1. Aaron Rodgers. In a veritable sea of No. 4 jerseys and with discussion of his predecessor cascading down upon him from up in the broadcast booth like the waters of Ike on Galveston, the new quarterback in Wisconsin not only stayed afloat but he eventually lead his team to the promised land. He even had his very own Lambeau leap after calling his own number on a goaline play. Overall, the Packers offense didn't look that great. Rodgers wasn't making anyone forget about the Vikings Tavaris Jackson let alone the Jets Brett Favre. But a win is a win is a win. And, that's what really matters.
2. The Houston Astros. I think we should just engrave their name on the World Series trophy already. Let's just get it over with. The 'Stros have won 13 of 14 games and are hard-charging for the Wild Card in the National League. The team forced to play hard down the stretch always seems to have the advantage once those five-game Division Series get underway. The hot team beats the team that's been on autopilot for two or three weeks (and, Angels I'm looking at you). This bodes well for the Astros, who are the hottest team (apologies to the Blue Jays) in the game. The club's best player, Lance Berkman, and their staff ace, Roy Oswalt, are playing like gangbusters and I wouldn't want my team to face them in a short playoff series.
3. Regret. What an important emotion this is. Without it, where we would we be? Alone. That's where we'd each be without the capacity for regret. And, in a shocking bit of honesty one-time Knicks coach Pat Riley actually expressed some regret about the way he left the Knickerbockers:
"I'm sorry the end was so bad (in New York). If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't have faxed it."
4. Tampa Bay Rays. The obituaries were written: "Setting Rays" The excuses were vetted: They were too young, they hadn't played meaningful September baseball before. And, then a funny thing happened on the way to their collapse. The Tampa Bay Rays won back-to-back wild games at Fenway Park to take a series in Boston after having not won even a single game their all season long.
5. Carlos Delgado. Even the arguments about this guy have improved. A few months ago the debate centered around his being platooned at first base or just flat-out cut from the roster. Today the question is whether or not he is the frontrunner for the National League MVP Award. Since June 27, the co-star of Visit Puerto Rico commercials has led the NL in home runs and runs batted in. Crazily over half of his hits have gone for extra bases. He's hitting pitchers' pitches and he's hitting them in key spots. I still can't really re-embrace this guy as his having quit on Manager Willie Randolph (and by default his teammates and the fans) is more apparent by the day. On the other hand I can't help but yell out "M-V-P, M-V-P, M-V-P" everyone time someone mentions his name. Which can make for awkward conversations.