I have written in several previous posts that the late spring and early summer is an exciting period in the sports world. We have multiple championships, drafts, regular season beginnings, and tournaments all over the place. It’s almost as if Oprah is standing in the middle of a sports complex saying “You get a championship and you get a draft pick and you get an all-star match-up, everybody gets…something!” In the past month alone we have had several champions be crowned, along with the other aspects mentioned above. I will not go into detail on regular season beginnings and probably will not cover most tournaments going on. Some, such as the College World Series, have yet to reach their conclusion and therefor will not be mentioned here (but awesome job to the 8 teams that made the CWS). For everyone else, well there should be something in this post for you. Let’s roll out some Congratulations:
Toronto Raptors – NBA Champions
On June 13th, the Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in game six of the NBA Finals to win the series 4-2. It was their first championship appearance and victory, a major stepping stone for the franchise. Forward Kawhi Leonard, who was acquired via trade with the San Antonio Spurs this past off-season, was the series MVP. The Warriors suffered their second finals defeat in five years, but also won the other three finals in that same span. Several key players were injured on and off throughout the series, and Steph Curry alone could not carry them to victory. Leonard was a clear star, but overall the Raptors put together a well-balanced performance with contributions from several players. It was a good change of pace for the league to not see Golden State v. LeBron James in a finals, but do not assume either faction will be out of the spot light for long.
St. Louis Blues – NHL Champions
One day before the Raptors took home their first title, the St. Louis Blues defeated the Boston Bruins in game seven of the Stanley Cup finals to take home their first title. This was quite the knock it down drag it out series, with both teams essentially trading victories up until the very end. Center Ryan O’Reilly won series MVP for the Blues, and was an all-around stud in the playoffs amassing 23 points in 28 games. For Boston, it would have been their seventh Stanley Cup Championship and 400th major sports title for the city (I exaggerate, but not too far off). Much like the NBA finals, there was a clear underdog fan favorite for neutral fans to lean towards. Not that there is anything wrong with the Bruins or the Warriors, but first time winners are the better feel good story.
First Overall Draft Picks
We are flashing back a little bit here, as I am congratulating QB Kyler Murray on being taken first overall in the NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals in April. I also want to congratulate to the other 31 football players who heard their names called in the first round. It was an awesome event and the city of Nashville did an excellent job of making it a party. Fast-forward to June 3rd and the MLB draft which saw C Adley Rutschman get taken first by the Baltimore Orioles. The MLB event is a much more subdued event, but still an awesome moment for the 41 players who heard their name called on the first day. Really congratulations are owed to every player taken in both drafts. It is a great accomplishment to be drafted into a pro sports league, and I’m sure they will make the most of their opportunities. I will also offer an early congrats to Zion Williamson, who is likely to be taken first by the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA draft in four days.
Other Congratulatory Remarks
Now we are going to rapid fire our way through some additional champions. Have to give a shot out to UCLA Softball for winning the Women’s College World Series. Major props to Liverpool for winning the UEFA Champions League Final and Chelsea for taking home a victory in the UEFA Europa League Final. Rafael Nadal continues to dominate the Men’s Tennis world, winning both the French Open and the Italian Open over the past month. Ashleigh Barty and Karolina Pliskova won those respective tournaments on the women’s side. Brooks Koepka took home the Men’s PGA Championship, and Lee Jeong-eun earned victory in the WPGA USA Open. Even though there was no triple crown winner in horse racing, we should still congratulate horses Country House (Kentucky Derby), War of Will (Preakness), and Sir Winston (Belmont) on their victories.
I could keep going, but honestly we could keep this rolling for a while and I do not feel like writing a novel for this post. It is good to see that there are exciting things happening this time of year, no matter what sport you are a fan of. Things will calm down a bit over the summer before we ramp up again in the fall. Baseball will be coming to an end, football will kick off and return to the spot light, and it won’t be long before Hockey and Basketball start up again. The WNBA championship is around that time, and the wrap up for the motor racing, tennis, and golf circuits will not be far behind. If you pay close attention, there is always something exciting happening in the sports world. That’s what we at IE Sports Radio aim to tell you. Check us out on Spreaker and on our new website, which should be ramping up soon. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time.