Today's Names to Know: Bengie Molina, CC Sabathia, Cody Ross, Jared and Jay Macchierole, Brett Favre, Carmelo Anthony, Danilo Gallinari, Kevin Durant, Mike Quade, Ted Forstmann, Bomani Jones, Pete Vlastelica and More.
Rangers bash Yankees to brink of elimination: Even if the Yankees win tonight with CC, they still have to win both remaining games in Texas, including beating the unbeatable Cliff Lee.
At least with a win tonight, Yankees fans can avoid the humiliation of being swept at The Stadium and watching the Rangers celebrate an AL pennant on their turf.
Given how things went in Game 1, don't count out Ron Washington wasting a quality start by CJ Wilson (and his hitters chasing Sabathia) and giving the Yankees an opening to win.
But given the mojo of the Rangers' hitters right now -- we'll see your sketchy Cano HR and raise you THREE -- the Yankees might not even make it that far.
(Suddenly, that midseason acquisition of Bengie Molina is looking pretty amazing for Texas. Diametrically opposite is the postseason-ending injury to Mark Teixeira.)
It is always a fascinating moment when a defending champ is eliminated in the following year's playoffs. It is even more fascinating when that champ is the Yankees.
Based on the flight of Yankee fans from the Stadium before the game ended, it feels like a significant portion of the fan base has already determined the series is as good as over.
And, if nothing else, the Rangers have already proven themselves as worthy AL champs.
Names to Know: Jared and Jay Macchierole, the Yankee fans who "caught" Robinson Cano's home run. (Or "home run.") Their 15 minutes of fame have already started, and a slot on next season's Dancing With the Stars -- or perhaps "Jersey Shore" -- can't be far behind.
Giants up 2-1: Coming into the series, Philly fans had told me that Matt Cain (not Tim Lincecum) was the Phillie killer. And he lived up to it. Meanwhile: Cody Ross's new nickname is "WTF?" Unlike the Yankees last night, I'm not sure that the Phillies are in a virtual do-or-die tonight -- not with the prospects of Halladay pitching Game 5 in SF, then Oswalt and Hamels back in Philly for Games 6 and 7.
NFL Concussion Watch: The NFL fined 3 players $175,000 for their "big hits" on Sunday, but no suspensions. I thought it was fairly settled after Sunday night that fines are not a deterrent, and that the only real deterrent is ejections and suspensions and/or massive penalty yardage.
(Meanwhile, I hope folks didn't get the wrong idea from my post yesterday: I'm not justifying or excusing the barbarity of the NFL's violence -- particularly the illegal hits. Everyone rationalizes the sport in their own way. We can all agree that the obviously illegal hits are wrong. But we all also know that the compounding toll on the players is pretty devastating -- we ignore it.)
UPDATE: James Harrison hints he might even consider retiring, because he felt his $75,000 fine was so unfair. Yeah...right. Let's just call Harrison's bluff right now: He's not going anywhere.
Favre Watch: Anyone else not wondering what he might have said to NFL officials who were asking him about the sexting? I'll bet the conversation was like "Come on, man...."
Carmelo Trade Rumors: Are the Knicks back in it? Apparently, they are finally willing to dump Danilo Gallinari -- if not directly to the Nuggets (who inexplicably don't seem to want him), then to a team that would give the Knicks a player that the Nuggets DO want. (Given Gallinari's potential, that shouldn't be that hard, right?) So I guess the question now is: What team wants Gallinari, and what are they willing to give up to get him?
(By the way, Amare had 39 points last night -- a preseason high among all players -- and led the NBA in scoring in the preseason. If nothing else, he is going to be fun to watch.)
More NBA: I will guarantee you that those super-shoes (from Athletic Propulsion Labs) banned by the NBA wouldn't help me a lick. I'm just that unathletic.
Kevin Durant is on the cover of the SI NBA Preview issue, along with... Thabo Sefolosha and Nenad Krstic? Um, what about Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook? Apparently, the team wanted to showcase that it isn't only about its stars. I'm just glad SI went contrarian and didn't feature LeBron, Wade and Bosh.
MLB Hot Stove: Given that he was my favorite player growing up, Ryne Sandberg not getting the Cubs managerial job is disappointing. I will wear my Sandberg Cubs jersey T-shirt around today in protest.
Non-Scandals: So what if the CEO of IMG bet on Roger Federer in the 2007 French Open?
Media: The worst possible NFL match-up possible drew a larger audience than an MLB playoff game featuring baseball's biggest brand.
This drew quite a bit of attention yesterday, even though you could have seen it coming, given the way the NFL has drawn an audience this year.
My theory as to what created the million-viewer delta? Fantasy football. Enough fans were impacted by Chris Johnson -- and even the two kickers -- that it could have easily been it.
More: The terrific Bomani Jones will be making his "Around the Horn" debut on Friday. He made a hilarious video to promote it. He is unlikely to top my all-time-best 0-4 career record.
Congratulations to Pete Vlastelica, Alana G and the rest of the Yardbarker team -- including the 850 bloggers repped by YB -- on the company's acquisition by Fox Sports.
I like to hear about nothing more than happy endings for start-up sports media companies....