- Brian Kollars Contributing Writer
A record 6,104 home runs were hit this baseball season and MLB pitchers are keeping their shrinks busy. It should come as no surprise, then, that the Twins hit two homers in the top of the first inning in the very first playoff game. And lost.
The Bengals and Browns both are at home Sunday, and I predict both Ohio teams will win. No, I didn’t pour vodka on my Apple Jacks. The Bengals host the Bills, who will suffer a major letdown after back-to-back upsets of heavyweights Denver and Atlanta. Keep in mind that the Bills have scored no more than 26 points in any of their first four games. If Vontaze Burfict doesn’t draw four unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, Cincinnati will win.
The Browns, meanwhile, welcome the Jets to the banks of Lake Erie. That’s not the Sunday night game on NBC? What? Seriously, there could be a lot of empty orange seats at this blockbuster. But the fans who do show up might see a rare sight: Myles Garrett on the field. Cleveland coach Hue Jackson said the ballyhooed rookie will be on a “pitch count.” If Aaron Judge doesn’t change New York teams, Garrett has a chance to wake up Monday morning in one piece.
When Chris Holtmann took over for Thad Matta at Ohio State, he mentioned something about upgrading the Buckeyes’ schedule. That wouldn’t take much, of course. To be an Ohio State hoops season-ticket holder means attending what resembles a series of bad scrimmages before Christmas. But Holtmann came through last week, announcing that THE OSU will open the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons by playing Cincinnati. Gasp, an in-state opponent? Maybe UD can get in on some of that action.
Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller issued a weak statement on the college basketball recruiting scandal, and it obviously was penned by an attorney or English professor. Again, weak. Miller was silent on the topic for days after the FBI went public with some sordid details. Archie’s big bro should step up the podium. Say what you want about Auburn coach Bruce Pearl, but he held a news conference and deflected queries about the controversy like a pro. Even answered a few questions.
LaVar Ball doesn’t like his kid’s new basketball coach at Chino Hills High School in California. The new coach played basketball at Arizona and Notre Dame and sounds like he’s big on discipline and accountability. And probably keeping LaVar away from his players. The Big Baller has decided to home-school his future UCLA Bruin, LaMelo Ball. Wonder if pre-calculus will be on that kid’s class schedule.
Trending up: Minnesota Lynx, Justin Thomas, John Beilein. I’m sure most of you didn’t realize that the WNBA is still around. It has been kicking since 1997 and is drawing some decent crowds. This season ended Wednesday night with Minnesota winning its fourth league title in seven years. The Lynx closed out the Los Angeles Sparks in Game 5 at Williams Arena (The Barn) on the University of Minnesota campus. They couldn’t play at Target Center because that arena is being renovated.
Trending down: Cam Newton, Derek Carr, Ervin Santana. Newton is in hot water over a sexist comment he made after a female reporter asked him a question. There was much outrage, especially among female reporters. The best comeback came in a tweet from ESPN’s Paula Lavigne: “As a female news reporter, I guess I’m lucky no one’s ever suggested I can’t cover crime because I haven’t, oh, you know, stolen a laptop.” (Cam was busted for stealing a laptop during his brief time at the University of Florida.)