By: The Sports Staff
Pitchers and catchers begin reporting this week to Major League Baseball’s Spring Training! Practice fields and minor league stadiums in Florida and Arizona will soon be teeming with life as the 2017 edition of ‘America’s Pastime’ gets underway. This year, the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, opens up as professional baseball’s newest venue. Located in West Palm Beach, Fla., it will play host to the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros for Spring Training each season.
Up-and-coming youngsters will battle with seasoned veterans for positions on each team’s 25-man roster, which must be finalized before the regular season begins.
After defeating the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, the New England Patriots have now beaten three of the NFC’s four bird-named teams in the Super Bowl. They defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005 and the Seattle Seahawks in 2015. The outlier is the Arizona Cardinals, who have only appeared in one Super Bowl–a 2009 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. New England, though, defeated another bird at the highest level it possibly could when the Patriots knocked off the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game in 2012.
Warm Up the Bus
The bus driver of Saint Louis University’s basketball team, Linda Edmister, must have heard these chants from Saint Bonaventure’s student section. The Billikens lost a road contest in Olean, NY on Feb. 8, but when the team was ready to depart after the game, Edmister and the bus–loaded with equipment and belongings of the team–were nowhere to be found.
At that point, police used the “find my iPhone” software on head coach Travis Ford’s iPad, which he left on the bus, to track down Edmister and the rogue vehicle some 30 miles from Olean. There, Edmister was arrested after her blood alcohol content was measured at .22.
Saint Bonaventure assisted the Saint Louis team in contacting police and finding the Billikens a new bus for their trip to the airport.
Never a normal season
Professional soccer in England is set up in a “promotion-relegation” style system. This means that the three best teams from each division get promoted for the next season, or in other words, they move one higher division (except if they’re already in the top division). The three worst teams from each division get relegated, meaning they move down a division. The “Premier League” is considered the top division. The “Championship” is the second division. “League One” is the third division.
Leicester City F.C., England’s latest fairytale team, likes to keep things interesting for themselves and fans alike. Between 2001-2016, Leicester City spent one season in League One, ten seasons in the Championship, and four seasons in the Premier League. They changed leagues six times, won three league titles including the Premier League title last season, lost two promotion-playoffs, and narrowly escaped relegation twice. This season, though, they lie in 17th place in the Premier League, just one point shy of a bottom-three position.
Bucks Can’t Catch a Break
Feb. 8 was supposed to be a day of excitement for the Milwaukee Bucks as their starting shooting guard Khris Middleton was healthy for the first time this season after suffering an achilles tear in preseason. While he did get into the game, starting power forward Jabari Parker exited the game after his knee buckled. It was confirmed later, to every Bucks fan’s demise, that Parker had suffered a torn ACL and would be out for 12 months. So after finally regaining the last piece to their big-three, the Bucks proceeded to lose a different piece of their core at a time that they are desperate for all the help that they can get. This is also Parker’s second ACL tear in two years on the same knee. So instead of being a day of celebration, it will be remembered as the day the Bucks lost another star to injury.
The Hawk Stops Here…
Figuratively, of course, since the physical mascot of Saint Joseph’s never actually stops flapping its wings–one of the greatest sports enigmas. But both UD’s men’s and women’s basketball teams knocked off Saint Joseph’s in tightly-contested home games in the last month.
The Flyer women survived in overtime over St. Joe’s 64-59 on Jan. 21 after Dayton outrebounded the Hawks 51-36. The Flyer men did not need overtime in their affair with the Hawks, but did need lockdown defense in the final minute as they narrowly hung onto their top spot in the A-10 by defeating St. Joe’s 77-70 on Feb. 7.
Photo Courtesy of Steve Miller – Sports Editor