PostSeason

Astros shut out Yankees in ALCS

On Saturday night in Houston, the Astros defeated the Yankees by a score of 4-0 (box score) in Game 7 of the ALCS. The Astros will now advance to take on the Dodgers in the World Series, which begins Tuesday in Los Angeles.
As for Game 7, Houston starter Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers pitching in relief combined for the three-hit shutout. For the Astros, Evan Gattis and Jose Altuve homered, and Alex Bregman shined on defense. On the other side, CC Sabathia allowed only one run despite putting eight men on base in 3 1/3 innings. However, Tommy Kahnle, who had been perfect in the 2017 postseason, gave up three runs in 1 1/3 innings. On offense, the Yankees as a team went 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position.
Here are 14 more things to know about Game 7.
Morton was nails
What an effort from Charlie Morton in the biggest game of his life. He coughed up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in his previous ALCS start, but this time around, he threw the ball very well.

Morton was efficient, needing only 54 pitches to get through five innings, 37 of those pitches going for strikes. He had the stuff, sitting mid-90s with the fastball and masterfully weaving in the ol’ 12-to-6 curveball. He allowed just two hits while striking out five and walking one.
The Astros were likely prepared for anything when it came to the pitching plan in this one. Among the most unlikely outcomes heading in, at least for outside observers, was Morton dealing for five scoreless.
It was only five innings — by design — but Morton deserves heaps of praise in this one. He stifled a very good offense.

Home field rules

We just witnessed a seven-game series in which the home team won every game. It feels like this happens often in the NBA, but in MLB it’s not commonplace. In fact, there have only been four postseason series where the home team won every single game (via Dan Hirsch):
1987 World Series – Twins over Cardinals
1991 World Series – Twins over Braves
2001 World Series – Diamondbacks over Yankees
2004 NLCS – Cardinals over Astros

Read more and CBS News


Astros’ offense and emotions wake up

Jose Altuve has led the American League in hits each of the last four seasons, his total adding up to 845. It’s likely none of them evoked the kind of animated display the Houston Astros second baseman let loose after his fifth-inning single Friday.

Jose Altuve was the Astros’ emotional leader in Game 6, firing up the team with a pair of huge key hits.

His fellow Astros hitters were nearly as pumped.
For five-plus games, the most prolific offense in the majors had been bottled up in the AL Championship Series, held to a mere nine runs and a .147 batting average by the New York Yankees pitching staff.

Friday’s do-or-die Game 6 was looking much the same until Brian McCann broke through with a fifth-inning double for the night’s first run, after Houston had gone 4-for-27 in its previous chances with runners in scoring position in the series.

But it wasn’t until Altuve followed three batters later with his two-RBI hit that Minute Maid Park truly exploded, as the sellout crowd of 43,179 sensed a decisive Game 7 would be in the offing.

GAME 6: Verlander dominates again as Astros force decisive Game 7

Read more


Wow, it’s hard to believe the season is almost over! 2017 has been an exciting pennant race with the Boston Red Sox going out early and my local favorite – Washington Nationals losing again.

It just seems like Dusty Baker chokes when it counts. They say that baseball is a game of inches. Well, their lost to last year’s World Series Champions – Chicago Cubs was very disappointing given the fact that they had an incredible regular season.

What has been very frustrating this year is the fact that the Baltimore Orioles started off the season with one of the best winning records. However, by late April / early May they fell apart and never saw first place again.  The O’s finished in last place.

So, now I’ve switched to the Houston Astros, which I predict are going to beat the Yankees and play the Dodgers in the World Series.

The Ripken Way

Cal Ripken Jr. acknowledges the crowd after officially breaking Lou Gehrig’s record.

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Practice does not make perfect. How is that possible? Because bad habits may be practiced, and practicing a flawed technique will get a player nowhere. The only way to do something is to do it right. Practicing good habits is what makes a better player. Habits are formed in practice and then become automatic in the game. You play like you practice; If you practice correctly, you will play correctly.

Introduction

Iron Man – Cal Ripken plays in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking Lou Gehrig’s record; truly one of baseball’s magical, once-in-a-lifetime moments. Watch Video

Teaching BaseballPrintable Lessons as well as Video Lessons (click # links below) on the Basic Fundamentals of Hitting, Infield & Outfield Play, Pitching and even a Glossary. Instructors include Cal Ripken Jr., Billy Ripken, John Habyan and Joe Orsulak.

HITTING

Hitting is probably the most difficult part of the game. However, it is also the most enjoyable and satisfying part, as we all love to hit a baseball. It’s difficult because the pitcher has the ability to throw the ball hard, or not so hard, or to make it curve or sink. As the hitter, we not only have to determine what pitch has been thrown, but also whether it is a strike or a ball. If it is a strike, we have to attempt to hit it. All of this must be done in a fraction of a second. Like all parts of the game there are basic fundamentals that can help make us become better hitters. Lessons 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11

INFIELD

Infield defense can be broken down into two parts: catching and throwing. It’s as simple as that. If we don’t catch the ground ball, we certainly can’t throw it. If you take that concept to its extreme form, a double play is five simple parts: a catch, a throw, a catch, a throw and a catch. Lessons 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

OUTFIELD

Outfield play, especially at the youth levels, often gets overlooked. Even though the outfielder is not directly involved in the majority of plays, coaches need to stress the importance of the position. An outfielder has to be able to maintain concentration throughout the game, because there may only be one or two hit balls that come directly to that player during the course of the contest. Those plays could be the most important ones. There also are many little things an outfielder can do — backing up throws and other outfielders, cutting off balls and keeping runners from taking extra bases, and throwing to the proper cutoffs and bases – that don’t show up in a scorebook, but can really help a team play at a high level. Lessons 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 10, 11, 12

PITCHING

As a pitching coach or an instructor, you do most of your work from behind the mound watching pitchers throw. There is a certain progression to use when you are observing pitchers. The first thing to do, especially when watching pitchers for the first time, is to just observe. Resist the urge to discuss any theories or any expectations. Just give them the ball and let them throw for 10 minutes. When watching pitchers throw for the first time, it’s important to look for three things, and one of them isn’t mechanics. Don’t really concentrate on mechanics as one of the first things. Lessons 00, 00b, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10

LIGHT BULBS

Lessons 00, 01, 02

Triple Crown

Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7, 2016

Only 12 horses have won the Triple Crown: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), and American Pharoah (2015).Mar 30, 2016

Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing

  • Sir Barton, the first Triple Crown winner, at the 1919 Preakness Stakes
  • American Pharoah, the 12th and latest winner, at the 2015 Preakness Stakes

The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, commonly known as the Triple Crown, is a title awarded to a three-year-old Thoroughbred horse who wins the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The three races were inaugurated in different years, the last being the Kentucky Derby in 1875. These races are now run annually in May and early June of each year. The Triple Crown Trophy, commissioned in 1950 but awarded to all previous winners as well as those after 1950, is awarded to a Triple Crown winner.

Only twelve horses have won the Triple Crown: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), and American Pharoah (2015).

Secretariat holds the stakes record time for each of the three races. His time of 2:24 for  1 1⁄2 miles in the 1973 Belmont Stakes also set a world record that still stands. Read more

Secretariat

Secretariat as an older stallion. Sire Bold Ruler. Grandsire Nasrullah. Dam Somethingroyal.  Damsire Princequillo. Sex Stallion. Foaled March 30, 1970 The Meadow, Caroline County, Virginia. Died October 4, 1989 (aged 19) Claiborne Farm Paris, Kentucky. Breeder Meadow Stud (Christopher Chenery). Owner Meadow Stable (Christopher Chenery, Penny Chenery). Racing colors Blue, white blocks, white stripes on sleeves, blue cap. Trainer Lucien Laurin. Record
21:16–3–1. Earnings $1,316,808

Secretariat (March 30, 1970 – October 4, 1989) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse who, in 1973, became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. His record-breaking win in the Belmont Stakes, where he left the field 31 lengths behind him, is widely regarded as one of the greatest races of all time. During his racing career, he won five Eclipse Awards, including Horse of the Year honors at ages two and three. He was elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1974. In the List of the Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century, Secretariat is second only to Man o’ War (racing career 1919–1920), who also was a large chestnut colt given the nickname “Big Red”.

At age two, Secretariat finished fourth in his 1972 debut in a maiden race, but then won seven of his remaining eight starts, including five stakes victories. His only loss during this period was in the Champagne Stakes, where he finished first but was disqualified to second for interference. He received the Eclipse Award for champion two-year-old colt, and also was the 1972 Horse of the Year, a rare honor for a horse so young. At age three, Secretariat not only won the Triple Crown, he set speed records in all three races. His time in the Kentucky Derby still stands as the Churchill Downs track record for  1 1⁄4 miles, and his time in the Belmont Stakes stands as the American record for  1 1⁄2 miles on the dirt. His controversial time in the Preakness Stakes was eventually recognized as a stakes record in 2012. Secretariat’s win in the Gotham Stakes tied the track record for 1 mile, he set a world record in the Marlboro Cup at  1 1⁄8 miles and further proved his versatility by winning two major stakes races on turf. He lost three times that year: in the Wood Memorial, Whitney and Woodward Stakes, but the brilliance of his nine wins made him an American icon. He won his second Horse of the Year title, plus Eclipse Awards for champion three-year-old colt and champion turf horse.

At the beginning of his three-year-old year, Secretariat was syndicated for a record-breaking $6.08 million on condition that he be retired from racing by the end of the year. Although he sired several successful racehorses, he ultimately was most influential through his daughters’ offspring, becoming the leading broodmare sire in North America in 1992. Secretariat died in 1989 due to laminitis. His daughters produced several notable sires, including Storm Cat, A.P. Indy, Gone West, Dehere and Chief’s Crown, and through them Secretariat appears in the pedigree of many modern champions. He continues to be recognized as one of the greatest horses in American racing history. Read more

Watch the movie – Click here

Kentucky Derby

Saturday, May 6th @ 2:30pm is the 143rd running of the Derby

Check out the News. The Kentucky Derby is a horse race held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. Location: Churchill Downs; Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. Track: Left-handed. Distance: 1 1⁄4 miles (10 furlongs; 2,012 m). Purse: US$2 million; 1st: $1,425,000. Record: 1: 59 2⁄5 secs, Secretariat (1973). Qualification: 3-year-old. Inaugurated: 1875.

 

The Infield – The People’s Race…The People’s Party

Saturday, May 20th is the Preakness

Pimlico

Opened in the fall of 1870, with the colt Preakness winning the first running of the Dinner Party Stakes. Three years later the horse would have the 1873 Preakness Stakes named in his honor. The track is also noted as the home for the match race in which Seabiscuit beat War Admiral in the second Pimlico Special, on November 1, 1938, before a crowd of 43,000. The capacity of the stadium is 98,983.

The Preakness Stakes and the Pimlico Special are run at a distance of 1 3/16 miles. The Pimlico track record for that distance is held by Farma Way, who set it while winning the Pimlico Special in 1991.

In the century and more since its opening, Pimlico Race Track has weathered much outside history including the 1904 Great Fire of Baltimore, Great Depression of the 1930s, and several notable Baltimore riots. Pimlico also survived Prohibition and even an anti-gambling movement in 1910. As Alfred G. Vanderbilt said, “Pimlico is more than a dirt track bounded by four streets. It is an accepted American institution, devoted to the best interests of a great sport, graced by time, respected for its honorable past.” The races held at Pimlico, especially the Preakness, draw spectators from the Mid-Atlantic region. In 2007, the official attendance was 121,263 for the Preakness, the most people to watch a sporting event in Maryland history. More than $87.2 million in bets were made.

On March 23, 2010 an agreement was reached to sell the two Maryland Jockey Club tracks (Pimlico and Laurel Park) from Magna Entertainment Corporation to its parent company, MI Development. On May 7, Penn National, with MI Development, announced they would jointly own and operate the Maryland Jockey Club. Penn National, which began in 1973, operating a thoroughbred race track near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has grown to become the largest racetrack operator in the country.[3]

In June 2011, The Stronach Group took control of the tracks when MI Development bought out Penn National Gaming’s minority stake in the Maryland Jockey Club, which owned Laurel Park Racecourse, Pimlico, and a training facility in Bowie. The Stronach Group is owned by Canadian horse breeder and owner Frank Stronach, who also was MI Development’s chairman and chief executive, a position he gave up in order to run Maryland’s racetracks. Penn National bought a 49% stake in the Jockey Club in 2010 in hopes of securing a slots license at Laurel Park. Read more

Belmont Stakes

The 149th Running of the Belmont Stakes will take place on Saturday, June 10, 2017. Read more.  The Belmont Stakes is an American Grade I stakes Thoroughbred horse race held every June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It is a 1.5-mile-long (2.4 km) horse race, open to three-year-old Thoroughbreds. Colts and geldings carry a weight of 126 pounds (57 kg); fillies carry 121 pounds (55 kg).

The race, nicknamed The Test of the Champion and The Run for the Carnations, is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown and is held five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes, on a Saturday between June 5 and June 11. The 1973 Belmont Stakes and Triple Crown winner Secretariat holds the mile and a half stakes record (which is also a track and world record on dirt) of 2:24.

The attendance at the Belmont Stakes is among the American thoroughbred racing top attended events. The 2004 Belmont Stakes drew a television audience of 21.9 million viewers, and had the highest household viewing rate since 1977 when Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown.

 

 

Junior Orioles Dugout Club

The official Kids’ Club of the Orioles for fans 14 and under

2017 EXCLUSIVE MEMBER BENEFITS
* A ticket to six selected Orioles games (see plan schedule options below)
* Official Junior Orioles Dugout Club items:
– Hat
– Socks
– Pencil case
– Lanyard

* Official Membership Card
* All inside an Orioles Backpack!
* Member-only giveaway item at every Dugout Club game
* Season subscription to Orioles Kids magazine
* Plus, for Dugout Club games, family and friends will have the opportunity to purchase additional tickets starting at just $6!

Purchase here

World Baseball Classic

Adam Jones’ game-saving catch robs teammate Manny Machado in WBC

U.S. outfielder Adam Jones makes a catch above the wall, stealing a home run from the Dominican Republic’s Manny Machado during the seventh inning of a World Baseball Classic game on March 18.

Few things can stop an entire clubhouse of major league players in their tracks, but when the highlight of Adam Jones’ highlight-reel robbery of teammate Manny Machado in Saturday night’s World Baseball Classic elimination game was played on the televisions inside the Orioles clubhouse Sunday morning, all eyes were fixed on the screens.

Jones’ leaping grab over the center field wall at PETCO Park – which came at a critical-moment Team USA’s elimination-game win over the Dominican Republic in Jones’ hometown of San Diego – was spectacular by any standard, but was the latest in a WBC that had given Jones national recognition on an international stage. It occurred well after midnight Sunday morning, so few on the east coast saw it live, but the buzz around the grab lingered well into morning.

With the USA leading 4-2 in the seventh inning, Machado hit a blast to center. Jones sped to his left and just in front of the 396 foot marker, he jumped against the wall in mid-stride, fully extending his arm over the wall as he hit the wall to bring Machado’s ball into the ballpark all while avoiding several fans also attempting to take home a souvenir.

Jones bounced off the wall and took the ball out of hisloved about it the most is that there was a Yankee fan trying to get into the field of play that he took it away from. That was probably the highlight for me.”

The catch was pivotal in Team USA’s do-or-die win against the Dominican, as they advanced to the WBC semifinals for the first time in the tournament’s history. Robinson Cano followed Machado with a solo homer, so the game could have been tied had Machado’s ball gone out of the yard.

“I’m still in kind of shock that I even got to that ball,” Jones said in the postgame press conference. “I mean, off the bat I’m just like this ball’s hit really far, so just keep going, keep going. You know this California air’s going to slow it down, and just never quit. That’s just the style I play with. I don’t mind running into a wall or two. I just kept going after the ball, and I’ve seen the replay after the game, and I went for the catch.”

Showalter said that Jones probably had an idea of how to position himself against Machado.

“There’s a lot of guts it takes to make those plays, but I got out of it that a lot of people don’t play [Machado] where he was playing him,” Showalter said. “I think he knew kind of where he might hit it if it stayed in the park, and that one didn’t stay in the park until it got into Adam’s glove.”

Both Jones and Machado – the two biggest faces of an Orioles franchise that still doesn’t receive much national attention despite its recent success – have taken advantage of the stage. Machado was the MVP of last weekend’s pool play games in Miami as the Dominican finished 3-0.

In the same way, Jones has emerged as the face of Team USA’s run to the semifinals, even given the unofficial tag as this team’s Captain America.  Jones had on had a game-winning walk-off hit to beat Colombia in pool play. He hit a game-tying home run against Venezuela on Wednesday and added another homer in the second round against Puerto Rico.

“It’s not surprising to us who get to see them,” Showalter said. “It’s great for some of the people that haven’t get to see it. … I don’t know why people don’t see it. You’d have to tell me. But we see that every night.”

All those moments were critical to landing Team USA two wins away from its first WBC title – they play Japan on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium – but the image of Jones reaching over the center field fence as PETCO Park, the Team USA logo across his chest visible with American flags waving behind him might be one of the most memorable images of the tournament.

“I think when you watch him make plays like that you fall back to people who think he’s actually an average outfielder in the big leagues,” Orioles closer Zach Britton said. “We’re like, ‘Do these people actually watch him play?’ And these people watch this and we’re like, ‘Well, we already know he was a great player.’ I just think [the reaction] is kind of funny when we see him make plays like that. Maybe we take it for granted, too.”

In the postgame press conference, Jones’ catch was compared to a leaping home-run robbing catch by Angels center fielder Mike Trout on Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy in 2012, but Jones noted that grab was made in the first inning of a regular-season game in late-June

“… This was on a different scale, different magnitude,” Jones said. “Unbelievable catches, both of them. Just showing the athleticism that we both have.”

Jones hadn’t checked his phone for a text message from Machado before speaking to reporters after the game, but Britton said Jones will definitely make sure Machado remembers it.

“It’s fun watching those guys compete because there’s that friendly rivalry,” Britton said. “I guess Manny’s just going to have to hit it further next time. That’s what Jonesy’s gonna tell him when he gets back.”  Read more


USA & Puerto Rico meet with top spot at stake

Two World Baseball Classic heavyweights will square off tonight at Petco Park in San Diego, as the United States and Puerto Rico meet at 10 ET (live on MLB Network and MLB.TV).  Both teams are coming off thrilling victories in Pool F. The U.S. came from behind to defeat Venezuela, 4-2, on Wednesday night behind home runs from Adam Jones and Eric Hosmer in the eighth inning. Puerto Rico became the first team to defeat the Dominican Republic since the 2009 Classic with a 3-1 victory on Tuesday night.

Last night our Over 40 Baseball Team met indoors for batting practice.  One of my teammates asked if I’d been watching the WBC?  I said, “No”.  Well, I will probably tune in tonight!  Also, earlier this week, I was on the phone with Al Bumbry and he was telling me his experience coaching for USA.

“I don’t have to worry about making the best pitch or trying to strike people out,” Lugo said. “If I can just throw quality pitches in the zone, these guys are going to make great plays behind me like they’ve been making all tournament. I’m just going to try to stay with the same approach, and attack the zone, attack the hitters, and let these guys do what they do best.”  Read more


U.S. Defeats Venezuela on Homers by Adam Jones and Eric Hosmer

The hometown favorite Adam Jones hit a tying home run leading off the eighth inning, and Eric Hosmer added a two-run shot three batters later as the United States rallied to beat Venezuela, 4-2, on Wednesday night in the second round of the World Baseball Classic.

Hosmer hit a solo homer and a run-scoring single in the American League’s 4-2 win at the 2016 All-Star Game. Read more


Orioles’ Machado, Schoop, Jones to play in WBC

In addition to third baseman Manny Machado, who said in April he would play for the Dominican Republic, center fielder Adam Jones will play for the United States and Curacao-born second baseman Jonathan Schoop will play for the Netherlands.  Read more


The World Baseball Classic (WBC) is an international baseball tournament sanctioned from 2006 to 2013 by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and after 2013 by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).

The tournament is the first of its kind to have the national teams of IBAF’s member federations feature professional players from the major leagues around the world including Major League Baseball. In addition to providing a format for the best baseball players in the world to compete against one another while representing their home countries, the World Baseball Classic was created in order to further promote the game around the globe.  Read more


MLB Article  |  Orioles’s Schoop  |  Manny Machado to play for Dominican Republic at WBC





Dream Big

Always be reaching for the stars! Because in case you fall short, at least you can visit the moon.

For example, look @ Elon Musk & Roger Federer

Never, Never Give Up. Just Do it! Training definitely leads to Success. So practice, practice, practice. That’s also how you get to Carnegie Hall.

The future of travel? First photos of Hyperloop test track built in Nevada desert. Read more

It was designed by California company Hyperloop One, who has unveiled ambitious plans to transport people or cargo between cities at near-supersonic speed.

The 500 metre-long Hyperloop test structure, which has a diameter of 3.3 metres, is located around 30 minutes from Las Vegas.


Elon Reeve Musk (born June 28, 1971) is a South African-born Canadian-American business magnate, investor, engineer, and inventor.

He is the founder, CEO, and CTO of SpaceX; co-founder, CEO, and product architect of Tesla Inc.; co-founder and chairman of SolarCity; co-chairman of OpenAI; co-founder of Zip2; and founder of X.com, which merged with Confinity and took the name PayPal. As of February 2017, he has an estimated net worth of 13.9 billion, making him the 94th wealthiest person in the world. In December 2016, Musk was ranked 21st on Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People.

Musk has stated that the goals of SolarCity, Tesla, and SpaceX revolve around his vision to change the world and humanity. His goals include reducing global warming through sustainable energy production and consumption, and reducing the “risk of human extinction” by “making life multiplanetary” by setting up a human colony on Mars. Read more

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, better known as SpaceX, is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California, United States. It was founded in 2002 by Tesla CEO and former PayPal entrepreneur Elon Musk with the goal of creating the technologies to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars. It has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles, both designed to be reusable, and the Dragon spacecraft which is flown into orbit by the Falcon 9 launch vehicle to supply the International Space Station (ISS) with cargo. A manned version of Dragon is in development. Read more

Roger Federer (born 8 August 1981) is a Swiss professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 10 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). Many players and analysts have called him the greatest tennis player of all time. Federer turned professional in 1998 and was continuously ranked in the top 10 from October 2002 to November 2016.

Federer has won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, the most in history for a male tennis player, and held the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings for a total of 302 weeks. In majors, Federer has won seven Wimbledon titles, five Australian Open titles, five US Open titles and one French Open title. He is among the eight men to capture a career Grand Slam. He has reached a record 28 men’s singles Grand Slam finals, including 10 in a row from the 2005 Wimbledon Championships to the 2007 US Open. Read more

Three things we learned from AO 2017
1. 35 is the new 25
Perhaps not, but this fortnight will force us to review the idea that once a player has a 3 before their age, their best days are over and they’re in the twilight of their career. What it also shows is the value of taking a break. Players who compete in Grand Slam tournaments have, of necessity, devoted their life to tennis and known little else since their age was still well in single digits. So it’s hardly surprising if after several years as a professional they get tired. Roger Federer said his break from tennis was a result of him getting bored with having “practice, treatment, practice, treatment, match, treatment, practice, treatment”, so taking a six-month hiatus to let all his injuries and niggles heal and rediscover the fun in tennis was a crucial part of his unexpected fifth title here. We may well find players continuing their careers well into their 30s as a result of this AO, especially if the idea of sabbaticals catches on.

  1. The middle generation may get by-passed
    With the Big Four of Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray (and arguably Stan Wawrinka too) having dominated tennis for so many years, much attention has been focused on which generation of players will succeed them at the top of men’s tennis. The next generation has been led by 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, and his contemporaries Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori and Grigor Dimitrov. But Dimitrov’s semifinal aside, the results at this year’s AO suggest that generation might get by-passed. Raonic struggled to make much impression on Nadal in the quarterfinals, and Nishikori and Cilic lost early. By contrast, the leader of the following generation, Sascha Zverev, made great strides in taking Nadal to a four-hour five-setter in the third round, and Dominic Thiem and David Goffin also had good tournaments. With the Big Four likely to be around for a while, it may be some time before we know who the next generation of men’s tennis really is.
  2. There’s a vacancy in women’s tennis
    Much as the Williams sisters emphasised what brilliant players they are, even at a youthful 36 and 35 they won’t be around for that much longer. Yet there seems to be no-one emerging to assume Serena’s mantle. Coco Vandeweghe was the player whose stock rose most at this AO, but much depends on how she follows up on the WTA tour from her semifinal. Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza reached the quarterfinals without ever looking a potential champion, and Belinda Bencic had the misfortune to draw Serena Williams in the first round. With Petra Kvitova off the tour, Angelique Kerber with a lot of ranking points to defend in the next few months, and Simona Halep still struggling for consistency, everything looks teed up for two former Australian Open champions to seize the limelight when they return to action in the next few weeks: Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. Read more


 

 

Win one for the Gipper

knute-rockne

As Notre Dame was about to play Army in 1928, football coach Knute Rockne invoked the name of former player George Gipp.  Gipp’s deathbed request eight years earlier supposedly had been to use his memory to motivate the Fighting Irish for a big game.  “‘Rock'”, the coach said Gipp told him, “‘some day when things look real tough for Notre Dame, ask the boys to go out there and win one for me.’

Given the 2016-17 Presidential climate, I (Coach Brooks) never knew the history of this quote.  I suspect just about every competitive athlete and coach has heard this expression, “Win one for the Gipper“, but now it’s even more meaningful understanding the origin!

president_reagan

Well, I’ve never used Gipp’s request until now.  This is the time.” Notre Dame won.  A New York Daily News writer later reported Rockne’s emotional locker room speech in a feature story headed, “Gipp’s Ghost Beat Army / Irish Hero’s Deathbed Request Inspired Notre Dame.”  Two years later Rockne embellished the legend when he wrote in a magazine that Gipp told him, “‘Some time, Rock, when the team’s up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys—tell them to go in there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper.” In 1940, an adaptation of these words, “Tell’em to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Gipper,” provided the dramatic denouement of a movie in which Ronald Regain played George Gipp.  That movie (whose script was written by Robert Buckner), and Reagan’s lifelong identification with this role, made “Win one for the Gipper” a permanent part of America’s athletic-political lore. (The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When by Ralph Keyes. St. Martin’s Press, Apr 1, 2007).  Read more


George Gipp (February 18, 1895 – December 14, 1920), nicknamed “The Gipper”, was a college football player who played for the University of Notre Dame. Gipp was selected as Notre Dame’s first Walter Camp All-American. Gipp played several positions, particularly halfback, quarterback, and punter.  Gipp died at the age of 25 of a streptococcal throat infection, days after leading Notre Dame to a win over Northwestern in his senior season,[1] and is the subject of Knute Rockne’s famous “Win just one for the Gipper” speech. In the 1940 film Knute Rockne, All American he was portrayed by Ronald Reagan. Read more


Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was an American politician and actor who was the 40th President of the United States, from 1981 to 1989. Before his presidency, he was the 33rd Governor of California, from 1967 to 1975, after a career as a Hollywood actor and union leader.

Raised in a poor family in small towns of northern Illinois, Reagan graduated from Eureka College in 1932 and worked as a sports announcer on several regional radio stations. After moving to Hollywood in 1937, he became an actor and starred in a few major productions. Reagan was twice elected President of the Screen Actors Guild, the labor union for actors, where he worked to root out Communist influence. In the 1950s, he moved into television and was a motivational speaker at General Electric factories.

Reagan essentially did not become very FAMOUS until after his 56rd birthday – Governor of CA and especially after his Presidency.  He often used the expression, “Win one for the Gipper” in his political speeches.

He twice ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for the U.S. presidency in 1968 and 1976; four years later, he easily won the nomination outright, becoming the oldest elected U.S. president up to that time, defeating incumbent Jimmy Carter in 1980.  Read more

This will continue to be my #1 “locker room motivation pep talk” until I retire from coaching (which probably won’t be until Blake goes to college).  Reagan is often regarded as one of the most popular and influential American Presidents alongside Kennedy and Lincoln in the history of the United States.

knute-rockne-all-american


William Joseph Patrick “Pat” O’Brien (November 11, 1899 – October 15, 1983) was an American film actor with more than one hundred screen credits. Of Irish descent, he often played Irish and Irish-American characters and was referred to as “Hollywood’s Irishman in Residence” in the press. One of the best-known screen actors of the 1930s and 1940s, he played priests, cops, military figures, pilots, and reporters. He is especially well-remembered for his roles in Knute Rockne, All American (1940), Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), and Some Like It Hot (1959). He was frequently paired onscreen with Hollywood legend James Cagney. O’Brien also appeared on stage and television. Read more