Sun Spots: Baby Yao

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Happy New Year to those in reader land. It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post, but I’ve got some real nuggets worth checking out this week, particularly the Yao Ming Esquire interview. Dude is really funny.

Kyung Kim and Michelle Wie move up the LPGA rankings from The Sports Network: In Kyung Kim and Michelle Wie finished one-two at the Dubai Ladies Masters on Saturday and that helped both players climb two spaces to 11 and 10, respectively, in this weeks’s women’s world rankings. Lorena Ochoa held on to the top spot and was followed by Jiyai Shin and Suzann Pettersen. Yani Tseng and Cristie Kerr exchanged places with Tseng up to fourth. Kerr was followed by Paula Creamer, Anna Nordqvist, Ai Miyazato and Angela Stanford. Wie was up two to 10 and was followed by Kim. Na Yeon Choi and Karrie Webb both fell two spots to 12 and 13, respectively. The remainder of the top 20 was unchanged with Song-Hee Kim trailed by Sakura Yokomine, Catriona Matthew, Shinobu Moromizato, Sophie Gustafson, Eun-Hee Ji and Kristy McPherson.

A history of Japanese players with the Mets. A lot of misses and washed up players here…

Zeke Fuhrman talks about Matsui versus Ichiro on the Bleacher Report: “Is Hideki Matsui’s Resume More Impressive Than Ichiro’s? No. I could probably end the article right there, but perhaps I should elaborate. After winning the World Series MVP, Hideki Matsui has drawn praise from Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese-born player to play in the MLB. Murakami stated that ‘Ichiro Suzuki has had many accomplishments, but they’ve all been in the regular season. As the first Japanese to win an MVP in the World Series, this is a great accomplishment for Matsui and will have a huge impact.’ You have got to be kidding me.”

Chatter on Yao Ming’s tall baby via ChinaView.cn: YY: they don’t mean much right now, but Chinese basketball fans hope these two initials could herald future victories for the national team. “YY” looks certain to be the nickname of Houston Rockets star Yao Ming’s first child, whose imminent arrival was broken on Chinese television on Monday by Miao Lijie, a friend of Yao’s wife, Ye Li. The letters are the twinned initials of Yao and Ye, explained Miao on a live TV show in Shanghai. Miao, who plays alongside Ye on the Chinese women’s basketball team, said Ye was quietly expecting the couple’s first baby at home. The news, which was later confirmed by Zhang Chi, Yao’s spokesman in Shanghai, triggered a barrage of baby names on the Internet, as well as predictions about its height, gender and nationality.

A interesting interview with Yao Ming from Esquire Magazine by Cal Fussman: Sometimes it can feel like there are a billion people on my shoulders…Friendship first, competition second. That’s a very famous Chinese expression. In America it’s: Game is game. Friendship is friendship… Our honeymoon was in Europe. One stop was Venice. Cost fifty dollars for a ride in the gondola. There was also the romantic package. Three hundred dollars. That gets a bottle of red wine and a man playing music. But I don’t really drink red wine. And you can hear the music coming from the other boats. So the fifty-dollar package seemed like the way to go… Sometimes my wife and I mix Chinese and English words in the same sentence. We call it Chinglish…

The Jeremy Lin show, by Diamond Leung on ESPN: Gie-Ming and Shirley Lin sat in the front row behind the Harvard bench, and to support their son, they proudly wore T-shirts that on the back read, “Welcome to the Jeremy Lin Show.” The print on the front of the shirts screamed a more powerful message: WE BELIEVE. In the corner of the sold-out arena, 16-year-old Austin Ng was starting to do just that while leaning over the concourse-level railing alongside his parents. He was getting a glimpse of a stereotype being shattered. An Asian-American basketball star?

An insightful, yet perhaps slightly biased write up on Jeremy Lin featured on the Golden State of Mind blog: Jeremy Lin will be on the court for Harvard at the Leavey Center Arena at Santa Clara University today. Few will be reminded of Steve Nash crossing over Jason Kidd (who played for Cal Berkeley at the time), Nash’s pinpoint 3-point accuracy or his penchant for finding his teammates at impossible angles by watching Jeremy Lin, but Lin is following a similar path of rising from obscurity that Nash’s Nikes paved when he was at Santa Clara from 1992 to 1996. Lin and Nash play the same position of point guard and their style of play is comparable, but they are hardly mirror images of each other. Physically, they are comparable in stature, as both are listed at 6’3. If you have met the two players, you would know that Nash is barely 6’2 and that Lin actually seems taller than 6’3. (I’ve met both players, and Steve Nash is barely taller than I am and I’m a tad over 6’0 tall. Lin looked down on me when we shook hands. He seemed taller than his listed height of 6’3.)

By JORDAN IKEDA
Rafu Sports Editor

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