British Open, AVP Tour, WNBA at Arthur Ashe, Angels Sweep, ESPYs...
However way you look at it, it was a crazy weekend in sports, especially here in New York. The Yankees were back in action against the Oakland Athletics, the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour came to Coney Island and pro basketball history was made at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
- YANKEES: The Bronx Bombers are currently on a four-game winning streak after their sweep of the Oakland Athletics and their win last night against the Minnesota Twins. The Angels' sweep of the Boston Red Sox in Los Angeles helped to close the gap between the two teams. The Yankees are now 4.5 games behind the Sox, who are 1.5 games behind the AL East leaders Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Hunt for October is in full swing.
- AVP BROOKLYN OPEN: I've been to this event before and it's definitely exciting to watch pro beach volleyball players rock your local beach, especially when your local beach is Coney Island. Personally, I think the AVP is the most fan-friendly event of all the professional leagues out there. Where else can you be five feet away from the pros, get high fives from them and then watch them win the championship, all in a span of three days? If the AVP ever gets to your local beach, definitely check them out...Anyway, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh remained undefeated after they won their 17th title in a row in Brooklyn. They are sure favorites for the gold in Beijing.
- OUTDOOR WNBA BASKETBALL: So in my last post, I talked about the hype of pros playing outdoor basketball. Well, from what I saw on television, it didn't exactly live up to the hype. I thought it was cool but it doesn't help promote the league if there are lots of empty seats. Sure, there may have been over 19,000 attendees, but that doesn't look like a lot in a stadium that seats 23,000+. Maybe the WNBA should choose a more intimate arena next time...It would also help if the matchup was even, but from what I saw, the Liberty played very flat and the home crowd didn't have much to cheer for. So much for the experiment but I wonder if they'll do it again.
- BRITISH OPEN: The biggest event of the weekend happened across the pond. Greg Norman was going for history to be the oldest player to win a major. It was a great storyline that carried viewers through the weekend of morning golf, especially on Sunday morning. But in the end, it was Padraig Harrington, with two spectacular shots on the last two holes, that ended up with the claret jug, winning his second consecutive title. I guess golf without Tiger Woods can exist after all.
- ESPYs: I watched them, it was interesting, light-hearted, rather funny. It's kind of like a big celebrity party with a sports theme. Sure there were serious moments (like the Arthur Ashe Award presentation) and it was great looking back at a great year of sports, but I could never take the ESPYs as seriously as the Oscars or Grammys. Then again, I guess it was never meant to...Justin Timberlake wasn't bad as a host, his jokes weren't bad either. At least he could sing.
Olympic Basketball Draw Set; Croatia and Greece Win Qualifiers
It's the only tournament where the losers of the semifinals go on to the finals. Croatia and Greece won their respective semifinals in Athens at the Olympic Basketball Qualifying Tournament for Men, thus securing a place in the main draw. There was only one spot left, and that was open to the winner of the 3rd place game between Germany and Puerto Rico.
This is the final week of the Tour de France and we'll put that into focus later this week. But our main priority for the rest of July and in the run-up to the Olympic Games will be previewing Beijing 2008. Tomorrow will be a super Olympic Preview as I make up for the time that we lost on Sunday and Monday. We'll take a look at the marquee events of Track and Field, gymnastics and swimming.
Besides the Tour de France, we'll also look at some track and field warm-up meets in Europe, Superliga football, World League Finals in volleyball and much more in the world of sports.
We may have missed two days, but NOW Sports is back and in full force so keep reading all this week.