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While we’d still be stunned if he doesn’t play — or at least we’re telling ourselves that so Sid won’t have ridiculous bragging rights and we won’t have to go to his house wearing a Ponder jersey — but questionable is questionable. It’s technically 50-50. So we’re left with this as a dueling best-case scenario:
1) Bridgewater is 90 percent or better and is able to suit up. The ankle hurts a little, but it’s manageable. He performs the same way he did last week, as does the offensive line and running game, while Mike Zimmer’s defense continues to give Aaron Rodgers problems. The Vikings win and Bridgewater is an instant legend — gutting out an injury on a short week to move the Vikings to 3-2, a game ahead of their division rivals, with a road win in hand.
2) Bridgewater can’t play, and Christian Ponder — somehow calmed and with an all-new “who cares, let’s just play” outlook — comes to the rescue. He isn’t as dynamic as Bridgewater was last week, but he makes enough plays with his arms and feet to put the Vikings in position to win — and this time, unlike last season, Minnesota is able to muster one final defensive stand to hold on for a victory.
Are we betting on either of those things? We’d bet harder on the first than the second, though we’d be on the underdog side in either case. But football is weird. It will be worth watching, regardless of which QB gets the nod.
If we came off a little “grumpy old man-ish” Tuesday by including a notion that baseball is killing itself with extravagant game lengths in our weird post about Mike Leach and Tinder, please do know the upshot is that we really just want baseball to make subtle adjustments to eliminate wasted time.
We’ll gladly watch a game that lasts 3 hours and 2 minutes — the average time of a regular-season game in 2014, nearly 30 minutes longer than what it was a generation ago — if it feels like the time spent is meaningful. We’ll even stick with a game until the bitter end, like last night, because baseball can be just that compelling and has always been our favorite sport.
What drives us crazy is getting nickel-and-dimed — five seconds wasted here, 10 seconds there — by pitchers wandering around near the mound, interminable conferences at the mound, and batters stepping in and out of the box to adjust their batting gloves. There are small things baseball can do to eliminate waste without damaging the integrity of the game.
Fortunately, MLB agrees and will test out some experimental measures during Arizona Fall League play designed to speed up the game. Among the trials:
*Teams will be limited to three meetings at the mound per game, with the exception of pitching changes. That includes catchers.
*Intentional walks will be automatic, with no pitches thrown.
*Hitters will be required to keep one foot in the batter’s box throughout an at-bat, except during foul balls, wild pitches and passed balls.
*At one ballpark, a 20-second clock will keep pitchers and hitters on a schedule.
We will be very interested to see what impact these measures, and a few others, have on the pace of the game. If MLB could even shave 10 minutes off its average game time — 10 minutes that are largely wasted right now — it would go a long way.
Pop sensation Lorde wrote her biggest hit, “Royals,” after seeing a picture of George Brett from 1976. This is a true fact. You can look it up. They have even had their picture taken together since.
Kansas City was one of MLB’s model franchises during much of Brett’s era, making the postseason seven times in 10 seasons between 1976 and 1985 — and winning the World Series in that final appearance.
It sounds a lot like the Twins’ run of six division titles in nine seasons from 2002-10 (minus the World Series, of course). And it is also a reminder that there are no guarantees of a swift return to prominence.
Kansas City waited 29 years before returning to the postseason, cracking the code this year with a Wild Card berth. What happened Tuesday night was nearly three decades in the making. The game could have turned out any number of ways, but the way it did finish — with comeback after comeback by the host Royals, including two runs in the bottom of the 12th after being taken to the brink in the top half by the A’s — seemed like it was the only natural way to end.
It was a thrilling, gripping game — very reminiscent of Game 163 between the Twins and Tigers in 2009. Yes, that was only five years ago. It feels like more, but really that was it. The Twins even made it back to the playoffs the next year, too.
Minnesota has a long way to go when it comes to feeling KC’s pain of playoff droughts. But when you’re on the downswing, as the Twins have been for the past four years, it can start to feel like forever pretty fast.
Lorde declares “we’ll never be royals” in her song, which is about something entirely different than baseball. At this point, we’re left to shift it to a question: Will the Twins ever be Royals — and if so, how soon?
Sobering news today: Ebola has been confirmed in the United States. This not funny in any way.
What is funny, in our warped mind, is the strange reaction from former NFL player Warren Sapp via Twitter, both in terms of punctuation and hashtag. Maybe it’s just us.
Ebola is here!! #Usa
— Warren Sapp (@WarrenSapp) September 30, 2014
Bill Belichick is probably the best head coach in the NFL. But he also has almost complete control over his roster, and that authority — which worked for a long time, though also used to have a better system of checks and balances before Scott Pioli went to the Chiefs in 2009 — is compromising his ability to effectively coach on the field.
This is becoming more evident this season, as the Patriots’ roster gets worse and worse. Mike Sando from ESPN.com (Insider) broke down what most people can already see:
Four of the 21 offensive draft choices since 2010 are regular starters. That list includes Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, Rob Gronkowski and Stevan Ridley, but only Gronkowski is a building-block player, and only if he can regain top form following yet another injury.
Hernandez should be headlining the offensive players New England has drafted in the middle rounds over those same five drafts, but he’s in jail. That leaves Boyce, Bryan Stork, James White, Cannon, Cameron Fleming and Lee Smith as the offensive players New England has drafted in the fourth and fifth rounds. The late-round guys — Jon Halapio, Ted Larsen, Thomas Welch, Ebert, Gallon and Zac Robinson — aren’t doing the Patriots any good right now.
A lack of talent catches up to you at a certain point, no matter how good your schemes and QB are. With Tom Brady aging and the players around him getting worse, it shouldn’t be surprising to see New England lose in the fashion it did Monday.
|San Francisco - M. Bumgarner||7:07 PM|
|Pittsburgh - E. Volquez|
|Minnesota||10/2/14 7:25 PM|
|Buffalo||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|Chicago||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|Cleveland||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|St. Louis||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|Atlanta||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|Tampa Bay||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|Houston||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|Baltimore||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|Pittsburgh||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|Arizona||10/5/14 3:05 PM|
|Kansas City||10/5/14 3:25 PM|
|NY Jets||10/5/14 3:25 PM|
|Cincinnati||10/5/14 7:30 PM|
|Seattle||10/6/14 7:30 PM|
|Fla Atlantic||10/2/14 6:00 PM|
|UCF||10/2/14 6:00 PM|
|Arizona||10/2/14 9:30 PM|
|Louisville||10/3/14 6:00 PM|
|San Diego St||10/3/14 9:00 PM|
|Utah State||10/3/14 9:15 PM|
|(6) Texas A&M||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|(12) Miss State|
|Ball State||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|Iowa State||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|(21) Oklahoma State|
|Marshall||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|Southern Miss||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|(20) Ohio State||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|Purdue||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|Florida||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|SMU||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|(22) East Carolina|
|Virginia Tech||10/4/14 11:30 AM|
|Eastern Mich||10/4/14 1:00 PM|
|North Texas||10/4/14 1:30 PM|
|Massachusetts||10/4/14 1:30 PM|
|Tulsa||10/4/14 2:00 PM|
|New Mexico||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|(3) Alabama||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|(11) Ole Miss|
|(14) Stanford||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|(9) Notre Dame|
|(17) Wisconsin||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|Navy||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|(7) Baylor||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|(4) Oklahoma||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|Wake Forest||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|NC State||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|Buffalo||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|Ohio U||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|Oregon State||10/4/14 3:00 PM|
|Vanderbilt||10/4/14 3:00 PM|
|Kansas||10/4/14 3:00 PM|
|Kent State||10/4/14 4:00 PM|
|South Alabama||10/4/14 5:00 PM|
|Texas-El Paso||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|(15) LSU||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|UAB||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|Texas Tech||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|(23) Kansas State|
|Michigan||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|Hawaii||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|Toledo||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|ULM||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|Georgia State||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|Idaho||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|Memphis||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|Arizona State||10/4/14 6:30 PM|
|So Carolina||10/4/14 6:30 PM|
|Pittsburgh||10/4/14 6:30 PM|
|Miami-Florida||10/4/14 6:30 PM|
|(19) Nebraska||10/4/14 7:00 PM|
|(10) Michigan State|
|UNLV||10/4/14 7:00 PM|
|San Jose St|
|Ga Southern||10/4/14 7:00 PM|
|New Mexico St|
|California||10/4/14 9:30 PM|
|Utah||10/4/14 9:30 PM|
|Boise State||10/4/14 9:30 PM|
|Winnipeg||10/3/14 6:00 PM|
|Calgary||10/3/14 9:00 PM|
|Edmonton||10/4/14 3:00 PM|
|Brt Columbia||10/4/14 6:00 PM|