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Week in Sports: The Good, Bad & Ugly

The Good

Things are getting more interesting by the day.

Things are getting more interesting by the day.

The NBA and NHL Finals are all knotted up: 

Both the NBA and NHL Finals are dead even, with the Miami Heat and the Spurs locked up at 2-2 and the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins tied at 1-1. Each game has been won or lost in dramatic fashion and certainly worth the cost of admission for fans.

Since the Spurs beat the Heat by just four points in Game 1, the two teams have been exchanging blowout victories. The dramatic swing from game-to-game isn’t generally what you’d expect in the NBA Finals, but it sure has made things interesting. Fans have no idea which team is going to show up each night and analysts have been absolutely giddy about the series thus far.

The Bruins-Blackhawks series has been the complete opposite, yet just as exciting. Instead of an unpredictable scoring free-for-all, fans and players have been white-knuckling their way through two games. The ‘Hawks struck first in a 4-3 stunner that went into triple overtime. The Bruins needs two less overtime periods to tie up the series with a 2-1 victory in Game 2.

Both the NBA and NHL Finals have been riveting in very different ways—leaving everyone without a horse in these races hoping the theatrics continue on with seven game finishes for both series.

The Bad

It costs a lot of money to suck this bad.

It costs a lot of money to suck this bad.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 

Major League Baseball defies all logic. It’s been resistant to instant replay. It features a very hefty, yet imaginary, book of unwritten rules among players; one of which allows a pitcher to launch a ball at someone’s face for previously running the bases with too much enthusiasm.

It’s just weird. You’ve got the Boston Red Sox, who had their worst season in 50 years in 2012, currently sitting in first place in the AL East. Then you’ve got the L.A. Angels of Anaheim, who have signed a slew of high-price superstars over the last few years, currently sitting in the basement of the AL West.

Well, that’s if you don’t count the Houston Astros, which you shouldn’t. They slashed their payroll to $27 million in 2013, the lowest level in MLB since 2008, while the Angels are paying out over $141 million to players this year. Yet they’re only five games ahead of the Astros.

More importantly is the fact that they’re 11 games behind the first place Oakland A’s, who have the fourth lowest payroll in the league. The Angels haven’t make the playoffs since 2009 and they’ve responded by dumping buckets of money into into a black hole of suck.

That’s what is so confounding. Logically speaking, signing star players and spending money should result in increased success. But the Angels just get worse. Recently their most recent big time free agent score Josh Hamilton, who has been sucking, said “I’d suck anywhere right now.”

I just don’t know if that’s the case. Somehow it seems like the Angels organization is making these players worse, rather than them making the team better. Like I said, it defies all logic.

The Ugly

It's just baseball, calm down.

It’s just baseball, calm down.

Dodgers and Diamondbacks do battle:

Speaking of baseball being inexplicably ridiculous sometimes, this week the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks engaged in an epic bench-clearing brawl that resulted in eight suspensions and even more fines.

Things got so intense that even several managers were suspended for their role in the ruckus. The whole thing was sparked by Diamondbacks’ pitcher Ian Kennedy decided to start launching baseballs at Dodger players, instead of Dodger bats.

Apparently tensions had been building before the with inning melee, with Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke engaging in some monkey business of his own. Not that it matters—there’s more than enough blame to go around here.

Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly had to be physically restrained from the D’Backs’ Kirk Gibson, later explaining that he was just playing “peacemaker.” Obviously he got “peacemaker” confused with “trouble maker.” Not surprising for a guy that refuses to get rid of those sideburns.

How can players be expected to behave themselves if their coaches are more than willing to join the party. This kind of thing is just ugly and bad for the game. These guys acted like idiots, plain and simple.

And the Awesome! 

He probably gave the ring to his horse, just because he could.

He probably gave the ring to his horse, just because he could.

Vladmir Putin ripped off a Super Bowl ring in 2005: 

A few years ago Patriots owner Robert Kraft said that he had given Russian President Vladimir Putin his 2005 Super Bowl ring when they met at a conference outside of St. Petersburg. He claimed it was a gift that symbolized respect for all things Russia.

Although there has always been some rumblings that it wasn’t exactly a gift, Kraft kept it close to the vest for years before explaining what really went down earlier this week. As it turns out, it was far from a gift. It actually feels like it was more of a threat.

As reported in the New York Post, Kraft told the crowd at recent event that he only took the ring out to give Putin a peek at the bling. The Russian President responded by saying, “I can kill someone with this ring,” snatching it from his hand, and walking off surrounded by KGB security.

When Kraft attempted to get the ring back later, the Bush White House personally intervened, insisting that letting sleeping dogs lie was in the “best interest of U.S.-Soviet relations.”

It was also in the best interest of Robert Kraft too. Putin’s hyper-masculine public image suggests that he eats shards of glass for breakfast and fights angry bears for exercise. And when he’s not fighting animals, he’s usually shooting them.

There’s no doubt that getting ripped off always sucks. But getting your head ripped off by a bear-boxing madman definitely would suck more.

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