If you’re reading this, you probably care about the broader world of sports enough to have some sense of what happened in Toronto last night, specifically regarding Jose Bautista and his uproarious bat-flip.
(Or, you’re my mum, in which case, hi, Mum and thanks for posting everything I write to your Facebook page!)
Anyway, Bautista. To recap: Bautista hits the single most important Toronto home run in the last 20 years to give the Jays a late lead in the deciding game of the ALDS. He hit the ball roughly 700 feet with an approximate exit velocity similar to Matt Damon’s rocket ship at the end of The Martian. And then he celebrated with a bat flip that about set the baseball world on fire.
Here’s the play, in case you missed it:
You know how this goes: Bautista’s celebration was disrespectful, too showy, not professional enough. It broke the unwritten rules of baseball, belongs in the backyard and not in the big leagues.
Now, imagine for a second that Odell Beckham Jr. played baseball.
Or any basketball or football player. Presumably they would celebrate pretty dang hard, maybe even flip a bat or two (Beckham Jr. would also probably figure out a way to injure himself flipping his bat, but that’s neither here nor there).
The point is, we hear frequently about how baseball is supposedly dying, and although it’s hard to feel that way this time of year, one of the reasons it’s fallen so unquestionably far behind football and basketball is simply because, while the NBA and NFL (the players, I mean) have embraced the fact that sports are entertainment — that fans want to be entertained — baseball players continue to act like what they are doing — throwing and catching and hitting balls — is too important and too professional for any sort of celebration.
And I’m all for professionalism in sports. These leagues shouldn’t turn into the WWE. But I’m also all for remembering that sports — even the biggest games — are inherently meaningless. The more fun the players are having, the more they are celebrating when they make big plays, the better it is for everyone.
So on the note of professionalism, here are my gambling picks for Week 6 of the NFL.
Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) at New Orleans Saints
If you get blown out by the Eagles, you aren’t going to beat the Falcons.
The pick: Falcons -3.5
Denver Broncos (-4) at Cleveland Browns
Check out the big arm on Josh McCown! 457 yards! Franchise record! Expect the Broncos defence to terrorize him on Sunday.
The pick: Broncos -4
Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at Buffalo Bills
I believe in Andy Dalton!*
The pick: Bengals -3.5
Kansas City Chiefs (+4) at Minnesota Vikings
I’d take the Vikings -4 even if the Chiefs hadn’t just lost Jamaal Charles to a torn ACL.
The pick: Vikings -4
Houston Texans (-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars
One of those AFC South showdowns that I’m almost certainly not going to watch.
The pick: Jaguars +1
Chicago Bears (+3) at Detroit Lions
The Pouty Quarterback Bowl! Stafford’s going to throw for 500 yards, just watch.
The pick: Lions -3
Washington Redskins (+6) at New York Jets
A good defence at home against a shaky quarterback. One way or another, we’ll know a lot more about whether either of these teams is actually for real.
The pick: Jets -6
Arizona Cardinals (-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers
Carson Palmer has won 17 of his last 20 games as the Cardinals starter. That’s pretty good!
The pick: Cardinals -3
Miami Dolphins (+2.5) at Tennessee Titans
Dan Campbell’s doing crazy things as head coach! I think the Dolphins win straight up.
The pick: Dolphins +2.5
Carolina Panthers (+7) at Seattle Seahawks
Seattle reeling … Carolina coming off a bye … The Seahawks can’t possibly fall to 2-4, can they?
The pick: Seahawks -7
San Diego Chargers (+10) at Green Bay Packers
The Chargers are too banged up to compete at Lambeau Field.
The pick: Packers -10
Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) at San Francisco 49ers
I’m done betting on Baltimore.
The pick: 49ers +2.5
New England Patriots (-7.5) at Indianapolis Colts
I don’t care what the Pats are saying about this “just being another game.” They’re putting up 50 here. (Full disclosure: I’ve picked the Patriots every week, and every week I’ve hoped that in picking them, I’ll jinx them into a loss. So far they’re totally un-jinxable, but I’m persistent.)
The pick: Patriots -7.5
New York Giants (+4) at Philadelphia Eagles
As as Giants fan, I find this line nothing short of offensive. Did Vegas not see Eli Manning in the clutch?
The pick: Giants +4
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