It’s happening! The Big Ten announced on Wednesday morning that it would resume playing football in late October with all 14 of its member programs. Last month the conference initially announced that it would not play football in 2020, but that decision was met with disappointment from fans, players, coaches, parents and almost everyone who cares about football.
As scary as COVID-19 is, the most dangerous part of playing football in today’s uncertain times is still playing football. Nevertheless, the Big Ten is implementing some strict protocols to ensure that games can be postponed as soon as a player gets the sniffles.
Hopefully we can get in all the game and have a championship that isn’t decided by Justin Fields contracting the virus a month before the Michigan game. The good news is that college campuses are kind of like their own bubbles. If players behave themselves and stick to classrooms, dorms, and campus facilities, maybe the Big Ten can minimize cases the way the NBA and NHL have. Then again, it only takes one bad egg to spoil the campaign for an entire program. All we as fans can do is hope and not take these games for granted. With the Big Ten back in play, the 2020 season is all the more legitimate.
Until the planned kickoff weekend of October 23 and 24, we still have the SEC, ACC, and Major League Baseball to entertain ourselves. The latter got more exciting for me last night when the Mets overcame a Jacob deGrom injury and a 4-0 deficit in Philadelphia to win 5-4 and keep their postseason hopes alive. Let’s start with the important stuff: deGrom seems to be okay.
If deGrom can’t go the rest of the year, the Mets shouldn’t even bother pushing for October. That’s how important he is to the pitching staff, but that’s not really news to anyone who pays attention to this team. Michael Wacha replaced deGrom in the third inning and gave New York four solid innings while only allowing a solo home run to Met murderer Jean Segura that made the score 4-0.
Thanks to Justin Wilson, Miguel Castro, and Edwin Diaz striking out eight of the 12 batters they faced, the Phillies didn’t score again for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, the J.D. Davis spearheaded the Mets’ comeback effort. In the fourth, he led off with a double and came around to score on a Robinson Cano ground out. In the sixth, Davis hit a two-run home run that scored Brandon Nimmo.
With two outs in the eighth and the Mets still down a run, Davis doubled deep to right field to score Michael Conforto from first. The man was so busy producing runs that every other call to 877-RUNS-NOW last night were getting a busy signal. Finally someone else stepped up in the ninth when Andres Gimenez hit a clutch RBI single following a single by Robinson Cano and a balk by Hector Neris that moved pinch-runner Amed Rosario into scoring position.
Diaz completed the comeback effort by striking out the side in the bottom of the inning. What a night. deGrom’s injury appeared to be the final blow to a team that had struggled to find momentum all season long. Instead, the Mets rallied and pulled off their most improbable win of the season at a time when it was easy to just give up. The odds are still long for the Mets, with Colorado, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Cincinnati standing between them and the final playoff spot, but it’s impossible to quit on a team that battles like this.
The journey continues tonight with Seth Lugo on the mound against Phillies ace Aaron Nola. Every game is must-win.