*Asterisks*

Most Mafia prosecutions happened when a hitman gets caugh and cuts a deal to avoid punishment. The “Dons” go to jail, and the hitman gets a new lease on life. That’s what happened with the Astros cheating scandal. A pitcher left the organization and told his story. MLB investigated and the only way it could gain cooperation was to grant immunity to players – the hitmen who did the deed. Players admitted to cheating but it wasn’t the cheaters who paid, it was the GM and Manager. They got canned and the players skated.

Astros will forever be known for a tainted championship.

PETE ROSE

Pete Rose has been on the baseball banned list for 32 years. He’s also banned from the Hall of Fame. Granted I thought at the time the permanent ban was justified. He bet on games (albeit he bet on his own team) and that was against the rules. The righteousness of banning Rose changed when MLB partnered with a professional gambling site, FanDuel. 32 years is enough Manfred. Reinstate Rose and allow him his spot in the Hall of Fame.

Super Karen

The Tampa Bay Bucs won the Super Bowl. What usually follows a Super Bowl win, is a parade down “Main Street” with the fans celebrating the victory and players getting drunk. With Covid, the best Tampa could do was a boat parade. It worked out well. Players in boats, the fans on shore waving to the players. Tom Brady was on a boat. His old Pats buddy The Gronk in a trailing boat. Brady was…impaired. He had the Lombardi Trophy and being that water separated him from the Gronk in the next boat, he couldn’t just hand it off, so the greatest quarterback to ever toss a deflated ball threw the Lombardi Trophy to Gronk. A distance of maybe 20 feet. Not much of a throw. It was a one rotation toss like, tossing a bubble screen. The greatest, even impaired, made the throw with ease. I thought it was an iconic and enduring moment. Almost everyone loved it. Not everyone. Not Super Karen. Super Karen was horrified.

Super Karen (her real name is…Karen Silversmith) is the daughter of a silversmithing guy who designed the Lombardi. She couldn’t sleep for days. She was horrified after witnessing the throw. How could they treat her dad’s artwork like they were tossing a beer can to a thirsty Gronk? PTSD over a trophy toss isn’t a thing I thought, would be a thing, but it is the age of Karens.

Where’s the manager? I DEMAND TO SEE THE NFL’S MANAGER!!

Musing on Celebrity

A childhood friend was a famous TV actor. His fame wasn’t based on talent (even he would admit that) it was founded on celebrity. He had been plucked out of a mass of kids and landed a job on an iconic TV show. Famous for being famous. I saw him at his worst moments. I read his fan mail. Sad, pathetic girls offering themselves up like virgins headed to the volcano. Actors are often treated as demigods and credited with more talent and intelligence than they really possess. Sean Penn is an enduring example of a guy who reads too much of his fan mail. Granted, he’s a talented actor, but he’s chummed with communists leaders without regret. He wrote one the worst novels of all time, and that 80’s porn star mustache. Woof.

He tweeted “something about something”. It’s hard to get so much wrong in two sentences but Sean Penn managed.

“Germans?” “Never mind, he’s on a roll”.

If we ever get back to normal and I see Penn at Ollo’s in Malibu and Penn is again, peacocking, I’ll think of the “Great Satin” and evangelical catholics, and drugs, mostly drugs. Yeah, don’t do drugs and tweet kids.

From Feature to… Pooofff…

The 2020 World Series was in the 6th game. The Ray’s star pitcher Brent Snell was cruising. Kevin Cash the Ray’s manager walked to the mound and relieved Brent Snell. The world knew that was a bonehead move. I was sure the Dodgers were going to win the series and I was even more excited that an illustration I had produced was going to be a centerpiece for the LA Times Commemorative Book. Well, technically is was going to be the last page of the book. My editor was thrilled, the group producing the book was excited and so was I. A full page in a commemorative book is pretty cool.

The game wore on and everyone started to wonder – Where’s Justin Turner? He wan’t manning 3rd base. He just disappeared from the game – nowhere to be seen. The game ended and still no Turner. Then, we found out the Turner had tested positive for Covid and, my heart sank. I got “the text” from my editor: The illustration wouldn’t make it into the book. Great illustration but Turner tested positive so, bad look for Turner, and bad luck for me.

I thought it a pretty gutless move to pull it but it wasn’t me call. My editor supported me but it was killed higher up the food chain. A couple of the LAT guys wrote columns on Turner putting “everyone in danger” by being on the field. Those takes were catering to the crowd that see every Covid case as a death sentence. Turner was well distance and the science is clear. Outdoor is pretty. Turner, like most young healthy adults, had no problems. Ultimately no one else was infected by Turner but the damage was done. I lost a featured position in the 2020 World Series Commemorative Book.

Oh well. LA Times didn’t pay me or run my illustration, so it’s mine.

NCAA – An American Oligarchy

IN the past few years the NCAA has seen steady attack on its power base. Lawsuits, by athletes wanting to retain rights to their own Image and Likeness have seen moderate success, but California’s legislature has taken a big swing at ending the NCAA stranglehold on athlete rights with a statute designed to protect the athlete and vest, in the athlete, a right to their own likeness and image. The NCAA responded as all bullies do, with a threat. NCAA said it might ban schools from tournaments that resided in Name, Image, Likelness (NIL) states. However other states followed California’s lead and passed NIL statutes. Now the NCAA is on the defensive. It’s leadership is scrambling to save itself from annihilation. The NCAA remains a very powerful institution, but its end is on the horizon. Good riddance.

This week, an attorney on a Zoom call with a judge and other counsel, had a “cat filter” on. He appeared as a pussycat, with googly eyes. It became a viral sensation.

Baseball’s “Good Fellas”

Before Covid, Major League Baseball was awash in cash. Stars making over 30 Million. Guys batting .220 making millions, but minor leaguers barely make enough to survive. It’s shameful how the feeder leagues (and players) are treated by MLB. Players frequently eat hot dogs for dinner. The training table at a DIII school is better at keeping their athletes healthy.

MLB’s reasoned there are too many minor league teams. MLB’s answer was, contraction. It eliminated teams that have been local stalwarts for decades. One the best family entertainment experiences is minor league baseball. The baseball is good, the mascots are fun and its cheap. Go to see an MLB game and you dump $200 per person.

The “Good Fellas” are in charge and they are dumping the completion.

Hank Aaron

My deadline is Friday for the Saturday addition of the Los Angeles Times. I had my cartoon finished when the news of the Hank Aaron death hit the wires. I switched gears, and did my tribute. I’ve always admired Aaron. His infectious smile and gentlemanly manner impressed me. He was a Hall of Fame man, and a Hall of Player, so I had to pump something out. My idea of using Lasorda and Babe Ruth seemed a natural. Lasorda had died two weeks prior so casting Lasorda as Heaven’s Manager seemed appropriate. Both Ruth and Aaron played right field and Aaron ‘replaced’ or, perhaps, displaced the Babe when he hit #715. Arron replacing Babe in the lineup as a rookie – yeah, that’s wha I will do. The illustration turned out nice and I got a solid reaction online.

One ATL Braves site posted my cartoon on their Facebook page. I thought, that’s nice until I read the comments. Good Lord people just love to criticize. A common complaint was “Aaron was a rookie in Milwaukee not Atlanta” or Aaron is going to replace The Babe” or “why is Lasorda Managing Heaven’s team?” 15,00 likes, and 500 comments with most offering criticism.

State of the State

Gavin Newsom is in a horserace with Andrew Cuomo for worst governor in America. Because I live in California, I’ll give the nod to Newsom.

He’s managed to do nothing right. Pandemic Response has been his masterpiece, as in his Waterloo. By example, early on he banned sitting on the beach. There was zero science behind that boneheaded decision. There was a better chance of a Sharknado Great White landing on your beach towel and ripping your lungs out than getting the “Covi” while sitting on a beach but whatever, the Gavs doesn’t sit on the beach, that’s for the unwashed masses.I wonder – did Gov. Newsom text his closure orders from the French Laundry? Clown

The Recall is gathering steam and Governor Slickback is in a panic. His team is labeling everyone who wants him removed a bad person. I signed the Recall Petition. Sign me up for a: “Bad Person” label. Call me: Bad Person #1,203,933.