Fun Fact of the Day: Yesterday, Roger Federer announced that he’s going to skip the French Open to recover from a back injury. This is the 1st grand slam that he has missed since the 1999 U.S. Open, ending a record streak of 65 straight grand slam appearances.
Great success! The Cleveland Cavaliers steamrolled the Toronto Raptors (108-89) to lead the Eastern Conference finals 2-0. The Cavs have now won an incredible 10 straight postseason games. LeBron James passed Shaquille O’Neal to become #4 on the all-time playoff scoring list behind only Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Kobe Bryant. Who’s not breaking any scoring records? Raptors star Kyle Lowry has been struggling with his shooting all postseason and last night he left for the locker room mid-game to decompress.
A magical windfall. After coach Scott Skiles surprised everyone by resigning last week, the Orlando Magic have hired Frank Vogel as their next head coach. He will try to groom a talented group of youngsters, while the front office tries to sign some veteran talent. And Magic fans rejoiced! Vogel was a great coach for the Indiana Pacers before he was let go. He led them to the playoffs 5 out of the past 6 years, and the only year they didn’t make it superstar Paul George was out with injury. Hopefully he can bring some of that coaching magic with him to Orlando.
Ice sharks. The San Jose Sharks shutout the St. Louis Blues (3-0), to lead the Western Conference finals 2-1. Sharks goalie Martin Jones made 22 beautiful saves in his second straight shutout against the Blues. This is marks a fantastic start for the Sharks, who won only 3 games altogether in their past 3 trips to the Western Conference finals.
Seen and Heard
Another drag for the Jags. The Jacksonville Jaguars' 1st round draft pick former Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey injured his knee. He’s getting a 2nd opinion on the meniscus tear diagnosis. Now Jags fans are crossing their fingers that this season won’t get completely screwed by another injury. Déjà vu. Last year, the Jags’ 1st round draft pick tore his ACL on the first day of mini-camp and missed his entire rookie season.
Surprising polling results. And no we aren’t talking about this wacky election. The Washington Post conducted a survey of 504 Native Americans and 90% said they are not offended by the Washington Redskins name, despite the fact that the word is an ethnic slur. Regardless of the results, there are still many who are calling upon Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the name. Unfortunately, the chances of that are… zero. Back in 2014, when Snyder was confronted with public outcry against the name, he responded, “We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER -- you can use caps.”
Spotlight on Baseball Season
We’ve rounded the bend on the first quarter of baseball season, so we thought it was time to spotlight some of the teams you should be watching out for this summer.
Cubs, Cubs, Cubs… did we mention the Cubs? Last year, the Cubs had a spectacular 97-win season and made it all the way to the NL Championship Series, so it was no surprise that they were the early favorites to win it all this year. And they’ve been living up to the hype. They currently have a ridiculous +106 run differential and the best record in the league. In fact, they are on pace to win 118 games, which would beat the MLB record of 116-wins set by the 1906 Cubs.
They’re not the only game in own. Move over Cubs, the White Sox want to get in on some of that Chi-town love. They currently have the best record in the AL Central division, and their pitchers—anchored by Chris Sale and Jose Quintana—lead the AL in ERA. But they have a tough road ahead, because they’re in the same division as the defending world champion Kansas City Royals, which is a scary, well-balanced team.
Swing batter, batter, batter. Both the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles are sitting on top of the AL East, and they are doing it by power-hitting like crazy. Boston leads the league in slugging percentage (.489), while Baltimore leads in home runs (55). Going out on top. It’s Red Sox designated hitter David “Big Papi” Ortiz’s last season, but are we sure somebody told him?!? So far he’s been knocking his farewell tour out of the park. Literally. Ortiz leads the AL in slugging percentage (.652) and he’s already hit 10 home runs. Did we mention he’s 40? B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
Well, aren’t you a pleasant surprise? Before Opening Day, the Philadelphia Phillies were the only team to receive a 0% chance to win the World Series based on Baseball Prospectus’s projections. Now the Phillies are getting the last laugh because they’re sitting just 1.5 games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East. The Phillies’ pitching has been phenomenal, but some fans are still scared to get their hopes up, because the team’s run differential is -28. Eek!
Now for the bad news… The Houston Astros have been a massive disappointment this year, but no tale is as woeful as the Atlanta Braves, who are currently on pace to lose 124 games, which would break the 120-loss record set by the 1962 N.Y. Mets.
The Conference finals continue!
- EAST: Cleveland Cavaliers @ Toronto Raptors—the Cavs lead the series 2-0, Saturday 8:30pm ET on ESPN
- WEST: Golden State Warriors @ Oklahoma City Thunder—the series is tied at 1-1, Sunday 8pm ET on TNT
The Conference finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue!
- EAST: Pittsburgh Penguins v. Tampa Bay—the Penguins lead the series 2-1, Friday 8pm ET and Sunday @ 8pm ET on NBCSN
- WEST: St. Louis Blues @ San Jose Sharks—the Sharks lead the series 2-1, Saturday 7:15pm ET on NBC
The French Open begins this Sunday! Coverage begins on NBC from 1-4pm ET.