Your morning roundup for Aug. 20, the ninth day that Delonte West will wake up hoping Home Depot calls. Got any stories or photos for us? Tip your editors. (Video from California's 11-0 win over Rhode Island H/T Shaun B).
What we're watching: When Arsenal and Liverpool last met, the match ended in a 1-1 draw. On April 17, it was 0-0 going in extra time when Cesc Fabregas was tripped in the penalty box, Robin Van Persie converted on the PK and the Gunners and their fans still had a shot — albeit quite a long one — to seize some EPL trophy action. Read SkySports game-log, "Penalty Goal 90+8 Van Persie steps up to take the penalty...and coolly slots it into the bottom corner! Arsenal have won! What drama!"
What drama, indeed. But Arsenal hadn't won. A minute later, Liverpool got a free kick just outside the box. And a minute after that, they got a penalty kick inside the box. And a minute after that, Dirk Kuyt made like Van Persie. Dreams were crushed then. But now, it made for a good pregame segment before today's match between the two started. (Here's a shaky, inside-the-stadium video titled, "The most dramatic game in Premier League History!!!!" if you'd care to see more.)
Surprising from the opening tip was that Liverpool kept Luis Suarez on the bench (conditioning issues, apparently) and the Gunners started Samir Nasri who, if you believe any of the hundreds of stories written about it, wants to make like Cesc Fabregas and leave Emirates Stadium behind. As opposed to Fabregas, now donning a Barcelona kit, Nasri looks to be staying within the EPL. Man City, to be exact. Man City, to infuriate. As Ian Darke kindly pointed out before the match commenced, should Nasri get hurt today, the transfer could be nixed. But, whammy whammy whammy STOP, no whammy, as he emerged unscathed.
There were some scoring chances early, but no scoring in the first half. Not shocking, considering Liverpool's not a good road team and you get the sense Arsenal's going to employ and us-against-the-world mindset this year, provided they still have enough of an "us" to field a full side. They're bummed, for sure, but they have a chance to become the scrappy underdogs in a world of Wayne Rooneys, attempted trophy buyers like Man City and these Liverpudlians. Or, they could just give up and cost Arsene Wenger his job.
Van Persie and Andrei Arshavin put together a scrappy little combo in the 68th minute that came close to giving the Gunners a go-ahead goal, but it quickly fizzled out. Within two minutes, Arsenal's Emmanuel Frimpong got sent off with a red card in his debut (and a driving rain). That's when game-changing Suarez trotted onto a pitch with his side up a man and Arshavin went off since his was down one. It seemed like one of those bring-on-the-decisive-moment moments. That's exactly what it was.
Suarez didn't seen ill-conditioned on a give-and-go that he gave and instead of going back onto his offside foot, bounced off two defenders and over the Gunners keeper. Own goal in the 78th minute. In one play, we might have seen a microcosm of Arsenal's season, a microcosm topped off with a legitimate Suarez tap-in as the clock struck 90:00. Final score, 2-0. Gunners fans sad.
Cam Newton debuts, gives Jimmy Clausen hope: "As he assessed his performance in the postgame interview room, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said he was 'in the business of moving the chains.' Business was bad for Newton and the rest of the Panthers' offense Friday." [Charlotte Observer]
We've seen the future of professional football, and its name is Colt: "The second time around, Colt McCoy was knocked to the ground at least six times and suffered two drops by his receivers early. He was missing his lead running back, his No. 1 tight end and the starting left guard. And he threw three touchdown passes." [The Plain Dealer]
Nationals seize third place in the NL East with comeback over Phillies: "
[Adam] [Ryan] Zimmerman had stepped into a fantasy and responded with nonchalance, the way he treats most every moment on a baseball diamond. He completed the Washington Nationals' stunning, 8-4 victory with a two-out, full-count grand slam to left field, capping the rally Jayson Werth started with a memorable, 11-pitch at-bat against his former team, whom the Nationals have now beaten four times in five meetings." It was the eighth walk-off home run of Zimmerman's career. [Washington Post]
The Chicago Cubs are undefeated in the post-Hendry era: "After Marlon Byrd laid down a sacrifice bunt to put Soto on second, Colvin slapped an 0-2 fastball into center field. Jon Jay made a throw towards home, but it was short and late, reaching the plate after Soto had already slid safely for the game-deciding run. 'It's a disparaging loss. If we added a run once or twice, then you have room for a missed play, some fluke to beat you, or something real to beat you because they did some good things,' Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said." [Chicago Tribune]
Oh, Uncle Luke is not going to like this: "'If, and I say if, we have very unique circumstances where TV bans and death penalties are warranted, then I don't think they are off the table and I would be OK with putting those in place,' [NCAA President Mark] Emmert told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday." [Yahoo]
And just like that, Georgetown changed the NBA-lockout landscape: "'We welcome free-agent players of the NBA to play at least a full season in the CBA,' said Bai Xilin, director of the CBA League Office, after an executive meeting here. Bai said contracted players of the NBA would not be allowed to join in CBA clubs from next season, a decision which was applauded by most the of 17 teams of the league. [Xinhua]
Dickie V. doesn't wanna hear you say there's a whole bunch of hooker-paying coaches out there in the college world baybee!: "'That's being very generic. I think you're being unfair. And if they do commit an infraction they're not buying prostitutes. Come on now. You're being ridiculous now. I don't want to waste my time. You serious? You're saying every coach? That is not valid ... I'm not going to waste my time, Dan, forget it.' And with that Dick Vitale hung up the phone." [USA Today] (H/T Wayne)
Your "In Dreams" Interlude:
For bobblehead thrower, consequences will never be the same: "We consider this to be an extremely serious matter, and believe it's important for people to understand there is an expectation of the right way to act within the stadium. If you go outside of those bounds, there will be serious consequences." [Kansas City Star]
Memorializing a horribly public death: "We continue to be appreciative of Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers as we deal with the loss of Shannon. Shannon and Cooper had a special relationship, and we are touched and grateful that it will be memorialized at one of their favorite places. Our hope is that this statue will not be a symbol of our family tragedy but rather a reminder of the importance of a family's love — love of each other, love of spending time together and love of the game." [Dallas Observer]
Where's Metta World Peace when Stephon needs him most?: "@MayorNYC my brother I said nothing to you that could have harmed you. You said you were going to kill me and have my son chest caved in. Don't you think that is enough to have wild thoughts. You say your from BK but you don't speak like you from BK. I care less about these clowns you run with for kicks on twitter. When you mentioned my sons name that's when things got different. I'm a peaceful man but my family on earth is all I have. So we can play the back forth twitter game amongst men. When you put my kids in it, its different. Now these dudes don't live in your shoes. There Gasing U" [@StarburyMarbury]
This week in horrible story gimmicks: "Crikey! LSU punter Brad Wing sure does take a lot of grief for his Australian background. He doesn't dress like Crocodile Dundee, he doesn't slip shrimp on a barbie, and he doesn't have a pet kangaroo. But his thick Aussie accent is a constant source of amusement for his teammates." [The Advocate] (H/T Elizabeth)
We are all Dave McKenna CXCVII: Here's your daily link to Dave McKenna's brilliant "The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder," which we'll be posting until Snyder's dumbass libel lawsuit realizes that refusing to put the lotion on its skin and placing it in the basket upon application completion means it will inevitably get the hose again.
Merch: Managing editor Tom Scocca and contributing editor Drew Magary have both written books. You can buy Scocca's Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future here, and Magary's The Postmortal here. Now do it.
Today's Soccer Viewing Recommendations: Everton vs. QPR at 10 a.m. eastern. Chelsea vs. West Brom and poo-and-pee-flinging Cologne vs. Kaiserslautern at 12:30 p.m.
The U-20 World Cup third-place match between France and Mexico's on at 4:45 p.m.; championship between Brazil and Portugal follows at 8:45 p.m.
And in MLS action, it's back to the great northwest for some Cascadia Cup action between Vancouver and Portland at 10 p.m.