Talking Points: Baseball's amazing finish
Friday, September 30, 2011
What’s the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:
Not since 1951 had a player hit a walk-off home run to propel his team to the postseason — until Evan Longoria did so for the Rays on Wednesday night. Not since 1953 had the Yankees blown a 7-0 lead in the eighth inning or later — until they did so Wednesday against Tampa Bay.
Not once in 76 games this season had the Red Sox lost when leading after eight innings — until they did so against Baltimore on Wednesday night. And while the Braves temporarily held the unenviable record of biggest September collapse after falling to the Phillies in extra innings, Boston surpassed them after falling to Baltimore.
The most memorable baseball moments are typically forged in October. But the next time someone claims to have witnessed the greatest day in regular-season history, they’re going to begin the sentence with “Not since September of 2011 ...”
One of the big debates in the NFL right now is whether teams should tank the season in hopes of drafting Stanford standout quarterback Andrew Luck. The answer? Heck no.
First of all, while Luck appears to be the most talented QB prospect in more than a decade, the NFL offers very little assurance that the top pick will pan out. Have you heard of Alex Smith, Tim Couch, JaMarcus Russell? All No. 1 picks, and all were on the lowest rung of the productivity ladder. And then of course there was Ryan Leaf, arguably the biggest bust in league history, who would have gone No. 1 in most drafts, but happened to be competing against Peyton Manning for that spot.
And what if we were talking about an offensive lineman? They’re about as tough to come across as quarterbacks, but would never warrant this discussion.
But just as importantly, teams who choose to tank a season aren’t bound for future success anyway. It’s a clear sign of weakness, and the competitive players on the squad would immediately lose respect for the franchise.
The point? Play hard. When it comes to Luck, take your chances.
The question around the office last week was: Did Floyd Mayweather throw a sucker punch against Victor Ortiz? The answer from colleagues: “Didn’t see it. Nobody cares about boxing.”
Talking Points isn’t completely convinced that’s true, but as Mayweather continues to duck the dream match-up with Manny Pacquiao, the sport certainly becomes less relevant.
Great champions have always served the sport well, but not compared to great rivalries. Just hop in the ring with Pac-Man, Floyd. The sport and your legacy need that bout badly.
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