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Sunday, September 28, 2008

BNBSN-Highlights (September 21-September 27, 2008)

After discussing it with our fellow Bad News Blogger, Josh, I figured it would just be easier to sum up what has been going on weekly instead of daily. That way, I'd have more stuff to write about, and I wouldn't be so busy. ;)

Baseball News:
Firstly I'll start off with what just happened yesterday in the NL East. Yep, that's right. The Phillies proved Carlos Beltran wrong, as they clinched the division for the second time in a row, as they defeated the Washington Nationals 4-3 in Citizens Bank Ballpark. The game ended when Jimmy Rollins made a dazzling diving stop to start a game ending double play. Brad Lidge saved his 41st game of the season, and is still perfect: 41-for-41. With just one game to go, Philadelphia awaits who they will face in the postseason; it will either be one of the Wild Card Milwaukee Brewers, or the NL West winning Los Angeles Dodgers, who won their division thanks to an Arizona Diamondbacks loss against the St. Louis Cardinals in a blowout (12-3) on Thursday.
*This is the 13th consecutive season where Joe Torre has headed to the postseason, and the first time he's done it with Manny Ramirez ON his team. Will they be able to lead the Dodgers to a World Series win? We'll surely find out come October.

Speaking of the Diamondbacks, that wasn't the only disappointing thing that happened the day they lost the division. There has been a lot of talk about one man on that roster who would eventually set a record for strikeouts, and he has finally broken it. Arizona's third basemen Mark Reynolds broke Ryan Howard's single season strikeout record of last year, striking out for the 200th time. The milestone whiff was set in the 2nd inning when Joel Piniero threw a 1-2 pitch that Mark Reynolds wasn't able to check swing. First base umpire Ed Rapuano ruled that Reynolds went around, sending him back to the bench.

*Mark Reynolds currently has 202 K's, Ryan Howard has 199 for the second straight season, and Jack Cust is right behind at 196.

It has really been an exciting week of baseball in the NL Wild Card race. Many thought that the Mets would be safe, whether it was in the division or in the Wild Card. Now that the Mets can no longer win the division, they can only rely on the Wild Card for an appearance in the playoffs. Now they're scuffling to win the Wild Card, as they are currently tied with the Brew Crew. The Brewers finally lost to the Chicago Cubs last night, slowing them down [just a little bit] after a 5 game winning streak. The Mets just played the Cubs and won 2 out of the 4 games in the series. Right now, it all comes down the last game of two series: the Mets/Marlins series and the Brewers/Cubs series. Stay tuned to find out who wins...

*The Brewers and Mets (combined) have won a game via walkoff. Prince Fielder hit a walkoff two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth with 2 outs on Tuesday to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5. Later on in the week, both the Mets and the Brewers won via walkoff. Ryan Braun hit a walkoff grand slam in the bottom of the 10th inning two games after Fielder hit his walkoff homer.
**As for the Mets, on the same day Ryan Braun hit his grand slam, Ryan Church slid in beautifully to avoid a tag at home plate to tie the game at 6. One inning later, Carlos Beltran brought in Jose Reyes from second to win the ballgame 7-6. Cubs' Micah Hoffpauir went 5-for-5 in the game, homering twice and falling a triple shy of the cycle. His story was diminished thanks to Beltran and Reyes.

Speaking of September 25th, another story was being told... in Minnesota. The Twins were trailing the Chicago White Sox by 2 1/2 games before they faced off in their final series against each other. The Twins won the first two games, narrowing the White Sox's lead to only a 1/2 game. The White Sox were leading 6-1 in the 4th inning. However, the Twinkies battled back and ended up tying the game in the 8th inning. In the bottom of the 10th, and Nick Punto on third, Alexi Casilla blooped a single in to win the game, sweep the White Sox, and lead the AL Central. They're still ahead of the ChiSox by a 1/2 game, but it's up to the White Sox now. If they win both of their games, they will [at least] tie with the Twins. If they lose once and the Twins win, it's all over. It's going to be a great final couple of games to a great 2008 season.

The finale of the Yankee Stadium era has ended. Mariano Rivera got the final three outs for the last time in "The House that Ruth Built" in a 7-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Andy Pettitte pitched 5 innings, surrendering 3 runs and picking up his 14th win of the season and ending his 5 game losing streak (a career high). Six [Yankee] Hall of Famers attended the game as well, along with former Yankee center fielder Bernie Williams, Julia Ruth Steven (the daughter of Babe Ruth, and family member of other Yankee greats, who were watching from above. I'm sure Roger Clemens was disappointed that he couldn't join the part of history too, but I guess that's what happens when you... you know...

As many of you may know, the Cubs have clinched the division for the second time in a row, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4. Did you know that it was the first time they clinched the division twice in a row since 1907-1908? Oddly enough,the Cubs won the World Series both of those years, AND that was the last time they ever won a World Series.

The Rays have officially clinched the AL East, and the Boston Red Sox are officially the AL Wild Card.

In other [baseball] news:
Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston signed a two-year contract extension. General manager J.P. Ricciardi got a sigh of relief, as team president Paul Godfrey confirmed that Ricciardi will be back in 2009 as well. Let's see how well they'll do together in a fresh 2009 season. But we're not going to worry about that... it's the end of September!

Chicago Cubs' Jason Marquis hit a grand slam, which was the key hit that helped him get a win over the Mets; 9-5 was the final score. He also became the first pitcher in 26 years to collect 5 RBI's in one game

Gary Sheffield also hit his 498th home run. Getting close to that milestone. He's got two games left to hit 2 home runs to achieve the 500 HR milestone, or else he'll have to wait until next season to do it. If only he didn't get suspended; he would've had a better chance...

Onto NFL News:
The New England Patriots own, Troy Brown, has officially retired. After 15 years with the Pats, Brown walked out of the NFL as the Patriots' leader in catches in a career (557), and second to Stanley Morgan in yards receiving (6,366). We'll miss you, Troy.

Speaking of the Patriots, Miami Dolphins' Ronnie Brown ran for 4 touchdowns (a franchise record) and threw for another touchdown in a 38-13 clobbering over New England. That ended what was a 21 game regular season winning streak.

Reports have been continuing to state that Al Davis, GM of the Oakland Raiders, is sitting on the fence about whether he should fire head coach Lane Kiffin. Kiffin has said that he's going to assume that Davis is not going to fire him and "keep plugging away the same way [he has] been." Good luck, Lane... at least you're not 0-3 right now.

The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Green Bay Packers for the first time ever in Lambeau Field 27-16. Tony Romo threw over 260 yards, and running back Marion Barber ran [a career high] 140 yards.

Despite LaDanian Tomlinson's injury, he was able to rush 67 yards and score 2 touchdowns, as the San Diego Chargers defeated the New York Jets by a score of 48-29. Stunned with losses over the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers in very close games, Philip Rivers redeemed himself, throwing for 3 touchdowns and handing over the ball to the Jets only once. Brett Favre, on the other hand, threw for 3 touchdowns as well, but also had 2 interceptions, which were key to why they lost.

College Football News:
Onto the good stuff...

Hmm...where to start? How about we go with the (once) #1 ranked team: USC. Freshman Jacquizz Rodgers of Oregon State ran for 186 yards and scored 2 touchdowns in a shocking upset over the "unstoppable" USC Trojans, 27-21. The loss by USC was marked just the sixth time in AP poll history the [ranked] #1 team was beaten by an unranked team before October; the last time it happened was in 1985 when Tennessee defeated Auburn. I think people would refer to that as the biggest upset of the week... quite possibly of the year.

Yesterday was the University of Michigan's 500th game in the Big House. Wolverines'coach Rich Rodriguez was hailed for the first time as their coach, as Michigan was able to come back from a 19 point deficit against the University of Wisconsin, the largest comeback in Big House history, and the largest one in team history since they defeated the University of Minnesota in an away game back in 2003 when they were down by 21. UM defeated the Wisconsin Badgers 27-25, who as ranked 9th before the game. Boy, these rankings really mean something nowadays, don't they?

And there's one more. Don't think I forgot about the Ole Miss. Mississippi, another unranked team, defeated another highly ranked team: the Florida Gators! No gator bait clapping this week. Tim Tebow and the Gators were up 17-7 at the break, but I guess the Ole Miss coach pumped up his team and they came back to win it 31-30. It was the first time Tim Tebow ever stood up on a podium and apologized for his poor game (he never had to). The Ole Miss quarterback, Jevan Snead, threw for was involved in 3 touchdowns (one rushing, and two passing). Kentrell Lockett's block of a Florida PAT late in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference.

Maryland also defeated a ranked team: Clemson. Down 17-6, Maryland came back to win it 20-17. Their defense definitely got the job done in this game [in the second half], holding Clemson to just 31 yards on the ground after allowing 204 in the first half.

Other Sports News:
The United States defeated Europe (16 1/2 - 11 1/2) for the Ryder Cup. It was the largest margin of victory for the Americans since 1981. It's also the first time the U.S. has won this prestigious championship in 9 years.

NASCAR has decided to toughen its drug policy and will test all drivers in the three national series before the start of the 2009 season. Officials and licensed crew members will be tested as well.

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