It’s strange to call a Week 5 game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Green Bay Packers as a great, and quietly touching, story, but that’s the best way to describe the matchup.
After all, while the Packers were fighting to stay over .500, the Colts were fighting for something much deeper – the morale of their fallen head coach, Chuck Pagano.
In case you didn’t know, Pagano was diagnosed last week with a rare form of Leukemia – a devastating piece of news for a fledgling team dealing with a new regime. The 1-2 club played with a sense of purpose, as they took on the Packers at the RCA dome, and WR Reggie Wayne – who has been close with Pagano – had the game of his life: 13 receptions, 212 yards and the eventual game-winning TD.
Their postgame speech, with owner Jim Irsay and interim coach Bruce Arians in tow, is enough to bring a tear to your eye. Thoughts and prayers to coach Pagano and his family in this trying time.
It’s been a strange journey, so far, for California playoff baseball.
With the A’s and Giants both in the playoffs for the first time since 2003, the Bay Area was rocking with excitement. However, when both teams fell to 0-2 holes – the A’s losing their first two in close matchups in Detroit, and the Giants getting outclassed in San Francisco by the Reds in two straight meetings – the morale wasn’t quite as good.
Then, came Tuesday.
Facing elimination, both clubs pulled off close victories: the Giants capitalized on crucial Reds mistakes in Cincy to pull out a 10-inning win in the early game; while the A’s Brett Anderson shut down the Tigers’ vaunted offense, and used two runs to keep their hopes alive at home.
Both teams rise and fall together, despite their very different paths to the postseason – San Francisco winning the NL West in dominant fashion, to end the season, and Oakland catching the Rangers for the AL West title on the final day of the regular season.
Now, both down 2-1, will they rise together to Division Series wins, or fall together in Game 4 or 5 losses? We find out, starting Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, in Texas, the state got a double whammy of bad news, on two fronts – in football and baseball.
While the Texans are flying high from their first-ever 5-0 start, after their Monday Night victory against the New York Jets, it came at a hefty price: it was found out today that one of their best defensive players, LB Brian Cushing, is out for the rest of the season, with the dreaded torn ACL.
It’s turning into a sort of Texans curse – significant players’ debilitating injuries affecting an all-around talented team. Take 2011, when they lost Matt Schaub (Lisfranc fracture), Andre Johnson (hamstring) and Mario Williams (chest muscle) – while they made the playoffs that year, they could have possibly gone much further if everyone was healthy. Hopefully, Cushing’s injury isn’t a sign of things to come.
Then, in MLB, LF Josh Hamilton was granted by the Texas Rangers to test the free-agent market, in order to gauge his market value. The move might be seen by Rangers faithful as a “White Flag” move, letting one of their best offensive players go.
Whether it’s a good or bad financial move for the Rangers is up for debate – but if he does leave, it no doubt leaves a big hole in their offense.
While I prefer to address this in a larger entry, I must acknowledge today’s sentencing of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky. Convicted in June of 45 counts of child sex abuse, Sandusky received a prison sentence of no less than 30, and no more than 60, years in prison. He would be eligible for parole at the age of 98 – if he lives that long.
Briefly, while I can understand that people have a problem with the punishment not reflective of the sheer horror of Sandusky’s crimes – its contents, as well as its duration – he is still receiving, effectively, a life sentence.
Am I saying he didn’t deserve more? No.
I will say the same thing I told a friend of mine when he was disgusted by the length of the prison sentence: I’m going to look at it like this – Is he ever getting out? No? Good.
Giving him 45 life sentences would probably be fair – but only in the symbolic sense. If we are talking about a fair punishment for an absolute monster, dying in prison is dying in prison, whether that be for serving a 30-year sentence, or a 3,000-year sentence.
And, while I may be looking at this too simplistically, considering he wasn’t in the least remorseful for his crimes, he got exactly what he deserved.