Home > Uncategorized > June 23, 2010: What An Amazing Day In Sports

June 23, 2010: What An Amazing Day In Sports

These ESPN “30 for 30” movies are really special. They spark all kinds of emotions and, collectively, the series is the best original programming ESPN has offered since at least “Playmakers“.

On Wednesday, I was watching the documentary about June 17, 1994. That day had every sort of sports story you could want. The World Cup begins in Chicago. Arnold Palmer plays his last U.S. Open round. Ken Griffey Jr. ties the record for fastest to 30 home runs. The New York Rangers hold their Stanley Cup parade. The Knicks and Rockets play Game 5 of the NBA Finals. And O.J. Simpson is indicted on charges of double homicide (aka, white Bronco chase).

I remember exactly where I was that day. My parents, a cousin and myself spent the majority of it at Six Flags Magic Mountain. We had no idea about the Simpson pursuit until we got home and saw the chase on TV, but if he had left the park just 20 minutes later, we probably would have passed that famed Ford going in the opposite direction.

That day had up to six top stories. But look at what we’ve experienced in the past 24 hours. It doesn’t match that date 16 years ago, but it was pretty momentous.

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!!: I guess I’m happy for us. I mean, yeah, I am. The result was so exciting, so dramatic, you had to be excited if you are an American. They were less than three minutes away from elimination and ended up winning their group. But pardon me for looking at the big picture on one of the most important days in the history of U.S. soccer and sounding like a killjoy.

All I heard coming into this Cup was how cool it would be if the Americans could just advance into the knockout round. So many people made it seem as if the United States were huge underdogs, a March Madness cinderella whose real victory would be making it out of the first round.

But wait a minute? Aren’t we ranked 14th in the FIFA rankings? So, why such low expectations? We should have been among the final 16. Anything less shouldn’t have been accepted with any sort of moral victory. We should be happy to advance because the team earned it, but this result isn’t a huge accomplishment. It’s just a neccessary step toward a larger goal.

I know these late goals are fun and all, but it needs to stop now. This team can’t keep living like this. You can say that the offense would look better if the officials would just stop screwing the U.S. out of goals, and that’s true. But the U.S. still shouldn’t have to be squeaking by Slovenia and Algeria. They absolutely dominated the second half of both games but were fortunate to get out with a tie and an extra-time win, respectively.

Maybe the offense will become more efficient this weekend, but all of these late antics will burn us soon enough.

Regardless, I’ll probably do a running blog on Saturday’s match versus Ghana. No. 32-ranked Ghana. Just sayin.’ EXPECT to win.

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut seriously loathe tennis: But I love it.

What must Thiemo De Bakker be thinking? He still needs a second-round opponent

More than seven hours for one set? That’s some good pace, son. Goooood pace! I remember watching a bit of this match on Tuesday, but didn’t know it was suspended. When I found out it was at 26-26 in the fifth set, I was amazed but also pissed off at myself. I thought I had missed the main act of tennis history.

The scoreboard said, "Screw you, guys. I'm gone"

And then they decided to play 66 more games.

To call this a marathon match is a disservice. A marathon is run in less than 300 minutes on average. Wednesday’s fifth set was more than double that. The entire match is more than triple that.

Here’s an interesting question: How many times have you watched a game, or a match in this case, and you can honestly give it the title of the sport’s most memorable match while it’s still being played?

It’s memorable, but it certainly hasn’t been the most exciting match. There were only four match points in the set. Serve was never broken. It was just seven hours of holding serve, mostly without much of a challenge. After a while, you know, around 38-38, you start to wonder if these guys are actually trying to keep this going for another day. Maybe they don’t want it to end. We may never hear from either of these two again. They should try to keep the spotlight on them for as long as possible.

I know that’s not right, but to watch these guys serve on Wednesday, it was as if either player only cared to win while on serve.

Break? Break what? I’m taking a break.

I could spit out a bunch of numbers and tell you what you could have accomplished with your life during the 426-minute fifth set, but the best numbers of all are two and eight. That’s the least amount of games and points, respectively, that will be added to this match’s totals on Thursday. As a sports fan, I hope it goes on for three more hours.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to see it because ESPN is going to show Andy Murray’s match on ESPN2 while pushing Isner-Mahut to ESPNU and ESPN3.com. One I don’t have and the other doesn’t run smoothly for me. I guess I’ll have to go back to listening to the match on Wimbledon’s official website and hear the British broadcasters talk about how these two competitors have “bladders of stone.”

Obviously baseball has to be involved: Ubaldo Jimenez got hit around by the Red Sox. The Rockies won, so Ubaldo was tagged with his first no-decision of the season. Maybe he was still feeling the effects of a flu. Maybe he didn’t throw enough fastballs, but you knew this was coming. His numbers are still insane, but if you own Jimenez in fantasy, your window to trade him for full value is closing fairly fast.

Speaking of insane numbers, Cliff Lee pitched Wednesday and struck out nine while walking none. He now has a 76-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. That’s not bad. It would only crush the single-season record.

Bret Saberhagen has the mark with a K-to-BB ratio of 11:1 in 1994. But that season was shortened by a strike, so let’s ignore it. He might have tailed off during a regular regular season.

Second and third place are held by the same pitcher. Jim Whitney. Yes, good ol’ Jim Whitney from the Boston Beaneaters. In 1883, he struck out 345 and walked just 35. He obviously wasn’t satisfied with that 9.8:1 ratio, so he bettered it a solid 10:1 in ’84. He struck out 270 and walked 27.

But how about someone more modern? Lee isn’t going to be throwing 500 innings per season anytime soon.

So, look at fourth place on the list. Curt Schilling struck out 316 batters and walked 33 in 2002.

Lee has a long way to go and maybe a trade to an AL East contender will force a few more walks and a few less Ks, but right now his 19:1 ratio is slaughtering baseball. He hasn’t walked a batter in 37.1 innings, a stretch that goes back to June 2.

Not to purposely overlook the thrilling TCU/Florida State college baseball game, but finally there was Stephen Strasburg.

He allowed nine hits to the Royals, which is one more than in his three previous starts combined. But one run, no walks, nine Ks and a 79 percent strike rate. AND HE LOSES?! He loses, 1-0? Man, this guy is like Alonzo Harris from “Training Day.” Even when he loses, he’s still winning.

Lawrence Taylor indicted on rape charges: While we were all caught up with our nation’s triumph, a 118-game tennis set and big names on the mound, you may not have heard that an NFL Hall of Famer was charged with rape, sexual abuse, criminal sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child and patronizing a prostitute. Seriously, I am shocked at the lack of coverage on this story. After hearing some of the details a while back, it seemed unlikely that Taylor would be indicted. Now he’s facing felony counts and prison time. But apparently LT picked a good day on which to be indicted for statutory rape. Unbelievable.

Today was a good day.

  1. Padrick
    June 24, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    One: Playmakers was awesome. I still watch the first season on DVD sometimes.

    I was so disappointed they canceled that.

    Two: I feel the same way about the U.S. success, but know that the FIFA rankings are pretty shit. From everything I have read, it is not really worth anything, because those rankings don’t factor in some shit.

    Or something.

    Three: I watched as the Isner-Mahut match was completed this morning. It was cool to watch, to be sure, but it wasn’t as if it were GREAT tennis. Isner’s got a serve that will punch your dad in the dick, but he can’t move laterally, and Mahut has no return game to speak of, otherwise that game is all his.

    Four: It was really cool to tie in that 30 for 30 episode. It really was a special day for sports. All of the good, bad and mediocre. A great day, to be sure.

  2. spokes310
    June 25, 2010 at 1:34 am

    1. They canceled it because ESPN had to choose between airing that series or airing actual NFL games. The NFL wasn’t going to stand for such a statement about pro football — even if it was scripted and so over the top dramatic — to be aired on the same network as its games.

    2. OK. Good to know. It’s all a learning experience for me. In a couple of weeks, I won’t care anyway. And neither will anybody else.

    3. I didn’t get up early enough to watch it. It started at 6:30 a.m. over here. But, no, it was not close to being a great match. There was really no suspense created. Just a bunch of aces and weak returns. But 138 games in a set? Under any circumstances, that is one of the most amazing numbers in sports.

    Oh, and I think you are underestimating the ability of my dad’s dick to take a punch.

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