Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Robert Griffin III (pictured above) made things look very easy in the Big Easy on Sunday. Will he continue to play this way all season?
By Josh Kramer
Sports played a prominent role in helping our country cope with the unthinkable terrorist acts that occurred 11 years ago to the day. Our nation holds sports near and dear to their hearts on a daily basis. The USA has grown stronger as a nation since the horrific terrorist acts of 9/11 and sports are still doing their part.
RGIII was made for DC
Maybe Robert Griffin III is football’s version of Superman. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner put on a debut performance for the ages on Sunday, leading the Redskins to an opening day victory over the Saints. Now sure, one could argue that Matt Ryan put up slightly better numbers on Sunday. Or that Cam Newton threw for 422 yards in his rookie debut last September.
Let’s focus on reality though. Matt Ryan has far more experience and an outstanding supporting cast. Also, exactly one year ago, Cam Newton passed for an astonishing 422 yards, but he also tossed an interception, and his team lost the game. With five rookie quarterbacks starting on Sunday, I think much of America forgot just how hard it is to be a rookie quarterback in the NFL. By Sunday evening, everyone remembered after four of the quarterbacks went home losers and tossed a combined 11 interceptions (and just two touchdowns).
RGIII on the other hand made things look easy as he outplayed future Hall of Famer Drew Brees in front of a hostile Saints crowd. Continue reading →
Photo courtesy of halestormsports.com. Roger Federer (pictured left) and Serena Williams (picutred right) came out victorious at Wimbledon back in July. Expect the same result in New York.
By Josh Kramer
Starting on Monday, all eyes in the tennis world will be focused on the Big Apple for two whole weeks. The year’s final Grand Slam is just around the corner, and as is typically the case, there are plenty of questions to be answered in Flushing.
-Will Andy Murray finally capture the elusive first Grand Slam?
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Venus Williams (pictured above) put on a show today at the Western and Southern Open defeating defending US Open champion Samantha Stosur.
By Josh Kramer
Last year at this time, Venus Williams was struggling to cope with a viral autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s syndrome. She was unable to participate in either of the two major tour stops in Toronto or Cincinnati, and forced to pull out in the second round of the US Open. Most fully expected the tennis career of Venus Williams to be about over. A year later Venus is still dealing with Sjogren’s, but she also continues to provide inspiration for those suffering from illness (especially Sjogren’s) all over the globe. Today, for at least one day, the Venus Williams we once knew was back. The Grandstand at the lovely Lindner Tennis Center in Mason (Cincinnati), OH was given a show that made things seem like it was the year 2001 again. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Serena Williams (pictured above) put on a vintage performance yesterday in dismantling Petra Kvitova.
By Josh Kramer
Yesterday, tennis fans across the globe felt like it was 2002 again. At least for a couple of hours. It was a vintage Serena Williams performance on Centre Court as she dismantled the defending Wimbledon champ, Petra Kvitova in straight sets. I know that a few days ago, I mentioned a “major changing of the guard” in regards to the tennis world we once knew. I still fully believe that the times are changing. But yesterday demonstrated to me something I have known all along but never pieced together.
No athlete in our generation has the ability to flip on the “Switch” the way that Serena Williams can. It is truly a fascinating phenomenon. She also has the ability to turn off the “Switch” at any time as well unfortunately. Continue reading →
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Johnny Cueto (pictured above) is the biggest snub this year in terms of the MLB All-Star Game.
By Josh Kramer
The “smartest” man ever to step foot on a baseball diamond strikes again. This time, he is playing for keeps. Despite being retired, Tony LaRussa is still going after his bitter rival, the Cincinnati Reds. Now I am not naive enough to think that snubs don’t happen every year in regards to the All-Star Game rosters. Due to a flawed selection system, this is inevitable. But it is very atypical to see a particular “city” get snubbed like this. Continue reading →
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Tiger Woods (pictured above) leapfrogged Jack Nicklaus with PGA Tour win number 74 yesterday.
By Josh Kramer
Spain took their place among the elite teams in soccer history this weekend after taking home a third consecutive major title. Wimbledon has had a March Madness type of feel with Venus Williams exiting in Round 1 and Rafael Nadal going down in Round 2. Brad Keselowski was the king of the Kentucky Speedway. And the “Dwight Howard Soap Opera” has opened up Season 2. Last week was a great one, but this week will be jam-packed in its own right. Here are the events to keep an eye on.
5. Kentucky Speedway got it right this year. Brad Keselowski was a happy man on Saturday night as he moved into 10th in the Sprint Cup Standings. Now the NASCAAR crew heads to Daytona to see who can take home the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Daytona. David Ragan came out victorious last year at this event, while the current leader of the Spring Cup Standings, Matt Kenseth, finished second.
4. Tiger Woods is back in the building. Or at least in the win column. Woods has leapfrogged Jack Nicklaus in terms of PGA Tour wins and now ranks second all time at 74. I am not going to get carried away though. He is still out in the “Woods” in my eyes and the Tiger we once knew will never return. Next stop, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia for the Greenbrier Classic. Continue reading →
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Serena Williams (pictured above) was pushed to the brink of elimination by Jie Zheng earlier today.
By Josh Kramer
First there was Venus in Round 1. Then Rafa in Round 2. Nearly Federer in Round 3. And then Serena was pushed to the brink of elimination in Round 3 as well. What is going to happen in Round 4? These four players are all former number ones that have a combined 47 Grand Slam titles (including 17 singles championships at Wimbledon) between them and unparalleled popularity. In a span of a mere 24 hours during Week 1, three of them almost bit the dust, while one (Venus) had already crumbled a few days earlier.
At a time not so long ago, guys like Sampras and Agassi dominated Men’s tennis, while Graf and Seles were doing similar things in Women’s tennis. Then following short-lived reigns of a few others in between, Federer took over Men’s tennis, while the Williams sisters took over Women’s tennis. Since, Nadal and Djokovic have had their turns on Federer’s throne, while the injury-prone Williams’ sisters have shared the wealth in recent memory as well. Now these four superstars and former number ones are a mean age of 29.5 (30 is considered dinosaur age in tennis).
Despite the ripe age, I never thought I would see the day where all four superstars were nearly eliminated during Week 1 of a major. Luckily, Federer once again demonstrated that he may be old, but he isn’t dead yet, in coming back from two sets down against Benneteau. He still has the heart of a champion. Serena also demonstrated outstanding mental fortitude in serving her way past Zheng.
So two of this fantastic four are still left standing as we head towards the Round of 16. But how much longer are they really going to last (both here and in general)? Venus has not won a major in over four years since handling business at the All England Club in 2008. Serena has gone winless in the major tourneys since nabbing the title at Wimbledon in 2010. Plus, Serena exited in the first-round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her illustrious career at Roland Garros a few weeks ago. After winning at least one Grand Slam for eight consecutive years, Federer went Slam-less in 2011 and has not come out victorious at a major since the 2010 Australian Open. Lastly, Nadal had participated in the finals of five consecutive Grand Slams before having his dreams of a third Wimbledon Championship dashed by little-known Lukas Rosol.
Though none of these four superstars have hinted much at retirement yet (especially not Nadal), times are changing. Outside of Rafa at Roland Garros, none of these players are a sure bet to take home any of the major championships these days. We have been blind to it, but this week has highlighted for us all that there is a major changing of the guard occurring right before our eyes in the tennis world.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Kevin Youkilis (pictured above) received a nice curtain call from Red Sox Nation on Sunday. Now he will take the field for baseball’s other Sox (Chicago).
By Josh Kramer
From one Sox to another Sox. Kevin Youkilis is now a member of the Chicago White Sox. This is a great transaction for both Sox involved. Boston rids themselves of a potential ongoing locker room problem (Youkilis/Valentine feud), and gives rising star Will Middlebrooks a chance to spread his wings. Chicago on the other hand gets a proven All-Star who can provide the team with a 3rd baseman who can indeed bat above the Mendoza line ( Orlando Hudson batting .194 and Brent Morel batting .177). Youkilis could even potentially bat over .300 (he has done this three times).
After a very successful 8.5 year stint in Boston, where Youkilis helped end the curse and bring Beantown two World Series, it was time to move on. The great thing is Boston has a solution in young stud Will Middlebrooks, while Chicago gets a guy who is only 33-years-old. The White Sox are looking to make a deep playoff run in the present. As much as Boston would like to be a playoff contender, they currently find themselves near the cellar of the AL East. It is hard to believe, but with the departure of Youkilis, Big Papi is the only member of the 2004 championship team still left in Beantown.
Chicago’s hitting has been good this year, but not great. Youkilis has the ability to provide the production out of the 3rd base position needed to help this team reach the next level. It is no secret that the AL Central is perhaps baseball’s weakest division. The White Sox have a golden opportunity to make postseason baseball this year. As we all know, anything can happen in October. Just ask Youkilis. Continue reading →