About Last Night: Fear the Pack
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here’s what you missed in sports on Thursday.
- In the opening game of the NFL season, the Packers outgunned the Saints 42-34. Green Bay’s defense held strong on the final play, stopping Mark Ingram at the 1-yard line to preserve the victory. In retrospect, Ingram admitted that it probably wasn’t the best time to break out his new move, the “tiptoe Charlie.”
- Peyton Manning had another neck surgery on Thursday, and it’s not clear when or if he’ll return to action. In what seemed like a really unnecessary move, Archie Manning released a statement saying that he considers his middle son a coward.
- In a battle of division leaders, the Phillies trumped the Brewers 7-2 on the strength of a six-run sixth inning. It was the fourth straight win for Philadelphia, who have all but clinched a playoff spot and who, if Obama has any courage, should be classified as a “hostile power.” This is getting out of control.
- Oklahoma State moved to 2-0 on the year with an emphatic 37-14 win over Arizona. The Cowboys have long fought for recognition in a conference featuring such high-profile teams as Texas and Oklahoma, and — hey, Texas and Oklahoma! Those schools are huge! I wonder what they’re up to now? Probably something awesome.
- The Braves recovered from their difficult series in Philadelphia by sweeping a doubleheader against the Mets. In related news, grandmaster Boris Spassky continued to recover from his 1972 loss to Bobby Fischer by beating his dog at chess.
- Andy Roddick advanced to the U.S. Open quarterfinals on Court 13 after Louis Armstrong court proved unplayable due to a water bubble on the surface. Roddick shouted at the USTA official on the scene when the match had to be delayed, and later insisted on moving to a smaller court. When those demands were met, he insisted that his opponent, David Ferrer, wear his shoes on the wrong feet, but that’s where they drew the line.
- Serena Williams was one of four women to advance to the U.S. Open semifinals, with a straight sets victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Buckle your seat belts, kids, it’s time for: the hack sportswriter monologue of the morning!
- Readers, I’m a simple man who wants to live a simple life, like a lot of other Americans. I like steak for dinner, sports on the TV, and an occasional beer with friends on a Saturday. If that makes me boring, so be it. But last night, I saw something that transcended normal life and brought me back to a time of fear and, yes, patriotism. In 1952, I was a 13-year-old kid who loved Mickey Mantle, Gordie Howe, and Bob Cousy. I didn’t know a thing about politics, and didn’t care to. That all changed on the fateful summer day when my old man took me to the state fair in Bloomington, Indiana. Amid the cotton candy and the Tilt-A-Whirl and the prize pigs, I met my first Russian. He was a tall fellow, sinister and dapper at once. He approached me near the Ferris wheel, put a solemn hand on my shoulder, and said, “Son, America’s never going to make it.” I cried for days. When I finished crying, I started compulsively collecting American flags until my parents had to buy a new apartment to store them all. The two greatest moments of my life were the Miracle on Ice and the day the Berlin Wall came down. Until yesterday. Serena Williams, thank you. By beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, you have erased a bad memory, vaporized an old ghost, and given us the greatest sports victory of all time.
- The Orioles beat the Yankees in extra innings for the second straight game, winning on Robert Andino’s walk-off single. It was a particularly frustrating loss for A-Rod, whose Magic 8 Ball had assured him beyond doubt that the Yankees wouldn’t lose again for the rest of the season.
- NBA players and owners will meet again on Tuesday to resolve their labor dispute, with each side expanding the size of their contingent. With more people at the negotiating table, they also hope to collaborate and make an awesome broth for lunch. What can go wrong? So many cooks!
- Tony Gwynn’s tie-breaking double in the ninth spurred the Dodgers past the Nationals 7-4. Unfortunately, his moment was ruined when Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond reopened a childhood wound by walking over to him and whispering, “Hey, Gwynn. Nice vowel.”
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