Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sports Quick Hits

Hope you had a great 4th of July Weekend! I had a great time golfing at Beavercreek Country Club and at JM's wedding. Chizzy's Cards beat my Reds last nigth, 1-0, on an infield hit. And now, Albert Pujols might be back tonight. Wow! More on that in a second. With Major League Baseball a week away from the All-Star Break, this is really kind of a dead-time in sports. Wimbeldon just finished and the Women's World Cup is still ongoing, but that's about it. Here's a quick look at the top stories in the sports world.

While it's hard for me to say who the best baseball player I've ever seen play is, especially since so many were on the juice during the 1990s and early 2000s, I'd have to narrow the list down quite a bit. My candidates, including all positions would be as follows, in no particular order:

- Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
- Ken Griffey Jr, OF, Seattle Mariners (and only his time with the Mariners)
- Mariano Rivera, CP, New York Yankees
- Frank Thomas, 1B, Chicago White Sox
- Greg Maddux, SP, Atlanta Braves
- Tony Gwynn, OF, San Diego Padres

Of those, you have a dominant starting pitcher in Maddux, and this might be my favorite state of all-time, who only threw a 3-0 count 17 times in his entire career. Mariano Rivera is the best closer we've ever seen, or will ever see. Ken Griffey Jr, if not for injuries, might have or be close to having all the records in the books for HRs. Frank Thomas and Tony Gwynn could flat out rake and both were big human beings, Thomas more so than Gwynn. And then we have Albert Pujols, who could potentially start the Reds vs. Cards game tonight, just 15 days after breaking his wrist. Just incredible, and I'll have a full-length article about Pujols soon. It's a big week in the NL Central as the Brewers just continue to lose on the road, the Reds play both St. Louis and Milwaukee, and the Pirates are still in the thick of things. Makes for an interesting second half in a tight division.

Yep, the lockout's still in effect, but more meetings are scheduled for this week. The Hall of Fame Game, slated to be played by the Rams and Bears on August 7th, is slated to be on track. While despite talks nearly disintegrating last week, a source says an agreement is likely to be achieved, just not this week. Hmmm, where have we heard that before. Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, along with the lead negotiating teams will be back to have face-to-face discussions this Thursday and Friday. Strictly my opinion here, but those two days could make or break the potential CBA deal. I think we'll have a clear understanding of who soon a deal can be done or how far apart the two sides really are by Saturday.

The retired players have also filed a class-action lawsuit and want a seat at the negotiating table as well. The named plaintiffs are some big-time names: Carl Eller, famed defensive lineman from the Vikings "Purple People Eaters" defense; Franco Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers; Marcus Allen of the Raiders and Chiefs; and Paul Krause of the Redskins and Vikings.

Another lockout here, and the first thing to go, much like the NFL was free agency. Starting July 1st, the NBA's traditional free agency opening day, came and went without any transactions. Everyone's favorite uncled, Charles Barkley offered this quote regarding the lockout situation:

"It's going to get ugly. I've already been on the record saying I don't think they're going to play at all next season."

That my friends, would be turrrrible.

NHL free agency is in full swing, and a familiar name popped up in an unfamiliar place. Jaromir Jagr, who most know from his days with the Pittsburgh Penguins (maybe some might remember him with the Rangers also) ended up signing with the rival Philadelphia Flyers, for a one year $3.9M deal. The 1999 league MVP played the last three seasons in Russia. I think this is pretty odd as Jagr won two Stanley Cups with the Penguins playing along side the great Mario Lemieux, now the Penguins owner. Something smells a little fishy here.

Maria Sharapova made a nice run in climbing back to the top 6 in the world, but she fell short in the Wimbeldon Final, losing 6-3, 6-4 to Petra Kvitova. On the men's side, Roger Federer went out early, and Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal in the final to claim his first Wimbeldon Championship and a cool $7.5M. He's got a 48-1 record this year, losing only to Federer in the French Open last month. Djokovic was 0-4 in grand slam tournaments against Rafael Nadal until beating him in England.

Other Sports
South Carolina won its second straight College Baseball World Series over SEC rival Florida.

The US Women's World Cup team is 2-0 and has a big one against Sweden, also 2-0, on Wednesday night. A win there means the US would avoid having to play Brazil in the knockout stage.

Joey Chestnut won the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest downing 62 yesterday.

Derek Jeter returned last night and was hitless against the Indians. He remains just 6 shy of 3,000 for his career.

That's all for this weeks edition of Sports Quick Hits. I'll have some NFL Draft Grades for you throughout the week.

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