Sports Outside the Beltway

Jiyai Shin wins the Wegmans LPGA

With today’s win she overtakes Cristie Kerr at the top of the LPGA money list for 2009. From AP-

South Korea’s Jiyai Shin picked up her fifth title in 11 months with a seven-stroke victory at the Wegmans LPGA on Sunday.

The 21-year-old star from Seoul shot a 1-under 71 to finish in a downpour at 17-under 271. Kristy McPherson and Yani Tseng each shot a 66, the day’s best score, to surge into a second-place tie at 10 under. One behind were Japan’s Mika Miyazato (71) and rookies Haeji Kang (71) of South Korea and Stacy Lewis (74), the former NCAA champion from Arkansas.

First-round leader Sandra Gal (74) of Germany bogeyed the last hole to drop into a four-way tie for seventh place at 8 under with Cristie Kerr (69), Meaghan Francella (70) and Sun Young Yoo (73).

“I have a lot of tournaments” left to play this year and “maybe I try more wins,” Shin said. “Still, my goal is rookie of the year.”

Shin dedicated her victory again to her mother, who was killed in an auto accident in 2004. “I have my mother’s picture in my course book,” she said.

The Wegmans was Shin’s 2nd victory in 2009. She won in Singapore last March. It will take a major miracle for her not to be LPGA rookie of the year.

Shin could well be 2009 LPGA player of the year also. Today’s win gives Shin over a million dollars in earnings this year and a little over $160,000 lead over Cristie Kerr for leading money winner. Defending LPGA player of the year Lorena Ochoa trails Shin by almost 300,000 even though Super Mex has two wins on the year. It is my opinion that Ochoa is either distracted or uninterested in golf at present. She has skipped playing three or four LPGA tournaments since the beginning of May. The LPGA has so many open weeks, why is she not playing. If Ochoa doesn’t get into gear so far as the Player of the Year race goes, Shin doesn’t lack for challengers. Kerr, In-Kyung Kim, Angela Stanford, Yani Tseng, or even Brittany Lincicome could also come out on top.

Couple of notes about Shin

I never knew her father was a Presbyterian Minister.

Before she teed off on 18, Shin signed autographs for the tournament volunteers. The bubbly Shin is making her way into the hearts of golf fans.


Florida Panthers trade D Jay Bouwmeester to Calgary

Another sad day for South Florida hockey fans. From ESPN-

The Calgary Flames added Jay Bouwmeester to their already impressive defensive corps — at least for the next four days.

Bouwmeester, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday, was acquired by Calgary in a trade with the Florida Panthers as the NHL entry draft wrapped up Saturday with the final six rounds at Bell Centre.

Florida acquired Jordan Leopold — also on the verge of free agency — and a third-round pick (67th overall), which the Panthers used to draft right wing Josh Birkholz.

The trade gives Flames general manager Darryl Sutter a window of exclusivity in negotiating a new contract with Bouwmeester and his agent, Bryon Baltimore.

This trade is risky for both teams, since both players are unrestricted free agents. Pierre LeBrun believes Florida made the right move by getting something for Bouwmeester. Maybe so, but as a hardcore Panther fan couldn’t the team have met the price for him to stay in Florida? Bouwmeester is arguably the best defensemen in the NHL and money talks in sports. How many times do we here athletes say they’re going to a great organization when in fact they’re going to a stinker and the only reason to do so is the big salary they’ll get.

Leopold is supposedly all right. The Panthers may have gotten a sleeper in the draft yesterday. Dmitry Kulikov, who played in Quebec last year. ESPN’s analysts were high on this player, something about his playing in Russia’s Continental League made other teams wary of Kulikov. I’m betting Florida doesn’t make the playoffs in 2010.


St. Louis Manager Tony LaRussa gets to 2,500 career wins

A Cardinal victory over Kansas City got him to that career milestone.

Albert Pujols comes through Kansas City once a season. The Royals wouldn’t be too disappointed if he never came back.

Pujols finished off a three-day romp in Kansas City with two homers and six RBIs, helping the St. Louis Cardinals rout the Royals 12-5 Sunday in win No. 2,500 for manager Tony La Russa.

Only Connie Mack and John McGraw have won more games as a Manager. Mack’s record is out of reach but LaRussa could surpass McGraw(2762 career wins) in as little as three years. Before taking over the Cardinals, LaRussa managed the Oakland A’s and Chicago White Sox.

Albert Pujols also equaled some St. Louis Cardinals records.

Pujols tied Stan Musial’s team record of nine career grand slams and matched the season mark of three shared by Jim Bottomley (1925), Keith Hernandez (1977) and Fernando Tatis (1999).

So far as Grand slams go, Pujols is a slacker. I mean Richie Sexson has hit sixteen in his career.


Seattle loses OF Endy Chavez for the season after suffering knee injury in collision

A torn ACL at thirty one years for a marginal MLB player is potentially career threatening. From AP-

Mariners outfielder Endy Chavez is done for the season after an exam revealed a serious right knee injury sustained in a collision with shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt.

Chavez tore the anterior cruciate ligament and has other structural damage in his right knee, Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said before Saturday’s game against Arizona.

It’ll likely be another few weeks before Chavez can undergo surgery and the full extent of the damage is revealed. Surgery will occur once swelling in the knee goes down.

Chavez, who started at all three outfield positions this season and was hitting .273, was hurt when he collided with Betancourt chasing down a pop up in the fifth inning Friday night. Chavez flipped hard to the turf after the collision, although Betancourt held on to the ball.

Chavez is a career .270 hitter who has speed, but doesn’t get on base much(.312 OBP) or have much power. I wouldn’t be surprised if he struggles and fails to win a MLB job when he is healthy enough again to pursue his baseball career.


Florida Panthers acquire C Steve Reinprecht from Phoenix

This is the second straight post season that has seen a trade between the teams. From the Sun-Sentinel-

The Panthers signed center Steve Reinprecht to a three-year contract on Friday after acquiring his exclusive negotiating rights from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for prospect Stefan Meyer.

Reinprecht (pronounced REIGN-prehkt), 33, was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

He had 14 goals and 27 assists in 73 games with the Coyotes last season and has recorded at least 40 points in five of his eight NHL seasons, including a pair of 50-plu point seasons (2002-03, 2005-06) and a Stanley Cup championship with Colorado in 2001.

Reinprecht, an Edmonton, Alberta, native, started his career with the Los Angeles Kings, and then went on to play for the Avalanche, Flames and Coyotes.

Meyer, a center/winger, had zero points in four games with the Panthers last season and had 21 goals and 19 assists in 70 games for AHL Rochester.

“Steve is a smart, high character, hard working player who fits our club’s need for a second line center,” Panthers’ general manager Randy Sexton said of Reinprecht in a statement released by the Panthers on Friday. “We are constantly looking to upgrade our team speed and he brings this to our club as part of his skill set.

Sexton is spinning this deal, and not convincingly so. Reinprecht is a career third liner. That’s what he did in Phoenix. Why would it be any different in Florida?

Florida does need a center, Nathan Horton played out of position last season. Brett McLean was almost an offensive zero in 2008-09.(19 points in 80 games) So I understand why Florida made a trade but am not confident about Reinprecht being an upgrade for Florida. I still strongly believe the Panthers need to give Shawn Matthias a chance. In 2008-09 in his limited time with Florida, Matthias was consigned to the 4th line. Behind the worthless McLean. That personnel decision never made sense to me other than Florida deciding who to play based on what player got paid the most. A good decision for business purposes, but a rotten one if you want to win hockey games.


Rafael Nadal pulls out of Wimbledon

He becomes the first defending champion since Goran Ivanisevic in 2002 to not defend their title. From AP-

Defending champion Rafael Nadal withdrew from Wimbledon on Friday because of tendinitis in his knees.

He is the first reigning Wimbledon men’s champion to not defend the title since Goran Ivanisevic in 2002 — and only the second in the last 35 years. The grass-court Grand Slam tournament begins Monday.

“I’m just not 100 percent,” the No. 1-ranked Nadal said during a news conference at the All England Club. “I’m better than I was a couple of weeks ago, but I just don’t feel ready.”

His announcement came about 2½ hours after he lost to Stanislas Wawrinka in an exhibition match on grass at the Hurlingham Club in south London.

“Today was the last test,” Nadal said. “I didn’t feel terrible but not close to my best.”

There will be other Wimbledons for Nadal to take a crack at. I think he made the right decision for 2009.


Will Jim O’Connell of Associated Press please pick up the Black courtesy phone

Another golf writer gets a flunking grade when it comes to knowing the history of the sport.

From 1926 until 1965, the Open was played over three days with 36 holes contested on Sunday.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! The US Open’s final 36 holes used to be played on Saturday. A perfect example, and is considered one of golf’s great displays of sportsmanship, was the 1929 US Open. Al Espinosa and Bobby Jones were tied at the end of 72 toles and were to begin a 36 hole the next day. Jones agreed to a later tee time, so Espinosa could go to Sunday mass!

If O’Connell had any idea of what he was writing about, he’d know that story. Also if he bothered doing an internet search for moments in history for any particular year, and then cross checked them against a calender also online, he’d know that the US Open used to wrap up on Saturdays unless a playoff was involved.

Associated Press where Steve Elkington never won the 1995 PGA Championship, The Kemper Open was never played in North Carolina, Christina Kim never played in the ADT Championship or shot a 62 in a USGA Girls competition, and where pars are made into birdies at the State Farm Classic. They should really put a label on their golf reporting- We love revisionist history. Do you?


UCLA Tennis player Jeffrey Fleming in a coma after being punched

Is being in a hurry a good reason to potentially kill someone? From AP-

Police say a 20-year-old UCLA tennis player was in a coma after somebody punched him following a country music concert in Dallas.

Jeffrey Fleming of Newport Beach, Calif., was in a Dallas hospital Thursday, but his condition was not available.

He was attending a Rascal Flatts concert with friends Saturday night when an unknown man hit him. His family says he was sucker-punched as he was about to catch a taxi after the concert.

The blow knocked Fleming to the ground, where his head hit the parking lot concrete. The attacker and others ran away.

Bunch of cowards. Whoever threw the punch should have the book thrown at him. In the meantime pray for Mr. Fleming. He may have suffered a serious brain injury.


Beijing claims profit on Olympic hosting

Organizers say they came out 176 million dollars ahead. From AP-

Beijing Olympic organizers say they made a profit out of hosting last year’s Summer Games.

According to figures released Friday by the government audit bureau, $2.8 billion was spent on organizing and staging the Games, including the Paralympic Summer Games that followed.

That compares to income of $3 billion thus far, leaving a profit of $176 million, the bureau said. The biggest chunk, accounting for 40 percent, came from broadcast and marketing rights, along with sales of tickets, souvenirs, and commemorative coins and stamps.

The organizers claim a profit but did China as whole come out ahead on the games?

The expenditure figures cover only operating expenses, leaving out spending on venues and infrastructure such as airports, roads and subways for the sprawling city of 18 million people.

Ah! Now as the late Paul Harvey said, here is the rest of the story.

According to the bureau, construction and upgrading costs for 36 new Olympic venues and 66 training facilities totaled $2.8 billion. The showpiece “Bird’s Nest” Olympic stadium alone ran almost $73 million over budget due to design modifications and higher prices for construction materials, coming in at a final cost of $455 million.

Infrastructure costs were met largely by the city governments of Beijing, Shanghai and other cities that hosted events, who together contributed $1.2 billion, and the central government, which kicked in $514 million. Another $146 million came through contributions from Chinese overseas, while the Olympic organizing committee and Education Ministry paid close to $585 million each.

An unidentified auditor quoted in an interview posted on the bureau’s Web site said Beijing’s operating budget was lower, adjusted for inflation, than both the one for the 2004 Athens Summer Games and that forecast for the 2012 London Olympics.

As we know auditors never get anything wrong either deliberately or by accident. If you believe that, I have a story about hard working food inspectors in China to also tell you.

The cost of staging the Olympics is commonly a cause for debate among prospective host cities, but not for Beijing, where the games enjoyed strong support from government, the public and business.

Of course the lack of debate could have something to do with Chinese dissenters being afraid to say anything because they could go to jail for expressing a different opinion.


Formula One teams announce breakaway series

Ed Hinton of ESPN compares this news to a Force Five Hurricane.

Eight Formula One teams began preparations for a rival series after failing to resolve their dispute with motor sport’s governing body over financial constraints on Friday.

Ferrari, which has participated since the first season in 1950, and current leader Brawn GP headed the list of Formula One Teams’ Association members to announce the split ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

FOTA, which also includes McLaren, Renault, Toyota, BMW Sauber, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, said it would not compromise on the quality of the series by signing up unconditionally for the 2010 F1 season under the FIA’s plans for cost-cutting. The FIA’s deadline for entry was later Friday.

FOTA’s statement criticized the FIA’s “uncompromising” stance and attempts, along with the commercial rights holder Formula One Management, to divide its member teams.

As it stands, Williams and Force India will be the only current teams on the F1 starting grid next season while three new outfits — Campos Racing, Team US F1 and Manor F1 Team — are also due to enter.

FIA president Max Mosley was insistent on introducing a voluntary $60 million budget cap for teams to curtail a “financial arms race” in F1. Those that don’t agree to the cap would have more technical restrictions, something Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo had called “fundamentally unfair.”

Ferrari’s part in this rebellion differentiates it from past affairs. So the threat of creating another racing series is certainly a serious one.

In the present economic climate, can another racing league be formed and started in a matter of months. Sports around the world are cutting back now. Color me skeptical for the moment. I think a compromise will be worked out.


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