Petit Balls

First Star: I nearly failed grade nine french, and I already have to deal with the indignity of knowing that the Habs are a solid young team, getting better, while my Leafs are a terrible team committed to get worse before they begin to improve, so excuse me, but on Mondays this section is going to be called “first star.”  (Plus, I don’t know how to make accents on this keyboard.) Anyway, the first star today is Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas who led his team to victory over Italy yesterday making several key stops, including the one you’ll see below, and stopping not one but two penalty kicks to decide the game.

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Two minutes for: fixing what ain’t broken. Matt stairs tees off on recently-fired hitting coach Gary Denbo. Not nice to dance on a guy’s grave, but Stairs makes an excellent point. One of the keys to coaching is recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of your players and getting them to focus on what they do well. Denbo wanted to turn everybody into Lyle Overbay – working the count and shooting the ball to the opposite field – which might explain why Overbay is one of the guys who appears in the story to defend Denbo.

Anybody got tickets to: Wimbledon. That is, if you like tennis, and white tennis outfits. I like neither, because I think generally tennis is a game played by snobs and private school boys. But I understand the sport is pretty popular, and it’s a slow day in the world of sports, so here you go tennis fans. Have some strawberries with cream, and prepare to watch Roger Federer beat the snot out of everybody…again.

Fun Police: Why, why , why does everybody in Leaf land have their knickers in a knot about Mats Sundin joining the Habs? The Leafs are a non-playoff team, begining a long, slow re-build. Sundin is a veteran superstar at the end of his career. It’d be nice if he hung around to help keep the team halfway respectable, and help teach the young guys something about being a pro. But if he’s not going to sign in Toronto, it doesn’t matter where he signs. Michael Farber on the weekend was comparing this to Johnny Damon jumping from the Red Sox to the Yankees. One key difference, the Sox and Yanks were highly competitive at the time. There is no Leafs/Habs rivalry until the Leafs get better.

Extra bases: Good bye TJ, Hello J.O.?; Cool story about Nashville Predators first round picks Colin Wilson and Chet Pickard both getting cut from the same kids’ team when they were 14. Hey coach IN YOUR FACE!; Amazing and depressing story on the impact that suit technology is having on the sport of swimming. “By compressing his torso, the LZR not only lets him go faster, because it maintains a tubular shape, but also allows him to swim longer with less effort.” Read the whole thing and you’ll soon agree with me that if it’s not lycra/spandex, it should be illegal. Honestly, baseball says bats must be wooden. Why can’t swimming say suits must be Lycra/spandex?

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