By Josh Kramer
The sporting world has been going wild the past couple of days, and it is about to get even crazier with the beginning of the NFL Regular season. Now we have football, baseball, and tennis all going at once. Not a bad time to be a sports fan.
Here is what has caught my attention.
American Tennis Awakes
It is common knowledge for even the most casual of tennis fans that American tennis has been struggling for years now. No man has brought home a Grand Slam title since the 2003 US Open. This is the longest drought in the history of American Men’s tennis. Well over the course of the past week, all eyes in the tennis world have been focused on the Big Apple. Flushing Meadows has taken center stage hosting the 4th and Final Grand Slam of the year.
Guess how many American made it to the round of 16?
Four (first time this has happened since 2003). That is not too shabby. 25% of the final 16 hail to the red, white, and blue. And sure our top ranked American, and the man who had the best shot at ending our Grand Slam drought lost yesterday in his Round of 16 match, but I have still been highly impressed by the effort of the Americans. Roddick is not playing his best tennis, but is doing more than enough to win. He will be heavily tested against the 5th ranked player in the world, David Ferrer, later today. John Isner is playing outstanding tennis and should win his round of 16 match later today versus Gilles Simon. And finally, Donald Young, who was one of the most hyped junior players we have ever had, takes on Andy Murray, a man who he beat back in March, in a round of 16 match today.
So three Americans will play later today. If one of them could win, I would consider the day a success. If two of them could win, I would be screaming for joy. And if three of them could win, well, I am not sure what I would do. I do know that I would be utterly shocked.
But the Donald Young story is just a phenomenal story line. Young was the number 1 ranked junior player in the world back in 2005. Many figured the youngster out of Chicago would be the man to carry the torch that had been dropped following the retirements of Sampras and Agassi. Sadly, the torch stayed on the ground due to the hype and/or pressure getting to Young’s head. Now Young’s head and ego appear to be in check. I am not sure if he will be able to defeat Murray, but he definitely is on the right track towards potential stardom. I know I will be pulling for the 22-year-old later today.
Who needs pitching?
As you are all more than aware, an age-old saying in baseball is pitching wins championships. In baseball, teams that pitch and play defense are typically the most successful. Major offenses come and go during the course of the over six month-long grind, but the teams with consistent solid pitching are the ones left standing come November.
Well this year’s New York Yankees are really making me reconsider this age-old saying.
The New York Yankees are living up to their Bronx Bombers nickname this year more than I can ever remember in my lifetime. This team flat-out hits one through nine, every night. Many have question marks about who this team’s number two and/or three starter will be come October. And I still frankly have questions myself. But inserting ARod back into this lineup, that already features Cano, Granderson, Teixeira, Jeter, and more already, this team may just slug their way to their 28th World Championship.
Currently, the Yankees sit 2.5 games ahead of a team that features an extremely talented offense in their own right, the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees have scored 18 more runs than their bitter rival on the year, and 40 more runs than any other team in baseball. In addition, their pitching is not that bad. Sure there are question marks. But their ERA ranks 4th in the American League, and is better than every other team in the AL that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today (Rangers rank 6th, Red Sox ERA ranks 9th, Tigers ranks 10th). Plus, there are no real question marks about this team’s bullpen. Can you really argue with a relief unit that features Rivera, Robertson, and Soriano. I know that I wouldn’t.
So sure this team does not have a great overall staff. But the way the Yankees are hitting the ball, I do not see the staff question marks making a difference. Besides, none of the teams currently in playoff contention in the AL have great staffs (some are solid, but none are great). So you better believe that the American League Divisional Series and Championship Series will be a slugfest. And if it is a slugfest, my edge goes to the Bombers.
Just some “Food for Thought.”
Let me hear your thoughts though. Please comment below with any questions or insights that you may have or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.