erpart Terry Francona from 123's blog

December has traditionally been a time for revelry in Chennai. Mitch Wishnowsky Super Bowl Jersey . There is the kaarthigai deepam (festival of lights), Christmas, and the annual Margazhi festival, a resplendent celebration of classical music and dance during the ninth month on the Tamil calendar.But the ravaging floods in early December last year, which claimed hundreds of lives, scarred conventional considerations. Memories of the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004 were quickly revisited, and people began to suspect Chennai was in an abusive relationship with the last month of the calendar. December 2016 has already given enough heft to such theories.There was the death of J Jayalalithaa, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, on December 5. About a week later, Cyclone Vardah unleashed itself, and although not in the same magnitude of the floods in 2015, the storm system did considerable damage. Cricket, like the other December festivities, wasnt a priority when people were still grappling with the aftermath.But, for a cricket-starved city - since 2008, Chennai has hosted only three Tests, among the lowest for a traditional Test centre - its first Test in nearly four years was a chance to heal. And so the MA Chidambaram Stadium was restored on a war-footing - the crumpled chairs and tree debris were cleared up, bulbs were replaced and sight-screens mended. Just when congratulatory back-slaps were in order, nature allowed itself some schadenfreude: the skies had opened up with less than 12 hours to go for the Test match. The ground staff insisted these would be short, sharp showers, and that the pitch and outfield would remain unaffected.The rain relented soon after, but some things wouldnt change. Like the mysterious impasse over the locked I, J and K stands - phrases like structural soundness and setback space have been added to our vocabulary, but we are none the wiser; and the murmurs over how Chepauk isnt allotted many international games because N Srinivasan, the former BCCI and ICC boss and president of the host state association, isnt a favourite of the current establishment.There will likely be endless debates on the rights and wrongs of things, but this much is certain: Chennai hasnt been denied the pleasure of hosting a Test match. Not this time.*****Knowledgeable Chennai crowd. The phrase is cliché to a point where it is best used as a hashtag at the end of a snarky punchline. However, more than the knowledgeable part, its Chepauks remarkably non-partisan approach to consuming cricket that has been fascinating.As a ten-year-old, I was in thrall of Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar and Saqlain Mushtaq during That Test in 1999. A cousin and I were the only people in the stands who wildly cheered Sachin Tendulkars dismissal in the second innings, even adding for good measure: Jeetega bhai jeetega, Pakistan jeetega (Pakistan will emerge victorious). But, instead of any hostility - it helped we were children - all we got were benign smiles. The shared appreciation of Akrams perseverance and Mushtaqs wiles eventually culminated in a most gracious ovation from the crowd after Pakistans thrilling heist.But I have never watched a Test match from the stands of Chepauk in the post-IPL era. There was the India-England game in December 2008 when Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh masterfully gunned down a total of 387, but the IPL was still in its infancy then. Having watched quite a few Chennai Super Kings games since, fan partisanship - as you would expect in the IPL - has become a lot fiercer, especially against big-ticket rivals like Royal Challengers Bangalore or Mumbai Indians.It is also not uncommon to see Indian fans remain aloof to the visiting teams successes these days. In Mohali, for instance, during the recent India-New Zealand ODI, the crowd turned mute whenever New Zealand scored runs or took wickets. There was curiosity to see which Chennai fan would turn up for the first-day, first-show of this Test match - the archetypal cricket tragic or the CSK die-hard.As R Ashwin had predicted ahead of the match, the decibel levels hit the roof whenever he made contact with the ball, while M Vijay, the other local boy, duly received his share of applause as well. The crowd, having nicely warmed up, revved up their vocal chords once England lost their openers within the first hour in the morning. Joe Root, however, was quickly changing the narrative - when he cracked a square cut and a late steer off a yorker, the claps were just as resounding.A number of characters that form the staple at a Chepauk Test could be found. There was the middle-aged gentleman jumping up and down, and calling out players by their nicknames - Ash…Ash, Cooky - and waving his hand furiously, hoping to catch their attention. There were the pundits - a father and son, and two elderly gentlemen - who were animatedly dissecting Amit Mishras lack of bite and Roots ability to pick the length - respectfully. With India making more than one DRS referral, they had more than one occasion to debate the merits of the umpires call.And then there were the group of youngsters that countered the Barmy Armys singing with a fired-up rendition of the chant that is unmistakably Chennai, and Chepauk: Gumthalakadi gala gala gala, hoo haa, hoo haa.But, as the afternoon wore on and Root, Mooen Ali and Jonny Bairstow piled on the runs, each landmark was celebrated with a standing ovation. Once Moeen completed his hundred, both Indian and English fans rose spontaneously to hail his effort and didnt take their seats for the next couple of minutes. By the time the days play neared its conclusion, a few local fans had already exchanged numbers with their English counterparts and promised to keep in touch.Surely, there will be no let-up in the Gumthalakadi... chants , and they will only grow louder over the weekend. Just as relentless will be those eager enquiries about Yorkshire cricket or Haseeb Hameed. The cricket-crazy ghost of the Chepauk past is alive and well. Jeff Wilson Super Bowl Jersey .35 million, one-year contract that avoided salary arbitration. Plouffe batted .254 with 14 home runs and 52 RBIs in 477 at-bats last season, his second as a regular in the lineup. Richie James Super Bowl Jersey . - Connor McDavid scored 53 seconds into overtime as the Erie Otters came from behind to defeat the visiting Guelph Storm 4-3 on Saturday in Ontario Hockey League action. .H. -- Matt Kenseth made it 2 for 2 in the Chase, holding off teammate Kyle Busch to win Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. CHICAGO -- Back with his original big league team, Coco Crisp has become a serial hitter for the Cleveland Indians this October.Crisp came off the bench and singled home the only run in the seventh inning Friday night, giving the Indians a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs and a 2-1 lead in the World Series.With just two more wins, the Indians would take their first title since 1948.Ive been getting text messages, and my phones been blowing up, Crisp said . I dont think Ive had more than three or four text messages at a time after a game prior to the playoffs, and now its like 30, 40. Everybody is kind of saying it, `Two wins away! Two more!A son of boxer Loyce Sugar Crisp, Covelli Crisp was first given the nickname Coco by his younger sister Sheileah, who grew up to become a figure skater. When they were kids, she thought he resembled a cartoon character with big ears on the cover of a container of Cocoa Krispies cereal.He listed it as his childhood nickname on a questionnaire when he was at Double-A in 2002, and a teammate found out about it and told the ballpark public address announcer. Crisp was flustered, got a hit and decided he had been over-focusing, so he stuck with Coco, he told the MANjr website five years ago.Now Im stuck with the name that started off as a joke! he told the website. Its still kind of a joke, but Ive accepted it. Its cool now.Cleveland reacquired him from Oakland for depth on Aug. 31, a waiver deal completed just in time for Crisp to be eligible for the postseason with the Indians.The way things have turned out, hes become a key cog in their pursuit of a championship.Crisps two-run homer over Fenway Parks Green Monster in the sixth inning opened a three-run lead against Boston, and the Indians held on for a 4-3 win that completed a Division Series sweep. His fourth-inning solo shot drove in Clevelands final run in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series against Toronto as the IIndians won their first pennant since 1997. Dwight Clark Super Bowl Jersey. `Cleveland against the world. Thats kind of been the motto, he said. To be in this situation with the team that I broke in with is a very special feeling for me.Known for speed in his younger days, Crisp topped the AL with 49 steals in 2011. As his 37th birthday approaches Tuesday, the switch-hitter is far closer to the end of his career than the start.Originally drafted by St. Louis in 1999, he was acquired by Cleveland three years later, made his debut with the Indians in 2002 and played for Cleveland through 2005. He moved on to Boston (2006-08), Kansas City (2009) and Oakland (2010-16) but bristled when the Athletics limited his playing time this year, a move that denied him the plate appearances necessary for his $13 million 2017 option to become guaranteed.With the World Series tied 1-all and Game 3 scoreless, Crisp pinch hit for reliever Andrew Miller in the seventh inning with one out and runners at the corners. Cubs manager Joe Maddon decided to stay with Carl Edwards Jr. rather than bring in left-hander Mike Montgomery, a move that would have prompted Cleveland counterpart Terry Francona to replace Crisp with Brandon Guyer.We liked that matchup, Maddon said. You have to pick your poison right there. It just didnt work out.Crisp lined a 92 mph fastball from Edwards into short right field, sending pinch-runner Michael Martinez home from third.Went over the scouting report before I went up there, and I know he has some natural cut to his fastball, Crisp said. I was hoping to get the barrel to it, and I did. It cut in on me and I was fortunate enough that it was able to drop in front of the fielder.Francona was relieved.Hes done that all year, the manager said. We needed something, anything, just to put a run across. ' ' ' 

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By 123
Added Feb 5


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