Matt Williams. The bald former slugger for the Giants looks like the Bobby Cox of the Korean Baseball Organization. Williams was the 2014 NL manager of the year with Washington, and he became only the third American manager to get a win in the KBO.
MLB's prospects of return. According to Stanford testing, 0.7 percent of the more than 6,200 surveys and 5,754 samples tested positive for the coronavirus antibodies. These are not tests for the active virus, mind you, but tests for the antibodies, which are in a person's immune system if they have been infected with the virus. So about 60 of the 6,237 people connected to MLB reviewed have had the Corona.
UT recruiting. WE could have put Jeremy Pruitt — for a third straight weekend, mind you — but this whole ball of 'Crootin' momentum feels bigger than even the Head Coach in Charge. The entire Vols' haul is now ranked No. 2 nationally and the team added KaTron Evans, another four-star at a place — DT — where you can't have enough four stars. How key is Evans in a class that is certainly turning heads? Well, he's just the second defensive tackle in the group and he was down to two — UT and Alabama — and if we know anything about anything it's "If you get a guy that Nick Saban truly wants, well, you got a guy worth getting." Evans' commitment was followed by two more four-star pledges Sunday. Wow. Simply wow.
Michael Jordan. Yes, we will get to "The Last Dance" shortly, but MJ getting to tell his tale like this is completely polishing the narrative. Man, this is like getting to write your own professional obit, and maybe Jordan was so great that he earned that chance. And I'm sorry — and far be it from me to disagree with a World Series champion manager like Terry Francona — but the only way MJ would have made the majors is as a sideshow.
Scottie Pippen. Again, we will get to TLD in a moment, because there is a fair amount to get to. But man, while I remember the game in which Pippen refused to go into the game, I did not remember how bad a look it truly was. We have frequently wondered about TLD and how the '90s Bulls would play in the age of Twitter and social media. Considering the amount of hatred LeBron gets for making the proper play and passing the ball for a wide open last-second shot these days, Pippen may not have recovered from that prima donna routine — especially since Kukoc drilled the game-winner. (Side note: Who knew that Phil Jackson used the Norman Dale play to use Jimmy as a decoy. Instead of pouting, Pippen should have looked at Phil and said, "I'll make it.") (Side note, II: Jordan and TLD creators pointing out Pippen's shortcomings — this, the chair throw, the "I'd top it again," the contract stuff — is a sly and successful passive-aggressive way of saying, "Hey, Scottie helped, but everyone remember who is the MAN.")
There is record unemployment because of the Corona. It's a scary time. But those lost jobs are not anyone in particular's fault. If the producer who put Trevor Bauer's cell number on ESPN on Sunday morning during a Facetime chat loses his/her gig, well, that's another thing entirely. To his credit, Bauer is turning the miscue into a giveaway opportunity.
The Stiller family and Frank Constanza fans everywhere. Jerry Stiller, Ben's dad and the TV patriarch of the Constanza family on "Seinfeld," died over the weekend. Rest easy, and yes, Kramer stole his move. Serenity now.
College basketball. First, you know the drill. TFP ace sports columnist and college hoops expert Mark Wiedmer writes about college hoops, we read and link Weeds' on college hoops. Here's a well-reasoned argument about the NCAA pointing fingers and issuing allegations against Kansas, and how the Jayhawks are in the spotlight, but so too is the NCAA, which has become more Don Quixote than finding and punishing Don Corleones of college sports. And then comes the news that after the NCAA folks get done with the blue blood that is Kansas, they may need to head to Durham and talk with Duke about what Zion got and where it came from. One of the interesting parts of Weeds' column is how Kansas and Bill Self may very well use the "everyone is doing it" defense.
The year 2020. You suck, and here comes news that scientists are calling for a very active hurricane season. Kick rocks, 2020.
The Last Dance, Sunday IV
We're eight episodes in with two left of the most popular ESPN non-live action program ever.
At times TLD can feel as much like homework as must-see viewing. But that's OK. We're caught up, and if you have not watched episodes 7 and 8, well, skip ahead to "This and That."
Let's go with some takeaways.
> It was clear that it was not easy to play with MJ. And that's fine, and even at times understandable. And other times, it made the team better. It also consistently crossed a line to bullying that would have been very controversial in our current culture.
> It would have to be somewhat miserable to be in a place like MJ was in that he had to be that petty to make up even the most casual of events into a personal slight to motivate himself. Think of it this way: MJ made up an exchange with journeyman LaBradford Smith. Why? Who knows? (Side question: Why was he not using those same tricks or teammate abuse to win in the 1980s? Thoughts?)
> MJ's emotional range was intriguing Sunday. I thought the end of episode 7, when MJ ended the taping, was OK. MJ openly bawling after winning the title after his return in 1996 was as real a moment as I can recall in this documentary.
> MJ the player was downright filthy. FILLL-thy. Look at those star-studded teams that he routinely dismissed. Reggie's Pacers. Those awesome Magic teams. Payton's Sonics. Barkley's Suns. Ewing's Knicks. Malone's and Stockton's Jazz. He dismissed those 1980s giants, too.
> MJ's ever-present competitive nature may be most evident in the way he refuses to this day to give any competitor anything close to credit. Take the meme-inducing laugh MJ issued after seeing the interview with Gary Payton in which Payton said after the Sonics fell into a 3-0 hole in the 1996 Finals, that Payton covering MJ gave the Sonics a chance. Jordan laughed it off dismissively and the Bulls won the series 4-2. But the numbers back up Payton's assertion: In Games 1-3 of those Finals, MJ averaged 31 points on 46 percent shooting and 50 percent from 3; in Games 4-6, MJ averaged 23.7 points on 36.7 percent shooting and 11.1 percent from 3.
> I likely have underestimated Phil Jackson's expert handling of this entire run. I also did not give Toni Kukoc the respect as a player he deserves in retrospect. And while we are here, as good as Kukoc was in the '90s, he would have been a perennial All-NBA player in today's stretch 4 version.
> Greatly appreciated the interview with Jason Hehir, the director of TLD, on "Golic or Wingo" in which he said he would love to have had the chance to interview Jerry Krause. Hehir also side-stepped and ducked a completely fair question about the total lack of MJ's family — other than his parents — in TLD.
> Also, Hehir said Monday that if it had not been for the MLB work stoppage, he would not have come back to the NBA. Think about that. Hehir also said he believes MJ would have made the majors and ran a 4.3 40 at UNC.
This and that
— Speaking of TLD, well, one of the big early storylines of the documentary was Isiah Thomas being left off the Dream Team and whether it was because of MJ's hatred of the former Pistons instigator. Well, here's one of the most-respected and generally well-liked former NBA stars — and Dream Teamer — David Robinson saying nobody should be surprised Thomas was not included. And that includes Thomas, too.
— The NFL Supplemental Draft is scheduled for July, and the NFL bigwigs believe it will happen as scheduled. Considering the unknown future of the college season and whether it could push into the spring, I wonder if some of the big names who returned to school — such as Clemson running back Travis Etienne and Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses — may rethink that decision.
— We told you TFP college football ace David Paschall was going to count down the best UGA players like he did the best Alabama players last week. The UGA countdown started Monday with No. 5, and wow, look at that picture and read the caption about what this Heisman winner endured during a record-setting season.
— The first tournament at Maridoe Golf Club outside of Dallas was such a success, they are going to have another one. And Jordan Spieth will be among several PGA Tour pros in the field. Side question: Can we get some TV coverage of this? I'd watch — at least some.
— I did not watch the MMA event over the weekend. Some folks are quite optimistic about the return of any organized sport. We talked some late last week about the multitude of things I missed about sports, and I could have added the heated debate that sports controversy can generate. The MMA offered some of that too, as Dominick Cruz said after his controversial defeat that the ref smelled like alcohol and cigarettes.
Weekend winners and losers. Go.
Did you watch the MMA fight over the weekend?
Would you still be watching TLD if sports were happening like normal? (Granted it would have been later this summer, but you get the idea.)
Would you watch Jordan Spieth in a club tournament? What PGA player this side of Tiger would you watch in his club tournament?
As for today, May 11, well, Cam Newton is 31 today. (Any guess where Cam will play in 2020? Also, is Cam going to be a Hall of Famer?)
On this day in 1969, the British comedy group Monty Python forms.
Would any of the Monty Python dudes make a Rushmore of foreign-born comedians? Go.