Several months ago, I attended my first live rugby game with my grandson in Dublin. You may recall that I dubbed him The Fog – standing for my First and Only Grandson – and that he would sporadically be my rugby correspondent since he knows a lot more about the sport than I do. The Rugby World Cup is ongoing, and I got this email from The Fog over the weekend telling me what happened in the match between New Zealand and Ireland. The Fog is 12 years old; here is his report:
“On the 19th of October, Ireland faced off against New Zealand in the quarter final of the Rugby World Cup 2019. Some sports writers called it the ‘Titanic Tussle’. Ireland was second in the world before the game and New Zealand was first. This made Ireland the heavy under dogs.
“The first half started off brutally for Ireland with three early tries for New Zealand. Aaron Smith, the New Zealand scrum half had an amazing first period, in which he scored two tries. He also assisted Boden Barret over the try line. Richie Mo’unga, the New Zealand fly half, also had a stunning first forty minutes. He scored 7 points for his team. The first half ended with New Zealand winning 22-0 over Ireland. In the second half, things went from bad to worse, for Ireland. They were constantly on defence against a strong, New Zealand, front row. Ireland didn’t go quietly though. They scored two tries in the second half and they converted on both of them. It was too little too late though and the final score was 46-14. New Zealand advance to face England in the semi-final.”
Moving on to MLB in anticipation of the Nats/Astros World Series, I have two simple questions to pose:
- How does someone as small as José Altuve hit a baseball as hard and as far as he does?
- If his 9th inning home run on Saturday night had been hit in an outdoors stadium, might it have landed in Cuba?
I always find it interesting to see very good hitters facing very good pitchers; this World Series should provide plenty of such opportunities. Both teams have 3 very good starting pitchers; both teams have more than a handful of good hitters; the mix-and-match possibilities look very good to me. On paper, the Astros have a significant advantage with regard to the bullpen – – but games are played in the stadium and not on paper. I think this will be an interesting World Series.
The oddsmakers in Las Vegas do not see the Series as being nearly as interesting as I do. The Astros are minus-235 to win the Series with the Nats at +195. Those are the shortest odds for a team to win the Series before the first game had been played since 2007. Back then, the Red Sox were even heavier favorites to beat the Rockies – – which the Sox did. Las Vegas may have the Astros as heavy favorites, but they do not seem to envision either team sweeping the series. Here are those current odds:
- Astros sweep the Nats is 7.5 to 1
- Nats sweep the Astros is 25 to 1.
The NBA regular season will begin this week. The NY Knickerbockers will play their first home game in Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. I wonder if in the pre-game festivities they will arrange for owner James Dolan to throw out the first fan of the season and revoke his season tickets. Just a thought…
Also, I would like to pose a rhetorical question to the players on the team that wins the NBA Championship next June. I am sure that many – if not most – of those players would choose not to accept an invitation to go to the White House as part of their championship celebration – and I have no problem with that at all. Here is my question
- If President Xi Jinping of China invites the NBA champions to come to his office for an honorary visit, would you go, or would you stiff the President of the PRC?
- Oh, while I am at it, let me ask Commissioner Silver what his position might be in this circumstance?
Last week, I mentioned that Landry Jones had been assigned to the Dallas franchise in the XFL. Because I did not remember, I went looking to see where Jones had been drafted by the Steelers when he came out of college. In that search, I concluded that the 2013 NFL Draft was a low water mark for NFL QB prospects. Most fans remember the 1983 draft which had John Elway, and Jim Kelly and Dan Marino up for grabs in addition to a couple of other guys who played positively in the league for a while. Not so in 2013; here is the list of QBs taken then:
- E.J. Manuel – Round 1 – Bills
- Geno Smith – Round 2 – Jets
- Mike Glennon – Round 3 – Bucs
- Matt Barkley – Round 4 – Eagles
- Ryan Nassib – Round 4 – Giants
- Tyler Wilson – Round 4 – Raiders
- Landry Jones – Round 4 – Steelers
- Brad Sorenson – Round 7 – Chargers
- Zac Dysart – Round 7 – Broncos
- B.J. Daniels – Round 7 – Niners
- Sean Renfree – Round 7 – Falcons
That list would qualify as a Rogues’ Gallery …
Finally, Brad Dickson had this comment regarding the recently passed Columbus Day holiday:
“Happy Columbus Day. During his voyage Columbus actually veered about 1200 miles off course. This was the first ever documented use of Mapquest.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………