This is what you call coming up short.

American sprinter Noah Lyles, running in the Inspiration Games — in which world-class competitors ran simultaneously in remote locations like a video conference call for BBC television — appeared to smash Usain Bolt’s 200-meter world record when he clocked 18.90 seconds in Bradenton, Florida.

Five minutes later, red-faced officials confessed they’d put Lyles’ starting blocks in the wrong lane — meaning he’d run only 185 meters. And costing him his $10,000 first-place prize.


• At “Cam Newton scrambling to get up to speed after Patriots send him playbook of every NFL team.”

• At “MLB releases 60-day COVID-19 spreading schedule.”

Home run

Former Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle is selling his 9,120-square-foot Allegheny County mansion, which sits on 0.95 acres and features an outdoor saltwater pool and a basketball court with a Pirates logo.

In other words, it’s the perfect place if you want to go yard.

Taking no chances

What a difference four months makes:

• March 9: Jazz center Rudy Gobert mockingly touches every microphone at a news conference, contracts COVID-19 and shuts down the NBA season.

• July 9: 76ers center Joel Embiid, headed to the Disney World bubble for the season restart, shows up in a hazmat suit.

Letter rip

“Warriors” is reportedly the leading choice to become the new nickname of Washington’s NFL team.

Headline writers — noting the team’s 66-109-1 record the past 11 seasons — probably won’t be calling them the W’s, for short.

Penalty on the play

Social distancing and face coverings will be in effect for all fans at Steelers home games this season.

Not to mention automatic ejections for fighting and grabbing the face mask.

Get me rewrite

Two teams — FC Dallas and Nashville SC — had to pull out of the MLS is Back Tournament after too many players tested positive for coronavirus.

On second thought, just call it the Well, Most of MLS is Back Tournament.

Quiet, please

The Fuji-Q Highland amusement park in Japan, saying that droplets from screaming on roller coasters could spread the coronavirus, is urging riders to “Please scream inside your heart.”

If you think that’s extreme, wait’ll they try to ban booing in Philadelphia.

Name Game

From the Why Of Course file comes word that sprint icon Usain Bolt’s newborn daughter has been given the middle name of … Lightning.

Liquid foot for thought

If drinking a glass of red wine can equate to an hour of exercise — as a study published in the Journal of Physiology suggests — will this pandemic produce a whole new generation of world-class athletes?

Talking the talk

• Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune, on Patriots coach Bill Belichick continually outwitting his competition: “He is a complete hygienist, and everyone else just brushes their front teeth.”, on COVID-19 and the England-West Indies cricket series: “The first Test Match where everyone had to actually take a test.”

• @SportsPickle: “Six and a half months into the global pandemic, we have finally made an important breakthrough: The virus can only spread via nonconference games.”

Under-the-table tennis

New Jersey’s sportsbooks have suspended betting on all table-tennis events in Ukraine or any matches involving six players, after being warned of potential match-fixing.

Shoeless Joe, meet Ping-Pong.

The write stuff

• Janice Hough of, on the prospect of Power Five football teams playing only conference games this season: “Look for Alabama to ask for an emergency proclamation to have Tennessee-Martin declared an honorary SEC member.”

• Greg Cote of the Miami Herald, after Cubs pitcher Jose Quintana lacerated his thumb while washing dishes: “Jose. You make big-league money. Look into this really neat invention. It’s called a dishwasher!”

• A’s third baseman Matt Chapman, via Zoom call, when asked about playing in front of no fans: “I think it’s going to play to our advantage … We’re used to not having too many fans at the games.”

• Mina Kimes of ESPN, via Twitter, on life with COVID-19: “Waking up every morning and seeing sports highlights from countries that took this seriously months ago.”

• Someone’s An Idiot, via Twitter, after a man driving a stolen car crashed into a woman driving another stolen car in Newberg, Oregon: “Grand Theft Auto VI: a love story.”

Tweet of the Week

“Patrick Mahomes, negotiating his extension with the Chiefs:

“KC: 100 million.

“Mahomes: Higher.

“KC: 200 million.

“Mahomes: Higher.

“KC: 500 million.

“Mahomes: Higher.

“KC: Eleventy billion.

“Mahomes: Higher.

“KC: That’s not a real number.

“Mahomes: You want me to leave?

“KC: Fine, done.”

— @NOTSportsCenter

Quote marks

• Craig Calcaterra of, via Twitter: “I really do not know how, as a sportswriter, to effortlessly go from ‘Braves’ star first baseman is really sick with a virus that has killed 130,000 people in the past few months’ to ‘Five keys to the Braves repeating as NL East champs.’ ”

• Tim Hunter of KRKO Radio, with an NFL prediction: “Patrick Mahomes has signed a contract with the Kansas City Chiefs that will definitely last longer than the team’s name.”

• Nathan Bishop, via Twitter: “If you’re squeamish about how much money Patrick Mahomes has, imagine how much the dude that pays him has.”

• Jack Finarelli of, on QB Bobby Layne putting a curse on the Lions when they traded him following their 1957 title season, vowing they wouldn’t win another one for 50 years: “He underestimated the ineptitude of the franchise.”