Archive for October, 2013

WATERCOOLER CHAT: RED SOX LEAD SERIES 2-1, CARDS LEAD 3-1, JORDAN FOR 1 MILL

BASEBALL

First up it was Game 3 of the American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers.  This was going to be a tough one for the Red Sox, because they would have to take on the Tigers in Detroit with Tigers ace Justin Verlander on the mound.  He is very difficult to hit off of.  This one was a scoreless affair for most of the game, but in the 7th inning, Mike Napoli smashed a home run to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.  And that was all they needed to hold on for the victory.  They now lead the series 2-1.  Boston 1, Detroit 0.

Then, it was time for the National League Championship Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Cards led 2-1 coming into this one, and the Dodgers desperately wanted to grab the win before the series heads back to St. Louis.  But the Cardinals got all the offense early behind a home run from their slugger Matt Holliday.  In the 4th, the Dodgers got on the board behind clutch hits from Yasiel Puig and A.J. Ellis.  It was a one-run game until Shane Robinson smacked a home run for the Cardinals and gave them a 2-run insurance lead.  The Dodgers got a man on in the bottom of the 9th, but Yasiel Puig grounded into a double play that pretty much extinguished the flames.  Cards now lead 3-1 going back to St. Louis, where Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will be pitching to save their season.  St. Louis 4, LA Dodgers 2.

BASKETBALL

Finally, in some fun news out of the NBA, Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera is big on charity.  And he said that he would love to have an owner’s game of basketball.  He put out a tweet to Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan (yes that Michael Jordan) asking for a 1-on-1 game with him.  He said if Jordan grants the request, then Pera would donate $1million to charity.  It’s hard to imagine that His Airness wouldn’t take this offer…after all, $1 mill to charity.  Let’s hope he does, it would be fun to watch.
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WATERCOOLER CHAT: PUIG GETS WIN FOR DODGERS, LUCK AND COLTS LOSE ON MNF, TEXAN FANS TASTELESS

BASEBALL

It was Game 3 of the American League Championship Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Dodgers hosted this time, but were down 2-0 in the series.  But the Dodgers got a brilliant starting pitching performance from Hyun-Jin Ryu.  He gave up only 3 hits to a very tough Cardinals line-up.  And the Dodgers got a big 4th inning from their star Yasiel Puig.  Puig blasted a triple to drive in 2 runs, and give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.  From there, the Doyers (as they are called in LA) never looked back.  Now the Dodgers need to ensure they make the right staff decisions to get that Game 4 win to tie up the series.  LA Dodgers 3, St. Louis 0.  

FOOTBALL

And in the NFL, it was Monday Night Football between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Diego Chargers.  This was the Monday Night Football debut for Colts emerging star quarterback Andrew Luck.  The Colts were coming off an impressive win against the Seattle Seahawks last week, but the Colts have been very difficult to beat at home this season.  Phillip Rivers looks like himself again.  Unfortunately for the Colts, Luck and the Colts receivers had an off night.  They couldn’t get anything going, and the receivers kept dropping balls.  Meanwhile, the Chargers gelled nicely, didn’t have any turnovers, and continue putting up ticks in the win column.  San Diego 19, Indianapolis 9.

This is about the time of year when injuries start plaguing teams.  The Packers star wide receiver Randall Cobb suffered a knee injury on Sunday against the Ravens, and now it’s being reported that he will be out 6-8 weeks.  In Houston, Texans quarterback Matt Schaub was carted off the field on Sunday against the Rams, and now his status is uncertain for next Sunday.  In a display that can only be called totally tasteless and just plain wrong, Texans fans cheered when Matt went down. I don’t care how much you want your team to win, it’s never ok to cheer for a hurt player.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: TEXANS REELING, PATS HAND SAINTS LOSS, TIGERS/RED SOX SERIES TIED

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, the Houston Texans are definitely reeling right now, getting crushed last week by the 49ers.  That was expected, but everyone thought they would certainly rebound with a home game against the lowly Rams.  But, from out of nowhere, the Rams turned into the Denver Broncos and dominated the Texans.  It was a blowout.  And then later, Matt Schaub went down with an injury, and the Houston crowd cheered as T.J. Yates ran onto the field.  This may be the end of the Matt Schaub era in Houston, because that offense simply doesn’t look right with him under center.  The Rams snuck out with an easy win, while the Texans have some serious questions to answer before Week 7.  St. Louis 38, Houston 13.

And in New England, the Patriots hosted the undefeated Saints.  This was the game of the week in the NFL, and nobody quite knew what to expect, but they did assume it would be some sort of offensive shootout.  The Patriots got up early, but then Drew Brees and the Saints turned it on, taking a 27-23 lead with just 2 minutes to go.  The Patriots somehow found themselves with one last chance with just under a minute to go.  Brady simply turned on the magic, marching the Pats down the field.  Then, with just under 10 seconds, Brady took a risk, and hit his undrafted rookie Kenbrell Thompkins in the back of the end zone for the game winning touchdown.  It was truly amazing, and with that, the Pats handed the Saints their first loss.  New England 30, New Orleans 27.

BASEBALL

It was Game 2 of the American League Championship Series between the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox. The Tigers led the series 1-0, and it looked like the Tigers were going to grab Game 2 leading 5-1 in the 8th inning. But, the Red Sox loaded the bases, and up came their slugger David Ortiz.  And they got exactly what they needed from Ortiz, as he hit a clutch grand slam to tie the game at 5.  Wow!  Then, in the bottom of the 9th, Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a beautiful RBI to drive in the winning run to win Game 2 and tie the series.  It now shifts back to Detroit, and this one is still wide open.  But, in Game 3, the Tigers are putting Justin Verlander on the mound, who can definitely scare batters.  Boston 6, Detroit 5.
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WATERCOOLER CHAT: GIANTS FALL TO 0-6, TOMLINS’ CHILDISH PUNISHMENT, TIGERS ADVANCE TO TAKE ON RED SOX

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, it was Thursday Night Football between the 0-5 New York Giants and the 4-1 Chicago Bears.  It’s absolutely shocking to see the Giants at 0-5.  This is a team that is expected to compete year in and year out for the Super Bowl.  They typically have a lot of the pieces to do it, and this year is no real exception.  Sure, they’re not as good as their Super Bowl squads, but 0-5?  This was the game where the Giants were going to make a statement.   The marquee headline of the game, however, was Bears’ wide receiver Brandon Marshall‘s shoes.  He wanted to wear green shoes to promote awareness for mental illness.  The NFL fined him for it, but it was important to him to do it.  As for the game, it was actually quite close, and the Giants thought they might actually pick up a win.  But some late mistakes made it impossible to grab the win, and the Giants fell to 0-6.  Wow!!!  This is a tough year.  Chicago 27, NY Giants 21.

In Pittsburgh, the Steelers are 0-4 and headed to play a Jets team in New York that looks half-decent right now.  So to get the Steelers completely focused, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has banned games from the Steelers locker room completely.  That means no ping-pong and no video games.  This is a bit of a childlike punishment, but a reputable organization like the Steelers at 0-4 is a very bad thing.  Nobody expected that.  And if the Steelers get worse, it could cost Tomlin his job (even with his Super Bowl appearances).  Tomlin can’t take that chance, so he is starting to lay down the law.  They need a win badly in New York.

BASEBALL

It was a deciding Game 5 between the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics.  The Athletics had the benefit of playing in front of their home crowd, but they also put a rookie on the mound.  Yep, Sonny Gray got a chance to be a hero at a very young age.  Unfortunately for the A’s, they had to face arguably the best pitcher in baseball:  Justin Verlander.  And Verlander doesn’t exactly make mistakes, especially in these pressure situations.  He kept the Athletics completely scoreless, and got some run support from Miguel Cabrera in the 4th inning, when Miggy smashed a homer to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.  The A’s couldn’t do anything against Verlander and went into the 9th inning scoreless. The Tigers advance to the ALCS to take on the Boston Red Sox.
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WATERCOOLER CHAT: TIGERS SURVIVE, RED SOX ADVANCE, JULIO JONES’ FOOT

BASEBALL

The Athletics had a chance to close out the series in Detroit.  And when you have a chance to end a series, you do everything in your power to make sure it happens, because anything can happen in just one deciding game.  The Athletics got up to a big 3-0 lead, but the Tigers were relentless, getting key home runs from Jhonny Peralta and Victor Martinez.  There was even a controversy over a home run, as a fan reached over the wall to grab it.  The Athletics complained, but the umpires ruled it a home run because the fan didn’t interfere with the outfielder actually catching the ball.  Then the Tigers just kept piling on the runs, and even brought in one of their starters, Max Scherezer, to ensure that the A’s would be kept in check.  They certainly weren’t taking anything for granted.  Now, we get to see a deciding Game 5 in Oakland.  Detroit 8, Oakland 6.

And in Tampa, the Red Sox were trying to close out the Rays and advance to the ALCS.  They were in the same position as the Athletics.  But the Rays are tough to beat in front of their home crowd.  They may have a brutally ugly stadium, but their fans are super loud.  This game was actually pretty close for the majority of the game, but the Red Sox have an amazingly talented and young team that can move around the bases quickly to score — meaning they have a lot of guys who can get from 1st base to 3rd base during a hit than other teams might have on their roster.  In the end, the Red Sox just had more muscle put the Rays to bed.  The Red Sox advance to the ALCS, and Major League Baseball is very happy from a financial point of view.  Boston 3, Tampa Bay 1.

FOOTBALL

Finally, in the NFL, a lot of fans in Atlanta are worried about Wide Receiver Julio Jones‘ foot.  Jones suffered a foot injury in the game against the Jets, and it looks like this could be a very serious injury.  Jones has a foot injury that pretty much splits the bones in the middle of the foot and requires a complicated surgery.  Experts think he will definitely miss the remainder of the season.  This injury can also affect the foot long-term, and there is a chance that this could have a huge negative impact on his career longevity.  The Falcons are completely banged up right now, and their whole offense is built around the athleticism of Julio Jones.  And their #2 guy, Roddy White, is also injured

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: JETS BEAT FALCONS, ST. LOUIS HOLDS OFF ELIMINATION, DODGERS ADVANCE

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, it was Monday Night Football between the New York Jets and the Atlanta Falcons.  Not many people would have thought that the Jets would actually have a better record than the Falcons at this point in the season.  The Falcons were expected to be a Super Bowl contender this year, but something looks seriously wrong with them.  But, surely they would beat the Jets, who was starting Geno Smith, a rookie quarterback, again.  Everybody picked the Falcons in this one, but the Jets got out to a hot start.  They completely picked apart the Falcons defense, and pulled out to an early lead.  Meanwhile, the Falcons kept trying to run, but couldn’t do anything against the Jets brutal defensive line.  In the end, the Falcons just couldn’t do enough to catch up, and the Jets stole the road win.  The Falcons seriously need to take a look in the mirror, because they are 1-4, and the season is slipping away.  NY Jets 30, Atlanta 28.

BASEBALL

And in the baseball playoffs, the St. Louis Cardinals faced an elimination game in Pittsburgh against the Pirates.  Pittsburgh is a very tough ball park to play in now, because this crowd hasn’t seen a winning team in over 20 years and they are hungry to cheer.  But if St. Louis could nab the win, then the series would head back to St. Louis for a deciding game 5.  The Cardinals couldn’t play their best pitchers, so they had to play young guys (21,22) on the mound.  This one was close all the way until the 9th inning, but the Cards were able to keep their one-run lead and survive the madness in Pittsburgh.  We’re headed back to St. Louis.  St. Louis 2, Pittsburgh 1.

Finally, elsewhere in the baseball playoffs, the Atlanta Braves, who were favored to win it all at the beginning of the post-season, suddenly found themselves down 2-1 in the series against Los Angeles.  And the Dodgers were going to put it all on the line and start their best pitcher on short rest to try and win the game in LA.   Yep, they called upon Clayton Kershaw to work his magic — taking the risk that he would be ready.  The Dodgers did not want to play a Game 5 against the Braves in Atlanta, so they gambled everything started Kershaw.  Kershaw kept the Braves in check, but the Braves still had a 1-run lead in the 8th.  The Dodgers’ Juan Uribe came up to the plate, and tried to lay down a bunt to advance a runner to second.  He failed.   So instead, he decided to swing away, and BOOM, he smacked a 2-run homerun to give the Dodgers the lead!!!  It was glory days in LA, and they held on for the victory!!  The Dodgers are headed to the National League Championship Series (NLCS.)  LA Dodgers 4, Atlanta 3.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: SCORING SHOWDOWN IN DALLAS, SAINTS/CHIEFS STILL UNDEFEATED, LUCK NICE TD’S, BENGALS DEFEAT PATS

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, there were 5 undefeated teams headed into week 5.  Could they all remain undefeated?

In Dallas, Peyton Manning and the Broncos came into town ready to showcase their high-powered offense.  But the Cowboys were ready for them, and had an aerial attack that could match Denver’s.  Peyton and Tony Romo had a shootout in what would turn out to be the 4th highest scoring game in NFL history.  Manning threw for 414 yards and 4 touchdowns, while Tony Romo threw for a whopping 506 yards and 5 touchdowns. Unfortunately for Romo, he threw a pick late in the 4th quarter that would cost the Cowboys the game.  It allowed the Broncos to get a last minute field goal to ice it.  The Broncos stay undefeated.  Denver 51, Dallas 48.

Meanwhile, the undefeated Saints and Chiefs would have to take their game on the road in two places that are very difficult to play.  The Saints headed to Chicago, while the Chiefs would have to do battle with the tenacious Titans defense in Tennessee.  There is just no stopping this Saints offense, however, and they just kept working their magic, running up a big early lead on the Bears that would prevent them from coming back.  The Saints stay undefeated.  And the Chiefs steady offensive attack behind quarterback Alex Smith was enough to let their defense shine.  The Chiefs came out of Tennessee with a victory, and remain undefeated — with a Chiefs/Broncos match-up looming.  New Orleans 26, Chicago 18.  Kansas City 26, Tennessee 17.

Finally, in Indianapolis, the undefeated Seahawks came to town to try and stop Andrew Luck and the Colts (who have been hot lately).  The Seahawks jumped out to an early lead, but the Colts clawed their way back in, thanks to some gorgeous touchdown passes from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton.  And in the end, the Seahawks just didn’t have enough to stop the Colts, and the Seattle suffered their first loss.

And in Cincinnati, the undefeated Patriots came to town to take on a Bengals team that has been struggling lately.  But a team as strong as the Bengals had a resilience about them coming off a loss to the Browns last week.  They held Tom Brady and Patriots offense in check.  The Pats only put up 6 points, and the Bengals ended Tom Brady’s 52 consecutive games throwing a touchdown pass.  The Bengals needed this momentum boost, and the Patriots now have one in the loss column.   Cincinnati 13, New England 6.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: DODGERS AND CARDINALS TAKE OPENING GAMES, BROWNS UPSET BILLS IN THURS NIGHT FOOTBALL

BASEBALL

The playoffs continued.  In Atlanta, the Braves were looking to continue their dominant season, but they would have to do it against a surging Los Angeles Dodgers team.  This Dodgers team is peaking at just the right time.   They also have one of the best pitchers in baseball in Clayton Kershaw.  Kershaw would strike out 12 Braves, as the Dodgers simply cruised by Atlanta.  And remember, this is a Dodgers team that was in last place for quite a while in the beginning of the season.  Then, Yasiel Puig came in and it was a game changer.  They look great right now.  LA Dodgers 6, Atlanta 1.

Then, it was the St. Louis Cardinals hosting the red hot Pittsburgh Pirates.  The Pirates may be terrifying to play in front of their insane fan base, but when they’re on the road in St. Louis, another excellent crowd, it’s a different story.  The Cardinals were ready for the Bucs, and an early 3rd inning home run from Carlos Beltran gave the Cards an instant 3-0 lead.   The Pirates were never able to rally and the Cards take the opening game.  St. Louis 9, Pittsburgh 1.

FOOTBALL

Finally, it was Thursday Night Football between the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns.  On paper, this would look like a ho-hum match-up between two lackluster teams.  However, the Browns are actually in first place, and the Bills look like a possible playoff team this year.  Plus, throw in a wild Cleveland home crowd, and you’ve got quite a thrilling game.  Both teams lost their starting quarterbacks in the game, but Brandon Weeden came in for the Browns and had some key touchdown passes to give the Browns the victory.  The Browns now sit atop the AFC North.  This is the surprise team of the season. Cleveland 37, Buffalo 24.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: RAIDERS IN DISARRAY, WHITNER-HITNER CLOTHING, RAYS SHUT OUT INDIANS

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, the Oakland Raiders are the middle of another season of disarray.  They have been going with 2nd year quarterback Terrelle Pryor, but Pryor has suffered some injuries, making him a questionable start every game.  Last week, high-paid  back-up Matt Flynn came in, and played decently, but still wound up losing the game against the Washington Redskins.  Now, Matt Flynn, the guy who was once paid $20million by the Seattle Seahawks sight unseen, has been relegated to the 3rd string quarterback.  They are clearly not impressed by this guy.  They even chose an un-drafted rookie, Matt McGloin, ahead of Flynn as their primary back-up quarterback.  This is why it’s risky to pay a lot of money upfront before someone is truly tested in the system.

Elsewhere in the NFL, San Francisco defensive star Donte Whitner was fined $21,000 for a relatively hard hit on a Rams player in last Thursday night’s game.  Whitner didn’t think he should have been fined, as he was only making a standard hit in the end zone to try and get the player to drop the ball.  Now that he has a violent reputation, Whitner said he is changing his name from “Whitner” to “Hitner”, suggesting that he only makes hard hits.  Whitner even said he’s going to start manufacturing a “Hitner” clothing line.

BASEBALL

Finally, in baseball, it was the American League Wild Card one-game playoff between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cleveland Indians.  Cleveland is definitely America’s most deprived city in terms of sporting success, and they desperately wanted this team to at least earn the right to play the Boston Red Sox in a full playoff series.  Fortunately for Cleveland fans, the Indians are the hottest team in baseball right now.  And those are usually the teams that wind up making a big run in the playoffs.  But, Tampa Bay’s pitching was too fierce, and the Rays bats came to play.  The Rays shut out the Indians, and earned the right to take on the Red Sox.  Cheer up, Cleveland — the Browns are on a 2-game win streak.  Tampa Bay 4, Cleveland 0.

 

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: PIRATES MOVE ON TO PLAYOFFS, GOV’T SHUTDOWN AFFECTS FOOTBALL, KOBE STOLE MICHAEL JORDAN’S MOVES

BASEBALL

It was the National League wild card playoff game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds.  This is a one-game, winner-take-all contest.  Yep, that’s 162 games all coming down to one game to see if you get to play an actual playoff series.  This is pretty illogical, as baseball, more than any other sport, is prone to players having an off night.  The Pirates haven’t been to the post-season in over 20 years, and their fans couldn’t have been more excited (especially because the Steelers aren’t too great this season).  So how would it play out?  The Pirates offense came to play, and they got two home runs off of Russell Martin, which propelled them to a big victory over the Reds.  The Pirates now move on to play the Atlanta Braves in a 5-game series.

FOOTBALL

In college football, the government shutdown is apparently going to significantly affect the sports world.  The game between Air Force and Navy is on hold, as both of these teams have a significant number of government employees that won’t be able to help with the game.  The Army vs. Boston College game is also in jeopardy of not being played for the same reason.  The organizations said they are going to do everything in their power to get the games going, but there is no guarantee.

BASKETBALL

Finally, in some fun NBA news, Michael Jordan did an interview promoting the NBA 2K14 video game.  He said that the game now is completely different than it used to be.  Primarily he was saying that it was a much more physical game back in his day.  If a player drove the lane, he was going to get hammered, whereas now, he is likely to get room because the refs are whistle happy.  Jordan said he would love to take these guys on one-on-one in their prime, and said he would easily beat the likes of LeBron, Wade, and Carmelo.  However, he said he might struggle with Kobe Bryant, because Kobe stole all of his moves.

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