For a guy who says he doesn’t like baseball, I sure have been talking about it a lot lately. I thought Thursday would be the last you’d hear from me on the subject, but what happened yesterday was just so poetic, I just couldn’t let it pass without mentioning it.
- The stacked team that bought low on a good pitcher who beat his girlfriend…
- … then was disgraced by an idiot, misogynist, front office employee…
- … then had to apologize for said employee’s actions, fire said employee, then apologize for the team’s actions in response to the incident…
- … then went on to lose all four of its home games, en route to losing the World Series.
But the poetry came after, when the winning team, the team that represents the nation’s capital, was, as all championship teams are, invited to the White House, current home to a foul, misogynist, racist, lying, cheating, traitor (among other things).
And one of the Nationals’ players, Sean Doolottle, said, “No, thanks.”
Actually, what he said, per the Washington Post, was:
“There’s a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we’ve done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the ‘shithole countries.'”
“At the end of the day, as much as I wanted to be there with my teammates and share that experience with my teammates, I can’t do it. I just can’t do it.”
“I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can’t get past that stuff.”
Good for you, Sean. I may not like baseball, but I think I have a favourite player.
OK, enough with the baseball.
Here’s some football stuff, to get us back on track:
And now, the picks.
Winners in Bold:
Houston at Jacksonville (at Wembley)
I like this Houston team, and I love Deshaun Watson, but this is not a good time for them to be facing this Jacksonville squad. With WR Will Fuller out, it will be that much harder for Watson to make headway against a tough Jags defence. Making matters worse, Gardner Minshew and his merry band will be facing a Houston defence that is dealing with some injuries in its secondary, exacerbating the problems the unit is already experiencing since the loss of JJ Watt.
Chicago at Philadelphia
Philadelphia faces another team with a top-notch defence this week; the only difference is that Chicago can only dream of achieving the level of mediocrity that is Buffalo’s offence. I expect that Philly, after weathering some early difficulty, will assert its will over Chicago’s tiring D.
Indianapolis at Pittsburgh
Even on the road, and without TY Hilton, Indy far outclasses Pittsburgh on both sides of the ball.
NYJ at Miami
This is a completely inconsequential game, save for the effect its outcome might have on Miami’s pursuit of the number one pick in next year’s draft.
Minnesota at KC
Patrick Mahomes hasn’t been ruled out for this game as of this writing, but I suspect he’ll be held out at least one more week. I don’t expect KC’s defence to be able to do much to stop Minnesota, and Minnesota’s fans can go on believing for another week that everything is ok with Kirk Cousins.
Tennessee at Carolina
Tennessee’s offence has approached something resembling coherence since Ryan Tannehill took over, but Carolina’s defence will be a big step up for him over his previous two starts. If Carolina’s offence can avoid the kind of turnover trouble that got the team shellacked last week, they should outlast Tennessee.
Washington at Buffalo
Buffalo started off fine against Philly last week, and were in control until one bad coaching mistake led to one extremely poorly-timed turnover. Philly capitalized, and Buffalo unravelled. Well-coached teams shouldn’t do that. Buffalo needs to bounce back with a big, confidence-renewing walloping of a vastly inferior team.
Tampa at Seattle
Detroit at Oakland
I’m as surprised as anyone to see Oakland ahead of the Bolts and the Broncs in the AFC West heading into Week 9, but this team plays hard for Jon Gruden, and they’ve uncovered some talented skill players, like rookie RB Josh Jacobs and TE Darren Waller. I like the way Detroit has competed this year through a bunch of adversities, but their offence has been carrying the team, while the underperforming defence is rife with injuries, and is ripe to be exploited by Derek Carr.
Green Bay at LAC
Green Bay is rolling, and will be a tough out for any team the way they’re playing. The Bolts are a mess, and I wouldn’t trust them to beat any decent team right now.
Cleveland at Denver
It would be hard to imagine a worse start to a game than Cleveland had against the Pats last week. They didn’t quit, though, and kept battling. For all their talent, I think that this team might be doomed by a QB who needs to shut up and do the work, and a Head Coach who isn’t in control of his team. Having said all that, Cleveland’s defence should be able to shut down Denver’s awful offence, and that should be enough, provided Baker Mayfield and co. don’t act like they’re playing with a greased ball.
New England at Baltimore
As intriguing matchups go, you can’t get much better than this prime-time showdown between New England’s defence, and Lamar Jackson. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what schemes Bill Belichick and his staff come up with to try and contain the dangerous Jackson. I think that the matchup that will decide this game, however, will be New England’s offence vs. Baltimore’s defence. The Pats have struggled at times on offence, in large part due to a raft of injuries, while Baltimore’s defence has improved of late after a rocky start, and has added talented but erratic CB Marcus Peters. New England’s offence has the personnel at RB and WR to be able to score against anyone, when they’re healthy, but injuries on their OL definitely raise the difficulty factor for Tom Brady. If we get the game I’m expecting, it’ll be a close one. These two teams always play each other tough.
Dallas at NYG
I liked how Big Blue followed up their big egg-laying at home against Arizona with a strong effort against a good Detroit team. This week, they have a really tough assignment, playing host to a Dallas team that is well-rested and healed after its bye. I expect the kind of effort from New York that this division rivalry demands, but in the end, this Dallas team is just too good.