Novak Djokovic takes the game seriously when he’s in the middle of a tennis match. When he’s done playing, he becomes a showman. His antics have included eating blades of grass on the court, tapping reporters in the nuts, and doing impressions.
After coming back to beat Roger Federer in five sets Saturday at the U.S. Open Saturday, CBS reporter Mary Joe Fernandez asked Novak to dance. He complied:
The crowd seemed to be pro-Federer throughout the match, but they ended up cheering on Djokovic after his magnificent comeback. They’re lucky he obliged Fernandez after the crowd supported Roger most of the way. It also goes without saying that Novak could gain something by taking lessons from Andrea Petkovic, the best post-match dancer on tour.
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- Novak Djokovic
The Colts learned this week that four-time MVP quarterback Peyton Manning would miss 2-3 months after undergoing a third neck surgery. Even if he does return this season, which I don’t believe will happen, the Colts will play most of the year without him. They signed veteran Kerry Collins three weeks ago and plan to have him start their season opener. A lot of folks are projecting the Colts to be the worst team in football without Peyton. Some are thinking they could end up with the top overall pick in the draft. I agree that Indy won’t be anything close to a playoff team without Peyton, but I don’t think they’ll be dreadful.
Organizationally, the Colts have things together. Having Peyton at quarterback has led to consistent winning for the past decade, but Indy has also drafted well. They have some good receivers, a decent line, and an above average defensive line. They also have a bunch of professionals who don’t figure to be the quitting type.
If Collins were in camp earlier and working with the team, they would be in much better shape. They probably will need at least a few weeks to get the offense on point, but there is no reason the defense shouldn’t play well. The Colts will compete, and I don’t even think they’ll be the worst team in their division (the Jags are). Indy probably stacks up with Denver, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington and some of the other poor teams in the NFL. They won’t be good, but I don’t envision a two-win mess of a season coming on. I think six wins is the number.
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- Peyton Manning
Novak Djokovic put together an impressive comeback in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Saturday. The top overall seed came back from down two sets to none against Roger Federer to win in five sets. He fought off two match points after being down in the fifth set and won 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. But watching Djokovic come back to win the match wasn’t nearly as bizarre as seeing rapper/producer/actor P. Diddy sitting in Novak’s box along with Jelena Ristic:
Diddy has been in sports headlines recently because his son is being recruited by colleges to play football. I knew he hosted a Hamptons party each year, but who knew he was a tennis fan? Is this not the oddest relationship in sports? Definitely the weirdest since this.
Diddy was all about the tennis. He was watching, cheering intensely, and … texting?
The Dodgers beat the Giants 2-1 in the opener of a three-game series Friday night. Clayton Kershaw went eight innings of three-hit ball, walking one and striking out nine for the win. Tim Lincecum matched him by allowing just one run over eight innings, but the Dodgers scored in the 9th with Kershaw as the pitcher of record. Lincecum took a no-decision.
Timmy is putting in another fantastic season for the Giants. He’s gone 12-12 with a 2.68 ERA and 206 strikeouts. Kershaw is 18-5 with 2.36 ERA and an NL-best 231 strikeouts. The Giants pitcher, who has won two Cy Young Awards, said after Friday’s game he knows who should win the award this year.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Lincecum said Kershaw would be his choice. “The young lefty just keeps getting better and better. He has incredible stuff, and every season, he’s learning more about how to compete with it,” Andrew Baggarly wrote.
“He doesn’t give in,” Lincecum said. “You can see his confidence when he’s pitching. He knows he’s good. The most important thing as a pitcher is to know you’ll get the job done. You can see it with him. He’s done it all year.”
I wrote last month that the Dodgers could have a Cy Young winner and MVP on a last-place team. The team has shaped up and is now close to .500. Meanwhile, Kershaw has gotten even better lately. Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay will provide competition for the award, but the way Kershaw’s pitching, he is the front-runner for the award. If even the rival Lincecum is saying it, it must be true.
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It’s not enough for Derek Jeter to get his own line of gear at MLB.com commemorating his 3,000 hits. It’s not enough that his Yankees teammates commissioned a statue celebrating the milestone. The Angels decided they had to get in on the act.
This is actually nothing new. We told you last month that the Angels planned to honor Jeter when the Yankees came to Anaheim. Well the Yankees arrived in Anaheim Friday night and the Angels welcomed Jeter with open arms.
Manager Mike Scioscia and outfielder Torii Hunter presented Jeter with a painting commemorating his 3,000 hits prior to the game. The PA announcer also congratulated Jeter after the second inning, drawing cheers from the crowd.
That’s something I just don’t understand.
Jeter has been a memorable player who will one day be in the Hall of Fame. When that day comes, all teams in baseball can celebrate him. Until that point, why would the Angels encourage fans to cheer on an opponent who’s still trying to beat them? I’m all for sportsmanship and I do believe Jeter deserves to be celebrated, but now is not the time. You can respect the opponent, by why celebrate the opponent while you’re still competing against him?
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Phillies utility man Pete Orr avoided a potentially dangerous situation in Milwaukee Friday night during the customary sausage race. His nifty moves allowed him to avoid contact with one of the sausages in an anti-Randall Simon way. I’m guessing he really just had money on the chorizo.
Video Credit: YouTube user teeoh
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Tigers TV analyst Rod Allen got himself into trouble again with an offensive comment. You may recall that the former outfielder said the Tigers were going to need a lot of rice and beans in their postgame spread two months ago because of a Latin-heavy lineup. Allen later apologized for the stereotypical comment. This time it took him less than 10 minutes to apologize for offending another group of people.
During the sixth inning of Friday night’s Tigers-Twins game, play-by-play man Mario Impemba asked Allen what minor league city was his favorite. Allen said it was Buffalo and he explained why.
“The atmosphere at the ballpark was second-to-none. They had people at the concession stands that were dancing on top of the dugouts. They had some midgets around, they had some giants around.”
A half inning later, Allen took a moment to apologize for calling little people “midgets.”
“I want to get back to something I said last half inning. I used an incorrect term when I was referring to some of the little people that were part of the production in Buffalo. I used an incorrect term and I apologize if I offended anyone out there for using that term that I used.”
Below is the audio of his remarks. The audio quality is somewhat poor:[audio:http://larrybrownsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/rod-allen.mp3|titles=rod-allen]
Allen seems to mean well, and he generally is very enthusiastic on telecasts, but the Tigers have to be concerned with his propensity to make offensive comments, however innocent they may seem. I am not a little person nor am I Hispanic, but I’m sure I’d be offended by what he’s said if I were. He needs to approach on-air matters with that attitude.
- Rod Allen
Recruiting high school teenagers can be a tricky pursuit. These are 16, 17, and 18 year olds holding leverage over college coaches. Coaches will send letters, emails, notes, and text messages to try and secure a commitment from a player. Sometimes all it takes is ugly school colors for a player to cross a school off his list. That’s what happened with Baylor and Archie Goodwin.
Goodwin is a 6’5″ shooting guard from Sylvan Hills High School in Arkansas. He’s reportedly considering UConn, Kansas, Memphis, Kentucky, and Arkansas. One school he’s no longer considering is Baylor. The reason is equal parts aggravating and entertaining.
“Coach Scott Drew is a great guy. I love Coach Drew. They were one of the first schools that were recruiting me. But I didn’t like that they were an adidas team, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t go to Kansas because Kansas is a great team. I can look over the adidas thing – I own some adidas stuff. [Goodwin played recent summers with the Arkansas Wings Elite team, which is sponsored by Nike] I didn’t like their colors, either. I don’t like green and gold. That’s ugly …. When you got ugly colors like that, you gotta be Nike. …. Baylor has some ugly shoes, too.”
Sports Seer adds that one of the coaches moved on to the NBA, and that Goodwin wasn’t interested in playing in Baylor’s 2-3 zone. Still, citing ugly school colors as a reason to eliminate a school seems pretty lame. But I guess when you are a top prospect and every school wants you, you’re able to make decisions based on such simple factors.
Maybe if a Baylor fan had offered to name their first-born child after Goodwin he would have reconsidered.
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- College Basketball
Coastal Carolina football coach David Bennett gave a bizarre speech at his press conference this week prior to his team’s game against Catawba. I did not understand one word of his speech, much less the point of his overall message. Something about cats and dogs, I gather:
Someone please explain that to me. What the heck was he saying? If it was about cats sucking, then I’m with him. Not a cat fan either.
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The reports throughout Packers training camp said James Starks looked significantly better than Ryan Grant. On Thursday night, that assertion was evident for anyone who watched the game.
The Packers let Ryan Grant carry the ball their first two offensive series and then he was hardly heard from. It was almost as if they were giving him the courtesy start, knowing fully well that he wasn’t going to carry the load. James Starks came in and looked better. The highlight was Starks’ 17-yard touchdown run towards the end of the second quarter when he spun off tacklers and ran physically.
Ryan Grant was once a very effective rusher for the Packers. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry in 2007 and 4.4 in 2009. But since getting hurt in the season-opener last year, he has come back a step slower. Grant was able to break a tackle on one run, but for the most part he looked slow and unable to shake the first tackler. Unbiased eyes would tell you that Starks just looked like the better back. There is little doubt the Packers’ coaches will see the same thing on tape. Matter of fact, they saw the same thing during the game and gave Starks 12 carries to Grant’s nine.
Most people who have Ryan Grant on their fantasy team likely took him to be their second running back. Those owners will be disappointed all season. Grant is at best a flex option, and his fantasy appeal is unlikely to improve. Starks has more appeal, but even he is not a great option because he has to share carries. At least he is a much better flex play than Grant going forward.