In case you were busy talking up how good your Achilles feels, because it feels really, really good, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday:
Paul Goldschmidt's two home runs, including his third walk-off home run of the season, gave the Arizona Diamondbacks an 11-inning 4-3 win in their interleague battle with the Baltimore Orioles. "Guy's a regular Kirk Gibson with these clutch jacks," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said after the game. "Am I flattered by the tribute? Absolutely. It's nice to have your players respect your on-field legacy." Gibson then did his best Vin Scully impression: "In the year of the improbable the—" before being interrupted by Goldschmidt. "Hey skip, what are you talking about?" Goldschmidt asked his manager, to which Gibson replied with a smile, "Oh, just reminiscing about my own walk-off heroics. Dodger Stadium. You know, the story." Goldschmidt furrowed his brow and asked his manager, "You played? For the Dodgers? No kidding. Never would have guessed." A crestfallen Gibson turned away and said, "Yeah, kid, yeah. I played. Impossibly that happened."
The Oakland A's were denied a Chris Young walk-off home run after umpires were unable to confirm through instant replay that his blast hit the foul pole, before losing, 5-4, to the Houston Astros when Young struck out on the next pitch. Now you know that we here at About Last Night are all about provoking debate, and the use of instant replay in baseball is a big topic for sports debaters these days. We take the stance that we must keep the human element in the game, and what's more, enhance it. Enough with automated delivery of baseball images to people's homes. No more televising games. The game happens once. The events are witnessed by those in the stadium. Period. Everything else denies the tradition of the game that, may I add, predates television. Furthermore, we take the stance that there should be no still photographs of the game, which would only serve to create needless controversy about games that already happened. Eyewitness reports of the game should also be banned, along with any written records of the games or mentions of the game in conversation. When asked about specific games, fans and journalists in attendance should not reveal any information about what took place, but instead should turn and sprint away from those who would dare ask a question about what happened at a baseball game, and proceed to start a new life under an assumed identity. Only in that way can we ensure that our sacred baseball traditions are preserved.
Round Rock is a small, quaint, central Texas town about half an hour north of Austin on I-35. Among plenty of Whataburgers and Dr Pepper advertisements, there’s Dell Diamond, home of the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate, the Round Rock Express. It is the area's biggest attraction. While the experience of watching a game there is delightfully rife with all the charming bells and whistles characteristic of minor league baseball, some additional form of entertainment is necessary to supplement the rotating cast of no-names and kinda-names competing on the field. At Dell Diamond there's a different promotional event between every half-inning, including a hype crew that tosses T-shirts and stuffed baseballs into the stands. An especially long home run to right field runs the risk of hitting a rock climbing wall, landing in a bungee jump pit, or splashing into a swimming pool. Before the game begins, the PA announcer plays "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" on a harmonica (UPDATE: this was actually a video of an elderly Stan Musial), and on the JumboTron a "rock"-themed pop culture montage features clips of Dwayne Johnson riling up a rabid wrestling crowd and Sean Connery welcoming Nicolas Cage to Alcatraz.
On Sunday night, they had Manny Ramirez, who was making his debut as a DH for the Express after spending the first part of 2013 in Taiwan with the EDA Rhinos of the Chinese Professional Baseball League. It's yet to be determined whether Ramirez's eccentricities are better suited for Taiwan or a conservative Texas suburb that named its baseball team after Nolan Ryan. While the team's faithful are enthusiastic at the opportunity to see one of baseball's biggest personalities play in such an intimate setting, it's going to be hard to top this as far as excitement goes.
In case you were busy preparing for the first day of summer by getting all of your mosquito bites out of the way up front, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday:
In what can only be described as the culminating erotic explosion of basketball magnificence, the Miami Heat clinched their second consecutive NBA championship with a hard-fought 95-88 Game 7 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Wait, I'm hearing there are other ways to describe this NBA Finals: a roundball symphony, so hole-stuffingly great that the idea of playing another season next year as is currently scheduled is a dubious proposition only because hot damn, hot damn; the ascension of LeBron James to the status of a deity who shall hover over this great nation we call the United States of AmeriBron, shooting orange laser beams out of his eyeballs at our most vile criminals to keep us safe in a time of societal unrest; Tim Duncan's personal debunking of the Horatio Alger myth, which would suggest that any man can pick himself up by the bootstraps and reach the pinnacle of American society, because oh how does old Timmy D not leave that series with a ring in a world where hard work is given its just rewards; and a series in which Chris Bosh cemented his status as the player most likely to be enshrined at Springfield with a collective shrug so ambivalent that it dislocates the shoulders of every NBA fan and pundit alike.
Jhonny Peralta hit a walk-off ninth-inning home run as the Detroit Tigers stole a win from the AL East–leading Boston Red Sox, 4-3. "Oh I'll steal it back," said Boston closer Andrew Bailey, who allowed the home run. "By hook or by crook, I swear I'll get us this win back." But Bailey's attempts to do so, first by hiring internationally feared jewel thief "The Dingo," and then, after the Dingo was apprehended outside of Geneva, by dangling a wire hanger over sleeping Detroit manager Jim Leyland's head with no specific purpose in mind, both proved to be fool's errands.
Usually, when your football team has a Hall of Fame quarterback coming off multiple procedures to fuse parts of his neck together, it’s best to have everything sure’d up along that offensive line. More than anything, continuity is the key to offensive line play, and Denver had the benefit last season of a unit that remained intact for all 16 games. That and the need to keep Peyton Manning on his feet are what make today’s news of right guard Chris Kuper’s broken arm troubling. No one makes his offensive line look better in pass protection than Manning, but no team wants to start the shuffle up front in mid-August. Manny Ramirez is listed as Kuper’s backup, and the last time we saw him — in spring training with the A’s — it looked like he’d lost a step. How the Broncos deal with Kuper going down will go a long way. Because, ya know, parts of his neck fused together.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday.
According to a New York Daily News report, several Jets players questioned Mark Sanchez's work ethic and wondered if the team might be better off with Peyton Manning. Friends of Sanchez tentatively brought him the article, telling him he should probably read it. "Ehhh," said Sanchez, biting into a donut. "Don't really feel like reading."
Here’s your Friday baseball news long toss covering stories on and off the field.
According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, baseball officials are twisting themselves into knots over the long, languid, Darwinian regular season possibly ending with a three-team demolition derby in the American League wild card race. If the Rays, Red Sox and Angels wind up honors-even at the end of the season, we could see an unprecedented three-team playoff. The Angels lost on Thursday, so this scenario seems unlikely. But the possible match-ups and rules governing said match-ups are so fantastically complex and convoluted, you almost want to see it happen, just for the schadenfreude.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday
The U.S. Attorney's office has amended the complaint against Full Tilt Poker, an online gambling site, to note that it was run as a "massive Ponzi scheme." FTP apparently didn't have the necessary cash on hand to pay out the accounts of all its players, and earlier this year still owed $390 million. Site representatives said it was no big deal, though, since they planned to make most of it back in a hold-em game with A-Rod later this month.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
Ladies and gents, it occurred to me this morning that you might be in the mood for a change. Today, and today only, I'll be offering a true, legitimate opinion on each sports story. And just for kicks, tomorrow I'll run the best over-the-top angry e-mail I receive at TobaccoRdBlues@gmail.com. I can't print anything too crass or crude, but if you keep it clean and really get deep into the fake outrage, you may find yourself on this page.