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#pounditWednesday, October 27, 2021

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Jorge Soler makes World Series history with leadoff home run

Jorge Soler World Series homer graphic

Jorge Soler missed most of the Atlanta Braves’ NLCS series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. But he wasted absolutely no time making his presence felt in the World Series against the Houston Astros.

Leading off Tuesday’s Game 1, the Braves slugger deposited a 2-0 pitch from Astros lefty Framber Valdez into the left field seats for a solo home run.

Soler’s homer was history-making in a lot of ways. Per ESPN Stats & Info, the 29-year-old became the first-ever player in MLB history to hit a home run in the first plate appearance of a World Series. As Tuesday’s game was at Houston, an American League park, Soler also became the first designated hitter in World Series history to homer out of the leadoff spot.

The home run put the pressure on Valdez right away. He gave up four more runs in short order (including another RBI groundout from Soler) and got chased from the game in the third inning with the Braves up 5-0.

As for Soler, he missed five of the Braves’ six NLCS games after landing on the COVID-19 list. Now he is making up for lost time and then some by replacing this guy as Atlanta’s new offensive hero.

Mike Tomlin has extremely animated response to USC rumor

Mike Tomlin

Mike Tomlin has suddenly found his name tied to the USC head coaching vacancy, but the Pittsburgh Steelers coach made it clear on Tuesday that he has no interest in the job. Very clear.

Tomlin became extremely annoyed when asked if he would consider leaving the Steelers for USC or any other college job. He called the speculation a “joke” and said there isn’t an offer in the world that would make him give it a thought.

“Hey guys, I don’t have time for that speculation. That’s a joke to me,” Tomlin said. “I’ve got one of the best jobs in all of professional sports. Why would I have any interest in coaching college football? That’ll be the last time I address it, not only today but moving forward. Never say never, but never. Anybody else got any questions about any college jobs? There’s not a booster with a big enough blank check.”

Tomlin then ended his press conference by asking if any reporters have asked Sean Payton or Andy Reid about college jobs. Of course, Tomlin wasn’t asked about USC out of nowhere. He can thank former Trojans star Carson Palmer for that.

Palmer was a guest on “The Dan Patrick Show” Monday. He said he has given input to USC about the head coaching vacancy and discussed potential candidates. Palmer mentioned Tomlin and then seemed surprised that he was the first one to publicly link the Steelers coach to the job. You can see the funny video here.

If USC thought they had a chance to land Tomlin, they can probably forget about it now. Coaches have lied about their interest in other jobs plenty of times, but Tomlin was quite convincing.

Tony Romo targeted over Tom Brady, Gisele joke

Tony Romo

Tony Romo made an innocent joke after Mike Evans accidentally gave away Tom Brady’s 600th career touchdown ball on Sunday, but there were plenty of people who did not find it funny. Some were downright appalled.

Romo and CBS partner Jim Nantz called Sunday’s game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During that game, Evans unknowingly gave Brady’s 600th career touchdown pass to a fan sitting in the front row. Romo and Nantz cracked a few jokes when a Bucs staffer came over to the fan to negotiate a deal to get Brady’s milestone ball back. Romo sarcastically speculated that the fan probably asked for a date with Brady’s wife Gisele.

Brady is married to arguably the most famous supermodel in the world. Gisele Bundchen a beautiful woman and full-blown celebrity. Who wouldn’t want a date with her?

Not surprisingly, that logic was lost on the Twitter mob. Romo faced a great deal of criticism on social media, a lot of which came from reporters and other verified accounts. One national outlet even wrote a column about it and called Romo’s remark “crude” and “problematic.”

The situation was a lot like the one we saw with Terry Bradshaw and Erin Andrews earlier this month. Romo obviously meant no disrespect to Tom or Gisele. If anything, he was complimenting Gisele. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to matter in 2021.

Watch: Jameis Winston yells at Tre’Quan Smith after play

Jameis Winston Trequan Smith

Jameis Winston was heated with teammate Tre’Quan Smith after a failed third-down play in the fourth quarter on Monday night.

Winston’s New Orleans Saints were tied with the Seattle Seahawks at 10 early in the fourth quarter. The Saints had a 3rd-and-12 situation and sent four receivers out on a pass play. Winston’s pass was batted down, and the Saints ended up punting.

After the third down play, Winston ripped into Smith on the sideline. He seemed to be furious with Smith, possibly for not lining up in the correct spot.

Prior to the play, Winston seemed like he had to direct Smith where to go.

Saints reporter Jeff Duncan said that head coach Sean Payton was also upset with Smith.

Smith was playing his first game of the season since being activated from injured reserve. He definitely did not seem to be on the same page his his quarterback.

Winston confirmed as much after the game.

LSU AD eyeing national champion coach to replace Ed Orgeron?

Ed Orgeron in a white LSU shirt

Almost every top college coach in the country will hear his name connected to the LSU job at some point, and Dabo Swinney is no exception. The two-time national champion has already denied that he would have any interest in a fresh start, but that doesn’t mean LSU will take him at his word.

Paul Finebaum said on the “ESPN College Football Podcast” recently that LSU athletic director Scott Woodward has Swinney at the top of his list.

“It’s really hard to chisel that one down,” Finebaum said of the LSU coaching search, as transcribed by Wade Peery of On3.com. “There are some who believe the AD Scott Woodward wants — you ready for this — Dabo Swinney. Now, there’s talk that the president wants Mel Tucker. (University of Louisiana coach) Billy Napier is out there maybe as a second-tier selection if everyone else goes bust. It seems like Jimbo (Fisher) is out of that one.”

Fisher coached at LSU under Nick Saban nearly two decades ago when the Tigers won a national title. The connection there is natural, but Fisher insists he is very happy at Texas A&M. Swinney is the big name that Finebaum mentioned, and it’s noteworthy that Clemson is 4-3 and having a very rough season.

Does that mean Swinney would entertain leaving? Probably not. Swinney has built Clemson into a national powerhouse and won two championships since 2016. He signed a 10-year, $93 million extension with the school two years ago. Swinney would have to pay Clemson a significant amount of money if he took another job at this point. The 51-year-old responded to a question about the LSU job last week.

There are other candidates for the LSU job that make more sense than Swinney. That doesn’t mean LSU officials will ignore Dabo altogether, as they are likely to explore every option.

Photo: Sep 18, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron looks on against Central Michigan Chippewas during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Report: One team has made actual trade offer for Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson

The Houston Texans appear to be inching closer to trading Deshaun Watson, and they reportedly have at least one offer for the star quarterback on the table.

The Miami Dolphins have been viewed as the frontrunner to land Watson for months. Armando Salguero of Outkick says he was told by a source on Sunday that Miami has an actual offer on the table for Watson. Though, the details of the offer are unclear.

It seems safe to assume that whatever the Dolphins offered, the Texans want more. Most people believe Houston was behind the leak last week that they were getting close to trading Watson.

The Texans obviously want to trade Watson, but they are said to be seeking multiple first-round picks. You can understand why teams are unwilling to offer that with Watson having been accused of sexual assault by multiple women. The NFL is waiting for a grand jury to decide if Watson will be prosecuted, and the league could hand down disciplinary action after that.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported on Monday that the Texans expect to trade Watson by the Nov. 2 deadline. The Dolphins are not the only team interested in Watson, but the QB has a no-trade clause. He supposedly wants to play in Miami, which could be a big factor in the trade talks and result in the Texans having even less leverage.

Bill Belichick did not hide his happiness while blowing out Jets

Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick’s hatred of the New York Jets is legendary, and it manifested itself again when the two teams met Sunday.

The Patriots posted an eye-catching 54-13 win over the Jets to sweep the season series. Belichick seemed to enjoy piling on at the end. The Patriots scored 20 points in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand. The barrage included deep balls from backup Brian Hoyer despite holding a 34-point lead with less than five minutes to go in the game.

How much did Belichick enjoy what he and his team did to the Jets? He was openly congratulating his players on the sideline as the game wound down.

You don’t often see Belichick in a congratulatory mood, at least in public. There was no mistaking his mood on Sunday, though.

Belichick likely would not have done this against any other opponent. His frosty relationship with the Jets dates back two decades, and he’s beaten with them and messed with them repeatedly over the years. Sunday was just another chapter in that saga.

Report: Dolphins not only team interested in Deshaun Watson trade

Deshaun Watson in the rain

The Miami Dolphins have been viewed for months as the most likely suitor for Deshaun Watson if the quarterback is traded. They are not, however, the only team that has expressed interest in the star quarterback.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported on Sunday that there are several teams interested in trading for Watson. Among them are the Dolphins, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles. Rapoport also noted that Watson will likely remain eligible to play — as he is now — even if he is traded by the Houston Texans.

The Texans have essentially placed Watson on paid administrative leave. He has been a healthy scratch every week, and it is clear he will not play for the team in 2021. With Watson facing sexual assault allegations from multiple women, some have wondered if the NFL would place him on the Commissioner’s Exempt list if he’s traded.

Watson has a full no-trade clause. The Dolphins are said to be his top choice. He reportedly does not want to play for at least one team that has expressed interest in trading for him.

The NFL is waiting for a grand jury to decide if Watson will be prosecuted for sexual assault. He has been sued by 22 women and 10 women have filed criminal complaints. Watson could face a suspension even if he’s not charged.

A recent report claimed the Texans are moving closer to trading Watson. They have until the trade deadline on Nov. 2 to make a deal, otherwise they’ll have to wait until the offseason to sort out the situation.

Photo: Jan 27, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; AFC quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) in the NFL Pro Bowl football game at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Flores in danger of losing Dolphins locker room?

Brian Flores

The Miami Dolphins have lost five straight games since their big win over the New England Patriots in Week 1, and that has led to some questions about head coach Brian Flores’ job security. According to one report, those questions are very valid.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports was told by sources that some veteran players with the Dolphins are losing trust in Flores. In particular, there are some players who are not pleased that Flores opted against having a bye week following the London game.

Peter King of NBC Sports reported during the offseason that the Dolphins chose to have a bye later in the season rather than taking the week off after playing the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. They lost that game, of course, allowing the Jags to snap a 20-game losing streak. That likely contributed to players wishing they had a break.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has reportedly become “increasingly concerned” about the direction of the franchise.

“There is a really negative vibe down there right now,” a source told La Canfora. “A lot of players do not trust (Flores). Flo thinks he is a player’s coach, with an open-door policy, but I know a number of players who would tell you they don’t really think he is approachable enough, or flexible.”

The Dolphins have also created an awkward situation with their quarterback. They used the No. 5 overall pick on Tua Tagovailoa less than two years ago, but that hasn’t stopped them from pursuing a potential trade for Deshaun Watson. Flores was forced to address the Watson rumors again earlier this week.

Winning is the cure for everything in the NFL, and the Dolphins have done none of that over the past month. They need to turn things around, otherwise the hot seat talk will continue for Flores.

Baseball world reacts to Eddie Rosario’s huge Game 6 home run

Eddie Rosario rounds first base

Eddie Rosario is carrying the Atlanta Braves this postseason, and he delivered yet another big blow in the NLCS.

Rosario took Los Angeles Dodgers starter Walker Buehler deep for a tie-breaking 3-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning of NLCS Game 6 in Atlanta on Saturday night. Rosario had runners on second and third with two outs and a 1-2 count against Buehler. Rosario took a pitch low and in and lined it down the right field line out of Truist Park.

The hit was Rosario’s 14th of the NLCS, which is a Braves record for a single postseason series.

Those watching the game were in awe of Rosario and tweeted their reactions:

The man has deserved it.

It’s hard to believe that a player acquired while injured at the trade deadline, for Pablo Sandoval, has become the Braves’ postseason hero, but that is the case with Rosario.