Can anyone remember such a surreal week in sports? The emotional spectrum experienced this week by fans of all of the major sports has been nothing short of a roller-coaster steaming out of control as it zips around the rails.
And we are all just here for the ride, helpless to stop pull the break but captivated to the point of not wanting to.
Such was the case on Wednesday, when we were all saddened and shocked by news of the apparent suicide of Chargers legend, and former Dolphin and Patriot, Junior Seau. Not one of us that saw that headline flash across the bottom of our television screens or top the headlines of the various news websites across the web could truly grasp the truth that one of the greatest linebackers of our generation and one of the greatest community members in all of sports could take his own life.
Of course, the speculation immediately jumped to the ties between head trauma and depression. The obvious similarities between Seau's death and that of former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson were hard to deny and just fuel the speculation more that Seau had an undiagnosed depression issue stemming from years of head injuries in the NFL. Unfortunately the man that made a name for helping other who were less fortunate found it hard to speak up and ask for the help he needed.
Now the world is out one of the good guys.
I find it interesting that Seau's death came just hours after Roger Goodell announced the punishments for the players directly linked to Bountygate with the Saints. I can't say that Seau made his decision to coorrelate with the announcement, but it certainly does cast a heavy-handed shadow across the need to protect players more, and that the responsibility to do so needs to fall into the hands of both the players and the folks that design the equipment to be increasingly streamlined.
However, Wednesday wasn't a day of complete mourning in the world of sports. Book-ending the aforementioned death of Seau and the proper punishment of the Saints's ring-leaders, were two pieces of news that once again had us on the emotional roller-coaster.
The first of which was the incredible gesture that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers extended to Eric LeGrand. Spurred on by new coach Greg Schiano, the Bucs signed the former Rutgers defensive tackle to a contract yesterday. This is significant because LeGrand has been paralyzed since making a tackle during a kick return on October 16, 2010. Schiano, LeGrand's coach at Rutgers, wanted to recognize that this would have been Eric's draft class and to also reward him for the perseverance, character, and spirit that LeGrand has exhibited during his recovery. To say that this was a huge gesture is under-selling it. This could be a life-changer for a young man who is already showing that he won't be held back by anything on his way to walking again.
And then we had the night cap.
Somehow, somewhere, someone knew that California needed something to take their minds off the loss of Seau.
I'm not going to say it was divine intervention or anything; I'm just not that kind of person. However, I do feel that it was ironic that a man playing for the "Angels" managed to lift the sports world back onto its feet. Of course, I am talking about Jered Weaver tossing his no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins.
It was a masterful performance from Weaver, who tossed the ninth individual no-hitter in the history of the Angels organization. He struck out, again coincidentally, nine batters in the game, with only a walk and a passed ball separating him from a perfect game. Sure, it came against a Twins team that was shut-out the night before and is one of the worst offensive units in baseball, but it was special nonetheless.
And on a night surrounded by tragedy, anger, and a grand gesture, something special seemed an appropriate way to end it.
- Yankees closer Mariano Rivera will be lost for the season, and may have ended his career, when he tore the ACL in his knee while shagging fly balls prior to last night's game in Kansas City. Even as a Red Sox fan, it would be a tragic way to end the career of the game's most dominating closer.
- Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas has appeared to put his disappointing rookie season behind him. After coming on late last season to get his average to .263 and finish with just five home runs, Moustakas has entered 2012 with a .318 start and has already popped four balls out of the yard. The former can't miss product is likely realizing his potential now and could be just as big of a prospect as the man on the other side of the diamond, Eric Hosmer.
- Someone forgot to tell the Rays that they lost Evan Longoria for the next 6-8 weeks with a torn hamstring. The AL East stalwart with an attendance problem has been winning without their leader, jumping out to a 18-8 record and have won 9 of their last 10 games. They lead the East by 1.5 games over the surprising Orioles, while the Yankees and Red Sox fall further behind. Just further proof that the Rays may have the best front office in all of baseball.