Times Change …

One of the fashionable musings of the moment is to ponder whether the current US Olympic men’s basketball team is equal to – – or even better than – – the Dream Team.  Frankly, I do not care enough about the outcome of such argumentation/analysis to bother with that question for more than a microsecond; but the fact that more than a couple commentators choose to spend time and energy on the subject reminds me that basketball has changed significantly over the years.  And, because the game has changed so significantly, people who focus on the current state of professional basketball may not fully appreciate “the way things were done” in the past.

Modern NBA fans know a few things about Wilt Chamberlain; obviously, his 100-point game against the Knicks in 1962 is familiar to just about every basketball fan.  However, there are other things to know about his game – – and his impact on the game – – that may be lost on current fans.

For example, in 1968 the LA Lakers journeyed to Philly to play the Sixers.  It was late in the season; both teams had excellent records at the time.  The Lakers record was 51-30 and the Sixers record was 61-19.  In that game and against an opponent clearly in the upper echelon of the NBA at the time, Chamberlain had this version of a Triple Double:

  • 54 points – – 32 rebounds – – 14 assists
  • He shot 24 of 29 from the field (there were no 3-point shots in the NBA then).
  • He played all 48 minutes in that game, and he committed zero personal fouls.

Let me present the results of another game.  In 1960, the Celtics came to Philly to take on the Warriors – – before the Warriors went to SF and the Syracuse Nationals relocated to Philly to become the Sixers.  It was an early season game; the Celtics were 10-3 and the Warriors were 11-5.  Here is the Double Double Chamberlain recorded in that game:

  • 34 points – – 55 rebounds
  • He played all 48 minutes.
  • His opponent that night was Bill Russell – – who also played all 48 minutes – – and Russell was and remains the best defensive basketball player I have ever seen.
  • Those 55 rebounds in a game still stand as an NBA record almost 65 years later.

In those two examples, note that Chamberlain – – and Russell – – played full 48-minute games; that was not “routine” back in the day, but it happened more than occasionally.  There was no such thing as “load management”.  Consider this next statistical tidbit:

  • For the entire 1961 NBA season, Wilt Chamberlain averaged 48.5 minutes per game.
  • A regulation game is only 48 minutes; to achieve this, Chamberlain played in all those “regulation games” and then played the overtimes that happened to occur during the season.

So, the game has changed significantly and the only real purpose of trying to make comparisons over long stretches of time is to manufacture a debate that has no real significance.  None of the current US Olympic basketball players comes close to playing 48 minutes a game for a single playoff series let alone for a full NBA season.  If one of them even hinted that he might want to try to do such a thing, I suspect his agent would experience a catatonic state.  The same thing was true of the Dream Team; they were all great players, but none were “iron men”.  And the Dream Team was separated from the days of Russell and Chamberlain by about the same number of years as the current Olympians are separated from the Dream Team.

Switching gears …  There is an adage in MLB that says:

“When you go to a baseball game, you have a chance to see something you’ve never seen before.”

Let me give an example of that adage.  Suppose you had gone out to see the Boston Red Sox/Washington Senators game on 23 June 1917.  Here is what you would have witnessed:

  • The Red Sox starting pitcher was Babe Ruth.  You have heard of him in a different context …
  • He walked the leadoff hitter.
  • That led to a dispute between Ruth and the homeplate umpire; Ruth punched the umpire and was ejected from the game.  [Duh!]
  • That leadoff hitter on first base was thrown out trying to steal second.
  • The “relief pitcher” for the Red Sox was Ernie Shore and he proceeded to retire the next 26 Senators in a row.

No, that was not a “perfect game” for Shore, but it was the first time a no-hit game was thrown by two or more pitchers on a team.  That baseball adage surely applied on that day.

Finally, here is a perspective on changing times that seems an appropriate way to close today; it comes from political scientist, Charles A. Murray:

“In 1960, it was still – no nostalgia here – an age when you could leave your door unlocked even in urban neighborhoods.”

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



Rest In Peace, Vic Seixas

Vic Seixas died last week at the age of 100.  In the 1950s and 60s, Seixas was one of the top tennis players in the world; he is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame; he won all four of the Grand Slam events in his career and was a multi-time doubles champion as well.  He played in the tennis era that preceded tiebreakers; sets went on until one player led by 2 games.  In that environment, Seixas – – at the age of 42 – – won a three-set match with this score:

  • 32-34, 6-4, 10-8.

Rest in peace, Vic Seixas.

The other bit of tennis news today is that Carlos Alcaraz won Wimbledon for the second year in a row.  Alcaraz beat Novak Djokovic in straight sets to claim the title.  Alcaraz is 21 years old and has already won three of the four tennis Grand Slam events; only the Australian Open remains before he can claim a career grand slam.

Moving on …  The Olympic Flame arrived in Paris yesterday – – on Bastille Day of course – – and the Olympic Games will begin in less than two weeks.  There is an “Olympic memory” that always comes to my mind as the Summer Games get underway.  If you ask most folks what they recall about the Games in 1968 (Mexico City), the most common answer is the “Black Power salute” from the medal stand by US sprinters, Tommie Smith and John Carlos.  There was another outcome from those Games that I recall just as vividly.

Bob Beamon won the long jump in those 1968 Summer Games and set an Olympic and a World record in doing so.  What makes that memorable is that Beamon broke the existing World record by a whopping 22 inches.  That jump is still the Olympic record; it is no longer the World record, but it is the second longest jump in that event ever.

Switching gears …  As baseball takes a breather to put on its All-Star Game, the local nine in this area has a record of 44-53 which is pretty much in line with pre-season expectations for the club.  I recall in the off-season there was some buzz around the Nats’ signing of Joey Gallo; the narrative then was that he would provide veteran leadership to the young Nats’ team and that he would be a power-hitter in the middle of the lineup.

Gallo is indeed a baseball veteran; this is his 10th year in MLB, and he must indeed be a valuable clubhouse asset because his on-field stats do not suggest that he is much of an asset there.  Consider:

  • Gallo’s batting average this year in 46 games in .164.
  • The last time Gallo posted a batting average over .200 was in 2019,
  • This year, Gallo has struck out 71 times in 140 at-bats.  Yes, he has struck out more than half the time.
  • As for “power in the middle of the lineup”, he has 5 homeruns and 11 RBIs in 46 games.

Next up …  It is patently obvious that NFL teams take a gamble when they draft a QB early in the first round; at least half those choices never live up to expectations.  In this year’s Draft, six of the top twelve picks were QBs and those rookies are just about to report to their first NFL Training Camp.  I think two of the intangible factors that lead to the “success” or the “failure” of young QBs are:

  1. Coaching environment
  2. Offensive system

A quarterback who was successful in college under a defensive-minded coach and system has a lot more to learn about becoming an NFL QB than a player who spent three years in a “pro-style offense”.  Now, when I look at the six QBs taken high in this year’s Draft, one of them seems to have a leg-up based on those two factors.  Look at the coaching environment surrounding JJ McCarthy:

  • He spent his college career learning from Jim Harbaugh who was an NFL QB.
  • His current head coach with the Vikes is Kevin O’Connell who bounced around the NFL as a backup QB for about 5 years.
  • His offensive coordinator is Wes Phillips who was a QB in his playing days.
  • His current QB coach is Josh McCown who has been involved with the NFL since McCown was drafted in 2002.

Regarding the Vikes’ offensive system, it would seem to be QB-friendly.  Last year, the Vikes lost starting QB, Kirk Cousins in Week 8 and had to start Josh Dobbs and Nick Mullens for the second half of the season.  The Vikes did not make the playoffs, but they were still mathematically alive for a playoff slot in Week 18 of the season.

There will be a lot of focus on this crop of QBs taken in the first round of the 2024 Draft; I think the play and the development of JJ McCarthy will be the one I will find most interesting.

Finally, let me close with this observation by Quentin Crisp:

“An autobiography is an obituary in serial form with the last installment missing.”

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



I Know It When I See It

Back in the 1960s, the US Supreme Court was dealing with the conflict between free expression and obscenity.  As part of his concurrence with a majority opinion, Justice Potter Stewart revealed his definition of hardcore pornography:

“I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”

The US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit (Philly) might have leaned a bit more heavily on Justice Stewart’s thinking this week.  A case was before the Court of Appeals that involves the status of college athletes as employees of the colleges for whom they play versus amateur student athletes.  According to a report in the Washington Post this morning, the Court said:

“… a test should be developed to differentiate between students who play college sports for fun and those whose effort ‘crosses the legal line into work’.”

Unfortunately, Justice Stewart is no longer an active member of the biosphere; he died about 40 years ago.  However, if he were alive, he might be able to look at various athletic situations involving colleges and college athletes and “know it when he sees it” regarding the question of playing for fun and “working.  Perhaps Justice Stewart’s thinking was too abstract, so let me offer another way to look at whether college football and basketball players are workers or just fun-loving kids:

  • “If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck, it’s a duck.”

Or consider a variant on that logic as expounded by the noted philosopher, Groucho Marx:

  • “He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you.  He really is an idiot.”

Moving on …  Dan Hurley signed a contract extension with UConn earlier this week.  After winning two consecutive national championships, that sort of reward is hardly in the category of “shocking news”.  However, looking at the deal does raise some questions:

  • Hurley signed for 6 years and $50M.
  • Hurley turned down a Lakers’ offer of 6 years and $70M.

It would appear either that Hurley likes his East Coast life a lot better than he thinks his LA life would be – – or – – he made the assessment that coaching the LA Lakers with LeBron James and Bronny James would involve a level of drama that he just does not need in his life.  Or maybe it is both factors plus the dead solid fact that the $50M he will get from UConn is beyond the level of “chump change”.

Switching gears …  When people report on NFL revenues, they often use the terminology of “National Revenue”.  That category of revenue includes:

  • All NFL national media rights deals
  • All league sponsorships and “corporate partners”
  • All royalties from things like NFL Enterprises, NFL Films etc.

A recent report said that the “National Revenue” for the NFL last year was $13B; that is the revenue that is shared equally among the teams.  So, even if you account for the HFL Front Office skimming a couple hundred million off the top for its own usage, each owner will wind up in receipt of about $400M BEFORE the owner sold the first ticket or a fan bought its first $15 beer, or a car pulled into the stadium parking lot for $75 or … you get the idea.

Last year, the NFL’s salary cap, which is spelled out as a formula in the existing CBA, was $224.8M.  So, if you are wondering how or why an NFL franchise could possibly be worth $6B to a consortium of owners, just take a look at those figures.  Moreover, the way that the salary cap is defined in the CBA provides a measure of protection for the owners should a situation arise where “National Revenue” craters.  An NFL franchise is not exactly a license to print money, but it’s close.

Finally, I will close today with a couple other observations by Groucho Marx:

“Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife.”

And …

“Why should I care about posterity?  What’s posterity ever done for me?”

And …

“I didn’t like the play, but then I saw it under adverse conditions – the curtain was up.”

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



MLB Disciplines An Umpire

Let me begin today with another amazing sports stat that I learned from reading an email from #2 son:

  • Jerry Rice had 2,169 yards receiving after his 40th birthday; Rice played until he was 42 years old, so he had about 2.5 seasons to accumulate all those yards.
  • Question:  Who is second on the list of yards gained receiving after the age of 40 and how many yards did that player accumulate?

Answer is below – – no peeking.

MLB seems to have weathered whatever storm might have arisen regarding the “gambling incidents” surrounding Shohei Ohtani.  Personally, there are still too many unanswered questions dangling there for my taste; but that situation seems to be completely under control.  Later this year, MLB banned for life Tucupita Marcano – – a young infielder who saw limited action with the Padres and Pirates – – based on betting on baseball.  Marcano is certainly not well enough known to make that situation into a “crisis moment” for the league.

However, there is another gambling-related situation involving MLB that is simmering at the moment.  MLB has announced that it has “disciplined” umpire Pat Hoberg for alleged gambling activities.  The league did not specify what the “discipline” is, nor did it spell out the alleged activities that brought on the “discipline”.  Hoberg has appealed the “discipline” but the process by which that appeal will be resolved is not going to be open to the public; Commissioner Rob Manfred will hear the appeal.  Hoberg had this to say about his case:

“I have devoted my adult life to the profession of umpiring, and the integrity of baseball is of the utmost importance to me. I look forward to the appeal process, and I am grateful that the Major League Baseball Umpires Association is supporting me in the appeal.”

MLB’s rules and policies forbid any player, owner, manager, coach or official to bet on baseball at any level of competition.  So, it is well within the realm of possibility that Hoberg’s “discipline” could involve him betting on something like the College World Series or – – perish the thought – – the Little League World Series. Hoberg has not seen the field as an umpire at all in the 2024 season; and given the pacing of decisions on things like appeals by a union, I would be surprised to learn that he was cleared of all charges and back in the good graces of MLB before the end of the 2024 season.

It seems to me that there are multiple outcomes here that present varying degrees of agita for MLB:

  • Hoberg bet on MLB games where he was on the field.  The worst.
  • Hoberg bet on MLB games where he was not involved.  Not as bad but still awful.
  • Hoberg bet on minor league games.  Should be “disciplined’ for stupidity.
  • Hoberg bet on college games.  Another level of stupidity
  • Hoberg bet on sports other than baseball but did so in venues where such wagering is illegal.  Probably more a matter for the gendarmes than MLB.
  • Hoberg and his next-door neighbor have kids on rival Little League teams and the two fathers bet a beer on the outcome of a game involving the two kids.  There is a rule and I guess it should be enforced, but maybe in this case the rule is stupid?

The “worst possible situation” appears to be off the table based on a statement released by MLB earlier:

“While MLB’s investigation did not find any evidence that games worked by Mr. Hoberg were compromised or manipulated in any way, MLB determined that discipline was warranted.”

[Aside:  This investigation began during Spring Training in 2024.]

Here is the answer to the Trivia Question from above:

  • Second to Jerry Rice in receiving yards gained after the age of 40 is – – Tom Brady.
  • In 2018, at the age of 41, Tom Brady caught one pass for 6 yards.

Now, you know…

Finally, let me close today with these words of wisdom from Ted Williams:

“If you don’t think too good, don’t think too much.”

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



New NFL Stadiums

Has there been some sort of secret alliance forged between the NFL and the various unions that represent construction workers?  At a time in America when conspiracy theories run rampant where the absence of evidence becomes probative in support of a conspiracy, perhaps we should take a look here.  NFL teams – – and their owners – – have a long history of getting localities to pay for stadiums using the threat of moving to a different locality as the leverage point.  But perhaps that threat has become threadbare?  After all, would anyone take seriously a threat by the Chicago Bears – – a team needing/wanting a new playpen – – to pick up stakes and abandon the Chicago market to begin a new life as the Albuquerque Anteaters?

So, if that time worn threat has lost some of its cachet, maybe the NFL mavens have opened up the playbook so to speak.  Maybe they have secretly allied themselves with the union workers who would build stadiums if only those recalcitrant local legislators would pass the funding measures that would put shovels in the ground for said new stadiums.  Team owners can offer the hope and glory of “development” and “civic pride” to those legislators; construction unions can offer votes.  And there is one thing that remains true for politicians at every level of government in the US:

  • Priority #1 is to get re-elected.
  • Priority #2 – #99 is anything and everything else.

Look around the NFL and take your eyes off any sort of news involving trades or free agent signings or analyses of backup QBs and focus on teams in the process of building a new stadium – – with significant public expenditures – – plus those who are still “working the phones” to get that funding approved so they too can provide work to those construction workers.

  1. Bills:  The shovels are in the ground; the foundations have been excavated; the new stadium is emerging; it is set to open at the start of the 2026 season.
  2. Bears:  The team tried to use the ploy of “build a new one or we move” even going to the point of buying up the old Arlington International Racecourse property, but that charade worked about as well as did the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz.  However, local pols are now considering options and ideas for a new facility in Chicago – – which was “off the table” prior to the team purchasing that property in Arlington Heights, IL.  Local and State elections are going to happen in 2025 and in 2026 meaning candidates will be focused on “vote counting”.  This one is still up in the air, but I suspect some momentum in favor of funding a new stadium will develop soon.
  3. Chiefs:  The folks in KC, Missouri voted down a funding referendum for a new stadium but the folks in neighboring Kansas came up with some dough.  Now it is Missouri’s turn to respond.  It may be a while until the shovels go into the dirt there and the construction workers’ paychecks get cashed, but something is going to get done there.
  4. Commanders:  When Danny Boy Snyder owned the team, neither DC, Maryland nor Virginia wanted to do business with him even though the Commanders’ stadium is THE worst facility in the league.  Now with new owners who are not seen as toxic humanoids, all three regional entities are trying to convince the team to move to a new stadium in their part of the world.  [Hint:  Moving back into DC has the inside track here.]
  5. Jags:  The team did not seek a new stadium from the ground up, but they did want renovations and updates to the current facility.  [Aside:  Recall that Jax was a stadium where they had to hide empty seats in the upper deck to make it look as if the team was actually interesting to local fans about 10 years ago.  Maybe one of the “renovations” will be to remove those cover-ups and replace them with animatronic suit-dummies?]  About 2 weeks ago, the city of Jacksonville agreed to cough up $775M to fund 55% of the cost of the planned renovations.  The completion date is set for the opening of the 2028 NFL season.
  6. Titans:  They broke ground in March for a new stadium estimated to cost $2.1B and the anticipated opening of the facility is at the start of the 2027 NFL season.

There you have 6 NFL teams – – not quite 20% of the league – – where new facilities are under construction or are just about to go under construction or are deep into the process of finding taxpayer money to pay for the construction.  And it is not as if this is something out of the ordinary:

  • Raiders:  Just got themselves a new stadium in Las Vegas and even hosted a Super Bowl.
  • Rams/Chargers:  They share a new stadium that came with a price-tag of $5.1B.

Add this up and you have just over 25% of the NFL teams dipping into taxpayer money for new or renovated facilities now and in the very recent past.  When you read articles about the anticipated benefits and return on investment for localities when they opt to spend this money, also keep in mind that the people doing the work and getting paid to do the work on those new facilities are voters who just might look upon the politicians that provided the funding for their employment in a “benign fashion”.

Finally, as you are about to shrug your shoulders and think of me as a cynic, let me close with these words from George Bernard Shaw:

“The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.”

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



An Interesting Omen …

Euro 2024 has reached the semi-final round.  Later today, France and Spain will play for a ticket to the finals; tomorrow, England and Netherlands will decide who will meet the winner.  The final game will take place in Berlin on Sunday.  Is there an omen here?

  • Sunday is July 14th.
  • July 14th is Bastille Day
  • If France is in the Euro 2024 Finals …

Moving on …  Wyc Grousbeck is the majority owner of the Boston Celtics – – the reigning NBA champions.  Last week he announced that for “estate and family planning considerations” he intends to sell his controlling interest in the team.  One of his co-investors and a managing partner in the team, Steve Pagliuca has already said he will bid for the controlling shares.  Grousbeck and his partners bought the Celtics for $360M a little more than 20 years ago; today the valuation ranges from $5B to $5.2B depending on which financial website you prefer to believe.  Grousbeck is 63 years old so the idea of doing some estate planning for someone with those sorts of assets makes a lot of sense.  However, …

  1. On one hand, having just won the NBA Finals over the Mavs in dominating style, you can look at this as Grousbeck selling “at the high”.  Make no mistake, no one ever went broke by buying low and then selling high; so there should be no thought given to this offer to sell as part of a sinister cabal within ownership.
  2. On the other hand, the Celtics have in the past two seasons given long-term extended contracts to its two best players – – Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum – – and those two contracts guarantee those two players a total of $600M (rounded off) over the lifetime of the deals.  So, is it possible that at least one owner – – excuse me, one “governor” – – in the NBA is concerned about sustainability?

Switching gears …  I got an email from #2 son containing some great sports trivia.  I will include some of the items in this and future rants just for fun.  I did some musing about the “greatest living baseball player” after the death of Willie Mays; so, here is a related trivia question for you.  The answer is below; no peeking…

  • Who is the oldest living baseball player to win the MVP Award?

Next up …  Sports fortunes go in cycles; dynasties emerge and then they retreat; it is the nature of competition.  Over the past 25 years or so, the sports fans in Boston have been very fortunate:

  1. The Pats were certified monsters in the NFL for most of that time.
  2. The Red Sox won a couple of World Series
  3. The Celtics were always making runs in the NBA playoffs
  4. The Bruins made the Stanley Cup Finals 3 times and won the Cup once.

Compare that recitation of success with the situation in Chicago.  The last 25 years is probably politely described as “Meh!” and the current situation looks bleak at best.  In the most recent and/or current seasons:

  1. The Bears finished last in the NFC North at 7-10.
  2. The Cubs are last in the NL Central at 42-49.
  3. The White Sox are last in the AL Central at 26-67.
  4. The Bulls finished fourth in the Central Division at 39-43.
  5. The Blackhawks finished last in the Central Division at 23-53-6.

Here is the trivia answer:

  • Bobby Shantz is the oldest living baseball MVP.  He won the award in 1952 playing for the Philadelphia A’s.  In 1952, Shantz posted a record of 24-7 with an ERA of 2.47.  He started 33 games and completed 27 of them.  Bobby Shantz is 98 years old, and he is the sole surviving player to have played for Connie Mack.

So, now you know…

Finally, let me close today with a couple currently appropriate thoughts from George Bernard Shaw:

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”

And …

“Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”

And …

“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.”

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



Rest In Peace, Orlando Cepeda

Orlando Cepeda died while these rants were on hiatus; he was 86 years old.  Cepeda is deservedly in the Baseball Hall of Fame; he was an outstanding player.  At times his talents were overlooked to a degree because he was on the same Giants’ team as Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal.  Cepeda made the All-Star team 11 times in his 17-year career; he was also the Rookie of the Year in 1958 and won the NL MVP Award in 1967.

Rest in peace, Orlando Cepeda.

Sticking with baseball for a moment, the time is fast approaching when MLB will stage this year’s All-Star Game; and traditionally, that event is considered to be the “halfway mark” in the current season even though the math would say that teams have all gone just a smidgen beyond the true halfway point,  So, when I look at the standings this morning here is what I see:

  • AL East:  The O’s lead the Yankees by 3 games and the Red Sox by 7.5 games.  I expected the O’s and the Yankees to battle it out for that Division Crown back in April but did not think the Red Sox would be anywhere near a mention in early-July.  Yet, here we are…
  • AL Central:  The Guardians lead the Twins by 6 games and the Guardians have the best record in the AL as of now.  Cleveland is doing it with pitching and defense; they have allowed the fewest runs in the AL to date.
  • AL West:  The Mariners lead the Astros by 2 games and the Rangers by 6 games.  None of these teams are “lighting it up” this year; the Mariners are only 6 games over .500 and the Rangers are 6 games below .500 today.
  • NL East:  The Phillies lead the Braves by 8 games and sport the best record in MLB as of today.
  • NL Central:  The Brewers lead the Cardinals by 5 games.  The Cards are interesting today because they are 5 games over .500 and yet their run differential is minus-39.
  • NL West:  The Dodgers lead the Padres by 7.5 games and the D-Backs by 9.5 games.  It appears that the Dodgers can win this Division on cruise control for the rest of the season.

Looking at the “less-successful-teams” to date, the team that stands out is the Chicago White Sox.  Yes, the Marlins, the Rockies and the A’s are pretty miserable too, but the White Sox are well in command for the “race-to-the-bottom” in 2024.  Consider:

  • The White Sox have the worst record in MLB at 26-66.  That record projects to a final season record of 46-116.
  • The White Sox have scored the fewest runs in MLB (295) in 92 games or 3.2 runs per game.  By contrast, the Yankees and O’s are averaging just over 5 runs per game.
  • The White Sox team OPS is .634 through 92 games.  Only the Marlins (at .632) have a lower OPS as of this morning.
  • The White Sox pitching staff is no bargain either.  The team’s ERA is 4.57 which ranks 27th in MLB’s 30 teams.

Moving on …  I was not happy to read that Dick Vitale is battling cancer yet again and will undergo surgery to remove a tumor from his neck.  Vitale is 85 years old and has undergone treatments/tests for lymphoma since 2021.  He also had cancer of his vocal cords which required radiation therapy in 2023.  Long-term readers here know that I prefer to take Dick Vitale in small doses; at the same time, I do not wish cancer on anyone above the level set by Jeffrey Dahmer.

Get well, Dickie V …

Switching gears …  Joey Chestnut was not part of the Nathans Hot Dog Eating Contest last week because Chestnut signed a deal to endorse hot dogs made by Impossible Foods – – the folks who make “fake meat”.  [For the record, I have eaten an Impossible Burger once and will not do so ever again.]  I doubt that Chestnut eats hot dogs for their umami, so life goes on.  But wait, Joey Chestnut has not “retired” from competitive eating – or professional gluttony if you prefer.

  • Joey Chestnut signed a deal with Netflix.  He and former Nathans’ Hot Dog eating champion, Takeru Kobayashi, will stage their own hot-dog showdown streaming live on Netflix on September 2nd.
  • I do not subscribe to Netflix.  I will not be tempted in the least to subscribe in September so that I might witness this “showdown”.  To each his own…

Finally, these words from Oscar Wilde:

“The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.”

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