Curse of the Bambino... meet the attempted curse of a construction worker.
New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox represent one of the greatest rivalries in the history of sports. From curses to improbable comebacks, these teams have seen and played thru it all. For years Red Sox fans had dealt with tragic losses which had left the city of Boston in tears. It all began with "the trade" of Babe Ruth to New York before the 1920 season which famously began years of near misses and sorrowful defeats while playing in the shadow of New York, their players, and their fans. The Sox had knocked on the door of success many times only for the door to slam shut in their faces.
1967, 1975, 1978, 1986, 2003 are all seasons needing no description to Bostonians.
Then in 2004, "The Curse" was finally lifted. Chants in Yankee Stadium of "1918" would be heard no more. The Yanks had the Red Sox one out away from a playoff sweep... and then... a miraculous comeback changed Red Sox history. Trailing 3 games to 0, with two outs, the Sox rallied off New York's star closing pitcher Mariano Rivera to win game 4. Then, three more victories paved a road to the 2004 World Series Championship. Boston proved this was no fluke by winning their second title in four years last season.
New York is about to begin a new chapter in their illustrious history. 2008 will be their last year in "The House that Ruth built." A new Yankee Stadium is currently being contructed.
A new twist to this fierce rivalry was unveiled on Saturday. One of the construction workers assisting in building the new Yankee Stadium is a Red Sox fan who buried a David Ortiz #34 Red Sox jersey in concrete located in a corridor behind what is soon to be a restaurant. After Yankees officials received tips of what happened, their crews were able to retrieve Ortiz jersey buried under 2 feet of concrete.
It was a not so clever move by a Red Sox fan who ironically was part of building the new Yankee Stadium. He obviously bragged of what he was trying to do.... loose lips sink ships. Hopefully, for Yankees players and fans, a better move was completed by anonymous fellow workers who reported the plant.
Baseball is filled with folk lore and suggested curses. The rivalry between players, owners and fans is extremely intense and at times filled with hatred on and off the field. Could you imagine how this would have played out in years to come if this worker was able to keep his trap shut? I could just picture it now. Suppose the Yanks entered a cold spell of not reaching the playoffs or playoff collapses... and then the story came out. Follow it up with the Steinbrenner clan ordering workers to search and destroy without knowing where to begin searching.
Yankees brass made a good move once Ortiz jersey was found. It will be sent to the Jimmy Fund (a charity affiliated with Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) with hopes of it being auctioned off with proceeds donated.
Touted as "Journey of Harmony", this years Olympic torch relay has been quite the contrary. Protests have followed torchbearers from country to country. Citizens from around the world are demonstrating against host country China and their human rights issues including recent violence against Tibet. The path of the torch, originally scheduled for a record 85,100 mile (137,000 km) journey, has often been changed to avoid massive protesting crowds.
Chaotic protests nearing riot potential followed the torch as it passed through Paris and London. This public displays, numbering in the thousands, created serious security concerning for bearers and citizens in general. The torch was subsequently rerouted to avoid further chaos.
Extremely heavy security was added in San Francisco (USA's only city represented). As with in Paris and London, security concerns led to the torch being detoured and promptly flown out of the country. Thousands of bonified fans who had been anxiously awaiting their moment in Olympic history weren't informed until hours later. San Francisco hosted protesting groups for pro-China, pro-Tibet and pro-Civil Rights. Bus loads ranging from small groups to large masses arrived during pre-dawn hours and often had to be separated by authorities when possible. The City of San Francisco had awarded side-by-side permits and it's a wonder a full scale out of control riot didn't take hold. Luckily for everyone, aside from shouting and a few isolated incidents, calmness from violence prevailed.
The International Olympic Committee has recently huddled to field a plan on how to handle this emerging crisis as more world wide protests will certainly follow in scheduled torchbearing cities. Heads of State have been pressured by various groups and state representatives to boycott the official opening ceremony in China. Here in the U.S., it is expected to become a political hot potato. Wanna-be candidates will stand before microphones while our current Commander in Chief walks a fine line to keep international relations with China strong amist an ever growing world wide protests.
China's human rights atrocities are too numerous to list in detail here. For a brief overview, click on this link "Human rights in the People's Republic of China" (from Wikipedia.com... may contain factual errors/ommissions). With this in mind, it is amazing how the International Olympic Committee found it fit to award China as host of the worlds greatest games. It is a true shame and disservice to what the Olympic tradition is intended to represent. Demonstrations will undoubtably steal the spotlight from thousands of athletes who have trained a lifetime to honor their home countries by competing in this grand competition.
All World All Sports continues our NHL Quarterfinal Playoff review... The Western Conference.
(1) Detroit Red Wings vs (8) Nashville Predators
Detroit finished up 2007/08 as the NHL's best team (54-21-7, 115 pts) and seem locked in for another run at Lord Stanley. Standing in their way, Nashville. The Predators played inspired hockey vs Detroit this season and promise to do the same during this early round. Detroit won the season series 5 games to 3 ... with two of those games needing OT. Wings biggest decision is which red hot goalies opens in Game 1, Osgood or Hasek?
Leaders: Detroit - Pavil Datsyuk 31 goals, 97 points. Chris Osgood 27-9-4, 2.09 / Dominik Hasek 27-10-3, 2.14
Nashville: Jason Arnott 28 goals, 72 points / J.P. Doumit 29 goals, 72 points. Dan Ellis 23-10-3, 2.34
Wings fly in 5.
(2) San Jose Sharks vs (7) Calgary Flames
Calgary edged out San Jose 3 close games to 1 this season. Will they continue to enjoy roasted Sharks? The untold story here is both teams net minders are burnt out. Mikka Kiprusoff played 76 games for Calgary, Evgeni Nabokov 77 for San Jose. This must be a serious concern heading into post season play. The upside, both goalies have been stretched to the max.
Leaders: San Jose - Joe Thornton 29 goals, 96 points. Evgeni Nabokov 46-21-8, 2.14
Calgary - Jeromoe Iginla 50 goals, 98 points. Mikka Kiprusoff 39-26-10, 2.69
Flames torch Sharks in 6.
(3) Minnesota Wild vs (6) Colorado Avalanche
Minnesota Wild should be thankful they're not playing the Colorado team of old. On paper, Minnesota should dominate play. Yet, these teams played tight against each other all season long (Wild 5-3). Home ice will be a major factor in this series. During the regular season Minnesota's PP on both sides outplayed Colorado's. Wipe the stats clean now, but having a powerplay edge and a hotter netminder will be tough to defeat.
Leaders: Minnesota - Marion Gaborik 42 goals, 83 points. Niklas Backstrom 33-13-8, 2.31
Colorado - Paul Statsny 34 goals, 71 points. Jose Theodore 28-21-3, 2.44
Minnesota in 5.
(4) Anaheim Ducks vs (5) Dallas Stars
Winners of the regular season series 5-3, Dallas is hungry for Duck. This is a pretty even matchup. Both teams lack true goal scorers. Both squads play team oriented games. This series will be decided at the blue line and by which team makes fewer mistakes. Both arena's will be rockin'.
Leaders: Anaheim - Ryan Getzlaf 24 goals, 82 points. Jean-Sabastien Giguere 35-17-6, 2.12
Dallas - Mike Ribeiro 27 goals, 83 points. Marty Turco 32-21-6, 2.31
Stars shine in 7.
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