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Impressive Displays By Athletes Worldwide

Bruce Penton takes a look at some outstanding athletes
bruce penton sports

We’re only a little over four months into 2022, but already the list of impressive athletic achievements is growing. Impressive? Here are a few examples:

— Pitcher Roki Sasaki went almost two complete games in the Japan Baseball League without allowing a baserunner. He first made worldwide news by throwing a 19-strikeout perfect game on April 10, and then, unbelievably, followed it up with eight perfect innings in his next start. What happened in the ninth inning of the second game? His manager removed him after eight, citing a growing pitch count and concern over fatigue.

— That Japanese league manager may have taken a cue from Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts, who pulled Clayton Kershaw April 13 after the ace left-hander threw seven perfect innings in his first start of the season. There have been only 23 perfect games in MLB history and the impressive part of this story is that Roberts had the courage to remove Kershaw with only six outs to go.

— Sidney Crosby, no longer Sid the Kid, isn’t slowing down. He recently became only the third NHLer (behind Wayne Gretzky, of course) to average more than one point a game for 17 consecutive seasons. At 17 straight, he’s tied with Gordie Howe. At age 34, there’s no reason to think Crosby won’t catch, or surpass, Gretzky, who holds the record with 19.

— On Feb. 1, Scottie Scheffler had zero PGA Tour wins and was ranked 15th in the Official World Golf Rankings. Then he won tournaments at Phoenix, Bay Hill, the Match Play, and the Masters in a nine-week stretch and sits comfortably as No. 1 in the world. Four wins in a career is pretty good. Four in seven weeks is otherworldly.

— Johnny Gaudreau of the Flames and Jonathan Huberdeau of Florida are trying to chase down Edmonton’s Connor McDavid for the NHL points’ title. Gaudreau has been more than impressive down the stretch, averaging two points a game over a 17-game stretch to pull to within a couple of points of the Oilers’ star. Huberdeau had 30 points over an 18-game period to add some drama to the scoring race.

— Impressive is the current stat line, and projected stat picture, for Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., who highlighted the first week of MLB with a three-homer game in New York. With five home runs in his first 14 games, he was on pace for a 58-homer season. Given his talent, finishing around that number wouldn’t really be a surprise. A Vladdy at-bat have become must-see TV.

•    Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “The new Grambling women's volleyball coach cut the entire team. Upon hearing this, New York Jets coach Robert Saleh said, ‘Wait, you can do that?’”

•    Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: MLB suspended Brewers catcher Pedro Severino after he tested positive for Clomiphene, a drug to treat infertility — in women. He’ll miss 80 games, or well into the season’s second trimester.”

•    Monday Q Info, on Twitter, on the excessive green fee to play Harbour Town at Hilton Head:  “The day I pay $350 to pay a golf course, please Chris Rock me.”

•    Patti Dawn Swansson, after former world heavyweight champ Mike Tyson punched a fellow airline traveller: “Apparently JetBlue immediately changed its slogan from ‘You'll Want To Fly Again!’ to ‘Let's Get Ready To Rumble!’”

•    Alex Kaseberg again: “Saw the season's first USFL game and it was a pleasant surprise.  USFL did not, like I thought it might, stand for Untalented Scrubs Failing Laughably.”

•    Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “One animal rights activist glued her hand to the floor and another chained herself to the basket stanchion to protest Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, who owns a chicken processing plant. I guess you could say the protesters identified Taylor as a flagrant fowler.”

•    RJ Currie of “Jazz forward Rudy Gobert, 7 foot 1, once claimed his biggest problem is hitting his head on things. I'm guessing it was said bashfully.”

•    Headline at “Junior college pitcher who tackled opposing player for hitting home run receives four-game suspension, invitation to walk on the football team.”

•    Another one from Dwight Perry: “The A’s drew crowds of 3,748 and 2,703 — their worst two gates since 1980 — last week in back-to-back games. Team publicists, not missing a beat, retroactively proclaimed them Social Distancing Nights.”

•    Mike Bianchi again, on only five NBA players appearing in all 82 of their team’s games this season: “In the NBA, they call it ‘load management.’ In other jobs, it’s called ‘not showing up for work.’ ”

•   Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, on nearly reaching 3,000 hits against the Yankees: “A scout from the Yankees told me, ‘If you make it, it’s going to be as a pitcher.’ He got fired.”

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