This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together for the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. Today's Roll Call starts with the NFL, big bully that it is, dominating the first Sunday in September as usual. The Phillies and Mets were completing a doubleheader at Shea — the Phils last game there unless there's a Kafkaesque playoff scenario about to happen — in the shadow of America's actual pastime, football, which even tried to muscle the Juice ... if you can believe the nerve.
Game of the Day: Bears 29, Colts 13
Phillies 6, Mets 2 (Game 1): With the loss of Tom Brady stunning the sports world, a distraught Mike Schmidt e-mails Charlie Manuel to tell the Phils to keep their heads up. Some 40 years ago, Schmidt left Dayton, Ohio, with two very bad knees and a dream to become a major league baseball player. I just thank God acted quickly enough to help the Phillies take two of three from the Mets — who know Philly's better, according to Schmidt — and so we could poke fun at the realization that Schmidt does email. You'd think, being from the '60s, he'd use a candygram or something.
New Sweetness: Rookie halfback Matt Forte scampered 50 yards for a touchdown and had 123 rushing yards overall to lead the Bears to a surprising victory at George Lucasfilm Stadium. Allen Iverson and Peyton Manning agree: practice is for chumps. (Told you the NFL is distracting.)
Mets 6, Phillies 3 (Game 2): Johan vs. Hamels vs. Serena. These duels never materialize how we envision. No double no-no into the seventh. No game-ending sacrifice fly in the ninth. Nobody ever wins 2-1 or, God forbid, 1-0. It's all Carlos Delgado's fault — just like the Mets resurgence. Can't Obama just admit that? And did you see what Johan was wearing? He should stop designing his own stuff.
No comment: Delgado, in response to the Schmidt e-mail, said, "I don't have anything to say to Mike Schmidt." Just keep swinging for the fences, 'Los. Ever since June 20something, when Delgado switched to Costco, he's been buying his home runs in bulk. He hit two deeps in the nightcap, bringing his season total to 33 and helping the Mets to a two-game lead with 19 to play. What's Mike Schmidt going to message now?
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Feelin' Rundown (The rest of Sunday's gridiron action):
Nationals 7, Braves 4 (14 inn.): Everybody's guy Elijah Dukes is up to .274/.376/.487 with 13 steals. He is Exhibit A in the case of "Do You Care What Your Ballplayer Does Off The Field As Long As He Produces?" Dukes passed the pain of a horrendous childhood onto others (it has been consistently alleged) and, after being on the verge of having to find another way to make a living, he seems to be establishing himself as a young star. Is it OK to root for a guy who pushed the envelope of exercising First and Second Amendment rights by photographing a handgun and sending it to his estranged wife's phone accompanied by probably the most threatening voice mail in major league history? You be the judge.
Red Sox 7, Rangers 2: As expected, Dustin Pedroia gets the nod from Bill Belichick to take over for Tom Brady. He'll helicopter from Fenway to Foxboro, Deion Sanders-style should any potential conflicts arise.
Padres 10, Brewers 1: A belated welcome back to Chris Young, whose return to dominance after a season of deviated septum and deviant baseball by the Podz would have received a perfect punctuation were it not for a dinger by spoilsport Gabe Kapler in the eighth. Up ya' nose with a rubba hose, Mr. Kapler!
Cardinals 3, Marlins 1: The Fredbirds improve to 5-1, with Ah Pu going 10-for-24 with six homers and 11 RBIs in that span.
Reds 4, Cubs 3: A disastrous-looking, but not all-that-harmful weekend in Cincy, where the Cubs often set the game of baseball back a few million innings. Loopy Nella blew off the media afterward, choosing instead to get a jump on getting out of town. Hopefully, coach Matt Sinatro went to Best Buy and bought a Garmin so he and Lou make it to St. Louis OK. If not, this will get 'em to Busch.
Giants 11, Pirates 6: Bochy put six rookies in his starting lineup, which easily trumped the six street urchins John Russell was forced to use. I'm rooting for Pablo Sandoval, not merely because he's under 6-feet and about 250 pounds, but because this game has been crying out for a great "Pablo" since 1876.
Dodgers 5, D-backs 3: Raise your hand if you think there's still time for a Dodgers eight-game losing streak? Not that such a lapse would prevent them from winning the NL Wurst.
Blue Jays 1, Rays 0: Dave Stieb and Luis Leal would be proud of the Jays, as Canada sticks it to America's Team in a three-game sweep. Now, the crowd at Fenway's going to have its fangs sharpened with the Red Pedroias on the verge of first place. The playoffs are blow-proof for the Rays, but honor is on the line. And we're just going to have to watch Coco Crisp walk all of the way to first base, just to make sure he doesn't make a left turn toward the mound.
Angels 3, White Sox 2: The Purer of the Sox delayed both Calanaheim's division-clinching celebration and that of Fran-Rod, who is two saves short of tying Thigpen's 57. Both will come in good time, as Sunday's win can attest.
Indians 3, Royals 1: What is Cliff Lee going to do in October when he can't be "preparing each day and doing everything I need to do to get ready for my next start" — which he says every freakin' time he pitches? The guy is consistent. So is banging your head against the wall for an hour, non-stop.
Tigers 7, Twins 5: Biggest hindrance to winning the AL Central: A soul-shattering road trip, or losing Carlos Quentin, the non-Pedroia AL MVP pick, to a broken wrist? Break up into groups and discuss.
Mariners 5, Yankees 2: Moose still three victories short of 20, as the M's take the Yanks' last game at Safeco before Yankee Stadium is shipped back to France.
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Photo of the Day: "I know Albert's our MVP, but that just stinks."
After swigging some freezing Gatorade, Cards right-hander Adam Wainwright (towel) covers his sensitive teeth to lessen the pain.
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Matt Garza (Rays) 7 IP, 6 H, ER, BB, 7 K, Loss
Cy Purcey (Jays) 8 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 7 K, Win
Young (Padres) 9 IP, 2 H, ER, 5 K, Win
Joe Saunders (Angels) 7 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K, Win
Lee (Indians) 7 1/3 IP, 7 H, ER, BB, 5 K, Win (again)
Jamie Moyer (Phillies) 7 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, K, Win
Delgado (Mets) 3-8 2 HR, 4 RBI
Adam Wainwright (Cards) 8 IP, 6 H, ER, BB, 6 K, Win
Paul Byrd (Red Sox) 6 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 K, Win
Sandoval (Giants) 2-5, R, 5 RBI
Feierabend (M's) 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, Win
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Kerry Wood (Cubs) 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, Loss
Pedro (Mets) 4 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, BB, K, Loss
Brandon McCarthy (Rangers) 5 1/3 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, K
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Words of Mouth
"I think anytime you hit 30 home runs in a year, it's pretty big. Guys aren't hitting 60 or 70 anymore." -- Marlins slugger Mike Jacobs