Major league drama afoot in AL stretch run

The Sox could, therefore, potentially play in a Yankee-free postseason. Or, in an even more intriguing scenario, the Yankees could overtake the Sox, and Cleveland could steal the wild card and a playoff berth from Boston. The question is, though, what would the AL playoffs mean without both the Yankees and the Sox? The Yankees’ ALCS collapse highlighted the Sox’ 2004 triumph as much as Boston’s actual World Series victory, and, conversely, the Yankees love to roll over the Sox en route to a World Championship. The point is that each team defines and adds drama and significance to the other. Thankfully, the folks at MLB headquarters saw this coming: the Sox and Yankees close out the year with a three-game battle in Boston from Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

The crumbling of a dynasty?

The Patriots committed 12 penalties, rushed for only 39 yards and completed a measly 23 of 44 passing attempts in their 27-17 loss to the Panthers this weekend that dropped New England to 1-1. The Pats looked generally terrible and uncharacteristically shaky, and critics will surely cite offensive coordinator Charlie Weis’ departure and star linebacker Tedy Bruschi’s stroke as evidence of an impending Patriots collapse in 2005. But doubting the Patriots is, at this point, silly. They were doubted in each of their three Super Bowl years, and every time the Patriots took adversity in stride and marched to the top of the league. Those who cite off-season personnel losses forget that Bill Belichick’s defensive system and Tom Brady’s leadership comprise the core that has defined and spurred the Pats’ run. That core is still intact in New England. Until the Patriots are dethroned, until Manning or Roethlisberger or Pennington steps up and upstages Brady, no one can intelligently doubt the Patriots.

The Vikings and the Raiders are both 0-2 going into week three, but don’t think that these two teams are headed in the same direction. The Raiders lost a close game this week to the red-hot Chiefs, and Randy Moss still managed five receptions for 127 yards including a 64-yard touchdown. He and Oakland quaterback Kerry Collins are clicking, which bodes well for the future. The Vikings, on the other hand, followed a week one loss to the Bucs with a drubbing at the hands of the Bengals. Daunte seems lost and all alone in Minnesota, and Moss’ absence is surely one reason for his misery.

In Sunday’s New York Times, Jets WR Laveranues Coles admitted that he had been sexually abused between ages 10-13 by his stepfather. “For me to get on this platform that I have, having been in the league and have all the media attention that we have, I think it’s something that should be said,” Coles told the newspaper. “If it gets one kid to come out and say, ‘Look, this is happening to me,’ I think it’s right.” Coles noted that he is not sure how his teammates and players around the league will receive the news. What incredible guts it takes for an NFL player to admit this sort of information in the interest of setting a precedent for other victims to speak up. An NFL locker room, I imagine, is not the easiest place to make that announcement.


On Saturday, the football Jeffs open their season at Hamilton College. Having lost the College’s all-time leading rusher, Fletcher Ladd, quarterback Marsh Moseley and wideout Jay Wagstaff to graduation, the team has voids to be filled. Thirty-four ’09s seek to step up and make a name for themselves. As always, Trinity and Williams Colleges will pose the greatest challenges to the Jeffs.

Trinity is in the midst of a 22-0 streak and coming off perfect seasons in 2003 and 2004. Of the Bantams’ 13 all-NESCAC players in 2004, six return to this year’s roster. Trinity’s passing attack is, for the most part, intact, but its run protection is in question as the offensive line took substantial losses to graduation: only one offensive lineman returns this season, while three all-NESCAC offensive linemen departed.

For Williams, the biggest question marks are the linebacking corps and the backfield. The Ephs’ only returning linebacker is a sophomore, and the team loses RB Tim Crawley, a first team All-NESCAC selection who led the league in all-purpose yards last season. Amherst host Trinity on Nov. 5, and the Jeffs visit their archival Ephs on Nov. 12.

Sweet redemption

Three months ago a completely unknown fat man with a big smile catapulted onto golf’s biggest stage. Jason Gore, normally a Nationwide Tour player (the PGA Tour’s equivalent of a farm system), led the U.S. Open going into the final round. Unfortunately, pressure overwhelmed Gore, and he fell in a monumental Sunday collapse by shooting 84. The man who had been living out of his car and said he could barely pay for baby formula squandered the first-place $1,170,100 paycheck and instead earned $20,275 for 49th place. The fan favorite just couldn’t keep it together.

This week, though, Gore redeemed himself. At the 84 LUMBER Classic, Gore earned his first PGA Tour win by tackling a field that included Vijay and Phil. In a near repeat collapse, Gore’s four-shot lead on the 14th tee shrank to one by the final hole. But faced with a daunting up-and-down, Gore nearly holed a 92-foot putt on 18 to seal the victory and earn a first-place check worth $792,000. It’s nice to see an almost annoyingly modest and unassuming guy rise to the top of a leaderboard. At least for one week, before Tiger wakes up again.