1. Chester Taylor. Did you know that Wally Pipp could really pick 'em at first? No. That's probably because the dude never played after the most important migraine in Yankees history. Once Pipp was pulled from the lineup he was replaced by a young go-getter named Lou Gehrig, who happened to be one of the greatest right-handed hitters in the history of our pastoral pastime. So, yeah, most people didn't really get a chance to see Pipp dig any throws out of the dirt. A lot of football fans probably think of Taylor as being about as useful as Pipp since he backs up and occasionally spells all-world running back Adrian Peterson. Here's the thing, though, the Purple Jesus does not have a reputation for being as durable as the Iron Horse. In fact, he's like the glass horse. He could shatter at any moment. So, Taylor could see some extended run this year or at the very least plenty of cameo carries along the way to reduce wear and tear on He Who Runs For Our Sins. And, if last night's 28-yard catch and run TD against the Texans on Monday Night Football was any indicator this guy has got some skills. I know he only got a handful of touches but I was really impressed by how strong he ran the ball.
2. Adrian Peterson. What sort of jerk leads with Chester Taylor the morning after Adrian "I've been eating His Body and Blood for years on Sunday" Peterson goes off for a 75-yard touchdown up the middle on the first play from scrimmage? Someone going to Hell. That's who does that. Watching that touchdown run was all it took to get me totally into football mode. I'm sure the epic fail that is the 2009 Mets season helped prime the pump, but watching AP take that one to the house got me ready for NFL Sundays. I need to start finding some new chili recipes.
3. Andy Pettitte. I heard about what was happening while watching the Monday Night Football game between the Vikings and Texans. I figured I should check it out. I mean what was happening almost never happens. Even if it already happened once this year. When I tuned in the game was in the top of the seventh, no outs. Once two men were down I figured this was for real. I popped upstairs and told one of my roommates, a Yankees fan, that "Pettitte's got a perfect game deep into the seventh." I said it out loud. I jinxed it. The next batter hit a grounder towards third baseman Jerry Hairston (playing because A-Rod apparently gets regular days off at this point) who let the ball eat him. Safe at first on the error. Perfect game over. My bad.
4. Adam Lind. Starring in the role of "the spoiler" last night was this Blue Jays outfielder, who clouted two home runs and drove in eight as Toronto routed the Texas Rangers, who are locked in a struggle for the AL Wild Card spot.
5. Vladimir Guerrero. Apparently when Vlad was in his early twenties playing for the Expos he lived up in Montreal with his brother Wilton (also on the team) and his mom. She drove her boys to games and practices, packed them lunch and picked them up when they were done. And Vlad was among the finest talents in the Big Leagues just living quietly in Montreal playing games that weren't even televised. I love this story (which I unearthed while scavenging the Vault at SI.com). And I love that he's ending this season on a tear. He hit two more home runs last night to finish August with a .337 average with 9 HR and 17 RBI. I hope that he carries this over into October. And I HATE that the Mets passed up on him when he was a free agent in 2003 because of his concerns about his back.
Benched. Brett Favre. I'm struggling to think of some other athlete who has gone from being so revered and fetishized to someone so actively dislikable. I've got nothing right now. Usually this happens the other way around. Usually a guy is disliked early in his career and then becomes likeable as he ages, changes teams and makes one last run. Yet, with this illegal and dangerous chop block last night, Favre manages to sink even lower.