A different view from the world of sports while catching up after a much-needed break for a vacation ….

SEC showdown

Three baseball teams from the Southeastern Conference made it to Omaha for the College World Series. Two of them advanced to the best-of-three championship series, which begins Monday.

And while Florida managed to beat LSU two of three games back in March, none of that regular season drama matters now.

“It’s a lot of steak to still be eaten in this town,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri.

Indeed, the Tigers have been feasting throughout this postseason, winning the SEC Tournament and then cruising past another conference rival,  Mississippi State, in a Super Regional matchup.

Plus, this is Omaha. LSU has never lost in six previous trips to the CWS championship stage, taking titles in 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000 and 2009.

Florida, meanwhile, is 0-2 with a title on the line.

Besides, after what LSU did the past two days in eliminating top-ranked Oregon State, there’s no denying the Tigers have emerged as the favorites.

Claiming a 3-1 win over the Beavers on Friday, LSU sealed the deal on Saturday with a 6-1 beatdown. More dominant pitching from Caleb Gilbert and Zach Hess made it easy Saturday, but for good measure Michael Papierski powered the Tigers with a pair of homers and five RBIs.

It was sweet redemption for LSU after getting beat by the Beavers 13-1 in their first encounter in bracket play.

Mainieri, taking note that Oregon State had lost just four games all season before being swept by his Tigers, “It’s hard to predict those things, but that’s why you play the games. Our kids embraced the challenge. We’ve got a lot of pride in our program and they rose to the occasion.”


Olympic swimming gold medalist Lilly King of Evansville was none too pleased when McDonald’s recently announced it was ending its 40-year sponsorship agreement with the IOC three years early.

King took to Twitter twice to express her disappointment: “McDonald’s has betrayed my trust. I might not be able to go on …. This is a tragedy.”

The Indiana University sophomore, who will be back in the pool in Indianapolis next week at the Phillips 66 National Championships at the Natatorium at IUPUI, allows herself to eat one Happy Meal a week as a treat.

Stat of the week

The Baltimore Orioles broke an American League record by allowing five or more runs in 17 consecutive games.


From TheKicker.com: “Umps go to video replay to see if they’re slowing game down too much.”

From TheOnion.com: “Stephen A. Smith reveals he still meets up with Skip Bayless to argue.”

From Fark.com: “World Taekwondo Federation rebrands over acronym WT …?”

From TheOnion.com: “New report finds MMA could be bad for your knees.”

From SportsPickle.com: “Phil Jackson hoping to teach Kristaps Porzingis a hard lesson by trading him to a much better organization.”

From TheOnion.com; “MLB umpires admit pitchers throw way too fast to actually see ball.”

Russian setback

With the countdown clock for the 2018 World Cup ticking away, this summer’s Confederations Cup wasn’t the best test run for host Russia.

No real surprise there. Vladimir Putin’s favorite soccer team was the lowest ranked of the eight nations participating. Still, Russia put itself in position to advance to the knockout stage after a 2-0 win over New Zealand in the opening Group A match.

But from there, the hosts came up short, losing 1-0 to Ronaldo and Portugal in their second round-robin match. Then came a 2-1 loss Sunday to Mexico on a demoralizing goal by Hirving Lozano early in the second half. Lozano managed to get his head on a long, one hop clearance to redirect the ball past goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.

Akinfeev foolishly tried to kick the ball on the play rather than punching it clear from danger.

With the win, Mexico secured second place in Group A behind Portugal, which won the group with a plus-5 goal differential. Mexico had a plus-2 differential.

In Group B, Chile and Germany are in control heading into Sunday’s matches. Both have four points after each picked up a win and a draw.

UPDATE: Germany beat Cameroon 3-1 to win Group B with 7 points, outscoring its opponents overall 7-4. Chile, meanwhile, battled back to tie Australia and secure second in the group with 5 points.

That means Germany will play Mexico in one semifinal in Sochi on Thursday at 1 p.m. CT on FS2.  On Wednesday, Portugal will face Chile in Kazan at 1 p.m. CT on FS1.

The championship set for Sunday, July 2 in St. Petersburg.

 Laker legacy

LaVar Ball and Magic Johnson are in agreement that Lonzo Ball will make the Los Angeles Lakers title contenders again in the NBA.

But it likely won’t happen in the 2017-18 season despite LaVar Ball’s prediction about his son’s impact. Instead, Magic has his sights set on a giant step forward in 2018-19 when the Lakers will have cleared enough salary cap space to go after superstars like Paul George, LeBron James or Russell Westbrook.

The Lakers traded D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov with the goal of clearing nearly $40 million in cap space by next June.

“We’re going to be major players next summer,” said Johnson. “The tide has turned. People want to play here again. It’s exciting times for the L.A. Lakers.”

 They said it

— Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “Florida vs. LSU for the College World Series title. Or did they schedule an SEC preseason football game and not tell us.”

— Ex-NHL defenseman Bob Paradise to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, guestimating he went 25-0 in on-ice fights: “I’m not sure about the 25, but I’m sure about the O.”

— Cincinnati Reds speedster Billy Hamilton to MLB.com after being tagged by Tampa Bay’s left fielder Mallex Smith in a wild 6-5-2-4-5-7 rundown between third and home: “They brought one of their fast guys in.”

— RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com after at Atlanta cheerleaders uncorked a record 44 consecutive back handsprings: “It all started with a rumor that Tom Brady was out for the season.”

— Mike Bianchi of the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel on last week’s low U.S. Open scores: “Erin Hills isn’t just playing easy, it’s more forgiving than the Tallahassee Police Department.”

 Name game

From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times on hearing that Green Bay Packers fan Ryan Holton-Murphy married a woman named Maria Packer and took her last name.

“That’s what you call taking a Lambeau Leap of Faith,” quipped Perry.



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