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Friday, August 24, 2012

This Week in Sports: August 24, 2012

The Week That Was:  My goal is always to get this column posted on Thursdays.  But, this week, I'm glad I was delayed.  Thursday and Friday provided most of the big news of the week.


Lance Armstrong:  Normally, the captions on these posts are the name of a sport or a sports league.  But, let's be honest.  Only about 3 people reading this post can name another cyclist besides Lance Armstrong.  I do not understand all the ins and outs of the processes that govern cycling.  But, the gist of the story is that Lance Armstrong decided on Thursday night that he would not contest the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's official claims that he had been involved in doping as far back as 1996.  Despite the fact that Armstrong still claims to be innocent, USADA and the World Anti-Doping Agency consider this to be an admission.  As a result, USADA has issued a lifetime ban against Armstrong.  USADA has also stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and his Olympic medal from 2000.  There is still a dispute about what governing body actually has the authority to strip Armstrong of any of his wins.  Apparently none of this matters to Armstrong's fans.  Friday's donations to Armstrong's Live Strong Foundation were up 25 times as compared to the day before the announcements.

MLB:  The dog days of August are about ready to change over to the pennant races of September.  But once again, this week the biggest news is who will not be participating in a playoff race.  As I write this post, the Oakland A's are locked in a three-way tie with the Tigers and the Orioles for the second Wild Card slot in the American League.  But, the A's are going to have to battle it out the rest of the way without 10-game winner Bartolo Colon.  The 39 year-old pitcher tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and must serve a 50-game suspension.  That would include the remaining 40 regular season games and the A's next 10 games ... whether they be playoff games or 2013 regular season games.

In actual on-field news, the San Francisco Giants rose to the occasion without their suspended slugger Melky Cabrerra.  This week, the Giants completed a 3-game sweep of the arch rival Dodgers to open up a 2.5 game lead in the NL West.  In the AL East, the Tampa Bay Rays took advantage of the Yankees 3-game slide to trim the Yanks lead to 2.5 games heading into the weekend.


The Week Ahead:

NASCAR:  The NASCAR circuit gears up for one of the most popular races of the season.  The Bristol night race.  Bristol is a half mile, high banked track.  Very unique and very fast.  The track got a new surface heading into the 2012 season, and many fans complained after the spring race that the new surface cut down on the amount of bumping and pushing that they had grown to love.  In response, SMI made some changes to the track over the summer.  Until the race is actually run, it will be difficult to tell if the summer changes actually have any effect.  But, there are only three more races left until the beginning of the Chase, so there will be a lot of intensity on the track.  Coverage of the race will begin on Saturday night at 7:30 on ABC.

Little League World Series:  The Little League World Series comes to a conclusion this weekend in Williamsport, PA.  The International Championship game will be played at 12:30 on Saturday.  Japan will play Panama in that game.  That game will air on ESPN.  The U.S. Championship game will be played at 3:30.  Tennessee will play California, ahat game will be shown on ABC.  The Championship will be played at 3:00 on Sunday afternoon on ABC.


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