There was no shortage of sports action on Sunday, it’s time for another Thoughts of the Day to break it all down! Topics include Boston’s big day, what to think of the Eagles, and the Tenth Anniversary of the Bartman game. Let’s do it!
- Bostonians everywhere were celebrating last night thanks to heroics by the Patriots and Red Sox; both of which had comeback wins within hours of each other. Tom Brady threw one of the worst interceptions of his career, leading many to believe that the Saints would win the game. The defense stepped up, gave Brady a chance to redeem himself and he led New England on a 70-yard drive with 1:08 to go and no timeouts. He threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins with five seconds to spare, giving the Patriots an improbable victory against the previously-undefeated Saints. What was New England’s win probability when they started the drive on their own 30? Five-point-three percent, yes just 5.3 percent. It was another magical moment in a legendary career for Brady. The Patriots are now challenged to avoid a letdown against a very good Jets defense. Which Pats offense will show up: the one against Cincinnati where the wide receivers dropped the ball about twenty times en route to an embarrassing loss, or the offense that overcame the weighty odds to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat on Sunday? This will be key for the remainder of the season, but as long as they have #12 under center, they have a shot at the Super Bowl.
- Just a half hour after the Patriots wrapped up in Foxboro, the Red Sox were set to begin Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. While Boston had a lot of optimism coming in, Max Scherzer was dealing for Detroit, pitching five and two thirds of hitless ball and leaving with a 5-1 lead. The Red Sox bats had started to boil, but were looking pretty feeble as fans at Fenway started to ponder a 2-0 deficit heading to Detroit. Suddenly, the bases were loaded for David Ortiz, better known as “Big Papi.” Right after announcer Joe Buck uttered the words, “Ortiz has not homered against Jose Veras in his career,” Veras threw one right in Ortiz’s wheelhouse. Ortiz took a big swing and connected, sending the ball to deep right field. Torii Hunter flew into the bullpen in an attempt to catch the ball, but the ball landed just past his glove resulting in a grand slam homer. After Ortiz’s game-tying, series-saving blast, the Tigers were all but finished in Game 2, as Jarrod Saltalamaccia’s walk-off single provided the icing on the cake. Minus the home run from the man who is arguably the most clutch October performer of our generation, the Red Sox probably don’t have a chance in this series. Now, the best offense in baseball has life, but they have to start hitting early in Game 3 against Justin Verlander. Ortiz won’t always be there to bail Boston out in a jam. Nonetheless, Beantown was host to a night sports fans won’t soon forget, with two magical victories just 25 miles apart.
- The Philadelphia Eagles got a much-needed win yesterday, 31-20 over the Buccaneers in Tampa. With the win, the Eagles remain tied with Dallas at the top of the NFC East with a 3-3 record. Next week’s big game? You guessed it, Cowboys-Eagles in Philly. Many analysts are really struggling to figure out this Eagles team; are they a contender or pretender in the NFC, and can they beat the Cowboys next Sunday? Well, while we don’t know if Michael Vick will be good to go for that game, Nick Foles proved to be a reliable replacement yesterday, throwing for 296 yards and three touchdowns (adding one on the ground as well), with an 89.8 QBR. Another plus for the Eagles was that two of those passing touchdowns were to explosive receiver DeSean Jackson, giving Jackson five on the young season. While the offense is not as speedy with Foles under center, he recognizes where the playmakers are and makes sure to feed them the ball to give them the opportunity to make an impact. Philly is second in total offense, with only the Broncos gaining more yards on the year. When it comes to rushing yards, Chip Kelly’s group is first, the only club to rush for over 1,000 yards thus far. We all know what Dallas’ offense can do, but the Eagles are better statistically on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Not making any prediction yet, but it might be tough for Romo and the Cowboys to win at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday afternoon.
- Today, October 14, 2013, marks the tenth anniversary of a night that still haunts Cubs fans, Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. To those who forgot the significance of that game, it was the Bartman Game, where Cubs fan Steve Bartman and Cubs left fielder Moises Alou both went for a foul ball in a play many considered to be fan interference. Bartman was cast off in infamy, blamed for the Cubs’ loss and became a symbol of the Curse of the Billy Goat. Ten years later, I wonder where Bartman is today. What is he thinking as he relives the night he went to the ballpark to watch the Cubs try to win the pennant and came out a villain of the city who has not been seen or heard of again? The whole situation was unfair and remains unfair today. What if one of the other three or four fans who were in the direct path of the ball and went to try and catch it but couldn’t had snagged the ball? Would Bartman have been able to live out his hopes and dreams and become the person he had wanted to be? What if Moises Alou hadn’t reacted so strongly to the play? Would everyone have calmed down, including Alex Gonzalez, whose error shortly after the play really cost the Cubs at a chance to get out of the inning unscathed? There are so many scenarios that could have led to Chicago ending the then-95 year drought. Instead, a normal man was denied his right to live a normal life, and a whole city looked extremely foolish in ostracizing a ticket-holder just like themselves. Ten years, and it’s still not Bartman’s fault.