Cup of Coffee: May 12, 2022
COVID, crypto, chicken parm, a big, big "whoopsie daisy!" Norm Macdonald, "Airplane!" union-busting, and unmarked helicopters, hovering.
Good morning! And welcome to Free Thursday!
Once again there wasn’t a ton of off-the-field baseball news yesterday, but we did have our first COVID postponement of the year yesterday and crypto is crashing just as Major League Baseball is going full-bore into promoting it, so that’s fun. Also, never take food criticism from Michael Kay.
Other Stuff is a bit more full today, with items about Norm Macdonald, a real life “Airplane!” situation, Amazon acting like Marty Augustine, and Greg Norman offering the understatement of the century. Don’t mind me, though, I’ll just be wallowing in 1990s UFO nostalgia and remembering when the only problem I really had in life was that Agent Scully was never gonna marry me.
And That Happened
Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:
Reds 14, Brewers 11: Christian Yelich hit for the cycle for the third time in his career. Like each of the first two, this one came against the Reds which is pretty amazing when you think about it. Here Yelich hit a ground-rule double in the top of the first, a homer in the top of the third, a single in the top of the fifth, and tripled in the top of the ninth. He finished the game 4-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. Less amazing for him was that it came in a losing cause. Tyler Stephenson drove in four runs with a pair of doubles, Tyler Naquin hit a bases-loaded triple, and Colin Moran hit a three-run homer for Cincinnati, which won its second straight series. This was the highest-scoring game in baseball so far this year.
Royals 8, Rangers 2: From Frank Lupo and Stephen J. Cannell — the minds who brought you “The A-Team,” “Riptide” and “Hunter” — it’s “Witt & Whit!” Bobby is a kid right out of the academy, but watch him hit a two-run double and drive in three! Merrifield, the grizzled veteran, will homer when you least expect it! Watch them fight crime on the mean streets of Kansas City — and fight with Lieutenant Matheney — this fall, Wednesday nights, only on NBC!
Cubs 7, Padres 5: Willson Contreras homered, Frank Schwindel hit a two-run double, and Alfonso Rivas hit a tie-breaking two-run single in the eighth. Cubs shortstop Nico Hoerner left the game with a sprained right ankle after colliding with second base umpire Dan Iassogna in center field. Some people say umpires should be seen and not heard, but Dan Issaogna says OH BONDAGE, UP YOURS! ONE TWO FREE FOUR! Luke Voit homered twice in a losing cause.
Pirates 5, Dodgers 3: Pittsburgh led 3-0, the Dodgers tied it up at three in the top of the seventh, but Daniel Vogelbach hit a go-ahead home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Pirates the win. Earlier Jack Suwinski and Josh VanMeter homered. VanMeter also hit a leadoff triple in the eighth that led to an insurance run. The Buccos took two of three from the Dodgers, which I’m sure is what everyone expected.
Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3: Gleyber Torres was a one-man gang, hitting a three-run, go-ahead homer in the fourth and hitting a two-run single in the sixth to account for all of the Bombers’ runs. He’s been on fire lately. So too have the Yankees, who have won 15 of 17.
Marlins 11, Diamondbacks 3: A Jordan Luplow homer in the eighth turned a 3-1 Marlins lead into a tie ballgame. Then Miami stopped messing around and put up a ninth inning eight-spot. Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Avisaíl García each hit three-run shots that frame to help the Fish salvage one.
Phillies 4, Mariners 2: Rhys Hoskins’ fourth inning grand slam provided all of Philly’s runs. Offense has been hard to come by for Seattle, with this being the 11th time in the past 15 games that the M’s have scored three runs or less.
Giants 7, Rockies 1: Alex Cobb and four relievers combined on a one-run, four-hit day while Brandon Crawford homered, drove in three, and scored twice on the afternoon. Joey Bart, Brandon Belt, LaMonte Wade Jr. and Joc Pederson also drove in runs for the Giants as they handed Colorado its first loss.
Nationals 8, Mets 3: Tylor Megill has had a bunch of great starts early in the season. This sure as hell wasn’t one of ‘em as the Nats’ bats lit him up for eight runs on eight hits in an inning and a third. This despite the fact he was staked to a 3-0 lead after the top of the first. Juan Soto hit a two-run homer and Nelson Cruz hit a three-run shot off of him and this game was basically over before the conclusion of the second.
Rays 4, Angels 2: The Rays’ Vidal Bruján got an RBI double — driving in the Manfred Man — to lead off the 10th inning and pinch-hitter Harold Ramírez singled him home right after. While they didn’t factor in the decision both Rays starter Shane McClanahan (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 11K) and Shohei Ohtani (6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER) were pretty spiffy. Tampa Bay bounces back from being no-hit, snaps its three-game skid, and avoids a series sweep.
Athletics 9, Tigers 0: A’s starter Zach Logue tossed seven shutout innings, Sean Murphy and Kevin Smith each drove in two, Christian Bethancourt had three hits, two runs scored and an RBI, and Ramón Laureano reached base three times, scored two runs and drove in another. Tigers starter Joey Wentz was making his big league debut and Wentz allowed six runs on seven hits in two and two-thirds innings. First days at work can be hard, man.
Atlanta 5, Red Sox 3: Orlando Arcia started for the first time in ages and walked the dang game off with a two-run homer. Earlier he had two singles. The Red Sox had a chance earlier, in the sixth, with the bases loaded and Kevin Plawecki at the plate when this happened:
There are a lot of bad strike calls in baseball, but MAN that one was terrible. Pitchers have all the advantages these days and now you’re going to give them pitches a couple of inches above the dirt with the bases loaded in a tie game? Jumpin’ Jesus on a Pogo Stick that’s a hell of a thing.
Cardinals 10, Orioles 1: The O’s have been getting some good pitching performances of late. This wasn’t one of ‘em. Spenser Watkins was lit up for seven runs on eight hits and couldn’t escape the fourth. Juan Yepez — who has reached base safely in 13 of his first 25 plate appearances since being called up on May 3 — homered for St. Louis, Paul Goldschmidt drove in three, and Brendan Donovan added a two-run double. Miles Mikolas allowed one run on four hits in seven innings of work.
Astros 5, Twins 1 — SUSPENDED: Jeremy Peña had three RBI and José Altuve had a home run before this one was suspended due to severe thunderstorms in the top of the fourth inning. The teams will pick this one up this afternoon before playing the series finale. Both clubs will be allowed to roster an extra 27th player for the second game.
Guardians vs. White Sox — POSTPONED:
🎶Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me
Get up, come on get down with the sickness
You mother get up come on get down with the sickness
You fucker get up come on get down with the sickness
Madness is the gift, that has been given to me🎶
The Daily Briefing
Guardians-White Sox game postponed due to multiple positive COVID tests
For the first time in 2022, a major league baseball game has been postponed due to COVID. It was announced earlier Wednesday that Guardians manager Terry Francona tested positive for COVID-19 and would be sidelined indefinitely but apparently a bunch of others with the Guardians traveling party, including bench coach DeMarlo Hale, who was supposed to manage in Francona’s place, were among those to test positive as well.
The company you keep
Yesterday I made fun of the Washington Nationals for giving their social media followers cryptocurrency primers. The crypto business which presented that primer for the Nats is called Terra. On literally the same day the Nats were promoting Terra’s little crypto indoctrination video, Terra’s products cratered, costing investors billions:
TerraUSD, the controversial algorithmic stablecoin, slumped on Wednesday as crypto markets await a rescue led by primary backer Do Kwon.
The token fell further from its intended 1-to-1 peg to the US dollar to trade at around 50 cents at 10 a.m. in London, wiping out billions of dollars of value, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Luna, a coin that’s part of the peg mechanism for TerraUSD, tumbled 83% over the past 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap.
This is part of a larger crypto meltdown going on across the entire sector, but hey, I’m sure the checks to the Nationals and all of the other teams who dove into this crap cleared so no worries at all as far as baseball is concerned, right?
In other news, I wonder how long the umps will be wearing those ads on their jerseys and how long the old Staples Center will be called “Crypto.com Arena” and stuff. I also wonder who, if anyone associated with Major League Baseball, will claim with a straight face that this wasn’t wholly predictable.
People who live in glass houses should not throw chicken parm
Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay is out here trying to shame his fellow YES broadcaster Cameron Maybin over what he eats for breakfast:
I’ll grant that chicken fingers and bacon is not the most typical breakfast of all time, but methinks Kay is not the best messenger in this regard. Back in 2007, Kay was interviewed by Mark Feinsand and the topic of Kay’s dietary habits came up. Get a load of this:
As I enjoyed a bowl of clam chowder, Michael mentioned that he had never had soup in his entire life (he thinks the slurping sound associated with it is grotesque). I found this amazing. He then told me he had never had any fish or seafood of any type, either.
As the conversation went on, he informed me of several other things he has NEVER tasted in his life: bananas, condiments of any type (though he lost a bet on his radio show and had to eat a packet of ketchup, which made him sick), jelly, any cheese not on a pizza, veal, coffee, etc.
But wait, there’s more! A little before that interview came out, Kay’s wife Jodi Applegate told the New York Post that Kay only really liked three foods: chicken parm, bacon, and steak, saying that he even tried to eat nothing but chicken parm while on a 10-day trip to Italy:
“It was like being on a great chicken-parm search through Tuscany and Rome,” Applegate said. “We couldn’t find it on any menus. Apparently, it’s an American thing. He actually lost weight. Who goes on vacation to Italy and comes home with their pants loose?”
That was a long time ago, sure, and maybe his tastes have matured, but Kay was in his 40s then so there was no excuse for it. Certainly no excuse which justifies him going after Maybin for wanting some chicken fingers and bacon for breakfast.
Norm Macdonald Had a Secret
There were no shortage of eulogies of Norm Macdonald when he died last September. But I don’t think there’s been a better encapsulation of Macdonald and his appeal than this brief, fan-made, 25-minute look back at this career entitled “Norm Macdonald Had a Secret” which dropped on YouTube last month:
Striker, Striker Striker!
CNN had a story yesterday about a passenger who took control of a plane after the pilot became incapacitated. An air traffic controller who is also a flight instructor talked him down, just like Robert Stack talking down Robert Hays in “Airplane!” or something. Albeit with fewer jokes, I figure.
And yeah, this story was brought to my attention in a thread talking about the death of NBA great Bob Lanier who, as “Airplane!” fans will remember, got a respectful shoutout from Roger Murdock in the course of that movie.
Marty Augustine: Amazon executive
It was big news recently when Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island became the first Amazon facility to unionize. In response Amazon has fired more than half a dozen senior managers at the facility. That happened last week. As Timothy Noah, writing for The New Republic put it yesterday, it was basically a warning or a threat. Or punishment for the managers’ failure to scuttle the union drive. It reminded Noah of one of the more disturbing moments in one my favorite movies:
There’s a horrifying scene in Robert Altman’s 1973 adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, in which a ruthless gangster intimidates the detective Philip Marlowe by smashing a Coke bottle against his own girlfriend’s face. “That’s someone I love,” the gangster tells Marlowe. “You I don’t even like.”
I’m sure that message was received loud and clear by managers at other Amazon warehouses. Managers who, as Noah explains in the article, don’t have any sort of protection against that sort of thing.
Retired golfer Greg Norman has been spearheading a Saudi-backed golf series, bankrolled by that country’s sovereign wealth fund which is controlled by Mohammed bin Salman. There have been a lot of little controversies and problems in getting Norman’s project off the ground, one of which is the fact that, you know, Mohammed bin Salman literally murdered the dissident Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi a couple of years back. You will not be surprised to learn at that least some people are having trouble getting past that.
Because, apparently, no one will stick to sports anymore, Norman has had to answer questions about that. His latest answer, for whatever its merits, is at least interesting. Norman:
“Everybody has owned up to it, right? It has been spoken about, from what I’ve read, going on what you guys reported. Take ownership, no matter what it is. Look, we’ve all made mistakes and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward.”
If you didn’t know the context you might imagine that this is what Norman said about blowing that six-shot lead he had at The Masters back in 1996 as opposed to his benefactor ordering the live, fatal dismemberment of a journalist. Same vibe at least. “Hey, shake it off, don’t dwell on your mistakes and start getting ready for Oakland Hills in two months.” Hell, his quote sounds like what Tylor Megill said after getting blown up by the Nats last night.
Guys, we’re gonna have UFO hearings
The 1990s were a pretty important decade in my life. I turned 18. I graduated from high school, college, and law school. I got married. I imagined I was living in a period of post-history in which the combination of hope, peace, and technology stood poised to usher in a new gold age of human civilization. I’m accused of being cynical, and maybe I am, but inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist, and seeing what I imagined the promise of the 1990s to have been turn out to be illusory and fleeting did a lot to disappoint me in life. Never be young and hopeful, people. It’s a sucker’s game.
Oh, another thing that seemed like a way bigger deal in the 1990s than it’s turned out to be is UFO crap. Man, remember when aliens and stuff seemed about as dark as it’d get? What a great time that was. We may not be able to will the vibe of Jesus Jones’ “Right Here, Right Now” into reality, but we are getting UFO hearings in Washington, just like Fox Mulder always wanted:
A House subcommittee is scheduled to hold next week the first open congressional hearing on unidentified aerial vehicles in more than half a century, with testimony from two top defense intelligence officials.
The hearing comes after the release last June of a report requested by Congress on “unidentified aerial phenomena.” The nine-page “Preliminary Assessment” from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence focused on 144 incidents dating back to 2004 and was able to explain only one.
Like I said, basically everything that has happened since the turn of the century has been a total letdown, so I need this. I need these hearings to be weirdly-lit. I need there to be surprise witnesses who disappear under mysterious circumstances. I need an idealistic UFO and alien investigator to give an impassioned speech about what is being hidden from us, after which I need to be able to turn off the TV, crack open an OK Soda, log on to the Internet with my dialup connection and exchange slow, text-only impressions with likeminded people on message boards.
Have a great day, everyone.
So so very glad Congress has time for UFOs when it can't pass anything (well, except for aid for Ukraine, I will give them that). Of course, a hearing on UFOS doesn't cost much, but still. (I am royally pissed that the federal government is out of money to fight COVID and no one seems to care.)
On the bright side of the Mets game, the bullpen didn't allow any more runs?
The "highlight" of the day for the Blue Jays was Vladdie breaking his bat over his knee after striking out. I wonder what that bat did to deserve such a fate. (Dear lord, the whole Yankees rotation is dealing.)
A Nats blowout win serving as respite for DC sports fans from yet another Caps postseason collapse? Is Obama president again, too?
[Full disclosure: I watched Grosse Pointe Blank on Amazon Prime instead.]