All posts by Aidan Nicholson

57 questions we have about Heinz’s ketchup offer for Patrick Mahomes’ steaks

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Our first question: Why?

Patrick Mahomes loves ketchup.

There were a lot of interesting tidbits about the Kansas City Chiefs’ breakout star in a profile of Mahomes from ESPN’s Seth Wickersham. But the quarterback’s affinity for ketchup was the real golden nugget of the piece:

The other day, in Mahomes’ apartment in the Country Club Plaza neighborhood of Kansas City, his grandfather asked him, “What’s it like to be famous?” For one thing, it means he eats less ketchup. He spent most of his life putting ketchup on everything. He would get bottles of it for his birthday. But now that everyone is watching every move he makes, he is sheepish about ordering ketchup. At a restaurant recently, his mom, Randi, recognized an unfilled desire as he dove into a steak. “Just ask for it,” Randi said. “I know you want it.” Patrick wouldn’t. So she asked for the ketchup and slipped it to him.

Apparently it goes beyond steaks too. He even told Yahoo Sports’ Terez Paylor after practice Thursday that he puts it on his macaroni and cheese. Uh … yikes.

The good news for Mahomes is that he has a chance at lots and lots of ketchup:

Ok, that’s fun. But we have questions. A lot of them:

  1. Why?
  2. How much would Heinz on your steak for life even cost? Can’t be much.
  3. Even if he has two steaks a week, a $3 bottle of ketchup should last a month or so, right?
  4. So is this even that great of a deal?
  5. Does he just get a case per year in perpetuity?
  6. What if Heinz isn’t even his favorite kind of ketchup?
  7. What if it only takes a couple years before he’s begging Heinz to stop sending ketchup?
  8. If Mahomes is seen pouring ketchup on his fries, will Heinz say “HEY WAIT, that’s only for steak!”?
  9. If Mahomes puts ketchup on steaks and macaroni, is there anything he won’t put it on?
  10. What if he drenches the whole steak in ketchup?
  11. What if he full on marinates it in ketchup?
  12. Is it only regular ketchup, or do alternates apply (e.g. spicy, sweetened with honey, etc)?
  13. Does he have to ring a bell when he’s about to eat steak?
  14. Does it have to be Mahomes, or can any QB claim the prize from Heinz if they throw for 57 TDs?
  15. Not related to Mahomes, but seriously what the hell is Mayochup, and dear God why?
  16. Should the Chiefs in their next Color Rush game switch their uniform color to Ketchup Red?
  17. When LaDainian Tomlinson set a record with 31 touchdowns in 2006, why didn’t he get Baskin Robbins for life?
  18. Mahomes is pacing for 49.6 touchdowns. Would the motivation for ketchup actually make him try to pick up the pace?
  19. Does Heinz fully appreciate how many damn touchdowns they’re asking for?
  20. Heinz says his two rushing touchdowns don’t count. WHY DON’T HIS RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS COUNT?
  21. If Mahomes breaks the single-season touchdown record (55), will he even care about free ketchup?
  22. Will Andy Reid pay for Mahomes’ ketchup if he rests the starters in Week 17 and doesn’t let Mahomes throw touchdown passes?
  23. Will Mahomes let Reid have some ketchup if he doesn’t rest him?
  24. Reid definitely loves ketchup, huh?
  25. Can Mahomes’ family or relatives or future children eat this ketchup?
  26. What if his pets want to put steak on their ketchup?
  27. Are these the squeeze bottles of ketchup or the glass ones?
  28. Can they not be the glass ones? Those suck and take a lot of effort.
  29. Actually, the glass bottles could injure our sweet QBs arms. Squeeze bottles or else.
  30. If these are given out in small packets I’m gonna be so pissed. It can’t be those, right?
  31. Why is ketchup packaged in such inconvenient forms?
  32. Hasn’t he been in Kansas City long enough to have learned about barbecue sauce or something by now?
  33. If Mahomes runs out of ketchup, can he just go into any grocery store and demand free Heinz by showing his ID?
  34. Will there be a black market for Patrick Mahomes IDs if that’s the case?
  35. Do you pronounce it to-MAY-to or to-MAH-to?
  36. Why did the product change from catsup to ketchup?
  37. Shouldn’t Mahomes get something from Heinz anyway, after throwing for six touchdowns at Heinz Field in Week 2?
  38. Is Ben Roethlisberger pissed they never offered him ketchup after all these years at Heinz Field?
  39. Are the Steelers going to try to steal Mahomes’ ketchup?
  40. What if copious amounts of ketchup are the reason Mahomes sounds like Kermit the Frog?
  41. Will the Chiefs allow Heinz to do this because it can’t be healthy?
  42. Does Mahomes know that you can tap the “57” on the glass bottle to get the ketchup out of the bottle faster?
  43. Why do tomatoes taste so bad, but ketchup tastes so good?
  44. Ketchup is red. The Chiefs wear red jerseys. Maybe they should partner?
  45. Wait I just realized Mahomes can eat the ketchup(ed) steak and not worry about stains!
  46. Is putting ketchup on steak a millennial thing? Do older people do it too?
  47. Did Mahomes’ receivers lose respect over this ketchup thing?
  48. Does Mahomes eat the ketchup-laced steak pregame?
  49. Does this hurt his diet?
  50. Is Heinz secretly investing in the cardiovascular downfall of Kansas City’s QB?
  51. Are the Patriots behind this?
  52. They are, aren’t they?
  53. Tom Brady doesn’t eat ketchup, does he?
  54. Is this now called KetchupGate?
  55. Where is Mahomes going to store all of this ketchup?
  56. Is Mahomes now forced to date ketchup-lovers?
  57. Actually, maybe he should find someone who loves him enough to tell him to stop eating steak with ketchup?

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Christian Yelich and Mookie Betts win MVP awards

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All the award winners in one place

Welcome to MLB awards season, with the Baseball Writers Association of America honors finishing things off. The final awards were Most Valuable Players, with Christian Yelich taking home National League honors and Mookie Betts in the American League.

Blake Snell became the second Tampa Bay Rays pitcher to win the American League Cy Young Award on Wednesday. Jacob deGrom was awarded for his stellar season with the struggling Mets, capturing National League honors.

That followed Ronald Acuña Jr. and Shohei Ohtani capturing Rookie of the Year honors on Monday, followed by Braves skipper Brian Snitker and A’s manager Bob Melvin taking Manager of the Year Awards on Tuesday.

The Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners were announced on Nov. 3, and if you missed them you can’t be blamed. For some reason, the BBWAA announced that award on a Sunday night (opposite football) more than a week before the rest of this year’s MLB awards will be handed out and before the other nominees were even announced. If you missed any of the winners, you can find them here.

The Silver Slugger Awards were extra notable this season with Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez winning at not one but two positions, the first player ever to do so.

Award finalists and winners

AL Most Valuable Player

  • Mookie Betts — Red Sox WINNER
  • Jose Ramirez — Indians
  • Mike Trout — Angels

Betts was the main cog in a Red Sox lineup that led the majors in runs and most offensive categories. The outfielder hit .346/.438/.640, leading the AL in batting average and slugging percentage, while hitting 47 doubles, 32 home runs and stealing 30 bases.

NL Most Valuable Player

  • Nolan Arenado — Rockies
  • Javy Baez — Cubs
  • Christian Yelich — Brewers WINNER

Yelich came within an eyelash of winning the Triple Crown, and led the Brewers to the best record in the National League in his first year with Milwaukee. Yelich received 29 of 30 first-place votes in a runaway, with Baez finishing a distant second and Arenado third.

NL Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom got the other first-place vote, and finished fifth in the MVP balloting.

AL Cy Young

  • Corey Kluber — Indians
  • Blake Snell — Rays WINNER
  • Justin Verlander — Astros

Snell led the American League with 21 wins and a 1.89 ERA, and though he only pitched 180⅔ innings the Rays left-hander packed in 219 strikeouts, the second Tampa Bay pitcher to win the award, joining David Price in 2012.

The voting was close, with Snell receiving 17 first-place votes to 13 for Verlander, outpacing the Astros right-hander 169 total points to 154.

NL Cy Young

  • Jacob deGrom — Mets WINNER
  • Aaron Nola — Phillies
  • Max Scherzer — Nationals

Poor run support and a lost season for the Mets meant deGrom didn’t get many actual wins, finishing just 10-9. But in terms of preventing runs, nobody was better than deGrom with his 1.70 ERA in 32 starts, with a career-best 269 strikeouts in 217.

All Scherzer did after winning back-to-back NL Cys was whiff 300 batters and post a 2.53 ERA. He settles for second place in this year’s voting, his sixth straight season finishing in the top five in his league’s Cy Young balloting.

AL Rookie of the Year

  • Miguel Andujar — Yankees
  • Shohei Ohtani — Angels WINNER
  • Gleyber Torres — Yankees

NL Rookie of the Year

  • Ronald Acuña, Jr. — Braves WINNER
  • Juan Soto — Nationals
  • Walker Buehler — Dodgers

Shohei Ohtani, who will be out all of 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, wins AL Rookie of the Year with 25 of the 30 first place votes. Acuña did him two better with 27 first place votes to take the honor in the NL.

AL Manager of the Year

  • Kevin Cash — Rays
  • Bob Melvin — A’s WINNER
  • Alex Cora — Red Sox

NL Manager of the Year

  • Bud Black — Rockies
  • Craig Counsell — Brewers
  • Brian Snitker — Braves WINNER

Snitker becomes the first Braves manager not named Bobby Cox to win for Atlanta, and makes sense based on how far ahead of schedule the team turned out to be this year. The A’s needed a lot of luck over the summer but exceeded expectations with Bob Melvin leading the way as well. This entire process is broken but congrats to those guys.

Awards preview

Two Yankees get the AL Rookie of the Year nod in Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar in a group that has no surprises, and NL Rookie of the Year is a similarly expected bunch with Soto, Acuña, and Buehler all making the final cut. What a strong, fun year for rookies.

Unsurprisingly, the man who managed the Red Sox to a World Series in his rookie season is here in the form of Alex Cora. Dave Roberts didn’t make the cut for Manager of the Year for leading the Dodgers back to the Fall Classic opposite Cora’s Sox, for obvious reasons though. Black, Counsell, and Snitker are all worthy candidates in that category.

The only “maybe” in the Cy Young categories was whether Chris Sale would sneak in as the third finalist, but the end of his season mostly doomed him there. The six finalists all had excellent seasons, and if deGrom doesn’t win for the National League we march at dawn.

Both of the MVP categories seem like they are already decided at this point, with both Yelich and Betts indeed in the final group as expected. Not that there can’t be surprises, but those are wins that nobody could really quibble with this year. Baez’s inclusion in the top three is a nice surprise but he probably won’t go the distance there, and Betts is all but a foregone conclusion at this point. Especially now that we know J.D. Martinez is not a finalist so is less likely to have taken a lot of votes away from Betts if that is indeed how some voters were thinking.

Tune in next week when we find out who won!

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It’s hard to watch Mookie Betts and think baseball is in trouble

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The AL MVP Award went to one of baseball’s most special and electric talents.

Mookie Betts is the 2018 American League MVP, which makes this a fantastic time to discuss what makes him so damned exciting. Every MVP is, by definition, coming off an exciting season, even the ones who probably deserved to finish out of the top 10. But there’s a difference with this MVP, and it can be explained without all yer fancy statistics.

Start by making a back-of-the-envelope list of everything you love about baseball. I know that there are already a thousand jokers raising their hands because they want to say “bullpen carts” or “umpires getting hit in the beans,” and fine, those are a part of the rich mural that is baseball, but I’m talking the best parts of a really good game. There’s the immediate thrill of an obvious home run, and there’s the moment where you realize that the single might be a double, or when a double might be a triple. There’s the ball in the gap, hanging, hanging, hanging, with someone gliding underneath it, and there’s the cat-and-mouse game of a runner on first with two outs.

There’s more, of course, but regardless of your personal top-five, Mookie Betts does it all. Drag out the traditional statistics, and they’re boring numbers that turn into vignettes of exciting baseball if you let them. The expectation of a fan watching a star player bat is that he might get a hit, and Betts did it a higher clip (.347!) than anyone else. The expectation that your team might score in the coming inning is the right of every baseball fan watching a game, and Betts scored more runs than any player in baseball. Almost as impressive as the 32 home runs were the 47 doubles, that perfect mix of gap and fence power, unless the 30 steals thrill you more.

Those are just the back-of-the-baseball card stats, the ones your grampapa can relate to. They’re all telling the same story: In 2018, Betts did the things that make baseball exciting more often than anyone in baseball. Heck, more often than almost anyone who has ever played baseball. And we haven’t even brought up the defense yet.

I still think about this play often:

That’s not Justin Bour trying to stretch a single into a double. That’s a fast runner trying to stretch a should-be double into a stand-up double. There’s a school of thought that says that Kemp should get fined in kangaroo court for trying to take an extra base with a three-run deficit, but there’s another, smarter school of thought that says human beings shouldn’t make that play.

Allow me to share perhaps my favorite part of this talent cornucopia, one that reveals my bias. There are three players 5’10” or shorter who have been worth more than 10 wins in a season in the last 50 years, according to Baseball-Reference’s WAR: Willie Mays, Joe Morgan, and Mookie Betts. That is, two of the greatest baseball players ever and a wait-and-see marvel who certainly isn’t on the wrong path. Those are the players who get me all drunk on baseball. They’re the ones who help explain the physics of the game better than the big-man-hit-ball-smash sluggers.

Short players are always more fun to watch than tall players, sorry. Unless you’re going over 6’11”, but that’s a discussion for another time.

All of this makes for a neat and tidy explanation about why Betts is, perhaps, the most exciting, easiest-to-watch player in baseball. His statistical bonafides and deserved MVP only bolster that case, but he also gets me thinking about the state of baseball in 2018, which, depending on who you’re listening to, goes something like this:

Baseball is too slow. There’s too much dead time, which is pushing young people away. There are too many strikeouts. There are too many home runs. There are too many shifts. Batting average is dropping across the league. Starting pitchers are going away. There are no more complete games. Attendance is down. Ticket prices are too high.

Why don’t players bunt anymore? What happened to the small ball? Where are the stolen bases? Everything is determined by a computer. Analytics have sucked the joy out of the game.

Some of these complaints have merit. There will need to be tweaks and adjustments as the game evolves, which is something that has been true for the last 150 years. But if you get too deep in the weeds and start worrying about what’s wrong about baseball, you’ll miss what’s right. It’s a player like Betts, thriving in an era of monstrous fastballs and gargantuan opponents, who makes me wave away most of these concerns.

Baseball will be fine.

Look at this short guy who’s miles better than everyone else. Look at what he represents. Look at the skill set that allows someone to thrive in baseball and compare its inclusivity to the other major sports. While it’s technically possible for someone like Allen Iverson to thrive in the NBA, he will always be an outlier. It is a sport for the tall and only the tall. Forget about the NFL, which can use someone like Betts only in a defensive backfield, and even then he’d be picked on. (There’s also the part where kids are playing less and less football because they like their brains and cognitive abilities.)

The NHL certainly has its short moments, but they have an unspoken agreement with baseball that they’ll poach athletes from the cold places, and baseball will take the warm kids.

The rise of soccer in the United States could screw everything up. Watching you, soccer. Don’t get grabby.

But the point is that Betts is proof that baseball is a sport of reaction time and form, and it will forever value rapidly firing neurons and pitch detection as much as it values raw athleticism. When you get a near-perfect combination of neurons and muscles, like Betts, you have a super-player to celebrate. It reminds us all that more super-players will be built in the future, that the general dynamic of fast-twitch-beats-101-mph is the sports version of paper-covers-rock, and the balance will hold true even as pitchers approach the maximum limits of how hard a baseball can be thrown.

Even with all of that context stripped away, here’s Mookie Betts. He runs better than your favorite baseball player. He hits better. He catches better. He throws better. He bowls 300 games. It’s hard to watch him and think that baseball is in trouble. He’s a remarkable talent and a living brochure of what it really takes to thrive at this sport. Here’s a player who does everything — everything — well, and his existence means more than pitch clocks and climbing strikeout totals.

Just look at the dude play. This is how much fun it is to watch a player who can do everything well, and I can’t recommend it enough. Mookie Betts makes me think this baseball thing might catch on.

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The latest Warriors spat between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green

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Green missed the Nov. 13 game against the Hawks

Draymond Green and Kevin Durant got into a shouting match at the end of regulation in a loss to the Clippers on Nov. 12, with the Warriors kerfuffle including Green calling the pending free agent Durant a bitch.

The two-time defending NBA champions suspended Green one game for conduct detrimental to the team. Upon his return, Green told reporters that no internal struggle would hurt the Warriors.

“You think you saw something before, good luck with us now,” Green said. “We’re not going to crumble over an argument.”

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Rockets part ways with Carmelo Anthony

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Anthony played 10 games with Houston

After signing with the Houston Rockets as a free agent in August, forward Carmelo Anthony and the team are parting ways in November, after the veteran played just 10 games with the franchise.

“After much internal discussion, the Rockets will be parting ways with Carmelo Anthony and we are working toward a resolution,” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said on Nov. 15. “Carmelo had a tremendous approach during his time with the Rockets and accepted every role head coach Mike D’Antoni gave him. The fit we envisioned when Carmelo chose to sign with the Rockets has not materialized, therefore we thought it was best to move on as any other outcome would have been unfair to him.”

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VIDEO: South Africa vs Nigeria Preview

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After smashing Seychelles 6-0 at home, everyone expected Bafana Bafana to get six points againts the Pirates.

Stuart Baxter’s men played to a disappointing 0-0 draw in the return leg. Now, South Africa have to beat Nigeria in order for them to seal qualification after this match.

Our soccer analysts, Benedict Ngwenya and Banele Pikwa, discuss this enticing encounter. We’d love to hear your thoughts as well, have your say in the comments section below!

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Rohr issues a warning to Bafana Bafana

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Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr says his side will do whatever it takes to get a good result in Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations Group E qualifier against Bafana Bafana.

A draw will see the Super Eagles qualify for the AFCON tournament in Cameroon next year, whereas Bafana can go through with a victory.

Nonetheless, it appears the West African giants are focused on ensuring they get revenge after losing 2-0 to South Africa in the opening game of the competition in Uyo.

As such, Rohr, who led his side to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, has made it clear his side are intent on getting the result they need.

Speaking to the Nigerian Football Association’s official website, the German mentor said: “Our mission in Johannesburg is simple: qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.

“We are not thinking of anything else. We want the ticket in our pocket before the final matchday.”

Saturday’s encounter is set to take place at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, with the South African Football Association urging fans to buy tickets and to get behind the teams. Kickoff is 15:00.

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Khune: South Africans – Bafana needs you!

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Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune has urged fans to come out in force to support the national team against Nigeria on Saturday.

Bafana are set to take on the Super Eagles on Saturday (15:00) in a potentially pivotal Africa Cup of Nations Group E qualifier at the FNB Stadium with a place in next year’s tournament in Cameroon at stake.

A win for South Africa will see the team qualify for the competition whereas the West African giants need just a point.

Nonetheless, with reports emerging of so far low ticket sales for the contest, Khune is hopeful supporters come out in force by attending the match.

Speaking to journalists, he said: “The team needs you. The team needs you. You know how South Africans are. They like last-minute things.

“So they will go and buy tickets. We just have to encourage them to come to the stadium, and make promises that we will keep and we will deliver on Saturday.

“So that’s our promise, that we will do well. We will definitely go out there and represent the country well.

“So they must play their part as well by coming to support the team. And purchase more tickets. Ninety-five thousand, it’s possible.

“South Africans I know you can do it. The team needs you!

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Micho: Our strategic target is to go step by step in Africa

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Micho: Our strategic target is to go step by step in Africa

Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic says his side will be competitive in the CAF Champions League though they won’t take any opponent for granted.

Pirates are set to face Light Stars of Seychelles in the preliminary round of Africa’s most prestigious club competition at home on 27-28 November before playing away on 4-5 December in the second leg.

The Sea Robbers are taking the competition extremely seriously having undertaken a trip abroad to Zambia in pre-season where they faced African giants TP Mazembe in a friendly.

On Tuesday Bucs announced their 27-man squad for the competition which includes new defensive signing Alfred Ndengane.

Speaking to reporters, Sredojevic said: “I have seen the draw for our team. I believe it’s competitive.

“From our side we have the semi-finals of the Telkom Knockout Cup against Kaizer Chiefs on 24 November and on 27 November we play Light Stars of Seychelles.

“We want to take one step at a time. There is no easy opponents anymore. We need to respect every opponent.

“Our strategic target is to go step by step. Our first step is to enter the group stages of the CAF Champions League.”

Pirates, who won the Champions League in 1995, qualified for this year’s edition of the CCL by finishing in second position in the Premiership in 2017/18.

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Baxter to manage workload of key players in Bafana

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Baxter to manage workload of key players in Bafana

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter says he will try manage the workload of some players in his squad to ensure they remain fit for their respective clubs.

Bafana are set to face Nigeria on Saturday (15:00) in a crucial Africa Cup of Nations Group E qualifier at the FNB Stadium with a place in the tournament at stake.

A victory for Bafana will see them qualify for the competition whereas the Super Eagles need just a draw.

On the following Tuesday (19:00) they then meet Paraguay in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Speaking to reporters, Baxter said: “I think it’s important that we’ve spoken about having a positive relationship with the clubs. I’ve travelled around, even visiting clubs in the lower division.

“It’s really important that we have an understanding whereby they will help us if they can, and we will help them if we can.

“I think that balance, without being detrimental to the success of national team, [is important]. We have to have that little bit of feeling that if I was a coach at one of the clubs, I wouldn’t want my players to play consecutive 90 minutes.

“I would expect the [national team] coach to have a little bit of feeling for South African football in general and say, maybe these couple can play a half in one and a half in the other, for example.

“So, we’ll approach it with that in mind, and it’s not a point that’s lost on anybody – it’s something we will think about.”

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