Less than 3 weeks before the end of baseball's regular season, and no one even thought the Mets would be in the position they're in, sitting atop the NL East. Their magic number to clinch is 10 after dispatching Miami on Monday (2nd place Washington needed 11 innings to beat Philadelphia to keep pace), which means that unless the Mets suddenly stumble on a pile of rocks the rest of the week, the division is theirs for the first time in 9 years.
I wouldn't be too shocked, then, to see Atlanta's Fredi (& the Dreamers) Gonzalez and Washington's 2nd year skipper, Matt Williams, dismissed after the season. Gonzalez did his best impersonation of Williams on Sunday afternoon. He had the Mets right where he wanted them, down 3 in the 9th. His rookie closer, Arodys Vizcaino, had been abused by the Mets the two previous games, so he went to sidewinding Australian right hander Peter Moylan to close. Moylan got 2 outs, both on strikeouts. Then, Gonzalez, like an idiot, lifted Moylan after a pinch-double by Juan Lagares. Curtis Granderson walked. Daniel Murphy, then, took rookie Ryan Kelly out of the yard to tie the game. The Mets would win, 10-7, in 10.
Oy! The Braves will be sayin' g'day to Gonzalez, as in, you're fired, mate, on October 5.
It's hard to fathom who was more deserving of the Dunce Cap on Sunday, Gonzalez or Giants QB Eli Manning. Today's papers tell of Manning copping to a late-game brain cramp in the loss to Dallas, admitting he lost track of how many timeouts Dallas had left. To that end, he advised running back Rashard Jennings not to score what would've been a game-saving touchdown. Jennings admitted as much on Monday, and then, Manning, proving to be almost as dense as his telegenically challenged brother, Peyton, owned up.
Ehh, let's call it a draw and give both Eli and Gonzalez Dunce Caps and be done with it.
So the Giants start 0-1 again. And Atlanta, which dispatched Philadelphia on Monday, comes in for the home opener on Sunday. I don't like the Giants' chances.
Oh, by the way, the next time someone wants to have the Manning brothers do a commercial, let them remake an old Tennessee Tuxedo cartoon. You can figure out which one is Tennessee (the penguin) and which one is dumber-than-a-bag-of-bricks Chumley (a walrus), I'm sure. It'd be better than either one of them doing more stupid spots for DirecTV. As if Eli's turn as a lounge comic was wack, Peyton's made two ads. One is "skinny legs", the other has him with a "high pitched voice", which sounds like he couldn't reach that level on the register, and they went and got an actress to dub that part for him. If Papa Archie's not their agent, who is? Elmer Fudd?
The Tri-City Valleycats saw their season end on a rainy, dreary Thursday, getting swept by Staten Island, but nothing can discount their 4 straight division titles, 5 in 6 years. I'd rather call that a dynasty than a certain disreputable football team..........! I'd be shocked if Ed Romero wasn't promoted within the Houston chain and a new face was in the dugout next June.
Speaking of the New England Patriots, the last thing they wanted to have happen was any sort of technical glitch in their home opener, also on Thursday, knowing that the whole world would be watching, and the fact that they'd be under greater scrutiny in the wake of Deflategate. But, as an NFL flack pointed out on Friday, the inclement weather which hindered the Valleycats also played games with the headsets of both the Steelers & Patriots coaches, and it got to the point where Bill Belichick finally had had enough of the accusations levied against his club. Can't say as I blame him there. I'm still trying to figure out how a humble assistant who won his first 2 Super Bowls under Bill Parcells with the Giants (1986-7, 1990-1) before getting his first head coaching job in Cleveland would have not only a prima donna at QB, but a bunch of Dick Dastardly wanna-bes who are probably hiding like roaches within the cracks of Gillette Stadium, getting paid under the table. The mind boggles.....!
You might've noticed a disturbing trend on Sunday. Of all the QB's who signed up for that stupid DirecTV ad campaign I referenced earlier, 2 of them (Peyton Manning & Tony Romo) were winners, while the others (Andrew Luck, Eli Manning, Drew Brees) all lost, and Eli & Romo were head-to-head. Luck's "out of control beard" could have him mistaken for WWE wrestler Luke Harper if it was shorter than it appeared (thanks to CGI).
Vocally, though, Luck could be mistaken for the late NFL player-turned-announcer-turned-actor Merlin Olsen. Just sayin'.
While Troy High's football team is off to a 2-0 start after crushing Scotia on Friday, the school is experiencing the expected growing pains as a 1st year member of the Suburban Council. Headed into play today, the school's men's & women's soccer teams have two wins between them, which I think puts them in the cellars of their divisions in the league. I can only imagine the anguish the alumni will be feeling come basketball season in December. With Homecoming 10 days away as I write (September 25, not October 2 as I had thought), the football team could be 3-0 if they dispatch Amsterdam this Friday, in their only televised game in the regular season. Hmmmmmmm.
Perhaps the one matchup in NFL week 1 that actually was under the radar, and I do mean, under, was Tampa Bay vs. Tennessee. Little did the schedule makers, who put this together before the draft in the spring, realize that this would end up being a rematch of a college bowl game from January, except that the two quarterbacks involved were now playing in the NFL.
Jameis Winston was drafted #1 overall by Tampa Bay, but played as if he hadn't learned thing one from his last game with Florida State, throwing a pick-six on his first NFL pass. Marcus Mariota, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner from Oregon, hit Kendall Wright with a touchdown bomb on his first NFL possession with Tennessee, and the Titans all but blew away the Buccaneers. I said all along that Winston was coming out too early, as was 2012 Heisman winner Johnny Manziel (now with Cleveland), due largely to the off-field baggage he carried with him to Tampa. Manziel, meanwhile, threw his first pro TD, a bomb to Travis Benjamin, but the Browns couldn't hold the lead, and lost to the Jets. Ex-Steeler running back Merril Hoge, now an analyst for ESPN, is calling for the Browns to cut Manziel now, feeling that in his 2nd season, Manziel isn't going to change his ways. Dare we think Hoge feels the same way about Winston after his first game in Tampa?
The one thing Winston & Manziel have in common, besides the Heisman and their early departures from school, is a lack of maturity. That can still change. Problem is, for that to happen, they have to get rid of the leeches that encouraged them to turn pro too soon.