May 28, 2019
This past weekend, two sports stars passed away. Major League Baseball’s Bill Buckner and the National Football League’s Bart Starr.
Starr was 85, while Buckner just 69. The former Green Bay Packers quarterback passed away after battling complications caused by a stroke five years ago while Buckner died from an illness called “Lewy body dementia.” For Starr, he leaves behind a very successful legacy have won the very first two Super Bowls.
But for Buckner, despite an impressive 22 year career in baseball where he played for several teams, he unfortunately has had his legacy tainted with one simple play that he made a terrible error on that nearly everyone solely remembers him for.
It was the 1986 World Series and Buckner’s Red Sox were on the verge of bringing home their first World Championship in 68 years despite having made it to the big dance three times prior to ’86 only to lose. With men on base by the opposing New York Mets, a simple ground ball came Buckner’s way as he manned first base but the ball skipped through his legs allowing the Mets to win game six and then they took game seven and the title.
The unfortunate error haunted Buckner for years despite how well he handled the knowledge of knowing he cost his team a title, but it’s not fair that he shoulders all the blame, because the Red Sox still failed to win game seven or manage to pull out game six. In fact, that fateful game six began with two outs and Boston leading 5-3. Calvin Schiraldi was the Red Sox pitcher on the mound and with one more out, it would have been series over and the long drought Boston had suffered would have been over.
But Gary Carter singled and then Kevin Mitchell did the same and Ray Knight stepped up with another single scoring Carter. In comes Bob Stanley who promptly threw a wild pitch allowing Mitchell to score from third. Then came Buckner’s error with the scored tied 5-5 and Ray Knight crossed home with the unthinkable.
It’s a reminder of the Chicago Cubs “Bartman” situation from a 2003 as the Cubbies in the National League Championship series, playing the Florida Marlins had a three games to two lead and in the 8th inning, with one out, and a man on second, Florida’s Luis Castillo hit a foul ball that Chicago fan Steve Bartman interfered with as Moises Alou tried to make the catch. He failed and the Marlins went on a tear scoring eight times in the inning.
Bartman’s fault? Perhaps for one play which would have only been the SECOND out. Chicago’s pitching staff is more to blame as they not only gave up a stupid eight runs, but also five hits, and an error at short. Like Boston, they lost game six and seven. Chicago’s World Series drought was MUCH worse than was Boston’s as they had not been to a World Series in 58 years and not won a title in 95 years.
The Cubs’ failure to win a World Series would last 108 years until they finally won the big one in 2016. So for those who want to blame Bill Buckner for Boston losing the World Series in 1986, slow your roll. In 22 years, Bill Buckner averaged just around 20 strikeouts a season. That is an incredible mark. He hit .289 lifetime with 2,715 hits, and he knocked in 1,208 runs. Impressive.
As for current day baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates had their tails handed to them over the weekend by the National League West Division leaders, the L.A. Dodgers then split a double header with the Reds on Memorial Day. The Bucs record now sits at an even .500 with 26 in the W/L columns but they are still just four games back from Chicago. However, they have dropped to three games back in the wild card race.
In the Pittsburgh Penguins camp, for those of you worried about Phil Kessel becoming an ex-Pen, you can rest easy…for now. That’s because a potential trade to the Minnesota Wild has been rejected by Kessel himself. Reportedly, there are eight teams on Kessel’s approval list for potential destinations but the Wild is not one of them. According to Kessel, since Minnesota is not close to competing for a Stanley Cup title in his opinion, he nixed the deal.
Finally for today, my JERK OF THE DAY…it’s ex-Steeler Joey Porter. Last week he was being interviewed on television and he attacked Ben Roethlisberger and defended Antonio Brown. Should we have expected anything else? This from a guy who has been shot, arrested, and opened his big mouth too many times when he was a player. What did Porter say about Big Ben?
“It’s clear he has the power, and how he uses it? He uses it for him. You want your locker room to love you. Once you have a bad situation, they’re not going to pick up the phone. If you feel slighted by any teammate — friends, teammates — once you feel like you’ve been betrayed in any type of way, I’m not picking up your phone call. You can’t call me and say, Oh, I’m sorry the next day. I need you to be sorry when you did it. You can’t be sorry that late, so those relationships went the other way. Now that he’s being a man and apologizing now, it’s a couple days too late. All of that probably could’ve been avoided if he was coming to them and saying, I didn’t handle that the right way. But that’s the way he chose to go about it. He’s apologizing now, and it’s a little bit too late.”
What an idiot. He just needs to shut up. He has NO credibility. If you don’t recall, before Super Bowl XL, Seattle’s Jerramy Stevens made the following declaration:
“It's a heartwarming story and all that, but it will be a sad day when he leaves without that trophy.”
He was talking about Jerome Bettis and Porter took offense to those comments and responded with:
“He should know his role. He hasn’t done anything that makes anybody fear him, while Jerome is a Hall of Famer and everybody knows about him. Meanwhile, this guy is almost a first-round bust who barely made some plays this year. He has the nerve to say what Jerome is not going to do when he isn’t going to be the deciding factor whether that happens or not. I’m going to make sure he don’t have anything to do with the outcome of the game.”
Both men should have sealed their lips. Porter finished Super Bowl XL with just three solo tackles and nothing else. Stevens caught three passes for 25 yards although he did score once. Ben Roethlisberger handled this entire Antonio Brown situation like a consummate professional and did it the right way. All A.B. has done is conduct himself in the most extreme immature and unprofessional manner and continues to do so. It’s pathetic and embarrassing for Brown but he just keeps on keeping on.
A final note from the UFC today, Urijah Faber will be back in the Octagon. The former WEC champion who failed to win a UFC title will make his comeback at the age of 40 and most likely fight in July when there is a card in his hometown in California. I suppose Faber watched B.J. Penn lose again recently and felt he still had something left in the gas tank as well. Said Faber:
“Looking at today’s landscape, I just know that I can compete easily. I’ve stayed in great shape. It sounds like fun and the reason I stopped is because I wanted to. The reason I’m coming back is I have decided I want to … I just accepted a fight yesterday, I don’t know if that’s supposed to be put out yet.”
Looking at today’s landscape? I take that to mean he thinks the talent level that he might face is not very strong. He’s in for a rude awakening.