Friday Fives: Trump last among 7-foot-2 Baby Boomers

A fistful of comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports.

Just wondering how quickly into his upcoming U.S. visit will the Pope offer dispensation to Tom Brady? The Patriots quarterback demands nothing less.

Trump vs. the tower

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a serious man these days, not to be trifled with by the likes of Donald Trump. (Getty Images)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a serious man these days, not to be trifled with by the likes of Donald Trump. (Getty Images)

You may remember Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the former Milwaukee/Los Angeles star who possessed the NBA’s single most potent move, the skyhook.All-time leading NBA scorer and all that.

Or you may remember him as the large fellow crammed into the co-pilot’s seat in the movie “Airplane.”

Turns out, he’s also something of a pundit, looking upon the political landscape from on high.

Abdul-Jabbar is now going one-on-one against Donald Trump, who normally when faced with anything that tall puts his name all over it, posts a doorman out front and starts selling living space at about $2,000 per square foot.

In a recent Washington Post opinion piece, Abdul-Jabbar took on the ranking bully of the bully pulpit. He thoroughly skewered Trump, specifically for his contemptuous handling of criticism and of the media vetting process.

Then, almost on cue, Trump sent him a contemptuous hand-written response:

“Now I know why the press always treated you so badly – they couldn’t stand you,” it read. “The fact is that you don’t have a clue about life and what has to be done to make America great again.”

Here’s hoping this is a best-of-seven series. I like the big man’s chances.

Another Grand Slam attempt goes pffft

No Grand Slam this year – perhaps ever — for Serena Williams (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Get me rewrite. This item originally was about Serena Williams’ inevitable march to a Grand Slam, and about our reluctance to measure it as truly great.

A funny thing happened on the way to inevitability. Williams fell in three sets to Roberta Vinci Friday afternoon, the unseeded Italian serving out the last game at love and winning it all on a little drop shot that froze her opponent way out there beyond the baseline. Such massive upsets are exactly why we continue to watch these overblown productions and why one (OK, that’s me) really shouldn’t assume that greatness always comes to play.

By the way, what does this do to Williams’ standing among the all-time greats? She after all does have 21 career major titles, winning three of them this year at 33. I’d probably still place her slightly behind Steffi Graf (the last Grand Slam winner) and Martina Navratilova (an all-time force across the platforms of singles and doubles with 344 Tour titles in both).

And now, your U.S. Open women’s finals match matches Vinci against countrywoman Flavia Pennnetta. Television ratings on this side of the Appian Way figure to be microscopic.

That just makes Georgia-Vandy all the more must-see.

Do you believe in preseason football?

2015 Preseason Coach of the Year, Philadelphia's Chip Kelly (Jon Durr/Getty Images)

2015 Preseason Coach of the Year, Philadelphia’s Chip Kelly (Jon Durr/Getty Images)

If you think the preseason means anything other than an opportunity to soak the season ticket holder, then you have to think the Falcons are in trouble Monday night.

They play the Philadelphia Eagles, the darlings of August.

In going 3-1 over the preseason, Chip Kelly’s bunch outscored their opponents 133-77. His offense finished first in the league in yardage that doesn’t really matter.

And not only did quarterback Sam Bradford stay out of the emergency room, he looked like Sammy Baugh on the field.

Meanwhile, of course, the Falcons may be auditioning offensive lineman during the pregame meal Monday.

How the visitors are only three-point favorites in the light of such overwhelming evidence is a mystery.

Shhh. Don’t tell anyone but the preseason really is a waste of time.

Buckeyes can rest starters until January

Urban Meyer and his Ohio State Buckeyes can put it in cruise control until January (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Urban Meyer and his Ohio State Buckeyes can put it in cruise control for four months (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Here is your updated schedule for the No. 1-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, or something very close to it:

Sept. 12 – vs. Paul Mitchell Beauty School/Nail Academy

Sept. 19 – vs. Vassar

Sept. 26 – vs. Luna (N.M.) Community College

Oct. 3 – at Faber (“Knowledge is Good”)

Oct. 10 – vs. Coast Guard Academy

Oct. 17 – vs. Savannah College of Art and Design

Oct. 24 – at Slauson Middle School, Ann Arbor

Nov. 7 – vs. Slippery Rock

Nov. 14 – at Orvis Fly Fishing School, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Nov. 21 – Michigan State.

Nov. 28 – at University of Phoenix

Jan. 12 – BCS National Championship Game

The no-no nation

The Cubs Jake Arrieta puts the exclamation point at the end of his no-hitter last month. (Getty Images)

The Cubs Jake Arrieta puts the exclamation point at the end of his no-hitter last month. (Getty Images)

The no-hitter has been devalued more than even the Chinese Yuan.

Remember when someone had a no-no going for seven innings, you’d maybe put down the game controller or the tub of Breyer’s butter pecan and try to track down the game on cable or online? Now, you’re just as likely to ignore it, like the sound of a car alarm.

The Dodgers alone were no-hit twice in August. The latest, the sixth overall in the Majors so far this season, was spun by the Cubs Jake Arrieta.

That makes 30 already in this far-from-completed decade, as opposed to half that many in all of the 2000s. The modern record for season – seven just three years ago – is certainly in range. After all, the Braves hitters haven’t even done their part here in 2015.

The reasons are manifold: Hitters are both off the juice and unabashed about striking out; pitchers have gotten stronger; and smarter, too, with the scouting of tendencies.

But if this keeps up – and offense in general declines – pitchers will find themselves throwing off anthills and requiring binoculars to see the plate. Surely, the rules makers can’t abide a world in which a no-hitter comes every couple weeks, as regular as the ballplayers’ paychecks.

Reader Comments 0

46 comments
9awebb
9awebb

Ohio State schedule.....that was classic. 

BDK1
BDK1

@OH:IO @9awebb What does that have to do with the Suckeyes having the easiest schedule in the history of college football? Your first and only test will be on November 28 against Mich St, at home of course! 


Nobody likes Spurrier. I will have to admit that the Gamecocks losing to Kentucky is very funny. I wonder if he decides to hang it up after this season. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

@BDK1


Jack State and Toledo need to stop scheduling cupcakes. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

Three words:


Middle


Tennessee


Alabama


OH:IO
OH:IO

The SEC! SEC!'s 8 game conference schedule is sooooooo hard, they have to play cupcakes at the beginning and end of the season. 

creative
creative

@OH:IO You're fired up.  Cocaine is a helluva drug...

OH:IO
OH:IO

@falconfever 


Um, you overlooked the home and homes with Oklahoma, TCU and Oregon



falconfever
falconfever

@OH:IO @falconfever Give you credit on those/ AU opens with Oregon 2019  clemson 2016 and 2017  It is really your lousy conference and I thought you dingy commish just spouted off that all teams should be scheduling power 5 teams only.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@falconfever


Go ahead, be a "conference" guy and ride the coattails. I'm a Buckeye. Not a B1G! B1G!

OH:IO
OH:IO

@falconfever


Um TCU, not Clemson. You know, that TCU that we screwed out of a playoff spot?

UrbanMeyerisapansie
UrbanMeyerisapansie

@OH:IO @falconfever dude you brag about your out of conference schedule.. because you have to play those games and it still doesnt make up for the pathetic in conference schedule.. its ok to admit its a joke man it is... 


Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

B1G is a solid football conference.  It just hasn't been lately with what has happened at PSU and Michigan.  Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan, PSU, Mich. St. and Ohio State are all big time programs with as much history as any SEC school.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Birmingham__Jacket


More history, especially more than the dogs.


8 NC's and 7 Heismans and counting.............

BDK1
BDK1

@Birmingham__Jacket I don't care what a couple of those programs did 10-15 years ago. We are talking about the present. Mich St  will be the only sure bet to finish in the top 20, and their success has only started recently. They became good when all the other schools tanked. Wisconsin is a consistent 8-3 or 7-4 team because they get fat on their weak brothers in the big 10. Maybe Michigan will come back from their long Hiatus. I hope so. The Michigan Ohio St. game used to be one of the few games worth watching in the Big 10, and now we don't even have that. The fact is that Ohio St has a schedule loaded with extremely easy wins. Their first test Will be Michigan St. on November 28.

BDK1
BDK1

Ohio hates it when someone speaks the truth about The Buckeyes. The only team other than Michigan St. on their schedule that might put up a fight is called "Open Date". Ohio St should beat every team they play by at least 20 points. Their schedule this year may go down as one of the easiest in the history of college football. Since every one of their games will be drama free, Ohio will spend his Saturdays watching every UGA game in Hopes that UGA loses. Buckeyes are the only team in the nation with a free pass to the playoffs.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@BDK1


Free Pass?


Win a Division and a Conference Championship?


Go ahead, try it. 


Every 10 Years

BigTimeJacketFan
BigTimeJacketFan

Only thing I know about Lew Alcindor is that he could not make his son's high school graduation here in Atlanta about five years ago.  May have been thinking some deep thoughts and lost track of time.  

OH:IO
OH:IO

Trolling the Coast Guard Academy?


Jerk



Delbert_D
Delbert_D

@OH:IO 

Steve Hummer owes the men and women of the United States Coast Guard a big apology for damning them in his lame attempt at humor. Those people risk their lives every day in their missions, including drug interdiction.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Delbert_D


My son-in-law (Navy) trained with Coast Guard helo pilots in Flight School. They are one of our five branches that protect us - including the ingrates amongst us 

OH:IO
OH:IO

Yo Hummer


You left out LA Monroe, Charleston Southern, Troy  not to mention your classic November SEC! SEC! cupcakes. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

Nice hummer, Hummer.

OH:IO
OH:IO

Hey SEC! SEC! and dogs.


Want our 3rd String QB?

OH:IO
OH:IO

If the SEC! SEC! champ can't beat them just troll their schedule. It' the trendy thing to do.


Who else beat the #1 and #2 seed in the Playoff?


NOBODY

falconfever
falconfever

@OH:IO That was last year. I understand after 10 tries you are still getting yourself off after finally beating a SEC school. I hope AU gets a shot at OSU as you will be rusty after pulling your starters after the first quarter of each game.

falconfever
falconfever

@OH:IO @falconfever We will if you make it thru Hawaii, N. ILL. and w. Mich the next 3 weeks.Then the big 10 guantlet of Indiana, Maryland PSU, Rutgers( though that will be forfeit as they are short of players) then mighty Minnesota and Illinois

OH:IO
OH:IO

@falconfever


No worries. My calendar is marked  for the slate of mid-November SEC! SEC! Cupcakes. 



OH:IO
OH:IO

@falconfever


And the dogs will make it through the West End in Nashville gauntlet, don't you think?


Go ahead, it's ok 


Backpat for your Oh So Vaunted Schedule


Deal with it. 



falconfever
falconfever

@OH:IO @falconfever I did see you juiced up that schedule with mighty Army and UNLV 2017 and wait for it in 2019   Fla. Atlantic

Goggy
Goggy

Maybe people view Serena with some suspicion, as I do. It is my belief that Serena Williams (and several other male and female pro tennis players) success has been artificially enhanced. Odd muscle pull injuries, long times off to "detox", and impressive musculature are my only evidence. The USTA does have a drug testing program but it is a joke.


There are two parallels with baseball. Like a Barry Bonds, Serena is talented enough to win without help but wants to dominate her sport. Like baseball, professional tennis draws crowds with the hard hitting and physical play so they look the other way. Someday when it all comes out, there might be a third parallel between tennis and baseball, the sad aftermath and demise of the sport.

ShootinTheHooch
ShootinTheHooch

I believe the Dawgs were double digit favorites in at least two of their three losses last year (maybe all three), so how can it be assumed that Ohio State can simply throw their jocks on the field and win? Oh, even playing second teamers, Ohio State would still be well coached.  I get it!

TOJacket
TOJacket

Isn't the Paul Mitchell Beauty School in the SEC East?

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

Ohio State could rest most of their starters if they played in the SEC too.  They're just that good.

Ralph-25
Ralph-25

Not only does Kareem tower over Trump, he is a lot smarter and way cooler.  Trump apparently likes to pick fights which should be the number one exclusion for anyone seeking to learn the 'football' codes and place a steady, mature finger next to the red button.  Number one feature of a diagnosed buffoon, they try to pick fights with people much larger and stronger.

Worker
Worker

How many jobs has Kareem created, the exact number as the bozo in charge now. If I want to develop a sky hook I will call on him, if I want to build something I will call on Trump.

justhetruth2015
justhetruth2015

@Ralph-43  It appears you have it exactly backwards. Trump didnt pick a fight with Jabbar. He simply responded to a slander by a disgruntled former athlete who still craves the spotlight and has no way to regain it. As to you referring to Kareem as a buffoon your probably right on that one. 

LoMoney
LoMoney

with that easy schedule, osu runs the table, makes the final 4 easily and delivers a beatdown to some sec team---urban gets ring #4! Threepeat in 2016!!