The Best Time of Year For Sports

Now that I am back in the States for a while, I can actually relax and watch some sports right in time for the best part of year sports year. September and October has the baseball final weeks and World Series. The US Open has just begun and college and pro football start within the next two weeks. Hockey is only a few weeks away and the European soccer season is in full swing. It’s like a sports heaven for me and by the time the World Series ends, college basketball is just around the corner. However, right now I am focused on the US Open and baseball.

I am not in New York and will miss the US Open for the second consecutive year so I am a little bummed about that but will be watching as always and hope that Roger Federer can win his sixth straight title. That would put him at 16 total grand slams and become the first man since the twenties to win 6 straight.
Everyone keeps talking about Andy Murray breaking through but I don’t quite think he’s ready for primetime. He faded in the semifinals at Wimbledon and although he reached the finals last year, he was easily handled by Federer who has never lost a grand slam final to anyone besides Rafael Nadal. Nadal is seeded third and opens today against Richard Gasquet in a very interesting match in the first round. I don’t think Nadal has it in him for the US Open as he isn’t quite back to his old self yet but he probably has enough to get to the semifinals where I imagine he’ll get knocked off by either Murray or Andy Roddick whose motivation level has to be sky high.

On the women’s side, everyone keeps saying the Elena Dementieva can break through but I digress. There is nobody who can beat Serena if she wants to play. I imagine after getting beat in recent warm up tournaments she is pretty motivated and besides she lives for the majors. She has already won Australia and Wimbledon this year and is the defending US Open champion. My money is on the great one. All the Ova’s and Eva’s have to show me they can beat her in a major first before I get all excited about any of them. Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sharapova are the only ones that have actually won a major and they along with Dementieva face a difficult road to the final. I am clearly not sold on the puppet number one, Dinara Safina who almost lost yesterday.

On a personal note, I hope to attend the 2010 Australian Open in January in Melbourne. I have previously been to the complex and Rod Laver Arena but in March so I really want to get to see my favorite tournament to watch in person.
Conversely, as the pennant races heat up, I am really excited for the playoffs and the World Series this year. There are so many great teams and interesting potential post season matchups including the Yankees and Red Sox of course and the Phillies and Cardinals in the National League. My hope is a Yankees versus Cardinals World Series with my favorite team, the Yankees, and the best player, Albert Pujols, going head to head on the biggest stage in baseball.

A couple of individual baseball notes:

Ichiro Suzuki is about to get his 9th consecutive 200 hit season (a record) and his 2000th career hit in the major leagues. Had he played his entire career in the US, there is no doubt, barring injury, he would eclipse Pete Rose’s all time hit record of 4562. He is amazing.
Albert Pujols just notched his 9th consecutive 30 home run and 100 RBI season to start his career which is incredible and he will no doubt win his third MVP award this year wherein it could’ve been his 5th or 6th had Barry Bonds not have been around and on roids (allegedly). Phat Albert is such a pleasure to watch and the best thing about him is he rarely strikes out and is reminiscient of the old timers. Not to mention he has a .333 career lifetime average. Again amazing!
Anyway, as we move into September, I can’t wait to see the action unfold and hope the Yankees, NY Giants, Federer and Arsenal can win their respective championships.

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  1. Its Federer’s tourney to lose, Murray can’t hack it.

  2. Ichiro is fantastic and is simply a hitting machine. Pujols, assuming he’s clean, is one of the all time best players. I also hope to see a Yankees/Cardinals WS, it would be the most intriguing matchup.

  3. LEE! No Roger! No Murray! Rafa or Roddick ALL THE WAY! I am sick of Rog and Murray! If you go to the Aussie Open let me know and I will go too! I should be able to get us MEDIA CREDENTIALS SO WE CAN GO EVERYDA AND EVERYWHERE FOR NADA!

  4. Lee, what are your Australia plans? I\’ll be there end December into January to visit Tasmania, South Australia and ACT (three new states) and also Vanuatu and New Caledonia. I\’ll also be in Sydney around New Year\’s.

    I\’ve been to the Australian Open — saw Serena play in 2001. Its a very nice venue, and it was very easy to pick up tix.

  5. Hey Michael, I dont have any specific plans for Melbourne or Oz in general. I will be doing a big Africa trip this winter and if I have time I will consider flying over to Oz for the Open. I have a free miles flight coming home from Sydney end if January if I can use it I will, otherwise it’ll just be Africa. I am just starting to think about a plan and it’s a big undertaking in Africa as you know especially in the Central countries.

    If I do go I will let you know though as I need Tazzy as well.

  6. Good luck in Africa — many of your remaining countries are tough (CAR, Chad, Angola, the two Congos). I think the Angola visa is also very tough (up there with Libya and Algeria). I think Cabinda can be tricky, too, and many go from Point Noire in Congo Brazzaville.

    You can always leave Namibia for the end — its such a nice place, very easy to travel, and will be a nice place to recuperate after battling through the central African nations.

    Federer is having a tougher time putting this guy away than I’m sure he expected.

  7. I am very much looking fwd to Namibia and doing some sandboarding and chilling out after “battling” as you say thru those other places. I am also going to try to hit the Indian Ocean isles off east Africa at the end. All depends on time, costs etc as you know.

    Fed played a guy last night who played the match of his life on the biggest stage of his life. Fed probably overlooked him, looking ahead to Hewitt but won in straights nonetheless.

    Serena looked unstoppable last night too.

  8. Roger has to face everyone’s A game at all times. All opponents, top or lower ranked are always up to face him. This is what makes him so amazing and especially in the slams. His consistency and ability to win even when he doesn’t have his best game are admirable. The great ones find a way to win. Serena has it too although she is not quite as focused as Roger.

  9. There was a debate a few months ago about weather Ichiro makes the HOF based purely on his US stats. How can he not make it? He’ll be 36 heading into next season and shows no sign of slowing down. Call it 3 more seasons of production and he’ll be around (over) 2500 hits and be easily over .300 average.

  10. There is no debate, he is a sure fire HOFer if his career ended today. What he has done in 9 years has never been seen before and is amazing.

    He broke the 80+ year single season hit record 262 is unfathomable, won an MVP, ROY and All Star MVP, all star and gold glove every year and 200 hits, plus 300+ stolen bases and nearly 100 runs every year. He will get 3000 hits in the US if he plays another 5 years-I know he wants it so I am sure he’ll get it. It will be interesting to see if he or Jeter ends up with more hits here as Jeter is the only other guy who may get well into the 3000s with hits.

  11. You need 10 years of playing in the MLB to make the HOF, so Ichiro needs to play next year. He’s first ballot, guaranteed. But, if he retired tomorrow they may break the rule and admit him.

    A-Rod should get to 3,000 too — he\’s at 2,500 and is only 34.

  12. Arod will get 3000 I’m sure but he will also become the all time strikeout king in 5-6 years…it appears if he’s actually off the juice he’s on the decline…I hate him and it kills me he’s on the Yankees.

  13. Dont be bitter, he isnt the 1st Yankee nor will be be the last to be on the juice.

  14. I hated him before they got him and before we knew he was on the sauce

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