Erik Spoelstra is Batman?: Extensive profile from ESPN on the man who may be the least-hated man associated with the Miami Heat, head coach Erik Spoelstra. Tells the full story of Spoelstra's rise from the video room to the NBA Finals.
Lightning Sweep Capitals Out of Playoffs: For the fourth year in a row, the star-studded Washington Capitals have left the playoffs early, this time in a sweep at the hands of the under-heralded Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning won Game 4 5-3 on the strength of Dwayne Roloson's continued excellence in net and two goals from Sean Bergenheim, who has already scored half as many goals in the playoffs (7) as he did the entire regular season. This is the Lightning's first trip to the conference finals since their Stanley Cup win in 2004.
Taking His Talents To... Anfield?: LeBron James and the Fenway Sports Group struck a deal which makes FSG LeBron's representative around the world. In return, LeBron received a minority ownership stake of Liverpool FC. This connection is meant to expand both Liverpool and LeBron's brands across the globe.
No Double Dip for UConn: The 2 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish women's basketball team defeated the two time defending national champion Connecticut Huskies 72-63 on Sunday night to receive a place in the national championship game, in an upset much bigger than the UConn men's basketball team making it to the national championship. UConn's 2004 basketball teams will remain the only teams to win both the men's and women's national championships in the same year.
Irish Cricket Team Defeats England in World Cup: In an upset of monumental proportions, the Ireland cricket team defeated the England cricket team by three wickets with five balls remaining in Bangalore today. A Test-playing nation being defeated by an associate nation is rare at best. England is ranked 3rd in the world among one-day international (ODI) playing squads, and had just managed a tie against India, one of the tournament favorites, on Sunday. The achievement is being hailed as a victory to lift the national spirit in Ireland, a country dealing with heavy financial problems and a bailout from the EU.
San Francisco Giants Win The World Series: ...in five games over the Texas Rangers. They won Game 5 3-1 on the strength of eight innings of three hit, 10 K pitching from Tim Lincecum and a three-run homer in the seventh inning by Edgar Renteria.
Rooney to leave Manchester?: After losing his place in the team and a mystery/imaginary ankle injury, Wayne Rooney has informed Manchester United that he has no desire to sign a new contract and intends to leave Manchester for another club as soon as possible, likely during the January transfer window. The most interesting possible destination may involve him not even leaving Manchester: "Insane as it is . . #MCFC are very much in the melting pot #Rooney #MUFC #thingsIthoughtIwouldneverwrite" -via Daniel Taylor of the Guardian on Twitter
Spain win the World Cup: ...thanks to a goal in the second half of extra time from Andres Iniesta, after Holland had been reduced to ten men in an extremely ugly and foul-heavy game. In other news, Paul the Octopus finishes the World Cup 8-for-8.
Vuvuzelas: Post-July 11: Guests of the World Cup are being encouraged to bring the vuvuzelas back to their home leagues, and the Premier League has said it would "welcome" them in England, not just simply allow them.
Chelsea win the Premier League: ... in a bulldozing of Wigan Athletic on the last day of the season. The title could still have fallen to Manchester United had Chelsea drawn or lost against Wigan, who beat Chelsea 3-1 in September, but Chelsea allowed no questions in an 8-0 obliteration of Wigan, raising their total goals for the season to a stunning 103. Manchester United took second with a 4-0 victory against Stoke City, and Arsenal confirmed third place with a 4-0 win against Fulham, who are preparing for the Europa League final on Wednesday. Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur take England's four UEFA Champions League spots. On the bottom of the table, Hull City, Burnley, and Portsmouth go down to the Championship. The final table
Brothers in... Hoodies?: Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, both noted for dressing down on the field of play, are getting their friendship on. Belichick sent Maddon a personalized Patriots hoodie complete with "J.M." on the front, and Maddon plans to return the favor.
Butler Advances to National Championship: The Bulldogs defeated Michigan State 52-50 on Saturday night, surviving a second half in which they only shot 24%. They move on to the national championship on Monday evening against the winner of the Duke-West Virginia game tonight. They'll get to play another game in the friendly confines of the Lucas Oil Stadium, a mere 6.4 miles and one turn from their home fieldhouse.
The Playoff for Fourth?: It was revealed today that the English Premier League is considering introducing a playoff for the last Champions League position from England to break the hegemony of the Big Four (Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal) on the Champions League spots. Teams that would have been eligible for the last spot in 2008-09 were Aston Villa, Everton, and Fulham (who would have joined Arsenal in the playoff).
Are teams getting better at playing with ten men?: Really interesting article from the Guardian today peering a little bit into how teams fare after they receive a red card after some results from this weekend where teams improved after being reduced to 10 men: Almeria 3-1 Sporting Gijon, Barcelona 2-1 Getafe, and Liverpool 1-0 Everton. There was also yesterday's match at Villa Park, where Manchester United held Aston Villa for more than an hour and sometimes looked like the better side with ten men. Match report: Aston Villa 1-1 Manchester United.
Holliday remains a Cardinal: Matt Holliday signs a 7-year, $120 million, full no-trade deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. Holliday was instrumental in the Cards' run to the postseason last year.
Manny Ramirez suspended for substance abuse: Of all the stars that had been linked to substance abuse, Manny Ramirez had not been one, until he was suspended for fifty games today for violating baseball's substance abuse policy.
Dominating: The UConn Huskies (of the female variety) finished off their unstoppable run to the national championship last night with a 76-54 dismantling of Louisville. According the the linked article (from SI.com), this team is the first team in the history of college basketball to win every single game in their season by double digits. They did this in a conference that got seven teams into the NCAA field, with four making it to the second weekend and two to the Final Four. So now, is this team the best women's college basketball team ever?
Diplomacy by sport?: Two of Iran's top club soccer teams, Persepolis and Esteghlal Tehran may be traveling to the United States for a tour culminating in a match between the two clubs. The tour is still to be approved by the Iranian government, but should it occur, it could mean a large step towards peace between the two countries.
Six.: - overtimes, before the Big East tournament game between Syracuse and Connecticut could be decided. Not quite the longest game in NCAA history (seven OTs), but certainly close.
Sacking Day: Two more Premier League managers have bitten the dust, with Big Phil Scolari getting sacked at Chelsea and Tony Adams losing his job at Portsmouth. Is it surprising that these two lost their jobs, or surprising that it's taken this long for the management to do the deed?
Arshavin, finally, joins the Gunners: After two weeks of negotiations, deals falling apart and being remade, and one big snowstorm, Andrei Arshavin has actually left Zenit St. Petersburg to join Arsenal. In other news from the closing of the transfer window, Robbie Keane rejoins Tottenham from Liverpool (and Harry Redknapp is excited), and Charles N'Zogbia leaves Newcastle for Wigan.
Holyfield, in a shocker.... loses?: SI.com's Graham scored the fight at 118-110 to Holyfield, but the judges speak otherwise, giving the win to Valuev by majority decision.
Questionable Call: Near the end of the Broncos-Chargers game today, there was a very curious call on the fumble/incompletion by Jay Cutler near the end of the game. The play was clearly a fumble by every replay, but because referee Ed Hochuli had blown the play dead, the ball returned to the Broncos at the spot of the fumble instead of going to the Chargers by way of recovering the fumble. The Broncoes went on to score a touchdown, a 2-point conversion, and win the game 39-38.
Olympic Traitor?: Chris Kaman of the Clippers, a US citizen, obtained German citizenship and plays basketball for the German Olympic team in these Olympics. He is three generations removed from his great-grandparents who came here from the motherland. There's some dispute about whether a US citizen playing for another national team is kosher. Opinions?
Sidney Crosby = the new Larry Bird?: "Some even suggest that having Crosby in the Cup finals could give the NHL the same enormous boost in popularity the NBA received way back in 1984, when Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers and Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics met in that league's championship series." Well then.