Who Needs A Glove?

Mid-July always seems a little bitter sweet to me. On one hand, it’s the middle of summer. On the other hand, it feels like all of sports just go into hibernation for a brief period. I know there are plenty of sports going on right now, but when the biggest story on ESPN is the Sandusky trial you have to wonder, what happened to all the sports?

We entered the month of July coming off a sport high with the Stanley Cup finals, NBA finals and the College World Series all battling for the spotlight. After Wimbledon and the MLB All-Star game, the sports world closely resembled an empty stadium four hours after game time. But don’t worry–there is good news about mid-July as well. We are less than a month away from August, a month with over 60 NFL preseason games scheduled and the beginning of the greatest season of all: Football season.

Until then, my task of presenting you with a Play of the Week will prove more difficult, but I think I am up for the challenge. After searching long and hard for something that is truly Play of the Week worthy, I finally came across an unbelievable catch.  Jiwan James, center fielder for the Reading Phillies, took a page from a marvel comic with a Spiderman inspired catch. What was surely going to be a home run in the third inning of this minor league game was robbed in stellar fashion. James scales the center field wall and throws his glove up to make the grab and somehow loses his glove behind the wall. When he lands and presents the ball in his right hand everyone cheers in astonishment, including James.

Jiwan was originally drafted as a pitcher in 2007 before injuring his throwing arm and making the transition to outfield. With a .254 batting average, 6 home runs and 26 RBI’s this may be just what Jiwan James needed to get the Philadelphia club to bring him back up to the big leagues.

Here is the TicketCity Play of the Week.

Kobe for Three

The week of game sevens truly left me with a plethora of “Play of the Week” worthy moments from which to choose. In the world of the NBA, the Clippers clipped the Grizzlies to advance to the Conference Semifinals along with the Lakers and the Celtics. In the NHL Playoffs, the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals also pushed the series to game seven, where New York came out on top, advancing to the Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils. Not a game seven, but spectacular in every sense of the word, the Manchester City soccer club scored two goals in the last two minutes to win their first title in 50 years.

Granted, everything mentioned above (especially Manchester City) surpasses the criteria to be the Play of the Week. However, I am a huge Lakers fan and Kobe fan. So this week’s play comes to us from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the Lakers hosted the Denver Nuggets in game seven. The first two quarters were mainly dominated by the Lakers; however, after the Nuggets came back from a 16 point deficit the second half was anyone’s game.

The fourth quarter was extremely physical and competitive. For the majority of the final quarter, the score stayed within a five point margin. Denver had a brief run with just under two minutes left where they were starting to close the gap. At the minute marker, the Lakers were in the lead 89 – 84, and in no way out of Denver’s reach…yet. With 50 seconds left in the game, jersey number 24, Mr. Bryant, makes one of the prettiest three-point shots I have ever seen and your TicketCity Play of the Week. After some desperate attempts by Denver, Los Angeles takes a nine point lead and a ticket to the second round of the NBA Playoffs.

To make Kobe’s shot even better,he completes the play by getting up off the ground, turning and having a high-five session with Justin Timberlake. Only in Hollywood. Enjoy!

I’ll Have Another Wins the Derby and Play of the Week

This week’s Play of the Week comes to us from Churchill Downs. A beautiful North American Thoroughbred colt by the name “I’ll Have Another” took the spotlight in Kentucky this weekend. However, it was not until the last stretch of the Kentucky Derby that the spotlight actually found the horse.

At the sound of the gun, the horses hit the first stretch as if they had been catapulted from the gates. It takes a few moments for the lead pack to disperse into well-distinguished order. Heading into the first turn, I’ll Have Another is not even part of the top five, holding seventh place. As the saying goes, “Slow and steady wins the race,” and the 138th Kentucky Derby was no exception.

During the second stretch, I’ll Have Another makes his first advance and holds the sixth position for the remainder of the stretch. As the horses enter the second turn, I’ll Have Another taps in to his reserved energy and shifts to second gear. As the turn comes to an end, the conservative colt is now chasing the third place runner into the final stretch.

The TicketCity Play of the Week occurs at the end of this turn just as they enter the final furlong of the Derby. The colt’s jockey, Mario Gutierrez, makes a slightly wide turn into the homestretch, immediately taking a direct angle to the inside. At 1:38 in the video, the move that puts the pair into second place is clear as day. After edging to the inside, I’ll Have Another shifts into full-throttle mode. Behind the first place runner by three horse lengths, it takes everything the colt has left to advance into first place and sprint across the finish line, victorious as the winner of the 138th Kentucky Derby, a first for both the colt and the jockey. Don’t miss the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes as the duo attempts to achieve the impossible and take home the US Triple Crown.

May I present to you the 138th Kentucky Derby winning run and your TicketCity Play of the Week (1:38  in the video is where things really heat up).

Play of the Week: Perfection

A pitcher’s dream. One of the rarest achievements in all of sports. The Perfect Game.  Since the founding of the MLB in 1869, only 20 pitchers have ever produced such perfection. According to Wikipedia, more people have orbited the moon than have pitched a perfect game.

April 21, 2012 was a day for the record books. Chicago White Sox pitcher Philip Humber took the mound with victory on his mind, unaware of what the next nine innings had in store for him. After six innings of play, the Seattle Mariners still showed zeros across the board. Fans and players alike kept quiet, avoiding any chance of jinxing what was looking to be a perfect game. When the bottom of the ninth arrives, surely the only thing on Humber’s mind is, “I am three outs away from perfection.”

A third strike pitch is dropped and zipped to first for out number three. Humber falls to his knees in disbelief as he becomes the 21st pitcher in 143 years of baseball to throw a perfect game.

Here it is, the final out and the TicketCity play of the Week.
(The third strike is thrown at 2:40 in the video)