Opening with the maudlin, Frank Gifford’s passing on the same weekend as the NFL’s Forget Your Troubles . . . err, Hall of Fame weekend served as a reminder that history doesn’t age well in this day and age. Gifford was a superb player in his day six decades ago as well as a broadcaster of considerable accomplishment after his retirement, but having played in the days before the saturated television era began . . . hell, before color TV, for that matter . . . Gifford’s greatness is blurred by the low-def era in which he played.
In fairness, though, he’s no Adrian Peterson, who said he wants to be remembered as being more than merely a Hall of Famer, which he calls a “no-brainer,” but as the best player in NFL history. “Not just the greatest running back,” he said. “The greatest player.”
Somehow, I bet that won’t be the first reason that comes to mind when he’s remembered.
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Speaking of the Hall of Fame, has Tim Brown’s speech ended yet?
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Leon Clarke, a striker for Bury of one of England’s lower-level soccer leagues , scored a brilliant goal in the 95th minute of the team’s match with Doncaster Rovers – brilliant, that is, because he walked slowly toward the goalkeeper-less goal and tucked the ball blandly past the goal line unencumbered by any defense at all.
Match fixing? Gamblers at work? Nahhh. Doncaster’s Harry Forrester tried to kick the ball back to Bury keeper Christian Walton after another Bury player went down with an injury, and the ball sailed past Walton and into the net to give Rovers an unearned 1-0 lead. After some wrangling between the teams and the referee, everyone agreed that the game should end in a draw, so Clarke was allowed to score unopposed.
And yes, the ending was still more exciting than anything in the Hall of Fame Game.
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According to Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com, Lane Kiffin – yes, he’s the only one we’re talking about – was a finalist for the 49ers’ offensive coordinator job that eventually went to Geep Chryst. While we love Chryst’s name, we really would have preferred the sleetstorm of laughter at the 49ers hiring the man who reintroduced us to the overhead projector and caused one last official press conferences of the late Al Davis.
Damn it, are these guys chaos averse, or what?
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The Wrigley Field tradition to throw back an opponent’s home run long ago became a cliché, but Yankee left fielder Brett Gardner has a new reason to hate it. A fan hit Gardner in the back of the brainbucket while throwing back a fourth-inning home run ball off the bat of Toronto’s José Bautista. Gardner stayed in the game, and the Yankees did not, losing 2-0 and getting swept by the freshly invulnerable Jays.
Oh, and for you A’s fans – Josh Donaldson hit his 31st home run to add to Billy Beane’s endless summer.
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Fair being fair, the A’s are now only 10 games behind Houston in the AL West, their 10th day this close to the lead in three months. The parade route is being discussed as we speak, and is NOT beginning or ending in that nameless metropolis south of San Leandro where the A’s tried not very hard to relocate.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Valencia delivers walk-off hit as A's beat Astros]
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And finally, the Wrigley Field bomb threat called after Sunday’s Cubs’ 2-0 win over San Francisco is nothing to joke about, but it is typical Cubs luck that in one of those rare years (one playoff series win and no titles since the King George III administration) when the city is excited about its northward baseball team.
Either that, or Brett Gardner wanted to remind the fans that this throw-the-ball-back thing comes at a cost.