Andy Kirkaldy: Many thoughts on a crowded sports scene

So much sports news right now, so little time … some thoughts:
• Serena Williams just won her 20th Grand Slam tennis title, the 2015 French Open. Sister Venus Williams has won seven Grand Slam titles. They have teamed up for 14 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles.
How is this not a bigger story?
• Baseball this summer will be stress-free. The Red Sox stink.
And it starts with the bad pitching, which creates pressure on the hitters.
• Women’s soccer on the World Cup level is better than ever. The quality of play has improved: There are no walks in the park for the big-name teams. Australia gave the USA all it could handle, Costa Rica tied South Korea, Colombia stunned France, and Nigeria tied Sweden, to name a few.
Now it’s time for the officiating to catch up — Costa Rica would have upset the Koreans with better refereeing. Of course, if FIFA would allow the use of video review to punish embarrassments like the Brazil player going down untouched to kill Spain’s momentum and give her team a water break, that would help.
Better announcing would also be helpful. The studio analysts have been fine pointing out tactics and formations, but the announcers have routinely failed to do something fundamental those who call men’s World Cup games do as a matter of course — identify the athletes touching the ball or making good defensive plays.
• That whooshing sound you hear is the air going out of Deflategate. Never mind the punishment not fitting the crime (Atlanta piped noise into playoff games, Cleveland had illegal extra spotters in the stands texting coaches, surely you remember the forfeiture of draft picks, million-dollar fines and suspensions? Oh, wait …), the real question according to the latest non-partisan report published in The New York Times is, wait, what crime?
To start with, the referee cannot recall which gauge he used to measure the New England footballs; one is much more accurate than the other, which has a margin of error greater than PSI the balls were allegedly underinflated.
Next, the report the NFL paid for to find the Patriots guilty did so by comparing the N.E. balls to the Colts’ balls at halftime. The Pats’ balls were measured outside, while the only four Colts balls sat in a warm locker room before being measured. By whichever method. OK, then.
Of course, the NFL version of a kangaroo court will hear Tom Brady’s appeal next week. Commissioner Roger Goodell will consider carefully if the original issuer of the ruling was a wise and just person. That, of course, was Commissioner Roger Goodell. Right … Sue them, Tom.
• American Pharaoh had the second-best time in the Belmont Stakes of any Triple Crown winner. He would have finished 13 lengths behind Secretariat, who holds the record. Secretariat’s Kentucky Derby record over the mile-and-a-quarter distance of that race is 1:59.3. When Secretariat hit the 1.25-mile mark in the Belmont, he did so in 1.59. That race remains one of the most amazing athletic feats I have ever witnessed. Secretariat, of course, also holds the record in the Preakness.
• Early this week, a debate actually existed over the MVP of the NBA finals. As I write this on Monday I’m not going to wait until Tuesday’s game to call the race, because if LeBron James had not suited up for Cleveland along with Tom, Dick, Andre the Giant and the bearded Italian guy with the extra syllable in his name, the series would have been over last week in four games decided by 20-plus points. Well, that’s not accurate, that bunch, while kind of lovable, would be playing golf with the Celtics without LeBron.
The argument is the MVP should always come from the winning team. Actually, that hasn’t always happened in the NBA, which once graced its logo, Jerry West, with a finals MVP trophy after the Lakers lost in seven to Bill Russell and the Celtics.
But never mind the precedent, through five games let’s play “Pick the MVP,” the choice being the Warriors’ best player, Steph Curry, the regular season MVP, or James:
• Player A per game: 26.2 points on 44.7 percent shooting, 5.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, part of a quality nine-deep rotation.
• Player B per game: 36.6 points on 39.9 percent shooting, 12.4 rebounds, 8.8 assists, vital defensive player, plays with the cast of “The Expendables III.”

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