June 9, Week in Sports
:: DA’ TARA WINS BELMONT, SPOILS BIG BROWN’S TRIPLE CROWN RUN (Horse Racing)
:: RED WINGS WIN STANLEY CUP (Pro. Hockey)
:: RAFAEL NADAL TOPS FEDERER IN FRENCH OPEN (Tennis)
NO CROWN FOR BROWN
On Saturday, Da’ Tara won the Belmont Stakes, one of the three most prestigious horse racing events of the year. Big Brown, who had a chance to win the Triple Crown with a Belmont victory, finished in last place.
Da’ Tara was a huge underdog going into Saturday’s race, listed as the longest shot to win. However, Da’ Tara will be remembered for years to come, not just for overcoming the odds, but for defeating Big Brown. Big Brown had won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, and his trainer stated that a victory at the Belmont was “a foregone conclusion.” However, Big Brown looked sluggish on Saturday and ultimately finished the race in last place. This was primarily because his jockey realized that he would be unable to finish in the top five, and thus eased up on Big Brown, whose breeding rights alone are reportedly worth more than $50 million.
Quote of the Week: “If Big Brown was himself, he would’ve been tough to beat, but he wasn’t himself. That’s why they play the game.” — Nick Zito, Da’ Tara’s trainer
Further Reading: “Da’ Tara steals spotlight, Belmont from Big Brown” — Associated Press, via ESPN
RED WINGS TAKE TITLE BACK TO HOCKEYTOWN
The Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins to win the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday night. Winning the Stanley Cup is the highest honor in the National Hockey League.
The Red Wings looked dominant throughout the playoffs, and that dominance extended to the Stanley Cup Finals, as well. The Red Wings were on the verge of winning the championship at home earlier in the week, but the Penguins tied the game with thirty seconds left and went on to win it. However, the Penguins’ luck did not extend to Wednesday’s game, where the Red Wings won by a score of 3-2, clinching the title.
The Stanley Cup playoffs have a long and storied past, and the trophy itself is full of history and tradition. There is only one Stanley Cup trophy, which is passed on every year to the new champion. One of the biggest traditions associated with the trophy is for the winning team to drink champagne out of it. The individual players from the winning team also get to spend one private day with the trophy. Over the years, players have eaten out of the Cup, drank from the Cup, damaged it, and defiled it in various ways, after which it is cleaned and repaired for future years.
Quote of the Week: “I’ve had to wipe away a few tears. This is why I play in Detroit.” — Chris Osgood, Detroit Red Wings’ Goaltender
Further Reading: “Wings paint Hockeytown Red” — Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press
RAFAEL NADAL, NUMERO UNO
Rafael Nadal, the Spaniard who is ranked as the second-best men’s tennis player in the world, defeated Roger Federer (the number one player in the world) to win the French Open. The French Open is the second Grand Slam event of the year.
Federer is universally recognized as the best tennis player in the world today, and perhaps the greatest player of all time. However, Nadal has beaten Federer in the French Open the past four years, and every year the match-up draws a great deal of attention. As such, the rivalry between Nadal and Federer is on par with just about any individual rivalry in professional sports.
Ana Ivanovic, the top-ranked women’s tennis player in the world, defeated Dinara Safina to win the women’s title.
Quote of the Week: “Today it was tough for Roger, I think, and I have to be respectful with one very good guy.” Rafael Nadal
Further Reading: “Nadal’s fire and emotion propel him to fourth French Open title” — Bonnie Ford, ESPN
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK
:: BASKETBALL – The NBA Finals, between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, continue this week. Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday.
:: GOLF – The U.S. Open, the second Major Championship of the year, will be played June 12th through June 15th.
MLB (Pro. Baseball): Baseball season is in full swing, but it is a long season, so teams tend to measure their success month by month. The All-Star break takes place the second week of July. By then, teams’ records will be a good indicator of how well they are performing this season. [Official MLB Website]
NBA (Pro. Basketball): The NBA Finals, between the Lakers and the Celtics, continue this week. [Official NBA Website]
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 Masters is over, the next event will be the U.S. Open, which is played from June 9-15. [Official PGA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els
MEN’S AND WOMEN’S TENNIS: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments of the year are the four Grand Slam tournaments: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. The next event is Wimbledon, which runs from June 23rd to July 6th. [USTA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic
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]
NFL (Pro. Football): The pre-season begins in 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]
NHL (Pro. Hockey): The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals, completing the 2007-08 season. [Official NHL Website]