The Globe’s Robert MacLeod curates the best of sports on the web Monday to Friday
Baseball’s race for the playoffs is providing some compelling moments along with the early stages of the National Football League regular season schedule.
As far as the never-ending drudgery that is the never-ending pre-season rigmarole in the National Hockey League, let’s not even go there.
For sheer drama these days it is hard to beat what is transpiring on the waters in San Francisco Bay where defending champion Oracle Team USA is in the midst of a stunning comeback against its New Zealand challenger.
This is the world cup for the sailing set where billionaires with money to burn can really enjoy their moment in the sun.
A week ago it appeared all but over for Oracle, trailing 8-1 to upstarts Emirates Team New Zealand, which required just one more victory to capture the Auld Mug, the oldest international sporting trophy.
But Oracle has since stormed back, winning seven races in a row to tie the series with the winner-take-all final event slated for Wednesday, winds willing of course.
Covering the event for The New York Times, Christopher Clarey writes that the 2013 America’s Cup “begs for a dry-land comparison.”
He suggests that the 2004 American League Championship Series where the Boston Red Sox won four consecutive games to stun the New York Yankees as one possibility.
However, it would appear that nobody much cares for water sports, at least in North America.
While the America’s Cup has “captivated” most of New Zealand writes Michael Burgess in the New Zealand Herald the event has barely created a ripple of interest on the American sporting landscape.
The Kiwis are obviously frustrated by what has transpired in the America’s Cup and will hold nothing back to try to boost the hopes of the Emirates Team heading into the final race.
Morgan Tait, writing on the America’s Cup in the Hearald, said an eleventh hour “mass haka” is being planned on the dock on Wednesday in San Francisco to send the New Zealand crew on their way in a positive frame of mind.
Old man Giambi
Jason Giambi is the oldest position player in Major League Baseball but he still has a knack for the dramatics.
The fans at Cleveland’s Progressive Field were sent into a frenzy when Giambi, 42, stroked a two-run walk-off home run for the Indians that gave them a dramatic 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox.
Giambi is the oldest man in the history of the game to stroke a walk-off home run, a feat that did not go unnoticed by one clever headline writer for MLB.com who coined “Old man and the C.”
The victory maintained Cleveland’s one-game lead over the Texas Rangers for the second wild-card playoff spot in the American League.
“I think I’m catching pneumonia, I’m too old to do this,” an exuberant Giambi said to FoxSports.com during an on-field interview after his hitting heroics.
Over in the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals have already clinched a post-season berth and rookie pitcher Gordon Wacha made a bold statement that he deserves to be in the post-season rotation.
Wacha came within one batter of hurling a no-hitter for St. Louis when Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals legged out a two-out infield single in the ninth inning.
Even with the N.L. Central title within their grasp Jeff Gordon writes in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the Cardinals remain a team in transition.
While the Tamp Bay Rays maintained the top wild-card spot in the A.L. with a 7-0 whitewashing of the fast-fading New York Yankees, the Detroit Tigers clinched their third straight playoff berth with a 4-2 victory over Minnesota.
However, there is still an air of nervousness in Tiger-town writes Lynn Henning of the Detroit News as the lingering injury to slugger Miguel Cabrera threatens Detroit’s post-season hopes.
Just one more loss will officially kill the chances of the Yankees to make the playoffs.
The club also dropped the ball before they went out and absorbed a 7-0 drubbing to the Rays at Yankee Stadium.
Peter Botte writes in the New York Daily News that Mariano Rivera bobblehead day descended into chaos after the late-arriving dolls kept many fans from getting to their seats on time.