Picked-up pieces while wondering if there’s an old Gerry Cheevers mask I can use when I go to 7-Eleven to pick up the daily newspapers …
▪ In a big story that got small attention, Federal District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner quickly and decisively dismissed the equal pay complaint of the US women’s national soccer team Friday.
The US women were the darlings of the sports media when they steamrolled all competition en route to winning the World Cup last summer, led by glory hog Megan Rapinoe (ever the charmer, she dropped an “MF-bomb” into a live microphone after the team’s parade through New York’s Canyon of Heroes).
The US women also made a lot of noise about how they had been routinely dissed and underpaid by the US Soccer Federation, particularly in relation to the men’s national team. However, Klausner swatted down their complaint in Dikembe Mutombo fashion, writing, “The WNT has been paid more on both a cumulative and an average-per-game basis than the MNT” over the years covered in the case. Andrew Das in the New York Times characterized it as "a devastating rejection of the women’s case.''
US Soccer had offered to settle the case for $9 million, but the strident players countered with $67 million. A negotiated settlement is still possible, but the US women have suffered a defeat akin to the 13-0 thrashing (replete with cartwheel celebrations) they delivered to Thailand last summer.
As has been repeatedly and accurately noted, these players agreed to terms of their compensation in collective bargaining. The courts are not a tool to get you out of an agreement that you signed and later regretted.
▪ I am told that if you check out J.T. Watkins’s basement, you will find Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee,” last seen on the walls of the Gardner Museum in March 1990.
▪ Cancellation of the 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies means that we will have to wait another summer to honor the late Nick Cafardo. There is one side benefit however. Pushing the 2020 induction into 2021 means Curt Schilling won’t have the podium to himself when he darkens Cooperstown’s doorstep next summer. Schilling was possibly going to be the lone honoree in 2021, but now he’ll be joined by this year’s class of Derek Jeter, Ted Simmons, Larry Walker, and the late Marvin Miller.
▪ Holy Cross’s once-vaunted men’s basketball program is in shambles. The Crusaders went 3-29 last winter and now — with new NCAA regulations possibly allowing first-time transfers to become immediately eligible — eight players have requested transfers. None of the eight have identified where they are headed. Horrible optic.
▪ Newton North baseball coach Joe Siciliano remembers when “The Last Dance” director Jason Hehir was a lefthanded pitcher for the Tigers of the Bay State League. Hehir went on to pitch at Williams, where alumnus George Steinbrenner built the baseball field. According to Siciliano, "Jason had a great pickoff move. He once told me he pitched a game at Williams in front of Steinbrenner and hit the first batter he faced in the neck.''
▪ Speaking of "The Last Dance,'' I’m still waiting for three as-yet-untold stories:
1. We know Michael Jordan hates Isiah Thomas and we’ve seen the famous non-handshake moment after the Bulls dethroned the Pistons in 1991. But we’ve yet to see the alleged Thomas-orchestrated freeze-out of Jordan at the 1985 NBA All-Star Game in Indianapolis.
2. Also missing thus far is Scottie Pippen’s shameless quitting episode at the end of a playoff game at Chicago in 1994. It happened while Jordan was away playing baseball and it showed Pippen’s true colors when he would not go into a tie game with 1.2 seconds left because Phil Jackson hadn’t called for him to take the shot. With Pippen on the bench, Toni Kukoc made the game-winner for the Bulls.
3. Jordan famously stopped speaking to Sports Illustrated after he appeared on an SI cover playing baseball under the headline, "Bag It, Michael!'' Former SI boss Mark Mulvoy, who wrote the headline, says, "I put Michael on the cover 22 times. Made millions for Michael, Nike, Gatorade. This one showed Michael flailing hopelessly at a pitch. I was told by someone very high in MLB that [White Sox owner Jerry] Reinsdorf intended to bring MJ up to the White Sox, play him at home one weekend — and sell out the park. We said he was out of his league. Michael has refused to talk with anyone from SI for more than 25 years. No way I’m watching his special now.''
▪ Quiz: 1. Name the strike-breaking Red Sox infielder who made the ball club from the 1995 spring training roster of non-major leaguers. 2. Former Harvard men’s hockey coach Billy Cleary played a role in what Oscar-nominated film? (Answers below.)
▪ I just love that Lenoir-Rhyne football schedule. Kyle Dugger goes from Mars Hill, Tusculum, Limestone, and Catawba to New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and Houston.
▪ New Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett is no fan of Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, telling The Athletic, "I don’t want any dealings with Glen Taylor or Taylor Corp. . . . I don’t do business with snakes.''
Garnett claims he had an agreement with the late Flip Saunders (then T-Wolves coach) that stipulated he would become a part-owner of the team after he retired in exchange for waiving his no-trade clause. "When Flip died , that understanding went with Flip,'' Garnett told The Athletic. "For that I won’t forgive Glen.''
Garnett and fellow Hall of Famer Bill Walton both wore No. 5 for the Celtics.
▪ Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who has been at the helm for all of two seasons, became New York’s longest-tenured head coach/manager when the Brooklyn Nets fired Kenny Atkinson in February. That’s a group that includes nine professional teams.
▪ Bob Kraft is not the first Boston team owner showered with the ridiculous pomposity of "Mr.'' Old-timers remember that it was always “Mr. Yawkey” when Thomas A. Yawkey owned the Red Sox. Never heard Ted Williams or Yaz refer to the boss as anything other than "Mr. Yawkey.''
▪ Ron Roenicke trivia: Roenicke’s brother Gary was a power-hitting left fielder for Earl Weaver’s Orioles in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Gary Roenicke hit 25 homers in 1979 and 19 for the world champion Orioles in 1983. He was acquired by Baltimore, along with Joe Kerrigan, in a deal with the Montreal Expos in December 1977.
Ron Roenicke, two years younger than Gary, finished his big league career with the Cincinnati Reds in 1988, playing for manager Pete Rose. At 63, the Sox skipper is the fourth-oldest manager in the majors, trailing only Dusty Baker, Joe Maddon, and Brian Snitker.
▪ Sox bench coach Jerry Narron is the Forrest Gump of the national pastime. He replaced Thurman Munson the day after Munson died in a plane crash in 1979, caught Donnie Moore the day Moore gave up a series-changing homer to Dave Henderson in the 1986 ALCS, and was Grady Little’s bench coach the night Grady left Pedro Martinez in too long. Narron also was on the Yankee bench for the Bucky Dent game in 1978. "I was a September callup, but never got into any games,'' he says.
▪ New books for quarantine reading: “A Farewell to Arms, Legs, and Jockstraps: A Sportswriter’s Memoir,” by Diane K. Shah. “24” by Willie Mays and John Shea. “Intangibles: Unlocking the Science and Soul of Team Chemistry” by Joan Ryan.
▪ J.T. Watkins hatched the idea for Lori Loughlin’s daughters to pose as crew athletes in order to gain admittance to USC.
▪ Quiz answers: 1. Brian Daubach; 2. "Love Story.''