[Photo: Jose Chavez via Unsplash]

Trash Talk: Here for ‘The Big Game’

Okay, I promised I’d put up a Trash Talk post for The Big Game. Here it is, have at it.

What Big Game, you might ask. Yeah, I made that mistake last week.

I must be slipping a cog because a Michigander like myself should have remembered University of Michigan Wolverines plays its Big Ten rival Ohio State University Buckeyes today.

Most of the hardware stores in this state are probably rather quiet right now. Their usual denizens are likely parked in front of the tube in their favorite sports bar if not their den, if not out in the woods watching on their mobile device while choking out the final weekend of firearm deer season.

They’ve just kicked off. If you want to watch the number 3 ranked team U-M meeting the number two team OSU, you’ll find them on Fox.

Big question going into this game — at least for Michiganders: is running back Blake Corum recovered from last weekend’s injury to his left knee?

~ ~ ~

Let’s switch gears to the NFL —

— You Green Bay Packers haters must be tickled at the season-ending suspension of rookie lineman Sean Rhyan for performance enhancing drugs. Personally, I can’t understand why someone with so much going for them would fuck up like this so early into their career with a professional team. He’s played only one game for the Packers.

— Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones just happened to be watching an effort to harass Black students to prevent them from entering the North Little Rock High School they attended with Jones. A photo surfaced this week in which Jones appears within arm’s length of the harassed students. He was just 14 or 15 years old and it was just a coincidence he was there in that photo watching the harassment Jones expects us to believe. We’re also supposed to give him some credit for having been punished by his high school team for being anywhere near this conflict in which he just stood there.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith expects to likewise cut Jones, who has profited immensely from so many Black bodies working for him for years, some slack because Jones hasn’t deserved the heat he’s received this week.

Yeah, well those six Black students didn’t deserve the harassment in that 60-odd-year-old photo, the harassment they surely received before that photo, or the discrimination they’ve endured because of structural racism since then.

Smith will continue to benefit from his access journalism and Jones, who has never hired a Black coach, will continue to enjoy his billions.

~ ~ ~

Fucking FIFA. I will be so glad when this atrocity is over.

— “Bonesaw” bin Salman gifted each of Saudi Arabia’s players a Rolls Royce Phantom after their win over Argentina this past Tuesday. Seems on brand awarding a fossil-fueled fossil to a team representing a fossil fuel-producing fossil in a fossil fuel-producer’s futbol series.

— U.S. Men’s National Team tied England 0-0 in yesterday’s Group B match. We’re supposed to be amazed by this. Should we be? I don’t know; I thought the U.S. had a better team but what do I know being a failed soccer mom (failed meaning my youngest played soccer but didn’t enjoy it enough to stay with OR I didn’t nag them enough to stay with it).

— So far World Cup hasn’t crashed the bird app — so far.

~ ~ ~

I don’t really understand Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) let alone the appeal.

Isn’t this just a use-whatever-works-to-bash-your-opponents, a kind of free-for-all ball-free contact sport?

Whatever it is, apparently women can do it, too, and this week’s big women in MMA match saw an undefeated fighter brought down for the first time in the four years the Professional Fighters’ League has been in existence.

Former judo Olympian Kayla Harrison lost to Laura Pacheco in a unanimous decision. This was the third time the pair have met with Harrison coming out on top the first two times.

I wonder how much Harrison’s insta-family has affected her training along with the pandemic having cut into the PFL’s schedule. Harrison’s stepfather died suddenly in 2020 leaving behind an 8-year-old and a 2-year-old, for both of whom Harrison took custody. It’s a lot to add to a person’s plate.

~ ~ ~

Okay, that’s enough from me. There’s roughly nine minutes left in The Big Game and the teams are fairly well matched. The score now is 31-20 with Michigan leading; I wouldn’t bet against Ohio coming from behind.

Tell us what other sportsing you’re watching this weekend.

Trash Talk: Dead on the Field

I didn’t think anyone would miss my Trash Talk, but lo and behold, someone actually did.

Yeah, I’m surprised, too, because I’m not a sportser whether on a field or in the woods or on the water.

I do take some sick pleasure in sportsers’ pain, though.

Don’t tell my kid but I laughed my butt off when they complained in all caps it was COLD in the woods during their week of deer hunting.

You wanted this, kid. You knew going into the woods it’s cold, the hours are long, and venison is not a sure thing. You really have to enjoy nature and solitude.

The stories that come out of these hunting trips will last for years, though, and they’ll be buffed up and hauled out over every family gathering. They’ll last far longer than the venison sausage exchanged for a week’s worth of dogsitting.

Can’t wait to hear the tales during our next family gathering during the holiday season.

~ ~ ~

Today was the first Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup match. Ecuador met host Qatar and kicked their asses 2-0.

It’s the least that could happen after so many workers died building Qatar’s field, stadium, and other amenities for its participation in and hosting of FIFA’s World Cup.

Someone calculated the estimated number of hours of play expected in this World Cup series against the total number of workers’ deaths since Qatar was awarded this series in 2010, arriving at a figure of one dead worker for every 64 minutes of play.

Nobody needs futbol that badly.

FIFA’s president also set the tone for this series with an hour-long rant:

FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s extraordinary tirade against Western critics of the controversial tournament in an explosive hour-long monologue is still making headlines around the world. Human rights groups described it as “crass” and an “insult” to migrant workers.

Infantino, the boss of world soccer’s governing body, looked on glumly as he addressed hundreds of journalists in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, and started the news conference with a near hour-long speech, during which he accused Western critics of hypocrisy and racism.

Sure, sure…just because the colonialist west built itself on the backs of enslaved people and occupied indigenous lands, they’re not entitled to grow the fuck up and demand better especially from a sport which has been ridiculously corrupt?

The topper: no beer allowed because it’s a Muslim country and alcohol is forbidden.

I get it, your country, your rules, but those dead workers deserved better. The least they merit is a memorial toast if you’re in reach of alcohol while committing to a global standard for workers’ safety.

It wasn’t just alcohol but kosher food which was banned. Not exactly welcoming to all the people of the Middle East.

I’m not looking forward to the rest of this series.

Wonder how Twitter handled the match; I have no idea because I haven’t been over there. Probably not badly given the largest number of Twitter users are in the U.S. and Japan.

~ ~ ~

Speaking of Twitter, was Kyrie Irving ever suspended or banned from social media platforms?

I see he’s apologizing now for his bullshit anti-Semitic speech. Wonder if that’s about the National Basketball Association’s 8-game suspension alone, or if it’s about Irving’s access to media.

The Brooklyn Nets guard has been cleared to play and will start Sunday night against the Memphis Grizzlies. It will mark his first game since he was suspended Nov. 3 for “harmful impact of his conduct” relating to social media posts around a book and movie that contained antisemitic ideas.

With Twitter’s Musk relying on a poll outcome manufactured by the trolls/bots he derided, Twitter’s allowed both Trump and Kanye West back on and both committed their share of hate speech.

And look, there he is on Twitter, no mention of his hate speech, though.

Which means it’s not Twitter access spurring Irving to offer his questionable mea culpa.

~ ~ ~

What the actual. Detroit’s kitties won their third straight game today, this time over the New York Giants with a final score of 31-18 at the Giants’ field.

Jamaal Williams scored three touchdowns for the Lions.

Anything is possible, huh?

Bmaz wondered earlier in the week where Buffalo was going to play if at all given the record-breaking snow storm expected which was supposed to drop six feet of snow.

Since the Lions were in Giants’ Meadowlands MetLife stadium in New Jersey, the Buffalo Bills played in Detroit’s covered Ford Field stadium, located less than a three-hour drive from Cleveland.

Detroit was on the wrong side of a Great Lake for the weather system which dropped snow on the west side of Michigan and New York state – conveniently for Buffalo, since the team won 31-23 over the Cleveland Browns.

Looks like it was a good time even if it wasn’t at home.

~ ~ ~

This post’s title “Dead on the Field” is derived from a riddle:

Dead on the field lie ten soldiers in white, felled by three eyes, black as night.

Offer your solution to this riddle below in comments.

Treat this as an open thread.

Trash Talk: It’s All Over But The Screaming

Golf widow here again. My seasonal widowhood has come to the end of the road.

It’s the last weekend of the golf season here in this bit of the Midwest. The final round is underway now. Hereforth the not-so-retired retiree will be home until golf’s pre-season begins next April.

Or until firearm deer season begins on November 15.

Or the pre-season preparation of deer camp over the weekend before the season begins.

In other words I have a very narrow window of opportunity to get honey-do tasks accomplished over the next five days, and even that has been shortened by a previous commitment to replace brakes and repair an A/C system on my son’s car.

As soon as I finish publishing this post I will be assembling all the tools and supplies needed for a whirlwind of chores. Let’s hope four days is enough time to get them all done.

What’s on your fall chore list?

~ ~ ~

Another season has come to an end, the boys of summer can go home: Houston Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies last night. The final score was 4-1 in the sixth and last game of the Major League Baseball Championship series, with the Astros achieving best of seven games with four games to Phillies’ two.

There will be a lot of discussion about Phillies’ manager Rob Thomson’s sixth inning decision to pull pitcher Zack Wheeler and replace him with Jose Alvarado while the bases were full.

Astro’s Yordan Alvarez batted a home run on Alvarado and that was the entire ball game.

Wheeler’s made polite politic noises about Thomson’s decision but surely he must be gutted.

Feels like we should all be a bit more inured to lousy management decisions by now.

~ ~ ~

In NFL news, Miami Dolphins are currently up 28-25 against the Chicago Bears. Cooler weather isn’t deterring them.

This bit of reporting from CBS Sports made me snort:

Miami’s two-game winning streak can directly be tied to the return of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as the Dolphins have wins against the Pittsburgh Steelers and at the Detroit Lions in his first two games back in action. He leads the NFL in passing yards per attempt (9.0) and passer rating (112.7) with the Dolphins amassing 2,340 passing yards this season, the most in the NFL. He’ll be going up against the NFL’s fifth-ranked pass defense in Chicago that allows only 188 passing yards per game.

It’s great that Tagovailoa has apparently recovered from his gawdawful injuries, but the last two games were against an AFC North team with a 2-6 record and an NFC North team with a 1-6 record. The latter – the Detroit Lions – really? Who couldn’t beat them?

~ ~ ~

Yikes – this Major League Soccer 2022 MLS Cup final yesterday between Los Angeles Football Club and Philadelphia Union was something.

I shudder each time I’ve watched this.

The final came down to a shootout in which Crepeau’s substitute John McCarthy managed three saves.

~ ~ ~

After WNBA player Brittney Griner’s appeal was denied by a Russian court on October 25, the U.S. Embassy attempted to visit her.

They were able to check on her condition on November 3. She’s holding up as best she can all things considered.

I wonder how much Griner and the welfare of the other detained American Paul Whelan factored into the new report the Biden administration’s request that Ukraine remain open to negotiation.

It had better not have come about because of House Democratic progressives’ sloppy approach to this subject this summer.

Treat this as an open thread.

Trash Talk: Begin with the End in Mind

Golf widow here, once again enjoying a calm sunny Sunday afternoon left to my own devices. The leaves are nearly all fallen and blow away, the migratory birds have taken flight leaving only the hardiest yet to make the seasonal trek. Winter is definitely coming.

Not to go all Stephen Covey on you, but I began this post yesterday with its end in mind.

“When I buy a new book, I always read the last page first, that way in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends. That, my friend, is a dark side.”
Nora Ephron, When Harry Met Sally

Sports in the fall is a seasonal trek, too. We’re nearly done with the boys of summer, deep into football weather, thinking about sharpening our skates and waxing our skis.

Along the way we’ll find end of stories. If we’re lucky and aware, we’ll find the seeds of beginnings.

~ ~ ~

It was quiet last evening as I predicted when Michigan State University’s Spartans met University of Michigan’s Wolverines on U-M’s turf.

As expected, U-M won 29-7 over MSU.

But not expected was the poor sportsmanship after the game, still being investigated by police and the Big 10 conference commissioner. Wolverine’s defensive back Ja’Den McBurrows and another unnamed player were roughed up in a tunnel or hallway after the game when players left the stadium.

There’s video on social media of the fracas. MSU players should not have made any contact with U-M players.

While MSU players should not have lost their cool and should have displayed more sportsmanship, the host team should not have allowed contact between the two teams after the game. The hosts should have allowed the guest team off the field first before heading to their respective locker room.

Let’s hope this is a learning opportunity which reduces the chances of future clashes between teams with intense rivalries – say, ahead of the meeting between number 4 ranked U-M and number 1 ranked Ohio State on Thanksgiving weekend?

~ ~ ~

The boys of summer in their ruin have now been reduced to the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies, tied up in the World Series at 1-1.

Next game in the series is tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. ET.

I can’t help cracking up about the drama sports journalists drum up over these two teams meeting to fight for the title of World’s Best after nearly half a year and hundreds of games have simply worn all teams down to the two which can execute most competently with greatest consistency.

After the series ends whether five games or more, it will be back to chopping wood, carrying water.

~ ~ ~

Speaking of drama, NFL fans have surely gotten their fill this week of celebrity news about Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback Tom Brady and his divorce from ex-wife and model Gisele Bündchen.

I’m not a fan but I’ve had quite enough, thanks, and inside just hours. My social media feed was inundated with the news Bündchen had filed in the morning and then swamped again when the judge signed the order.

It’s amazing how quickly this was turned around. Sure, they did a lot of the pre-work made easier with the ability to pay for good lawyers, but the couple must have wanted out very badly.

I feel for their kids. They may have access to adequate therapy to help them through this, but it will never fully resolve why their dad bemoaned not being around from August through January for family birthdays and holidays then did a 180-degree turnaround on retirement and went back to work.

What’s really annoying: all this media-whipped hullabaloo about an athlete worth $330 million and his wife who’s worth $400 million, and no one asking what the American public should take away from this situation after it took possession of our media.

Professional football is socially-acceptable violence; it can cause traumatic injuries including paralysis and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) which can deeply affect players’ lives. The risk of injury was a major concern for Bündchen who didn’t want Brady to continue the risk to himself when he had little if nothing left to prove to his peers.

We’re watching a Senate race now in which one candidate, Herschel Walker, shows hallmarks of long-term CTE which may have hurt his kindred, legitimate and illegitimate, thanks to his tendency to violence and poor decision making. Georgia voters may inflict this on the public if they don’t re-elect their current senator.

High school football has already begun transitioning from contact to flag in some parts of the country to reduce the risk of injuries to minors. It’s not enough though, when we see college athletes acting out violently as with the Michigan State Spartans. We can call it unsportsmanlike conduct, but the conduct may have roots in CTE these young people have already experienced.

The roots go wider and deeper, though. It’s in our refusal to demand a sea change in football, our continued incentives for reporting stories like Brady’s divorce and Walker’s erratic behavior as a candidate as just celebrity gossip or horse race political reporting.

~ ~ ~

I began writing this post after a close friend’s father passed away yesterday morning.

Their father was a fixture in my school system for nearly all their career. Everybody who grew up here between the 1960s and 1980s knows the family because they either had him or his spouse as teachers and guides, and their kids as classmates.

I can’t think of a local high school football game or civic parade I’ve attended here when he wasn’t driving his convertible with his golden retriever for company.

We often ribbed him about the cute blonde in the passenger seat who accompanied him to so many sporting events before reaching over to pet the well-mannered pup.

Over the years when I’ve thought of school sports I’ve thought of him and how he always encouraged the kids in the school system, showing his support by being engaged in the community.

If I recall, Marcy may have run into him at a Michigan Democratic Party event in Michigan we both attended. Even then he talked up what I did for the local party like I was a rock star. But he did that for so many kids in the community even as they became adults with kids of their own.

He was what good sports is about, the positive affect engagement as a group can have on a community. Individuals acting with an end in mind can realize this constructive bonding.

We’re going to miss him and his kind of cheerleading.

This door has closed, an end has been met. It’s up to us to find the open window and the new beginning.

Treat this as an open thread.

Trash Talk: Kiss My Ash

Hey. Golf widow again, counting down the remaining weekends to the end of the season. Three more to go including this weekend.

It’s quiet here, past peak color. Our first hard frost this past week has done its work on the remaining holdouts – every tree has taken on a golden cast.

Sadly, the lawn loves this weather. The undead golfer came home long enough to cut the grass yesterday between his last round and the long 19th hole. (What a pity.) He’s counting down the weeks as well to the end of grass cutting season – four or five more to go, just in time for Thanksgiving and the end of firearm deer season.

So much to count down these days, including the mid-term elections — 15 days remaining.

~ ~ ~

Bye week for Michigan college football. No, not University of Michigan but BOTH of Michigan’s Big 10 schools were off this week.

I avoided the hardware store yesterday because it was surely packed considering the lack of Michigan college football on television.

States with names beginning with “O” did well yesterday:

Ohio State 54-10 over Iowa
Oklahoma State 41-34 over Texas
Oregon 45-30 over UCLA

I can’t help it – the logic of following certain teams makes as much sense as picking them by the first letter of their name. At least if they’re in your backyard it makes some sense to hope they do well because winning may bring students and revenue to your state.

And yet we place far too much emphasis on sports, especially football, at universities. University of Minnesota avoided a strike by its service workers this week after a tentative three-year agreement was reached yesterday. Terms haven’t yet been published and are subject to ratification.

What’s galling about the situation: service workers weren’t paid a living wage yet the university’s head coach for its football team is the highest paid public employee in Minnesota.

Fleck’s increase in salary of $350,000 annually bumps him from the 24th highest paid coach in the country, and the 8th highest in the Big Ten before, to tied for the 17th highest paid in college football and tied for the 5th highest in the Big Ten going forward. He has the same $5 million dollar salary as fellow Big Ten coaches Kirk Ferentz and Scott Frost. It’s an additional $2.45 million over the course of the contract, so essentially it’s a new 7-year deal worth $35.00 million dollars.

[source: 247sports.com]

How many service workers could have been bumped to a living wage with the $350,000 Coach Fleck received as a raise?

Our country is arguing over tuition loan forgiveness while 40 states’ highest paid public employees are paid millions to coach sports.

[Map: Highest Paid State Employees, July 2022 via Kiiky]

Last year for the first time the highest paid state employees across all 50 states were coaches. I suspect the map above may be out of date.

In a nutshell, our priorities are fucked up.

~ ~ ~

Major League Baseball took over my Twitter timeline again last night — or I should say, New York Yankees’ fans filled my feed with cries of frustration.

The Yankees have until 7:07 this evening to shake off the doldrums before they meet the Astros again. I’m hedging my bets and doing something offline.

Philadelphia Phillies beat the San Diego Padres last night 10-6, bringing them a game away from winning the National League. The next game in the Phillies-Padres series begins in about an hour.

The one interesting bit of baseball news I read this week — I acknowledge I’m not much of a baseball fan — was about the change in baseball bats over the last two decades.

My entire neighborhood had to switch to maple trees from ash when it was developed nearly 20 years ago, and yet it never dawned on me the same reason for this change also affected baseball.

The same reason I can’t bring firewood from the Upper Peninsula to the Lower or the reverse also affects baseball.

The emerald ash borer has chewed up so many ash tree baseball has moved toward maple bats. Maple, though, is not the same as ash being a much more dense wood, which means some players’ distance and loft may be affected.

Two good pieces worth reading:

Baseball History Is No Longer Written With Ash Bats, by Zach Schonbrun-NYT

How an Invasive Insect Destroyed the Louisville Slugger Forest, by Tanner Garrity-InsideHook

The former is more focused on the trees, the latter on baseball. They’re a nice complement to each other.

~ ~ ~

An American teenager landed his sport’s most elusive move this week. 17-year-old Ilia Malinin took the gold at the Skate America competition after landing a quadruple axel.

Keep an eye on this guy. He is absolutely amazing, Olympic caliber material.

~ ~ ~

This is an open thread with an emphasis on sports. Have at it while I go outside and take advantage of our unexpectedly warm October weather to get some yard work done.

Trash Talk: Get (Fourth) Down and Dirty

Golf widow here once again, enjoying the dwindling days of Michigan’s golf season.

By which I mean I am doing more fall cleaning while looking forward to a nice cold Modelo and an entertaining book once my chores are done.

Lawn furniture put away? Check.

Outdoor cushions washed and dried? Check.

Fireplace prepped for winter use? Check.

A couple more chores and I can revel in quiet quaffing. I keep a couple lounge chairs on the deck through the winter to enjoy the midday sun; soon I’m going to park in one with a book and my beer and partake in the peak autumn color here.

I’m sure it’s nice out on the fairway but I don’t have to put up with trash talk from the rest of my foursome to do so, nor do I have to spring for beers for the winner.

Golf widowhood for the motherfucking win.

~ ~ ~

If you are a regular Twitter use you already know exactly what happened last night in Major League Baseball because it flooded Twitter users’ feeds.

One friend whined for hours about the Houston Astros (at Seattle Mariners). Another dropped offline because they couldn’t take anymore stress watching the New York Yankees (at Cleveland Guardians).

Best take:

Hell, I didn’t even watch the game and I could feel that one – the Astros-Mariners’ game was over six hours long.

The Guardians didn’t win until the ninth inning, which merely made the game feel long.

In hindsight I must not follow many people in my other Twitter account in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Los Angeles, or San Diego because their presence as fans was so much less obvious in my Twitter timeline in spite of the Padres beating the Dodgers and the Phillies taking the Braves out of their series with last night’s win.

Dr. Biden caught the Phillies’ win, though.

Good for her.

~ ~ ~

I’m just not in the mood for NFL football today. I’m hanging onto the fleeting sensation of yesterday’s Big 10 conference win by Michigan State’s Spartans against Wisconsin’s Badgers.

It’s not been a good season for the Green and White up to now. Every game has been a roller coaster ride.

Hah. Funny. Manzullo doesn’t note the fourth observation by Scott Bell is that of a University of Michigan fan. U-M is still ranked in the top five in the nation.

Next week will probably be rocky around here, and a good time to go shopping because every public venue except for bars with big screen TVs will be empty while MSU meets in-state rival U-M at U-M.

MSU is expected to get the stuffing knocked out of them but the rivalry is pretty intense and not factored into the odds.

~ ~ ~

This post is called Trash Talk, not sports talk so now I’m going to take out the trash

This tweet by Maggie Haberman crystalizes what the fuck is wrong with Haberman’s journalism.

Pure regurgitation, no analysis, zero pushback on naked hate. Her subject barfed up a noxious furball she then dutifully carried from the cesspool in which he left it to the bigger pond at Twitter.

Haberman is trash, allowing herself to be used for hateful propaganda purposes.

~ ~ ~

All right, have at it, use this as an open thread. Air out your trash.

And pass me my beer.

Trash Talk: Monday Night Bites

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Hey. Golf widow here. I survived another quiet weekend, this time with dogs added for company.

This weekend was a good one – not only did I get to pet dogs on loan but the entire family was here. They made up a foursome and kicked some ass in their respective flight.

And I got my cut of the winnings without having to swing a club.

If only Monday Night Football was as promising.

~ ~ ~

We’re wrapping up Week 5 of the NFL football season with Oakland Raiders (1-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-1) – kickoff was at 8:15 p.m. ET this evening.

Gee whiz, I wonder who will win? The suspense is killing me. Not.

I dare you to go to Google News → Sports → NFL and scan the coverage for Tua Tagovailoa’s name. It’s almost as if he doesn’t exist. Tagovailoa is still out because of his injuries. The NFL and the NFL Players’ Association, however, have modified the concussion protocol since Tagovailoa’s last game.

Under the new protocol, the Dolphin’s backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater ended up out of yesterday’s game after an injury in the first play of the game. Bridgewater showed signs of ataxia after the hit; Tagovailoa displayed ataxia after his first injury in Week 3 but was put back into the game instead of being pulled out for further observation.

The new concussion protocol may leave the Dolphins down to their rookie QB Skylar Thompson with head coach leaving the line up for next Sunday up in the air.

But not strictly observing the concussion protocol to avoid unnecessary closed brain injury could lead to retired football players being used like toilet tissue by crooked old white men even off the field:

while completely unaware how pathetic their lives have become.

~ ~ ~

Speaking of abusive situations, we learned late this past week that U.S. National figure skater Bridget Namiotka died this July. She was a victim of sexual abuse by her pairs partner John Coughlin for two years.

Namiotka’s parents told USA Today in an interview that their daughter died on July 25, having “succumbed to her long struggles with addiction after several very difficult years of dealing with the trauma of sexual abuse.”

Coughlin committed suicide in 2019 after he was suspended from the sport during investigation into allegations of abuse.

Namiotka was not the only skater who came forward to accuse Coughlin of assault; like Namiotka, some were minors at the time.

This feels too much like other sports where minors were abused and adults failed to detect the problem when it happened and as it continued. Should we have more oversight of sports when minors are athletes?

Sadly, the GOP only seems to be able to regulate women and girls’ athletes’ fertility and not their personal safety. Surveys completed by Florida girls’ doctors for clearance to play ask about girls’ menstrual history; while not yet mandatory, this is grooming girls to expect compulsory disclosure for eligibility.

That’s horse shit misogynist repression which does nothing to ensure healthy athletes.

~ ~ ~

Major League Baseball’s playoffs have begun, with the first game of the 2022 World Series set hard and fast for November 1. Geez…that leaves a whopping 19 days until Thanksgiving.

League division championship series continues tomorrow with NY Yankees, Cleveland Guardians, Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners in the American League, and LA Dodgers, San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies in the National League remaining.

Baseball fans in Toronto, Tampa Bay, and St. Louis may not be following along after their teams were eliminated this past weekend. I’m following no teams into the playoffs since the Detroit Tigers haven’t been in it at all.

By the way, if you’re dogsitting a particularly spoiled dog who won’t settle in their crate for the night, try playing live or recorded MLB games for them on low. Worked like a charm.

~ ~ ~

It’s kind of a theme around here, losing at sports. Our family cheers for Michigan State football and they were obliterated by Ohio State this weekend. Detroit Lions also got beat up again and badly. Tigers aren’t in the playoffs.

I should be thankful being a golf widow paid off better than betting on other Michigan teams.

Yes, I know, U of M won this weekend again. It may be Marcy’s alma mater but this particular household goes Green and White, not Blue.

Treat this as an open thread. It will be used for other topics unrelated to the House January 6 Committee hearing currently scheduled this Wednesday.

Trash Talk: Much Trash, Very Sport, So Talk

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Yes, it’s me, the golf widow, once again drafting a Trash Talk post.

And yes, I’m here at home alone enjoying the quiet of my remaining golf widowhood. This weekend is one of the last of regular play on the local course; next weekend there will be some celebratory golf outing shindig in which my kids will also golf while I dogsit.

Meanwhile I’m doing exciting things like cleaning carpets and scrubbing floors, washing draperies, and baking since I won’t be able to much next weekend with dogs and adult children underfoot.

What about you? Are you sportsing, or watching sportsing, or cleaning up after this week’s hurricane? Do tell.

~ ~ ~

Dreadful news came from Indonesia this week when at least 127 people died in a stampede at the Kanjuruhan Stadium after police used tear gas to disperse an angry crowd gathering on the football pitch.

This Reuters’ video shows how the crowd funneled toward an exit:

But this video reveals the animosity police displayed toward the attendees on the field which may also have led to panic:

The resulting death toll already exceeds that of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, making Kanjuruhan Stadium disaster in Malang the sixth deadliest sporting event related disaster in history.

Let’s hope there will be a thorough inquiry into this horror with accountability, and more quickly than followed the deadly Hillsborough crush. There are global repercussions in spite of the soccer match’s local nature; were there any stadium design problems which encouraged this crush? Were there lessons from policing at the stadium which might prevent future stampedes?

~ ~ ~

It’s been a shitty week in the National Football League – not because of any one game but because of players’ health and the league’s handling of the same.

Lots of buzz right now after this tweet by St. Louis Cardinal’s JJ Watt:

ahead of this news:

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is a particular kind of irregular heart beat rhythm. There are many underlying causes though it occurs most frequently in persons age 50 and older. Watt is a bit young and assuming his general health has been monitored by the team, conditions like heart disease and diabetes are unlikely.

Football fans are shocked by this development but they shouldn’t be; A-fib can also be caused by viruses, both during active infection and as sequelae. We should expect to see more younger persons developing cardiac sequelae because of exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

Watt may or may not have had COVID, but it’s not impossible for an exposure to have played a role in his A-fib event.

It should disturb football fans that Watt’s health care privacy was violated in spite of HIPAA privacy rules – especially since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision undermined citizens’ unenumerated right to privacy.

As distressing as it is to know an NFL player was treated for A-fib this week and is playing today, it’s also distressing that another NFL player’s career may be over because the NFL and their team didn’t handle the player’s recent injury with more caution.

The Miami Dolphins’ 24-year-old quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was injured during last weekend’s meetup with the Buffalo Bills:


In spite of what appears to be a head injury in the second quarter, Tagovailoa came back after halftime and finished the game throwing 186 yards after he was given a once-over by the team’s medical personnel which said Tagovailoa had a neck injury. The NFL Players’ Association demanded an investigation into what appeared to be the Dolphins’ skirting of the league’s concussion rules.

Before Thursday’s match against the Cincinnati Bengals, the concussion Legacy Foundation’s founder tweeted about Tagovailoa:

A sadly prescient opinion; Tagovailoa suffered head and neck injuries during the game, so severe that he manifested a fencing response on the field before the Dolphins’ medical team could reach him.

It was so awful and gruesome I won’t even share it, such an obvious sign of a head injury. He was seen at the local hospital but the team managed to get him packed up and on a plane with the rest of the team to head home to Miami. Goodness knows what all that handling including pressure changes did to Taigovaloa’s head and neck.

The NFLPA terminated the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant involved in the assessment of Tagovailoa after his Week 3 injury before Thursday night’s game, but too late for Tagovailoa whose career may be over.

How badly do football fans need sports? At what point will they demand the NFL do better by players?

Or have fans become numb after more than 31 months of death and disability chewing away at the country during the pandemic?

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Finally, we get to my kind of sports.

The World Series kicked off last night in Kansas City, Missouri. Nope, not Major League Baseball, not any kind of ball sports but the American Royal World Series of BBQ.

I think we need to send our contributor Jim White to this event next year, provided a hurricane doesn’t bear down on his part of the country next September/October.

Better get to practicing, Jim!

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Once again, this thread will be an overflow catch-all this week if the House January 6 Committee hearing is rescheduled to this week. Bring all your off-topic discussion here to this open thread.

The Masters Of Faster Talk Of Trash

Alright Wheelies, it is Trash talk time! For the doldrums of summer, there are a lot of sports to talk about and space needed for all things “not” January 6 related. Bring it all here.

First up is the AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX. Qualifying is on right now. Stroll has already crashed his Aston Martin into the wall. Good thing his father owns the team, else Lance would not have a job. Oh no, the other Aston Martin, driven by Sen Vettel, has now gone into the wall, but seems the car is okay. Of the middle eastern races, the Baku City Circuit is actually better than most and usually provides good racing. As usual, the Red Bulls and Ferraris are up front.

Qualifying is over, and Ferrari’s Jean Leclerc is on pole, followed by Checo Perez, Verstappen and Carlos Sainz in the other Ferrari. Race coverage on ESPN at 7 am EST Sunday.

THE BELMONT. The 154th running of the last leg of the Triple Crown in Elmont New York. The shocking come from behind winner of the Derby, Rich Strike, is entered.

There will be no chance of a horse winning the Triple Crown this year, after Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike did not race in the Preakness in May. But Rich Strike will still have a chance at making history on Saturday.
….
“Obviously, with our tremendous effort & win in the Derby it’s very, very tempting to alter course & run in the Preakness at Pimlico, which would be a great honor for all our group, however, after much discussion & consideration with my trainer, Eric Reed & a few others, we are going to stay with our plan of what’s best for Ritchie is what’s best for our group, and pass on running in the Preakness, and point toward the Belmont in approximately 5 weeks.”

The 80-1 long shot at the Kentucky Derby is still not favored to win at Belmont, with that honor going to We the People at 2-1.

It is hard to tell what to make of Rich Strike, only got in the Derby field by a last minute fluke, but he really went on a tear down the stretch and looked like he could have kept going, so today should be pretty interesting. But no, wouldn’t bet the farm on him.

NBA FINALS. Last night’s game four was something. Steph Curry just flat went off, finishing with 43 points and ten rebounds, which is Jordan and LeBron land. But it seemed more than that, he was everywhere. The series is tied 2-2, and they head back to San Francisco for a Monday night game five. It sure looks like it may be a seven game series.

LIV. Rayne mentioned it previously, and she covered the background, including Phil, quite well. Here is a running blog by ESPN on the final round in London. My only real comment is that the LIV is not attracting many viewers. Which figures because it is not on TV. At all. The only way to watch this junk is by streaming it, and who wants to do that for a golf tournament? Maybe sports writers that have to cover it? Those are the only folks I know that are watching. It is just a giant cash grab by golfers, most of whom nobody has ever heard of. From brutal murderous Saudi thugs.

DESHAUN WATSON. What a mess this sordid affair is. While two separate grand juries have refused to serve up an indictment, there are 24, Twenty Four!, civil suits filed against Watson. All by one carnival barker Houston lawyer, Tony Buzbee. Buzbee now claims he will be naming the Houston Texans as a party defendant as well, apparently based upon the somewhat tangential fact that Watson obtained a generic template non-disclosure agreement for from them. Something that had been known for a while actually. But Buzbee like to make a buzz, and he is at it again. Frankly I have no idea in the world how he does not have 23 conflicts of interest. There is no way in hell all of his clients are similarly situated, or have the same ultimate interest. I am stunned the Texas State Bar has not reeled him in. From Ben Volin at the Boston Globe:

But Watson and the Browns look to be in big trouble. The New York Times’s reporting on the lawsuits, which found that Watson visited 66 massage therapists over 17 months, provided vivid details of the allegations against Watson and revealed him as a deviant who used his power and celebrity to prey on women.

Nobody comes out of this looking good. Watson could be forced to sit out yet another season. The Browns look horrible for embracing Watson and still might need to find a quarterback for this year. The Texans are now getting dragged into the lawsuit and could be found at least partially liable. And Watson may find himself in more hot water thanks to the 24th lawsuit that was filed this past week.

The Browns may be without Watson for some or all of 2022, but there should be no tears shed for Jimmy Haslam’s team. It was shameful enough when the Browns traded three first-round picks for Watson despite these allegations hovering over him. But the contract they gave Watson shields him from any sort of financial accountability.

Not only is every penny of the five-year, $230 million contract fully guaranteed — setting an NFL record for the length and total of a guarantee — but the Browns truly protected Watson from financial repercussions of a suspension.

The Texans at least had the good sense to cut loose Watson. They paid him to not come around all of last year. But the Browns and Haslem look truly horrible. There is a lot of good stuff in Ben’s article. I’ll have more to say about this mess later as it plays out, but it is truly ugly on every front. Especially Watson, the Browns and carnival barker attorney Buzbee.

I knew Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin a little in the past, and he is very, very good. He can try any kind of case, although is probably best known for criminal ones. Head to head, Rusty would likely mop the floor with Buzbee. But 24 of them? And, make no mistake, you would have to try to make sure they are all separate and attempt to keep out all the other allegations from each one. That is certainly what I would do. Ooof.

Okay then, let rip the trash talk on anything that interests you. I’ll leave this post around through Monday night so there is always a place for things not January 6. Today’s music is an extremely little known one by the great George Harrison. The song is really written about the late great Ronnie Peterson, one of the fastest and nicest drivers ever in Formula One.But there is a lot of superb F1 footage in the video, including a couple of shots of my automotive mentor Phil Hill. And, if you catch it, a cameo by the Wee Scott, the great Jackie Stewart, as George’s driver. It is absolutely fantastic, give it a listen!

Trash Talk: NBA Finals Games and More

There’s so much sportsing this week that more Trash Talk posts are needed to prevent other threads from being trashed.

Please confine your sports chatter to these sports-dedicated posts, thanks. You may treat this as an open thread; House J6 Committee hearing discussion should go in those dedicated posts.

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NBA FINALS

The 2022 finals between the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors continues.

Sunday’s game tied up the series at 1-1 with Warriors win over Boston 107-88.

Last night the Warriors met the Celtics at TD Gardens, Boston MA only to lose to the home team, 116-100.

With the Celtics now leading the series 2-1, they’ll meet again in Boston tomorrow Friday, June 10, 9:00 pm ET; the game will be on ABC.

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NFL FOOTBALL

Yuck. By the time this post is published, Walmart scion Rob Walton may have bought the Denver Broncos for a record-breaking $4.65 billion. Denver may now have Walmart marketing plastered all over it to which a local news outlet refers euphemistically as “shaping central Denver.”

Denver would do better buying all Denverites some Spanx shapewear.

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PRO GOLF (PGA and not PGA)

Phil Mickelson did an interview with Sports Illustrated in which he discussed his gambling “habit.” He’s still got a problem if he can’t call it what it is — an addiction.

One might wonder if the addiction is why he’s up to his ears in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf in spite of acknowledging openly the Saudis’ human rights problems.

Knowing about his addiction this mea culpa sounds flat:

Whatev.

Tiger Woods isn’t ready to return to golf just yet; he’s skipping the U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, MA this week. He’s planning to be at the JP McManus Pro-Am in Ireland for July 4-5, and at the 150th British Open at St. Andrew’s, Scotland for July 14-17.

Unlike Mickelson, Woods turned down a massive 9-figure offer to join LIV Golf. I guess Woods doesn’t feel he needs to worry about shaping PGA Golf the way Mickelson does — at least that’s Mickelson’s excuse for being persuaded to participate in LIV.

Speaking of LIV, I went looking for more details about golfers participating in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series. The USA Today article I found did them no favors; they all sound like they could really care less if they were rubbing shoulders with acknowledged killers because golf.

But what really took the cake is the spokesperson for LIV…

wait for it…

guess who it is…

no, really…

Ari fucking Fleischer.

I have to ask why any journalists, particularly American journalists, will cover this and what editors will assign LIV to any journalists’ beat because they also know this entire golf venture is whitewashing the murderers of an American journalist who was chopped up with a bone saw while still alive because the murderer who put out this hit didn’t like the coverage he was getting in American media.

What the hell; is American journalism as soft in the spine as these compromised golfers? Do they think they’re immune if they provide less than happy coverage of this whitewashing effort?

And are they going to be sucked in once again because there’s a familiar face at the podium offering the same smarm circa the Bush administration?

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MISC. SPORTS

Belmont Stakes will be run this Saturday, June 11. Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike is scheduled to appear after skipping the Preakness; odds, however, favor We the People at 2-to-1 to win the Belmont.

90 U.S. Olympic women gymnasts including Simone Biles have filed a lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act against the FBI for its failure to appropriately investigate and prosecute mass sexual abuser Larry Nassar though the FBI had known about his serial assaults.

I haven’t seen any further details about this suit which is the second filed this year against the FBI with regard to Nassar. On the face of it this looks like a gross violation of women’s civil rights; why were they not afforded equal protection under the law?

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Got some other sports issue you need to air out? Do it in this thread along with any non-hearing related topics, thanks.

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