What we're watching: Yesterday, during a break in actual tennis action in Flushing, CBS played one of their corny tennis history videos. This one was about Jimmy Connors's run at the Open in 1991, when he was 39 years old and as surly as ever. It ended with a shot of him, 20 years later, staring up at the empty seats in Arthur Ashe Stadium as string music swelled in the background. What was remarkable about an otherwise scripted segment, though, was that it provided a reminder of a time when American tennis was, I guess, American Tennis: Connors himself faced four Americans in his run alone; three lasted through the quarterfinals. We're just not accustomed to seeing that anymore.
But in this year's draw, four American men remain in the fourth round. Two of them—John Isner and Donald Young—have already been appointed to lead an American resurgence akin to the early-90s heyday. Mardy Fish plays today for the men's side, and Serena Williams—as usual, the U.S. women's sole remaining hope—will represent for the ladies. We'll be watching both matches, but we imagine that 20 years from now, if we see anyone from the '11 Open gazing up from center court and (ostensibly) recalling the glory days, it'll be Serena.
Lee Roy Selmon is dead at 56: "Teammates insist the greatest player in Oklahoma football history was never knocked off his feet, but not even Lee Roy Selmon could conquer the massive stroke he suffered at home Friday. After spending two days in critical condition and with family members by his side, Selmon died Sunday in Tampa, Fla. He was 56." [News OK]
The Man Who Really Wants To Be Formerly Known As Ron Artest had some guarantees for Stephen A. Smith recently: "Artest guaranteed to ESPN Los Angeles' Stephen A. Smith in a 40-minute interview Wednesday that the Lakers will again pop the champagne bottles after winning the 2012 NBA title. Assuming there's a season of course. 'Win it all,' Artest said when asked what will the Lakers do in the 2011-2012 season. 'Win the whole thing. That's a guarantee.'" [Laker Nation]
Mathematically, though, an 18-2 loss is pretty bad: "Beaten down by the mentally sapping ninth-inning defeat Saturday, the Sox were pounded 18-2 by the Tigers on Sunday night. And while manager Ozzie Guillen insisted his team will 'just keep fighting,' the Sox were swept out of Tiger Town 8½ games behind with 25 games remaining. To make matters worse, White Sox ace Mark Buehrle was battered for a season-high eight runs in a season-low 3 1/3 innings.'We needed to come here and try to make a statement,' Buehrle said. 'Mathematically we're not out of it, but any smart man doesn't like our chances.'" [Chicago Tribune]
The rain isn't just raining on college football's parade: "The latest rain delay caused by Tropical Storm Lee wiped out Sunday night's AdvoCare 500, with racing postponed until 11 a.m. on Tuesday. NASCAR officials said that since the forecast was for heavy rain, there would be no attempt to run the race on Monday because of concerns about safety of the fans at the track. The rescheduling of the race to a midweek date is necessary because there are no open weekends remaining on the schedule, and the 26-race regular season ends on Saturday at Richmond International Raceway." [AJC]
Your Italian commercial interlude:
Tulsa Shock continue to get noticed for being bad: "Resolute but tired, inexperienced and undermanned, the Shock are slogging through the final week of another futile season, having lost a league-record 20 consecutive games at one point and 28 of 31 over all after Sunday's 73-52 loss to the Atlanta Dream. There is little to play for, except professionalism, playoff spoiling and an attempt to avoid the W.N.B.A. marks for ineffectiveness set by the 3-27 Washington Mystics in 1998 and the 4-30 Dream in 2008." [NYT]
Sandy Alderson is making more promises: "Mets officials continue to say there are not even firm ticket prices for next year and, thus, no set projections to establish a payroll. But general manager Sandy Alderson recently established parameters when he insisted the team could be competitive in the $100 million-$110 million range, which simply reiterates one of the reasons he was hired in the first place: the belief he could do more with less (certainly with less than Omar Minaya was allowed to spend)." [NY Post]
We are all Dave McKenna CCXII: Here's your daily link to Dave McKenna's brilliant "Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder," which we'll be posting until the cows come home.
Jim Irsay tweets the l8st on Manning's status: "There is nothing2say on Peyton's status except we move cautiously n deliberately on projecting,beyond day2day,his healing process n recovery" [@JimIrsay, via Indianapolis Star]