Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sports Chowdah Update- O No! Sox Come out On Top Thanks To Workman-Like Effort; Kings For More Than A Day, LA Takes Commanding 3-0 Lead in Cup Final; Dulled Chrome, California Chrome Misses Shot at Triple Crown

RED SOX- After a disastrous road trip through the rust belt where they lost five out of six games, the Red Sox were back in the AL East on Monday, facing off against Baltimore at Camden Yards and on the wrong end of a 4-0 shutout.

On a rainy Tuesday night, the Sox looked to reverse their fortunes with Brandon Workman on the mound. Heading into a scoreless 3rd inning, Workman got a bit of run support when Mike Napoli hit a 2-out RBI single that plated Brock Holt. Despite a couple of rain delays, Workman was able to maintain his rhythm and fooled most of the Baltimore batters he faced, not allowing a hit until the 6th inning. Miller, Tazawa and Uehara came out of the bullpen to make Napoli's RBI stand up. Workman goes on to pitch 6⅔ innings of 1-hit ball, allowing one walk and striking out four. Boston goes on to win by a 1-0 final and after losing ten straight, winning seven straight and then losing five straight [going back to May 14th- NANESB!] the Red Sox have won two out of their last three games- although the recent streak has put Boston 9 games out of first place, it still isn't bad enough to put them in the AL East cellar. Currently Toronto leads the AL East and both Baltimore and the Yankees are tied for 2nd place at 5 and a half games.

The series will continue Wednesday night with ex-Dodger Rubby De La Rosa [1-1; 2.84 ERA] going up against Baltimore's Wei Yin Chen [6-2; 4.13 ERA]. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 ET and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

OTHER RED SOX NEWS- Former Red Sox manager and one of the last remaining Brooklyn Dodgers Don Zimmer has passed away at the age of 83. Zimmer, who survived a near-fatal beaning in the minor-leagues would go on to play 2nd base for the Brooklyn Dodgers for their only World Series title in Ebbets Field.

Zimmer was teammates with Jackie Robinson for a few seasons and remained with the Dodgers for a year after their move to Los Angeles. Between 1960 and 1965, Zimmer bounced around between the Cubs, Mets, Reds and Senators before playing a single season for the Toei Flyers in Japan. As a player, Zimmer had a career .235 batting average and 91 homers along with 352 RBI.

After his playing days, Zimmer found work as a manager- first for the San Diego Padres and Montreal Expos before landing with the Red Sox between 1974 and 1976. After the Red Sox won the AL Pennant in 1975, an infamous 'Zim' moment was during the wild and chaotic Game 6 of the 1975 World Series was when Boston had the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the 9th with 2B Denny Doyle on 3rd. After a fly ball to shallow left, 3rd base coach Zimmer saw Doyle start to break and shouted "No! No!". Doyle apparently thought Zimmer was shouting "Go! Go!" and continued running towards home plate, only to be cut down by the throw from shallow left. Cincinnati was able to get out of the 9th and force extra innings, setting up Carlton Fisk's legendary and photogenic walk-off homer off a Pat Darcy pitch in the 12th inning.

The Red Sox lost the World Series and the following season, manager Darrel Johnston was fired in July and Zim was named interim manager before the position was more permanent. Although Boston finished flat in 1976, the Red Sox would win 90+ games between 1977-1979. However, this would include the infamous 'Boston Massacre' in which the Yankees trailed the Red Sox by as much as 14 games late in the season only to force a 1-game playoff that was decided by a home run from light-hitting Yankees catcher Bucky Dent.

Zim was also known for his acrimonious relationship with lefty pitcher Bill 'Spaceman' Lee during his time in Boston and reportedly avoided starting him during the infamous 1-game playoff against New York in 1978 despite Lee's winning record against the Bronx Bombers.

After being fired from Boston, Zim spent time coaching or managing with the Rangers, Yankees, Rockies, Cubs, Giants and Rays. In 1999, Zimmer filled in for Yankees then-manager Joe Torre while he was recovering from prostate cancer, going 21-15 during that timeframe. In 2003, Zimmer returned to Fenway as bench coach for the Yankees in the 2003 ALCS. During Game 3, the benches cleared after Manny Ramirez charged the mound after a high and inside pitch from Roger Clemens. Zimmer came out of the dugout and charged Pedro Martinez- Martinez responded by throwing Zimmer to the ground [the TV announcers had initially mistaken the 72 year old Zimmer for Yankees starter David Wells- NANESB!].

With Tampa Bay, Zimmer worked as a senior advisor to the Rays and was a regular fixture around the dugout during Spring Training and home games at Tropicana field. Zimmer also had the distinction of being the last Brooklyn Dodger player who was still in the majors- either as a coach or in the front office. While with the Rays, he wore a uniform that changed numbers each year- the numbers represented the years he had spent in baseball, with his most recent number being 66. In an interview, Zimmer said he prided himself on being able to draw a paycheck his entire life from the game he loved.

STANLEY CUP- Wow- looks like I have some catching up to do.

For starters, no Bruins hockey for the better part of a month after they lost in Game 7 of the eastern conference semifinals to the Canadiens. The Canadiens themselves were bested in 6 games against the New York Rangers while the Los Angeles Kings got past the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks in a roller-coaster 7-game series.

The first two games of the Stanley Cup final got underway at the Staples Center in Los Angeles- in each of those contests, the Kings rallied from behind to tie the game late and force OT with the Kings winning Game 1 by a 3-2 final in OT and Game 2 by a 5-4 final in double OT.

On Monday, the Kings did not need extra-time to take care of the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. With time expiring in the first period, the Kings got on the board with a goal from Jeff Carter to make it 1-0 Los Angeles. This was followed up by goals from Jake Muzzin and Mike Richards in the 2nd to give LA a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 lead while Jonathan Quick turned aside all 32 shots he faced to secure the Kings' 3-0 win.

After being on the wrong end of a 3-0 lead earlier in the playoffs, the Kings now have a commanding 3-0 lead over the Rangers and can secure their second Stanley Cup championship since 2012 with a win at Madison Square garden on Wednesday night. It's do-or-die for New York as Game 4 gets underway from Madison Square Garden tonight at 8:00 ET and will be televised on NBC Sports and the CBC.

HORSE RACING- After winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, there was all kinds of buzz surrounding California Chrome heading into this weekend's Belmont Stakes. California Chrome was poised to be horse racing's first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

After stumbling out of the gate, Chrome ended up finishing 4th to Tonalist and finishing in a near dead heat with Wicked Strong. A review of the starting gate showed that one of the horses next to him- Matterhorn- accidentally stepped on California Chrome's heel and had a small chunk taken out of it. The defeat led to an on-air post-race tirade from California Chrome's owner Steve Coburn, who referred to Tonalist's owners as 'cowards' and criticized owners who ran their horses in the Belmont Stakes but not the Preakness or Kentucky Derby.

FIFA WORLD CUP- Just days before the 2014 World Cup is set to get underway in Brazil, soccer's international governing body- FIFA- is under scrutiny for their bidding process in which the Middle Eastern emirate of Qatar named the host country of the 2022 World Cup. Qatar beat out competing bids from Australia, Japan, South Korea and the USA.

Since Qatar was announced, there have been allegations of bid-rigging and bribery on the part of FIFA according to the British Sunday Times. The newspaper claims to have been given e-mail correspondence between FIFA delegates and Qatari officials where a reported £3m in payoffs were given.

Qatari soccer official Mohammed Bin Hammam reportedly gave money and gifts to African members of the FIFA delegation to influence the governing body's votes and paid more than €300,000 to a Tahtian FIFA official who was caught in a Sunday Times sting soliciting money in support for a bid from people posing as American FIFA delegates.

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