About Last Night: The Rise of the Bentonite

Tim DuncanIn case you were out living a life of leisure, here’s what you missed in sports on Tuesday.

  • Tony Parker scored 34 points and dished out eight assists as the Spurs remained unbeaten in the postseason, beating the Thunder 120-111 and going up 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals. “I’m … I’m running out of time,” the Doctor told the Spurs star, in a quiet nook of the locker room. “The Bentonite has been too close to me for too long. Without the powder, I won’t last much longer.” Parker put his head in his hands. “But without you … my God, the whole sports landscape will explode! Only you can cure its ills!” The Doctor nodded wearily. He stood, slumped to the right, and walked away, weaker than Parker had ever seen him. “I can’t help you anymore,” he whispered, and was gone.
  • Just hours after saving a man’s life by performing the Heimlich maneuver, Todd Frazier had two hits and two RBIs to lead the Reds over the Pirates 8-1. “Oh, well done, Miracle Boy,” muttered the Bentonite in his secret British accent, staring at a wall of television screens. “Very well done indeed. Now let us see if we can’t … how shall I say it? … test your limits.
  • Despite winning the first set and leading a second-set tiebreaker 5-1, Serena Williams collapsed in the first round of the French Open, eventually losing in three sets to Virginie Razzano. “Your first opening-round loss in a Grand Slam, wasn’t it?” asked the hissing British voice over a scratchy phone line. “You seemed a bit under the weather. Pity. You should be kinder to your friends.” Williams, still coming out of a sickly daze, finally comprehended what had happened. “What do you want, Bentonite? This has to stop.” The voice snickered. “Oh, I want you to have many more years of great success,” he said. “And I want you to visit my friend Gerard in the eighth arrondissement, by the Metro station at Saint-Lazare.”
  • After Rajon Rondo emphasized the need to make Miami players “hit the deck,” Dwyane Wade fired back. “We’re men just like they’re men; we’re not going to let anyone just come and punk us,” he said. When the reporters left, he pulled LeBron James aside. “Bad news,” he said. “Miracle Boy just called. He got wind of a plot against the Doctor and says he’ll be busy for a few days.” LeBron stared out the window and into the rainy night. “It’ll be just like Indiana,” he said, remembering the bruises. “But so much worse.”
  • Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer and Mike Fiers allowed just five hits over seven innings in his first major league start as the Brewers beat the Dodgers 2-1. When Fiers entered his hotel room, he jumped to see a figure lying comfortably on his bed. “Hello, Fieromaniac,” said the Hyphen. “I believe you have something for me.” When he caught his breath, Fiers took an envelope out from the top drawer of his bureau. “I’ve disguised the package to make it look like something you might carry normally. Make sure this gets to the Doctor. It has to be used within three days or it becomes dangerous.” The Hyphen took the envelope, full of powder, and smiled as he walked out the door. Fiers couldn’t shake the feeling that he’d just made a huge mistake.
  • Melky Cabrera’s three hits gave him 50 in the month of May, breaking a team record previously held by Willie Mays, in a 3-1 Giants win over the Diamondbacks. In an equipment shed past the left field fence, two hours after the game, Cabrera spoke into a telephone. “Message from Serena through Black V,” he whispered. “Saint-Lazare Metro. The Bentonite wants her to meet a friend of his. The scientist, she thinks. Catch them, and the powder will be safe.” On the other end, Miracle Boy hung up the phone and raced to the airport.
  • After guiding the Clippers to the highest winning percentage in team history, Vinny Del Negro will be back for a third year as head coach. “I feel as though I’ve sold my soul,” Del Negro said, at the streetside cafe in London’s posh Chelsea neighborhood. “Nonsense,” said the Bentonite, sipping a latte across the table. “You’re doing a great service. For two years, he’s taunted me. Same uniform, same mound. And yet … they love him. And they’ve never loved me. Nobody has ever loved me. Well, they, too, are unloved. And my hatred ripples outward, Black V. It touches every shore.” Del Negro shuddered as the Bentonite left the cafe, leaving a generous tip.
  • Roy Oswalt signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers that may be worth up to $5 million if he’s called up by July 1. In his hotel room in Round Rock, Texas, by the Triple-A ballpark, Oswalt broke down in tears and scribbled a note on hotel stationery. “It was me,” he wrote. “Day after day, in Philadelphia. I put the lotion on the Doctor’s shoulder. He thought I was helping, but the Bentonite was paying me. I am a weak man, and I had too many debts. I can’t go on like this. I have to confess.”
  • Michigan football recruit Logan Tuley-Tillman was unapologetic in the face of obscene taunts from Buckeye fans after burning a recruiting letter from Ohio State and posting the picture on Twitter. In Paris, Miracle Boy reached Saint-Lazare to find Serena Williams in a panic. “Don’t you see?! It’s a red herring! Paris was a red herring! The Bentonite knew I’d been turned. He knew I’d lead you here.” Williams thrust her phone at Miracle Boy, who saw the photo on Twitter. “Hyphen!” he hissed.
  • A tough year for the Phillies got worse with news that two-time Cy Young winner Roy Halladay will miss up to eight weeks with a latissimus dorsi strain. When he finally reached home, Miracle Boy found a package waiting on his doorstep. Inside, he found the Doctor’s uniform and a simple note. “My time is up. You are the Doctor now, and this is the longest year.”
  • SEC football coaches want a potential four-team playoff to include the best four teams in the country, not just the winners of four different conferences. “I can make it happen,” said the Bentonite, speaking from a London pay phone to new Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin. “That, and so much more. You’ll go from the new kid on the block to the toast of the conference. Think of it, Kevin. And all I need is a small favor … you, see, there’s a hotel in Round Rock, just a two-hour drive from where you sit, and an old friend who has become rather troublesome … “

Filed Under: About Last Night, Boston Celtics, Cincinnati Reds, French Open, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Heat, Michigan, Milwaukee Brewers, NBA Playoffs, Ohio State, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia Phillies, Rajon Rondo, Roy Halladay, San Antonio Spurs, San Francisco Giants, Serena Williams

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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