Week in Sports: Cliff Lee, a Giant comeback, and 23,000 teddy bears

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And Brett Favre's purple hand.

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Derek Evers and Jeff Walls | December 20, 2010

Snowy English Premier League Soccer Goal

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The concept of doing a weekly sports recap became increasingly more justified in a seven-day span that saw the creation of one of the best pitching rotations, the end of multiple eras, a New York Jets patsy and 23,000 teddy bears. And that was only the beginning.

The purple hand that shook the world
The Minnesota Vikings usually do well when the color purple is in full effect — except when it's Brett Favre's hand one week after getting drilled by the Buffalo Bills' Arthur Moats. Or should we call him Legend Killer? The injury Favre suffered from the hit forced him to sit out the game against the Giants, ending his record streak of 297 consecutive regular season games started by a QB. As for Moats and the Bills, they haven't lost since ridding the NFL of its most annoying player.

Brett shouldn't feel too bad though, he wasn't the only longtime starting QB riding the pine. The Redskins benched Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman. And no, that is not a typo. Marinate on that for a minute, while I get the ball rolling on predictions of where McNabb plays next year. I'll say San Francisco as the mentor to Troy Smith.

A Giant collapse
Incidentally, the Giants closed out the week with an epic collapse of Houston Oiler proportions to McNabb's former team. Michael Vick led the late charge throwing two TDs and running for another, as the eagles scored 28 points in the game's final 7:18. The most remarkable of which came as DeSean Jackson returned a punt 65 yards for a touch down as time expired. The first game in NFL history to end on a punt return TD should have never happened: Punter Matt Dodge was told to kick it out of bounds. Let's call it a lesson learned. Even without the punt return, the last quarter of this game was so exciting (except for Giants fans), and Vick's season so magical, that it's getting easier to forget that he once killed dogs for fun.

Michael Vick killed dogs for fun.

Ah well, it was still a sweet return.

A Jets patsy
As for NY's other team, we already knew the Jets' Sal Alosi was a tool for tripping the Dolphins' cornerback Nolan Carroll, but amid video footage of him attempting the same thing in previous games, he admitted he was the mastermind behind the “wall” each and every week. And in return the Jets suspended him. That's right, the strength and conditioning coach, about third from the bottom of all coaches, admitted to instructing Jets players to do something against the rules, and wasn't fired. I'm not saying I don't believe Sal's version of how it went down, but the movie version of this story will feature Marlon Brando as Rex Ryan. I guess that means Alosi will be played by Joe Pesci. At least Sal isn't the only guy wreaking havoc on NFL sidelines.

The Knicks are relevant (for a week)
For the first time in a decade, the Knicks were the talk of the NBA this week. Riding an eight game winning streak, it started with the rumors that Carmelo Anthony would only accept a sign and trade deal if sent to the Knicks, giving all NY basketball fans a simultaneous boner at the thought of Melo joining Amare Stoudemire. The Knicks then played the game of the year against the Celtics; a game that saw three buzzer beaters. One at the half, and two at the end:

Unfortunately for the Knicks, the week ended with their streak ending against the Celtics, and two days later they were crushed by Miami. But it was still nice to have a reason to care about basketball in NY before the Nets move to Brooklyn.

The Orlando Magic are contenders to be pretenders
While the Knicks were the on-the-court talk, it was a series of extraordinarily high-profile mid-season trades that put an exclamation point on the week in the NBA. Most notably bringing Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu to the Orlando Magic. Orlando traded forward Rashard Lewis to Washington for Arenas and sent Vince Carter, guard Mickael Pietrus and center Marcin Gortat to Phoenix for forward Hedo Turkoglu, guard Jason Richardson and forward Earl Clark. Meaning the Magic will be the redemption song for two of the league's most overpaid athletes, or, more likely, in trying to give incentive for Dwight Howard to stay in Orlando next year, Magic GM Otis Smith might have just destroyed the team. Because let's face it, a Chris Paul, Dwight Howard tandem would be awesome.

The NJ Nets moved Joe Smith to the Lakers in a three team trade that netted them two first round draft picks: The Lakers' 2011 pick and the Rockets' 2012. Many believe these two picks will be used to trade for Carmelo Anthony (ahem, where Melo should really go), thus giving Jay-Z and everyone in Brooklyn a collective boner. New Jersey continued to not care, not attend games, and remain a sports market just because it's so close to New York City.

Premier League gets snowed out
Almost all of the Premier League games scheduled for this past weekend
were postponed due to a UK-wide snow storm. Apparently most of the
pitches themselves were in a playable state but there was concern about
the fans traveling to and from the stadiums in icy conditions. To
American sports fans that might seem a little weird because
drunk-driving down treacherous highways in order to stand around in
freezing cold stadiums for hours on end is a Sunday ritual for tens of
thousands of people but hey, cultural difference or whatever. -JW

The games will all get rescheduled for some later date except for
the two that were actually played. Sunderland beat Bolton 1-0 and
Blackburn and West Ham tied. The Sunderland result will probably get a
slightly interested “Hmm” and a little furrowing of the brow from
hardcore soccer fans as they try to remember where both those teams are
in the standings (hint: higher than you might think) but I doubt that
anyone, including the players, gives a shit about the other game. The
Monday night match between strifed-out Manchester City and perennial
also-rans Everton should be alright if for nothing else than to see if
Carlos Tevez gets in an overly dramatic Argentine-style shouting match
with his scarf addict coach. -JW

The Mets even lose in the off season
Of course Baseball is still 4 months away, but that hasn't kept the Mets from losing. Hypothetically at least. The Phillies swooped in last minute to sign the best pitcher on the market in Cliff Lee, stealing him away from the Rangers and Yankees. But it will be the Mets and the rest of the National League East who will be the big losers when they're forced to face a rotation that is arguably one of the best in all of baseball history, featuring 3 Cy Young award winners.

The loss of a legend
Speaking of the best pitchers in baseball's history, sadly this week we lost former Cleveland Indians great Bob Feller. The man whose fastball was nicknamed “the Van Meter Heater” pitched three no-hitters, 12 one-hitters and was the first pitcher to win 20 or more games before the age of 21. Aside from his 107mph fastball (second fastest recorded of all-time), Feller became an icon for being the first player to leave the sport for Millitary action during WWII; Feller joined the Navy the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked. He was also friends with Satchell Paige and, as a white player, was seen as one of the integration leaders of the sport. He was 92.

That's a shit load of teddy bears
We didn't feel right ending on such a downer, so we decided to brighten our first, but last weekly recap before the Christmas, with something that would deliver some holiday cheer. And if 23,000 teddy bears don't cheer you up, you're one sad son of a bitch. The WHL (that's Junior hockey folks) Calgary Hitmen host an annual “Teddy Bear
Toss” game where fans bring teddy bears to donate to charity. But instead of just dropping them in some boring old bin, in true hockey fashion, they throw them onto the ice following the game's first goal.
In this case, 23,096 of
them. We're not sure what happens in the case of a 0-0 tie.

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