In case you were busy spending your EA settlement money as quickly as possible, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday:
- Led by running back Frank Gore, the San Francisco 49ers rebounded from two consecutive heavy defeats in style, beating the St. Louis Rams, 35-11. "We couldn't run the ball," said Rams coach Jeff Fisher after the loss. "And they could run the ball." Fisher, a longtime member of the league's competition committee, then added, "That's not fair. At some point it's like, let's at least swap some linemen so that it's a good game. What happened to sportsmanship?"
- Mariano Rivera played his final game at Yankee Stadium, throwing 1⅓ perfect innings in New York's 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. Rivera, who has spent the season being given gifts on a de facto nationwide farewell tour, was approached by manager Joe Girardi after the game. "I bet you noticed we hadn't given you anything," Girardi told Rivera. "I had, but I don't mind; this organization has given me everything," Rivera said. Girardi smiled, and told his longtime closer, "I saved that third wish for a reason," before yelling, "I wish for Mariano to be free!" Suddenly, a swirl of blue light came from the ground, and the lamp that Rivera had quietly carried with him for his entire Yankees career shattered as if made out of glass. "Now run. No more saving us," Girardi whispered in Rivera's ear. "Now you can save yourself." Rivera then thanked Girardi before awkwardly reminding him that he was still contracted to play the final series of the season at Houston.
- Virginia Tech's defense cracked Georgia Tech's wishbone offense, as the Hokies beat the Yellow Jackets, 17-10. The real winner, however, was engineering, with this football game providing the perfect forum to highlight the academic programs these two fine technical universities have to offer. So let's give a quick shout-out to the Georgia Tech polymers division in its School of Materials Science and Engineering. You may be unranked by the AP in football, but you're ranked fifth by U.S. News in synthesizing molecules to develop new and strong non-decomposing materials, and that matters just as much.
- Jason Heyward went 5-for-5 as his Atlanta Braves pounded the Philadelphia Phillies, 7-1. Heyward, who is regaining his form after injuries took away a large portion of his season, said after the game, "I just have to rise above the noise and confusion. Get a glimpse beyond this illusion. Early in my career I was soaring ever higher. But, if I'm being totally honest, I flew too high. My eyes could see, but I was still a blind man. My mind could think, but I was still a mad man. But I heard a voice when I was dreaming. I heard it say: 'Carry on my Heyward son, there'll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest; don't you cry no more.'" Heyward then tore off a minute-long guitar solo to punctuate his story, before adding, "And I haven't cried anymore."
- Cleveland held off a late Minnesota rally to win 6-5 over the Twins and extend its winning streak to seven games as it chases down the final AL wild-card slot. When asked what was motivating his team, Indians manager Terry Francona said, "I may have told the team they were all put on the squad so that we would finish dead last and the owner could move the team to Miami. In spite of how stupid that is, given the Marlins presence in the city, it still convinced Jason Giambi to tell the team, 'There's only one thing left to do: Win the whole fuckin' thing.' And that seems to have gotten everyone on the same page." Francona then shook his head and said, "These guys are so stupid. Miami? I still can't believe that worked."
- Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano is reportedly seeking a $305 million contract extension. "We'll do $400 million!" yelled Angels GM Jerry Dipoto when he heard what Cano's demands were, before adding, "or $500 million! $500 million and you can spend a night with my wife! Whatever it takes!"
- Bud Selig announced he will step down as the commissioner of Major League Baseball in January of 2015. "That date will stand no matter what," Selig explained, "including if I die. In that case my corpse will be flown from ballpark to ballpark to preside over the game, and my decisions shall be inferred based on my level of daily decomposition." Selig then went through the nauseatingly specific ways in which that decomposition would be measured, before adding, "And no ties. Been down that road before and it's ugly."