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BIG SANDY…. I have to tell you that tonight I am smiling on one side of my face and I am fairly exasperated on the other. The Minnesota Twins are out East facing the New York Yankees in a 3 game set. And in the Gateway City the St. Louis Cardinals are battling the San Francisco Giants. Since the Twins-Yanks tilt started first I was all over that game. The Twins promptly surrendered 3 runs to the pinstripers in the bottom of the 1st inning and whatever hopes I had of the Twins giving the Bronx Bombers a thrashing were suddenly in flux. The Twins just took 2 of 3 from a rising Cleveland Indian club and seemed to be pretty revved up for their eastern road trip.
The Twins got one back in the 2nd, then late in the inning Eduardo Nunez drove a line drive that hit Yank starter Bryan Mitchell in the face. He was taken to an area hospital, examined and released. The Twins then actually went ahead in the 3rd. At that point I decided to check out the start of the Cardinals-Giants tilt. The Giants went 3 up, 3 down in the top of the 1st and then it was the Cards at bat. That’s when I saw one of those moments you don’t always see in sports, but when you do you realize that you just saw something that was kind of cool. Make that real cool. As the Cards Matt Carpenter came to the plate for his lead off at bat, he said hi to Umpire Bob Davidson and gave him a couple of quick pats on the back, then as he went to get in position to hit he did the same to Giants catcher Andrew Susac. I found myself smiling at this simple display of sportsmanship. We seem to live in times severely lacking in civility and manners and this simple gesture of sportsmanship between these three men just hit me in a certain way.
That game would go on to the bottom of the 4th when the Cards broke the ice on a Yadier Molina solo homerun. But by then I had returned to the Twins-Yanks unfolding battle. The Twins would eventually build a 7-5 lead on the Yanks, but they came back to tie and then won in the bottom of the 10th when the Yanks had loaded the bases and with the Twins playing a 5 man infield, a grounder hit to Nunez was bobbled and the Yanks had a walk-off win with perhaps a bit of poetic justice from their perspective. Exasperating? Yeah. The Twins, in order to grab a hold of one of the two available wildcard playoff spots need to string together some wins. They haven’t done that since taking 9 of 12 games in early July. Since then it has been onesies and twosies for the Twins. Even so they are still within reach of a spot at 2.5 games back. But they need to make a move and soon.
In checking the standings quite frequently now I picked up on this little factoid, and that is that of all the teams in a Division lead or wildcard spot, all of them have a positive run differential. There have been seasons where teams have made it in with a negative differential and we will have to see how it looks closer to playoff time. The Twins are at a minus 24.
The Giants tied up their game with the Cards in the top of the 6th, but gave the eventual game winning run up on a throwing error in the bottom of the 8th for a 2-1 Cards win. Why am I talking Cardinals? They have the most wins in MLB so far this season and to me, they look like they could be on their way to another deep playoff run. In fact, if you were forcing me to pick a potential World Series matchup right now give me the Cards versus the Kansas City Royals in an “I-70” series. Twins exasperation? Yes. Cardinal exhilaration? Yes. These two have always been my favorites and always will be….
ARE YOU INTO THE MMA phenomena going on right now? I’m not a follower but do know enough about it to know who the big players are. Obviously the UFC league and their female star Ronda Rousey have taken the sport to new heights. She is one of the hottest celeb-athletes going right now if not in the actual number one spot. She has won an Olympic Bronze medal in Judo and has the perfect blend of looks, smarts and toughness. She is undefeated in UFC thus far and I can only think of one opponent that has given her any real competition. Stars such as Rousey have propelled MMA beyond boxing and I have to think they have taken a chunk out of pro wrestling too. There is no excitement or personalities right now in boxing and Vince McMahon Jr. has basically made pro wrestling unwatchable.
And as always in this kind of competition a lot of comparing goes on as to who would beat who. When I was a kid the oft asked question was would a boxer beat a wrestler or vice-versa and kick boxing was something you would have to travel abroad to see in person. So, Boxer Floyd Mayweather’s name has come up in conversations regarding Rousey. Don’t ask me how that got started but it did. There has even been a little bit of taunting between them. So who would I be going for in a match of this sort? Well, for a variety of reasons I am not a big Floyd fan. I understand his stature in the boxing world and so on, but if these two ever got into the octagon I have to believe that Rowdy Ronda would throw Floyd around like a rag doll, rendering boxing all but dead…
HOCKEY SEASON IS NEAR and the wait is getting to me. While listening to Sirius-XM NHL Network radio last week, host Jim Gordon, who is a number crunching machine of hockey fact, came up with this tidbit regarding my beloved Montreal Canadiens; the winners of 24 Stanley Cups have won only 2 Cups in the last 29 years and haven’t won it for the last 22. Ouch. Thanks Boomer. I was in therapy the next morning… PEACE