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Newspaper colleague not to blame for Michigan’s CWS defeat

Michigan came up just short this week in its bid to win the College World Series for the first time since 1962.

But you can’t blame it on John Kerr.

Not the John Kerr who starred for the ’62 Wolverines — whose son, Derek, pitched for Michigan’s 1984 CWS qualifier and whose grandson, Jimmy, played first base for this one. The John Kerr who oversees the RJ’s Opinion page — Derek’s brother and Jimmy’s uncle.

The RJ’s John Kerr was to the Michigan baseball team what William H. Macy was to the Shangri-La casino in the movies.

Just call him “The Cooler.”

Whenever Uncle John showed up at one of Jimmy’s games, it seemed the Wolverines would lose. So Derek Kerr “banned” his brother from attending the CWS in Omaha, Nebraska.

On Monday, with Uncle John relegated to watching in the desert on TV, nephew Jimmy smacked another home run (he hit seven in 13 NCAA Tournament games) in a 7-4 victory over Vanderbilt. But the Commodores won the next two games to claim the series.

“My brother started making cracks,” the RJ’s John Kerr said about having been told to stay home. “One of the guys at the Detroit News, who I’ve known for a long time, introduced himself to Jimmy, and then Jimmy made a joke that I’m not allowed at the games. One thing led to another.”

When it was reported that patriarch John Kerr threw 313 pitches, 19 innings and two complete games — in one day (!) — during Michigan’s 1962 title run, the first family of Wolverines baseball became more popular than a ribeye special from Omaha Steaks.

Derek Kerr told the Detroit News it actually would have been OK had brother John come to Omaha. But on one condition.

“My last words to him were, ‘If you come to town, don’t tell me. Get a seat in the outfield, and we’ll find you later. But don’t tell me about it.’ ”

Reining champion

A $1 million prize will be paid to the world’s best reining cowboy during a competition called The Run for a Million held Aug. 15 to 17 at South Point Arena and Equestrian Center.

Reining is a second cousin to rodeo. It’s a riding contest in which horses are guided through patterns, spins and stops that evolved from working cattle — like on the old TV series “Rawhide” starring Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates.

Academy Award nominated writer-director Taylor Sheridan — the guy responsible for the TV series “Yellowstone” — will film a miniseries called “The Last Cowboy” in conjunction with the event that will air on the Paramount Network and Country Music Television.

NASCAR rebounding

For the first time since the advent of power steering, NASCAR’s TV ratings on Fox were up this season.

OK, slight exaggeration. But the freefall in interest in stock car racing might be over, based on Nielsen Media Research that showed the first half of the Cup Series improving 2 percent in viewership over last year, excluding weather-impacted races.

The slight bump notwithstanding, this is where Las Vegas Motor Speedway officials would tell you that watching a NASCAR race from the Earnhardt Terrace is much more intense than watching it from your living room sofa, and that plenty of good seats remain for the South Point 400 on Sept. 15.

Feeling Dizzy

Brandon Kintzler made history for the Chicago Cubs this week.

The Palo Verde High product, who has rediscovered command of a sinker that landed him on the 2017 American League All-Star team while with the Twins, pitched a scoreless inning to run his total at Wrigley Field starting this season to 18⅔. (He threw another one Thursday making in 19 2/3.) It is the longest such streak at the Cubs’ venerable home ballpark in 80 years, since Dizzy Dean began 1939 with 18 scoreless innings.

If ol’ Diz still were around, he might have offered his congratulations to the Las Vegan before mentioning that Javy Baez had just “slud” into third.

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Kintzler, on his drive-thru Las Vegas wedding to wife, Melissa, during the 2012 off-season:

“Put my dog in a tuxedo, put him in the back seat. Drove up to A Little White Chapel (in his grandfather’s 1940 Chevy Special Deluxe) where Britney Spears got married. The minister literally comes out of a drive-thru window, you say your vows and you’re gone.

“Fifty bucks. Cheapest wedding ever,” the relief specialist said. “The video part was more expensive – it was $85.”

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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