The Globe’s Robert MacLeod curates the best of sports on the web Monday to Friday
The Los Angeles Dodgers were supposedly the best team money could buy when they began the season with a record payroll of $230-million (U.S.).
That huge expenditure seemed somewhat questionable when the Dodgers stumbled at the start of the season and were languishing in last place.
There were even suggestions, led by FoxSports.com baseball maven Ken Rosenthal, that manager Don Mattingly would be fired .
The Dodgers have rebounded, in a big way, becoming the first team to clinch a playoff berth when they defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-6 to ensure they will finish first in the National League West.
When you look at the season in its entirety, the small-to-mid-market teams that L.A. competed against in its division really stood little chance against the deep-pocketed Dodgers writes Dylan Hernandez in the L.A. Times
After the victory, there were the usual silly shenanigans that erupted within the giddy Dodgers clubhouse, including the tiresome champagne celebration.
The worm dance performed by Cuban rookie Yasiel Pugi did not appear to impress many of his teammates.
After that, a number of the L.A. players trotted back out onto the field and took a plunge in the pool at Chase Field, ignoring an earlier request from Diamondback officials that the Dodgers contain their celebrations indoors.
If the Diamondbacks did not want to witness a visiting team celebrating on Chase Field perhaps Arizona shouldn’t have blown a 9 1/2-game lead back in June writes Bill Plaschke in the L.A. Times .
Later in the day, the Boston Red Sox clinched the title in the American League East with a 3-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway.
Veteran pitcher John Lackey set the tone for the Red Sox, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning on his way to a complete-game two-hitter.
It was fitting that Lackey provided the push into the playoffs, writes Gordon Edes of ESPN.com, having been scorned as an overpaid acquisition through his first three years in Boston.
Somebody else who is hungry to experience post-season play is hefty Prince Fielder, who helped himself to a snack after trying to chase down a fly ball during the Detroit Tigers 5-4 win over the Seattle Mariners.
It was a busy day for Fielder, who showed remarkable determination drive lumbering from first all the way home after Victor Martinez slapped a double.
Fielder would score twice from first base in the game, which Ashley Dunkak, writing for CBS Detroit, provided sweet vindication for Detroit manager Jim Leyland
Leyland was stung by criticism on Saturday for not pinch-running for the big first baseman late in a game.
Andy Reid returns
Andy Reid marked his return to Philadelphia as the man calling the shots for the Kansas City Chiefs and was rewarded with a 26-16 victory that improved the Chiefs to 3-0 on the season.
As Hank Gola writes in the New York Daily news about the return of Reid, even the city that famously booed Santa Claus couldn’t bring itself to treat their old coach in a similar fashion.
Soccer tries to boot rude fan behaviour
Hopefully, this will be a trend that will spread to other sports, not just soccer.
Anybody who has accompanied a child to a professional sporting event will cringe when a segment of the audience begins a chant aimed at distracting the play of the athletes.
It is often crude, deeply personal, and usually fuelled by excessive alcohol use.
Officials in Major League Soccer are attempting to push the vulgar chant mute button writes Andrew Keh in the New York Times , and so far the results have been encouraging.