Angry Baseball fans, exciting cricket and embarrasing Rugby. Welcome to this week in sport
MAJOR LEAGUE BALLS-UP
Last week, Major League Baseball's All-Star Game ended in a tie. To non-Baseball fans this may seem unremarkable, so perhaps I should explain that, under the rules of baseball, a match can't end in a tie. They're supposed to just carry on until someone wins.
A note for the uninitiated- Baseball has two Major Leagues, the American League and the National League. The champions of each league play each other in the World Series every October (there's a bit more to it than that, but let's keep this simple). Halfway through every baseball season, representative teams of the American and National Leagues play each other in the All-Star Game. The managers of the reigning champions take charge of these teams, but the starting line-ups are selected by a fans' vote, with the managers making this up to a squad of 30 by selecting the players who have impressed them the most over the season
Now, the managers like to make a lot of substitutions so that a) a lot of players get involved and b) none get injured
With the National League surging into an early lead, there were substitutions aplenty in Milwaukee, but the American League unexpectedly came back and, after 11 innings (there are normally only nine), with the scores tied at 7-7, both teams ran out of players. American League manager Joe Torre (New York Yankees), National League manager Bob Brenly (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Allan H. ('Bud') Selig, the commissioner of Major League Baseball decided to call the game off as a tie, a decision received angrily by supporters.
The game had been a good, competitive one too, the undoubted highlight being a tremendous catch from outfielder Torii Hunter (American League, Minnesota) to deny a great home run to the legendary Barry Bonds (National League, San Fransisco)
With Sri Lanka eliminated, the impressive English and Indian cricket teams met at Lord's in the final of the Natwest Series Triangular Tournament. England Batsman Graham Thorpe sensationally announced his retirement from One-Day Internationals, but utterly failed to distract attention from a scintillating game which he didn't take part in.
English optimism was high as the team played an almost immaculate innings. Nick Knight was an early casualty as he went for 14 in the 8th over. However, the swashbuckling Marcus Trescothick smashed 109 and captain Nasser Hussain scored his first One-Day International century, an impressive 115. A late cameo from Andy Flintoff (40) helped England to a hearty total of 325-5, their fourth best ever in this form of cricket.
This looked an insurmountable target for India, until they came out to bat. Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly flayed the English bowling during a quickfire century opening partnership. However, both lost their wickets within ten balls of each other, and stars Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar both fell for low scores as five wickets fell for 40 runs, leaving India on a precarious 146-5. Yuvraj Singh (69) and Mohammad Kaif (87 not out) steadied the ship with a dynamic 121 run partnership, but another flurry of wickets left the Indians needing 6 runs from the last over with 2 wickets standing. A lucky 4 from a mishit by Kaif narrowed the target and left India needing 2 runs from 4 balls. Kaif and Zaheer Khan tried for a risky single, but a failed runout attempt allowed them to come back for a second and claim an unlikely victory. Their total of 326-8 was the second highest winning total in history by a team batting second, only Australia have gone higher.
This was a spectacular game, and both teams were sensational. Mohammad Kaif was man of the match and Marcus Trescothick man of the series
FOOTBALL TRANSFER ROUND-UP
Leeds United's controversial midfielder Lee Bowyer looks set to move to Liverpool for £9 million. Masterstroke or madness from Gerard Houllier? Time will tell. Leeds boss Terry Venables is also rumoured to be selling Olivier Dacourt to Juventus and signing PSV's Brett Emerton. Rumours about the future of Leeds captain Rio Ferdinand and interest from Manchester United persist.
Transfer news not revolving around Leeds was revolving around my club, Everton (Just nailing my colours firmly to the mast). They signed Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo from Marseilles, but apparently not goalkeepers Mart Poom or Richard Wright.
While Everton were desperately searching for a goalkeeper, Ex-Everton keeper Thomas Myrhe moved to Sunderland on a free transfer. Elsewhere, Bolton completed the signing of Youri Djorkaeff , Arsenal signed French defender Pascal Cygan and Titus Bramble finally completed his £5 million transfer from Ipswich to Newcastle.
The Great British Rugby League Team fly to Australia to play one test match. They get mauled to pieces by a score of 64-10. They fly back. Worthwhile.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE...
Recently retired Southampton footballer Matthew LeTissier was spotted this week acting as caddie for Richard Bland at the Scottish Open Golf Championship