Cinderella Story of the Week: Turkey. The country, not the meat. In making an improbable run to the semifinals of EURO 2008, the mad Turks dealt with a rash of injuries and suspensions that led to a less-than-full squad that took the field against Germany on Wednesday. And yet, as they did time and again in the tournament, they were there at the end with a chance to win it only to see Germany score the game winner in the 90th minute.
Most Obvious Cinderella Story of the Week: Fresno State, YOUR 2008 NCAA Baseball Champs. In what some people are calling "the biggest upset of the 21st century," the "Wonderdogs" fought their way to Omaha, burned it to the ground, and then headed back to California with a championship trophy. In the decisive third game of the best-of-three finale, Fresno rode the bat of right fielder Steve Detwiler, who went 4-4 with two home runs and six RBIs (for those scoring at home, that would be all of Fresno's runs). Even more impressive was the fact that Detwiler was playing with a severed tendon in his left thumb.
Worst Rap Performance of the Week: Shaquille O'Neal. I'm sorry, but when I heard the "news" about this "story," I was curious to what Shaq sounded like when he was "freestylin'." I've never heard Shaq rap before, and I was actually shocked to learn that he has at least five albums available for purchase. (With such song titles as "Boom!" and "Mic Check 1-2," the world can be assured that the music library of Shaq will live on forever.) At any rate, I tracked down the video of the "rap," and while I honestly wasn't expecting Eminem from 8 Mile, I wasn't expecting the stuttering fat kid from the fifth grade, either:
My two favorite lines: "If Biggie was here, he would be there," and "I'm a horse, Kobe ratted me out, that's why I'm getting divorced." Essentially, this all boils down to one thing: Kobe is relevant, and Shaq has become irrelevant. So what does Mr. Irrelevant do? He scratches and claws in any way he can to become relevant again. At least two of the sheriffs that pandered to Shaq are asking for their badges back, and Shaq has apparently decided that Huntsville, Alabama will be his new home away from home. Uh, yeah, Shaq; your kids on a rocket. Sure.
Worst Link of the Past to the Present for a Football Program: Ken Stabler, meet Jimmy Johns:
This photo saddens me.
Hand in the Cookie Jar Award: Rick Dutrow, douchebag. Dutrow has been suspended for fifteen days for loading up one of the horses he trains with twice the allowable level of clenbuterol, a drug that aids breathing by magically making a horse's lungs larger. (Josh Howard just fell out of his chair.) Dutrow was informed of the positive test in Mid-May, but failed to tell his bosses over at IEAH, so they're real happy with him right now. What's more, Dutrow's been cited for 18 other drug infractions since 2000. What's it take for a horse trainer to get banned?
Spoiled Return of the Week: Albert Pujols, by the Detroit Tigers. Returning to play for the first time in 13 games, Pujols went 4-for-4 with an intentional walk and knocked in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth. Unfortunately for him, the Cardinals bullpen disintegrated, with Ryan Franklin giving up a tying home run in the ninth only to be followed by Mike Parisi walking in the winning run in the tenth. I never thought I'd say this, but maybe it's time to put Jason Isringhausen back in the closer role? He pitched 2 1/3 innings in the game, giving up two hits and recording two strikeouts and no runs.
Brady Quinn Award/Human Ping Pong Ball Award: Darrell Arthur,
Mid-'80s Rockin' the 'Stache Award: Jason Giambi, New York Yankees. Hey, whatever works, right? Thong, fat chick slumpbuster (definition #3), Miami Vice-mustache; you name it, and Giambi will try it. (Ed. note: Is it just me, or does Giambi look more and more like a speedfreak truck driver as the days go by?)
Random Non-Sports YouTube Video of the Week: