Your morning roundup for May 17, the day the greatest two-sport athlete you've probably never heard of turns 99. (Photo by random Auburn student, via SportsFeeder. Full photo here.)
What we watched: A car wreck, basically. A two-and-a-third-inning, 77-pitch, 11-hit, 14-run car wreck. And when it was all said and done, Vin Mazzaro, the pride of Hackensack, N.J., was told to take his 22-plus ERA all the way back to Triple-A Omaha.
The Royals were scrambling for pitching after their starter exited with just one out with a shoulder injury. They turned to Mazzaro, who was scheduled to start today. "My thinking was I could get five innings out of him and keep us in the ballgame," said Ned Yost. "But it didn't work out that way."
No, it did not. There's a bit of history here, as no reliever has given up 14 runs in an outing since Truman was in office, and no one's ever done it in as few innings. But we suggest Mazzaro commiserate with teammate Joakim Soria, who also gave up 14 runs — in the entire 2009 season. (Barry Petchesky)
What we're watching: It's the first time since 1998 that neither the Spurs nor the Lakers have earned a spot in the Western Conference Finals, and this brief spell of something like parity is something to celebrate. The Dallas-OKC series is alluring because — as simple a storyline as it may be — it is the old order taking on the new. We're almost watching a generational battle, dad trying to punch the shit out of the son. Rick Carlisle won't even let Jason Kidd, the best slow point guard in the league, go head-to-head with Russell Westbrook, the kid who likes spin moves off his first step. The match-ups will need some adjusting: Shawn Marion will get the nod against Kevin Durant, while Serge Ibaka will try to stop Dirk Nowitzki's jumper, which is of course an impossible task. Still, Dallas just outrightly needs a title more than any other team remaining. Their guys are all in their 30s; OKC's top four are all 23 or younger and the team superstar still lives with his mom. Dirk Nowitzki seems to be operating half off of his will in this post-season, and it'll be great to see him attempt to pick apart the new kids. Game 1's at 9 Eastern tonight. (Emma Carmichael)