“Weekly Nickel 6-26-2011”

Photo courtesy of live-like-a-german.com. The FIFA Women's World Cup has begun. Can the US win the title for the first time in 12 years or will the Germans three-peat?

By Josh Kramer

It is another Monday in the wide world of sports.  And I must say that I am excited for what should be another great week.  Plenty of items to be on the look out for.

Here is the top five.

5.  The NFL lockout has passed the century mark.  And though there is optimism in the air, it is only “cautious optimism.”  Many have pointed towards around July 4th for the dispute to be solved.  Lets just get back to football.  I am tired of the speculation.  All parties involved want football.  The owners, the players, the coaches, and most importantly, the fans.  What would Monday nights be without the “C’mon Man” segment?

4.  We just had the NBA Draft this past Thursday.  Now we have the expiration of the current CBA on this Thursday.  And even though the draft seemed to be more of an “International Draft” than an NBA Draft, it got people excited for next season.  Well that excitement may cease a bit when the current CBA expires on Thursday.  And to be perfectly realistic, I do not see the dispute being solved before this CBA expires.  A lockout is looming.  I do not see it lasting nearly as long as the NFL lockout has, but who is to say that it won’t.  It is all speculation.  Hopefully the dispute gets solved sooner rather than later.

3.  The MLB season is heading to the end of June.  This is typically the time of year where the contenders separate from the pretenders.  We are nearly at the half way mark.  Most teams that are “pretending” tend to really fade out over the course of the next few weeks as the contenders come to the forefront.  Sure there are plenty of games left.  But a team that consistently wins during the first 80 to 90 games generally is the real deal.  Here is a look at the marquee matchup of the week.

Boston Red Sox at Philadelphia Phillies:  Can you say possible World Series preview?  These are arguably the two best teams in baseball at this time.  Two teams that win in entirely different ways, but they both find ways to win with a high frequency.  Both of these powerhouses are off today, but they both realize the dogfight that they are about to embark on.  Sure this is just another three game set that counts the same as any other series does.  But this is a series where one teams confidence could skyrocket.  To be the best, you have to beat the best.

The Red Sox are a team that lives on their lethal lineup.  They lead the League in every offensive category and have been especially hot as of late.  Philadelphia on the other hand, ranks in the top two in every statistical category that relates to pitching.  This is your true offense versus defense matchup.  Normally I would go with the team that possesses the great pitching. But Boston lucks out in this series. They get to miss out on facing Phillies ace, Roy Halladay, plus they do not have to go up against the red-hot Cole Hamels, or the injured Roy Oswalt.  This will be the difference in the series in my eyes.  Bragging rights will go to one of the top teams in the American League.  The Red Sox, who are a very good road team, will take two of three from the team that sports the best record in baseball.

2.  The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 is under way.  The United States looks to claim their first World Cup title since the memorably Brandi Chastain walk off in 1999.  Germany, who also is the host of this year’s event, looked awfully good in their opener yesterday and appear poised for a three peat.  Other contenders are Japan, Brazil, and Canada (who went down in their opener to Germany).  This is arguably the deepest field that the women’s marquee event has ever seen.  It should be fun.  I will pulling for the red, white, and blue to finally bring the Cup home.  The US opens up play on Tuesday at 12:15 against North Korea.

1.  It is week two at the best tennis tournament of the year.  Wimbledon has whittled down the field.  On the men’s side of the draw, the “Fantastic Four” (Nadal, Djokovic, Nadal, and Murray) remains in tact.  On the women’s side, both Williams’ sister continue to survive and conquer.  It is not the prettiest tennis, but it is getting the job done.  Sure the American men laid a big egg.  But at least Mardy Fish is still alive.  Tune in all week as the most prestigious event in tennis will crown their 2011 champions.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

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