Peterson leads Vikings to playoffs

Adrian Peterson's 199 rushing yards gave him 2,097 for 2012. Nine shy of Eric Dickerson's single season record. But it was enough to get Minnesota into the playoffs.

Adrian Peterson’s 199 rushing yards gave him 2,097 for 2012. Nine shy of Eric Dickerson’s single season record. But it was enough to get Minnesota into the playoffs.

Adrian Peterson didn’t break Eric Dickerson’s NFL record for rushing. He only fell nine yards short. All Peterson did was rush for 199 yards in leading the Vikings past the Packers 37-34 to make the playoffs. In a must win game, the amazing running back delivered a virtuoso performance that’ll be remembered by NFL fans. He needed 208 yards to break Dickerson’s single season record of 2,105 set in 1984 with the Los Angeles Rams.

It didn’t matter that he missed out on making NFL history. However, Peterson became the seventh player to go over 2,000 rushing yards for a season- finishing with 2,097. To do it in such a unique setting against a bitter rival with so much on the line is pretty special. The 27-year old former Minnesota ’07 number one pick (seventh overall) carried the ball a career high 34 times rushing for his 12th touchdown and making the final carry count. With his team needing more cushion to clinch the game before overtime, Peterson took that 34th carry and dashed for 27 yards, turning Minnesota into bedlam. It easily set up Georgia rookie Blair Walsh from 29 as time expired.

”I told myself to come into this game focused on one thing, and that’s winning,” Peterson said amidst the possibility of breaking  Dickerson’s 28-year old record. For him, just winning was enough because it helped the Vikings achieve a team goal of making the postseason. A pretty remarkable turnaround. Last year, they went 3-13 with Peterson missing the final four games due to a torn ACL and MCL that ended a frustrating ’11 season. Then, he comes back better than ever carrying the Vikings to an improbable 10-6 season and into the postseason.

”It wasn’t meant to happen, or it would’ve happened. Not to say it doesn’t hurt, because it does,” Peterson added. ”But we came in here tonight and accomplished the ultimate goal, and that was getting a win and punching our ticket to the playoffs.”

The game itself was easily the best of the final Sunday in the regular season. A bitter rivalry with the game having meaning for both teams. Green Bay was trying to wrap up the NFC’s No.2 seed and clinch a bye. Minnesota needed a win to make January. No surprise that against one of the league’s best in Aaron Rodgers that the teams combined for 71 points. The game included 849 total yards (GB-405 Min-444) of offense, eight touchdowns and five field goals.

The Vikings jumped in front 13-0 highlighted by a Peterson seven-yard score. They led 20-7 before the Packers got back in it. Mason Crosby hit a 51-yard field goal cutting it to 10 at halftime. Rodgers turned up the heat, driving the Packers to a touchdown drive out of the locker room. He connected with Greg Jennings for a five-yard score, cutting the deficit to 20-17. Minnesota showed plenty of mettle with Christian Ponder throwing for three touchdowns with two coming in direct response to Rodgers. In a big spot, the second-year QB out of Florida State stepped up- completing 16-of-28 for 234 yards and a 120.2 QB rating. That included a two-yard strike to Peterson to make it 27-17 with four minutes left in the third quarter.

However, Rodgers wasn’t done. He took the Packers down the field in less than two minutes, setting up James Jones from eight yards out.  Another Crosby kick finally caught Green Bay up, making it 27-27 with 12 minutes to go. It only intensified. In his best game as a pro, Ponder again led Minnesota to a touchdown drive, hooking up with Michael Jenkins to restore a touchdown lead. But you knew Rodgers wasn’t done. On a day he completed 28-of-40 for 365 yards, he threw his fourth touchdown to Jordy Nelson with 2:54 remaining. Crosby’s PAT knotted it again 34-34.

”For our guys to be as resilient as they were, it has you swelling with pride,” coach Leslie Frazier praised of his team’s effort.

All the pressure was squarely on Minnesota. It was either win or risk overtime against a division rival set on ending their season. They didn’t blink. Ponder led them into Green Bay territory and Peterson did the rest, allowing another rookie in a year of rookies to kick them into the playoffs. When Walsh’s kick was good, it allowed the Vikings to celebrate a well deserved win. The playoffs have returned to the Purple People Eaters. One of the league’s classic franchises. Another improbable run no one saw coming. Even better, they’ll get to do it again against the Packers at Lambeau Field next week.

Peterson’s season for the ages should give them the edge in the league’s Most Valuable Player over Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. They’re all great players with the latter two legendary. Even with Peyton doing what he has with Denver, Peterson is your MVP. In the mean time, let’s enjoy one of the great runs that’s not over yet.

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Random Thoughts: Alexei Cherepanov, Red Sox-Rays, NFL Week 7 Picks

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t written much about sports this week. Part of it is cause I’ve been way preoccupied running Battle of NY putting together plenty of Ranger entries with the tragic news of Alexei Cherepanov only making it that more urgent. Poor kid was only 19. What a terrible way to go. Only 19. :-(

The fact is he should be alive no matter if he had a heart condition. The KHL (Continental Hockey League) is still liable for not having a   defibrillator in working order and the ambulance needing to be called back to the arena when this awful tragedy took place in the third period.

I feel terrible for his parents and family who have to live with the harsh fact that their son isn’t around anymore. I hope to God they get the world for this. It shouldn’t have ever come to this. Even if they do get all that money, nothing can replace their son and how special he might’ve been. Now we’ll never know just how good the former Ranger 2007 17th overall selection could’ve become.

I just wish he were still around. His spirit lives on and let’s hope an extremely valuable lesson was learned for the inaugural professional hockey league in Russia. But it sure comes at a very costly price. It was one of their own who was taken. It doesn’t get any worse.

I also feel very bad for Jaromir Jagr, who went back to play once more with Cherepanov and help prepare him for the NHL. The former Ranger superstar had informed the organization that he could play on the team’s second line already. The talented Russian was off to a great start having scored in his final game an eighth time with 13 points total in 15 games. It was following a shift on a near miss off a two-on-one with Jagr that he and his close teammate nearly twice his age joked about probably should’ve scored.

Then the worst happened and he passed out on the bench with Jagr pleading for him to wake up before six people carried him back to the locker room reviving him briefly before he was pronounced dead at the hospital. If everything had been functioning, he probably could’ve been saved. Instead, a life was taken from us way too soon.

Tragedies occur everyday. This one was inexcusable and should’ve been prevented. If only.

R.I.P. Alexei Cherepanov (1989 – 2008) :-(

Aside from the sad doings with an entire hockey community still mourning, here’s a thought which I’m sure many here can agree with:

I’m sick of the Red Sox. Can’t they just go away already? Why couldn’t the Rays finish the job? They were only seven outs away from a five game series win and their first World Series when the unthinkable happened blowing a seven-run lead letting that gritty resilient championship bunch off the hook completely.

Suddenly, Big Papi remembered who he was and hit a huge two out home run and the rest of his teammates followed suit with J.D. Drew taking advantage of Evan Longoria’s throwing miscue to knock in the winning run forcing Game Six. Of course, it was started by probable AL MVP Dustin Pedroia who hadn’t hit much this October. You just can’t give that team an inch.

It’s like what WFAN’s Chris Carlin said on the Morning Warm Up quoting former Arizona Cards’ coach Dennis Green who had that infamous quote after his team gave away a game versus the Bears a few years ago:

They are what we thought they were!”

Now, suddenly here are the Rays facing a similar crisis to the one the 2004 Yankees experienced when they had the worst collapse of all-time. Sure. It wouldn’t be as bad if they lose tonight’s Game Seven dropping the last three victimized the way Cleveland was a year ago.

However, the scenario would be similar due to having the Sox beat before totally imploding blowing a bigger lead with a pen which had been very reliable before manager Joe Maddon messed up not going to either lefty Trever Miller or J.P. Howell to face David Ortiz when it became apparent Grant Balfour had nothing suddenly opening the door.

Imagine you’re a young talented Tampa Bay team who’s been resilient all year having won when needed against Boston to remain in first and win your first AL East crown. Now, it’s suddenly all on the line the way it was for the Yankees and A-Rod battered by stunning defeats wondering if you’re about to blow it and be labeled chokers with another game in your own home building.

And you know there will be plenty of supporters for the enemy rooting for more history. Just like that unlikely scenario where Derek Lowe easily outpitched Kevin Brown, the Red Sox have the edge on the mound with Jon Lester facing Matt Garza in a Game Three rematch. Can Garza really get the better of Lester twice? It seems unlikely.

Some friendly advice for Longoria, the red hot B.J. Upton (4 homers in ALCS, AL tying record 7), Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena: Get the jump early and get your fans into it.

If they don’t, they’re probably doomed.

Full credit must go out to the Red Sox, who never seem to panic and are showing why they’ve won a couple of World Series the last four years. Still, at some point, their opponent has to show that they have heart to fight back too.

Hopefully, that’ll be tonight cause I’d really like to see two fresh teams decide this year’s World Series.

A Phillies-Rays series would serve that purpose and be very fun and exciting.

Week Seven is here in the NFL and here are our picks:

BILLS (4-1) over Chargers (3-3), 1 ET: The Bolts blew out the Pats but traveled cross country against a good rested Buffalo team. Trent Edwards returns and we think he helps make a difference.

Saints (3-3) over PANTHERS (4-2), 1 ET: Originally, we were tempted to go with Carolina after a dreadful showing at Tampa but are they really that much better than a Saint team which is finally clicking on all cylinders? This one should be tight late.

Vikings (3-3) over BEARS (3-3), 1 ET: Neither of these teams are anything special and don’t score many points. So, expect a very close game where perhaps the team that turns it over less and executes win. I’ll go with the best gamebreaker Adrian Peterson.

BENGALS (0-6) over Steelers (4-1), 1 ET: Pittsburgh is undoubtedly the better team but Cincinnati hasn’t been playing like a winless team and this is one of those dangerous rivalry games. Maybe the Bengals catch Big Ben and Pitt napping.

Titans (5-0) over CHIEFS (1-4), 1 ET: The NFL’s lone remaining unbeaten travels to Arrowhead fresh off a bye week against a brutal opponent. Unless Larry Johnson goes off against the league’s top rated D, it should be a long day in Kansas City.

DOLPHINS (2-3) over Ravens (2-3), 1 ET: Both these teams are coming off bad losses but at least Miami was competitive. Plus they lost in tough fashion. More than you can say for Baltimore who got smoked by the Colts. Both D’s are good and will keep it close but I just feel the home field and Chad Pennington are enough for the Finns to get back on track.

GIANTS (4-1) over 49ers (2-4), 1 ET: It’s awfully hard to see Eli and Co. having a second straight off week after how the Browns manhandled them on national TV. That had to be a wakeup call. This could be close without Antonio Pierce (iffy). Especially with one of the game’s better backs Frank Gore. But figure Big Blue to respond well before a very challenging stretch approaches.

Cowboys (4-2) over RAMS (1-4), 1 ET: Can anyone really see the ‘Boys losing a third in four to the lowly Rams on turf? They’ve already disappointed and might be without Tony Romo (pinky) but there’s still plenty of fire power to get by with T.O., newly acquired Roy Williams and Jason Witten. So why risk further injury to their starting QB?

TEXANS (1-4) over Lions (0-5), 4:05 ET: The Texans finally got their first win pulling one out over the Skins atoning for the prior week’s Sage Rosenfels’ collapse against Indy. Matt Schaub returned and the game’s most overlooked receiver Andre Johnson was heroic. The Post Matt Millen Lion Era has already tossed in the towel reloading by getting a nice return for Williams. The question is how many will they lose?

PACKERS (3-3) over Colts (3-2), 4:15 ET: This is easily one of the best games on the menu featuring Peyton Manning versus Aaron Rodgers with two teams’ fates still in question. Though they’re in a weak division, Green Bay kinda needs the game and I can see Greg Jennings and Donald Driver having big days.

Jets (3-2) over RAIDERS (1-4), 4:15 ET: Another game which Brett Favre and Gang Green must get before business picks up in the second half. With the Chiefs next, they really have no excuses. Why do I get the feeling this will be close?

Browns (2-3) over REDSKINS (4-2), 4:15 ET: MNF was a statement game for Derek Anderson and the Browns playing out of this world against the Giants saving their season. Sometimes, a game like that can give a team a huge boost and the way they played pounding the ball on the ground, passing it and playing physical D, it could carry over against another quality NFC East foe on the road. Kellen Winslow could also be back. The Skins are coming off a very tough loss to St. Louis and have much to prove. This could come down to a last second field goal.

BUCCANEERS (4-2) over Seahawks (1-4), 8:15 ET, NBC: Somehow, Jon Gruden has the Bucs playing a very good brand of football despite not having a star QB getting the most out of vets Brian Griese and Jeff Garcia. In his return to Tampa, Warrick Dunn’s been a nice addition on the ground giving Tampa a well balanced attack along with Ernest Graham. Right now, Seattle can’t seem to get out of its own way. There’s Matt Hasselbeck still but they’re unable to get much done. This is a trap game for Tampa Bay which they must not take lightly.

PATRIOTS (3-2) over Broncos (4-2), 8:30 ET, ESPN MNF: Knowing history with Mike Shanahan versus Bill Belichick, all signs point to Denver who boasts one of the league’s premier offenses led by gunslinger Jay Cutler featuring weapons Brandon Marshall and rookie Eddie Royal. With Matt Cassel struggling last week, the Pats were blown out by the Chargers and are reeling. So, why are we picking them? Just a hunch that the Denver D helps New England out of their funk. Maybe I’m nuts but it’s hard to go against Belichick in this spot even with everything lining up against him.

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NFL Week Six Picks

During this season, our Hard Hits shows have made NFL picks for a few weeks missing last week as well as this upcoming Week Six later today.

So, let’s take a look at Sunday’s match-ups and give our synopsis:

Chicago (3-2) at Atlanta (3-2), 1 ET: You have two surprising teams with the same record. The Falcons have a better offense but go up against a solid D. Figure the ground attack of both teams to decide this one featuring Michael Turner and rookie Matt Forte. Devin Hester tilts special teams in Chicago’s favor. I see it being decided by a late field goal.

The Pick: Falcons 23 Bears 20

Miami (2-2) vs Houston (0-4), 1 ET: The improved Dolphins look to make it three in a row off impressive wins over the Pats and Chargers while the winless Texans try to overcome Sage Rosenfels’ nightmarish final three series handing away their first win to the Colts. Matt Schaub returns as starter. This game could be tight but I like the way Miami’s D is playing and Chad Pennington and Ronnie Brown are getting it done.

The Pick: Dolphins 24 Texans 16

Baltimore (2-2) vs Indianapolis (2-2), 1 ET: The Ravens are coming off their second tough loss in a row thanks to a late gift versus the Titans. Their D is playing superb keeping them in games. As long as rookie QB Joe Flacco doesn’t turn it over, they’ll have a chance. Especially against a poor Colt D which hasn’t been the same since run specialist Bob Sanders went down. Somehow, they’re still .500 and have Peyton Manning, who usually does just enough to beat Baltimore in these match-ups. They’re also 0-2 at new Lucas Oil Stadium. Can anyone really see them dropping three straight at home?

The Pick: Colts 24 Ravens 20

Detroit (0-4) at Minnesota (2-3), 1 ET: The Lions stink. What the heck is Roy Williams smoking? The NFL’s fifth worst offense won’t do much against the Vikings D. They saved their season with a win in New Orleans last week and can’t afford a letdown here. Figure Adrian Peterson to rip it up after an off week rushing for a career worst 32 yards as starter. This one could get ugly.

The Pick: Vikings 38 Lions 10

Oakland (1-3) at New Orleans (2-3), 1 ET: It’s the Raiders’ first game under new coach Tom Cable but it comes at a bad time with an angry Saints team which could’ve won last week against the Vikes. Reggie Bush returned two punts for touchdowns tying an NFL record. He’s kicking it into high gear and so should Drew Brees even if the Raider D ain’t bad.

The Pick: Saints 31 Raiders 17

Cincinnati (0-5) at NY Jets (2-2), 1 ET: This is a dangerous spot for the Jets coming off a bye week after Brett Favre went for a career best six TDs in a shootout win over the Cardinals. Despite no wins, the Bengals haven’t played badly recently taking the Giants to OT, losing an ugly game to the Browns and giving the Cowboys all they can handle last Sunday. The good news for Gang Green is no Carson Palmer (elbow) with backup Ryan Fitzpatrick getting the start. Still, figure this to be close. The Jets must silence T.J. Houshmandzadeh. They should do just enough to win.

The Pick: Jets 23 Bengals 20

Carolina (4-1) at Tampa Bay (3-2), 1 ET: The Panthers are off to their best start in five years when they went to the Super Bowl before losing to the Patriots. Led by Julius Peppers, their D has gotten it done limiting the last four opponents to just five TDs ranking fourth best in the NFL. Rookie back DeAngelo Williams has taken pressure off Jake Delhomme. Meanwhile, the Bucs don’t even know who’s starting between Brian GrieseJeff Garcia. They don’t score a lot to begin with and will need big days from RB duo Ernest GrahamWarrick Dunn. I don’t see that happening. and and

The Pick: Panthers 27 Bucs 13

St. Louis (0-4) at Washington (4-1), 1 ET: One of the worst teams meets one of the hottest with the Skins having reeled off four in a row including big wins over the Cowboys and Eagles. They still haven’t turned the ball over under new coach Jim Zorn. Jason Campbell has progressed and Clinton Portis is running hard. It shouldn’t matter if Marc Bulger’s back in for the Rams. This shouldn’t be a contest.

Redskins 34 Rams 9

Jacksonville (2-3) at Denver (4-1), 4:05 ET: The league’s best offense features Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and rookie Eddie Royal back from a sprained ankle. The Broncos will try to air it out against a stingy Jags’ D. They need to score points because their D stinks. The Jags aren’t anything special with David Garrard but Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew can be dangerous if they get untracked. Matt Jones is an emerging target. They need the game and I see them pounding Denver on the ground and doing what they need to come out with a ‘W.’

The Pick: Jaguars 27 Broncos 24

Dallas (4-1) at Arizona (3-2), 4:15 ET: The NFC’s best scoring offenses square off in The Desert where there should be plenty of support for the ‘Boys. I’m still not overly impressed with Dallas due to their defense which took a hit losing corner Terrence Newman (abdomen) for at least a month. They’ll score a lot of points in what should be a shootout featuring QBs Tony Romo and Kurt Warner with potent weapons like the moody Terrell Owens, Larry Fitzgerald, Jason Witten, Marion Barber and Edgerrin James. If you prefer high scoring offenses, this should be your type of game. I just like Dallas’ ground attack a little better with rookie Felix Jones also getting involved.

The Pick: Cowboys 38 Cardinals 35

Philadelphia (2-3) at San Francisco (2-3), 4:15 ET: Amazingly, these two teams have identical records which is why Donovan McNabb was so critical of his team’s play following a second straight defeat. Figure the veteran QB to elevate his level and have a huge day. Brian Westbrook does make a difference offensively. Who would you rather have though running your offense? McNabb or J.T. O’Sullivan? Enough said. Figure the Eagles who got destroyed by the Skins’ run game to key on Frank Gore forcing O’Sullivan to beat them.

The Pick: Eagles 28 49ers 15

Green Bay (2-3) at Seattle (1-3), 4:15 ET: The last 4:15 game has the desperate Packers looking to get back on track following a disappointing three-game slide after a good start to the Aaron Rodgers Era. This is a must have against former Super Bowl coach Mike Holmgren’s slumping Seahawks who got trounced by the Giants 44-6. I know Seattle isn’t an easy place to play due to the noise level but the Pack need this game and will get it.

The Pick: Packers 31 Seahawks 20

New England (3-1) at San Diego (2-3), 8:15 ET, NBC: The Chargers aren’t playing well having lost to the ‘Fins in ugly fashion last week. This is a make or break for them against a team that’s had their number and even danced on their logo. It’s no easy task anytime you go up against Bill Belichick no matter if it’s Matt Cassell at QB. There’s still Randy Moss and Wes Welker along with a rugged D who usually takes certain things way. Figure that to be LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles which Norv Turner shouldn’t mind with Phillip Rivers airing it out. He can’t afford any costly mistakes. It says here the Bolts find a way to get it done even though I’m not a big fan.

The Pick: Chargers 27 Patriots 23

NY Giants (4-0) at Cleveland (1-3), 8:30 ET, Mon: Nobody is playing better football than the defending SB champs. Tom Coughlin’s team has played with a chip on their shoulder getting great QBing from Eli Manning along with a balanced run attack featuring Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw. Plaxico Burress is back after a week off due to his shenanigans. Amani Toomer continues to defy logic plus Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon are emerging. Did we mention the D which has Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and underappreciated Fred Robbins. They don’t give up much. With Kellen Winslow expected out due to a mysterious illness, it should be open season on Derek Anderson.

The Pick: Giants 38 Browns 17

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More HB

-It was a mixed night for both New York ballclubs. Let’s start with the positive if you can call hanging on for dear life against the lowly Padres that as the Mets did in a 6-5 win to kick off a vital six-game homestand on the right foot. Most of the offense was supplied by resurgent left fielder Fernando Tatis, who slugged two home runs including a huge two out three-run go-ahead shot in the home sixth which put the Mets up 4-2. The Mets tacked on a couple of key insurance tallies including a Nick Evans eighth inning run scoring double which wound up being the difference due to the pen. Though Aaron Heilman wasn’t helped much by his defense as he attempted to close out the game with Billy Wagner on the DL, he still served up a three-run homer to Jody Gerut which suddenly made it a nerve wracking one-run game with still a couple of outs to get. Jerry Manuel opted for Joe Smith to get the second out and then lefty Scott Schoeneweis came on to pop out Brian Giles to deep center on one pitch notching the save.

-Still, it was an important win snapping a four-game skid and allowing the Mets to regain some momentum as they also gained a game on the first place Phillies, who dropped an 8-2 contest to visiting Florida, who pulled within a game and a half while the Amazin’s are two behind. They need to go at least 4-2 on this stand against the Padres and Marlins to feel good about themselves as the stretch drive nears closer.

-There was no such encouraging news for the other New York team as the Yankees again lost in Texas- this time falling 8-6 despite a Richie Sexson eighth inning grand salami which at least made the outcome respectable. Truthfully, the Rangers aren’t a bad team and in fact are just a game and a half worse now than those Yanks in that wild card race. AL MVP candidate Josh Hamilton did some damage hitting his 27th home run off an ineffective Andy Pettite, who lasted only five while permitting five earned. Struggling rookie David Robertson and Brian Bruney provided little relief allowing three more Rangers to come home highlighted by a Chris Davis two-run double in the seventh that was the difference. The rookie knocked in half his team’s output as Texas captured the first two of the four-game set.

-That combined with a damaging walkoff defeat the previous night where Marlon Byrd got the better of Damaso Marte for a winning slam has New York seeing red. Boston won as Jason Bay had four hits and four RBI’s in an 8-2 win over the Royals increasing their WC lead to 3.5 over the Bronx Bombers. Oh btw…with the Twins and White Sox deadlocked in the AL Central both with superior records, the Yanks will also have to jump over them as well with Texas hot on the trail and even Toronto lurking in the background. They better get it in high gear soon or it really will be first October in 14 years without the Pinstripes closing out the House That Ruth Built for good earlier than expected.

-The worse news is that budding young ace Joba Chamberlain left Monday’s game in the fifth with shoulder tightness and already will miss his next turn in the rotation. Following an MRI, he’ll be reevaluated by Dr. James Andrews later today. Yankee brass and supporters better keep their fingers crossed it’s not too serious as they can ill afford to lose the 22 year-old former No.1 draft choice for an extended period. Especially when their staff is so thin after Pettite and rejuvenated vet Mike Mussina. Are you putting a lot of faith in veteran Sidney Ponson and the unheralded Darrell Rasner? Speaking of Ponson, he’ll face his former team tonight trying to give the Yanks a much needed jolt. So, who gets Joba’s next start? Ian Kennedy? He’s pitched well lately in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. You’d think it would make sense to recall the rookie and give him another shot over say Japanese failure Kei Igawa or <gulp> Carl Pavano.

-I’m no genius here but good California buddy Brian Sanborn informed me that ESPN SC showed the replay of Prince Fielder getting into it with teammate Manny Parra over and over again. Why must they always show such replays of something negative when a younger audience just might be watching all their shows? Because if you know the biz as I have come to, it’s all about the most evil word in TV. RATING$. They don’t care just as you watch. When is enough enough? Sad to say but we all know the answer…

-Brett Favre’s back with Green Bay but won’t be for long. The question is if you were them, would you deal the legendary quarterback who’s meant so much to their franchise to the bitter rival Vikings? Tough question to answer. Personally, I think they should call the shots here for the reinstated 38 year-old future Hall of Famer. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Don’t expect a happy ending made for Hollywood.

-Remember when the Phillies were supposed to miss former center fielder Aaron Rowand, who left for greener pastures in San Fran? Truthfully, he’s not performing badly but given how well the gritty Shane Victorino is swinging the bat these days, they aren’t missing Rowand all too much:

Aaron Rowand

Shane Victorino

-Who would ever believe that Evan Longoria would become the leader of the first place Rays during his rookie season after signing a big extension? What a player!

-Alfonso Soriano missed all those games yet still leads the first place Cubs in homers slugging his 20th on a three hit, four-RBI night in an 11-7 victory over Houston. If he hadn’t gone down, 40 homers and 30 steals probably would have been locks.

-Daily News columnist Mike Lupica had another good piece in yesterday’s paper on long time Yankee catcher Jorge Posada having to be reduced to spectator status the rest of the way after undergoing successful surgery on his torn right labrum and capsule last week. It’s a good read with some very solid quotes from the 37 year-old veteran who’s been a huge part of the team’s success.

-As I noted in another entry, I really enjoyed the festivities of the final Yankee Old-Timer’s Day Saturday but when WCBS play-by-play man John Sterling actually referenced the weather holding off due to a rainy forecast as, “Once again, the sun is shining down on the Yankees,” that even got me. Talk about being overly dramatic.

Gee wiz.

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