The St. Louis Cardinals get a second chance at this whole notion of going head-to-head with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Last time the two NL Central rivals met head-up, the Pirates took four of five games in the Steel City. Now the Cards get to invite the Buccos to meet them in St. Louis for a big three-game set that starts tonight and keynotes Tuesday’s daily sports agenda.
Pittsburgh holds a three-game lead in the NL Central and the series opener is at 8 PM ET on MLB Network. So long as the Cardinals don’t get swept, they’ll still be in the race, but failure to win a big home series would be a pretty big message to those of us who still pick St. Louis to win this division and ultimately the National League pennant.
NFL Network will show preseason games from last week throughout the day and into the evening, with Seattle-San Diego being the one that starts at 7 PM ET. If its college football replays you prefer, check ESPNU at 8:30 PM ET, for last November’s Texas A&M-Alabama game.
And NBA-TV has four hours essentially blocked off for the celebration of Magic Johnson. At 6:30 PM ET, there’s a thirty-minute show on the Top 50 moments of his career, honoring Magic’s 50th birthday. Preceding that, and starting at 3 PM ET, will be some classic games.
The first is Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals. Magic was a rookie and had to jump center when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had to stay back in Los Angeles with a sprained ankle. It seemed like the Lakers were tacitly conceding this game to the Sixers so they could get it back to the West Coast with a healthy Kareem for Game 7. Instead, Magic played all five positions, scored 42 points, had a triple-double and with that single performance ended up with a Finals MVP that probably should have gone to Jabbar.
Then two years later it was the Lakers-Sixers again in the NBA Finals. Again it was Game 6 with Los Angeles holding the chance to clinch. This time the game was in the Los Angeles Forum and the pressure was on the Lakers not to let it get back to Philly (the Finals did not adopt the 2-3-2 format until 1985). Magic had a Lucky 13—13 points, 13 rebounds, 13 assists, won another Finals MVP and the Lakers won another title.
Here at TheSportsNotebook, Tuesday is about college football coverage. We’ll have previews for the Big Ten & Pac-12 going up. Please also check out yesterday’s MLB coverage, which looked at how the Oakland A’s let their let vanish in the AL West, and NFL analysis, which previewed the AFC East and NFC West last week.