Thursday, February 25, 2021

Scores On This Historic Day: February 25, 1964, Muhammad Ali Becomes Heavyweight Champion of the World

February 25, 1964: The Miami Beach Convention Center hosts a fight for the Heavyweight Championship of the World.

Neither fighter is popular. The Champion is Charles "Sonny" Liston, who had won the title in 1962, by knocking on the popular Floyd Patterson. Who was big, moody, nasty-looking, had served 2 years in prison for armed robbery, and wasn't exactly friendly with the media.

The challenger is Cassius Clay. On the surface, Clay seemed like the perfect antidote. He had won a Gold Medal for America at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. He was a stylish fighter, already known for "dancing" in the ring. He made himself accessible to the media, predicting the round in which he would knock out his opponent (and frequently turning out to be right), and reciting poetry made up on the spot. He may have been the original battle-rapper.

And he was a good-looking guy. As he said himself, comparing himself to Liston, "He's too ugly to be the world's champ! The world's champ should be pretty, like me!"

Still, a lot of people didn't like Clay. They saw him as a young upstart, a braggart, an egomaniac. The native of Louisville, Kentucky was nicknamed the Louisville Lip. If he'd been white, they might have called him "the Mouth of the South." Being black didn't help: Lots of white people didn't like that a black man was talking so big. Liston was also black, so bigots didn't like either man.

An interviewer asked Clay what percentage of the fans were coming to see him, as opposed to coming to see Liston. He said, "Well, 100 percent are coming to see me, but 99 percent are coming to see me get beat. Because they think I talk too much."

Liston was the Champion. He was 35-1, his only loss a split decision 10 years earlier. His last 3 fights, including his dethroning of Patterson and a rematch with him, had all ended in 1st-round knockouts. Twice, he had beaten rising contender Cleveland Williams, in a total of 5 rounds. He had knocked out rising contender Zora Folley in the 3rd round. Of his last 8 fights, only 1 had gone beyond the 4th round.

The Las Vegas oddsmakers posted 8-1 odds in Liston's favor. Hardly anybody was willing to publicly say that Clay would win.

But in the 1st 4 rounds, Clay danced around the ring, and Liston hardly laid a glove on him. With advantages in height, reach and speed, Cassius messed Sonny's face up. Liston knew he was in trouble, and that cheating might get him out of it. In the 5th, he got his glove into Clay's eye, and suddenly, Clay started blinking. He couldn't see. And Liston finally started landing punches.

When Clay got back to his stool, he was, for the first time in his boxing career, scared. He told his trainer, Angelo Dundee, "I can't see! Cut the gloves off!"

History -- that of boxing, and that of American culture -- hung in the balance at that moment. Everything this 22-year-old boxing contender would become, and everything he would mean to anyone, might not have happened.

Dundee saw a white powder on Clay's glove, from where he'd wiped it out of his eye. Dundee washed Clay's eyes out, and, acting as "bad cop" to cornerman Drew "Bundini" Brown's "good cop," told him he was too close to the title to give up now. He told Clay to use his great footwork to stay out of Liston's way until his eyes cleared, and then go after him again.

He did. The film shows Clay pretty much dancing away from Liston's blows in the 5th and 6th rounds. Late in the 6th, Clay's eyes cleared, and he resumed his methodical demolition of Liston's face.

The bell rang for the 7th round, and Clay was ready to finish the job. Liston decided that, his cheat unsuccessful, the job was finished. He quit on his stool. Cassius Clay was the Heavyweight Champion of the World.

On the surviving TV broadcast, he can be heard yelling, "I just knocked out Sonny Liston, I don't have a mark on my face, I just became the world's champ, and I'm only 22 years old! I must be the greatest! He wanted to go to heaven, so I knocked him out in seven! I am the king of the world! I'm pretty! I'm a bad man! I shook up the world! I shook up the world! I shook up the world!"

Certainly, he'd thrilled the world. But the shakeup was yet to come.

"I'm young, I'm handsome, I'm fast, I'm pretty, and can't possibly be beat!"

As it turned out, there was one man who could beat Cassius Clay. He even wiped him out of existence. And his name was Muhammad Ali.

Over the next 10 years, the world would change tremendously, and Ali would be one of the reasons why. He would become perhaps the most hated man in America, including by many people who would have been expected to be among his biggest fans. But times would change, and the general perception of them changed with them. When he won the title for the 2nd time, on October 30, 1974, he would be the most popular man in the world.

Baseball was about to start Spring Training, and football was in its off-season, so no games were played in those sports. And there were no NHL games scheduled for that day, a Tuesday. But 3 NBA games were scheduled:

* At Madison Square Garden in New York (the old one, at 49th Street & 8th Avenue), the Boston Celtics beat the New York Knicks, 114-102.

* At the Convention Hall of the Philadelphia Civic Center, the St. Louis Hawks beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 115-107. (The Hawks moved to Atlanta in 1968.)

* And at the Cow Palace in the San Francisco suburb of Daly City, California, the San Francisco Warriors beat the Cincinnati Royals, 117-108. Wilt Chamberlain scored 52 points for the Warriors. (They changed their name to the Golden State Warriors in 1971, upon their move across the Bay to Oakland. In 1972, the Royals moved, becoming the Kansas City Kings. In 1985, they moved to Sacramento.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

America In the 21st Century: Was It All Agatha All Along?

So, everything that's gone wrong the last few years...

* All the people we loved who died too soon?
* A much-encompassing war that never seems to end?
* Two nasty recessions?
* Cheating teams winning sports titles?
* The horrible superhero movies made by Zack Snyder?
* Trump becoming President, and all the crap he pulled over 4 years?
* COVID-19?
* The wacko weather?

All of it? Who's been messing up everything?

Was it all Agatha all along?

I gotta say, previously only knowing Kathryn Hahn from Crossing Jordan, this is a big jump, but she pulls it off.

Of course, messing with someone's head this much, knowing that the head in question is already not right, that's some sick shit. WandaVision is pretty dark, in spite of the tributes to happy, silly sitcoms.

But what are superhero stories if not escapism?

In the immortal words of William Shatner, "Get a life, will you, people? It's just a TV show."

A fun TV show. Escapism. Something to take your mind off the things that are messed up in real life.

There's no real Agatha.

Right?

Right?

Friday, February 19, 2021

Hippy Anniversary to Me

Yes, that's me.

I haven't posted for a few days. Nothing's been wrong. Okay, the weather has been Winter-style nasty. But that, by itself, wouldn't be enough to stop me. I haven't had computer issues, either, like I did during the moving process in December.

I just haven't had a good reason to post anything, what with the Super Bowl being over, baseball season yet to begin, the Devils having been forced into another days-long COVID-forced layoff (although they resumed last night, and beat the Bruins in Boston), and my interest in the NBA still being lukewarm at best.

As the old-time newspaper columnist Paul Gallico said, when asked why he quit writing about sports, "February." This was in 1938, before basketball took off, in his book Farewell to Sport. But he did return to sportswriting: His book about Lou Gehrig, The Pride of the Yankees, became the basis for the movie starring Gary Cooper.

But today is an important anniversary -- but most of you don't know about it. Or, perhaps, you did, but forgot about it. That's okay. I don't mind.

February 19, 2020, 1 year ago: After being told I needed it 35 years earlier, I finally got my right hip replaced, at St. Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

So, "Hippy Anniversary" to me.

The COVID shutdown ended my physical therapy sooner than it should have. By the time it resumed, it wasn't enough. The muscles still haven't gotten back to where they were before. But the most important thing is that the pain is gone.

Less pain, so much gain. Getting it done was the best decision I've ever made.

Unfortunately, the left hip is now nearly as bad as the right one was before. And the real reason that I started the process, that it was giving me a bad back, remains, although that's also not as bad as it was before.

This past December, I moved across town. There is no way I would have been able to do all that heavy lifting on two bad hips and a bad back. It was hard enough with one bad hip and a bad back. It also led to more running than I'd been able to do since the previous mid-February.

With the one new hip, and the move to a better place, I am considerably better off than I was a year ago -- above and beyond having replaced Donald Trump as President with Joe Biden.

I was told that the other hip would have to get replaced eventually. It now looks as though it might happen in the next month or two. Meaning I should be back on my feet by the Summer.

Now, if we can just get enough people vaccinated for COVID, so that we can actually have a real Summer...

*

The details of this countdown are dependent on COVID restrictions:

Days until the next Arsenal game: 2, this Sunday, at 11:30 AM New York time, home to Premier League leaders and likely winners Manchester City. Yesterday, in Europa League Round of 32 action, Arsenal drew 1-1 with Lisbon, Portugal team Benfica, getting an away goal.

Days until the New Jersey Devils again play a local rival: 13, on Thursday, March 4, against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Days until the next North London Derby: 22, on Saturday, March 13, at 10:00 AM New York time, at the Emirates Stadium. A little over 3 weeks. The British TV networks may have the time and/or the date changed in order to get better ratings, or so they believe.

Days until the next game of the U.S. National Soccer Team: 37, on Sunday, March 28, an international friendly against Northern Ireland, at Windsor Park in Belfast. A little over 5 weeks. The women's team beat Canada last night, 1-0 in Orlando.

Days until the New York Yankees open the 2021 season: 41, on Thursday, 1:00 PM, home to the Toronto Blue Jays. Under 6 weeks.

Days until the next New York Red Bulls game: 43, on Saturday, April 3, opponent and location as yet unknown. MLS has only announced when the season will open.

Days until the Red Bulls again play a local rival: See the previous answer.

Days until the next Yankees series against the Boston Red Sox begins: 105, on Friday, June 4, at 7:00 PM, at Yankee Stadium II. That's 15 weeks.

Days until the COVID-delayed Euro 2020 opens: 127, on Friday, June 26. A little over 4 months. Games will be played all over Europe, with the Semifinals and the Final at the new Wembley Stadium in London.

Days until the COVID-delayed 2020 Olympics open in Tokyo, Japan: 154, on Friday, July 23. A little over 5 months.

Days until the next East Brunswick High School football game: 196, on Friday, September 3, at 7:00 PM, home to arch-rival Old Bridge. Under 7 months.

Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge football game: See the previous answer.

Days until the next Rutgers University football game: 197, on Saturday, September 4, at 12:00 noon, home to Temple University.

Days until the next election for Governor of New Jersey and Mayor of New York City: 256, on Tuesday, November 2. A little over 8 months.

Days until the next Rutgers-Penn State football game: 281, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 27, at 12:00 noon, at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. A little over 9 months.

Days until the 1st Baseball Hall of Fame election for which Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz will be eligible, and we will know for sure whether steroid use keeps a player out, or if it's only perception that does: 340, on Tuesday, January 25, 2022. A little over 11 months.

Days until the next Winter Olympics open in Beijing, China: 350, on Friday, February 4, 2022. Under 12 months.

Days until the next elections for Congress and for Governor of most States, including New York and Pennsylvania: 627, on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. Under 2 years, or under 21 months.

Days until the next World Cup opens: 640, on Friday, November 21, 2022, in Doha, Qatar. Under 2 years, or just over 21 months.

Days until the next Women's World Cup opens: 871, on Friday, July 10, 2023, jointly held in the neighboring nations of Australia and New Zealand. Under 2 and a half years, or under 29 months.

Days until the next Presidential election: 1,355, on Tuesday, November 5, 2024. Under 4 years, or under 45 months.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Scores On This Historic Day: February 14, 2018, The Parkland School Shooting

February 14, 2018: A shooter opens fire on students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the Miami suburb of Parkland, Florida. There are 34 people hit, and 17 of them die.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at the school, manages to escape by blending in with the students, but is arrested about an hour later. No motive has ever been publicly given. Various delays, including for COVID, have pushed his trial back. It is expected to begin in the next few weeks.

It is the deadliest high school shooting in American history, surpassing the Columbine High School Massacre outside Denver in 1999. However, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of 2012 remains the deadliest school shooting, with 26 deaths.

The school was established in 1990, and named for Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1890-1998 -- yes, 108 years old), a former suffragette who went on to become a crusading journalist.

As usual, officials of the Republican Party, including President Donald Trump, and the Governor of the State in question, Ron DeSantis, did not a goddamned thing to prevent another such shooting. The Republicans have a few core issues: Low taxes on the rich, low wages for everybody else, racial bigotry, religious bigotry, hatred of people on the LGBT spectrum, hatred of women including trying to control their reproductive processes, and guns for everybody.

But the shooting made celebrities out of the students' spokespeople, Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, who have done their damnedest to move the cause of gun control forward.
Gonzalez, now using the name X González and using They/Them pronouns, is now a senior at the New College of Florida in Sarasota. Hogg is a senior at Harvard University. But there are 17 of their classmates who should also be entering their senior year of college.

*

February 14, 2018 was a Wednesday. It was the off-season for Major League Baseball and the NFL. These NBA games were played that day:

* The New York Knicks lost to the Washington Wizards, 118-113 at Madison Square Garden. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 37 points for the Knicks, but Bradley Beal scored 36 for the Wiz.

* The Brooklyn Nets lost to the Indiana Pacers, 108-103 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. 

* The Philadelphia 76ers beat the Miami Heat, 104-102 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. 

* The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Boston Celtics, 129-119 at the TD Garden in Boston.

* The Detroit Pistons beat the Atlanta Hawks, 104-98 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

* The Toronto Raptors beat the Chicago Bulls, 122-98 at the United Center in Chicago.

* The Charlotte Hornets beat the Orlando Magic, 104-102 at the Amway Center in Orlando.

* The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 121-114 at the FedEx Forum in Memphis.

* The New Orleans Pelicans beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 139-117 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Anthony Davis scored 42 points for the Pels.

* The Houston Rockets beat the Sacramento Kings, 100-91 at the Toyota Center in Houston.

* The Utah Jazz beat the Phoenix Suns, 107-97 at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City. 

* And the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Golden State Warriors, 123-117 at the Moda Center in Portland. Kevin Durant scored 50 points for the defending (and soon to be a gain) NBA Champion Warriors, but Damian Lillard scored 44 to lead the Blazers to victory.

There were 3 NHL games played that night, none of them involving a team from the New York Tri-State Area:

* The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 6-3 at the Air Canada Centre (now the Scotiabank Arena) in Toronto.

* The Colorado Avalanche beat the Montreal Canadiens, 2-0 at the Pepsi Center (now the Ball Arena) in Denver.

* And the Florida Panthers beat the Vancouver Canucks, 4-3 at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

Scores On This Historic Day: February 14, 1929, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre

February 14, 1929: The most famous killing in the history of American organized crime takes place on the North Side of Chicago. Because it happened on February 14, it becomes known as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

Chicago's organized crime was then divided between the North Side Gang, led by St. Paul, Minnesota-born Irish gangster George "Bugs" Moran, and the South Side Mob, led by Brooklyn-born Italian gangster "Scarface" Al Capone. With World War I still fresh in people's memories, their fight for control of bootlegging liquor under Prohibition was known as "The Bootleg Battle of the Marne."
Bugs Moran

Seven members of Moran's gang were lured to the SMC Cartage warehouse at 2122 North Clark Street, in the Lincoln Park section of the North Side, with the promise of a stolen, cut-rate shipment of whiskey from Detroit's infamous Purple Gang. But when they got there, they were accosted by 4 men, 2 dressed as Chicago police officers and 2 claiming to be plainclothes detectives. The uniforms and badges were easy enough to obtain, since Capone was said to have half the city's police force on his payroll.

The fake cops lined the men against a wall of the warehouse, and shot them with submachine guns. The victims were: 

* Albert Kachellek, 40, Moran's second-in-command
* Adam Heyer, 40, Moran's bookkeeper and business manager
* Peter Gusenberg, 40, and his brother
* Frank Gusenberg, 35, enforcers for the North Side Gang
* John May, 34, a mechanic for the North Side Gang
* Reinhardt Schwimmer, 29, an optician and gambler, associated with the North Side Gang
* Albert Weinshank, age unknown, who ran several operations for Moran

Weinshank was the problem: With his face and his clothes, he resembled Moran, and the Capone men thought they had Moran. They didn't: He had decided to sleep in that day, which explains why his Number 2, Kachellek, went. Being lazy had saved Moran's life.

Frank Gusenberg was the only man who lived long enough for the real police to arrive. As has so often been the case with those who survive gangland slayings, however briefly, he refused to identify his killers. Capone denied any involvement. And no one was ever convicted of the crime.

The result was, in spite of surviving, Moran lost his influence. Soon, Capone was in command of all of Chicago crime. Capone was finally busted for income tax evasion, and served time in federal prison from 1931 to 1939, before being released for health reasons. He died in exile in Miami in 1947. 
Al Capone

Moran tried several petty crimes to rebuild his former fortune, but failed, and died in prison in 1957 -- 10 years after Capone, but he could hardly be said to have "beaten" him.

Pretty much every movie made about Capone re-creates the Massacre. The original 1932 version of Scarface, where Paul Muni's character is based on Capone, re-created it. So did the 1959 comedy Some Like It Hot, where Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon play musicians, unconnected to organized crime, who have to flee Chicago because they witnessed the Massacre. On an episode of The Golden Girls, Sophia Petrillo (played by Estelle Getty) claimed to have witnessed it. (The character would have been 22 years old at the time.)

On February 14, 1951, Sugar Ray Robinson defended the Middleweight Championship of the World against Jake LaMotta at the Chicago Stadium. It was the 6th fight between them, and in their 2nd fight, LaMotta dealt Robinson what was then his only loss. This time, Robinson left no doubt, pummeling LaMotta to the point where the referee stopped the fight in the 13th round. Because of the date and the location, the fight became known as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

LaMotta, played by Robert De Niro in the 1980 film Raging Bull, said, "I fought Sugar Ray Robinson so many times, I got diabetes."

*

February 14, 1929 was a Thursday. It was the off-season for baseball and football, and the NBA hadn't been founded yet. But 5 games were played in the National Hockey League that day:

* The New York Rangers, defending Stanley Cup Champions, lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-1 at the Mutual Street Arena. Maple Leaf Gardens opened 2 1/2 years later.

* The New York Americans and the Detroit Cougars played to a tie, 1-1 at the still-new building that would later be called "the old Madison Square Garden." The Cougars would become the Detroit Falcons the next year, and the Detroit Red Wings in 1932.

* The Montreal Maroons beat the Ottawa Senators, 4-0 at the Montreal Forum.

* The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Boston Bruins, 2-0 at the Duquesne Gardens in Pittsburgh. Named for the city's baseball team, after the next season, the Pirates moved across Pennsylvania, becoming the Philadelphia Quakers, but their awful performance and the Great Depression led to their folding.

* And, elsewhere in Chicago that night, the Montreal Canadiens beat the Chicago Black Hawks, 1-0 at the Chicago Coliseum. The Chicago Stadium opened a few weeks later. In 1986, it was discovered that the Hawks' original charter had "Blackhawks" written as one word, despite the fact that it had nearly always been written as two words, "Black Hawks." So the name was then formally changed to the single word.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Scores On This Historic Day: February 12, 1999, President Bill Clinton Is Acquitted

February 12, 1999: President Bill Clinton is acquitted by the U.S. Senate in an Impeachment trial.

There were 4 Articles of Impeachment drawn up by the House's Committee on the Judiciary, and 2 of them passed the full House, with a 2/3rds' majority, of the Senate, 67 out of 100, required to vote "Guilty" in order to remove him from office:

* Perjury before a grand jury: 55 Nay, 45 Yea. All Democrats voted Nay. Republicans voting Nay: Ted Stevens of Alaska, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, John Chafee of Rhode Island, Fred Thompson of Tennessee, Jim Jeffords of Vermont, John Warner of Virginia, and Slade Gorton of Washington. 

Specter had been a Democrat until switching parties as a young prosecutor in 1965, and would switch back in 2009. Shelby had been a Democrat until 1994, when the Republicans won the Congressional majority, and he cowardly joined them. Chafee died later in the year, and was succeeded by his son, Lincoln Chafee, who later switched parties. Jeffords switched parties in 2001.

* Obstruction of Justice: 50 Yea, 50 Nay. All Democrats voted Nay. This time, Stevens, Shelby, Thompson, Warner and Gorton voted to convict, the other Republicans stayed consistent.

The case was based on Clinton's attempt to hide the fact that he had an extramarital relationship with Monica Lewinsky, a former White House intern. It had nothing to do with using the power of his office to commit election fraud, as was the case with Richard Nixon, who resigned in 1974 before the full House could vote on Articles of Impeachment; and with Donald Trump, who was impeached in 2019 and acquitted early the next year.

The evidence against Clinton was so ridiculous, the Republicans, who held the majority, could not get a majority, 51 votes, to say that he had done it. Surely, there were some Senators who knew he was innocent, but voted "Guilty" anyway, because, like the leaders of the impeachment movement in the House, they hated him so much.

And yet, with Speaker Newt Gingrich having resigned before the impeachment, once the trial was over, things calmed down considerably. Over the last 2 years of Clinton's Administration, the White House and the Congress worked together much better, got some things done, and kept the good economy going. It can be argued that, by the end of the year, decade, century and millennium, America had never been in better shape. Maybe, it still hasn't.

Of the 50 Republican Senators who voted "Guilty" on at least 1 Article of Impeachment, 5 are still serving in the Senate, 22 years later: Shelby, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, and 1 who had been elected to the Senate just before the Impeachment vote, and thus voted to both impeach Clinton in the House and unsuccessfully convict him in the Senate: Mike Crapo of Idaho.

*

February 12, 1999 was a Friday. It was the off-season for both baseball and football. There were 3 games played in the NBA that night, none involving the Knicks or the Nets:

* The San Antonio Spurs beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 98-94 at the First Union Center in Philadelphia. (It's now named the Wells Fargo Center.) Allen Iverson, in a losing cause, led all the day's scorer with 46 points.

* The Denver Nuggets beat the Dallas Mavericks, 100-94 at the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver.

* And the Utah Jazz beat the Golden State Warriors, 97-81 at the The Arena in Oakland. (The building at the Oakland Coliseum complex is now named simply the Oakland Arena.) Karl Malone scored 35 for the Jazz.

There were 6 NHL games played, and all 3 New York Tri-State Area teams were in action -- but all lost:

* The New Jersey Devils lost to the Washington Capitals, 3-2 at the Continental Airlines Arena. The now-dormant building at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, Bergen County, New Jersey is now officially named simply the Meadowlands Arena. Lyle Odelein and Denis Pederson scored in a losing effort for the Meadowlands Marauders.

* The New York Rangers lost to the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-1 at Madison Square Garden. Brian Leetch scored the only goal for the Broadway Blueshirts

* The New York Islanders lost to the Nashville Predators, 2-1 at the Nassau Coliseum. Trevor Linden opened the scoring for the Isles, but the 1st-year expansion side took over the game after that.

* The Detroit Red Wings beat the Chicago Blackhawks, 2-1 at the United Center in Chicago.

* The Calgary Flames beat the Boston Bruins, 4-3 at the Saddledome in Calgary.

* And the Dallas Stars beat the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, 3-2 at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Cities Holding Two Titles at Once, 1920-2021

"City of Champions"? Give me a break. The Rays lost
the 2020 World Series, making them 0-2 in that competition;
the Rowdies won the NASL title in 2012, but lost the 2020 Final,
and the current NASL isn't even the old one, much less MLS;
and the University of South Florida football team has 1 Division title,
in a secondary league, in 2016, and that's it.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won Super Bowl LV. Tom Brady has thus cheated his way to a 7th NFL Championship, something no other player has.

Fuzzy Thurston, Forrest Gregg and Herb Adderley had 6. Each won 5 with the Green Bay Packers: 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966 and 1967. Thurston also won with the 1958 Baltimore Colts. Gregg and Adderley also won with the 1971 Dallas Cowboys.

*

Listed here, the first date will be that of the 2nd team to win it, and the second date will be that of either team giving up their title due to another team winning it.

It's been done 34 times, including currently by 2 different metropolitan areas:

1. Cleveland, December 12, 1920 to October 13, 1921: The Cleveland Indians won the 1920 World Series, and the Akron Pros won the 1st Championship of the American Professional Football
Association, which became the NFL in 1922.

2. New York, December 11, 1927 to November 29, 1928: The New York Yankees won the 1927 and 1928 World Series, the New York Giants won the 1927 NFL Championship, and the New York Rangers won the 1928 Stanley Cup. Which means the Yankees and Rangers were champions at the same time from April 14, 1928 to March 29, 1929. Therefore:

3. New York, April 14, 1928 to October 9, 1928: Yankees and Rangers.

4. New England, March 29, 1929 to December 8, 1929: The Rhode Island-based Providence Steam Roller (for some reason, it was never the plural "Rollers") won the 1928 NFL Championship, and the Boston Bruins won the 1929 Stanley Cup. As many times as the Bruins and the Celtics have reached their sport's finals, they have never both won in the same year, although they have won in back-to-back years (Celtics in '69, Bruins in '70).

5. New York, April 13, 1933 to October 7, 1933: The Yankees won the 1932 World Series, and the Rangers won the 1933 Stanley Cup. Which also means...

6. New York, October 7, 1933 to April 10, 1934: The Rangers won the 1933 Stanley Cup, and the baseball version of the New York Giants won the 1933 World Series. So New York held all 3 titles then available from October 7, 1933 to April 10, 1934.

7. Chicago, April 10, 1934 to December 9, 1934: The Chicago Bears won the 1933 NFL Championship, the 1st official NFL Championship Game (previous titles were awarded to teams with the best record at the end of the season), and the Chicago Blackhawks won the 1934 Stanley Cup.

8. Detroit, December 15, 1935 to October 6, 1936: The Detroit Tigers won the 1935 World Series, the Detroit Lions won the 1935 NFL Championship, and the Detroit Red Wings won the 1936 Stanley Cup. Detroit followed New York as the 2nd city to have done 3, so...

9. Detroit, April 11, 1936 to October 6, 1936: Tigers and Red Wings.

10. New York, December 11, 1938 to December 10, 1939: The Yankees won the 1938 and 1939 World Series, and the Giants won the 1938 NFL Championship.

11. New York, April 13, 1940 to October 8, 1940: The Yankees won the 1939 World Series, and the Rangers won the 1940 Stanley Cup. The Giants could not defend their NFL Championship, losing the Championship Game in 1939, or else this would have been another threesome.

12. Detroit, December 28, 1952 to April 16, 1953: The Red Wings won the 1952 Stanley Cup, and the Lions won the 1952 and 1953 NFL Championships.

13. Detroit, April 16, 1954 to December 26, 1954: The Lions won the 1952 and 1953 NFL Championships, though they lost the Championship Game in 1954; and the Red Wings won the 1954 and 1955 Stanley Cups.

14. New York, December 30, 1956 to October 10, 1957: The Yankees won the 1956 World Series, and the Giants won the 1956 NFL Championship.

15. New York, October 16, 1969 to January 11, 1970: The New York Jets won Super Bowl III in 1969, and the New York Mets won the 1969 World Series.

16. New York, May 8, 1970 to October 15, 1970: The Mets won the 1969 World Series, and the New York Knicks won the 1970 NBA Championship. This was the 1st time an NBA title was part of a dual titlehold. However, by the time the Knicks won, the Jets had already been dethroned for 4 months, so while this was 3 titles in a short span for New York, it was not 3 titles at once.

17. Baltimore, January 17, 1971 to October 17, 1971: The Baltimore Orioles won the 1970 World Series, and the Baltimore Colts won Super Bowl V in 1971.

18. San Francisco Bay Area, specifically Oakland, May 25, 1975 to October 22, 1975: The Oakland Athletics won the 1974 World Series (and 1972 and 1973), and the Golden State Warriors won the 1975 NBA Championship. The Oakland Raiders couldn't quite make it 3 at once, but they did win Super Bowl XI in 1977, within a year and a half.

19. Pittsburgh, October 17, 1979 to October 21, 1980: The Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowl XIII in 1979 and Super Bowl XIV in 1980, and the Pittsburgh Pirates won the 1979 World Series.

20. Los Angeles, June 8, 1982 to October 20, 1982: The Los Angeles Dodgers won the 1981 World Series, and the Los Angeles Lakers won the 1982 NBA Championship.

21. New York, with help from New Jersey, January 25, 1987 to October 25, 1987: The Mets won the 1986 World Series, and the Giants won Super Bowl XXI in 1987.

22. Los Angeles, October 20, 1988 to June 13, 1989: The Lakers won the 1987 and 1988 NBA Championships, and the Dodgers won the 1988 World Series.

23. San Francisco Bay Area, October 28, 1989 to October 20, 1990: The San Francisco 49ers won Super Bowl XXIII in 1989 and Super Bowl XXIV in 1990, and the Oakland Athletics won the 1989 World Series, against the San Francisco Giants. Therefore:

24. San Francisco Bay Area, January 28, 1990 to October 20, 1990: Niners and A's.

25. New York Tri-State Area, June 11, 2000 to June 9, 2001: The Yankees won the 1999 and 2000 World Series, and the New Jersey Devils won the 2000 Stanley Cup. Therefore:

26. New York Tri-State Area, October 26, 2000 to June 9, 2001: Yankees and Devils.

27. Los Angeles, with help from Anaheim, October 27, 2002 to June 15, 2003: The Lakers won the 2000, 2001 and 2002 NBA Championships, and the team then known as the Anaheim Angels won the 2002 World Series.

28. New England, October 27, 2004 to October 26, 2005: The New England Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 and Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, and the Boston Red Sox won the 2004 World Series. We now have reason to believe that all of those titles are tainted.

29. New England, June 17, 2008 to October 29, 2008: The Red Sox won the 2007 World Series (tainted), and the Boston Celtics won the 2008 NBA Championship (without cheating... as far as we know). In spite of the Celtics' 17 Titles, this is the only time they and another New England team won in the same 12-month period.

30. Pittsburgh, June 12, 2009 to February 7, 2010: The Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII in 2009, and the Pittsburgh Penguins won the 2009 Stanley Cup.


31. San Francisco Bay Area, June 16, 2015 to November 1, 2015: The Giants won the 2014 World Series, and the Warriors won the 2015 NBA Championship.

32. Boston, October 28, 2018 to October 30, 2019: The Red Sox won the 2018 World Series, and the Patriots won Super Bowl LIII.

33. Los Angeles, October 27, 2020 to the present: The Lakers won the 2020 NBA Championship, and the Dodgers won the 2020 World Series.

34. Tampa Bay, February 7, 2021 to the present: The Tampa Bay Lightning won the 2020 Stanley Cup, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just won Super Bowl LV.

New York has done it 12 times; Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles and San Francisco, 4 times each; Pittsburgh twice; Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland and Tampa Bay once each.

*

13 times, a metro area has held the MLB and NFL titles at the same time: New York Tri-State, 5 times: 1927-28, 1938-39, 1956-57, 1969-70 and 1987; New England, twice, 2004-05 and 2018-19; San Francisco Bay, twice, sort of: 1989-90 and 1990; Cleveland, 1920-21; Detroit, 1935-36; Baltimore, 1971; and Pittsburgh, 1979-80. 
If you count the Grey Cup, the championship of the Canadian Football League, then Toronto, with the Argonauts winning on November 24, 1991 and the Blue Jays winning on October 24, 1992, held 2 titles for a matter of 31 days in the Autumn of 1992. So that would be 14.

8 times, a metro area has held the MLB and NBA titles at the same times: Los Angeles, 4 times: 1982, 1988, 2002-03 and 2020-21; San Francisco Bay, twice: 1975 and 2015; New York Tri-State, 1970; and New England, 2008.

7 times, a metro area has held the MLB and NHL titles at the same time. Detroit did it in 1936. The other 6 times, it's been New York Tri-State: 1928 with the Yankees and Rangers, 1933 with the Yankees and Rangers, 1933-34 with the Giants and Rangers, 1940 with the Yankees and Rangers, and, sort of, twice in 2000-01 with the Yankees and Devils. The Rangers never did it with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and neither the Mets nor the Islanders have ever been a part of it.

No metro area has ever held the NFL and NBA titles at the same time. The closest calls: The Eagles let Philadelphia down in 1947, losing the NFL Championship Game within months of the Warriors winning the 1st-ever NBA Championship; and the Lakers let Los Angeles down in 1984, losing the NBA Title within months of the Raiders winning the Super Bowl.

6 times, a metro area has held the NFL and NHL titles at the same time: Detroit twice, 1952-53 and 1954; New England, 1929; Chicago, 1934; Pittsburgh, 2009-10; and Tampa Bay just did it.

If you count the Grey Cup, then Toronto has done it 8 times, sort of: March 26 to November 20, 1915; March 28 to December 2, 1922; December 5, 1942 to April 8, 1943; December 1, 1945 to April 9, 1946; April 19 to November 29, 1947, from then to April 14, 1948, and from then to November 27, 1948; and April 21 to November 24, 1951. Montreal has done it 5 times: December 5, 1931 to April 9, 1932; November 25, 1944 to April 22, 1945; May 18 to November 28, 1971; and back-to-back, November 27, 1977 to May 25, 1978, and then to November 26, 1978. Edmonton held both on back-to-back occasions, from November 29, 1987 to May 26, 1988, and then to November 27, 1988. Ottawa did it once, from April 13 to November 26, 1927. So, if you count all of those, that's 22 times.

No city has ever held the NBA and NHL titles at the same time. The closest calls: Boston won the NBA Finals but lost the Stanley Cup Finals in 1957 and 1974, Chicago did the same in 1992, and New York (entirely the New Jersey Meadowlands) reversed it by winning the Cup but losing the NBA Finals in 2003.

New York, from the Rangers' Cup in April 1928 to the Giants surrendering the NFL Championship in December; and Detroit, from the Wings' Cup in April 1936 to the Tigers' surrendering the American League Pennant in October; are the only cities to hold 3 titles at once. No city has held 3 titles since the debut of the NBA in 1946.

No city has ever held all 4 titles at once. Only 9 metro areas have won all 4 titles at all:

1. New York Tri-State: They won their 1st World Series with the 1905 New York Giants, their 1st NFL Championship with the 1927 New York Giants, their 1st Stanley Cup with the 1928 New York Rangers, and their 1st NBA Championship with the 1970 New York Knicks.

2. New England: World Series, 1903 Boston Red Sox; NFL Championship, 1928 Providence Steam Roller, or, if you don't count that, 2001-02 New England Patriots; Stanley Cup, 1929 Boston Bruins; and NBA Championship, 1957 Boston Celtics.

3. Philadelphia: World Series, 1910 Philadelphia Athletics (the Phillies won their 1st in 1980); NFL Championship, 1926 Frankford Yellow Jackets (the Eagles won their 1st in 1948); NBA Championship, 1947 Philadelphia Warriors; and Stanley Cup, 1974 Philadelphia Flyers.

4. Detroit: World Series, 1935 Tigers; NFL Championship, 1935 Lions; Stanley Cup, 1935 Red Wings; and NBA Championship, 1989 Pistons.

5. Chicago: World Series, 1906 White Sox; NFL Championship, 1921 Bears; Stanley Cup, 1934 Blackhawks; and NBA Championship, 1991 Bulls.

6. Los Angeles: NFL Championship, 1951 Los Angeles Rams; World Series, 1959 Los Angeles Dodgers; NBA Championship, 1972 Los Angeles Lakers; Stanley Cup, 2007 Anaheim Ducks, or, if you don't count that, 2012 Los Angeles Kings.

7. Washington: World Series, 1924 Washington Senators (the Nationals won their 1st in 2019); NFL Championship, 1937 Washington Redskins (currently known as the Washington Football Team); NBA Championship, 1978 Washington Bullets (currently known as the Washington Wizards); Stanley Cup, 2018 Washington Capitals.

8. St. Louis: World Series, 1926 St. Louis Cardinals; NBA Championship, 1958 St. Louis Hawks (they moved to Atlanta in 1970); NFL Championship, 1999-2000 St. Louis Rams (they moved back to Los Angeles in 2016); and Stanley Cup, 2019 St. Louis Blues.

9. Toronto: Grey Cup, 1909 University of Toronto Varsity Blues (that was the 1st Grey Cup, and the Argonauts won their 1st in 1914); Stanley Cup, 1914 Toronto Blueshirts (the Maple Leafs won their 1st in 1918); World Series, 1992 Toronto Blue Jays; and NBA Championship, 2019 Toronto Raptors.

Pittsburgh won an ABA Title (1968 Pipers), but hasn't had an NBA team since the league's first season, 1946-47. Miami and San Francisco have won all but the Stanley Cup.

In 1980-81, Philadelphia reached the Finals of all 4 sports, the only time this has ever happened, but they won just 1of them: The Flyers lost to the Islanders in May, the 76ers lost to the Lakers in June, the Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals in October, and the Eagles lost to the Raiders in January.

If you count the WNBA: Los Angeles had the Lakers and the Sparks in 2001, and again in 2002, meaning they had 3 teams, with the 2002 Angels; Detroit had the Pistons in 2004 while the Shock were defending (2003) Champions; and Washington had the Nationals and Mystics in 2019.

If you count soccer: New York Tri-State had the Cosmos and Knicks in 1972-73, the Yankees and Cosmos in 1977 and again in 1978, and the Islanders and Cosmos in 1980 and again in 1982; Chicago had the Bulls and Fire in 1998-99; Los Angeles had the Galaxy win it in 2002, meaning, for a brief time, it held all but the NHL and the NFL, which it didn't then have, so it wasn't just 4 out of 6, it was 4 out of 5; and Los Angeles had the Kings and Galaxy in 2012 and 2012-13, the Galaxy repeating, flanking the Kings' 1st Cup.

So, baseball, football, basketball, hockey and soccer: New York Tri-State (achieving it with the 1972 New York Cosmos), Philadelphia (1973 Atoms, completing the circuit in 1974), Chicago (1981 Sting, completing the circuit in 1991), Los Angeles (1967 Wolves, completing the circuit in 2007 -- or 2012), and Toronto (1976 Metros, completing the circuit in 2019). New England, Detroit and St. Louis have all but soccer: New England is 0-5 in finals, St. Louis was 0-1 in the NASL but is getting an MLS expansion team, and Detroit has never had an MLS team and never got close in the NASL.

All 5 sports, plus the WNBA? Los Angeles is the only one. New York is 0-4 in Finals, Chicago is 0-1, and Philly and Toronto have never had WNBA teams.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

To Hell With Tom Brady

That's it. That's the post.

Top 5 Reasons Why the World Series Is the Better Event (And 5 Why It's the Super Bowl)

Every so often, I see a list of 5 reasons why such-and-such thing is better, and 5 why a competing thing is -- often alternate versions of the same reason.

So, on this Super Bowl Sunday, while Super Bowl LV is in progress, I'm writing the top 5 reasons why the World Series is better than the Super Bowl, and the top 5 reasons why the Super Bowl is better than the World Series.

10. Super Bowl: Quick Fix. Okay, it's not instant gratification. An NFL game usually takes between 3 and 3 1/2 hours. And, with the Super Bowl, several things, including the halftime show, usually drag things out, pushing the game out to nearly 4 hours.

But it's done in 1 game. And 4 hours fits nicely into a single party.

9. World Series: Drawn-Out Drama. The story builds, and builds, especially if it goes the full 7 games. And if your team loses Game 1? You still got 6 chances to win 4 games. A bum one day can be a hero the next. (And vice versa.)

You lose the Super Bowl, this hangs over you and your team for 7 months. Or for all time, if it's a particularly bad moment. Face it: If the Buffalo Bills win Super Bowl LVI a year from now, people will still remember Scott Norwood. Hell, the Miami Dolphins won Super Bowl VII to complete what is still the NFL's only perfect season, and people still remember how Garo Yepremian almost "threw" it all away.

Also, if you don't like who sang the National Anthem before Game 1 of the World Series, you get another shot. If you don't like who sang the National Anthem before the Super Bowl, you're gonna be talking about that for about a month.

8. Super Bowl: Parties. Football is a communal event. A Super Bowl party is a communal event.

7. World Series: Intimacy. Baseball lends itself better to conversation and discussion. It's easier for couples, or parents and children, to bond over. It's more of a family thing.

6. Super Bowl: Commercials. Some of them are as legendary as the players.

5. World Series: You Don't Need Commercials. Come on: If the commercials are as memorable as the game, there's a problem with the game.

4. Super Bowl: No Red Sox. Guaranteed.

3. World Series: No Tom Brady. Guaranteed.

2. Super Bowl: It's America's Game. Men smacking into each other, and bragging about their achievements, while others watch them and eat like pigs and drink a lot of booze. What could be more American?

1. World Series: The National Pastime. Football is a sport where brains are necessary but brawn usually decides it. Baseball is a sport that places thinking above all. Ideas. And America was founded on ideas. That all people are created equal. That a person should be able to speak, write and worship as he or she sees fit. That we get to choose our leaders.

Football speaks to the bad things about America. As George Will -- a conservative columnist, but he's right about this -- put it, "Football combines the two worst features of modern American life: It is violence punctuated by committee meetings." And the injuries, to body and brain, remind us of how bad America's health care system is.

As James Earl Jones put it in Field of Dreams:

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: It's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good, and could be again.

James Earl Jones has been part of 3 films with baseball as part of the plot: Field of Dreams, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings, and The Sandlot. (Okay, 4: He was the only member of The Sandlot's cast to return for The Sandlot 2, but The Sandlot is one of those movies whose fans like to presume that one or more sequels don't exist, or "aren't canon.")

He has never been in a football film. And, having just turned 90, he is unlikely to appear in one.

That ought to clinch it: The World Series is better than the Super Bowl. Baseball is better than football. Football and the Super Bowl are what we are. Baseball and the World Series are what we, sometimes, have been, and could be, if only we try.

Or, as George Carlin put it (I'm not listing the whole thing, just the parts that I think make the point for me:

Baseball is a 19th Century pastoral game. Football is a 20th Century technological struggle.

Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park. The baseball park! Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.

Baseball begins in the Spring, the season of new life. Football begins in the Fall, when everything is dying...

Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness. Baseball has the sacrifice...

Baseball has the seventh-inning stretch. Football has the two-minute warning.

Baseball has no time limit. We don't know when it's gonna end. We might have extra innings. Football is rigidly timed, and it will come to a conclusion, even if we have to go to sudden death.

In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a picnic feeling. Emotions may run high or low, but there's not too much unpleasantness. In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that, at least 27 times, you're capable of taking the life of a fellow human being. Preferably, a stranger.

And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:

In football, the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line!

In baseball, the object is to go home! And to be safe! "I hope I'll be safe at home! Safe at home! I'm going home!"

Top 10 Things Ken Burns' Baseball Did Not Mention

MLB Network just re-ran Ken Burns' Baseball miniseries. First running on PBS from September 18 to 28, 1994, just after Commissioner Bud Selig canceled the rest of the season, including the postseason, it was a godsend for disillusioned fans from The Bronx to Candlestick.

There's only so much you can cram into 9 "innings" of nearly 2 hours each. Some things he could, and should, have mentioned didn't get into the narrative.

Here's 10 things that he should have mentioned, but didn't, going, roughly, in chronological order. I'm not going to include The Tenth Inning, which had to go through 1994 to 2010 quickly.

1. The big names of the Amateur Era, 1845-68. Burns mentions the name of Alexander Cartwright, who comes closer than anyone else to being "the inventor of baseball." And he mentions the names of the brothers Harry and George Wright, the leading names of the 1st openly professional team, the 1869-70 Cincinnati Red Stockings.

But what about the great players in between? No mention of Jim Creighton, the 1st great pitcher, who died as the result of an in-game injury in 1862. No mention of Joe Start, probably the best hitter of that time. No mention of Lipman "Lip" Pike, the 1st Jewish man known to have played baseball at that level, and one of the best players of that era.

Start and Pike played into the professional era, and were teammates on the Brooklyn Atlantics team that ended the Red Stockings' unbeaten run in 1870. That game was mentioned, but none of the names of the players on that team were.

In The Tenth Inning, in connection with recent cheating, Burns finally mentioned Creighton: By snapping his wrist in an 1859 game between his Star Club and the Niagaras, both of Brooklyn, Creighton, then only 18 years old, could make his pitch go faster, inventing the fastball. At the time, it was seen as unfair. So it only took Burns 16 years to mention him -- for Creighton, 151 years. Burns had mentioned William "Candy" Cummings and his claim to have invented the curveball in 1867, a claim now considered dubious. But not Creighton, at least not the first time.

2. Chicago baseball in general, after the Black Sox Scandal of 1919-21. Chicago teams are mentioned only in passing: The Cubs as opponents of the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1929 World Series, as opponents of the Yankees in the 1932 World Series, and as opponents of the Mets in the 1969 National League Eastern Division Pennant race; while the White Sox are mentioned as being 1 of the 4 teams being in the 1967 American League Pennant race that went down to the last weekend of the season.

Luke Appling of the White Sox got mentioned. So did Ernie Banks of the Cubs. But except for 3 seconds of the 1959 World Series, at the beginning of Eighth Inning: A Whole New Ballgame, there is no footage of the White Sox after the Black Sox Scandal. Some very nice shots of Comiskey Park, and the heartbreaking shots of its demolition.

But there is no discussion of the 1959 Pennant-winning "Go-Go White Sox." No mention of Luis Aparicio and Nellie Fox from that team. No mention of Dick Allen (more about him in a moment). No mention of the 1977 "South Side Hit Men" or the 1983 AL Western Division title. Nor any mention of how the Cubs used "Superstation" WGN to become a team with a national following with their NL East title in 1984, followed by their shocking Playoff loss.

Narrator John Chancellor, reading the words written by Burns (or Geoffrey C. Ward), mentions that Carlton Fisk was not given a new contract by the Boston Red Sox after the 1980 season, and that he had signed with the White Sox. But only a photograph is shown: No game action for him in a White Sox uniform.

Burns said that Bill Veeck is best remembered for how he ran the St. Louis Browns from 1951 to 1953. This is not true: He is much better known for his 2 tenures as White Sox owner, 1959-61 and 1975-80. And had Veeck himself lived to be interviewed for the miniseries (he died in 1986), I'm sure he would rather have talked about what he did in Chicago -- including in his earliest executive job in baseball, working for the Cubs. He's the man who planted the ivy on the outfield wall at Wrigley Field, and led the construction of that ballpark's also-iconic scoreboard.

I realize that, from 1945 until the miniseries aired in 1994, only 1 Pennant was won by a Chicago team, the '59 Sox. But Burns could have said more.

For The Tenth Inning, which first aired 6 years before the Cubs ended their even longer drought at 108 years, Burns covered the Steve Bartman Game in the 2003 Playoffs, but spent much less time on that than he did on the Aaron Boone Game that took place the next night. Even then, he spent more time on his beloved BoSox than on the even-more-aggrieved Cubbies.

Also in The Tenth Inning, Burns showed only the last play of the 2005 World Series, ending an 88-year drought for the White Sox. That's 2 years longer than the Red Sox, on whose 2004 win he spent a couple of weeks, longer than it took for them to go from 3 outs from getting swept in the ALCS to sweeping the World Series, or so it seemed.

He also covered the 1998 home run record chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. But, even then, it was about the men, not their teams. Not Sosa's Cubs, and not McGwire's Cardinals.

Which leads us to...

3. The St. Louis Cardinals. Burns covered Curt Flood in great detail, and Bob Gibson and his roles in the 1967 and '68 World Series in some detail as well. But he shortchanged the Cardinal team that won 4 Pennants and 3 World Series in 5 years from 1942 to 1946; and the Cardinal team that won 3 Pennants but just 1 World Series in 6 years from 1982 to 1987, he didn't mention at all.

Burns made far more of Ted Williams than he did of Ted's National League counterpart Stan Musial. He discussed Pete Gray, the one-armed outfielder for the 1945 St. Louis Browns, more than he did the Cardinals of that period. Indeed, when he discussed the 1946 World Series, it was almost as if the Cards were merely the opposition to the Red Sox. This would be repeated when he got to the 1986 World Series.

At the time of filming, Musial, Gibson, Enos Slaughter, and many other major Cardinal figures were still alive. The only one he interviewed was Flood. He interviewed Bob Costas, who had broadcast for the Cardinals; but not former Cardinal broadcasters Harry Caray and Jack Buck, both still alive at the time. He included calls of Caray's and Buck's, but not interviews of either.

For a while now, we've heard the Cardinal publicity machine push St. Louis as "the best baseball town in America." Burns didn't mention that in his '94 miniseries. In The Tenth Inning, the expression was mentioned.

4. The "Mexican Jumping Beans." For all his discussion of the struggle between players and team management, Burns did not make a single mention of the Mexican League's 1946 overtures to major league players of more money and more control over their own fortunes. He cited Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo raiding the Negro Leagues for players for his country's league in 1937, but not the Mexican Jumping Beans.

Among the players who "jumped" to the Mexican League to take advantage of this, but later returned and were accepted back into the majors, were New York Giants pitcher Sal Maglie and early Puerto Rican star Luis Olmo.

Given Burns' fetish for the battle over the reserve clause, and his mentions of the U.S. Supreme Court (upholding baseball's antitrust exemption in 1922 and the reserve clause against Flood in 1972), it is a surprise that he didn't mention the case that former Giants outfielder Danny Gardella brought against the baseball establishment, challenging the clause. Gardella won a round in federal court. Afraid that the whole thing would come tumbling down, Commissioner Albert "Happy" Chandler offered amnesty to the Jumping Beans if Gardella would drop his case. He did.

Burns interviewed Chandler, but all he showed of that interview was a brief clip of him singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." No mention of the Jumping Beans, or of Chandler's role in allowing the reintegration of the game. Gardella was also still alive at the time. So was Maglie. So was Olmo. None of them were interviewed.

Chandler (1898-1991) was 1 of 2 people that Burns interviewed who was born before 1900, along with former pitcher and Babe Ruth teammate Milt Gaston (1896-1996); and 1 of 7 who died before the series' premiere on September 18, 1994. The others were Ruth's sister Mamie Moberly (1900-1992), Ruth's teammate and longtime California Angels coach Jimmie Reese (1901-1994), broadcasting legend Red Barber (1908-1992), Cubs and Dodgers Hall of Fame 2nd baseman Billy Herman (1909-1992), All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player Dottie Green (1921-1992), and tennis legend and civil rights activist Arthur Ashe (1943-1993).

5. The Philadelphia Phillies. No mention of their 1950 Pennant-winners, the "Whiz Kids" -- not even of the fact that they were the last all-white team to win the NL Pennant. (The 1953 Yankees were the last all-white team to win a World Series.) No mention of their 1964 "Phillie Phlop." No mention of the aftermath of that, including how Richie -- make that "Dick" -- Allen was treated.

No mention of "Black Friday" in the 1977 Playoffs. The only mention of their 1980 World Series win, finally finishing atop the baseball world for the 1st team in their 98th season, was in connection with the section on free agency, talking about how Pete Rose had left his hometown team, the Cincinnati Reds, for the Phils. No mention of Mike Schmidt, who was possibly all of these things: The best all-around player of his generation, the best 3rd baseman ever, and the best player ever to wear the uniform of a Philadelphia baseball team.

I can excuse Burns for not including the 1993 World Series, in which the Toronto Blue Jays broke Philly fans' hearts with that 15-14 comeback in Game 4 and the Joe Carter walkoff homer in Game 6. It was close to production time.

But there were so many stories of the Fightin' Phils, their successes and their failures. Are they truly that much less interesting, historically, than the Red Sox? Or even the Cubs, who got slightly more mention?

6. The Milwaukee Braves. Burns mentioned in passing that the Boston Braves had moved to Milwaukee and set attendance records. And he showed Hank Aaron's walkoff home run that clinched the 1957 National League Pennant.

But nothing about how the Braves lifted up the previously untapped market of Milwaukee. And nothing about how the specific development of the Braves having built a new stadium, on the edge of the city where it had begun to shift to suburbs, and with over 10,000 parking spaces, directly doomed Ebbets Field and, eventually, the Dodgers as a Brooklyn team.

And how it also doomed other teams, to varying degrees: The New York Giants, the St. Louis Browns, the Washington Senators, and the Athletics first in Philadelphia, then in Kansas City. And it almost doomed other teams with small, tucked-away ballparks, and led to the building of multipurpose stadiums that doomed those ballparks: Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, Crosley Field in Cincinnati, Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, and Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia. I could add Comiskey Park in Chicago and Tiger Stadium in Detroit, but both were replaced by baseball-only stadiums.

7. The rise of Hispanic players. Armando Marsans and Rafael Almeida, white Cubans and the 1st 2 Hispanic players in MLB (they debuted together, with the 1911 Reds), weren't mentioned at all. Nor was Adolfo "Dolf" Luque, another white Cuban, who was a great pitcher in the 1920s. Nor was Orestes "Minnie" Miñoso, also a Cuban, and the 1st black Hispanic player.

Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, and the Alou brothers -- Felipe, Mateo (a.k.a. Matty) and Jesús -- of the early 1960s Giants, were barely mentioned. Their struggle with manager Alvin Dark, which helped hold a team with 5 Hall-of-Famers (Cepeda, Marichal, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry) to just 1 Pennant and 4 other near-misses between 1959 and 1966, was not mentioned.

Burns went in-depth on Roberto Clemente, baseball's 1st Hispanic superstar. But he didn't mention Mexican pitching legend Fernando Valenzuela at all until The Tenth Inning. Nor did he mention Dennis Martinez, the Nicaraguan who pitched a perfect game and was a member of 2 Pennant winners. Nor did he mention Pedro Guerrero, the Dominican slugger who shared the World Series MVP with Ron Cey and Steve Yeager on the 1981 Dodgers.

He mentioned how the 1992 Toronto Blue Jays became the 1st team managed by a black man to win a World Series (though not that they were the 1st to even win a Pennant), but didn't mention any of their individual players, including their Hall of Fame Puerto Rican 2nd baseman Roberto Alomar and their Dominican ace Juan Guzmán.

(After 1994, which Burns couldn't have foreseen, Dennis Martinez played on a 3rd Pennant winner, and surpassed Marichal as the all-time winningest pitcher among Hispanics.)

Burns then overcompensated during his Tenth Inning. On the subject of Dominican prospects, and what was likely to happen to them when they tried to make it, including what happened to them when they didn't, he went into detail nearly as poignant as when he told of the racist barriers the Negro Leaguers and the early black major leaguers faced.

He interviewed 2 Dominican pitchers for the Dodgers' Gulf Coast League team in 2005: Gary Paris and Ramon Paredes. Both of them, 18 and 20 years old, respectively, spoke of how wonderful it would be if they made it. Neither did: Both were out of professional baseball by the close of the 2007 season. To add insult to injury, however unintentionally, in the graphics used to identify him, Burns misspelled Gary's name as "Gary Parris."

8. The players' revolt over Bobby Kennedy. When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, baseball was out of season. But the National Football League, already beginning its approach to becoming (apparently) more popular than baseball, was 48 hours from a new round of games, and Commissioner Pete Rozelle had to make a quick decision on whether to let the games go on. He did, and was ripped for it by the press and the public. The American Football League postponed its games for that Sunday, pushing them back to the week after the last regularly-scheduled slate of games.

Burns mentioned that, after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968, baseball games were postponed out of respect to his memory, or to keep people out of harm's way during the rioting. According to Joe Distelheim in The Hardball Times:

A few teams had postponed their April 8 home openers, but when the Houston Astros decided to go ahead with their game against Pittsburgh, the Pirates, led by Roberto ClementeDonn Clendenon, and their nine other black players, refused to play. They also said they wouldn’t take part in their next scheduled game against the Astros because it was April 9, the day of King’s funeral.

In St. Louis, some Cardinals players had gathered in the apartment of first baseman Orlando Cepeda and decided to tell Cardinals management they wouldn’t open the season as scheduled either. The Dodgers said they’d go ahead with their home opener against Philadelphia, but Phillies general manager John Quinn said his team would forfeit rather than play.

In the end, conflict was avoided. No games were played until April 10.

That would not be the case 2 months later, when Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot on June 5, and died the next day. Some players didn't want to play on the day of the funeral, June 8. Some of the black players, appreciative of RFK's record in civil rights and his efforts to reach out to black voters, got some of the white players to stand with them, and appeal to their managers, in the hopes that the manager would appeal to the team's owner.

Some teams agreed to postpone their games, and make the next day a doubleheader. Some teams agreed to move their day games to night games. Some teams refused to do either. The objecting players refused to play, and most of those were fined.

Burns mentioned none of this. Indeed, in his introduction to Eighth Inning: A Whole New Ballgame, he (through Chancellor) said, "Americans lost a President, and a prophet." "The prophet" was Dr. King. But Bobby wasn't mentioned then, or at all.

9. The 1964 Pennant races and all they entailed. The Phillie Phlop, Dick Allen, and the repercussions. The Reds, and the fatal illness of their manager Fred Hutchinson. The rise of the Cardinals, although that was touched upon when he discussed 1967. The end of the Yankee Dynasty.

10. Jim Bouton and his book Ball Four. "I'm 30 years old, and I have these dreams." With those words, Jim Bouton, once a star pitcher on the Yankees but now a marginal major leaguer due to injury and a reputation as an oddball, began his diary of the 1969 baseball season, which would be published in book form the next year, with the title of Ball Four: My Life and Hard Times Throwing the Knuckleball in the Big Leagues.

Nobody, not even Jim himself, had any idea of the impact that this book would have. The fact that the team's operation was so ridiculous, that they only existed for that 1 season, and that the current Seattle team, debuting in 1977, is named the Mariners, not the Pilots, makes Ball Four seem like a novel, like the Pilots never actually existed. But they did. In a 2000 interview with baseball historian Rob Neyer for ESPN.com, Jim, unaware of my assessment, backed it up:

The Pilots existed for only one year. It's almost a magical story. They're like "Brigadoon." It's a Major League Baseball team that, in many respects, exists only within the pages of a book. It's like a fictional baseball team, so the characters in the book have almost become like fictional characters.

And they were perfect for the book. It was gold. Everyone one of those players was an interesting story, in one way or another. You had rookies, and you had grizzled veterans...

It was a perfect cast of characters, almost as if somebody had said, "This team's not going to win any games, but if someone writes a book, this'll be a great ballclub."

Bouton testified in Curt Flood's trial by reading passages from Ball Four. But Burns didn't mention that. Bouton left baseball at the height of the 1970 controversy to become a sportscaster, but made a comeback, and returned to the major leagues at age 39, as a September callup with the 1978 Atlanta Braves, even winning a game. But Burns didn't mention that, either.

Bouton closed the book with these words, which would have fit in very nicely with Ken Burns' text: "You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time."

Honorable Mention. Nolan Ryan. 27 seasons. 324 wins. A record 5,714 strikeouts for his career. Seasons of 383 and 367 strikeouts, 1st and 3rd best all-time. A record 7 no-hitters, including pitching them at the record age of 43, then 44. Four postseason appearances with 3 teams. How much screen time did he get? 24 seconds in Eighth Inning: A Whole New Ballgame, and 44 seconds in Ninth Inning: Home, in the section on free agency. Total: 1 minute and 8 seconds -- or, roughly, 1 second for every 84 strikeouts.

Honorable Mention. Rickey Henderson. 25 seasons. 3,055 hits. 1,406 stolen bases in a career, including 130 in a season, both records. 2,295 runs scored, also a record. Bill James has said that if you split his career in 2, you'd have 2 Hall-of-Famers. And his personality, in all its complexity, makes him an even better story. How much mention did he get? None at all! There was a 3-second clip of him at the opening of The Tenth Inning. But his name wasn't mentioned.

Okay, so what should he have cut out, or at least cut down, to make room? The section on Ty Cobb's last years. Just as he breezed through discussion of what happened to Shoeless Joe Jackson in the 30 years between his last game and his death, he could have done the same for the 33 years between Cobb's last game and his death.

He also could have cited Lawrence S. Ritter's book The Glory of Their Times: Not only did that book help to jump-start the baseball nostalgia movement, but Ritter specifically said that he looked up players from the early 20th Century because Cobb's death got him to thinking of that era.

One thing I never noticed the first time around was that the song that was played over the footage of Cobb's funeral was "Amazing Grace."

Spending as much time as he did on Curt Flood wasn't necessary. Yes, his thoughts on baseball's piece-by-piece integration were valuable. But half as much time on his lawsuit would have been fine.

And too much has been made about the Kirk Gibson home run. Let's face it: It wasn't even the 1st time Gibson had been a World Series hero. He did it for Detroit in 1984. The discussion of the Bill Buckner Game could have been cut a little, too.

And while we're (sort of) on the subject of the Red Sox: Why spend so much time on Fenway Park, when the old Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field, and Comiskey Park and Tiger Stadium were also then still standing? (Wrigley still is.) There were some great shots of Comiskey, with others talking over it, but not much discussion of the ballpark.

Even with the amount of material that Ken Burns covered, there could have been more.