Weekly Nickel 8-13-2012

Photo courtesty of zimbio.com. Dwight Howard (pictured above) is the latest great big man to suit up for the Los Angeles Lakers.

By Josh Kramer

Happy Monday to you all.  It wasn’t easy, but Team USA went all the way and handled Spain late in the fourthAbby Wambach and Co. handled business.  Tiger Woods, well you know the drill (at least Rory was good).  And Andrew Luck demonstrated that it wasn’t “luck” that he was drafted number one in his professional debut.  Last week was a great one, but this week should be fun in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Marcos Ambrose came out victorious in a wild race at the Glen.  The countdown to the Chase is down to four.  There are just four more races before the big boys battle it out for the Cup.  This Sunday, the gang heads to Michigan International Speedway as Kyle Busch looks to defend his crown at the Pure Michigan 400.

4.  The history is well-documented:  George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal.  Add Dwight Howard to the list.  I am not sure how the Lake Show pulled this blockbuster deal off, but Kobe Bryant’s chances at number six improved immensely when Superman signed with Jack Nicholson’s favorite team.  Watching Team USA bring home gold at the Olympics was exciting, but the prospects of a LeBron/Kobe finals matchup has me even more excited.  It may only be August, but the 2012/2013 NBA seasons is shaping up to be a memorable.  Plus, the “Dwight Howard Soap Opera” has finally come to a close.

3.  With one flick of the wrist, Andrew Luck began his Colt’s debut with a bang tossing a 63-yard touchdown pass to Donald Brown.  People in Indianapolis were saying Peyton Manning who (just kidding)?  All but two teams (Cowboys and Raiders) have played their first preseason football games of the 2012 season and the anticipation mounts for the regular season.  There is a reason why the NFL reigns supreme in American sports.  The excitement for the first preseason games only confirmed that fact.  Just 23 days until the season officially begins with a showdown between the G-Men and America’s Team at the friendly confines of MetLife Stadium.

2.  I’ll be seeing you in Cincinnati.   Big time professional tennis hits Mason (Cincinnati) this week in the form of the ATP Western and Southern Open.  Mega-stars Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal may be absent from the party, but I for one am still ecstatic.  There are so many great players and storylines to consider as everyone continues to prep for the year’s final Grand Slam in Flushing.  Some stories to keep an eye on:

-Will gold medalist Andy Murray be able to defend his title?

-After skipping the Rogers Cup in Toronto due to, “a long stretch of tournaments,” can Roger Federer win a record fifth championship in Cincinnati?

-Fresh off becoming the second woman ever (Steffi Graf was the other) to secure the Golden Slam (all four Grand Slams and a singles gold at the Olympics), will Serena Williams win her first title in Cincinnati?

-With the top two female players in the world not participating (Azarenka and Sharapova), who will take control?

1.  The Washington Nationals were playing in a league of their own until yesterday.  Cincinnati continues to survive and conquer despite the absence of their fearless leader and star player, Joey Votto.  And the heat is on in the NL West as the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers continue to duke it out for divisional supremacy.  My matchup of the week takes place in the Bronx.

Texas Rangers at New York Yankees:  Who doesn’t love a little October baseball in August?  This battle at Yankee Stadium definitely has the makings of a potential showdown for the AL pennant.  Despite losing yesterday in the series finale against Toronto, the Yankees appeared very at ease on their most recent road trip.  There was plenty of calm before the potential storm that awaits at Yankee Stadium tonight.

Both of these divisional leaders hit with the best of them and pitch pretty well too.  I guess that makes sense considering these are the teams that currently sport the top two records in the American League.  Expect plenty of runs and lots of excitement during this four-game set.  Due to these games being played in the Bronx, I would typically give the edge to the Bombers.  But due to the absence of Sabathia, expect a split.  Also do not be surprised to see a couple of extra-innings games that end in walk-off fashion.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

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