Sunday, July 31, 2011

Teenage American Tennis Phenom Jack Sock Turning Pro

There's another potential American star on the horizon that tennis fans can follow.  Jack Sock, 18, just announced he's forgoing a college tennis career to turn pro.

Sock won the Junior U.S. Open Title in 2010 defeating another American prospect, Daniel Kudla.  In 2010, he also won the U.S. National 18s championship, and will no doubt look to quickly improve his ATP singles ranking (549).

Terrelle Pryor Will Have To Head North To Canada; NFL To Rule Him Ineligible for Supplemental Draft

After weeks of speculation, it looks as thought Terrelle Pryor will not be eligible for the NFL supplemental draft this year.  This was reported by John Clayton, an NFL reporter for ESPN, yesterday.

Clayton stated that the NFL will refuse to admit Pryor into the draft simply because there are no official rulings from either the NCAA or Ohio State University that officially ban Pryor from playing college football.  Despite the recent ruling by Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith to ban Pryor from the football team for five years, he hasn't been kicked out of school.

Five Players That Need To Prove Themselves: Sanchez, Romo, Asomugha, AP, Bush

In the NFL, your reputation is only as good as last season, or possibly the last game.  Whether due to injury, increased expectations, or former reputation, the following five players need to have a great season in order for their team to go far:

Are The Philadelphia Eagles Really A "Dream Team?"

Recently acquired backup quarterback Vince Young made some noise when he proclaimed that the 2011 Eagles were a "Dream Team" after their off-season of free agent acquisitions.
“From Nnamdi [Asomugha] to [Dominique Rodgers-] Cromartie, to Jason [Babin] to myself,“ Young continued, “I know they are going to do some more things…It’s just beautiful to see where we’re trying to go.”
Way to temper expectations in what is probably the most difficult city in the NFL to play for, Vince!  Also, quite cocky to toss yourself into the mix of what makes the Eagles a "Dream Team."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Did Jay Cutler Finally Get Over Himself?

As a lifelong Bears fan living in Denver, I was fully aware of the personal issues surrounding Jay Cutler long before he was traded to Chicago.

However, I sought to overlook that as he was now MY team's quarterback and, much like your child marrying someone you don't necessarily like at first, I defended him against outsiders who simply disliked Cutler's outward persona.

We've all seen him on the sidelines with the same disaffected look on his face, and rarely see him show an emotion outside of anger.  He was just not nearly as cuddly as so many of the other Bears.  So it was no surprise when he left the NFC Championship game this past January with a knee injury that thousands of football fans everywhere attacked his toughness.  Cutler's indifference in interviews following the game and his lack of explanation for why he remained standing on the sideline when perhaps he should have been receiving treatment further inflamed Bears fans against their quarterback.

Tiger Woods Making Another Mistake By Coming Back Too Soon?

It's been almost three months since he played a tournament, and Tiger Woods can't wait any longer.  He has announced his intention to play in next week's Bridgestone Invitational Tournament and, if all goes well there, he plans to play in the final major of the golf year, the PGA Championship starting August 11.

Is this a move of a man healthy and ready to play golf, or does he simply miss the game so much that he's risking further injury by going out too soon?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Seven Things To Consider After This Stunning Week Of NFL Action

My head is still spinning after all of the free agency news that emerged from the NFL this week.  We really won't know how all of these massive changes will affect each individual team til we see things on the field.  However, after a week of radical moves, these are my thoughts:

US Soccer Fans Rejoice As Klinsmann Named New National Coach

Today the United States Soccer National Team finally got the man they've been chasing for several years.  Jurgen Klinsmann was hired as National Coach, replacing the recently fired Bob Bradley.

Klinsmann had twice been offered the job before, most notably in 2007 shortly after he coached a young German team to the semi-finals of the World Cup.  At the time, there apparently were disagreements on the level of control that Klinsmann would have over an American program.  Those issues appear to be solved now.

New Men's National Team Coach Jurgen Klinsmann
Photo: Mike Cassese/Landov

Who Will Be The Denver Broncos Quarterback? Tebow, right? Or wrong?

The Denver Broncos have an interesting quarterback situation on their hands.  Their current #1 quarterback, Kyle Orton, has been heavily featured trade rumors for months.

The reason being is that #2 quarterback, Tim Tebow, is the designated "quarterback of the future" after being a first round pick in 2010 and taking over the team's starting position at the end of last year.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My 2010 Visit To Denver Broncos Pre-Season; Tim Tebow's First NFL Training Camp

I happen to live fairly close to the Denver Broncos training facility at Dove Valley in Colorado, and last year I attended the opening day of training camp.  It was Tim Tebow's inaugural season, and it was clear he was a fan favorite.  There were already several Tebow jerseys worn by fans, and also quite a few Florida Gator shirts.

However, it was team leader Kyle Orton who was actually the first one out of the locker room, with Tebow following a few minutes behind.  I took some pictures of Tebow that showcased how big the guy actually is.

Tim Tebow at 2010 Broncos Training Camp

Philadelphia Eagles Bet Their 2011 Season On Michael Vick Alone; A Mistake?

The Philadelphia Eagles, with the trading of Kevin Kolb today, are setting themselves up for a dangerous gamble in the 2011 NFL season.

They're betting that not only does starter Michael Vick perform at, or near the level he did in 2010, but that he'll be able to stay healthy the whole season.  As of right now, the quarterback depth chart for the Eagles reads as such:

  1. Michael Vick - 2,115 career passing attempts
  2. Mike Kafka - 0 attempted career passes

Why The Bears Trading Greg Olsen Was a GOOD Move For Bears Fans

Jay Cutler lost an offensive weapon today as the Bears traded tight end Greg Olsen to the Carolina Panthers for an undisclosed draft pick.

However, the good news is that in place of Olsen, the Bears today acquired former Pittsburgh Steeler tight end, Matt Spaeth.

Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson Does Love Patriots Coach Bill Belichick

With the recent news that the New England Patriots have traded for Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson, I'm reminded of this interaction between him and his new coach, Bill Belichick before a Bengals-Patriots pre-season game in 2009.

I think Ochocinco's fantasy value just took a huge leap.

Bob Bradley Finally Fired From Men's National Soccer Team - HIRE KLINSMANN!!

After a four year stint as U.S. Men's National Soccer Team Head Coach, Bob Bradley was released today from his contract, U.S. Soccer said in a brief statement. They are expected to make a further statement on Friday.

With a record of 43-25-12, Bradley's tenure as largely been viewed as a disappointment despite a major win over then-#1 Spain to reach the Finals of the 2009 Confederations Cup.  Bradley's detractors have been calling for him to be fired almost as soon as he got hired, and Bradley was never able to prove to the legions of American soccer fans that he could guide the team to world prominence.

Women's Professional Soccer Update: Wambach, Magicjack struggling

With the onslaught of news from the NFL in the past week, the surge of popularity that women's professional soccer enjoyed following the World Cup has begun to fade.

What doesn't help is having Magicjack, which features stars Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe, and Christie Rampone, struggling in the league.  Currently, they are sitting in 5th place (and one spot out of the playoffs) after a 2-0 loss to New Jersey last night.

Donovan McNabb Will Revive His Career With Vikings, Great Fantasy Pickup

Here are the reasons why Donovan McNabb's move to the Minnesota Vikings will be great for his career, but also great for your fantasy football team (if you pay attention):

  • Let's state the obvious first: McNabb will be looking to prove everyone wrong who said he was washed up with the Eagles and then the Redskins. Motivation will not be a problem.

Pre-Season Week 1 Games To Watch: See Cam, Tebow, and Romo In Action

The NFL Pre-Season, for a football junkie, is a chance to see rookies in action, as well as how systems have changed under new coaches.  Rookie quarterbacks, especially, will be closely watched by rabid fans of their team, as well as potentially interested fantasy owners.

The NFL 2011 Pre-Season Schedule Highlights for Week 1

If Albert Haynesworth Can Pass His Physical, Career Revival Ahead With New England Patriots

Nothing that New England Patriots coach, Bill Belichick, does anymore surprises me, but this trade for Albert Haynesworth makes sense in a lot of ways.

Last year, the New England defense allowed 366 yards per game, which put them last in their own division.  They were also last in the league in 2010 in preventing 3rd-down conversions.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chicharito Lands In Hospital After Sustaining Concussion In Practice

Having gone largely unacknowledged in the history of soccer, a concussion was the diagnosis when Manchester United sent star forward Javier Hernandez, aka Chicharito, to the hospital last night following an accident on the pitch.

There is no doubt that Chicharito will miss tonight's All-Star Game in New Jersey between the MLS and Manchester United, even despite it not being announced as of yet and the Premier League star already being released from the hospital.

Hideous Act By Soccer Goalie As He Launches Flying Kick Into Back Of Opposing Player's Neck: VIDEO

Sport Recife goalkeeper Gustavo performed a vicious flying kick to the back of a Vasco de Gama player's neck at the BH Cup-Under 19 tournament currently being held in Brazil.  The attacked player is thankfully alright today, after being carted to the hospital.

The offending goalie was immediately cut from his team, but could still face criminal charges.  The local military police are investigating the attack.

Was it a Blown Call? Pittsburgh Pirates Erupt Over Home-Plate Error By Ump

Decide for yourself.  You get the Braves announcers calling the play, followed by the Pirates announcers.  Perhaps it's a brush tag, but I can't understand how the umpire makes that call in that situation.

Why MLB can continue to justify not expanding its use of instant replay is beyond me.  This was a call that decided a game between two top National League teams, perhaps with future wild card implications.

Finally a Fitting Punishment For Pryor - Five-Year Ban From Ohio State Program

In a case of unusual timing by the officials at Ohio State, the University officially banned former quarterback/star player Terrelle Pryor at a time when Pryor really needed it.

Pryor is applying to be admitted into the NFL Supplemental draft (yet to be scheduled), but there have been recent questions as to whether he was actually eligible.  As of last week, all that was known of his situation was that he would have had to serve a 5-game suspension at the beginning of the 2011 season, but would have been allowed to play the remainder of the season.  NFL Supplemental draft rules usually stipulate that a player has to have circumstances that would prohibit them from taking the field at all in order to be eligible to come into the NFL.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bengals Owner Tell Carson Palmer: Have a Nice Retirement!

Mike Brown, the owner of the Cincinnati Bengals, is putting his foot down when it comes to his very disgruntled quarterback, Carson Palmer.
“Carson signed a contract. He made a commitment. He gave his word,” Brown said. “We relied on his word. We relied on his commitment. We expected him to perform here. He’s going to walk away from his commitment. We aren’t going to reward him for doing it.”

Monday, July 25, 2011

Peyton Manning's Contract - A Worry For The Colts?

Peyton Manning is a future Hall of Fame quarterback.  There's no doubt about that.  Whether he will surpass every quarterback career record kept (and currently held by Brett Favre) remains to be seen.  Barring any serious injury, Manning looks to have at least another good five to six years left minimum.

With the new CBA in place now, Manning won't be able to get the kind of monster contract that many had predicted prior to the CBA. This year there's a $120 million salary cap for each team, and giving one guy 20% of your cap allotment doesn't make much sense.

Jeff Saturday Emotionally Thanks Patriots Owner Robert Kraft

Jeff Saturday is a 13-year veteran of the Indianapolis Colts.  As center, he is a pivotal of Peyton Manning's intricate offense and does far more than he gets credit for.

As a member of the NFLPA Executive Committee, he was also pivotal in getting the new labor agreement done, with NFLPA President Kevin Mawae saying this about Saturday:

What To Expect This Week In The NFL

Now that the CBA has been agreed to by the Owners and Players, it's time for the NFL schedule to reach a special level of crazy this week.  Be prepared to be completely overwhelmed with news regarding several dozen topics each day.  Here's a breakdown of this week's schedule and what we might expect to hear on each particular day:

Rookies Taking Huge Hit In New CBA: Veterans Pretty Happy About It

Ask fans and players alike about the exorbitant rookie contracts of the past several years, and you'll find that both sides thought the same thing: it was ridiculous.

With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that was just recently signed between the NFL players and owners, an entirely new way to pay rookies has been laid out, with provisions to stop the holdouts that have plagued NFL teams and fans alike.

Here's some key points in the new CBA that pertain to Rookies:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Alex Morgan's Amazing Back-Footed Goal

Alex Morgan is up to her old tricks, showing yet again why she's going to be a dangerous scoring threat for the Women's Olympic team next year.  Here she is scoring the tying goal tonight for her Western New York Flash vs the Boston Breakers in the Women's Professional League.

Which Rookies Are Worth Drafting On Your Fantasy Team? Fantasy Primer Pt. 2

***Update: 8/1 - I've made some adjustments in the post below after the first week of NFL practices have changed some rosters around:

In the second installment of my Fantasy Football primer, we will look at one of the most difficult decisions facing any fantasy football owner:  are there any rookies good enough to draft?

In 2010, the rookie crop was just as unpredictable as ever, with guys like Sam Bradford, LeGarrette Blount, Mike Williams, and Rob Gronkowski performing well enough to start for many fantasy teams by mid-season.

However, there were just as many duds such as Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy, and Ryan Matthews.  Even a guy like Dez Bryant who seemed to have a decent rookie season only had a couple great games and spent the rest of the year doing virtually nothing (I would know; I had him on my team waiting for him to produce).

Tim Wakefield Closes In On 200th Pitching Win Milestone

If you stick around long enough and are both lucky and good, you can accumulate some impressive stats in professional sports.

Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield is once again proving that correct by winning his 199th game today.  As one of the best knuckleball pitchers ever, Wakefield also recorded his 2,000th strikeout with Boston in today's game, becoming only the second Red Sox pitcher to reach that milestone (Roger Clemens was the first).  He has 2,110 strikeouts for his entire career.

Wakefield is 199-175 over his 18-year career, the last 16 years with Boston.  The 44-year-old has a career 4.39 ERA and is 6-3 this year in 13 starts.

With his six wins this year, Wakefield passed such notable pitchers on the career win list as David Eckersley, David Cone, and Dwight Gooden.

Wakefield is currently third on Boston's All-Time Wins List with 185, just seven behind co-leaders Roger Clemens and Cy Young.

2011 College Football: Colorado Has Toughest Schedule?

The University of Colorado Buffaloes appear to have jumped out of the frying pan into the fire in their move to the Pac-12 from the Big 12 Conference.

This is according to a recent strength of schedule projection by Phil Steele.  The top 10 toughest college football schedules rank as the following:

Mardy Fish Defeats Isner For Hotlanta ATP Title

Mardy Fish overcame the extreme southern mid-summer heat and a scintillating first set from John Isner to win the Atlanta Tennis Championship in a rematch of last year's Final.

After losing the first set 3-6, Fish bounced back in the second set when it became apparent that the 6'9" Isner appeared to be suffering from the oppressive heat (90 degrees F with 50% humidity expected) that had blanketed the Atlanta area today.

Terrelle Pryor May Not Be Eligible For Supplemental Draft: Could Miss Entire Football Season

Alex Marvez of Fox Sports is reporting on a story claiming that Terrelle Pryor might not be eligible for the NFL Supplemental Draft due to the circumstances surrounding his departure from Ohio State.

Marvez quotes NFL spokesman Greg Aiello as saying this about the supplemental draft:
“It is for players whose circumstances have changed in an unforeseen way after the regular (college) draft. It is not a mechanism for simply bypassing the regular (draft).”

Notre Dame Football: Could Four Different Quarterbacks See Field This Season?

Make no mistake: Notre Dame is in a far better state with their quarterback position than they were a year ago. There are currently four quarterbacks that could see time on the field this year for the Irish, depending on how the season develops.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Atlanta Tennis Championship Final Set: John Isner vs Mardy Fish

Former University of Georgia athlete John Isner will face off against fellow American Mardy Fish in the Atlanta Tennis Championships on Sunday.  It will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. ET.

This is the second year in a row that these two have faced each other in this particular final.  Last year, Fish overcame Isner 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 to win the ATP 250 event.

Winnipeg Jets Unveil New Logo

The Canadian Air Force should be proud with the new NHL Winnipeg Jets logo that was unveiled on Friday.

It depicts a CF-18 Hornet on top of a red maple leaf to form the center of the team's new logo.  The jet points North, representing the new ownership group, True North Sports and Entertainment, that brought the Jets to Winnipeg from Atlanta.

Ben Rothlisberger Gets Married In Very Private, Heavily Guarded Ceremony

A little over a year ago it would have been hard to imagine Ben Rothlisberger wanting to get married to anyone, given the circumstances that led to a scandal surrounding an alleged sexual assault at a nightclub in Georgia.

Here we are, roughly a year later, and the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback is no longer single.  In a very private and heavily guarded ceremony Saturday at the Christ Church of Grove Farm outside Pittsburgh, Rothlisberger married Ashley Harlan.  He's known Harlan, who works as a physician's assistant in a Pittsburgh hospital, since 2005.  The couple have dated sporadically since then before getting serious over the past year.

Cadel Evans Masters the Three Phases Of The Tour de France

When Lance Armstrong was winning all those Tour de France races in a row, he showed time and again how you needed to master the three phases of cycling in order to win. Now, 2011 Tour de France (about-to-be) winner, Cadel Evans is showing again why one needs to master all three phases to win Le Tour.
  • Peloton
  • Mountains
  • Time Trials

Free Agency Could Destroy Or Revive Your Fantasy Quarterback - My Fantasy Football 2011 Primer, Pt. 1

***Update: 8/1: I've made some notes below on certain players based on the first week of NFL training camp action:

One thing is certain about the NFL lockout:  once it IS over, the critical early days following will cause even more hand-wringing and potential outrage from fans than the lockout EVER did.  Your starting (or should be starting) quarterback could easily be traded or released the day after the lockout is over, and that's something that should throw fear into the heart of every fantasy football manager.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Atlanta Tennis Championships - Isner and Fish Into Semi-Finals; Harrison Looks To Join Them

John Isner moved into the semi-finals of the Atlanta Tennis Championships today with a victory over Yen-Hsun Lu, having another strong showing after his victory at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships earlier this month.

Mardy Fish also joins John Isner in the semi-finals after his win against Somdev Devvarman.  Fish, the defending champion in Atlanta, is looking to bounce back after his disappointing losses in the Davis Cup.

Ohio State Dodges Major Bullet, Will Face No Major Sanctions From NCAA

The NCAA has notified Ohio State University that it will not face any punishment in regards to any charges that the University failed to properly oversee its football program.

In part because the NCAA did not uncover any further violations that OSU didn't report, they placed the vast majority of the blame for the prior violations on former Head Coach Jim Tressel.
"Considering the institution's rules education and monitoring efforts, the enforcement staff did not believe a failure to monitor charge was appropriate in this case," the NCAA informed Ohio State.

Hope Solo's Appearance On the George Lopez Show: Video

Abby Wambach New Coach of MagicJack Soccer Team

In addition to being everyone's favorite soccer athlete, World Cup hero, and most recognized Women's Professional Soccer star, Abby Wambach is adding Head Coach to her professional resume.

In the wake of the WPS banning owner/coach Dan Borislow from the sidelines, the Magicjack were in need of a full-time coach and Wambach agreed to take on the position.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

NFL Lockout/CBA Negotiations, On Cusp Of Being Over, Take Ugly Turn

It was the news that caused legions of NFL fans across the country to rejoice: the owners had ratified their side of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement!

All that was needed after that was for the players to ratify it as well, and the lockout would be over and the new NFL season could begin!

Not so fast, my friends.

2011 NFL Hall of Fame Game Cancelled

The NFL has cancelled the Hall of Fame Exhibition Game originally scheduled for August 7 due to the delay in getting the new collective bargaining agreement signed.  No word yet on whether the pre-season game itself is lost (and the Bears/Rams play only three pre-season games this year) or whether it can be rescheduled at a later place/day.

Women's National Soccer Team: What Happens Next?

Now that Women's Soccer has emerged into the national consciousness with the National Team's dramatic run through the 2011 World Cup, what will happen next? Can these new female athletic stars parlay their current popularity into lasting success?  Will the Women's Professional League see a bump from the populatiry? Next year is the 2011 London Olympics; how will the team look at that point?

Some points to consider:

Small Towns Lose NFL Training Camps, Little Known Victims of NFL Lockout

The uncertainty of the NFL lockout status has extended to some towns that had expected certain NFL teams to hold their annual training camps there.

The NY Giants have moved their camp from the University of Albany to their practice facilities in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  The Baltimore Ravens are holding their training camp in their own practice facilities in Owing Mills, Maryland rather than at the McDaniels College campus.  The New York Jets are also practicing at home rather than hold their training camp in the tiny town of Cortland, New  York.

Sports Illustrated takes a look at the economic hit that these small towns will take now that the biggest tourist event of their year has been taken away.

Rory McIlroy Must Adapt Game In Order To Be Great, Say Senior PGA Stars

After Rory McIlroy Won the U.S. Open in record fashion, many golf pundits said he had all the potential to become one of golf's greatest ever.

One short month later, his performance at the Open Championship in Sandwich, England, highlighted a weakness of McIlroy's game.  This weakness, according to some of golf's senior players, needs to be addressed in order for McIlroy to reach those dizzying heights that many predicted for him last month.
"I'm not a fan of golf tournaments that the outcome is predicted so much by the weather.

Florida Gators In Major Overhaul, Expected To Struggle In First Year Under Muschamp

Last December, the University of Florida shocked the college football world by stealing away Texas' Defensive Coordinator (and head-coach-in-waiting), Will Muschamp.  A relatively short search after Urban Meyer's resignation resulted in the coaching score of the off-season.

Muschamp had been expected to take over the Longhorns program soon, after spending the last three seasons as its Defensive Coordinator.  Prior to that, Muschamp was defensive coordinator at Auburn and LSU and had a total of 13 years of college coaching experience.  He played safety in college for the University of Georgia.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Former NFL Players Suing League Over Concussions

75 former players are suing the NFL, claiming that the League withheld information about the dangers of concussions for decades.

The lawsuit contends that the League has known about the dangers of concussions since the 1920's, but only formally acknowledged them in 2010, when they became a focal point for the NFL.

The NFL established a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee in 1994 to conduct an on-going investigation into concussions, and promoted for the years the notion that concussions don't cause any long-term ill effects for players.

This seems to be interesting timing, considering how close the NFL lockout is to being over, with final voting on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement expected to be conducted in the next few days.  A former players group came forward in the past few weeks to protest a lack of involvement in the new CBA, but they are being included now in the final negotiations.

One of the major negotiating points for both sides is the amount of money to devote to the Legacy Fund, which will be used to fund pensions and health benefits for retired players.

Michael Vick Lands Another Endorsement Deal

When Michael Vick returned to the NFL a few years ago after serving a 20-month prison sentence for (among other things) dog fighting, many thought that he would never succeed in the league again, let alone be signed to endorsements.

Video Of Hope Solo/Abby Wambach on David Letterman Last Night

Great interview with Abby Wambach and Hope Solo on David Letterman last night. Dave takes them outside towards the end to shoot soccer balls at moving cabs. Yes, he really does.

Members of Women's National Soccer Team Interviewed on Rachel Maddow Show

Heather O'Reilly, Ali Krieger, Megan Rapinoe, and Lori Lindsey joined Rachel Maddow yesterday for an extended interview segment on her show.

The introduction is interesting in discussing the state of women's soccer world-wide and how most countries don't invest themselves in the women's game, completely opposite of the way that this country did this past week. Virtually the entire interview revolves around the current state of women's soccer and its future.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Video Interviews With Many Of Women's World Cup Team

Women's Professional Soccer League: See Our World Cup Stars In Action This Summer

If you are ready to continue watching excellent women's soccer action, the Women's Professional League is still in action for the next few months.  Most of the returning World Cup players will be rejoining their teams in the next week to finish out the season.

Check out the schedule here.

World Cup Women's Team on Today Show: Video

Really excellent interview of the team today on the Today Show. Ann Curry did a great job in asking the right questions, and our athletes represent themselves and their country well.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, July 18, 2011

Washington Nationals Prospect Bryce Harper In Slump in Class AA Ball

Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper has had a bit of a hard time adjusting to AA ball with his new team in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Since being promoted in early July from Class-A ball, Harper has played in nine games.  He is currently batting .194 (6/31), with two runs, two RBIs, and no home runs.

Video: Women's World Cup Team Lands In NYC To Cheering Crowds

The Women's World Cup team arrived back in the United States to a very warm reception from New Yorkers who were eager to greet them after their amazing run the past three weeks.

Note the comments by Carli Lloyd about how they actually played against Japan. I'll be writing more about that later.

Sports Illustrated: A 12 year Look Back at the American Women's Soccer Team

Really nice review of the past 12 years in American Women's Soccer by Sports Illustrated:

Interesting and Weird Post-Final Notes about Japan-USA World Cup

Some very interesting notes and facts after yesterday's World Cup Final:
  • Ratings were through the roof! An 8.6 to be exact (equaling roughly that 8.6% of all tvs in the 36 major tv outlets in America were turned to the game), which would make it the second most watched women's soccer game in the States ever (first is the 1999 World Cup Final when it was held in California).  In comparison, the British Open coverage on ESPN earlier that day drew a 2.6.

Video: Former NHL All-Star Joe Sakic Hits Hole-In-One At Charity Golf Event

Women's World Cup Final: Japan vs USA Recap of Goals: Video

Women's World Cup Team: Captain Christie Rampone Talks After Loss: Video

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Post-Final Comments From the U.S. Women's National Team

Coach Pia Sundhage after the loss:
“It has been a bumpy road and it’s been absolutely wonderful. All credit to the players. In this World Cup the first game against North Korea, I think at times we played very well. We changed the starting lineup a little bit, with people coming in off the bench. There were great crowds, phenomenal atmosphere. If you just give the players and coaches a little time then we can enjoy the silver medal. The reason for that is that we’ve done many good things both behind the scenes and having players stepping up. I would like to take the opportunity to credit Germany with putting on a wonderful tournament. I think in the women’s game now we have different standards moving forward. This has been phenomenal, even though we didn’t win.” 

ESPN Video Recap of Today's World Cup Final

ESPN's Post-Game Analysis of the World Cup Final Today:

Japan Worthy Champions, Defeats USA To Win World Cup

Japan's World Cup tournament came to a storybook ending, as they hung on to defeat the United States team in penalty kicks 3-1.

It was a shocking ending for a determined United States team that seemed to have destiny on their side until today.  They played a ball-control game for most of the first half, in a way that everyone predicted the Japanese would.

With the first half ending in a scoreless tie, the Americans sent on wonder substitute Alex Morgan for a bit of a spark.  That worked in the 69th minute when Megan Rapinoe sneaked a ball forward to Morgan, who buried a left-footed shot into the net to give the USA a 1-0 lead.

However, just 11 minutes later in the 80th minute, a defensive mis-communication resulted in a Japan goal by Aya Miyama, Japan's outstanding midfielder, and the game was tied.

In overtime, each side traded goals, with Abby Wambach scoring on a header in front of the goal yet again with an assist by Morgan in the 112th minute.  All the United States had to do was hang on for the final 18 minutes and the Championship would be theirs.

However, fate once again stepped in for Japan and they scored on a corner kick by Homare Sawa when the deflection came off of Wambach and past Solo for the goal.

Going into penalty kicks, it seemed as if Japan was playing the role that the U.S. had played against Brazil. That of plucky underdogs who had everything on their side.  Sure enough, the Americans seemed extremely tight, and the shots that went wild in the first half showed up again in the penalty kicks.  The U.S., who went five for five on their penalty kicks against Brazil, missed their first two kicks and, despite Solo's one save, Japan was able to win the Championship on a penalty kick by Saki Kumagai.

Crushing disappointment for the Americans, but who can not help but be happy for Japan's national team? They and their country have been through so much, and they have really come into their own in this 2011 World Cup.  Currently ranked 4th in the world, the Japanese look to become one of the dominant teams in the women's game.

Japan's Homare Sawa very deservedly won the Golden Boot (top scorer) and Golden Ball (top player).

USA's Abby Wambach won the Silver Boot (2nd best player), and Hope Solo the Bronze boot, as well as the Golden Glove as Best Goalkeeper in the tournament.

American Women's Soccer Team Video: Pressure Makes U.S.!

Women's World Cup Final
USA vs Japan

Think our American team might crumble under the pressure? Then you should take a look at this fantastic Nike ad.  Let's go U.S.A.!!

Mickelson Making Charge At British Open (The Open Championship)

Phil Mickelson is making an extraordinary run today at the Open Championship, a Major he has never won.

He was Even to finish the third round yesterday, but has gone -5 in the first eight holes to start the final round on yet another dreary, cool, and rainy day in England

He is currently tied with Darren Clarke for the lead, a full three strokes ahead of the rest of the competition, with 10 holes to go.

ESPN is currently showing the British Open, with ABC finishing things up this afternoon.

***Update: Looks like Phil fades again on the last day.  It's Darren Clarke's major to lose, as he's 4 strokes with only a few holes to play.

Great Women's National Team Soccer Articles from Grant Wahl

Grant Wahl is my favorite print soccer analyst, and he's pulled out some articles from the Sports Illustrated vault that he wrote about the Women's National Team over the past few years.
  • The first article is from 2008 and is a detailed look at how Hope Solo dealt with her banishment from the national team after some heated comments at the World Cup semi-final loss that were taken by her teammates as a direct slight against Briana Scurry, the goalie that had started in place of Solo for that game.  It finally took a sit-down with team leader Abby Wambach and a long heart-to-heart with Goal-keeper Brianna Scurry for everything to be truly forgiven.
  • The second article was written this past June, just prior to the start of the World Cup.  It focuses on Abby Wambach as the veteran goal-scorer, and then describes how she's mentored young Alex Morgan, who many believe to be the next goal-scoring star for the U.S.  
  • The third article is another one from the vault.  It's from 2008, just after the Olympic gold medal victory, and talks about how Solo had come full circle from the year before.  It also discusses the changes that new coach Pia Sundhage had made to the team to encourage a more skillful type of play that many of the top international teams use
  • Finally, the last article of Grant Wahl's that I will link to before this Championship Final is a piece he just wrote about the emergence of women's soccer onto the international soccer consciousness.  It's a wonderful piece about how popular this Women's World Cup has been (700,000 tickets sold for 32 games; record tv ratings in host country Germany, and in 2015 host country Canada).  It discusses the parity that is building in the women's game, and also about the hope that the next World Cup will feature 24 teams, up from 16 this year.  Absolutely fantastic piece of writing, and a nice positive outlook for the sport.

Women's World Cup: Pre-game Notes USA vs Japan

The World Cup Women's Final is finally here for the American women.  Set to play Japan today to decide who is truly the best soccer team in the world, the United States team is looking to become the first three-time winner of the World Cup.

Some notes going into the game:

  • The United States has never lost to Japan in Women's soccer. Record is 22-0-3 with 77 goals for, and 13 goals against
  • The United States has played Japan three times this year already, mostly in friendly games 
  • Japan is a team on the upswing; After only scoring only 13 goals in 16 games in their history at the World Cup, this year they have scored 10 goals in five games
  • Half of those 10 goals scored by Japan happened in the first 20 minutes of the game
  • Many believe Homare Sawa (forward for Japan) will win the Golden Boot as best player in the tournament, but Abby Wambach or Hope Solo might say something about that today
  • Other finalists for the Golden Boot playing today include Aya Miyama (Japan), Shinobu Ohno (Japan), Hope Solo (USA), Abby Wambach (USA), and Lauren Cheney (USA).
  • The United States is the only team to ever make the semi-finals in every Women's World Cup
  • Only four U.S. players have played every minute so far of the World Cup: Solo, Wambach, Cheney, and Rampone
  • Goalie Hope Solo's streak of scoreless minutes was ended against Brazil by that re-taken penalty shot. Before then, she had acquired 796 straight scoreless minutes. That was only 47 minutes short of the all-time record for an American goalie, and ranks second all-time.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

USA Women's World Cup Team: Follow Them On Twitter

The American Women's World Cup team has been active over twitter in the past few weeks at the World Cup.

In a show of popularity, Abby Wambach just joined twitter earlier today, and in less than 12 hours has over 11,000 followers.  Hope Solo has over 120,000 followers.  If you're a member of twitter, add these  remarkable women athletes.

If you follow the Women's National Team, then you probably also want to follow the following Twitter accounts:
If I've forgotten anyone, let me know in the comments!

Video: Amazing Goal By Ronaldo in Real Madrid Victory Over LA Galaxy

Real Madrid defeated the LA Galaxy tonight 4-1 as Christian Ronaldo showed his quality once more with a fantastic goal. Sad in that there's no current American male soccer player who can come close to this kind of artistry.

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Jim Tressel Proves He's No Goody Two-Shoes

Jim Tressel isn't the altar boy most assumed him to be when he strolled the Ohio State sidelines in his sweater vest.

His most recent NCAA violations are well-known, consisting of failing to report violations to either OSU or the NCAA in regards to improper benefits being given to football players.  These violations led to his losing his Head Football coaching job earlier this year.

Harris Poll 2011: Favorite Athletes: Jeter New #1, Lebron and Favre Fall Hard

The 2011 Harris Interactive Poll of Favorite Male Athletes is out, and Kobe Bryant has lost his #1 spot to New  York Yankee Derek Jeter.

No doubt helped by his pursuit of career hit 3,000 this season, Jeter was third last year (his highest position before this year).

Falling out of the top 10 this year were Brett Favre (4th in 2010) and Lebron James (6th).  Favre's last season was a complete disaster, with injuries on the field and a personal scandal that saw many female fans turn their back on him.  James' popularity has seen a free-fall since his ill-advised "Decision" special in which he announced he was signing with the Miami Heat.

Here are the rankings:

Several Americans Still In Hunt at The Open Championship After Day 3

With Rory McIlroy 9 strokes back at the end of play Saturday, the Open Championship in Sandwich, England, is anyone's to win.

Currently there are six Americans within 5 strokes of the leader, Darren Clarke, at -5:

NFL Training Camp Dates

With the insanely long NFL lockout hopefully on its final legs, attention is beginning to turn to the opening of NFL training camps across the league.  Here's a list of when and who are opening:

Men's Tennis Top Three On Break For Next Month

After last weekend's Davis Cup action, which saw two of the top three players in the world play for their country (Novak Djokovic - Serbia and Roger Federer - Switzerland), men's top tennis players will be taking some well-deserved time off before their next confrontations.

Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Federer all plan for their next tennis tournament to be at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Canada.  This Masters 1000 ATP Event is an annual prelude to the US Open, as they are both hardcourt tournaments.

Women's World Cup: Alex Morgan, Next American Soccer Star

Alex Morgan, who just turned 22 on July 2, is the youngest member of the Women's World Cup 2011 squad but one of its most promising future stars.

With 23 caps for the senior national team, her eight goals have come mostly in a reserve role.  However, she is expected to play a larger role for the team in the upcoming 2012 London Summer Olympics and beyond.

Women's World Cup: Japan Dangerous Opponent For the United States

On Sunday, when Japan's Women's World Cup team lines up against the Americans in the Championship final, it will be hard for anyone to actually root against the Japanese.

You can't blame them, however.  Even American goal-keeper, Hope Solo, has been rooting for them and is expecting to have a difficult game against them.

Hope Solo: From Team Outcast To Team Savior

Four years ago, not many people would have predicted that Hope Solo would be the media darling and fan favorite that she is today. Nine months ago, many were wondering if she'd be able to return from a major shoulder surgery to even make the World Cup team.

Controversial Comments At 2007 World Cup

In the 2007 World Cup Finals, Solo was benched in favor of long-standing American goal-keeper, Brianna Scurry.  Scurry was the goalie when the United States won the World Cup in 1999, but in 2007 hadn't played a full game in months while Solo was the starter.

Postive Steroid Test for North Korean Players in World Cup; Blame is on Lightning Strikes

FIFA officials have announced that a total of five players from the North Korean team have tested positive for steroids.  Random testing earlier in the tournament found the first two violators, and then FIFA tested the entire team and found another three.

This is the first doping scandal to occur at a major FIFA event in 17 years.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hysterical Video of Golf Cart Carrying Real Madrid Fans Running Over A Fan

Real Madrid are in Los Angeles to play a friendly against the LA Galaxy of the MLS on Saturday, and have been training at the campus of UCLA this week.  Using golf carts to ferry the players around, one overzealous fan tries to get a bit too close to his heroes.

It happens third cart in, about 15 seconds into the video.

Huge NYC Viewing Party For Women's World Cup Final

If you're able to get to New York City on Sunday, there is going to be a gigantic outdoor viewing party at Times Square to watch the Women's World Cup Final between the United States and Japan.  Starting at 2 p.m., and ending at 5:30 p.m., there will be giveaways and many activities.

Women's World Cup Update: Coach Sundhage Sings To Soothe The Players: VIDEO

Coach Pia Sundhage sings a pretty mean Simon and Garfunkle...

San Jose Earthquakes Goalie Scores a Goal Of His Own - Video

This was David Bingham's debut in the MLS, and what a way to break into the league, scoring a goal off of a Premier League team. Of his now-famous goal, he says:

"I just over-hit it and got lucky. Sometimes it's good to be lucky," Bingham told the San Jose Mercury News

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lauren Cheney Discusses US Women's Soccer Match With France

Thanks to US Soccer for posting these amazing videos.

Sports Illustrated Releases Top 100 Sports Accounts To Follow On Twitter

For the fifth anniversary of Twitter, Sports Illustrated has compiled a list of its 100 Top Sports Twitter accounts.  There's a nice article that discusses how integral Twitter is now to the world of sports, which makes for an excellent read.

I definitely second that sentiment.  Just today, for instance, Twitter was how the news of the impending Roger Clemens mistrial announcement got out.  I was following @TJQuinnESPN when he described how it was all going down in the courtroom.

Post-Game Comments By US Women Soccer Players After Defeating France

Christian Lopez, Fan That Caught Jeter Ball, Gets Tax Help

The first thought that ran through Christian Lopez's head when he caught Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit-home run on Saturday was probably not, "I wonder what the tax implications of me catching this ball are?"

However, that's exactly what the 23-year-old cell phone salesman has had to deal with this week when he became aware of the possible taxes he might have to pay on the slew of presents that the New York Yankees gave him in the form of suite tickets and memorabilia.  

Estimated to be anywhere from $5,000 to $14,000, the tax bill would be extremely overwhelming to this recent college grad who still owes $150,000 in student loans.

Rory McIlroy's First Day Back at The Open Championship

Rory McIlroy finished the first day at The Open Championship in Sandwich, England, after a +1 round (72).  He started off the day with a little difficulty, after a couple of putting miscues put him at +2 after just three holes.

Paralyzed Rutgers Football Player Now Standing

Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers football player who was paralyzed in a Oct. 16 football game against Army, is able to finally stand again.

LeGrand tweeted two photos of himself standing with the assistance of a device during a therapy session.  LeGrand (@BigE52_RU) had tweeted last week that he had been able to move his arms "little by little."

Abby Wambach: American Sports Hero On a Mission

Abby Wambach, with her play in this year's Women's World Cup, has elevated herself among the likes of Mia Hamm and the Williams sisters in the pantheon of American Female Sporting Legends.

Wambach has three goals in this World Cup, and every goal has not only been spectacular, but occurred right when her team needed it.  The most dramatic of these was her last-minute, overtime goal in the quarterfinal game against Brazil in which she met a strong, miraculous pass from teammate Megan Rapinoe, and redirected it with her head strongly into the net past two defenders.

Shocking Mistrial Declared in Roger Clemens Perjury Case, Government Has To Start Over

U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial today in the Roger Clemens Federal Perjury trial after lead prosecutors for the government showed a video of Clemens being questioned by Congress in 2008. The prosecution committed a major mistake in leaving in the video crucial pieces of testimony concerning Laura Pettitte, Andy Pettitte's wife.

The reason why this was such a huge mistake by the prosecutors was that Judge Walton had ruled pre-trial that evidence concerning Mrs. Pettitte could not be introduced by the prosecution.  The only way they could was if the Defense brought into question her husband's memory concerning a conversation that he had with Clemens where Clemens admitted taking PEDs.

Roger Clemens Trial Has Begun

Some interesting things have been revealed in the opening days of Roger Clemens' Federal perjury trial.  While it took a few more days than expected to fill the jury, opening statements were given Wednesday by each side.

Assistant U.S. attorney Steven Durham said in his opening remarks that a needle was recovered from Brian McNamee, Clemens' trainer and lead prosecuting witness.  When that needle was sent to a lab for analysis, it was found to contain both Clemens' DNA and anabolic steroids.

For Once, James Harrison Doesn't Lead With His Head

James Harrison really needs for the lockout to be over.  Having a bit of free time on his hands (like some of his fellow NFL players) has clearly offered him a freedom and a lack of an outlet for his aggression.

In a Men's Journal interview, Harrison made a series of disparaging remarks about Commissioner Roger Goodell, Ben Rothlisberger, Rashard Mendenhall, and others.

Of course, now that the interview is getting a lot of press (virtually all negative), Harrison is backpedaling quicker than he ever has on the field.  He has claimed that the interviewer twisted his comments, and that many are out of context.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Highlights of USA-France Women's World Cup

Courtesy of ESPN

Post-Game USA-France Comments By Women's Coach Pia Sundhage

Courtesy: ESPN

USA Defeats France 3-1 To Advance To World Cup Final

Today in Women's World Cup action, France played well enough to hold the United States to one goal in the first 78 minutes of the game, concentrating on keeping the ball off of American feet.

However, with a goal by Abby Wambach at 79 minutes, and another by Alex Morgan at 82 minutes, the United States finished off the young, less experienced French team.

Lauren Cheney managed to score just 10 minutes into the game after a nice cross by Heather O'Reilly, but it took over an hour for the Americans to break through again.
Clearly France was looking to dominate ball control and was successful thoughout most of the match.  Perhaps the United States team was still a little flat and tired from the amazing win over Brazil three days ago.

Becky Sauerbrann played an excellent game in place of red-carded Rachel Buehler, and Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan came on in the second half to provide a much-needed spark to the American side.

More analysis to come.  Japan vs. Sweden is on ESPN, starting at 2:45 EST.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Scottish Open/Castle Stuart Before and After

After a torrential downpour caused heavy mudslides and flooding all over the historic Castle Stuart grounds during the early days of the Scottish Open, groundskeepers worked around the clock to get the course playable again.

Women's World Cup: USA vs France Preview

           Wednesday Noon EST ESPN USA vs France

With a emotionally charged victory over Brazil in the quarterfinals on Sunday, the USA Women's World Cup team looks to recharge tomorrow when they face France in the Semi-Finals. Here's some important points to know before tomorrow's game:  
  • This is the first time America has faced France in the World Cup.  France made it into the Semi-Finals after a stunning win over England via penalty kicks.  This is only their second World Cup, with their other appearance in 2003, when they were unable to make it out of the group round.

MLB Reviewing Safety at Stadiums In Wake Of Texas Tragedy

Major League Baseball commissioner, Bud Selig, announced today that a full review of every stadium's safety features was underway by MLB.  This is a direct response to the death of the Rangers fan last week, who fell over a low railing in an attempt to catch a ball thrown to him by Josh Hamilton.

Each stadium's safety protocols are written and supervised by each team, in accordance with local laws.

Women's World Cup: USA Team Video: Pressure Makes U.S.!

Women's World Cup Final
USA vs Japan

Think our American team might crumble under the pressure? Then you should take a look at this fantastic Nike ad.

Six-Year-Old Girl Makes 85-yard Hole-In-One

A six-year-old in central Illinois sunk a 85-yard hole-in-one at the Links of Ireland Grove golf course in Bloomington, Illinois.

Sinking the shot on the third hole on an outing with her family, young Reagan Kennedy, didn't celebrate because she had been told by her father that she had be to quiet on the course when she played.

Hope Solo: Pressure Makes Us: Recovery From Major Surgery

I'd be willing to bet that not many casual soccer fans out there know that American star goalie, Hope Solo, had major shoulder surgery last Fall to repair a totally detached labrum/biceps tendon.  Rehab took over five months, and then learning how to work through the pain of training and learning how to dive again took several weeks.  Diving to her right was the worst of all, and ironically, that amazing penalty kick save she made was a dive to the right.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Abby Wambach: Pressure Makes Us Nike Ad

Very appropriate after Sunday's game...

ESPN Sues Ohio State Over Football Scandal

ESPN has filed a public records lawsuit against THE Ohio State University, claiming that the university denied public records requests for information regarding the situation surrounding the firing of Coach Jim Tressel and the allegations against Terrell Pryor.

Filed in Ohio Supreme Court today, the lawsuit asks the court to force OSU to release all records pertaining to the scandal.  This would also include all communications regarding Ted Sarniak, Pryor's supposed mentor who was notified by Tressel about the scandal months before it went public.

An interesting move by ESPN, which clearly feels that there is more to this story.

KFC Offer Dwayne Wade a Job During Lockout

Recently Dwayne Wade and a few other NBA players have taken to twitter to comment on the NBA lockout.  I'm not sure how funny "Any1 hiring?" is when unemployment is so high and the guy made $28.2 million last year alone in salary and endorsements.  

Still, it was pretty humorous to see KFC respond to his query.  Wade actually once worked at a KFC in his pre-NBA years, and it seems that now the fast food chicken king wants him back.

John Isner Wins Hall of Fame Tennis Championship

The only bright spot in the American men's tennis world yesterday (besides the induction of Andre Agassi into the International Tennis Hall of Fame) was the victory of John Isner over Olivier Rochus (6-3, 7-6) in the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, Rhode Island.

Isner became the first #1-seed in the history of the Hall of Fame tournament to actually win it.

Some Day After Articles/Analysis On World Cup Win For USA

There's quite a bit of press coverage for the USA Women's World Cup team following their dramatic win yesterday over Brazil.

The team itself has flown out of Dresden to Monchengladbach for their semi-final match against France this morning.  That will be shown on ESPN on Wednesday morning at Noon, EST.

  • Grant Wahl commends the US effort in never giving up even in the final minutes of a game that they seemed all but certain to lose.  He also writes about the American team selects its penalty kickers, and how that unfolded on Sunday. 
  • Jaime Lowe from ESPN talks about the crowd support for the U.S. at the game, how loud they were and for how long.  Money quote from Hope Solo:  "I didn't hear the crowd at the time -- I didn't hear anything, but I could feel them every time I went in for penalty kicks." 
  • Slate covers the game with an eye towards a discussion of how the game played out, with the questionable calls and penalties that went against both sides (mostly against the Americans)
  • MSNBC has a nice article on how this American women's team is carving out its own legacy, finally out from under the shadow of Mia Hamm.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

World Series of Poker's Top Prize is $8,711,956 - Do You Feel Lucky?

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) announced today that the grand prize for winning this year's no-limit, Texas hold-em  tournament was going to above $8 million this year. $8, 711,956 to be exact.

It's the third largest field ever for this annual tournament, at 6,865 players.  Entry into the tournament cost each player $10,000.

There was speculation that the number of entrants might be significantly down this year, due to the crackdown by the federal government on online poker sites earlier in the year.  Many players not only had their bank account seized because of their monetary investment in sites like PokerStars, Absolute Poker, and Full Tilt, but those sites were also an entryway into gaining access to the WSOP.

A World Poker tour commentator, Mike Sexton, said many players were expecting far below 6,000 entries:
"Most guys I know were betting over 5200, 5400, 5600, or betting under that number. Those were hte over and under number in the games that I played in that everybody was expecting for the main event," Sexton told the AP. "It's certainly surpassed that and all the guys that have bet over have won."
The overall prize pool for this year's tournament is $64,531,000.  The top 693 players will each receive a payout of at least $19,000.

For those who make the final nine (called the November 9), the payout will be a minimum of $700,000 with the top eight finishes being guaranteed a seven-figure payout.

WSOP starts Thursday and will be shown on, streaming live throughout the event.  ESPN will also offer delayed coverage on its network running from July 14-19.

2010 WSOP Champion Jonathan Duhamel

Wambach's Goal To Tie Game At End Of Overtime

A-Rod To Have Surgery For His Meniscal Tear

I'm not sure exactly why this is such big news.  Playing with a slight meniscal tear opens a player up to further injury down the road, so surgery seems like the best option.

The big question is why it's taken him this long to decide, and why the media insists his recovery is 4-6 weeks when Chipper Jones, who has a very similar injury, will be out 2-3 weeks.

What's even more disconcerting is that Rodriguez could have had the surgery by now, if he had elected to have a consultation after the initial injury on June 19.  Instead, he will have surgery tomorrow in Miami and miss a crucial part of the season after the All-Star break.

I'm critical of the decision only because he was held out of games last week when he could have had the surgery then, speeding his recovery by at least a week.

US Davis Cup Team Falls Short

The United States Davis Cup Team Lost in the Quarterfinals today against a stout Spanish team.

David Ferrer defeated Mardy Fish 7-5, 7-6, 5-7, 7-6 to clinch a 4-1 lead in the tie and advance Spain into the Semi-Finals of this year's Davis Cup against France.

So our Semi-Final Matchups in the Davis Cup, set to be held in mid-September are as follows:

Serbia vs Argentina

France vs Spain

Davis Cup: USA Needs To Win Both Matches Today as Spain Leads 2-1

Today in Davis Cup action, the United States and Spain are competing to see who will be the final team in the semi-finals. Argentina, Serbia, and France have already advanced.

Mardy Fish is currently facing David Ferrer and is up 5-4 in the first set.  Action can be seen RIGHT NOW on the Tennis Channel.

If Fish is able to win, then it will be all up to Andy Roddick when he faces Feliciano Lopez later this afternoon.

Post-Game Comments By Women's Coach Pia Sundhage

Pia Sundhage, coach of the American Women's World Cup Soccer team, was interviewed on-field by ESPN just after the game.  Here are some of her comments:

When asked what she felt watching the game:
"Phenomenal....someone is writing this book. And it's something about the American attitude and find a way to win. Unbelievable."

SI's Grant Wahl Post-Game On USA-Brazil

Grant Wahl has completed his post-game analysis of today's amazing USA victory over Brazil.

Check it out here

Wahl is also a fantastic in-game commentator on twitter.  You can find him here: @GrantWahl.

USA Defeats Brazil in Women's World Cup In Penalty Kicks

In what has to be the most amazing finish of any women's soccer game in USA history, the American women were able to defeat Brazil on penalty kicks 5-3.

The game was closely played and highly contentious from the start.  As reported here, the first half was largely back and forth with the United States taking a 1-0 after a Brazilian defender made an own goal on a deflection from a shot by Shannon Boxx.

The United States maintained that lead until they were called for a red card after a questionable penalty call on Rachel Buehler when replays seemed to indicate that both her and Marta were equally going after the ball in the penalty box.

Wayward Television Car Sideswipes Riders In Tour De France

A highly unusual accident occurred in today's Stage 9 of the Tour de France.  The lead television car was attempting to pass the lead group of riders on a very narrow road when it swerved into the group, causing several riders to hit the ground.

Watch this amazing coverage:

Scottish Greens Keepers Earning Their Salary at Scottish Open

After a terrible weekend of weather that shortened the 2011 Scottish Open to 54 holes, Greens Keepers have been working round the clock to clear the course and make it playable.

Women's World Cup: USA up 1-0 at Halftime Over Brazil

In what has been a very tense, but disjointed match so far, America is up on Brazil 1-0 after Brazil mishandled a shot by Shannon Boxx and deflected the ball into their own goal.  That was just in the second minute of the game, and was a critical mistake by the Brazilian goalkeeper who attempt to punch it out rather than just catch it.

So far the American defense has managed to keep Brazil's ball magician, Marta, under control.  This has seemed to rattle the Brazilian forward, who received a yellow card late in the first half for an emotional outburst that she is sometimes known to have on the pitch.

Watch LIVE right now on ESPN!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Yankees Fan Well-Rewarded After Giving Back Jeter's 3,000th Hit Ball

Christian Lopez went to the Yankees game on Saturday to watch history. He never expected to actually catch it.

When Derek Jeter hit a home run into the left center field stands in the third inning for his historic 3,000th hit, Lopez was in the right place at the right time.
"I was taking a picture, and next thing you know I look in the air," Lopez said. "My dad dove and missed it, because he has awful hands. I saw it roll in front of me, so I jumped on it. It was just instinct. I thought 'Wow! This is it! This is my chance!'"

Scottish Open Shortened Due to Mudslides/Weather

***Update: Check out the before/after pics

I won't normally post that much about golf, but these pictures of the situation today on the Castle Stuart course, site of the Scottish Open, are pretty remarkable.

498x60 Oxford Apparel Blowout

Women's World Cup: USA vs Brazil Sunday

The Women's World Cup took a dramatic turn today, with host team and favorite, Germany, being ousted by Japan 1-0.  Germany hadn't lost a World Cup game since 1999, winning the last two World Cup tournaments in 2003 and 2007.

That opens the door for the other two favorites in the tournament: Brazil and the United States.

Unfortunately, one of them won't make it to the Finals because they are playing against each other in a quarterfinal match to be played tomorrow (Sunday).

Brazil brings the greatest player in women's soccer right now, Marta.  She has two goals and two assists in three games at this World Cup, and attempting to control her will be a major focus of the American team.

America has never finished lower than 3rd place before in the World Cup, and they will need to bring their very best game to defeat this Brazil squad. That includes goalkeeper, Hope Solo (below), considered the best goalie in the world.

Watch Live On ESPN At 11 a.m EST


Claudio Reyna Lays Out Plan for Youth Soccer Overhaul In America

In 2010, US Soccer named former American soccer star, Claudio Reyna, Youth Technical Director. After a year of studying programs across the world, Reyna feels that he now knows what America needs to do to improve its overall soccer development so it can compete with other countries internationally.

The United States hasn't had much success on the world stage in soccer.  In the men's national team's latest tournament, the CONACAF Gold Cup, they were outmatched by a younger, more dynamic Mexican national team.  In the latest U-17 World Cup, the American team were pummeled in the second round by Germany 4-0.

Davis Cup: Bryan Brothers Save America (For Now)

When watching today's Davis Cup action between the United States and Spain, I realized that America actually does have some of the best players in the world.

They just play doubles.

The Bryan brothers (Bob and Mike) are the #1-ranked doubles team in the world.  They showed it today in front of a raucous partisan crowd in Austin, Texas, defeating the Spanish doubles team of Marcel Granollers and Fernando Verdasco 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

The win today has given America some hope going into tomorrow's final rubber matches.  The United States needs to win both in order to advance to the Davis Cup Semi-Finals.

Sunday Schedule (starting at 3 p.m. EST on the Tennis Channel):

Mardy Fish vs David Ferrer
Andy Roddick vs Feliciano Lopez

The 3,000 Hit Club Welcomes Derek Jeter

Today Derek Jeter finally reached the 3,000 hit milestone in style as he hit a home run in the third inning of the Yankees game against Tampa Bay.  Wade Boggs is the only other member of that iconic hitting club to hit a home run for that 3,000th hit.

The Yankees Captain becomes the 28th member of this illustrious group of players that include Pete Rose, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, George Brett, and Paul Molitor.

Over the remaining time of his playing career, we will get to hear about some of the greatest hitters in baseball history as Jeter surpasses them in the record books.  Where he will end up in history depends on if he is able to maintain a level of proficiency that he and the Yankees expect.

Davis Cup: Djokovic Plays Doubles for Serbia

In today's Davis Cup action between Serbia and Sweden, #1-ranked Novak Djokovic was a surprise addition to the doubles team.

Playing with Zenad Zimonjic, Serbia's best doubles player, the Serbs were soundly defeated by Sweden's top doubles, Robert Lindstedt and Simon Aspelin, 6-4, 7-6, 7-5.

Derek Jeter's Future Position in All-Time Hitting Leaders

With Derek Jeter on the brink of acquiring his 3,000 hit, we can take a look at the future of his career and perhaps speculate on where he will wind up on baseball's all-time hitting leaders.

Jeter has a contract with the New York Yankees that lasts through the 2013 season, with an option for an extra year.  That means he has two more seasons under contract after this year. 

The Yankee Captain has struggled in the past two years, with seasons decidedly below his usual oustanding offensive production.  His career average for a 162 game season is .312, with an average of 212 hits and 118 runs a season.

A-Rod's Meniscal Tear Explained

The Yankees announced today that Alexander Rodriguez has a slight meniscal tear in his right knee.  If he elects to have surgery, he may miss up to a month of this season recovering.

That is the same right leg that had surgery back in May, 2009, for a torn labrum.

Even a slightly torn meniscus can cause sharp, stabbing pains in the knee.  Rodriguez said he injured the knee back on June 19 in Chicago.  He was on third base when a wild pitch was thrown.  He made a move to go towards home, but decided against it.  When he turned back to third, that's when he felt the knee pain.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Davis Cup Update: Roddick Loses Match, US Down 0-2 to Spain

The United States Davis Cup team put up a remarkably poor showing on Friday in Austin during the Quarterfinal tie with Spain.

Despite not bringing Rafael Nadal, the #2-ranked player in the world, Spain was able to win both of the matches today in what has to be considered upsets.

Feliciano Lopez defeated Mardy Fish 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6.

David Ferrer defeated Andy Roddick in straight sets 7-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Steve Garvey Fired From Dodgers Front Office

The Los Angeles Dodgers have fired Steve Garvey from his position in the marketing and community relations department after a 30-year relationship.  Garvey was a 10-time All-Star and one of the faces of the Dodgers in the 1970's and 80's.

Rumors abound that Garvey was fired because of his public statements regarding wanting to buy the team, as well as criticizing how the team has fallen in recent years.

Garvey has stated several times this past year his desire to form a group to buy the Dodgers from embattled current owner Frank McCourt.  The Dodgers are currently in bankruptcy proceedings, and there has been speculation on whether the MLB will step in to force a sale.


Peyton Manning Rehab Complaint Most Likely Lockout Complant

Peyton Manning, star QB of the Indianapolis Colts, talked to the media at the Manning Passing Academy yesterday with some complaints about the current NFL labor situation.

Manning had neck surgery in May to relieve a bulging disc issue that was pressing against some nerves and causing pain.  It is supposedly unrelated to the surgery he had in 2010 when he also had some calcified disc material removed to alleviate pressure on some nerves. The two surgeries were in two different locations in his neck.

Friday's Davis Cup Action - Fish, Federer

The United States Davis Cup team suffered a setback today when top American Mardy Fish was defeated by the #2 Spaniard, Felicano Lopez, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6.

American #2 Andy Roddick is playing Spaniard #1, David Ferrer right now.  They are halfway through the first set.  America badly needs for Roddick to pull this one out in order to pull even with Spain.

In other Davis Cup news, Roger Federer won his match for Switzerland today against Rui Machada.

Argentina advanced today over Kazakhstan and Serbia was ahead of Finland 2-0 despite Novak Djokovic pulling out of his team's Davis Cup action.

Amazing Bicycle/Scissors Kick Goal Wins Game for U-17 Mexico Team

Julio Gomez took a deflected corner kick and plastered a bicycle kick into the far corner of the goal in the 90th minute of a match against Germany in the Under-17 FIFA World Cup yesterday.

It was an amazing goal for an U-17 team, and propels Mexico in the Final of the World Cup against Uruguay. Even more amazing was that Gomez had his head wrapped in a thick bandage at the time of the kick after receiving a blow to the head earlier in the game that required seven stitches.

Davis Cup: Djokovic Out for Serbia With Knee Problems

Novak Djokovic, #1-ranked tennis player in the world, has withdrawn from Serbia's Davis Cup team this weekend, citing a sore left knee.

Serbia is playing Finland in the quarterfinals, and have so far taken a 2-0 lead and look to advance to the semi-finals where they would play Argentina (who advanced today in action against Kazahkstan).

I'm sure it's purely precautionary for Djokovic to rest his ailing knees after a long season already that has seen him dominate his sport.  With the hard court season coming, it is prudent to rest as much as possible.

Yao Ming Retires From NBA

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming will be retiring from the NBA after nine seasons playing for the Houston Rockets.

The 7'6" center had been injury-riddled for several years, with repetitive fractures to his left foot and ankle.  He missed the entire 2009-2010 season after surgery to repair a broken left foot.  When he returned for the 2010-2011 season, the Rockets crafted a playing plan that limited Yao to no more than 24 minutes a game, and that prohibited him from having to play a game two nights in a row to try and save his foot.

That failed to prevent a stress fracture from developing early in that season (which the Rockets believed was linked to an earlier injury), and Yao was once again sidelined from basketball for the remainder of the season.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Davis Cup: USA vs Spain Starts Friday

The match draws have been made for this week's Davis Cup Quarterfinal Contest between the United States and Spain. Current ATP rankings for singles/doubles are in parentheses.

Friday, July 8 (Singles):

  • Mardy Fish (8) vs. Feliciano Lopez (31)
  • Andy Roddick (10) vs. David Ferrer (6)

Saturday, July 9 (Doubles):

  • Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (1/1) vs Feliciano Lopez/Fernando Verdasco (116/398)

Sunday, July 10 (Singles):
  • Mardy Fish vs. David Ferrer
  • Andy Roddick vs Fernando Verdasco (23)
The action will be broadcast on the Tennis Channel with coverage starting each day at 3 p.m. EST.

Rangers Fan Dies After Falling From Stands

At a Texas Rangers game tonight, a male fan fell to his death from the stands during the second inning.

A foul ball hit into left field was retrieved by Rangers star outfielder Josh Hamilton, who then tossed the ball up to the fan in a common, good-will gesture.  That fan, while catching the ball, leaned over the railing and lost his balance.  He then fell head-first 20 feet onto the concrete below.

It's surprising that more fans aren't injured or killed at ballparks.  From line drive foul balls to tossed bats, there is very good reason to be extra vigilant when at the ballpark.

 Here are a few more ballpark incidents of fans falling:

16th Annual Manning Passing Academy Starts Friday

The Manning Passing Academy begins its 16th incarnation today at the Nicholl's State University campus in Thibodaux, Louisiana.  The Academy has grown steadily since it was first created by the Mannings as a way to instruct younger players on the art of passing.  In 1996, there were only 180 participants.

Over a thousand high school football players are expected to attend this  year. Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends will be getting on-site instruction from the Mannings, top college players, as well as college coaches.  Jon Gruden (former Raiders/Buccaneers coach and current ESPN MNF analyst) and Barry Alvarez have been spotted at the Academy this year.