What we watched: Between football games on Thanksgiving, I hung out with my cousin's 15-month-old son, Henry. And by hung out, I mean attempted to engage him while he started at me blankly. My brother and I plan to suffocate Henry with sports once he comes of age—which, as far as I'm concerned, will be pretty much any day now. It was encouraging to see him reach for a softball with his left hand. If he's indeed a southpaw, then we might as well develop that curve at an early age so that he can get Tommy John surgery out of the way at 15. Henry spent a lot of time chucking that ball in every direction and then scurrying after it. Playing catch by himself doesn't say too much for Henry's social skills, but it seems to work for A-Rod, and that guy is rich. Ultimately, though, I'm just happy that the future of our family's middling athletic ability is secure in a toddler.
ESPN breaks story about ESPN employee, still requires sources: "Former Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer has taken the head coaching job at Ohio State, sources confirmed to ESPN on Monday morning. Meyer, who led the Gator to two national championships before stepping down to spend more time with his family amid ongoing reports of health concerns, had worked as a game analyst this season for the network. But he requested off his appearance this weekend as reports swirled of his imminent hire with the Buckeyes. Sources told WKMG-TV in Orlando last week that Meyer would be introduced in coming days after agreeing to a seven-year, $40 million deal." [ESPN]
Houston is cleaning house: "The Astros began a major shake-up of their front office by announcing late Sunday that president of baseball operations Tal Smith and general manager Ed Wade were being dismissed. The moves come less than a week after a group led by Houston businessman Jim Crane assumed control of the club from long-time owner Drayton McLane and only a week before baseball's annual Winter Meetings, scheduled to begin next Monday in Dallas. Crane's $610 million bid to buy the Astros was approved by Major League Baseball owners Nov. 17, and he told reporters shortly after being approved that significant changes were on the way. Smith, who just completed his 54th season in baseball and 17th consecutive with the Astros, was a close confidant of McLane and has been a mainstay in the Houston baseball scene for decades. Wade had been on the job with the Astros for four-plus seasons. In a statement released by the club, team president and CEO George Postolos said assistant general manager David Gottfried will serve as interim general manager but is not a candidate for the permanent position." [MLB.com]
Yep, you're nitpicking—but it was still pretty funny: " Triplette presided over the overtime coin flip, he went over the rules of overtime for the teams' captains, and the millions of people watching at home. But after correctly noting that fourth-quarter timing was in effect and all replay reviews would be called down from upstairs rather than allowing coaches to challenge, Triplette wrongly said that both teams were guaranteed a possession. ‘Each team must have an opportunity to possess the football and score,' Triplette said. That's not true. That's the rule for the playoffs, but in the regular season it's simple sudden death: The first team to score wins. Triplette apparently later turned on his microphone and corrected his mistake for the audience in the stadium, and it's not like this mistake had any bearing on who won the game. So maybe I'm nitpicking by even pointing this out." [PFT]
Your Butt Implants Gone Wrong Interlude:
We'll take that as a yes, DeSean: "DeSean Jackson heard the boos. Jackson—the once dynamic wide receiver who showed flashes of becoming one of the franchise's greatest at that position—has turned into perhaps the most unreliable target on offense. He dropped a handful of passes and shied away from contact against the Patriots. His worst offense came when he short-armed a sure-thing touchdown catch because he heard footsteps. Amid a contract dispute, Jackson said concern about his health was a factor in his style of play. ‘Always. Always got to keep your head on a swivel,' he said. Was he worried about his health on that play? ‘What'd you think?' he said as he walked away from reporters." [Washington Post]
Your guide to fabricating and squashing the same story: "Don't get too excited about the Texans bringing in future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre. Hours after backup Texans quarterback Matt Leinart went down with a season-ending injury, Sports Illustrated's Peter King discussed the Favre-to-Houston issue during NBC's Football Night in America and slammed the idea from both angles. King said general manager Rick Smith said the Texans wouldn't be interested. Smith told King: ‘I don't want to bring the circus to town.'" [Houston Chronicle]
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.
Send stories, photos, and anything else you might have to email@example.com.