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.
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 explaining to your family that you aren't a "doomsday prepper," you're just ready for anything, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
Tiger Woods secured his first victory of 2013, easing to a four shot win at the Farmers Open at Torrey Pines. "Winning big tournaments — nothing's better. This is the best feeling in the world," Woods said, before snapping a rubber band on his wrist really, really hard. "Yup, no feeling in the world is better than this one."
In case you were busy explaining why your "flu-like symptoms" aren't just a cover for a two-day New Year's Eve hangover, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday.
17 year NFL veteran Ray Lewis announced that he'll retire at the end of the postseason. Lewis explained, "This will give me time to dedicate myself to the one thing I haven't accomplished after all these years: terrifying the other kind of football players." He then cracked his knuckles and recited Landon Donovan's home address and Social Security number from memory.
The Louisville Cardinals pulled the biggest upset in BCS history, topping the Florida Gators, 33-23, in the Sugar Bowl. Unwilling to abide another SEC team losing in a marquee bowl matchup, Alabama head coach Nick Saban decided to take matters into his own hands, staging a "Sugar Bowl" at his house in which he ate all of his children's candy while they watched. Saban won, 63-0, but suffered a minor intestinal injury and is listed as probable for Monday's BCS Championship Game.
The Los Angeles Clippers lost their second game in a row after a perfect December, falling 115-94 to the Golden State Warriors. Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro praised his team after the defeat: "After a tough month, it's nice to see us get back to Clippers basketball. Sloppy turnovers, blown transition D, poor shooting from the field. This is just a great example of my boys playing for the name on the front of the jersey." Del Negro then tripped leaving the stage and hit his head on a podium.
Shockingly, but not that shockingly, Arsenal went out of the Capital One Cup (previously known as the Carling Cup, but really it's just the League Cup) to lowly Bradford yesterday. They lost on penalties, but this miss by Gervinho did not help. Somewhere, Harry Redknapp's wife, Sandra, is shaking her head.
With fortuitous timing, the announcement of David Beckham's retirement promises that all story lines for the upcoming MLS Cup final lead back to the Golden One. Regardless of the ominous brand building, Beckham will be missed on these shores. But just as one trailblazer exits the game, another prepares to enter it. The word from Britain is that Snoop Lion is considering buying a stake in Glasgow Celtic. The circle of soccer life continues.
The Blazers will welcome anything to divert their minds from a weekend of EPL football that saw three of the top four teams lose. In this week's pod, Michael Davies and Roger Bennett review the wild weekend of uprising before being joined by NBC lead play-by-play commentator Lord Arlo White. The Leicester native dishes on the growth of MLS, a commentating career that began at age 6, and what viewers should expect from NBC when the network broadcasts the English game next year.
After what has felt like an eternity, the boys are back, blazer-to-blazer, to recap another strange week in the English Premier League. It seems taking the lead early has become entirely blasÚ, as both Manchester clubs relied yet again on reluctant supersubs to earn the full three points. And while most of the soccer world has focused this week on the Chelsea-Liverpool draw and the loneliest goal celebration of all time, in this week’s pod, Michael Davies and Roger Bennett also consider the staying power of the other Merseyside representative, Everton, who’s sitting comfortably in fourth place.
However, the real reason why anyone indulges in the suboptimal pod to begin with is for the telegrams. This week, the Blazered Ones field an unkindness of restless ravens. Among the topics covered: soccer’s advertising clout, the history of “caps,” supporter-on-supporter relations, and much more.
January is nearly upon us! Or at least it feels that way if you spend any time reading the words of the soothsayers who try to predict what will happen when European football’s transfer window reopens on January 1, 2013. Speculation is particularly rife in England, and it mainly centers on two clubs: Chelsea and Liverpool. Both teams find themselves low on firepower, and as a result, they’ve been linked with every available forward in European club football. Two players in particular have been singled out as possible signings in the new year: Athletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao, and Schalke’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
Huntelaar, who is supposedly packing his bags in preparation for a move to Liverpool, has scored 32 goals in 42 league games for Schalke FC since the start of last season. Falcao, who is rumored to soon join Juan Mata and Eden Hazard at Chelsea, scored 34 goals in 43 league games for Athletico Madrid over the same period. And yet these two players, with almost identical league goal-scoring records, are valued rather differently. Chelsea will be required to trigger Falcao’s minimum-fee release clause — which stands at a cool $70 million — to get their man, whereas Liverpool can expect to pay no more than $10 million to sign Huntelaar, who is available at a knock-down price thanks to the imminent expiry of his contract with Schalke.
In the wake of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy, the importance of a game in which 22 men chase around a ball is once again put into perspective — mainly, that soccer is as important as ever in this time of need. With Michael driving around lower Manhattan, broadcasting from his automobile, and Rog huddled on the floor of his guest bathroom, the Men in Blazers vow to not leave GFOPs without their weekly helping of suboptimal podding.
In this week's edition, the Blazers recap the wild and controversial Chelsea and Manchester United clash, the Merseyside derby, and NBC's dip into the EPL broadcasting waters. Welcome to the fold, Bob, Al, and Mary.
Sometimes a manager loses it and reaches a point where he must admit that perhaps the game has passed him by. Like a golfer who suddenly gets the yips he must accept that, whatever it was that made him capable of doing the things he once did, it ain’t in him no more. None of it. Arsene Wenger looks increasingly like a man whose best days are long behind him. The Arsenal manager has now gone seven years without winning a trophy, and even a heavily labored 1-0 win against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday — thanks to a goal that looked suspiciously offside — did little to suggest that things will be different this season. We are still in the thick of autumn, yet Arsenal already look as if they will be a footnote in the story of how this season’s Premier League title was won. After consecutive losses against Norwich and Schalke, Wenger admitted last week that, with less than a third of the season behind them, his team has hit a wall. You wonder if any of it matters to the longtime Arsenal boss, who said last week that qualifying for the Champions League was more important than winning a trophy. Wenger, who has an economics degree, has turned Arsenal into a money-making enterprise, making a profit in an era when Chelsea and Manchester City continue to rack up record losses. But he is now in danger of becoming a parody of himself, a man who elevates everything over the result itself.
The international break can be a difficult time for star players from smaller nations. Footballers who are accustomed to domestic glory suddenly find themselves thrust into squads with far smaller ambitions. The contrast can be jarring, as can the transition from being one star among many to the solitary hero tasked by an expectant nation with leading your talentless team to improbable victories. This is something to which Tottenham’s Gareth Bale is having to grow accustomed whenever he plays for Wales, as seen in the buildup to last week’s World Cup qualifier with Croatia, in which the pre-match spotlight fell squarely on his shoulders. This was largely because Wales has no realistic chance of qualifying for the World Cup, and their main ambition for the qualifying campaign is to finish higher than Scotland, whom Bale had single-handedly defeated the week before, so by the time the Welsh squad landed in Zagreb, the pundits quickly dispensed with the small talk and moved on to the pressing business of trying to predict Gareth Bale’s future.
Even after being shut out of the Emmys, the Men in Blazers were still riding high from what was arguably the best weekend yet of Premier League football. Since the week before, anyway. Sure, midfield-less Manchester United triumphed in typically suspect fashion against 10-man Liverpool, and Chelsea and Manchester City continued their uninspired play in a win and a draw, respectively. But somehow, some way, Everton and West Brom find themselves in the Top 4 in the Season of Weird. In this week's pod, Michael and Roger recap all the story lines both real (John Terry retiring from international play) and surreal (Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez share a cuddle), and answer more hard-hitting telegrams.
In the end, though, it all comes back to #QuarterbackStyle as the Blazered Ones announce the winner of the anonymously signed Stoke City jersey. This is football podcasting at its most suboptimal.