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16 Reasons to Watch the Fall Classic

Enough with football. We have three more months of football. We have seven games (hopefully) left in the baseball season. I feel like I am alone on this thought considering the fact that a terrible Jaguars/Titans Monday Night Football match-up drew bigger ratings than a Cliff Lee/Andy Pettitte postseason duel. Are you kidding me? America’s pastime is quickly becoming a thing of the past as football dominates these great states.

For the next 10 days, America, forget football. Okay, don’t forget it, but put it on the backburner. There are plenty of great reasons to give baseball some love before you give it up until April. Here are 16 of them.

1.Underdogs – The Giants reached the postseason on the last day of the regular season, while the Rangers knocked off two favored AL East opponents in route to the club’s first ever World Series appearance. Ask the Yankees and the Phillies. These teams are legit.

2. Feel Good Stories – The Josh Hamilton and Ron Washington stories have been well documented, but what about Aubrey Huff?

Huff, who was mulling retirement after few clubs showed interest in the 33-year-old free agent, signed a one-year deal with the Giants for $3 million in January. After 1,479 career games without ever playing in a postseason game, Huff is finally playing ball in October, and his team-leading 26 homers and 86 RBI’s are a big reason why the Giants are here.

3. Rally Thong – Home runs and RBI’s are not the only things Aubrey Huff brings to the table in San Fran. Huff began wearing a red thong in late August, and the Giants went on to win 20 of their last 30 to catch the Padres and win the NL West. Forget the rally monkey; the thong is where it’s at.

4. Brian Wilson Interviews – The best postgame interview in sports. Please, if you havn’t checked out any Giants games yet, take eight minutes out of your day to watch this interview on Rome Is Burning, and I guarantee that you will at least watch every postgame show.

5. Brian Wilson’s Beard – Maybe the one thing that is more awesome than Wilson’s orange cleats. This dyed jet-black beard is fiercer than Wilson’s ninth inning fastball.

6. Miami Heat – We all got to see the “Miami Thrice” on national television Tuesday. Now let’s get back to baseball.

7. Fountain of Youth – Two of this postseason’s biggest stars have a combined age of 45-years-old. That is three years younger than the oldest player in the game, Jamie Moyer. Elvis Andrus, 22, and Buster Posey, 23, are two big reasons why their respective clubs are in the Fall Classic.

8. Cliff Lee – Ever heard of him? Lee has been remarkable this postseason, going 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA while recording 34 strikeouts to only two walks. Lee will start game 1 tonight for Texas as the man he was traded for this offseason, Roy Halladay, sits on his couch at home watching it on TV.

9. Tim Lincecum – The Freak, The Franchise, Big Time Timmy Jim, whatever you want to call him, the two-time Cy Young winner is the man in San Francisco and is relishing his first ever postseason appearance. In his first career postseason game in the NLDS versus Atlanta, Lincecum pitched a complete game two-hitter while recording a freakish 14 K’s.

10. W. – Yep, that W. George Walker Bush will be in our living rooms once again, as the former Texas Rangers owner is still an avid baseball fan. George will take Rudy Guliani’s spot behind the on-deck circle next to new owner and President Nolan Ryan.

11. Joe Buck – If Joe Buck is choosing baseball over football, shouldn’t you?

12. Another Molina Ring – Bengie Molina will try to win the fifth World Series ring for the Molina family in the past nine years. Actually, he won’t try, he will. Bengie Molina is guaranteed a World Series ring, as he was traded from San Francisco to Texas at midseason. Don’t say he didn’t earn it either. Remember, the Giants made the postseason on the final day of the regular season, so Molina’s play during the first three months of the season in San Fran is absolutely ring-worthy.

13. Widespread Panic – As in, the band. Fox plays the rockin’ jams of this southern rock band at the end of each half inning as they go to commercial. This blows any type of theme music football games have out of the water.

14. Day Games – The first three games of this year’s World Series will all begin under the sun. Games 1 and 2 will begin at 5:00 p.m. local time, and game 3 is set for 5:30 local time. We’ll finally see baseball weather in the Fall Classic. This is a great change from the usual late-night cold weather games in the northeast. Finally, a good move by Bud Selig.

15. Cody Ross – Who? For all of you “playoffs only” bandwagon baseball fans, even you should know the Giants’ RF. Ross is not only hitting .324 with four dingers this postseason, but the NLCS MVP took the amazing Doc Halladay deep twice in one game.

16. The Claw – Forget a stupid endzone dance that we have all seen before, and if not will draw a flag Cowboys style, this celebration is unique and involves the whole team. The Rangers adopted not only “the claw” but “the antlers” during the middle of the season as a way to high-five baserunners from the dugout. The bigger the hit, the more dramatic the claw.


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Why the Mark Teixeira Deal in ’07 Isn’t Such A Bad Thing for Braves Fans Anymore

For almost three years now, I have had to listen to Braves fans complain over and over again about Mark Teixeira and what his trade in 2007 did to Atlanta’s future. When one looks at what Atlanta gave up to acquire Tex for two half seasons of non-playoff baseball, it’s kind of hard not to be upset if you are a Braves fan. While the Braves instantly improved the Texas Rangers’ future by sending Texas their top three prospects, this deal could very well be why Atlanta is postseason bound in 2010.

On July 31st, 2007, the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves made a deal that helped the Rangers reach the postseason for the first time in 11 years. At the same time, it looked to have depleted the Braves’ bright future.

On that day, the Rangers traded 1B Mark Teixeira to the Texas Rangers for four prospects. Three of the four prospects have all contributed to the Rangers’ 2010 AL West crown. Two of the three, P Neftali Feliz and SS Elvis Andrus, have been absolutely stellar and are key components to the recent success in Arlington.

Behind Feliz’s club record 40 saves and Andrus’s Gold Glove worthy play at SS, Texas was able to acquire its lowest team ERA in 20 years without a starting pitcher having an ERA below 3.30.

After the Braves went through two half seasons with no success with Tex, Atlanta decided to trade Teixeira and his expiring contract to the Angels in hope of getting back some of the talent they lost in acquiring the All-Star first baseman.

Unfortunately for Atlanta, they received Casey Kotchman and Steve Marek from the Angels.

Marek spent his 2010 season pitching for the Cedar Rapids Quakes while Kotchman batted just .217 as Seattle’s first baseman. All in all, the Braves traded Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, and Elvis Andrus for Casey Kotchman and Steve Marek. Ouch.

So how in the world do the Braves still come out winners in this deal?

Luck, timing, and some more luck.

The reason the Braves traded Elvis Andrus is because, at the time, they had both Edgar Renteria and Yunel Escobar on the roster. Escobar was supposed to be the SS of the future but due to poor hitting and many allegations that he was a “cancer” in the locker room, he was sent off to Toronto for veteran SS Alex Gonzalez.

While Andrus is definitely the choice for the future, Gonzalez’s bat fits in much better with a Braves roster that is always desperate for a power source. Gonzalez has homered 23 times this season as both a Blue Jay and a Brave, which is two more than Braves’ leader Brian McCann. Yunel Escobar and Elvis Andrus have combined for only four homers this season between the two of them.

The other part of the luck equation for Atlanta is in closer Billy Wagner. A year ago the Braves had to have been sick watching Neftali Feliz close out games in Texas and dominate hitters with his triple digit fastball. After signing an injury-plagued Wagner in the offseason, Braves fans have all but forgotten about Feliz as Wagner has saved 37 games with a 1.43 ERA.

The Braves took a big risk on shelling out $7 million to a closer who appeared in just 62 ballgames over the past two seasons. The risk was rewarded as the 39-year-old Wagner appeared in 71 total games for Atlanta this season, his most since 2005, and had the lowest ERA of his 15-year career.

Braves fans have been upset with John Schuerholz ever since Mark Teixeira was let go for practically nothing in ’08. After the Braves realized a long-term deal with Tex wasn’t in their future, he was pawned off for two players who carried little or no value with the organization in the future.

Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus both should be good for a long time to come. That is the expectation, not the certainty.

In today’s win now society, the future is important but today is what matters. John Schuerholz traded for Mark Teixeira in 2007 to make the Braves an immediate contender and a winner for a season and a half. Although unsuccessful, this move could very well be the one game difference Atlanta needed this season to reach the postseason for the first time since its 13-year string of playoff appearances ended in 2006.


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Fixing a Flat Finish: What MLB Must Do To Make September More Intriguing

There is no professional sports league in which it is tougher for a franchise to reach the postseason than Major League Baseball. Making the postseason in baseball is a true accomplishment for any team, even for the Yankees and their $206 million payroll.

In baseball, just eight of thirty ballclubs reach the postseason each year. In the NHL and NBA, more than half of the 30-team leagues are vying for a shot at a trophy when the regular season comes to an end. Reaching the playoffs in the NFL is a tougher task with 12 of 32 teams reaching the postseason.

This is what makes the MLB playoffs so great. Every single team left in October is a legitimate contender to win it all.

The NBA playoffs begin every year wasting two weeks of our time by matching up .500 or below .500 teams with 60-win clubs while David Stern hopes a 4-5 match-up will create enough drama to keep fans interested.

While “Cinderellas” do occur in the NFL and even the NHL, they are uncommon and rarely result in a championship.

The NFL has had just five wild-card Super Bowl champions in 40 years of the wild-card’s existence. The worst regular season record of these five teams was 10-6 by the ’07 Giants, so it was hardly a Cinderella story. The fact that the G-Men beat the 18-0 Patriots was what made the G-Men Cinderellas.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs has seen the eight-seed take down the one=seed seven times since the playoff format changed in 1994. Even with that unpredictability, the lowest seed to ever hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup was the fifth-seeded New Jersey Devils in 1995.

In baseball, there are no Cinderellas.

Sure a team such as the ’08 Tampa Bay Rays were considered Cinderella-esque, but not once they got into the postseason. The Rays won 97 games that season, beating out a 95-win Red Sox club and an 89-win Yankees club to reach the postseason and claim home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. Once in the playoffs, the Rays had as good or better shot than anyone to win the whole thing, and almost did, losing to the Phillies in the World Series.

My point is that every team in the MLB Playoffs is a legitimate contender to win the World Series with the current playoff format.

I love everything about the current MLB playoff system, that is, come playoff time.

MLB does a great job of making their playoffs as exciting and dramatic of month that one can have in pro sports, but what about the stretch run?

September is supposed to be the month where the average sports fan comes out of his summer hibernation to see division races and pennant chases.

Not anymore.

Football is king in America, and sports fans could care less about watching the Yankees and the Rays battle for AL East supremacy, knowing the loser will be joining them in the postseason.

With football on television five nights a week, Major League Baseball and commissioner Bud Selig have got to do something to spice up September, while at the same time keeping the postseason packed full of true contenders.

One option that has been discussed over recent years is to add an additional Wild Card team to the mix in each league. Adding an additional Wild Card team to each league would certainly heat up September baseball and create a more dramatic end to the season.

“The problem you have,” Selig said, “is the schedule. You know how I feel about [playing into] November. So I’ve often said that if the clubs want to cut back to 158 games or 154, then we have the option to do a number of things.”

There have been two ideas on ways of doing this without playing the World Series during Thanksgiving.

The first idea is “October Madness”. “October Madness” refers to a one-game playoff at the end of the regular season between the two Wild Card winners to see who will make the eight team tournament.

A one game playoff will likely never come to fruition as there is too much on the line for one game to determine a team’s postseason fate. If “October Madness” was in effect this season, the AL match-up would be between the Yankees/Rays loser and a Red Sox club that is currently seven games out in the East. It just wouldn’t be fair to match up the Red Sox with one of these clubs and allow the Sox to overcome a seven game deficit in just one day.

The second option that has been discussed throughout the baseball media has been a three game series between the two Wild Card clubs. A three game series will extend the postseason by only four or five days and prevent a team from being eliminated by one poor pitching performance.

This is the most effective way to create drama in September without damaging an almost perfect playoff format.

If this system were in place today, the Rays/Yankees series this past week would have been must-see TV as opposed to simple bragging rights and a banner at Tropicana Field.

If the Yankees and Rays were playing with this format in place, they would be playing for practically a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The difference between the winner and the loser would be huge, and even Tropicana would be seeing sellouts as if it were the World Series.

A 162-game schedule limits the possibility of dramatic division races every year in September. With an additional Wild Card team, more teams are in the hunt for the postseason for a longer period of time. That means not only more drama and uncertainty in September, but more money for the TV networks and owners as meaningful games will be played much deeper into the season.

As much as I hate change and think the MLB playoffs are just fine the way they are, something has to be done by Major League Baseball to make September more exciting. Additional Wild Cards is the only way to get this done.

Football is king in America and will be for a long time to come. No matter what baseball does, football ratings in September will continue to dwarf baseball ratings in the one month that’s supposed to determine the baseball postseason. This can only be improved with the addition of more playoff spots.

The playoff system is currently fine, but it has to be marketable. It’s hard to market a postseason during a time when, frankly, very few are interested. September must become relevant again and this seems to be the only solution.


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Exit Stephen Strasburg, Enter Aroldis Chapman: Cincinnati Reds To Recall Phenom

This has undoubtedly been the year of the pitcher. So far this season, baseball has seen three no-hitters, two perfect games, and five other no-hit bids have been lost in the ninth inning. Baseball has been introduced to fiery young aces such as Stephen Strasburg, Trevor Cahill, and Mat Latos, and now you can add one more to the list.

Today, the Cincinnati Reds are expected to call up left-handed Cuban sensation Aroldis Chapman.

Chapman, who defected from Cuba last July, was acquired by the Reds after Cincinnati won a bidding war for the 22-year-old in January.

Since signing a six-year deal worth $30.25 million with an estimated $16 million in bonuses, Chapman has been designated to Cincinnati’s Triple-A affiliate Louisville where he has wowed everyone with a nasty slider and a 103 mph fastball.

After struggling with his command as a starter in Triple-A, Chapman was moved to the bullpen, where he has consistently overpowered minor league hitters. In 26 relief appearances, Chapman was 4-1 with a 2.40 ERA. In 30 innings out of the bullpen, Chapman has used his triple digit fastball to fan 49 hitters and enters the big leagues with a scoreless inning streak currently at 10.

In Chapman’s final appearance in the minors last Friday, the lefty struck out the side and was clocked at 105 twice. Many believed that the minor league scoreboard was a few digits off the actual speed including a scout in the stands. After the scout changed the battery on his radar gun, assuming it was on the fritz, Chapman rocketed another fastball that once again blew up the radar gun at 105.

Now, Chapman takes his electric fastball to the Cincinnati bullpen as the Reds try to hold on to their six game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central. By calling up Chapman now, the Reds make Chapman eligible for the postseason against lineups that have never seen him before.

Chapman, who competed for the final spot in the Reds starting rotation in the spring, will be in relief duty for Cinci and should give the Reds bullpen a much-needed boost. Cincinnati’s bullpen currently ranks 21st in the MLB with a 4.18 ERA and both Dusty Baker and GM Walt Jocketty believe Chapman immediately improves the Reds pen for a run in October.

“We felt with his stuff, if you shorten the game more he should be successful,” Jocketty said. “That’s why we put him in there for now. We’ll get him back to starting next year.”

If Chapman can continue to have success out of the bullpen and command his 105 mph fastball, National League hitters are in for a long September and baseball fans are in for a must-see October.


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Albert Pujols, Joey Votto and the X-Factor in Race for the Triple Crown

Every few years before the All-Star break, a slugger has a big first half and triple crown talk gives way. By August, a triple crown seems like a distant memory. The hopeful who was likely leading one or two of the three categories in June, has either slumped, been pitched around, or just simply not had the luck required to accomplish this amazing feat.

This season that was Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera, who is currently hitting .342 with 33 home runs and a major league leading 107 RBI’s, hasn’t slowed down one bit since his hot start. He is still being pitched to, still hitting for average, and still cranking the long ball that has allowed him to drive in over 100 runs before the month of September. Unfortunately for Cabrera, Toronto RF Jose Bautista has had a career year and continues to belt bombs at an alarming rate with a major league leading 42 dingers.

That’s the luck part of the equation. If Cabrera played in the National League, he would have a commanding lead in RBI’s, batting average, and would be just three jacks shy of Albert Pujols in the home run category.

Luckily for Pujols, his St. Louis Cardinals are in the NL and he doesn’t have to contend with a Bautista a Cabrera, or even a Josh Hamilton for the league lead in any such category. Enter Joey Votto.

Votto, who is currently battling the Machine for league MVP and NL Central supremacy, has become a household name in 2010 with his production at the plate. Votto is currently second in the NL in all three triple crown categories and is in striking distance of first in each one. Votto’s .325 average, 32 jacks, and 93 RBI’s are currently .001 behind the NL leader in batting and three dingers and two RBI’s behind Pujols in homers and RBI’s.

For the first time in recent memory, September rolls around with not one, but two legitimate contenders for the first triple crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1973 and the first NL triple crown winner since Joe Medwick accomplished the trifecta in 1937.

One would be likely to assume that if the triple crown is not accomplished in 2010, it will be simply because one beat out the other in the final category lacking. While this may end up being the case, another player in the National League has a say so in the race for baseball immortality. Not only does this player have a say so, he may actually acquire the whole triple crown for himself.

Who is this third contender in the race for the great triple crown you ask? Say hello to 24-year-old Carlos Gonzalez. In his first full season in the big time, Gonzalez quietly leads the NL in batting with a .326 average while belting 29 home runs and driving in 90 RBI’s for a Rockies club that is battling for the NL Wild Card.

While Cards and Reds fans are fearing that the youngster will win the batting title and prevent their hero from the triple crown, don’t count this kid out of winning the triple crown all on his own. Five RBI’s behind Pujols for the league lead and six behind Albert in homers, it isn’t inconceivable that Gonzalez has a power surge in September and gives both Votto and Pujols a serious run for their money.

With both the Cards and the Reds in a pennant race, Votto and Pujols could see less and less pitches as the season winds down leaving the door wide open for Gonzalez. While six home runs is still a sizable lead for Pujols over Gonzalez in the bombs department, Gonzalez still has 17 games remaining at the launching pad they call Coors Field.

Both Gonzalez and Pujols had their best months of the season in August setting up for a thrilling September. During the month of August, Pujols blasted 12 homers, batted .412, and drove in 24 runs. Gonzalez was not far off pace, leaving the yard nine times while batting .378 and also driving in 24 runs. Votto had a fabulous month of August as well batting .322 with 21 runs driven in, but fell off the home run pace of Pujols sending just five balls out of the park. If Pujols and Gonzalez have the type of month in September that they did in August, baseball could have an extremely intriguing final series as the Rockies visit the Cardinals in the final week of the season.

Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, and Carlos Gonzalez are in a tight race heading into the last month of the season. The Machine, the Canadian, and the youngster are all chasing a feat that hasn’t been achieved in their league in 73 years and in all honesty likely won’t be done this season. But if just one of these players can stay hot, healthy, and acquire the right amount of luck, we could maybe, just maybe, see an epic feat that many of us have never witnessed in our lifetime.


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Small Market Success: Six Small MLB Clubs (and the Yankees) in First

The New York Yankees’ 2010 payroll is $206,333,389 with the average player making over $8.25 million this season. New York has more than double the payroll of 22 of the remaining 29 ballclubs and more than triple the payroll of seven other teams. Not one of the other seven clubs who has a salary of over $100 million currently sits atop their division.

The Minnesota Twins are the biggest spenders, besides the Yankees, that lead their division. How much are the Twins spending this season you ask? $97 million which ranks them eleventh in the majors. As a matter of fact, the only other division leader that can come close to the Twins payroll is the Braves and they have shelled out $84 million this season ranking them right in the middle of the pack at fifteenth in the bigs.

The NL Central leading Reds are next in line with a payroll of $72 million ranking them nineteenth. Following the Reds is the club that is tied with the Yanks atop the AL East, the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are twenty-first in MLB with a payroll just under $72 million, more than $134 million less than their AL East counterpart New York.

Last but not least we go to the 27th highest payroll and the 29th highest payroll. That would be the Texas Rangers and the San Diego Padres. Yes, they too sit atop the AL and NL West respectively. These two clubs combine for a payroll of just under $94 million. That $94 million would make up just 46% of the Yankees payroll and couldn’t even pay the salaries of Rodriguez, Sabathia, Jeter, and Teixeira. Those four overpaid stars combine for a salary of over $100 million in 2010.

So why all the success? Why can’t the Cubs or the Mets have this kind of success with a combined payroll of $278 million? First of all, K-Rod isn’t helping things for the Mets and we saw what the Cubs did with Derek Lee trading him and his $13 million salary to Atlanta Wednesday.

The reason for the success is a farm system approach of grooming players and making the right moves when it was time to clean house.

Teams like the Cubs and Mets are littered with players such as three $19 million men in Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, and Carlos Beltran. That’s almost $60 million that has gone to waste this season between those two ballclubs with all three players in extreme decline.

The press has applauded the Twins for years now as they have been able to have much success mainly through their two minor league products, Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. The new M&M Boys each have their own AL MVP award and just recently the Twins were able to sign Joe Mauer to an eight year extension for the hometown discount of $23 million a year. That may not sound like much of a discount but that’s $10 milliona year less than A-Rod for a 27-year-old catcher with triple crown potential.

Teams such as the Reds and Rays have built up their team through their farm system as well and have refused to overpay free agents.

The Reds best pitcher and best hitter were both brought up through the farm system and because of it, Cincinnati is only paying Johnny Cueto and Joey Votto under $1 million combined in 2010. Moves like this have allowed Cinci to acquire key pieces to a championship such as 3B Scott Rolen and closer Francisco Cordero who makes more dough than anyone on the big red machine with a 2010 salary of $12 million.

The Rays are the best example of developing players through the farm system in order to obtain a smaller payroll. Arguably the three biggest stars on the team, (Evan Longoria, David Price, and B.J. Upton), all made their MLB debuts in Tampa Bay and in 2010 they will combine to make only $5.8 million.

The Padres and Rangers were fortunate enough to trade coveted, high-priced players in order to obtain the pieces that make up their success today.

At the trade deadline in 2007, the Rangers traded 1B Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves for four prospects and C Jarrod Saltalamacchia . While Saltalamacchia’s stay in Texas wasn’t half as long as his name, the Rangers did acquire Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, and Elvis Andrus in the deal. In 2010, Harrison and Feliz have anchored a great Texas bullpen and Elvis Andrus is so good that he’s moved Gold Glove winner Michael Young over to 3B and the 21-year-old is batting .276 doing it.

Arguably the Padres’ two most important players, P Clayton Richard and 1B Adrian Gonzalez, were acquired through the trades of P Adam Eaton to Texas in ’05 and the trade of Cy Young winner Jake Peavy to the White Sox at the trade deadline last season.

Clayton Richard, who was involved in the Peavy trade, is 11-5 this season for San Diego with a 3.69 ERA and a measley salary of $423,700. Peavy is currently 7-6 with a 4.63 ERA and a $15 million salary. Advantage: San Diego.

This small market success is not uncommon. The Yankees and the Red Sox are the only two teams of the past decade to win a World Series title with a payroll over $100 million.

In 2003, the Florida Marlins and their miniscule payroll of $48.7 million were able to defeat the New York Yankees and their payroll of $125.9 million. I am not saying that the Padres or the Reds can do the same thing as the Marlins, but stranger things have happened. Money sure doesn’t hurt, but it also doesn’t guarantee a thing in today’s game of baseball balance from top to bottom of the payroll rankings.


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Top 10 Worst Feelings in the Sports Summer of 2010

What an intense summer of sports we have had so far. June and early July were packed full of great sports stories such as the Stanley Cup, World Cup, and NBA Free Agency.

Now that the MLB All-Star game is over and the ESPYS are on television, you know things are going to start simmering down a bit until the pennant chase heats up in September. Because of this sizzling start to summer, I have composed a list of some of the worst feelings of the sports summer. Enjoy.

10. Hitting out of a bunker at St. Andrews – The British Open begins this week and players better be prepared to be patient. The Old Course is infamous for its’ 112 pot bunkers that have ruined so many rounds that might have been. The Road Hole bunker on 17 and the “Hell Bunker” on the par five 14th are two of the scariest places a golfer can find himself. Hitting backwards is often is the safest option on many of these bunkers, some of which have stairs installed in order to enter and exit these enormous sinkholes of sand.

9. Dropping a 138 game fifth set at Wimbledon – In an 11 hour epic game, that will be remembered long after who won and lost, Nicolas Mahut dropped the fifth and final set of his first round match versus American John Isner 70 games to 68. The match featured triple digit aces by both players and 168 consecutive service games held. After 113 aces in the first round epic, Isner recorded none in his straight set defeat in the second round.

8. Losing $750 million in divorce settlement with Elin – Yep, that’s right. Three quarters of a billion dollars straight out of Tiger’s vault to the Swedish supermodel in the couple’s divorce settlement. Good luck finding a new man Elin.

7. Getting passed by Danica Patrick – After watching that GoDaddy number seven car fail to win a race in the IndyCar series, do we really want to see that GoDaddy car making its’ way to NASCAR? In Danica’s first Nationwide series race, the driver finished 24th and seemed to be quite pleased with herself. Yeah I know the car handles differently and switching over is a tough thing to do, but Danica needs to learn how to handle her indycar before she tries multi-tasking. Like your commercial says Danica, you’re no Jaun Pablo. Remember that.

6. Scoring an own goal in the World Cup – There were three own goals in this year’s World Cup (Denmark, South Korea, Brazil) but none were more damaging than Felipe Melo’s in Brazil’s quarterfinal loss to Holland. The Brazilian defender collided with goalkeeper Julio Cesar on a Wesley Sneijder free kick early in the second half to deflect the Sneijder kick into the goal for the equalizer. The mistake gave the Dutch the momentum they needed as they went on to exit Brazil with a 2-1 upset victory.

5. Thinking that Lane Kiffin is making you stay at USC – Luckily for blue chip recruit Seantrel Henderson this is no longer a problem. The nations’ 2009 top recruit signed with the Trojans after discussing with coaches the possibility of probation. Obviously, Lane’s staff wasn’t completely honest with the 6’8, 337 pound monster as he signed a letter of intent to play in Los Angeles on March 23. Upon the news of USC’s probation, reports came out that Kiffin was not going to allow Henderson to leave the Trojans but on July 6, Kiffin did the right thing and allowed Henderson to be like LeBron and take his talents to South Beach.

4. Losing a Perfecto on a blown call – The only man in the world sicker than Armando Galarraga is Jim Joyce. How can you not feel for that guy? On June 2nd you blow the biggest call of your career to lose a perfect game for a kid nobody has ever heard of and you take it like a complete man in extraordinary fashion. Not only did Joyce accept full responsibility for the call but he showed up the next day to umpire behind the plate in Detroit after the commissioner’s office gave him a day off.

3. Getting a DUI with red panties between your legs – This is something that usually would have nothing to do with sports. This is also something you would not expect a big time college athletic director to do. Georgia A.D. Damon Evans was pulled over drunk with a 28-year-old girl who was not his wife on the first night of July. When Evans was asked by the officer why he had red panties between his legs, Evans responded saying “She took them off and I held them because I was just trying to get her home”. Im sure the wifey understood Damon.

2. Being a Cleveland sports fan – The fumble, the drive, the shot, Jose Mesa, Art Modell, and now King James. No title in 46 years and the Browns currently have the most impressive roster in the City of Rock. Good luck with the Delhomme era Clevelanders.

1. Playing for team North Korea and Kim Jong Il – All I have to say about this one is be glad North Korea players that none of you were on this list at number six.


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