In Phoenix, Dan Bickley writes D-backs fans at Chase Field last night did not need "cue cards or reminders to make noise" during the team's 11-8 victory against the Rockies in the NL Wild Card game. They "acted like Red Sox fans or Cubs fans," and Phoenix "sounded like a city in love" with MLB. The D-backs "don’t get these kinds of crowds over the grind of 81 home games" and they "don’t get this kind of passion during the dog days of summer." As a result, the team "rarely gets to feed off high-decibel energy from their fans." Bickley: "When they do, the results are breathtaking" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 10/5). FS Arizona's Steve Berthiaume said, "For the past couple of years, this has been a Cardinals town because of their NFL success, but around about May or June, people around here started to catch on. The attendance has gone way up, the enthusiasm at the games has been through the roof. ... People are into it” (“High Heat,” MLB Network, 10/4).
CALLING CARD: The Sabres signed C Jack Eichel to an eight-year, $80M contract extension this week, and THE ATHLETIC's Pierre LeBrun writes the move is GM Jason Botterill's "early calling card after taking over the reigns" of the franchise this offseason. It is a "gigantic decision, and one that may help define Botterill’s reign here, but one that also had to be tackled as soon as possible." LeBrun: "It was a brilliant decision to get Eichel done now, not just for the long-term security it brings the franchise, but also for being able to avoid the season-long distraction it might have become for the young star had he not signed" (THEATHLETIC.com, 10/4).
BUCKLE UP: The AP noted the Patriots yesterday "celebrated the inaugural flight of their very own Boeing 767." The team was at T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island before heading to Tampa, where they play the Buccaneers tonight. The Patriots are "taking their customized aircraft, which is painted with the team’s logo and red-white-and-blue colors, and includes the Pats’ five Lombardi trophies painted on the tail" (AP, 10/4).