This And That

The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
25 April 2016

I. Words Of Wisdom

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Great to hear announcers Marv Albert and Mike Fratello take teams to task for an over-reliance on analytics! I’m a math guy and love statistics, but certain stats – like hockey’s plus/minus – often make no sense in basketball. If the Warriors sign me before the next game, and Steve Kerr puts me in for five seconds while Steph Curry hits a three and the Rockets call time, I walk away with a +3 for the game after having done nothing. Or if Steph loses his dribble to James Harden, who then goes and lays it in, I’ve got a -2, no fault of my own.

II. It’s Up To You

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Should I read anything – in terms of being current or relevant – into the fact that after winning their respective New York primaries, Donald Trump’s campaign played “New York, New York” while Hillary Clinton’s campaign played “Empire State of Mind?”

III. Can I Borrow $25,000?

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Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy will now have a long summer to raise the $25,000 that he was fined for blasting the officiating with respect to LeBron James. Of course he was just trying to gain a future call or two, and he may have a long time to wait for it since the Pistons were eliminated by the Cavs last night, but if you see a couple of those plays with LeBron, you might think SVG has a point. Then there was that month a couple of years ago where LeBron went almost an entire month without being whistled for a foul. Maybe that fine should be rescinded.

IV. Love TKO

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If the first round of the NBA playoffs was officiated like WBA boxing matches, a great deal of these games would have been stopped early via TKO.

V. TSOP

You might have thought it couldn’t get much worse than Philadelphia Eagles’ fans booing Santa Claus some years back, but the Flyers’ fans may have surpassed that by throwing giveaway bracelets onto the ice, resulting in the Flyers being penalized.

If anyone should be throwing stuff, it should be the Sixers’ fans. At least the Flyers made the playoffs and didn’t finish with the second-worst record of all time.

VI. Gunsmoke

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Another case where for some reason bad things seem to follow guns.

VII. Who’s Worse?

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When you consider the total effect on Michigan residents, who harmed them worse, the imprisoned and convicted former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick or Gov. Rick “I’ll Drink Flint Water” Snyder?

2016 Preview

The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
11 April 2016

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Okay, I know this can’t technically be a preview since the season has begun, but here are 7 things to watch during this baseball season:

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I. Big Papi/Red Sox

During the last few years we have witnessed the impending-retirement seasons of some of the all-time greats in the world of sports, from Mariano Rivera in 2013, to Derek Jeter in 2014, to Kobe Bryant, whose season ends this week. Each of these guys won 5 championships and will be a first-ballot Hall-Of-Famer, and was showered with gifts as they went around their league for the final time, but each also walks off without a playoff appearance in his final year.

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Will it be any different this season which will be the last go round for David Ortiz? Can Big Papi carry the Boston Red Sox to one more title?

II. Yankees

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Can the traditional rivals of the Red Sox, the New York Yankees, get enough games to the Betances/Miller/Chapman back end of their bullpen – possibly one of the best ever – with a lead through 6 innings? If so, sky’s the limit.

III. Giants

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The San Francisco Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Can they continue their even year streak? Certainly not inconceivable with the incredible Madison Bumgarner.

IV. Mets

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It was said that one day during the ’60s two Los Angeles Dodgers fans were speaking about that day’s game, and one told the other that the Dodger pitcher had pitched a no-hitter against their opponents. His response was, “But did they win?” Will the New York Mets score enough to support their excellent young (plus Bartolo Colon) pitching staff?

V. Cubs

In contrast, the Chicago Cubs are full of excellent young position players, among them being Jason Heyward, who bolted from the rival St. Louis Cardinals. Will this be the year that ends the drought at Wrigley Field?

VI. Astros or Started From The Bottom

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This Sports Illustrated cover from 2013 predicted greatness for the-then lowly Houston Astros in 2017, and they made the playoffs two years ahead of that. Sixers fans, there is hope.

VII. Bomani Jones

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I’m not sure whether all of the people that slammed ESPN’s Bomani Jones for wearing the “Caucasians” shirt – in a style mocking the Cleveland Indians – quite realize that their discomfort over seeing that proves his point. Why would you be upset about seeing Caucasians on a shirt, but see nothing wrong with a team being named the Indians?

Hopefully a name change will happen soon, both for them as well as the Washington NFL franchise.

April Fools

The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
3 April 2016

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I. Mississippi God…

Someone please tell me that this is a big joke, that Charles Evers – civil rights leader, first Black Mississippi mayor since Reconstruction, and brother of Medgar – did not just endorse Donald Trump. But then again, it’s around April Fools Day…or is there something in the water down there?

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II. Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?

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In my estimation, this man stands to become very wealthy. I feel like taking such a sign out on the street myself.

III. Food For Thought

Although the person in the 1964 “Confessions of a Republican” ad was an actor hired for the role, the sentiments expressed may be valid for many even today. Long before you know who became a candidate, the daughter of an old-school Republican senator once told me that she was too embarrassed to vote for any national candidates of her party. I wonder how she would feel now.

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IV. Fire The Slacker

As a result of the Boston Celtics’ road victory over the Golden State Warriors – the Warriors’ first home loss since January of 2015 – Golden State’s assistant and interim coach Luke Walton will wind up with a better record than head coach Steve Kerr. Walton, filling in while Kerr was out, coached the team to a 39-4 mark, while Kerr’s record so far is a measly 29-4 after last night’s loss.

All the more reason that Walton should be involved in any coach of the year honors that may come their way.

V. Two Wrongs

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Perhaps too much Swaggie was being exhibited by the Lakers’ Nick Young, engaged to Iggy Azalea, as he shared what seemed to be his infidelity on rookie teammate D’Angelo Russell’s video. That said, Swaggie P, I feel you and your discomfort about how that happened – to an extent.

Prior to acquiring this ring on my finger a young lady I was seeing invited me to visit her and her family at their home for a few days. After the trip I told a friend about it, and he proceeded to tell Arnold, undoubtedly embellishing it along the way. Imagine my surprise when I found out Arnold wound up meeting her a year and a half later and, liking her, trashed me in his attempt to get a play through his inaccurate re-telling of the story of my visit. I certainly felt like introducing Arnold’s behind to my right foot – and this was before social media. I can understand being upset when information you thought was confidential is made public.

What I can’t understand is what Young was doing with a 19-year-old.

VI. Believe It Or Not

I took some ribbing for my bracket but I think I’ll just leave this right here.

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VII. Ken Burns

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PBS stations will air the new documentary on Jackie Robinson by master documentary filmmaker Ken Burns on April 11th & 12th. Check your local listings for time…and meanwhile, check the Facebook page for my book, Jackie Robinson and the Negro Leagues at Facebook.com/jackienegroleagues.