Spencer Turnbull of the Detroit Tigers threw a no-hitter last night. That event is noteworthy because:
- It is the 5th no-hitter of the 2021 season which is only 7 weeks old.
- The record for no-hitters in a season is 8; that was in 1884.
- The “modern record” for no-hitters in a season is 7; that has happened 3 times all since 1990.
- The victims last night – the Mariners – have been on the short end of a no-hitter twice in the last two weeks. Both of those no-hitters were at home for the Mariners and the last time that happened in MLB was in 1923.
In baseball lore, 1968 was the “Year of the Pitcher”; the rules mavens decided to lower the pitching mound starting in 1969 because of pitching dominance. It looks as if 2021 might be another “Year of the Pitcher”. A quick look at box scores from last night in my edition of the Washington Post gives a hint as to why there may be so many no-hitters this year. Far too many teams had multiple players in their lineups yesterday batting below .200 – – and I am not including pitchers who usually hit below the Mendoza Line.
- The Yankees had 5 players hitting below .200 yesterday.
- The Mariners had 4 players hitting below .200 yesterday.
- The Cubs, Pirates, Rangers, Twins and White Sox had 3 players hitting below .200 yesterday.
- The Cardinals, Giants, Mets, Marlins, Orioles, Royals and Tigers had 2 players hitting below .200 yesterday.
- The total for yesterday was 40 players batting below .200. No wonder we have had so many no-hitters in 2021…
Speaking of the Tigers, this morning finds them somewhere other than in the position of having the worst record in MLB. Today, that “honor” today belongs to the Twins who are 1 game behind the Tigers in the AL Central. But the Tigers are on-track for another bad year; as of today, they project to a record of 62-100 for the season. Obviously, the Tigers did not lose anywhere near 100 games in 2020 because the season was only 60 games long last year. However, in the 3-year stretch from 2017 through 2019, the Tigers lost a total of 310 games.
The Tigers have been in a “rebuilding mode” since 2016 and it seems to have taken an awfully long time. Maybe they should rebrand themselves as the Detroit Romans – – the team has not been rebuilt in a day. Just a thought…
Moving on … The NY Post reported last weekend – and it has been confirmed this week – that Marv Albert will retire as the voice of the NBA on TNT at the end of the Eastern Conference Playoffs this season. Albert is 79 years old; he has been doing play-by-play for a little more than 50 years; he has been an inductee in the basketball Hall of Fame for 25 years. His voice and his style are instantly recognizable – – in the same mode as other broadcasters such as Vin Scully, Harry Carey, Harry Kalas and Mel Allen.
Most folks associate Marv Albert with basketball and the NY Knicks, but his career has been broader than that. He has done plenty of hockey and boxing in his career; he was also the radio play-by-play guy for Monday Night Football for a while. Marv Albert has earned whatever leisure time he will enjoy in his retirement days.
Interestingly, his “partner” at TNT these days – Chris Webber – has also left TNT. There had been rumors of a contract hassle between Webber and the network but there had not been any reports of the situation becoming rancorous or confrontational. Nevertheless, Webber and TNT parted company and he was replaced on the final TNT game of the regular season by Reggie Miller as the color guy with Marv Albert. Chris Webber had been part of the TNT lineup since 2008.
So, TNT has some work to do as it needs to create a new #1 broadcast team for its basketball coverage next season. I have a suggestion for the folks in the corner offices of TNT in Atlanta:
- Ian Eagle did March Madness games with Grant Hill and other March Madness games with Jim Spanarkel this year.
- Both pairings were excellent.
- Pick one – – but do not waffle and think about creating a 3-man team here.
There is a strange story out and about this morning. Former Wake Forest head basketball coach Dino Gaudio has been an assistant at Louisville for the past 3 seasons; reports today say that he has been federally charged with trying to extort the University of Louisville. According to charging documents, Gaudio is alleged to have threatened to reveal that the university violated NCAA rules regarding recruitment videos for potential basketball players. According to the charges, Gaudio wanted 17 months salary in a lump sum payment in exchange for his silence.
This alleged extortion took place in March of this year; Gaudio’s contract with the university expired in April; Gaudio’s contract with the university was not renewed. Hmmm…
Finally, former US Senator, John McCain, explained the difference between bribery and extortion in Washington this way:
“I don’t think it’s bribery; I think it’s extortion. Bribery, you know, is when the person that’s giving the money does it voluntarily. What it is in Washington is extortion because they all ask for the money.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………