SIDELINES: this week in sports

Jose Bautista’s three-run home-run wins it for the Blue Jays; Photo Courtesy of:

Jose Bautista’s three-run home-run wins it for the Blue Jays;
Photo Courtesy of:

A young fan was struck by a foul ball and taken to the hospital this past Wednesday night at a Twins-Yankees game in New York. As a result of the incident, sports journalists, medical professionals, and most importantly, the MLB continue to discuss extending the netting at ballparks. I think it’s a no-brainer. You can’t look at the situation from Wednesday and say that the “best fix” is to remind people to keep an eye out for foul balls, because no one can expect a child to react in time to a ball moving 105mph. Extend the netting, protect the kids who want to be close and watch the game and protect the other fans in the process (because it’s not just kids who get struck by foul balls). Make the ballpark a place that is safe for anyone of any age to come to.

Week Four in college football brought us a couple of scares, a couple of upsets, and a slightly clearer look of who may be left standing for the College Football Playoff. Let’s start with scares. Boston College looked to bring Clemson back down to earth. The Tigers’ 7-0 lead at halftime wasn’t a cushion by any means, and surely Dabo leaned into his team at the break. A 27-point fourth quarter sent Clemson home with a 34-7 win to stay undefeated. Ohio State may have regained some respect, especially quaterback JT Barrett, with a sizeable defeat over the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV). Barrett did so well that we got to see Dwayne Haskins, who threw his first touchdown as a Buckeye in the third quarter. Baylor almost shocked the college football world being up on third-ranked Oklahoma during the third quarter, and with under a minute to play in the game were down eight with possession of the ball. Regardless, the fact that Oklahoma gave up 41 points to a team that lost to Liberty University is more than just a scare for the Sooners. The Minutemen of UMass came within four points of Tennessee. The Vols, and more specifically, Butch Jones, are not giving their fans much hope for the rest of their season. Now, onto the upsets. With Deondre Francois out, the Seminoles faithful at Florida State do have a somewhat excuse for not being in the playoff this season, but getting beat by North Carolina State at home? FSU hasn’t started a season at 0-2 since 1989. Not so much an upset, but what could have been the best game of the week — Mississippi State against Georgia — turned out to be a let down. The Bulldogs from Starkville only managed to put up three points despite their diamond-in-the-rough quarterback. Are the Bulldogs from Atlanta a contender in the SEC? At 4-0, Kirby Smart’s team will take on the struggling Tennessee Vols next week to try to remain perfect on the season. I don’t think you can call Iowa coming within seconds of a victory over Penn State a scare, and it wasn’t an upset, just a closer game than the Nittany Lions fans were prepared for. Trace McSorley is a dynamic force in the Big-10, and managed to avoid the loss with no time remaining on the clock.

It’s easy to focus on scores, stats and standings when we start the week on Monday, but this week, there were much bigger things going on in the NFL. Hundreds of players took a knee — and some teams didn’t come onto the field at all — for the anthem. In related news, Steph Curry mentioned to someone somewhere that he likely wouldn’t attend the Golden State Warriors team visit to the White House and President Donald Trump responded by uninviting the Warriors entire team. The Pittsburgh Penguins, on the other hand, have said that they will accept their invitatino to the White House and will go for their visit. There are different reactions from teams and players alike, from coaches and executives. Sports provide us a way to be apart of a community that is built on spirit, competition, hope, and respect. Some people may complain that people who make millions of dollars a year to play a game have no right to be disrespectful towards the flag or their country. But, we must remember, that these atheltes, coaches, and executives have the power of exposure and attention. Whether it’s Twitter, interviews on TV, articles, press conferences — they have everyone’s attention. So, when change is needed, when change is imminent for a country to move forward, these athletes are choosing to use their fame to create change. There should be some respect for that.

On Sunday, we may have seen the last of Jose Bautista in a Blue Jay uniform at Rogers Centre. The man who will go down for “the bat flip” gave Jays fans something that doesn’t come along every day. As much as we all would like to see him play one more year for the Jays to give another run at a World Series Championship, there was a feeling when he jogged off the field in the ninth inning on Sunday … number 19 may not return next year in the blue and white, but he did the Jays proud during his time in Toronto. Thank you, Jose.


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