The hottest topics for the week of October 2, 2011 …
Detroit rock city: With the Tigers playing the Yankees tough and the Lions at 4-0, the city is riding high and there’s lots of excited sports talk around the water cooler in Detroit. Of course, in Detroit, “water cooler” actually means trash barrel fire.
Scapegoat: After the team’s meltdown, manager Terry Francona announced he is leaving the Red Sox. When there’s a really great party and then suddenly the DJ only plays disco, there’s rampant food poisoning and the cops bust in carding underage girls, someone has to take the fall.
Ratings bust: An American League Championship featuring the Rangers and the Tigers would be great for fans of those cities – but bad for ratings. Watch closely as Bud Selig brings in the “special” umpires to make things “right.”
Sore loser: Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi complained about the strike zone in Game 3 against Detroit – apparently the umpire was only supposed to make bad calls against the Tigers.
Lovely parting gifts: The Brewers have a commanding lead over the Diamondbacks in their series thanks to two decisive home victories in Milwaukee that featured an explosive offense, strong pitching and a barrage of cheese, beer and brats.
Goodbye and hello: Angels’ general manager Tony Reagins stepped down, but will remain with the team in an unspecified capacity as a special assistant. He’s pulling the old “break up with the girlfriend, but still live with her” trick.
Epic fail: Boston completed one of the worst collapses in the history of baseball with a ninth-inning loss to the lowly Orioles. And Yankee fans thought the Red Sox wouldn’t do anything this year. Ha! Joke’s on them.
Double jeopardy: Braves fans are quick to mention that the Red Sox late-season collapse was worse than Atlanta’s collapse. Next up on the debate agenda: burning alive or drowning?
Evil empire: The Yankees have been accused by some of throwing the last game of the season, letting the upstart Rays sneak ahead of the Red Sox for the wild card. This is ridiculous! They threw last three games.
Lockout fallout: It’s clear that the NFL preseason lockout really affected the cohesion and performance of teams like the Eagles and the Jets and my stupid fantasy football team.
Need for speed: Probably the most exciting thing about NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup is you are guaranteed to get front-row parking on Sundays at Walmart.
Topsy turvy: Tiger Woods fell out of the top 50 golf rankings and at the same time, “Forbes” still has him listed as the top athlete. So, it’s been a real roller coaster of a week for him. But it’s one of those roller coasters where no matter what you do or don’t do, you’re always filthy rich.
Kiss this: Gene Simmons, bass player for KISS, married longtime girlfriend Shannon Tweed. They had been “dating” for 28 years and you really don’t want to rush into something like that.
Signing off: Andy Rooney ended his 33-year run on “60 Minutes” Sunday night saying, “This is a moment I have dreaded. I wish I could do this forever” – which is a lovely sentiment – except, at 92 years old, “forever” just means next week.
Contributors: Jon Sumple, Zach Pennington, Brian Solari