Our long national nightmare is over. The Minnesota Twins won a playoff game.
It was another instance of learning the lesson of something not being beautiful because it lasts. The fragility and impermanence are what give it value, and the Twins playoff losing streak is now into the wind.
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They got a good enough pitching performance from Pablo Lopez, and they got the timely homers they never seemed to get when playing the Yankees. It was Royce Lewis playing the hero, a player the Twins have seemingly been waiting on for 20 years. The Twins pen then got 10 outs with only giving up one hit, which is how a team puts together a playoff win. Homers, strikeouts from the bullpen, lobster.
Perhaps the Twins only needed to get away from the Yankees. Or perhaps Toronto was the only one who could have brought this to a close. Because the only other playoff drought we have spent years having drilled into our skulls, thanks to the volume with which it has been bemoaned, belonged to the city of Toronto. It was the Leafs, which ended last spring after 19 years.
This was the price The Six had to pay. They got their Leafs series win, and now they’ve watched the Jays throw their best bullet in Kevin Gausman and have it not work, while the Twins have maybe their best yet to go in either or both Sonny Gray and Joey Ryan. They made their deal in southern Ontario. One is never without that burden, it just whips around in a different form.
Was it worth it? Only they are to know.
VAR booted-call audio tells the story
The PGMOL, the organization that is in charge of the Premier League’s officials, finally released the audio of what went on between the on-field officials and VAR officials during Saturday’s Tottenham-Liverpool game when they contrived to disallow a perfectly good goal from Luis Diaz.
Again, before listening to the audio, remember that this kind of exchange is done live on the broadcast during rugby matches, so that no one is confused, at least anyone watching on TV. it is worth asking why this communication isn’t, at the very least, available to the live broadcasts to pick up on these errors. The answer, most likely, is that PGMOL doesn’t want their cock-ups broadcast for the world.
Where to declare the biggest goof is hard to process. At the beginning of the entire situation, the referee’s assistant is clearly heard saying that it was all going to be pulled back for offside. So the VAR official should have known right then and there that offside was being called. But he missed that, which we suppose can happen easily enough. It shouldn’t, but it can.
As was clear on Saturday, the problem is that the VAR official, Darren England, never says the words “goal” or “onside.” Just says, “Check complete,” and then is caught cold when play restarts. Cold enough to let out a couple expletives.
The audio doesn’t really tell us anything we didn’t know, just gives us depth to the idiocy. The VAR assistant, the one who is running the actual tech and providing the VAR official with the images to review, is calling for the game to be delayed after it’s restarted. He’s the only one who realizes the mistake that’s been made, and yet is told everyone else is powerless to stop it. Logic was never applied, even if protocol dictates that the game can’t be brought back.
But check out a couple of the handballs called yesterday in the Champions League, and you’ll see how little logic enters the discussion in refereeing in soccer anyway.
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