MLB’s Oldest Scout, Who Discovered Cal Ripken, Dead at 93

After going into hospice care last week following a series of infections, Tommy “T-Bone” Giordano has passed away at the age of 93.

A Newark native, Giordano played his first season of minor-league ball in 1948 for the York White Roses and eventually made it to the majors for 11 games, recording seven hits, including two home runs, for the Philadelphia Athletics (before the team moved to Oakland).

Giordano went on to manage for five seasons in the majors, but his greatest contributions to the game of baseball came as a scout.

While scouting for the Orioles, he helped discover Cal Ripken Jr. and while doing the same job with the Indians, he helped evaluate Manny Ramirez.

Giordano’s scouting mantra was “Get in the house,” a move that would allow him to examine a prospect’s family and look for any off-the-field red flags.

“See what kind of furniture they have in the house. See how many cars they have. See what kind of dad he has. Does he drink? Does he smoke? Are there any problems in the house? Get to know that family. I love doing that kind of work,” he said.

Before becoming ill, Giordano was still doing his job and had been working for the Atlanta Braves as baseball’s oldest scout. This season would have been his 72nd in professional baseball.

“Tom Giordano defined the term ‘baseball lifer,’” the Braves wrote in a statement. “Tom’s baseball pedigree was unmatched, and helped make him the longest active scout in the sport last season.”

ESPN Legend Chris Berman’s New Gig Mocked Mercilessly on Social Media

Chris Berman is back, back, back, back … in the radio booth.

The former SportsCenter host and mainstay of ESPN coverage has taken a job as a radio broadcaster doing a handful of Boston Red Sox games.

Though he won’t be the main man, Berman joins a rotating cast of radio broadcasters who will sit in WEEI’s Red Sox booth that also includes former Monday Night Football host Sean McDonough, longtime Sox broadcaster Joe Castiglione, and Sox television play-by-play man Dave O’Brien.

Unfortunately for Berman, Sox fans were not particularly pleased about the announcement that Boomer was coming aboard in Beantown and his hiring was mocked mercilessly on social media.

Though he has not returned to ESPN on a full-time basis, Berman has started taking a slightly bigger role at the Worldwide Leader and did appear sporadically during the network’s NFL coverage.

Two Orange Alligators Spotted in South Carolina

Two alligators with bright orange, leathery skin are mesmerizing a South Carolina community.

The pair, spotted in a pond in Bluffton, likely didn’t gain their unique coloration from dipping into a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos — or the tanning bed that some imagine the President may own. Instead, dully enough, it’s probably from rust, CNN reported.

That’s what David Lucas of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources told the news station.

“During the winter, the alligators like to dig in and find a place to hibernate,” he said. “It is possible that some end up near drainage pipes that have rusty metal pieces inside, so basically they marinate in rust all winter, and this stains them.”

A similarly hued gator emerged around the same time of year in a Charleston lake in 2017. The water temperatures start to warm up around, bringing alligators out of hibernation.

“We don’t see orange alligators every year, which is why they get so much attention,” Lucas said.

Why it Doesn’t Matter that Amazon Failed in New York City

Amazon has never before failed as hard as it did on Thursday when it announced it was scrapping it’s plans to build a second headquarters in New York City.

But the company embraces failure, according to an analysis by CNN.

“I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com,” Jeff Bezos said at the Business Insider Ignition conference in 2014. “Companies that don’t embrace failure and continue to experiment eventually get in the desperate position where the only thing they can do is make a Hail Mary bet at the end of their corporate existence.”

The HQ2 saga that gripped the country and made cities jump through hoops to impress the retail giant, and its ultimate collapse is a “public relations nightmare,” for a company with Amazon’s money and level of influence.

But Amazon — which will pay a reported $0 in taxes on $11.2 billion in profits from last year — has routinely piled up huge losses over the course of its 24-year history, only to increase its dominant share of the online retail market. It was one of the only fledgling companies to survive the “dot-com bust,” as CNN noted, and it’s now the third-most valuable company on the stock market. It actually only became consistently profitable in the past few years when its cloud business took off. Its $10-plus billion profit in 2018 was more than the company made in the prior 23 years combined.

And its investors will keep it afloat because they don’t care and will continue to send its stock soaring. That confidence has given Amazon the capital and freedom it needs to take big risks — and absorb the losses when it fails.

 

High School Basketball Star Mocked With Blackface-like Image

Earlier this week, students from Port Washington High School outside Milwaukee mocked a rival basketball player with an image that appeared to show him in blackface.

During the high school game, dozens of Port Washington fans held pictures  of Nicolet standout Jalen Johnson wearing a charcoal facial mask. The image was taken from Johnson’s Instagram account and Nicolet superintendent Robert Kobylski said in a statement that the young athlete was wearing the mask to care for his skin.

“I cannot speak to the motivation or intent the Port Washington students had in displaying this photo, whether a harmless skin-care prank or a more deeply troubling, racially motivated scenario,” Kobylski’s statement read. “I can attest, however, to the fact that Jalen is more than a tremendous athlete: he is a fine, upstanding young man and deserves to be treated with respect and courtesy by all students and people, no matter what bench they are rooting for.”

“It’s disappointing,” Port Washington principal, Eric Burke said in a statement. “We’re going to make this right. Apologies have to be made. As a principal, I apologize for our students’ actions, but our students are going to be involved in a sincere apology for what happened and the people who made this happen, there are going to be consequences.”

After the story began circulating on social media, Jalen’s older brother Rod responded on Twitter.

Jalen also offered a one-word response of his own.

The National Emergency Statute that Could Give Trump Power to Build Wall

President Trump intends to declare a national emergency over his U.S.-Mexico border wall — a move, according to the White House, that could allow him to circumvent Congress and unlock money to build it.

Trump has been teasing the possibility of declaring a national emergency for several weeks as a means of cash, regardless of the spending bill lawmakers agreed on this week. The deal provided some capital for the wall but not the $5.7 billion Trump had requested. A national emergency could make up the difference but, according to CNN, that’s largely based on which statutes Trump evokes.

A national emergency allows Trump to unlock certain funds provided under statutes previously passed by Congress. A draft proclamation reviewed by CNN last month cited Title 10 of the U.S. Code, which paves the way for Trump to dip into a stash of Pentagon funds that are earmarked but have no official documentation for spending that money.
That would give him authority to pull from military construction funds and civil works projects, like infrastructure repair projects, CNN reported. Aides say Trump would need to tell Congress where he decides to pull money from but he doesn’t need their permission to do it.
If he were to invoke Section 2808, the armed forces would have to get involved and, the “Secretary of Defense, without regard to any other provision of law, may undertake military construction projects, and may authorize the Secretaries of the military departments to undertake military construction projects, not otherwise authorized by law that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces.”
Congressional aides also told CNN that “there will be legitimate questions about whether building a fence along the border” would be in support of the armed forces, something required when using military construction funds.

Report: Colin Kaepernick Demanded $20 Million to Play for AAF

After the successful debut of the Alliance of American Football over the weekend, many theorized that the start-up league could get a boost from adding a star like Colin Kaepernick.

Apparently, the AAF had similar thoughts as league co-founder Bill Polian told The Athletic that AAF CEO Charlie Ebersol previously reached out to Kaepernick about suiting up. “I don’t know what transpired, but he’s obviously not playing,” Polian told The Athletic.

A report from The Associated Press adds a little clarity to the situation as a source told the publication Kaepernick wanted $20 million or more to consider taking the field for the AAF.

Players in the AAF sign three-year contracts which are worth $225,000 total. The contracts allow players to pursue NFL careers without penalty once the AAF season is over.

Kaepernick hasn’t played a down in the NFL since the 2016 season and is in the midst of a lawsuit that alleges owners colluded to deny him employment based on his political beliefs and on-field activism.

To help draw attention to the league, the AAF also reached out to former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow about joining up. However, Tebow is pursuing an MLB career in the minor leagues with the New York Mets and was not interested in the AAF.

Golf Pro Hits Water Six Times – on 1 Hole – in Tour Debut

Ben DeArmond may want a second chance to make a first impression.

DeArmond, the head pro at the TPC at Treviso Bay in Naples, made his debut on the Web.com Tour on a sponsor’s exemption at Lakewood National Golf Club on Valentine’s Day.

Unfortunately for DeArmond, the good luck the South Florida PGA wished him in his Tour debut only lasted through the first hole.

On the 491-yard, par-4 hole DeArmond drove his opening shot into the water and found the drink five more times on the way to finishing up No. 2 with a score of 17.

“I’ve never made a 17 in my life, not even when I started playing golf,” DeArmond said. “I’ve learned nerves are a real thing. I had a great range session, felt good going in, and it was just an out-of-body experience on that hole.”

Despite the rough day at the office, DeArmond – who finished his round with a 91 – tried to put a positive spin on his horrible second hole.

“If you learn anything from me today, it’s don’t withdraw, don’t give up, have fun with it,” DeArmond said. “It’s a game. Everybody has a bad day, a bad hole — even the worst hole of your life. So you have to move on.”

The “Tinder for Cows” Is Helping Livestock Find Love

A matchmaking app for cattle is helping livestock find love.

Tinder-inspired app called Tudder allows farmers in the UK to find bulls to pair with their cows or cows to pair with their bulls.

The first-ever matchmaking app for livestock, Tudder users swipe right and left based on the look of livestock that is displayed in the app similar to what daters do with the human equivalent.

Once they find a match, users are sent to their match’s page on SellMyLivestock website where they can browse through more pictures and look at data on things like milk yield and calving potential.

“Matching livestock online is even easier than it is to match humans because there’s a huge amount of data that sits behind these wonderful animals that predicts what their offspring will be,” said Doug Bairner, the CEO of the firm that runs SellMyLivestock. “Despite the rest of the world’s view of farming, it’s actually very technologically driven.”

Thanks to the app, farmers are able to connect with other farmers across the country they would have previously not had access to.

The Female Body Blocks Weak Sperm From Entry: Study

Wimpy swimmers need not apply! New evidence found by scientists reveals that female’s reproductive tracts are shaped in a way that stops weak sperm from reaching the egg.

Using computer simulations and small-scale models, scientists were able to show that pinch points, known as strictures, on the path from cervix to egg act like gates, only allowing the fastest sperm through.

“The overall effect of these strictures is to prevent slow sperm from making it through and to select for sperm with highest motility,” Alireza Abbaspourrad, a chemist and lead author on the study at Cornell University in New York, told The Guardian.

Although the sperm’s swimming skills have been studied in the past, the Cornell researchers specifically studied what happens when sperm reach these ultra-restrictive pathways.

“If you look at the anatomy of the reproductive system in mammals, you can see that the dimensions of the canal that leads to the egg is not constant,” Abbaspourrad explained. “At some points it is extremely narrow so that only a few sperm can pass while others fail.”

“The shape of the path leads to an accumulation of the sperm such that the faster sperm stay closer to the stricture and to each other while the slowest sperm are swept back by the flow and spread further apart.”

Utah Congressman Blames Patagonia Apparel for Climate Change

At a congressional hearing on public lands Wednesday, Utah Congressman Rob Bishop ripped into outdoor apparel manufacturer Patagonia.

Rep. Bishop, the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Natural Resources, which oversees the subcommittee, has a longstanding beef with the brand and the two have often gone back and forth about the way public lands are used and/or developed in Utah.

During the hearing this week, the Natural Resources Committee sought testimony from experts, among them Patagonia’s director of Environmental Campaigns and Advocacy Hans Cole.

In his testimony, Cole detailed the negative effects of climate change and said his company is committed to switching to renewable energy sources to combat it. He also encouraged the government to do the same.

Following Cole’s testimony, Bishop went after him and his company:

“For example, the stuff that is made in China by your company, your company clearly put out the statement, ‘We’ve made the choice not to disengage with countries on the basis of their policies.’ …  Amongst those policies, which the company now wishes to ignore, is: the internment and re-education of over a million Uyghur Muslims; routine jailing of environmental activists and civil rights campaigners; destroying over 3,000 acres of coral reefs in the South China Sea with runways, ports and military facilities; subsidizing long-range commercial fishing fleets that threaten the viability of fishing around the world; providing $36 billion in financing to developing countries for the construction of over 102 gigawatts of coal-fired power plants. In addition, just the Patagonia businesses in China, 65 percent of all those businesses are run on coal. If you’d actually done your work in America, the average in the United States is only 37 percent, which would be a lot nicer. Now in addition to that, the testimony you’ve given here has whole bunch of false narratives in there.”

Following Bishop’s five-minute rant, the GOP’s House Natural Resources Committee Twitter account continued it.