In case you were busy spending time talking to loved ones, here’s what you missed in sports on Monday:
- Mike Napoli hit a game-winning double as the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-2, at Fenway Park on Patriots Day. After the game, a pair of explosions struck Boylston Street near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Over 140 people were injured, and at least three people are confirmed to have been killed in the bombings. Sports are meant to be a refuge from the outside world; the value of sports, beyond entertainment, comes from providing a space where athletes and spectators alike can safely indulge their emotions, passions, and energy. What happened yesterday violated that space. Our thoughts go out to everyone in Boston and those directly affected by the blast.
- Brandon Phillips knocked in the winning run in the eighth inning as the Cincinnati Reds snapped a five-game losing streak with a 4-2 win at home over the Philadelphia Phillies. The Reds managed to win the game despite manager Dusty Baker’s sticking with his starting pitcher too long, making this win exactly like every other that Dusty Baker has secured in his 20-year managerial career.
- Baylor’s Brittney Griner was selected by the Phoenix Mercury with the first pick of the 2013 WNBA draft. Subsequent picks included Delaware’s Elena Della Donne, Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, and Diandra Tchatchouang, formerly of Euroleague’s Basket Lattes. There is no joke here. Just be happy that we live in a world where someone who plays for a team called the Basket Lattes can make it to the pinnacle of her sport.
- The Miami Heat, playing without the bulk of their starting lineup, still handed the Cleveland Cavaliers a 96-95 loss at Quicken Loans Arena. The loss wasn’t the only bad news Monday for Quicken; analysts predict that sales of the company’s popular tax software will surely plummet in the coming days, following a sales surge that has lasted the past six weeks.
- The NBA’s presumptive top overall pick, Kentucky Wildcat Nerlens Noel, has officially declared for the draft, despite his ongoing recovery from a major knee injury. Kentucky head coach John Calipari was distraught at the news, saying, “No! But what of his education? I’ve failed as a leader and mentor to this young man. I’m going to take a long hard look in the mirror and think about what I value.”
- On Jackie Robinson Day, the San Diego Padres went into Dodger Stadium and came out with a 6-3 win over Los Angeles. Actor Harrison Ford, who plays Branch Rickey in the new Robinson biopic 42, was on hand to throw out the first pitch. Somehow, the filmmakers were also able to convince both teams to have all of their players wear no. 42 on the night, in a wonderful moment of corporate synergy. Congratulations are in order for Major League Baseball and Legendary Pictures.
- The Oklahoma City Thunder clinched the top seed in the West with a 104-95 win over the Sacramento Kings. This is the first time the Thunder franchise has been the top seed since the 1995-96 season, when — NOTHING HAPPENED! THERE IS NOTHING TO SEE HERE! — C’mon, David, give me back my MacBook. As I was saying, it’s the first time the Thunder — GUYS, HAVE YOU SEEN HOW WELL OUR PREMIER FRANCHISE, THE NEW YORK KNICKS, IS DOING?! — Mr. Stern, seriously, how did you get into my house? Don’t you have better things to do than prevent me from reminding people of the 1995-96 season when — MICHAEL JORDAN SURE WAS SOMETHING SPECIAL, HUH?
- The Utah Jazz kept themselves in contention for the last playoff spot in the West with a 96-80 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. In order to qualify for the postseason, the Jazz need to beat the Grizzlies and the Lakers to lose to the Rockets. While the matchup favors Utah (bears are notable for their distaste for any improvisational soundscapes), the ability of bodies of water to easily consume and diffuse missiles means that Los Angeles is still the odds-on favorite to advance to the playoffs.
- Scott Hartnell bagged a hat trick as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Montreal Canadiens, 7-3. The score was notable, as it looks less like a hockey score and more like the sort of score typically associated with a really boring football game, or a moderately exciting baseball game, or a terribly inept basketball game. So if you saw the “Philadelphia 7, Montreal 3 F” scoreline pass by on your sports ticker, don’t feel bad for assuming it was a basketball game. That’s a common and understandable mistake.
In other sports news: