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Oakland Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman (26) tags out Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani during the tenth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Morning friends. The 5-at-10 clan spent Thursday through Sunday in the North Carolina mountains. Did the Nantahala — twice — and we did some fly fishing as well as eating at a sit-down restaurant for the first time since Chas and I were arguing whether the star power of UK's Big Blue or the depth of the Auburn Fightin' Pearls. (Rest easy Corona compatriots, we masked up, ordered inside and ate on a socially distanced patio. The food was fine — it was a pizza place in Bryson City, N.C. — but because of all things considered, it was a downright treat.

Well, over the weekend, we learned that Saturday was the 40th birthday of. Caddyshack. Wow, what a movie. And as we discussed earlier this month, one of the most quotable of all time.

With that, it seems quite clear, right?

Theme show.

So, from the kitchen offices high atop Whiskey Hill, let's do this.

 

Weekend winners

Baseball fans. Wow, how much fun was that. Fans or no fans. Cutouts or empty seats. Meaningful baseball with the names and logos that we all know and love was such a joy. Truly. How starved were we? The rain-shortened Opening Night game between Yankees-Bats drew a 2.45 rating and 4.01 million viewers, making it the largest season opener on record and the most-watched MLB regular-season game on any network since a Yankees-Red Sox game in 2011. "So we got that going for us, which is nice."

Pandemic parity. As loyal reader Joe Don noted in an early Monday email, four days into the MLB season — and three games for almost every team — and no one is unbeaten. "It's good luck. In Haiti."

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. The starting guard for the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs opted out of the 2020 season because of the Corona. And it was not out fear; it was out of a sense of duty. Duvernay-Tardif, a medical school grad, is working to fight the virus at a nursing home in Montreal. "Yeah, wanna make 14 dollars the hard way."

Michael Thompson. The PGA player who has not won since 2013 was lights out Sunday and capped it with a near-perfect 72nd hole and a birdie for a two-shot win at the PGA 3M Open. He was understandably emotional and crying after the putt dropped to make it official — Dare I offer "It's in the hole" — and who wouldn't be. In addition to a ticket to Augusta — you know, if we ever have another Masters (Dang you Corona) — Thompson received $1.188 million, which is about 12 percent of the journeyman's career earnings.

Alabama recruiting. Yeah, anyone else feel like Nick Saban watched Jeremy Pruitt's recruiting spree and then looked around and whispered "Watch 'is!" According to the TFP college football guru and all-around good egg David Paschall, the Tide now have the nation's top-ranked offensive tackle and top-ranked defensive tackle. Egad. Is there a single thing in sports that never slumps like elite college football recruiting? Seriously. "How do you measure yourself against other golfers? By height."

 

Weekend losers

Baseball fans. "I don't think the heavy stuff's gonna come down for quite a while." Four days in and the reports of a corona outbreak among the Miami Marlins puts the season on the brink. Couple of thoughts here: First, baseball does not have a true bubble like the NBA — more on that in a moment — and an outbreak within a club could conceivably shut the whole thing down. Second, there has to be a wrinkle in the plan that includes forfeits right? Because with out that, it would take what, three cross series between teams that have the early stages and poof. "And that's all she wrote."  

Lou Williams. Dude, no one — repeat NO ONE — swings by the strip club for takeout. Hey, no matter how good the wings are at Magic City, here's betting Lou was more about the legs and thighs. Seriously. Not even Spy orders the catch of the day as Diamond is making her way to the main stage. Williams, the perennially sixth manor the year candidate was quarantined for 10 days by the NBA for violating the bubble protocol. Serious question on this: If a guy threatens the entire bubble and the hundreds of millions of thousands of invested people and parties in a time of the pandemic, kick his tuckus to the curb. "The world needs ditch-diggers too."

ESPN. Not a good look this weekend from the WNBA opener as ESPN's social media account and website said that WNBA teams walked off the court during the national anthem. ESPN's official twitter account posted: "As the national anthem was played, the @nyliberty and @seattlestorm walked off the floor as part of the social justice initiative." Well, then devil is in the details. The teams walked to the locker room BEFORE the anthem was played in a pre-ceremony agreement. The correction was close to 12 full hours later. The original mistaken Tweet and video was viewed 10.4 million times. The correction had 20,000 combined comments, retweets and likes. Stuff like this only galvanizes the preconceived notions and fuel the sentiments. It's because of stuff like this that we must be better as news reporting entities. "Don't sell yourself short Judge, you're a tremendous slouch."
     
Star pitchers. Justin Verlander. Clayton Kershaw. Corey Kluber. Stephen Strasburg. There was more than half a billion dollars in total contracts put on the shelf this weekend. You have to expect something like that considering the limited amount of prep time, no? "You take drugs Danny?" "Every day." "Good. Then what's your problem?" "I don't know."
 

Protests of protests

The weekend of baseball was great. GER-rate.

But the COVID was lingering.

So were the protests.

We discussed some of this in the mailbag on Friday.

I was and continue to be in support of the pre-Anthem decision of taking a knee for an increased awareness of social justice.

I asked Friday about the kneeling during the anthem after having a singularly focused ceremony to call attention to the very issue that Colin Kaepernick originally knelt for four years ago.

Why the second round of kneeling? Is that an attempt to just pick fight? Are they kneeling for something else or a different cause?

Personally, I think the kneeling is the easy part, especially in this day and age in which the premise has more clarity. But again, if Kaep's original intent was not about protesting the flag, the anthem or the military, and to call attention to the cause of police brutality and the treatment of blacks in America, how much more could the country in general and baseball in particular listen than giving that single cause an entire ceremony before the anthem?

But then folks are still kneeling during the anthem. Well, the reverse was also true over the weekend.Giants pitcher Jon Coonrod stood during the pre-anthem ceremony because of his beliefs. His comment afterward is worth discussing.

Here's is Coonrod's quote: "I'm a Christian. I believe that I can't kneel before anything besides God. I just can't get on board with a couple things I've read about BLM, how they lean towards Marxism. They said some negative things about the nuclear family."

And here we are. Many of the same folks who were adamant that Kaepernick had the right to kneel and claim that those who tried to say kneeling was anything other than what Kaep said it was, were outraged.

Thoughts? "I don't play golf, against people for money." "What are you, religious or something?" "You might say that."

 

This and that

— So the Seahawks deal multiple No. 1s and other stuff to the Jets for Jamal Adams. It's impossible to grade a trade with multiple picks slotted in the future, and it's doubly true for a team with as sketchy draft history as the Jets. But I said it then and it has proved to be true, that Jamal Adams was as good as any non-QB in the 2017 draft. Dude is a baller.
 

— Speaking of golf, the former Baylor School trio of Harris English, Luke List and Keith Mitchell were also in Minnesota for the 3M Open. English continued his impressively consistent 2020 season with a tie for 18th at 13 under, six back of the winner. English made $87,450. List went 67-67 over the weekend and finished tied fro 32nd at 10 under. He collected $34,577. Mitchell missed the cut by 3, doomed by a 74 on Friday.

 

— Speaking of golf, high school golf is actually getting underway today in Tennessee, and according to this preview from TFP prep ace Patrick MacCoon, the Signal Mountain boys' team is loaded for a potential state title three-peat.


— You know the rules. Here's more college football from Paschall because simply it will make you smarter.

— You know the rules. Here's TFP sports editor and prep sports guru Stephen Hargis sharing some knowledge about a fast-rising local high school football prospect.

— Wow, breaking news that 14 members of the Marlins have tested positive. Mother BLEEPER.

 

Today's question

Weekend winners and losers, and can baseball be both?Multiple choice Monday, and we are not playing around with this one friends:


Which Caddyshack actor does the best job?

— Rodney Dangerfield

— Chevy Chase

— Bill Murray

— Ted KnightAS for today, July 27, Bugs Bunny is 80 today.
Rushmore of 'Bunny' and be creative.

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