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Lucky Sons of Riches 07/19/2010 - 3:10 PM


by Pete Bodo

Howdy. I'm a little bummed that it's supposed to thunderstorm this evening, because I plan to attend the World Team Tennis match between those Gotham rivals, the New York Sportimes and the New York Buzz. It's part of my "out of the box" thinking about tennis these days, which began when some friends visiting from out of town expressed a desire to go see a New York Yankees baseball game, and the famous stadium—the House that Ruth built and recently deceased George Steinbrenner renovated. In fact, it was the first Yankee game (against the Tampa Bay Rays) since Yankees owner Steinbrenner's death.

For starters, the tickets weren't exactly cheap, at least not via the convenient StubHub website. A hundred and twelve bucks a pop, and that was for seats in the upper deck, overlooking the third-base foul line. It's not like that C-note-plus is all you're going for, either. A large Heneken (16 ounces, I think) was $11. Hot dogs and popcorn I don't even remember. But the concessions were excellently and strategically placed, and the entire stadium looked like it had been put through a pressure-washer it was so clean. We met friendly and courteous "greeters" at various locations; they help you navigate, direct you to the rest room, or simply say, "Welcome to Yankee stadium."

Steinbrenner happened to die at almost the same time as former Yankees Public Address announcer Bob Sheppard, who was dubbed the "voice of God" because of his magisterial tone. Bob Sheppard's voice seemed to embody all the grandeur and glory that the very name "New York Yankees" implies. It's odd that a city that so prides itself on its rough-and-tumble diversity, social mobility, and emphasis on achievement over breeding—let's remember, baseball is the "everyman" sport—would express its love for the Yankees in a way that has so many overtones of royalty. The Yankee pinstripes have a strange affect on almost anyone who dons them, investing him with a measure of elegance. Heck, even herky-jerky Mickey River looked aristocratic (sort of) in Yankee kit. Who says the clothes don't make the man?

Indeed, there's something pompous about being a Yankee, which undoubtedly is why Yankee-haters abound, even in New York (here, they're known as Mets fans). But this deep identification with the team, which cuts savagely across racial, ethnic and socio-economic lines, just goes to show that people have a yearning for associating with something that has that amorphous quality, "class." And even if they can't be bothered cultivating the manners, discipline, self-control and humility to be classy, they know classy when they see it. And they respect it. Even the loudmouth, tattooed, sunburned and muscle-bound guys from Joisey and Lawng Island seem kind of harmless when they're wearing one of those signature short-sleeved, front-buttoned Yankee jerseys, with the name of Mantle, Jeter, Cano or Martin on the back.

Anyway, in honor of Sheppard, there would be no comforting voice of a PA announcer to tell us who was coming to bat, out after out, inning after inning. Instead, we were given snatches of mostly pop and hip-hop music between batters, or during a pitcher change. Our attention was directed, at the outset, to the center field Jumbotron where we watched a video tribute to "the Boss" (Steinbrenner), after which Yankees ace reliever Mariano Rivera laid a pair of red roses on home plate, and captain (and ultimate Yankee) Derek Jeter spoke briefly but with quiet, crisp dignity about Steinbrenner. And throughout the game, when the ball wasn't in play, they played video clips of various Yankees from over the years, talking about Steinbrenner.

I was struck by the degree of devotion to and interest in Steinbrenner among the fans. After all, most owners of ball teams are thought to be lucky sons of riches, in it for their egos as much as anything else. Steinbrenner clearly had transcended that. One constant theme in the testimonials was how much "the Boss" cared for the fans, for what Yankee success meant to them, and the city of New York.

Over time, Steinbrenner became "New York" in the same way that ex-mayors Ed Koch or Rudy Giuliani or Spike Lee are New York. Tennis sometimes generates visibility for tournament promoters, the closest thing we have to "owners." But it's a lesser order of magnitude. Our best and most entrepreneurial advocates (a Charlie Pasarell [Indian Wells] or Butch buchholz [Miami] just simply don't achieve the same degree of cultural penetration. But there's no surprise in that.

The view in the horse-shoe shaped Yankee stadium, chock full of fans bathed in the hard electric lights, was a breathtaking sight - especially as we had a bird's eye view from the "cheap" seats. Our friend Maia asked the capacity, and I guessed 70,000-plus. I overestimated by about 15,000, which tells you that the place is enormous and feels even bigger. But we didn't feel like we were missing a lot by being so far removed from the action; there was the view, for one thing, but also the enormity of the immaculately-groomed, cool green field, upon which those dozen or so tiny men ranged throughout the game. It was satisfying; a part of me had no great desire to be any less closer, because it would have diminished the effect. We basked in the simple being-thereness of it all.

Tennis suffers a bit in this comparison, because the court is a relatively small place and, except at Wimbledon, the field of play isn't nearly as bewitching or aesthetically satisfying. The foul lines in baseball extend out from the point of home plate, ever-widening the field between them to some distant, theoretical infinity. The infield is a masterpiece of geometric design; it's by nature alluring, like certain symbols or designs.

By contrast, a tennis court looks utilitarian and hints of repression; after all, rule No. 1 demands that you keep the ball inside a severe, clearly defined rectangle. A tennis court is confining. But a ball field hints at liberation, and infinite possibilities with all those wide open spaces between the fielders, and those foul lines creating an ever-widening cone that just keeps increasing "fair" territory. Hence the premium in baseball on the home run that sails over the fence, beyond everyone's reach, often seeming to take forever to get there. In tennis, you have to keep the ball in play; in baseball you try to knock it out of there. It's a big difference, psychologically.

But even that isn't as different as the mindset of the respective fans. Going to a Yankees game brought home a somewhat painful point about tennis. It lacks the wonderful, tribal sense you get at a ball game where the vast majority of fans are rooting for the home team—a uniform, not the meat puppet inside it. Baseball fans are believers in a cause larger than themselves and the peculiarities of their personal taste, and a cause larger than the players on the field.

102939361 How different tennis is! When you buy a ticket to the final, you have no automatic rooting interest because you don't even know who's going to be playing most of the time. It's not about your team, your home. It's about which individual you prefer, for any number of reasons from his nationality to the color of her eyes. This is but one of the reasons that "true" tennis fans attend the early rounds at a tennis tournament; they know what (more precisely, who) their rooting interest is, and want to make sure they can express their support.

And while certain tennis players have huge followings, loyalty to even them is merely personal, a matter of taste. You like Federer or Serena Williams or Rafa Nadal or Maria Sharapova the way you like Coldplay, the Killers, Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber. You may even resent some of your fellow Roger or Serena fans for the way they view your mutual paragon; strains of selfishness and jealousy run through your devotion. And when you don't identify with a particular individual, you may look at the players like different vintages of wine; they taste better or worse, but you don't live and die by them. Tennis has an audience of connoisseurs, baseball has a base of partisans.

Baseball has a few other dimensions that enhance this tribal atmosphere. It's a slow game. A very slow game. Tennis is a fast (almost violently so) game which demands the spectator's attention, all the time. This puts tennis at a disadvantage when it comes to the social dimensions of the fan experience. But that's another reason that those true fans of tennis attend early rounds at tournaments, and spend a lot of time at field courts. You can have a fine social experience out on Court 11, with chatty neighbors and your legs stretched out over the empty bleacher seats before you. You can lazily watch a doubles match and visit with friends as the molten sun drops down below the horizon. But generally, the more important the match and the bigger the stars, the more it becomes a theatrical—as opposed to a social—experience.

My son Luke is seven, and pretty out-to-lunch when it comes to understanding and following sports. Once the hot dog was eaten, the popcorn devoured, and the lemonade sucked down, he  quickly grew bored at the ballgame, and began to pester the young couple seated right in front of us. They were awfully nice, and got a kick out of Luke. And that was partly because they could interact with him without having their spectating experience spoiled, even during what turned out to be an excellent, close game between the best two teams in the baseball.

I found myself thinking that some of these elements help explain why tennis doesn't present a threat to any of our other major spectator sports in the U.S. It lacks that powerful glue of community for all but that relatively small group (like yourselves) for whom tennis is so compelling that it creates its own community. The game doesn't especially encourage socializing, except in self-selecting groups. Taste, or whim, plays a much larger role in the selection of idols in tennis than in baseball. Every tennis fan who has a favorite player automatically erects a perimeter that can be difficult for others to penetrate. Tennis fans are basically "loners" in the same sense that theater goers are loners; the experience is a shared one only for logistical reasons that can't be avoided.

On the other hand, there's a proximity about the tennis experience that is rare and valuable. One reason baseball has some of these other dimensions is because the game is so. . . big. You sit up there in the bleachers and those little figures scurrying around on the field are, in a very real sense, mere symbols with whom you have only the most remote engagement. Thus, it becomes less about them than about what they represent, the community of fans.

Tennis players are far more accessible; they enable us to develop a real, first-hand feel for their personalities and talents. We regard them more as individuals and personalities because we get more of their individuality and personality, right there on the court. Tennis looks best when it allows an intimacy to develop between fans and players, even if that also inhibits the growth of any sense of overall community. At the ideal tennis match, you feel like you've gotten to know the players. At a ballgame, you feel like you've watched representatives of your community do great things for it. The court is for relationships, the coliseum is for heroics.

So it was last Friday night at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees trailed, 4-3 late in the game - a game that you could call a "must win" because of the occasion. Boston Red Sox fans are well aware of the Curse of Ruth. If the Yankees lost on the night they gave Steinbrenner his final send-off, it could certainly be interpreted as an uncomfortable omen.

Never fear, Yankee fans. Nick Swisher ended game game in the bottom of the ninth inning with a two-out single to give the Yankees the 5-4 win. Riding the jam-packed subway car back to Manhattan at 11 p.m. on that sweltering night, three inebriated Yankee fans sang a few stanzas of the local anthem, New York, New York. The sense of community was palpable.

The Coliseum is for heroes, larger—and sometimes smaller—than life.

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Posted by Jackie 07/19/2010 at 03:52 PM

Pete! Loved this, especially as a Yankees fan ... was one of those pieces that conveyed what I've always thought but could never properly articulate. That's why I have you. :)

"The court is for relationships, the coliseum is for heroics." Well said.

Posted by Master Ace 07/19/2010 at 04:09 PM

Glad you enjoyed going to Yankee Stadium and I can imagine Luke being bored after getting fed ballpark food as baseball is indeed a long game especially if the Yankees and Red Sox are playing each other.

Posted by Sherlock 07/19/2010 at 05:09 PM

Oh, my. Thanks, Pete. That was great stuff.

I hate the Yankees, but I flove baseball, and I'm ever fascinated by the different sports we follow, and why we follow them.

Sorry about the Yankee hate, Jackie. I still less than 3 you. :)

Posted by Jackie 07/19/2010 at 05:13 PM

Sherlock! HA, less than 3 always.

Posted by thebigapple 07/19/2010 at 05:32 PM

The sport with defines communal experience is football/futebol/soccer/fussball. It ties the planet in common experiences. (Even poor games ones like the last FIFA final was a massive communal bore.) If you do business internationally and travel heavily, football (at the World Cup level) is one of the few things you can talk about in every meeting room and bar on the planet...People's eyes light up in mutual recognition. It works for both men and women because everyone watches. If you recall the fate on that country's team or even the name of one player, you have friends in the room right away. You become more "us" vs a stranger from a foreign place.

Wonderful, wondrous, thing that.

Posted by Colette 07/19/2010 at 06:09 PM

Thanks, Pete, for sharing your experience with the Yankee Stadium mystique and for the insightful comparison of baseball and tennis fandom. I grew up in a family of Yankee haters, intensified during the reign of King George, but married into pro-Yankee turf, so I root for them when it's convenient and flove Mariano Rivera. However, I must confess that when I heard the news of Mr. Steinbrenner’s death, my first thought was an irreverent joke: “How sad, so soon after he bought the Miami Heat.” *experiences pangs of guilt*

Posted by gliciouss 07/19/2010 at 06:11 PM

just read the ivanovic has to qualify for montreal???

well....i think that is a fair decision...she really is not good enough for main draw acceptance...

i know she said that she would not be of help at fed cup....but if she is not good enough for fed cup (when she is the most obvious choice for the second singles by far) than she isn't good enough for the main draw there...

also...i felt like falling asleep at my only baseball game in toronto...(vs seatle)
it is like when my mum makes me watch cricket...but i like playing it

tennis, soccer and hockey and basketball is all you need...

Posted by Ronald 07/19/2010 at 06:19 PM

That is how much of a disgrace Ivanovic have become that she has to qualify for Montreal. I do feel bad for her because she won the tournament in 2006 so I think she should of receive a wildcard but the truth is she not good enough anymore.

Posted by yankeefederer1994 07/19/2010 at 07:29 PM

I've loved both tennis and baseball for most of my life, and a yankees fan since i was born in brooklyn. i've always felt there were acute differences between tennis and baseball besides the obvious. more of the intangibles of being a fan that you really showed in your article. i love the fact that i can appreciate both the court and the coliseum. Great article

Posted by waylandboy 07/19/2010 at 07:35 PM

I'm a huge baseball fan and appreciated the article.

Pete, you mentioned something about Yankee Stadium being so clean and earlier noted it was renovated. Just making sure you realize that this is a brand new ballpark, and only in it's second season. The old Yankee stadium is no more!

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 07/19/2010 at 07:56 PM

Very true, indeed. Well said, Pete.

I suppose Billie Jean King's World team tennis is an attempt to bring that community element to tennis, to allow fans to relate to a team, a cause, a city. And perhaps the reason it never quite gets there is the lack of dimension that baseball and soccer and football engender. To experience an ovrwhelming sense of community, nothing beats 200,000 fans packed into a soccer stadium.

And perhaps it's this quality of tennis that also tends to attract the individualist, the independent spirit, the reflexive thinker.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 07/19/2010 at 07:59 PM

I think I have posted here enough times that on my very first trip to the US one of the first places that I went to was Yankee Stadium. I will treasure that moment forever, expensive hot dogs and all. Loved it. Fell in love with the Yankees in 1997 and have not fallen out of love with them yet. Love Derek Jeter and the whole gang and was very sorry when Soriano and a host of others were traded to other teams.

News out of twitter is that Serena may not play the US Open.

Posted by tina 07/19/2010 at 08:14 PM

I'm not a baseball fan, but in my years as a New Yorker, I put in my time at both Shea and the old Yankee stadium - and later briefly dated David Wells after the '96 Series. I grew up in ostensible Sox country, so I felt the need to rebel against that. Though I have never understood why the people of New Haven feel more strongly about Boston than they do New York.

thebigapple - I once wrote in an article that to be an American woman in Europe with some knowledge of football was to have the world on a string. My large collection of international jerseys was destroyed, and now I'm down to only Croatia 1998 and this year's Slovenia strip, and a couple of unofficial shirts from Euro 2008.

Posted by CPM 07/19/2010 at 08:15 PM

I grew up a Phillies fan--about as far as one could get from being a Yankees fan, up until a few years ago; or at least as far as one could get without moving to Cleveland (where, as it happens, I was born!)--and spent a fair number of futile afternoons in the 700 section of the Vet, glove in hand just in case (in the 700 section? heh, OK, kid), watching anyone and everyone from opposing teams look like Hank Aaron, Micky Mantle or Cy Young redivivus, listening to the beery louts around us (usually me & my brother) spew invective that made up in volume what it lacked in wit, and, you know, still more or less enjoying myself. I like to think I took the drubbings that my team suffered with an uncharacteristic-for-the-town aplomb, and didn't really get down on them for the losses -- I would suck as one of those backseat managers that call up sports radio shows with the sure-fire fix. But in '93, by which time by interest in the game had already begun to diminish thanks to interest in things like being moody and moody girls and moody music, the Phillies actually got to the World Series (against the Blue Jays), and all the deferred hopes that were never really even acknowledged came to the fore, and I got *really* into it. And, of course, the Phillies lost that Series in pretty spirit-crushing fashion. I watched no baseball after that for years, took no interest in it, read no sports pages--nothing. I was done.

I was thinking about this recently as I went to a Phillies game for the first time in forever, in the plush new-ish Citizen's Bank Park, chock full of every amenity you could hope for, with plenty to do & see in those sometime interminable lulls that beset baseball games. (Ironically, I saw them play the Blue Jays, in the away games that were really home because of the G-20 in Toronto.) It felt more like sports entertainment than I remembered it, and any silly nostalgia that might have attended that feeling was immediately stifled by the recognition that my two young nephews would've been unholy terrors otherwise. But it nevertheless felt familiar, and despite not being much of a baseball fan anymore, I still felt like I had a right to be there, if that makes sense.

Different sports engender different ways of relating to one's rooting interests, but the divide between individual and team sports in this regard is pretty vast. There's a lot I don't like about team-fandom -- the clannishness, the tribalism, the cheap machismo of the "we won" or "we kicked a**" -- but it occurs to me that there's something ... instructive, I guess, about being 'born into' fandom, of being thrown into it. You don't really have a choice in the matter, you just have to manage it as best you can. How superficial tennis fandom is in comparison! Your favorite's not doing well? No sweat, man, just wait a few years and you'll probably find a new one. OK, I know it doesn't always work like that, but the comparison's striking, I think. I wonder what, if anything, it says about me that I don't really care much for the Phillies anymore, but will root for some guy from some minor Mediterranean island?

Anyway, just some thoughts. Cheers, all.

Posted by tommy 07/19/2010 at 08:41 PM

This is some tweet.


i am having a tough few days. my mm and friends have been taking good care of me. i hoe to be bak on the our soon. i miss playing...

Posted by CL/Hold the Foam 07/19/2010 at 09:16 PM

Yankees sssss.......iiii ......cccckkkkk....

or something like that. Just change the vowel.

Posted by jhurwi 07/19/2010 at 09:45 PM

CPM: "it occurs to me that there's something ... instructive, I guess, about being 'born into' fandom, of being thrown into it. You don't really have a choice in the matter, you just have to manage it as best you can."
When we were in Seville this spring, we took a walking tour with a local guide who explained that being born there meant you inherited three things 1)your grandfather's first name 2)membership in the confraternity at your local parish church and having your name placed at birth on the waiting list to carry its float in the annual Corpus Christi Day procession 3)rooting for either the Reds or the Greens, the two local football teams.
The depth of commitment to one of the two teams evidently surpasses anything in the Yankees-Red Sox experience--the story reminded me of the Blues and the Greens in ancient Byzantium, two chariot-racing teams which became political factions and basically took over politics in the capital city. Luckily tennis fandom is too individual for that; even Davis Cup doesn't come close.

Posted by Master Ace 07/19/2010 at 10:48 PM

Tuesday Order of Play:

WTA: Bad Gastein at 4 AM - Zakopalova, Zahlavova Strycova, Bammer, Petkovic, Baccinszky, Sevastova, Hradecka and Medina Garrigues scheduled
ATP: Hamburg at 6:30 AM - Chela, Schwank, Robredo, Simon and Granollers scheduled
ATP: Hamburg at 7 AM - Seppi and Fognini scheduled
WTA: Portoroz at 9:30 AM - Errani, Kvitova, Pavlyuchenkova and Cibulkova scheduled
ATP: Hamburg at 11:30 AM - Davydenko vs Serra
WTA: Portoroz at 11:30 AM - Hercog, Srebotnik and Miss Glitter scheduled
ATP: Hamburg at 1:30 PM - Hajek vs Ferrero
ATP: Atlanta at 4 PM - Ginepri vs Lindahl, Malisse, Young vs Sela and Tipsarevic scheduled
ATP: Atlanta at 6:30 PM - Dent vs Blake

Posted by london 07/20/2010 at 12:00 AM

can we have a prayer for serena williams please! lets pray that she recovers from her untimely and unfortunate foot surgery. let us pray that she can recupperate in time for the us open and she can do well in it!

Posted by John Culhane 07/20/2010 at 12:15 AM

Good post that had special resonance for me as a huge fan of both tennis and the NY Yankees. I do think, though, that baseball, because of the players' long careers and the importance of their individual stats, does lend itself to our being fans of not only teams, but players.
For example, I love how Derek Jeter plays. Several months ago, I happened to be at the Stadium when he got the hit that put him ahead of Lou Gehrig for the all-time hits leadership among Yankees. Here, I reflected on the accomplishment -- -- and compared him to Federer (my tennis idol, whose KoolAid I will always greedily imbibe).

Posted by Lord Byron II 07/20/2010 at 01:08 AM

Team fandom is a low tribalism
Withal, the logic of religions
One searches for meaning and sense
"We're" great "You" suck
Bears all the pluck
of Flatulence
Like a bow across a shot of jism
Painted lunatics wallow 'neath pooping pigeons
Let us pull instead for the man alone
If he chokes there is no phone
No reliever in mano a mano
When one of 'em steps in the bat guano
Ay, tennis is the sport pour moi
I, no royal, but hoi polloi (ca?)

Posted by spacenoxx (Vamos Rafa) 07/20/2010 at 04:17 AM

I think that's the difference between a Team sport (baseball,football,basketball) and an individual sport like Tennis. The only other individual 'sport' that comes close (I am guessing here) to popularity is Golf and I am not sure if it can be called a sport. In any case a Team sport will always be more popular than an individual sport.

Also you can try and compare baseball to football (soccer or even american version for that matter) and say why the later is more popular :-)

Posted by TJ Hughes 07/20/2010 at 05:22 AM

Excellent piece, which hits unintentionally on one of the reasons for soccer's global popularity. It combines the intensity and constant immersion of watching tennis, with the partisan, tribal dimension offered by baseball.

(Although, of course, the sport with which tennis has most in common is boxing - think of the loneliness of the guy whose best shots just don't hurt his opponent).

Posted by Sal Anthony 07/20/2010 at 08:18 AM

Dear Mr. Bodo,

You are a first-class writer and this was a beautifully written column. I'm only sorry it involved a team and a man that have turned the meaning of fair play and pure competition inside out and upside down. Tennis is precisely everything that baseball is not, and the Yankees and Steinbrenner in particular have helped transform a field of dreams into three-card monty.

Sal Anthony

Posted by robbyfan 07/20/2010 at 08:41 AM

Baseball? Almost as boring as the 2nd week of Wimbledon, 2010.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 07/20/2010 at 09:14 AM

I liked this very much, Pete, not that I know anything about baseball. :) Sounds a bit like cricket combined with the tribal atmospheres in football.

Do the tribal loyalties in baseball ever turn ugly and erupt into fighting or rioting the way football loyalties often do?

I guess the lack of that in tennis generally is one reason why Davis Cup is so much fun, and why home player matches at big tournaments can be so special.

Posted by Curly 07/20/2010 at 09:35 AM

Pete, I admire your wresting of optimism from commercial cynicism. I'm still more in the other camp, that baseball's great days are behind us. (The drunks singing "NY NY" on the subway was a cliche too moldy to swallow).
Baseball is now everything it wasn't. Hollywood mentality has wrested it away.
$112 bucks a ticket in the nosebleeds? $11 a beer? So much for the kid sneaking through the hole in the fence to see his hero. But I'm sure the PR team trots out the keeds for "inner-city day" behind the dugout once or twice a season...
In tennis, you have to win to make a red cent on the field of battle. In baseball now, DHs make millions, even if their team is last. That's OK, it's all supply and demand...with massive injections of tinseltown and Madison Avenue steroid.
Maybe pure it up by frequenting the minor league parks instead?
Even tennis is limited without artists like Fed, Raf, Hingis and Santoro. Matches like Schiavone/Stosur A few greats carry the sport. Ah, there are still some great baseball and hockey games. Even football. It's an escapism we somewhat need.
As for atmosphere, I'll call your Yankee Stadium and raise you a Wimbledon, and I'm all-in.

Posted by Geellis 07/20/2010 at 10:31 AM

Well Pete,
always glad to see you receiving your kudos for your missives. I often think you get a bad wrap by so many commenters when being compared to Steve. I think you're both fine writers, just different styles. Anywho, my fav line was "Tennis has an audience of connoisseurs, baseball has a base of partisans."
It perfectly captures the arduous and painful parries back and forth re Rog/Rafa or Serena v. history etc. Great piece.

Posted by Fifimarie in La La Land 07/20/2010 at 10:36 AM

Gr8 article, Pete! The mention of Mickey Rivers really brought me back. Never been a Yankee fan but I don't hate them like I used to either. Ringing endorsement, I know. Grew up in Detroit, sports lovin' town. I've been a fan of both tennis and baseball (and basketball and to a lesser extent, football) for decades. You're so right about the differences b/t the sport. Late 70s watched the slams but thought Connors & McEnroe were obnoxious; late 80s loved Edberg, Becker & Martina; the 90s? Not so much. Didn't care for Pete or Andre much at all. Rooted for Andy Roddick for about 5 minutes. Tried very hard to like Federer but couldn't force it and then along came Rafael Nadal... who wasn't afraid of Roger. It's been a love affair ever since (Wimby '07). My boxer. :-)

Posted by sjmanning 07/20/2010 at 11:16 AM

A Yankee game, AT YANKEE STADIUM is not just "baseball".
It is a Yankee game at Yankee Stadium.

Posted by Master Ace 07/20/2010 at 12:16 PM

"Baseball? Almost as boring as the 2nd week of Wimbledon, 2010"

Be nice as the Braves lead the NLEast. Now, ready for Robby today?

Posted by robbyfan 07/20/2010 at 12:34 PM

Hi Master Ace-I have tried to like baseball. just can't do it!! The players amuse me with their boo boo "injuries". See Jones, Chipper. And their zillion dollar salaries.

Go Robby as always! Are you going to see any of the matches? I may try to catch quarter final action, the tickets are a bit pricy.

Posted by london 07/20/2010 at 12:56 PM

serena not looking too hot in her cast wahhhhhhhhhh D':

Posted by robbyfan 07/20/2010 at 01:28 PM

How did Serena go from a band aid on the front of her ankle to a cast?

Posted by london 07/20/2010 at 01:32 PM

surgery. sniffle sniffle. oh serena whyyyyy did you aggrevate your injury by playing that exhibition and walking in heels whyyyy?????

Posted by Skw 07/20/2010 at 01:39 PM

Who can argue now with Serena Williams being the ultimate queen of drama? Stepping on glass in a restaurant became a band-aid, which became surgery. Does this woman ever get bored? LOL

Posted by Master Ace 07/20/2010 at 02:05 PM

Chipper has been injured a lot in the later years of his career. I wish he would have said he would retire after this season after his slump gotten news.

Speaking of Atlanta, if I somehow comes, it would have to be to a session on Saturday(do not know whether day or night). Need to find out how much a session cost. Also, the temperature will be in the upper 90s to low 100s Farenheit later this week which will be a factor on whether I will watch the action from my air conditioned home:)

I think Serena will be at the USO but it would be interesting to see the USO play without her as writers are ready to bring up her tirade despite her winning 5 out of the last 8 Slams. Did you read my post on Venus in the other thread bascially saying that the USO goes through her especially since 2005?

Posted by robbyfan 07/20/2010 at 02:13 PM

ooo-the conspiracy theorist in me thinks this is an out for Serena to avoid the media blitz this year at the USO and gain some sympathy at the same time. It is infathomable (is that a word?) that she needed surgery for a cut, even a cut supposedly requiring several stitches. And why on earth would she be out of commission through the USO? She is a young and strong athlete and should be able to heal and rehab quickly. This just smells wrong to me.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 07/20/2010 at 02:33 PM

Robbyfan, what do you think is wrong?

Did you see my post sometime ago about my son who got a cut on his foot? I cleaned it with home remedies and after a few days I noticed that it was not getting a scab. It had actually become infected. I had to take him to the doctor and get all sorts of stuff. Turns out that he had an allergic reaction to the zinc or whatever it was that cut him.

The medical folks around here who post are of the view that while the cut on her foot may have been made from an innocuous piece of glass, it may have become infected, which then required additional treatment by a doctor. I doubt if it was surgery in the true sense of the word. Perhaps just cleaning the wound, giving her a dose of antibiotics and perhaps a few stitches to close it up. Her walking around in stilettos and playing at the exo may not have been the thing to do, but one wonders whether she had prior commitments and could not disengage from them, i.e. the exo as well as attending the wedding of her friend Lala Vazquez as well as her other promotional stuff that were already in the works?

Posted by 70's tennis fan 07/20/2010 at 02:43 PM

I know NOTHING about baseball, truly nothing, but we are off to New York on August 14th and, just today, my husband expressed his desire to go and watch the New York Yankees play whilst we are there!! So you can imagine how keenly I have just read your article!! Thank you Pete!

Posted by robbyfan 07/20/2010 at 02:45 PM

Jamaica Karen-I'm not sure anything IS wrong. That is my point. I think Serena needed some time off (nothing wrong with that at all) and is using this as a convenient excuse. I am not sure why she would need a cast for an infection, if that is the problem. Maybe the cast is removable????

Posted by Sherlock 07/20/2010 at 02:54 PM

"OK, I know it doesn't always work like that, but the comparison's striking, I think. I wonder what, if anything, it says about me that I don't really care much for the Phillies anymore, but will root for some guy from some minor Mediterranean island?"

Striking indeed, CPM. Great post, btw.

Also, I think it means Joe Carter and Mitch Williams ruined you forever. :)

"Baseball is now everything it wasn't. Hollywood mentality has wrested it away."

Well said, Curly. Though I would say that all pro sports are affected. Big money certainly changes things.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/20/2010 at 03:06 PM

Reading some of the comments on Serena's injury - it is quite possible that if she cut her foot on glass, she may have had some in her foot. Glass is opaque and does not show on an X-ray ... it would, therefore, have to be removed by surgery. Just a possibility.

Posted by robbyfan 07/20/2010 at 03:09 PM

Requiring a cast?????

Posted by Franchise 07/20/2010 at 03:23 PM

Serena, heal your foot, we don't care about the haters like...

Posted by Nam1 07/20/2010 at 03:32 PM

Re: Serena's foot surgery; is this the same ankle that had a band-aid on it in the picture that was posted a few days ago? She had some purple dress and high heels on...

Did it get infected or something because it looked like her ankle had the band aid rather than the foot. or did she cut her foot elsewhere after that picture was taken?

Posted by robbyfan 07/20/2010 at 03:42 PM

Just think if Castgate was about Federer or Rafa! There would be howls of laughter! Come on Serena-come clean for your fans!!

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 07/20/2010 at 03:45 PM

My son's foot was placed in one of those protective thingamjigs. If memory serves me correctly it is to keep the stitches dry and to ensure that you do not add too much pressure to it. Remember Serena is an elite athlete. Any discomfort, no matter how minor it may seem to us, affects her in ways that none of us can imagine.

Robbyfan, I cannot imagine that you would think that Serena could so disrespect her sport and her millions and MILLIONS of fans by having us all think that she is not carrying an injury. I would think that someone as stoic and no-nonsense as her mother would never be caught dead engaging in that type of public relations duplicity.

For the record, I understand that even when she was playing the exo she was not moving well and it was remarked that she was indeed carrying an injury.

I always have to shake my head when I read comments doubting the legitimacy of Serena's injury, yet everyone has bought into the Sharapova shoulder surgery, injury, coming back etc. Methinks that Serena needs to get Sharapova's PR people, stat!!!

Posted by Nam1 07/20/2010 at 03:51 PM

I dont see what the big deal is; if she cut her foot and needs time to heal then thats her business; she doesnt owe anyone detailed explanations about the injury!!!

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 07/20/2010 at 03:54 PM

Robbyfan, ESPN tennis board just posted a picture of Serena post surgery and indeed her foot is in a cast and a huge protective boot. So no, I don't think she is faking.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 07/20/2010 at 04:07 PM

Mickey Rivers, a blast from the past:

Not sure if anyone in MLB consistently came up with crazier quotes than did MR:

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Rafa Channel Slam Winner 2010! 07/20/2010 at 04:11 PM

Good Morning Everyone

I was talking to myself on the other post though I did have a wonderful conversation to myself

Master Ace In answer to your question to me regarding the host of our Top model here.Sarah Murdoch a model herself and married to Lachlan Murdoch son of Rupert Murdoch.

Also shock and horror my Tommy losing to Mr Potato Head? has the word turned crazy.Pfft.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Rafa Channel Slam Winner 2010! 07/20/2010 at 04:13 PM

Regarding Serena's foot surgery its quite common to put in a protective cast.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Rafa Channel Slam Winner 2010! 07/20/2010 at 04:15 PM

Remember too when Justine broke her finger she had a protective splint on it.It did enable her to keep playing.Though with Serena and her foot a different story of course

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 07/20/2010 at 04:19 PM

Lindahl just broke Ginepri. I saw Lindahl play earlier this year during the Aussie Open play offs and I was quite impressed with him. Hope he is able to do well here.

Posted by Diane 07/20/2010 at 04:23 PM


Can't have you talking to yourself

I'm watching our local boy Robby Genepri now and he's down a break in the first set to Lindahl who I think is Australian

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Rafa Channel Slam Winner 2010! 07/20/2010 at 04:29 PM

Dianne I dont mind talking to myself at least noone argues with me lol!

Yes thats Nick Lindahl a Aussie who did well in the qualifying at Atlanta

I will just have to watch on SB

Posted by Rafalicious 07/20/2010 at 04:29 PM

Serena is full of SH*T. Guarantee she'll be miraculously healed by the USO. Girl doesn't want to play these lead up tournaments. She is all about the Slams. Period.

Posted by JB (FOOPs unite!) 07/20/2010 at 04:31 PM

loved this one pete. i've always been a baseball girrrl - comes from growing up around boston i guess. i love going to fenway and sitting back, listening to the crowd and the crack of the bat. Makes for just a great summer evening...though fenway and yankee stadium are a totally different kettle of fish i think! Sadly though, its not as easy to get there as it used to be... :(

i've heard tell though that the minor league games are a blast; MUCH cheaper seats, small parks. Much less 'hollywood', family friendly and definately more in line with the feeling of 'kids sneaking in through a hole in the fence.' :)

Its funny - in miami i remember so clearly sitting under the lights, watching a match and being utterly content in a way that reminded me very strongly of my baseball watching days. Its still so vivid; the warmth of the nite, being all scruffy and slightly burnt from the day in the sun, completely tired but ever so relaxed and content to just sit and watch the match unfold.

Mhm - maybe baseball and tennis have more in common than I thought?! :)

Posted by Diane 07/20/2010 at 04:37 PM


A link for the Lindahl match

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Rafa Channel Slam Winner 2010! 07/20/2010 at 04:40 PM

Robby just broke back

Come on Nick just steady

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Rafa Channel Slam Winner 2010! 07/20/2010 at 04:41 PM

Dianne Thanks very much for the link

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 07/20/2010 at 04:46 PM

OK, how is it that Serena is full of shite for allegedly not wanting to play a million events leading up to a major but Nadal and others get a pass for not playing a lot of events leading up to a major because they are preserving their health and their careers?
Will someone please tell me what is the difference.

There is speculation that Nadal will only play one of 2 MS events this summer leading into the USO and everyone is praising him for managing his career and his health. Federer has not been seen since Wimbledon and perhaps will not be seen until the MS events in Toronto and Cincy. DelPo has been out since January with a wrist injury. Roddick has not played a whole boatload of matches and is not expected to play a lot.

On the women's side, Justine is not expected back until Beijing. She normally does not like playing in the States and has always expressed the view that New York is not her favourite city in which to play, yet no one doubts that she severely injured her elbow so much so that she will be off the Tour until Beijing.

Kim injured her foot so much so that she could not play the French. How about the fact that Schiavone has not been seen since the French Open. The list of women who have not been playing either through choice or via injuries is too much to mention, as indeed are the men. Yet, whenever Serena says she is injured, all of a sudden there is all this doubt. One would think that seeing as Serena plays a professional sport she would be more interested in making as much money on the court as she does off the court. Or, it could be that she is injured.

Posted by Master Ace 07/20/2010 at 04:57 PM

Wednesday Order of Play:

WTA: Bad Gadstein at 5 AM - Sevastova vs Halep and Bacsinszky scheduled
ATP: Hamburg at 6:30 AM - Montanes, Melzer, Almagro and Bellucci scheduled
WTA: Portoroz at 10:30 AM - Paszel and Razzano scheduled
ATP: Hamburg at 11:30 AM - Petzschner vs Chardy
WTA: Portoroz at 11:30 AM - Hercog vs Srebotnik to be followed by Chakvetadze vs Errani
ATP: Hamburg at 1:30 PM - Chela vs Kohlschreiber
ATP: Atlanta at 4 PM - Players to be determined
ATP: Atlanta at 6:30 PM - Players to be determined

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Rafa Channel Slam Winner 2010! 07/20/2010 at 05:00 PM

Nick you had a mini break there in the t/break?

Robby won the 1st set 7-6 (7-4)

Nick your 1st serve let you down in that t/break

Posted by manuelsantanafan 07/20/2010 at 05:10 PM

"OK, how is it that Serena is full of shite for allegedly not wanting to play a million events leading up to a major but Nadal and others get a pass for not playing a lot of events leading up to a major because they are preserving their health and their careers?"

What kind of pass is Rafa getting?

So far this year, Rafa has played 52 matches.

So far this year, S.Williams has played 29 matches.

Rafa just turned 24. So far, during his ATP career, he has played 544 matches--many of them best of five sets--according to Wikipedia.

S.Williams turns 29 in September. According to Wikipedia, she has played 575 matches--none of them best of five sets--during her pro career.

So, what kind of "pass" has Rafa received vis a vis S.Williams?

Posted by thebigapple 07/20/2010 at 05:12 PM

What ever factor undid the Wimby rating...

The rating started out great, that factor was present and positive:

"The first week of the tournament produced relatively strong numbers for ESPN2. It received an average rating of 0.5, an increase of 14 percent over last year."

Then when that factor faded the ratings died:

"TV ratings released by Nielsen show that NBC experienced a sharp drop in ratings for the Wimbledon finals this year. The men’s final, in which Rafael Nadal defeated Tomas Berdych in straight sets, received a 1.9—less than half last year’s epic between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick."

Everyone one will make their own story of it.

However, many of those that bothered to watch the final, wished they had not.

Posted by R. M. 07/20/2010 at 05:16 PM

Wow, baseball, is that really a sport (except in the US)? :P

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Rafa Channel Slam Winner 2010! 07/20/2010 at 05:22 PM

Well sorry to go against the soo called general opinion

I enjoyed the final at Wimby not because I am a Rafa fan

I think everyone was expecting a Rafa v Roger final?

So I guess fans were a tad disappointed there.

As I have said before Nothing In Tennis Is Ever A Given.

Posted by Rafalicious 07/20/2010 at 05:23 PM

First of all Karen, why must you bring Nadal into this convo? For his whole career, he has played just about every event and it has cost him. He is scheduled to play two events leading into the USO. PLENTY. Serena is a different story. ZERO events and it's not the first time either. Anyone remember all the pics all over the Internet of her frolicking on Miami beach with a leg injury during beginning of the year hard court season?????? Anyone?????? And she still hasn't owned up to her tirade last year. Please Serena, OWN IT. I don't blame her for being pissed. That lineswoman should have NEVER called a foot fault at such a critical point in the match, but she has never taken full responsibility for what she did.

The fact remains that she is not interested in these lead up tournaments and that's fine, but please......

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Rafa Channel Slam Winner 2010! 07/20/2010 at 05:26 PM

Hmmm Nick you game has come totally unstuck in this 2nd set

Robby leading 5-2

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Rafa Channel Slam Winner 2010! 07/20/2010 at 05:31 PM

Congrats Robby too good in the end

Ginerpri 7-6,6-2

Bad luck Nick you have to focus more.Had a break in the 1sr set and then also had a mini break in the t/breaker there as well.

Posted by robbyfan 07/20/2010 at 05:31 PM

I will humbly apologize to all the Serena fans if she does not play the USO this year. I don't think that will happen though. It is all about the Slams, I don't have a problem with that just own up to it.

I also do not think the loss of a few hundred thousand dollars potential earnings is meaningful to her and the bank account so she can pick and choose where to play.

Posted by Master Ace 07/20/2010 at 05:34 PM

I see that Robby will play again tomorrow or Thursday.

Posted by Diane 07/20/2010 at 05:43 PM

I hate that these arguments occur here on TW

Serena isn't perfect but I did see the pix of her foot in an orthopedic boot. was it photo shopped, I doubt it

I would assume the cut was on the bottom of her foot and may have involved a need to stich a tendon and therefore the need for the boot to immobilize the foot. The band aid shown on her ankle may have nothing to do with the injury.

Rafa's knees hurt....should we belive him
Roger's back hurts....should we believe him
Serena had foot surgery....should we believe her

Yes to all

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Rafa Channel Slam Winner 2010! 07/20/2010 at 05:44 PM

Well my thoughts on Serena,

She has earnt her stripes and if she wants to pick her tournaments and play just before slams well good for her.

At age 29 we as tennis fans should count our blessings she still loves competing in the game of tennis.

Serena could just hang up her racquet now she really had nothing else to prove.

No 1 player in the world and no 1 doubles player in the world along with her sister Venus who at the tender age of 30 also still has the love and passion for the game

Keep on Serena.I for one hope you continue to play for years.That also goes with Miss Vee.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/20/2010 at 05:49 PM

Figures were down for Wimbledon this year ? Could have been something to do with the World Cup, methinks.

Personally, I enjoyed the Championships in 2009 and 2010 in spite of absences by certain players.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 07/20/2010 at 06:14 PM

Rafalicious, I brought Nadal (and many others) into the conversation to show the comparisons between who we as fans choose to believe when they say they have injuries, and those whose injuries are greeted with skepticism.

I am not talking about number of matches played etc. I am talking about withdrawing from tournaments with injuries. Serena has played a lot less matches than Nadal. That does not negate the fact that she is injured. For the record she did play 2 additional tournaments leading up to the French Open. She reached the semis in Rome and the second round in Madrid. She also won the doubles title in Madrid with her sister.

In addition to playing singles at the majors, many forget that she also plays doubles as well. When everyone else, including the men, have day's off. Serena's day's off are spent playing doubles. If that is not supporting the Tour, I do not know what is.

As Aussiemarge noted above, it must be that Serena is playing a lot of tennis to be ranked No. 1 in the world in singles and doubles.

As for frolicking on the beach. OMG, that bum Serena. How dare she choose to enjoy herself when she should be out there busting her butt playing tennis matches *rolls eyes*

For the record I hope she does not play the Open. For the simple reason that it will make those who are salivating at the thought of writing about her epic meltdown last year have no one to whom to address their idiotic questions.

Posted by Mr.X (WORLD CHAMPIONS-Not bad for a bunch of minions) 07/20/2010 at 06:25 PM

Hi everyone.
Pete, i really liked this one. Very good, indeed, and able to captivate the differences between team sports and tennis. I personally enjoy both. Change baseball for football (our football), and that's it. Let me provide some examples of that communal experience, of that joint feeling of absolute joy.
In the small scale:
In the big scale:
It's true that in many ways, it will always be impossible for tennis to generate something like that.

Posted by london 07/20/2010 at 06:35 PM

Time for a piece on Venus Williams. Venus Williams is one of my two favorite players. At times, she is in first and at times, she is in second. Right now she is in second and here is the reason: She is floundering in the big matches! Dating back to the beginning of 2009. Going into the Australian Open, she was a tournament favorite coming off of wins in Zurich and the Year End Championships. She wen on to lose to Carla Suarez Navarro after holding match point and leading 5-2 in the third set. After that she won Dubai and Acapulco. In Miami that year she lost in the Semi's to a hobbled Serena Williams. In Rome she lost to Dinara Safina after leading a set and a break. In Paris, she put in a horrendous effort against Agnes Szavay losing 6-0, 6-4. At Wimbledon her game broke down from the first set tiebreak onward after having a phenomenal tournament up to that point. In Stanford, after thrashing Sharapova and Dementieva, her game was erratic as ever in her three set loss to Bartoli. At the US Open she lost a topsy-turvy match to Clijsters (although she was injured). THIS YEAR, it got even more unpredictable. At the Australian, after playing flawless tennis to go up 6-2, 5-3 against Li Na, she could barely get a ball in the court against her and couldn't hold for her life. She did the Dubai-Acapulco double again, but in Miami after playing good tennis, she put in a horrible effort against Clijsters in the FINAL! At rome she had her worst career loss to Jankovic winning only one game. She lost to Rezai in Madrid at having a 5-2 lead and numerous set points in the second. At the French, she lost a winnable match against Petrova and would have had the best chance ever to win it! This is the shocker! At Wimbledon after winning her matches relatively easy her first few rounds, she another horrible performance together and loses to Pironkova ranked 82 6-2, 6-3. I realized she was having some very strange matches, but I always thought I could trust her at Wimbledon! Once this loss happened I realize that she isn't the same big match player she once was. I could trust that she could find a way to win while not playing her best the way Serena does. I just can't trust her anymore in the big matches to bring it. I don't trust her to find a way to fight back anymore. I hope that loss to Pironkova was good for Venus so that she realizes she has to play her best no matter the opponent. And maybe all this talk over her not winning a major will encourage her for the US Open. All this said I think Venus will want to prove that she still has it to win another major! I expect something big from her at the US Open and possibly face her demons in a match and find a way to win when things arent going her way. Venus for the US Open (especially if Serena doesn't play). Thank you!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Rafa Channel Slam Winner 2010! 07/20/2010 at 06:37 PM

Welcome Mr X

Vamos to Spain and Vamos to Paul The Octopus

Hmm also a soft Vamos to Rafa and his Knees for being at the world cup as well.Even though he looked like? hmmmm I will keep my thoughts to myself there.

Please dont mention Her I too have a Caveli dress though may I say my dress has more fabric.

I thought we would never hear from you again

Lucky us.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Rafa Channel Slam Winner 2010! 07/20/2010 at 06:43 PM

london I too have my fingers crossed for Vee at the upcoming USO.After her upset at Wimby she might just surprise.

Posted by london 07/20/2010 at 06:47 PM

Late edition: It also occurred to me when watching the Mauresmo-Venus match at the 2002 US Open, her serve isn't there when she needs it as much. In that match, she was serving for the match at 5-4 in the third. She got down love-40. After that: first serve bomb. 15-40. First serve bomb which mauresmo barely gets back but Venus forehand is too hot for her. 30-40. Fisrt serve bomb. Duece. First serve bomb. Match point Venus. First serve into the net. Second serve bomb. Game, set, match Venus. Nowadays. It is not surprising to see Venus throw in even a double faults on one of those break points. If she wants to win a major again, those are the things she needs to cut out of her game on important points. As I said earlier, hopefully Venus will be eager to make up for her Wimbledon loss and take the whole thing at the Open. Thank you again!

Posted by Mr.X (WORLD CHAMPIONS-Not bad for a bunch of minions) 07/20/2010 at 06:50 PM

Hi AM. Lucky you, indeed:)
Dont mention WHO?:)
I did come in here a couple of days after the final, to prove i was still alive, but i havent really thought about tennis all that much since the Wimbledon final. I saw that Almagro defeated Sod in his home tournament last week though. I would have made some comments about that in the past, but i've signed peace with Mr.Soderling (at least, for the moment).
It's funny how after living the single biggest moment that one could imagine in sports, i kinda feel a little "meh" about the events going on currently. It will probably take a while:)

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Rafa Channel Slam Winner 2010! 07/20/2010 at 07:01 PM

Mr X I must have missed you then

Luck well that word does have many conetations dosent it

Yes I am watching my Tour at the moment tennis is really taking a second seat

I am not a fan of hard court tennis

Wake me up when we get to Toronto

I wont start on the thrashing of Spain the worst in 53 yrs mind you.Though the disrespect that was shown to Costa by the Pretty Boys especially Verdasco has left me with a bad taste in my mouth quite frankly.I felt sorry for David who always gives his best resgardless.Though all credit to France they played well and deserved their victory.

Maybe if the Pretty Boys didnt spend soo much time at the beach and trained better they might of displayed better.Hmmmm moving on.

Yes Alamgro who knew? though he did beat Robin at Madrid soo no real surprise there really.

Posted by tennis and baseball, hmmmm... 07/20/2010 at 07:28 PM

There are many differences no doubt, but an obvious and unfortunate similarity between tennis and baseball is immense evidence of the use of performance-enhancing drugs by top competitors; evidence that is overlooked or covered up until it is too late to prevent titles and records to fall to the most likely culprits.

Back when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were belting home runs, anyone who suggested something might be a little wrong was called a hater and pilloried on talk shows and forums. At the time, the evidence against these athletes was merely circumstantial, but overwhelming nonetheless.

The evidence against Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams today is far greater than the evidence against McGwire and Sosa was. In Nadal's case, the crazy cycles of victory and defeat that occur almost every year accompanied by changes in size and strength, the strange, secret medical procedures that apparently give otherworldly results but are claimed to consist of treatments that have been clinically proven to have no more efficacy than salt water, the contradictory stories about workout regimens, unbelievable variations in what is supposed to be a chronic repetitive stress syndrome within the course of a single tournament, and constant complaining and defiance about minimal and inadequate drug procedures is impossible to overlook. In Serena's case, the evolution of her physique (look at her in 2000, for instance), refusal to even compete except at the majors, strange and convenient injuries, and age-defying results add up to a case nearly as strong.

And Federer fans, lest you think your guy will come out smelling like a rose when the house of cards comes down, bear in mind that though there may be little circumstantial evidence against your guy, when the knives come out, the biggest target of all will not be left alone. Unfortunately, drug use by a few (if it is a few!) casts doubt on all achievements during the era in question. Federer fans would be FAR better off if it turned out, somehow, that Nadal and all the other top players were clean. If they are clean, they should be BEGGING for more credible testing to prove it.

Posted by Heather 07/20/2010 at 07:36 PM

Upthread there was a mention regarding what the top guys were going to be playing this summer and how Andy R was not going to be playing a lot this summer, he's playing Atlanta, DC, Cincy, Toronto and NY. That's a heck of a lot more than most of the other top players.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Rafa Channel Slam Winner 2010! 07/20/2010 at 07:45 PM

Hmmm must be a full moon again

Posted by manuelsantanafan 07/20/2010 at 08:12 PM

Now that it has become clear that France's World Cup woes were attributable to legitimate (even admirable) reasons; hopefully, the Gallic futbol supermen will stop being pilloried in the press:

Posted by Diane 07/20/2010 at 08:24 PM

Is nobody watching Blake -Dent in Atlanta

Dent is serving for the match

Posted by Diane 07/20/2010 at 08:28 PM

James broke so he still lives
Will serve at 4-5 to stay alive

Posted by Master Ace 07/20/2010 at 08:38 PM

I saw the last few games where James made errors in his last service game to lose.

Posted by Diane 07/20/2010 at 08:42 PM

Well that was short and not sweet; James got broken and Fish wins

The sockless wonder moves on

I'm not a real fan of either man but feel a bit more for P Macs take on him in Hard Court Confidential, stubborn! The young man is so smart, hello Harvard and he still plays a one dementional game. When I first saw him play I thought that he would be a real champion as I did with Andy R.

Andy has done a bit better but still not what I expected. Is he slated to be a one slam wonder? Hope not as I think he's better than that but there was that Federer thing in too many of Andy's finals.

Posted by Diane 07/20/2010 at 08:51 PM

Ed has put a new post up but it seems no one has moved over yet but then again there are not too many of us here either.
I know that JJ played in some tournament today and there were no WTA posts all day

Have all of TW taken the week off?

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Rafa Channel Slam Winner 2010! 07/20/2010 at 08:52 PM

James and his game has certainly gone done.With a new coach as well.Though he has had injuries of late especially with his knees.

Last time I saw hin play he didnt have the focus in his game

He is in the latter part of his career though he started late as a tennis player.

Posted by Diane 07/20/2010 at 08:57 PM

The link for the Roddick Fish dubs match

Posted by Diane 07/20/2010 at 09:00 PM

Made a huge mistake calling Dent the sockless wonder; was thinking ahead to the Roddick Fish dubs match!

Posted by Master Ace 07/20/2010 at 09:04 PM

It does seem like TW has taken the week off. By the way, I am moving to Ed's thread.

Posted by CL/Hold the Foam 07/20/2010 at 09:45 PM

tennis and baseball. No worries - Fed fans have been dealing with the 'weak era' arguments against his achievements practically since he HAD any achievements. Weak era, plus drug era will be a walk in the park.

But you keep a goin'.

Posted by Jenn 07/20/2010 at 11:56 PM

Hi everyone - speaking of baseball, is anyone watching the Dodgers / Giants game right now? Thought this would be pitchers duel with Lincecum and Kershaw, but its 5-4 Dodgers with Lincecum out fairly early.

Diane, you have perfectly captured the reasons why I could never root for James. Nice guy, wish him well, but I could not get invested in him as a fan because it was too frustrating. He swings for the fences with no Plan B and an apparent refusal to make even the most obvious adjustments as needed. Instead of really competing its a shrug and, "it wasn't my day."

I just ordered PMac's book, arrives tomorrow. Looking forward to the read.

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