Fun Fact of the Day: Last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers went 8 for 11 (or 73%) on 2-point conversions. That means that over the course of the season, they earned an extra 5.6 points by choosing not to try to kick the extra point. Steelers QB Big Ben Roethlisberger is all in on the strategy, but don’t expect other teams to jump on the bandwagon. The league-average for 2-point conversions is 48.4%.
A new Hit King? Miami Marlins CF Ichiro Suzuki is up to 4,255 career hits, coming within 1 hit of Pete Rose’s record! Well… Kind of. Rose has been grumbling, because 1,278 of Suzuki’s hits came during 9 seasons in Japanese league, which isn’t as prestigious as MLB. But some people think Rose should chill, because there’s a good chance Suzuki could have beaten his record, if he had played his entire career in the U.S. Either way, it’s a really impressive achievement—and you (and Rose!) can bet that Suzuki and this look-alike are excited. What else should I know about Suzuki? He came over to the U.S. at age 27 and immediately won MVP and Rookie of the Year with the Seattle Mariners. He still holds the all-time record for hits in a season with 262 in 2004. And this season, he’s still got it, batting a ridiculous .350 (the same as his rookie season) at the age of 42.
Ice ice baby. Yesterday, Iceland tied with Portugal 1-1 in the first round of the Euros (psst—it’s a prestigious European soccer tournament held every 4 years). They were super excited because this was the country’s first time playing in the Euros, and hey, they didn’t lose! Over the past 4 years the Icelandic team has gone from being ranked #133 in the world to breaking the top 35. It’s estimated that 10,000 of the country’s tiny 330,000 population is in France just to cheer on the team. After the game, Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo threw himself a pity party and criticized the Icelandic team for playing only defense and being “small” minded.
A scary new kind of hooliganism. Yesterday, the UEFA (Europe’s soccer organization) gave Russia a “suspended disqualification” from this year’s Euros. That is a fancy way of saying that the Russians can be suspended from competing if their fans cause any more trouble. Many countries’ fans have been involved in riots and violence, but a group of Russian fans have taken it to a dangerous extreme. An organized group of 150 “ultra” supporters have been shouting racist chants, displaying neo-Nazi signs, and starting fights with other fans. So far, 43 of the “ultras” have been arrested and could be deported back to Russia. It might be time for a change of venue, if we should expect this intolerance and mayhem when Russia hosts the World Cup in 2018.
Seen and Heard
Move over Britney, there’s a new act on the Strip. The NHL is expected to create a new expansion team in Las Vegas, beginning as early as the 2017-18 season. If the proposal is approved next week, it will be the 31st team in the NHL and the 1st major professional sports team for Vegas. The name for the new team is still TBD, but so far locals like the ring of the Las Vegas “Aces.”