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Sizzling Summer Sports

By Staff | Jun 30, 2008

For some sports fans, summer can seem like an endless wait until the weather turns cold again and weekends are devoted to football. I’m here to tell you that despite the summer’s lack of gridiron action, there is still plenty for the sports fan to enjoy (particularly this summer).

Obviously, baseball is in full effect this summer just like every other year (except that terrible summer of 1994 when I was the saddest 10-year old on the planet). Locally, the bored baseball enthusiast could make the trip to Charleston to take in a West Virginia Power game at beautiful Appalachian Power Park. Who knows, you could even see a future major league star in your own back yard. Milwaukee Brewers slugger and reigning National League Rookie of the Year Ryan Braun spent the summer in the capitol city just a few years ago. Just be careful if you sit down one of the base lines and for the love of Pete PAY ATTENTION. If you get smacked in the head by a foul ball don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 If the big leagues are more your type of thing, it’s not hard to find a good game on television (especially if the as-of-right-now best team in the major leagues Chicago Cubs are on). If the price of gas hasn’t forced you to trade in your car for a Vespa, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are both within driving distance and both have relatively new ballparks to check out. Take my advice though: if you can only go to one, go see the Pirates at PNC Park. The stadium is top-notch and the view of the Burgh’s skyline along with the bright yellow Roberto Clemente Bridge is unmatched. Great American Ballpark in Cincy is too plain for my liking (although I do like the ferry ride across the Ohio River from Kentucky to the stadium that serves delicious adult beverages and then will bring you back when the game is over). The great thing about living close to Cincy and Pittsburgh is that the Reds and Pirates are both usually terrible and tickets are cheap and easy to get your hands on – being a Cubs fan and playing in the same division as those two teams, this comes in handy.

Soccer will also be on display this summer. The Euro2008 tournament began June 7 and features many of the best players in the world. Sorry ladies, but England was awful in qualifying and you won’t get your David Beckham fix. Guys like Thierry Henry (France), Christiano Ronaldo (Portugal) and Michael Ballack (Germany), however, will be playing for the right to call their country the best in Europe (which might not sound like a big deal in West Virginia, but trust me it is).

Finally, what list of summer sporting events would be complete this year without mentioning the Beijing Olympics? Much has been made in the media over China’s political climate and if athletes should protest while at the games, but that is missing the point of what the games is all about – competition. American swimmer Michael Phelps is gunning to be the most decorated athlete in the history of the Olympics and millions will tune in to see who could be the next Mary Lou Retton (like there could ever be another Mary Lou?).

So there you have it. If you can’t tide yourself over with that smorgasbord of summer sports then have fun in your summer sports hibernation. I’ll come poke you with a stick when the Herd and Mounties get things started this fall.

Contact Tom at tbragg@graffitiwv.com