Monday, July 6, 2009

Thoughts on Federer, McNair and All-Stars

Sunday's thrilling Wimbledon Men's final put Roger Federer in a class all by himself. Capturing his record-breaking 15th grand slam title was truly something to watch and captivated even the casual sports fan. No it wasn't as good as last year's final in which Federer fell to Rafael Nadal, but the losses to Nadal coupled with Sunday's match, proved Federer is deserving of being in the conversation of best tennis player ever. Think about it, not only has Federer won the most majors, but he is one of two players (Andre Agassi the other) to have won a career grand slam on three different surfaces (grass, clay, and hardcourt). Plus, his rivalry with Nadal (coupled with Andy Roddick's terrific performance Sunday) showed that Federer had to beat tough competition, something missing from his first 10 or so major titles. During that time Federer was so clearly better than his peers that, I for one, questioned how great he really was. Having to rise above the adversity thrown in his way by Nadal only confirms to me Federer's greatness. Here's hoping Nadal can get healthy and we can see a first-ever showdown between the two at the U.S. Open.


In the wake of the death of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair, I'm reminded that none of us in the media truly know what a player is like. We can only chronicle an athletes performance on the field of play. I will always remember McNair for his ability to fight through injuries and perform at a high level. He was one of the toughest football players of his generation. It certainly seemed like he set the right example on and off the field, but the circumstances surrounding McNair's death should serve as another reminder that we are only able to admire what athletes do on the field.


I don't want to take away baseball fans right to vote, but year after year they continue to get the starting lineup wrong for the All-Star game.

AMERICAN LEAGUE-- I can't argue over first base, third base, catcher or one of the outfield spots. But Aaron Hill of the Blue Jays deserves the nod over Boston's Dustin Pedroia and Tampa Bay's Jason Bartlett has had a far better year than--GASP--the Yankees' Derek Jeter. Not saying Pedroia and Jeter don't deserve to be All-Stars, just no starters. And, I'm sorry, but North Carolina's own Josh Hamilton hasn't earned a trip to St. Louis as he's been hurt most of the year; and while Ichiro Suzuki is always solid, check out the numbers for the Angels Tori Hunter and the Orioles Adam Jones and tell me they don't deserve to start.

NATIONAL LEAGUE-- Not much to quibble about except the Braves' Brian McCann over Yadier Molina. Way to get the hometown guy in Cardinal fans.

--Jason Brown

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