a 7 game win, the Roberto Clemente/Steve Blass brilliance led win in ’71 and Willie Stargell’s 2RHR highlighting the ’79 win.

When the Athletics were in Philadelphia and the Giants played in New York, the Athletics won World Series vs the Giants in 1911 and 1913. The Giants led by Christy Mathewson’s incredible 3 of 3 games/shutouts won vs the A’s in 1905.

In the 1989 World Series, marred by an earthquake before game 3, the Athletics won a 3rd straight vs the Giants–the A’s as Oakland and the Giants as San Francisco–sweeping S.F. in 4 straight games.

 

Whitey Kurowski.png

George “Whitey”Kurowski, pictured above hit a big home run for the Cards in the clinching 5th game win in the ’42 World Series.

Quick Baseball “Reg” Update

Why is it that so often, that divisions in “the middle” are the weakest. Certainly that is the case at the top of the two “middle”/Central Divisions in baseball “reg” 2022.

In the A.L. in either order, right now the Yankees lead the Houston Astros by one and a fraction games (it is not too early in this no mystery at the top A.L. season to note Houston, by winning 5 of 7 vs the Yankees, I believe has the tiebreaker) for the top seed. Houston, in turn, leads the current Central leader, the “Minne” Twins by 12 games.

Meanwhile in the National League, L.A. (the Cleveland Rams 1945 NFL title was followed by a Brooklyn Dodgers best of 3 N.L. playoff loss vs St. Louis (Cardinals) (as I will note one of the Rams’ 4 crowns was won as St. Louis in 1946, after the ’51 L.A. Rams crown, Brooklyn lost the ’52 World Series to the Yankees, despite coming home to Brooklyn, up 3 games to 2, after the ’99 aforementioned “St. Loo” Rams title the 2000 Dodgers did not qualify for the baseball tournament, then consisting of 8 teams (bad) and now houses 12 (terrible), we shall see how the Dodgers fare, this first baseball season after the L.A. Rams home field, no cover, aided and abetted by a bad holding call, 2021 title), has baseball’s best record while the New York Mets lead Atlanta by 4 and a half games (they trail L.A. by 5 and a half for the 1 seed) for the div crown and 2 seed. In turn, the Central co-leaders, Milwaukee and St. Louis are 9 and a half games behind the Mets.

294 days/42 weeks earlier, the 103 win Dodgers won the decisive 5th game of their “div” series eliminating the 104 win S.F. Giants. Yesterday those 294 days later, L.A. made it 7 of 7 vs S.F. since the “break,” dropping the Giants 6 and a half games behind for ‘offs qualification.

Noteworthy is that in 27 of the last 30 Seattle (Mariners) games, either “Sea” has won (21 times) or they have lost to Houston (6 times).

 

Alvin Davis.jpg

Alvin Davis, pictured above, made big early contributions to the Seattle Mariners. 

Remembering Vin Scully

One does not have to march in “lockstep” with the opinion that by proclamation, Vin Scully was baseball’s greatest broadcaster, to be greatly passionate and appreciative, of his treasured work.

Mr. Scully (his first World Series was in 1953, I doubt he was on 25 as reported in so many reports of his death 2 days back at age 94, a year before Lee J. Cobb was “Johnny Friendly/similarly, if not same pronunciation “Skelly” in the great film, “On The Waterfront.”

Perhaps Vin Scully, who weaved information and stories so brilliantly in his broadcasts, would have appreciated the above extraneous note, probably not its presence in the second paragraph.

Let’s start with the fact, that unlike all the “lockstep he’s the greatest by far,” people who significantly outnumber, at least in public forums, those who dare say not, I fell asleep on the night and unaware Mr. Scully died, marveling at Scully’s brilliance, listening to a game from September 26, 1969, matching the Dodgers, whose games Mr. Scully broadcast for an incredible 67 years, and their big rivals, the Giants. (Coincidentally they met that night “53/Big D/Drysdale” years later, with L.A. winning the 5th of what is now 6 of 6 vs S.F. in the last week and a half.

In that Sept. 1969 broadcast alone, from “Thank you Jerry,” (Jerry Doggett, the almost never mentioned, by far, better than most broadcasters today, few innings partner of Scully) to Willie Davis’ in and back to catch a fly ball, Willie Mays scoring on a bad leg, citing Bobby Bonds has fanned 178 times but he also has 84 rbi’s, before, as Vin might have said, “promptly” hitting a “one hopper into left,” yielding (2-0) Giants and Vin’s “Bonds picks up 2 rbi’s to give him 86).

Best of all in that game, at least the part I heard–“if there is thunder out of Seattle tonight,  it is because Harmon Killebrew is at it again.” That night “Killer” hit #48 one more than Frank “Hondo” Howard. (For the record, as Atlanta in that first year of divisional play –(remember as Bob Costas so eloquently stated, though it was now 4 teams into post-season after 65 of just two (1903-1968, no World Series in 1904), the division races had all the components of a pennant race, namely/mainly/specifically a team had to finish first!!), and on its way to the N.L. West crown got a grand slam homer from Orlando Cepeda, and homers from Clete Boyer and Henry Aaron as well (#44 for #44), as Phil Niekro, though quickly down (3-0) and his Braves topped brother Joe Niekro then with S.D.-which on the day Scully died, traded for Juan Soto, as baseball has allowed Washington’s team to be broken apart as they have allowed others, notably the 1990’s once proud, Pittsburgh Pirates).

Willie McCovey, the eventual N.L. MVP was cited by Scully as the key to the Giants and as with Henry Aaron, had 44 home runs and wore #44. 

Scully was a master, so popular (transistor radios, the far away seats at the L.A. Coliseum and so called laid back L.A. helping) and so brilliant!

Some memories, some Vin follows. I am pretty sure I was in Las Vegas with my parents, (part of an “L.A. S.F. The Grand Canyon and post Bar Mitzvah, last vacation,” they took me on and I was an A student and only 13)–when the great Willie Stargell hit a home run over the pavillion at still active and beautiful, Dodger Stadium. At a pool, I marveled at both “Starg” and the magic of the radio call, likely that of Mr. Scully.

“Starg,” who once yelled upward saying hello to me, as he drove into Dodger Stadium on May 17, 1980, the night after Earvin (42) and Silk Wilkes (37 points), as the Lakers titled, batted from the left side and rotated his bat before the pitch. Teammate Bill Madlock did the same from the right side and Vin said “with the winds created from their motions “we can fly to Chicago”

Two, among the more famous Scully calls were on radio, Sandy Koufax’s perfect game, and Henry Aaron’s record breaking 715th home run, the latter poignantly spiced with Mr. Scully’s appropriate silence and then words essentially– stating the confluence of a Black man getting a standing ovation in the deep U.S. south, having broken a beloved man’s record. (Babe Ruth).

My Vin Scully favorite and in it, in fact, in that whole top 9 in late May 1968 when “Big D” Don Drysdale was bidding for a record tying 5th straight shutout, Scully IS as great as it gets, culminating in his call Parker’s (Wes) GOTTT ITT!!

Oh the calls, so many great! In tribute to Vin, I go toward him “thusly”-(is that a word?) : “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

I believe Vin Scully got called, made calls and was chosen.

Alas, the great broadcaster, Marty Glickman a Scully admirer, talked of “there is no greatest.” Yet he opined in baseball broadcast annals, it was Red Barber.

It really does not matter, as I know and know over and over again, that despite my natural “swim upstream” and vs the popular nature, that when I hear Vin Scully on a baseball broadcast, especially those that are local Dodgers (he was objective, informative, in praise of the opponent and if necessary critical of the Dodgers), it is a treasured treat. Alas a wise man and Mr. Scully would both say “pull up a chair,” (not lay in the bed) and enjoy!! I will try!

Last, but a truly treasured memory, I called and reached Mr. Scully in a New York hotel room in 1972. He was polite, saying “your guy/Sandy Koufax was “good enough for me,” as the greatest (that word again). I kept talking, Scully in those pre call waiting days, was waiting for news about the status of that night’s game on that rainy day.

In that fantastic voice, ever so polite with 16 year old me, he unforgettably intoned” I am waiting for the call from Shea, the last word stretched a bit.

Now another call has come to you, Mr. Scully and sages much wiser than me, will greet you and congratulate you for being so great.

 

Vin Scully, Dodgers announcer, at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida for Spring Training, 1985 (cropped) (cropped).jpg

What he witnessed, how he disseminated it, oh the history and greatness of Vin Scully, pictured above.

Thoughts Regarding The Unique, Complex And So Great, Bill Russell

There is so much that is uncertain about the unique, complex and truly great Bill Russell, who died 2 days back (City on a Hill, which once titled an episode Bill Russell’s Bedsheets had its third season premiere that day, provoking thought) save the fact he was the greatest “winner” in major North American team sports, playing on 11 NBA title teams (only Henri Richard has as many at the professional level) and 2 NCAA title teams with the Boston Celtics and University of San Francisco Dons respectively.

Bill Russell was so gifted, beyond intelligent and most of all perceptive. Yet what really were the consequences and thoughts of Bill regarding the Monroe, Louisiana to Boston racism (non freedom) ride he endured?

Again so complex and who knows what made Bill such a competitor and ultimate winner?

My head spins with thoughts remembering him and he has been cited so often in these posts, far too often, especially of late when such great Boston Celtics’ players and coaches as K.C. Jones, Tom Heinsohn, Sam Jones, and John Havlicek predeceased the one and only “Russ,” whose rebounds and outlet passes fused a thing of beauty and great, unmatched within a period success that was the Celtics “fast break” and title run.

Bill’s incredible defensive acumen, best exemplified by his shot blocking and control of said blocked shot fused great ability, including geniusand perception. (He knew angles and often where the ball would go!)

Look if you can find (why so little of any real games, not the often disjointed highlights) as Mr. Russell grabbed the rebound when Frank “Pops” Selvy missed a shot that if made, would have given L.A. the ’62 and first L.A. crown–instead “Russ” and the great Sam Jones led in the overtimes and that first L.A. Lakers’ crown was 10 years down the road.

You know in citing Bill Russell, one must talk about the key member of that ’72 title team, 3 years after Bill retired, (Bill was doing playoffs “analysis” and long distance–“can’t miss with long distance” ads), namely Wilton Norman Chamberlain.

My dad Norman rooted for “Russ” and the Celtics, I was for a number of Wilt led teams. Russell and the Celtics prevailed in all but one playoffs clash vs Wilt’s teams. Bill and the Celts won 11 titles in 13 seasons, Wilt’s teams won 2 in his 14 seasons, albeit with at the time, the two greatest NBA records.

They were good friends, sharing that “Thursday holiday in November” dinners and playing with Bill’s electric trains.

As written here before, and I will post it below, they did not talk for a long time, a lesson for all, before resuming such, however at that juncture, it was not all that long after that Wilt died alone nearly 23 years before Bill, who was happily married.

I can go on and hopefully will in future posts. It (Russell/Chamberlain) is an endless, complex, no real answer, greatest of sports debates– replete with real life and lessons thereof.

Bill stood vs racism and for justice, notably doing so, among many other times, along with greats Jim Brown and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, (then Lew Alcindor) (others) in defense of Muhammad Ali when Ali was denied his rights, when he refused induction into the U.S. military in 1967. (life went on, ESPN was formed giving us 1963 as the erroneous year in question and totally disrespecting the great Bob Pettit and the St. Louis Hawks, saying the Celts “waltzed” through the ’57 playoffs, when in fact, the Hawks took them to a 7th game that went into overtime. All that in ESPN.com’s Bill Russell’s news of death).

Lighter: (I swear no pun, but this person devoid of seeing or caring what one’s skin color is, believes we have to “Sheryl Crow it,” (“lighten up” a bit anyway, regarding so called political correctness and apply logic.) Bill called my late friend Beano Cook, “Bongo” and Beano praised in a gentlemanly, classy way-Bill’s girlfriend of those ABC “on air at 2, so often Wilt and Bill teams clashing, with the actual start at 1:55” Sunday telecasts. (They were on ABC and Beano worked regarding those telecasts).

Go ahead Bill, secure in your victories, your stances, your success at finding love and helping others. Have fun up there, however, I hope this time, Wilt gets “better angels” on his team.

Alas, Bill you inspire me and others to seek the veritable “better angels” in this life. Having done that alone, never mind all else, thank you, Bill Russell.

 

BillRussellCeltics1 (cropped).jpg

Bill Russell, born the same date as another true great,  who stood vs injustice, Abraham Lincoln, is pictured above.

Click below to view one of my many past posts that cited Bill Russell.