Sunday Morning Coffee — August 2, 2020 — First Pitch, Chinese Virus, Hong Kong Election Delay and a bunch of other stuff…

Yeah, I know, we were supposed to be on hiatus. But when you are awakened from a perfectly delightful midsummer night’s slumber by a barrage of idle thoughts, you take a vacation from your vacation. Thus, we come back for a summer Sunday with nothing but quality:

So, was he or wasn’t he? Only in America, under this administration, can we have a first pitch debate. President Trump claims the Yankees invited him to toss the first ball before the Yankees-Red Sox game on August 15. The failing New York Times says due to a bad case of Fauci-envy, Trump made up the invitation. No matter, the bottom line is that being the President of the United States is a tiresome job, one in which getting a free day, even if it’s a Saturday in August, is virtually impossible. Last Monday Mr. Trump tweeted:

Because of my strong focus on the China Virus, including scheduled meetings on vaccines, our economy and much else, I won’t be able to be in New York to throw out the opening pitch for the Yankees on August 15.” I just hate that for him. It’s a tough gig. No time to relax. No time for even a quick nine holes. No day off even on weekends. You’d think maybe he could squeeze in a trip to the Bronx after that hellacious work schedule. Even better, the Yankees-Red Sox is a 7 pm game, there figures to be no ballgame traffic on the Major Deegan Expressway and with zero paid attendance, security into the ballpark should be a breeze. It might also be a great date night with Melania; sit where you want, buy her a bag of nuts and let her enjoy the greatest first pitch ever. A bag of mixed nuts is what her world is anyway, isn’t it?

The reality? Avoiding embarrassment. Dr. Anthony Fauci‘s lame attempt at tossing the first pitch at the Washington Nationals home opener on July 23 was so bad the ball was closer to the first base dugout than home plate. He blamed it on a sore arm; he had done so much practicing that his arm had no pop left. Another toss or two and he would have been on the table for rotator cuff repair. Let me clue you in on something. For the past decade I’ve been going to baseball camps and hanging around ex-major league pitchers. Almost every one of them over age sixty-five can’t throw anymore. If they tried to pitch from the mound, the ball would take six hops to get the sixty feet, six inches to home plate. I’ve seen it. It’s incredible and sad for guys who used to throw the speed ball by hitters at 90 mph. They have nothing left. So what makes a 79-year old doctor, or a 74-year old president, who never played ball, think they can do any better? They can’t. However, I have no doubt if Trump’s schedule were to free-up on August 15 his first pitch would have been the greatest one ever. Many, many people would say that. Nobody had ever seen such a great first pitch. But for me, I long for the old days, the romance days of the game when the ceremonial first pitch was tossed by a world leader, wearing a fashionable trench coat from next to the home team’s dugout, to a player maybe ten feet away. The tradition started in 1910 with President Taft throwing the first pitch on Opening Day and has continued since. The only sitting presidents not to throw out an opening day missile are Jimmy Carter and now Mr. Trump. President Reagan was actually the first to leave the stands and throw from the mound. The most famous first pitch was before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series between the Yankees and Diamondbacks when George W., against Secret Service wishes, walked to the mound at Yankee Stadium in his FDNY jacket. He was showered with patriotic cheers and tears and threw a strike to Yankees back-up catcher Todd Greene. He walked off the hill serenaded by “USA, USA!” It was chilling. For in that moment we were all flag-loving Americans. Maybe one day, even if it’s only on a baseball field, that can happen again.

Clockwise from top: President Taft and the first, first ball in 1910; JFK in 1961 with LBJ and Humphrey looking on; George W’s memorable 9/11 fastball and Nixon watched by Ted Williams and Ralph Houk in 1969.

Back in the Oval Office, President Trump predicts one day the Coronavirus will be gone and he will be right after all. It probably won’t be until after he becomes a full-time Florida resident in January but one day he will indeed be right. Here’s hoping before leaving office he also predicts the Jets will win another Super Bowl. It’s only been fifty years.

Even though Trump brags his internal polling shows him comfortably ahead, Basement Joe remains a solid 8-5 favorite to win the White House at off-shore sports book The real interesting wager, posted a couple of months ago on the same site, was the 7-5  odds the Trumps’ marriage collapses before the end of the year. No hoax.

Trump told members of the National Association of Police Organizations Leadership on Friday at the White House, “Your choice is me or somebody that has no clue what they’re doing.” Huh?

Hong Kong did it so why can’t we? Hong Kong, fearful of the pro-democracy opposition, delayed their legislative elections by one year under the guise of a worsening corona outbreak. The reality is the mainland government hopes the delay will stem some of the social unrest that has crippled the island. Trump has floated the idea of delaying our November 3 election concerned, he says, about mail-in voter fraud. It won’t happen here, it’s a legislative not executive power, and all sides agree we stay with our plan. Plus, it would be really be unfair to Biden who, with any delay, runs the risk of forgetting what he’s running for. In the meantime, all Trump is doing is setting the stage for a myriad of legal challenges. If things go the way the legitimate polls indicate they will, this will get very, very ugly.

Oddsmakers have Kamala Harris the favorite to get the Democratic vice -presidential nod sometime this week but late money is pouring in on another Californian, Representative Karen Bass.

Back in the olden days, six months ago, Las Vegas was the number one destination in the world for not only adult fun but for trade shows and conventions, too. These days we’ve been reduced to drive-in weekend traffic from Arizona and California. During the week you can throw a Double Diamond slot machine off the pedestrian bridge at the intersection of Las Vegas Blvd. and Flamingo and not hit anyone.

To make matters worse, Vegas suffered its biggest blow last Tuesday when CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, announced the 2021 show will be all digital. Last year over 170,000 attended, driving Strip hotel rates through the stratosphere, pun intended, and generating an economic impact of over a quarter billion bucks. Far and away it’s the largest trade show of the year. That’s going to be a shitty way to start a new year for this city.

And before we leave the Strip comes news from both the north and south ends. If you have an extra $400 million in cash sitting in a money market fund doing nothing, you can be the new owner of the Tropicana Hotel. You get free valet and a breakfast buffet coupon too. And unconfirmed rumblings from the north end is that another of old Vegas’ iconic properties, the Sahara Hotel, may be shutting its doors for good after Labor Day.

Old time Vegas Strip legends. The Tropicana is for sale and the Sahara may be on the brink of shutting down if things don’t get better soon.

During opening night of the WNBA season last weekend, all the players on the six teams that played, walked off the court prior to the National Anthem. Not even what’s becoming a social accepted kneel but instead a walkout. Really ladies? See how many other countries in the world give you the opportunity this one does.

Honoring the anthem: the 16% of women that make up our activity military.

Not sure which name shows more marketing ingenuity? The new Seattle NHL team dubbed the Kraken or the NFL team formerly known as the Redskins, now officially the Washington Football Team. Word is it will be another 16-18 months before a new, permanent name is chosen, further illustrating it’s takes forever for anything to happen in DC. Seattle’s runner-up nickname was Seattle Hockey Team.

At the Westgate, formerly the Las Vegas Hilton, you can now bet on how many Super Bowls the Kansas City Chiefs will win before Patrick Mahomes’ contract expires in 2031-32. The total is 1.5.

With no NFL pre-season games this year, it’s virtually impossible for a low draft pick, free agent or even an on-the-bubble veteran to make a roster.

What modern era musical group had the most gold records but never a number one hit? Hint: they played Woodstock.

In our last Sunday Morning Coffee, we told you the Alabama Republican Senate primary between former Senator and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, looking to reclaim his old seat, and former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville would be close. It wasn’t. Tuberville trounced Sessions like Auburn playing Slippery Rock. Trump endorsed Tuberville over Sessions, who was the first member of Congress to officially support his candidacy, and then gloated over Sessions’ defeat. Now coach Tubs moves into the general election against incumbent Doug Jones, a Democrat who seems vulnerable in a very red, football-loving state. Tuberville is a political novice; Jones has never faced a fourth and two. Should be a race to keep an eye on.

And speaking of AG’s, I’m thinking present Attorney General Bill Barr and actor John Goodman were separated at birth.

Creedence Clearwater Revival had seven gold records and five songs that hit number two on the charts but never a number one.

I certainly understand Texas congressman Louie Gohmert’s claim he contracted COVID by wearing a face mask. I once knew a guy who said he caught an STD from reading Playboy.

Bet you didn’t know that Chubby Checker, born Ernest Evans, was given his name by Dick Clark’s wife after doing a Fats Domino impression. Get it? Fats-Chubby; Domino-Checker.

I stumbled upon Schitt’s Creek on Netflix a few weeks ago and can’t get enough. Terrific acting, better writing. And stay on Netflix for one more original episode of my son Jason’s The Big Show Show which will stream next Monday, August 10.

Discovered the very funny Schitt’s Creek a month ago. The Big Show Show will be back for another episode on August 10. Both on Netflix.

I’m a baseball traditionalist but I find myself really liking starting extra innings with a runner on second.

The Yankees have beaten the Orioles eighteen straight times. Unfathomable in professional sports.

Somebody, with too much time on their hands during the pandemic, put their research and actuarial hat on and forecast if Babe Ruth were playing baseball today he would have made $44.4 million this season, dropping Mike Trout to second best with a paltry $38 mil.

If the Babe were still around do you think he could have given Joey Chestnut a run for Nathan’s hot dog big dog?

And this from my brother Mike— after Chestnut won the 2020 Nathan’s crown on July 4 by eating 75 dogs, when he got home his wife asked him what he wanted for dinner. “I’m not really hungry, I had a pretty big lunch.”

Before we get off hot dogs, and as long as we were talking about presidents and opening day, I bet you didn’t know that Lyndon Johnson holds the record for most hot dogs consumed by a sitting president at a baseball game. LBJ knocked off four dogs during the Washington Senators’ opener in 1964. No doubt a tribute to longtime Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter who stepped down from the bench a year earlier.

Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly got suspended eight games for intentionally throwing at a couple of Houston Astros, who had it coming for cheating their way to the World Series the last couple of years. At the gym the other morning I bumped into former Cardinal, Brewer and Nationals pitcher Mike Blazek and asked him if he ever hit anyone intentionally. “No, but I tried,” he laughed. “I was told a couple of times to do it but I kept missing. It’s tougher than you think.”

And finally, why is the word ‘abbreviation’ so long?

We’ll go back into August hibernation on a positive COVID note, if there is such a thing. We are five months into this mess. All the experts, including ace right-handed hurler Dr. Fauci, predict a vaccine by January. If that’s the case, it’s less than another five months away, which means we can see the glass half full; finally we are on the downward path of epidemic extinction. Let’s hope anyway.

Stay cool. September’s almost here.


  • Ken Rich says:

    You are indeed the best…ever. Be safe and enjoy your vacation. We will try to endure while we await your return.

  • Randy Stear says:

    Thanks, Roy. Been missing this

  • Mat Whatley says:

    Thanks for the vacation from vacation! Always great!

  • Ted W Corby says:

    Always entertaining. Roy, what are the odds for Tyson-Jones Jr next month?

  • Billy says:

    “Football Team” = WFT, or using poetic license, WTF. Now it makes sense. The Washington WTF’s is the perfect name in this screwball world that has suddenly sprung up.

  • I’ve missed this. And I loved it. I even understood the baseball bits. One thing you’re wrong about though, I think. His residency in Florida starting in January may only be temporary. The New York Court System awaits him.

  • Mary ONeill says:

    Great writing as always. Stay cool in the desert.

  • Jonathan Miller says:

    What a great column!

  • Jill Knight says:

    Entertaining! Enjoyed your idle thoughts.

  • Bill Sablesak says:

    Great job. Thanks.

  • Roy Abrams says:

    Your blog is amazing. You covered everything. Next blog you should write about Barney’s Boystown…if you remember.

    Enjoyed having you back…at least for one Sunday. I’m a good writer but I don’t hold a candle to you(whatever that means).

    Just note: if you drop a buttered piece of bread onto the carpeting, the chance that the buttered side will fall on the carpeting is directly proportional to the cost of the carpeting.

  • Greg Cherok says:

    Missed my Sunday morning pick-me-up. Enjoy your vacation and stay safe!

  • Alan Alperin says:

    Great writing, thanks. Particularly enjoyed the Mike Berger name drop/attribution.

  • John Beran says:

    Thanks Roy – always fun to read your random thoughts…

  • Ron Lonicki says:

    At the 1999 weekend on the lake in Kenosha I booked the lovin spoonful. They told me they were kings of the number two chart hits. When I inquired why they said during those days there was a band called the Beatles.


    Thanks for the interim comeback. Not something usual for me, but I was really missing the blog. Another great trip around many subjects. Good job.

  • Richard Balaban says:

    Hi Roy nice piece. Glad that you are well. No end in site to this thing. Hope they have a vaccine by January.

  • Lew Matusow says:

    Wow, you’re a lifesaver, RB.

    After Fauci’s ‘pitch’ I said to Millie “I wonder what Roy would say about this?” Her reply? “Nothing, he took the summer off, remember?”


    Another classic, of course, particularly the history of the first pitch. But tying in LBJ’s appetite and the retirement of the Supremes’ Frankfurter? Really? Oy.

    And finally, tell Mike to leave the comedy writing to Jason. PLEASE!

    Can’t wait to September.

  • Leighton Johnson says:

    Thanks Roy a good one.

  • Wade Binford says:

    Loved your witt and humor. I always wanted to write. I took up golf instead because it’ easier.

  • Barbara Binford says:

    You are hysterically funny! And you know the Major Deegan!!!

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