In case you were out avoiding any Coachella spoilers before the second weekend of the music festival, here’s what you missed in sports on Thursday:
- The NFL schedule was released on Thursday, and wow, WOW, wow, what a schedule it is! Not only will every team currently in the NFL play 16 games, but each of these teams will have a strategically placed bye added to their schedule. Additionally, some teams will be playing one or more games on non-Sunday days such as Mondays and Thursdays. Interestingly, no games this year are scheduled for Tuesdays. Marquee matchups include games between last year’s division winners, last year’s Super Bowl participants, teams that have quarterbacks people have heard of, and members of the NFC East. Early analysis suggests that the NFL schedule favors those teams that play mostly inferior teams, with the caveat that those favored teams might themselves prove inferior in the future. More NFL schedule–related analysis later in About Last Night, including a prediction you’re not going to believe!
- Eric Chavez got revenge on his former teammates with a three-run double to key the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 12-inning 6-2 win over the New York Yankees. The Yankees also got more bad news on the injury front, as shortstop Derek Jeter has been ruled out until the All-Star break with complications related to his injured ankle. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said after the game, “Tonight’s loss was tough, as was the news on Derek, but we’ll persevere.” Cashman then kept repeating the word persevere, as he stripped down to his underwear before asking the gathered media, “Does anyone have that Swedish House Mafia song on their phone? Cause I could really go for getting weird right now.” Cashman then had assistant general manager Jean Afterman flick the lights in the room on and off while he danced arrhythmically before collapsing in a heap of tears.
- Matt Weiters hit an extra-inning walk-off grand slam as the Baltimore Orioles heaped more misery on the struggling Tampa Bay Rays with a 10-6 win. The home run came off Rays reliever Brandon Gomes, who in the 10th inning threw four pitches, which in sequence were a ball, a bunt single, a line-drive single, and a grand slam. Things then went from bad to worse for Gomes, who then went back to the team’s hotel, where he proceeded to spill a whole beer on his shirt, spill his next beer on David Price’s shirt, yell at the bartender, and finally punch the hotel’s security guard. Gomes was then taken to Baltimore city jail, where he proceeded to look bad in his mug shot, tell the guard who was processing him that Baltimore sucks, get placed in a communal cell while still handcuffed, and then claim to an approaching mass of angry Baltimore natives that he was a black belt in karate. Gomes was then taken to the University of Maryland Medical Center, where he had no proof of insurance, was diagnosed with a concussion and severe internal bleeding, told a male nurse that “nursing is a lady’s job,” and was then put on heavy sedatives so that he couldn’t ruin anyone else’s night.
- Top seed Novak Djokovic outdueled Juan Monaco in the third round of the ATP Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters event, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. Reports that Juan Monaco was a not-so-clever pseudonym for Roger Federer, who elected not to play in the tournament that takes place in the small European state of Monaco, were denied by Juan Monaco himself. “I’m one of the 20 best tennis players in the world,” he said. “I’m better at what I do for a living than anyone in your family has ever been at anything in their life, and you’re asking me if I’m a front for another man? Because my name happens to be the same as the name of the country I’m standing in? Really? Would you ask that of Venus Williams if she were playing a tournament on Venus?” When told that, first of all, Venus’s atmosphere would make for poor tennis-playing conditions, and also that what he said was exactly what Roger Federer would say if he were in fact posing as Juan Monaco, Monaco shook his head and silently walked away.
- Hisashi Iwakuma outdueled Justin Verlander as the Seattle Mariners beat the Detroit Tigers, 2-0, at Safeco Field. Iwakuma, despite his masterful work, was forced to leave the game early with a blister on his middle finger that he’s been battling since spring training. “Yes, with hindsight, maybe I should’ve been more respectful on the roads of Peoria, Arizona,” Iwakuma said after the game through a translator. “But maybe the people of Arizona, with hindsight, shouldn’t have sat at a green light for, like, 20 seconds with their right-turn signal on before going left from the right-hand lane,” before adding in English, “unbefuckinglievable.”
- Former Wizards head coach and Princeton offensive guru Eddie Jordan is taking over the Rutgers men’s basketball head coaching job after Mike Rice’s controversial tenure. Jordan was hired despite Rutgers officials’ initial disappointment that he was not a Princeton man, but is in fact a Rutgers alumnus himself.
- The New York Islanders, led by John Tavares’s two goals, bolstered their postseason chances with a 5-3 comeback win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tavares also provided an emotional boost for his team with a pregame speech titled “Fall Is Coming,” which drew awkward parallels between members of the Maple Leafs and characters from the hit HBO show Game of Thrones. “Phil Kessel is a Lannister, so we gotta send him back to Casterly Rock. Grabo [Mikhail Grabovski] is a total Jon Snow, and we’re going to send him north of The Wall,” Tavares yelled in a confusing rallying cry that left his team on the back foot for much of the first period. However, at the first intermission, when Tavares showed his teammates — who, much to his chagrin, do not watch the show — some of the racier scenes from Season 1 on his iPhone via HBO Go, he was able to get them on his side and turn the game around.
- The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly considering rehiring former head coach Mike Brown after his unsuccessful stint with the Los Angeles Lakers. This dovetails perfectly with rumors about LeBron James’s consideration of a return to Cleveland after his contract with the Heat expires, as the one thing likely keeping him away from his hometown franchise was a lack of reminders of what his initial run with the team was like.
- I promised more schedule analysis, and I will not let you down. Since I know that people come to About Last Night looking for bold, yet accurate predictions, I’ll say that after a deep reading of the schedule, even though they’ll lose the coin flip, the Seattle Seahawks will beat the Denver Broncos, 55-10, unless, of course, the Seattle Seahawks, despite all recent outward appearances, continue to allow themselves to be called the Seattle Seahawks, in which case the Carolina Panthers will defeat the Oakland Raiders, 55-10. Regardless of whether the Seahawks are Seahawks, though, count on a 55-10 Super Bowl game, meaning you should bet the over on minutes of awkward small talk you’ll be forced to engage in at your 2014 Super Bowl party.