October’s Winners And Losers From The Sports World: Because Bat Flips Are The Greatest

The month of October is sports fan overload for many. The World Series is the final chapter for a long MLB season, both college football and the NFL are in full tilt, and the NBA and NHL regular seasons have finally tipped/faced off. Hallelujah.

Once again, we’ve decided to break out the athletes, moments and other things of interest that won and lost at sports in the month of October. Some are truly awesome moments of spectacle. Others are only here to make you laugh. Because winning at sports is important.

CONTINUE ONTO OCTOBER'S WINNERS AND LOSERS

Winner: Daniel Murphy

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Daniel Murphy might be having the best month ever, as his magical bat guided the New York Mets to the brink of a World Series championship. Murphy's seven home runs include six hit in consecutive playoff games, breaking the record of five set by Carlos Beltran of the Houston Astros in 2004. Murphy will be a free agent after the season, and his bank account will be a major winner as well.

Loser: Toronto Blue Jays

With a 51-51 record, the Blue Jays looked to be mired in mediocrity for another season. Then, with the acquisition of Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, Toronto went 43-18 and went on a fun-filled ride to the postseason. With the offseason looming, the Blue Jays face a ton of issues. The general manager's contract has expired, every starting pitcher not named R.A. Dickey is not guaranteed to be under contract for next season and neither is star third baseman Josh Donaldson, who is eligible for arbitration.

In short, the Blue Jays could look really different next season — either with a very different roster or with a bloated payroll.

Winner: The Bat Flip

The bat flip has quickly evolved from the most disrespectful act imaginable to baseball's equivalent of spiking the football. From Jose Bautista's epic bat flip to Eric Hosmer's sacrifice fly bat flip, the game feels more fun when players hurl their bats in the air after achieving success at the plate.

Loser: Greg Hardy

In this particular instance, the losing for the infamous Dallas Cowboys' defensive end is in the form of losing his mind in anger with the special teams coach after the New York Giants returned a kickoff for a touchdown.

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Hardy knocked the clipboard out of the coach's hands, then stormed up and down the sidelines as Dez Bryant (of all people) tried to calm him down. A bizarre locker room interview soon followed where Hardy asked reporters if they had questions and abruptly answered "no comment" before interviewers could even finish their inquiries.

Winner: Georgia Tech's Blocked Field Goal Touchdown Return

Florida State and Georgia Tech were tied at 16-16 with just six seconds remaining when FSU's All-American kicker Roberto Aguayo lined up for a 56-yard field goal to win the game. Then the shenanigans came.

The Yellow Jackets broke through the Seminoles' line and blocked Aguayo’s kick. Lance Austin picked up the ball and weaved through Seminole players for a 78-yard touchdown and upset victory for Georgia Tech. What a time to be alive, indeed, for Georgia Tech fans.

Loser: Don Mattingly

There are few managers who have achieved as much as Don Mattingly. Donnie Baseball managed the Los Angeles Dodgers to three NL West divisional titles, but the powers that be in the Dodgers' administration have decided to look for a new manager this winter. When you have as high of a payroll as the Dodgers, winning a divisional crown isn't enough, but it looks like The Hit Man won't be out of a job long.

Winner: Michigan State's Blocked Punt Touchdown Return

While Georgia Tech's blocked field goal vs. Florida State was awesome, Michigan State might've one-upped the Yellow Jackets with its special teams heroics vs. Michigan the week before. The Spartans were down 23-21 to the Wolverines with 10 seconds remaining, as Michigan prepared to punt and clinch the game. Then the tomfoolery.

The Spartans blocked a punt, scooped it up and returned it for a touchdown, giving Mark Dantonio’s squad the win as time expired. Wolverines fans were on the brink of their first win over the Spartans in years, but Michigan State pulled off the improbable in an instant classic.

Loser: Jalen Watts-Jackson

Watts-Jackson, the Michigan State player who picked up the blocked punt attempt vs. Michigan and scored the thrilling game-winning touchdown, suffered a dislocated and fractured left hip on the game's final play. The sophomore Spartan's season is lost as doctors reset the hip and performed surgery to repair the fracture. Watts-Jackson was released from the hospital and returned to East Lansing on crutches. When asked if he'd do it all over again, Watts-Jackson's response was a simple one:

"If I had to do it all over again, I definitely would.”

Winner: Abby Wambach

Abby Wambach announced Tuesday in a statement that she will retire from professional soccer at the end of 2015. Wambach will walk away from the sport as the all-time leading goal scorer in international soccer history. The 35-year-old striker was part of the U.S. Women’s National Team that won the title at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada last summer and will remain with Team USA for the last four games of its “Victory Tour.” She’ll bow out after the December game against China in New Orleans. All hail Mary Abigail Wambach.

Loser: Chase Utley

The New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers already don't like each other. Chase Utley poured gasoline onto the rivalry with a controversial takeout slide on a Saturday night that injured Ruben Tejada.

With the Dodgers down 2-1 to the Mets in the 7th inning with runners on the corners of Game 2 of the series, Howie Kendrick hit a grounder to second baseman Daniel Murphy. Murphy flipped to shortstop Ruben Tejada, who was summarily taken out by Utley on Roberto Aguayo an egregious slide. Tejada suffered a broken fibula on the play that will keep him out the remainder of the season. The Dodgers wound up winning the game 5-2, but lost the series to the Mets. A piece of advice to Utley: Don't go to New York anytime soon.

Winner: Max Scherzer

The Washington Nationals ace pitcher went into his last start of the regular season with nothing on the line other than his pride. On an early October Saturday night against the  New York Mets, Scherzer struck out 17 hitters and tossed his second no-hitter of the season, making him the first pitcher since Nolan Ryan in 1973 to throw two no-hitters in the same season.

Scherzer didn't walk anyone and was a Yunel Escobar error in the sixth inning away from throwing a perfect game. Also, he’s the first pitcher in MLB history to throw two no-hitters without giving up a walk. All hail Max Scherzer.

Loser: The Gatorade Cooler

When the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs got into a bench-clearing almost brawl after Jake Arrieta was hit by a pitch in the seventh, Sean Rodriguez came out for the fight. He got into it with various Cubs players and was seen throwing punches. Rodriguez was still in a rage when he got back to the dugout, and he decided to let it all out on an innocent Gatorade cooler. What did the cooler do to you, Sean Rodriguez? Good grief.

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Winner: Steve Spurrier

The Old Ball Coach has decided to hang up his whistle in October, as Steve Spurrier decided to retire as the head coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks. Spurrier coached for 26 years, winning 228 games with stops at South Carolina, Florida and Duke. At 70 years of age, we probably should've seen this coming, but college football just won't be the same without "The Old Ball Coach" and his sarcastic sense of humor on the sidelines.

Loser: Louisville Cardinals

Rick Pitino's basketball team has been under fire as five former Louisville basketball players admitted that they attended parties at a campus dorm that involved strippers paid for by Cardinals’ former graduate assistant, Andre McGee. These parties, held at an on-campus dorm and hosted by an escort madam, happened over the course of five years. The scandal was first broken on Oct. 2, when stories were revealed in a soon-to-be published book by Katina Powell. While Pitino has denied having knowledge of any of this, further punishment and possible sanctions are in line for Louisville's basketball program.

Winner: Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs were finally able to get the monkey off their backs as their defeat of the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Divisional Series was the first playoff series that the team has ever won at Wrigley Field and just the second playoff series since 1908. The Cubs were probably a year ahead of schedule in 2015, as next season looks to be huge for a team that features emerging stars like Jake Arrieta, Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell and Kris Bryant.

Loser: Indianapolis Colts

The Colts tried to catch the New England Patriots off-guard during an October Sunday night game with an absurd fake punt formation. The Colts lined up in an odd formation with the majority of their players off the line of scrimmage on 4th-and-3 from their own 37-yard line. They ran the play, then failed miserably as a result. The Colts never recovered from the blunder, as the fake punt failure was the difference in a 34-27 Patriots win.

Winner: Von Miller

You could say that Von Miller is a loser here, because he was fined $11,567 for unsportsmanlike conduct on the field. What was the unsportsmanlike conduct, you ask? It was going full McCringleberry with the excessive celebrations.

Was it a big suggestive? Maybe. Was it awesome? Yes. Miller paid homage to Key & Peele's hilarious football celebrations sketch.

Loser: Josh Scobee

Josh Scobee had a rough October. First, he missed two critical field goals for the Pittsburgh Steelers against their hated rival Baltimore Ravens that resulted in a 23-20 defeat. Then, Snoop Dogg cussed Scobee out in a NSFW rant. Finally, Scobee was released from his duties.

A video posted by snoopdogg (@snoopdogg) on Oct 1, 2015 at 8:19pm PDT

Life is hard for a kicker sometimes, especially when you miss important field goals and get slandered to the high heavens by a bandwagon sports fan rapper. Poor guy.

Winner: Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins hasn't had the easiest of times in Washington this season. His quarterback play has been wildly inconsistent, and his performances are constantly compared to his teammate and former starting QB Robert Griffin III. However, on one eventful Sunday afternoon, he played a whale of a game and gave his critics something to think about. Cousins threw three second-half touchdown passes as Washington came back from a 24-0 deficit to beat Tampa Bay, 31-30.

When headed back to the locker room, a camera spotted Cousins, and the Washington signal caller let the world know how he felt. YOU LIKE THAT!

Loser: EJ Manuel

EJ Manuel earned a dubious distinction in October that no NFL quarterback may ever accomplish, as the Buffalo Bills quarterback is the first to lose in three different countries. Here's how we got here:

  • Manuel took a 34-31 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars at London’s Wembley Stadium.
  • Manuel also took a 34-31 overtime loss on Dec. 1, 2013, when the Bills lost to the Atlanta Falcons at the Rogers Centre as part of Buffalo’s Toronto series.
  • Manuel has a 6-8 record in games not played in England or Canada.

Welcome to the history books, EJ Manuel — well done.

Winner: Golden State Warriors

It's been four months since the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games of the 2015 NBA Finals, and the Dubs are already thinking about the repeat. On NBA's opening night versus the New Orleans Pelicans, the Warriors received their championship rings and raise their franchise's fourth title banner in front of 18,000 screaming fans.

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Oh, and how did the game go? The Warriors defeated the Pelicans 111-95, with the reigning MVP Stephen Curry putting up 40 points in three quarters of work. Let the title defense officially begin.

Loser: Dwight Howard

The NBA season is just getting started, but Dwight Howard might have already lost (his mind).

Former Orlando Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide recently sat down and told a few stories about his dealing with Howard. Before the Magic traded Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers three years ago, the all-star center compared himself to ... wait for it ... Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela.

"When he told me he was an icon, guess what three names he used [to compare himself to]? Michael Jordan. Muhammad Ali. Nelson Mandela.

[...]

"Are you kidding me? We've been to the Finals once and you're a great athlete, and you're an icon like these three? I knew it was over. I knew there was no chance of keeping him."

Nothing wrong with setting aspirational goals, but Mandela? C'mon, son.

Winner: Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers have shocked the NFL by putting together an impressive 6-0 record thus far in the season. With a big win over the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks, a lights-out defense and a leading MVP candidate in Cam Newton, Carolina looks like title contenders. The only question is, do the Panthers have good enough wide receivers to be taken seriously?

Loser: Matt Barnes

Memphis Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes decided to drive 95 miles from Santa Barbara (where his team was holding training camp) to his ex-wife’s home in Los Angeles, as the newly acquired swingman learned that his former Los Angeles Lakers teammate and current New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher was seeing her in the home. This news is courtesy of the New York Post.

Fisher, who is fresh off a divorce of his own recently, was at a backyard bonfire of Basketball Wives L.A. star Gloria Govan’s when Barnes figured out the two were together. (Govan and Barnes reportedly divorced in September 2014.) Allegedly, Barnes drove nearly 100 miles to the house and tried to scrap with Fisher.

If only Fisher had listened to The Game.

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