Tag Archive | football

High Five Headlines: They Are the World, They Are the Winners

Last week saw a foreign invasion as we watched two major sports taken by players born beyond U.S. borders, and another sport with no Americans playing at all (yet). Your High Five Headlines from the best stories last week…

I didn't realize my 6th grade solar system was part of the World Cup.

Even my 6th grade solar system is going to the World Cup.

1) German Martin Kaymer won the U.S. Men’s Golf Open on Sunday. Although none of the “big” names like Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson finished near the top, and Tiger Woods sat out the tourney with back issues, there was still excitement watching the 29-year-old winner lead start to finish. Zach Johnson also sunk a hole-in-one on the famous “Pinehurst (N.C.) No. 2” course’s ninth hole.

But the most excitement may lie with the pro ladies, who this weekend will play their Open at Pinehurst. It’s the first time the men and women have played two Opens consecutively on the same course—and not an easy one. Pinehurst No. 2 is one of the world’s most famous and difficult venues and the site of more single golf championships than other American course.

Better yet, this nod to the women, despite concerns over a second tournament so soon harming the greens, and well, money—the Women’s Open loses $4-5 million while the men’s Open is responsible for more than 90% of the USGA revenue—some of golf’s most influential fellas, like former USGA executive director David Fay, were behind the idea and the decision (thanks guys!). Look for Natalie Elbis (sort of the pin-up girl of golf) and 17-year-old sensation Lydia Ko to tee off on Thursday.

2) San Antonio gave a butt-whoopin’ clinic at home Sunday night, taking down the two-time champion Miami Heat for the 2014 NBA title, 104-87. It was the Spurs’ fifth championship, and a Father’s Day gift for Tim Duncan,38, who has played his entire career with the organization. He wandered the floor in disbelief, carrying his son and daughter as other Spurs like Manu Ginobili (Argentina) and Tony Parker (France) celebrated a team that claims players from seven foreign countries.

Meanwhile, know who Lebron James is? Now how about Kawhi Leonard? No? You will now. The quiet, multi-talented, awww-shucks team-player seemed stunned when awarded the MVP trophy James claimed last year, thanking the “guys behind him” for the “surreal” experience.

Ronaldo. Yup.

Ronaldo. Yup.


3) The World Cup continues today with, let’s face it, probably the only soccer game most of us will watch in four years, the U.S. vs. Ghana at 6 p.m. ET. I won’t pretend I can expound on soccer much, but perhaps the biggest storyline thus far is The Netherlands’ upset of reigning champion Spain, 5-1. And four of Holland’s goals came in the second half. Spain defeated Holland for the title four years ago—will revenge come this year?

A few other items to watch for:

  • Ronaldo. One word: Injured. (and Gorgeous. OK, two words.) How will the world’s best player fare? Not well, hopes America; Portugal is in our group.
  • Lionel Messi, the world’s other best player, scored a goal to help Argentina to a 2-1 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina. Look for him in the 173 Gatorade soccer commercials currently running.
  • World Cup Crowds: The costumes are genius, the team spirit electrifying, and maybe even more entertaining than the games.

4) Scottish tennis champion Andy Murray lost at the Aegon Championships after 19 unbeaten matches on grass. However, his loss has raised eyebrows not just because grass is his favorite surface, but he has a new coach, Amelie Mauresmo.

(Who happens to be a woman.) Yes, the French former Wimbledon champ herself was hired personally by Murray after his previous coach, legend Ivan Lendl, became weary of the travel. Naturally her presence is being heavily scrutinized. But it must be said Lendl was a notorious grump and an inexperienced coach—who then led Murray to the 2012 Olympic and 2013 Wimbledon titles.

5) Finally, Father’s Day was especially lucky for the dad below, who caught a baseball bare-handed, while holding his baby in the other hand, at the San Francisco-Colorado game.

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FBS, BCS, WTF??? Frozen Cheese, a Flopping Foot, and How Hip Is My Mom?

1–Living in Washington DC, you get used to a lot of acronyms: CIA, POTUS, IRS, OMG the NSA sees my FB? But the government has nothing on football championship nomenclature.

Tonight, Auburn and Florida State face off in the “Football Bowl Subdivision” (FBS, previously NCAA “Division I-A” football) Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Championship Presented by Vizio, Dorito’s, Capital One and My Hairdresser. FBS championships are not actually sanctioned by the NCAA, but instead determined by a controversial ranking system (the BCS) and a whole lotta sponsorship money.

Dude, if you freeze to death at this game, it's not that hat I'll eat!

Dude, if you freeze to death at this game, it’s not that hat I’m gonna eat!

On Saturday, there was another Division-I NCAA college football championship between the “Football Championship Series” (FCS, traditionally known as “Division I-AA”) teams. After a month-long playoff tournament, finalist North Dakota State defeated Towson (Md.), 35-7 for the Bison’s third-straight national title. (By the way, Northwest Missouri State was the 2013 Division II winner, and Wisconsin-Whitewater won Division III.) FBS teams will adopt their own playoff system beginning in 2014,  producing what proponents argue will be a “true” champion. The new approach has its critics, but at least we can give the alphabet a little bit of a rest.

2–Green Bay is famous for many things—“Cheeseheads,” Vince Lombardi, the Lambeau Leap, and Butt. Cold. Football. Sunday wasn’t quite the 1967 “Ice Bowl” between Green Bay and Dallas, when the temperature was an all-time game low of minus-13. Pundits geeked out about the potential blizzard conditions all week for the nighttime NFC Wild Card match-up between Green Bay and San Francisco. And temps came close at a balmy 5 degrees. But in the end, the story actually became the game itself, which saw the 49ers top the Packers 23-20 after superb performances from quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers (newly returned from a broken collarbone) and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick (who rushed for 98 yards to become the fifth-highest rushing quarterback in NFL history). Also advancing in this weekend’s playoffs: New Orleans, San Diego and Indianapolis.

3—With its crime, jobless rate, and bankruptcy that had the city seeking to sell off works of art, it’s rare Detroit has anything to celebrate. But Red Wing fans enjoyed the Winter Classic New Year’s Day, the NHL’s annual outdoor hockey game, despite losing to the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-2. At the University of Michigan’s “The Big House” stadium (where Michigan football usually plays), 105,000 people watched the teams battle each other and a steady snow that kept rink managers busy, skating back and forth between plays pushing shovels. During intermissions, fans enjoyed family activities, the introduction of the U.S. Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and the Zac Brown Band.

4—Ronda Rousey retained her women’s bantamweight championship title, defeating Miesha Tate Saturday night in the second-ever women’s UFC Championship. It was the eighth consecutive victory for Rousey, a former Olympic judo medalist. After the bout, Rousey turned her back on her opponent’s handshake—the two also face off regularly on the reality show The Ultimate Fighter.

But it was the main men’s fight, a middleweight rematch between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva, that stole the show (and had people grabbing for the nearest trash can). In the second round, the two men’s shins collided on simultaneous kicks, snapping Silva’s leg in half on live TV, with a result that resembled…um I don’t know…imagine you are wearing a long winter sock with the foot full of sand, and you are flopping it around in 360 degree circles. Weidman had handed Silva his first defeat in 17 bouts two months ago with a total knockout. Silva vows he will return to the ring.

(And of course, here’s the video. I used the Brazilian version so that maybe the Portuguese is a distraction from the carnage. No? Oh well.)

5–Speaking of gruesome breaks, just a quick tip of the hat to my mother Betsy, who fell and broke her hip the week before Christmas. A lifelong athlete, coach and a Senior Olympian who still holds records in track and field, she’s back home and on the mend–far sooner than she might have if not for making health and exercise such a priority in her daily life. We can’t change our genes or avoid freak accidents (in her case, tripping over the Geeksquad guy as she was hanging Christmas decorations), but we can prepare ourselves better for lifelong health by staying active through sports, the gym, or even just walking the dog (which isn’t so bad for him either!) Go Mom!

High Five! Usain Bolt’s Loses! (No, Not Really.) And Will NCAA Pave New Rhodes?

It's electric, boogie oogie oogie!

It’s electric, boogie oogie oogie!

1) Jamaica’s Usain Bolt surpassed Carl Lewis in World Championship medals Sunday in Moscow, tying the American legend with 10—but Bolt has two silvers, while Lewis has a silver and a bronze. Bolt won the 100, 200 and anchored the winning 400-meter relay team. The Americans were leading that race, but a bad handoff cost them the win. What was most “electrifying” about Bolt’s performance was the non-Photoshopped actual picture that has gone viral—Bolt running as an actual lightning bolt strikes behind the stadium.

2) Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist shot the first ever Solheim Cup hole-in-one on Saturday, sinking the 17th hole alongside partner Caroline Hedwall in Parker, Colo. Americans Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, and Michelle Wie managed to gain ground, but the Europeans—despite having six rookie ladies, including 17-year-old Charley Hull, on the team—won the cup on American soil for the first time, 18-10.

3) The NCAA is prohibiting Marine Stephen Rhodes from playing football at Middle Tennessee State University because he played “organized” games (scorekeepers, officials, etc.) while in the military. NCAA rules state athletes must play college sports within one year of graduating high school or be charged one year of collegiate eligibility for every academic year they participate in “organized competition.” MTSU has won a partial appeal to regain Rhodes’ eligibility—two years from now, but he is appealing to play this season, which begins August 29.

(If you think, as I do, Rhodes has served our country and now deserves a chance to play, please ask NCAA president Mark Emmert to change the bylaws, memmert@ncaa.org.)

4) Even sadder news in Tennessee football, five Vanderbilt football players have been arrested in connection with an alleged dorm room rape of an unconscious victim on June 23. Chris Boyd turned himself in Sunday for allegedly trying to help four other players cover up the crime. Brandon Vandenburg, Cory Batey, Brandon Banks, and Jaborian McKenzie have been indicted on five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Boyd has been suspended from the team pending review; the other four have been dismissed from the team and banned from campus. Other witnesses may face charges as the case remains open.

5) New network FOX Sports 1 launched last week, featuring shows like “FOX Football Daily,” and talk show “Crowd Goes Wild,” hosted by Regis Philbin. Coverage will also include NASCAR, Pac-12 football and eventually MLB and FIFA games. The network hopes to one-up competitors ESPN and NBC Sports with original programming too, such as “The Ultimate Fighter” with Ronda Rousey, and “BEING,” a documentary series taking a deeper look into sports figures like Mariano Rivera and Mike Tyson.

Meanwhile, as excitement builds for next year’s men’s soccer World Cup in Brazil, NBC Sports has begun showing English Premier League Football. According to a PR department tweet, the Sunday telecast of Swansea-Manchester United was the most-watched Premier League opening-weekend match in U.S. history with 792,000 average viewers. An average NFL TV audience is 19.3 million, but hey, it’s a great start. And this clip of Saturday Night Live’s Jason Sudeikis as an American football coach recruited to coach…football is well worth four minutes of your time.

Woof Wednesday!

Got pierogies?

Got pierogies?

For today’s #WoofWednesday, we are featuring Charlie of Dothan, Ala. who, like his dad, is a huge Steelers fan. Titans too, but “I haven’t bought him any gear yet,” says mom Jozanna. Better hurry, since Tennessee is Pittsburgh’s first opponent this year on Sept. 8. (And congrats to mom and dad, also expecting a baby of the non-furry variety!)

By the way, you don’t have to be a fan of a team to know their key players. For the Steelers:

* Mike Tomlin is the head coach, one of three black NFL coaches (also Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati and Leslie Frazier, Minnesota).

* Ben Roethlisberger is the quarterback with a controversial past including a motorcycle crash and a sexual assault charge.

* Troy Polamalu is the marvelously-maned strong safety you see in all the Head and Shoulders commercials.

* Terry Bradshaw is currently a “FOX NFL Sunday” commentator, but was the Steelers QB for 14 seasons in the 70s, winning four Super Bowls in six years. He made the Hall of Fame in 1989, the first year he was eligible.

Woof Wednesday! R.I.P. Buster, Devoted Furry Friend and Skins Fan

Hail to the Redskins--and BUSTER!

Hail to the Redskins–and BUSTER!

When I took my dog Chester to the vet last week, I was happy to bump into my friend, volleyball teammate, and Redskins Superfan Rick, waiting on a sofa with his burgundy buddy Buster (even the DOG is Redskins colors), pacing and panting around like any normal dog would do.

“What are you in for?” I asked.

“I have to put Buster down. Lung cancer,” Rick answered.

“But he seems fine,” I said, as if my proclamation could reverse rogue cells. My brain tried to process poor Buster’s diagnosis, images of him smoking cigarettes and drinking beer while watching ESPN, scratching his belly with the remote. Buster and Chester, meanwhile, sniffed each other’s doggy bits, tails wagging. Buster even barked at us–his lungs still worked, right?

No. Though he seemed healthy on the outside, Buster was quietly suffering inwardly. His time had come. So even though my Skins will be minus one furry fan this season, I’m happy Chester and I were his last, if brief, friends before he crossed the Rainbow Bridge to those FedEx Field Box Seats in Heaven. R.I.P. Buster!

Do you have a furry Superfan of your own? Please send photos to laura.boswell@ladiesroomsports.com for future #woofwednesday postings!

The 2013-14 Wizards Girls

The 2013-14 Wizards Girls

And on a lighter note, I attended the final audition round extravaganza this week for the NBA Washington Wizards Girls. Some 30+ smart, beautiful, and athletic ladies competed for the coveted spots.

Let me tell you, I’ve done my fair share of cheer and dance in the past, as well as college sports, and I could NOT keep up with these high-kicking, kick-butt babes. You GO, girls!

Sunday Fun-day

Peter Wolf

“LIGHTS OUT! Uh-huh! Blast, blast, blast!” Remember this gem from J. Geils lead singer Peter Wolf?

Unless you live under a particularly large rock, you know the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers last night, 34-31. After a fun-but-far-too-late Ravens party, I’m…let’s just say “tired,” but here’s a quick rundown of the game and other notable news from last week:

 Super Bowl Breakdown
Led by the MVP efforts of QB Joe Flacco, the Ravens dominated the first half, finishing at 21-6. But the 49ers returned in the second half with a 19-point surge to close the gap at 31-29, despite a third-quarter power outage that delayed the game for 35 minutes. Though 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh pleaded for a holding call on a fourth down with under two minutes left, the refs disagreed, and the Ravens finished on top.

Now, impress your boyfriend:

  • At four hours, 14 minutes, this was the longest Super Bowl ever.
  • The Ravens failed at the first fake field goal attempt in Super Bowl history.
  • The “OH!” shouts you heard as Alicia Keys sang “Oh say does that…” were Ravens fans mimicking a Baltimore Orioles baseball tradition of…enhancing the National Anthem.
  • Beyonce was joined by Destiny’s Child for a knockout halftime performance. “Beyonce did not cause the power outage,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell joked.
  • The Ravens’ Jacoby Jones set a Super Bowl record with his 108-yard kickoff return.
  • Flacco received a Corvette Stingray for his MVP performance. And, more important, got to meet Beyonce and Jay-Z.
  • Miss any of the commercials? Catch them here.

Bold Statement
Ray Lewis gets most of the attention, but another Ravens linebacker, Brendon Ayanbadejo, hopes to use Super Bowl spotlight now and beyond—not for football, but for gay rights.

Ayanbadejo has long been vocal about his cause. In a recent New York Times interview, he described his passion’s roots in a childhood amid many diverse lifestyles, including living in a University California-Santa Cruz LGBT dorm directed by his stepfather.

“I was raised around gay people in a very liberal society. Discrimination was never allowed.” (By the way, the UC-Santa Cruz “Banana Slugs”? Best. Mascot. EVER!)

Gordie Howe and me

Gordie Howe and me on our shared birthday, March 31, in 1993. (Nice bangs, dummy.)

Icy Hot
Hockey is already well into its abbreviated, 48-game season (due to a lockout this past fall). The Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks lead the NHL, both still undefeated at 7-0…Sadly for me, Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz netted a hat trick (three goals in one game) against my second-to-last Washington Capitals in a 6-3 loss on Sunday…The Montreal Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty rejoined his team Sunday just eight days after emergency appendectomy… Catch Pacioretty against the Boston Bruins for an anticipated matchup this Wednesday on NBC’s Rivalry Night.

Know Your NHL: Hockey Hall-of-Famer Gordie Howe (also known as “Mr. Hockey”) is considered perhaps the best player of all time. Known for his skills at scoring and brawling, he is the namesake of the “Gordie Howe Hat Trick”—a single-game achievement of a goal, an assist, and a fight.

Dame Diggins
No. 2 Notre Dame senior guard Skylar Diggins had a career-best 33 points in a 77-67 defeat of the Tennessee Lady Vols on Monday. UT had hoped to upset the Irish on a night dedicated to legendary former coach Pat Head Summitt, whose 1,098-208 career record makes her the winning-est coach of any Division I men’s or women’s teams ever. The court is already named for Summitt, but a banner was raised in her honor in front of a sell-out crowd. Summitt, merely 60, retired last April after a diagnosis of early-onset dementia.

Sad Stalemate
Recently featured on HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Houston Rockets’ 6-8 rookie Royce White, 21, is 260 pounds and covered in tattoos. But he can’t fly, can barely drive, and can’t enter his closet if his suits and hats aren’t perfectly arranged. His generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) make his life a daily battle. And have nearly ruined his pro career.

Requiring special conditions under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), such as a personal doctor, not the team’s, to determine his mental ability to play, the Iowa State phenom is currently suspended from his $3.3 million annual contract, and has not once set foot on the court.

“What comes along with mental health that goes untreated: alcohol abuse; marijuana abuse; suicidal behavior; homicidal behavior…I advocate for a healthy, safe work environment.”

The Rockets claim to have “bent over backwards” to meet his needs, and that the situation will cause an imbalance in authority between coaches, doctors, and players’ decisions. Hopefully the two sides will reach an agreement. Regardless, White says he will give up the NBA to prove to the world at large that mental disorders are just as devastating as physical ones.

Winter Sports Star Caleb Moore Dies
Winter X Games competitor Caleb Moore passed away Thursday after injuries sustained in a snowmobile crash. He was 25. It is the first death in the Games’ 17 years.

The Dark Knight…Disappears?
In an incident that any American woman will find hiii-larious, a confused bat recently terrorized players at a Marquette/Providence game. Players and coaches fled, ducked, and threw towels at the bat as Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train played. I’ve heard the bat both was and was not caught—will Christian Bale play in the sequel?

Table Manners
DC locals: head to the Arlington Drafthouse tonight for a special premiere of the new 106.7 The Fan Sports Junkies’ Comcast SportsNet TV show, “Table Manners” (details here).

January Juggling

Welcome to The Ladies Room! I’m your humble janitor, Laura Boswell — sportswriter, broadcaster, college hall-of-famer, and passionate fan of all things athletic. (@lauraeboswell)

Each Monday, I’ll give a quick rundown of the last week’s best sports stories and why they are useful for anyone, but especially women — to use at the water cooler, to bond with your kids, and to have more fun with your spouse/partner. And all in the time it takes to toast a Pop-Tart.

Well, except this first installment, because I need to explain a few things:

Despite the title, the intent is good fun, not to condescend to women. Really. I am one. Many women love sports (44% of NFL fans are female*). Many men do not. But…

This is not a “women’s sports” column. It’s an agnostic look at some of the week’s best and worst stories, period. It may be a running back. It may be a badass basketball babe. Or a badminton player. Or a running back texting a picture of his junk to that badminton player. From the Seahawks to Seabiscuit, everyone will get a turn.

It’s also about sports’ practical applications: Using a recent baseball stat to ease an awkward elevator ride with the boss. Explaining why your son wants those $200 Nikes. Demonstrating algebra to your sixth-grader using hockey. Kicking butt in your fantasy football league (maybe even winning cash, if I gambled, which I do not. Especially on NCAA men’s basketball tourney brackets. Nope, not me.)

I also hope to add tips from athletes, explanations of basic rules and signals, inspirational stories, and the fun stuff — dating gossip, tailgating recipes, science project ideas—whatever you want, just ask.

Basically, this blog is for anyone who wants a quick round-up of key stories, a good laugh, and to use sports to boost confidence in job interviews or at cookouts, and — most important — just to better enjoy games. Sports have led me to success at work, to meeting great people, to staying healthy. You deserve the same.

And on a larger scale, sports cross every American industry — entertainment, politics, fashion, education, religion…They are a social currency you should know. I live in Washington, DC. I hate politics. But I’m an American and I need to know the issues. And sports are waaay more fun than the fiscal cliff.

So. Want respect from the boys’ club? Learn sports. Need conversation? More friends? A date? Learn sports. Want your kids to be healthy, active leaders? Teach them sports.

That said, I’m already behind — partially from fighting a two-week mutant death flu, but also because in the last two weeks alone, storylines that would be considered fantastic any time have coincided with others almost too stunning to believe. So let’s catch up:

Band of Brothers: The media has been salivating for it, and so have I. For the first time, two brothers will coach against one another in the Super Bowl. Jim Harbaugh (San Francisco) and John Harbaugh (Baltimore) will lead 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Ravens’ veteran linebacker Ray Lewis in New Orleans Feb. 3. Lewis, a beloved but controversial 13-time Pro Bowl selection, will retire after this season at age 37.

A Bicycle Built for BOOO!: After years of brazen denial (he called one accuser a “whore”), cyclist Lance Armstrong finally admitted to Oprah (and NOBODY lies to Oprah) that he did indeed use “PEDs”—performance-enhancing drugs—winning a record seven Tours de France. The admission raises many moral questions: Does having cancer allow one special privileges to remain competitive? Are PEDs OK if others are allegedly using them too? One certainty: Lance is banned from Olympic sports, and his credibility “lives strong” no longer.

Class Dismissed: PEDs also made history in baseball this month–no player was elected to the 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame. Behemoths Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa (hitters) and Roger Clemens (pitcher) were all blackballed, likely due to their suspected use of steroids. Steroids have become so pervasive, players have testified about it (and confessed) before Congress. Boys younger and younger are using steroids to get a jump on the competitive, and potentially lucrative, college/pro sports industry. Could yours be one of them?

Move Over Honey Boo Boo: In other baseball cheating news, Cincinnati Reds star Pete Rose has long been banned from baseball, despite a still-unmatched 23-year career, for admitted gambling on his own team. Now he and fiancée Kiana Kim have their own The Learning Channel (of course) reality show, “Hits and Mrs.” (My bet? Terrible. So it will be a huge hit.)

Venus Outshone: Superstar Venus Williams lost to Maria Sharapova Friday at the Australian Open, the first of the four tennis Grand Slam events (also French Open/ Wimbledon/U.S. Open). But as of this writing, sister Serena is the predicted tourney winner. Also in women’s tennis, Gertrude “Gussie” Moran, who dared to bare at Wimbledon 1949 with a short skirt and ruffled briefs, has died at age 89. (She lost the match but became a media darling, “Gorgeous Gussie.”)

Ice, Ice Baby: After a months-long “lockout”—a money dispute between players and owners—professional hockey is officially back on. Stanley Cup winners the L.A. Kings, however, lost their first game 5-2 to the Blackhawks. Now, a quick quiz for the kids. Q: Hockey normally has 82 games; this season, 48. What percentage of the season did the lockout cost fans? A: 41% (divide 48 by 82, then subtract from 100%)

Hoax and Heartbreak: In an ongoing mystery, adored Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Te’o has been called both victim and conspirator in a bizarre online prank. He met girlfriend Lennay Kekua on Facebook, but she allegedly died of leukemia this fall. Now it’s been revealed she never existed, and 22-year-old Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was behind the scam. Tuiasosopo has confessed, but larger issues include Te’o’s draft status, his possible use of the situation to garner sympathy, and other “catfishing” scams aimed to fool celebrities into befriending false personas.

In Other News: Skier Lindsey Vonn has recovered from a severe bacterial illness to win her first World Cup event in five weeks…Revered Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver died at 82 on a baseball-themed cruise… The top-ranked Louisville men’s basketball team fell to #6 Syracuse 70-68… #13 Butler upset #8 Gonzaga on a buzzer beater. (added 1/21): Hall-of-Fame Cardinals hitter Stan “The Man” Musial passed away Saturday at age 92 (thanks for the heads-up, Bob Somerville!)

OK there we go. I know we’ve missed some stories, and I’ve botched some grammar, I know, I know, I know. It’s a work in progress, I hope you’ll hang with me. Til next week…

*ESPN Sports Poll/U.S. Census