October 20, Week in Sports
:: RAYS BEAT RED SOX IN SEVEN FOR WORLD SERIES BERTH (Pro. Baseball)
:: PHILLIES BEAT DODGERS TO REACH WORLD SERIES (Pro. Baseball)
:: BCS RANKINGS ANNOUNCED (College Football)
BYE BYE, BOSTON: RAYS ADVANCE TO WORLD SERIES
The Tampa Bay Rays won the decisive game seven of their series against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday night, propelling them into the World Series. This is the first time in franchise history that the Rays are playing in the World Series.
Unless you are from Boston, the Rays are the feel-good story of the year. They have long been a laughingstock in the league, and last year they had the worst record in all of baseball. Now, in their first post-season appearance, the Rays have won the American League pennant. They did it in dramatic fashion, beating their arch-rivals, the Boston Red Sox, in a hard fought series. After trailing the series 3-1, the Red Sox, last year’s World Series champions, clawed their way back, forcing a Game 7. The Rays, a very young team built around speed on the bases, solid pitching, and superb defense, came through when it mattered. The face of the Rays is their manager, Joe Maddon, who stands perched at the top of dugout every game, watching the action through his hipster glasses. The players often credit him with changing the team’s mentality and leading them to their success this year.
Since the American League won the All-Star Game this year, the Rays will have homefield advantage during the World Series. Game 1 will be played on Wednesday night.
Quote of the Week: ”We were so happy out here, I think everybody shed a couple tears. I was in the bottom of the dogpile, I couldn’t breathe, and I wouldn’t trade that moment right there for anything.” — David Price, Rays pitcher
Further Reading: “Rays the Roof” — Associated Press, via SI.com
FIGHTING PHILS MAKE FALL CLASSIC
The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4 games to 1 in the National League Championship Series, earning a spot in the World Series. The last time the Phillies won the pennant was in 1993.
The Phillies had an emotional end of the season, fighting their way into the playoffs the last week of the regular season. The emotional ride continued in the post-season when Phillies manager Charlie Manuel’s mother passed away during the NLCS. However, Manuel’s personal grief and the franchise’s struggles notwithstanding, the Phillies are playing extremely good baseball right now. Led by stars Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, and Brad Lidge, the Phillies have the kind of power hitting and dominant pitching that will make them a formidable opponent for the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series.
The city of Philadelphia has four sports teams, the Phillies, Eagles, 76ers, and Flyers, but they have not won a championship in the city of Brotherly Love since the 1980s. The Phillies, for their part, last won the World Series in 1980, and as a franchise they have the most losses in the history of the league.
Quote of the Week: “After hearing about the ‘93 team over and over and over again, we finally have a chance to make our mark.” — Jimmy Rollins
Further Reading: “Rollins’ homer sparks Phillies to first World Series berth in 15 years” — Associated Press, via ESPN
DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS
On Sunday afternoon, the first edition of college football’s BCS standings was released. The BCS standings are a critical part of the college football season, since they ultimately determine which teams play in the all-important bowl games at the end of the year.
The first edition of the standings ranked the following teams as the best five in the country: 1. Texas, 2. Alabama, 3. Penn State, 4. Oklahoma, 5. USC. Texas claimed the number one ranking after their huge victory over Oklahoma a week ago. Moreover, Texas defeated Mizzou this weekend. As a result, virtually all of the college football experts believe that Texas is the most dominant team in the country right now.
However, it should be noted once again that college football rankings tend to change very quickly. If Texas were to lose next weekend, for example, they would plummet in the rankings. Since a number of teams currently in the top 10 in the BCS standings still have to play each other in the coming weeks, these standings are guaranteed to change. At the end of the year, the top two teams in the BCS standings play each other for the national championship.
Quote of the Week: “Texas will be undefeated. We’ll have a BCS Championship game with an undefeated team, I believe: Texas.” — Barry Switzer, former coach and football analyst
Further Reading: BCS Standings Week One
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK
:: BASEBALL: The World Series begins this week in Tampa Bay. The World Series is the culmination of the baseball season, and this year the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies will face off for the championship. Game 1 will take place on Wednesday night. The full schedule is available at www.mlb.com.
MLB (Pro. Baseball): The World Series begins this week. The best-of-seven series is the culmination of the baseball season, and this year it will be played by the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies. [Official MLB Website]
NFL (Pro. Football): The regular season is now underway. 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 season is now in full swing. The BCS Standings currently place Texas as the best team in the country. [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. 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
NHL (Pro. Hockey): The hockey season runs through April of 2009. By the new year, the league power rankings should be pretty well set. [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. [USTA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic
NBA (Pro. Basketball): The Celtics defeated the Lakers to win the NBA Finals, ending the 2008 season. The pre-season is currently underway, and the 2008 season begins later in October. [Official NBA Website]
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]