Ruiz World Champ

IMPERIAL VALLEY NATIVE Andy Ruiz (left) stuns Anthony Joshua and the world at Madison Square Garden in New York June 1 by becoming the first Mexican-American heavyweight boxing champion.

This and that

The Golden State Warriors look a lot like a normal team as they continue to lose player after player. They took on the Toronto Raptors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night, June 5, without Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson and, despite Steph Curry’s 47 points, they lost.

Attrition can kill any team’s playoff hopes and when you lose players of this caliber it can also make a team look incredibly average, which is exactly what happened to the Warriors. It would be a shame to see Golden State’s chances at a three-peat end because of injuries, but they are part of the game, so it is something the team has to overcome if they are going to best Toronto. 

Injuries are also wreaking havoc in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Boston Bruins, already without one of their top defensemen, lost team captain Zdeno Chára to a broken jaw midway through Game 4 of their showdown with the St. Louis Blues. Now, here’s what I love about hockey. Chára, with a broken jaw, is not being ruled out for Game 5 (or the next two games, for that matter). The guy has a broken jaw, but just might play. I have no doubt in my mind, hockey players are the toughest athletes on the planet. 

Speaking of tough, the Imperial Valley’s Andy Ruiz Jr. is the new heavyweight champion of the world! The Imperial native defeated Anthony Joshua on Saturday, June 1, to win the WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF titles. I don’t get around to talking about boxing much in this space, but it seemed this was worth mentioning. Ruiz looked strong in the stoppage win and seems to have a chance to etch his name in the boxing annals as one of the best heavyweights of the 21st century. 

The closer for the World Series champion Boston Red Sox finally found a job, with the Chicago Cubs. I am speaking of former San Diego Padre Craig Kimbrel who had to wait for baseball to have its amateur draft before any team would sign him (so they would not lose a draft pick). Kimbrel might be an upgrade for the Cubs, I honestly don’t know. I am a Red Sox fan and I was not sorry to see him go as, even though Boston’s bullpen is suspect, so is Kimbrel at this point in his career. That said, if he comes out strong and looks like the Kimbrel of old, he might make Chicago the favorite to win the National League. Now only Dallas Keuchel remains as a baseball free agent with a big beard in search of a job. 

Finally, let’s end with some trivia so you can impress your sports-loving friends. Red Sox ace Chris Sale pitched his second “immaculate inning” of the year Wednesday, June 5. This means he struck out the side on nine pitches. He’d already accomplished this rare feat May 8 against the Baltimore Orioles. He did it again this week against the Kansas City Royals and became just the second man in the history of the game to pitch an immaculate inning twice in a season. The other is New York Yankee Lefty Grove, who did it way back in 1928. 

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