Archive for June, 2012
Roger Federer turns 31-years-old this August. Many fans, sports commentators and both retired and active players still consider him the finest tennis player in the history of the game. And he has certainly made a great argument for himself. He has held the ATP No. 1 position for a record 237 consecutive weeks from February 2, 2004 t August 18, 2008. Federer has occupied the #1 ranking for 285 overall weeks, one week short of the record 286 weeks held by Pete Sampras. Federer has appeared in an unprecedented 23 career Grand Slam tournament finals, including a men’s record ten in a row, and appeared in 18 of 19 finals from the 2005 Wimbledon Championships through to the 2010 Australian Open, the lone exception being the 2008 Australian Open.
As if that was not enough, Federer holds the record of reaching the semifinals or better in 23 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments over five and a half years, from the 2004 Wimbledon Championships through the 2010 Australian Open. But that is not really was had made Federer, the star he is. At the top of all his accomplishments, we can’t forget that the Swiss Maestro, as he is often dubbed, has won 16 Grand Slam titles, breaking the previous all-time men’s record of 14 by Pete Sampras. For the sake of comparison, please consider that Federer won 16 Majors in a span of 27 Majors (2003 Wimbledon – 2010 Australian Open), while Sampras won 14 in 49 majors (1990 US Open – 2002 US Open). So, looking at those numbers alone, and comparing them to Sampras’ it should be evident that Federer still has a couple of great years ahead of him. But considering how dominant both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have been this last two seasons, it becomes clear that this is his best chance.
Only Sampras has won more times at Wimbledon than Roger Federer. Sure enough, Federer hasn’t won a Grand Slam tournament in all of his previous nine tries, but if a win is going to come this season, it is going to be here, at the grass field of the All English Club in Wimbledon. The Federer Express game is best suited to the grass courts, perhaps that’s why he has won here 9 different times. The big issue here is that between Spaniard Rafa Nadal and the Serbian Novak Djokovic, these two have won every grand slam since the 2010 Australian Open. So he is still considered a long shot, when it comes to wagering on the Wimbledon 2012 Champion.
Then again, FedEx knows very well that a win here will certainly mean that he is going to go back to the top of the ATP Ranking tour. The two last Grand Slams of the season are down the stretch. This is it: a win here would give him the momentum he needs to finish his career in a high note. “It’s up to somebody else to break that [Djokovic-Nadal] mold,” Federer said in a press conference in Wimbledon. “I hope I can do that. I played two quarterfinals now the last couple years. I want to do better. I have to do better at this event.” He knows what it takes to win here. Let’s see if he can make it to the Championship Game.
After more than two years of investigation and a couple of weeks of delibery a Grand Jury convicted Jerry Sandusky of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years. In 2009, a three-year investigation explored allegations of Sandusky having inappropriate contact with a 15-year-old boy over the course of four years, beginning when the boy was ten years old. The boy’s parents reported the incident to police in 2009. In the course of the investigation the prosecutors identified eight different boys that had been singled out for sexual advances or sexual assaults by Sandusky. All the assaults happened between 1994 and 2009.
The jury consisted of 7 women and five men, nine of it’s individuals with some sort of connection to Penn State University, were Sandusky worked for many years as a defensive coach under Hall of Fame Football coach, Joe Paterno. It took the jury more than 20 hours over a span of two days to reach a decision, but at the end, Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of 48 counts and will most likely spend the rest of his life in jail. The charges carry a minimum 60-year sentence and 442 years at maximum. According to reports, Sandusky showed little emotion as the verdict was read to him on Friday. Judge John Cleland revoked his bail and ordered that he be taken to the county jail to await sentencing in about three months. At least for now, the 68-year-old Sandusky will be set-aside in solitary confinement.
There was a lot of tension in the courtroom during the reading of the sentence. One of the victims, the man who is known in court papers as Victim #6 broke down in tears when he heard the verdicts. The man, now 25, testified that Sandusky called himself the “tickle monster” in a shower assault. He declined to comment to a reporter afterward, but his mother said: “Nobody wins. We’ve all lost.” As soon as the courtroom was adjourned, one could easily hear the cheering from a group of a few hundred of people gathered outside the courthouse as they took knowledge that Sandusky had been convicted.
It is still unclear how this will play out to the other people that have been involved in this hearing. Let’s not forget that there is a lot more to this story. In 2002 assistant coach Mike McQueary, then a Penn State graduate assistant, said he walked in on Sandusky anally raping a ten-year-old boy in the football locker rooms. The next day, after talking about the incident to his father, McQueary reported the incident to Joe Paterno, his immediate supervisor. Paterno then followed up and informed Penn State athletic director Tim Curley.
Ultimately, it is alleged, the only actions Curley and senior vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz (who oversaw the Penn State police department) took was to bar Sandusky from bringing children to the football building and take away his keys to the locker room. Rumor has it that these actions were approved by school president Graham Spanier. No one called the police, not McQueary, not Paterno, not Curley, not even when this reached the president of the school.
It took him three different trips to the NBA Finals, but it has finally happened: LeBron James has won an NBA Championship. After winning the NBA MVP regular season trophy, LeBron James guided the Miami Heat to its second win in the franchise history. The Heat took a 121-106 win in game 5 over the Oklahoma City Thunder, to make a strong statement, proving that the financial risks they took when signing LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh had paid off. Sure enough, just like it was last year, this was a Championship or Burst situation for the Heat. But this time, they delivered. The 2012 NBA title will be going to LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
The Oklahoma Thunder had a brilliant run this season, working its way into the NBA Finals for the first time since the move from Seattle and supported by a young, athletic cast that includes Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Then again, considering that neither of these three players are not yet 24-year-old, the young team needed a little bit more of maturity. They needed to find a way to shine under pressure, to keep on playing strong when the stakes were high, and to keep their cool when playing under the brightest lights of the NBA. In other words, they needed to learn what LeBron James and the Miami Heat’s Big Three learned last season when they lost against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Championship. To bring on their A-game when the Championship is in the line.
The Miami Heat proved they were hungrier, proved that they wanted this more and that they were ready to deliver. Leading the series 3-1, the Miami Heat had a great chance to finish it off in at the American Airlines Arena in South Beach. And before their own crowd, the Miami Heat delivered the results. The Heat simply broke hells loose on the third quarter and outscored the Oklahoma City Thunder, 36-22, to take a 95-71, before the fourth quarter. The Heat went ahead and never looked back. This was simply a flawless demonstration of long-range shooting from the Miami Heat. It didn’t really matter that his back was killing him, Mike Miller played through the pain and finished with 7 three-pointer for the night, for 23 points in 23 minutes coming of the bench.
James scored 26, adding 13 assists and 11 rebounds as Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the other two-thirds of Miami’s “Big Three,” scored 20 and 24, respectively. The Oklahoma City Thunder gave it a good run, but there was really nothing they could do to stop the Heat from taking over in the second half. Kevin Durant scored 32 points and had a good match. But it was simply not enough to keep the Thunder from losing their fourth straight game following a Game 1 victory in Oklahoma City, that had the Thunder’s hopes flowing. Russell Westbrook had just 19 points in a poor 4-of-20 shooting night. The Thunder were stricken by turnovers and poor 3-point shooting, and a lot of poor plays on defense.
Now that we have grown used to professional players and athletes from all sorts of backgrounds and distinct sports using performance enhancing drugs, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that Roger Clemens, the former baseball superstar, was acquitted on all charges against him for lying and obstructing Congress when he denied using performance enhancing drugs as a fast-balling pitcher. It seems that juror didn’t need too much time to deliberate and bring back a verdict. As a matter of fact, he outcome ended a 10-week trial that capped an expensive, five-year investigation into one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball.
According to the press release, the 49-year-old Roger Clemens, was charged with two counts of perjury, three counts of making false statements and one count of obstructing Congress when he testified at a deposition and at a nationally televised hearing in February 2008. The charges centered on his repeated denials that he used steroids and human growth hormone during a 24-year career. To put his performance into perspective, over his lengthy professional career, Clemenes produced 354 wins and a record seven Cy Young Awards. Now, this is just a terrible blow for the government’s effort to legally pursuit athletes who have been accused of illegal drug use.
This comes just a year after a San Francisco Court found home run King Larry Bonds only guilty in one count of obstruction of justice, after another lengthy and costly 7-year investigation. Sure enough, the jury deadlocked on whether Bonds lied to a grand jury when he denied knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs. If you ask me, it’s just a bunch of b.s. but heck, Bond got away with it. But that’s not the end of the government underachieving in a sports fraud investigation. Last week we talked on about Lance Armstrong and his two-year, multicontinent investigation that looked into possible drug use by the 7-time Tour de France winner. The investigation was closed, though the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency filed formal accusations last week that could strip him of his wins and put an end to the sport’s most controversial athlete.
Despite the evidence given to the jury by Clemen’s longtime strength coach, Brian McNamee, who said he personally injected Clemens with steroids in 1998, 2000 and 2001 and with HGH in 2000. McNamee also offered the jury a needle and other materials he said were from a steroids injection of Clemens in 2001. That is a little hard to bring forth in a jury considering he states that the needle and the rest of the materials were stored inside a beer can and put in a box for over six years. The other evidence the prosecutors had against Clemens included the testimony of former teammate Andy Pettitte who recalled a conversation in which Clemens supposedly admitted using HGH, but Pettitte said under cross-examination that there was a “50-50″ chance that he had misheard.
It is hard to know what kind of hurt this is going to place over Clemens legacy as a professional pitcher. But we are going to get a good idea next year when Clemens’ name appears on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time. His statistics alone would normally make give him a straight pass into baseball greatest honor. Voters, on the other hand, have been reluctant to induct premier players, such as Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro, whose careers were tainted by allegations of drug use.