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Sports Week in Review (7/20/15 - 7/26/15)

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1) Spurs win Summer League title behind Becky Hammon

The San Antonio Spurs won the 2015 Summer League championship on Monday. The victory is nothing really to brag about since it’s just the Summer League, but it once again shows that the Spurs are superior when it comes to finding young talent.

There was something truly remarkable about the Spurs’ win. Becky Hammon, the only female coach in all of major professional sports leagues, coached the team to the title.

Women have had an extremely limited role in the NBA. Hammon’s hire last year (to be an assistant coach for the Spurs) was a giant step in terms of creating the opportunity for women in a “men’s league.” Hammon winning has proven to many that she does in fact deserve to be a coach in the league. She’s not a “gimmick.” She’s the real deal, and reports have even begun to surface about teams being interested in her as a head coach.

Hammon’s Summer League victory will hopefully open more doors for women to gain entry into the NBA.

2) Astros acquire Kazmir, Pirates trade for Aramis Ramirez

The MLB trade deadline is fast approaching and teams are busy getting deals done to improve their rosters. Most notably, the Houston Astros acquired left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir (5-5, 2.89 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) from the Athletics, and the Pittsburg Pirates traded for third baseman Aramis Ramirez (.247 BA, 11 HR, and 42 RBI).

The Astros are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since Roger Clemens was in their starting rotation (2005). Years and years of high draft picks have caught up to the ‘Stros and propelled them to the top of the tough AL West division. Adding Kazmir will brings a proven, veteran arm that can help lead the youthful Astros back to prominence, and perhaps even to the World Series.

The Pirates are in a similar position to the Astros, except a year or two ahead. They’ve established themselves as one of the best teams in the National League behind mega-star Andrew McCutchen. Aramis Ramirez will provide the Pirates with a middle of the order hitter who can do some serious damage. If Ramirez stays healthy and the Pirates keep rolling, the NL Central playoff race will be very interesting—especially with the young, exciting Cubbies keeping pace.

The surprising New York teams are surely buyers, with the Mets in particular in desperate need of hitting. They’ve already acquired Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, but are also apparently interested in Justin Upton, Ben Zobrist, and Jay Bruce.

The Padres, Tigers, and Phillies are likely to be sellers since the have such enormous payrolls and almost zero prospects of making the playoffs.

Cole Hamels pitched a no-hitter on Saturday, so expect his stock to rise even higher. According to ESPN, the Dodgers and Rangers have emerged as the leading candidates to acquire the lefty ace.

3) WWE Battleground

Last Sunday, WWE held its second pay-per-view event of the summer: Battleground.

John Cena continued his incredible feud with Kevin Owens as the two squared off for the United States Championship. Cena won the bout via STF submission, which was shocking to me since they’ve booked Owens as being really strong. A loss for him I could have seen, but having him give up just looks weak and halts his momentum. With Summerslam (the second biggest pay-per-view of the entire year, behind Wrestlemania), I look for their rivalry to continue in some capacity.

Bray Wyatt defeated Roman Reigns thanks to help from Wyatt Family member Luke Harper. This feud has unbelievable potential, and I like where WWE has gone with it so far. Wyatt and Reigns represent the future of the company, especially Reigns (they love Reigns), and the WWE has given the them a good storyline to work with. Ever since Wyatt gave his initial promo directed at Reigns, I’ve sensed the possibility for an awesome double turn (basically, the “good” guy becomes “bad” and the “bad guy” becomes “good”) at Summerslam. I think the double turn would significantly boost and freshen each of their characters.

The most surprising moment of Battleground came during the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar. Lesnar dominated the bout (suplexing Rollins about fifteen times), but right as he was about to pick up the victory, the lights went out and a gong sounded. That could only mean the return of one man: The Undertaker!

Taker, who lost his Wrestlemania undefeated streak to Lesnar a year-and-a-half ago interfered to exact revenge, chokeslaming and tombstoning the Beast Incarnate. This has set up a match for the two stars at Summerslam. While I love me some Brock Lesnar, I’m concerned about The Undertaker. He’s fifty years old and hasn’t put on great matches the last two or three times he’s been in a ring. If the match was taking place ten years ago, it would be a totally different story.

That being said, Lesnar vs. Undertaker 2.0 is an extremely exciting prospect, especially given their wildly physical brawl on Monday Night Raw. I have a feeling, maybe it’s just wishful thinking, that Lesnar and Taker will deliver big time at Summerslam. If they do, the performance will be talked about for years.

4) Zach Johnson wins The Open Championship

After days of miserable weather, The British Open finally came to a dramatic close when Zach Johnson defeated Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman in a four-hole playoff. Jordan Spieth, winner of the 2015 U.S. Open and Masters, made a huge comeback in the third round and found himself atop the leader board. However, he failed to secure a spot in the playoff after missing a birdie put on the 18th hole.

5) US falls at the CONCACAF Gold Cup; Mexico and Jamaica move on

In the Semi-Finals of the Gold Cup, the United States was upset by Jamaica, 2-1. Even more disappointing was their performance in the “Third Place” match against Panama, losing on penalty kicks, 1-1 (3-2). Shortly after the defeat, U.S. Soccer said that Jurgen Klinsmann’s job was still safe despite the two losses. Mexico beat Panama in the Semi-Final round to advance to the Final against Jamaica, which will be happening tonight at 7:30 ET on Fox Sports 1.

Other Tidbits of News:

The 2015 Special Olympics in Los Angeles kicked off on Saturday. There are over 6,500 athletes from 165 countries competing for gold.

Alex Rodriguez (a.k.a. A-Roid) smacked three homeruns against the Twins Saturday night in the Yankees 8-5 come-from-behind victory. He turns forty tomorrow.

Hulk Hogan was fired by WWE for using the N-word in a sex tape. Double whammy.

Kristaps Porzingis is the coolest guy on the planet.

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