About Last Night: It’s Austin, Mr. Jackson If You’re Nasty

In case you were busy preparing to take back a national park from the bears, here’s what you missed in sports on Wednesday:

  • Jim Leyland’s decision to move Austin Jackson down in the batting order could not have worked out better, as the Tigers outfielder broke out of his slump, reaching base in all four of his plate appearances in Detroit’s ALCS-equalizing 7-3 win over the Boston Red Sox. Or could it have worked better? See, Jackson’s suddenly hot bat raises this question: Why did Leyland demote his best hitter, costing him a valuable fifth plate appearance? Leyland clearly must now rectify his obvious mistake and move Jackson back up to the top of the order. However, because the outcome of every at-bat is at least somewhat dependent on the context in which it occurred, the question arises as to whether Jackson would have been able to succeed were he given a different set of at-bats. Which means that it’s quite clear Leyland should bench Jackson for the remainder of the series lest he make another huge managerial blunder. But doesn’t that theory apply to every offensive player on the Tigers’ roster? Who is to say any of them can be expected to simply slot into a batting order and play baseball effectively? Which leaves Leyland with only one rational choice as manager: forfeit the remaining games of the series and resign in disgrace. So I think it’s fair to say Leyland’s decision to move Jackson down in the batting order could have worked out better.
  • Adrian Gonzalez hit two home runs and Zack Greinke threw seven strong innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers staved off elimination in the NLCS by beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4. “How dare they?” asked Cardinals manager Mike Matheny after the game, as his lip quivered with rage. “We go to their stadium and we expect to be hosted with a little bit of decency. But no. Instead we’re treated to home runs and fast pitching and no winning! Don’t they know we deserve to win? Isn’t that a thing they know? How much winning we deserve? We deserve it. Because we care and we’re better and we’re the best and honor and America!” Matheny then balled his hands into fists and exclaimed, “Ri-ooo! Poon-toe! Puuu-eeg!” as if swearing in short high-pitched bursts.
  • The Minnesota Vikings named newly acquired quarterback Josh Freeman their starter for the team’s upcoming clash against the New York Giants. When asked how he got Freeman up to speed on the team’s offense so quickly, Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said, “Up to speed? What? No. I’m frankly not even sure Josh has had a chance to look at the playbook yet. But it’s the Giants. The Giants! So my staff and I decided, after a great deal of thoughtful consideration, fuck it, let’s go.”
  • Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves as the New York Rangers snapped a three-game losing skid during which they allowed 20 goals with a 2-0 win over the Washington Capitals. When asked what inspired the turnaround, Lundqvist replied, “I heard someone say we are worse than the Giants. The Giants! I’ve had some cruel things said about me before, and I usually shrug them off, but that was a wake-up call.” Lundqvist then shuddered and added, “Why are people so cruel?”
  • Derrick Rose backed up his claim of being “way more explosive” after his surgery by scoring 22 points in 22 minutes in the Bulls’ 96-81 preseason win over the Detroit Pistons. Unfortunately, Rose suffered a massive setback immediately after making those comments, when Carlos Boozer chose to take charge of the situation. “We have an explosive situation on our hands,” yelled Boozer as he pulled out a pair of wire cutters, “and I know what to do.” Boozer then threw Rose to the ground, and took a quick nip of whiskey for courage, before yanking off the knee brace from a confused Rose. “Dear god,” Boozer said to himself. “It’s a mess down here, which one do I cut?” Rose yelled at his teammate, “Don’t do this! It was a figure of speech! Don’t cut anything,” but a panicked Boozer still sliced Rose’s surgically repaired ACL instead of a nearby blue wire in a horrifically ill-considered attempt to defuse the situation. After Rose was stretchered away, Boozer muttered, “Poor bastard was one day away from his pension,” before plaintively yelling his signature catchphrase, “Can you smell the booze stank in the room!?” to the heavens.
  • Veteran forward Teemu Selanne scored his first goal of the season as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Calgary Flames 3-2. The good news continued for Selanne as he once again did not suffer a serious head injury despite wearing a helmet made of layered and aged Finnish deerskin, grandfathered in by league statutes as the standard for foreign players when Selanne first entered the league.
  • The NCAA announced the 13-member College Football Playoff selection committee that will be charged with deciding the participants in the four-team playoff, which will replace the BCS in the 2014-15 season. The committee, which is sure to court controversy, includes such luminaries as Oliver Luck, Archie Manning, Barry Alvarez, Tyrone Willingham, Pat Haden, Tom Osborne, Condoleezza Rice … wait a second, are you kidding me? How can someone with no actual footballing knowledge or acumen and whose time at Stanford represents their only worthwhile experience be on this committee? We’re talking about a person best known for leading one of the most catastrophic offensive campaigns this nation has ever seen. Someone whose time in Washington was so disastrous, their successor is still undoing the damage they caused. Someone whose administration is synonymous with abject and unprecedented failure. I mean, seriously, Ty Willingham?

Filed Under: About Last Night, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose, Detroit Tigers, Henrik Lundqvist, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Vikings, New York Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Capitals

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Spike Friedman is a contributing writer for Grantland and makes theater with the Satori Group in Seattle, Washington.

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