Tuesday, December 7 2021
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Good morning sports fans, it’s Chris Bengel back with you once again. And you thought you could get rid of me that easily. I’ll be stepping in for my colleague Zach Pereles the next two Tuesdays.

We’re only two days away from Thanksgiving, which also means that we’re in the midst of one of the best sports weeks of the year. Obviously, on Thursday, we have three NFL games on tap while everybody attempts to eat more food than anyone should probably consume in one day. In addition, there are several college basketball games on Thanksgiving and then a full slate on Friday. 

Let’s whet your pre-Thanksgiving appetite with the sports news on this Tuesday.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (AND THAT DANGEROUS OFFENSE)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, coming off a Super Bowl win, were heralded as one of the NFL‘s top teams entering the 2021 season. Then they lost back-to-back games entering Week 11, including a shocking 29-19 loss at the hands of the Washington Football Team. On Monday night they quieted the critics with an easy 30-10 win over the New York Giants behind a strong offensive performance.

Here are a few of the reasons the Buccaneers came away with a win on Monday:

From the start of the game, Tampa Bay was clearly the more dominant team. On several occasions, Brady and company were able to move the football up and down the field on the Giants defense at will. When it was all said and done, the Buccaneers significantly outgained the Giants in total yards, 402 to 215. Meanwhile, the defense put Jones in uncomfortable situations all night.

The big takeaway is that you still have to consider the Buccaneers the favorite in the NFC. And by the time the playoffs roll around, the likes of Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski will be operating closer to 100 percent…

Honorable mentions:

LeBron James’ suspension for Isaiah Stewart altercation doesn’t make sense 🏀

USATSI

While the majority of the sports world had their eyes on the NFL on Sunday, there were a substantial amount of fireworks on the hardwood. As we went over in this newsletter yesterday morning, in Sunday’s game between the Pistons and Lakers, LeBron James inadvertently hit Isaiah Stewart in the head and things got extremely heated.

Stewart, who ended up bloody from the ordeal, made a beeline for James and both players were ejected for their actions. On Monday, the NBA announced the suspensions for the altercation.

  • Stewart received a two-game suspension for his reaction to the hit
  • James is getting a one-game ban. It marks the first time in James’ professional career that he’s been suspended
  • According to our NBA scribe Brad Botkin, James’ suspension is not as harsh as it should be based on the precedent the NBA has set in the past in similar situations

Prior to the suspension being revealed, it was reported that James attempted to obtain Stewart’s phone number after the game because he wanted to apologize for his role in the altercation. It’s worth noting that the Lakers and Pistons will face off once again on Nov. 28, so it’ll be interesting to see if there’s any more animosity between the two.

Class of 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot revealed ⚾

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The ballot for the 2022 BBWAA Baseball Hall of Fame class is here. The 30-player ballot, which was revealed on Monday, is headlined by many of the biggest stars that the game has ever seen. And as has been the case for years now, many on the ballot were connected to steroid use during their playing days.

The newcomers to the ballot include Prince Fielder, David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. In addition to the newcomers, there’s also several players, including Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, who are in their 10th and final year on the ballot.

Here are all of the newcomers on the 2022 ballot:

  • Carl Crawford
  • Prince Fielder
  • Ryan Howard
  • Tim Lincecum
  • Justin Morneau
  • Joe Nathan
  • David Ortiz
  • Jonathan Papelbon
  • Jake Peavy
  • A.J. Pierzynski
  • Jimmy Rollins
  • Alex Rodriguez
  • Mark Teixeira

In order for anyone to be enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame, a player needs to have at least 75 percent of the votes in the ballots that are submitted by BBWAA members. Players need at least five percent of the vote to remain on the ballot for a maximum of 10 annual voting cycles. 

There’s a ton of talented players in this batch of newcomers, but I’ll have my eye on the likes of Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins as a Phillies fan. Howard, who hit 58 home runs in 2006, was one of the most dangerous pure power hitters of his era. The former Phillies slugger had 382 career home runs, which ranks 70th all-time. I don’t expect Howard to get in on his first time around, but I’d like to think he’ll eventually get the call to Cooperstown.

The results of the 2022 vote will be announced on Jan. 25, 2022. In the meantime, here’s seven things to know about the ballot, courtesy of our MLB team.

Buster Posey, Trey Mancini aren’t your usual Comeback Players of the Year ⚾

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When it comes to MLB’s awards, Comeback Player of the Year is usually not the one the comes to mind first. Both league MVPs and Cy Young Awards are more anticipated. But this year is an instance in which both Comeback Players of the Year, former Giants catcher Buster Posey and Orioles first baseman/outfielder Trey Mancini, have great stories.

  • Mancini missed all of the 2020 season after undergoing surgery for colon cancer. During the 2021 season, the Orioles slugger posted a .255 batting average to go along with 21 home runs and 33 doubles. He also appeared at the league’s All-Star Game festivities and finished second to Home Run Derby champion Pete Alonso. 
  • Posey also completely missed the 2020 season after opting out due to the COVID-19 pandemic. How did he respond? The veteran catcher hit .304 to go along with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs in 113 games behind the plate. Posey also posted a .300 batting average in the postseason for the Giants, who won the National League West over the Los Angeles Dodgers. He retired at the end of the season.

The American League vote for this award had to be one of the easiest ever. It’s hard not to feel great for Mancini. His perseverance was extremely impressive and I hope we get to see more spectacular seasons out of him for years to come. 

What we’re watching on Tuesday 📺

🏀Lakers at Knicks (-5.5), 7:30 p.m. on ESPN | The MSG crowd won’t get to see LeBron James, but they will get to see their old friend Carmelo Anthony.

🏀No. 2 UCLA at No. 1 Gonzaga (-6), 10 p.m. on ESPN | The top two teams in the nation. Need I say more?

Source: CBSSports.com

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