About Last Night: The Nation’s National Nightmare

In case you were out living a life of leisure, here’s what you missed in sports on Monday.

  • The emerging month-long nightmare for the Boston Red Sox is closer than ever to being realized. With a 6-3 loss to the lowly Baltimore Orioles, Boston is now tied atop the wild card race with Tampa Bay. Their September record fell to 6-19, they no longer have their best pitcher available, and tonight’s starter, Erik Bedard, is just 5-9 on the year. “But at least we’ve got our dignity,” said manager Terry Francona, not realizing that Jonathan Papelbon had drawn the word “FART” on the front of his hat.

  • Somehow, some way, the Tampa Bay Rays managed to rough up Yankee starter Hector Noesi and earn a 5-2 win. With two games remaining, they have a chance to sneak into the playoffs through the back door. Lucky for them, that back door is guarded by the dregs of the Yankee minor league system. Rays manager Joe Maddon says he hopes for the best against Tuesday’s starting pitcher, “Blind” Billy McDougal.
  • A similar scenario played out in the National League, where the Braves continued their slide with a 4-2 loss to Cliff Lee and the Phillies. It was Philadelphia’s 100th win of the season, a milestone that crotchety manager Charlie Manuel celebrated by swearing and spitting into a cup.
  • With a chance to move into a tie with Atlanta for the NL wild card, St. Louis came up short. Brian Bogusevic scored on a 10th-inning squeeze bunt by Angel Sanchez, and the Astros beat the Cardinals 5-4. Manager Brad Mills was ecstatic that the Astros lived up to their team motto: “Even a broken club is right 35 percent of the time.”
  • Reliever Mark Hamburger picked up his first major league win as the Rangers eliminated the Angels from playoff contention with a 4-3 win. “I really relished the chance to throw the high cheese,” said Hamburger. “I was really able to put some mustard on it. I’m glad I lettuce get in a position to win the game, and that they couldn’t ketchup. I had a lot of bun out there.” Hamburger then brandished a pistol, and asked reporters if they ever wondered what it was like to look into a man’s eyes as he was dying.
  • Playing with a broken rib, Tony Romo overcame some early blunders and led the Cowboys to an 18-16 win over the Redskins. Romo need two pain-killing injections to last four quarters and a spot of blood appeared on his side during the game. If he continues suffering, it won’t be long until Romo receives the ultimate honor: being portrayed in film by Mel Gibson.
  • Joe Girardi is annoyed about the short turnaround between the regular season and the playoffs. “I think you should have two days off,” he said. “Then you can manage the last day of the regular season accordingly. And maybe you could have a day to get a spa treatment. Not that I want a spa treatment. Because I don’t. That’s for women. I’m just saying, with two days off you’d have time to unwind.” Girardi took a moment to catch his breath. “Yeah, a spa treatment would be nice, all right.”
  • Michael Vick’s hand is not broken, and he backed off his sharp criticism of the refs. “Ultimately I have respect for the referees,” he said. “You won’t hear me complaining about it anymore.” He then began to whisper about how much he despised anyone who’s ever worn an official’s uniform. “We can’t hear you,” said reporters, leaning in. “Exactly,” said Vick.
  • NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher sent a letter to his fellow NBA players, urging them to hold the line in the labor dispute against owners. “Nothing stands in our way,” Fisher wrote. “Other than a group of powerful billionaires, our own self-defeating financial habits, and 30 years of anti-union precedent in our home country. Let’s go get ‘em!”

Filed Under: About Last Night, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Astros, Jay-Z, Michael Vick, NBA Lockout, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Tony Romo, Washington Redskins

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Shane Ryan is a contributing writer for Grantland. His book about the young stars of the PGA Tour will be published by Random House in early 2015.

Archive @ ShaneRyanHere