"Re-awarding" the MVP awards may be the dumbest thing ever

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You know what would be a reasonable response to the NCAA stripping Reggie Bush of his Heisman trophy yesterday?  Acknowledging that Bush is almost certainly not the only Heisman trophy winner who took cash in violation of the rules and deciding that the exercise of changing history like that is pointless and empty.

You know what would not be a reasonable response? Looking back at the baseball MVP awards and deciding how the Reggie Bush approach would work to strip known steroid users of their hardware.  That’s what Tom Weir does over at USA Today this afternoon.

Of course, stripping Barry Bonds of his awards is the easy part. How Weir knows that Mike Piazza, Moises Alou and Luis Gonzalez — just to name a few of the alternate universe recipients — didn’t take PEDs is beyond me.  What’s even farther beyond me is how Weir could follow the PED in baseball discussion these past few years and not acknowledge that the primary lesson of the Mitchell Report and subsequent test results is that fans’ and reporters’ steroid parlor games are
pointless, because for every obvious case like Barry Bonds, there are
several more guys who were juicing that you never would have suspected.

Does that sound familiar? Long time readers may remember me saying nearly the same thing. Why? Because Rick Reilly did the same little exercise that Weir does today over at ESPN in February 2009, and I went after his take too.  It was just as dumb as Weir’s piece. OK, Reilly’s was dumber, but only because he probably makes 20 times the money Weir does to peddle his stuff.

But hey, they met deadline and posted something, and that’s all that matters, right?

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).