1. New York Yankee captain Derek Jeter reached his milestone 3,000th hit today (only the 28th player in Major League Baseball history to do so) in spectacular fashion by hitting a homerun. Say what you will about the fact that he's past his prime and not getting any younger, the fact remains that beyond his five championships and record setting stats, he brings class to the field every time. He always comes ready to play and give it his all. They don't call him "Captain Clutch" for nothing.
2. A while ago, I tried to explain the misfortune of the New York Mets by joking about the "Curse of Shea." Since then, bad luck kept on coming with injury after injury. Now, with a new manager and a new general manager, the Metropolitans still seem like a hexed team, but they have been surprisingly resilient, battling their way above .500 and showing signs of life despite the odds. They might not make the playoffs, and they still are in dire need of many changes, but more often lately than expected they have shown great competitive spirit. I still think they need to trade their big stars and rebuild their franchise, but they seem to be past making excuses. Even with stars like Santana, Wright, Davis, and Reyes on the disabled list, they still haven't rolled over and played dead -- they're still kicking. Let's see how far they can go.
3. There is no worse buzzkill for fans of pro sports than a labor dispute between the owners and players. The lockouts in football and basketball, threatening their upcoming seasons, reminds us of the at-times brutal business of the games we love to watch. While fans just want to see their favorite teams play, it's all about the benjamins and increasing profit margins. Having lived through baseball strikes and the cancellation of the World Series in 1994, I feel their pain. Some fans still haven't forgiven the MLB for that. With billions of dollars at stake, it's inevitable that things like this happen every once in a while, but the victims tend to be the little guys and of course the fans whose hard-earned dollars continue to support the franchises they love so much. Hopefully, agreements will be reached soon although things are looking bleak.
4. The annual All-Star Baseball Game is next week, and no sport does it better in my opinion. It's still just a glorified exhibition game, but I always enjoy watching fan-favorites from every team play together. I'm excited that many of my New York Yankees were selected for this year's roster but disappointed that they might not play -- Derek Jeter, C.C. Sabathia, Mariano Rivera, Alex Rodriguez, all might sit it out for various reasons. Still, I always look forward to the game as a showcase of the best that the National Pastime has to offer and I'll be tuning in again.
5. Which team is the most hated in sports? As a huge Yankee fan, I get tired of defending my team against its many haters, but I looked on with glee during the NBA championship series as the world seemingly rallied against the Miami Heat. Are they the new team to root against? With LeBron James as the new face of sports villainy (for right or wrong) there is a new target for fandom's unified boos. People will still hate my beloved Bronx Bombers, but it's fun to see a new Evil Empire stealing the spotlight.