TWIST: This Week in Sports Talk is our weekly recap of the three things you need to know this week to join the conversation about sports. Game on.
We begin this week with a good deed from a great athlete. NBA player LeBron James has announced the opening of a new school in Akron, Ohio for at-risk students. The I Promise school is a public, non-charter educational institution that opened earlier this week to a group of 240 third- and fourth-grade students; by 2022, it is expected to accommodate children in first through eighth grades. A native of Ohio, James was inspired to devote some of his financial resources toward helping those in need in his home state based on his own experiences in school. Tuition is free for all students, as are uniforms; meals and snacks during the school day; and transportation to school. There’s also a free bicycle and helmet for each student, and for those who commit to graduating from high school and then do so, the program will provide free tuition to the University of Akron. Love. All. Of . This. Bravo, Mr. James.
For Those Who Do Not Follow Professional Sports, here’s what you need to know this week.
3 for the week of August 5, 2018:
1. Major League Baseball (MLB) Latest. Must know: The highly-anticipated New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox four-game series at Fenway Park in Boston, between the two best teams in the league, has so far turned into a rout for the Yanks. The best headline we’ve seen so far calls it “The Boston Massacre.” As of this posting, the Yanks have lost the first three games. Nice to know: New York lost the first game in embarrassing fashion, 15-7. Then, Luis Severino – an All-Star and the Yankees’ best ace so far this year – played as starting pitcher for the second game, and the Yanks lost 4-1. That’s the same final score from Saturday’s game three; they’ve fallen 8.5 games behind the Red Sox (the widest spread of the season). Extra Credit: If this keeps up, the Yanks’ post-season will come down to a one-game wildcard knock-out round instead of the 5-game division series that they’d prefer. The only hope that Yankees fans are holding onto is that sluggers Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez haven’t been on the field in this series, nor has their newest player, J. A. Happ. Bonus Round: During Friday’s game, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was ejected from the game for shouting at an umpire after the Yanks’ Severino threw a 96-mile-an-hour pitch that came perilously close to Sox batter Mookie Betts, who hit the ground afterward. Cora took exception to the umpire’s reaction, and came out swearing – it was his first ejection as a manager.
National Football League (NFL) News. Must know: Despite its grand name, the NFL’s Hall of Fame Game is not particularly important to avid fans. At this year’s game, the Baltimore Ravens won 17 – 16 over the Chicago Bears. Here’s how you know that this wasn’t a game for the ages: our Sports Desk reports that the rumor is that the NFL agreed with the Ravens that Lamar Jackson would start playing in the game’s second quarter, just to make sure that people stayed tuned. Nice to know: Jets Nation breathes a sigh of relief as quarterback and first round draft pick Sam Darnold signs his contract and finally reports to camp. Fans were happy with his first outing, last night at the Jets’ Green & White scrimmage at Rutgers University. Darnold played well, completing 9-of-11 passes for 89 yards. He also ran for 13 yards on two scrambles. Extra credit: In trade news, the New England Patriots moved to shore up their receiving group by signing Eric Decker, a very solid possession receiver, to help QB Tom Brady. The Baltimore Ravens this week signed quarterback Robert Griffin III (aka “RG3”), who was otherwise planning to train for the 2020 Olympics in track. That will put some pressure on starting QB Joe Flacco, now that both RG3 and rookie Lamar Jackson are waiting in the wings.
Meanwhile, in other sports. Must know: In NCAA college football, all eyes are on Urban Meyer, the head coach at Ohio State. While some consider him to be the second-best current college football head coach (after the iconic Nick Saban), this week Meyer was put on administrative leave as a result of reports that he knew that one of his assistant coaches, Zach Smith, was a domestic abuser back when they coached together in Florida. Despite that, he hired Smith to follow him to Ohio State. Meyer has issued a statement saying that he followed all proper protocols in 2015, when the incident involving Smith was first reported, and continues to do so now. Nice to know: Serena Williams suffered her worst loss as a professional this week, losing her opening match at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic last Tuesday night to Johanna Konta 6-1, 6-0. A few days later, she announced her withdrawal from next week’s Rogers Cup hard-court tournament, citing personal reasons. Take care of yourself, girl. Extra Credit: On Thanksgiving weekend, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will meet in a 1:1 match in Vegas with a $10 million purse. Why? Because they can.
That’s it. You’re good to go. See you next week.