1. Quick Hits
- Novak Djokovic will go for this record third straight Australian Open final when he takes on Andy Murray.
- The Atlanta Braves get outfielder Justin Upton from Arizona in a 7 player trade. Upton will be united with his older brother B.J. Two thirds of the Braves outfield will have Uptons, or one Alou shy of a full house.
- The Lakers may be having an awful season, but that didn’t stop fans from voting Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard to the West’s starting team in the NBA All-Star Game.
2. Is it Cheating?
That’s what tennis fans are asking after Victoria Azarenka took a 10-minute “injury time out” in the second set of her semi-final win over Sloane Stephens at the Australian Open. Many believe she wasn’t really hurt and that she just needed time to compose herself after frittering away 5 match points. To quote Patrick McEnroe, “Leaving the court for any amount of time because of nerves is unacceptable.” Maybe Azarenka was just worn out from all the screeching she does on every point.
3. Thank You Very Much
Mercedes should send a thank you note to The Parents’ Television Council. That group is upset over a Mercedes Super Bowl ad featuring Kate Upton. They say the ad tells you that sex gets you what you want. I’m sure you have no interest in seeing the preview of the ad (unlike the over 4-million people who have already watched it on YouTube), but for journalistic reasons I’ll include it. On second thought, Mercedes should send the Television Council a whole fleet of cars. Not to mention Ms. Upton.
4. Friday eMailbag
As for the Manti T’eo soap opera, D.H. writes: “It is a crazy story, but couldn’t it just be the case that he’s clueless. We treat college athletes like they are adults, but at the end of the day, he’s only 21.”
Top 5 subscriber N.L. with this tribute to the late Stan Musial. “Joe Garagiola said, “He could hit a ball with a fountain pen.” I’m glad I saw him play many times. Although I was a Dodger fan, I kept wishing he was a Dodger. He was a lovely man.”
And with Earl Weaver dying the same day as Musial, M.R. writes, “How’s this for timing…Stan arrives in heaven just in time for Earl to pencil him in to the #3 hole. You just know Earl was not waiting for a pitcher!”
D.S. (and C.W.) wonder about the NFL fine system: D.S. wrote: “Tom Brady gets fined $10,000 for his slide that went to Ed Reed’s knee. No injury but potentially dangerous. Frank Gore gets fined $10,500 because his socks were too short. What?”
P.M. had this to say about Jets coach Rex Ryan’s traffic accident: “I thought he was a train wreck now we can add cars to his resume.”
5. Spanning the World
This week’s Spanning the World highlight comes from the Australian Open. Li Na might be in the women’s final, but her serve, to quote Bob Uecker, was “just a bit outside.”
Spanning the World airs monthly on NBC’s Today Show. Next up: Friday February 22nd in the 8:30am half hour.
Happy Birthday: Star linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, Patrick Willis. 28.
Bonus Birthday: Grammy winner Alicia Keys, who will sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. 32.
Today in Sports: John Elway and the Denver Broncos win their first Super Bowl beating Green Bay 31-24. 1998.
Bonus Event: The first Winter Olympics began on this date in Chamonix France with 16 nations participating. The U.S. won 1 gold medal in the 500-meter speed skate. 1924.
The next time you need a gift for that young sports fan in your life, check out my books. And if you’d like a personally autographed copy contact the Dolphin Bookshop at 516-767-2650.