Last night’s studs:
1. RICK ANKIEL -- In the 2000 Disvision playoffs, young Cardinal pitcher Rick Ankiel melted down. In Game 1, he was removed in the third inning after throwing five wild pitches and walking four batters. In Game 2 of the NLCS, Ankiel was removed in the first inning after just 20 pitches -- five of which went past the catcher (two were officially deemed “wild”). He also appeared in Game 7 of that series. There, he faced four batters, walking two and throwing two more wild pitches.
Yesterday, the 26-year-old Ankiel returned to the majors -- as an outfielder. How did he respond? With a three-run homer in a 5-0 St. Louis win. We’re not even going to bother making a joke. In one of the most horrid, atrocious summers in the history of sports, this was one of the coolest things we’ve ever seen. Atta boy, Anky (we apologize to our readers for that moment, brought to you by Rick Reilly).
2. HANK AARON -- We joked about Bud Selig missing Barry Bonds’ 756th home run the other day, but Hammerin’ Hank was actually asleep when Bonds hit the historic dinger. Awesome.
3. JOHN DALY -- Daly shot a 65 in the first round of the PGA championship, good enough for second on the leader board, despite not playing a single practice round. It was too hot. Nope, he spent his time playing slots at the nearby Cherokee Casino. He did, however, drink Diet Coke and chain-smoke because Daly says caffeine plus nicotine equals protein. In case you didn’t know already, John Daly is awesome.
Note: We know we probably don’t have to say this, but we didn’t make any of that stuff up.
AND ONE GUY WHO WE THOUGHT WAS DEAD: PENNY HARDAWAY -- Ugh. Penny Hardaway, who hasn’t played since 2005, is making a comeback with Miami. This can’t be good. Who knows? Maybe he’ll light it up and they’ll get to make more of these.