About Last Night: Royal Flush

In case you were busy playing chess while everyone else was eating checkers, here’s what you missed in sports on Wednesday:

  • Powered by a clutch Alex Gordon triple, the Kansas City Royals bagged their eighth consecutive win as they held off the Twins, 4-3, in Minnesota. “Vindicated!” yelled Royals general manager Dayton Moore from the top of the waterfall in and empty Kauffman Stadium, both of his arms raised above his head in triumph. “It was all worth it! All the wheeling! All the dealing! All worth it! We’re atop the mountain! And nothing is going to bring us down! There shall be no consequences for our hubris!” In unrelated news, Wil Myers.
  • Clayton Kershaw threw eight magnificent innings, but, matched in brilliance by Hiroki Kuroda, his efforts were not enough as the Los Angeles Dodgers gave up three ninth-inning runs in a 3-0 loss to the New York Yankees. Mariano Rivera, who closed out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, was given a fishing rod by Dodgers owner Magic Johnson as part of a pregame ceremony in honor of Rivera’s career. “I know your dad was a fisherman, so I thought you’d like it,” Johnson said as he handed over the rod and reel. “Um,” Rivera said of the gift, pausing as he looked it over with a bit of a scowl. “No, it’s, it’s really nice. It’s a really great rod. Anyone can see that.” Johnson’s face fell. “If you don’t like it we can get you something else.” Rivera forced a smile. “No, no, no. I like it. Look, it’s all ready to go. I can’t wait to get out on the boat and give it a whirl. No really. Really. Really, I like it. I do. I do like it. It’s just. I — you know, I played baseball all these years so I wouldn’t have to fish. But I like it. I do. Seriously. It’s a really nice gift. Really nice.”
  • Despite starter Jeff Locke getting knocked out early, the Pirates won their fourth consecutive game over the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-4, as they continue their improbable run to the best record in baseball. When asked, despite his team’s win, if he was worried about the effect the early exit might have on his confidence, Locke replied, “No, it’s a total clean slate for me between starts. That’s my philosophy, and I think the democratic way in which our team has been able to freely pursue victory without regard to past failures only confirms it.”
  • Michael Bradley and AS Roma proved too much for the MLS All-Stars, as early goals in both halves powered the Italian squad to a 3-1 win in the 2013 MLS All-Star game in Kansas City. The defeat marks the first time that an MLS All-Star team has fallen to an international club other than Manchester United, which is a fun fact that you should make sure is in your brain. Get it in there. Good. Now remember that your neurological capabilities are limited, and you made the choice to expend some of your mind’s resources remembering that as of 2013, the MLS All-Star team has only ever lost to Manchester United and AS Roma.
  • If you love fireworks, they were on display at the Major League Baseball trade deadline, which saw Bud “Buddy” Norris move to the Orioles, Ian “Yan” Kennedy move to the Padres, Justin “Justin” Maxwell move to the Royals, and me fire off a few bottle rockets from my backyard this afternoon so I could accurately write that fireworks were on display at the Major League Baseball trade deadline.
  • The Washington Wizards locked up former top pick John Wall to a five-year, $80 million max contract. “Words can’t explain how blessed and happy I am!” Wall tweeted of the deal. He later tweeted, “It just got really cold in here. Like really cold. Oh well, still feeling blessed.” “Does anybody else hear weird high-pitched laughing? Just me? #stillblessed #ithink” “Seriously, something strange is going on here; lots of noises. Also found a cool music box in the basement. #stillblessed #gonnaplayit” “Really shouldn’t have played that music box, thing threatened to kill me. #blessingisacurse?” “oh god no no no no #hugemistake #evilwizardorevilclown” “#definitelyevilwizard #tookformofaclown #saveme” “there is no saving me, save yourselves #whathaveidone” “I AM THE ONE TRUE WIZARD BOW BEFORE MY INFINITE POWER”
  • New rules for the Pro Bowl have been put in place, changing the format of the game from one in which teams compete based on conference affiliation to a system involving drafting players under the tutelage of Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders along with two NFL.com fantasy football champions. Apparently the NFL thinks it can go out and sully the sacred traditions of the Pro Bowl without anybody caring. My forefathers said give me liberty or give me death. Today, I echo their words: Give me a real Pro Bowl or give me nothing. The NFL thinks it can tear down a legacy, born out of the bitter hatred between players who suit up in the NFC and those who play for teams in the AFC, and replace it with some sort of exhibition match? They think I’m going to turn on my television, gather my family around, and watch the NFL make a mockery of the idea of heritage, a little idea I call America? Well, to the jokers over at NFL headquarters (paging Bozo Goodell): This time it doesn’t count. You can count me out. You’re down for the count. And count on this: Ticktock … you just wound up a clock that is ticking down to the time when the NFL is irrelevant.

Filed Under: About Last Night, John Wall, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Wizards

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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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