Didn’t watch sports last night? Well, you only missed one major event, really – but come on, it was Game 1 of the World Series! If you can’t park yourself in front of the TV for the World Series, what will you be willing to watch? The NFL Thursday Night game tonight, because most people would probably rather watch a midseason NFL game, even one that’s not a marquee matchup, instead of the World Series? …Yeah, probably that, actually. Anyway, let’s get on to what you missed – i.e. one of the great performances in World Series history.
Pablo Sandoval dominated. Justin Verlander? Not so much.
Babe Ruth. Reggie Jackson. Albert Pujols. Pablo Sandoval. Which name doesn’t belong? The answer is none: they all belong, because following Sandoval’s power explosion in the Giants’ 8-3 Game 1 win last night, that’s the list of players who’ve hit three home runs in a World Series game. And considering Sandoval his two of his off Justin Verlander, one could make the case his performance might be the most impressive of all. Sandoval, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda for his portly physique and all-bamboo diet, finished 4-for-4 with four RBI, moving past Animal Collective’s Noah “Panda Bear” Lennox in the panda power rankings, but still finishing behind the eternal No. 1, sneezing baby panda.
Of course, one could argue that Verlander was so off last night that one could also make the case Sandoval’s performance isn’t quite as eye-popping as it looks. (You’d be wrong if you made that case – three home runs in a World Series game would be impressive even if Sandoval had hit them off of me – but you could make it.) The Tigers ace yielded five runs in four innings, because he is clearly an UNCLUTCH CHOKER.* Meanwhile, Barry Zito all but silenced the Tigers, allowing one run in 5 2/3 (and Tim Lincecum was untouchable after coming in on relief, striking out five in 2 1/3 perfect innings).
The series is far from over, as the won-three-elimination-games-in-a-row-in-both-series-to-get-here Giants can well attest, but it couldn’t have gotten off to a much better start for them. They still have home field advantage. They got to Verlander. If momentum means anything, they’re riding a tidal wave of it. But anything can happen from here – that’s why we watch. Speaking of watching…
Game 2 TV info: Tonight, 8 p.m., Fox.
Reminder: There is also football tonight.
There’s the pro version – that one features the Bucs and the surprisingly-contending Vikings. Ads I’ve seen leading up to the game have described the Bucs as “hungry,” which seems like a code word for “We don’t know how to make them sound that interesting.” Can they end the Vikes’ unbeaten run at home? Well… sort of doubtful, honestly, since the Bucs haven’t won a road game yet themselves.
And if the college game is your thing, Clemson travels to Wake Forest tonight. Clemson’s got the clear edge on paper and they’ve beaten Wake three straight times, but they barely escaped with a win at home last year, and Jim Grobe has Wake in his patented “can’t look past them because they’re sneakily not bad and could pick you off and could wind up in a bowl which is really pretty good for a school that’s generally thought to be as tough to win at as Wake Forest” mode.
Bucs-Vikes TV info: Tonight, 8:20 p.m., NFL Network.
Clemson-Wake TV info: Tonight, 7:30 p.m., ESPN.
Preseason basketball happened again.
Don’t worry, we’re coming to the end. The Knicks beat the Nets at Nassau Coliseum – we can only assume the teams played there to make the arena feel better about the Islanders leaving it for the Barclays Center in a few years. The Clippers beat the Kobe-and-Dwight-less Lakers, with Eric Bledsoe submitting the game of his life – 22 points, 11 assists, and nine steals. Of course, it was the preseason, so no one cared. Not even Bledsoe, probably. And the Wizards beat the Heat, who were of course playing without… hmm, wow, actually everyone big on the Heat played. We wouldn’t expect the same for the team’s final tune-up tomorrow night against the Hornets.
Photos via Getty