Deep in flavor. Deep in your mind.

Friday, September 29, 2017

September 2017 Pound for Pound Boxing Rankings

Below are my boxing rankings for the month of September 2017. Hey, thanks for reading, gentlepersons. For yer doing-so, I shall try really hard to remember to include these posts in my Kaplowitz Radio audio endeavors. Lists such as these threaten to become as shallow and pedantic as Lois Griffin's meatloaf, lest some accompanying chat doth occur.

Now, without any further ado, adon't, or amaybe --

  1. Terence Crawford (32-0, 23KO) Super Lightweight
  2. Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33KO) Middleweight
  3. Saul Alvarez (49-1-2, 34KO) Middleweight
  4. Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30KO) Super Lightweight
  5. Keith Thurman (28-0, 22KO) Welterweight
  6. Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11KO) Super Bantamweight
  7. Errol Spence, Jr. (22-0, 19KO) Welterweight
  8. Gilberto Ramirez (36-0, 24KO) Super Middleweight
  9. Wisaksil Wangek (44-4-1, 40KO) Super Flyweight

EDITOR'S NOTE:
Compiled 9/28 as a Yom Kippur work-around.
#1 spot left vacant for the mid-month retired Andre Ward.
Shall include podcast talk-about below whenst available. 

"Cigar of the Year" Kaplowitz Radio: October 1, 2017

Wilder-Ortiz Likely Off After Ortiz Flunks Junks Test

[This is a developing story. This post shall be updated at its foot as unfurling happens.]

Mauricio Sulaiman, WBC president, tweeted-out late last night that Luis Ortiz (27-0, 23 KO) had tested positive in a September 22nd Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) for banned substances. Lou DiBella, the event's promoter, hath in response told ESPN that the fight is likely off. Specifically, the "A" sample tested positive for chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide. These are banned diuretics which can be used to control high blood pressure and/or be used as masking agents for 'roid usage. Or, as Ortiz's camp is vehemently suggesting, as a treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Humsoever, the either 38, 72 or any age twixt year-old Ortiz, already famously tested positive for 'roids after his 2014 first-round knockout win over Lateef Kayode. Thus losing the WBA's interim title 'at the needle' in lieu of the more time-honored and traditional 'on the scale.' I prefer saying 'roids over PEDs, in boxing particularly. In baseball, Bonds employs performance enhancing drugs to crush 73 big-flies. In boxing, the 240-pound "Real King Kong" scrambles some-one's brains in a permanent varietal a' manner. I'm less forgiving here, see?

Thusly, mere hours after I cyber-pen'd Porter-Granados & More Added to Stacked Wilder-Ortiz Card I awoke on my couch to news of the November 4th main event being in severest a' jeopardizings. And just as we were on the verge of an exciting dose of plus-sized division clarity. An undisputed champ. Lo and instead, Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KO) shall be on the hasty prowl for a replacement dance partner at the Barclays Center shin-dig. For those keeping score at home, this marks the third time in a year and four months that a Wilder opponent tested positive for 'roids, for the juice, hence ending before beginning their bid in cancellation.
During last week's NYC presser fight announcement, Wilder was vocal in his concerns re: Ortiz;'s cleanliness. Including but not limited to stating: "Stay clean. Don't f*ck this up for me, nor you, because I'm gonna prove to the world that I am the best." Did he really say "nor?" Feeding Wilder's nerves here were already having seen a mandatory May 2016 Russian defense against Russian Alexander Povetkin fall away whenst the contender failed a 'roid scan. Then again in February a' this year, Wilder's scheduled title defense against Andrzej Wawrzyk was also called off due to the Pollack testing dirty.

DiBella to ESPN: "I can verify the information Mauricio put out. I'm flabbergasted and particularly crestfallen for my fighter. Deontay Wilder is a great champion and a clean champion and probably has been victimized more than any other fighter in the history of the sport."

But is Wilder really the victim here? The Povetkin fight was a fight I couldn't see The Bronze Bomber winning, and too boot, he was awarded a cool $5M in a U.S. Federal Court breech of contract suit. Then Wawrzyk becomes a lot less dangerous Gerald Washington -- who actually hung around awhile till allowing Wilder's windmills to overwhelm him in the fifth stanza.

All's I'm saying is that you can side with DiBella or make a case that a limited and protected pug is having a helluva lucky run. My guess is he gets fed the under-card's Stiverne again... much easier than Ortiz... juice or not. Thusly hanging around the heavyweight division's upper-echelon perchance longer than his talents would allow on their lonesome.

EDIT 10/4/17
The WBC has just announced it hath withdrawn sanctioning of the bout Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz due to Ortiz’s failed drug test. Wilder will now be making his new mandatory defense against former champ Bermane Stiverne, whom was scheduled to fight on the under-card. No word as to an under-card replacement as of yet.

EDIT 10/11/17
It's been announced that Eric Molina will step in to fight Dominic Breazeale on the under-card.

IN (unrelated) ADDITION:
Check out my latest podcast --
"Dion Giolito" Kaplowitz Radio: September 27, 2017

Weekly Recapitulation Volume XVII

KAPLOWITZ BLOG POSTS
[baseball]
"You've Eaten my Socks" Kaplowitz Radio: September 24, 2017
This post is proud to be proudly sponsored by Illusione Cigars.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Porter-Granados & More Added to Stacked Wilder-Ortiz Card

The year of our L-rd two thousand-seventeen hath seen our boxing L-rd be so very good to we pugilist fans, indeed. And he shall do-so to the very end, when on November the 4th, we are given a cat's pajamas of a Brooklyn Barclays Center fight-card courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions. And the year ain't even done then, gentlepersons. Not even for now to mention December's Rigo-Loma bout which I understand the excitement over, but not fully really. 

Ah, but 11/4. The Wilder-Ortiz under-card. It was announced just a tick-ago that "Showtime" Shawn Porter (27-2-1, 17KO), one of the top welterweights and tougher-outs around to-day, aims to secure another title shot whenst he 'butts heads' with one Adrian Granados (18-5-2, 12KO). Granados is coming off a punch-for-punch barn-burner 'gainst perennial schmuck Adrien Broner -- and coming up just short via split-decision in Broner's Cincinnati hometown. I got Porter here in a late-round stoppage.
But wait there's more:
Undefeated Contender, former kick-boxer and current I'd imagine Russian, Sergey Lipinets (12-0, 10 KOs) shall face Akihiro Kondo (29-6-1, 16 KO) who'll be making his US debut. This being for the vacant IBF Junior Welterweight World Title. An American debut. An undefeated stud... I call nigh feces shoot with a scant less scat getting on a prevailing Lipinets.

And that's not all:
Former heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21KO) will face former belt-challenging Dominic Breazeale (18-1, 16KO). Rather curiously, given the combined knock-out tally, I see this going the pre-set 10-round distance. Unfortunately my crystal ball, she fogs up over whom's hand doth gets raised. 

Lo, lettuce not forget the already but vaguely mentioned main-event attraction. All the marbles or  at least the WBC plus-size pug strap will be on the line whenst Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37KO)  defends against the possibly 78 year-old Luis Ortiz (27-0, 23KOs) ... actually, I'll tells ya how the Cuban challenger shall dethrone the Tuscaloosan champ as fight-night looms nigher and in another, separate posting... or will he? ... Just kidding, he will. Look for that to publish soon.

"Dion Giolito" Kaplowitz Radio: September 27, 2017

Cubs and Twins Punch Post Season Tickets

In the far lesser surprise of them head-line'd mentioned squads, lettuce hear it for the Cubbies. But their third consecutive trip to the post-season didn't happen easily nor sans pot-holes. Them troubles came mainly via their breaking of curse and putting the goat to rest -- and suffering a hang-over 'cause a' it. When this year's All-Star game came around, they were mid-flounder with a 43-45 record, sitting 5 1/2 games behind the Brew Crew. Why, things were so rough that the Cubs failed to send a single positional representative to the Mid-summer Classic.

Fast-forwarding to yesterday and already sailing calmer more favorable waters, their 5-1 win on the road over St. Louis all-but eliminated the Brewers and all done-did clinched the division pennant. Calmer waters? Since the break, Chicago has went 46-24, including a 16-9 September. Hot at the hot time, they. Too, this marks the first time since 1906-08 that they've accomplished the aforementioned three consecutive play-off berths.

They'll open their NLDS gambit with a D.C. jaunt to face the Nationals in Game 1. Not tomorrow, but the next Friday. Don't that seem a lengthy wait, gentlepersons? Hopefully each club stays warm in the oven, as this stands to be one heckuva series.
Surprise! The Minnesota Twins still have a ball-club after finishing their last campaign with a tally of 103 losses. To boot, they also clinched yesterday -- their clinch being the second of two AL wild-card slots. Their clinch being the first in MLB history to follow a 100 loss season.

This thanks to the Angels losing to Chi-town's 'other' team. Every AL post-season ticket is now punched, with the Native American Indigenous Peoples, Astros, Red Sox and Damn Yankees rounding it all out.  The Twins actually lost yesterday, but ask them if they care. They are now 83-75 on the season, probably the weakest record in any bracket anywheres, but ask them if they care. 

Understandable under-dogs since training camp, they're now in the post-season for the first time since 2010 -- when they were sent to the golf course by the Damn Yankees who they'll face in this Tuesday's Junior League wild-card game. At Damn Yankee Stadium. Hashem, please tell me that's an upset I smell. 

"Dion Giolito" Kaplowitz Radio: September 27, 2017

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Illusione Owner Dion Giolito Buys OneOff - Cigar News

The OneOff brand has a neat story. 
Here goes: 'twas created in 2001 by one Mr. Andrea Molinari, CEO of an eye-talian air-line and proprietor of a La Casa del Habano. Sir simply wanted his own brand. Plasencia obliged and the smokes were made at their Nicaraguan factory, Segovia Cigars S.A. Living up to their OneOff nom de tobacco, offerings were made scant and mainly-so for Asian and Euro markets. Much of the buzz 'round the original brand was, in fact, its branding. Its packaging, particularly. The logo employed to be emblazoned was the peace sign. Cigar smarks were shortly tripping over one-another to get their mitts on the curious things. Scarcely found plus curiously presented, equaled a cult-like following that was somewhat the impetus behind Giolito's birthing of Illusione.
As to OneOff's re-introduction: expect that to occur sometime next year. Expect it too, to look and perchance even smoke the same. As Dion plans on keeping the cult-iconic branding in place and was attracted also to the blend's grand-father'd in status. That OG unicorn recipe, gentlepersons: Honduran top-leaf o'er Nicaraguan guts. They will be rolled outta the TABSA factory, much-like-much of Illusione's other offerings.

EDITOR'S NOTE:
This news appeared as a Cigar Aficionado exclusive, was promptly poached by the usual cigar blogs (my own included, natch), and Illusione Cigars is a sponsor of mine. I'm OK with all this if you are, gentlepersons. And I guarantee yer OK with it. Kosher?

IN (exclusive audio) ADDITION:
You can listen to Mr. Giolito and me kibbitz re: this and more...
 "Dion Giolito" Kaplowitz Radio: September 27, 2017

Arrogate, Gun Runner: Work Toward Breeders' Cup Classic Showdown

The Bob Baffert barn'd America's richest thoroughbred, Arrogate ($17M+) worked on Santa Anita's main track yesterday AM in preparation for his possible maybe nigh probable November 4th Breeders’ Cup Classic go. The four year-old colt went five furlongs with Rafael Bejarano a-top. Done-so, he did, in an impressively fast 59.40. Uninvited ran four of them five with him in a 48.40 fashion. All lookers on seemed to accept the unspoken fact that he was invited to do-so. Arrogate’s 'breeze' here was the fastest of all 44 at the given and noted distance.

Meanwhiles, the proposed co-favorite of the BC Classic in which again and now neither is yet so-far as probable, Gun runner, last night hit the Ontario Airport tarmac. From there, he was driven a la Miss Daisy to Santa Anita to ensue his own preps. He was said to have "Shipped well," according to Tex Sutton Forwarding Company's Greg Otteson.
Arrogate's latest three races hath been 2/3 unpleasant surprise. Since March 25th's Dubai World Cup triumph, he's finish off-the-board in the San Diego Handicap for months later. Then last month finished place to Collected's win in the Pacific Classic. 

Gun Runner, a fellow four year-old colt, has on the other-hand been wielding a hot-one. His latest three trips have all ended in first place finishes: earlier this month's Woodward, last month's Whitney Handicap, and June's Stephen Foster. 

'Tis still too far off from the $6M race spectacular to take a coherent stab at whom's streak will either break or continue -- but I will say you should bet the farm on the three year-old colt with A.P. Indy blood in his veins, West Coast. Kidding. Not yet. But ya know. He's coming off three first place finishes in three graded stakes: the Pennsylvania and Travers Stakes, and Los Alamitos Derby. Better price. But ya know. HashtagTooSoon and for entertainment purposes only.

"Dion Giolito" Kaplowitz Radio: September 27, 2017

Bryce Harper Returns to Nats in 4-1 Loss to Phillies

"He looked pretty good." - Dusty Baker

"I’m excited. Everybody knows it could’ve been a lot worse with how the impact of the injury was." - Bryce Harper
After 41 games on the DL, Harper returned yesterday to the Nationals’ line-up. Back in an August 12th home-game he suffered a bone-bruise and calf strain to his south-paw side. This via slipping on the first base bag, attempting to leg out a hit. That now hopefully in the rear-view mirror, Baker penciled him into the two-slot at Citizens Bank Park, a venue he's shown great and powerful comfort in. All intent was to have him in at the head of the three-game series, but a 'flu-like symptoms' postponement saw to a second game return instead. It was actually somewhat more than a single-game delay, humsoever...

"We would have liked to have done it last week,” Baker said, “but sometimes your body doesn’t respond to your plan. Your body responds to its own plan. We had to listen to his body and the trainers and everybody."

As to the ballgame back, Harper’s first plate appearance in 45 days saw him seeing a four-pitch walk. His second AB featured him fouling off the first offering, a 2-2 count foul-ball out to right-field, then whiffing at a change-up. In his third and last appearance, he popped up to second on the second pitch. Then the 20 year-old rookie Victor Robles finished the game for him. Harper's best action came in right field off an Aaron Altherr liner into the corner. He here sprinted, spun, and threw a strike back into the in-field.

In all, Harper saw a dozen pitches, swung six times, jogged a tick, shagged a fly, sprinted some, spun once, and all in under five-innings a' work. A bit anticlimactic and far from whoa. He and the Nationals now have a handful of regular season games and an awkward four days off in which to assemble their grit for a post-season campaign. An opportunity that was almost lost when injury shelved the young all-star.

Or was it? The Nats went 25-16 for a .610 winning percentage in his absence. An actual bit-better than the .605 mark during his previous active span a' time. in fairness, this was due more to an improved pitching staff, than to a line-up which saw nigh a full point drop in average runs scored per game. If Harper adds back to the line-up, and them hurlers keep shining, the squad can and shall go deep. But how fair is it to expect that after a long layoff and rushed rehab process, he perform up to nigh immediate snuff?
In short, fair 'nuff. At least in the particular case of Bryce Harper whom averaged 'bout 131 games a year from 2012 to'16. He's gonna miss games, ya see, and in accepting that it's reasonable to expect him back quickly if not suddenly. Lest each season become even more, and as the years pile on, more --shortened -- which is something I err towards predicting. The grammatically problematic last sentence aside.

IN ADDITION:
"Dion Giolito" Kaplowitz Radio: September 27, 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Judge & Bellinger Re-write Rookie Rounder-tripper Records

As of Monday, Aaron "Dave Kingman" Judge of the Damn Yankees now holds MLB's rookie campaign record for homers as well as the current Junior League seasonal lead behind only Giancarlo Stanton's Senior League leading 57. It was home 'gainst a varying shade a' scrappy KC squad, that the Paul Bunyan-esgue 25 year-old first tied then untied said mark in a pair of dingers. Thusly 50 for the season, and thusly Mark McGwire's 1987 tally nigh incredibly takes a backseat by one and still-counting.

Baseball 2017: Year of the Homerun, indeed. Are you not entertained, gentlepersons???!!! "Now you've heard it advertised, don't hesitate. Don't be caught with your drawers down, Don't be caught with your drawers down. You can step right up, step right up." Barks the vaudevillian Tom Waits holding a handful of hologram'd for yer own good MLB tix.
But wait, there's more...

The NL ain't about to be completely out-done. For the brilliant-cum-floundering Trolley Dodgers have a thing all their own in this, the Year of the Homerun. A thing in the form of a person, a person named Cody Bellinger. This past Friday night, Bellinger surpassed his own league's mark of 38 shared by 1956's Frank Robinson and 1938's Wally Berger before him. This even as he didn't debut till ten days after Tax Day.

Bellinger stepped into the record books via a three-run moon-shot in the third whilst facing the lowly San Francisco Giants and their hurling representative one Mr. Jeff Samardzija. The first baseman is just exactly of legal age to drink. Lettuce all drink.

To new eras and to juiced ball asterisks; somehow oh-so nicer than juiced player asterisks.

"You've Eaten my Socks" Kaplowitz Radio: September 24, 2017

John Gidney: Boxing Artist

"I'm a 65 year old ex amateur boxer who specializes in [self-taught] ballpoint pen drawings of my favourite boxers. Professionally I'm still working 12 hour shifts in a toilet roll factory with no end in sight when I can retire." John Gidney, @jerryquarry on Twitter.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, you gentlepersons hath just read a lovely six-thousand a' them. What more would I dare add? Beautiful work. 

My great and good thanks to sir for allowing me to share.

"You've Eaten my Socks" Kaplowitz Radio: September 24, 2017

Kaplowitz Media Cigar of the Year 2016-17

Please read: Shemptember News & Events

STEPS TOWARD NAMING THE 2016-17 CIGAR OF THE YEAR
  1. All Cigars of the Month shall be listed (below)
  2. A best of each month shall be announced (9/27)
  3. List shall then be whittled down to ten (9/28)
  4. Ten-six announced (9/29)
  5. Five-one announced (9/30)
Please note that whilst all offerings herein scored a grade twixt A- and A+, that is not automatically heeded to whilst compiling. I do this because I am looking for 'memorable' aspects of each cigar. How I think of it now, as much as then. Thusly, I am purposefully blinding myself to partial-grade minutia particulars. Also: the offerings here were smoked by me, not released by whomever, during the given span a' time.
Every-day a' the year?
OCTOBER 2016

NOVEMBER 2016
Neya Classic
Tatuaje Regio Reserva
Xiphos CR Habano
Dona Nieves Nievita
Protocol Corona Gorda
Protocol Lancero
BEST: Tatuaje Regio Reserva

DECEMBER 2016
Dunbarton T&T Sobremesa Short Churchill
Nomad Martial Law
Nomad SA-17
Mi Querida Ancho Largo
Crowned Heads La Imperiosa Magicos
Felix Assouline Ego Spirit
BEST: Nomad SA-17

JANUARY 2017
La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull
Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro
Jas Sum Kral Zlatno Sonce
Jas Sum Kral Crna Nok
BEST: Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro

FEBRUARY 2017
Flatbed Panacea Billboard San Andres
Felix Assouline IISaintS
Cala Cigars Gran Reserva
Cala Cigars GR Robusto
Flatbed Panacea KFC
Partagas 1845
MBombay Gaaja Maduro
BEST: MBombay Gaaja Maduro

MARCH 2017
Isabela Time Traveler
Ashton Symmetry
Diamond Crown Julius Caeser
CAO Amazon Basin
Bombay Gaaja Natural
Aging Room Quattro F55 Vibrato
Bombay Gaaja Maduro
Arturo Fuente Anejo Reserva no. 888
BEST: MBombay Gaaja Natural

APRIL 2017
Isabela Cuban-sized Corona
Dunbraton T&T Todas Las Dias
Jas Sum Kral Crna Nok
San Lotano Bull
BEST: Jas Sum Kral Crna Nok

MAY 2017
La Aroma de Cuba
JNV Habano Toro
Flatbed Panacea Wild Thing
Drew Estate Undercrown Shade
Flatbed Panacea Green Label
Cattle Baron Trail Boss
Felix Assouline Ego Perfect
Cattle Baron Bull
Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970
BEST: Cattle Baron Trail Boss

JUNE 2017
Padron Ambassador Maduro
Gispert Intenso
El Baton
Brick House Maduro
Flatbed Panacea Green Label
San Cristobal Revelation
Topper Grande 120th Anniversary Habano
Dunbarton T&T Mi Querida Gordita
Deadwood Fat Bottom Betty
La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel Maduro
BEST: Dunbarton T&T Mi Querida Gordita

JULY 2017
Drew Estate Undercrown Shade Flying Pig
My Father Flor de las Antillas
Martinez Cigars New York City Blend
Deadwood Crazy Alice
Martinez Cigars Pasion
Fallen Angel
Drew Estate Undercrown Shade
Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc
BEST: Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc

AUGUST 2017
Hit & Run
CAO Fuma em Corda
Man O' War Special Edition Figurado
Cornelius & Anthony Daddy Mac
BEST: Cornelius & Anthony Daddy Mac

SEPTEMBER 2017
Hoyo La Amistad
Illusione Cruzado
Bespoke Basilica C #1
Bespoke Cabinet Selection Rosetta
My Father El Centurion
Jeremy Jack Libelula
BEST: Bespoke Basilica C #1

REMAINING TEN FINALISTS


TEN THRU SIX
10. MBombay Gaaja Maduro
09. Tatuaje Regio Reserva
08. Jas Sum Kral Crna Nok
07. Nomad SA-17
06. Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro

FIVE THRU ONE
05. Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc
04. Dunbarton T&T Mi Querida Gordita
03. MBombay Gaaja Natural
02. Cornelius & Anthony Daddy Mac
01. Bespoke Basilica C #1
I'm busy recording a new Kaplowitz Radio.
It'll contain a review of the above, and be posted below upon completion.

"Cigar of the Year" Kaplowitz Radio: October 1, 2017

Monday, September 25, 2017

Sports Week 4th Edition

DAMN YANKEES, DBACKS: CLINCH
[baseball]
A 5-1 north a' the border road win for the Damn Yankees over the Blue Jays this Saturday tallied for them their 86th victory and clinched an American League Wild-card spot. Each rather surprising bits a' behaviour for a squad supposedly mid-rebuilding. Their youth (Aaron "Dave Kingman" Judge), and a juiced MLB ball are on-par MVP considerations. Lo, perchance I am only slightly bias. The Damn Yankees remain mathematically and technically in the running to capture the AL East pennant. But they remain behind their BoSox rivals by five games with just seven left. I don't see 'em going past the wild-card game, even though they'll host and play I-don't-know-whom.

Juxtaposed is a ball club which I've already pegged for going deep into the post-season. Namely the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team qualified for the MLB play-offs for the first campaign since 2011's this Sunday, up-on both the Brew Crew and Cardinals losing to the White Sox and Pirates, respectively. Then, the D-backs out-paced Stanton's Marlins 3-2 to clinch hosting advantages in the NL wild-card meeting. Since the floundering-for-the-ages Trolley Dodgers already clinched the NL pennant on the back of their en fuego most-of-season -- Arizona has nada at stake either-way during the season's final week. They shall, humsoever, be hitting the big time at a big stride.
JORGE LINARES vs. LUKE CAMPBELL RETROSPECTIVE
[boxing]
In a well-contested bout Saturday before four-thousand-plus at The Forum in Inglewood, Jorge Linares (43-3, 27KO) retained his Lightweight championship via split-decision over Luke Campbell (17-2, 14KO). This marks the Venezuelan pug Linares' second successful defense, coming here against the mandatory challenge of a lanky south-paw Brit.

Linares looked startlingly sharp 'gainst the Olympic champ in the opening three stanzas, outclassing Campbell via hand-and-foot-speed. This included scoring a second round knock-down and opening a cut under Campbell's right eye. The cut-man is quite responsible for this fight seeing its way to decision, via his expert Enswell efforts.

Come the fourth, and through much of the prize-fight's meat, Campbell put forth a courageous effort, allowed by Linares seemingly unable or uninterested in stringing together a cohesive attack. Then, come the championship rounds, Linares returned inexplicably to his opening form.

Two judges ring-side scored for Linares: 115-112, 114-113. The third had it 115-113 for Campbell. Essentially, the knock-down was too much to overcome on points. This is Linares', 12th in a row triumph. He later stated: "Mikey Garcia at 135. If we need to go to 140, we'll go to 140." Best of luck to sir, as sir shall need it methinks. Linares has an uncanny ability to at once be beautiful, as he makes a bout ugly.
ASSORTED PONY ET CETERA
[horse racing]
Running for first time in seven months, Eclipse Award winning filly Champagne Room out-classes $200K Remington Park Oaks field.

Aussie gelding Turbo Street, owned by OK's Mr. Brewster out-paces stable-mate Paternal Pride in the $100K Remington Green at Remington Park. 

Four year-old bay C.E.C. Farms’ Sparkles’ Girl wins Woodbine's $125K Classy 'n Smart Stakes under Emma-Jayne Wilson's smart ride. 

Archaggelos, Monticule LLC’s well-regarded Juvie home-bred, beats strong Laurel Park dozen-deep field in second race feature. 

Coal Front's trainer Pletcher: Gallant Bob win, staving off American Pastime Saturday at Park Racing, included a condylar fracture set-back.

IN ADDITION:
"You've Eaten my Socks" Kaplowitz Radio: September 24, 2017

A Review of Recent Grade A Cigar Offerings

Below is the S(h)e(m)ptember Cigars of the Month listing. I now hath accumulated all the data needed to unveil the Cigar of the Year on S(h)e(m)ptember 30th. From (a couple days from) now till then, I will create a CotY post in which all monthly bests shall be named. Then via update, the best of each month will be named. Then two finalists will fall off. THEN, the remainder shall be listed in order. "BOOM," as them younger than I say.
Butt first, like a breech birth:
"And find I'm A number one,
Top of the list.
King of the hill --
A number one."
- Frank Sinatra, New York, New York
Gentlepersons, below is a list as shallow and pedantic as Lois Griffin's meatloaf. Yet too, as titillating as Meatloaf's one thing he would not do. It is a list of recent (September '17) cigar offerings I found to be worthy of A (A- to A+) review ratings.

THE A NVMBER ONE LIST:
IN ADDITION:
The spirit of Shemptember is the spirit of giving, gentlepersons. Give Project: Kaplowitz a few shekels via PayPal HERE. Keep me going. Keep me G R O W I N G. Thank-you.

Also, give this a listen:
"You've Eaten my Socks" Kaplowitz Radio: September 24, 2017

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Jeremy Jack El Chapo - Cigar Review

Jeremy Jack El Chapo 460 Petite Gordo
NOTES:
Stout in every sense a' that. Bold, straight-forward. Chocolate/walnut primary. Grains/citrus-driven mulling spice support. Blistering line, wrinkly shaft ahead'a that. Uneven hesitant draw.

FINAL GRADE: B-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59
WRAPPER: Corojo
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Medium-Full
ORIGIN: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. Esteli, Nicaragua

P.S.
I smoked & talked about this Jeremy Jack El Chapo in...
"You've Eaten my Socks" Kaplowitz Radio: September 24, 2017

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Joseph Parker vs. Hughie Fury: A Boxing Retrospective

Gentlepersons, ketchup to snuff by reading first my Joseph Parker vs. Hughie Fury: Preview & Prediction wherein I was wrong but not woefully-so. Via my Twitter, I tweeted regarding the weigh-in: "An egged-on and fleshy-skinny Fury gave fleshy-round Parker a shove at weigh-in. Parker: 247, Fury
225."

Ah, but to-day's/night's fight (dependant upon yer geographies)...
"Manchester, England - In a battle of undefeated fighters, Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) won a twelve round majority decision over Hughie Fury (20-1, 10 KOs) to retain the WBO heavyweight championship. The scores were 114-114 for the draw, 118-110, 118-110 for Parker." - Boxing Scene

Not as bad a row as some said it was, but too a row in the wheel-house of my personal tastes. Boxer vs Puncher may be a tick over-selling it, as Fury spent much of the bout pedaling as if in the Tour de France, whilst the medium-hitting Parker plodded ahead sans an iota of imagination. Mildly cerebral, maybe? Neither was injured, sans an accidental head-but in the fourth stanza which left Fury a'gash only momentarily. In the sixth and again in the ninth and twelfth, Parker upped his pursuit, yet to no true avail. As Fury stayed cool (too cool, ultimately) and controlled distance at times nigh expertly-so. 

I had Fury the winner, but of many a close round as they all were close rounds. Of note was the loosely hung ropes which aided Fury in his retreats. What else aided him was his very nice and surprisingly so foot-work... or perchance I was guilty of comparing him solely against Parker's simplistic Kamikaze-ing. In a bout twixt the Kiwi and Deontay Wilder, it's possible not a single blow would be tallied. 

All told, it was forward motion which won the day or night for Joseph Parker, but I never score on sheer pressing. And none of his added to bubkis. Fury fought his fight, and I look more keenly to that. Nevertheless, I was correct on all points less the the winner, but too correct in stating no one (including myself) would care 'nuff to bellow. I still say Hughie Fury has more up-side, as I said before -- but more up-side than none ain't nothing to hang any hat on.

It'd be fantastic if I could remember it is JOSEPH and not Anthony PARKER. My apologies.
"I Was the Cook" Kaplowitz Radio: September 20, 2017

601 Blue Label Maduro - Cigar Review

601 Blue Label Maduro
Toro 6 1/4 x 54 Box-press
NOTES:
Flat. Pleasant 'nuff. Like my HS sweetheart. That's the delivery of mocha fruity notes braced by soft-woods and almond paste. Underbelly of top-soil and compost. Loosened seams at char with a widening/rounding of press. Potpourri aroma. Smoothly textured off even draw. Peppery-piquant retro-hale nasally kick on-par with Dylan's tunes.

FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

WRAPPER: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Medium
ORIGIN: La Zona SA, Nicaragua
IN ADDITION:
"The original blend was Pepin Garcia’s first maduro and its first box press. The 601 Blue comes in four sizes: 5.5 x 56, 5.25 x 52, 6.25 x 54, and 6.12 x 52 (Torpedo).
601 was launched by EO Brands…Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega. A few banding changes raised the ire of the public and they are now back to pretty much what the original band looked like. The first change was in 2010 and then the banding was changed to what it looks like now in 2011.
The 601 brand came from Eddie Ortega and Erik Espinosa. They eventually split. And left their distributor, Miami Cigar & Co. Rocky Patel acquired 50% of the company and you can guess what happened next.
At the dissolving of the company, Espinosa took its helm. And is now sold under the aegis of Espinosa Premium Cigars. Ortega is out." - Cigar Reviews by the Katman, on the 601 Blue Label Maduro and its lengthy and interesting 'nuff history.
"I Was the Cook" Kaplowitz Radio: September 20, 2017

Friday, September 22, 2017

Detroit Tigers Part Ways with Brad Ausmus

Tigers GM Al Avila, via press release:
"As we transition the ballclub in a new direction, I feel it's best we have a new approach and a fresh start with the manager position. Brad has done an admirable job under, at times, difficult circumstances, especially this season, and we appreciate his professionalism and dedication to the Tigers the past four years."

To which Ausmus responded he woulda turned down an offer to return. This succinct retrospect of an underwhelming season turned fire-sale season turned tragic remainder of season surely cannot be blamed on one man. This is simply feces succumbing to the forces of gravity. The response to this completely foreseen news hath been met by the usual frustration-laced fandom, with all the drek left at Ausmus' cleats. 

Of course, this isn't fully the case. Even prior to the wholesale departure of Verlander, J.D. Martinez, Justin Wilson, and Justin Upton -- the Detroit squad wasn't complete 'nuff to make a run under any manager. Like-wise and soitenly, since then too, no manager could steer the barely pro club to any even palest shade of success. The difference being a manager in the second scenario leaves.
Make no mistake about it, gentlepersons: Brad Ausmus will have a better 2018 than the Detroit Tigers. The squad is looking down the barrel of a 100-loss season whilst the prospects they received for Verlander et al, either sink or swim down on the farm.

This may have read thus far as my nigh complete backing of Brad Ausmus, but now I'm about to write more sentences. The fella did have, since 2014, the on-field helm of an organization with a fat, open wallet which lead to no shortage of low to mid level stars. With this, he and they plum failed to win. Although dashing back to his defense, they never seemed put together overly well by upper management. There appeared scant cohesive vision in the signings.

Thus, the four year term of Ausmus concludes, meaning a new one must begin come 2018, as the former 18 MLB campaign catcher will stay on through the season's nine remaining games. I don't assume the Tigers are looking for a Joe Maddon-esque figure, mainly 'cause them figures ain't looking at them. Instead, to keep within a Cubbies theme, a Rick Renteria like place-holder in year one settling in of re-build seems a decent sight-set.

And so now there's another signing to be made. Omar Vizquel. I say he's the front-runner for the Tigers gig. I'm just not sure I'd wanna be him. He's been a coach with the team since 2013, spark-plugs on the bench as he did in the field, and would offer some cohesive continuity. Sorry, Omar.

As for Ausmus, I never was quite convinced he loved being a manager. He seemed somewhat... burdened by it all. He's got a good baseball mind though, and I'm interested to see if he springs up again, and where. He's smart 'nuff to have learnt from all this, even if all he learnt was this ain't for him.

IN ADDITION:
"I Was the Cook" Kaplowitz Radio: September 20, 2017

H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez - Cigar Review

H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez 654 Toro
WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Sumatra
BINDER: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
FILLER: Dominican, Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Medium-Full
ORIGIN: Nicaragua

I
A black pepper blast rides primary tandem with a chocolate cake made cake-like via a yeasty tobacco note pushing upward from high-middlings. All this is held up by a plank a' cedar over honey malt sweetened earth. A few puffs later on, and the cedar plank is being hoisted and itself braced by coffee bean, then poured espresso, then caramel latte bounding up from said earthiness. Pepper maybe not dials-back, but blends into the profile from top-down. Leather starts in the under-belly and works up through the profile. A nifty cream swirls hither and thither. Grains darkly flow into middlings with their own molasses attachment.

Medium, robustly-so outta the gate. Seems bound for Medium-full. Not much strength as of yet, keeps me to "medium." Body is medium full, flavors hit that robust medium on-the-nose. Said body is a growing cream and leathery oils. Finish is a spiced sweetness of long cedar legg'd goodness. Thus far the AJF Upmann shows a hallmark of upper echelon Fernandez blends: restraint.

Burn-line is wobbly but not so much as to require a flicked Bic redirection. A slightly dry and widely stacked bit a' dimes grows from there. Pale to medium-grey, it makes an inch of growth nicely 'nuff. Draw is a medium+ tension and evenly-so. The stick seems all-told to be rolled well, no hard/soft spots and barely any softening against light. Seams are nigh invisible. Pacing is swell. Smoke out-put is toward the oomphy side a' moderate. A nice sheen develops on shaft as the opening stanza winds down.
II
Citrus sidles up to the profile, a candied lemon thing but not so much as lemon candy. Almond butter floods in soon-after. Keeps flooding. Piquant says hello in a mulling spice manner, which is where the citrus goes to mellow-some. Two planks of cedar, now. Chocolate cake seems the anchor in a well-conducted storm. Caramel latte stays and a new Americano is poured higher-up. Grains are oats, in case you were wondering like I was wondering. Leather gets its own suede under-belly nuance.  Middle stanza winds down in a 'baccy-forward manner that exhibits just a half-tick of rawness.

Nice nuances through-out. Interesting if not startling complexities. Transitions are evolutions of notes. I'd say we're at medium-full now. There exists a vague threat of mottling or at least a muffled delivery come mid-point. Body features a slyly rising tongue-tingle. Finish sees an acidic lilt added toward its end.

Construction holds with no new news to report. Combustion seems to have cooled-some, and binder can be seen lagging-some if you roll off ash and look head-on into char. Foot-smoke mellows noticeably. Smoke out-put springs to life on the puffing, humsoever. Mascara line uglies up a bit as it widens.

III
That chocolate cake anchor ain't anchoring anymore. It's now more of a Swiss Miss packet sprinkled about. Without that yeasty quality, tobacco bites-some in the forefront. Middlings lose a plank a cedar and the remaining one suffers. Mottling. All the other notes flood the palate like a movie theater ablaze with only a single fire exit. Muffled tho, too. A slow flooding? A bingo hall ablaze in a senior assisted-living hall... with two exits. Cream is taken over by leathery oils. Leather/almond butter/mulling spice lead. I guess. Still pleasant 'nuff, but too a tick laboriously paced. Although burn-line has even'd all on its lonesome. Definitely a very Upmann oriented AJ offering. I'd say we're back to a medium profile, having ne'er been overly medium-full.

Can I break off on a completely un-related baseball (sorta) topic? The other day, a little girl got walloped by a stray ball in the damn Yankees stands. She's fine now. I hate sitting behind protective netting. Last season I did, because Snack Tray wasn't old enough to keep his head on even an A ball Eugene Emeralds caliber swivel. This year, we sat in my beloved bleachers. No netting. He's seven now. Next year, he gets to bring a glove and run 'em down. Take all that as ya'd like. I will say this: the world needs less, not more, protective netting.
FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

IN ADDITION:
Buy the H. Upmann By AJ Fernandez Toro from my buds, my pals, my chums at Cigars City. I'm somewhat curious to know what ya think. Not really. Buy it anyways and keep yer thoughts to yerself.

"I Was the Cook" Kaplowitz Radio: September 20, 2017

Weekly Recapitulation Volume XVI

KAPLOWITZ BLOG POSTS
[baseball]
Comparing Win Streaks: The 2017 Tribe & The 1916 Giants
10 Facts About Baseball's Greatest Rivalry
Baseball 2017: Year of the Homerun
Chris Sale Tallies 300th Strike-out of His 2017 Campaign

[boxing]
Supremacy Undercard Preview & Canelo vs Golovkin Prediction
Canelo vs. GGG: A Boxing Retrospective
Boxing Great Jake LaMotta "Raging Bull" Dead at 95
Pound for Pound Boxing King Andre "S.O.G." Ward Retires
Anthony Parker vs. Hughie Fury: Preview & Prediction

[cigars]
Gran Habano #5 Corojo Maduro - Cigar Review
My Father El Centurion - Cigar Review
Jeremy Jack Libelula - Cigar Review
Leaf by Oscar Sumatra - Cigar Review
Important Communication about Stolen Cigars
Providencia El Santo - Cigar Review

[assorted et cetera]
Sports Week 3rd Edition

KAPLOWITZ RADIO PODCASTS
"Peeing in the Fridge" Kaplowitz Radio: September 17, 2017
"I Was the Cook" Kaplowitz Radio: September 20, 2017

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Joseph Parker vs. Hughie Fury: Preview & Prediction

UK's Manchester Arena sits set to host the running on empty WBO Heavyweight champion Joseph Parker being challenged by the oft gassed Hughie Fry this Saturday evening. I feel ill-equipped to offer up any further automobile analogies, so lettuce away with this preview of a fight precipitated by the AWOL Tyson Fury and the vacuum he left in his wake. If nature abhors a vacuum, fight fans now should, as well. Vacuum. Now house-hold chores I can hold my own in -- lo, I won't feather-dust off any a' them. I'm more of a Swiffer guy, anyways.
In further back-story, Parker pounced on Tyson Fury's departure to gain hold of his WBO strap -- with yet another Fury looking to regain it for his clan's sake. Simply, I can't recall another plus-sized 'major' title bout wherest each undefeated pugilist came with the baggage of so many a question-mark. Whilst each young men, each too have shown reasons for concern if not utter disinterest.

Hughie is a mere 22 years of age with a record of 20-0, 10KO. He is 17 months removed from his last row, an unimpressive victory via technical decision over someone named Fred Kassi, whom entered the bout with an 18-4 record. Oft appearing gassed, as mentioned above, he too pitter-patters his punches and seemingly has a resume high-light of being Tyson's baby cousin. But he did get his skin to clear up, and little things sometimes go a long way.

Parker, Though only 25 years of age and touting a record a' 23-0, 18KO, has exhibited many a hallmark of a fighter who has hit his zenith and a rather low one at that.  The Kiwi pug at a time showed much promise; when all eyes were re-peeled to the Heavyweight division upon Tyson Fury beating Wladimir Klitschko. He was often named alongside Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, and Luis Ortiz as the realm laid excitingly open before us. Since, however, he has failed to remove the untested label hung on him, and has added to that some doubt. He was barely successful in garnering the belt against Andy Ruiz, then went back down in class to fight Razvan Cojanu to a decision victory. 
Most intriguing to me, is that this fight is available to purchase on YouTube for something like 20 bucks. An interesting work-around of pirated streams? If anyone can control their atmosphere, it's YouTube -- for I can't even watch Golden Girls re-runs there. Maybe Comcast and the like can learn from them, or hand-over boxing PPVs to the Google-owned giant. 

As to the fight itself: in a contest twixt ring-rust and plateau, whom shall leave with the win? If we equate the sweet science here with the grand game of chess grandmasters, we over-shoot, gentlepersons. But we just might see some decent excitement far more in sync with a lighter division bit a' fisticuffs. Or, to keep the boardgame flow flowing, an entertaining game of checkers in a rowdy 'nuff pub. My prediction? Hughie Fury double-jumps Joseph Parker for the split-decision victory, which no one rightfully cares enough about to scream "Robbery."



It'd be fantastic if I could remember it is JOSEPH and not Anthony PARKER. My apologies.

"I Was the Cook" Kaplowitz Radio: September 20, 2017

Chris Sale Tallies 300th Strike-out of His 2017 Campaign

Yesterday, in a shut-out eight inning outing which ended in a 9-0 Red Sox win against the Orioles, Chris Sale recorded the 300th strike-out of his '17 campaign when he caught Ryan Faherty looking at a filthy curveball. It was the 13th and final K of his start. It marked the 35th such campaign in MLB history and the first AL contribution to that since fellow Sox hurler Pedro Martinez did-so back in 1999. Pedro set the franchise mark that year at 313. There are two too many 13s mentioned in this opening paragraph, so I'll start another now.
The previous 300 whiff season was in 2015 whenst the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw fanned 301. That being the only other instance of this in the last 15 years. Although in 2002, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling each tossed three-bills as Diamondbacks teammates. The all-time recorded record was set back in 1886 by one Matt Kilroy, a 20 year-old southpaw who set-down 513 flannel-clad lads.

Fans at B'more's Camden Yards gave Sale a standing O upon his accomplishment. O's supporters ain't had much else to O about this season, so why the heck not? His fellow Sox squad members joined in and he was given a hero's welcome back into their dug-out. Those hugs turned champagne-dampened a tick later, as an Angels loss clinched at least a Wild-card berth for Boston's boys.

This bit of history again sees a Sale/Martinez coupling, in that the tandem constitutes one half of MLB pitchers whom struck-out 300 in their first season in a new uniform. The Chicago White Sox could not be reached for comment, or at least heard over the echoing of constant gun-shots.

"I Was the Cook" Kaplowitz Radio: September 20, 2017

Pound for Pound Boxing King Andre "S.O.G." Ward Retires

Undefeated Light Heavyweight champion Andre Ward from fresh outta left field just this morning, announced his hanging up the gloves and walking away from boxing at a mere-ish 33 years of age. The Bay Area boxer does-so with a 32-0 pro record with 16 a' them wins coming via knockout.
From his site:
"To the sport of boxing -- I love you. You've been by my side since I was 10-years-old. You've taught me so much. You've humbled me. You've promoted me. I've sacrificed a lot for you, but you've given me more than I ever thought possible. You gave me a platform, made me a champion and helped me provide for my family. I am forever grateful to you. You and I will always be synonymous, connected at the hip. Thank you for all the wonderful people I've come in contact with because of you. I've made friends for life. As I walk away from the sport of boxing today, I leave at the top of your glorious mountain, which was always my vision and my dream. I did it. We did it.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who has played a part in my journey. You know who you are. I could not have done this without you. I want to be clear -- I am leaving because my body can no longer put up with the rigors of the sport and therefore my desire to fight is no longer there. If I cannot give my family, my team, and the fans everything that I have, then I should no longer be fighting. Above all, I give God the Glory, for allowing me to do what I've done, for as long as I have."

From his Twitter, he shared the message "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" with a link included to the above. Also, a video I might watch later. 

Most recently, Ward successfully stood up to the ultimately fragile bullying of Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev (psychologically speaking) first winning by decision when the Russian gassed, then by 8th stanza stoppage whenst and wherein he then forced the gassing. That fight finale, as it stands (and I feel it may), secured he the WBA, IBF and WBO Light Heavyweight titles and The Ring light heavyweight title.

S.O.G. is too a former super middleweight champion, 2011 Fighter of the Year, and 2004 Light Heavyweight Olympic Gold Medalist for the good ol' USofA in Athens.
Perchance the writing was on the wall here, with Ward's HBO contract having expired in August, his second Kovalev fight doing worse numbers than the first, and his burgeoning role of boxing analyst for Top Rank on politico whale ESPN.

Even prior to all that, we are dealing here with a very smart and articulate fella with much too much on the ball than to be relegated to suffering brain trauma to cash a check. I'm on the record as saying time and time again that there ain't no such a thing as an "early stoppage" in a prize-fight. Same goes for prize-fighting careers. As undeniably impressive as was his in-ring talent and career, if you were to tell me in an old blue-eyes fashion, "The best is yet to come." I'd buy that for a dollar. If it left me a few bucks for a nice stogie.

All told, I'm less shocked than many at this news. Then again, I also pay less attention than most. Although, I did mention the potentiality of this decision as early as early-on this year. Trust me, it's somewheres. He always struck me as a pug not married to being a pug.

IN ADDITION:
The latest podcast:
"I Was the Cook" Kaplowitz Radio: September 20, 2017

Providencia El Santo - Cigar Review

Providencia El Santo
Prensado Toro 652 Box Pressed
NOTES:
Vieny. Un-tight but evenly hewn and well-holding seams. Roll softens ahead a' burn, but evenly and not egregiously-so. Mildly boxed, but holds the form. Draw is an excellently dialed-in medium tension. Burn-line wobbles unevenly outta the gate, but don't mandate a Bic re-direct -- and evens-out at 'round the half. Pacing is a relaxed thing. Mellow resting smoke out-put which springs to billowy response on pull. Ash is darkly Honduran, stacks dimes to the tune of an easy but oft lilted inch. At the band-point, cap and shoulder dilapidate a tick, smoke stays cool.

  • Chocolate (dark, semi-sweet, fudge)
  • Cream
  • Black pepper
  • Brown sugar
  • Molasses
  • Espresso
  • Hickory
  • Butterscotch
  • Himalayan black salt*
  • Cedar
  • Grains, dark
  • Leather
  • Astringent-cum-sulfur
  • Compost
  • Top-soil

A smooth as silk delivery, even thorough the schnoz. Piquancy is there in a back-loaded fashion, but always gently in the shadows. Ne'er throaty, perhaps a tick spitty. Balance is a tick off-kilter in favor of sweetnesses, but that seems the plot of this tale. Rather straight-forward if not linear. Finish grows in length, but never in complexities. Mainly acts as an extension of draw sans any new nuances. Quite rich and well-rounded. Ends not entirely cleanly with a slight astringent quality, traces of sulfur appear in the final third.

FINAL GRADE: B
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59
WRAPPER: Nicaraguan Maduro
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Honduran, Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Medium
ORIGIN: Nicaragua

*"... commonly used in Pakistan, India and other Asian countries. It starts out as Himalayan Pink Salt or sodium chloride and is then heated to extremely high temperatures and mixed with Indian spices and herbs including the seeds of the harad fruit which contains sulfur. It also contains trace impurities of sulfates, sulfides, iron and magnesium which all contribute to the salt’s color, smell and taste." - One Green Planet

NEW! "I Was the Cook" Kaplowitz Radio: September 20, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Baseball 2017: Year of the Homerun

Earlier in this year's baseball campaign, I noted something. Noted it to myself. Kap, I said, Kap -- I'm seeing guys looking frustrated that they just got under a ball... then putting on their very-best poker faces to trot 'round the bags. Keeping in mind, these fellas know what getting the barrel on the ball feels like and much as I know how it feels when I tweak my back looking over my shoulder to pull my Chevy Sonic outta a parallel parking slot.

Last night in an inconsequential Toronto eighth inning, Alex Gordon of KC stepped in against Ryan Tepera. Gordon, another of a seemingly endless list of Royals free agents to be, crushed the offering toward and over the just right a' center wall. The dinger didn't give either team a winning '17 record, but it did give Major League Baseball a brand-spankin' new record: it's 5,694th collective round-tripper. With 12 days still left in the campaign. Thus breaking the previous record set in 2000 -- four years prior to steroid testing arriving in MLB.
Another steroid-era mark is being threatened, and by mark I mean McGwire. The Damn Yankees Aaron "Dave Kingman" Judge has 45 homers under his belt as I type this into my cigar ash covered Chromebook. Mark McGwire's '87 record of 49 is well within Judge's reachy-reach. Why, and lookit what Giancarlo Stanton is doing with the Marlins: 55 homeruns, the most in MLB in half a score.

There is no shortage of working theories as to this big fly explosion. Some point to weakened pitching. But in an age when even a rotation ace is barely expected to face the opposing batting order twice, and a fresh pitcher is oft more dangerous than a slightly better but too more fatigued and more familiar one -- I ain't buying that. Plus, it don't 'splain the mandated poker faces I made mention of. Is it the bats? Same woods, same specs: no dice. The ball. 

MLB insists that all game-balls fall into the acceptable and prescribed spectrum... but I say every spectrum has an upper echelon. Tighter windings and flatter lacings make for a bunch a' bang and less drag along toward the upper-deck. So 'tis the balls. 'Tis too the BALLS, pardon my French, gentlepersons. The biggest of the second varietal, or the pursuit thereof -- mandates one hit further than the furthest last juiced hardball. As evidence of this, 2017 is also the year of the death of two-strike swings. No longer do they get shortened nor choked-up on -- we's hacking till the bitter end. Too, it's the year of the upward-angled swing. The same thing I'd get yelled at in Little League for employing, "SWING LEVEL." No longer. As the balls feed the BALLS. Just like the biceps fed the biceps and the injections fed the injections. Buncha meat-heads.
Back in the halcyon days of juiced players, it was somewhat easier to file away fallen records. Your hat-size goes up, you get yerself an asterisk. But now in 2017, does the burgeoning era in its entirety get a darned asterisk? Or is this new ball here to stay, as it happened at the dawn of the live-ball era so verily long ago. The answer is clear, I'm afraid. There ain't no turning back. The game's about to get a tick dumber. Buncha meat-heads.

But at least it'll get. The current attentions these long-balls are garnering are translating into interest that rivals the steroid era, and does so on a more subtle and even-keel, and ain't that more acceptable these days? The participation trophies are about to get bigger, gentlepersons. So, baseball grows once again on the back of the big fly. Maybe this crop of Judges and Stantons won't be thrown under the bus for their efforts a la their Sosa and Bonds predecessors. Still, it's good to see Selig in the Hall of Fame. All that happening on his knowing and orchestrated watch. It all leaves a taste in my mouf as bad as a three back stogie. Chomping on the thing whilst yelling to no one listening: "ADVANCE THE RUNNER, WILL YA?!"

Listen to: "I Was the Cook" Kaplowitz Radio: September 20, 2017