Sunday, August 7, 2016

AUGUST 7, 2016. A DAY UNLIKE SO MANY OTHERS IN SPORTS


If you've worked in the sports media for a long time, there are times when the
stories you cover seem to blend into one another. Mind-boggling contracts, steroid cheats,
domestic abusers, player releases, coaches fired, etc. They can dull the senses, jade us,
rob a little of the joy we all thought was just about guaranteed in the profession.

Every once in a while, we get blessed with the spectacular whether it be a no-hitter,
a 50-point game, or another type of performance that leaves us in total awe, demanding
that we recognize and appreciate greatness.

Then you get a day like August 7, 2016. Long before NBC signed off on its Olympic
coverage for the evening, there were performances, milestones, and news that made us stop
and go, "wow."



It all came so fast and furiously that Twitter seemed to be on the verge of overload. News
broke around 9 a.m. that the Alex Rodriquez and the New York Yankees scheduled a
press conference for 11 a.m. Anybody with a clue knew this wasn't going to be an
announcement for an upcoming A-Rod bobblehead day at the stadium.  Either A-Rod
was retiring or getting released.

I didn't wait around for the news conference.  God didn't create a day like today to sit
around and watch ESPN. I went out for an 8-mile hike. I wasn't all that surprised when
I checked my cell phone around 12:15 p.m and read about A-Rod's plan for departing
the game. Not a shock, but still big news when a player of A-Rod's stature says good-bye
to the Yankees and the game, albeit this Friday.

Then things started to get real interesting as I scrolled down the Twitter feed. Jim Furyk
shot a blistering 58 in the final round of the Travelers Championship. A god-dang 58!
The lowest round in PGA Tour history. The dude has an ugly head, an even uglier swing,
and is on the doorstep of playing on the Senior Tour and he shoots a 58!!  Unreal.


Something not quite as unreal as Furyk's 58 but still amazing, were the first three at-bats
of Manny  Machado. The All-Star third baseman of the Baltimore Orioles hit home runs
in his first  three at-bats against the Chicago White Sox and had seven RBI's. This
was all before his fourth at-bat in the fifth-inning, plenty of time to tie the record for home
runs in a  game with four. Machado gave it a good effort, but ended the game with those
three home runs.


A few hours later in Colorado, Ichiro made MLB history by roping a triple for his
3,000th hit. He is the 30th player in the history of the game to reach that milestone.
What's incredible is that Ichiro didn't start playing in the big leagues until he was
27-years-old,  spending the first seven years of his professional career playing in Japan.
It took the Miami Marlins 42-year-old outfielder just 16 seasons to reach the 3,000
hit mark, which has proven to be an automatic ticket to Cooperstown. 


There were a few interesting things of note  that caught our attention but got buried
under the avalanche of milestones and major news Sunday. Venus and Serena Williams,
the most dominant double tennis players in the world, lost in the first round of the Olympics
in Rio.

And the NFL's Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio was cancelled because of poor
field conditions. Yep, on a sun-splashed afternoon  and with a synthetic turf field, the
NFL made the decision to cancel the game.. Brilliant! Apparently, the field was like
concrete after a Tim McGraw concert was held there Friday night. I'm sure Roger
Goodell will try to pin the blame on the New England Patriots. LOL.



Only 30 players in the history of the game have 3,000 hits or more, so yes, today was a
very special day in sports even without the A-Rod drama. Throw in Furyk's incredible
58 and this is a day that made you go, "Wow."

*Note. This article was written before Kate Ledecky of the US set a world record and
Michael Phelps captured his 19th career gold medal as part of the 4 x 100 relay.

I'll say it again: wow! what a day in sports!


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