February 23, Week in Sports
:: A-ROD’S STORY FULL OF HOLES (Pro. Baseball)
:: NO. 4 PITT TOPPLES NO. 1 UCONN (College Basketball)
:: STOUDEMIRE LIKELY OUT FOR YEAR (Pro. Basketball)
OH, WHAT A TANGLED WEB…
The A-Rod saga continued this week, as Rodriguez called a press conference on Tuesday to further explain how he had tested positive for steroid use. However, Rodriguez’s statement was full of holes and contradictions, and he has gotten himself into much more trouble as a result.
During the press conference, A-Rod claimed that he bought one of the performance-enhancing substances in question (”boli,” or Primobolan) over the counter in the Dominican with the help of his cousin. However, in the days since, a horde of sports journalists have discovered that using “boli” alone would not have accounted for the increased levels of testosterone in A-Rod’s blood test and that in any case, Primobolan was illegal in the Dominican during the time in question. Furthermore, the press learned that A-Rod’s cousin, Yuri Sucart, was A-Rod’s constant companion as recently as the 2007 season, often staying in the hotel room next to Rodriguez. Rodriguez, has said that he quit using steroids after 2003. That now seems very questionable, since Sucart’s roommate on these road trips was Angel Presinal, a trainer who has been banned from Major League Baseball since 2001, largely due to the prevailing opinion that he is a major steroid supplier to athletes.
Now that Rodriguez has created a web of lies, his situation is unimaginably worse. As Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman drily stated after the press conference, “Alex is not very good at communicating, to be quite honest.”
Quote of the Week: “No one thinks about himself more and knows himself less than Alex Rodriguez.” — Joel Sherman, New York Post
Further Reading: “A-Rod answers questions, raises more ” — Jayson Stark, ESPN
OUTMUSCLED: PITT POUNDS OUT WIN AGAINST HUSKIES
Last week, the University of Pittsburgh Panthers defeated the University of Connecticut Huskies, who were ranked the best team in the country at the time. UConn and Pitt are conference rivals and two of the best teams in the country. Both of them will be strong competitors in this year’s March Madness tournament.
The Pitt-UConn matchup was billed as a battle of the big men, and it lived up to expectations. Huskies center Hasheem Thabeet is one of the best players in the country, and he is known for his tenacious defense. However, he was simply no match for Pitt forward DeJuan Blair, who completely dominated the game. In the end, Blair posted 22 points and 23 rebounds, while Thabeet, who found himself in foul trouble early in the game, was limited to 5 points and 4 rebounds. The two teams are scheduled to play each other again on March 7, in what is sure to be a must-see rematch.
Pitt is known for their extremely physical style of play, which often results in a lot of bellyaching by the defeated team. This game was no exception, as Huskies coach Jim Calhoun made a point of complaining about the officiating. Those comments notwithstanding, Calhoun can expect more of the same when the teams meet again in March.
Quote of the Week: ”We’ll get back to playing basketball our next game.” — Jim Calhoun, Huskies Coach, insinuating that Pitt’s style of play is overly physical
Further Reading: ”Blair, Pitt pull down UConn” — Mark Blaudschun, Boston Herald
EYE CARAMBA! STOUDEMIRE SIDELINED BY INJURY
Phoenix Suns All-Star Amare Stoudemire re-aggravated an eye injury during a game and was forced to undergo surgery on Friday. Stoudemire, perhaps the best player for the Suns, is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Stoudemire’s injury took place the day after the NBA trade deadline. While there were no blockbuster trades before this year’s deadline, it had been widely rumored that the Suns were trying to trade Stoudemire. After determining that the potential deals on the table were not good enough, the Suns kept their All-Star, hoping that he could lead the team to the post-season this year. For that reason, Stoudemire’s injury is particularly devastating to the franchise, since they are now without their most explosive offensive player and have nothing to show for it.
The Suns had been hoping to have a strong second half of the season. Without Stoudemire in the lineup, it now seems unlikely that the team will even make the playoffs.
Quote of the Week: “Well, that was a fun two-game interlude. And we now return you to your regularly scheduled snakebit version of the Phoenix Suns.” — John Hollinger, ESPN
Further Reading: “Stoudemire has surgery to repair retina ” — Marc Stein, ESPN
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK
:: BASEBALL: Though A-Rod has not scheduled any interviews this week, there is always the chance that he will throw together a zany press conference. Even if he doesn’t, though, fallout from the A-Rod steroid story will continue to dominate the news.
NBA (Pro. Basketball): The 2008-09 season is currently underway. It runs from late October to April of 2009, when the playoffs commence. [Official NBA Website]
NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL (College): The college basketball season is currently underway and runs through “the Tournament,” which takes place in March. [CBS Sports]
NFL (Pro. Football): Now that the Super Bowl is over, the next major NFL event is the draft, which takes place in late April. [Official NFL Website]
NCAA FOOTBALL (College): The college football season is now over, with Florida defeating Oklahoma in the national championship game. [NCAA Football, ESPN]
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 Masters is scheduled for the first week of April. [Official PGA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson
NHL (Pro. Hockey): The hockey season is currently underway and runs through April of 2009. [Official NHL Website]
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 next event is the French Open, which takes place in May. [USTA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic
MLB (Pro. Baseball): The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in this year’s World Series. During the off-season, baseball news will focus on major trades and player signings. [Official MLB Website]