1. Quick Hits
- San Antonio beat Memphis 105-83 in the opener of the NBA Western Conference Finals.
- Miami will face Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals starting Wednesday night.
- In hockey, Boston now leads the Rangers 2 games to none after yesterday’s 5-2 win. Ottawa beat Pittsburgh 2-1 in double overtime. Pittsburgh leads that series 2-1.
- No Triple Crown in horse racing, but we could have back-to-back Crowns by Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. He hit three homers in last night’s 11-8 loss to Texas. He leads the majors in hitting and RBIs. He’s one off the league lead in homers. No player has ever won back to back Triple Crowns in baseball.
2. O What a Race
So yet another year without a horse racing Triple Crown winner. Orb, the overwhelming favorite to win the Preakness, finished out of the money in 4th. Oxbow with 50-year old Gary Stevens aboard with the wire-to-wire win at Pimlico. (Let’s hear it for old guys!) So it’s 35 years and counting. And again you have to wonder with the way horse racing has evolved if we’ll ever see another Triple Crown winner? And since Orb and Oxbow both start with “O” you must be wondering if that’s happened before? After extensive research: Barbaro and Bernardini in 2006 and before that Thunder Gulch and Timber Country in 1995. Pretty useless information, eh?
3. Now We Know
Sports fans love a good argument. Willie, Mickey or the Duke? Wilt or Russell? I don’t recall Michael vs. Kobe reaching that level, but now we have the definitive answer. Phil Jackson, who coached both of them, picks Michael Jordan. No big surprise. He is quite specific in his new book, Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success which is officially out tomorrow. The L.A. Times quoted from the book: “Michael was masterful at controlling the emotional climate of the team with the power of his presence. Kobe had a long way to go before he could make that claim. He talked a good game, but he’d yet to experience the cold truth of leadership in his bones, as Michael had in his bones.” Nice reading. Kobe reacted on twitter: “The comparisons are #apples2oranges Wonder what the perception would be if M played wit @shaq instead”
I’m not a huge fan of these discussions. They tend to diminish the “second place finisher.” Michael and Kobe are two of the NBA’s All-Time greats. That’s good enough for me. Now about Wilt…
4. Water Hazard
Nicolas Colsaerts hit his drive on the 10th hole into an unusual place on Saturday, a bathroom. Gives new meaning to a hole-in-one. It happened at the Volvo World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria. Viewers tuning in might have been confused when they saw the toilet and heard the announcers talking about the “nearest point of relief.” By the way, after the “pause” Colsaerts lost his match to Graeme McDowell.
5. Ken Venturi
I’ll never forget watching TV the weekend of June 20-21 1964. On Saturday, in the last U.S. Open to be played with 36 holes the last day, Ken Venturi went staggering up the fairway in extreme heat to win the U.S. Open. It was riveting television as you wondered if he’d make it? He did, winning by 4 shots. The next day, Father’s Day, Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game for the Phillies at Shea, the first National League perfect game in 84 years. Bunning went on to become a U.S. Senator, Venturi a CBS golf announcer. Two remarkable achievements within 24 hours one weekend nearly 50 years ago with both athletes landing in the Hall of Fame Venturi 11 days before his death the other day at the age of 82. That 1964 U.S. Open at Congressional will long be remembered wherever golfers gather to reminisce about the great moments in sports.
Happy Birthday: NASCAR driver Tony Stewart. 42.
Bonus Birthday: Cher. 67.
Today in Sports: Police don disguises and raid the Wrigley Field bleachers arresting 24 fans for gambling. 1920.
Bonus Event: Twenty years ago today. Say cheers to Cheers. The final episode. 1993.
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