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Rangers Back In World Series, 12 Years After Twice Being 1 Strike From Title

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ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers have returned to the World Series for the first time since coming within one strike of winning the championship twice in 2011.

“We’ve had some difficult moments recently. “Those days are over,” general manager Chris Young proclaimed shortly after Texas won its third American League pennant.

The wild-card Rangers are the AL champions after a franchise-record six consecutive losing seasons, including 102 losses only two years ago. They are led by three-time World Series winner Bruce Bochy, a half-billion dollar middle infield of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, slugging AL Championship Series MVP Adolis Garcia, homegrown youngsters Josh Jung and 21-year-old Evan Carter, and an influx of veteran pitchers.

“This team has played with as much heart and determination as any club I’ve had,” said Bochy, the first manager to take three separate clubs to the World Series since LCS play began in 1969. “It’s just amazing how they kept getting up.”

This pennant means more than just this season for Rangers fans. Texas had six All-Stars and dominated the AL West for the majority of the season, but they succumbed to injuries and collapsed late in the campaign, losing the division title to Houston on the final day. Texas bounced back to defeat its Lone Star State rival, defeating the defending champion Astros 11-4 in Game 7 on Monday night.

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Rangers Back In World Series, 12 Years After Twice Being 1 Strike From Title

Texas will host the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the Fall Classic on Friday night, 12 years after Game 6 of the Rangers’ second consecutive World Series with manager Ron Washington. San Francisco defeated them in five games in 2010, their first of three titles in five seasons under Bochy’s management.

The Rangers will not even be the first club to participate in a World Series at Globe Life Field, their retractable-roof stadium, which opens in 2020. The Los Angeles Dodgers won the neutral-site series at the end of that season, which was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Seager as their shortstop.

In 2011, St. Louis went down to its final strike in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 6 before David Freese hit a 1-2 ball over right fielder Nelson Cruz for a tying two-run triple, and he did it again in the 10th with an RBI single. Freese hit a game-ending homer to start the 11th inning, and the Cards won Game 7 the next night.

The Rangers concluded the regular season one game behind Oakland after being swept in three games at Oakland in the final regular-season series 2012. Texas started ace Yu Darvish in the American League’s inaugural one-game wild-card game but fell to visiting Baltimore.

Even though Darvish missed the whole 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery, the Rangers acquired lefty Cole Hamels in a trade deadline transaction and led the division for only 22 days. They won the first two games of the best-of-five AL Division Series in Toronto but lost the fifth by committing three errors in two batters after Hamels pitched into the seventh. The errors allowed Jose Bautista to hit a three-run homer off reliever Sam Dyson.

rangers

Rangers Back In World Series, 12 Years After Twice Being 1 Strike From Title

The next season, Toronto swept the AL West champions in the ALDS despite Texas starting Hamels and Darvish in the first two games.

The Rangers’ 2016 division title under then-manager Jeff Bannister, Arizona’s bench coach, is their last. They are one of six major league teams without a World Series trophy. They traded Darvish the next summer, on their way to a 78-84 record that began their losing streak, and traded Hamels midway through 2018.

Following a 102-game losing streak in 2020, the Rangers made the biggest free-agent splash, signing both Seager ($325 million over ten years) and Semien ($175 million over seven years). They didn’t have a winning record with the All-Star middle infielders that first season, but they focused on pitching in another spending spree last winter that included signing two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom ($185 million, five years) and Nathan Eovaldi.

Texas won each of the six games. deGrom began before undergoing season-ending elbow surgery, while Eovaldi is 4-0 in the postseason after an All-Star season in which he was sidelined for seven weeks following the All-Star break due to a right forearm injury. At the trade deadline, the Rangers acquired three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who is 3-0 in the playoffs after winning the ALCS clinching in relief.

“This is what I wanted,” said Scherzer, who received his contract option for next season as part of his trade from the New York Mets. “I came here to get to the World Series, but I came here to win it.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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2-Time French Open Runner-Up Dominic Thiem Loses In Qualifying In Final Roland Garros Appearance

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Thiem | NDTV Image

PARIS — Dominic Thiem, a two-time runner-up, was knocked out in the second round of qualifying at the French Open.

Otto Virtanen defeated Dominic 6-2, 7-5 on Court Suzanne Lenglen, and Dominic will miss his 11th and final appearance in the clay-court Grand Slam main draw.

thiem

Thiem | AP News Image

2-Time French Open Runner-Up Dominic Thiem Loses In Qualifying In Final Roland Garros Appearance

Dominic, who reached the Roland Garros finals in 2018 and 2019, revealed earlier this month that he will retire at the end of the year after struggling to regain peak form following a wrist injury.

Following his defeat, Dominic received a standing ovation during a goodbye ceremony, with chants of “Thank you Domi, Thank you Domi.”

Dominic, a former US Open champion, has plummeted to 131st in the rankings and failed to obtain a wildcard into the French Open. He didn’t keep a grudge.

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Thiem | The Times Image

2-Time French Open Runner-Up Dominic Thiem Loses In Qualifying In Final Roland Garros Appearance

“I slowly built up a great, great relationship with the tournament, relationship with all of you guys, with all fans,” stated Dominic. “I’ve really enjoyed every single year of it.”

The 30-year-old Austrian won his only Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows in 2020. Dominic defeated Alexander Zverev in five sets, becoming the first man in 71 years to recover a two-set deficit in a U.S. Open final.

thiem

Thiem | Reuters Image

2-Time French Open Runner-Up Dominic Thiem Loses In Qualifying In Final Roland Garros Appearance

Dominic also finished second at the 2020 Australian Open, reaching a career-high No. 3 ranking that year. He remained in the top five until June 2021, when he hurt his right wrist, which kept him out for nine months and has hindered his playing ever since.

Dominic has a total of 17 titles.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Stenhouse Fined $75,000 By NASCAR, Busch Avoids Penalty For Post All-Star Race Fight

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Concord, North Carolina – NASCAR penalized Ricky Stenhouse Jr. $75,000 on Wednesday for clashing with Kyle Busch following the All-Star race at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Stenhouse’s father, who participated in the fray, was suspended indefinitely.

Busch was not penalized for his actions during the Sunday night race

The two collided on the first lap, and Busch appeared to intentionally destroy Stenhouse on the second lap. Stenhouse put his damaged Chevrolet in Busch’s pit stall, forcefully mounted the spotter’s ladder, and spoke with Busch’s crew members.

Stenhouse then stormed to his carrier, allowing his car to be taken to the pits.

NASCAR

NASCAR | AP News Image

Stenhouse Fined $75,000 By NASCAR, Busch Avoids Penalty For Post All-Star Race Fight

He also hinted that he’d return after the race to confront Busch. The two exchanged brief words before Stenhouse, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, delivered a right hook to Busch, sparking a melee involving members of both teams. Stenhouse’s father, who has no association with the team, then confronted Busch, throwing fists.

On Wednesday, NASCAR banned Stenhouse mechanic Clint Myrick for eight races and engine tuner Keith Matthews for four races.

NASCAR

NASCAR | AP News Image

Stenhouse Fined $75,000 By NASCAR, Busch Avoids Penalty For Post All-Star Race Fight

Stenhouse has pledged to wreck Busch this Sunday in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“Bring it,” Busch responded. “I suck as bad as you,” meaning that neither driver is having a fantastic season.

Neither driver has won any races this season. Busch is 13th in the points standings, while Stenhouse, a single-car team, is 26th.

Busch’s vehicle owner isn’t taking Stenhouse’s warning lightly, though. Richard Childress has threatened to fight Stenhouse if he gets near Busch’s car at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR

NASCAR | AP News Image

Stenhouse Fined $75,000 By NASCAR, Busch Avoids Penalty For Post All-Star Race Fight

The Coca-Cola 600 is the longest Cup Series race of the season, so Busch and Stenhouse will have plenty of time to catch up on the 1.5-mile track. They will undoubtedly keep a close eye on the feuding drivers.

SOURCE – (AP)

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US Open Champ Coco Gauff Calls On Young Americans To Get Out And Vote. ‘Use The Power That We Have’

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Gauff | AP News Image

ROME – She won the U.S. Open. The best-paid female athlete in the world. And a disgruntled Floridian.

American tennis player Coco Gauff has always been eager to use her voice.

Not when she was 16 and gave an impromptu speech at a Black Lives Matter event. And not now, at the age of 20, when she will be voting for the first time in a presidential election in the United States later this year.

Gauff, one of the favorites when the French Open begins on Sunday in Paris, recently spoke with The Associated Press about the present political situation in her home state.

She commented that it’s “a crazy time to be a Floridian, especially a Black one.”

gauff

Gauff | Britannica

US Open Champ Coco Gauff Calls On Young Americans To Get Out And Vote. ‘Use The Power That We Have’

Gauff referred to a two-year debate over removing books from Florida schools that started with a bill that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed, saying, “We aren’t happy with the current state of our government in Florida, especially everything with the books and just the way our office operates.”

Last month, DeSantis backtracked on the measure by signing a bill that limited its scope. He accused liberal activists of violating the law rather than the individuals whose objections to specific books account for the majority of book withdrawals from school libraries and classrooms.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to the youth and the community being outspoken,” Gauff told the Italian Open last week. “So I encourage everyone to vote and to utilize their voice, regardless of who they vote for. There’s no point whining about the world’s political atmosphere if you don’t vote.”

Gauff has been speaking out against racial inequality and police violence since her 2020 statement in front of Delray Beach’s City Hall.

“I feel like sometimes in my generation, people think their vote doesn’t count,” Gauff explained. “We should just all just use our voices and use the power that we have.”

When contacted about Gauff’s comments in an email, DeSantis’ staff chose not to directly address them, instead saying the state is “thriving.”

Gauff will not be advocating for any specific candidate in the general election.

“I will keep who I vote for to myself,” she replied. “I’m not publicly backing any candidate.”

Gauff remains a well-known character in the Delray Beach neighborhood. In March, she revealed rebuilt courts at the public park where she used to play. She’s also been playing with the coordinates of the Pompey Park courts imprinted on the toes of her left tennis sneaker.

Gauff’s father, Corey, wrote on the toes of her right sneaker, “You can change the world with your racket.”

Teen Success

gauff

guaff | AP news Image

US Open Champ Coco Gauff Calls On Young Americans To Get Out And Vote. ‘Use The Power That We Have’

Gauff became the first American teenager to win the U.S. Open since Serena Williams did so in 1999.

According to the sports-business publication Sportico, Gauff became the world’s highest-paid female athlete last year, earning $22.7 million in prize money and endorsements thanks to her New York crown.

She had already made a name for herself as the youngest qualifier in Wimbledon history at 15, and she advanced to the fourth round in her Grand Slam debut in 2019. Then, in the 2022 French Open, she made her first major final and finished second to Iga Swiatek.

Snails with Hot Chocolate

Gauff believes she still has unfinished business in Paris after losing to Swiatek at Roland Garros in 2022.

Because Paris is her favorite place.

She initially visited the city when she was 10 years old and was offered to train at Patrick Mouratoglou’s academy, Williams’ former coach.

The city where she won her first junior Grand Slam championship, the French Open girls’ trophy, in 2018.

“I fell in love with the city because I went at such a young age and it felt so magical and I think that feeling has just stayed with me,” Gauff explained.

While she’s still learning to speak French—”I’ve been on and off learning since I was really 10 years old. But one day, hopefully, I’ll get there” — Gauff has developed an appetite for Paris’ culinary delights.

So, what foods does she enjoy in Paris?

“A lot of croissants, certainly. Escargot is something I like. I know it’s hit or miss with some folks, but don’t be too concerned about the snails,” Gauff explained. “Crème brûlée is pleasant. And foie gras is tasty. In addition, there is hot chocolate. There is good hot chocolate in Paris.”

MET ZENDAYA

Zendaya, who stars in the tennis film “Challengers,” has yet to meet.

Brad Gilbert, Gauff’s coach, served as Zendaya’s tennis adviser for the film, and the actress recently expressed her desire to meet Coco.

“It’s kind of her court,” Gauff added. “I’m not sure because we are both busy. But it’s going to happen. I simply don’t know when.”

Zendaya sent flowers to Gauff to celebrate her U.S. Open victory after Gilbert revealed the player’s home address

Could Gilbert function as a go-between for Zendaya and Gauff’s meeting?

“I think Zendaya has way more pull than Brad does,” Gauff laughed.

Olympic goals

This year at Roland Garros, the third-ranked Gauff aims for more than simply the French Open. She also hopes to win gold in multiple events at the Paris Olympics.

gauff

Gauff | ABC News Image

US Open Champ Coco Gauff Calls On Young Americans To Get Out And Vote. ‘Use The Power That We Have’

Tennis will be played in Roland Garros during the Olympics, and Gauff is particularly motivated after missing the Tokyo Games due to a coronavirus infection.

“It’s at the top of my priority list,” said Gauff, who wants to play singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. “Winning a medal would mean almost as much as completing the Grand Slam. While I would want a Grand Slam, I would prefer a gold medal in doubles. I want to win a medal.

“It’s just something unique that I can relate to, like a track athlete or a gymnastic athlete,” said Gauff.

While Gauff does not intend to live in the Athletes community full-time — “because I heard the village is far from Roland Garros” — she does have a list of Olympians from different sports she wishes to meet.

Simone Biles is ranked first, followed by Sha’Carri Richardson and Katie Ledecky.

“Maybe some WNBA players, too,” Gauff added. “I don’t know if Caitlin Clark is going to make the USA team, but that would be cool.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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