St Louis hosted this year’s All-Star Game, a contest which the American League won 4-3. This marks the twelfth straight time the AL has won the Midsummer Classic. Can you say domination? I knew that you could. Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford won the MVP award for his game-saving catch of Brad Hawpe’s near home run in the seventh inning. It was the first time a position player had won the award without an RBI since Willie Mays did so over forty years ago. Not bad company to keep.
Speaking of the Say Hey Kid and keeping good company, Willie Mays rode to this year’s All-Star game in style: on Air Force One with President Barack Obama. Sporting his Chicago White Sox warm-up jacket, President Obama threw out the first pitch of Tuesday night’s ballgame. Prior to the game, he visited both American and National League locker rooms, meeting players and signing autographs. Most players were noticeably awestruck, except of course for Derek Jeter who ranks slightly higher on the cool scale. After all, Obama never caused Mariah Carey to gain 100 pounds after dumping her.
And people think I have commitment issues. San Antonio Spur Richard Jefferson recently called off his wedding to former New Jersey Nets dancer, Kesha Ni’Cole Nichols, a mere days before the ceremony. Unaware of RJ’s cold feet, invited guests showed up at his Manhattan wedding only to find out he was having second thoughts. Guess his playing with the Spurs is a conflict of interest. Jefferson was cordial enough to leave a credit card behind and treat his guests to whatever they liked. Unfortunately for Nichols, the card wouldn’t cover a new husband.
Like those of us at sportschump.net, Antoine Walker is in dire need of a stimulus package. Doing his best Charles Barkley impression, Walker faces criminal charges for owing over $800,000 to three different Las Vegas casinos. After winning a national championship at Kentucky, Walker had a respectable NBA career, averaging over 20 points per game his first seven seasons in Boston. His later years, however, were characterized by injury and inconsistency. According to basketball-reference.com, Walker made over $100 million while playing in the league, including $8.5 mil his last year in Minnesota where he averaged a career low 8 ppg. Sounds like Walker should have quit while he was ahead on both counts.
Speaking of questionable investments, the Philadelphia Phillies have signed three-time Cy Young Award winner and one-time Don Zimmer tackler, Pedro Martinez to a one-year, one million dollar contract. That is a wise investment. The poor investment I referred to earlier was the $50 million the New York Mets shelled out for Martinez in 2005 after the Red Sox refused to offer him a four-year deal. Pedro won 32 games for the Mets over that time span, a far cry from the 23 games he won in 1999 alone. Even a somewhat healthy Martinez will shore up a Phillies team that already leads the NL East as they look to stick it to the Mets yet again.
Cashing in on his success with the New England Patriots last season, Matt Cassell just signed a six-year, $63-million deal with Kansas City. Without Cassell last year, the Chiefs went 2-14. In Tom Brady’s absence, the Pats went 11-5 with Cassell behind center. Average those numbers together and the Chiefs might actually contend in 2009.
Thursday marks the commencement of this year’s British Open. With Phil Mickelson out of the tournament for personal reasons, Tiger Woods is an even more considerable favorite than normal to win the Open Championship. Las Vegas lists the next closest competitor, Sergio Garcia, at 20:1. Considering this year’s tournament is being held at Turnberry, a course on which Tiger has never competed professionally, gamblers stand to make a fair amount of money if Tiger is not the one holding the Open trophy on Sunday.