September 30th, 2011
11:03 AM ET

Predictable playoffs to follow regular season drama?

Despite the Rays' heroics on the regular season's final day, the playoffs could still prove a predictable affair.
Despite the Rays' heroics on the regular season's final day, the playoffs could still prove a predictable affair.

After watching what was arguably the most exciting day in Major League Baseball history on Wednesday, one may come to expect more of the same drama in the upcoming playoffs. Sadly, that won’t be the case.

On the final day of the regular season, the Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals completed their remarkable September comebacks to claim baseball’s final two playoff spots at the expense of the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves respectively. Or you can also say the Red Sox and Braves completed their epic collapses, it really doesn’t matter. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Baseball
September 28th, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Tevez 'strike' is sad for soccer ...

The controversial Carlos Tevez muses over his employment predicament.
The controversial Carlos Tevez muses over his employment predicament.

In the spectrum of jobs and career paths that exist in the world, some garner more envy than others. A survey by CareerCast.com in January 2011 found that - based on factors such as work environment, income, outlook, physical demands and stress - employment as a construction worker, taxi driver and lumberjack figured in the top-10 worst jobs in America.

Arguably there are worse to be found on the planet: what about diamond mining in Sierra Leone, gun running in Afghanistan or trafficking for a Colombian cocaine cartel? All the jobs above could warrant a call for better conditions. To strike as a drugs mule would be a bold move given the poor record of staff retention by the employer, but the employee would surely have the sympathy of others in less dangerous pursuits for wanting a better way to earn a living. FULL POST

September 26th, 2011
12:57 PM ET

Look out Europe – American golf is bouncing back

Bill Haas beat fellow American Hunter Mahan in a playoff to win both the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup.
Bill Haas beat fellow American Hunter Mahan in a playoff to win both the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup.

When Northern Irishman Darren Clarke deservedly won this year's British Open, the spotlight once again fell on America's under-achieving stars.

With Tiger Woods winless in majors since June 2008 and Phil Mickelson's last grand slam title coming in April 2010, the pressure on this current generation of U.S. players was immense going into last month's PGA Championship and the PGA Tour's big-money end-of-season series in September. 

But I have to say they've risen to the challenge in highly-impressive fashion. Keegan Bradley started the ball rolling by claiming his first major title, and Bill Haas has topped it off by winning the deciding Tour Championship and the $10 million FedEx Cup jackpot on Sunday. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Golf
September 23rd, 2011
09:59 AM ET

Bagpipe ban puts wind up Scottish rugby fans

Bagpipes are a huge part of the occasion for Scottish rugby fans. (Getty Images)
Bagpipes are a huge part of the occasion for Scottish rugby fans. (Getty Images)

 (CNN) – Last year’s soccer World Cup in South Africa was memorable for many reasons, not least because of the distinctive sound of the vuvuzela.

The colored horns provided a unique soundtrack at every match and despite the predictable complaints from killjoys, the din added to a carnival atmosphere.
FULL POST

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Filed under:  Rugby
September 19th, 2011
07:19 PM ET

Man Utd's dominance a sign of Premier League weakness

The impressive form of Nani (left) and Wayne Rooney (right) has been key to Manchester United's impressive start. (Getty Images)
The impressive form of Nani (left) and Wayne Rooney (right) has been key to Manchester United's impressive start. (Getty Images)

I was very surprised when I found out Manchester United had made their best start to a league season in 26 years. Since Alex Ferguson took over at Old Trafford back in 1986, they had never won their first five games.

It made me wonder: Is this team really that great, or is it that the other traditional contenders are just not that good anymore? FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football
September 14th, 2011
03:09 PM ET

Caddies, keep your heads down and mouths shut ...

Steve Williams (left) and Tiger Woods (right) enjoyed a successful relationship until their split earlier this year. (Getty Images)
Steve Williams (left) and Tiger Woods (right) enjoyed a successful relationship until their split earlier this year. (Getty Images)

Professional caddies do much more than just carry a bag for tournament players, what they provide should not be underestimated.

Caddying is a very well paid job for those good enough to attain the best bags and the individuals who chose this nomadic existence now come from a wide variety of backgrounds and not just the caddy shack clique of years gone by.

Australian Steve Elkington was so pleased with his caddy Dave Renwick’s performance at the 1995 PGA Championship, where he defeated Colin Montgomerie in a playoff; he presented the Scot with his entire winnings. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Golf
September 13th, 2011
02:24 PM ET

Can anybody break the dominance of Djokovic?

Novak Djokovic has won three Grand Slams in 2011 and lost only two matches. (Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic has won three Grand Slams in 2011 and lost only two matches. (Getty Images)

Five other men have won three major titles in one year in the Open era, but none so emphatically as Novak Djokovic.

The Serb secured his maiden US Open title on Monday with his sixth straight win, all in finals, against the man who was so dominant last year, Rafael Nadal.

This latest victory took Novak's 2011 record to an astonishing 64-2 and only one of those matches did he actually lose - the other was an injury retirement in the Cincinnati final. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Tennis
September 12th, 2011
07:09 PM ET

Has Serena Williams been judged too harshly?

Serena Williams was furious after being penalized during the U.S. Open women's final on Sunday. (Getty Images)
Serena Williams was furious after being penalized during the U.S. Open women's final on Sunday. (Getty Images)

Only hardened Australian tennis fans gave Samantha Stosur a chance of beating Serena Williams in the final of the U.S. Open.

It seemed the rest of the world felt sure that the American, a 13-time major champion, would romp home just as she had done through six rounds at Flushing Meadows and two hard-court tournaments before that, but the 27-year old Aussie clearly hadn't read the script. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Tennis
September 9th, 2011
01:55 PM ET

CNN's all-time Rugby World Cup XV

Jonah Lomu's 15 World Cup tries have secured his place in our World Cup XV, but who else has made the cut?
Jonah Lomu's 15 World Cup tries have secured his place in our World Cup XV, but who else has made the cut?

It’s a thankless task tackling the sports fans’ most-heated debate –- picking a greatest ever team. There is never a correct answer; facts are ignored, personal favorites picked and style preferred to substance. It’s always subjective.

So, I preface my selection of the best rugby World Cup XV of all time by saying that this is very much a side that I would want to watch. As a journalist, you need to think about balance and neutrality, but I’ve indulged myself here.

For me, sport at its most uplifting is about grace and poise, the balletic as well as the brawn; I like to see athletes make the mastery of their game look easy, as if they were born to do it. My ultimate World Cup XV has plenty of grit but, above all else, these players would be entertaining to watch - simple as that. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Rugby
September 6th, 2011
07:02 PM ET

Should UEFA put weaker nations out of their misery?

Wesley Sneijder found the net twice as Netherlands romped to an 11-0 triumph over San Marino.
Wesley Sneijder found the net twice as Netherlands romped to an 11-0 triumph over San Marino.

As I watched San Marino get demolished by the Netherlands in a Euro 2012 qualifier on Friday, I thought that it’s time for UEFA to restructure the qualifying format for European Championships and World Cups.

11-0. That was the score in Eindhoven between the top and the bottom ranked teams on the FIFA standings. The question has to be asked, why did they have to play each other in the first place? FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football