About Last Night: The Cardinal Way

In case you were busy trying to stay awake during an all-day meeting on autograph compensation, here’s what you missed in sports on Monday:

  • The St Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds, 8-6, to regain the lead in the hyper-competitive NL Central. Allen Craig continues to be the clutchest player in baseball … hold on guys … it appears that my spell-checker does not believe that “clutchest” is a real word. I have two squiggly red underlines staring me in the face right now. Let me look up “clutchest” in the dictionary, and … BOOM! Cardinal red. Take that, Clippy.
  • Serena Williams opened her U.S. Open campaign with a 6-0, 6-1 dismantling of former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Williams called the match “a subpar effort all things considered,” citing both the dropped game and her failure to “explode Francesca’s hands clear off of her body” as things to work on for the next round.
  • Premier League titans Manchester United and Chelsea fought to a rousing 0-0 draw as two of England’s presumptive title challengers waged an epic battle across the pitch at Old Trafford. It was a tactical battle of masters as Jose Mourinho, newly back at Chelsea, installed the team’s patented “Torres is still our best option up top? Shit … ” attack, playing without a striker at all rather than risking playing Fernando Torres. New Manchester United manager David Moyes countered Mourinho’s bold move by refusing to play his most creative midfielder, Shinji Kagawa, for a second consecutive week. Unwilling to be outmasterminded, Mourinho countered right back by benching his best chance creator, Juan Mata, in a cunning mastermindstroke that would ensure no incisive passes would be delivered in the final third for either team. Moyes then countered Mourinho by rolling around on the pitch at Old Trafford to cloak his scent, in an ill-fated attempt to sneak up behind Mourinho and scare him into playing Torres, before Mourinho made one final move, acquiring Spanish goalie Iker Casillas from Real Madrid, starting him at fullback, and then benching him for reasons that remain clear only to Mourinho himself.
  • Miguel Cabrera’s 43rd home run was not enough, as Coco Crisp led the Oakland A’s to an 8-6 win over the Detroit Tigers. “Huge win for us, and we expect to see them in the playoffs because they’re great,” Crisp said of the Tigers before stopping, closing his eyes slowly, and letting out a long exhale. Crisp then added softly, “I’m so ashamed of myself.”
  • Alex Rodriguez hit his 650th career home run, but R.A. Dickey did enough to lead the Blue Jays to a 5-2 win over the New York Yankees. The blast leaves Rodriguez 10 home runs short of Willie Mays’s career mark, a number Rodriguez referred to, while twirling the freshly grown ends of a Snidely Whiplash mustache, as “probably something I shouldn’t get to, huh? No one is going to be happy about that one. Well that’s why it’ll happen sooner than you all could possibly have expected. Yes! I shall pass the once great Willie Mays, leaving his legacy in tatters!” Rodriguez then laughed maniacally while Derek Jeter, dressed as a Canadian Mountie, crept up behind him twirling a lasso.
  • Undrafted Washington State alumnus Jeff Tuel is improbably the Buffalo Bills’ likely Week 1 starter. “Well, it’ll work out better than the last Cougar to start at quarterback during his rookie year, right?” Tuel said to himself before nodding off to sleep Monday night. There, in his dreams, he went on a magical journey through his future, where, following a horrifying series of calamities that could only occur in Buffalo involving three large men named Gus who were all painted blue, it was revealed to Tuel by Buffalo Bill himself (as played by Ted Levine in The Silence of the Lambs) that no, it won’t work out any better than it did for the last Cougar to start an NFL game at quarterback during his rookie year. Tuel woke with a start in a cold sweat, covered in leaves and lotion he didn’t remember buying.
  • Mets phenom Matt Harvey has suffered a partial tear of his UCL, and will undergo further testing before determining whether he will have Tommy John surgery. But even if the worst diagnosis comes down, I will howl to all who will listen that there is hope. I saw the best arms of a generation destroyed by tendons frayed, elbows nude, dragging themselves to Dr. James Andrews at dawn looking for an angry fix. Carpenter! Strasburg! Hudson! Wainwright! Visions! Breakthroughs! They saw it all, the wild pitches, the forearm stiffness. Mends! New arms! A mad generation of pitchers preserved on the rocks of time!
  • Following on the heels of Allen Iverson’s announcement, Tracy McGrady retired from the NBA while leaving open the possibility of pursuing professional basketball opportunities overseas. “Please leave me alone, I’m not done yet,” said Mavericks guard Vince Carter when asked about the implications of his distant cousin’s retirement. “And no I don’t see how it would be perfectly symmetrical for me to stop playing now.” After a pause, Carter went on to say, “Well, I kind of see how it would be perfectly symmetrical for me to stop playing now, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to do it. I still have lots of great basketball in me.” After another pause, Carter added, “Well, some pretty good basketball in me.” He paused again. “Maybe.” After another long and thoughtful pause, Carter shook his head and said, “No, I’m not going to quit basketball. Don’t ask again.”

Filed Under: About Last Night, Alex Rodriguez, Buffalo Bills, Chelsea, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Manchester United, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Oakland A's, Premier League, R.A. Dickey, Serena Williams, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays

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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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