October 28th, 2011
07:46 PM ET

The best postseason baseball has ever seen?

The St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after winning Game Six of the World Series.
The St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after winning Game Six of the World Series.

There is no shortage of storylines heading into the final game of the Fall Classic.

On Friday night, the Texas Rangers will either hoist their first ever World Series trophy, or the St. Louis Cardinals will triumph for the 11th time in their storied history – good enough for second most all-time. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Baseball
October 25th, 2011
05:27 PM ET

Has tinkerman Fergie tinkered too far?

Was Alex Ferguson's squad rotation behind Manchester United's humiliating defeat to archrivals City?
Was Alex Ferguson's squad rotation behind Manchester United's humiliating defeat to archrivals City?

Have you been able to digest Manchester City’s shocking 6-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford? I haven’t.

As far as I’m concerned, United’s biggest home defeat since 1955 was one of the most unexpected scores in recent English Premier League history.

How did this happen? I have my theory and it involves Alex Ferguson tinkering with his line-up too often and the simple fact that some of United’s players are overrated. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football
October 24th, 2011
03:11 PM ET

Are formidable France owed an apology?

France can only look on as New Zealand are crowned Rugby World Cup champions.
France can only look on as New Zealand are crowned Rugby World Cup champions.

I expected this blog to be about the glory of New Zealand rugby; a poetic tribute to the majesty of the All Blacks and their record margin of victory. Instead, France produced a performance that stood up, grabbed you by the throat and demanded to be acknowledged.

Les Bleus were meant to be the chorus, the supporting cast. Instead, they stole the limelight from the intended stars of the World Cup final. The hosts were the team of the tournament but France were better at Eden Park on Sunday.

As I fly out of Auckland, more than four million New Zealanders are rightly hailing their new heroes – the country's first rugby world champions for nearly a quarter of a century. Monday's victory parade brought hundreds of thousands flooding on to the streets. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Rugby
October 21st, 2011
10:24 AM ET

New Zealand to end 24 years of hurt?

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw will be expected to lead New Zealand to glory in Sunday's Rugby World Cup final.
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw will be expected to lead New Zealand to glory in Sunday's Rugby World Cup final.

Like any other sport, rugby has plenty of clichés and one of them is to never write off the French. It won’t apply on Sunday at Eden Park Stadium, though, and I expect New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup final by a record margin.

A week ago, that would have been a bold prediction. Now, it seems a statement of the obvious. France’s stock has plunged further than the global finance markets, while the All Blacks look every inch the number one-ranked team in the world.

Rugby means so much in New Zealand, and the pressure on the All Blacks to win this tournament is so vast, that my usual professional detachment briefly deserted me on Sunday. Even I felt nervous ahead of the hosts’ semifinal showdown against Australia. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Rugby
October 17th, 2011
08:39 PM ET

Is Russia the future?

Samuel Eto'o smiles during the press conference to confirm his big-money move to Anzhi Makhachkala.
Samuel Eto'o smiles during the press conference to confirm his big-money move to Anzhi Makhachkala.

If it’s attention they wanted, then it’s attention they got. Russian clubs have splashed out some major cash this year, making their national league one of the most high-profile competitions in Europe.

With the new rich kids Anzhi Makhachkala on the block, a club linked with a new superstar practically every day, what are the implications for the transfer market? And what is the players’ true motivation to play in Russia? FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football
October 17th, 2011
12:10 PM ET

Wheldon's death a watershed moment for IndyCar?

Dan Wheldon at the IndyCar World Championships in Las Vegas, prior to his fatal crash.
Dan Wheldon at the IndyCar World Championships in Las Vegas, prior to his fatal crash.

The death of British driver and two-time Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon in Sunday's IndyCar World Championships at Las Vegas was graphic in its violence, distressing in its drama and a tragedy for all who knew him.

The 33-year-old, who started the race seeking to win a $5 million purse as victor, drove to his grave participating in the sport he loved.

IndyCar, America's most popular version of open-wheeled racing, is currently enduring its darkest hour as Wheldon's family and friends try to deal with his sudden departure. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Motorsport
October 14th, 2011
06:04 PM ET

World Sport's job swap: On screen or track star?

CNN's Don Riddell prepares to take to the track with F1 test driver Gary Paffett.
CNN's Don Riddell prepares to take to the track with F1 test driver Gary Paffett.

I have always been intrigued by athletes who can perform under pressure. While many would crumble when the heat is on, they not only perform, they excel.

Being a racing driver is about as pressured as it can get. At speeds sometimes in excess of 200 miles per hour, these guys have to make split-second decisions with courage and skill in order to win a race and stay out of trouble. The sort of trouble that can be very bad for your health!

I was lucky enough to experience first-hand what these drivers go through when former DTM champion and F1 test driver Gary Paffett agreed to teach me how to drive a Mercedes C63 at Brands Hatch near London. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Motorsport
October 14th, 2011
04:25 AM ET

Young guns hold key in clash of rugby's titans

New Zealand's Aaron Cruden was supposed to be on vacation in Disneyland this weekend. (Getty Images)
New Zealand's Aaron Cruden was supposed to be on vacation in Disneyland this weekend. (Getty Images)

This was supposed to be the final.

Until Australia lost to Ireland during the pool stage, the number one and two rugby teams in the world – New Zealand’s All Blacks and Australia’s Wallabies – were expected to top their groups and not face each other until the World Cup final on October 23. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Rugby
October 13th, 2011
04:40 PM ET

Adoration of the All Blacks: Why NZ must win the World Cup

New Zealand fans hold up a banner urging the All Blacks not to choke during their clash with Argentina.
New Zealand fans hold up a banner urging the All Blacks not to choke during their clash with Argentina.

Flying to New Zealand for the final fortnight of the Rugby World cup is a bit like walking into the keepsake-crammed house of a collector; the obsession seems a bit unhealthy but you can't help admiring it just a little.

And it underlines how the hosts simply have to lift the trophy on home soil again, after a wait of 24 years.

It's as if the end of the world is nigh and the government wants to give advice to as many people as possible. That is, if a dearth of rugby was globally fatal and the only anecdote was posters of the All Blacks' players every few meters. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Rugby
October 11th, 2011
04:41 PM ET

Cup of woe: Why have African football giants fallen short?

John Obi Mikel cuts a forlorn figure after Nigeria failed to reach the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations over the weekend.
John Obi Mikel cuts a forlorn figure after Nigeria failed to reach the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations over the weekend.

There were some big surprises for the traditional powerhouses of African football, as three former champions failed to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN).

While we have to praise the likes of Niger, Burkina Faso and Botswana for making the finals of the competition, many fans will be disappointed that Nigeria's Super Eagles, the Bafana Bafana of South Africa, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon and Egypt's all-conquering Pharaohs won’t be there.

The easy way to explain this phenomenon would be to say that the balance of power has shifted in Africa.

One could argue that some of the smaller nations have evolved tactically and technically and that many of their players are now gracing some of the biggest stages in the world with their clubs. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football
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