In case you were busy saying good-bye to your pet alligator Mojo, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday:
- A sterling combined effort from a trio of rookie pitchers led the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-2 win over the Boston Red Sox, evening up the World Series at a game apiece. The game hinged on the Cardinals' aggressive baserunning and a clutch hit from veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran, once again proving that the same things that won big games in the mid-'60s will still win them today.
- Cam Newton and the suddenly red-hot Carolina Panthers throttled the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 31-13, to move to 4-3. A bad day for Tampa Bay was made worse when former Buccaneer and current Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett described the situation in Tampa under beleaguered head coach Greg Schiano as "like being in Cuba." Wow, strong words, but to be fair to Cuba, unlike the Buccaneers it does have reliable health coverage.
- David Krejci's last-second tip-in gave the Boston Bruins a thrilling 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. "Well, I guess that settles the classic bear versus shark question," said crazed experimental biologist Doctor Krevin von Brain as he turned off the game. "Get out of the shark tank, Paddington," von Brain called to his prized SuperGrizzly. "No need to risk anything, we already learned you're stronger. Paddington?" But von Brain hadn't thought about the power-play factor, and it was already too late for the badly outnumbered Paddington, as he was facing down a half-dozen hyper-intelligent great white sharks, all of whom had been keyed in to the scent of mammal blood.
- Mississippi State held on late to beat Kentucky, 28-22, earning the Bulldogs their first SEC win of the season. "Now that we got a taste of winning, I just want more," yelled a pumped Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, before asking, "Who we got next week? Bring ’em on!" When told that up next was a game on the road against Steve Spurrier's South Carolina, Mullen yelled, "Um, what about after the week after that? Let's go! Bulldog momentum!" When told the following game was at Texas A&M to face Johnny Manziel and the Aggies, Mullen said, "Next, after that, who is next after that? When are we gonna use this momentum? Let's go!" When told he wouldn't like the answer, Mullen asked, "What? It's not Bama, is it? Is it?" When met with an awkward pause, Mullen dropped his head and said, "Shit. Fine, what about after Bama?" When told that on November 23 his team would face Arkansas, Mullen fist-pumped and let out a roar before yelling, "Boom! Let's take this momentum right into our game four weeks from now and show those Hogs what Bulldogs football is all about!"
- Brett Favre reportedly turned down the opportunity to come out of retirement to play quarterback for the St. Louis Rams in place of the injured Sam Bradford. When asked why he decided not to pursue a return to the NFL, Favre replied, "Look, I'm not a superstar anymore. I'm just a fan. A regular Joe Six-Pack like the rest of you. And like the rest of you, I really just want to see the Rams sign Tim Tebow and throw him in without any practice time against the Seahawks' defense."
- France's top-flight soccer leagues Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 are threatening to strike at the end of November to protest the French government's proposed 75 percent tax rate on income earned over one million Euros. This move will disproportionately affect less-wealthy clubs in the league, while the two behemoths of French football, PSG and Monaco, will likely weather the storm; PSG can afford to pay post-tax wages to players, and Monaco is not subject to French tax policy. Now I know what you're thinking, did I include this item as a shameless excuse to once again link to Paris St. Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic's obscene back-heel volley from last weekend? Yes. I did. And you're welcome.
- James Harden and Dwight Howard both recorded double-doubles as the Houston Rockets routed the San Antonio Spurs, 109-92, in preseason play. "I'd say we learned a great deal about our chief enemy tonight. On the one hand that looked like a championship-caliber performance from our boys, didn't it men?" asked former Rockets legend Hakeem "The Bad Dream" Olajuwon to his war room of villainous associates: Clyde "The Glide" Drexler, Robert "The Horror" Horry, Kenny "The Jet" Smith, Mario "Wario" Elie, Chucky "The Doll" Brown, Sam "Area 51” Cassell, and Vernon "Mad Max" Maxwell. "But," Hakeem interjected, palpably changing the mood in the room, "I noticed that Coach Popovich decided to rest both Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili for the game. Meaning, really, we learned nothing." Olajuwon then turned his gaze to Mario "Wario" Elie. "Someone in this room used to work with the Honorable Mister Popovich, better known by his alias, Coach. Didn't someone?" Elie shifted in his seat and replied, "Well sure, Dream, but I certainly don't know nothing about him resting nobody in the preseason. Pop rests guys all the time. He's a resting machine. You can't think I had something to do with that." Olajuwon smiled at his former teammate and said, "Of course not. He is a resting machine, as you said. But you see, I have a resting machine of my own." Olajuwon then pressed a button, which caused metal bands to emerge from Elie's armrests, securing the former shooting guard to his chair, before adding, "A resting-in-peace machine! Good night, Mario." Despite Elie's frantic protestations, Olajuwon then pressed another button and started to cackle maniacally, as Elie's chair was shot like a rocket out of the lair and into space.