This Week in Sports Talk (TWIST) is our weekly recap to help you learn how to talk about sports right now. If you’re just starting to learn about sports, here’s how to talk to a sports fan the week of June 16, 2019.
how to talk sports the week of june 16, 2019
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and father figures out there. We hope your loved ones spoil you rotten today!
The over-arching theme of this week in sports is closure. Two professional sports championship finals are over. A team has played its last game at its old home arena. And a big NBA trade sees the end of a chapter in one star’s life.
But first, here are some short takes for those who need to know how to talk sports this week.
a league of its own
We’re posting this dispatch from Alaska, where we’ve been on an amazing adventure for the past week aboard a cruise ship. In honor of our first trip to the state, we’re kicking this week off with two fun facts about sports and the 49th State.
Who knew, but there’s an Alaska Baseball League! Exclusively for NCAA collegiate players who aspire to join the Major Leagues, the season for this minor league is only a few weeks long, and it just got underway. A number of strong college players participate – New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is an alum of this league, for instance.
There are five teams located in four Alaskan cities: the Mat-Su Miners in Palmer; the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks in Chugiak; the Anchorage Bucs and Anchorage Glacier Pilots; and the Peninsula Oilers in Kenai.
One of the most charming traditions in Alaska baseball predates even this league. The 114th Midnight Sun Game will be held on June 21, 2019. On Midsummer’s Night, the longest day of the year, the amateur team the Alaska Goldpanners invite a team from the Lower 48 to join them for a night game to end all night games. Notably, the “Panners” have sent over 200 players to the Majors, including Tom Seaver, Dave Winfield and Barry Bonds.
Played in Fairbanks, just 160 miles south of the Arctic Circle, the game starts at 10:30P and goes until about 2:00A the next day. During that game, the sun sets for less than an hour, and then comes back up before the game is over. Seriously, how cool is that?
french open final
In case you missed it, Rafael Nadal defeated Dominc Theim in the finals of the French Open last Sunday; it was his 12th French Open victory. This year’s tournament was disrupted by rain and blustery conditions several times. Next year, the Court Philippe Chatrier will have a roof for the first time. Organizers are also considering instituting night matches starting in 2021.
fifa women’s world cup
The FIFA Women’s World Cup is underway, with defending champions the US and host country France the two favorites heading into the tournament.
Team USA played its first match on June 11. They rolled over Thailand by a record score of 13 – 0. Afterward, the women were criticized as “the big bad bullies” for such an overwhelming win. But their defenders note (and we agree) that in World Cup play, the goal differential can play into the seedings for the next round.
Also, some of these young women are playing in their very first World Cup, and scoring at this level is the pinnacle of their careers. Our Sports Desk says “they should be allowed to perform and celebrate.” What do you think?
As of this posting, Gary Woodland, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, and Matt Kuchar are all possible victors. If he wins, Brooks Koepka would become the only player in history to win 3 straight US Open titles. Justin Rose played Round 1 with Tiger Woods on Friday, and not only outplayed Tiger but also tied Tiger’s 2000 Round 1 score of 65.
As of this posting, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods both have a lot of ground to make up.
how to talk to a sports fan the week of June 16, 2019
For Those Who Do Not Avidly Follow Professional Sports and want to know how to talk sports the week of June 16, 2019, here’s what you need to know.
The Toronto Raptors won the 2019 NBA Finals in 6 games. They clinched their victory over the Golden State Warriors in the Oakland Oracle Arena. The Warriors are moving to San Francisco, so this was the last NBA game to be played there. And they lost, 114-110.
In the end, Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Boogie couldn’t get this one done, although it was a close game. With the Warriors down by 1, and with seconds left, they had possession of the ball. They called a time out. Except, they had no time outs left. That resulted in a technical foul, giving Kawhi Leonard 2 free throws. He landed both to put the game away.
This is the first franchise Championship for the Raptors, and also the first time a Canadian team has won.
The biggest story in a series filled with drama is the amazing performance of Kawhi Leonard. After being named the Finals MVP when he led the San Antonio Spurs to victory over the Miami Heat, he suffered setbacks.
This new chapter in his career is a story of comeback and redemption. After enduring both injury and disaffection during his last years in San Antonio, Leonard was traded to Toronto and was very unhappy about it. Everyone assumed it would be for just one year. Now, he has been named the MVP of the 2019 Finals, making him the first player to win the MVP in the finals in both the Western and Eastern conferences.
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In a shocking turn of events in Game 5, Kevin Durant (KD) took to the court for the first time since being injured in Game 5 of the Conference Finals. The hope was that he’d rescue the Warriors from their slide into a 3-1 series deficit. Instead, he ruptured his Achilles – a very serious injury that will likely see him benched for all of the 2019-20 season.
KD had an operation to repair his injury two days ago. No word on whether he’ll exercise free agency now. If he stays with the Warriors, he’ll be paid $30 million in the upcoming season even if he cannot play. Fans of the New York Knicks who hoped he’d join the franchise have seen those hopes dashed.
KD wasn’t the only Warriors player who suffered an injury. Teammate Klay Thompson apparently tore his ACL early in the 3rd quarter of Game 6. He told the coach he needed 2 minutes and could then go back in. But he did not play again, and will likely have to be operated on, as well.
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson – aka “the Splash Brothers” were philosophical about their loss. As one can only be when you’ve won the last two Championship Finals. However sanguine they may be, the Warriors are likely to have a tougher road the next year or so. KD will be out, and possibly also Thompson. Will the dominance of the super team Warriors settle down now? Stay tuned.
And in breaking news, the LA Lakers have brokered a trade for Anthony Davis – aka Unibrow – from New Orleans. In exchange, they’re giving up Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round draft picks including this year’s number 4 pick.
The NBA draft is this Thursday, and New Orleans is expected to pick Zion Williamson. Ja Morant and RJ Barrett are likely to go as numbers 2 and 3, and right now the expectation is that they’ll go to the Grizzlies and the Knicks, respectively. But who knows? Watch this space for further updates.
Raptors President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Masai Ujiri allegedly struck a police officer trying to get to his team after the win at Oracle Arena. Conflicting accounts say that he may have shoved an Alameda County Sheriff’s deputy and nudged him in the face after the deputy asked for his credentials.
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei “Baby Ruth” Ohtani became the first Japanese-born player to hit for the cycle Thursday night in a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Ohtani hit a single in the seventh inning, following a three-run home run in the first inning, a double in the third, and a triple in the fifth.
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Legendary Red Sox slugger David Ortiz – aka “Big Papi” – was shot last week in the Dominican Republic in what was reportedly an attempted hit job. The Red Sox flew him back to Boston for treatment of serious, but not life-threatening, wounds. It appears that he’ll make a full recovery.
As of this posting, the New York Yankees are tied with the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. They’re heading to London later this month for a two-game series with the Boston Red Sox. The Sox are five and half games back.
In the NL West, the LA Dodgers are 10-and-a-half games ahead of the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks, who are tied for second. The Milwaukee Brewers are holding a one-game lead over the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. In the NL East, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves remain only a two-and-a-half games apart. The Minnesota Twins and the Houston Astros continue to lead the AL Central and West by wide margins, respectively.
The St. Louis Blues defeated the Boston Bruins at home in Game 7 to win the Stanley Cup. It’s the first franchise title for the Blues, so St. Louis fans were understandably overjoyed. Meanwhile, Bostonians were disappointed, as Game 7 was not even close.
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This is another amazing Cinderella story in sports: the Blues were in last place January 3, 2019 and are now the Stanley Cup Champions. And they did it with an interim Head Coach, Craig Berube. We’re pretty sure he will get the job now!
Back home in St. Louis, the Blues fans went a little bit cray-cray and tried to tip over the Gateway Arch. Using just their own hands. Because if your team can come out of last place to win the Stanley Cup, then anything is possible, right? Somehow, they didn’t succeed. So they settled for flipping over a sizable number of golf carts. Apparently, this is what passes for mayhem in St. Louis. But it’s OK – you do you, St. Louis.
The New England Patriots have filed tampering charges against the Houston Texans for trying to hire their General Manager Nick Caserio.
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The Oakland Raiders have been named the featured team on HBO’s Hard Knocks this season. The critically-acclaimed series documents the drama and competition of NFL training camp, focusing on one team each season. This will be the franchise’s first appearance on the show; it debuts Tuesday, August 6, 2019. With this being the second season of the Jon Gruden era, plus Antonio Brown in the house, it should make for great television.
There’s a lot of news about bling in the NFL at the moment. In addition to the New England Patriots unveiling their new SB LIII rings last week, there’s word of fraud and thievery.
Reportedly, new Jets player Le’Veon Bell had a couple of female friends over for a visit at his home in Florida. He left for the gym, and when he returned, the two “girlfriends” were gone, along with $500,000 worth of jewelry.
This week, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees missed the team’s OTA and the start of mini-camp because he was in California testifying against a California jeweler. In an ongoing lawsuit, Brees is alleging that he and his wife, Brittany, were defrauded of $15 million due to over-pricing of jewelry they purchased.
That’s how to talk to a sports fan the week of June 16, 2019. You’re good to go. See you next week!
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