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Important 10 days for the Phillies

May 26, 2023

The Phillies are going on one of their longest road trips of the season, and finally playing divisional opponents in three straight series. Because of the fact that they are already seven games behind the Atlanta  Braves for first place, they must start to play well now to be able to stay in the division race for the whole season. First, this weekend they play the Braves for four games, then the New York Mets for three, and finally round out the road trip with three games against the last place Washington Nationals. The other factor that makes these games more important than usual is the more balanced schedule this year, which means teams do not play their division foes as much as they have in the past. So if you're going to contend in your division, you need to win these games. Hopefully the Phillies can step up to that challenge.

The NBA Finals are going to start next week. The Denver Nuggets will represent the Western Conference and they should be the big favorite to win the championship for the first time ever. They have a very impressive player in Nikola Jokić. He is a two-time MVP of the league and he is the center for their team. Also, the Nuggets have made franchise history since this is the first time they have made the NBA Finals since before the merger of the NBA and ABA in 1976. 

Denver swept the Los Angeles Lakers in four games. In the press conference after the fourth game, the Lakers’ LeBron James floated the idea of retiring. I don’t think this is actually going to happen. He was just very frustrated about his season ending. The press seems to think that he is going to play at least two more years so he can play with his son in the NBA after his son's one year of college at USC. We will see what happens. He has to make his decision pretty fast because the NBA doesn’t have much of an off season.

In the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat have a 3-1 lead over the Boston Celtics. This is a big surprise, but in the history of the NBA, no team has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win the series. 

In the golf world, Brooks Koepka won the PGA Championship with a score of nine-under par by two shots over Scotty Scheffler and Victor Hovland. The tournament was determined on the 16th hole on Sunday. Brooks and Victor were within one shot of each other, then Victor hit a bad tee shot into the bunker and failed to get his second shot out, giving him a double bogey on the hole. This gave Brooks a big enough cushion to coast home with the victory. And Brooks deserved to win. He played very well the whole tournament.

Unfortunately, for most golf fans, we will not be able to see him play much because Brooks decided to play on the alternate LIV tour that does not have a broadcast contract with any of the major networks. Because of that decision, he is only eligible to play in the major championships and not on the main PGA Tour. All players that are on the LIV tour are ineligible to play in PGA tour events.

Another positive story that was a big part of the PGA Championship was the success of PGA professional Michael Block from California. PGA professionals are people who have the tough task of teaching those of us who want to know how to play golf for pleasure. The PGA has a qualifying process where 20 PGA club professionals get to play in the PGA Championship. Most of the time the players do not make the cut after the first two rounds, but this year, Michael made it and was able to tie for 15th place. This means he can come back next year without having to qualify again. Most importantly and amazingly, he also made a hole in one in the last round while playing with Rory McIlroy with a great shot that went directly into the hole on the fly. He really stole the show and received much deserved stardom for the day.

On the local side of sports, congratulations are also in order for the Cape Henlopen boys’ volleyball team which won the first sanctioned state championship in a three-game sweep of Salesianum.

 

  • A 2002 Cape grad and 2007 UD grad, Lewes resident Sumner Spence is one of the Cape area's biggest sports fans. Wheelchair-bound his entire life, he has lived vicariously through his sports-playing father, brother, and friends, who gave him his love of sports. He hopes to provide new and interesting perspectives on the sports stories and issues of the day. Email Sumner at sumspence@gmail.com.

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