Picked-up pieces while waiting for the ever-unapologetic US women to win the World Cup Sunday in France.
■ Crushing Dave Dombrowski for the Red Sox bullpen failure is not a second-guess by anybody around here. Like everybody else, I challenged Dombro on the state of the Sox bullpen in spring training, and on March 17 he told me, “I think we’ll be ready . . . I understand there’s no proven closer and until somebody gets out there and does that, there’s always an uncertainty, but we think we have enough ability there to get the job done . . . We’ll be fine out there, I believe. Give guys a chance and we’ll see what takes place.’’ As we all know, this philosophy was built on “hope’’ rather than established talent. Bad bullpen-building cost Dombrowski a World Series when he had a Tiger wagon in 2013, and it may keep his team out of the playoffs this year. What a waste. The Sox are built to win now and have the top payroll in baseball. But Dombrowski put cheap gas in a Rolls-Royce and paid the price. The announcement that Nathan Eovaldi will take over as closer was equally weird. Dombrowski refused to say it was “desperation,’’ insisting it was a move of “urgency.’’ No, thanks. It’s risky to hand the job to a guy who’s had two Tommy John surgeries. Plus, Eovaldi doesn’t want to close and is still at least a week away. Meanwhile, the Sox went into the weekend with an American League-leading 18 blown saves. It’s time to trade for a closer. Who do they think they are kidding?
■ Regarding bringing on more payroll, John Henry last weekend told WEEI’s Rob Bradford, “It’s not a luxury-tax issue, it’s a question of how much money do we want to lose. We’re already over budget and we were substantially over our budget last year and this year. We’re not going to be looking to add a lot of payroll.’’ Stunned that the world champion Boston Red Sox might be losing money, I e-mailed the owner to ask if I was reading this correctly and if NESN revenues are counted when calculating losses. Henry, who also owns the Globe, did not respond.
■ Prayers to David Ortiz. Sunday marks four weeks since Papi was shot in the Dominican Republic. We still have no credible explanation for why this happened and there’s been no update on Ortiz’s medical condition by the Red Sox or Ortiz’s family since Tiffany Ortiz announced that her husband was moved out of intensive care two weeks ago. A Sox spokesman told the Globe Friday that Ortiz is still at Mass. General.
■ If Mayor Pete Buttigieg gets sick and can’t make it to the next debate, he can send Brad Stevens in his place and no one will know the difference.
■ Mookie Betts’s odd decline actually started last year in the playoffs. After his over-the-top MVP season (.346, 32 homers), Betts batted .210 in three postseason series with one homer and 12 strikeouts over 14 games. Betts went into Saturday bstting .268, down 78 points from 2018. Meanwhile, exactly what is going on with Andrew Benintendi?
■ Kawhi Leonard going to the Clippers makes the Clips instant favorites to win the 2020 NBA championship. Now that everything has shaken out, the Clippers, Lakers, Bucks, 76ers, Warriors, Rockets, Jazz, and Raptors are all favored ahead of your Celtics, who are at 25-1 odds with some bookmakers.
■ Major League Baseball playing games is Europe makes zero sense. It’s an interesting “event” but does nothing to make MLB a global game. Meanwhile, playing a 4-hour-42-minute nine-inning games does nothing to “grow the sport’’ on any continent.
■ Hats off to John Sterling, who worked 5,060 consecutive games in the Yankee broadcast booth before taking a break when the Yankees played at St. Petersburg this weekend. Sterling’s ironman streak started in 1989. The New York Post noted that Deion Sanders was playing outfield in the Bronx the last time Sterling missed a game.
■ Patriots fans go wild with excitement any time there’s any cherry-picked stat to indicate that the AFC East is not a joke. Meanwhile, New England will go into this season with a quarterback who has 237 career wins (including postseason). The other three projected starting quarterbacks (Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen) in the Warhol Division have fewer combined wins than Brady did during the 2007 regular season.
■ QUIZ: Name American League Cy Young Award winners — at least one in each decade from 1960-2009 — who have four letters in their last name (answer below).
■ Fear and loathing through the decades: Newsday’s Tim Healey’s dustup with Mets manager Mickey Callaway and pitcher Jason Vargas reminded me of a few of my own in the years before the Internet. Tippy Martinez, Lee May, Steve Crawford, Wade Boggs, Mo Vaughn, and Carl Everett come to mind as the loudest and angriest encounters, but no fines were levied, no news was made, and it was never a big deal the next day. I wasn’t there when the late Will McDonough cold-cocked Raymond Clayborn in the Patriots’ locker room, but I witnessed Jim Rice clawing the shirt off the Hartford Courant’s Steve Fainaru in the visitors’ clubhouse in Oakland. Fainaru went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. Rice went to the Hall of Fame. No harm, no foul.
■ According to Sports Illustrated, freedom fighter Bob Kraft, rapper Meek Mill, and Alex Rodriguez share the same image-making publicist: Ron Berkowitz. Meanwhile, A-Rod told USA Today that he reached out to David Price after Price went winless (one loss, one no-decision) in his first two postseason starts last year, sending Price an encouraging text. “It was pretty cool for him to hit me up at the time he did,’’ Price told USA Today. A-Rod said he reached out to Price at the suggestion of his fiancée, Jennifer Lopez. Rodriguez, by the way, serves the Yankees as a special adviser.
■ Jerry Remy’s new book, “If These Walls Could Talk,’’ written with the late Nick Cafardo, had this nugget about Price from Remy: “A couple of years ago, I was getting nothing from him, not a hello, not a goodbye, totally nothing . . . He was miserable . . . I went up to him and I said, ‘David, can I sit down with you for five minutes?’ And he said, ‘No, I’m busy right now.’ So I said, ‘OK, that’s good enough for me. If you don’t want to talk, that’s fine.’ ’’ Remy went on to disclose that Price was later very nice to him after he came back from a cancer relapse.
■ New Celtics big man Enes Kanter has no passport and cannot travel internationally. Kanter is a native of Turkey and had his passport pulled after criticizing Turkish president Recep Erdogan.
■ NESN Thinks We Are Stupid note of the week: It was brutal watching the Sox network cut to a package on Chris Sale’s “immaculate” innings after the lefthander came off the mound after being routed in Toronto Wednesday. Sale may be 3-8 at the All-Star break, but whee!, look at those six strikeouts on 18 pitches! The Red Sox are 6-12 in Sale starts this year.
■ You have to hope 7-foot-6-inch Tacko Fall somehow plays for the Celtics this season. Great name. Legitimate giant. Got to be better than Greg Kite. Give him a jersey!
■ QUIZ ANSWER: Whitey Ford, 1960s; Vida Blue and Sparky Lyle, 1970s; LaMarr Hoyt, 1980s; David Cone, 1990s; Barry Zito, 2000s.