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………



3 thoughts on “An Interesting Omen …”

  1. Boby Shantz was from my Hometown – Pottstown, PA where he was quite the (actually, the only) sports hero, until the Ricketts brothers – Dick and Dave – came along. His cousin was my junior high school gym teacher (Obviously, I’m quite old)
    An interesting fact: he was a low handicap golfer, but he played only irons, never used a driver or fairway woods.

    1. Jess:

      Bobby Shantz had a brother – – Billy – – who was a catcher and had some time in MLB too.

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