While the NL Cy Young conjured thoughts about some of the things that are wrong with baseball (the warping of the game played by galactic assholes), there’s no reason to not feel good about both MVPs named yesterday.
Freddie Freeman went from probably a couple minutes away from not playing at all this season due to being struck down by COVID-19 to being the NL’s best player.
In the AL, Jose Abreu’s story of even just getting to this country to play the game is inspiring enough, and then having to slog through some completely unmemorable White Sox teams to having his best season in his first year with a team that mattered.
While the Sox have a bunch of boisterous, unique, and galvanizing young players, they all take their cues from Abreu. The Sox have been in the news for all bad reasons the past couple weeks, so it’s good to have that somewhat balanced out by one of the bigger reasons that actually make those bad things matter. If the Sox were just making up the numbers as they have for so long, they wouldn’t have a chance to fuck up to the point that astounds most of the baseball world. Abreu is a huge reason why.
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But it can’t be baseball if it’s not weird in some way, so the NL MVP voting included a 10th-place vote for Cubs middle reliever Ryan Tepera. Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Dispatch is your culprit, and his story is that he simply made the wrong selection on a drop-down menu on the voting site when he meant to vote for the Nationals’ Trea Turner.
We could sit here and debate why Hummel thought Turner was only worthy of a 10th-place vote and where he found nine players who had a better season than Turner (he’s from St. Louis, so we can be sure that Yadi Molina was at least three of them), but we should be diplomatic for any St. Louis resident attempting to use the internet. This is a place where the natives still wave a cross at any building over four floors, after all. Let’s just rejoice that this is the one computer or laptop that Hummel didn’t stick his head through.
The Titans and Colts participated in the Thursday night get-together, which was highlighted by Trevor Daniel having just about the worst half a punter can have. In the third quarter, Daniel had one punt screw off the side of his foot that ended up looking like that bird Randy Johnson pegged years ago, shed of most, but not enough of its life, and flailing wildly out of view. His next punt was blocked for a touchdown that put the Colts up 10 and ended the game as a contest.
Watching the Titans, one can’t help but recall Trey Wilson from Bull Durham: “How the hell did you ever win five?”
While UEFA really has no business scheduling international games in this shortened season at all, much less trying to fit three games into one window as it did last month and again this one, they did have a Euro 2020 field to finish off. And they at least did it with the most drama possible. Hungary clinched its spot with two goals in the last five minutes to turn a 1-0 loss to Iceland into a 2-1 win. Scotland threw away its place in injury-time by giving up an injury-time equalizer to Serbia, and then took it back by bagging all its penalties in the shootout after extra time and saving the very last Serbian shot. Northern Ireland and Slovakia went to extra-time as well, with Slovakia scoring in the 110th minute to book its place. North Macedonia claimed their first ever major championship spot with a win as well.
It is likely all four of these teams will get thwacked in next summer’s tournament (though Scotland will get to play at home, and if fans are allowed that will be a true bear pit for any opponent), but they’ll have a story after today.