Around the Sporting World This Week

Los Angeles Lakers Thrashing of Orlando Magic

The Magic were certainly not very magical in the first game of the NBA Finals. Losing by 25, Orlando simply could not get the job done in Los Angeles. Of course, if they have any shot at the league crown, they must steal one at the Coliseum in LA. They have a chance on Sunday. If they can’t do it on Sunday, then this is a five-game series. There is no way that Orlando will be able to dig themselves out of a 2-0 hole versus the Lakers. The Lakers are not the Celtics or the Cavaliers. The Lakers are one of the most talented, skilled, deep team in the NBA. This entire series comes down to game two. The Lakers will take it.

Big Unit Gets 300th  

Randy Johnson, the Big Unit, got his 300th career victory this week. Johnson, who is a member of the San Francisco Giants, beat the Washington Nationals, pitching six innings, giving up two hits, striking out two and giving up no runs. On the season, Johnson is 5-4 with a 5.12 ERA. Only 23 players in MLB history have notched 300 or more wins. The Big Unit did it on a rainy night in Washington, D.C. Johnson looked impressive despite playing with a bruised left shoulder. The Big Unit, a lefty, is considered to be one of the greatest pitchers of all time.

Johnson, who has won five Cy Young Awards and four straight, has the second most career strikeouts ever. In 2001, he recorded 13.41 strikeouts per nine innings. That’s the best single season rate ever for a MLB player. He struck out 20 once and 19 twice. He’s thrown a perfect game (only seven have been thrown in the NL), and he has two no-nos. As a lefty, he is considered to be the third best in MLB history, behind Lefty Grove and Warren Spahn. His winning percentage of .647 is fourth amongst 300-game winners. He has six 300-plus strikeout seasons. And somehow, despite numerous physical problems, the guy keeps pitching.

John Lester Flirts with his Second No-hitter

Boston starter John Lester flirted with the second no-hitter of his young career on Saturday as the Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 8-1. The Boston starter threw a two-hitter, which was impressive considering how lethal the Rangers’ bats have been. Lester, a cancer survivor, retired the first 19 batters that he faced. That took him into the seventh inning.  The one run that Lester gave up was in the ninth inning on a sacrifice fly by Andruw Jones to drive in Elvis Andrus.

Lester has been uneven this season, going 5-5 with a 5.09 ERA. In the offensive area for the Sox, it was Mike Lowell and David Ortiz who smacked homers to help Boston win the contest.

It’s hard not to root for a guy like Lester, who has faced a lot of hardship and managed to come through with flying colors.

The Penguins Fight Back

The Pittsburgh Penguins managed to tie the Stanley Cup Finals at two games apiece. They did it by taking two at home. It does look as if this series is all about home cooking. Once the Red Wings got back to Detroit on last night they hammered the Guins 5-0. Now it’s back to Pittsburgh for game six on Tuesday.

Although Pittsburgh has played well at home, they still need to win the next one and steal one in Motown. I can’t see that happening. On Saturday, the Wings got three power play goals in the second period.

Pittsburgh goalie Fleury was taken out part way through the second period. He saw 26 shots and stopped only 21 for a save percentage of just 76.19. Detroit goalie Osgood saw 22 shots and saved everyone.

NASCAR Revamps Restarts

NASCAR has decided to change the way in which they restart races after a delay. Starting Sunday, they will begin using double-file restarts with the leaders up front. They had done this in the All-Star race with good effect.

The new format will have leaders in the front in double-file. Lapped cars would no longer be allowed to get the inside edge on restarts or to interfere with leaders, which has been the case recently.

The new restart policy is a result of NASCAR listening to what fans want. The new policy is enforce this weekend at Pocono.

Gators CB Jenkins Arrested

There was bad news for the top-ranked Florida Gators this week as police in Gainesville, Florida arrested starting cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins was charged with fighting and resisting arrest. The Gators’ CB was observed punching another man in the head just after 2 a.m. on Saturday. Jenkins, who would not stop fighting, was shot by the police with a Taser. He then attempted to flee.

Last season, Jenkins was named to the SEC Coaches’ All-Freshman Team after having been only the second true freshman in school history to start at CB on day one of the season.

Reports say that the fight started because Jenkins thought someone was going to steal the gold chain around his neck. The university has not offered any comment at this time. For the Gators, this could be the start of a major distraction and an uneven season or a ripple on the way to their next championship. Stay tuned.

Speaking of Staying Tuned—Digital TV

Okay, guys, if you’re living under a rock or have no brain in your head then you have NOT heard the news—television is going digital. It’s sort of amazing to me that there’s been an ongoing campaign for what seems like an eternity about this transformation. Basically, it affects folks who still use rabbit ears and TVs that are not cable ready. (Do those people even watch television?) Well folks—it’s a mere five days away. June 12, 2009, America goes digital. If you lose your signal and can’t catch your favorite sport on the tube then all I can say is “where have you been?”

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