Maybe losing a wrestling match to a kid who only has one arm and zero legs may be a sign that wrestling isn’t your sport. Perhaps it’s time to try out for the Debate team or the Chess team or the Oh Man, I’m Never Getting Laid At This School Because I Lost To The One-Limbed Kid In A Wrestling Match team. I’m just sayin’.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
(CNN) -- The Olympic torch begins a 130-day, 85,000-mile journey Monday that will take it from the site of ancient Olympia in Greece to Beijing, China, where the 2008 summer games will begin in August.
Rehearsals for the lighting ceremony for the Olympic torch are held Sunday in Olympia, Greece.
Olympic officials insist the torch relay will not detour around Tibet and nearby regions despite violent anti-Chinese protests and calls by Tibetan activists for a boycott of the Beijing games.
About 1,000 police were expected to be on hand to keep demonstrators away from the ceremony, according to reports from The Associated Press. A pro-Tibet independence group had vowed to protest at the official lighting of the Olympic torch, AP reported.
Meanwhile, IOC president Jacques Rogge said he was engaged in "silent diplomacy" with China on Tibet and other human rights issues in advance of the Beijing Olympics, AP reported.
While much of the trip will be aboard a chartered jet, tens of thousands of torchbearers -- 19,400 in China alone -- will carry the flame on foot through 23 cities on five continents and then throughout China.
Organizers plan to light the flame Monday by focusing the sun's rays on a concave steel mirror at the ruins of the Temple of Hera in Olympia. If the threat of rain makes that impractical, they have a back-up plan that would use a flame from a rehearsal last week.
Greek actress Maria Nafpliotou, portraying the High Priestess, will light the first torch. It will be carried the first mile by Alexandros Nikolaidis, a Greek athlete who won a silver medal in taekwondo at the 2004 Olympics.
China's Olympic swimming gold medalist, Luo Xuejuan, will take the flame from Nikolaidis. Another 603 bearers will run the torch through Greece, culminating in Athens on March 30, where the torch will be handed over to China for a flight to Beijing.
After a ceremonial arrival in Beijing, the flame will move around the world through April. At the beginning of May, it begins a three-month trek through at least 111 Chinese cities in more than 30 provinces and regions.
A second flame will attempt a side trip sometime in May -- depending on weather conditions -- to the top of Mt. Everest, the world's highest peak, along the Tibet-Nepal border.
The most controversial leg of the torch relay is planned for June, when it is scheduled to be carried through Tibet and three neighboring provinces where violent unrest broke out this month.
Olympic officials insisted last week that the relay in these areas will proceed as planned.
"All the preparations for the torch relay in Tibet, Xinjiang, Qinghai and Gansu are proceeding very well," Beijing Olympics organizer Jiang Xiaoyu said.
The flame is set to arrive in Beijing on August 6, where it will be paraded around the city until entering the stadium for the Olympics opening ceremony on August 8.
In addition to visiting cities in Greece and China, runners plan to carry the torch to countries including Almaty, Kazakhstan, St. Petersburg, Russia and San Francisco, California.Just before the mainland China stretch, the flame will also pass through China's two special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macao.
The sides planned to talk this week induring the final week of spring training. This would be the third time players and owners toughened drug rules since their initial agreement in August 2002. The sides also made changes in January 2005, when sanctions for first offenders were instituted, and in November 2005, when the penalty for an initial positive test was increased from 10 days to 50 games.
If they strike a deal, the 15-day suspensions imposed on's and 's in December after being linked to performance-enhancing drugs most likely would be rescinded as part of an overall amnesty for players mentioned in the report, two people familiar with the talks said Monday.
Mitchell, adirector, recommended not punish players implicated in his report "except in those cases where he determines that the conduct is so serious that discipline is necessary to maintain the integrity of the game."
If there isn't an agreement, arbitrator Shyam Das probably would be asked to decide whether to stay Guillen's suspension pending a grievance hearing. The players' association filed a grievance on behalf of the outfielder, but no hearing dates have been scheduled.
Most teams start the season next Monday.
Commissioner Bud Selig adopted most of the recommendations made byGeorge Mitchell but could not address those that were subject to collective bargaining.
Mitchell said the sides should have the ability to remove theonly for "good cause," that there be "adequate year-round unannounced testing" and that regular aggregate data on the drug tests be made public.
Guillen and Gibbons were suspended Dec. 6, a week before Mitchell issued his report.
reported in November that Guillen bought human growth hormone, two types of testosterone and the steroids stanozolol and nandrolone from 2002-5, allegations Guillen has declined to address.
Although baseball's drug agreement says players who file grievances following a first positive drug test receive automatic stays, the text doesn't address suspensions stemming from non-analytical positives.
Gibbons admitted receiving a HGH shipment in January 2005. Theoutfielder apologized and didn't contest the penalty.
The MLB season opens this week with a match up of the defending champion Boston Red Sox taking on the rebuilding Oakland Athletics in Tokyo. With the start of the season comes peanuts, cracker jacks and in this year’s case raw fish eyes, but Sports Hubris is happy to give you it’s preseason power rankings as well! Besides taking into account our ever confident bordering on arrogant opinions, we’ll factor in issues besides what’s on the paper; like injury concerns and strength of division. We’ll keep our rankings updated weekly and ready for you every Monday morning this season, so come back often and make sure to let us know how badly we’re underrating your team.
I absolutely hate when a preseason ranking system drops the defending champion from the top perch before a game is even played, but I’m forced to do it. The Boston Red Sox decided to ride last season’s success with the same cast, but unfortunately for them Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett both suffered early injuries. No team can last long without its 1 and 2 starting pitchers, but the Sox have the depth to at least weather the Beckett injury for a week or two. The problem is they aren’t ready to saddle up against the big boys in the current state of flux they find themselves in. Could even the biggest die hard Boston fan say they would match up well against the Mets in a 3 game series right now?
Johan and Pedro are healthy, and the Mets are hungry for retribution. They open with what should be an easy set against the Marlins, and should use that early momentum to grab the reigns in the NL East.
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New York Mets
The shaky rotation of last September suddenly looks very deep with Johan anchoring it, but injuries could derail this team in a hurry. They were already bit by the injury bug when Alou was diagnosed with a hernia. Any production they receive from him is a bonus, but his malady could just be the beginning for the Mets, and in their division that could spell disaster. Pedro is the key for this team, and if he should falter they won’t just be falling in our rankings, but in their division as well.
Boston Red Sox
I could only consciously let the defending champs slip so far. While they currently aren’t a top 3 team without Beckett in the rotation, they have a relatively easy schedule until he’s slated to return for the home opener. It’s evident that Colon is not the answer to fill in the rotation, so Lester and Buchholz will have to hold their own all season long.
New York Yankees
Girardi seems to have this team fired up and under a stricter regime. The advancement of the young pitching will be the focal point of attention all season long, but with reports of Abreu showing up with less poof in his belly and more umph in his bat, this team may just pick it up on both sides of the ball.
The addition of Miguel Cabrera is a great one, but what can they expect from Dontrelle Willis? No doubt the offense will grind all season long, giving one of Kenny Rogers, Jeremy Bonerman or Dontrelle the opportunity to cement themselves as the #2 behind Justin Verlander. The recent injury (finger) to Curtis Granderson could have some detrimental effects to the offense should it prove to be a nagging one.
The weakness of the division is a major factor here. The Cubbies are set for the divisional race as they have a deep lineup and rotation. This should afford them plenty of time to shore up that shaky bullpen anchored by Kerry Wood.
Right now they are poised to run out Brandon Webb, Dan Haren and Randy Johnson 1,2,3. As long as those Big 3 stay healthy and effective the young offense lead by Byrnes will scrap and claw for every run they can get. It’s fun time to be a Diamondback fan.
Very tough division this year to be relying on Brett Myers (68 IP last year) to be able to produce all season. You have to love their offense though, and if the pitching can tap into its potential they will be very dangerous all season long.
Too many question marks to be a top team; Carmona repeat? Hafner resurgence?? Borowski sub 5.0 ERA??? They have way too much talent to be outside the top 10 though.
They aren’t a great team, but they have a spattering of great parts in their closer, pair of aces, and a lineup centered around Ichiro. The Angels begin the season with a hurting rotation, and this Mariner team will pounce on the chance to gain an early lead in the division.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are one of the deepest teams in the NL. That may be because of their lack of upper tier talent, but they should withstand the grind of the season as good as any team out there. Should another team falter they’ll be there to scoop up that playoff spot.
This team shouldn’t be overlooked. They have all the pieces to compete in the highly contested NL East. Philly and the Mets have a slight advantage on paper, and if the Braves don’t shake things up early they could be looking in from the outside all year long.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Early injuries to the staff may have cemented their second place finish this year. Jered Weaver is having a phenomenal spring, but no matter how good he starts it won’t make up for the early losses of Lackey and Escobar. Their injuries seem minor, and if they make full recoveries the Angels will find themselves still in the hunt.
San Diego Padres
Will Peavy and Young be enough for the Padres? I don’t think so, but if Adrian Gonzalez can inspire that offense to pick up the slack they’ll be contenders.
Everyone knows without their miracle run they were a .500 team. That run was no happenstance though, and if the offense continues to chew up and spit out NL pitching they will prove worthy adversaries in the NL West.
15. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brew Crew could end up being a top 8 team by the end of the season, but a lot has to go right for them to match up with the Cubs. Gallardo will have to overcome his early DL stint and provide that spark in the rotation they need.
The Astros chances of competing with their rotation are well, astronomically bad. The offense should fare well in the weak NL Central, so they have a fighting chance.
Toronto Blue Jays
Ah the unenviable task of competing in the AL East. Rios and Wells will have to produce beyond what they did last year if they are to have any chance.
You have to love the young pitching, but Red’s fans must hate having Dusty Baker in charge of it! Cueto and Volquez will start the year in the rotation, and provide some good baseball early for the Reds and their fans.
Chicago White Sox
Ozzie Ball! Swisher may park a few, but not as many as Contreras will allow. They have a lot of wrinkles to iron out on this squad.
So much is riding on the shoulders of Liriano. His early production may determine if they rebuild or contend. The lineup is solid and the bullpen is amongst the top in the league. The SP is the major concern here.
St. Louis Cardinals
Pujols’ supporting cast on offense isn’t as dreadful as most people make it out. Maybe it’s because the pitching leaves such a bad taste in their mouths? We’ll soon find out.
Will Josh Hamilton be enough to replace Teixeira ? Being in a 4 team division you should like your odds to compete every year, but that just hasn’t been the case in Texas.
Tampa Bay Rays
Definitely a better team on paper than some of the above, but Kaz is already suffering through a minor injury, and it is the Rays and they do play in the same division as the Sox and Yanks. Can Bud Selig transpose the Ray and Blue Jays to the AL West for the year? Imagine a division with Seattle, LA, Toronto and Tampa. Now that would be a fun divisional race.
Plenty of tradable assets on the team, which may translate into some good baseball on the field, but this team is rebuilding.
San Francisco Giants
In what will be a close division they sport 3 legitimate pitchers. Where will the offense come from? The Dude is digging Eugenio Velez. Here’s hoping he makes the starting lineup.
A weak division propels them to the top of the basement. They do have some good looking young pitching and a lineup that could be feast or famine….mostly famine.
Hanley Ramirez and the other cast of youngsters should keep this team hungry all year round. They won’t go down in defeat easily, but that whole division will have the eye of the tiger going, and they’ll be ready to handle this young team.
Kansas City Royals
This team is heading in the right direction. Look for Butler and Gordon to take huge steps forward this year.
I think they just cut Patterson…wasn’t he one of their only legitimate starting pitchers? Oh well let the Dukes/Milledge era commence!
They are the worse team in the most talented division. The only damage they’ll do this year is to the hitters Daniel Cabrera beans with his wild pitches.