Mets all but clinch NL East as Washington chokes again

September 9, 2015 – 12:50 am by Hickey


For a team that has been on the fortunate side of some of the most remarkable events in baseball history — the miracle of 1969, making a World Series with 82 wins in 1973, the whole Buckner thing in ’86 — Mets fans are an incredibly neurotic bunch. Maybe it’s the whole Woody Allen New York thing. Or maybe it’s the whole every Mets season not mentioned in the previous sentence thing. Either way, it doesn’t take much to make these people panic.

So when the Mets rolled into Washington on Labor Day with their division lead cut to 4 games, heinies were furiously tightening in Queens. It looked like a prelude to the September meltdowns of ’07 and ’08 all over again.

But luckily for the Mets, the one thing that can trump their own history of franchise incompetence is a team from Washington, DC.

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Johnny Manziel resumes throwing for Cleveland Browns

September 8, 2015 – 2:14 am by Ryan Phillips
    Johnny Manziel

After more than two weeks off to rest his ailing elbow, Johnny Manziel was back at practice for the Cleveland Browns on Monday. Manziel threw a few short passes during the 30 minutes of practice that were open to the media, and coach Mike Pettine claimed his young quarterback continued throwing throughout the workout.

The 22-year-old has long had issues with his elbow, and claims it is tendinitis and that it has popped up ever since his freshman year at Texas A&M. Dr. James Andrews consulted with Manziel and didn’t recommend surgery, which was good news for the Browns, since they don’t really have a capable backup behind second-rate starter Josh McCown.

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Let me tell ya: It does rain at Tiger Stadium

September 7, 2015 – 1:49 am by Hickey


In a state as deeply religious as Louisiana — even public schools still have an invocation before high school football games — you’d assume there would be a reticence to tempt fate with the man upstairs. But the one true church is LSU football, and Tiger Stadium is the state’s Mecca. So perhaps it is no surprise that on Saturdays every fall some 102,000 people are willing to do the equivalent of cheekily flashing a middle finger to the man upstairs.

“And the chance of rain in Tiger Stadium is…” a voice calls over the public address system as LSU’s pregame hype video comes to an end.

“NEVER!” is the response from the rapturous hordes below, perpetuating a cute old wives’ tale that has become accepted as fact, as if Baton Rouge is somehow transformed into Tempe, Arizona for one day of the week.

If only.

It rains in Tiger Stadium, all right. And rains. And rains. And the rain comes with more bolts of Louisiana lightning than Ron Guidry could shake a stick at.

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Dodgers call up top prospect Corey Seager

September 3, 2015 – 1:57 pm by Ryan Phillips
    Corey Seager

The Los Angeles Dodgers are already in first place in the National League West and they’re about to get even better. On Thursday they decided to call up super-prospect Corey Seager.

The 21-year-old Seager is listed as a shortstop, but at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, most evaluators feel he’s going to outgrow the position and move to third base. Seager is almost universally hailed as the top prospect remaining in the minor leagues, and is expected to make an impact immediately.

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Fred Jackson cut could already be biting Bills in butt

September 2, 2015 – 9:23 pm by Hickey
    Fred Jackson

There was much fan uproar in Buffalo when the Bills unexpectedly cut popular 10-year veteran running back Fred Jackson earlier this week. This is not an unusual occurrence — cuts happen all the time in the NFL, particularly with aging veterans. Every fan of every team has experienced the same emotion at some point in time, which is why fans are not put in charge of football decisions.

But the decision to part ways with Jackson may already be backfiring on the Bills in a strategic sense — because of course that is what would happen to the Buffalo Bills.

ESPN reported Wednesday that the team is worried new starting running back LeSean McCoy won’t be ready to play Week 1 after a MRI revealed a small tear in his hamstring. It’s not expected to be a serious long-term injury, but it does require a decent deal of rehab. He suffered the injury on Aug. 18, so a month’s recovery time would get him back onto the field for Week 2.

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Nick Kyrgios takes nap during match with Andy Murray

September 2, 2015 – 4:21 am by Ryan Phillips
    Nick Kyrgios

Say what you want about Nick Kyrgios, but the man is entertaining. The 20-year-old Aussie lost in four sets to No. 3 seed Andy Murray in the first round of the U.S. Open Tuesday night, but he certainly had people talking.

The immensely talented Kyrgios is a controversial figure in tennis thanks to his on and off-court antics and Tuesday night was no exception. He yelled, talked to himself audibly, threw a racket, made several mind-boggling shots and also took a nap between the first and second sets. You read that right, he took a bit of a nap during a changeover.

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Washington Nationals need to fire Matt Williams

September 1, 2015 – 2:40 am by Ryan Phillips
    Matt Williams Nationals

Matt Williams did it again Monday night, and in no way is that a good thing.

The 49-year-old former All-Star cost the Washington Nationals another game with idiotic managing. The Nationals are fading fast in the National League playoff picture and Williams is actually hastening their shocking fall.

Washington entered Monday night’s matchup with the St. Louis Cardinals 5.5 games behind the first-place New York Mets in the N.L. East. The Mets won Monday night, making the Nats’ game even more important. With a 5-3 lead in the seventh inning, Williams made a series of decisions that wound up losing his team the game.

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No-no latest example of Jake Arrieta’s Cubs breakthrough

August 31, 2015 – 1:41 am by Hickey


No-hitters are random by nature (and not cause they hate ya). Hacky hurlers like Edwin Jackson, Bud Smith, Philip Humber and Bobo Holloman(!) have channeled that magic for a night while Hall of Famers like Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez have not. The Cubs, long associated with ineptitude, managed to make it 50 years between being no-hit until Cole Hamels finally got them this season. The Dodgers, who are in first place, have been no-hit twice in nine days.  No Padres pitcher has ever thrown a no-hitter in the team’s 47 seasons.

If there was a point to that paragraph, it is this: because of the randomness, rarely do we see what can be defined as a “clutch” no-hitter. Don Larsen and Roy Halladay throwing postseason no-nos certainly fall in that category, as does Mike Scott’s no-hitter to clinch the 1986 NL West title for the Astros. On Sunday, Jake Arrieta entered that rarefied air.

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