In case you were unable to get to a TV after a butt pat gone awry, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
After giving up a six-run lead, the Boston Red Sox finally put away the Tampa Bay Rays, 10-8, behind a Daniel Nava 14th-inning RBI single. The game was not without its controversy, as John Lackey hit Matt Joyce with a pitch, leading to both benches clearing in the sixth inning. "Yeah, it was on purpose," Lackey admitted after the game, "but it's not what you think. A couple years ago, James Loney's wife baked me these cookies when I went in for Tommy John surgery, and I needed the recipe, because I've been jonesing for these cookies something fierce, and I figured the easiest way to see him was to get the benches to clear. I mean, I was getting tired anyway. And sure enough, sea salt. That's the secret ingredient. Sort of a sweet and savory thing." When told Lackey's explanation after the game, Joyce exclaimed, "Sea salt! Of course! A sweet and savory combination. Makes perfect sense."
League sources are reporting that the New England Patriots will sign Tim Tebow to serve as the team's third quarterback, reuniting Tebow with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who drafted Tebow when he was the head coach of the Broncos. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, when asked if he signed Tebow simply to gain access to the New York Jets playbook from last season, replied by staring directly at the reporter without blinking, before waving at the reporter to take a couple of steps back into a visibly out-of-place pile of long grass and discarded branches. When asked if the grass and branches were covering some sort of snare trap, Belichick groaned and said, "You win this round, but you'll never know how I got the Jets playbook for sure, will you?"
Most of the big-ticket free agents reeled in last winter have been, at least so far, colossal busts. The Dodgers' $147 million has bought them five starts' worth of Zack Greinke. The Angels' $125 million investment has yielded a .222/.283/.399 line from Josh Hamilton. The Braves spent $75.25 million on B.J. Upton, who is hitting .148/.236/.252.
With a few exceptions, the best free agents of the past offseason have also been some of the cheapest. As more and more teams re-up their best players before they can reach free agency, mastering the art of shrewd shopping becomes more important, whether your payroll tops $200 million or is one-third that size. Granting that we're only eight weeks into the season, it could be instructive to run through the most successful free-agent pickups of the Hot Stove, and see if we can pick out any traits and patterns common to the best of the bunch.
Here are those top snags, going position by position.
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Middle Relief, our midweek look at news and nonsense from around the majors.
When Scott Podsednik jogged to center field in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's game against the Orioles, he thrust the Red Sox into rarefied air. No, he didn't win the game for Boston — Baltimore walked away 4-1 victors. No, he didn't change Boston's place in the standings — the Sox remain cellar dwellers and below .500, the longest they've gone without topping .500 in 15 16 years. In making his first appearance in a Red Sox uniform, Podsednik became the 12th player to man their outfield this year.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday.
John Elway and the Denver Broncos officially introduced Peyton Manning in a press conference after signing the free agent to a deal that could be worth as much as $96 million over five years. "I'm happy to join the Mile High club under a legend like John Elway," said Manning, in a really unfortunate opening statement followed by an even more unfortunate joke: "Even if it does get a little hard to breathe!"
For some time now, Lance Berkman has been in the category of athletes who genuinely believe they were as good as one of their more buzzed-about teammates. This fraternity of chip-on-shoulder athletes include:
Ron Harper, about Michael Jordan (false)
Morris Peterson, about LeBron James (delusional)
Terrell Owens, about Jerry Rice (not at anything)
Tom Brady, about Drew Bledsoe (absolutely)
Paul Kariya, about Teemu Selanne (DEBATABLE)
Lance is a two-time member of this club, first as an Astro with Jeff Bagwell and currently as a Cardinal with Albert Pujols. Comparing Bagwell and Pujols' numbers with Berkman, it seems insane for him to think he's as good, if not better. What's interesting, though, is that guys in this fraternity don't care about stats and accolades. They just know, deep down inside, they are better than anyone else in their respective sport, and there's nothing you can say to them to convince them feel otherwise. It may sound crazy, but it's also a fantastic way to approach your craft.
On Thursday night, Lance finally got the chance to show the world what he's known all along: Lance Berkman is the greatest baseball player of all time.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
Delmon Young hit two home runs and Justin Verlander lasted into the eighth as the Tigers avoided elimination with a 7-5 win over the Rangers in the ALCS. Texas will now have two chances to advance to the World Series at home, and won't have to contend with Verlander. Unfortunately, they will have to contend with Nolan Ryan's "fable hour," where the Rangers owner forces the team to gather around and listen while he tells tall tales about his days in the majors. Tomorrow's installment is about the time Ryan built a stadium by himself in a single day when the old one was wrecked by a storm, and opened it up by throwing a no-hitter that very night.
In case you were out living a young person's life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday.
This morning we're counting down the ten most significant moments of Tuesday night. They could be great, they could be awful, or they could be "other," but the ranking is entirely dependent on their importance. Kind of like how Time magazine's Person of the Year can be Gandhi, Hitler, or Mark Zuckerberg.