Welcome to Friday, everyone.

We’ve all made it.

(If you work this weekend, I apologize on behalf of all of those who don’t work this weekend. Actually, as I think about it, work this weekend. Still, Friday is cool.)

Cubs clinch NL Central via Giants win

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Johnny Cueto #47 and Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 at AT&T Park on September 15, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 15: Johnny Cueto #47 and Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants celebrate the Cubs clinching the NL Central after the Giants defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 at AT&T Park on September 15, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Hey, the Giants remembered how to play baseball! And in doing so, they clinched the NL Central for the Cubs (full disclosure: I’m a Cubs fan), who now just have home field advantage for which to play. The Cubs could have sealed things themselves by beating the Brewers at Wrigley, but they came up just shy, leaving the Giants to do their dirty work for them.

I’m kidding, obviously. This has been a foregone conclusion for some time; aside from one slightly below average stretch (the result of a string of injuries and some mild pitcher regression) the Cubs have been pretty clearly the best team in baseball. They have the best rotation (with three very strong candidates for the NL Cy Young Award, with the unassuming Kyle Hendricks leading the majors in ERA by a comfortable margin), the best defense, the best baserunning, and one of the best offenses (despite Jason Heyward being a negative factor on that side of the ball, though even he’s been showing signs of late).

This is the best Cubs team of my lifetime, and one of the best Cub teams ever, and that still doesn’t mean they’ll win the World Series, since every playoff series is essentially around a 50/50 proposition. The Cubs could be facing the Braves in the first round and there’s a chance they’d lose. That’s baseball! (They just lost to the Brewers tonight, for example.)

But this is the first step en route to the baseball postseason, and more will fall into place as we move forward.

(Semi-related: Cubs fans chanted for Harambe outside Wrigley after the clinch was official. Sure, why not?)

Oh, and the Giants! This is a massive series for them, as I outlined earlier this week. They’ve now given themselves leads of one and two games over the Mets and Cardinals, respectively, for an NL wild card game spot. But with three more games against the Cards this weekend, they can’t afford to give back much ground.

As for the Cardinals, well, they lost, but I don’t want to yank another site’s running gag.

Jets handle Bills, leaving Rex in jeopardy

 

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15:   Matt Forte #22 of the New York Jets runs the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at New Era Field on September 15, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY – SEPTEMBER 15: Matt Forte #22 of the New York Jets runs the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at New Era Field on September 15, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

In a scintillating (if you’re easily scintilled) Thursday Night Football tilt, the Jets held off a late, mostly incompetent Bills comeback attempt to win 37-31. The Jets made a few interesting decisions of their own, namely opting to kick a PAT after scoring a late touchdown, which put them up 13. As there’s no real difference between 12 or 13 there, they clearly should have gone for two, and no one seemed to notice. Not the coaching staff, not Nantz and Simms (though in fairness to Phil, I assume he spends most of the broadcast befuddled by one of those old handheld water puzzles), not anyone.

But the Jets recovered a late onside kick attempt, ending the Bills hopes. New Jet Matt Forte had three touchdowns, delighting fantasy owners everywhere (ahem), while Tyrod Taylor was actually removed from the game by Ed Hochuli following a violent blow to the head so that he could undergo concussion protocol. That’s on the heels of Cam Newton taking multiple helmet-to-helmet hits last Thursday that didn’t even draw a flag.

Here’s the hit, which is pretty tough to watch:

And here’s Hochuli removing Taylor from the huddle and ushering him to the sidelines via Business Insider:

Taylor missed two plays and then returned to the game, but better safe than sorry.

Meanwhile, as the Bills fall to 0-2, it’s worth wondering how safe Rex Ryan’s job remains. Especially when the Bills are staring at a date with the Cardinals next Sunday, followed by a trip to New England for the final Patriots game without Tom Brady.

0-4 is very, very possible, and that’s not a good look for a coach already rumored to be on the hot seat.

Quick hits

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 15:  Megan Rapinoe #15 of the U.S. Women's National Team kneels during the playing of the U.S. National Anthem before a match against Thailand on September 15, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH – SEPTEMBER 15: Megan Rapinoe #15 of the U.S. Women’s National Team kneels during the playing of the U.S. National Anthem before a match against Thailand on September 15, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

-USWNT star Megan Rapinoe knelt during the national anthem prior to a USWNT friendly against Thailand, continuing her protest. U.S. Soccer had a swift rebuke for Rapinoe, which managed to be hypocritical and misguided in the span of mere paragraphs. As always, there’s nothing un-American about exercising your right to free speech. But U.S. Soccer decided that optically, it was a better look for them to take a more regressive stance on the issue. Nicely done, U.S. Soccer.

-Padres GM A.J. Preller was suspended for thirty days without pay in the wake of evidence that the Padres were not entirely forthcoming with their players medical conditions, especially relating to the trade of Drew Pomeranz to the Boston Red Sox. This is a bad look for the Padres, who released the predictable statements of the “no malicious intent” sort, which is notably not “no competitive advantage desired”.

I’m reminded of course that this punishment was handed down pretty quickly, which means that MLB is actually capable of disciplining executives in a timely fashion. Which is pertinent when you consider the Cardinals hacking scandal broke fifteen months ago, with enough time in the interim for a former Cards exec to get jail time. I mean, my fake news headline from yesterday morning was “Cardinals Execs Really Hoping Commisioner Has Forgotten About That Whole ‘Felony Corporate Espionage’ Thing”.

Timely.

-Well, that was a long rant, so how about a very good dog:

1. Working on our heeling

What a good dog.

-Mike Tunison (@xmasape) brings us Roger Goodell’s state of the league, probably. (Also, hey, Mike Tunison is doing NFL stuff here at The Comeback, if you didn’t know that already.)

-Speaking of other talented people who do some work for us, Leander writes that Leicester City has a better chance of winning the Champions League this year than they do of ever making it back, and I tend to agree.

-My hopes for a small-conference team to crash the college football playoff (refuse to capitalize that) are firmly pinned on Houston this year, and last night they crushed Cincinnati to further bolster their credentials.

-Aww, David Blatt’s going to get a championship ring.

-ESPN and Adam Schefter are currently embroiled in a court battle over Adam’s tweeting of Jason Pierre-Paul’s medical records, and apparently they might be arguing that JPP authorized their release.

-Jim Harbaugh offered an unfortunately humorless reaction to Colorado’s made-up depth chart.

-Oklahoma’s backup quarterback says there’s nothing complicated about Ohio State’s defense. (Which, you know, doesn’t matter much when you have super-athletic talent all over the field, but sure, offer up some bulletin board material.)

South Park took on the Kaepernick anthem protest via JJ Abrams criticism, somehow.

-Hey, the World Cup of Hockey is coming up, which should probably be a more talked about thing than it is. So I’m talking about it, and linking to Dave Lozo’s preview.

-So, Ian sounds a bit down on Mr. Robot right now. I kind of agree, but I also kind of think it does things each week that I’ve never seen a television show do, and it sort of makes it work somehow.

Fake news headline I wish was real

Kanye West Opens Kanye West Museum, Refuses To Let Anyone Enter

One final glorious bit of procrastination

This guy should win dad of the year, assuming that’s his kid in the video. In any case, guy of the year. I’m also guessing he kicks ass at Operation.

Guy Saves A Hummingbird From Chewing Gum

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.