The Lists

This Week in Sports Talk: September 15, 2019

week in sports September 15 2019

This Week in Sports Talk (TWIST) is our weekly roundup of top headlines and sports news, plus a preview of what’s up next. Heading into the week of September 15, 2019, here’s the top sports news, with a twist. Skim it, and you’ll be good to go all week.

This Week in Sports Talk: September 15, 2019

We begin with some short takes in sports news heading into the week of September 15, 2019.

wakanda forever!

At the start of last Sunday night’s NFL game, we were reminded of the power of art to form new kinds of communities. During the pre-recorded filmed introductions, usually players shout the name of the college from which they graduated, essentially as a way of humanizing them and psyching up their fellow alumni. Instead, the New England Patriots’ defensive end Michael Bennett shouted, “Wakanda Forever!” And crossed his arms as the characters do in the film Black Panther.  Catch the 3-second clip here.

The week in sports September 15 2019: Martellus Bennett (88) poses for a selfie with his brother Michael Bennett in 2017. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The phrase has become a gesture expressing pride in black excellence, and a way of pledging common cause with those who embrace the iconic film and the vision of the world that it stands for. LOVE. IT.

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Nadal takes the US Open Title

Since it happened after our last report, we’re noting here that last Sunday afternoon, Rafael Nadal won his 19th Grand Slam title in an epic 5-set instant classic versus Daniil Medvedev, who was playing in his first ever Grand Slam final. Rafa is now just one behind Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam titles.

week in sports September 15 2019

The week in sports September 15 2019: Rafael Nadal wins the 2019 US Open Men’s Singles title. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Team USA disappoints in the FIBA World Cup

After several NBA superstars opted out of joining Team USA in the FIBA World Cup, the United States has ended up in a place that once would have been unimaginable. The Americans lost to Serbia and yesterday played for seventh place against Poland. It’s the worst showing ever in a tournament featuring NBA players.

The week in sports September 15 2019: At the FIBA World Cup, Team USA lost to Serbia. Photo Credit: Ng Han Guan for the Associated Press.

ncaa college football this weekend

noteworthy results

The 126-year old rivalry between Penn State and Pittsburgh continues, with No. 13 Penn State defeating their adversary 17-10. Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa threw for a career-high 444 yards to win the Southeastern Conference opener against South Carolina, 47-23. And the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes have won each game this season by at least 24 points, and they’ve won 9 straight overall. They beat Indiana 51-10 yesterday.

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

crimson tide gets a little bit creepy

It’s a high-class problem with a potentially creepy solution. Alabama is offering preferred access to postseason games to attendees who stay ’till the end of the game, even when it’s a blowout. An app on students’ cell phones will track the true Crimson Tide loyalists who stay until the close even though their team is crushing the opposition (and the victory parties are already underway). What say you? Good idea? Or the beginning of the end?

week in sports September 15 2019

The week in sports September 15 2019: Alabama Crimson Tide football fans.

was justify juiced?

Justify, who won the Triple Crown in 2018, reportedly failed a drug test prior to that year’s Kentucky Derby. The horse allegedly tested positive for scopolamine, which is a considered a performance-enhancing drug in thoroughbred racing. The horse’s owner blames “environmental conditions” (presumably pesticides) for the failed test.

The week in sports September 15 2019: Justify, winner of the Triple Crown in 2018. Photo Credit: Victor J. Blue for The New York Times.

no more ninjas in the NBA

The latest on-court headband trend will no longer be allowed in the NBA. The league is banning ninja-style headbands. Wrapped elegantly around the head like a Japanese Hachimaki, they added a dramatic element to big plays. Sadly, members of the NBA’s competition committee met Monday and expressed “concerns on safety,” namely the looseness of the bands.

week in sports September 15 2019

The week in sports September 15 2019: Ninja-style headbands have been barred by the NBA.

Dang it! All this just when the king himself was just about to start rocking the look. Calling himself “Bruce Lee-Bron,” LA Laker LeBron James posted several photos of himself working out during the off-season while wearing a ninja headband.

week in sports September 15 2019

The week in sports September 15 2019: LeBron James of the LA Lakers working out off-season in a ninja headband.

Fans say that the NBA is missing out on significant opportunities to sell new branded merchandise by banning this new headgear. And call us crazy, but isn’t Rafael Nadal sort of wearing a ninja headband in the photo at the top of our post? 

a dude and his watch

Odell Beckham Jr. (OBJ), new wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns, made news after wearing a watch that reportedly cost $350,000 in last Sunday’s loss to the Tennessee Titans. He kept the story alive this week when he said that he will continue to wear the watch despite it possibly being against the league’s policy of wearing hard objects during games.

The week in sports September 15 2019: Odell Beckham Jr. of the Cleveland Browns in last Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images).

The watch in question is a Richard Mille 011 Orange Storm. OBJ believes all the fuss is just because he’s wearing the watch, and not some more obscure player. Our Sports Desk feels that he’s suffering from New York Withdrawal Symptom, and just hasn’t got used to how people roll in the Midwest. Meanwhile, our Style Council notes with approval that it perfectly matched his orange and brown uniform. Watch this space for further updates.

We’ll close this episode with further proof that IT ALL TIES TOGETHER here at Dandelion Chandelier Sports. ‘Cause Rafael Nadal had his Richard Mille RM 27-03 timepiece on when he won his 19th Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open on Sunday.

Rafael Nadal after winning the men’s Singles Finals match at the 2019 US Open. Photo Credit: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Other Top Sports Headlines heading into the week of September 15, 2019

Whew! Now that we’re warmed up, here’s everything else you need to know about sports heading into the week of September 15, 2019:

1. MLB

Must Know:

This week the LA Dodgers became the first team to clinch their division. It’s wasn’t much of a surprise. The last time a team other than the Dodgers won the National League West was in 2012.

Joe Kelly of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images.

The New York Yankees, Houston Astros, and Atlanta Braves are on track to do the same soon. The Minnesota Twins and the St. Louis Cardinals are 5 and 3 games ahead, respectively. So it’s not a lock, but it seems likely that they’ll be division champs.  

In the wildcard race, the Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland A’s and Cleveland Indians are locked in a close race in the AL (as of this posting, Cleveland is 2.5 behind). In the NL, the Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals currently hold the wildcard slots, with the Milwaukee Brewers close behind. The New York Mets are 3 games back.

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Nice to Know:

Home run records

More home runs have been hit in 2019 than any other season in history. Jonathan Villar of the Orioles hit the record-breaking 6,106th homer of the year. The previous record was set in 2017. And there are still two weeks left to go in the regular season! Cynics are questioning whether the MLB’s balls have been “juiced” in recent seasons to make it easier to hit a homer. 

Whatever the case, the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins continue to battle for the single-season home run record.  The Twins had 275 heading into Tuesday night, but the Yankees hit six in one game, moving them to 276. Then Mitch Garver homered for the Twins and tied  it back up. As of this posting, Yankees have 284 home runs to the Twins’ 280

The New York Yankees keep breaking home run records this season.

Yanks rock!

After beating the Toronto Blue Jays last night, the Yankees have the best record in baseball at 98 – 52 (the Dodgers are 96-54).  Also, the pinstripes have swept 6 double headers this season (they swept our hometown team, the Detroit Tigers, this week). That’s the most since 1979. As Ernie Banks would say, Let’s play two!

The Yanks’ magic number is now 4 (meaning that they need 4 wins or losses by the second-place Tampa Bay Rays to lock up the divisional championship). They want to get the top seed so they get home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Mets still in the wild card race

Across town, the New York Mets hit 5 home runs in a row on Thursday and hit 6 home runs total in the game. The team is currently only 3 games back of the Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals for wildcard. And they beat the LA Dodgers last night! But they have a tough road, with 14 games to go.

Their star, Noah “Thor” Syndergaard, is in a dispute with the Mets front office, which also doesn’t help. Reports are that he had a private conversation with general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, and that he was “livid” over throwing to catcher Wilson Ramos. Apparently, Syndergaard prefers to pitch with Tomas Nido or René Rivera behind the plate.

The New York Mets’ Noah Syndergaard.

Extra Credit:

Reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers will miss the remainder of the season with a fractured patella. The good news is that he won’t need surgery and should make a full recovery.

Christian Yelich. Photo Credit: USA Today Sports.

Finally, there’s this from the What Have You Done for Me Lately File: the Boston Red Sox are not having the season they hoped for. So this week, they fired president Dave Dombrowski. While Boston will likely not make the playoffs, they are just one year off of winning the World Series, with a roster that Dombrowski put together. He was hired in 2015, so now the Sox are looking for their fourth General Manager in 10 years. Wow. This is a really tough business.

2. NFL

Must Know:

After Week 1 in the NFL, the consensus view was that the winners so far are the Dallas Cowboys, the New England Patriots, and the Baltimore Ravens (who rolled over Miami 59-10). And that the losers are the Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets, and Detroit Lions. But as our Sports Desk notes, there’s still a long season ahead.  

The results from Week 2 tend to bear out some of those beliefs, though. The New England Patriots have won their first two games by a combined score of 76-3, first rolling over the Pittsburgh Steelers 33-3 last week, then shutting out the Miami Dolphins 43-0 in Week 2.  

Further validating that view? The Cowboys and the Ravens are also now 2-0 for the season (that’s good). And the Dolphins and the Steelers are 0-2 (that’s bad).

Nice to Know: 

In Oakland, the word is “No Antonio Brown, no problem.” The Raiders easily defeated division rivals the Denver Broncos in Week 1. 

week 1 disappointments

As always after Week 1 though, some fans’ giddy hopes for the season are already deflating. The Cleveland Browns fell back to earth after an off-season full of hope. On Thursday night, the Buccaneers beat the Carolina Panthers, and the chatter is that Panthers quarterback Cam Newton doesn’t look like his usual self – he played poorly. 

The New York Jets lost game 1 to the Buffalo Bills, after starting the 4th quarter up 16-0.  That demoralizing loss was the unfortunate precursor to more bad news. Their receiver Quincy Enunwa suffered another serious neck injury, and will miss the rest of the season. The Jets are trying to regroup: they’ve signed another kicker; Leonard Williams has a sprained ankle but should be able to play in Game 2. And Le’Veon Bell had an MRI and has been cleared to play.

Adding to the drama? Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was suspended for a year by the NFL for his role in “Bountygate,” found himself in a trash-talk war with Odell Beckham Jr. ahead of this weekend’s game. OBJ is now with the Cleveland Browns, and Williams just left the Browns for the Jets. There’s plenty of spice around this game. Stay tuned.

players disappointed, too

Fans may be disappointed after week 1 – but this year, even some of the players are already throwing in the towel. The press reported this week that following their 59-10 loss in Week 1 to the Ravens, “multiple players” for the Miami Dolphins reached out to their respective agents and expressed their desire to be traded. 

Extra credit:

Another week, another drama centered on Antonio Brown (AB). Last week, the big news was his release from the Oakland Raiders and his move to the New England Patriots. This week came word that AB is the subject of a civil lawsuit accusing him of rape. He denies the charges, and the NFL has cleared him to play in today’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

week in sports September 15 2019

The week in sports September 15, 2019: Antonio Brown may take the field for the first time today as a New England Patriot.

In the aftermath of AB’s move to the Patriots, the fallout has been – not surprisingly- a bit odd. For example, a New York Giants fan in Rhode Island was arrested for threatening to blow up Gillette Stadium (where the Patriots play) as a result of the AB signing. Yikes!

In the sports press, some view the Pats’ signing AB as a smart move. Others say it’s bad for the NFL (and that was before the new lawsuit was filed).  

Bonus round:

Some big-name quarterbacks are already injured or otherwise sidelined.

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold has been diagnosed with mononucleosis and will be out this week and probably next week, too.  That means the team may struggle against the Cleveland Browns this week and the New England Patriots the week after. Their schedule is tough for the next few weeks, so it’s not inconceivable that they will go 0 – 6.  Watch this space for further updates.  In the meantime, Trevor Siemian will start as quarterback for the Jets on Monday night.

week in sports September 15 2019

The week in sports September 15 2019: New York Jets quarterback Trevor Siemian. Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports.

Nick Foles, the Super Bowl MVP, had been playing with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was injured and will be out for the season. As our super-sophisticated Sports Desk notes, C’est dommage. Too bad. We think our Sports Desk is still quite bitter about that Patriots loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII. Might be tine to let that one go, dudes.

This Week in Sports News September 15, 2019

That’s it. You’re good to go with the top headlines and coming attractions heading into the week of September 15, 2019. We had an excellent Week 1 in our friendly NFL football pool. Our shoe fund is growing! Have a good one, and see you next week. Go, Pats!

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