May 5, 2008
Rich Dutrow's horse lived up to expectations at the Kentucky Derby. He went around Louisville boasting like Muhammad Ali, saying his horse would dominate. The trainer was right as his horse, Big Brown, ran away from the field to win the Kentucky Derby. On a sad note, it was heartbreaking to see runner-up Eight Belles euthanized on the track after breaking its front ankles. It took away from a great moment for Big Brown.
Down in Baton Rouge, LSU head football coach Les Miles said enough is enough and quarterback Ryan Perrilloux is gone. There was all kind of potential and talent for the signal-caller, but he simply could not make the right decisions in his personal life. The defending national champions will have to make a difficult decision on a replacement for Perrilloux, but it was clearly time to move on.
How about a salute to a player who showed incredible courage. Former Tennessee guard Chris Lofton displayed incredible fortitude after battling testicular cancer while nobody knew about it. He endured radiation and fought through a difficult season that saw his stats go down over five points per game. That is the reason his game slipped a bit, and I am so happy that the young man is doing well.
In baseball, look at two guys who have been on fire. Arizona's Brandon Webb is the first seven-game winner in baseball after a recent win over the Mets. How good has Webb been? He has allowed more than three earned runs in a game once all season. His current ERA is an impressive 2.49 and he has better than a 2-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Webb has given up two home runs in 47 innings this season. Then there is Chien-Ming Wang of the Yankees. He is the first six-game winner in the AL and he has been a true stopper for the Bronx Bombers. Where would Joe Girardi's team be without Wang?
A special salute to one of the greatest scorers in NBA history, Kobe Bryant. He has earned his first NBA MVP award. Anybody who knows Kobe understands that he is all about trying to build and being part of a championship squad. Who would have believed this year's success when last year was Soap Opera city baby! All the talk was about Bryant wanting out of La-La land. Instead he turned things around and had a brilliant season.
Avery Johnson's firing from the Dallas Mavericks was certainly an eye-opener. He had great regular-season success, but when you are bounced in the first round in back-to-back years (the Warriors did it last season, then the Hornets this year), you have serious trouble. That was a tough match-up against Chris Paul and New Orleans recently, but it led to bye-bye to Mr. Johnson. Remember the Mavericks made the big deal for Jason Kidd and Mark Cuban expected a lot more. Johnson got the ziggy and the quick axe after his team lost the series. The head coach ended up paying the price.
The golf world may have a new star in Anthony Kim. He broke through with a big-time performance at the Wachovia Championship down at North Carolina. Kim was never truly challenged in the final round as he finally got to the winner's circle.
It has already been a wacky year in baseball with all of the injuries. Then you see a number of star pitchers like Justin Verlander and C. C. Sabathia struggling out of the gate. This is only May my friends, and a lot of the stars will still shine this season.
Give Ron Gardenhire and the Twins a lot of credit. After dealing ace Johan Santana to the Mets, a lot of detractors said Minnesota would go downhill. Instead Minnesota has played hard and is in first in the AL Central. The success has come without Santana, while Francisco Liriano is currently in the minors trying to regain his form.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.