Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday's Starting Five

1. The Georgia Bulldogs baseball team. Led by shortstop (and the No. 8 overall pick by the Chicago White Sox) Gordon Beckham's home run the Bulldogs rode a 4-run eighth inning to victory over Fresno State in the first game of the Finals of the College World Series.

2. Felix Hernandez. The young flame-throwing right-handed pitcher known as King Felix made history last night at Shea Stadium. And, surprisingly, he did it with his bat. He cracked the first grand slam by an American League pitcher in 37 years and the first ever during Interleague Play. And, he hit the longball off the man billed as the game's best, Johan Santana. Of course, shortly after pulling off that memorable feat Hernandez was injured while covering home plate as Carlos Beltran slid in to score. And, he was just one out shy of qualifying for the victory when he was hurt. But, he'll always have that home run.

3. Shaq. One who has always been able to turn a phrase, The Horse has outdone himself here. This video from an impromptu Shaq-fu freestyle at a NYC club this weekend is absolutely amazing. Well, except for the part when he takes a shot at Patrick Ewing's lack of titles. Except for that part (although I've got to say that I'm glad The Horse still thinks of Pat when he easily could have mentioned the Mailman or Barkley or any of the other title-less HOFers), this is the funniest and most honest thing I'v e seen an athlete do in a while. Listen to the very end of the clip when he has the crowd singing along to the "chorus" of this little ditty. This is exhibit V of why everyone who wasn't stuck with Kobe (I'm looking at you Lakers fans) chose Shaq in their divorce.

4. Barry Melrose. The mulletted ESPN hockey analyst is off the small screen and back on the ice. Or, at least back on the bench area contiguous with the ice. Melrose was named head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Although he's been on TV seemingly forever, he had previously led the LA Kings (who were actually led by Wayne Gretzky) to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1992.

5. Big Brown. After days of speculation following the Belmont turned into weeks of apathy leading up to the such big races as the Breeders Cup and the Travers Stakes it appears that there might be an explanation regarding Big Brown's dismal performance in the final leg of the Triple Crown and therefore a way to re-generate public excitement about the horse and horse racing. Apparently a photographer contacted BB's owner with photographic evidence that the shoe on the horse's right hind foot was dislodged early in the Belmont. From what I can tell this means that Big Brown was either running like a sprinter with his shoe untied or a sprinter with a nail through his foot. Either way, that is a plausible reason for a horse to lose a race and a plausible reason for a bettor to take that same horse next time out.