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Andy Pettitte Breaks Ankle Against Indians, Will Miss At Least Six Weeks

Andy Pettitte will miss at least six weeks. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
In a matter of hours Wednesday the Yankees went from having one of the best starting fives in all of baseball, to now trying to suddenly replace their top two pitchers. First it was CC Sabathia being placed on the 15-day disabled list this morning with a muscle strain in his left leg. Then, Andy Pettitte was hit with a line drive to the ankle in the afternoon game against the Cleveland Indians hours later. He will miss at least six weeks.

So, that deep Yankees rotation we talked about, the one that easily could survive without Sabathia for two weeks, is now in a bit of trouble. Joining Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes will likely be Freddy Garcia and Adam Warren, for now anyway. From there, it's anyone's guess.

CC Sabathia Going On 15-Day DL

CC Sabathia is going on the disabled list. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
Just when it appeared everything was going the Yankees way during this incredible run in June, some big news has come as the first downer in a long, long time. The Yankees are going to place ace pitcher CC Sabathia on the 15-day disabled list with a muscle strain. Manager Joe Girardi made the announcement Wednesday morning, a few hours before the Yankees play the Cleveland Indians at the Stadium.

Losing Sabathia is obviously a big blow, but with Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova all on top of their game, it's not as bad as it could have been. Sabathia is 9-3 this season with a 3.45 ERA.

Freddy Garcia was scheduled to start Friday against the Chicago White Sox.

State Of The Yankees 11: Yankees Continue To Own New York Baseball After Winning Subway Series Again

  By Brad Carroll  
Our State of the Yankees column is back for its 11th installment with yet another Subway Series win against the cross-city rival New York Mets and the best record in the American League. As always, we want to hear what you have to say about your favorite (or least favorite) team below in the comments section. And check back next week for the latest from the New York Yankees right here.

  Opening Statement  
Facing the first bit of adversity in a month, losing three straight games, including the series opener to the Mets Friday night, the Yankees had to respond in a big way in the final two games against their cross-city rivals, especially considering the trash talking by closer Frank Francisco. Consider the job done. The Yankees bounced back, winning Saturday's game 4-3 and besting R.A. Dickey (although he didn't take the loss) and the Mets 6-5 Sunday. The two wins were important for a bunch of reasons, but two stand out the most. First, the victories mean the Yankees continue their domination against the Mets in interleague play, which now stands at five straight series wins. Yes, the games are more for the fans' enjoyment than anything else, with Yankees fans owning bragging rights once again, but don't think for a second the Yankees players and management didn't want to win this series. It might not be the Red Sox, but these games against the Mets matter a great deal to everyone involved. Second, Sunday's win, where the Yankees roughed up Dickey and powered their way to another victory, has the confidence level at a season-high. Dickey has been as close to unhittable as a pitcher can be this season, but the Yankees scored five early runs against him. It was the red-hot team against the scorching-hot pitcher ... and the Yankees won. It led to this quote from Mark Teixeira: "We feel like we can beat everybody. We never go into a game saying, 'We'll probably lose this one because this guy's hot.' When people say, 'You can't beat him,' we go, 'OK, we'll prove you wrong.' It's kind of fun." That's a great thing to hear if you're a Yankees fan.

State Of The Mets 11: Mets Tied For Wild Card Lead After Stretch From Death Ends With Series Loss To Yanks

  By Brad Carroll  
Our State of the Mets column is back for its 11th installment with a sweep of the Baltimore Orioles but a crushing weekend with two losses to the rival Yankees, including R.A. Dickey getting roughed up just the second time all season. As always, we want to hear what you have to say about your favorite (or least favorite) team below in the comments section. And check back next Sunday night for the latest from the Mets.

  Opening Statement  
The Mets had a great chance to not only make another move in their quest for the postseason, but to stick it to the Yankees and win the weekend series at Citi Field. With R.A. Dickey on the mound, the man with the 11-1 record and five straight games without allowing an earned run, everything was set up perfectly for the Mets Sunday night. Winning the game would move their record this week to 5-1 and, best yet, get a measure of revenge for the Yankees sweeping them at the Stadium a couple weeks back. But the great run by Dickey this season came to a crashing end, as the Yankees scored five runs against the knuckleballer, including a three-run home run by Nick Swisher in the third inning, and the possibility for a series win turned into losing two of three. So, that's not at all what the Mets and their fans wanted from the weekend. But, with that written, it was still a successful week for the Mets. They went 4-2, including two straight 5-0 shutouts against Baltimore on Monday and Tuesday, with Dickey and Johan Santana on the mound. Also, the 25-game stretch from hell has come to an end, with the Mets going 12-13. That's not good, but it's not bad either. The Mets survived and can now settle in for the final weeks of the regular season. They're five games over .500 at 39-34 and second place in the NL East, 3.5 games behind the first place Washington Nationals. They're also one of three teams, including San Francisco and Pittsburgh, tied atop the wild card standings.

State Of The Red Sox 11: The Soap Opera That Is The Red Sox Continues, Including Trade Of Kevin Youkilis

  By Matt Straub  
Our State of the Red Sox column is back for its 11th installment with the soap opera that is the 2012 edition of the team from Boston, including the trade of Kevin Youkilis. As always, we want to hear what you have to say about your favorite (or least favorite) team below in the comments section. And check back next week for the latest from the Red Sox right here.

  Opening Statement  
Like sand through an hour glass, these are the days of our lives ... . Wait, this is a post about the 2012 Boston Red Sox. Sorry, it’s hard to tell the difference sometimes. Once again, the play of the Red Sox has been overshadowed by off-field nonsense, and one of the most mentally exhausting seasons in Sox history just keeps plodding along. At least this week’s adventures provided a touching moment. The much-discussed and much-needed end to the Kevin Youkilis era in Boston came Sunday when “Youk” got a triple in his last at-bat at Fenway. It’s unclear exactly what he was told before he went to the plate (a recurring theme in his story we’ll get back to in a minute) but when he was pulled for pinch-runner Nick Punto (a nice touch as the two are reportedly good friends) Youkilis obviously knew he was gone. He tipped his hat to the crowd, hugged teammates and came back out for a curtain call, egged on by Bobby Valentine, who is becoming one of the most disingenuous figures in Boston's sports history. Regardless of the obvious fraud of Valentine leading the applause, it was a really nice moment, even if it did leave me conflicted. I’m not a Youkilis fan. Last week’s entry could have been titled “All the reasons I hate Kevin Youkilis.” His selfishness in the form of a blatant disregard for his teammates as opposed to his own success got so bad that the players once backed Manny Ramirez in a fight against Youkilis in the dugout. He had been asked by teammates to stop throwing things in their direction when he made outs, and he continued, much to their chagrin. His lack of athletic ability was often mistaken for hustle. I don’t doubt Youkilis gave every ounce of energy he had, but sometimes he was just making up for his lack of speed. He looked like a softball player trying to play professional baseball at times. There were two things he could always do, however. The first was catch anything hit near him. His range was never spectacular, but the guy has vacuums for hands. Even in his last game in Boston, he made two really nice plays at third. The other thing he did was produce. “The Greek God of Walks” got on base however was necessary, including getting hit by pitches almost at will. That once brought out his selfishness when he inexplicably charged Rick Porcello and got suspended at a time when the Sox needed him, but at least he was passionate. The one thing you could never say about Youkilis is he didn’t care. And the one thing I have to say to him is thank you. As I get off my soapbox, let’s get to a 5-1 week that has the Sox thinking big again.

Avenged Sevenfold Proves Their Spot As One Of Best Hard Rock Bands With Show To Remember At Mohegan Sun

Avenged Sevenfold at Mohegan Sun Friday night. (Brad Carroll)
  By Brad Carroll  
If there is one band that has taken the lead in the hard-rock movement, it just might be Avenged Sevenfold. The band’s show at Mohegan Sun Arena Friday night made it clear that, at the very least, they’re definitely one of the few in the conversation.

Avenged Sevenfold played to a near-capacity crowd, putting forth a high-energy performance that was matched by a crowd’s enthusiasm, with mosh pits erupting seconds into the opening song and continuing until the final performance in the band’s 90-minute set. Overall, it was the rock performance that any fan should expect when going to a show, although this one easily was above the curve.

A lot of bands could learn something from watching Avenged Sevenfold play live, everything from the crowd interaction, which there was a lot of, to putting forth the effort to create something special, which is exactly what they did. It all added up to one of the best overall live performances I’ve seen.

NCAA Bans 15 From Postseason Play, With Two Calling Connecticut Home

Jim Calhoun still has a job ... for some reason. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
The NCAA announced Wednesday the 15 college sports programs, including 10 from major college basketball, that will be banned from tournament play next year for low academic scores. Of the 15, two are from the state of Connecticut, as hard as it is to be believed.

The UConn men's basketball team is banned from postseason play as well as the Central Connecticut State men's soccer team. UConn was one of 10 basketball teams banned, while CCSU was the lone soccer team to fall below the acceptable academic standards in the nation.

State Of The Yankees 10: Three Straight Sweeps Has The Yankees Back As The Best Team In Baseball

  By Brad Carroll  
Our State of the Yankees column is back for its 10th installment with a third straight sweep, a lesson for the future stars of the Washington Nationals this weekend, and a rightful place as the best team in baseball. As always, we want to hear what you have to say about your favorite (or least favorite) team below in the comments section. And check back next week for the latest from the New York Yankees right here.

  Opening Statement  
To say the New York Yankees are playing the best baseball of the season would be a giant understatement. The Yankees have won nine games in a row and 12 of their last 13. They went from four games over .500 two weeks ago to 15 over today. They've taken over first place in the AL East and trail only the Don Mattingly-led Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in baseball. Nothing could be going better for the Yankees these days. This week, the Yankees swept the top two teams in the National League East, allowing just 12 total runs in six victories over the Braves and Nationals. That, of course, followed a three-game sweep against the rival Mets last weekend. The most impressive victories of them all had to come against the Nationals, who are the exact opposite of the Yankees. They are the young stars with the talent for not only the future but the present as well. The Yankees are the team with aging stars and a bleak future. Well, in this series, the Yankees taught the young kids a lesson. Overall, the pitching, from CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and Andy Pettitte, has been simply outstanding. The offense has finally started to get enough big hits in key situations. Together, it's a scary scenario for the rest of baseball.

State Of The Red Sox 10: Despite Struggling For Every Win, Red Sox Have Kept Themselves In Playoff Hunt

  By Matt Straub  
Our State of the Red Sox column is back for its 10th installment with a solid week that has the team still in the playoff hunt. As always, we want to hear what you have to say about your favorite (or least favorite) team below in the comments section. And check back next week for the latest from the Red Sox right here.

  Opening Statement  
When Sunday night’s game was over, I turned to someone and said “They held off the Cubs!” That’s where the 2012 Boston Red Sox have taken the Nation. Every win seems a struggle that should be cherished. That’s how you’re supposed to feel about a football game. In that sport, every game is hard. Baseball’s difficulty comes from the grind of a 162-game season full of ups and downs. The Red Sox seem to just be trying to avoid the downs. Somehow they have made it through one of the toughest stretches of schedule in recent memory while hanging on the edge of that hill. That haven’t fallen down yet, but they don’t seem to be making any upward movement. Oh, and it’s also given the Nation a level of play where hanging on against the Cubs is exciting. But that’s just the cynic in me talking. In actuality, a 4-2 week is nothing to scoff at. If you do that in the majority of the weeks that make up the grind of the year, you’re going to be in great shape. You don’t need 10-game winning streaks in baseball, though they help. If you go 4-3 over 20 weeks, you’re 80-60 with 22 games left and on the way to a 90-win year. Now, throw in some hot streaks and you’re a title contender. Let’s not look too far ahead, however. After all, this was a good, if scary, week to break down.

State Of The Mets 10: Tremendous Start Has Terrible End As Mets Can't Keep Momentum After Sweep Of Rays

  By Brad Carroll  
Our State of the Mets column is back for its 10th installment with a tremendous high after sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays to a devastating low in getting swept by the Cincinnati Reds. As always, we want to hear what you have to say about your favorite (or least favorite) team below in the comments section. And check back next Sunday night for the latest from the Mets.

  Opening Statement  
This was as big a week as there has been this season for the New York Mets. Losing six of their last seven games set up a six-game stretch where the Mets had to create some good will for themselves and their fans. It wouldn't be easy, as the Tampa Bay Rays and Cincinnati Reds were the opponents, but the sweep at the hands of the Yankees last weekend made it imperative the Mets came away with some victories and a whole lot of confidence. The Mets broke out of the gate with perhaps their best series of the season, sweeping away the Rays, highlighted by R.A. Dickey's one-hitter, and renewing faith that this season could still be a special one. But all the momentum gained by that unexpected outcome came crashing down when the Mets returned home against the Reds. The Mets were swept out of their own building, scoring just five runs in the three games, and completely ruined the high that came from taking three from the Rays. It's not all bad, as the Mets would most likely have signed up for a 3-3 week. Of course, once you win the first three, expectations get increased. Dickey is on the mound to start a new week Monday against Baltimore. He has been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball this season. He needs to stop the bleeding with a victory. At least the Mets won't have to worry about having their bad luck charm, Jason Bay, on the field, as he's on the disabled list with a concussion.

Euro 2012: Heartbreak For Poland As Missed Opportunities And Another Poor Second Half Ends In Elimination

Poland was eliminated Saturday against the Czechs. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
Never once in the days, minutes and seconds leading up to Poland's final group game against Czech Republic did I believe I would be writing the host country's obituary right now. Not once did I see a way Poland would lose a game they had to win in order to advance in front of their fans on their turf. Not once did it occur to me this team with so much potential could let an opportunity like this slip away.

Everything was set up for a monumental moment in Poland soccer history. The atmosphere was electric, with Polish fans chanting their country's name in anticipation of watching the young and talented side advance and possibly win the group with a little help.

But Poland couldn't come through on the biggest of all stages and I'm forced to reflect on what might have been, a shocking development that has me stunned even after the initial shock has worn off. Poland was eliminated from the Euro 2012 tournament with a 1-0 loss to Czech Republic.

Southington's Sal Romano Promoted By Cincinnati Reds To Advanced Rookie League In Billings, Montana

Sal Romano (14) was promoted by the Reds. (Mike Orazzi)
  By Brad Carroll  
Southington’s Sal Romano isn’t wasting any time moving through the Cincinnati Reds organization. Romano, a former ace pitcher with the Blue Knights, received a promotion Thursday to the advanced rookie league and will play for the Billings Mustangs in Montana.

The 2011 New Britain Herald Athlete of the Year will be part of the team’s starting rotation in the Pioneer League.

“That was my goal this year, so I’m really happy for myself,” Romano told the Herald Thursday. “The coaches told me I’ve come a long way since spring training. I’ve improved a lot.”

The official announcement of Romano’s promotion will be made Friday.

Euro 2012: Ireland Eliminated With Loss To Spain, Here's What The Team Needs To Improve Going Forward

Ireland saw its hopes end against Spain. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
There was plenty to believe in before Ireland played Spain in the Euro 2012 tournament in Poland Thursday. Although the odds were stacked enormously against the Irish, playing against one of the best teams in the world, anything can happen at this stage of a major soccer tourney, especially given the desperation that resided with the Ireland players and supporters.

Beat Spain and not only would the Irish erase a terrible loss to Croatia in the first game of group play, but would give them a tremendous shot at advancing to the knockout round, the final eight of the tournament. There was optimism that a miracle could happen.

That optimism lasted four minutes.

Ireland's Euro Chances Could Be Decided Today Against Spain

Ireland's Euro lives are on the line today. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
We're about a half-hour from the start of a make-or-break game for Ireland soccer. If the Irish can pull out a win over defending world champion Spain in the Euro 2012 tournament, they will put themselves in great position for an what could be the most unlikely advance to the knockout round in recent memory. If Ireland loses, then the tournament will be all but over (Italy still remains on the schedule).

It's an immense task, but the Irish can pull out the miracle result.

Euro 2012: Poland's Draw With Russia Feels Like A Win, Especially With Heightened Atmosphere

Poland's Jakub Blaszczykowski celebrates his goal. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
The Poland-Russia soccer match in the Euro 2012 tournament Tuesday meant more than just kicking the ball into the net and gaining a rightful result to further the case for advancement. There was so many political undertones that the game on the field took on a whole new meaning, where the Polish people, who were controlled by the old Soviet Union during the Cold War, were in need of something positive.

The two sides of supporters, both from Poland and Russia, clashed leading up to the match. There was numerous fights and brawls that immediately turned violent. There was thousands of Russian fans marching through the streets of Warsaw to the stadium waving their country’s flag. That, not surprisingly, was met with resistance from Poland supporters, who took it as the ultimate sign of disrespect.

State Of The Yankees 9: Red-Hot Play Continues As Yankees Sweep Mets, With Stellar Pitching Leading Way

  By Brad Carroll  
Our State of the Yankees column is back for its ninth installment with a red-hot stretch of baseball highlighted by a three-game beatdown of the New York Mets. As always, we want to hear what you have to say about your favorite (or least favorite) team below in the comments section. And check back next Sunday night for the latest from the New York Yankees right here.

  Opening Statement  
The Yankees team everyone thought they would be before the season has finally materialized over the past three weeks. After starting the year with mediocre play, with the low points including a pitching staff that was seemingly getting beat up night after night, and an offense failing to get a big hit in any situation, let alone a big one, the team has finally taken all their lofty potential and translated it to victories on the field. The Yankees have won six of their last seven games. They've gone 13-4 over the past three weeks. The once maligned pitching staff has become one of the best in the game. The offense still struggles with runners in scoring position, but the big hits are coming in bunches, highlighted by a comeback victory over the Mets in the Subway Series finale Sunday afternoon. A big reason for the turnaround has to be the return of Andy Pettitte. The pitcher has been with the team for less than a month, so it's no coincidence the team's play has improved greatly since he arrived on the scene. Pettitte brings an aura of greatness to the mound, not to mention an intensity and will to win that is contagious to everyone around him. The pitching staff has gone from CC Sabathia and a bunch of guys hoping to do well, to one featuring great performances by not only Sabathia and Pettitte, but Ivan Nova, Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes each and every time out. On offense, Mark Teixeira and Russell Martin have broken out of season-long slumps. It's been a great ride and one the Yankees are hoping continues.

State Of The Red Sox 9: Boston Can't Get Out Of Cellar As Washington Nationals Sweep At Fenway Park

  By Matt Straub  
Our State of the Red Sox column is back for its ninth installment with the Red Sox stuck in last place after a sweep at the hands of the Washington Nationals. As always, we want to hear what you have to say about your favorite (or least favorite) team below in the comments section. And check back next week for the latest from the Red Sox right here.

  Opening Statement  
While much of the attention from Boston’s sports fans has been trained on the other side of town in the big building on Causeway St., the Red Sox played six games on Yawkey Way, with the chance to move up the AL East standings. Perhaps it’s best that most of Red Sox Nation didn’t see much of what went on at Fenway this week, however, since so much of it was bad. Actually, in some ways, the action at each venue was similar. In both cases, the Boston team with the big-name though aging veterans lost games to younger, brash stars who could be around for a long time. While the Celtics were losing to the new power in Miami, the Sox were getting a lesson from the upstart Nationals, a team with two players you’ll hear about for the next decade in Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.

State Of The Mets 9: Stretch From Hell Results In Mets Losing Six Of Seven Games, And It's Long From Finished

  By Brad Carroll  
Our State of the Mets column is back for its ninth installment with a devastating Subway Series sweep at the hand of the Yankees to end a disastrous week. As always, we want to hear what you have to say about your favorite (or least favorite) team below in the comments section. And check back next Saturday night for the latest from the Mets.

  Opening Statement  
The Mets opened their daunting stretch of 25 straight games against teams with winning records in unbelievable fashion, highlighted by three straight wins over the Cardinals, including the historic Johan Santana no-hitter a week ago Friday. It gave Mets fans hope that this fantastic start just might continue all the way to the postseason. But this past week was a completely different story. The Mets were given a reality check by the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees. The Mets dropped two of three to the Nationals and were swept in three games against the Yankees. So, all the good will that had built up this season with a simply magical start has lost a bit of its luster. The Mets are 32-29 after Sunday's game, which is far from terrible, but considering the team was eight games over .500 a week ago, the confidence has to be shaken. And, of course, the going doesn't get any easier as the Tampa Bay Rays, Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles and another series with the Yankees await as the next four opponents on the schedule. Yes, it's the stretch from hell. The Mets are still just 4.5 games back in the NL East, sitting in third place, so if you're looking for survival here, that has happened. The Mets don't have to sweep the Rays and Reds this coming week, but they also can't repeat what they just did.

Euro 2012: Ireland Opens With Terrible Loss To Croatia As Bad Luck, Bad Play Continues On Biggest Stage

Ireland opened Euro 2012 with a loss. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
If you support Ireland soccer, then today's match against Croatia shouldn't come as a surprise. The Irish are a maddening bunch, always on the outside looking in at the big tournaments and big matches. The problems with the team are seemingly the same each time out - Ireland can't control the ball, can't create opportunities and, most of all, can't score.

There's one other big factor in nearly every big Irish match the past few years - luck. The Irish just don't have it; there is no such thing as the "luck of the Irish" when it comes to soccer. The only example needed to prove that point is the infamous handball and multiple offside no-calls against France that cost Ireland the chance to play in the last World Cup.

That is a moment every soccer fan, not just among the Irish, will forever remember as the ultimate in unlucky moments - not to mention the exposure of the totally corrupt organization known as FIFA. But that made this run to the Euro 2012 tournament so great, the nation's first appearance since 1988, and just second overall in history.

Bradley Defeats Pacquiao: Completely Unjust And Embarrassing Decision Costs Pacquiao His Title In Shocker

Michael Bradley and Manny Pacquiao. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
Boxing has made a huge comeback in recent years, as the two best fighters in the world, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, have put the spotlight back where it's supposed to be - in the ring. Even though both fighters have danced around the match we all want to see - the two fighting each other - no one could complain about the efforts both put forth in their respective fights and the spectacle that goes along with it.

While it would have been great to see Pacquiao and Mayweather fight already, it's been a heck of a lot of fun watching both trying to one-up each other with better performances, better pay-per-views buys and total money made each time they step into the ring. For the first time in a long, long time, boxing had life.

Then came Saturday night.

GameDay Live: Southington vs. Amity, Class LL State Softball Title Game

 Class LL Softball State Championship
No. 6 Amity 10, No. 1 Southington 6
At Stratford, FINAL
                       1 2 3   4 5 6   7  -   R   H   E
Amity              3 0 0    1 5 0   1     10   17  0
Southington     2 0 0    0 1 0   3       6    7   4

Right Now: Amity is the Class LL softball state champions. (Details below)

GameDay Live: Plainville vs. H-K, Class M State Baseball Title Game

Class M Baseball State Championship
No. 11 Plainville 3, No. 9 Haddam-Killingworth 1

At Middletown, FINAL
                         1 2 3   4 5 6   7  -  R   H   E
Plainville            0 2 0   0 0 0   1      3    6   2
H-Killingworth     0 0 0   0 0 1   0      1    5   1

Right Now: Tyler Favreau strikes out the final batter and Plainville is the Class M state baseball champions. (Details below).

GameDay Live: Newington vs. Oxford, Class M State Volleyball Title Game

 Class M Volleyball State Championship
No. 1 Newington 3, No. 2 Oxford 1
At Shelton, FINAL

Right Now: Newington has won the Class M state championship.

Euro 2012: Poland Opens With Disappointing Draw Against Greece Despite Dominating Game Early

Robert Lewandowski scored early for Poland. (AP photo)
With the Euro 2012 soccer tournament kicking off today, it's a time where national pride takes over, including all of us in America with roots across the world. So, with Poland taking centerstage in opening the tourney against Greece Friday afternoon, I was in front of the television solidly behind Polska, seeing as I'm half-Polish and half-Irish. (Sunday, it's Ireland's turn).

In 90-plus minutes of soccer, it was exhilarating, maddening, frustrating and downright shocking as Poland played to a 1-1 draw with the Greeks. All those emotions rolled into one can only mean international soccer is being played at the highest level again.

As a Poland fan, it was mostly disappointment when the final whistle blew. The Poland side dominated the first 20 minutes, looking like a team who could win the whole tournament, let alone the opener against Greece. Robert Lewandowski, after numerous scoring chances, finally made one count, putting a header in the back of the net for a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.

State Of The Yankees 8: Successful Road Trip Has Yanks On Doorstep Of East Lead, Despite Failures In Clutch

Our State of the Yankees column is back for its eighth installment with a successful road trip but still a whole lot of failures at the plate in the clutch. As always, we want to hear what you have to say about your favorite (or least favorite) team below in the comments section. And check back next Sunday night for the latest from the New York Yankees right here.

  Opening Statement  
Yes, there was a lot of good that came out of the Yankees' nine-game road trip through the West Coast and ending in Detroit. The Yankees went 6-3 in a stretch that can't be downplayed for its success, especially with the team five games over .500 and just 1.5 games back of first place in the AL East following it. But there's an uneasy feeling among Yankees fans as the team enjoys an off day Monday. The offense continues to stall with runners on base, a season-long struggle that came to a head Saturday night against the Tigers. The Yankees had the bases loaded with one out and their best hitter at the plate, at least he's supposed to be their best hitter, Robinson Cano. Jose Valverde, the Tigers closer, simply couldn't throw a strike in the frame, as he hit two batters and walked another in the ninth inning. Logic says to simply stand in the batter's box with the bat on your shoulder and make the pitcher throw a strike, throw two strikes. Only Cano didn't think that was the best approach, swinging away early in the count and popping out to shortstop. It was a maddening at-bat for anyone watching at home. Cano ruined a perfect opportunity to force Valverde to throw strikes, something he obviously could not do, and tie the game. It was a microcosm of everything that has been wrong with the Yankees this season. In seemingly every clutch moment, they fail. It happened in the playoffs last year and it has continued this season. After Cano's pop-out, Mark Teixeira actually had a smart at-bat and walked in the game-tying run. But that was all the Yankees would get and a half-inning later they were pinned with a loss. The Yankees took two of three from Detroit, thanks to a complete-game victory from Phil Hughes Sunday afternoon, but it easily could have been a three-game sweep highlighted by a comeback based solely on baseball smarts. The Yankees didn't have to get the big hit from Cano in the middle game Saturday, all they needed was a walk. But, again, this Yankees team is simply maddening in clutch moments. The good news is the Yankees can take over first place in the East this week with an early series against the Rays, despite all the failures this season. The bad news is if they continue to fail in the clutch, they just might drop to the bottom of the standings during that same series.

Johan Santana, With A Possible Assist From Late Great Gary Carter, Was Meant To Throw Mets First No-Hitter

Johan Santana was the right man for history. (AP photo)
  By Jenni Mennella  
Three days later, I’m still in shock. I had gone to see The Avengers after work, and we stopped into a bar to grab a drink afterwards. The cheering outside was louder than usual, so I looked inside and saw my Mets on the big screen. It took me a few minutes to realize what was happening and it finally clicked.

Johan Santana was three outs away from a no-hitter.

I blinked a few times to be sure and then did what any true fan did: I stopped moving and didn’t utter another sound. Just seeing the box score 0-0-0 took my breath away. Then my brain started racing and thinking of everything that’s happened with the Mets this season ... Jose Reyes’ defection to Miami, the fans’ fear of losing David Wright at the end of this season, the tragic loss of Gary Carter, the unexpected success our hapless band of Bison babies have put together, and Santana’s long-awaited comeback from numerous surgeries.

State Of The Red Sox 8: After Terrible Start, Red Sox Have Emerged As Playoff Contender With Terrific Week

  By Matt Straub  
Our State of the Red Sox column is back for its eighth installment with a high-water mark and an emergence as a serious playoff contender again. As always, we want to hear what you have to say about your favorite (or least favorite) team below in the comments section. And check back next week for the latest from the Red Sox right here.

  Opening Statement  
It’s official: The Red Sox are slightly better than mediocre. For a team that has won two world titles in the last eight years and routinely contends for playoff spots even in a down year, that statement should be anything but something worth noting. When you started the season 4-10, however, it’s a little more impressive, especially since the Red Sox had blown every opportunity they had to get over .500 before this week (0-5). Since the lousy start, however, the Red Sox are 24-15 heading into Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays and have emerged as a real threat to grab at least a Wild Card spot. The season is starting to look like last year, when the Red Sox started terribly, then were the best team in baseball for three months. The question is, can they make this year’s ending a little happier than 2011’s?

State Of The Mets 8: Remarkable Season Continues As Johan Santana Throw First No-Hitter In Mets History

Our State of the Mets column is back for its eighth installment with one of the greatest moments in the history of the franchise, as Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in team history. As always, we want to hear what you have to say about your favorite (or least favorite) team below in the comments section. And check back next Saturday night for the latest from the Mets.

  Opening Statement  
Monday was the beginning of the toughest stretch of the season for the Mets, one that would determine whether or not they were contenders or simply pretenders as the calendar turns to June. With a string of 25 straight games against teams with winning records, this first week would be a huge one to dissect here in our latest State of the Mets column. But a funny thing happened on the way to that predetermined plan. The Mets proved again that this season wouldn't be like the others in recent years, and maybe not like any other seen before. To start, the Mets have already exceeded every single expectation for this season, with a record seven games over .500 and standing just one game back of the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East. Then, there was the highlight of a lifetime for the Mets and their fans Friday night. Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in the history of the franchise, one that has existed for 51 years and has played a total of 8,020 games. The masterful performance erased years and years of an embarrassing stigma attached to the franchise, the fact no pitcher in their history has gone through a game without allowing a hit. It was a stigma used to humiliate the team, typically piling on when the franchise was on the bottom of the standings, which has been commonplace in recent years. That's over now. Santana, a pitcher some thought might not even pitch again after shoulder surgery, stopped all that with a magical outing Friday at Citi Field. He gave the Mets and their fans something to be proud of. There hasn't been a lot of pride attached to the Mets, but that all appears to be changing this season. There's no telling how this season will play out, but as we sit here on the second day of June, there's no question this has been a special start.

Weezer Falls Short Of Delivering Great Rock Show At Mohegan Sun

Weezer at Mohegan Sun Arena Thursday. (Brad Carroll photo)
Of all the bands I've seen in my time, and have reviewed here on GameDay, the most perplexing show of them all happened Thursday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. I ventured out to see Weezer, a band that became popular 18 years ago, with a lot of preconceived notions, from what the performance might be, to the size of the crowd, to the age group of the crowd itself.

Well, everything I thought coming in was completely off base. It's not that I expected a great show and a got a terrible one. The band played flawlessly, sounding just like they do on the radio. The performance and overall show goes a lot deeper than simply sounding good, though.

Johan Santana Throws First No-Hitter In New York Mets History

Johan Santana made history Friday night. (AP photo)
The New York Mets and Johan Santana made history just moments ago, completing the first no-hitter in the team's history, a total of 8,020 games. Santana and the Mets defeated the Cardinals 8-0.

Mike Baxter saved the no-hit bid for Santana in the seventh inning, robbing Yadier Molina of extra bases on a catch in left field where he smashed into the wall. Santana had eight strikeouts and walked five on 134 pitches. He was scheduled to pitch no more than 115 pitches before the game.

There was a bit of controversy as well, as the umpire missed a clear fair ball hit down the third-base line by Carlos Beltran that would have ended the no-hit bid in the sixth inning.

Santana said it was his first no-hitter in his entire baseball career.

Giants, Osi Umenyiora Agree On New Deal, Finally Ending Long Dispute

Osi Umenyiora got his new deal. (AP photo)
The long feud between Giants defensive Osi Umenyiora and general manager Jerry Reese has finally come to an end. The Super Bowl champs and the defensive end finally agreed to a new contact Friday, which ends years of bad blood between Umenyiora and the organization.

Terms of the contract were not released by the team.

"I'm just happy, I'm happy all that's over with," Umenyiora said in a press release. "It's time to get back to work."

Umenyiora has been sitting out team drills this spring, unhappy with his now-former contract and the belief he was promised a new deal by Reese if he out-played it. But all that appears to be over with now, and the Giants expect the defensive end on the field Monday.