SPORTS DAY

by

I’ve worn a few Housefly hats so far, and now it’s my turn to focus on Friday’s sports page. DeJon has promised to keep the comment board buzzing and fill in for me on days when I’m out of pocket, and he has full security clearance to post a second column anytime he wants to. Plus, Joe Longhorn is also ready and willing to keep the sports arguments going.

Speaking of sports arguments, let’s argue about two today.

THE JUNIOR CIRCUIT

If you missed it last week, the three of us offered our fearless picks for the National League playoffs in a little friendly contest. With a week gone by, DeJon’s looking a little better than Joe and I. If anyone else wants in (we’re just playing for bragging rights), feel free to add your picks this week.

Here’s a little recap for those interested:

Al:
NL EAST: Marlins overtake the Braves in a late upset
NL CENTRAL: Cardinals
NL WEST: Padres
WILDCARD: Braves
DIVISION PLAYOFFS: Cards over Braves; Marlins over Padres
NLCS: Cards over Marlins

Joe:
NL EAST: Braves
NL CENTRAL: Cards
NL WEST: Padres
WILDCARD: Astros
DIVISION PLAYOFFS: Cards over Padres; Astros over Braves
NLCS: Astros over Cards

DeJon:
NL EAST: Braves
NL CENTRAL: Cards
NL WEST: Padres
WILDCARD: Phillies
DIVISION PLAYOFFS: Cards over Phillies; Braves over Padres
NLCS: Cards over Braves

Now, it’s only fair that we pay attention to the Junior Circuit (I love using that term!). Let’s round out our little prediction war and see if any other sports fans are willing to join in our little August Madness contest. Ten points are available for each division winner and wildcard winner, twenty points each for each division playoff winner, forty points for each pennant winner, and eighty points for the World Series champion. For a tiebreaker, predict how many games the World Series will go.

Here’s my fearless American League picks:

AL EAST: Yankees
AL CENTRAL: White Sox
AL WEST: Angels
WILDCARD: Red Sox
DIVISION PLAYOFFS: Red wins the battle of the Sox; Yanks over Angels
ALCS: Sox over Yanks – again…

And in the World Series, Cardinals over the Red Sox in seven games in a much more palatable rematch.

Alright, step up to the table. Let’s see what you’ve got.

ARGUMENT #2: WOMEN’S SPORTS:

I’d like a little friendly argument on this topic: the present-day female athlete that is, by her persona, doing more to advance women’s sports than anyone else.

Some of you male chauvinist pigs will need a little help to get this discussion off the ground. I’m not asking who’s the hottest female athlete (i.e. the reason YOU may have a sudden interest in female athletes). Let’s take the high road and discuss who we believe it is that, by her athletic prowess, is causing more girls to take up sports as well as causing more people around the world to tune in and show up for women’s athletic events.

Okay, you’ll need a little primer. Let me offer whom I believe to be the individual that leads this concept in each individual sport – which may prompt some discussion all by itself. But let’s eventually take it one step further and offer up an idea of who does the most to popularize women’s sports among all of these great athletes.

Tennis: Serena Williams (with apologies to both Maria and Lindsay – girls want to BE Serena, and fans tune in to see her athletic dominance)

Motor Sports: Danica Patrick (too easy)

Golf: Michelle Wie (Annika may be better, but Wie brings more popularity)

Basketball: Sheryl Swoopes (with lots of competition from Leslie, Catchings, Bird, and Taurasi)

Soccer: Mia Hamm (easily)

Softball: Jennie Finch (another no-brainer)

Track & Field: Gail Devers (I guess. The only other name I recognized on the USATF website is Marion Jones, and it sure can’t be her.)

Swimming: Amanda Beard (I at least recognize her name)

Volleyball: Misty May and Kerri Walsh (they have to tie)

May I have a drumroll, please?

My overall pick? Serena Williams.

I know you all agree with me, right?

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7 Responses to “SPORTS DAY”

  1. JD Says:

    Go Braves! Chop Chop!

  2. DocWatson Says:

    Go Cardinals.

    As far as the advancement of women’s sports, I think that you have to look at who is the most visible to see who is advancing it the most. I agree that Serena is probably doing that now. She along with her sister are great athletes as well as good spokeswomen. She has a line of clothing as well as her own reality show. Because she is so good at her sport and is on TV so much I think she has brought more women and men into the world of women’s sports.
    The other women that you mentioned have also helped. I think that Annika is the best female golfer ever. Her problem with advancing her sport is that she is not American and that she is aging. I think Michelle Wie will help open the sport up to the masses in a few years, but she is too young now. Mia Hamm as well as professional soccer are on a down hill slide. Danica Patrick will help motor racing, but the good ol’ boys will not let the women take over the sport so I think she will be short lived. The only other female mentioned that I think has helped recently is Jennie Finch. Softball is not a major player on television so she is limited by that, but she does find several ways to put herself on the cover of magazines and on TV. I think that she will eventually model and people will forget that she was even an athlete.

  3. Coolhand Says:

    my picks:

    NL East — Death, taxes and the Braves
    NL Central — Cards
    NL West — Cal State Fullerton, oh, the Padres I guess, though they should be blackballed if they finish under .500
    Wildcard — go ‘stros, though their hitting worries me. I’m picking the East teams to beat up on each other enough to let the Astros sneak in
    Cards demolish Padres
    Astros over Braves
    Astros stun the world by taking the Cards in seven (hey, it’s no fun picking the obvious team)

    AL East — Red Sawks
    AL Central — Other Sox
    AL West — Angels
    AL Wildcard — Cleveland
    Cleveland over fading ChiSox
    Idiots over Halos
    Red Sawks take tribe

    World Series — Astros lack of hitting finally catches up; Sawks repeat as champs. Babe Ruth sues the devil for his curse only lasting 80+ years.

    Women: I think Annika has done the most of anyone in this area, but she is on the downside of her career. Serena is probably still young enough to have the most impact. Danica’s intriguing, but she’s pretty much a novelty act. Out of her, Wie, and, say Sharapova, she seems to have the most charisma. Finch has plenty of charisma (beyond just looks), but her sport is kind of on the fringe and took a big blow when it was dropped from the Olympics.

  4. Joe Longhorn Says:

    All right…

    Here are my picks for the AL:

    East: Red Sox easily
    Central: White Sox even easier
    West: Halos
    Wild Card: Indians

    First Round: Halos over Red Sox and Indians over White Sox

    Halos win the AL.

    Astros beat the Halos in 6.

    If the standard is how many little girls have been inspired…
    My number one is Mia Hamm even though she’s retired. She gets my vote for the “anything you can do” commercial with Jordan.
    Number two is Michelle Wie.
    I don’t believe that too many little girls are headed to the tennis courts these days, soo that takes Serena out of the running for me. Danica Patrick is a good story, but not terribly inspiring.

  5. Joe Longhorn Says:

    p.s. Al, love the verification. Gets rid of the spammers!

    Wish me luck at Chavez ravine this weekend. I’m going to carry my Astros gear in and out of the stadium in a backpack and only wear it inside the stadium. I don’t want to get shot in the parking lot!

  6. Soren Says:

    Al,

    No real argument with your b-ball picks. I’m in my “the-Cubs-disappoint-AGAIN” August funk.

    As for women’s sports. You are on target for the most part. But here’s the thing: No one wants to watch! Remember when NBC tried to cram the WNBA down our throats when the league first began? There are few fans in the stands and even fewer watching on t.v.

    Yes, some of us will watch the girls tennis and be in awe, but I agree with one of my friends who said, “Who wants to watch a bunch of women doing stuff that you and your buddies can do in a pick up game down at the gym?” Ouch!

    And do you know why the women volleyball players wear those skimpy outfits? So somebody, anybody, will watch their sport.

    I will watch the Women’s Final Four, but during the season, I’d rather watch a high school boys game. The women’s game has vastly improved in recent years, but for the most part, it’s too slow and boring.

  7. Michael Lasley Says:

    Braves, Cards, Padres, Stros. Braves win NL

    Sox, Sox, Angels, Yanks.
    Yanks win AL

    Braves win W.S.

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