Sunday night sports

I was in sports heaven yesterday.

The Cubs were playing on WGN in the afternoon (They lost. That part wasn’t so heavenly). At night, the Brewers were playing the Cardinals on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, the Blackhawks were facing off against the Flyers in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals on NBC, and the Celtics and Lakers were battling in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on ABC. The stars were out.

Calling it something special was an understatement.

During the initial two hours of the night, I watched almost all of the Blackhawks game. I only caught pieces of the Celtics game -- mostly during the commercial breaks of the Hawks game. I watched nearly none of the Brewers-Cardinals game. I did see an Albert Pujols strikeout. I didn’t see Manny Para strike out four batters in one inning. I did see Parra walk the bases loaded before getting pulled in the sixth.

Even then, for the ones I wasn't watching on TV, I was following updates on them via Twitter.

Still, for all the love I give baseball -- and college basketball certainly is exciting, too -- I’m convinced no other sport can match the non-stop, heart-pounding intensity that an NHL playoff game, especially a Stanley Cup game, is capable of producing from the opening puck drop to the final second.

The Blackhawks came out with loads of energy, and it was gobs of fun to watch them bury three goals on the Flyers in that first period alone. I couldn’t get enough those first two periods.
In the most important hockey game played around these parts in about four decades, the Blackhawks put together one of their most inspired offensive efforts in roughly the same time frame. (The Chicago Tribune)
Later, I switched to the Celtics game -- just in time to see the Lakers seize their first lead early in the third quarter. Moments after that, I flipped back to the Blackhawks game -- just in time to see Dustin Byfuglien score the Hawks’ fifth goal and put them up 5-2 in the second period.

But by the third period of the hockey game and the fourth quarter of the basketball game, the basketball game took the edge with the Celtics and Lakers playing neck-in-neck. Ray Allen, it seemed, couldn't miss a shot.
It was a world title fight, as basketball audiences in 215 countries witnessed Allen’s televised masterwork. The game was broadcast in 41 languages, and you could all but imagine the superlatives tossed Allen’s way in every tongue from Togo to South Philly. (The Boston Globe)
With the Celtics-Lakers in a timeout, I flipped back to the hockey game just after the Hawks had gone up 6-3. Moments later, Simon Gagne hooked one into the goal to bring Philadelphia back within two, 6-4. Then, the Hawks really put it away with an empty netter, to make it 7-4 with just more than two minutes to go.

Back to the basketball game with 1:12 left. Nothing going.

Back to the hockey game for the final 45 seconds. At 9:52 p.m., the final horn sounded and the Blackhawks had won.

Back to the basketball game with 27 seconds left and the Celtics starting to pull away. At 9:58 p.m., the final horn sounded and the Celtics prevailed in what was a heavyweight fight.

Back to the Brewers-Cardinals game, where the Cardinals had just tied the score 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth … And I stuck with them as they headed into extra innings for the second consecutive day (I watched Saturday, too, when the Cardinals won on a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th.)

At 10:46 p.m. the Brewers hung on and won the game in 10 innings.

Sheesh. What a night ... And I missed seeing Sandra kissing Scarlett at the MTV Movie Awards.

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