He also went 3-for-3 with 2 RBI. He also clinched home-field advantage for the AL in the 2007 World Series. He also made reports of his decision to sign a contract extension with the Mariners that much more of a relief for Seattle fans. Big day overall for Ichiro.
Meanwhile, did you catch the end of the game? I didn’t, but I heard the ending was plenty dramatic, with Soriano’s 2-out, 2-run HR closing the AL’s lead to 1 run before the next three NL batters were walked to load the bases. Aaron Rowand hit a flyout to right to end the game and the late thrills.
(Let the second-guessing begin: Tony LaRussa left Albert Pujols – arguably the NL’s best hitter AND HIS OWN PLAYER – on the bench, rather than let him be the hero. When your team has no hope of taking advantage of World Series home-field advantage, I guess you can make moves like that. Yeah, LaRussa SURE is some managerial genius. I could make the easy “Anyone give him a Breathalyzer?” joke, but I won’t.)
Looking to re-live the game via live-blog?
Here’s AOL Fanhouse (PostmanR)
Here’s Deadspin (Babes Love Baseball)
Bonds greeted like... a hero: What else would you expect? The game was in front of his fans in San Francisco. In any other park, he would have been booed. It was actually kind of nice to see him get that kind of reception on a national stage – most likely for the last time in his career.
Selig to watch Bonds break Aaron’s record? The story is slippery. First, reports were that he would. Then, he said he still hadn’t made up his mind. The right thing to do – in the best interests of baseball, you might say – would be to be there, whether he (or the legion of Bonds-haters… until he plays for their team, of course) likes it or not.
Penguins sign Sidney Crosby to 5Y/$43M extension. What does it say when the most dynamic player in hockey only commands less than $9 million a year? Imagine that compared to the NFL, NBA or MLB. (By comparison, Ichiro will get $20 million per.)
More contract-related news: The NBA set its salary cap at $55.63 million, a $2.5 million increase over last season. Some individual players with inflated contracts are going to be the main beneficiaries.
Greg Oden to have tonsils removed: Either that explains his slow start to the summer-league season or that’s the most complicated cover-up I’ve ever heard of to keep a player off the court.
Speaking of the Blazers, they waived and bought out Steve Francis, who can now afford ($34 million? I’d say he can!) to take a low-ball offer to join a contender, like the Mavs or the Heat. Or the Clippers, who employ his best buddy, Cuttino Mobley.
New Media: Smart move by MLB to give fans a chance to create historical playoff highlight video mash-ups. But the site name – actober.com – is ACK.
More Dan Patrick: Who will replace Patrick in his radio slot? For starters, let’s eliminate Schrutebag. Simmons? He’s got a voice for online writing (and that’s coming from one of the biggest high-talkers to ever grace ESPN’s airwaves). The name being thrown around is Mike Tirico. (h/t Larry Brown Sports) Why can’t they bring Tony Kornheiser back into the fold? He hates his gig with Washington Post Radio.
NBA Summer: Marco Belinelli Watch! Comes back to Earth with 15 points on 5/13 FG shooting against what I can only assume is a tough defensive-minded Spurs team... Meanwhile: Al Thornton: 17 and 7… Coby Karl: 23 points on 8/13 FG shooting… Nick Young had a weak debut: 11 points on 3/14 FG shooting. And the Yi Update: 3 points and 5 turnovers on 0/6 FG shooting… wow, yikes. Today: The T’wolves make their first Summer appearance, and the rookie to watch is Corey Brewer.
College Football: Rivals is running a “Greatest of All-Time” poll. Here are the leaders (and, frankly, I think the fans have it pretty right here):
QB: Vince Young; RB: Barry Sanders; RB: Bo Jackson; WR: Calvin Johnson; WR: Randy Moss; TE: Keith Jackson; OL: Orlando Pace; OL: Tony Boselli; OL: Jonathan Ogden; OL: Dan Dierdorf; OL: John Hannah; DL: Warren Sapp; DL: Reggie White; DL: Julius Peppers; DL: Jevon Kearse; LB: Dick Butkus; LB: Ray Lewis; LB: Lawrence Taylor; DB: Champ Bailey; DB: Deion Sanders; DB: Ronnie Lot; DB: Charles Woodson; K: Sabastian Janikowski; P: Ray Guy; Returner: Raghib Ismail; Coach: Paul "Bear" Bryant.
A few reactions: How wild is it that Calvin Johnson makes the list? (And people say that I have the Instant History fetish!)… It would be tough to bounce either Barry or Bo, but what about Herschel Walker?... I wasn’t a Gators fan in the Kearse Era, but wasn’t he a LB?... The most controversial position will be QB. I have no problems with Vince Young. (How can you begrudge VY when the No. 2 vote-getter is Peyton?)
More College Football: The great Brian Cook over at MGoBlog is in a bit of a feud with a local newspaper sports columnist over the future of coaching at Michigan. The slack-jawed newspaper guy floats Les Miles, which Brian smacks down effectively. (I simply call it ludicrous.) Brian floats Jeff Tedford, which is nice if you want to produce QBs who look good at combine workouts but suck in the NFL. I still say Rich Rodriguez will be the guy… if Michigan wants to be relevant into the next decade. Otherwise, they can pick a typical “Michigan Man” and continue to exist as the perennial second-tier team in the perennial second-tier conference. (OK, I’ll accept Greg Schiano, too, except I think he thinks that Rutgers is a better gig than Michigan. Cue Nelson Muntz: HA-ha!)
More “All-Time” superlatives: World Soccer magazine has called the 1970 Brazil World Cup champ the greatest soccer team of all time. Now, an interesting – if apples to oranges – debate would be what is the greatest sports team of all time, period: 1970 Brazil,
* - UPDATE: Obviously, I meant to say "1992" not "1996" here. I'm sure you all knew what I meant. I wrote that particular item bleary-eyed at 2 a.m. (not that that's an excuse) and neglected to go back and fix it. Then I was stuck on an airplane all day and didn't see that it needed changing until it was way WAY too late. Sorry 'bout that.
High school football: Could be a lost season for national power Miami Northwestern, embroiled in a sex scandal with the superintendend threatening to cancel the team’s season. It’s tough to punish all the kids for the leadership failures of the team’s star and administrators, but that has all the signals of a program that has totally lost its way. (As I suspect most top-tier high school football programs have.)
More youth sports: That kids’ baseball coach who paid one of his players in 2005 to intentionally bean the 9-year-old with autism lost an appeal and will be going to prison. This was arguably the most despicable story of the decade, and I hope the coach finds prison horrifying… and painful. (h/t AOL Fanhouse via Lion In Oil)
Nickname Watch: For some reason, the AP picked up a story about Arkansas Tech thinking of changing its nickname. I didn’t know what the school’s nickname was before, but upon hearing that it’s “Wonder Boys” for the guys and “Golden Suns” for the women’s teams, I have to ask: How can you eliminate “Wonder Boys?” That’s an amazing nickname.
From my “Tips” Box: Reader/commenter Scott D. and his buddies put together an NFL preview mash-up involving Dave Matthews.
And: Of all the NHL gimmicks, my favorite is the outdoor game, next season on New Year’s Day. Reader Charlie R. wrote an impassioned case why Buffalo deserves it more than Detroit. And, given Sabres fans’ last few months, I’m with him. They need it more.
Attention, Simpsons fans: So it turns out Springfield is in… Vermont? And the town won the online poll with 15,000 votes? Hell, we could have swung that election ourselves!
Finally, the ESPYs are tonight. I can’t believe I’m doing this, but…
My ESPY Award Picks, including who should win (and who will win, more often than not the same) based on each category’s nominee list:
Best Male Athlete
Should win/will win: LaDainian Tomlinson
Best Female Athlete
Should win/will win: Candace Parker
Should win: Florida Gators Basketball
Will win: Indianapolis Colts
Should win: Billy Donovan
Will win: Jim Leyland
Should win/will win: Boise St over Oklahoma
Best Championship Performance
(What a weak nominee list!)
Should win/will win: Peyton Manning
Should win/will win: Saints return to New Orleans
Should win/will win: Boise St 2-pt conversion
HOW IS FIESTA BOWL NOT IN THIS CATEGORY?
Should win/will win: Dodgers Back2Back2Back2Back
Should win: Florida over Ohio State, BCS title game
Will win: Warriors over Mavericks, NBA Playoffs
Best Breakthrough Athlete
Should win/will win: Kevin Durant
Best Record-Breaking Performance
Should win/will win: LaDainian Tomlinson
As always, look forward to your picks in the Comments section. Here’s a link with the nominees.