In case you were busy investing heavily in Kyle Field grass futures, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday:
- Justin Verlander threw a gem and Miguel Cabrera broke out of his slump with a two-run home run as the Detroit Tigers advanced to the ALCS with a 3-0 win over the Oakland Athletics. Earlier in the day things were not looking good. On a cartoon baseball field on a faraway planet, Mike Trout and a team of misfits made up of one male bunny, one attractive female bunny, a duck, a devil, a skunk, a hunter, a chicken, a pig, a cat, and Dan Aykroyd were down to their last at-bat in a baseball game with the fate of the world at stake. Their alien opponents, led by Pog, who had stolen Miguel Cabrera's essence, had surged to an early 66-run lead in the game. However, the plucky toons had battled back behind Trout's 16-for-16 game with 16 grand slams, along with an Aykroyd solo home run. The score was 66-65 with Trout at the plate, the bases loaded, Pog on the mound, a full count, and two outs. Trout called his shot to Pog, yelling, "I'm swinging for the fences," which caused the fences to briefly have cartoonishly bulging eyes. Pog smiled at Trout and reared back to throw; it was a looping breaking ball, exactly the pitch Trout had been sitting on. Trout winked and swung, but Pog had deviously thrown a spitball and it drooled all over his bat making him miss. "Strike three!" yelled the ump. Trout was crushed, the game was over, and Earth and Cabrera were doomed … Or were they?
- Eli Manning's poor season continued as the quarterback threw three more interceptions and his New York Giants fell to 0-6 with a 27-21 loss to the Chicago Bears. "I don't ever lose confidence," Manning said after the game as his cell phone blared out "Rocky Top." "Sorry," he said as he muted it. "Someone's trying to get a hold of me. Asshole. Anyway, as I was saying, I don't ever lose confidence as—" but Manning was interrupted as his cell phone began to ring out "Rocky Top" again. "I'm so sorry guys," Manning said. "Some jerk set a personal ring on this phone, and I don't know how to change it." Manning then turned from the podium and saw a new incoming text message: "should I let the jags win? then you guys can be the best at being bad. pick up ur phone and let me kno brah. ciao, pey2kpounds."
- Ed Orgeron's debut as USC's interim head coach was a success as the Trojans held off the Arizona Wildcats for a 38-31 win. Before the game, Orgeron was delivered a note and two sealed envelopes from former USC head coach Lane Kiffin. The note read, "When I took over, Pete gave me two envelopes and told me to open them when things got bad. The first one read, 'BLAME PETE CARROLL PETE CARROLL'S IN A BETTER PLACE NOW, YOU CAN'T HURT ME I'M GONNA LIVE FOREVER' and the second read, 'PETE CARROLL WANTS YOU TO WRITE TWO LETTERS GET IT? PETE CARROLL SAYS YOU'RE FIRED.' So I wrote two letters. Open them both now." A confused Orgeron did, only to grow more confused when he saw that Letter 1 was a rambling note complaining about Lane's father, Monte, and Letter 2 was just a crude sketch of former USC quarterback Matt Barkley sleeping inside of a large horse, along with the word "poop."
- The Minnesota Lynx are WNBA champions after finishing their sweep of the Atlanta Dream with an 86-77 win. The Lynx have now won two of the last three WNBA titles, while the Dream have been swept in three of the last four finals. "How do we know losing isn't a dream?" asked Dream head coach Fred Williams. "Maybe it's 2010? Can you prove it isn't?" Williams then proceeded to pull out one of his canines. "See, that's the sort of thing that happens in a dream. Maybe this isn't over after all," Williams said with a toothless smile, only to later be diagnosed with a shockingly severe case of gingivitis.
- Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 39 saves as the Colorado Avalanche maintained their perfect start under new head coach Patrick Roy with a 2-0 win over the Boston Bruins. After the game, Roy glared at the media and said, "Pretty good from Jean-Sebastien. I guess. I mean, the scoreline's good. Thirty-nine saves is OK." Roy then clenched his fist into a ball and added, "I just hope he doesn't get too cocky. Because I certainly won't throw on the pads and get back out there if he falters." Roy then added, to a speechless cadre of media members, "So don't even ask me if I want to get out there on the ice. Because I don't. Seriously. I don't. Stop asking. Everybody stop asking me that question now."
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers guard Carl Nicks has suffered a recurrence of MRSA in his left foot, as he joins kicker Lawrence Tynes as Tampa Bay players repeatedly sidelined by the disease. "This is easily one of the 12 worst things that's happened to me as a Buccaneer," said Nicks of the stubborn infection that is threatening his career, "strangely all of which have occurred between January 26, 2012, and today." When told of Nicks's comments, Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano said, "Weird, that's the day I was hired," before yelling at a towel boy for using fabric softener on the team's laundry.
- Mike Trout stood in the batter's box dejected, when he heard the stuttering voice of a pig from the dugout yell, "r-r-r-r-r-run Mikey! Run!" Pog's pitch had so much break on it that when it landed in the dirt behind home plate it started tunneling underground. The devil broke in from third, followed closely by the attractive female bunny from second base. "Interference! Call interference!" Pog yelled as his catcher was unable to retrieve the ball, but umpire Glacier National Park Samuel did not oblige. As the female bunny crossed home plate, and Mike and the toons won the game in miraculous fashion, the essence of Miguel Cabrera was sucked out of Pog. "Noooooo!" he yelled as he returned to his diminutive form. "Curse you Mike Trout, Dan Aykroyd, and your generic cartoon animal and human teammates! Curse you all!" Meanwhile, in Oakland, the Tigers and A's were tied when Cabrera tapped manager Jim Leyland on the shoulder and said, "Hey skip. Suddenly I feel great. I think I'm gonna send this one into orbit." Leyland turned to his slumping slugger and said, "Welcome to the Space Slam," before spitting into a dip cup and winking at a deeply confused Victor Martinez.