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The Rundown: August 22, 2007

And so begins what I hope to be a long running blog – my thoughts on the most current sports stories and topics. If I want to be a sports writer, I need to start writing like one.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia contributed 2 HRs and 7 RBIs for the Texas Rangers, who scored the most runs in a single game, for the Modern Era.

30-3: You would think that was the latest NFL preseason game score. In this case, my friend, you would be wrong.

You are looking at the final score in last night’s Texas-Baltimore game. That’s right: that’s a BASEBALL score. Apparently, the Rangers were feeling pretty good about their offense the other night.

After scoring 9 runs in the first game of their doubleheader against the Orioles, they proceeded to lay a historical beatdown on Baltimore’s flummoxed pitching staff. And, to think, they didn’t even start scoring until the fourth inning. Hell, the Orioles were up 3-0 going into the fourth.

What was more embarrassing for the Orioles, was that they HELD the Rangers to a 14-3 score headed into the eighth. Texas proceeded to score ten in the eighth, and six in the ninth, to score the most runs in a nine-inning game since the year 1900. The Rangers had two grand slams, as well as two two-HR, seven-RBI games from Ramon Vasquez and Jerrod Saltalamacchia, to cap off a historic night for the Rangers.

The feud begins between Giants QB Eli Manning (Left) and former Giants RB-turned-analyst Tiki Barber.

Eli vs. Tiki: In NFL news – that thankfully doesn’t involve fighting dogs, frustrating holdouts or ‘Professional’ wrestling – the latest feud beginning to heat up is the tiff between retired Giants RB-turned-NFL Analyst Tiki Barber vs. current Giants QB-with-the-world-on-his-shoulders Eli Manning. If you don’t know what’s up, here’s the scoop – Barber, currently an analyst for NBC’s Sunday Night Football, lent his personal observations on Manning and the Giants. None of them were all that flattering – basically calling him a weak leader while playing together in New York, Barber referred to his voice in the locker room as “comical at times.”

Eli didn’t take the comments lying down, shooting back a couple of barbs on Barber. “I guess I’m just happy for Tiki that he’s making a smooth transition into the TV world,” Manning was quoted as saying. “I guess I could have questioned his leadership skills last year with calling out the coach and having articles about him retiring in the middle of the season, and he’s lost his heart.”

Now, I just want to say this about the whole situation between Manning and Barber – Okay, kids, break it up. Don’t make me put you both on a time-out.

Is it just me, or does this whole exchange seem pretty childish? Look, I’m going to applaud Eli for defending himself in the media – most athletes would shrug off the comments against them, and say “I’m not going to let this be a distraction.” Eli didn’t do that – he manned up and shot back, showing the media – and his teammates – he would not let them continually beat him down. But, at the same time, the exchange echoes on the same level as calling each other “Stupid-head” at the local playground. (Oh, and, by the way – Eli’s right. Nice transition into Media-hood, Tiki.)

Dwyane Wade (Left), Carmelo Anthony (Middle) and LeBron James lead the USA Basketball team to a possible Olympic berth.

The State of USA Basketball: Congratulations to the new-and-improved (I guess) USA Basketball team. They defeated an overmatched Venezuela team 112-69, in the first day of the FIBA Americas. To think, though – the United States has to advance to the Gold Medal game of the tournament to QUALIFY for the Olympics in Beijing.

How did this happen?

I mean, the NBA regular season MVP was German; the NBA Finals MVP was French; and there’s a chance to United States won’t be represented in Basketball at the Olympics. You know, these days, it’s almost as ridiculous as the United States losing International play in Baseball … oh, wait, that’s right … that already happened. (See the World Baseball Classic. Way to show our dominance of the National Pastime, guys.)

Seriously, though, it’s nice to see that the NBA is making an effort to defend the USA’s competence in the sport. As the last four years have displayed, it seems that you can’t slap together an NBA All-Star team a couple weeks before a global tournament like the FIBA Americas.

We need to remember – one of the reasons we’re not so dominant anymore in international play is the fact that there are so many good European players that are currently playing in the NBA; scores more are yet to be discovered. It used to be that players like Petrovic, Stojakovic, Nowitzki and Barbosa were rare. Now, it’s the norm – the balance of power, in terms of basketball talent, has obviously shifted overseas. It also helps foreign national teams that they have been playing together, as a team, for years – they have a leg up, in terms of teamwork, on the NBA Americans. Even with their early preparation for the Olympics, the US team hasn’t played together nearly as long as most international players.

More stories as they come, folks. And, let me know what you think. I do this because I care. Not just about the sports – but the people who read about it. Peace.

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