More to come about lousy Miami football a bit later, but one comment up top about the Miami coaching fiasco last night: Coaches coach to put their teams in a position to win. On Saturday night against Georgia Tech, Miami head coach Mario Cristobal and his staff hung their kids out to dry making a decision, ultimately a juvenile coaching mistake, that cost them the game and their undefeated record. The Miami football family deserved better.
There’s not much these days that can shake-up, never mind revolutionize the entertainment scene in Las Vegas but it happened a week ago Friday night. Madison Square Garden’s long awaited Sphere opened on September 29 to rave reviews that nearly made headliner U2 seem like a side show when compared with the building’s sound and special effects. Beyond words to describe it was the social media buzz. Over five years in the planning, the 18,600 seat amphitheater/concert hall/convention center finally opened on an 18 acre plot behind the Venetian resort. It’s not a ballpark with concerts; it’s a music venue with no sports, highlighted by over 160,000 speakers and constantly changing graphics from floor to ceiling, inside and out. The Sphere became the pet project of MSG’s owner Jim Dolan. What started off as a $1.2 billion dollar attraction came in at double the estimate before U2 made it a Beautiful Day. Rangers and Knicks fans, teams also owned by Dolan, collectively salivated about what $2.3 billion could buy in championship banners. And as bad a sports owner as Dolan is, he seemed to get this one right, as gobs and gobs of celebrity first timers made opening night the Vegas place to be. And it will continue to be that way for U2’s 25 Sphere performance residency. Among the opening night VIPs were my cousins Vera and Andy Sachs from NYC on the MSG red carpet. No strangers to the finer things, Andy’s comment afterwards was, “The experience was so phenomenal you almost forgot U2 was playing.” No, I was not there. Bad timing. It was the first night of Sukkot and instead of shaking my booty at the Sphere, I was shaking a lulav in the Sukkot hut. However, we’ve been invited by friends to join them tonight and couldn’t say yes quick enough.
Rumors swirl that jam band Phish is booked for eight Sphere dates in the spring. If true it will provide a huge financial boon to the legal marijuana industry in Nevada.
Thanks to all who asked how my Kol Nidre Appeal speech (SMC-September 24, 2023) for Yom Kippur was received. Let’s put it this way— when the 18 minute address (finally) ended, four of our congregants said they were so moved they were going to increase their donations. Five said they would decrease theirs.
It’s probably just me but I don’t understand the Taylor Swift thing.
A pox on Pennsylvania senator John Fetterman for compromising the Capitol Hill dress code with his sloppy and reprehensible attire on the chamber floor. Hopefully Pennsylvania voters don’t have short memories. It’s not something very often said, but kudos to the powers-that-be on the Hill for mandating proper dress that’s complimentary to the role our officials are theoretically elected to play in government.
And before we leave Washington, is there anyone happier about the Bob Menendez and Kevin McCarthy headlines and the attention it’s getting than George Santos?
Some good news for Joe Biden who surely could use some. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, based in DC, has suspended Judge Pauline Newman, 96, for a year as she has been uncooperative with a court investigation of her mental fitness resulting from a series of concerns that Newman is facing cognitive and physical impairment. I’m not quite sure sitting on the sidelines for a year will make a new woman out of her, but Mr. Biden at 16 years her junior is just a kid after all.
Happy 99th birthday to President Jimmy Carter; Angie Dickinson celebrated number 92 and Brigitte Bardot, the French sexpot of our youth, turned 89.
Not that anyone cares anymore but this is National Newspaper Week. It always falls right before National 8-Track Cassette Week.
I’m a baseball guy and whether I like it or not, the changes the game has made on the field has created interest with league-wide attendance up double digits this season. But I’m not a fan of baseball’s post-season celebration rites. First of all, it’s the only sport that celebrates each winning round with champagne. Hockey, basketball and football have reserved celebrations and realize the ultimate cork popping is at the very end, trophy secured. Not baseball, anytime they have a chance to pop a bottle, they do. Baseball also doesn’t acknowledge the competition afterwards. Hockey has the best handshake tradition, while basketball and football mingle with their foes on the court or field at series end. Baseball teams just turn their backs on each other and retreat to their respective clubhouse.
What ever happened to the Dewey Decimal System?
The Honeymooners, one of my favorites both back in the day and still today, celebrated its 68th anniversary last Sunday. Debuting October 1, 1955, on CBS, the sitcom only played the equivalent of one season, 39 episodes, but every one of them was a classic. It was a ratings success, moving to number two on the charts, but unable to top the Perry Como Show on NBC. I still watch the Honeymooners once a week. Lines are classic. The timing was phenomenal for a show that didn’t rehearse. For years in the 1980’s I was a card carrying member of R.A.L.P.H.—the Royal Association for the Longevity and Preservation of the Honeymooners. That organization ultimately faded away like the smell of the moo goo gai pan when the Hong Kong Gardens closed.
Also, this week marks the 63rd anniversary of the first of 249 half hour episodes of the Andy Griffith Show premiering.
An idea too good to happen: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has sent to Parliament a proposal raising the age in England to buy cigarettes by one year, every year. Presently the age is 18. Actuarially that means anyone who turns 14 next year will never be able to purchase a pack.
Back to lousy Miami football. The stories today’s ticket stubs tell has us in the press box 50 years ago. First to October 6, 1973, with the University of Miami in Norman, OK, to play the Sooners. I was a senior at the U and covering the game as the Executive Sports Editor of The Miami Hurricane. Miami came into the game 2-0 with a stunning home upset of #1 Texas 20-15 and a 14-10 road win at Florida State. The week of the Texas-Miami game, the Longhorns were the Sports Illustrated cover story, helping the myth of the SI jinx gain traction. After the opening two wins, Miami was ranked 17th nationally. Oklahoma, ranked fourth, walloped Baylor 42-14 and, back in the days when a tie was kissing your sister, played to a 7-7 deadlock with USC the week before Miami. The Canes, a two touchdown underdog, took a very surprising 20-7 lead at halftime with Oklahoma perhaps too focused on their rivalry match-up the following Saturday against Texas. Sooner coach Barry Switzer, in his first season, woke them up in the locker room, Miami didn’t score again, and Oklahoma did just enough to escape with a 24-20 win. That was as close as anyone got to Oklahoma the rest of the season. No other margin was closer than 17 points including a 52-13 rout of Texas on their way to a final record of 10-0-1, finishing third in the final AP football rankings behind unbeaten Notre Dame and Ohio State. Miami never played as well as they did in the first half against Oklahoma ending the season at 5-6 with three losses in a row to Alabama, Florida and a 44-0 whitewash by the Irish. Notre Dame unbeaten at 10-0, came into the December 1, 1973, finale at Miami, ranked third in the nation. As the third quarter neared an end the Irish were ahead 31-0 with quarterback Tom Clements and all the regulars still in the game. The final tally was 44-0. In the victorious Orange Bowl Stadium locker room afterwards, the cub reporter from Miami with mutton chops who later, much later, went on to become a must-read Sunday morning blogger, asked Coach Ara Parseghian if Notre Dame might have been trying to run up the score to impress pollsters. “Young man,” Parseghian stared and curtly said, “Notre Dame does not run the score up on anybody.” Okay coach, whatever you say. Notre Dame beat top-seeded Alabama 24-23 in the Sugar Bowl finishing at 11-0, the only unbeaten and untied team in the country. I never asked Ara another question.
However, no school in college football ran up the score any better than Georgia Tech did 107 years ago yesterday, October 7, 1916, when they beat Cumberland 222-0. Rumor is they were 221.5 point favorites for an easy cover.
The New York Giants don’t quite grasp the concept of home field advantage. They have scored three points in two Meadowlands games.
There were 9,000 entries at $1,000 each in this year’s NFL Circa Survivor Contest. Our dream of winning the $9 million pool crashed in the third week. Indianapolis beating Baltimore put an end to my partner Travis Scribner and me buying homes in Bali.
Tattoos are more in vogue today than ever, but pity the poor 30-something who was in the sauna with me at the gym last week. Even worse than having an ex-wife or old girlfriend’s name inked on your inner thigh, this guy has a green and white J-E-T-S stamped on his right bicep. It’s probably best he keeps a shirt on.
The National Hockey League season begins this week and Tuesday night will be a very special night here in Vegas when the Stanley Cup Championship banner will be raised to the roof of T-Mobile Arena before the defending champion Vegas Golden Knights face off against Seattle. Tickets are at a premium. Hoping the Knights can go back-to-back, but my hockey play for the season is Toronto over 104.5 points.
I actually got to touch the Stanley Cup twice over the past 30 years, which is once more than the New York Rangers. The first time was in 1994, about four months before the Rangers claimed it, in the office of our minor league team in Wichita, Kansas. Then three weeks ago, Andi and I were invited to an event hosted by one of the Golden Knights execs who is also a friend. Hands downs, it is the most revered trophy in all of sports and really an honor to be in its company.
Only old time hockey fans will remember the late Lorne Worsley who played 20 years in the NHL for the Rangers, Canadiens and North Stars. He finally retired in 1974 at a very worn 45 years old. Worsley was nicknamed ‘Gump’ because of his uncanny resemblance to comic-strip character Andy Gump. He played his whole career without a mask proudly proclaiming, “My face is my mask.” He had more stitches than a box of baseballs. Worsley also holds the NHL record for most saves in a season by a goaltender. In fact, the top two belong to him. As a Ranger in 1955-56 he stopped 2,376 shots and in 1962-63 he turned away 2,306. Both years the Rangers were terrible. When asked by the media after the ‘55-56 season which team in the league gives him the most problems, Gump didn’t miss a beat and said, “The New York Rangers.”
And finally, as we continue to pray for Ukraine and its people, please save some thoughts for Israel too.