Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss Andrew Albers, “Doctor” Donovan McNabb and the best and the worst of the tennis world.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is down to the retirement of Marion Bartoli, who walked away from tennis 40 days after winning Wimbledon at age 28. She said her body was done. She said Wimbledon was probably the last bit of something that was left inside her. Well, it's a shame. It feels like a snap decision from someone who made tennis so much more interesting - Bartoli was a basket of intellect and indiosyncracies - starting by not bouncing the ball before she served, in a sport where so many athletes seem mass-produced. But maybe this is for the best. She'd had a rough year, and Wimbledon was a soft-schedule burst of lightning in a bottle. In the end, she left her way, which was always how she played.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to Andrew Albers, the 27-year-old from North Battleford, Saskatchewan, for winning the longest drive competition in major league baseball - and I'm not talking golf here. Albers drove from Saskatchewan to Arizona, from Arizona to Florida - 32 hours in all - to pursue a future in baseball. The drive to Florida and some craftiness earned him a contract with the Minnesota Twins and against all odds, he began his big league journey in incredible form last week. First a shutout. Then another. He threw 17 1/3 innings before finally giving up runs and being defeated Saturday night. We have no idea how long this will last for Albers, but we do know this: this lefthander has drive.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: Yes, Rafael Nadal schooled him in the Rogers Cup final last Sunday. And yes, he lost to John Isner in Cincinnati on Thursday. Still, my thumb is up to Milos Raonic. Sandwiched between those defeats, Raonic had an obscure yet significant win. Raonic beat Janko Tipsarevic in Cincinnati to run his record against the Serb to 3-0, but this was the first time he had won in straight sets. You will soon be pronouncing Tipsarevic with ease. With Viktor Troicki's doping suspension, Tipsarevic will be the serbian no. 2, behind Novak Djokovic, in the Davis Cup semifinal against Canada next month. Even on Belgrade clay, a confident Raonic makes an upset possible.
Brent Wallace, TSN: My thumb is down to the former Washington Redskin quarterback who wants to become the personal shrink to current Redskin quarterback Robert Griffin III. Donovan McNabb has plenty of experience after playing 13 seasons in the NFL, but that doesn't mean he needs to impart his wisdom on others in a public forum and use the excuse that he's just trying to help. On his radio show this week - McNabb - who had a very tumultuous one-year stint in Washington - said RG3 is being "brainwashed" and then added "clearly the young generation... they think they have all the answers. He is going through a little turmoil right now... trying to make it out on the field and it's unfortunate." Saying those things in a public forum - whether they're true or not - is not helping. You played the position, you should know how it works. Reach out to him quietly if you want, but don't scream it to the world. You had your time in the spotlight, now it's time to let others shine and for you to fade into the background and to not keep making the story about you.