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An umpire crouches as New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole, top, delivers to Kyle Higashioka, front left, during an intrasquad game in baseball summer training camp Sunday, July 12, 2020, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Weekend winners

MLB baseball on my TV. Sweet buckets in a time of craziness, the smallest connection to something that feels like regular summertime activities is most appreciated. It also included Chipper Jones' debut as an ESPN analyst. Some side observations about Chipper the broadcaster, well, he was rather stiff, but the challenge of doing this for the first time AND doing it remotely with two other dudes — Boog Sciambi, who is aces, and Rick Sutcliffe, who is a suited 8-7 — would be tough for anyone. But know this — and hopefully ESPN will make this happen — but Chipper has a chance to be the Peter Kostis of the baseball Konica Minolta Biz Hub swing vision camera. When Chipper was discussing hitting, he was awesome in his awesomeness.

Jon Rahm. The strong-armed, flat-billed European cruised Sunday thanks in large part to a crippling birdie (that became a bogey after review because of a rule-violation) chip-in on 16 that tightened the lug nuts before the wheels fell off. Rahm, who moved to the No. 1 spot in the world rankings, had turned an eight-shot lead into a three-shot lead before the birdie. On the down side though, Rahm is officially the best player in the world without a major championship as he becomes the third world No. 1 without one, joining Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.

Big-brained Tweeters. Has anyone else noticed that Twitter questions have gotten wicked sharp during the pandemic? The 'most boring way possible' descriptions of your favorite things to people putting 'due to corona virus' on the end of famous movie quotes. There was one over the weekend that got Coach Eric Taylor trending asking "Name a TV character you like but you know is a Trump supporter." The back and forth on whether Coach Taylor, the Texas high school football coach on the TV version of Friday Night Lights, was a Trump supporter was intriguing. It also included a pretty astute observation that "Trump is down 10 *because* he is losing lifelong Republicans like Coach Taylor."

Alabama recruiting. Yeah, it was a weekend that ended in 'D' so of course Nick Saban landed more big-name stars than a Tarentino casting call. Here's more from TFP college football expert David Paschall as Alabama did work — especially on the O-line with the No. 1 tackle, the No. 1 center and the No. 2 guard in the nation — that positions the Tide for a chance at the No. 1 overall recruiting class.

 

Weekend losers

CBS. Wow, a great field and zero competition for a golf tournament that could have been a major TV boom. Rahm turned into a snooze fest — until it wasn't but it still was if that makes sense — and another summer weather delay crashed any momentum the broadcast could have generated. How many crickets were there? They had big-time breaking news that Nr. and Mrs. Jack Nicklaus had the Corona and recovered during the spring, and even still no kind of bounce. Want more? Well, Phil Mickelson putted from 78 yards out and still no one noticed.

I know it was last week, but did anyone else see this story that Bubba Wallace was booed during intros of the All-Star race and there were audible cheers when he crashed during last week's $1 million challenge at Bristol that Chase Elliott won? Fans can cheer for and against whomever they want, but I'd be really curious to hear the answer to this exchange: Son: "Daddy, why are we booing that driver?" Long pause, Daddy: "Because, son. Booooooooooooooooooooo." Son, shrugging shoulders: "Booooooooo."

Our society. OK, how broken are we as a people that James Harden hurriedly apologizes for wearing a mask that supports police officers because that is somehow the counterargument to Black Lives Matter. Can anyone explain that to me, and how much more support and harmony would this American walk toward more equality be if it was not so incredibly polarized? Think about that for a second. The demand for better police rather than fewer police. The quest to fight all crime — from authorities on citizens as well as citizens on citizens — in black communities rather than fighting just the crimefighters. Did anyone see the TFP story about gun violence being steady this summer, despite so many fewer people on the streets because of the pandemic?  

Our society part II. In this time of unknown leadership in our social movements and demands and cultural clashes, we need towering and powerful leaders like John Lewis more than ever. Lewis died over the weekend — he was 80 — and he was a giant of an American. Rest in peace, kind and brave sir.

Our society, part III. This is everything wrong about the role of national media in our country. Everything. Chris Wallace welcomed President Trump to a Fox News interview, and immediately got into the business of grilling the president on myriad topics from Corona to a contentious exchange about some sort of cognitive test and who would fare better, Trump or Joe Biden. First, in a time of questionable decisions from our leadership, tough questions like the ones Wallace asked, must be asked from our leaders. But the bias of the national networks — and the expectations of those biases from viewers — who are now saying that Wallace should be on CNN or that Fox does not deserve someone like Wallace highlight the state of national news, especially on TV. Here's more.  

 

NFL roller coaster

On Friday, the Washington Redskins football story about sexual harassment in the workplace was the buzz.

By Monday morning, a coordinated social media blitz by NFL players — from the biggest names to the newest names — are criticizing the NFL's corona preparations.

The points from the players have validity. None of us want to be around the Corona. That may be the one universal fact we can cling to in this country. Even among the angry anti-maskers, because while they bemoan the infringement on their liberty that two strings and 4x6-inch piece of cloth apparently is, no one would willing choose to be around the Corona, right?

So Drew Brees and J.J. Watt and Russell Wilson taking to The Twitter is understandable on its face.

It's sad really, because the backlash that baseball got apparently zoomed 12,000 feet over the heads of everyone — commissioner's office, ownership and players union — in the NFL.It's sad, too, because the NFL had the most time to try to figure this out and they wasted that, standing still and fingers crossed before the reporting dates later this month.

But I believe this: As all of us try to figure out ways — with help from our employers or not — to get safely to and from work to provide for our families, our empathies and sympathies for the millionaires and billionaires who can not figure this out will be extremely limited.

Heck, we did not really care about the serious injuries these players risk every practice and game. And neither do the majority of players, deep down if they are being honest.

Side conspiracy theory here: First, has the NFL's silence on this right now purposeful? Think about it this way:The Washington sexual harassment story has to scare the Be-Dazzlement out of a slew of NFL owners who have more dollars and sense and used to getting everything they want from almost everyone with little consequence. Well, other than Jerry Jones, who has already strolled through those allegations, wearing a smoking jacket, winking at reporters and sipping on Johnny Walker blue.


So let a good, juicy, Corona story circle as the sexual harassment stories fades.

Thoughts?  

 

This and that

— I still have high hopes that MLB will, I'm going to stop talking now. Here's a story about some mixed opinions about something that we shall not name happening Thursday of this weekend in a couple of stadiums around the country. (Side note: Not unlike the anti-Beetlejuice, I believe that if we mention that thing Thursday by name — something that sounds like "Show-pening Way" — three direct times in any 5-at-10, it will vanish. You have been warned.)

— Speaking of that, that thing we'll all Show-pening Way, well, the city of Toronto is out of the baseball game right now. Kind of surprised that other cities have not made this decision too. Especially the city of Miami.

— Here's Yahoo Sports offering a GOAT of the GOATs bracket for fan voting. I share with the knowledge that any top-16 list of the best 'athletes' ever that has Amanda Nunes at 14 overall is more flawed than the decision to take a bite out of that apple in Eden. So there's that.

— To borrow the Brian Fontana line from Anchorman, "Take it easy Champ. Why don't you stop talking for a while," to which Ron Burgandy added, "Maybe shot the next couple of plays out," Uh, Kanye, let's stop talking for a while, huh? At his first presidential rally over the weekend in South Carolina, Kanye West offered this pearl "Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people." Egad.
 

— Momma always told me if you wait around long enough, you will see just about everything. Well, try this one on for size. Former NHL star Jeremy Roenick was fired from his job as an NHL analyst because, wait for it, he was discriminated against for again, wait for it being heterosexual. Seriously.

 

— You know the rules, when TFP sports editor and high school sports guru Stephen Hargis writes about high school sports, we read and link Hargis' headlines on high school sports. Here is a detailed ditty about the rising frustration of area Tennessee high school football coaches about the lack of announced decisions.

 

— Dear Lord, and pass the Advil. Here's a story about a Florida woman who has been charged with a felony after getting into an argument with her boyfriend that escalated into her cutting his tires that escalated into her hitting him in the face as he tried to back away that escalated into her grabbing his nether region, and we quote from the story as it quotes from the police report, "with such force that it removed the skin from the entirety of the victim's right testicle." That story is nuts.


 

Today's questions

Weekend winners and losers. Fire away.

Hey, multiple choice Monday. Hooray.

Let's let you guys have the mic. Fire away your multiple choice if you so choose.

Here's a starting point: As an announcer, Chipper Jones will be?

A) Excellent, an A-Rod level star;

B) Pretty good like almost all of the forgettable former players that are relatively interchangeable;

C) Bad;

D) The Braves hitting coach in two years.

As for July 20, let's review.In 1940 on this day, Billboard published its first singles chart with "I'll Never Smile Again" by Tommy Dorsey as the very first Billboard No. 1.

Apollo 11 landed on the moon on this day 51 years ago.

On this day 44 years ago, ol' No. 44 Hammerin' Hank Aaron his the final of his 755 career homers.

Carlos Santana is 73 today. Alexander the Great would have been 2376 today.

Rushmore of 'Great' and be creative friends. Go.

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