2:15 PM The Fukuoka Softbank Hawks defeated the Hanshin Tigers 1-0 on Thursday to win the 2014 Japan Series. The game ended when Tigers batter Tsuyoshi Nishioka was called out for running outside the first base line while trying to beat a double play.
2:00 PM It was 40 years ago today that Muhammad Ali & George Foreman had their "Rumble In The Jungle" fight in the African country of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
You had your fun, Red Sox haters, when Boston was 2-6 and looking like a mediocre mess. Now, the Sox have won 10 straight and look like the team to beat in the AL East (can Toronto really keep this up?). The Yankees found three different ways to lose to the Sox over the weekend, and were further embarrassed when Jacoby Ellsburystole home off of Andy Pettite:
Ellsbury’s theft highlighted a three-run fifth inning that led the Red Sox to a 4-1 win on Sunday Night Baseball. It was the weekend in a nutshell for the Yankees, who are now facing mounting questions about their pitching staff, which is ruining things for an offense that’s scoring more than five runs per game (and will get better when A-Rod returns).
So, you’re the Orlando Magic, you’re down 2-1 in the series to heavy underdog Philly, and you just dumped a nine-point lead late in the fourth quarter and find yourself tied in the final seconds. You don’t want this going to OT because the Sixers have all the momentum. So now what? Clearly, it’s time for Hedo Turkoglu to just dribble around for a while and then drain a 26-footer to win it 84-81:
Just how you drew it up, right Stan?
In Houston, the Portland Trail Blazers once again had a chance to steal a game from the Rockets…and once again, gave it away late. The Rockets killed the Blazers on the offensive boards, getting two huge second chances that led to three-point daggers from Shane Battier in the final minutes. Portland still had a chance to tie it with 20 seconds remaining, but Brandon Roy was called for an offensive foul, then Travis Outlaw missed a deep three. The Rockets held on, 89-88, to take a 3-1 series lead. Houston needs just one more game to advance to the second round for the first time since 1997. And, unfortunately for Blazer fans, Tracy McGrady isn’t around to blow this one.
(How does his hair stay behind his ears all the time like that?)
In the NHL’s late game, the Hurricanes blanked the Devils 4-0 to push their series to a deciding game in Newark on Tuesday night. In related news, NHL.COM has told Kevin Smith he can’t blog about the series on their site anymore. Apparently, the NHL wants to be “family friendly” and didn’t realize they had commissioned one of the filthiest mouths anywhere to write about the series. So now, Smith has moved his playoff blog to his own site.
• The Broncos, along with all of the former AFL teams, are going to wear throwback jerseys for the first two games this season. No, not those orange ones we all remember from our youth. It’s this monstrosity that thankfully was retired after only two seasons (according to the DENVER POST, they were acquired secondhand from a defunct bowl game):
• This may not be sports-related, but lets face it, Bea Arthur was twice the man that A-Rod will ever be. So in honor of her sad demise, here’s some grainy footage of her embarrassing performance in the horrible Star Wars Holiday Special:
Hey, ever notice how some unrelated people have the same name, like SPORTSbyBROOKS and Albert Brooks? Isn’t that just the funniest? If you said “yes” to that second question, be sure to tune into ESPN’s telecast of the 2009 NFL Draft and watch former Texas wideout Quan Cosby ride out the draft with legendary comedian Bill Cosby. Wait, what?
AWFUL ANNOUNCING reports that the footballer and the star of “Leonard Part 6″ will watch the draft together in a New Jersey theater before the elder Cosby performs there that night, and ESPN will be on hand to record the hilarity for posterity. How did such a bizarre stunt come to pass?
So, the Phillies didn’t win the World Series last night. But the Rays didn’t win the game, either. Yup, that’s baseball for you. What almost turned into a clusterf*** of epic proportions conveniently became much easier to deal with when Carlos Peña drove in B.J. Upton with the tying run in the top of the 6th inning.
Had the Rays not scored in the inning, who knows how long the umpires would’ve insisted that the debacle continue. The field became basically unplayable in the 4th inning, but the umpiring crew didn’t want to face the wrath of Philly by bringing the tarp out then, and forcing the game to be wiped off the books and replayed from scratch when the Phillies were leading. But at the time, what we didn’t know was that Bud Selig was going to actually make a good decision, and force the game to be played in its entirety no matter the score and inning. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal was shocked at what transpired.
According to MLB.COM, Selig informed officials from both teams earlier in the series that every game would be played to its conclusion. Rule 3.10(c) allows the umpires (or commissioner) to wait as long as necessary to resume a game, even if it takes days. This rule is rarely, if ever, used in the regular season because of the nature of scheduling and the necessity to get games finished and move on. But with no other games on the schedule, it is well within the rules to wait a day to end a rain delay. The Phillies won’t be able to use Cole Hamels when the game resumes, but he’ll be OK since he gets to go home to her every night:
Thankfully, a quirk in the rules was cleared up in 2006. By the old rules, if the game was suspended at this point, Tampa’s run in the top of the inning wouldn’t count and we’d have to go back and start the 6th inning all over again. Skip Bayless‘ head would’ve exploded on “First Take” this morning.
As it looks now, it’s going to be raining all day today in Philadelphia, but the weather may be clearing up a bit by the scheduled resumption time of 8:00. It’s still going to be miserable, with temperatures likely in the upper-30s and wind gusts as high as 40 miles per hour.
Brown: There is no place to go but up in your view?
Barkley: We are number 48 in everything and Arkansas and Mississippi aren’t going anywhere.
Chuck then appeared on Conan O’Brien last night and called out Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan for being “cheap.” Yeah, he’s gonna do great in politics.
The Titans beat the Colts 31-21 last night, driving Indy a little further into oblivion. It seems like this shouldn’t be it for Peyton Manning as a dominant quarterback, but things aren’t looking good this year. He has nine interceptions and a passer rating of just 79.0. That’s just better than Dan Orlovsky and below great signal-callers like Matt Cassel and Kyle Orton. The Titans, meanwhile, look like the team to beat, especially since they got rid of that Vince Young dude.
• Darryl Hall was supposed to sing the national anthem at last night’s World Series game in Philly, but he got sick. Plan B? Like you had to ask:
Apparently, Oates was just chilling at home in Aspen when he got the call on Monday morning. So he hopped on a flight (he had to sit in a middle seat) and made it in time to fill in. Now that’s dedication.
• Nate McMillan’s choice to leave Seattle three years ago to move to Portland seems like a pretty good one now, says the SEATTLE TIMES, since his old team isn’t there anymore and his new one is rejuvenated.
• Jung hit his caddy so hard with a golf ball that he necessitated seven weeks of hospital treatment. The caddy was behind him. About eight yards behind him. No wonder K.J. Choi’s the only male golfer who’s made it out of Korea. (REUTERS via YAHOO!)
• Looks like TMZ just has someone who follows David Beckham around all day. Becks got pulled over, got a “talking to” about his tinted windows, but didn’t get a ticket. Yes, this is news.
• This is just another Isiah Thomas story, from the NY DAILY NEWS, but it contains this great nugget of info: “Isiah Thomas’ son said the ex-Knicks coach will be back at work Monday.” What work? What does he do? He can’t talk to the players or make any decisions. Is he the IT guy now?
The NFL is on the verge of losing one of its largest revenue streams, based on the news out of New England last night. Safety Rodney Harrison, who has rankled opponents over the years with his aggressive (some say dirty) play, joined Tom Brady on the “guys opposing fans are happy to see in pain” list after it was revealed that he will miss the rest of the season with a torn thigh muscle. In fact, the AP is going as far as calling it a career-ending injury.
The oft-fined safety tore his right thigh muscle and rehab will reportedly take 8-10 months. Harrison is in the last year of his contract and many expected that he was going to retire after the season anyway. He’s donated more than $200,000 to NFL over the years in fines for illegal hits. Roger Goodell will just have to keep making up more reasons to fine Hines Ward to account for the reduced cash flow.
Kellen Winslow and his staph infection were suspended one game by the Browns because Winslow had the gall to call out the team’s brass for asking him to hide the illness and for not taking enough action to prevent further infections. Despite the fact that Winslow made it clear that his beef was not with his teammates or coaches, GM Phil Savage called the comments “unwarranted, inappropriate and unnecessarily disparaging to our organization.”
Pudding pops for everyone! Bill Cosby was on hand last night as Temple beat Ohio 14-10 in a game that nobody wanted to see, but everybody watched for like five minutes because nothing else was on. The PHILLY INQUIRER insists that the Owls are still in the MAC Eastern Division hunt despite a 2-3 league record.
The World Series starts tonight, and HOME RUN DERBY has the preview you’ve been waiting for. It’s of the teams’ cheerleaders, of course, which means there hopefully won’t be any photos of a shirtless Matt Stairs. It should be noted that the Phillies’ Ballgirls are actually the ones who sit in foul territory and field balls that go out of play, while the Ray Team is more of a traditional squad — with some dudes, though. The Ballgirls are actual softball players who just happen to be attractive, which makes them the winners in my book. Anyone can operate a t-shirt cannon.
Since Francona has become manager of the Red Sox he’s been struck by the following maladies:
A foot infection, a knee replacement, staph infections in both knees, chest pains, several years on blood-thinners, a life-threatening blood clot in his lungs and now a back problem that will require surgery.
Francona also chews massive quantities of tobacco during the season, which I’m sure helps a lot with all of this. And he won’t even turn 50 until early next season.
• It’s not the World Series without the participating cities’ newspaper columnists taking really easy cheap shots at each other. Today, the PHILLY DAILY NEWS’ Stu Bykofsky has the floor, and it might just be the worst trash talk I’ve ever read. There’s references to tuberculosis and Salvador Dali(?), and he calls Rays fans “tampons.” It’s all very sophisticated.
• BOSTONIST finds Jason Varitek giving a nod to Bill Cosby, shown by the World Series catcher’s choice of sweater:
• MONDESI’S HOUSE shows former Steeler Chukwun Okobi displaying his Super Bowl ring in style.• MAXIM doesn’t believe what they just saw, as they list their choices of the most fantastic sports finishes.
• Sacre bleu! WAY OFFSIDE learns that Quebec politicians are mad that the captain of the Montreal Canadiens doesn’t speak French.
The following night, Bell Centre fans were treated to a pre-recorded message from the Habs’ on-ice leader: “Ici Saku Koivu, voici mon equipe.”• Ray Ratto of the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE wants more pep from Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh.
• THE WIZARD OF ODDS has yet another candidate for SEC Cheap Shot of The Year, courtesy of the Florida Gators.• SERIOUS SPORTS NEWS NETWORK asks for signatures, as USC petitions ESPN to keep their “dynasty” label.