Time to hand out some Weasel ears and Dunce Caps.
First stop: Washington, DC. Nationals manager Matt Williams might be still in the running for National League Manager of the Year, but he didn't function like one Saturday night in gane 2 of the NLDS vs. San Francisco.
Top of the 9th. 2 out. San Francisco has a runner on 1st. Starter Jordan Zimmermann, six days removed from a no-hitter, had retired 20 in a row before walking Giants rookie Joe Panik. Pardon the obvious pun, but Williams, ah, Paniked, and pulled Zimmermann, trusting Drew Storen to get the last out. Didn't happen. Storen blew the save, giving up a double to Pablo Sandoval, and was fortunate to escape with just the blown save, as Buster Posey was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. San Francisco won in 18, but Williams, and 2nd baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, were gone by then, both ejected in the 10th for arguing balls & strikes.
Williams gets a Dunce Cap for playing like it was a regular season game, and not trusting one of his hottest pitchers to finish the game. Had Zimmermann stayed, maybe things would've been different. As it was, the Nationals lost the series in 4, thereby postponing the 1st-ever Beltway Series until, maybe, next year.
Next: San Diego. Jets coach Rex Ryan finally pulled the trigger and benched starting QB Geno Smith at halftime of their 31-0 loss to San Diego. Critics will say that this was long overdue. However, after news got out that Smith missed a team meeting on Saturday, citing time management issues (i.e. changing time zones) and seeing "Gone Girl", it's clear Ryan should've just let Michael Vick start the game. Vick then was quoted on Wednesday as saying he wasn't prepared for the Chargers game. Uh-oh.
Worse, Ryan, a 2nd generation coach, decided to stick with Smith as his starter for Sunday's likely suicide mission vs. Peyton & the Pizza Salesmen, aka the Denver Broncos. Considering that the suddenly hot New England Patriots follow 4 days after that, Ryan could be looking at an early offseason for him. As it is, he gets a Dunce Cap for being too stubborn to see that he needed to put Smith on the pine sooner. Instead, he's sticking with his 2nd year QB, who might be following him----and for that matter, GM John Idzik----out the door after the season.
Vick also gets one for acknowledging that, as a veteran, he acted like a rookie in lacking preparation, knowing his team was in deep trouble.
Now, we move to Detroit. It was not a good day on Sunday in Motown. Both the Lions & Tigers lost (oh, my), but the Lions got the worst of the deal.
Turns out 17-year old Mark Beslach decided to bring a laser pointer to the game vs. Buffalo, and shined his light at Bills players, including QB Kyle Orton, and kicker Dan Carpenter, who ultimately overcame the distraction to boot the game winner from 58 yards. If this sounds remotely familiar, well, it is, because it's happened in other sports.
We've previously reported the story of a high school women's hockey game in Massachusetts that was marred by the use of a laser pointer. The team that benefited was allowed to keep the win, since there were no rules in place to address this sort of brainless conduct. In 2009, a Philadelphia Phillies fan similarly used a laser, shining the light at St. Louis Cardinals star Albert Pujols and teammates Julio Lugo & Skip Schumaker in a nationally televised game. The Philly fans covered for their fellow fan, who made good his escape, and the Phils won the game.
The bottom line is that Beslach, who gets a set of Weasel ears as well as a Dunce Cap, thought it was ok to give his team an advantage they didn't need or want. He gets the ears because of his deed, and the Dunce Cap for being stupid enough to boast about it on social media, particularly Twitter, as other idiots have done when they've committed acts of foolishness as a means of getting attention. The Lions aren't just punishing Beslach, but also the season ticket holder who gave him the ducat for the Bills game, who will miss the rest of the season, as his season tickets have been revoked, making that particular fellow, be he a parent of the Weasel or a friend, another Dunce Cap winner.
And, finally, our last set of Weasel ears goes to Richard Sherman of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. Why? Because of his post-game taunting of Washington receiver Pierre Garcon. Why kick an opponent after you've already beaten them? The way Sherman rambles on, he's bucking for a post-NFL career in pro wrestling. He's already got the attitude to be a heel. Unfortunately, we must also give Sherman a retroactive Dunce Cap for accepting an endorsement deal with Oberto beef jerky that has him sharing the spotlight with ESPN motormouth Stephen A. Smith. The catch? Smith is the "voice inside Sherman's stomach". ACK! The ad running in heavy rotation now has Smith, wearing a raincoat to protect himself from incoming Gatorade, or whatever it is Sherman is slamming down to hydrate himself, extolling the virtues of Oberto, only to get digested chunks dropped on him, of course. Whomever came up with this ad campaign should've made it a cartoon, since it appears to have been sprung from a child's imagination.