Hope everyone had a great Independence Day weekend; lots to talk about, so let's discuss...
- What would the Fourth of July be without two of the national pastime's greatest rivals, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, playing each other? We pick up the four-game series on Friday, where the Yanks' firecrackers fizzled thanks to a Mike Lowell three-run jack in the sixth inning and Johnny Damon injured himself while trying to catch an fly ball in left. Damon caught the ball, only to have it pop out of his glove and land on the outfield wall, only to fall onto the warning track for a two-run Kevin Youkilis triple. The Bombers went on to get bombed, 6-4.
- However, the Yanks came back to split the series. Mariano Rivera was the only Yankee pitcher to give up a run on Saturday to preserve Mike Mussina's six-inning shutout performance, 2-1. Rivera came close to blowing his first save of the year when he hit Youkilis and Manny Ramirez and gave up two base hits before getting himself right to strike out Coco Crisp and Julio Lugo and getting Jason Varitek to fly out to first. The following night, in front of a national audience, Damon's replacement, young Brett Gardiner, delivered the game-winning base hit off Lugo's glove in the bottom of the 10th, 5-4.
- There was some more extra-inning walk-off winners over the weekend: the same thing happened to St. Louis Cardinals pitcher-come-outfielder Rick Ankiel on Saturday in the bottom of the ninth, 5-4, over the Chicago Cubs. This came just a day after Albert Pujols got his 300th career homer, BTW.
- The following day saw the New York Mets' Fernando Tatis club a two-run shot in the top of the 12th inning for a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, a Marcus Thames sac fly in the top of the 15th for a 2-1 Detroit Tigers win over the Seattle Mariners, and a Mark Teixeira single winning the game for the Atlanta Braves 7-6 in the bottom of the 17th inning agaisnt the Houston Astros.
- Runs were mile high in Denver as the Colorado Rockies came back from an eight-run deficit in the bottom of the sixth to defeat the Florida Marlins, 18-17. Both teams combined for 35 runs, 43 hits, two errors, or eight homers, while the Rockies' Ryan Spillborghs and Matt Holliday hit two homers each.
MLB All-Stars announced
- First Basemen
- Second Baseman
- Third Basemen
- Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers; Kosuke Fukudome, Chicago Cubs; Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs1
- Aaron Cook, Rockies; Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs; Dan Haren, Arizona Diamondbacks; Brad Lidge, Phillies; Tim Lincecum, Giants; Ben Sheets, Brewers; Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati Reds; Billy Wagner, NY Mets; Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks; Brian Wilson, Pirates; Kerry Wood, Chicago Cubs Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs
- First Basemen
- Second Basemen
- Third Basemen
- Alex Rodriguez, NY Yankees
- Josh Hamilton, Rangers; Manny Ramirez,Red Sox; Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners
- Justin Duchscherer, Oakland Athletics; Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays; Scott Kazmir, Rays; Cliff Lee, Cleveland Indians; Joe Nathan, Twins; Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox; Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees; Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles Angels; Ervin Santana, LA Angels; Joe Saunders, LA Angels; George Sherrill, Baltimore Orioles; Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals
1. Originally selected but unable to play due to injury.
Players in italics are manager's choices.
Players in bold are Final Man candidates.
History and Redemption at Wimbledon
- Rafael Nadal did something on Sunday he could never do before at the All-England Club: defeat Roger Federer for the Wimbledon title. Nadal did just that in a four-hour, 48-minute affair (two rain delays included), 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7. Nadal needed the fifth-set tiebreak, and it was a finish akin to Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe in the early 1980s.
- The day before, Venus and Serena Williams made the Ladies' final a sister act, with the latter besting the former in straight sets, 7-6, 6-4.
CFL Week 2
Apologies for my absence during the opener of the 2008 CFL season. Here's a look at Week 2:
- Anthony Calvillo led the way with 372 yards and four touchdowns as the Montreal Alouettes cruised to a 38-24 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. For those of you who are wondering about Bombers slotback Milt Stegall, he did not play in this game.
- Luca Congi was Joe Toe for the defending Grey Cup champions Saskatchewan Roughriders as he made all four of his field goal attempts in a 26-16 rout of the British Columbia Lions.
- Speaking of whom, the 'Chair sends its condolences to team president Bobby Ackles, who died on Sunday from a heart attack at age 69.
UFC 86 from the Armchair
- A battle of Ultimate Fighter 7 coaches squared off for the UFC Light Heavyweight championship, and the fight went the distance with Griffin coming up with the belt via unanimous decision (48-46, 48-46, 49-46). By the way, UFC title fights go five rounds, while other bouts are scheduled for three.
- In an undercard match, Canadian Patrick Côté got a split decision victory over Brazilian Ricardo Almeida.
- Kyle Busch has dominated the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008; further edification comes with his sixth win of the year at the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. Busch was delcared the winner after a big wreck on the final lap.
- Lewis Hamilton gave the home folks something to cheer about after taking the chequered flag at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone (its current location until after next year, when the race will be held at Donington Park, site of the UK MotoGP event). It was also Hamilton's third win of the year, and leaves him in a log jam for the top of the table with Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen.
- Ryan Hunter-Reay took advantage of a rare Scott Dixon gaffe to score his first IRL career win at Watkins Glen, New York.
Odds and Sods
- While his ankle surgery was successful, look for Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo to miss the first part of the upcoming FA Premier League season.
- Howzabout this for a crazy ending to a game? The Philadelphia Soul were trailing the New York Dragons in the AFL divisional playoff. Soul QB Matt D'Orazio hit Larry Brackins, who ran for a touchdown to win the game – or did he? It was originally thought that Brackins had fumbled the ball as soon as he was brought down by two Dragons defenders. However, replay showed that he had actually broken the plane of the end zone, and thus, the score counted and the Soul won, 49-48.
- Tyson Gay suffered what he termed as a "mild muscle strain" during the 200m race in the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. While the injury was bad enough to require a cart-off from the track, Gay says that he'll be ready for the 100m and 4x100m relay in Beijing next month.
AGM Mid-Year Awards Results
Thanks to everyone who voted in the first-ever Mid-Year Awards; here are the results of same:
- Sir Alex Ferguson, ManU
- Kosuke Fukudome, Chicago Cubs (he won this going away)
- Roger Clemens, Brian MacNamee, et al.
Passing out the bigger honors
- US swimmer Michael Phelps, who capped a successful week at the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, wherein he won five events and set two world records (the 200m and 400m individual medley).
- Also, kudos to Joey Chestnut, who kept the Nathan's Hot Dog title in the US for another year by defeating Takeru Kobayashi on Friday by downing 59 franks (plus five more in a "dog-off")
The National League Western Division: Look at the standings for yourself, folks...
Finally, the end!!!
Until next week, as always, let's all be good sports...