Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Some Answers & A Look Around the Web

Yesterday I posted a pop sports quiz. I've reposted the questions below with some commentary. The answers are at the bottom.

1.) Monday Tiger Woods dropped to #8 in the World Golf Rankings. When was the last time he was ranked so low?

The top of the world rankings is currently populated with players from the birthplace of golf. Scotland itself isn't represented until Martin Laird checks in at #21, but five of the top seven players are from the British Isles region, with England represented by Lee Westwood #1, Luke Donald #3 and Paul Casey #7 and Northern Ireland with Graeme McDowell #5 and Rory McIlroy #6. Phil Mickelson is the lone American in the top seven, currently #4. Here is the complete list.

2.) Animal Kingdom won the Kentucky Derby despite going off as a 20-1 long shot. Which other athlete won this past weekend despite facing much greater odds?

The Dallas Mavericks were only a 3.5-1 underdog to the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers although you would have gotten much better than 20-1 if you had predicted a sweep. Shane Mosley (see below) was an 8-1 dog. The surprise answer came in at 500-1.

3.) Manny Pacquaio defeated Shane Mosley this weekend in a PPV bout in Las Vegas. How many packages were sold?

Pacquiao is the biggest draw in the sport and Mosley still has some drawing power, but the pay-per-view package was raised from the typical $45-50 to $75 for this card. The pay-per-view record is 2.7 million for Oscar de la Hoya-Floyd Mayweather in 2007. This won't be remotely close. Juan Manuel Marquez appears to be next for Manny, but no guarantees. Floyd is the only guy out there who looks like a legitimate opponent and at the moment he is busy trying to keep himself out of jail.

4.) Justin Verlander of the Tigers threw the second no-hitter of the year and second of his career over the weekend. Who are the other two active pitchers with two career no-hitters?

A look around:

*I was recently asked what MLS salaries looked like. Here is a comprehensive list. Salaries rose 12% this year to an average of $154, 852. The average is heavily skewed by a few huge contracts. David Beckham, in the final year of a five-year deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy, is the league's highest paid player at $6.5 million. The New York Red Bulls Thierry Henry is second at $5.6 million, followed by teammate Rafael Marquez at $4.6 million. Landon Donovan, the highest-paid American, is fourth at $2.3 million.

One of my first blog posts ever was in response to the Galaxy's announced five-year, $250 million contract. Hyperbole anyone? Beckham probably made about $30 million over the life of the deal.

*This is a relatively new site that looks at all the calls that are missed in NBA games. This article provides an excellent recap of the issues.

*If you missed this, it's an excellent two-part article about an athlete having a huge turnaround. Worth the time.

*As we learn more about concussions, steps are being taken to protect athletes. If NFL players are too dumb to wear them, then mandate safer helmets.

1.) Tiger turned pro in August 1996. By June 15, 1997, after only 42 weeks as a professional, he reached the world #1 ranking. He hasn't been as low as his current #8 ranking since that time.      

2.) Regan Smith, a 500-1 longshot, won the first NASCAR race of his career in his 105th start, taking the Southern 500 at Darlington.

3.) Will post when the numbers are released.            

4.) Mark Buehrle threw his first no-hitter April 18, 2007 against the Texas Rangers and his second July 29, 2009 against the Tampa Rays. That one happened to be the eighteenth perfect game in major league history. He was one walk to Sammy Sosa away from being the only pitcher in history to throw two perfect games.

Last year Roy Halladay threw two no-hitters. The first was another perfect game, the 20th in MLB history. He beat the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010. Five months later on October 6, he beat the Cincinnati Reds in the first post-season start of his career. It was only the second no-hitter ever in the playoffs.

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