RIP Joe Morgan

Joe Morgan passed away earlier this week.  He was a worthy Hall of Fame player winning the NL MVP Award in consecutive seasons – a feat accomplished by less than a dozen players in baseball history.  He was the best second baseman that I ever saw in person.  After his playing days, Morgan became a baseball color analyst for baseball games on NBC and ESPN.

Rest in peace, Joe Morgan.

[Aside:  The last several months has been a difficult period for members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.  In about 3 months’ time, Lou Brock, Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Joe Morgan and Tom Seaver have all died.]

Sticking with baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays have taken a commanding 3-0 lead over the Houston Astros in the ALCS behind timely hitting and excellent defense.  The only time in MLB history when a team down 3-0 in a post-season series came back to win four straight games was when the Red Sox did that to the Yankees in 2004.  The Astros are not rolling over and playing dead; the Rays lead the series because they are playing better baseball.

In the NLCS, the Atlanta Braves maintained their undefeated status in the 2020 post-season last night beating the LA Dodgers 8-7 taking a 2-0 lead in the series.  Yesterday afternoon, Clayton Kershaw had to be scratched as the starting pitcher for the Dodgers due to back spasms; the team is hopeful that he can pitch again in Game 4.  The Braves have been nothing short of dominant in this year’s playoff games.

  • The Braves’ record is 7-0
  • The combined score in those 7 games is 37-13.
  • The team ERA in those 7 games is 1.60.

In NFL news, The LeVeon Bell Era in NY has come to an end.  The Jets released the clearly disgruntled RB, and he will become a free agent as soon as he clears waivers.  When Bell signed a long-term $52M deal with the team, it was prior to the hiring of Adam Gase and the coach/player relationship never developed.  Bell was dogged by injuries during his time with the Jets and his productivity declined significantly as compared to his days with the Steelers.  [Aside:  Some in NY might say that Bell “was dogging it” for at least some of his time there; I prefer not to engage in mind-reading.]

Bell appeared in 17 games for the Jets and never gained 100 yards in any of those games.  I ran across a stat related to that problematic productivity that I found interesting:

  • No Jets’ RB has rushed for 100 yards or more in a game since October 2018.
  • In that last game where a Jets’ RB ran for 100 yards, Isaiah Crowell set the Jets’ team record for yards in a game at 219 yards.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys signed QB, Garrett Gilbert, off the Browns’ practice squad.  With the gruesome injury to Dak Prescott last week and the elevation of Andy Dalton to the starting position, the Cowboys needed to augment their depth at QB.  The only other QB on the roster is rookie 7th round pick, Ben DiNucci.  Gilbert played college football at Texas; his NFL “career” is rather limited; he has only attempted 6 passes in the NFL despite being drafted in 2014.  Gilbert did lead the defunct AAF in passing while that league was still solvent  throwing for 2154 yards and 13 TDs with the Orlando Apollos.  DiNucci played his college football at Pitt and then at Division 1-AA, James Madison University.

Let me make an observation about the telecasts of NFL games this year.  Early on, I was watching when one of the Packers scored a TD and did a “Lambeau Leap” into the empty stands.  I thought that was clever as a one-off celebration.  However, the NFL is a copycat league and seems to live by the motto, “Nothing exceeds like excess”.  Now we have players holding their fingers over their lips to quiet crowds that are not there and/or players blowing kisses to “cardboard cutout fans” in the seats.  How stale have those sorts of things become?

The Washington WTFs demoted Dwayne Haskins from starting QB to #3 QB who would not be active for last Sunday’s game against the Rams.  Rather than be with the team, Haskins stayed home with an upset stomach.  According to the team’s new Director of Communications, Julie Donaldson, he had a bout of intestinal flu and that his absence had nothing to do with COVID-19.  I totally believe her about COVID-19; if the team were to try to be coy about a test result for the coronavirus, I think the league would land on the team like a ton of bricks.  Having said that, the WTF franchise is hardly a model of transparency, honesty and candor.  And so, the world will never know – or care for that matter – if Dwayne Haskins’ upset stomach would have been nearly as severe if he were still slated to start last Sunday’s game.

And by the way, it has been about 3 months now since the revelations of sexual harassment in the Washington front office and business office.  The team and the league began in investigation into those matters with lots of fanfare and posturing.  This investigative task is not the equivalent of the Warren Commission or the muddled mess facing the Senate Watergate Committee. So:

  • Question for the NFL and the WTFs:  How long might it be before we can expect to hear the findings of the investigation and the corrective actions taken by the team and the league?  Three months?  Six months?  The Twelfth of Never?

Finally, Dwight Perry had this item in his Seattle Times column last weekend:

“Q: What did SMU — whose entire student section got ejected from the Mustangs’ Oct. 3 game against Memphis for refusing to follow coronavirus protocols — and John McKay’s legendary USC football teams have in common?

“A: The student body left.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



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