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Joe Maddon

He may not be Jesus, but baseball's resident miracle worker did his very own water-into-wine routine. According to the Orlando Sentinel, when the Rays started the season horrendously back in April, Maddon bought a bottle of whisky while heading on the team's first trip and made everyone toast "the best 1-8 team in major-league history." Once Evan Longoria waved his magic wand on Wednesday night, that whisky had turned into champagne and Tampa had nailed down the wild card.

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Although seeing the Braves miss out on the wild card was bad enough, it wasn't entirely unexpected – after all, the franchise did spend the first 82 years of its existence in Boston – but the noose is getting tighter around the necks of the city's real darlings, the Falcons, whose Super Bowl aspirations appear somewhat premature with the team mired in last place in the NFC South after last weekend's loss to Tampa.

Counterfeit sports market

The NHL is worried about people taking money out of its pockets with knock-off merchandise, leading it to launch an anti-counterfeit campaign in Montreal this week. Based on the above example, we're not sure they've got much to worry about, but just in case we'll advise people to steer clear of Toronto Maple Leaves and Montreal Canadians paraphernalia, too.

Jonny Wilkinson

We've had "Skategate" and "Spygate," but it was only a matter of time before a sporting controversy was labelled "Ballsgate." The England rugby team duly provided it this week, skirting the laws of the game by switching old balls for newer ones during conversions, with Wilkinson, the fly half, having had problems kicking with well-used balls. But whether you're Auld England or New England, cheating's still cheating.

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David de Gea

The Manchester United goalkeeper flattered to deceive once again last Tuesday, costing his team dearly in a 3-3 draw with unfancied Basel. He was a little more sure-handed in a grocery store afterward, getting fingered for stealing a doughnut. Still, manager Sir Alex Ferguson continues to back his ₤70,000-a-week goalie, saying, "He's 20 years of age and doesn't know the culture of the country." Like that very British notion of paying for things, apparently.

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