What a weekend. We had the NBA playoffs, the NHL playoffs, the Kentucky Derby; throw in a bit of end-of-the-year Footy from overseas, the Mayweather Cotto fight, some hotly contested early May baseball (some of this paragraph has been dramatized), and the start of NFL rookie camps (Jets camp has already compared Stephen Hill to Calvin Johnson, DeMario Davis to Ray Lewis. A good draft, if you ask me).
Needless to say, if everybody was adhering to their gender roles this weekend, as they should be, then there were a lot of angry girlfriends whose hopes for beach picnics were ignored in favor of the television. But seriously, girlfriends, it was way too windy this weekend for a beach picnic! And more so, here are some of the highlights we would have missed.
Cole Hamels is old school? Not only did Cole Hamels plunk Nationals' 19-year-old phenom Bryce Harper in the first inning during Sunday Night Baseball, but he admitted to doing so on purpose. His argument, in a nutshell, is that Harper is enjoying way too many niceties as an unproven rookie. I had no clue until now that Hamels' principles on the mound reflect that of Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, and Pedro Martinez. I had him pegged as a changeup-throwing pretty boy southpaw. Even better, however, is that Harper responded by stealing home later that inning.
The Baltimore Orioles have the best record in baseball. With a 19-9 record, the Baltimore Orioles capped off a three game sweep in Fenway by pulling out a win in 17 innings. Their pitching staff has allowed the fewest runs in the American League (topped by the Nats and the Cards over in the NL,) they have the most road wins in the Majors (11.) Oh, and the winning pitcher in Sundays marathon of a game was Chris Davis, the DH, who happened to go 0-8 at the plate. That has to be the least likely performance ever put forth by a designated hitter.
Albert Pujols went deep. Finally. Hopefully for the Angels he hits a couple more of those in the next ten years that he is under contract with the team. Eeking out a 4-3 win over the Jays, its clear how badly the Angels need every single RBI Albert has to give this season. That home run gave him 7 on the year.
The Flyers are way better at violent, high-scoring grudge hockey than normal hockey. After a 4-2 loss to the Devils on Sunday the Flyers find themselves down 3-1 in the series. They quickly became the favorite after annihilating the Penguins (who many picked to win it all) in the opening series. That series, which featured 45 goals in the first 4 games and plenty of fights such as this one was as ridiculous as it was entertaining. Now that the Flyers are competing in a composed, emotionally stable series with a team that can stop the puck, they look entirely unremarkable.
The 8th-seeded LA Kings have swept their way into the semis. It wasn't long ago that I was reading an article by Bill Simmons about how medicore the LA Kings were. He described the team as having no identity, an inability to score goals, finish checks, or even lose with any style. Their one bright spot, he said, was goalkeeper Jonathan Quick, though his stellar play was far from enough to justify the season tickets Simmons found himself buying when facing the NBA lockout last year. But now here they are, a #8 seed, in the Western Conference Finals , after sweeping the St. Louis Blues. Sweeps are especially difficult to complete in the NHL playoffs, more so than in the MLB or NBA. I think that this is because, regardless of how two teams are playing, when it's all said and done, we're still dealing in men on ice skates, and so everything evens out a little bit when given enough time. There's no reason not pick the Kings to go to the Stanley Cup at this point, except maybe my men on ice skates theory. Who really knows.