As an aside, I asked one veteran scout for his over/under on the combined home run total for Stanton and Judge this season. The scout predicted Stanton will hit 53, Judge 48, Gary Sanchez 35 and Greg Bird 33. That’s 171 total for four players — or three more than the entire Boston Red Sox team launched in 2017.
He has made several PR missteps and was recently besieged by Marlins Man and other angry season-ticket holders at a town hall. Jeter and his ownership partner, Bruce Sherman, can’t be blamed for shedding some of the massive contracts they inherited from the Jeffrey Loria regime. But when competing ownership groups say they didn’t plan to rip things down to this extent in Miami, it calls into question whether MLB sacrificed viability for a flashy name and a $1.2 billion payout.
Admittedly, the 21-year-old center has a maddening tendency to settle for turnaround jump shots when defended by smaller guards, but there’s no reason to expect that this wouldn’t have been an easy dunk.
At the very least, if Collison wasn’t going to throw the ball to his teammate, then the speedy guard should’ve tested the lateral quickness of Towns and attacked the rim.
But wow, was this fun. There was the lead-up to the game on HBO 24/7, which introduced us to the cosmic meanderings of Ilya Bryzgalov and the snarly puppy dog that was John Tortorella. There was the alumni game that saw Eric Lindros make an emotional return to the Flyers organization. There was controversy, as Bryzgalov sat for the Classic in favor of Sergei Bobrovsky in a surprise move. (I can still vividly recall Bryz talking to the media on one side of the locker room, playing coy about who was starting, while Bob was on the other side of the room revealing it was him.)
The game itself was one of the best-played in the Classic from the second period on, right down to the Daniel Briere penalty shot that was stopped by Henrik Lundqvist with 19.6 seconds remaining to preserve the win — a penalty Tortorella claimed was an NBC conspiracy to extend the game into overtime, an accusation that earned him a hefty fine.