You had your fun, Red Sox haters, when Boston was 2-6 and looking like a mediocre mess. Now, the Sox have won 10 straight and look like the team to beat in the AL East (can Toronto really keep this up?). The Yankees found three different ways to lose to the Sox over the weekend, and were further embarrassed when Jacoby Ellsburystole home off of Andy Pettite:
Ellsbury’s theft highlighted a three-run fifth inning that led the Red Sox to a 4-1 win on Sunday Night Baseball. It was the weekend in a nutshell for the Yankees, who are now facing mounting questions about their pitching staff, which is ruining things for an offense that’s scoring more than five runs per game (and will get better when A-Rod returns).
So, you’re the Orlando Magic, you’re down 2-1 in the series to heavy underdog Philly, and you just dumped a nine-point lead late in the fourth quarter and find yourself tied in the final seconds. You don’t want this going to OT because the Sixers have all the momentum. So now what? Clearly, it’s time for Hedo Turkoglu to just dribble around for a while and then drain a 26-footer to win it 84-81:
Just how you drew it up, right Stan?
In Houston, the Portland Trail Blazers once again had a chance to steal a game from the Rockets…and once again, gave it away late. The Rockets killed the Blazers on the offensive boards, getting two huge second chances that led to three-point daggers from Shane Battier in the final minutes. Portland still had a chance to tie it with 20 seconds remaining, but Brandon Roy was called for an offensive foul, then Travis Outlaw missed a deep three. The Rockets held on, 89-88, to take a 3-1 series lead. Houston needs just one more game to advance to the second round for the first time since 1997. And, unfortunately for Blazer fans, Tracy McGrady isn’t around to blow this one.
(How does his hair stay behind his ears all the time like that?)
In the NHL’s late game, the Hurricanes blanked the Devils 4-0 to push their series to a deciding game in Newark on Tuesday night. In related news, NHL.COM has told Kevin Smith he can’t blog about the series on their site anymore. Apparently, the NHL wants to be “family friendly” and didn’t realize they had commissioned one of the filthiest mouths anywhere to write about the series. So now, Smith has moved his playoff blog to his own site.
• The Broncos, along with all of the former AFL teams, are going to wear throwback jerseys for the first two games this season. No, not those orange ones we all remember from our youth. It’s this monstrosity that thankfully was retired after only two seasons (according to the DENVER POST, they were acquired secondhand from a defunct bowl game):
• This may not be sports-related, but lets face it, Bea Arthur was twice the man that A-Rod will ever be. So in honor of her sad demise, here’s some grainy footage of her embarrassing performance in the horrible Star Wars Holiday Special:
So they handed out a bunch of awards last night, and frankly, we don’t care. Until the “Academy” lifts their de facto ban on nominating sports movies with animals as the lead, we’re boycotting the Oscars and we think you ought to as well.
(Sweeping the Oscars in our hearts.)
And as if you needed further proof, The Wrestler, which was probably the best sports movie since Air Bud 2: Golden ReceiverRudy, was snubbed entirely by the Academy last night, as traditional Oscar-bait roles like “impoverished underexposed foreign minority” and “socially stigmatized overachiever” took center stage for the 90 millionth year in a row. But for Mickey Rourke and us, we’ll always have his exuberant speech from the Spirit Awards, which features insanely NSFW speech.
Oh yeah, he definitely did roids.
And there was one other nice sports moment at the Academy Awards: Will Smith, tripping over some pedestrian-at-best lines from the teleprompter, goes boom:
(”Nope, I see nothing wrong with 30 shots and 5 assists.”)
But back in the real world, we had another big individual performance: Dwyane Wade dropping 50 on the Magic. One problem–none of the rest of the Heat decided to show up, and Orlando ended up blowing Miami out, 122-99. Dwight Howard was the man for the Magic once again with 32 and 17… and this 75-foot shot, which didn’t count but makes me feel like it somehow should have. If you needed more evidence that going Berzerker like this was actually a bad idea on Wade’s part, the Heat are now 0-4 when Wade scores at least 44 points. The Eastern Conference is dutifully taking notes on giving D-Wade the long jumper all night long.
(Welcome back, man! But about those cornrows…)
And speaking of notes for the Eastern Conference, Delonte West is back for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and that is bad, bad news for everyone else. The Cavs dispatched the Pistons, 99-78, in a game that wasn’t really that close at all; the Cavs led 67-34 at the break (!!!) and coasted to a jarringly easy win. West led all scorers with 25 points, including a 5-5 performance behind the arc.
The Florida president thinks Urban Meyer’s the kind of guy who’ll just “burn out and quit” from Florida instead of taking another coaching job. To be fair, coaching a football team and fighting the Joker at the same time is both physically and emotionally taxing.
Garret Anderson signs a 1-year deal with the Braves after spending a long career with Anaheim. This is like when Willie Mays finished his career with the Mets, except if Willie Mays had like 1 good year instead of 15.
Men’s magazine editors across the good ol’ U.S.A. have jumped on the Red Sox bandwagon by selecting the two most photogenic Boston players and photographing the hell out of them. Jacoby Ellsbury and Josh Beckett have been fighting for the worst sunburn related to flash photography since last season’s Series triumph.
(Ellsbury’s World Series bonus went towards a big damned truck, apparently.)
As OUT IN CENTER FIELD notes, Ellsbury’s SI featurette was just the latest salvo in the War on Q Ratings. Beckett was on the cover of MEN’S FITNESS. (No snickering.) Ellsbury was in a spread in MEN’S VOGUE. (Seriously? There’s a men’s version of Vogue now? Can we get Justin Timberlake to cover Madonna?) However, these men’s magazines aren’t really thinking about the big picture.