Random musings from around the World of Sports on 6/11/12 by Nate Rosborough
* Match-fixing scandal? Well, yes there is an investigation going on in Italy currently about match fising in their top soccer league, Serie A. But, no, I’m talking about the Pacquiao/Bradley fight. Bradley won in a split decision where Pacquiao landed 82 more power punches than Bradley and 12 more jabs while connecting on a much higher percentage of his blows. Was it fixed? I don’t think so, but everybody loves a good conspiracy. Hopefully I see a movie about this one day.
* Rafa Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic to earn his 7th French Open Title. What an accomplishment, but it’s well known that he plays his best tennis on clay. That’s how he was able to cut into the dominance of Roger Federer. It seems as if guys like Nadal and Djokovic are trying to become the next dominant player after Federer. Throw Andy Murray in that class too (not that he’s becoming the next dominant player, but that he’s trying to be). Andy Roddick, well, that ship has sailed, but at least his wife is (or was, I think she’s in movies now) a swimsuit model. Not too shabby.
* The Stony Brook Seawolves are going to Omaha as they punched their ticket to the College WS by defeating the LSU Tigers 6-2 yesterday, and 2 games to 1 in the Super Regional. A former Division III program, Stony Brook is only the second 4 seed to get to Omaha in the current post-season format. Credit to the players and their coach, Matt Senk. They are perhaps the ultimate underdog. The “Rocky” of the College WS, if you will. I’ll be rooting for them (because everyone roots for the underdog, DUH!)
* The Pittsburgh Pirates are tied for 1st place in the NL Central and have a record of 32-27. They have the 3rd best team ERA in the majors at 3.25. They also have the 2nd worst team BA at .224. Can this continue? Well, if you believe history, last year says it can until the All-Star break. I just hope Jerry Meals doesn’t show up behind the plate anytime soon.
* The Philadelphia Phillies are in the cellar of the NL East and have a record of 29-33. They’re 8 games behind Washington, and 10 behind in the loss column. Cliff Lee still doesn’t have a win. Cole Hamels hasn’t been the stopper in his last couple of starts. Jose Contreras’s arm exploded. Chad Qualls is still receiving a paycheck. It’s only June though, don’t panic.
* Euro 2012 kicked off Friday with a 1-1 draw between hosts Poland (the Ukraine is the other host) and their opponent Greece. That would be a sign of things to come. There have been 3 1-1 draws so far (the last of the opening group games is currently playing as I’m typing). Two other 1-0 games. The tournament is tight and competitive so far, typically seen in the opening games as teams don’t want to make a mistake in their first games. My favorite to win the tournament, the Netherlands, lost their opening game to Denmark, 1-0, and squandered about 100 chances in front of goal. I guess that’s why they play the games.
* The Jacksonville Jaguars have said they will not negotiate a new contract with RB Maurice Jones-Drew. Jones Drew has 2 years remaining on his contract. He is scheduled to make $4.45 million this season and $4.95 million in 2013. He is 27 and coming off leading the NFL in rushing with 1,606 yards. The Jags aren’t in the best of shape right now, and it’s probably not the best idea to come out and publicly state that you won’t even negotiate with your best player (who is making considerably less than other RBs around the NFL). MJD has his contract and will play, but there’s no telling how much a new deal could be weighing on his mind. He’s most likely looking at the last “big” deal he can get. I think it’s just going to be a GREAT season down in Jacksonville…
* Is there a bigger waste of tax payer money than the witch-hunt for Roger Clemens that is going on in DC? I’m not sure why the US Congress feels the need to get involved in professional (and even collegiate) sports matters. Who cares if Roger Clemens took steroids? Major League Baseball doesn’t, as Clemens is gone and no longer associated with them. The fans don’t as he’s been out of the game for a couple years now. I guess only the empty suits that sit on Capitol Hill. Don’t they have an economy to fix? Or Democracy to spread?
* Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals is tonight, with the Los Angeles Kings leading the New Jersey Devils 3 games to 2, after being up 3 games to 0. Suddenly, the improbable doesn’t look so. The Devils have frustrated the Kings in the past two games, and Martin Brodeur is playing like he wants to go out on top. I think the Kings close it out tonight at home, and they better. If not, they have a Game 7 death-match back in New Jersey on Wednesday, 6/13. Now, they’ve played well on the road in these playoffs (and this series, they’re 2-1), but you never want the Game 7 death-match. Why not? Ask Phillies fans (well theirs was a Game 5 but my point remains!)….
* The NBA Finals kicks off tomorrow night and it will be the Miami Heat representing the East versus the Oklahoma City Thunder representing the West. Simply put, this comes down to LeBron James versus Kevin Durant. While the Thunder have a more balanced team, and aren’t overly reliant on Durant, he’s still one of the best players in the NBA. The Heat, meanwhile, need LeBron to have another series like he did against the Celtics if they plan on winning. A healthy Chris Bosh certainly takes some of the weight off of his shoulders. Still though, I think this series cements who the best player in the NBA is. I think that’s LeBron. So I say Miami Heat win this series in 7 games, and LeBron lifts his 1st title. An then, finally, we can get on with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7….