Aaron Boone Suspended for Today’s Game

Friday night, Aaron Boone was ejected as the Yankees were being no-hit by the Tigers for arguing balls and strikes. Nic Lentz, a substitute homeplate umpire, had established a low strike zone early in the game but it was evidently not very consistent between Detroit and New York hitters. Jawing from the dugout, Boone was thrown out with very little hesitation by Lentz, and enraged, Boone stormed out from the dugout where he gave Lentz a quick strike zone lesson from behind the plate and got in his face. Apparently, hat bill contact is an offense worth suspending for in the MLB. If you haven’t seen the ejection and subsequent exchange, it’s something to behold from a manager that has been criticized by Yankee faithful as being a little too mild-mannered and working too close to a sabermetrics book in his debut season as the New York skipper.

Yankees like a pugilist at the helm (see: Martin, Billy; Girardi, Joe) and you can’t argue with results. In what felt like blatant retaliation, the Yanks came up in the next inning to hit three homeruns after being no-hit for 5 innings, taking the lead 4-3. I had been in the shower at the time, but I had the game turned up and heard each of Michael Kay’s calls. My reaction could only be described as “Ray Liotta in the shower after the airport heist in Goodfellas” while I slammed my hand on the tile and yelled “WIN IT FOR BOONIE!” enough times to probably disturb my neighbors. New York went on to win the game 7-5 in a goddamn late-season nailbiter for the ages.

Today’s game against the Tigers hopefully keeps the momentum going after the reunification of a sorely missed Gary Sanchez and debut of Aaron McClutchen in a 2-1 victory yesterday. I took the Yanks at a -1.5 spread on -135 juice for 1.5 Units this afternoon, tail or fade at your own risk. I think Lance Lynn is due a good outing today on the mound, the lineup is tightening back up as something a little more threatening, and although Stanton is having a much-needed day off, the outfield has enough depth both defensively and at bat to give him the rest. You can find me in the reddit Game Day Thread, where I would please urge the board to stop the Chicken Little posting on every piece of the other team’s offense or Yankee fielding miscue. It’s been a rough but ultimately successful season and I think any fan should be optimistic about the playoffs, especially if this team can get and stay healthy. I miss Aaron Judge and Sir Didi so much. Nic Lentz is a baby and Reagan should’ve busted up the Umpire’s Union.

AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

Broncos Anger God, Invite Torrential Downpour After Blowing 13 Point Lead

There’s no real reason to get too worked up about losing an NFL preseason game in the fourth quarter with third-string players on the field. Being up 23-10 after three stings a bit, but the first and second squads had good showings early on, key players looked returned to form, and drives came together in a way that was both productive and satisfying to watch. Last week, an increasingly frustrating coaching staff marched into the opening game against the Minnesota Vikings with an… avant-garde game plan, in which the team was clearly experimenting and seeing what could stick to the wall. That’s fine for a preseason game, although I think most fans prefer something a little more structured and goal oriented. Against the Chicago Bears, a team that finished last in their division last year, the Broncos looked pretty lethal at times, with Von Miller on the field longer than most people would probably like and Emmanuel Sanders blossoming new chemistry with 2018’s hired gun QB Case Keenum.

Royce Freeman and CU alum Phillip Lindsay dominated the running game over Broncos veteran Devontae Booker, both clearly deserving spots on the final roster. Jeff Hue-Hue-Hue-Heuerman, a sorely underused tight-end weapon, looked like a bouncer at closing time, fighting for every bit of yardage he could get and scoring on a two-point conversion after a running TD from Freeman early on in the second quarter. First-round draft pick Bradley Chubb forced a safety after a bobbled snap, and Justin Simmons caught an interception to bring in “back up” Chad Kelly, quickly becoming a fan favorite in the preseason for his physicality and clear QB IQ. Everything was looking great. I think everyone knows it’s the Bears, but the Broncos played legitimately good football for basically three and a half quarters. This Kelly to Sutton touchdown near the two-minute warning right before halftime is an absolute thing of beauty:

After last week’s disastrous, downright depressing showing by first-round bust Paxton Lynch, most fans, including myself, were calling for him to be cut from the team or traded to another franchise dumb enough to take a chance on him. Lynch was booed as he took the field and again periodically as he threw 5/11 for 39 yards, most of which were YAC against a third-string defense from one of the worst-performing teams in the league. He’s abysmal, yet had the audacity in the post-game presser to claim that he “wants to be THE quarterback, not the backup.” If anything, tonight cemented my claims last week that Lynch doesn’t even belong in the NFL, much less warming the bench in Denver. Local sporting press is starting to feel bad for him, despite urging the team to “make a move”, and head coach Vance Joseph, traditionally a little bit cagey regarding questions about Lynch, seemed particularly unleashed when commenting on him getting booed at Mile High. Again. Even ex-Bronco RB CJ Anderson admonished fans for booing:

A lot is being made about the Isiah McKenzie fumble, and although I think he’s tested quite a bit of patience after earning a reputation for dropping punt returns last year, that was a bang-bang great defensive play from the Bears and McKenzie did what he could. I really hope his confidence isn’t shaken, because he’s shown a lot of progress from last year and I believe he’s earned a spot on the roster without a question. He looked dejected on the sidelines after that play, in which he was fighting for extra yardage with defenders on his ankles before having the ball punched out of his grasp. There’s no shame there, he’s out to prove himself.

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Local deity, pictured after a Broncos loss.

I was fortunate enough to be commuting into work shortly after the game when the Denver metro area finally let open the monsoon it had been brewing since the late afternoon. Luckily, the lightening that had been persistent for much of the game didn’t delay anything. I’ve been out of town for several of the summer storms, which I’ve cherished in the nearly 15 years I’ve spent here, and this was definitely the hardest, most sustained rain I’d seen all year without any added hail. After a 24-23 loss in the final two minutes, I’m assuming the Gods were absolutely furious at another week of Paxton Lynch provoking an entire region of the United States into more wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Next game: Friday 8/24 at 5:30pm MST @ Washington.

 

Paxton Lynch Sucks

Bronco’s football returned tonight with a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings and after another lackluster training camp showing and another abysmal preseason game going into his third year, it’s time for John Elway to swallow his pride and cut Paxton Lynch. This evening, he went 6/11 for 24 yards with an interception and was sacked, then completely shown up by Chad Kelly, literally a Last Chance U alumni who spent last year sidelined with a wrist injury and had never played a game in the NFL. With concerns about Case Keenum being injury prone, the back-up job clearly needs to go to a player that doesn’t have the football IQ equivalent of a student repeating the fourth grade twice.

Look at this shit:

He’s 6’8″ and screen passes are swatted down at the line of scrimmage. This is a guy that lost depth chart positioning to Brock Osweiler, a man paid by the Cleveland Browns to not play and Trevor “Skittles” Siemian. The fact that he’s on an NFL roster is astonishing. Zero development or improvement in three years, but John Elway refuses to admit his first-round pick is a bust, which has cost the Broncos two serviceable second-string quarterbacks going to Minnesota. At least Brock, now playing in Miami, had passion for the organization and town. Paxton should be working as a mascot in Tampa Bay or doing Captain Morgan promotional appearances on frat rows. He’s a dullard.

I’m very forgiving. I didn’t mind seeing Trevor start again last year despite his ongoing issues. He had heart and came back from big hits as best he could. The team seemed to get behind him until obvious frustrations from a diminished but still legendary defense became insurmountable. Paxton, which is the male naming equivalent of Makayla, is lazy, listless, and obviously yippy anytime he’s put into a pre-planned QB1 situation.

There’s a question of “dead money” for next year if Elway can fall out of love with this towering mutant pirate, do the right thing, and get rid of him. It might cost a seventh-round pick down the line to sweeten the garbage pot, $600k in cap space this year, and $1.3 million next year, but after watching him booed off the field in Mile High tonight what are the other options? He’s dead weight. Even the most optimistic homer fans waiting for a development breakthrough or hoping for him to stop getting Vietnam flashbacks every time the sub-par defensive line collapses his pocket are reaching the end of their ropes.

It’s been enough chances and without a move by the coaching staff or front office, it’s only a matter of time before people start saying the same thing about Vance Joseph or even John Elway, who just two years ago could’ve gotten Denver International Airport named after him. At a certain point, it’s undeniably an organizational problem.

Vegas Wins the Stanley Cup Because There’s an Ongoing Conspiracy to Jumpstart Revenue in Disaster-Stricken Areas

We don’t get a brand-spanking new sports team every year. It’s always a little exciting, seeing what they name it, what town it’s going to, who is going to end up playing for it; but I don’t think anybody expected the Las Vegas Golden Knights, the dumbest named team in any sport, to make it this far into the NHL post-season less than a year ago. Hockey seems tough to rig. It’s hard to make the call that perhaps this is to get the team off on the right foot, making sure Las Vegas of all places gets all the curious new casual fans excited about hockey out the gate. Cinderella runs and telegraphed story lines have become a little more prominent in recent years, but I think an even more nefarious phenomenon is at work here.

In the fall, some wealthy, gambling addict maniac stockpiled numerous firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition into a high-rise Las Vegas hotel and opened fire on an audience of concertgoers, killing dozens and wounding hundreds before killing himself as police closed in. The tragedy has had a chilling effect on Vegas tourism, compounded with other attendance-related issues and difficulties adjusting the “product” to appeal to younger consumers. There’s clear motivation and incentive for Las Vegas to have something new and exciting to crow about, and little does more to foster a collective, unifying identity for a town than local sports, something Vegas has been lacking for ages and looking to add more to with the impending move of the Oakland Raiders.

Let the game do the healing, right? It sounds outlandish, but this isn’t the first correlation I’ve found with towns seemingly fighting back against the adversity of a tragedy and taking home a championship. Just last year, I watched my beloved New York Yankees fall to the Houston Astros in the ALCS after Hurricane Harvey and other storms devastated the region. Houston went on to win the World Series. The New Orleans Saints’ win in 2010 is a little suspect, considering it took years for the area to start recovering from Katrina… Perfect time for an economic jumpstart. West Germany had three World Cup wins in 36 years! The inverse to the rule here is when the nearly-new Arizona Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees in the World Series in 2001, right after 9/11. If there was ever a year to give it to the Yankees, it was probably after 9/11.

Vegas (0-1) and the Winnipeg Jets (1-0) go at it in Game 2, tonight, at 8pm ET on NBC.

A Spoiled, Rotten Yankee Fan

I’ve never been this ready for baseball season. Maybe it’s two years of Denver Bronco mediocrity, the sting of the Yankees losing to Houston in the 2017 American League Championship Series, and the fact that I’ve been taking in quite a bit of PAC-12 college ball these days, but I’m way more amped up than usual about Opening Day. It’s comforting: as the world unravels and anxiety spikes we emerge anyway from the cold, looking forward to the warmer months of the year always knowing we’re going to be playing baseball. It might be the only constant in America I not just reliably depend on but welcome.

Having never lived in New York and never written a lot about baseball, I realize I have a bit of explaining to do. Or maybe I don’t. This is the inferiority complex I’ve developed as an all-too-common out-of-state fan. In Colorado, a typical baseball season ends sometime around June. After a brief period of optimism that runs itself dry around mid-May, the Rockies (usually) putter out and the town begins fantasizing about summer football workouts. Maintaining enthusiasm for baseball on the other side of the country in the face of such consistently disappointed fans ends up requiring a bit of biographical backstory.

When I was born in 1990 in California, it didn’t take long to get me to an Angel’s game. My dad, who grew up on the East Coast, loved baseball and he’d put me in his glove at “The Big A” where we watched those middling early-90s Yankees teams when they came to town. Somewhere, there exists a VHS tape of me at about 2 watching a tape of the Minnesota Twins winning the 91 World Series, which I watched on a loop that winter because even as a baby, I was irritated there was no baseball to watch. Several of my first sentences were attempts to start a discussion about Kirby Puckett and Chili Davis.

When you’re little, seeing your parents lose their shit has quite a novelty to it. Gene Michael comes in as General Manager, turns the Yankee franchise around, and by 1996 my house had gone stark-raving mad for Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte , Mariano Rivera, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neil, and Derek Jeter. At the same time, my mother, who grew up in Colorado, was attempting to match the Yankee fever with her elation for back-to-back Bronco Superbowl wins and the anointment of John Elway as Saint of All Quarterbacks. As a very young child, I was completely spoiled by watching longstanding familial sports allegiances rewarded with what seemed like championship contending teams year after year. Continue reading →

Farewell, Aqib Talib

After four years with the Denver Broncos and one championship ring, cornerback Aqib Talib was traded to the LA Rams in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick. Generally, I treat sports rumor mills as a where-there’s-smoke-there’s-fire situation, and there was a lot of smoke about Talib desiring a trade even pretty early on into the 2017 season. Fans and Bronco’s beat guys definitely saw this coming, and after two unremarkable, disappointing seasons coming off of a Superbowl win and the retirement of Peyton Manning, it certainly isn’t surprising.

Since Superbowl 50, the offseason has been a stressful, pins and needles time for Bronco fans. Locking down Von Miller and Emmanuel Sanders were definitely coups for the front office, but you also inexplicably let Wade Phillips go as defensive coordinator after heading one of the historically greatest defenses of all time and start piecing out said defense. These are all tough front office problems and it’s difficult to see how it’s all going to play out.

Talib is a player I think almost everybody hates – unless he’s on your team. When he played for New England, I put him up there with Vontaze Burfict and cursed his coverage anytime the Broncos played the Pats. I was even pissed off when we picked him up after that disastrous loss to the Seahawks in Superbowl 48. The Broncos have always had a bit of a moral high ground against a rival like Oakland. Talib, coming from Darth Bellicheck’s dubious Patriot dynasty that had just lost a tight end to murder charges, seemed out of place in a franchise whose fanbase primarily meme’d about chicken parm sandwiches, ill-fitting winterwear, and Eric Decker’s monster hog. Especially after the then-recent conclusion of the illustrious career of an absolute class-act Champ Bailey, Talib felt like buying an angry Rottweiler after having to put down your childhood Irish Setter.

Naturally, I think fans not accustomed to having an Enforcer on their team can’t live without one after they’re gone. Just being able to know you’ve got the ability to exact some revenge or try and intimidate a snarling team on the road is quite the feeling. What comes standard issue on a hockey squad isn’t as plentiful in the NFL. Talib doesn’t take any shit. There was the eye poke, the chain grabs, and the fights. Talib served suspensions in three consecutive seasons with the Broncos. He shot himself in the leg at a bar in Texas.

But there’s also 103-yard pick-sixes. Continue reading →