Smitty is the Barstool champion of Verdansk, White Sox Dave gets Utz to bend the knee

When you call yourself “General,” you’ve got to prove that you can lead men, and Smitty of Barstool Sports did that last night when he led Robbie Fox and Rudy Junda to victory in the Battle of Barstool two-hour Call of Duty Warzone kill race.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for General Smitty, as there were distractions to deal with. Fox, for example, kept getting comms interference from San Diego, where his precious New York Yankees were getting pounded by a team with less than half its payroll.

Poor Masahiro Tanaka wasn’t the only victim of Tampa Bay’s tater assault. Smitty was losing soldiers left and right, but he still clutched his way to victory thanks to his heart, nerves, and sheer gumption. Plus, the team of Hank Lockwood, Glenny Balls, and Billy Football could literally not get out of its own way.

That is a one-way tunnel, Balls! This is just one example of how the General’s leadership is often underrated and rarely appreciated. He’s always in Verdansk with the Balls! When Glenny is in a solo game like Fall Guys, he’s composed and poised for victory. In team games like COD? We get a big dose of chaos, smothered in dysfunction sauce. He’s still such a young Balls, so there’s a chance that Glenny learns to play well with others in the future.

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Lakers take 3-1 lead in NBA Finals as Tyler Herro hits the backdoor cover shot of the year

Betting on sports isn’t always the most fun time in the world. It can get frustrating, aggravating, and downright sad. However, there are some communal moments that can make it all worth it. Whether you’re on the winning side or the losing side, having just a few friends or thousands of internet strangers to celebrate or commiserate with enhances the experience. We had one of those moments last night in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

With the Heat trailing the Lakers two games to one and making a push to even the series, the game was competitive throughout. Late in the fourth quarter, the Lakers finally pulled away with two clutch baskets by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a dagger three by Anthony Davis to go ahead by nine. That shot by Davis was especially big for gamblers because of the 7.5-point spread on the game.

What happened next had to be one of the most thrilling back-and-forth sequences in wagering history. First, Jimmy Butler dunked the ball to pull Miami back within seven. With 25 seconds left, the Lakers threw the ball away to give the Heat a chance to get even closer, but Davis made another huge play by cleanly blocking Butler’s layup attempt. The Lakers then appeared set to dribble out the clock, but Duncan Robinson ran over and fouled LeBron James to give the Heat one more chance to cover the spread.

James hit both free throws to put the game away, but Miami wasn’t done yet. The Heat ran a little double screen hand-off for Tyler Herro and he fired a three-point shot over Anthony Davis with three seconds to play.

The only thing missing for one of the most pivotal shots in NBA history was the signature Mike Breen “BANG!” Give us a little something, Mike! Even though you couldn’t tell the significance of Herro’s shot from the television coverage, Twitter was a different story, with bettors exploding with either glee or devastation.

Felt like Stu was asking for that one, but he’ll be okay. Gambling is weird sometimes because many people like Stu would just go about their business if the actual basketball game was close (hey, that’s what moneyline bets are for), but in a nine-point game that was essentially over, people were losing their minds.

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Nintendo will show off Pikmin 3 Deluxe and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity at Treehouse event

Nintendo announced today that they will be playing upcoming releases Pikmin 3 Deluxe and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity in Nintendo Treehouse: Live on Wednesday afternoon. Both games, as well as the Pokemon DLC known as The Crown Tundra are expected to anchor the gaming giant’s holiday sales. I blogged the other day about how excited I am about The Crown Tundra. I wish I could match that enthusiasm for the two full titles.

The original Pikmin 3 was released seven years ago and this version will have extra content, but really it’s just another Wii U relic that Nintendo is reintroducing because not many people bought a Wii U. Age of Calamity is a brand new game that promises to build on the story from Breath of the Wild, but it’s also not a true Zelda game with lots of hack-and-slash button mashing instead of exploration and puzzle solving.

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NFL Week 4 Sunday roundup starring Justin Herbert and Stefon Diggs

The one thing I learned about the NFL on Sunday is that I know nothing about the NFL. I knew that the Cardinals laying three points to the lowly Panthers was too good to be true, but I laid the points anyway because there was no way that Kyler Murray was going to turn the ball over like he did against Detroit for the second straight week and the Panthers may have defeated the Chargers, but Arizona’s offense was a whole different animal.

To be fair, Murray didn’t throw any interceptions, but he did lose a fumble while only averaging 4.3 yards per pass attempt. Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater continued to look like a bona-fide starter, leading a balanced attack while pushing the ball downfield with Jets castoff Robbie Anderson.

I also thought the Texans were an easy pick because they were desperate for a win and had played one of the league’s toughest schedules so far. Surely the terrible Vikings would provide an opportunity for Bill O’Brien’s team to get back on track. Nope, and they aren’t O’Brien’s team anymore, either. Deshaun Watson played a pretty good game, but it was Kirk Cousins and Minnesota who got back on track. Houston’s defense isn’t what it used to be, and Cousins torched it for 260 yards on only 22 throws. Adam Thielen and rookie Justin Jefferson both gained more than 100 receiving yards, and Dalvin Cook was a bell cow on the ground.

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The Crown Tundra DLC brings all your favorite legendary Pokemon to the Galar Region

I’m a bit behind on my Pokemon news because of all the mayhem in the MLB Postseason, but last week The Pokemon Company revealed a trailer and release date for the second batch of Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield downloadable content. It’s called The Crown Tundra and it will be available on October 22.

Not only will players get to explore a new snowy region that’s packed with Pokemon not seen before in the Galar Region, but there’s also a way to catch the legendary Pokemon from all the other regions. Pokemon like Mewtwo, Suicune, Groudon, and Dialga can be encountered on Dynamax Adventures, which appear to be multiplayer quests that go deep into underground Dynamax dens. The trailer also shows new Galarian forms of legendary Pokemon we’re already familiar with. Specifically, the legendary birds from Kanto appear to be available in both original and Galarian forms. There are also at least two new “Regi” Pokemon in addition to those originally discovered in Hoenn.

This isn’t the first time that advanced Pokemon technology has allowed for legendary Pokemon from around the world to appear in one game. Something similar was possible in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. However, with a Sword and Shield only available on Switch, it makes sense for The Pokemon Company to bring back some of its most popular creatures again.

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Fernando Tatis is coming up big for baseball, and MLB needs him to power the Padres into the NLDS

It’s safe to say that the MLB commissioner’s office will be rooting for the San Diego Padres tonight as they take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the third and deciding game of their National League Wild Card Series. That’s because San Diego has the one player who is widely proclaimed to be the future of baseball, 21-year-old shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.

After putting up MVP numbers for the first five weeks of the season, Tatis cooled off in September and hit .208/.311/.403 while the Padres cruised into the postseason. Still, the sophomore’s combination of speed, power, and swagger has him on the path to superstardom. That was never more apparent than last night, when he keyed a come-from-behind win with San Diego teetering on the edge of elimination.

That epic flip — reminiscent of the one Jose Bautista pulled off during the 2015 ALDS — was from Tatis’s second home run of the night. His first home run was a laser beam to left field that turned the score from 6-2 to 6-5 in the sixth inning. Manny Machado tied the score with a big dong of his own immediately after. The bat flip home run, though, turned out to be just as important because it drove in two runs, which was precisely San Diego’s margin of victory. Drew Pomeranz and Trevor Rosenthal fended off a late Cardinals rally and secure an 11-9 victory.

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MLB will want to stick with this 16-team postseason format, so be prepared to get used to it

Wednesday was an interesting day for baseball fans. As the second day of the 2020 Postseason, it was also the only day with all 16 playoff teams in action. The March Madness of baseball. There was excitement throughout the slate with the Braves starting the day by outlasting the Reds in a 13-inning pitching duel that remained scoreless for four and a half hours and the Yankees wrapping it up by scoring two runs in the ninth off of Brad Hand to take the lead for good in a rain-soaked marathon slugfest.

So why was it an “interesting” day for baseball and not a great day? Because it looks like Rob Manfred is using the COVID-19 crisis to make the 16-team bonanza a permanent part of the baseball calendar. You can tell by the way MLB is pushing the expanded postseason as the wave of the future. You can tell by the way the media got a little excited about the national pastime for the first time since 1998. There were Wild Card game on network television, for goodness’s sake. Here’s the official hype video for the playoffs.

REMIX! “Same game, whole new attitude.” Can you tell that MLB is trying to be hip and cool like the NBA? One way to be like the NBA is to reduce the meaning of the regular season that’s not moving the needle anyway by letting half the teams in the playoffs, allowing for more national TV games and more revenue. As much as the promo feels like another iteration of the Steve Buscemi “hello fellow kids” meme, the way it links baseball’s hot young stars to the expanded format is clever advertising.

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Yankees open postseason with blowout win, Rangers say goodbye to a legend

The MLB Postseason started yesterday, and it couldn’t have gone much worse for people who want the Yankees to lose. But who would want the Yankees to lose? Player haters, that’s who. Just miserable people who are jealous of the franchise’s 27 world titles and impeccable pinstriped uniforms. They should stop hating the players and start hating the game.

Well, right now I hate baseball because the Yankees blew out the Cleveland Indians 12-3 in Game 1 of their American League Wild Card Series on Tuesday night. Not only did presumptive AL Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber allow seven runs in 4.2 innings, but his counterpart and the guy Yankees fans wanted to win the Cy Young, Gerrit Cole, dominated with 13 strikeouts, zero walks, and two runs allowed in 7.0 innings.

Yikes. What a nasty curveball. Maybe that guy is worth all the money the Yankees paid him. The Mets are still getting much better value with Jacob deGrom, though, so I don’t care even though the rest of the Mets rotation is superbad. If only Steve Cohen was a year early.

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Oh goodness the Giants are bad

I had a conversation with my wife on Sunday night after the Giants lost 36-9 to the 49ers. She thought it was hilarious that Big Blue lost by 27 points in a game that I thought they would win. I even said before the game that I thought the Giants would win. I wasn’t the only one who thought so. New York was only a three-point underdog and San Francisco was short its starting quarterback and star tight end.

The game even looked like an even match for most of the first half. The Giants tied the score at 6-6 with a Graham Gano field goal midway through the second quarter and then put the heat on 49ers backup quarterback Nick Mullens on the ensuring possession. Leonard Williams sacked Mullens and appeared to force a fumble that the Giants pounced on, but the referees blew the play dead even with Mullens falling forward while he was being tackled.

With about five minutes to play in the half, the Giants could have had a golden opportunity to take the lead before halftime. I couldn’t be that mad, though. After the sack, it was 3rd-and-22 and the Giants were going to get the ball back on a punt, anyway. I didn’t matter that blew a still-live play dead just to protect poor little Nick Mullens who isn’t a star player in any reality. What happened next sealed the Giants’ fate, though.

They easily stopped Mullens’s dump-off short of the first down market, but the refs booked rookie cornerback Darnay Holmes on a teensy-weensy tick-tack of an illegal contact penalty that had no bearing on the play. He gave the receiver a little bump 10 yards down field and suddenly 3rd-and-22 was 1st-and-10.

I mean, give me a break. Just one break. It’s already dumb to call a little bump on 3rd-and-forever that completely bails out the offense in a crucial situation. It’s another to make that call RIGHT AFTER you robbed the defense of a turnover. I don’t think referees should focus on making everything even with make-up calls. Some teams just commit more penalties than others. There has to be a little bit of justice in the football world, though.

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Mets blow their golden opportunity, MLB bracket is set

It’s hard to remember because the sports world spins so fast — in the past two days we’ve experienced wild college football upsets, another action-packed NFL Sunday, and two tickets punched to the NBA Finals — but on Saturday morning, the New York Mets were still eligible for postseason contention. In fact, I was feeling pretty good about it.

The joke was that the Mets had to do more than just win three games. They had to hope for Philadelphia and San Francisco to lose their remaining two games while Milwaukee had to lose one of two. Beating the basement-dwelling Nationals three times in two days was supposed to be the easy part.

Not so fast! The Mets got all the help they needed! The Phillies lost both games to the Rays, the Giants lost both games to the Padres, and the Brewers lost one of two against the Cardinals. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any of that out until Monday morning because the Mets eliminated themselves before the sun set on Saturday.

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