Monday, July 7, 2008

Sports Shockers

A Classic Final That Began So Harmlessly, and So Much Earlier - Nadal's win? Compelling, not shocking. William C. Rhoden's aptly turned phrase,

The crowd cheered lustily, and by this point rooting interests had given way to deep respect for two champions. All that remained was to crown a champion, not determine the better man.

No surprise there, Rhoden does it all the time.

The shocker? Mr. Rhoden, who was in London watching some of the finest tennis ever played in person, left the match early to take in a showing of the film Hancock. He will no doubt take some ribbing on his return, but the unexpected, preemptive public confession may beat the alternative of allowing the story to spread slowly among his friends and colleagues. Mr. Rhoden decided to rip this bandaid off, not peel it gradually.

Bush, Preparing for Talks, Defends Going to Olympics - W decides to see the Olympics? No surprise there, the man is a sport's fan and the king of the "working" vacation. The upset here is the clear and cogently stated rationale:
He said not going to the ceremony “would be an affront to the Chinese people” that might make it “more difficult to be able to speak frankly with the Chinese leadership.”
Whether you agree or not, W managed to make his point without wandering into the thicket of claiming that sports are apolitical. A claim that falls somewhat flatter than usual as the Chinese regime cranks out propaganda at an Olympian level, a level not seen since 1936.
-In two minor upsets - 23 year old Anthony Kim wins the AT&T National golf tournament at Congressional, his second tour win. Kim, when he's hot, reminds As Good As News of Johnny Miller in his best years, every iron seems to be right on the flag, even when pin hunting is not the safe play. Kim was a little brash when he first arrived on tour, but maybe that's what it takes to take on a legend, whether it's Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus. The minor upset? Only 22% of Koreans are named Kim, so Mr. Kim, an American of Korean descent, actually bucked the odds in the last name category, joining several successful pro golfers (Korean and Korean-American) named Kim on the woman's tour.
-J.J. Hardy lost a sixteen game hitting streak Saturday, then came back with two home runs on Sunday. The red hot Brewer's slugger is hitting .448 with serious power over his last eighteen games. The upset? J. J. has apparently not sold his soul to the devil. Fans of the book , The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant or the musical Damn Yankees will be disappointed to learn that the first J stands for James not Joe.

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