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The Weekend That Was In Sports

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This past weekend in sports there was the good (the NFL was back, FINALLY), the bad (Tiger Wood’s loss on Sunday) and the ugly (all the baseball players getting hit in the head). I will touch on those sports stories and many more from this past weekend (August 14th thru August 16th 2009).

MLB:

Baseball’s dog days of summer are coming to an end, but the excitement of the pennant races are heating up with the Rangers, Red Sox and Rays all looking for the AL wild card berth. The Rangers took the lead in the wild card race by beating the Red Sox 2 out of 3 in Texas. The Rangers were my “surprise team to make the playoffs” this season. All they have done is stay in contention in the AL West and the wild card race without Josh Hamilton hitting the way many expect and with outstanding pitching. Who would have thought the Rangers would win with PITCHING?!!

Hamilton is heating up and starting to look like the player who drove in 137 runs last year. Elvis Andrus showed what he is capable of this weekend by playing outstanding defense (which he has done all year) and with his stick. Julio Borbón, who was called up when Nelson Cruz went on the DL, was also big time this past weekend. His speed will be another weapon for the Rangers already explosive offense.

But the weekend series will be remembered for one pitch. Rangers second basemen Ian Kinsler was drilled in the head by Red Sox relief pitcher Fernando Cabrera. It was his first action since July 28 due to a strained left hamstring for Kinsler, so he was obviously upset. After getting plunked, he bounced up off the ground quickly and exchanged words with Red Sox catcher and captain JasonVaritek on his way to first base.

Kinsler let his bat do the drilling the rest of the series going 4 for 6 with 2 home runs, 3 rbi’s, 3 runs and a steal. Kinsler was moved to the 6 spot in the order to allow Borbón to lead off. I don’t see the Red Sox making the playoffs this year.

The Yankees are the best team in the AL East, maybe in all of baseball and the Rangers and Rays seem to be hitting their stride now. I also think the Red Sox got old and need to get rid of some of the aging stars. They remind me of the Yankees two or three years ago, a bunch of old corner infielder types that have been critical members of the title teams who’s age has caught up with them. I also think the club distractions (David Ortiz positive steroid test, Daisuke Matsuzaka’s comments about the throwing program) and issue at short stop are not helping matters out.

There were also other baseball players getting hit in the head, the Mets David Wright and Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda.

The Giants Matt Cain came up and in, which is how you pitch to Wright according to the scouting report, and planted a 91 mph fastball in Wright’s dome. Wright went on the DL Sunday and Mets manager Jerry Manuel said he may miss the rest of the season with post concussion symptom, the same type symptoms that had the Blue Jays Aaron Hill out for almost all of the 2008 season.

Wright was released from the hospital Sunday.

Kuroda’s injury was one of the worst I have seen in a long time. He was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Arizona’s Rusty Ryal. The ball actually deflected into the seats behind third base. He was on the ground clutching his head before being taken off the field on a cart.

Kuroda was also released from the hospital on Sunday.

Kuroda’s injury was different the Wright and Kinsler’s injury because it was off the bat not being thrown at. I am a big proponent at “protecting your teammate’s” if they get thrown at, but I would NEVER condone throwing at a persons head. This has been a growing problem in the MLB because the younger players don’t know “how to play the game the right way”. Until these younger players learn how to play the game “the right way”, I would look for more head shots by opposing pitchers.

PGA:

Tiger Woods is the best golfer on the planet right now, maybe ever. No player has had the same type of impact he has had on the sport and he will go down as the greatest ever to walk a fairway. But what happened to him on Sunday at the 91st PGA Championship was a shock to all that watched.

 Woods had been leading the whole way and when he teed up Sunday morning, many thought it was gonna be 18 holes of Tiger romping through the jungle.

But as the day went on Y.E. Yang stood toe to toe with Woods and hit big shot after big shot with none bigger then his second shot on 18 when he got with in a few feet of the pin. The ball was on the left fairway and behind a tree when Yang decided to go right at the pin (and Tiger for that matter) to try a secure the title.

Tiger had a great tee shot which had the ball resting perfectly on the right fairway. Woods over shot the whole and was forced to hit his third shot from the ruff. Woods chances of winning the 91st PGA Championship were dashed a hole earlier when he had to pitch out of the ruff which had high, thick grass. It was a difficult shot because of the thickness of the grass and how it would catch his club. Woods ended up well short of where he wanted to be and ended up boogieing the hole leaving him 2 shots back. (He ended up 1 shot back because Yang also boggied the hole.)

Yang deserves all the credit though. He played Tiger with no fear and didn’t feel the pressure most golfers feel when being paired with Woods. I ask this to all who read this..do you consider this a “choke job” by Tiger? If it was any other golfer NOT named Woods it would be, but because it is Tiger do you consider it “choking”.

NFL:

Finally the NFL is back! Well sort of. The NFL’s pre season kicked off and gave it’s teams fans the fix we all needed for the past seven months. I must admit I am not a huge fan of the pre season, but I watched at least 6 games over the weekend and am watching the Giants/Panthers game as I write this.

Here are some things I noticed over the course of the 1st NFL pre season weekend…

Aaron Rodgers is gonna be a super star. This kid has been a true pro’s pro ever since draft day in 2005 when he fell to the Packers after four long, painful to watch hours in the “green room”. He handled the Brett Favre saga with class and grace and put up very good numbers in his first season starting in the NFL.

This off season he worked out with Tom Brady (of the Patriots) and the two speak on a weekly basis. Look for Rodgers to have big year with the Packers explosive offensive weapons Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Ryan Grant and company.

Jay Cutler looked bad. He tried to force to many balls and not use his “check downs”, which is something Denver coaches wanted him to try and NOT do. If the Bears want to be a better offense they need to invest in some wide receivers. Cutler will not be the same type of quarterback he was in Denver without a wide out that can’t run any other route other then a “go” route.

Michael Vick deserves a second chance in the NFL. What he did to those dogs was horrid, barbaric and just plain sick, but he paid his debt to society by serving 18 months in Leavenworth (which is far from a “Club Fed”), lost over $50 million dollars and was out of the NFL for two years. He has vowed to work with the Humane Society and be a solution to the dog fighting problem.

Vick’s detractors will say he doesn’t deserve to play again and are protesting the Eagles signing of him, well GET OVER IT! If you want to have a person help solve the dog fighting problem why ostracize him? What do you want from the man? Why take away his right to work in the career that he has been in since he was 20 years old? Why not try to help the man fight for your cause?

Vick’s crime was demented, make no mistake about it, but there have been NFL players currently in the NFL that have killed people and got less time and a far less penalty (by the NFL) then Vick. The Rams Leonard Little killed a woman drunk driving and a few years later got popped again for a DUI. Where are the protesters for that? Donte Stallworth killed a man while driving drunk and he got 30 days in jail and served only 24 of those days. Will there be as big as uproar over his return (after his year suspension is up)?

The Eagles are one of the best teams for Vick to go to because of the strong fan support, strong ownership and a head coach that has a firm grasp on every aspect of the organization. Good like Mr. Vick, not just in your football career but also your new career as an animal rights advocate.

I don’t think Percy Harvin is gonna have the type of impact people think. Not only does his attitude stink, but the guy couldn’t stay healthy in college, what makes people think he will be able to withstand the NFL’s pounding? He is listed as a wide out, but he was more of a running back if anything. Time will tell.

Mark Sanchez will be the Jets starter opening day and be a very good pro player. Great move by the Jets to get him.

Michael Crabtree needs to listen to his agent, Eugene Parker, not a cousin who is an “advisor”. Parker is one of the best in the business and he knows what he is doing, trust him, that’s why you hired him. You’ll get your money Michael, but try earning it first!!

Remember, what happens in the lockerroom stays in the lockerroom!

Joe

E-mail Joe @ joeslockerroom@hotmail.com

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Written by Joe Arrigo

August 18, 2009 at 01:32

Posted in Locker Room Talk

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