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Archive for August, 2008

September 1, Week in Sports

September 1, Week in Sports

 

::   COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON BEGINS (NCAA Football)

::   MLB PLAYOFF RACES HEAT UP (Pro. Baseball)

::   NFL SEASON PREVIEW (Pro. Football)

———-

COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON OFFICIALLY KICKS OFF

The college football season officially started last Thursday, and by the end of the weekend, dozens of games had been played. The college football season eventually culminates in 32 bowl games, where the top 64 teams in the country play on the national stage.

Because ranking all of the teams in order is extremely complex (since every team in the country has a different schedule, different opponents, different styles of play, etc.), every college football season is filled with controversy and conflicts of opinion. For many teams in the country, just making a bowl game is a huge accomplishment. The most elite teams in the nation, though, have their hearts set on making the national championship game–which features the top two teams in the country. In order to have a good chance to make it to the national championship, a team can only afford to have one or two losses. But sometimes, even one or two losses won’t cut it. In 2004, Auburn went undefeated, but there were two other undefeated teams who were ranked higher, so Auburn was denied a chance at the national championship. In short, sometimes going undefeated isn’t good enough, so every single game matters.

For better or worse, then, following the college football season mostly involves keeping track of the upsets and watching to see how ranked teams fare against other ranked teams. This week’s big victory (and big upset) came when No. 24-ranked Alabama beat No. 9-ranked Clemson. Clemson is the first top ten team to fall this season, which means they will be knocked out of the top ten in next week’s rankings. But rest assured–those rankings will change many, many times before this season is through.

Quote of the Week: ”A pair of parachuters who were slated to deliver the game ball for North Carolina’s opener against McNeese State inadvertently landed eight miles away–at Duke’s stadium. “In about five years,” said concerned UNC associate AD Rick Steinbacher, “maybe this will be funny.” Oh no–it’s plenty funny right now.” — Stewart Mandel, SI.com

Further Reading: ”The Tide Is Rising” — Ivan Maisel

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ROUNDING THIRD…MLB PLAYOFF RACES HEAT UP

As we enter the month of September, this year’s playoff races are beginning to take shape. The regular season ends on September 28, and the playoffs begin on October 1. Only eight teams make it to the postseason–four from the American League and four from the National League.

Several of the eight playoff spots are all but guaranteed already. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Tampa Bay Rays, and Chicago Cubs are virtual locks to make the postseason. The Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox are likely to make it into the playoffs, as well. That leaves just a handful of playoff spots. Here are some of the key battles to focus on in September:

1. The New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies are currently scrapping it out in the NL East. Whoever wins the division will secure a playoff spot, while the other team will go home empty-handed.

2. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks are competing for the NL West. While the Diamondbacks have taken command of the lead in the past weeks, it is a shaky division and nobody is counting the Dodgers out.

3. The Minnesota Twins, White Sox, and Boston Red Sox are fighting for two playoff spots in the American League. The White Sox and Twins are competing for the title in the AL Central. The Red Sox are poised to win the Wild Card, but whoever finishes second in the AL Central could certainly give them a run for their money.

Of course, no team has guaranteed their spot in the playoffs yet, which means that nobody is safe. If one team collapses or another team catches fire, the face of the playoffs could change in a heartbeat.

Quote of the Week: [The Angels are] in the HOV lane for 90-plus victories and a fourth division title in the past five years. And if you can find a weakness in their everyday lineup, the Rally Monkey will wax and buff your car.” — Gene Wojciechowski

Further Reading: Current MLB Standings — via ESPN.com

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ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?

This weekend marks the beginning of the season for the NFL–the most popular sport in the country. The season officially begins on Thursday, when the New York Giants play the Washington Redskins. The rest of the Opening Week games will be played on Sunday and Monday.

There are a number of teams that are widely expected to be hugely successful this year, such as the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys. And while some teams are expected to be a major disappointment this year, the vast majority of the teams in the league fall somewhere in the middle. The result is that at this point in the year, every team has a chance to make the playoffs, no matter how bleak things look–it is one of the reasons why the sport is so popular. There is no telling where the season will take us. For the time being, though, these are some of the big storylines of the season:

1. New England Patriots: Last year, the Patriots went undefeated in the regular season, but then they were devastated by a loss to the underdog New York Giants in the Super Bowl. Can Patriots quarterback Tom Brady bring the team to a championship this year?

2. Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys, “America’s Team,” are perennial contenders, and this year many analysts predict that they will win the Super Bowl. However, as good as the Cowboys have been in recent years, it hasn’t helped them in the playoffs, where they have not won a game since 1996.

3. New York Jets: The Jets traded for Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre during the offseason. Will Favre help catapult the Jets to the playoffs? Will the Packers still win their division without their Hall of Fame quarterback?

Quote of the Week: ”There are exactly 267 games that matter in an NFL season, and it’s always a guessing game to predict the winners and losers.” — Don Banks, Sports Illustrated

Further Reading: ”Fact Check: The 2008-2009 NFL Preview” — ESPN the Magazine Staff

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WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK

:: FOOTBALL: The NFL season begins this week. With games on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday, you can expect to hear a lot about all of them from your friends, family, and co-workers–particularly from those involved in “fantasy football” leagues. Visit www.nfl.com  for details on the game schedules.


:: TENNIS: The U.S. Open continues this week, finishing up on September 7th.

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ALL-SPORTS UPDATE

 

ACTIVE SEASON

:: BASEBALL

MLB (Pro. Baseball): In the final month of the regular season, teams are still jockeying for spots in the post-season–either by winning their division, or by taking the Wild Card spot. [Official MLB Website]

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:: FOOTBALL

NFL (Pro. Football): The regular season begins this week. The standings will begin to take shape in just a few weeks, once teams begin to play their division rivals. [Official NFL Website]

NCAA FOOTBALL (College): The college football started last Thursday. USA Today and the Associated Press have both ranked Georgia as the number one team. [NCAA Football, ESPN]

———-

:: GOLF

MEN’S GOLF: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Major Championships: The Masters, U.S. Open, The Open (The British Open), and the PGA Championship. Now that the PGA Championship is over, mainstream golf news will most likely revolve around Tiger Woods’ return from injury and preparation for next year’s Majors. [Official PGA Website]

NOTABLE PLAYERS: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson

———-

:: TENNIS

MEN’S AND WOMEN’S TENNIS: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Grand Slam tournaments: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. The U.S. Open is currently underway–it runs through September 7. [USTA Website]

NOTABLE PLAYERS: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic

———-

OFFSEASON

:: BASKETBALL

NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL (College): Now that the tournament is over, college basketball news will focus on which players leave their schools for the NBA, and which college teams land the premier high-school players for next season. [CBS Sports]

———-

:: HOCKEY

NHL (Pro. Hockey): The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals, completing the 2007-08 season. [Official NHL Website]

———-

:: BASKETBALL

NBA (Pro. Basketball): The Celtics defeated the Lakers to win the NBA Finals, ending the 2008 season.  [Official NBA Website]

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August 25, Week in Sports

August 25, Week in Sports 

::  USAIN BOLT SPRINTS FOR THREE GOLD MEDALS, WORLD RECORDS (Olympics)

::   U.S. MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM WINS GOLD (Olympics)

::   MISTY MAY-TREANOR AND KERRI WALSH BRING HOME GOLD (Olympics)

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USAIN “LIGHTNING” BOLT STRIKES THREE TIMES

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt burst onto the Olympic scene with a world record-setting first place finish in the 100 meter race. After two more golds and two more world records (in the 200 meter and 400 meter relay race), Bolt became one of the biggest stars of the Beijing games–second only to Michael Phelps.

Bolt set the 100 meter record with a time of 9.69 seconds, beating his opponents by such a significant margin that he slowed up and celebrated before even crossing the finish line–all while still managing to set a world record. Bolt then went on to win the 200 meter race just as easily, becoming the first man since Carl Lewis to win both the 100 and 200 meter races. He added a third gold medal and world record with his easy victory in the 400 meter relay.

While Bolt gave Olympic viewers the most exciting performances since Michael Phelps’ record shattering swims, some objected to the sprinter’s excessive showboating. Jacques Rogge, the head of the International Olympic Committee even went so far as to publicly criticize Bolt’s celebrations, while still acknowledging his extraordinary performance.

Quote of the Week: “I didn’t even know I’d won the world record until I did my victory lap.” — Usain Bolt

Further Reading: ”Bolt credits ‘hard work,’ fast track for 3 records ” –Howard Fendrich, Associated Press

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“REDEEM TEAM” TAKES GOLD IN BEIJING

The U.S. men’s basketball team defeated Spain 118-107 on Sunday to win a gold medal. The U.S. team, once dominant in international basketball, had not won gold in the Olympics since 2000.

For the U.S. team, who had looked strong throughout the Olympics, the finals of the Olympic games provided the biggest challenge of all. Although they had beaten Spain by nearly 40 points earlier in the Olympics, Spain produced a much bigger challenge this time around. With just less than 3 minutes to go, the U.S. was only winning by 4 points. In the end, they gutted it out for the win, giving U.S. stars LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and their NBA teammates their first taste of Olympic gold.

The women’s basketball team also won gold this summer. Led by U.S. star Lisa Leslie, the women’s team has now won the gold four consecutive years in a row. 

Quote of the Week: Much respect to Spain, but the U.S. is back on top again.” — LeBron James

Further Reading: Redemption!” — Associated Press, via ESPN

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GOLDEN GIRLS

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh extended their consecutive winning streak in beach volleyball to 108 matches with a gold medal win over China in the pouring rain.

Were it not for the sheer dominance of Michael Phelps earlier in the Beijing Olympics, May-Treanor and Walsh almost certainly would have gotten more attention for their performance in this year’s Olympic games. Long the face of American volleyball, this might be the last Olympic competition for both May-Treanor and Walsh, who both have plans to slow down on their training schedule to spend time with their families.

This year’s Olympics have seen a great deal of success for U.S. volleyball, including a gold medal for the men’s volleyball team. That victory was especially emotional because of the tragic murder of the team coach’s father-in-law earlier in the month at the beginning of the games.

Quote of the Week: The rain made it better. I don’t know why, but it made it better. We felt like warriors out there.” — Kerri Walsh

Further Reading: ”Even the unlikeliest of opponents doesn’t stop May-Treanor, Walsh” — Jim Caple, ESPN

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WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK

:: COLLEGE FOOTBALL: The College football season begins this Thursday. The way NCAA football is set up, every game is significant–just one or two losses are enough to ruin a team’s chances of making the most prestigious bowl games.

:: TENNIS: The U.S. Open begins this Monday and runs through September 7th.

———-

ALL-SPORTS UPDATE

 

ACTIVE SEASON

:: BASEBALL

MLB (Pro. Baseball): As the second half of the season moves forward, teams will be jockeying for spots in the post-season–either by winning their division, or by taking the Wild Card spot. [Official MLB Website]

———-

:: FOOTBALL

NFL (Pro. Football): The pre-season runs through August, and the regular season begins in September. [Official NFL Website]

NCAA FOOTBALL (College): The college football season begins this Thursday. USA Today and the Associated Press have both ranked Georgia as the number one team. [NCAA Football, ESPN]

———-

:: GOLF

MEN’S GOLF: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Major Championships: The Masters, U.S. Open, The Open (The British Open), and the PGA Championship. Now that the PGA Championship is over, mainstream golf news will most likely revolve around Tiger Woods’ return from injury and preparation for next year’s Majors. [Official PGA Website]

NOTABLE PLAYERS: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson

———-

:: TENNIS

MEN’S AND WOMEN’S TENNIS: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Grand Slam tournaments: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. The U.S. Open begins this week and runs through September 7. [USTA Website]

NOTABLE PLAYERS: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic

———-

OFFSEASON

:: BASKETBALL

NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL (College): Now that the tournament is over, college basketball news will focus on which players leave their schools for the NBA, and which college teams land the premier high-school players for next season. [CBS Sports]

———-

:: HOCKEY

NHL (Pro. Hockey): The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals, completing the 2007-08 season. [Official NHL Website]

———-

:: BASKETBALL

NBA (Pro. Basketball): The Celtics defeated the Lakers to win the NBA Finals, ending the 2008 season.  [Official NBA Website]

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August 18, Week in Sports

August 18, Week in Sports

 

::  MICHAEL PHELPS SETS ALL-TIME OLYMPIC RECORD (Olympics)

::   U.S. WOMEN’S GYMNASTS WIN GOLD, SILVER (Olympics)

::   41-Year Old Dara Torres Wins Three Silver Medals (Olympics)


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THE GOLDEN BOY GOES EIGHT FOR EIGHT


U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps now holds the all-time record for most gold medals won during a single Olympics. Phelps won his eighth and final gold medal of the 2008 Olympics on Sunday morning in Beijing.


Phelps had been chasing down the record held by Mark Spitz, an American swimmer who won seven gold medals in the 1972 Olympics. Phelps tied that record in dramatic fashion on Saturday, when he came back to win the 100 meter butterfly by just one-100th of a second.


Compared to his astonishingly close finish on Saturday, Sunday’s relay was easily won by the American team. In the end, Michael Phelps finished the Olympics with eight gold medals, setting seven world records in the process. It is one of the greatest individual accomplishments in the modern history of sports, and a record that is expected to last for years to come.


Quote of the Week: ”Eight is a lucky number in China. Well, they started the Olympics at eight o’clock on 8/8/08, and the biggest individual headliner of these games has gone eight for eight.” — Bob Costas, NBC commentator

Further Reading: ”Phelps’s Epic Journey Ends in Perfection” — Karen Crouse, New York Times


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PODIUM PALS: AMERICANS LIUKIN AND JOHNSON WIN GOLD AND SILVER


On Friday, U.S. gymnast Nastia Liukin won the gold medal in the Olympic all-around final in women’s gymnastics. She narrowly edged out her teammate and friend Shawn Johnson, winning by just six tenths of a point.


Liukin, whose father won two gold medals and one silver as a gymnast with the Soviet team in 1980, became just the third woman from the U.S. to ever win the gold in the Olympic all-around. Silver medalist Johnson was largely viewed as the favorite, going into Friday’s competition. Johnson was the reigning world champion going into this year’s Olympic Games.


By taking first and second place and beating out Chinese gymnast Yang Yilin (who finished third), the U.S. team gained a small measure of revenge. Earlier in the week, the U.S. team had experienced a devastating loss to the Chinese team, who won gold while the Americans won silver.

    

Quote of the Week: “It feels great to have this behind us. Nastia deserves that gold medal. I believe I was destined for the silver. I’m still proud of myself.” — Shawn Johnson

Further Reading: ”The Ballerina Vs. the Energizer Bunny” — Meghan O’Rourke, Slate

 

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DARLING DARA MEDALS THREE TIMES


Five-time Olympian and media darling Dara Torres won three several medals in this year’s Olympic Games, tying Jenny Thompson’s record for most medals ever won by an American woman in the process. In one of her events, Torres fell just one-hundredth short of winning the gold.


A 41-year old mother, Torres is an anomaly in Olympic swimming, where the vast majority of the competitors are significantly younger–many are more than 20 years her junior. In a sport where the strongest competitors are, for the most part, in their twenties, and even swimmers in their thirties (like U.S. swimmer Jason Lezak) joke about their age, to have a 41-year old swimmer put up this level of competition is extraordinary.


On her final day of competition, Torres competed in two final events. After receiving her medal for the first of those events, she had to jog straight from the podium back to the pool in time for her second final event. “I did this in Sydney,” Torres later said, “but I was 33 then.”



Quote of the Week: “Torres has been doing it since the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, where she won a gold medal…. Michael Phelps, the all-time leader in Olympic gold medals with 14, was not even born. A full three-quarters of Torres’ 2008 female teammates weren’t, either.” — Brian Cazaneuve, Sports Illustrated

Further Reading: ”Germany’s Steffen outduels Torres for gold in 50” — Associated Press, via ESPN


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WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK


:: OLYMPICS: The Olympics continue this week, now without Michael Phelps. The games run through August 24th. A schedule of the events is available here. Finals are marked in gold.

———-

ALL-SPORTS UPDATE


ACTIVE SEASON


:: BASEBALL


MLB (Pro. Baseball): As the second half of the season moves forward, teams will be jockeying for spots in the post-season–either by winning their division, or by taking the Wild Card spot. [Official MLB Website]


———-


:: FOOTBALL


NFL (Pro. Football): The pre-season runs through August, and the regular season begins in September. [Official NFL Website]


NCAA FOOTBALL (College): Practice sessions for college football begin in summer, and the regular season begins in August. USA Today and the Associated Press have both ranked Georgia as the number one team. [NCAA Football, ESPN]


———-


:: GOLF


MEN’S GOLF: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Major Championships: The Masters, U.S. Open, The Open (The British Open), and the PGA Championship. Now that the PGA Championship is over, mainstream golf news will most likely revolve around Tiger Woods’ return from injury and preparation for next year’s Majors. [Official PGA Website]


NOTABLE PLAYERS: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson


———-


:: TENNIS


MEN’S AND WOMEN’S TENNIS: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Grand Slam tournaments: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. The U.S. Open begins on August 25th. [USTA Website]


NOTABLE PLAYERS: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic


———-


OFFSEASON



:: BASKETBALL


NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL (College): Now that the tournament is over, college basketball news will focus on which players leave their schools for the NBA, and which college teams land the premier high-school players for next season. [CBS Sports]


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:: HOCKEY


NHL (Pro. Hockey): The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals, completing the 2007-08 season. [Official NHL Website]


———-


:: BASKETBALL


NBA (Pro. Basketball): The Celtics defeated the Lakers to win the NBA Finals, ending the 2008 season.  [Official NBA Website]

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August 11, Week in Sports

August 11, Week in Sports

::   OLYMPIC GAMES BEGIN IN BEIJING (Olympics)

::   PADRAIG HARRING WINS PGA CHAMPIONSHIP (Pro. Golf)

::   BRETT FAVRE TRADED TO N.Y. JETS  (Pro. Football)

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ON YOUR MARK…GET SET…GO!

The 2008 Olympics have officially begun, following the grandiose spectacle of the Opening Ceremony, which took place on Friday. The summer Olympic Games take place every four years.

One of the plot lines for this summer’s Olympics is Michael Phelps’ quest to win eight gold medals. If Phelps were to win gold eight times, he would beat the Olympic record set by Mark Spitz. Spitz was an American swimmer who won seven gold medals in 1972. So far, Phelps is off to a good start, winning the gold medal in his first event, the 400-meter individual medley–a race where the swimmers are required to use all four strokes–as well as his second event, the 4×100 relay, which the U.S. team won in dramatic fashion.

The U.S. men’s basketball team looked strong in their first game on Sunday. The team, led by LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, played against Yao Ming and the Chinese team and won by a score of 101-70.

Tragedy also struck the Olympic Games on Saturday, when the father-in-law of one of the coaches of the U.S. men’s volleyball team was murdered while visiting a historic site in Beijing. Reports so far have indicated that it was just a random, isolated instance of violence, and that the victims had not been targeted because they were foreigners.

Quote of the Week: “I’m not downplaying this race by any means, but I have to put that race behind me. I have to act like it never happened because I have so many tough races ahead of me.” — Michael Phelps, after winning his first gold in Beijing

Further Reading: ”Handicapping Phelps’ run at Olympic glory” — Pat Forde, ESPN

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WHO NEEDS TIGER? PADDY HARRINGTON TAKES TWO IN A ROW

Padraig Harrington, who won the Open Championship earlier this year, won the PGA Championship on Sunday. The PGA Championship is the fourth and final Major tournament of the golf season.

Other than Tiger Woods, no golfer has won two Majors in a single season since 1998. In that sense, Harrington’s feat is all the more significant. Furthermore, there are only three other golfers who have ever won the last two Major tournaments in the same year.

Harrington came back from three shots behind to win over Sergio Garcia. Garcia is one of the best golfers in the world, but he has never won a Major tournament. It is also his second narrow loss to Harrington in a Major. In 2007, Harrington beat Garcia in a playoff to win his first title at the Open.

Quote of the Week: “I think I was willing them into the hole at that stage. You have to get focused and give it a go.” — Padraig Harrington, on his critical putts down the stretch

Further Reading: ”Harrington secures second major in a row with PGA win” — Associated Press, via USA Today

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B-B-B-BRETT FAVRE AND THE JETS

Late Wednesday night, the Brett Favre melodrama came to a conclusion when the Green Bay Packers traded their future Hall-of-Fame quarterback to the New York Jets. Favre’s destination has been a question mark for weeks–now that he is a Jet, the Favre story will continue to draw attention, but it will no longer be front page news.

The Jets have won their division just four times in the past 40 years. In recent years, many critics have traced the team’s problems to an unstable quarterback situation. Chad Pennington, the Jets quarterback, though well liked by Jets fans, has suffered from years of injuries and it has been no secret that the team no longer considered him the quarterback of the future. Now that the Jets have Favre leading the way, they have instantly become a contender in their division–the AFC East.

Quote of the Week: Big Apple hype guarantees the chronicles of Favre will remain overblown, but at least we’re done being hostages of speculation.” — Jerry Brewer, Seattle Times

Further Reading: ”From Green Bay to Broadway: Favre Is a Jet” — Judy Battista, New York Times

———-

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK

:: OLYMPICS: The Olympics continue this week and run through August 24th. A schedule of the events is available here. Finals are marked in gold.

———-

ALL-SPORTS UPDATE

 

ACTIVE SEASON

:: BASEBALL

MLB (Pro. Baseball): As the second half of the season moves forward, teams will be jockeying for spots in the post-season–either by winning their division, or by taking the Wild Card spot. [Official MLB Website]

———-

:: FOOTBALL

NFL (Pro. Football): The pre-season runs through August, and the regular season begins in September. [Official NFL Website]

NCAA FOOTBALL (College): Practice sessions for college football begin in summer, and the regular season begins in August. USA Today released their rankings for this season, placing Georgia as the number one team. The Associated Press has not yet released their rankings. [NCAA Football, ESPN]

———-

:: GOLF

MEN’S GOLF: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Major Championships: The Masters, U.S. Open, The Open (The British Open), and the PGA Championship. Now that the PGA Championship is over, mainstream golf news will most likely revolve around Tiger Woods’ return from injury and preparation for next year’s Majors. [Official PGA Website]

NOTABLE PLAYERS: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson

———-

:: TENNIS

MEN’S AND WOMEN’S TENNIS: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Grand Slam tournaments: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. The U.S. Open begins on August 25th. [USTA Website]

NOTABLE PLAYERS: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic

———-

OFFSEASON

:: BASKETBALL

NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL (College): Now that the tournament is over, college basketball news will focus on which players leave their schools for the NBA, and which college teams land the premier high-school players for next season. [CBS Sports]

———-

:: HOCKEY

NHL (Pro. Hockey): The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals, completing the 2007-08 season. [Official NHL Website]

———-


:: BASKETBALL

NBA (Pro. Basketball): The Celtics defeated the Lakers to win the NBA Finals, ending the 2008 season.  [Official NBA Website]

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August 4, Week in Sports

August 4, Week in Sports

::   MANNY RAMIREZ TRADED TO DODGERS (Pro. Baseball)

::   FAVRE REINSTATED IN NFL (Pro. Football)

::   U.S. BASKETBALL TEAM PREPS FOR OLYMPICS  (Pro. Basketball)

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MAN, OH MANNY! RED SOX SHIP RAMIREZ TO THE DODGERS

Manny Ramirez, the twelve-time All-Star who won two World Series championships with the Boston Red Sox, was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers just minutes before the MLB trading deadline on July 31st. Ramirez is one of the biggest names in the league, so his surprise move to Los Angeles is significant.

In the weeks leading up to the trading deadline, the relationship between Manny and the Red Sox got significantly worse. Manny publicly stated that the Red Sox didn’t deserve a player of his caliber, then half-heartedly played a week’s worth of games, then stated that he would like to be traded. In the end, he got his wish. The Red Sox, desperate to get rid of Ramirez, gave up the former World Series MVP for very little, though they landed Pirates outfielder Jason Bay as part of the deal sending Manny to L.A.

Future Hall of Fame outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. was traded the same morning, moving from the Cincinnati Reds to the Chicago White Sox.

Quote of the Week: “I like this city, the environment, the energy in the fans. I think that I’ll play here for the remainder of my career.” — Manny Ramirez, on the city of Los Angeles

Further Reading: ”Manny, Junior relocate” — Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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HE’S BACK…FAVRE’S RETURN TO NFL OFFICIAL

In the latest development in the Brett Favre soap opera, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell officially reinstated the Green Bay Packers quarterback on Sunday.

Over the past few weeks, Favre has made it clear that he wants to come out of his brief retirement to play again this year. Now that Goodell has reinstated him, Favre is officially back in the league. However, Goodell’s decision in no way answers the question on everyone’s mind: where is Brett Favre going to play this year? The Packers have made it clear that they are reluctant to bring Favre back–even reportedly going so far as to offer him $25 million to stay retired. But it looks like Favre will reject that deal, in which case the Packers are going to have to make up their minds by either welcoming him back on the team or trading him. Goodell’s decision to reinstate Favre is expected to force Packers management to make a decision this week.

Quote of the Week: “The Brett Favre saga has gone on for so long now, that it actually causes physical pain to hear mention of his name. If NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has his way, though, the beginning of the end to the nauseating Favre-Packers standoff will mercifully start early next week.” — Marcel Mutoni, Deadspin

Further Reading: ”Goodell Reinstates Favre” — ESPN

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THE RETURN OF THE ‘DREAM TEAM’?

On Sunday, the U.S. Olympic team beat the Russian squad in an exhibition game meant as a warm-up for the upcoming Olympics in Beijing. The U.S. team, exclusively composed of players from the NBA, has its sights set on the gold medal.

In 1992, the U.S. basketball team, nicknamed the “Dream Team,” completely dominated the competition. That domination continued until 2004, when the American team was knocked off its pedestal–an embarrassment, considering the team was stacked with the best players in the world. Since then, the U.S. team has played like they have something to prove. This year’s squad is the team to beat in Beijing. The players include the likes of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmello Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Paul, among others.

That’s not as good as the 1992 Dream Team (which included Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Charles Barkley), but if this year’s team plays with a chip on their shoulder, look for them to put up some fireworks later this month.

Quote of the Week: Yes, they’re the favorites. No, they don’t expect to be crowned Dream Team 2.0 without having earned it.” — Chris Sheridan, ESPN

Further Reading: ”Kobe scores 19 as US thwarts Russia” — Associated Press, via ESPN

———-

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK

:: GOLF: The PGA Championship, the last Golf Major of the year, takes place this week.

:: OLYMPICS:
The Opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing is Friday, August 8th. From then until August 24th, the Olympics will be the focus of the sporting world’s attention.

———-

ALL-SPORTS UPDATE

 

ACTIVE SEASON

:: BASEBALL

MLB (Pro. Baseball): As the second half of the season moves forward, teams will be jockeying for spots in the post-season–either by winning their division, or by taking the Wild Card spot. [Official MLB Website]

———-

:: GOLF

MEN’S GOLF: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Major Championships: The Masters, U.S. Open, The Open (The British Open), and the PGA Championship. The PGA Championship takes place this week. [Official PGA Website]

NOTABLE PLAYERS: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson

———-

:: TENNIS

MEN’S AND WOMEN’S TENNIS: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Grand Slam tournaments: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. [USTA Website]

NOTABLE PLAYERS: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic

———-

OFFSEASON

:: BASKETBALL

NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL (College): Now that the tournament is over, college basketball news will focus on which players leave their schools for the NBA, and which college teams land the premier high-school players for next season. [CBS Sports]

———-

:: FOOTBALL

NFL (Pro. Football): The pre-season runs through August, and the regular season begins in September. [Official NFL Website]

NCAA FOOTBALL (College): Practice sessions for college football begin in summer, and the regular season begins in August. [NCAA Football, ESPN]

———-

:: HOCKEY

NHL (Pro. Hockey): The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals, completing the 2007-08 season. [Official NHL Website]

———-


:: BASKETBALL

NBA (Pro. Basketball): The Celtics defeated the Lakers to win the NBA Finals, ending the 2008 season.  [Official NBA Website]

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