The baseball gods giveth, and they taketh away. After his unlikely ascension into the sport’s pantheon of greats by virtue of his perfect game against the Seattle Mariners last Saturday, the journeyman White Sox right-hander was brought down to earth with a thud Thursday, giving up nine runs in five innings in a Red Sox rout. You know, just in case he was entertaining the notion of retiring 27 straight batters every time he takes the mound.
A Vézina Trophy nomination looks nice on the résumé, but it holds little weight in the postseason where everyone starts afresh. Still, the Kings netminder wasted little time continuing his stellar regular-season play, turning aside 164 of the 172 shots he faced in eliminating Vancouver last Sunday. He may not yet be the King of Kings – you need more than a crown on your jersey for that accolade – but in the opening round he was certainly good enough to judge the quick and the dead.
Bobby Thomson’s “shot heard round the world” has always seemed a bit preposterous given baseball’s largely parochial standing, but this week’s “shot found round the world” has no such issues. More than a year after the tsunami, one Japanese schoolboy’s soccer ball has finally been found – in Alaska. While Americans are still slow to embrace the sport, it’s gratifying to see that Mother Nature is doing her bit to expand the global game.
Christmas came early Thursday for 32 of the finest young football players in the United States. Like many, the former South Carolina cornerback had spent his formative years dreaming of the NFL draft, forsaking sugar plums for visions of Lambeau leaps, Terrible Towels and ticker-tape parades down Manhattan’s Canyon of Heroes. Then, looking like a kid who just found a lump of coal in the bottom of his stocking, he learned his fate – Buffalo. Happy Gilmore he wasn’t.
After making over the team in the offseason, it’s nice to know that there’s still a solid, stable presence in the middle of the Angels’ order. We’re talking, of course, about Vernon Wells, who continues to lead the way for Los Angeles before Friday’s game with four home runs and eight RBIs while the $240-million first baseman is stuck on deck awaiting his first round-tripper of 2012. Pujols may have done some incredible things throughout his storied career, but making Wells’s $126-million contract seem somewhat reasonable is up there with the best of them.