The Best of the Best

The Play by Play

Sports Illustrated Prediction

Three years ago, at the end of the 2014 season, Sports Illustrated, a widely disseminated sports magazine, predicted the Houston Astros would win the 2017 World Series. You may be thinking big whoop or asking yourself who cares? What makes this prediction fascinating is not only that the Houston Astros are, in fact, in the 2017 World Series but also that, back in 2014 when it was made, the team finished the season dead last, having lost 108 games. Even though a great deal of analytics went into making the prediction, the man responsible for the article didn’t quite believe it would actually come true. And while in its 2017 MLB preview issue the magazine did not pick the Astros, it did pick the Dodgers. So it’s really a win win for Sports Illustrated. With the series at 2-1, in favor of the Astros, you can catch game 4 on Saturday at 8:20pm (and game 5 on Sunday at the same time). If it’s anything like Game 2, one of the most dramatic in World Series’ history, it will certainly be worth your time to watch.

A Hairy Situation

The Phoenix Suns are somewhat of a hot mess as of late. On the same day that the organization announced the firing of coach Earl Watson, following an 0-3 start to the season, Phoenix’s star player Eric Bledsoe tweeted “I Don’t wanna be here.” And it all happened within 68 minutes. Despite claiming that he was referencing his desire to leave a hair salon and not the team, no one, especially Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough is buying it. Following a meeting with management, Bledsoe was sent home and, it is believed, will not play another game with the Suns.

The Faces and Facts

Cristiano Ronaldo (Soccer): The most valuable, and most attractive, soccer player in the world. Ronaldo was just named the Best Fifa Men’s player for the fifth time, beating out Lionel Messi and Neymar for the title. While his skills have earned him accolades on the field, his abs have made him a household name. Just check out this recent Optimum advertisement, highlighting his muscles’ ability to take on a viral life of their own.

Joe Girardi (Baseball): The now former manager of the New York Yankees (in baseball a manager is the equivalent of a head coach). Girardi’s 4 year $16 million dollar contract came to a close at the end of this season as did the organization’s desire to keep him around any longer. Despite a World Series win and six playoff appearances during his ten year tenure, the team decided to move in another direction, with a replacement yet to be named.

Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux (Hockey): Two of the best hockey players of all time. Gretzky, often referred to as “The Great One,” still holds 61 NHL records despite retiring almost 20 years ago. Lemieux isn’t far behind, undisputedly  joining Gretzky in any top ten list. Both have retired and now hold executive positions for the teams where they previously played (Gretzky in Edmonton and Lemieux in Pittsburgh). As the NHL works to compile the greatest hockey moment of all time, the two all-stars find themselves facing off yet again. Even if Lemieux doesn’t take this prize, he might win the award for most hospitable NHL owner, housing Sidney Crosby in his own home for multiple years upon his 2005 entrance into the league.

The UpComing

Pittsburgh Steelers v. Detroit Lions: Two great quarterbacks and two strong defenses. The Steelers boast one of the best running backs in the league with Le’Veon Bell, yet the Lions pride themselves on their ability to stop the run. The Lions have a quarterback with one of the strongest throwing arms but will be facing a Steelers defense known for its sacking abilities. With those threats somewhat neutralized, it might be the Steelers receiving corps that is the game changer, with players like Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Although, their individual desires to be thrown the ball and/or be the best (see Brown’s sideline tantrum and Bryant’s recent tweets which led to him being benched) may prove distracting. And what about JuJu?  He’s just excited to have his bike back!

Toronto Maple Leafs v. San Jose Sharks: Both teams are off to a relatively strong start and the Leafs have shown some exceptional offensive skills. Yet the real reason to watch is Patrick Marleau, who played for the Sharks the first nineteen years of his career. After comparing offers from numerous teams, Sharks included, Marleau decided to take his talents to Toronto, signing a 3 year $18.75 million dollar contract. While it seemed like an amicable split, Monday’s game will be Patrick’s first return to San Jose following his departure. We’ll see what kind of welcome he gets.  Puck drops at 10:30pm.

The Weekend Social Hour

Covering World Series food and beverage last week, it’s time to dive into decorations because no party is complete without a strong ambience. It’s quite convenient that one of the most popular mason jar brands already has the word “ball” printed across it. All you have to do is paint it white, add some red trim and the word “play” to turn it into the perfect baseball cup. You may also have some spare vases lying around which, unbeknownst to you, can transform into ideal decorations. Simply fill them with  peanuts, cracker jacks, assorted candy or even baseballs. Quick and easy solutions to spruce up any World Series party you plan to throw.

Bonus: The Arizona Cardinals sure do love their costumes. The most recent victim of the team’s quarterback challenge, Drew Stanton, was seen sporting a fetching Wonder Woman outfit prior to last week’s 0-33 loss to the Rams.  At least they  haven’t lost their sense of humor.

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