Slow night for news last night, so we’ll jump around a bit this morning.
I’m automatic these days. Just as soon as I pronounced Robbie Ray the official symbol of an underwhelming AL Cy Young race, he stepped out and held the best offensive team in baseball to just one run over seven innings as the Blue Jays racked up another win over the Rays to remain tied for the top wildcard spot.
Ray struck out 13 to boot, while only walking one, which has been the key to his success this season. Once again, Ray didn’t use anything more than a fastball and a slider, but he got 21 whiffs between the two of them. Ray’s next start will be against, well… the Rays again, next week in Tampa, and then he’ll finish out at Minnesota and at home to Baltimore. It couldn’t be much more of a clean road for him to take home the award, especially if it boosts the Jays into the postseason.
The Jays have won 16 of 19, and generally when you play at that pace for as long as the Jays have you feel like there’s going to be a simmering down soon. But considering the schedule left, with a lot of Twins and Orioles and a Rays team on autopilot, holding for another two weeks doesn’t seem all that out of reach.
Both the Yankees and Jays season might come down to their series in Toronto the week after next, which isn’t great news for the Yanks who were just on the ass end of a paddling from the Jays in the Bronx last week. It’s the rare time that two teams competing for the same thing this year will face each other in the last weeks of the season. But I guess that’s what happens when so few teams are even trying.
Cool story out of MIlwaukee, where Lisa Byington will become the first full-time play-by-play announcer for a team in any of the four major sports. Byington has been doing PBP on Fox Sports for a few years now, covering Big 10 football and basketball as well as the last women’s World Cup and the Olympics.
The NBA is where women have been heard most on broadcasts, with Doris Burke being just about the best analyst in the game; Sarak Kustok doing color on Nets games; and Candace Parker regularly handing Shaquille O’Neal his lunch in studio for TNT; just to name a few examples. It’s just a further example of how the NBA is ahead of the curve of trying to make its presentation look more like its fandom than any of the other leagues have done.
It’s also a funny juxtaposition that the day after TNT’s NHL coverage was announced to be bogged down by someone who comes from a place that actively chases women away from sports and certainly makes them feel unwelcome, the NBA keeps taking steps to include everyone they can.
Can’t imagine why hockey will never come close to basketball’s popularity. Can you?
As I wondered yesterday, US Soccer’s offer to the USWNT’s didn’t exactly go over well, as the players dismissed it as nothing more than a publicity stunt. Which didn’t go over too well with US Soccer, and now we’ve got ourselves an official Twitter fight.
Until we get details on what exactly US Soccer’s offer was to the women’s team, it’s hard to know who’s in the right and who isn’t. If it’s asking the men’s team to simply donate their money to the women’s team to equal it out, that’s askew. If the offer is to give both teams the same percentage of World Cup bonuses, that’s not the same money, though it would be in line with what teams around the world have agreed to.
What looks clear is that this fight isn’t close to over.