Vaught's Views: Was that a hole in the track?

April 19, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Sometimes so many sports are on television that it is almost difficult to believe what one is watching.

Take Sunday.

* Was the NASCAR race really delayed an hour because the track came apart?

Maybe we expect potholes in area roads and highways. But should a large chunk of cement come loose and create a hole about a foot long at a NASCAR track like Martinsville (Va.) Speedway where drivers are risking their lives driving at outrageous speeds?

Yet that's just what happened Sunday. Fortunately, no one was injured, but Jeff Gordon probably lost any chance he had to win the race because of damage his car had from going through the hole.

* Was that really the Cincinnati Reds coming from behind to win a second straight game at Wrigley Field?

The Reds scored two ninth-inning runs to beat Chicago ace Kerry Wood Saturday. Sunday the Reds got a two-run triple from Juan Castro in the 10th inning to win 11-10.


Cincinnati also got a two-run homer from pinchhitter Austin Kearns, the former Lexington Lafayette star.

Not only did the game have a lot of offense, but it also proved that highly-paid professional athletes can have problems, too. Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey Jr. both misplayed fly balls - Griffey misjudged a ball in the wind and Sosa lost a ball in the sun - like youngsters do at Millennium Park.

Chicago pitcher Greg Maddux had no excuses, either. He was battered for the third straight game and sure made it look like Atlanta knew what it was doing when it let him walk away rather than give him $10 million to pitch this season.

* Was that really a NBA team not only playing defense, but taking pride in the way it played defense?

Detroit beat Milwaukee 108-82 because of a defense that forced 25 turnovers, including 14 steals, that led to 28 points. The Pistons also blocked eight shots.

Unlike most NBA teams, the Pistons understand that defense can win games. They have won 21 of their last 25 games and are giving up just 84.3 points per game. Detroit held 11 foes under 70 points this season. That's E-L-E-V-E-N NBA teams that could not score 70 points in 48 minutes against the Pistons.

Obviously, former UK standout Tayshaun Prince has had no trouble buying into the defensive philosophy of coach Larry Brown after playing for Tubby Smith. He had a typical game Sunday - 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.

* Was that really Venus Williams winning a tennis tournament?

Youngster sister Serena has become the star of the Williams family in recent years while Venus has gradually faded into the background.

Venus had not won a tournament for 14 months until she beat Conchita Martinez 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 Sunday to win the Family Circle Cup.

Like her sister who pulled out of this same tournament with an injury, Venus has had injury problems. However, she showed Sunday that she might be ready to peak again.

* Was that really former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson standing in front of TV cameras while promoter Don King talked about a possible comeback for the fighter?

No matter how bad the heavyweight division is, why would anyone pay to see Tyson fight? He's not only a criminal, but he's old. If boxing has no better star than him, then boxing ought to just take a long hiatus.

* Was that really a nine-shot deficit Stewart Cink made up in the final round to win the MCI Heritage in Hilton Head?

He shot a 7-under par 64 - and made me dust off the hat he autographed for me several years ago when the PGA Championship was at Valhalla in Louisville - and kept Ted Purdy from winning his first tour event. Purdy had a 73 and lost a five-hole playoff to Cink, who had an eagle and six birdies Sunday on the scenic Harbour Town course.

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