Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Israel opens “Jewish Olympics” but interest at home minimal

ISRAELThe 18th Maccabiah Games opened in Israel on Monday with some 7,000 competitors from 65 countries set to take part in a 12-day sporting extravaganza.

The organisers say it is the third-largest sports gathering in the world behind the Olympics and the University Games. You might have thought the world would take notice, but it barely even attracts interest among the vast majority of Israeli sports fans.

The event that was founded in 1932 was originally intended not only for pure sporting ends but as a way for Jews to circumvent immigration restrictions imposed by the British Mandatory rulers of Palestine.

For decades, mainly during times when sport was largely an amateur pursuit, the Maccabiah had merit as a gathering of top athletes and quite a few notables have taken part. The names of swimmer Mark Spitz, tennis player Brad Gilbert and gymnast Mitch Gaylord immediately come to mind as relatively recent top participants and the list of Olympic medallists and champions in big sports is not short.

Winners and losers of the 2009 NFL draft

Top NFL prospects stand together on stage before the start of the 2009 NFL Draft

Most football experts will tell you that it takes three full years to evaluate an NFL draft class, but don’t tell that to the media, who are only too happy to provide the instant gratification of a thumbs up or down analysis after less than 72 hours.

Draft guru Mel Kiper of ESPN gave the Green Bay Packers his highest grade, an A, based primarily on their top two picks of defensive tackle B.J. Raji and outside linebacker Clay Matthews. While the Oakland Raiders, who selected the speedy, but unpolished wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bay with the seventh overall pick and the Dallas Cowboys, who didn’t have a pick until the third round after trading away earlier selections, both received the lowest mark of D.

from Photographers' Blog:

New home for the Yankees

I came to New York in 1971 to work for the Associated Press and I covered the weekend shift at both Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium, where the Mets played. I've spent a good part of my life covering baseball in New York, the last 21 years for Reuters.

The Yankees ballpark had the air of a grand old lady, slightly down on her luck. At first sight it was an impressive structure with the historic field and that magnificent original copper frieze that lined the stadium’s roof above the upper deck. But a close look revealed a stadium deteriorating almost everywhere.

Coming out of Left Field


huskiesWelcome to Left Field, the Reuters Sports Blog.

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