In case you were busy clapping politely when you lost the best featured actress in a miniseries Emmy, here's what you missed in sports last weekend:
Trent Richardson scored on his first touch in a Colts uniform, and the San Francisco 49ers' early-season woes continued, as they fell 27-7 to Indianapolis at home. "So the master has become the teacher," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said to his former quarterback Andrew Luck after the game, before realizing his mistake and sputtering out, "I mean, shit, wait, no, let me try that again." But Luck was too embarrassed for his former coach and instead backed away from Harbaugh awkwardly, before exchanging an extended secret handshake with Colts head coach Chuck Pagano while Harbaugh looked on, fuming.
Despite giving up 30 straight points through the second and third quarters, Cincinnati's defense came up big late, returning a fumble for a touchdown and disrupting Green Bay's passing game as the Bengals came from behind to grab a 34-30 win over the Packers. When asked if he'd do anything differently were he to have the chance, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said, "well, I told the guys at halftime, whoever gets to thirty first wins this game." McCarthy shook his head and added, "I thought it was clear that I wasn't suggesting the rules of the game would change, but for some reason people seem to take what I say quite literally." McCarthy then looked directly at the media with an expressionless face and asked, "Am I not fun? I think of myself as being a fun guy. I enjoy fun things like pencils and reference books. I wish people saw me as I saw myself: a barrel of pencils."
In case you were busy doubling down on a profanity-laced tirade against your own fans, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
Rookie running back Giovani Bernard had two touchdowns as the Cincinnati Bengals dropped the Pittsburgh Steelers to 0-2 for the first time in the Mike Tomlin era with a 20-10 win. "The guy from The Other Sister! You gotta be kidding me," Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said to Tomlin over his headset after Bernard's first touchdown. A confused Tomlin asked LeBeau what he was talking about, to which the renowned defensive coordinator responded, "I thought it was crazy too! Why would Marvin Lewis bring him in? He was wooden in Avatar, and I hear his new show, Dads, is terrible. I mean he wasn't bad in Saving Private Ryan, but he hardly struck me as an athlete, and that was long enough ago the Bengals still had Ickey Woods at the position. Guy's gotta be pushing 40." When Tomlin then asked LeBeau if he had confused rookie speedster Giovani Bernard with Boiler Room star Giovanni Ribisi, LeBeau went silent for 60 seconds before saying, "So, we might not have the schemes in place to stop this guy."
After a weather delay postponed the final round of the BMW Championship, Zach Johnson fired a 65 to outpace Jim Furyk and Nick Watney, winning the tournament at 16-under. "Man, what a super tournament," Johnson said after surging from behind to take the win. "Just a really sweet victory. And it's my title at 16-under. My super, sweet, 16 under wait that's not on tape is it? Shit."
Chris Ryan: If I were playing with Mesut Ozil, I'd be worried. The new Arsenal midfielder, who joined the Gunners from Real Madrid for a club-record £44 million transfer fee, made his debut on Saturday against Sunderland, despite being a little under the weather. Ozil played like Ozil, which is to say you wouldn't notice him out there for about six or seven minutes and then ...
In case you were busy trying to stay awake during an all-day meeting on autograph compensation, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
The St Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds, 8-6, to regain the lead in the hyper-competitive NL Central. Allen Craig continues to be the clutchest player in baseball hold on guys it appears that my spell-checker does not believe that "clutchest" is a real word. I have two squiggly red underlines staring me in the face right now. Let me look up "clutchest" in the dictionary, and BOOM! Cardinal red. Take that, Clippy.
In case you were busy spending your weekend working for the weekend, here's what you missed in sports last weekend:
It took a three-hitter from Jake Peavy to finish the job, but the Los Angeles Dodgers finally dropped a series for the first time since June after losing the rubber match of their interleague tilt with the Boston Red Sox, 8-1. "Now seeing Jake Peavy here at Chavez Ravine as a member of our league is one thing," said irritated Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda. "We let him in here all the time when he was down in San Diego. But this? This is an affront to nature. Peavy traipsing into our home, as a member of the miserable American League family? Why I never."
After a pitching duel between Ivan Nova and Alex Cobb left matters unresolved, an 11th-inning sacrifice fly from Curtis Granderson proved to be the difference-maker in a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays as the Yankees avoided a three-game sweep. "But the guy won't make the ultimate sacrifice," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said as he looked over his "thought wall," which contained a number of news stories about the Yankees, large numbers, and cutouts of indecipherable symbols, connected with different colored string. "Look, it all adds up; Curtis Granderson is 32 years old and is set to be a free agent next year. Free-agent outfielders are historically overpaid on the open market. I don't want to pay Curtis Granderson a lot of money, but I need him to play baseball for the Yankees because otherwise all we'll have is the rotting corpse of Vernon Wells." Cashman then pointed at a number of New York Post headlines referring to Wells thus, before continuing. "It all adds up! If Curtis Granderson pays the New York Yankees $63 million and seven of these hypercubes you can see here for the privilege of continuing to wear pinstripes next year, I can guarantee we'll be under the luxury tax and also in the World Series." Cashman then grabbed the lapels of his assistant and said, "He'll do it right? Right? Right? Tell me he'll do it. Please, I need this. Won't you look old Dollar Man in the eyes and tell me it'll all work out?"
In case you were busy looking at pictures of Russell Wilson doing yoga for a long, long while, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday:
New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki amassed his 4,000th career professional hit in traditional Ichiro fashion, slapping a single into left field during the Yankees' 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. In honor of Ichiro's accomplishment let us all just say that we're lucky to have had the opportunity to watch Ichiro play baseball, and if we ever saw ourselves saying that we weren't lucky to have watched Ichiro play baseball, we'd punch ourselves in the face because we'd be lying.
Braves third baseman Chris Johnson hit a three-run game-winning home run in the 10th inning to give Atlanta a 4-1 win over the New York Mets. However, the big story coming out of Citi Field was the broken jaw of Jason Heyward, who will likely miss four to six weeks after being hit with a pitch by Jonathon Niese. When asked if he hit Heyward because of the psychological impact of years of pent-up rage caused by people misspelling his first name, Niese responded, "What? No! Oh my god, no, it was an accident. What the hell kind of accusotion is that?"
In case you were out becoming more mosquito bite than man, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
Miami Marlins starter Jose Fernandez shut down fellow NL Rookie of the Year candidate Yasiel Puig and the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 6-2 victory. "Miami, so close to home yet a million miles away," Puig said to himself after the game, as he took a limousine down the streets of South Beach. "Everybody here is dressed like they have something to prove. I guess I still have something to prove. I guess we all always have something to prove." Puig looked down at himself and muttered, "How am I both underdressed and overdressed? It's like I'm not at home anywhere," before he yelled up to his driver, "Hey, does good pitching always beat good hitting?" When the driver shook his head and said, "Not you big Yas. You the man!" Puig had him stop the car. The Dodgers slugger then paid the driver and said, "It's not kind to lie to a man's face," before disappearing into the Miami night.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to look shaky, as they were beat by Rex Grossman and the Washington Redskins, 24-13, in a preseason clash. When asked about Grossman's performance in relief of the injured Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin III, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan scrunched up his face and said, "That doesn't sound right. Grossman was Rex Grossman? Really? No. Unless I woke up on the wrong side of a time nap. What year is this?" When told it was 2013, Shanahan snapped his fingers and said, "Damn, I was really hoping time naps were a thing."
In case you were busy taking in that new Woodsy Allen movie because it doesn't have that nervous fellow who is always in them, here's what you missed in sports last weekend:
Alex Rodriguez responded to being hit by a pitch by Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster in the second inning with a rally-starting home run as the Yankees surged from behind to beat the Boston Red Sox, 9-6, on Sunday, claiming a win in the rivals' weekend series. When asked why he hit Rodriguez, Dempster explained, "I feel the best way to process anger is by throwing things really fast at the things that make you mad. Like when I get to the fridge, and one of my kids has finished off a carton of milk and put it back into the fridge empty, I throw a heater right at the fridge to say, 'Hey, fridge, why are you tearing this family apart?' Or when I'm stuck behind a school bus in traffic, I find a slider thrown at that flashing stop sign on the side of the bus sends the message, 'Hey buddy, I found school to be a harsh environment when I was a kid.'" When asked again why he hit Rodriguez, Dempster said, "Those fat cats down in Washington," and walked out of the press conference without saying another word.
Despite his heroics, Rodriguez and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman remain at odds, with Cashman saying he is "not comfortable talking to Alex." When told of Cashman's comments, Rodriguez replied, "Makes sense. Have you seen my body? I wouldn't be comfortable approaching me either. God himself couldn't make a body like this one. Hey, you want me to take my shirt off?" When told that would be unnecessary, Rodriguez added with a wink, "Yep, that's the uncomfortable look I've been getting. I can tell you're impressed."
A survey of the players, managers, ideas, tactical developments, and themes to watch out for in the 2013-14 Premier League season.
Chris Ryan: The above video is of William Gallas scoring a game-winning goal for Chelsea, against Tottenham, back in 2006. Chelsea won the league that season, finishing eight points clear of Manchester United. Spurs keeper Paul Robinson likely spent three months in a room, by himself, with a roast beef platter and a copy of The Queen Is Dead after this goal, but it's not the goal that Gallas scored that interests me, it's who he celebrated it with.
In case you were busy sitting on a 70 million pound war chest because it's just too heavy to move, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday:
Matt Carpenter provided four hits and the game-winning run as the St. Louis Cardinals took the rubber match of their series against the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 in 12 innings. "We're still getting used to playoff atmosphere baseball," said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle. "Obviously I have some experience with it, but a lot of guys on the team were terrified. Pedro Alvarez begged me to keep him out of the game. But I insisted that he had to learn what it was like sometime. And yeah, we sort of threw the guys in the deep end by coming to St. Louis. But that's the only way you learn. Not by dipping your toe into playoff baseball and then running back to the clubhouse like a child."
Quarterback Jay Cutler had a mixed outing, but the Bears' first-team defense was dominant in Chicago's 33-28 preseason win over the San Diego Chargers. Cutler, visibly pleased with his performance, said after the game, "This was perfect for me; I didn't want to show defenses the full Cutty Sark." When asked what he meant by that, Cutler said, "I mean the full Cutty Sark. The 19th-century British sailing vessel. What did you think I meant, you idiot? That thing has sails, and planks, and masts and stuff. That thing is a real boater's boat. Much like I'm a real boater's QB. But you gotta keep that bad boy in dry dock till the regular tea shipping season gets under way. Also, I've had a whiskey drink or two."
The most important thing in soccer happens extremely rarely. Over the last two seasons in the Premier League there were only 2.8 goals scored per game. That’s not a lot, and because it’s not a lot, it’s created a real stumbling block for statistical analysis in the sport. After all, the first rule of statistical analysis (now that it’s no longer "don’t talk about statistical analysis") is that you need large numbers. They don’t call it the era of big data for nothing. Lack of goals is the first hurdle that any serious attempt at soccer analytics has to overcome. That’s where something called Total Shots Ratio becomes important.
In case you were out welcoming summer by busting out the old double Dutch (and failing, because double-Dutching is really hard, guys, stop laughing) here's what you missed in sports last weekend:
The New York Knicks were eliminated in six games by the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The defeat proves their season, in which they won their first division championship since 1994 and 50 games for the first time since 2000, was an utter and abysmal failure. Their capitulation to a comparably good team that was able to steal an early game at Madison Square Garden and then hold serve at its home arena, which was among the hardest places to get a win in the NBA all season, further proves that the team needs to be torn down, because the guys on the Knicks just don't care enough. Sure, they were a magnificent block from one of the few true centers left in the game away from forcing a Game 7 at home, but I think it's clear, based on this series, that the New York Chokes (clever nickname, eh?) are the lousiest bunch of basketball players the NBA has ever seen, and they should return their salaries to team owner James Dolan before turning themselves into the NYPD for crimes against the state.
Oxbow upset Kentucky Derby winner Orb to win the Preakness Stakes after going out as a 15-1 longshot. The win was a boon for the small population of semi-literate foodies, who misread the horse's name and have little understanding of how horse racing works, as they placed large amounts of money banking on the resurgent popularity of the ingredient oxtail to carry the day. In somewhat related news, someone in Florida just won $600 million playing Powerball.
In case you were busy trying to prevent the refrain from Close Encounters of the Third Kind from morphing into the theme from The Sting in your mind, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
The Bruins overcame a 4-1 third-period deficit before completing the comeback with a Patrice Bergeron overtime winner as Boston eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs from the NHL playoffs in a heartbreaking Game 7. While congratulations are in order for Boston, it should also be noted that the devastating loss was taken well by the people of Toronto, who, luckily, are fairly agnostic toward the game of hockey and have a very limited history of suffering with the town's most popular team.
LeBron James and the Miami Heat dominated the Chicago Bulls on both ends of the court en route to an 88-65 win at United Center. Diminutive Bulls guard Nate Robinson, who had starred earlier in the series, was held without a field goal in the defeat, which he attributed after the game to being, "Yeah, shorter than everyone else. That's why. Guess after all these years that finally caught up to me. It wasn't at all because of Miami's defense combined with a little bit of fatigue. It's my genes. Thanks, Randy Newman."
In case you were out meeting the Mets, meeting the Mets, stepping right up and greeting the Mets, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
The Golden State Warriors blew a 16-point lead, and San Antonio's Manu Ginobili hit a game winning 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left in the second overtime as the Spurs took Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal at home, 129-127. The final result overshadowed an epic performance from Stephen Curry, who played every minute of the game and scored 44 points. "It's too bad that I'm not allowed to come out of games," Curry said afterward. "I really could've used the rest at the start of the fourth quarter so that I didn't lose the accuracy on my jumper." He then paused and added, "It's weird that everyone else came out for at least a little bit. I wonder why the rules are different for me." Curry then shrugged, before collapsing in a fatigued heap under the weight of his own shoulder movement.
An injury-ravaged Chicago Bulls team shocked the defending champion Heat in Miami, 93-86. The Bulls closed the game on a 10-0 run, which once again raises the question: Can LeBron get it done in the postseason? Hold on. Let me watch some tape of LeBron from last postseason really quickly oh oh, wow, yeah, he totally can. Never mind.