Weekly Nickel 6-18-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Wimbledon is just a week away. Will Roger Federer (pictured above) capture his 7th title at the All England Club this year?

By Josh Kramer

Great golf, basketball, and baseball defined yesterday’s Father’s Day.  I hope you all enjoyed.  Last week started out with a bang when Rafael Nadal captured his record 7th French Open title and the week continued to pick up steam.  Last week was great, but this week will be fun its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  The Dale Earnhardt Jr. winless streak finally ends after 143 races. Next stop Sonoma.  The NASCAR Sprint for the Cup continues next Sunday at Infineon Raceway as Kenseth, Earnhardt Jr., Biffle, Hamlin, and Johnson all fight for that number one spot.  There is still plenty of season left, but the competition continues to heat up.

4.  Tommy Haas may be old, but he isn’t dead yet.  Yesterday, at the ripe age of 34, he knocked off Roger Federer in the finals of the Gerry Weber Open.  The most prestigious tournament of them all is just a week away.  Will Novak Djokovic defend his title at the All England Club?  Or could Roger Federer capture his 7th championship at Wimbledon and his 17th Grand Slam title?  Can Andy Murray finally breakthrough at a major in front of his crazed-fan base?  A tune-up is occurring in Eastbourne.  Get ready for the best tournament in all of tennis.  It is just around the corner.

3.  How about those Yankees?  The staff has posted a 1.88 ERA and 81 strikeouts during the nine-game win streak. On the other side of the spectrum, what is the deal with the Red Sox?  Also, is Joey Votto the modern-day version of Babe Ruth?  We are nearing the halfway point of the grueling 162 MLB season and teams like the Yankees, Rangers, Reds, Nationals, and Dodgers are all flexing their muscles as the prime contenders to be the last man standing at the end of October.  My matchup of the week is set to go down at Camden Yards.

Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles:  For the first time ever, the Beltway Series has significance.  The Orioles are looking to make their first playoff series since 1997, while the Nationals are looking to have a winning record for the first time since moving to the nation’s capital.  The Nationals have relied heavily on the National League’s top pitching staff, while the Orioles have utilized a high-powered offense to go along with a solid pitching staff to stay in contention.

Well I for one am happy for both of these much-maligned franchises.  Neither has had the best of luck over the course of the past decade.  And though I do not see Baltimore lasting, at least Orioles fans can enjoy it while it lasts.  Washington is another story though and will be in the hunt come October.  The Nationals have been the best road team in the National League this year.  Expect the success to continue as they take two of three from the O’s.

2.  The group stage is coming to a close.  Now the real Euro 2012 begins.  Don’t sleep on Germany.  They have looked pretty solid in the group stage led by Mario Gomez.  Also, congrats to the Czech Republic’s Milan Baros on staking his claim as the “enforcer” of Euro 2012 accumulating an astounding 14 fouls in three games.  The second biggest soccer tournament of them all is living up to all of the hype and more.

1.  This is the best finals matchup we have had the pleasure of watching since the Magic/Larry days.  Heat/Thunder could very easily transform into our generation’s Celtics/Lakers.  They are both that good.  If this series does not go 6 or 7 you should be disappointed.  Don’t worry though, you will get your money’s worth.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

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