Ochocinco stays understated in Indy

657856.jpg

Ochocinco stays understated in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS -- You had to wonder what Super Bowl Media Day would be like for Chad Ochocinco. The Patriots receiver has done nothing on the field this season worth talking about, but, considering his old habit of grandstanding for the national media, there seemed a chance he would still try to entertain. He's waited 11 years for this day, after all.

But there was no show.

There was as much payoff for eager media on Tuesday as there has been for Patriots fans who hopped aboard his bandwagon this season. Ochocinco played it safe. When plied about the obvious struggles of his first Patriots season, he assumed a mental meditation stance.

He (God) did it for a reason. Let me tell you what happens," Ochocinco said. "Im in New England, and when youre in New England, you think of the elite of the elite when it comes to NFL teams.
"Now, if God put me in this situation and he puts me through this test and I act up on the biggest stage of them all with the elite of the elite, what comes after that? Where am I going after that? He already put me here, so there isnt any sense in going back. So Im seeing it in a whole different light than anyone else is.
According to No. 85, those who watched New England's games and assumed he's lost a step weren't seeing the complete picture. It wasn't football test he had to endure, but a spiritual one.
"Its so much bigger than what everybody else is thinking about. Theyre thinking about the individuals. If I would have been thinking like that, I would have got cut Week 3, complaining about the ball. Its been a joy.

Ochocinco had 5 catches for 87 yards and zero touchdowns through those first three weeks. It's true he never whined. In fact, his Zen-like attitude during Super Bowl week is no diversion from the rest of the year. It's like he hasn't earned outlandishness.

The caricature of Chad Johnson -- Ochocinco -- is a by-product of his on-field production. When those numbers aren't there, the facade disappears and the man is left to answer.

He did so, serenely, at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Id rather be right here than have 100 catches. Ive already put up all the numbers. Ive already done that. One of the things I that I was really happy about was that this is one of the few times, or really the only time, that I wont be home at the Martin Luther King parade because Im always home the first week of January."

Considering how his stats in Cincinnati never added up to a Super Bowl ring, it makes some sense that winning into February could bring Ochocinco some peace. But total satisfaction? It's doubtful -- no matter how many mental quests he conjures.

You know how I got here? I came from Dade County, this place called Liberty City, where the odds were against me all through life growing up," he said."You think Im going to complain after all Ive been through to get to this point?
Deferring is probably one of the smartest things he's done all season.

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

red_sox_celebration_092816.jpg

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?