Legendary Detroit Tiger and Hall of Famer Al Kaline died Monday in his Michigan home. He was 85 years old. “Mr. Tiger,” as he was affectionately dubbed, spent his entire 22-year playing career with the Tigers, helping the team win its third World Series championship in 1968 and bring some joy to the city after the devastating riots of 1967.
Signed to the majors the day after he graduated from high school, Kaline entered the league as a baby-faced 18-year-old in June 1953 and went on to have a Hall of Fame-worthy career. At 20 years old and 280 days, Kaline became the youngest player in history to win the American League batting title averaging .340 — one day younger than another Tigers legend, Ty Cobb, when he won in 1907 — in just his second full season. The right-fielder won 10 Golden Glove awards and was selected as an All-Star 18 times in his career, according to Baseball Reference. Kaline grew a reputation as a clutch player when he averaged .379 against St. Louis in the 1968 World Series, helping Detroit rally from a 3-1 deficit to win in seven games.
Kaline played 2,834 games for the Tigers — the most in the team’s history — and hit a franchise record 399 home runs over the course of his career (his 400th homer doesn’t count because it came during a game that was eventually rained out). He also holds the team record for most career walks (1,277) and sacrifice flies (104). Along with those team records, Kaline finished his career with 3,007 hits and a .297 batting average.
“I owe everything to baseball,” Kaline is quoted as saying on the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s website. “Without it, I’d probably be a bum.”
Following his legendary playing career, the beloved outfielder joined the Tigers broadcasting crew from 1976 to 2002 and also served as a special assistant to the general manager.
In 1980, “Mr. Tiger” was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Later that year, his No. 6 became the first number to be retired by the Tigers organization.
“If there is one accomplishment for which I am particularly proud, it is that I’ve always served baseball to the best of my ability,” Kaline said in his Hall of Fame induction speech. “Never have I ever deliberately done anything to discredit the game, the Tigers or my family. By far, being inducted into the Hall of Fame is the proudest moment of my life. You can be sure that I will make every effort to live up to the obligation associated with this honor.”
Despite Khabib Nurmagomedov’s insistence that he’d travel wherever the UFC told him to in order to keep his main event slot for UFC 249, the organization is officially moving on without him. UFC president Dana White announced on Monday, less than two weeks before the event, that Nurmagomedov will be replaced by Justin Gaethje in an interim lightweight title fight against Tony Ferguson.
According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the UFC is currently targeting a location on the west coast for the championship bout.
Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title on April 18 is signed, per Dana White. Location still TBD. Fight will headline UFC 249. As reported last night, they‘ve zeroed on a location on the west coast of the US to hold this event & hope to finalize ASAP.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 6, 2020
After the original location of Brooklyn was scrapped due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Nurmagomedov left the United States to travel to the UAE, where it was assumed the event would take place. He was eventually re-routed to Russia due to travel restrictions and acknowledged he is under quarantine in an Instagram post. Later, while White claimed “everyone knew” Nurmagomedov would not fight, the unbeaten champ pushed back and said he’s “100 percent” willing to fight if White gives him a location. Instead, the UFC is going with Gaethje, who is on a three-fight win streak after consecutive losses at the hands of former champion Eddie Alvarez and top contender Dustin Poirier.
While he was rumored to be the replacement competitor against Ferguson, Gaethje was apparently originally in talks to fight Conor McGregor later this summer. Regardless of what happens between Ferguson and Gaethje, the last-minute title bout does nothing but push McGregor even further down the pecking order, with the winner next in line for Nurmagomedov likely sometime after August.
Tiger King has proven itself top shelf pandemic distraction, its tale of zookeeper-turned-prisoner Joe Exotic a wild way to kill time while quarantining. It’s given viewers many leftfield things to obsess over, from the songs Joe didn’t actually write or even sing to the matter of Don Lewis, the missing husband of Joe’s nemesis Carole Baskin. The majority of episode 2 delves into theories, floated by Joe and others, that she may have played a role in her husband’s disappearance. Whether that’s true or not remains a great unknown.
But we may have an answer — or simply more unsolvable questions. As per Entertainment Weekly, a spin-off doc series, from Investigation Discovery, is in the works, which, despite being called Investigating the Strange World of Joe Exotic, will focus on what happened to Lewis. Here’s what ID’s said:
“Love her or hate her, Carole is now in the center ring of the big cat circus … Is she a selfless crusader and protector of animals, who found unimaginable strength despite the mysterious disappearance of her husband? Or are we witnessing Carole Baskin’s master plan finally take effect? Despite her claims of innocence, did she orchestrate the disappearance of Don Lewis to seize control of his fortune, consolidate power and lay waste to her foes? No one seems to be talking – except for one man – and that man is the center of ID’s upcoming investigative series.”
The show also promises to show us “the investigation you didn’t get to see, revealing the secrets only Joe knows and the exclusive footage that has never been shown.”
Since the show’s release on Netflix a couple weeks back, Baskin has denied any involvement in Lewis’ disappearance, and has condemned the show as “salacious and sensational.” But based on how much longer America suffers from Tiger King fever, she may have to continue protesting her innocence.
Tonight, in the final With Spandex WWE Raw After WrestleMania (but not like usually) open discussion thread:
It took him 19 years, but Drew McIntyre is finally WWE Champion, having defeated Brock Lesnar to fulfill the original “prophecy” Mr. McMahon laid forth upon his arrival in WWE. With the title in his hands, McIntyre faces the grueling challenge of keeping it. Where does one go once they achieve their destiny? We’re about to find out.
Tune in to Monday Night Raw at 8/7 C on USA Network. (via WWE.com)
The Raw after WrestleMania with no fans to turn it into “bizarro land” and “get themselves over” seems even weirder than a two-night WrestleMania without fans, doesn’t it? Anyway, make sure you read all the Best and Worst of Mania columns before you watch Raw tonight. Here are handy links to part one, part two, and the Firefly Funhouse special where I write 4,000 words about an avant garde short film, but wrestling.
As always, +1 your favorite comments from tonight’s open thread and give them a thumbs up and we’ll include 10 of the best in tomorrow’s Best and Worst of Raw column. Make sure to flip your comments to “newest” in the drop down menu under “discussion,” and enjoy the show!
Music festivals, by and large, have been postponed or outright canceled in the wake of COVID-19 and the global pandemic that has shut down gatherings in the United States and abroad. But much like other industries interrupted by coronavirus, the music industry is taking things online in an interesting way.
One sector that — with few exceptions — has remained mostly uninterrupted is the video game industry, which has provided welcome relief to people practicing good social distancing by sitting in their homes and spending time online. And now we’ve seen a pair of music festivals pop up in a single game.
Sunday brought word that pixelated life simulator Minecraft will host a music festival headlined by American Football and taking place in a digital recreation of a club called Elsewhere. The event space was worked on by Elsewhere and Open Pit and will feature artists like Anamanaguchi, Baths and HANA.
Open Pit and Anamanaguchi are throwing a coronavirus relief virtual music festival on Saturday, April 11 that takes place within the video game world of Minecraft. It’s called Nether Meant and it’s set to feature performances from American Football, Anamanaguchi, Baths, HANA, and more. Nether Meant takes place in a fictional space called Elsewither, which is based on the Brooklyn venue Elsewhere (Elsewhere worked jointly with the Open Pit team to create this space). The event starts at 6 p.m. Eastern.
People can watch within the game (all the information for how to join the concert is on the official website), or if you don’t want to join in the game itself, you can watch along on Twitch starting at 6 p.m. Eastern. They’re also selling VIP passes to the concert, which offers “special VIP areas in-game” and in-game merch. Proceeds from the VIP passes will go to Good360’s COVID–19 relief efforts.
Interestingly, it’s not the only concert happening in the Microsoft-owned behemoth of a game. Block By Blockwest, a play on the already-canceled South By Southwest, will take place on April 25 and feature Pussy Riot as its headlining act. Both festivals are said to donate proceeds to COVID-19 relief organizations, which are worthy causes given the circumstances that led to these shows being pushed online. It will certainly be interesting to see how festivals translate to Minecraft, which will certainly be more about the music than the visuals. But hey, maybe that’s how music festivals really should be.
With the season finale of Schitt’s Creek on the very near horizon (it airs Tuesday, April 7.), Annie Murphy sat down with Variety for a look back at her time on the hit comedy series and how her co-star and show creator Dan Levy changed her life.
From the very beginning, Murphy says Levy knew she was perfect for the role of Alexis. There was just one small hurdle. Levy’s father, veteran comedian Eugene Levy, had always pictured Alexis as a blonde in his mind. Fortunately, the younger Levy was still able to get Murphy in to audition for both Alexis and surly hotel clerk Stevie, which she managed to pull off despite having to fly to Toronto from Los Angeles where she was knee deep in pilot season and not having much luck.
But then came the wait. Murphy knew that if you don’t get a call back after two weeks, it usually means you didn’t get the part. By the time Levy eventually called her, it had already been three weeks, so she was naturally prepared for the worst. In fact, she ignored the call at first before working up the courage to call back and face what she just assumed was going to be another rejection:
Dan picked up the phone and proceeded to say, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that we loved having them come in, and we really loved what you did.” And then just left me hanging — like 45 years of my life went by. It was the worst. I was trying to put on a brave face, and be like, “Honestly, I grew so much as an actor,” putting the tears back into the duct. Right before he hung up, he was like, “Just one quick question. How would you like to play my sister on the show?”
It was a life-changing moment. My apartment had burned down; it was a bleak time. It really just 180-ed my life, to go work with two people I had admired so much growing up.
Obviously, things worked out, and Murphy’s portrayal of Alexis became a fan favorite and the launcher of a million GIFs. In fact, her viral fame is still going strong thanks to her pop spoof “A Little Bit Alexis” becoming a pandemic anthem for hand-washing, which Murphy never saw coming. She was allowed to both write and choreograph the song, and she genuinely had no clue it would take off:
Even though we knew that it had to be a spoof and not very good, we secretly all wanted to write a banger of a song. I wrote the lyrics, and then the other two did the bleeps and bloops and put the melody together. I sent it to Dan and just waited and waited and waited, and he wrote back, “I am obsessed.” We ended up recording the full song. It gets played at clubs now. It’s crazy.
As for the finale, Murphy says to expect lots of very real tears from her and Levy. Although, she does offer hope for Schitt’s Creek fans who aren’t ready for the show to end. “Write a strongly worded letter to Dan, please.”
Smino hits the motherland in his latest video, visiting South Africa’s Alexandra Township and rubbing elbows with the locals in “Reverend,” which originally released almost a year ago. The St. Louis rapper has been working on his third album, which he says is “done” and being mixed by Derek Ali — aka MixedByAli, the in-house producer for Top Dawg Entertainment.
The video, directed by TopShotta, sees Smino showing off his colorful personality and unusual stylistic sensibilities by sitting in a bright green bathtub under a lime-green sun umbrella, plopped right down in one of South Africa’s notorious townships. Of course, he’s also bringing light to an area that is often overlooked and underserved by public officials — an area where the residents are mainly Black and poor. Alexandra is located in the Gauteng province, just a few miles (or kilometers) from Johannesburg, the largest city in the country. As you can probably see in the video, many folks there live in makeshift shacks and the crime rate is understandably extremely high.
Yet, by highlighting Alexandra, Smino also calls attention to the potential for greatness in humble beginnings — among the township’s most famous residents is South Africa’s first democratically-elected President, Nelson Mandela. Even in dire circumstances, there’s a lot of beauty — and Smino shows that in his new video.
Watch the “Reverend” video above.
Air travel is an absolute mess right now. Flights are empty, planes are grounded, and an inexplicably short-sighted industry is asking for government support. In the wake of the coronavirus shutdown, airlines have been forced to adapt their cancellation/ change policies drastically. More and more airlines are moving toward a Southwest-style “change whenever you want, for free”-type model.
In hopes of gaining customer loyalty and trust during the quarantine, Delta Airlines is extending their rebooking window for two years. That’s massively helpful because while it’s expected that travel will open up again within a few months, building up the disposable income to travel might take potential flyers worldwide considerably longer. Delta’s previous policy only applied to trans-Pacific flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Incheon, South Korea, and Italy and required passengers to rebook their travel before May 31st, 2020, but considering a lot has changed since the early days of the outbreak — namely that the US now leads the world in COVID-19 cases by a substantial amount — Delta has expanded that policy to include all flights.
Delta’s current policy allows passengers to rebook their tickets for up to two years since the date of purchase and will waive all change fees until May 31st, 2022 if you’ve booked your flight for any time in April or May of 2020 or have existing eCredits or canceled travel from flights in March, April, or May of this year. Tickets purchased between March 1st and May 31st, 2020 can also be changed without a change fee for up to a year from the date of purchase. Thankfully, this is an automatic process and you won’t have to jump through any formal channels or make an official cancellation (a stipulation of many previous cancellation/rebooking policies) to score your eCredits. Delta is also making information on eCredits and their new ticket expiration dates readily available online soon.
“We are actively working on a solution to display the new expiration dates in all the places you can find your eCredits on delta.com,” reads a statement on the new policy, “If your eCredit for canceled travel has not yet been processed or extended, or is temporarily displaying incorrectly… rest assured your flight value is secure through May 2022 and will be ready to redeem online when you need it.”
Some fare differences may apply for new bookings, but fortunately if your fare ends up being cheaper than your original ticket you’ll receive the eCredits back into your account for the difference. Delta’s policy page has a full breakdown of this new policy — it’ll be interesting to see if other airlines follow-suit in the weeks to come.