In case you were busy frantically shorting Arian Foster futures, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday:
Mike Napoli hit a monster home run as the Boston Red Sox got to Anibal Sanchez and beat the Tigers, 4-3, to take a 3-2 ALCS lead back to Fenway Park. When asked how big a moment the home run was for him, Napoli shrugged, scratched his hairy face, and said, "Smallish? Scale of 1-10? I honestly don't care enough to rate it." When asked where he'd place the team's win in the context of Red Sox franchise history, Napoli yawned, drooled a little into his mustache, and said, "I couldn't care less about history. The only thing more boring than new baseball is old baseball." When asked why he has devoted his life to a pursuit he apparently thinks little of, Napoli stroked his beard and said, "Duh, beards." When told he didn't have to play baseball to grow a beard, Napoli chortled, filling his beard with spittle and sunflower-seed detritus, and asked, "Now who's being naive?" Napoli then ignored a text message from his girlfriend and said, "Now if you don't mind, my beard and I would like a little alone time," before walking into a supply closet at Comerica Park carrying a gilded comb.
In case you were busy remembering when Kirk Gibson made the impossible happen in the year of the improbable, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday:
Matt Holliday and Shane Robinson hit the first two home runs of the NLCS and the St. Louis Cardinals are one game away from the World Series after their 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. "Man, what a thrill to be a part of that slugfest," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny after the game. "For fans who love offense, tonight was your night. It was just fireworks and explosions." Matheny then chuckled and added, "I mean six runs? In regulation? What game were we even playing? Hockey?"
Mike Napoli's solo home run off Justin Verlander was all the offense Boston would need, as John Lackey and the Red Sox bullpen led their team to a 1-0 win over the Detroit Tigers and a 2-1 series lead in the ALCS. The game was notably interrupted by a 17-minute power outage in the second inning, a time that Lackey referred to as "one of those things where my stuff was bad before the thing, then the power outage happens, and boom, my stuff gets good again. It's like some sort of small version of my last few years." When asked if he was saying the power outage was perhaps microcosmic of his career in Boston, Lackey replied, "Nah, I'm just talking about like how things can be going badly, and then they can change and be good again, and like, this moment was like a tiny version of that feeling, which I know all too well." When told that's what a microcosm is, an angry Lackey responded, "I'm not an idiot, OK? I'm not talking about some sort of tiny universe where Neil deGrasse Tyson is a wizard. I'm talking about a small version of a big thing! Like this conversation, and how it's like all my relationships with the Boston media, but in a small amount of time." Lackey then shook his head and said, "There's gotta be a word for that."
Whoa, whoa, whoa. How is it mid-September? Did we even have August this year? Are the playoffs really sneaking up on us? This is getting serious, gang. Each team has about 15 games left to win, lose, bargain, plead, suffer, and despair. There are only three weekends of regular-season baseball left, starting today, and here's something important: A fancy word for "third-to-last" is "antepenultimate." Armed with that knowledge, it's time for the antepenultimate weekend countdown. Join me!
The game looked like it was in the bag. The Yankees led the Red Sox 8-3 through six innings on September 6. Boston had its eighth and ninth hitters due up in the seventh, and a foot injury had knocked Jacoby Ellsbury out of the lineup (and leadoff spot). The Yankees just needed to get through that seemingly easy stretch to take a five-run lead to the ninth inning, where Mariano Rivera would loom if necessary.
The Yankees … did not get through that stretch. Boston tallied a run to trim the lead to 8-4, loading the bases with two outs to bring Mike Napoli to the plate. One of the streakiest hitters in the league this year, Napoli was red-hot at the moment, with an opportunity to turn the game with one swing of the bat. On the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Napoli got an offering on the outside corner and drove it to right. In any other ballpark, the ball would almost certainly have been caught, or been at most a double. In Yankee Stadium, however, it was a 335-foot wall-scraper, a grand slam that tied the game 8-8. One inning later, Boston right fielder Shane Victorino, who was nearly as sizzling, cranked a two-run homer to left, giving the Sox a 10-8 lead.
Welcome to the first Major League Baseball Beard Awards, where we honor the most unique and terrifying beards worn by professional baseball players in the 2013 season. No sport exemplifies the multifarious qualities of the beard better than baseball — not even playoff hockey — and we've gone too long without recognizing the hirsute men who bravely ignore their razors each morning in order to showcase a wide array of exciting facial hair. No longer! Today, these men will receive their long overdue praise. Please have a seat as we reveal our Base-Beard recipients and hear their acceptance speeches.
Note: The ceremony is called the "Major League Baseball Beard Awards," but the award itself is called the "Base-Beard." Please don't get the two confused. You attend the MLB Beard Awards, and you win a Base-Beard. It's not difficult, guys. Also, we never say the word "winner." As long as we have beards, we're all winners.
In case you were busy because no one at the game of Celebrity you were playing could get Lark Voorhies, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
Chris Paul scored his team's last eight points, including an acrobatic runner with 0.1 seconds remaining, as the Los Angeles Clippers edged the Memphis Grizzlies, 93-91, to take a 2-0 lead in their playoff series. "I don't know how he does it," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said after the game. "Seriously. He seems to have a really good understanding of floor spacing and leadership. Is there like, a book he read? Because if so, could anyone tell me the name of it so I can throw it on my Kindle? It would be greatly appreciated."
The Chicago Bulls evened up their series with the Brooklyn Nets with a 90-82 win at the Barclays Center. The Barclays Center is not to be confused with Bar Clay Centre, also located in Brooklyn, which allows patron to both paint their own pottery and sample delicious Belgian ales. Team officials denied rumors that Nets guard Deron Williams, who went 1-for-9 in the loss, mixed the two up before the game. But afterward, there were a suspicious number of shoddily constructed clay trophies strewn about the Nets locker room with "Wurlds #1 PG," and "Chris My Paul," scrawled on them.
In case you were busy justifying your documentary short's omission from this year's Sundance Film Festival, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
Miami scored the final nine points of the game in a 99-90 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. LeBron James dominated the game on both ends of the court scoring 39 points to go along with seven rebounds and three steals. "We've been bad on the road this year by our standards, so I came out mad," LeBron explained after the game, before Kobe Bryant appeared behind him cloaked in a cloud of smoke. "Oh, you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it," Bryant said to James with a menacing laugh. A terrified James responded, "Why didn't you just beat us then?" Bryant grinned broadly at James and hissed, "your punishment must be more severe."
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
Robert Griffin III threw for 163 yards and ran for 72 more to lead the Redskins to a 17-16 win over the Giants. "At times like these, I really wish I knew some curse words," said Eli Manning. "So I could think them to myself and feel cruel for just a moment."
No matter how hard you study, no matter how hard you try to manage risk, there's a good chance you're going to badly overdraft at least one player. Even the best of us end up with first-rounders who perform like 15th-rounders. What's important is figuring out what to do once you've made that kind of mistake, then learning a lesson for the future.
So you can call this a venting session, and a teachable moment. Here are 10 of this year's biggest Fantasy Murderers.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday.
Tony La Russa has taken full blame for the bullpen phone gaffe that may have cost his team a win in Game 5 of the World Series. He promised Cardinals fans this would be the last time he did a funny Russian accent on the phone to try to make Albert Pujols laugh. "Or at least the last time in the playoffs," he said. "You just don't give up high comedy like that cold turkey."