FRIDAYYYYY!!! Can you tell I’m excited? We’ve made it. Finally, we are all staring the weekend in the face. And not just any weekend.
This is the first full weekend of preseason football. I know only true NFL fans really care, but I’m excited to see what storylines come out of these games and which rookies step up.
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But before the weekend comes, we have some things to discuss, highlighted by what an unbelievable Thursday night Major League Baseball had.
Let’s get to it.
📰 What you need to know
1. Tim Anderson gives White Sox dream ending in Iowa ⚾
The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox were part of MLB history yesterday, competing in a game located in Dyersville, Iowa that paid homage to the movie “Field of Dreams.”
And what a game it was. The White Sox defeated the Yankees 9-8 in a game that saw eight homers go over the fence and into the Iowa corn. It was a back and forth affair until late, when things got very interesting. With two out in the ninth inning, the Yankees were trailing 7-4. Then they got a pair of two-run home runs, courtesy of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, to take an 8-7 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
It was not enough, as White Sox star Tim Anderson put the final touches on a Hollywood ending, hitting a two-run, walk-off home run off of Zack Britton to seal it for Chicago.
Here are some takeaways from the exciting game, courtesy of our MLB scribe R.J. Anderson:
- Abreu moves into tie for third on franchise HR list: The White Sox first baseman crushed a solo home run to kick off the game and his homer did more than just give Chicago a lead. It was his 221st home run, moving him into a tie for third place in franchise history, along with Harold Baines
- Jiménez continues hot streak: White Sox outfielder Eloy Jiménez was out for a large part of the season with a torn pectoral muscle but came back on July 26. He has made quite the impact since his return to the field. Heading into Thursday’s game he was hitting .289/.319/.711 with five home runs. He had three RBIs last night in the win over New York
- Aesthetics were a highlight: No one can deny that the backdrop was fantastic. It was different than any other baseball game setting and for those who have seen the movie, it brought back memories of watching the film.
For a full breakdown of the game, click here.
2. The NFL is (kind of) back! 🏈
At long last! There was football on television last night. Yes, it was preseason action … but it was football!
The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers both won, with the Pats beating the Washington Football Team 22-13 and the Steelers defeating the Eagles 24-16.
Let’s start with New England and Washington:
- We got our first look at Pats’ first round pick, Mac Jones. The Patriots haven’t needed to take a QB early in the draft in a, uh, while, so there is a lot of hype surrounding the former Alabama player. Jones looked comfortable and confident under the lights, completing 13 of 19 pass attempts for 87 yards
- Another standout for New England was running back Rhamondre Stevenson, who finished with 127 yards and two touchdowns on the ground
- On the other side of the ball it was Peyton Barber who made an impact, scoring a rushing touchdown for Washington
Moving to the other game:
- Dwayne Haskins played the majority of the snaps for the Steelers, with 161 yards and one touchdown on the night
- Jaylen Samuels and Anthony McFarland had a touchdown each
- The Eagles relied mostly on their passing game and wide receiver Quez Watkins stood out, finishing with 79 yards and a touchdown
3. Kawhi Leonard agrees to four-year deal with Clippers 🏀
Kawhi Leonard is sticking around in Los Angeles. The 30-year-old has agreed to a four-year, $176.3 million contract with the Clippers, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. The contract includes a player option for the final season.
Ahead of free agency, it was reported the All-Star was going to “listen to other teams,” before deciding on his next move, though there wasn’t much worry he would be leaving.
Leonard is expected to miss a decent amount of the 2021-22 season after having surgery to repair a partially torn ACL in July, an injury sustained during the team’s playoff run. He did not play in the last two games against the Jazz and missed the entire series against the Suns. There is no timetable for his return as of now.
Last year in the playoffs, Leonard averaged 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists.
4. Russia claims the Tokyo Olympics were rigged 🏅
You read that correctly: Russian commentators and officials are accusing the United States and others of rigging the Summer Games.
Here are the accusatory quotes from multiple people in Russian politics and media (of note… there is no proof to any of the claims):
- Russian lawmaker Aleksei Zhuravlyov: He said the competition at the Games were “a pack of Russophobic beasts, headed by the United States.”
- Olga Skabeeva, a television host of Russia’s stated-owned television channel: “These Olympic Games stink. Global sports forever ceased being an honest competition, turning into a cheap political farce. At the behest of Americans, the International Olympic Committee took away two gold medals from Russian.”
- Deputy speaker of the Russian State Duma Pyotr Tolstoy: “Americans are freaks. Moral freaks. Why are we even discussing this parade of freaks and perverts?”
The Russian Olympic Committee came in fifth place in the medal count at the Games, which is their lowest finish since the 1912 Olympics, if you include the Russian Olympic Committee as part of Russia’s Olympic history.
📝 Odds & Ends
📺 What to watch this weekend
⚾ Yankees vs. White Sox, 7:15 p.m. | CHW -160 | TV: MLB.TV
🏈 Cowboys vs. Cardinals, 10 p.m. | ARI -1.5 | TV: NFLN
🏈 Saints vs. Ravens, 7 p.m. | BAL -2
🏈 Chiefs vs. 49ers, 8:30 p.m. | SF -1.5
🏈 Chargers vs. Rams, 10 p.m. | LAR +3.5 | TV: NFLN
Best thing I saw on the internet 🏅
Part of me wants to say the best thing I saw on TV was football. Just plain football, because the season being back makes me so happy and, yes, I was finding myself getting hype over plays during a preseason game.
There was something competing with football last night, however. The sights of the Field of Dreams Game were enough to give any baseball fan chills. The unique backdrop, the nostalgia, the beautiful sky… it was a great MLB moment and was exciting to watch.