Your morning roundup for Aug. 10, the day we realized we should probably change our password. Photo via Yahoo!/Getty Images. Got any stories or photos for us? Tip your editors.
What we watched: Sometimes it takes a two-plus hour rain delay and a 14-inning game that ends at 1:52 a.m. local time on a walk-off hit-by-pitch to remind us that there's nothing wrong with mediocrity having a place in a pennant race. The Cleveland Indians, winners of just 69 games last season, were baseball's best story in the season's first two months. But then they squandered a six-game lead in less than two weeks, and it was assumed that life along the Cuyahoga would soon go back to bitching about LeBron and the Browns in equal measure.
The AL Central has cooperated, however, allowing the Indians to stay within one or two games ever since. The Tribe's deficit reached a season-high four games last week, and it remained there through the weekend. But last night's was their 13th win at home in their last at-bat, and they still have games in the next two days against the Tigers. Football is coming, for which we're all grateful. But baseball, now in its fifth month, is just beginning to offer us exactly what makes it worth watching.
Arrr, these are my readers: "Yarrr, Old Bill were not always t' captain o' t' swiftest ship on t' seven seas. True, they call me t' Dread Pirate Simmons now, but in me younger years, I were no more 'n Barnacle Bill, a lowly barhand in t' Bay Colony, scribblin' out me thoughts and tossin' them into t' briny morass. But aye, those bottled messages traveled far and wide, they did. The voice of Barnacle Bill, the stories of me voyages, me misadventures wi' Blackjacko and First Mate Sal, gained me entry into t' fearsome Espanish arrrrrmada." [KSK]
Mark Emmert and the NCAA try on some sensibility: "If the rules pass, each Division I conference would have the option to award bigger, longer scholarships to athletes. That would represent a sea change from previous NCAA philosophy, in which all schools in the same division were supposed to play by the same rules and policies. Emmert said questions still need to be answered about potentially ‘huge implications for competitive equity and not having people game that system.' But he said that a level playing field in college sports is already a myth." [ESPN]
Tiger Woods loses watch: "Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer says it's ended its 10-year commercial relationship with Tiger Woods and hopes he can ‘overcome his difficulties.' Tag Heuer chief executive Jean-Christophe Babin says in a statement the company is ‘confident that Tiger will eventually regain full trust with the public.'" [AP]
Your Long-Ass BMX Wheelie Interlude:
We are all Dave McKenna CLXXVII: Here's your daily link to Dave McKenna's brilliant "Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder," which we'll be posting every day until Snyder's dumbass libel lawsuit chokes on its breakfast.
Jim Thome is two home runs from 600 and also all that is Amurrica: "‘He's a stud. He's just a country hard, country strong, country hard-hitting player,' [Mark] McGwire said. Barry Bonds. Hank Aaron. Babe Ruth. Willie Mays. Ken Griffey Jr. Alex Rodriguez. Sammy Sosa. Thome is next on the all-time list, and unlike several of the other higher-profile sluggers of his era, he's seen as clean. No admission or suspicion of steroid use for him. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound native of Peoria, Ill., is just a down-home guy with a bundle of natural athletic ability, from a family with a father and brothers who are just as big." [AP]
Adult kickball is now a trend piece in New Jersey, so you know it's big: "Kickball, traditionally a school-yard sport, is running roughshod over New Jersey's adult recreation sports scene, with young professionals leading the charge. The reasons for the big red ball's resurgence are two-fold: players say it's easy, fun, and a reason to hit the bar on Wednesdays. But then, they add it makes them feel, well, nostalgic. ‘I haven't played kickball since the fifth grade,' said George Riedel, 28, of Rockaway, during a recent game. ‘Kickball brings you back to the good old days.'" [Star-Ledger]
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.