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Dodgers Force World Series to Game 7 With 3-1 Win Over Astros

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Joc Pederson sliced a drive over the left-field wall, pounded his chest and danced around the bases, taking as many twists and turns as this World Series itself. Of course, the Los Angeles Dodgers forced the Houston Astros to Game 7.

Chris Taylor hit a tying double off Justin Verlander during a two-run rally in the sixth inning, Corey Seager followed with a go-ahead sacrifice fly and the Dodgers beat the Astros 3-1 on Tuesday night to push this dramatic Fall Classic to the ultimate game. Pederson homered in the seventh against Joe Musgrove, connecting off the right-hander for the second time in three games to make it a record 24 long balls hit in this Series. Pederson pranced all the way to the plate, pointing at the Dodgers’ dugout and rubbing his thumbs and index fingers together to indicate what a money shot it was. Mired in a major slump earlier this season, Pederson was demoted to the minors — and teammates began offering to pay him for opposite-field home runs in an effort to get him to hit the ball the other way. “I kind of black out in a situation like that,” said Pederson, who has three homers in the Series. “I’m going to have to re-watch it to see what I did.”

Yu Darvish starts Wednesday for the Dodgers, trying to win their first title since 1988, and Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will be ready in the bullpen. Lance McCullers Jr. goes for the Astros in the first World Series Game 7 ever at Dodger Stadium. “It’s only fitting,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. Darvish was chased in the second inning of Game 2, when McCullers pitched Houston to a 5-3 victory. “Two incredible teams, trying to get to the finish line,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. Two nights after a 13-12, 10-inning slugfest under the roof at Minute Maid Park, pitching dominated.

George Springer’s third-inning home run against starter Rich Hill had given a 1-0 lead to Verlander and the Astros, trying for the first championship in their 56-season history. On Halloween night, a championship for a team with orange in its colors seemed appropriate. But it served only to set up the 10th blown lead of the Series, the fifth by Houston, as Verlander fell to 9-1 with Houston.

Dodgers relievers combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Brandon Morrow retired Alex Bregman on a grounder to strand the bases loaded in the fifth, winner Tony Watson got Marwin Gonzalez to fly out with two on and two outs in the sixth, and Kenta Maeda escaped two-on trouble in the seventh when third baseman Justin Turner gloved Jose Altuve’s grounder and threw a one-hop throw that first baseman Cody Bellinger scooped just in time. After wasting a ninth-inning lead in Game 2 and losing Game 5, Kenley Jansen retired six straight batters for the save and ended by striking out 40-year-old pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran.

This will be the third World Series Game 7 in four years. Ten of the last 12 teams that won Game 6 to force a seventh game also won the title, but the Dodgers lost the previous six World Series in which they trailed 3-2. They have won just one of their six championships at home, in 1963. A heat wave over, the temperature dropped to 67 degrees at game time from 103 for last week’s opener. The San Gabriel Mountains were occluded by heavy clouds.

Los Angelenos with a laid-back reputation were more energetic and on their feet for two-strike counts against Astros batters, a wave in Pantone 294 — also known as Dodger blue. Stadium organist Dieter Ruehle greeted the Astros with “Hotel California” for the start of batting practice, but there was an un-LA-like drizzle in the middle innings. “We feed off the crowd, for sure,” Taylor said. “We feel we have a huge home-field advantage.”

Yuli Gurriel, who made a racist gesture toward Darvish in Game 3, was booed loudly during introductions and each time he batted, Verlander has 11 postseason wins but dropped to 0-4 in the Series with Detroit and Houston, which acquired him from the Tigers on Aug. 31 to win on nights like this.

 

The 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner, Verlander allowed just one baserunner before Austin Barnes singled leading off the sixth. Verlander bounced a pitch that hit Chase Utley on the front of his right foot, and Taylor sent a 97 mph fastball down the right-field line as Barnes came home. Seager followed with a sacrifice fly to the right-field warning track, a ball that likely would have landed in the pavilion in last week’s hot air.

Verlander prevented more damage when Turner fouled out and the right-hander fanned Bellinger, who struck out four times for the second time in the Series. Springer homered for the third straight game and fourth time in the Series, one shy of the record set by Reggie Jackson in 1977 and matched by Chase Utley in 2009. While it silenced the Dodger Stadium crowd, Astros fans erupted at a watch party in Minute Maid Park. Los Angeles has allowed home runs in all 14 of its postseason games.

Brian McCann singled leading off the fifth and Gonzalez doubled past Turner and down the left-field line. Hill struck out Josh Reddick and Verlander, and Springer was intentionally walked to load the bases. Morrow relieved as the crowd booed Roberts’ decision, and Hill slapped at four cups of liquid in the dugout, sending them spraying against the wall. “With Verlander on the mound, I felt that was going to be the game,” Roberts said.  Appearing in his sixth straight Series game, Morrow got Bregman to ground to shortstop on his second pitch.

Watson walked Reddick leading off the seventh, Evan Gattis pinch hit for Verlander and Maeda relieved. Gattis bounced to shortstop, just beating Utley’s throw from second to avoid a double play. Springer reached on an infield single that bounced off Seager’s glove at shortstop and into left field, and Bregman’s fly to deep center allowed pinch-runner Derek Fisher to tag up and advance to third, bringing up Altuve. Walking down the dugout steps after his groundout, Altuve slammed his helmet.

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Best Of Super Bowl Week: Top Reads From Patriots-Rams Coverage

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With the Pro Bowl and the festivities surrounding it in the rear-view mirror, it’s finally Super Bowl week. The Los Angeles Rams will face the New England Patriots from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. on Sunday, but before that, there are a slew of events for those who will be hanging around the city as the championship game descends upon it.

Before the big game kicks off on Feb. 3, we here at Prestige run through the biggest events the NFL, Super Bowl Host Committee and Atlanta are putting on.

Jan. 26 – Feb. 2nd

Super Bowl Experience: The yearly “interactive theme park” will return, featuring tons of events and festivities for fans attending the game or simply in Atlanta for everything surrounding the game. There will be youth football clinics, player autograph sessions and much more throughout the week.

Super Bowl LIVE: Similar to the above, Super Bowl LIVE is the free-to-the-public “fan village,” which is usually decorated and themes around the host city, celebrating its culture, music and more.

Jan. 28 – Feb. 1

Fan Gallery: Ever wonder what us media folks are up to leading up to the game? The Fan Gallery is more or less a way to soak up all the frenzy and hype leading up to the big game, and not much else.

Jan. 28

Super Bowl Opening Night: This is the national “kickoff” for Super Bowl festivities. This event includes much of the media day schedule, with players and coached speaking in press conferences prior to the big game.

Jan. 31

Walter Payton Man of the Year Legacy Reception: It’s the second annual iteration of this event, which features past Man of the Year winners and 2018 nominees from each tea. It includes a cocktail reception, dinner and a silent auction.

20th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration: If gospel is your thing, well look no further than this.

Super Bowl Music Fest EA Sports Bowl feat. Ludacris, Migos and more: Well duh, it’s a concert!

Feb. 1

24th Annual Kickoff to Rebuild:

Super Bowl Music Fest – Aerosmith & Post Malone: More music! This time without EA Sports. 

Feb. 2

Super Bowl Breakfast: This event has been going on since the late 80s, as fans mingle with some of the sport’s biggest names over a breakfast. The Bart Starr Award is also given out at this event.

Taste of the NFL | Party with a Purpose: Another food-driven event — which I’m totally fine with — this one featuring some of the top chefs in America, meet-and-greets, more NFL players and all that good stuff.

Super Bowl Music Fest — Super Bowl Eve feat. Bruno Mars and Cardi B: The finale of the three music concerts will take place on Super Bowl eve.

NFL Honors: This event is closed to the public, but the two-hour prime time awards special will air beginning at 9 p.m. ET on CBS, and will feature all of the biggest yearly awards being handed out by the NFL.

Feb. 3

Game Day Fan Plaza: Pep squads, drumlines, photo opps, NFL shops and all those goodies await after clearing security on game day.

Super Bowl LIII: The Rams are playing the Patriots, if you didn’t know.

For any further explanation or a calendar of events for Super Bowl week, check here.

 

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Super Bowl losers hangover? Not for the Patriots

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ATLANTA — How did the New England Patriots get over a Super Bowl loss against the Philadelphia Eagles to make it back to Super Bowl LIII?

The better question, at least for the Patriots, might be: What Super Bowl loss? “Flush it and get back to work,” Patriots guard Shaq Mason said at Super Bowl opening night Monday. “I’d have to go back in time to remember that,” Patriots tackle Marcus Cannon said about last year’s Super Bowl. “I’m here now.”

Selective amnesia is good for the Patriots, who barely acknowledged last year’s Super Bowl when asked Monday night, but those who hate the team will happily recite the details. The Patriots played in a tight game against the Eagles, leading with less than three minutes left. Then the Eagles took the lead, got another field goal after a Tom Brady fumble, and New England’s Hail Mary at the end fell incomplete. All that work, just to watch the Eagles celebrate as you dodge confetti leaving the field.

A team could use a Super Bowl loss as motivation for the next season. Many Patriots said it never came up after they got back together, which is perhaps what you’d expect from Bill Belichick’s Patriots. Dwelling on the past would go against their laser focus on the present. Maybe that’s where the many, many Super Bowl losers who don’t make it back the next season go wrong. They spend too much time dwelling on the previous season.

“That’s the wrong thing to do,” Patriots tight end Dwayne Allen said. “Last year’s success or failure has no bearing on this team. What last year’s team did was last year’s team. The worst thing you can do is try to draw on inspiration from the previous team.”

The Patriots are back, partially because they never concerned themselves with losing the Super Bowl last season. What they accomplished, getting right back to the Super Bowl after losing, is surprisingly rare.

History of Super Bowl losers isn’t good

The Patriots are chasing the 1972 Miami Dolphins again, but not in the pursuit of perfection this time. Amazingly, the last team to lose a Super Bowl and then win the next season was the ’72 Dolphins. The only other team to do it was the 1971 Dallas Cowboys.

The Patriots have already bucked a trend just by making it back. The last team to lose a Super Bowl and make it back the next season was the 1994 Buffalo Bills. Of course, the 1992 and 1993 Bills did it too.

You’d think a team talented enough to win a conference championship would be sufficiently motivated the next season and have a good shot to make it right back to the Super Bowl after losing it. But it almost never happens.

Of the first 51 Super Bowl losing teams, 15 didn’t even make the playoffs the following season. From the 1999 Falcons through the 2008 Patriots, eight of 10 Super Bowl losers missed the playoffs, with seven of them posting a losing record. Recent Super Bowl runner-up teams have had better success. Since the 2008 Patriots missed the playoffs, due in large part to Brady’s ACL injury, nine of 10 have made the playoffs after losing the Super Bowl. The only exception was the 2016 Carolina Panthers, who went 6-10.

Still, what the Patriots did this season has been elusive. Only three of the past 24 losing Super Bowl teams even made it back to a conference championship: 2012 Patriots, 2013 49ers and this season’s Patriots.

It’s not like the Patriots didn’t hurt after losing the Super Bowl. They just didn’t let one loss carry into another season.

“It lingers however long you let it linger,” Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “Perspective is important whether you win or lose a Super Bowl. Certainly we lost a Super Bowl, but nobody died. If you hold onto that, it can be debilitating. You have to be able to move on.”

Patriots were able to put loss to Eagles behind them

Had the Patriots not beat the Chiefs in the AFC championship game, people might have cited a Super Bowl hangover for New England.

It’s not like the Patriots were a dominant force from beginning to end. They went 11-5 with a some weird road losses. It wasn’t a vintage Patriots team. But many talked about the character of the team, not only in overcoming the Super Bowl hangover but in getting through adversity during the season.

“We had to call on that character, certainly with the way this season went, to get ourselves back to this position,” Slater said.

And here the Patriots are, back in the Super Bowl, trying to become the first team in 46 years to win a title after losing a Super Bowl the year before. There weren’t many long speeches on Monday night about the Eagles loss and what it meant, or how the Patriots used it every day as motivation to get back. It’s just a new season, a new team, and the crushing disappointment of last year’s Super Bowl doesn’t matter to them anymore.

“That’s in the past. We’re here right now,” Cannon said. “We’re back and we have the chance to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

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Lona assistant coach hospitalized, Gaels player dismissed after reported physical altercation

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A physical altercation between Iona assistant basketball coach Garfield Johns and one of the team’s top players, Roland Griffin, left Johns hospitalized and Griffin without a team after he was dismissed following the incident.

Jeff Goodman of Stadium first reported the news and cited a source close to the situation in reporting that Johns spent nearly eight hours in the hospital on Monday. He sustained a head injury and did not return to work this week.

“We got in each other’s face,” Griffin told Stadium. “It was really heated. He eventually grabbed me by the jacket and tried to throw me down on the ground physically. We were against the locker, wrestling against the locker. He was grabbing me and holding me.”

According to the report, Griffin punched Johns “four or five times” in the incident, which stemmed from a disagreement about whether Griffin had study hall on Monday.

“I had a tutor later and wasn’t scheduled for study hall,” Griffin told Stadium. “He started yelling at me.”

Griffin was a preseason All-MAAC second-team selection for the Gaels. He averaged 11.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last season for Iona.

 

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