“Food for Thought 5-17-11″

Last August, the Reds and Cardinals had a bench clearing brawl (pictured above). Sunday, there was a shouting match. What will happen next in one of baseball's best rivalries?

What a crazy past few days in sports.  Playoff action galore.  MLB excitement.  Clay court tennis.  And so much more.  Here are the main items that have been catching my attention.

Best Rivalry in Baseball?

Being a Cincinnati guy, there may be a bit of bias.  Slowly but surely though, the Reds/Cardinals rivalry is turning into one of the best in baseball.  After stealing the Castellini Family, Walt Jocketty, Scott Rolen, and others from St. Louis, the Reds have become a contender.  St. Louis and Cincinnati are two great Midwestern baseball towns.  Sadly for Cincinnati, sustained success has been few and far between, while St. Louis has enjoyed much more triumph than failure over the past decade.

After dropping 2 of 3 earlier this year in St. Louis, the Reds redeemed themselves in a big way getting out the brooms against their NL Central foe.  As usual though, this series did not lack in extra flavor.  Following the conclusion of Game 3, Red’s closer Francisco Cordero was very noticeably locked in a screaming battle with little known Gerald Laird of the Cardinals.

After last August’s bench clearing brawl which featured some great spike shots from Red’s pitcher Johnny Cueto, the heat does not appear to have subsided between these 2 divisional foes.  And I for one am excited.  Divisional rivalries in baseball are the best.  I mean, these teams get to play 18 or 19 times a year.  You want to talk about ongoing sagas?  This is why I have been a firm believer for years now that there is no better rivalry in sports than that of the Yankees and Red Sox.  Sure there is plenty of room for debate on this.  But I love the fact that these teams get to go head to head 18 or 19 times a year.  And then have the possibility of matching up in a 5 or 7 game set come playoffs time.

You really get to see storylines and identities develop in baseball rivalries.  Even over the course of just one season, the teams become extremely familiar with each other and develop an immense hatred for one another.  Imagine how good rivalries can become when core teams stick together for 5 to 10 years and continue to contend for divisional crowns? Epic proportions people.  Well strap in because the two teams atop the NL Central still have plenty of baseball left to play including a good few matchups with each other.

No Match for Djokovic?

If you follow the ATP at all, you are most likely aware of the smoking start that Serbian star, Novak Djokovic is off to this year.  The 23-year-old has been near the top of the game for years now, but has never taken that next step.   That step that gets him to the number 1 spot.  In each of the past 5 years, he has won over 60 matches and at least 2 singles titles.

Thus far in 2011, Djokovic has compiled a record of 37 and 0.  Only one man has started out a year better.  That would be John McEnroe, who started 1984 with an astounding 42 and 0 record.  But the more amazing thing about this streak is how he is doing it.  I mean he has beaten world number 1, Rafael Nadal in 4 consecutive finals.  In addition, he has topped the “Greatest Clay Courter” of all time, twice, on the clay surface.  No man has ever accomplished this feat.

The real question is can he take home the French?  Starting Sunday, all eyes in the tennis world will be focused on Roland Garros, as the 2-week journey begins to crown a champion at the 2nd Grand Slam Championship of the year.  Novak has never advanced past the semis at Roland Garros but looks more than ready to do so this year.  Will he add a 3rd Grand Slam Title to his collection in Paris?

I doubt it.  Call me blind to logic, but I just do not see this amazing run continuing for another 2 weeks.  Nadal has lost 1 time in the past 6 years at Roland Garros.   Beating Rafa in tune-ups, though big tournaments, is much different from slaying the clay court giant on Centre Court at Roland Garros.  I do feel Novak has taken that next step.  But I do not see it being enough to conquer the clay court giant in Paris just yet.

New York Media at It Again

Apparently Derek Jeter is in the headlines for his off the field antics yet again.  Though Jeter is the King of New York and revered by all Yankees fans, the media has been getting the best of him in recent memory.  This most recent incident is nonsense though.  I am sure most of you are aware of the Jorge Posada controversy.  Jeter and Posada are very old friends and have even been quoted saying that they view themselves like “brothers.”

Jeter’s statement that is amid fire is as follows:

“If I thought he did something wrong, I’d be the first to tell him.”

Well I will be the first to tell Jeter that I feel he did nothing wrong.  Give “The Captain” a break.  He is finally getting his swing back and playing like the Jeter of old.  Sure he could have remained mum on the entire situation, or gave a rehearsed answer, but that is not Jeter.  DJ stuck up for a friend and that is the end of it.  The New York Media has other items to cover such as the Red Sox sweeping the Yankees in New York and the current 6 game losing streak.  That should be the number 1 issue for both the team and the media at this time.  Not some statement that will mean nothing tomorrow.  And lets be honest.  What would this time of year be without the media questioning the Yankees and asking if “they are too old” to make a run?  I think the question is getting “old” rather than the Yankees.

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 contact@thesportskraze.com.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

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