Two Down. One To Go.

The Play by Play

Two Down. One To Go.

Amidst heavy fog, a horse and his jockey came one step closer to the sport’s ultimate prize. Despite a late surge by Bravazo, who came in second, Justify staved off the competition to win the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. He’s only the twenty fourth horse to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown, even though the races have existed since 1875. Already he’s part of an elite group but hopes to join the twelve who have won all three. Last achieved in 2015 by American Pharoah (the two horses share a trainer), all eyes are on Justify and the upcoming Belmont Stakes.

There’s No Crying in Baseball But There’s Now Betting on Sports.

Earlier this week the Supreme Court ruled on a case relating to sports betting. In Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, the judges decided that one statue of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, relating specifically to gambling, proved unconstitutional. To be clear, this does not make sports betting suddenly legal. Rather, instead of the Federal Government regulating gambling, the court believes it to be a state’s right. Some states, namely New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have already taken steps to legalize sports gambling, leading many to wonder the impact this ruling may have on professional sports. Some are excited by the prospect of money to be made, from both the bets themselves and also increased viewership. Others worry that once allowed, gambling will become difficult to contain, possibly leading to more Pete Rose scenarios (a professional baseball player eventually banned from the sport for placing bets on MLB games while an active player and manager). There remain many unanswered questions about how this ruling will affect each of the professional leagues individually and potentially  all the fans who watch the game.

The Faces and Facts

Featured Female – Eunice Kennedy Shriver (Nonprofit Founder): Shriver founded the Special Olympics in 1968. Eunice grew up participating in sports with her sister Rosemary, who had an intellectual disability. As she continued her involvement in athletics, Eunice came to understand sports as a community builder, an entity that provided common ground for all individuals. She thus started brainstorming ways to provide those with disabilities the same opportunities. What started as a day camp in her backyard has now evolved into a global movement that serves over 4 million individuals worldwide.

Robinson Cano (Baseball): An all-star second baseman for the Seattle Mariners and formerly the New York Yankees. The MLB recently suspended Cano for 80 games following a positive test for diuretic Furosemide, something often used to hide the presence of PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) in someone’s system. He’s looking at a loss of around $24 million and possibly a place in the hall of fame.

Luke Heimlich (Baseball): A pitcher for Oregon State. Heimlich is considered a top pitching prospect but is also a registered sex offender for, at the age of 15, molesting his then six-year old niece. The news of his crime leaked back in June of 2017, leading Heimlich to withdraw from the College World Series. Yet another example of the now this unfortunately common duality: awful behavior paired with exceptional talent. Some continue to support his endeavors while others can no longer even watch him play.  No one is quite sure what Luke’s future holds.

Dwane Casey (Basketball): The head coach recently fired by the Toronto Raptors. Casey has since been named as one of the three finalists for Coach of the Year. The team took to twitter to congratulate him…. #Awkward

The Rundown

Having covered the challenge policy in both the NBA and NHL, this week’s Rundown dives into how it plays out in football and baseball.

  • NFL: An NFL coach has two challenges per game, to be used at any point before the two-minute warning of each half. When the coach throws a red flag onto the field it signals to the referee that the team wants him to review the last play. If the call on the field stands (the challenge was unsuccessful), the team loses a timeout (of which they have three per half). In order to throw the red flag, a coach therefore needs to have at least one time out remaining. If both challenges are successful however, the team earns a third opportunity to challenge.
  • MLB: At the start of every baseball game, a manager has one challenge to use. If used successfully (the call is overturned in their favor), the manager is granted an additional challenge. To expedite the process (in an attempt to pick up the pace of the game overall) a manager has only 30 seconds after a play is over to decide to challenge. Once the managers have used their available challenges, the chief umpire may decide to review any non-home run play starting in the 8th inning.

Keep your eyes peeled during the next MLB game you watch to see if any manager elects to challenge! I only just saw it for the first time a few weeks ago.

The UpComing

The French Open (Tennis): The first round of the tournament kicks off on Sunday at Roland Garros. While Serena technically returned to tennis back in March, she lost two of her four matches and hasn’t played since. The French Open is, therefore, viewed by many as Serena’s official comeback and will be the first Grand Slam in which she participates since giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. It’s bound to be an entertaining few weeks. You can see the full list of  coverage times and channels here.

Washington Capitals v. Tampa Bay Lightning (Hockey): After losing the first two games of the series, Tampa Bay now leads 3-2, putting the Capitals in a must-win situation. Alexander Ovechkin, having finally made it past the Pittsburgh Penguins in the conference semifinals would like nothing more than to win his first ever Stanley Cup. But he and his team certainly have their work cut out for them. The game’s in DC however, which might give the Capitals the advantage they need to force a Game 7. Stamkos and crew are hoping to finish the job and join the Las Vegas Golden Knights (who beat Winnipeg in five games) in the finals. Puck drops Monday at 8pm EST.

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