The Stack is back after the last part of the holiday weekend and we have a few things to talk about to get the week started. It will be a slow week with baseball off for three days excluding the all-star game on Tuesday in Kansas City. We'll be talking about that shortly. Now it's time to see what else made "the stack" for today, Monday, July 9:
1. Roger Federer, Serena Wiilliams claim Wimbledon
It was a flash from the past at Wimbledon this weekend as two players who have already won multiple Wimbledon titles claimed two more. On Saturday, Serena Williams beat Agnieszka Radwanska in three sets, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 to claim her fifth Wimbledon title. Serena did not look good at the start of the tournament, but she came on strong when she needed too. She looked practicularly unbeatable the last three matches in route to the championship. Williams also claimed the doubles championship with help from her sister Venus Williams. It was a great couple of weeks for Serena. Maybe this will help rejuvenate what she has left in her career.
As for the gentleman's title, all of Great Britain held their collective breath in anticipation of Andy Murray to be the first player from Great Britain to win Wimbledon since the 1930s, 1936 to be exact. After one set, it was looking good. Murray was up a set on Roger Federer. But Federer won the second set and after a short rain delay, kept momentum and thwarted off any comeback attempts by Murray to win a record-tying seventh Wimbledon 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. Federer hadn't claimed a victory at Wimbledon in a couple of years so to win another this one had to mean a lot to him. He is 7-1 in his career in Wimbledon finals. Federer showed that he can still go against the best of the best and has plenty left in the tank. Make no mistake about it, Federer can still compete with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. And on Sunday, Federer showed why he was best at Wimbledon. With the win, Federer also claims the number one ranking in the world. High praise and well deserved recognition for one of the best tennis players that has ever played the game.
2. Ray Allen joins the Heat
If you can't beat em, join em. If you can't take the Heat, get out of Boston? Well of course I had to modify that last one from "out of the kitchen" to "out of Boston", but you get my point. And so does Ray Allen, who signed a three-year deal with the Miami Heat. He joins the Heat's big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The Celtics tried to resign Allen, but ultimately Miami presented a better opportunity to Allen, the NBA's all-time leading three-point shooter. Allen was injured last year, so he wasn't at his best. But when he healthy, he's on target and on fire. Now that Allen has joined the Heat, may as well just give them this year's championship. Seriously, who is going to beat them? No one. Not Oklahoma City, not anybody. The regular season means absolutely nothing this upcoming year, and in reality, neither does the postseason until the NBA Finals when we can all see who will lose in five to the Miami Heat.
3. Adrian Peterson arrested in Houston
The last thing the Minnesota Vikings needed was something to happen to their star running back. They didn't need any off-field distractions heading into training camp in a few weeks. Well they have one now after Adrian Peterson was arrested over the weekend at a Houston night club. He allegedly pushed an off-duty police officer who was trying to get Peterson and his party out of the club. Reports state that it took three cops to subdue Peterson who was charged with resisting arrest. The whole incident is on surveilance cameras though we have not seen everything yet. Peterson posted his $1000 bond and left the jail. He is due back in court in Houston later this week. This is out of character for Peterson who is one of the better people off the field in the NFL. This is certainly surprising to his teammates, coaches and fans. But, there are no assault charges, he didn't drive while drunk. It was just resisting arrest. It's still not good, but Peterson will make sure this isn't a distraction for the team when they get to Mankato in a few weeks. We still have to hear all of the details before passing final judgement. Hopefully we'll hear everything soon and find out everything that happened.
4. Home Run Derby takes place tonight
MLB has reached its halfway point in the season meaining the home run derby and the all-star game is upon us. This year's festivities take place in Kansas City at the beautifully renovated Kauffman stadium. Before we preview the home run derby tonight, let's get to a few surprises from the first half of the season:
Biggest surprises (positive): Pittsburgh Pirates. They're the leaders in the NL Central at 48-37, one game up on the Cincinnati Reds. Pitching has been good and players like Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen are helping keep this team in first. How will it work in the second half of the season? Hopefully better than last year when the Pirates really started to tank. At this point, it is not unrealistic to think that the Pirates not only will have a winning record, but also make the postseason for the first time since what, 1992?
another postive surprise: Washington Nationals. Just like the Pirates, the Nationals are leading their division, the NL East at 49-34, four games up on the Atlanta Braves. Pitching has been outstanding and they have some great bats like Ryan Zimmerman (who also plays terrific defense). Young Bryce Harper is showing signs of being a star and the Nationals are in prime position to make it to the postseason.
Honorable mentions: Los Angeles Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers
Biggest surprises (negative): Detroit Tigers. Wasn't the addition of Prince Fielder supposed to make the Tigers runaway favorites in the AL Central. Instead the Tigers sit 3.5 games back of the Chicago White Sox with a 44-42. Granted the Tigers have been playing better recently, but they still have to be considered one of the biggest disappointments the first half of the season.
another negative surprise: Bost Red Sox. There figured to be some bumps and growing pains this season for the Red Sox, but I doubt many people thought it would be this rough. It started with injuries to the bullpen and pitching staff. Add to that Jacoby Elsbury as well as a few others, and the Red Sox should be happy that they've made it to the all-star break with a 43-43 record. Then there's Bobby Valentine and how he's handled the team and his brushups with players like Jason Varitek and Kevin Youkilis and it's just a mess. Fortunately, some players will be coming back and that will help the Red Sox get back into the AL east race perhaps.
Honory mentions: Miami Marlins and Cliff Lee
Now to the home run derby tonight. It's an AL-NL battle, four teams per roster.
Robinson Cano (NY Yankees) Captain Matt Kemp (LA Dodgers) Captain
Mark Trumbo (Angels) Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies)
Prince Fielder (Tigers) Carlos Beltran (Cardinals)
Jose Bautista (Blue Jays) Andrew McCutchen (Pirates)
This should be a very interesting and entertaining home run derby. I like Matt Kemp and Prince Fielder to advance to the finals and Kemp to win the 2012 homerun derby. Sure he hasn't been fully healthy in a while, but I think he'll be able to shake off the rust. Then again, my predictions aren't exactly the best, but I'll still go Kemp to win. Coverage begins at 8 PM ET on ESPN.
The all-star game itself is at 8 PM ET on FOX. Who will win and get homefield advantage for the World Series? We'll try to be back on Tuesday with a pick and a recap of the home run derby. But my initial pick is to say that the National League to win the all-star game.
Coming up Tuesday: Homerun Derby recap plus reaction to other top sports stories from Monday.
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.