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There Is a Pack of Wild ‘Junkyard Dogs’ Circling Citi Field

Which enhances the post-apocalyptic feel of rooting for the Mets in late August. But at least now the team has something else to blame for poor attendance. [NYP]


Georgetown’s Basketball Team Got Into an Insane Brawl in China

It started with a hard foul and trash-talking on the court, and devolved into a full-on mêlée. Spectators even got in on the action, throwing water bottles at the Hoyas. The school, which is known for fostering aspiring diplomats, will presumably not be touting the impact its students had on international affairs this time:

Watch the video. »


Brad Richards, New Expectations, and the Rangers’ Window of Opportunity

Rangers fans have been in this position before. The team has again made a big splash at the beginning of free agency, this time landing the biggest prize available in Brad Richards. And so by now, Rangers fans should understand the dangers of big free-agent contracts and know to keep their expectations in check, at least a little. Fool us once — as they did back in 2007 — shame on you. But fool us twice? Shame on everyone.

The Rangers may come to regret this contract, but let's focus on the now. »

Contador’s Crash Shakes Up Tour Field

So, this weekend while you were gorging on barbecue and Miller High Life, Alberto Contador was busy falling a minute and 42 seconds behind in the Tour de France. This is a big deal. Not an insurmountable deal. But a big deal. How did it happen?

A review of the first four stages. »

Derek Jeter’s 3,000th Hit Will Get Its Own HBO Show

Finally, some coverage of Jeter's pursuit of the milestone! All kidding aside though, HBO Sports' all-access shows are typically pretty good, so if any network is going to provide an interesting behind-the-scenes look at Jeter's pursuit of his 3,000th hit, this is the one. On the other hand — as Pete Abraham has already pointed out — Jeter isn't really the type to grant anyone all access, so exactly what HBO gets out of the shortstop remains to be seen. (For what it's worth, MLB Productions, which is teaming up with HBO on the special, says it'll get "unprecedented access.") The one-hour special, titled Derek Jeter 3K, doesn't have an air date yet, but Darren Rovell tweets that it'll air "weeks" after he reaches the milestone. And if all the ongoing coverage of Jeter's chase — and the thought of an all-access special airing weeks later — isn't enough to satiate your hunger for all things 3,000-hit related, you have until 6 p.m. today to get yourself to the MLB Fan Cave on 4th Street and Broadway, where you can view twelve specially marked baseballs that will be pitched to Jeter once he gets to 2,999 hits. So if you want to see a potentially historic baseball — or just some baseballs that Jeter will foul off before he gets his milestone hit — this is your big chance. [Game On!/USA Today]

Flip Flop Fly Ball Excerpt: Breaking Down the New York Post Back Page

Flip Flop Fly Ball, Craig Robinson's website of fun baseball infographics and other assorted baseball goodness, has spawned a book of the same name, in stores today. Throughout this week, The Sports Section will be excerpting selected charts from that book. Today: an analysis of the New York Post's back page during the 2009 baseball season.

See the chart. »

Tennis’s Game of Musical Champions

For the first time since 2004, the No. 1 men's tennis player is someone other than Roger Federer or Rafa Nadal. Novak Djokovic, show-pony shoo-in all those years, has finally taken up residence in tennis's Valhalla. He did so by dominating the game's most dominant player, Nadal, in four sets of merely intermittent drama. NBC commentators Ted Robinson and John McEnroe kept trying to predict when the match would settle into its preordained narrative by becoming an epic "grind," but it never did, thanks to Djokovic's surprisingly tidy service games and the astonishing efficiency with which he went about breaking Nadal's serve, converting five of six opportunities. He did something no one has ever done, not even Federer: make Nadal look fallible and ordinary.

Djoko's coronation is more good news for a men's game whose cup has runneth over for years now thanks to the ever-renewable Nadal-Federer rivalry, tennis's own Ali-Frazier parceled out in summer installments. Of late, Federer's flirtation with gentle decline has drained some of the drama from their encounters as Nadal threatened to abscond with the keys to the kingdom. Enter the Serb. His ascendance sets up an intriguing dynamic for the hard-court season about to begin, which culminates with the U.S. Open. Having beaten him five times in a row, Djokovic, for the moment, owns Nadal. Nadal, in turn, owns Federer. Federer, though beaten by Djoko the first three times they played in 2011, walloped him at the French (Novak's only defeat of the year so far, amazingly), bringing us full circle in this game of Musical Champions. Lord knows when the music will end that second Sunday in September, but for the moment, three's company.

The Mets Are Having Lots of Fun Riding This Out

When Jose Reyes left Saturday's loss to the Yankees with a tight left hamstring, something telling happened: No one yelled at the Mets. The last two months have been dominated by should-they-trade-him-or-not speculation, with many observers saying the whole time the Mets should deal him while they can, before he gets hurt again, before all his value disappears. Yet, when he left the game Saturday, the laments were not, "Oh, no, there goes his trade value!" Instead, everyone just wanted to know when he was gonna be back on the Mets, soon, soon, please please soon. Jose Reyes is too much fun to watch right now to think about something as untoward as trade value.

Jose might take a week off, at most. »

Derek Jeter’s (Hitless) Return and a Week of Yankee Changes

After nearly three weeks on the disabled list and a pair of games in Trenton — one of which was spent wearing this extremely patriotic uniform — Derek Jeter returned to the Yankees lineup yesterday, prompting a national holiday and celebratory fireworks displays all over the country. (This is, of course, a joke. Everyone knows yesterday's holiday was in celebration of John Sterling's birthday.) Anyway, Jeter went 0-for-4 last night — or 0-for-Fourth if you're writing a tabloid back-page headline — in a 6–3 Indians win in which all nine runs came in the seventh inning or later.

The Yankees went 14–4 without Jeter. »


The Week the Mets Scored a Ton of Runs

Since losing to Roy Halladay on April 6 and falling to 3-3, the Mets had reached the .500 mark three times this season, only to lose their next game each time. But they could boast a winning record again this week after beating Detroit 14-3 on Tuesday night. And then, a night later, they'd win by another football score, routing the Tigers 16-9 for their fourth straight win. (We'll assume, for purposes of that sentence, that Terry Collins decided to go for two on both of his team's touchdowns.) They scored a franchise-record 52 runs in that four-game span, and though they'd lose yesterday to Justin Verlander, they enter this weekend's Subway Series on a little bit of a roll. But what happened this week that didn't involve Jose Reyes's continued awesomeness?

Plenty of things, one of which involved making Derek Jeter disappear from the Web. »