SportsNet - June 2012
The No. 7 shirt at Manchester United is probably the most iconic shirt number in the World. It's been glittered with stars upon stars but it now remains undesignated after Michael Owen's departure.
The first major star to wear the No. 7 for Manchester United was the one and only George Best. "The Beautiful Boy" joined the red half of Manchester in 1963. He had a memorable 11 year spell at Old Trafford winning Manchester United's first ever European Cup. However, many probably think he won more than he actually did.
Only two league titles and two charity shields accompanied the European success. This doesn't take anything away from his goal scoring prowess. He scored 137 league goals for United and he is a legend of the British game. He also remains the only player to win the Ballon d'Or from Northern Ireland.
Saturday was a good night for Jiu Jitsu tattoos and emotional Brazilians. However, it was a night of horror for testicles.
Striking to the groin. Though technically legal in the very first UFC, this was one of the first actions officially outlawed en route to today's Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. The low blow is synonymous with unacceptable activity.
And yet, it is probably the most common foul called in the UFC. The fights of 147 underscored that ubiquity. I counted at least seven stoppages for groin strikes in five different fights. As with most nut shots at the professional level, all were deemed accidental with no point deductions. Still, the frequency makes you wonder...
On June 13, 2012, AT&T Park in San Francisco was finally able to witness its next "big moment." In 2010, the Giants clinched each series of their improbable World Series title on the road and fans were deprived of celebrating at home. Sure, Jonathan Sanchez threw his no-hitter at home, but Juan Uribe's error at third diminished the "magic factor" of the night.
However, with nine innings of pure dominance, 27-year old Matt Cain gave the home crowd what they'd been waiting for. Not since the days of Barry Bonds' race to become the 'Home-Run King' had the park been as electric as it was that Wednesday night. As fans began to realize what Cain was in the middle of, the cheers and chants began to pick up in intensity. Of course, no perfect game is without an amazing defensive play. Buerhle had Wise, Halladay had Castro's two spinning throws from third, and Cain had Blanco.
It's been a few days since LeBron James and the Miami Heat exorcised their demons by winning the NBA Championship in five games and captured the Larry O'Brian Trophy. Regardless of whether you deride James, or venerate him, you have to respect the fact that he put up one of the best individual playoff performances in the history of the league.
James averaged 30.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 5.6 assists and put the choker labels and 'three quarters in a change for a dollar' jokes to rest. His triple-double in Game 5 of the Finals that sealed the deal when the Heat topped the Thunder, 121-106; that performance also granted him with the coveted title of the Finals MVP.
Now that the pressure is off James' shoulders because of his recent claim to fame, it's no longer a question of, when will get it; but now it's a question of, "how many more rings will he get?" There's no question that James has upped his game this year and according to him, he was "getting back to the basics." He will win multiple championships, but he is still losing a battle.
It has always been a bit of a mystery why Roy Hodgson failed so spectacularly at Liverpool. The media spin was that it was one of those mismatch situations. However, we are now seeing the real Hodgson. A stubborn and intransigent dinosaur who only sees his own point of view and sticks to a negative set up that has served him well in places like Sweden. However, when you scrutinize Hodgsons managerial career, it is a litany of coming second. Hodgson is the nearly man of football management.
He took unfashionable Switzerland to the last 16 of the World Cup in 1994. During his reign at Finland, they rose to 33rd ranking. Their highest place. He has been a beaten finalist in the EUFA Cup and Europa League Cup. Hodgson managed Inter and took them to 7th and then 3rd place in Serie A. A year later, Luigi Simoni took them to 2nd in the league and won the EUFA cup. Are you getting the picture?
Hodgson was second choice despite the rhetoric from the FA. He is second in almost everything. Now England have been reduced to a side that is " difficult to beat!" When have England ever been reduced to this?