Sunday Morning Coffee — June 6, 2021 — From Mexico to Marv and Things In Between

Nobody, far left or extreme right, will argue that our elections have turned dirty. Name calling: Pocahontas, Lying Ted, Sleepy Joe, Little Marco, Crooked Hilary, Low Energy Jeb, on and on. Vicious stuff. Campaign ads full of lies and half-truths. Dangerous. No end in sight. It just keeps getting worse.

It’s a different approach in Mexico. No name calling. No lies. No need for all that. Down there, they just get right down to business. Today, Sunday, is Mexico’s midterm elections. Since September, when this election cycle began, 82 elected officials, members of political parties and candidates have been killed. Nobody called them names first. Just flat-out killed them. On May 13, a candidate for mayor of Ciudad Oregon was handing out fliers on a crowed street corner when two men approached, not to talk about policy, but instead shot Abel Murrieta ten times in the face, neck and chest. His candidacy was over faster than you could say Crazy Bernie. Another 60 candidates have withdrawn from office scared to death. Literally. The government has given 150 candidates protection since getting death threats; not sure how secure that’ll make them feel. As for us just remember, sticks and stones……

The Olympic Games are scheduled to begin July 23 in Tokyo. They may, they may not. Last week Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper, the second largest paper in Japan with almost seven million readers, called for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to cancel the event. On top of all the world’s pandemic problems, the situation in Japan is compounded when you consider only a tiny percentage of Japanese residents have been vaccinated. Pundits are calling this Olympics a melting pot to energize a new COVID strain worldwide. If Japan pulls off hosting these Olympic Games successfully, they deserve the biggest gold medal ever presented.

And back home, statistics say we have vaccinated about half the United States’ population. The vax frenzy that produced panic and long lines back in January and February has sadly come to a halt. Now people are being bribed with incentives to do the right thing, protect themselves and others with whom they come into contact with. Steve Duckworth, a gym buddy and SMC reader, echoes my thoughts when he emphatically asks the anti-vaxers, “What’s the problem? It’s only a vaccine. We needed multiple vaccines to be allowed to go to grade school when we were kids. Come on, people.”

As inspiring as Phil’s win was in the PGA two weeks ago, to me it was a distant second in chills to Tiger’s win at the Masters two years ago.

Old guys keep winning.

2021 is the year of the old-guys: Brady, 43, in the Super Bowl; Phil, 50, wins the PGA and 46-year-old Helio Castroneves sped to a win at Indy last weekend. The stage is set perfectly for Roger at Wimbledon, though he’s only a kid at 39, not turning 40 until August.

I’m sure nobody noticed but the Belmont Stakes was run yesterday and won by Essential Quality. Early estimates were a national television audience of about twenty-six diehards and racetrack degenerates. Mercifully, this year’s Triple Crown series is now over and for the first time in the history of the sport we still don’t know who officially won the Kentucky Derby. To nobody’s surprise the second drug sample of presumed winner Medina Spirit came back positive a few days ago, just like the first one, which will lead to almost a certain disqualification. And once that happens the lawsuits will follow. Odds are the Kentucky Derbies of 2022 and 2023 will be run before the courts ultimately tell us who won the 2021 race. Medina Spirit’s slick trainer Bob Baffert has now been suspended in Kentucky for two years. With no national governing body, it’s up to the other racing states to either follow suit or turn their back on Kentucky and let Baffert race, which would in effect sanction the nation’s top trainer’s transgressions. Someone asked me the other day if this will be the death of horse racing. How can you die if you’re already dead?

Used cars are no longer used cars. Now they are ‘pre-owned’ vehicles. Call them what you want but used car, oops pre-owned, prices averaged $25,463 in April, the highest ever and 12% higher than last year. Better kick those tires twice.

Kudos to Michael Jordan for his donation of $1 million to Atlanta’s Morehouse College in part to help support its journalism program, a degree very dear to me. Journalists don’t make athletes who they are but in many ways make them what they are. Nice to see one of the greats recognize that.

In the same vein with journalists and athletes, I originally didn’t know what to make about tennis champion Naomi Osaka and her boycott of the media at this week’s French Open other than just another spoiled brat. Osaka then described herself as being “vulnerable and anxious” when dealing with the press that led to depression. The tournament fined her $15,000 for skipping the interview podium after her opening round win. She wasn’t angry about it, just reflective. Naomi ultimately decided it would be best to withdraw from the tournament, work on her issues and not distract from the play on the court. That approach is an outright winner for the four-time major champion.

Osaka (l) and Barty both gone from France.

When I read that Osaka was the second ranked woman tennis player in the world I was flat-out stumped on who could be number one? I knew it wasn’t Serena anymore and figured it wasn’t Martina, Chris, Evonne Goolagong or Virginia Wade either. I turned to my resident tennis expert and asked Andi who’s the top ranked women’s tennis player. She didn’t miss a beat and shouted back, “Ash Barty.” Ash who?

Barty, an Australian with a bad hip, and Osaka, the top two seeds in the French Open, both withdrew last week. That should help the already meager television ratings.

It was a year ago yesterday I got my only hole-in-one. I’m getting impatient again.

Mike Krzyzewski announced his retirement from Duke with the same grace and class he conducted his career.

For those of you, like me, who have missed the USFL since it folded 36 years ago, wait no longer. Dreams do come true. The league that gave us Herschel Walker, Jim Kelly, Doug Flutie and New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump just announced its spring 2022 return. No word yet on franchise locations, player source or financing but why let small things stand in the way of another spring football flop?

In April, for the second month in a row, Nevada casinos reported a ‘win’ total in excess of $1 billion. Nice to see those stimulus checks found a home.

May should be a good month for Vegas too. The busiest Uber spot in the country, in fact the world, over Memorial Day weekend was McCarran Airport.

Because gamblers will bet on anything, Vegas has posted an over/under of 2.5 on how many touchdowns Jacksonville’s Tim Tebow will score this NFL season. The only condition is Tebow must be on the opening game roster and see action in the first game. And if you were looking to make some easy money, William Hill sportsbooks had Toronto as -$4000 to win its opening round playoff divisional series against Montreal after they took a 3-1 series lead. During the regular season Toronto was the class of the division and one of the best in the NHL. Montreal had to rally to even get into the playoffs. Once the Maple Leafs took the commanding series lead, you could lay $4000 to win $100. Or if you needed an extra grand for the mortgage payment, take out a home equity loan of $40,000 to win $1,000. Easy cash. Except for one thing. Montreal came back and won three straight. Now that’s a bad and very expensive beat.

And speaking of an over/under of 2.5, anybody that had the ‘over’ on how many surgeries it would require to repair my lacerated lower eyelid from a dog accident back in November, cash the over. I had my third and hopefully last procedure on Friday.

That same night the NHL had its first post-pandemic sellout as 17,504 hockey fans jammed Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena for the Golden Knights-Colorado playoff game. The only two in the building wearing masks were the goaltenders. Sellout number two will be tonight for series game four.

Really, did you have to do that? So starved for entertainment was the kid who took 20 seconds to move my car from the vacuum station onto the wash rails at the car wash, that changed my radio from 60’s on 6 to Underground Garage. Of course he left it there.

Marv was marvelous.

And finally a tip of the old New York Rangers and New York Knicks cap to the most influential broadcaster of my day as a lad growing up in New York. Marv Albert announced his plans to retire at the end of this year’s NBA playoffs where he does games for TNT. His legacy will be continued by his broadcasting brothers Al and Steve and son, Kenny Albert. Marv, born Marvin Aufrichtig, the Brooklyn son of grocery store owners, was a 24-year-old kid just out of Syracuse University when he became the full-time radio voice of the Rangers in 1964. I was 12 and a devoted listener to everything Knicks and Rangers. We first heard Albert when he pinch-hit for regular Knicks play-by-play broadcaster Marty Glickman in 1963. Only a few years before that Marv was a ball boy for the Knicks. His trademark calls included “Kick save and a beauty” when Rangers goalie Ed Giacomin made a key stop and “Yesss” every time Frazier, Reed, DeBusschere, Komives, Bradley or Barnett made a big jump shot for the Knicks. In 1973 he also became the radio voice of the New York football Giants.  We knew we couldn’t keep him forever in little old New York. The networks took his voice, talent and in-game tempo nationwide in the 80s and advanced his career doing just about every sport on network radio and television including Super Bowls, Stanley Cup Finals, NBA Championships, World Series and Wimbledon. He also had 53 appearances on The David Letterman Show, doing what was known as the “Albert Achievement Awards” of great plays and sports bloopers. In 1997 he survived a tabloid-driven kinky sex scandal, but who hasn’t? My personal homage to Albert came in 1986 when I was doing the color commentary on cable television for a minor league hockey game in Iowa. One of the goalies stopped a slap shot with his pads and without thinking I blurted, “Kick save and a beauty!” The play-by-play guy, Joe Denk, turned to me and asked, “Did you just say that?” My immediate response? “Yessss, I did.” Thanks Marv.

11 Comments

  • Roy Abrams says:

    The info on Marv Albert was precious. I went to Syracuse University and remember him broadcasting SU football and basketball. He was the best. And he replaced the best…Marty Glickman…also Syracuse University.

    Kudos on remembering.

    Les Keiter…any memories?

    Go Knights Go…Game 4 tonite.

  • Ken Rich says:

    Roy, keep them coming. Good stuff as always!

  • Super post, Roy. You are so right about the vaccines. You can’t enroll kids in school without a host of vaccinations. Taking Zoe (15) and Liam (12) for their Pfizers #2 this morning – vaccinations performed by nurses from Holy Name Hospital at, wait for it, Temple Emmanuel of Closter, NJ.

    Looks like the Olympics are definitely going to happen – and as 98% of the world watches the Olympics on TV (yeah, even me), I wonder how much no audience, fans, cheering, hoopla will matter. In my collection, I have a poster for the 1940 Olympic Games in Helsinki, which, of course, we never held until 1952. Originally, the 1940 games were meant to be in Tokyo, but because of Japanese atrocities in China, Helsinki was runner-up. My brother, 11 at the time, attended the 1948 games in London.

    A year since the first hole in one. Keep trying, It’ll happen again.

  • Herb Shainker says:

    A year ago you had your hole-in-one????? Well, at least, that explains it. Had a huge craving for a shrimp cocktail this morning….couldn’t figure out why. Any chance of me ordering another one on you this afternoon????

  • Steve Duckhorn says:

    Thanks for the mention Roy. You may be the only person in my life that actually listens to me when I speak! Ha!

  • David Moses says:

    Well done but you may not want to travel to Mexico for awhile. Not sure what the odds are (you will know, I am sure) but I bet a hole in one will be experienced no later than when Shocker Nation invades Vegas in November for the basketball tournament! The best to all…

  • Mike Jaskulski says:

    Great stuff as usual Roy. Aaah the memories – play by play in Dubuque Iowa by Joe Denk. Keep entertaining us!

  • Nancy Shinder says:

    I appreciate the variety in this week’s posting. What are the odds of a second hole in one?

  • brian messing says:

    Congrats on the hole in one–still waiting for my first
    Hope you have had the last surgery on your eye and healing will be fast
    My first hockey game was the Rangers in 1962 at the old MSG
    Had seats on the glass and after 45 seconds a fight broke out with both benches emptying

  • Jill Hill says:

    I see you Roy and Joe Denk! I did not know you did announcing in Dubuque. Those were the bad old days!

  • William Floyd says:

    Next time you’re at the club notice the last name on the Hole in One placard for holes 12 and 15. They seem to come in groups. Still waiting for 3 and 7!

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