The only thing tarnishing the usually untarnishable "Game 7" situation is that everyone is pretty convinced that no matter who wins the NLCS, they will get stomped by the Tigers next week in the World Series.
Otherwise, what's not to love about a Game 7 in ANY sport's playoffs? It combines the pent-up drama of the previous six games with the do-or-die urgency of the NCAA Tournament, the NFL playoffs (or the college football regular season).
It's hard to figure out who has the edge: The Mets are playing in front of what will be a rabid home crowd, coming off last night's desperation win, where John Maine pitched the game of his life, with 0 ER and only 2 H in 5.1 IP. (I'm already sick of jokes off "Maine.")
But the Cards are throwing Jeff Suppan tonight (0 ER in 8 IP in Game 3), while the Mets will be throwing Oliver Perez, who will be throwing on 3 days' rest after giving up 5 R in 5.2 IP on 92 pitches in Game 4. My guess? The Mets will use every pitcher but Maine and Glavine -- and even then, you kind of want to say "Suck it up and throw if you have to!"
(Suppan has a nice little history in NLCS Game 7s: He beat Roger Clemens in 2004 to lead the Cards to the World Series.)
Meanwhile, Mets SS Jose Reyes had his national breakout: Lead-off HR in the 1st, scoring 2 runs and collecting 3 hits and 2 stolen bases. (On the other hand, who else thought Billy Wagner was going to blow it?)
Lance and Matt: We're not gay.
Or so they say.*
(* - Not that there's anything wrong with that. And thanks to TheBigLead for the tip-off.)
Yesterday's NFL bomb threat: Everyone from terrorism experts to the NFL is skeptical of yesterday's bomb threats for this weekend's NFL games. Still, I'll be curious if any fans with tickets don't show up.
Favre rips NFL for its substance-abuse policy towards Koren Robinson, banning him from the team and its facility. Favre seems to think that Robinson would benefit from being around the support system of his teammates. But wouldn't he be better off getting treatment away from the temptations of the NFL lifestyle? I guess Favre's point is that the choice should be Robinson's (with the team's help), not the NFL's.
T.O.'s latest gripe? He's not getting the ball in the first half enough. "I feel like I need to be in the offense, involved a little bit earlier in the ballgame." But he's caught as many passes in the first half as the second half this season; he's obviously talking about TDs. But, seriously, won't this guy EVER shut up? I wearily suspect not.
Mark Brunell: Out on a limb. Brunell calls the Redskins' game this weekend "must-win." Given that they're playing at Indy, I'll say "Good luck with that." Maybe after they lose, the Skins will finally bench Brunell for
Marcus Vick is the new Wes Welker: I find the twists this week in the Marcus Vick Story to be fascinating. He's gone from collegiate (and draft-day) pariah to one of the most intriguing players of Week 8. Who doesn't want to see Vick top Reggie Bush in all-around stats?
He might return punts. He might return kickoffs. He might play WR. (Hell, if I was Nick Saban, I'd introduce a package or two that feature him as a QB option.)
Adrian Peterson said he intends to play in
Here's a fun way to spend the second half of an NBA preseason game: Looking at police lineups to see who mugged you the day before. That was Sebastian Telfair's experience. Making the situation weirder, the guys who mugged him are reportedly the ones who shot rapper Fabolous, who may or may not have built a rap career on a misspelling.
Isiah Update: If Isiah Thomas is going to feel it necessary to take shots at EVERYONE who ripped him for drafting Ronaldo Balkman*, he's going to leave little time for coaching, because EVERYONE ripped him.
Here's what Isiah said about Greg Anthony: He should "never ever be in a position to question myself** on anything about basketball because I do remember the kind of player he was."
* - Based on 3 preseason games, Balkman certainly looks like an NBA-worthy player. Will he be a star? No. But will he provide productive energy off the bench? Absolutely. And I predict when we rank last year's draft class at the end of this season, Balkman will be in the top 20 players.
(** - One of my pet peeves is people who mis-use the word "myself.")
Realize: It's the media's business to be contrarian. No matter WHAT Shalala would have done, there would have been hysterical criticism. She could have kicked players off the team and folks would have screamed "Too harsh!"
In a no-win situation, she did the best she could do: Make a decision that seems reasonable and stick by it. Anyway, this is a non-issue by week's end (short of
Evgeni Malkin scores in his NHL debut. OK, so maybe the mystery kid will match the hype.
Was sports-radio yapper Tony Bruno fired yesterday from his job at KMPC in LA? All employees were let go, so, yes, it looks like he was.
Would you want to put your favorite MLB team's logo on your casket or urn? Me neither. (And you all know I'm a sucker for innovative marketing ideas. This ain't one of 'em, although the company is getting a TON of publicity out of this.)
Finally, let me point all of you to the New Kid on the Block: A new sports blog called With Leather, from the successful deviants who brought you "What Would Tyler Durden Do?" It's edited and written by Matt Ufford, who many of you might know as "Captain Caveman" from the Comments section on Deadspin and as part of the blog collective, Kissing Suzy Kolber. Welcome to the neighborhood!