Weekend Sports Wrap
The super Saturday of sports turned out to be entertaining, and controversial.
Despite the Friday announcement of I’ll Have Another’s withdrawal from Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown still provided thrills. The horse many thought was the Triple Crown favorite, Union Rags, won with a come-from-behind victory over Paynter. Bob Baffert, Paynter’s trainer, finishes second in all three Triple Crown races with two different horses.
In tennis, the French Open has one more match yet to conclude today. Rain forced the men’s final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to be halted today. Nadal, seeking his record-setting seventh French Open men’s title, leads the match 6-4, 6-3, 2-6 but he is down a break in the fourth set, 2-1. Djokovic meanwhile is seeking history of his own, a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title.
Maria Sharapova made history for herself on Saturday in the women’s final. Sharapova completed a career Grand Slam with her French Open final win over Italy’s Sara Errani in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. The career slam comes eight year after she won her first Slam title, Wimbledon. Sharapova also returns to the #1 ranking in women’s tennis.
Becoming #1 in the National Hockey League is never an easy road. Last week, the Los Angeles Kings had a 3-0 lead in their Stanley Cup Final series with the New Jersey Devils. The chance to complete the sweep eluded them at home and it eluded them again on Saturday as the Devils won game 5 at home, 2-1. The Kings head home with another chance to close it out at home Monday night for their first Stanley Cup.
A first, or second, is what we may have in the NBA Finals beginning this week. On Saturday, LeBron James and the Miami Heat were finally able to put away the Boston Celtics with a 101-88 victory in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. James led the way for the Heat with 31 points and 12 rebounds. Rajon Rondo finished with a triple-double pouring in 22 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds. The Heat will begin their quest for their second NBA championship at Oklahoma City on Tuesday.
It has been said, ‘what’s boxing without a little controversy’. Controversy is exactly what boxing received Saturday night as Timothy Bradley upset Manny Pacquiao. The split-decision proved controversial as many media and fans watching, saw the fight as a “clear” Pacquiao victory. The judges saw otherwise and awarded the victory to Bradley. Late Sunday, promoter Bob Arum indicated an investigation into the scoring will follow of the Nevada Athletic Commission. Whether the investigation takes place or not remains to be seen. But the controversy achieved what boxing has lacked: attention on its sport.
Every so often, the Seattle Mariners do something that makes the baseball world pay attention. In Friday night’s series opener with the National League West leader, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Mariners threw a no-hitter. Not one individual pitcher, but six pitchers combined to no-hit the Dodgers. It was the first combined no-hitter since 2003 and the tenth in history. Unfortunately for the Mariners, they lost the next two games to the Dodgers by a combined score of 16-5. Monday is an off day before they welcome the Padres to town Tuesday night at 7:10pm.
Add another site to the hydroplane racing calendar. The announcement late last week of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to the hydroplane circuit brings the total number of races in the Pacific Northwest to three. The addition of the Diamond Cup, Labor Day weekend comes after the Columbia Cup in the Tri-Cities in July and Seafair in Seattle in August.
Minor league baseball opens this week for both the Yakima Bears and Tri-City Dust Devils. The Dust Devils, who began receiving players on Saturday, open the season at home on Friday at Gesa Stadium against the Everett AquaSox at 7:15pm. For the Bears, it appears to be an end of an era as they begin their final season in Yakima. The Bears, who are reportedly moving to Hillsboro, Oregon next year, will welcome many of their players on Tuesday, according to the Yakima-Herald. They open the season on the road Friday in Eugene against the Emeralds.