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Dansby Swanson. Yes, there were a slew of star-studded performances as the Cubs took two of three from the Braves. Ronald Acuña went 8-for-14 in the series and now has 53 stolen bases on the year. Matt Olson is generating more runs than a 3 a.m. trip to the Waffle House. (Seriously, Olson scored three and knocked in six in three games in Chicago.) But Swanson won the weekend because a), his team took the series, b) he knocked in a pair in each of the Cubs' wins and c) in reference to facing his former team for the first-time — and with a direct zinger to Freddie Freeman, who shed more tears than the audience at an "Old Yeller" marathon last year at Truist — told reporters, "Mallory already said if I cry like a (female dog) I'm sleeping on the coach for a week."
Bryson DeChambeau. Wow, an emotional weekend for some of the most unlikable names in sports, huh? Bryson shot a 58 at the LIV Greenbriar, which is somewhere between Augusta National and Sir Goonies on the golfing spectrum. Here's more, including a hardly believable quote that this is the biggest accomplish of his career, even over winning the U.S. Open. C'mon Bryson. That said, when or if you ever wonder how much better those guys are than you or me, get any three of your regular golfing buddies and you four could play a scramble at the Greenbriar in tournament conditions and not come close to a 58. And he did it on his own ball.
Taylor Swift. By almost every measure, Swift — one of the elite mega-stars in pop culture of the moment, and unlike a lot of them, one with actual talent — tipped 10 times the amount to the staff at the close of her most recent tour. Like $100K to the truck drivers kind of generous.
Robin Ventura won the weekend. How, you may ask, has a former MLB player and manager who has been out of the game for at least a decade win the weekend? Well, Ventura is most famously known for being the guy that charged the mound against a then-43-year-old Nolan Ryan and getting routinely punched in the head. Well, Ventura is no longer the MLB poster boy of getting a tail-kicking. Tim Anderson holds that honor now, as he pulled his best "Friday" impression and got knocked the bleep out over the weekend in a MLB brawl.
This date for me. It was 19 years ago today I married my soul mate. Blessed every day to be married to her.
My golf picks. Atta boy Stephen Jaeger, who held on Sunday to post a T-14, which cashed our top-20 prop at plus-190. And boy did we need it since...
Our baseball picks. Yeah, about that bagel-and-4 on Friday, uh, when does football start?
BetMGM. Did you see the story about a teacher in Virginia who hit a soccer parlay that was supposed to pay $214K, but BetMGM canceled the wager because, as they claimed, there was an "obvious" error in the odds. They offered $100 in free bets as consolation for the "misunderstanding." Got to wonder if a player made a bet that lost, would they be doing the same thing?
This day for me. It was five years ago today my dad died. Pop was bigger than life for me. Quick side story: He of course made an impact on the ballparks where I coached his grandkids. Well, when he got diagnosed with brain cancer in March 2018, we knew that summer was going to be our last hurrah at the place we had spent most of our time together — baseball fields. After he got to the point that he could not come to our games or practices any more, my assistant coaches on the 10u all-star that year printed up these half-dollar-sized stickers of Pop and secretly put them on all the boys' helmets. So, here I am at a tournament at Rivermont pitching BP when I noticed my father's face on the back of his grandson's — and namesake's — helmet and next thing I know, I got tears rolling down my cheeks. Who's cutting onions in here?
The Pac-12. Egad, what are they going to be in 2024, the Pac-6? Or are they going to call every San Diego State, San Jose State, San Bernardino State or San Quentin State (pen) to join? When you are building a league around Cal, Oregon State and Washington State, well, it may be best just to pack the truck anyway, you know?
Kick in the pants
So the U.S. Women's National Team ended a disappointing World Cup run with arguably its most dysfunctional punctuation in its all-star-laden history.
After multiple listless performances in the group stage, the U.S. — a heavy favorite and the perennial 1 seed as a four-time World Cup champ — was bounced by Sweden in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
There are far too many celebrating the demise of the USWNT because of their politics and far too few holding leadership of the USWNT accountable because of the political decisions — and lack thereof — within the organization.
Yes, the USWNT has had at least a half-dozen players refuse to sing our national anthem as they represent our nation, and do this as they demand raises — please note, if the call was truly for equal pay and the U.S. soccer brass said, "OK, we'll lower the men's salaries" how do you think that would fly? — rubs a lot of Americans raw.
Heck, Alexi Lalas, who was one of the more notable U.S. men's players and is now one of the broadcast voices of the sport, said the USWNT team has become "unlikable." it's hard to disagree with that.
That reached a pinnacle in the weekend's World Cup-ender, when Megan Rapinoe — you may have heard of her — missed her try in penalty kicks and Sweden claimed a 5-4 win in the decisive session.
First, I wanted the USA to win, and by most accounts, any conversation I could have with Megan Rapinoe would not go smoothly.
But taking a victory lap at the expense of the U.S.'s success is like cheering for the current president to fail. Hey, I'm not a big Grandpa Joe fan, but I want the country to do well, don't you?
To Lalas' point though, Rapinoe has become so politically polarizing and outspoken, somewhere Colin Kaepernick is thinking, "Man, she may want to dial that back a bit."
In truth, considering the way Rapinoe played — before and including the miss on PKs, which will officially be the first and only time she went far right on just about anything — it's pretty clear she was working on her pitches more than working on the pitch.
But the questions and complaints should not stop with the blue-haired Rapinoe.
Let's start with the political decision to keep her on the roster to begin with. She's 38, and this team was starved for more offensive production.
Including Rapinoe was at the expense of excluding Ashley Hatch, a player 10 years younger, in her prime and more offensive skilled according to those who know what more about soccer than me.
Rapinoe is clearly a lightning rod — for good and bad — and Hatch is a BYU graduate, so here's betting their beliefs may a bit on the opposite ends of the spectrum.
If the USWNT bosses made that decision for added leadership, well, that has merit. If those bosses played politics, those political decisions were just as egregious as a U.S. team not singing the U.S. anthem.
Moreover, it's cowardly; playing daddy-ball politics at the national level is even moreso.
Speaking of cowardly, the national media — looking at you ESPN — was happy to put any and every mic in front of Rapinoe for all of her opinions on every social issue on the slate. Anyone going to ask the tough question of why she was on the team to her or her bosses? Anyone want to ask the coach why she was put in that decisive spot when kicking up dust is way more her strong suit than kicking up goals these days?
I hate that the U.S team lost.
But more importantly, I hate how the U.S. team lost its way.
We all should.
This and that
— Two more soccer tidbits: Second, Netflix filmed this disastrous World Cup, and I gotta say, even as indifferent to soccer as I am, that will be something I watch, for sure.
— Yeah, one more soccer item. That Lionel Messi is pretty good at kickball.
— Remember the high school volleyball player who was concussed from a hammer-shot from a transgender opponent last year? The injured athlete has become a notable spokesperson in the noble fight to protect and keep girls' and women's athletics fair.
— With that top-20 finish, Jaeger finished 61st in the Fe3dEx points standings and joins fellow Baylor School alums Keith Mitchell (58) and Harris English (42) in the top 70. The top 70 of course qualified for this weekend's St. Jude Championship, the first round of the FedEx Playoffs.
— Speaking of Baylor School, Amari Jefferson picked Alabama over UT and Georgia over the weekend. First, Amari Jefferson sounds like a great wide receiver, right? Second, his quotes proved Nick Saban still has his recruiting fastball when he needs to reach back for it. Here's more from Hargis.
— Speaking of the rules, here's Paschall on a UT receiver poised for a big year with a world-class nickname. Squirrel as a nickname, friend or foe? Also, why has Planters not been contacted for some NIL deal with this lad, because who loves nuts more than a Squirrel?
Weekend winners or losers? Who did I miss? Go.
As for multiple choice Monday, let's go here: Which NL foe should the Braves be most concerned to face in the postseason?
— Other and specify.
As for today, well, it's forever etched in my mind of course.
Charlize Theron is 48 today. Well done, God.
Don Larsen was born on this day in 1929.
Rushmore of best single game World Series performances from a pitcher, because Larsen's perfecto in the 1950s has to be far left, right?