On Sports

Former Providence Journal sports writer Mike Szostak blogs regularly with news and analysis about sports in Rhode Island.

Women carried the United States in the Winter Olympics that ended Sunday. They won 12 of America’s 23 medals and five of Team USA’s nine gold.

You go, girl? I’ll say. From 17-year-old snowboarder Chloe Kim to 28-year-old hockey player Hillary Knight to 35-year-old cross-country skier Kikkan Randall, America’s women entertained us with their skill, thrilled us with their daring and brought tears to our eyes with their refuse-to-quit grit.

I hope the U.S. Olympic Committee keeps this in mind when it doles out training dollars between now and Beijing in 2022.

How does a girl from Los Angeles prepare for a spot on the U.S. Women’s Bobsled Team? By playing volleyball at Brown, of course.

Four Olympics blogs as the end of the longest Winter Games in history comes into view:

Twenty years ago, the United States defeated Canada, 3-1, for the first women’s ice hockey gold medal in Olympics history. The scene on the ice that day wasn’t quite Lake Placid in 1980, but it was special nonetheless.

The University of Rhode Island men’s basketball team continues to shine. In what has become a special season, the Dan Hurley-coached Rams are drawing national attention, always a plus in the run up to the NCAA tournament and March Madness.

URI is ranked 18th nationally in the Associated Press weekly poll and 19th in the USA Today Coaches poll. That puts Rhody on top of such perennial college basketball royalty as North Carolina (22nd in AP) and Kentucky (24th in AP).

What’s the next headline for the New England Patriots? Belichick Retires? Kraft Sells Pats? Brady Inks New Pact? Gronk: I’ve Had Enough?

Whew! What a week for the Patriots, and it’s still only Thursday. Let’s review.

Sunday

Eagles backup QB Nick Foles picks apart Pats pathetic defense for 373 yards and three touchdowns, leads Philadelphia to a 41-33 victory over the Patriots and is the MVP of Super Bowl LII. Forty-year-old Tom Brady, a backup when he won the first of his five Super Bowls in 2002, throws for 505 yards and three touchdowns.

John Bender

The Patriots have brought home more than their share of wins for the ages, but Sunday night's Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles wasn't one of them.

Jesse Costa/WBUR

It’s been the talk of New England for weeks now. Will the Pats blow out the Eagles in the Super Bowl? Or will the Eagles run away with this one?  Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon put that question to sports blogger Mike Szostak.

His take?

This will be a close game. There's no doubt about it. Both teams have strengths, and a few weaknesses, but they both had to prove themselves to get this far. 

This is getting ridiculous. Another Comeback For The Ages. If the New England Patriots keep this up, they’re going to run out of ages.

George Graboys was my hero, not because during his 23 years as chairman, chief executive and president he managed Citizens to the big leagues of Rhode Island banking, and not because as chairman of the Rhode Island Foundation and a founder of the Rhode Island Children’s Crusade he enhanced the lives of the underserved in our state.

College football in Rhode Island ended Saturday with Brown losing at Columbia, 24-6, and finishing 2-8, its worst season in more than a decade; URI losing at Towson, 29-10, and concluding a 3-8 season, its 16th consecutive losing campaign, and Bryant pulling out a 38-29 victory over Duquesne, giving rookie head coach James Perry a 6-5 record.

Winning a division title in Major League Baseball is not good enough these days. Just ask John Farrell, until recently manager of the Boston Red Sox, or Dusty Baker, the former manager of the Washington Nationals.

Winning a division series and reaching the seventh game of the American League Championship Series is not good enough, either. Just ask Joe Girardi, until Thursday the manager of the New York Yankees. His downfall? The Houston Astros defeated the Yankees in Game 7 of the ALCS.

Fifty years ago today, Sunday, Oct. 1, 1967, The Impossible Dream came true. The Boston Red Sox, a 100-1 long shot that April, won the American League pennant. Their 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park on the last day of the season cemented 1967 as the most exciting baseball summer of my life and, arguably, in Red Sox history.

Why does Sports World wrap itself in the American flag? I wondered about that last weekend as President Trump strained his thumbs firing off more than a dozen tweets criticizing National Football League players who knelt rather than stood at attention during the playing of our national anthem.

Football is off to a shaky start here in the Ocean State. Rhode Island’s favorite pro team was humiliated in its season opener last week, its flagship state university is 0-2, and its top business school lost by eight touchdowns last Saturday.

The good news is that the Ocean State’s Ivy League entry at long last kicks off its season on Saturday, and its Division III team is undefeated.

As summer fades to fall, the Red Sox – Boston and Pawtucket – and the Patriots dominate the sports news. Here is my take on three hot topics.

RED SOX: SNAP OUT OF IT!

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