July 8, 2013

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The Week In Sports

By: Anson Whaley

Andy Murray ends England’s drought at Wimbledon: Marion Bartoli defeated Sabine Lisicki in the women’s final at Wimbledon, but the big story this weekend was in the men’s final where Andy Murray beat top-seeded Novak Djokovic to win his first ever championship at the event. More importantly, the win ended Britain’s long drought of not having a countryman win the singles title in nearly 80 years – Fred Perry was the last to accomplish the feat in 1936. But for Murray himself, the ride has probably seemed just as long. This was his first Wimbledon title and comes after so many other losses in the finals of major championships.

Brad Stevens will coach Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics next season.

Dwight Howard headed south: The biggest splash in NBA free agency for this season was made when All-Star center Dwight Howard announced he would sign with the Houston Rockets after just one year in Los Angeles. In typical Dwight Howard fashion, the center waffled a bit with reports being leaked that after selecting the Rockets, Howard was undecided and thinking about a late switch to the Lakers. But in the end, he chose Houston, immediately making them much stronger in the west teaming with James Harden. Whether or not they can compete for an NBA championship will remain to be seen – after all a team with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Howard barely made the postseason this year. But the Rockets, who barely made the playoffs themselves last year, should be a better team with him on board.

Boston Celtics hire Brad Stevens as new head coach: Ready or not, former college coach Brad Stevens is making the jump to the NBA. This usually doesn’t work out very well and the Celtics know that better than anybody. Years ago, Boston hired Rick Pitino to run the team and it wasn’t long before he went back to the college ranks. Now the C’s will try their hand with another NCAA guy at the helm in Stevens, the former Butler Bulldogs coach. For Boston, it’s a huge gamble. For Stevens, though? The worst case scenario is that he earns a boatload of cash, struggles in the NBA, and ends up back in the college ranks where he’ll immediately find another job if he’s not successful – not too bad.

Manny Ramirez signed by Texas Rangers: Manny Ramirez will get another shot to play in major league baseball after the Texas Rangers signed him to a minor league deal. No, I’m not convinced Ramirez can play in the majors again. After all, last we saw him was early in 2011 and he looked downright awful going 1-17 at the plate for a dismal .059 batting average. Ramirez played only five games that season when he abruptly retired after failing a drug test. But if you think about it, the Rangers’ gamble isn’t a terrible one. They’ve only given him a minor league deal and while his power was down considerably in 2010, he still batted nearly .300. I’d be surprised if he had much left in the tank but as a playoff contender, Texas is right to look at all options.

JaMarcus Russell STILL being paid: JaMarcus proved to be one of the NFL’s biggest busts after being taken No. 1 overall in the 2007 NFL Draft. He lasted only three seasons (none of which were particularly memorable) and last played in 2009. That doesn’t mean he’s off the Raiders’ books yet, though, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported the team is still paying him about $3 million still owed. Talk about a long-term headache.

Daniel Alfredson signs with Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings hope to shore up their offense by adding the long-time Ottawa Senators winger, Daniel Alfredson, to the roster. Detroit signed him to a one-year deal and while Alfredson is no longer the player he once was, he still contributed 26 points including ten goals in last year’s strike-shortened season. His ten points in the playoffs also led Ottawa and even at 40, he can still help Detroit next year. But it’s interesting that the 17-year veteran who played his entire career in Ottawa will no longer wear that uniform over a one-year deal.

ACC officially welcomes Pitt, Syracuse, and Notre Dame: Pitt, Syracuse, and Notre Dame all officially joined the ACC last week after spending years in the Big East. Pitt and Syracuse have joined as full members while Notre Dame will play all sports except for football in the conference. The moves strengthened a league which will lose Maryland to the Big Ten after this season. While Pitt and Syracuse have had their ups and downs in football, they significantly help the conference’s basketball profile.

Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez begin rehab assignments: Yankees’ infielders Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have missed all season due to injuries, but the pair could be returning soon. Both are in the midst of rehab assignments and could join New York later this month. The Yankees have managed to remain in contention despite the slew of injuries the team has faced, but still sat six games out of first place behind the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles in the AL East as of last week. And with the team’s batting average among the worst in the league, it’s clear they can use some help offensively.

January 15, 2013

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What I Will Remember About 2012 – Part 2

By: Joe Williams

Every year we see things we never thought we would and things we never want to see again. We see everything from the incredible to the inspiring to the sad and hilarious. Here’s what I will remember about 2012.

To read part one, click here.

July 23 – Penn State became the first school to receive NCAA sanctions because of criminal matters that did not directly deal with breaking NCAA rules. The penalties included a $60 million fine, a four-year ban on postseason play, a reduction of scholarships for the next four years and the vacating of all victories from 1998-2011.

July 31 – Michael Phelps won his 19th Olympic medal, making him the most decorated Olympian ever.

July 31 – The Fierce Five, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, won gold at the London Olympic Games.

August 2 – Gabby Douglas became the first African-American woman to win the individual all-around competition.

August 5 – Andy Murray bounces back from losing to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final to beat Federer and win the gold medal in front of his home country. He broke through again a month later, winning his first major title at the U.S. Open.

Miguel Cabrera winning baseball's Triple Crown is one of the biggest stories of 2012.

August 9 – Usain Bolt made his claim as the greatest sprinter ever by becoming the first man ever to defend his golds in both the 100m and 200m races.

August 9 – Hope Solo, Alex Morgan and the U.S. women’s soccer team won Olympic gold after a controversial semifinal against Canada and then getting revenge against Japan in the final after the shootout that ended the Women’s World Cup in 2011.

August 10 – The “Dwightmare” finally came to an end when Dwight Howard was traded from the Orlando Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers after months and months of indecision about where he wanted to play and who he wanted to play with.

August 12 – Rory McIlroy wins the PGA Championship. He would follow that with two more wins heading into the Tour Championship and cement himself as the top player in the game.

August 15 – Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game against the Rays and the Mariners won 1-0.

September 7 – In the midst of a pennant race and against his wishes, the Washington Nationals shut down their superstar pitcher Stephan Strasburg after 159 1/3 innings. The Nationals would go on to win the NL East and then lose in the NLDS in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals.

September 15 – The NHL labor dispute officially becomes a lockout.

September 24 – The Replacement refs fiasco came to a head on the final play of the Green Bay/Seattle Monday Night Football game. When the officials turned what sure looked to be an interception and a Green Bay win into a touchdown and a Seattle win, the NFL had no choice to settle the dispute with the regular officials.

September 30 – Team U.S.A. chokes the Ryder Cup away, blowing a 10-6 lead on the final day at Medinah. Justin Rose and Ian Poulter led the charge for Europe while Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk dropped critical 1-Up matches. The comeback almost didn’t happen when Rory McIlroy looked at his tee time in Eastern Time instead of Central time and needed a police escort to arrive at the course with just 10 minutes to spare.

October 3 – Miguel Cabrera goes 0-2 in the Detroit Tigers’ 1-0 win over Kansas City in the regular season finale but still manages to be the first player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown, finishing the season with a .330 average, 44 home runs and 139 RBI. He would be name the American League MVP.

October 10 – New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi pulls Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning of Game 3 of the ALDS. Raul Ibanez took A-Rod’s place and homered to send the game to extra innings. Ibanez did it again in the 12th inning, giving the Yankees the win.

October 13 – Notre Dame comes up with a goal-line stand, stopping Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor on fourth-and-goal and then survives a controversial replay review to beat Stanford 20-13 in overtime to remain undefeated.

October 13 – The St. Louis Cardinals scored four runs in the ninth inning to stun the Washington Nationals and advance to the NLCS.

October 15 – Trailing 24-0 at halftime in San Diego and staring a 2-4 record in the face, the Denver Broncos score 35 unanswered second-half points to beat the Chargers 35-24 and improve to 3-3. They would not lose again in the regular season and finish with the best record in the AFC.

October 25 – Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs in Game 1 of the World Series on his way to earning the World Series MVP award.

October 28 – The San Francisco Giants completed an improbable run to a second World Series win in two years and did it after trailing 2-0 in a best-of-5 series against Cincinnati and then falling behind 3-1 to St. Louis in the NLCS

November 10 – Texas A&M upsets No. 1 Alabama 29-24, led by its redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel. It was a springboard for Manziel as he led the Aggies to an 11-2 record in their first season in the SEC, a win in the Cotton Bowl and became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.

November 17 – Undefeated Kansas State and Oregon both go down and lose their shot to play for the BCS National Championship. Baylor beat the Wildcats 52-24 and Stanford knocked off the Ducks 17-14 in overtime.

November 21 – Jack Taylor, guard at Grinnell College (Division III), scored an NCAA-record 138 points against Faith Baptist Bible College.

November 22 – Two words…Butt Fumble.

December 1 – Georgia came up five yards short of scoring the game-winning touchdown against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. Alabama hung on for a 32-28 win and a spot in the BCS National Championship Game.

December 8 – Appalachian State’s Brian Okam quickly became known for the worst free throw ever after a video of his miss went viral.

December 16 – Tom Brady leads the Patriots on a furious rally after falling behind 31-3 against the 49ers. After the game was tied at 34, San Francisco retook the lead and won 41-34.

December 30 – Adrian Peterson runs for 199 yards against the Green Bay Packers after already eclipsing 200 yards twice this season, but he came up a mere nine yards short of the single-season rushing record.

August 25, 2010

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Countdown to the U.S. Open!!!

By: Stein

Although, Wimbledon, undoubtedly, is the most coveted prize for any tennis player, arguably, the most anticipated and exciting tournament this year for tennis fans is the US Open! The question on everyone’s mind and all the buzz is centered one man: Rafael Nadal!

Will Rafael Nadal stun us all and achieve the coveted and rare Career Grand Slam? Can the “King of Clay” and World’s number one player win on the speedy hard courts?  Will the man with the big guns blasts his opponents and all of the doubters off the court this year?

I say, “YES”! Sure, Nadal was demolished in uncharacteristic fashion by Andy Murray at the Roger’s Cup…However, we have all seen and know that Murray isn’t very mentally tough when it counts, and we know what that can do to one’s tennis career. Remember Amelie Mauresmo?  Nadal’s performance last week in Cincinnati, and the best comeback performance of the US Open Series, thus far, proves that although he may not have the best hard-court game on tour, he has the best heart .  Down a set and at match point against the Frenchman, Bennitaeu, Nadal fought back and won the match in a decisive fashion. No one else on tour can do that, not even Federer!

Although it will be tough, Baghdatis is back and better than ever, Federer is in hot pursuit of trying to achieve 20 Majors, the “Joker” and Roddick want to add a second Major to their resume, and Soderling, Murray, and Berdych all want a piece of the pie, but the man to beat, hands down, is Nadal.  My prediction for the final: Murray and Nadal in a stunning five setter.

Vamos Rafa!