Let's play "WHO SCREWED UP MORE?"
Was it Torii Hunter, whose overconfident lunge at a Kotsay blooper turned a routine RBI single or double into a signature 2-run inside-the-park HR that effectively cost the Twins the game -- and put them in a seemingly insurmountable 0-2 hole in the LDS after two games in Minnesota?
Or was it JD Drew, whose unprecedented base-running blunder turned into the first-ever moment in baseball playoffs history that two players were tagged out at home on the same play?
Though Hunter's miscue directly cost the Twins the game and the Dodgers didn't throw away the entire game on "J.D.'s Boner," there's no question that Drew's double-D'oh was the bigger blunder.
Hindsight will rule here: If the Dodgers go on to lose the series (as they went on to lose Game 1 last night), Drew's dud will probably be attributed as the triggering event. (If they win, it'll be forgotten.)
The upshot is that both blunders have the promise of being devastating to their team's psyches -- in a 5-game series, they could be all the difference.
Tigers at Yankees, Game 2 (Make-Up): I believe that the last time the Yankees had to deal with playoff games on consecutive days to account for a rain delay, they delivered the biggest choke in sports history.
But these 2006 Tigers ain't those 2004 Red Sox (and these 2006 Yankees are a lot better than those 2004 Yankees).
(Randy Johnson is reportedly ready to pitch Game 3 tomorrow in
Dodgers at Mets, Game 2 (8 p.m.): It looks like El Duque will miss the entire playoffs with a calf injury. (What is it with old Mets pitchers and their calves?)
Cards at Padres, Game 2 (4 p.m.): How would most Cards fans rate their confidence in Jeff Weaver as the starting pitcher?
(Hmm: Probably with the same confidence that Padres fans have in David Wells as THEIR starting pitcher.)
A's up 2-0 on Twins: As I said yesterday, when a freak inside-the-park-HR is the winning margin to let the visiting team take a second straight game on the road before heading back home for two games, you know the series is as good as over. The Twins must have used all their mojo winning that division title.
T.O. vs. Eagles, Cont'd: When's the weigh-in?
The latest forced drama is that McNabb says he sent T.O. a text message last week to support him in his time of, uh, need.
T.O. says he never got the text.
(Actually, McNabb sent him 35 texts and T.O.'s publicist says she was so shaken up when she saw the list on T.O.'s cell-phone that she called 9-1-1, thinking T.O. was trying to text himself to death.)
This is what we're reduced to:
He-said-he-said about text messages. The T.O.-Eagles feud has officially regressed to the junior high level.
Can Koren Robinson apply his 45 days of work-release (to go with 45 days in jail, per his DUI sentencing) toward playing football?
Greg Anderson is out of jail today: And, yet, the "Game of Shadows" guys are clink-bound. Ah, the sweet smell of justice...
Commish Gary Bettman says the NHL is in good shape, and usually this would be the moment for sarcasm, but I actually agree with him:
As soon as the NHL started running itself like a tidy niche sport, it was on the road to recovery. Dropping pretensions of being part of a mythical "Big Four" was the key.
(For the record, there is currently a "Big Three": NFL, MLB and College Football. That's right: I don't consider the NBA part of the "Big" sports anymore either. It is merely the biggest of the niche sports.)
More niche-sport news: MLS will let teams sell ads on the front of jerseys. I've argued for a while, this is an inevitability in both the NBA and MLB.
There's nothing sacred about jerseys – at least nothing that the big dollars from sponsors can't buy. NASCAR fans and European soccer fans (who eclipse MLB or NBA fans for passion) don't seem to mind.
I have yet to hear a good argument -- beyond "what about the tradition!" -- for keeping advertisements off MLB or NBA uniforms. It's simply not worth getting that upset over.
(Ideally, owners would take that jersey-sponsorship revenue and have to earmark it for either reducing the price of tickets or parking OR for growing payroll to make the team better. I'm not holding my breath.)Update: Thanks to reader Garett D. (from Canada!) who reminded that my favorite Euro football team, Barcelona, actually PAID a sponsor to put their logo on their uniforms, which the team previously had refused to ever adorn with an ad. The sponsor? UNICEF. The team pays the sponsor AND the money goes to a good cause? Now THERE's a concept.
After the ill-fated Bob Ferry Era, the inept Wes Unseld Era (and the even more f'ed up Michael Jordan Era), hiring Ernie Grunfeld to run the team's basketball operations was the best decision the Wizards ever made, so giving Grunfeld a contract extension continues to keep the Wiz on the right path. For once. (And I say that as a Wizards fan.)
Finally, a HUGE thanks to all the blog readers who came out for my NYC reading series last night. It was great to meet all of you in person, and I hope you had a great time. It was a really fun event.