UFC’s Injured Card

It took less than eight hours for the first-ever Ultimate Fighter Championship (UFC) fight in Mexico City to sell out the over 20,000 tickets available. Earlier this week the event took a huge hit and we probably won’t see the “Arena Ciudad de México” at its maximum capacity on november 15.

What was supposed to be a huge turnout to watch Caín Velasquez fight for the heavyweight championship against Fabricio Werdum could lose huge ratings now that Velasquez was ruled out due to an injury in his knee. His place will be now taken by Mark Hunt. Two days later, Diego Sánchez announced via Twitter that his fate was just like Velasquez bad luck. The interesting thing here is that Sanchez opponent, Joe Lauzon, had already dropped out of the competition one day earlier. Plus add the withdrawal of Erick “Goyito” Pérez from Monterrey, Mexico. Everything seems to be going the opposite way as to how organizers envisioned the event.

Dana White, during his appearance at UFC 172 in Dallas, Texas showed a huge interest on taking his brand to the other side of the Rio Grande where the UFC fanbase is steadily growing. It is still unclear how the various hits this event has taken will affect the two White had already planned for 2015.

At 32 years old, Velasquez (13-1-0) is not only a fan favorite among the hispanic followers of the sport, but a household name among the elite figures in the mixed martial arts world. Even though he has spent most of his life living in the United States, his roots are based in Mexico. The first ever UFC event in Mexico was a great comeback opportunity for the fighter who has not seen action since October 2013 when he beat Junior dos Santos.

His injury is clearly not just a hit for his personal career but for the whole UFC circus that is a major blow that is yet not quantified. Something that is not common in big events is reimbursements and that is just what UFC is offering ticketholders. From october 28 to november 7 those who saw any of the injured fighters as a reason to attend, will be able to claim their money back.

2014 hasn’t been a good year for UFC fighters,  many who have been getting injured left and right throughout the year. Staying healthy has been a challenge for many of them, something that is always bound to happen when we are talking about a highly physical and brutal contact sport. But it is nothing compared to 2013 when 101 fighters had to step down from either practices or bouts. This year the number of injured contestants is around 50.

Some could claim that the bad luck for the upcoming event on the arena where it will be hosted. The last big show that was scheduled at the Mexico City Arena was between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the San Antonio Spurs. The NBA game had to be postponed when a generator malfunction outside the arena sent smoke pouring into the building less than an hour before the scheduled tip off.

So whatever it is, now that Cain, Diego and Joe have been ruled out of the first ever UFC showdown in Mexico City it will be interesting to see if the arena still sells out and what are the repercussions for the future of the sport south of the United States.

The new main event for UFC 180. Fabricio Werdum vs. Mark Hunt who is replacing Cain Velásquez (mmaweekly.com)
The new main event for UFC 180. Fabricio Werdum vs. Mark Hunt who is replacing Cain Velásquez (mmaweekly.com)

Sabor Latino en Serie Mundial

Hoy arranca el llamado “Clásico de Otoño” entre los Gigantes de San Francisco visitando a la revelación de esta temporada, los Reales de Kansas City. Uno tiene fresco en la memoria lo que es haber ganado la Serie Mundial cuando barrieron a los Tigres de Detroit en el 2012 y otros tienen que remontar su memoria a 1985 cuando por última vez accedieron a una serie de campeonato.

Muchas historias se escriben sobre quien será el equipo con mayor oportunidad de conseguir el trofeo del comisionado, pero ese no es el punto de este artículo. Estados Unidos tiene la fama de coronar como campeones del mundo a quienes ganan la ligas nacionales. Un término que considero erróneo ya que es una liga nacional, aunque en el caso del hockey y del béisbol se llega a jugar en territorio canadiense. Lo que es cierto es que las ligas mayores estan compuestas por una buena cantidad de jugadores de origen hispano. Más de una cuarta parte de los jugadores de la liga no nacieron en la nación americana.

Entre los dos finalistas los Reales cuentan con dos dominicanos, los pitchers Kelvin Herrera y Yordano Ventura junto con el parador en corto Alcides Escobar y el tercera base Omar infante, ambos de venezuela. A ellos se le podría sumar Lorenzo Cain, ganador al jugador más valioso de la Serie de Campeonato de la Liga Americana este año. A pesar de haber nacido en Valdosta, Georgia, Cain creció en la Florida . Del otro lado del país fue criado Jason Vargas, uno de los mejores brazos zurdos que tienen los reales desde la lomita quien ponchó a 128 bateadores esta temporada.

Cabe mencionar que los Reales de Kansas City terminaron en el fondo de la tabla la temporada pasada y varios expertos comentan que el éxito de esta plantilla se debe en gran parte a la madurez que han adquirido cómo equipo en general pero en especial a la ayuda que viene de los representantes latinos.

Del otro lado del campo de batalla estarán los Gigantes que con tres cuadrangulares en el sexto juego de la serie en contra de los Cardenales se ganaron su pase a la última instancia de la temporada. Además es su tercera final en las últimas cinco temporadas.

Tan sólo en la lista de pitchers con los que cuenta el equipo de la bahía hay un dominicano (Santiago Casilla), un portorriqueño y dos venezolanos (Jean Machi, Sergio Romo). El dominicano Joaquín Arias compite por el control de la tercera base con su compañero el venezolano Pablo “El Panda” Sandoval. Mientras que el también venezolano Gregor Blanco se ha adueñado del jardín central de los gigantes.

Aquí el jugador a destacar el “El Panda”, ya que a sus 28 años va por su tercer anillo de Serie Mundial en tan solo seis años como pelotero profesional. Originario de Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, Sandoval tiene un promedio de .326 de efectividad en la caja de bateo tan solo en la actual postemporada sin haber conectado un imparable de cuatro esquinas.

Los Gigantes son un equipo acostumbrado a pelear este tipo de instancias pero no por ello son favoritos este año. En gran parte debido a que perdieron un partido en la serie divisional y otro en la de campeonato, llegan esta noche a Kansas City con una ligera desventaja en las apuestas de las Vegas. Este dato termina siendo una ventaja para el equipo de San Francisco. En la postemporada de este año ningún equipo que llega como favorito ha ganado la serie.

Así que todo esta listo para que hoy a las 7:07 de la noche en el Kauffman Stadium, la casa de los Reales el umpire Jerry Meals de la señal para que comience el “Clásico de Otoño” con una buena representación latina.

"El Panda" Sandoval quiere su tercer anillo de Serie Mundial.
“El Panda” Sandoval quiere su tercer anillo de Serie Mundial.

Last Week in Sports (10/13/14 to 10/19/14)

Here is a look at some of the most important stories in the world of sports this past week.

NFL

Once again I will start things off by talking about the Dallas Cowboys. The team was coming off an impressive victory on the road against the reigning Super Bowl Champs, the Seattle Seahawks. They had a bumpy week that started with Joseph Randle being caught stealing underwear and cologne at a store in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area (he will now endorse it). The next day a survey came out stating that the team owned by Jerry Jones was no longer America’s team, but now the Denver Broncos held that title. Pretty sure if that same survey was handed out today the Cowboys would recover that spot. Playing their first division game of the season against the New York Giants they had a shaky first half but a very solid second. DeMarco Murray  ran for 126 yards becoming the first player to go over 100 for seven consecutive games in the history of the NFL. Tony Romo had another great day in Arlington passing for 279 yards and three touchdowns. The Cowboys are now 6-1 after beating the Giants 31-21. Last time they started this well was in 2007.

On the Sunday Night Football game history was made. Peyton Manning tied Brett Favre’s record of 508 career touchdown passes and just moments later he went for a record setting 509 on a third and goal opportunity. Demaryius Thomas caught the ball that from now on will be displayed in Canton, Ohio at the NFL Hall of Fame museum. Manning would leave the game but not before he threw one more touchdown pass (510) against the San Francisco defense. It was a historic night at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado where the dominant 42-17 win by the Broncos will hardly be remembered by the score.

WATCH: Peyton Manning 509 TD Pass

SOCCER

Euro 2016 Qualifiers continued early this week. Germany can’t find a way to play like it did to achieve the World Cup title just a few months back and was tied by Ireland in the last minutes of the game for a 1-1 draw. A header from Cristiano Ronaldo helped his national team (Portugal) get three points on its visit to Denmark 1-0. A game determined by UEFA (the European association that regulates soccer in Europe) as a high-risk match proved to be just that. Serbia hosted Albania hoping politic turmoil in between both nations did not affect the game but it was a drone flying over the field carrying a flag from Albania the last straw that angered Serbian players. One of them pulled the flag down and when that happened all hell broke loose and there was a big fight among players and those on the bench as well as in between fans in the stands. That way Martin Atkinson from England had no other choice but to suspend the game. While Albanian players were received as national heroes, Serbia wants UEFA to award them an automatic win. Chances are both teams get suspended from competition from now in.

In Mexico the national league is only four games away from going into playoffs. America played Monterrey hoping to get a win after two straight games without it. They did just that playing against a team that was in second place before the game and now sits in the fifth spot after. Monterrey after losing 0-2 against the leaders of the competition has let Toluca, Atlas and Tigres stand in the way between them and the top of the leaderboard. Chivas, one of the most popular teams in the league hired a new coach, (the same one that could not get Mexico to the World Cup) José Manuel de la Torre. They played León  who won the last championship setting the stage for a great comeback but in the end 2 goals from “La Fiera” and one from “El Rebaño” just made things worst .

In Spain the soccer world is getting ready to see Real Madrid play Barcelona in what is said to be the biggest rivalry around a soccer ball that there is in the world. Before that happens this past weekend Madrid played Levante in what seemed to be target practice for the team managed by Carlo Ancelotti. Two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, one from James Rodriguez, one from Isco and another one from Javier “Chicharito” Hernández (his 3rd with Madrid), sealed a 5-0 victory the week prior to “El Superclásico”. On the other side, Messi is just one goal away from tying Telmo Zarra as the player with the most goals in “La Liga”(250). He scored once in the 3-0 win against Eibar and refused to be substituted late in the second half.

BASEBALL

It doesn’t matter how you get there as long as you get there. That is probably what both teams that will be playing in the MLB World Series told themselves after clinching a spot for the Wild Card game on their respective divisions a few weeks back. The Kansas City Royals have not been defeated in their first postseason run in 28 years. The team swept Oakland, L.A. Dodgers and the Orioles. The San Francisco Giants are a bit more used to playing this far into the season. They recently were crowned champions when playing against the Texas Rangers in the 2011 World Series. This time around they beat Pittsburgh in the Wild Card game, 3-1 in the series against the Washington Nationals, and 4-1 against the St. Louis Cardinals where the last game came down to the wire but a three-run home run by Travis Ishikawa in the bottom of the ninth inning sealed the deal at home for the Giants (6-3). The 2014 World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants starts this tuesday.

On a quick note, the Texas Rangers announced Jeff Banister as their new skipper after Ron Washington resigned late in the 2014 Season due to personal problems after eight years leading the Rangers clubhouse leader. Banister comes from Pittsburgh hoping to bring the Rangers back to the postseason, an instance they have not showed up to in the past two campaigns.  I will address his personal story in a later date.

GOLF

Major championships were over a while back in the PGA Tour this year but that doesn’t golf players have stayed at home since then. This past weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Ben Martin took the win finishing 20 strokes under par, just two strokes below his closest competitor Kevin Streelman. Mexico’s rookie Carlos Ortiz played in his second tournament as a PGA pro and that did not seem to matter. The former Mean Green golfer finished tied for 18th spot with 11 strokes below par. He is now 33rd in the Fedex Cup Rankings.

RUNNING

Just three weeks ago the Marathon world record was shattered in Berlin, Germany. This past sunday, Abraham Cheroben was aiming to do the same with Zersenay Tadese’s World Record of 58:23. The 21-year-old Kenyan ran the Medio Maratón Valencia with that goal. “I’m satisfied with my win but I’m not totally happy because I was targeting a world record today. I’m convinced I can break the 58-minute barrier for the distance”, were the Cheroben’s words right after the race that has been won by Kenyans the past nine editions. His time of 58:48 is the fastest time for anyone who has ran this distance the past two years.

CAR RACING

The Formula 1 is on a two week break from racing. While the Formula travels from Europe to America in Mexico City representatives from “Tilke”, a german architecture firm presented the design of the new “Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez” track which will be used to host the “Mexico Grand Prix” on November 1st of 2015 per the preliminary calendar. The track is expected to be the second fastest in the world just behind the historic Monza circuit in Italy. Cars should be able to reach a top speed of 328 kms/h and organizers expect to receive over 120,000 fans at the track’s grounds on race day.

WATCH: F1 Mexico Grand Prix Track Design

In NASCAR Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag at the GEICO 500 in Talladega. 32 of the 43 drivers that started the race finished in the same lap that the leader did. Matt Kenseth who is also fighting for the Sprint Cup championship made it finished just 0.141 seconds behind Keselowski. With just four races to go in the season it is Joey Logano from Team Penske who leads the pack. He finished 11th at Talladega in a race that had 38 lead changes.

RACQUETBALL

Mexican racquetball player Paola Longoria had not made major headlines in Mexico until last night when she lost against the American Rhonda Rajsich at the Stockton Pro Am (11-9, 5-11, 14-12, 5-11, 11-4). The reason this was important was because it meant the end to a 152 game winning streak from the mexican superstar. Oddly enough it happened against the same person she had lost to in may of 2011. Since that game Longoria had not lost a single match until now. Longoria’s chance to restart her streak will come at the Central American Games in Veracruz, Mexico from november 14 to the 30th.

El 10… 10 Años Después

Rechazado por su propio país cuando era un “pibe”, hoy es una semi-deidad en el mismo lugar. Un crack dentro de la cancha y de los pocos elogiados por el líder de la iglesia maradoniana “Diego Armando Maradona”. Ese sería Lionel Messi.

Originario de Rosario, Argentina, fue rechazado por el River Plate, que para muchos pudiera haberse librado del descenso si no lo hubieran hecho así casi 16 años cuando el nuevo mesías del fútbol argentino tenía apenas 11 años. River nunca menosprecio los talentos del chico, pero se negaban a pagar los 465 mil pesos mensuales para su tratamiento en contra del enanismo.

De ahí su decisión de emigrar al viejo continente y caer en las manos de “La Masía”, una de las canteras o si no es que la cantera con mayores índices de productividad en cuanto a la generación de nuevos talentos. Ellos si estuvieron dispuestos a hacer tal gasto del que seguramente no se arrepienten. Esta semana, el nuevo refuerzo del Barcelona, Luis Suárez ha declarado que le hubiese gustado formar parte de la escuela de la que salió su ahora compañero Lionel Messi.

El 16 de octubre del 2004, en un encuentro liguero ante el Espanyol de Barcelona, saldría Deco de la cancha y con un abrazo al salir del terreno de juego le dió la bienvenida a un muchacho de apenas 17 años de edad, que jugaría sus primeros minutos con el primer equipo blaugrana. Ese día no metió gol, ni jugaba con la playera número 10 ya que le pertenecía a Ronaldinho, su número sería el 30, pero no tardó ni ocho minutos en quererse hacer notar.

Fue hasta el primero de mayo del 2005 cuando tras pase de Ronaldinho Gaucho, el ahora jugador de Gallos Blancos, recibiría el pase para hacerse famoso y empujar el balón al fondo de la red del Albacete. El primero de muchos y lo festejó como ya no lo hace antes, pues nueve años después ha logrado marcar 361 goles para conseguir seis Ligas españolas, tres Champions League, dos Mundiales de Clubes, dos Copas del Rey, dos Supercopas de Europa y seis Supercopas de España con la misma playera. Además de una medalla de oro con su selección en Beijing 2008.

Actualmente se le compara en demasía con el portugués Cristiano Ronaldo. Ambos han elevado el nivel de sus respectivos clubes pero sólo Messi ha logrado mantenerse en un sólo club. Ronaldo pasó de ser rival lejano del argentino cuando jugaba con el Manchester United, a un “enemigo” directo cuando fue traspasado al Real Madrid, acérrimo rival del Barcelona F.C.

Ambos suelen respetarse ante la prensa, que busca cada fin de semana un motivo más para compararlos y tratar de decidir quien es el mejor. La calidad de ambos no está cuestionada, pero cuando de galardones se trata, “La Pulga” lleva la ventaja con cuatro “Balones de Oro”, tres “Botas de Oro” y recientemente reconocido por la Federación Internacional de Fútbol Asociación como el mejor jugador del mundial. Ello, a pesar de haber perdido ante Alemania en Brasil el pasado verano.

Al astro argentino le quedan por lo menos otros diez años de carrera si la vida lo trata bien y las lesiones no lo marginan de las cancha. El enano que River rechazó hace años, hoy es uno de los gigantes del fútbol mundial. Según la revista Forbes sus ganancias estan estimadas en 65 millones de dólares. Sus patrocinios le generan un aproximado de 23 millones y su salario es cercano a los 42 millones de dólares. Eso si, esta en problemas con el fiscal por evasión de impuestos.

Mientras constantemente se rumora si CR7 volverá al Old Trafford para vestir la playera del Manchester United, Leo Messi acaba de asegurar su permanencia con el cuadro blaugrana hasta el 2019 en mayo pasado cuando firmó su séptimo contrato con el Barca.

Personalmente me gusta más como jugador el número 7 del Real Madrid, y considero a Zinedine Zidane como el mejor futbolista de todos los tiempos, o al menos de los años que le he dedicado a ver fútbol. Pero reconozco que existe un enorme potencial en la “Pulga Biónica”. Lionel Messi, si llegas a leer esto; !Muchas felicidades!

Last Week in Sports (10/06/14-10/12/14)

Starting today, every monday I will be posting a summary of the most important news in the world of sports over the weekend.

NFL

Even though we still have to wait to see how the Monday Night Football game pans out to be, it will hardly overtake the show that Seattle and the Dallas Cowboys displayed yesterday at CenturyLink Field, the house of the 12th man. (considered the second loudest stadium in the NFL right behind Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City)

Dallas was coming off an overtime win over the Houston Texans at home but was expected to face an even harder test on the road against the Super Bowl XLVII Champions.  Things did not start well for the team managed by Jason Garrett and due to a couple of mistakes early in the game, they fell behind 10-0. The underdog responded quickly with some great plays by Tony Romo and came back to take the lead 10-17 before halftime. A fielding mistake by the special teams and a mistimed pass by Travis Frederick were key mistakes to give hope to the Seahawks and turn things around in their favor 20-17. Cowboys came back to tie but another field goal by the Seahawks gave the lead to a team that was getting lucky.

The key play of the game happened with less than five minutes to go in the game. 3rd and 20 for the Cowboys and Tony Romo avoids a couple of sacks to find Terrance Williams 23 yards away. Williams makes the best catch of the game right on the borderline of the field having his toes save him from an incomplete pass. In that same series DeMarco Murray takes the ball for a touchdown and gives the Cowboys its 5th win of the season. They will play division rivals (New York Giants, Washington Redskins) the next two weeks before traveling to London to play the Jaguars.

SOCCER

With most club activity suspended for the week due to FIFA Dates national teams in North and South America played friendly games while teams in Europe continued Euro 2016 Qualifiers. Mexico played Honduras on thursday and won 2-0 with goals from Oswaldo Alanis and “Chicharito” Hernández who is now just nine goals behind Jared Borgetti as the all-time best national team scorer. On sunday they played Panama and with the first goal of Erik Torres with the national team they took the win (1-0).

Among other important results Landon Donovan said farewell to the U.S. Men’s National Team. He played his last 40 minutes with the jersey he wore 157 times and 19 of them as the captain of the squad. After not being included by Jurgen Klinsmann to play in the World Cup the decision of retiring was clear for the best soccer player to ever represent the red, white and blue on a soccer field. Unfortunately after a memorable night Ecuador’s Enner Valencia tied the game in its final stretch for a 1-1 draw.

Brazil beat Argentina in what is probably the biggest rivalry in soccer at an international level. Diego Tardelli scored both goals for the “Verde Amarela”. Messi had a chance from the penalty spot to temporarily tie the game but he missed. This friendly game was played in Beijing, China.

In Euro 2015 Qualifiers scores Spain beat Luxemburg 4-0 after falling 2-1 earlier in the week to Slovakia. England had an easy week winning 5-0 over San Marino and 1-0 over Estonia. France beat Portugal 2-1 even with Ronaldo on the pitch but even more shocking Germany lost against Poland 0-2.

MLB

We are approaching the very end of a very long baseball season and surprises keep popping up. Probably the biggest one is that the L.A. Dodgers aren’t in the hunt for a World Series anymore. Now the Kansas City Royals are back to a spot they are not very used to be in. They are facing the Orioles in the American League Championship Series who are also pretty unfamiliar with this stages. Their rival in the biggest stage in baseball will come from the winner between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals who are playing to reach the National League Championship Series to access the World Series.

F1

A very unusual week unfolded in Formula 1. Most people have now seen or heard the accident in which Marussia’s driver Jules Bianchi was involved back in the Japan Grand Prix. Today Bianchi is still in critical condition in a hospital in Japan and is being supervised by a medical team lead by two doctors provided by Ferrari. Most of the people that surround F1 races say they are having a tough time dealing with the situation. But the show must go on and Russia welcomed the highest category in auto-racing for the first time. A circuit with lots of turns and few spaces to overpass other drivers built around the same Olympic Park that hosted the recent 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

It was again the Mercedes drivers who occupied the top two positions . Lewis Hamilton came in first after leading the whole race and Nico Rosberg finished second in a competition where most cars only needed one stop Marussia only had Max Chilton’s car on track as a tribute to his teammate. Unfortunately he had to abandon the race early on due to technical difficulties. With the 1-2 for Mercedes Benz drivers, the team secured the Constructors Championship with three races to go in the season. Apparently Russia is having to pay $50 million as a hosting fee per year for this new venture. Next up is the United States Grand Prix in Austin (special coverage from the Circuit of the Americas, stay tuned).

TENNIS MASTERS

Roger Federer has shown the world he is not done playing great tennis. The swiss who for a very long time had ranked number one in the world won the Shanghai Masters for the first time in his career after defeating Frenchman Gilles Simon 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-2). A close match that was mostly defined by Federer’s efficiency from the net taking 24 of 35 points. With the absence from Nadal in the tournament, combined with this result, Federer is now second in the ATP Rankings just behind Novak Djokovic.

CHICAGO MARATHON

There were close to ideal conditions in the “Windy City” yesterday for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. No world-records were broken, nor even course records and that is mostly due to a highly conservative pace from the leaders on both the women’s and men’s side of the field. It was a Kenyan podium on the men’s side with Eliud Kipchoge taking first place with a time of 2:04:11. Followed by Sammy Kitwara and Dickson Chumba less than a minute behind. On the women’s side Rita Jeptoo won the race with a 2:24:35 Rita Jeptoo (KEN) 2:24:35, Mare Dibaba came second and Florence Kiplagat finished third. Jeptoo from Kenya also clinched the 2013-2014 World Marathon Majors title.

OTHERS

Finally mexican golfer Carlos Ortiz made his PGA debut at the Frys.com Open in Napa Valley, California. The University of North Texas alumni and “Web.Com Player of the Year”finished with a scorecard of one stroke under par to rank 57 allowing him to rank 56 in the PGA Tour. Also Paola Longoria from Mexico won the U.S. Open in racquetball after defeating María José Vargas from Argentina 3-0 at Minneapolis. It is Longoria’s fifth U.S. Open title and 150th consecutive win for the player from San Luis Potosi.

Changes at the Speed of F1

When the 2014 Formula 1 Season started in march there were big changes to what we were used to see before. For the first time in a very long time Sebastian Vettel wasn’t the winner and he still hasn’t managed to be on top of the podium with less than half the season remaining. The sound of the new engines was widely criticized by fans which now creates part of its power by a Energy Recovery System. On the bright side we have seen a tougher competition among the whole field with the exception of the Mercedes Benz drivers who have won all but three races of the season so far.

Ferrari has not been the same team ever since Michael Schumacher left the team. They have not lived up to its name and Stefano Domenicali resigned from his position as team principal of the Ferrari Formula One team on mid-august. Marco Mattiacci, former president and CEO of Ferrari North America replaced him. Fernando Alonso has done more for the team than what his car has to offer. The two-time world champion has repeatedly performed at a world-class level but will not be with the “Cavallino Rampante” starting next season. Four-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel is about to make his move to Ferrari official any minute. Alonso could be going back to McLaren.

I’ve been following Formula 1 for a bit now and I can assure you that this one has been the most exciting one. Besides Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo being the only three pilots who have won races this far, the battle for second to 23rd place is always up for anyone. Mexican driver Sergio Perez is having his best season. He finished third in Bahrein and has been able to rack up some points in nine races currently sitting on the tenth spot overall. Esteban Gutierrez had a strong finish in the 2013 season, but the changes to his car have not been positive and so far he has no points, either has his teammate Adrian Sutil. Hamilton leads the board just ten points over Rosberg.

Just to show how tough these drivers are, they have endured extreme temperatures in places like Singapore and a close typhoon in Japan. At the first one Danii Kyvat and Kevin Magnussen reported burns and dehydration during the night race. That was nothing compared to what happened in Japan. The race started under a yellow flag due to the heavy rain. After a short pause it resumed and it was impressive to see how short of a visibility range drivers had along the course while still driving over 200 km/h.

The race was about to end when Adrian Sutil lost control of his car on turn 12 and crashed with a safety wall. There was a provisional yellow flag issued (which should have resulted in the safety car immediately). One lap later Jules Bianchi lost control of his Marussia in the same exact spot. The result was him crashing against the crane that was lifting Sutil’s car at around 160 miles per hour. it took a while for the press to know what was going on since there was no video of the incident.

What should have been a week of celebration in the wake of the first Russian Grand Prix ever, has been a week where Bianchi is fighting for his life in Japan and all the attention is on increasing an already tight security around Formula 1 plus really knowing what happened in what is surely Bianchi’s last lap ever as a F1 driver. Some experts say that race should have not even happened under the conditions it was raced in.

Sergio Perez at the Japan GP under heavy rain conditions. (Force India)
Sergio Perez at the Japan GP under heavy rain conditions. (Force India)

But now Russia is set to host a Grand Prix. Next year Mexico will have the return of the highest category in automotive racing come to a city where many stories were written. Austin is setting itself as one of the driver’s favorite places to race at with just two years in existence, the rumor is New York could be next and it could actually be a street-circuit and not on an actual track. You can already tell safety will be made an even higher priority from now on at old and new circuits.

Safety measures are bound to change, but what spectators around the world hope that does not change is the excitement of the current F1 season. Many of us were tired of the dictatorship that drivers like Vettel and Schumacher had at every race. If Bernie Ecclestone wants more fans to tune into F1 activities, a season as exciting as this one should be a common situation.

But for now lets just hope Jules Bianchi survives a horrifying incident. #ForzaJules

Viewer Discretion is advised to watch this link containing the crash of Jules Bianchi.

Top 5 Drivers: 1) Lewis Hamilton, 2) Nico Rosberg, 3) Daniel Ricciardo, 4) Sebastian Vettel, 5) Fernando Alonso

Top 5 Constructors: 1) Mercedes, 2) Red Bull, 3) Williams, 4) Ferrari, 5) Force India

Races to go: 4 (Russia, United States, Brazil, Abu Dhabi)

Luz y Sombra en el Gallinero

Me hubiera gustado que lo que estan a punto de leer fuera una hazaña heroica y tuviera un final soñado pero les advierto que será casi todo lo contrario debido a como sucedieron las cosas.

La ciudad de Querétaro tiene un espacio especial en mi memoria por la siguiente razón. Hace diez años, cuando corría para la Escuela Americana de Tampico tuve la oportunidad de representar a mi escuela en el Campeonato Nacional ASOMEX, que reúne a las escuelas americanas en México. No era la primera vez que participaba en el evento pero de entrada sabía que podía ser un año especial. La prueba que me tocó correr fueron los 800 metros planos. Una prueba que por lo regular se me complica ya que requiere de mucha velocidad y yo me desarrollo mejor con distancias más largas.

Muchas veces se me había negado la posibilidad de ganar este campeonato, ya sólo me quedaban dos años para graduarme de la escuela y la presión era considerable. No me quería graduar sin haber ganado al menos una vez. Para no hacerla más larga así sucedieron las cosas. Saliendo no tuve una buena salida ya que como de diez competidores empecé en el noveno lugar sin mucha distancia para recomponer el camino. Afortunadamente fui paciente y aproveche que algunos se iban cansando conforme transcurría la carrera. Con 400 metros por recorrer ya estaba en sexto pero como 40 metros por detrás del primer lugar. Era momento de empezar a atacar, y con 300 metros por recorrer empate al quinto lugar. A 150 metros de la meta ya estaba en cuarto y en ese momento era ahora o nunca.

Estaba como a 15-20 metros del líder y con 100 metros por avanzar. No sé de donde ni cómo logré cerrar esa vez. Lo que sí se es que entre a los últimos 80 metros en tercer lugar, ya tenía el podio asegurado. A 10 metros del final me colé en el segundo lugar y sobre la raya pasó lo que nadie en el Parque Querétaro 2000 se imaginaba 20 segundos antes. Pasé la meta confundido y volteando a ver a los jueces y a quienes había alcanzado en los últimos metros. Los 20 segundos después de cruzar la meta se me hicieron eternos pero al 21 me enteré que había ganado la prueba. ¡Era campeón nacional!

Esa terminó siendo la mejor carrera de todo el campeonato, tan buena que en varios lugares de la ciudad hubo desconocidos que me felicitaron por lo hecho en la pista. Así que me fui bastante contento de esa ciudad.

Diez años después regresé a la misma ciudad con la misión de hacer un buen medio maratón que me encaminara a la clasificación para Boston 2016. Quería correr por debajo de la hora y media para saber que aguantaba el ritmo que debo llevar en diciembre en el Maratón Internacional de California. Obviamente pasé por la pista donde me hice campeón nacional en busca de inspiración. Fuera de un pequeño dolor en el chamorro todo iba bien rumbo a los 21 kilómetros.

El domingo amanecí bien, me alisté y salí rumbo al punto de reunión. Estiré, fui al baño y calenté previo al reto y de repente pasó lo impensable. En el último ejercicio de calentamiento que consiste de pequeños sprints me tronó el chamorro. Pero no había vuelta atrás. Comenzó la carrera y los primeros diez kilómetros la supe llevar bien, sin un paso constante pero lo más cerca a mi objetivo. Pero luego arreció un poco la lluvia y el músculo que ya iba calentando se enfrió y entumio la pierna por completo. Como muy pocas veces, tuve que caminar sabiendo que el objetivo del día se estaba esfumando.

Entre caminando y corriendo me la llevé hasta 2 kilómetros de la meta para llegar al final tratando de hacerle el menor daño posible a la pierna. Obviamente molesto ni la medalla quería pero pues ya había pagado por ella. Me cuesta trabajo creer como todo iba bien hasta momentos antes de la carrera, ya estaba adaptado a la altura, a los entrenamientos fuertes y un sprint de menos de 20 metros arruinó todo. Ahora posiblemente tenga que correr otro medio maratón antes de diciembre para recuperar la confianza perdida ayer en el gallinero, pues el reto de correr un maratón por debajo de tres horas comienza a verse muy complicado.

Me he levantado de situaciones difíciles pero esta es especial por lo que esta en juego en diciembre. No hay mucho tiempo que perder, pues diciembre esta a la vuelta de la esquina y hay mucho trabajo por hacer. Esta semana tendré que comenzar un tratamiento para la pierna ya que es indispensable para poder correr tengo entendido. Parece ser que Acapulco será el lugar de la revancha el 9 de noviembre. El 7 de diciembre aguarda y ese día no habrá margen de error.

Pisando la misma pista donde me hice campeón nacional en el 2004.
Con mi mamá previo al Medio Maratón de Querétaro 2014.

 

Un Titán de Grandes Ligas

Después de que cada equipo disputó 162 partidos, hoy arranca la postemporada de la Grandes Ligas con la participación de los ocho mejores equipos de la Major League Baseball. Afuera quedaron equipos como los Rangers de Texas y los Yankees de Nueva York que también se tuvieron que despedir de uno de sus grandes ídolos de todos los tiempos, el campocorto Derek Jeter. Pero adentro esta el gran brazo de Justin Verlander con los Tigres de Detroit, la experiencia de Albert Pujols con los Angelinos de Anaheim y sin a la ofensiva hay que estar al pendiente de lo que haga Adrián González con los Dodgers de Los Angeles.

“El Titán” de 32 años se ha venido consolidando como uno de los mejores bates de la liga. Iniciando su carrera profesional con la novena de Arlington (Rangers) en el 2004, diez años después terminó la temporada regular con la mayor cantidad de carreras impulsadas que cualquier otro pelotero de la Liga Nacional con 116, casi uno por juego. El cuatro veces seleccionado al Juego de las Estrellas tuvo una temporada de ensueño conectando 27 cuadrangulares y promediando .276 en sus 591 llamados a la caja de bateo.

En un equipo acostumbrado a la fama, fue difícil sobresalir por mucho tiempo para el oriundo de San Diego California. Desde temprana edad su talento se hizo notar para los equipos de las mayores. En el 2000 fue contratado por los Marlins de Miami, pero una lesión puso a temblar a los propietarios de su carta que no dudaron en traspasarlos a los Rangers en el 2004. De ahí ha pasado por Texas, San Diego, Boston hasta llegar a su actual equipo en el 2012.

En las temporadas pasadas fue Yasiel Puig quien robaba cámara en el equipo donde uno de los propietarios es el mítico Magic Johnson. Hoy por hoy, el primera base de los Dodgers cuenta con un palmarés que quizá supere al del mismo Puig. Además de sus varios llamados al Juego de las Estrellas, Gónzalez ha representado a México en tres ocasiones en el Clásico Mundial de Béisbol, en el 2009 fue nombrado el MVP de la Serie del Caribe

Ahora su equipo iniciará la postemporada contra los Cardenales de San Luis quienes ganaron la división central de la Liga Nacional. El rival en turno terminó la temporada con récord de 90-72. Sin duda que los Dodgers tienen en Gónzalez su mejor arma para poder llegar a disputar y hasta ganar el clásico de otoño, esperando que la mecha del Titán no se apague.

Adrián Gonzalez y Earvin Johnson (Zimbio.com)
Adrián González y Earvin Johnson (Zimbio.com)

MLB Playoffs: Detroit Tigers vs Baltimore Orioles — Kansas City Royals vs Anaheim Angels —- San Francisco Giants vs Washington Nationals — Los Angeles Dodgers vs St. Louis Cardinals