Joe Bianchino is a producer with 104.5 The Team. He grew up in the Capital Region and is an avid fan of all sports, including hockey, baseball, football, soccer and horse racing. He is a die-hard Giants, Yankees and Rangers fan.
In recent months, the NCAA has been under siege. An always-present undercurrent of frustration with the organization has, seemingly, boiled over in this last year, culminating with the football players of one of its member schools suing for and winning the right to unionize
Everyone wanted California Chrome to win on Saturday.
Hardly anyone in the world – save for those who had a personal or financial stake in the colt’s opposition – was rooting against the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner in the final jewel of the Triple Crown.
We all wanted to see history made. We all wanted the 36-year drought broken.
But maybe we shouldn’t have wanted that. Maybe, when California Chrome turned for home with nothing left in the tank and finished tied for fourth, we got lucky.
After three weeks of building crescendo, the anticipation for the Belmont Stakes is just about ready to hit fever pitch. In just a little over 24 hours, California Chrome will take to the Belmont Park track and run for his shot at history, racing's first Triple Crown since 1978.
Today, with the park itself, it seems, echoing his name, Chrome stepped out onto "Big Sandy" to do some of his final prep work. Here are some observations from the morning:
For longer than I'd care to discuss, I've been sitting here trying to think of something profound with which to open. Something significant. Something deep.
After all, I may well be penning this column on the eve of history, and I'm certainly doing it at the apex of a months-long crescendo. My sense of nostalgia tells me I should honor that.
Philosophy eludes me on this night, though. And maybe that's for the best. I doubt very much that the connections who labeled themselves dumbasses would have much use for Socrates. Maybe they'd just rather me tell them about their horse's race on Saturday - how a wildcard pace could make all the difference, how it may all come down to guts, or how an old foe might be one standing between him and history.
It took 25 years and a Triple Crown threat to get me to Belmont Park, but earlier today I made the two and a half hour trek down to Long Island to begin a weekend's worth of coverage as California Chrome races for his sports first Triple Crown in 36 years.
The Triple Crown has become like the quest for the Holy Grail. Many have sought it, most have never came close, and the few who got within arm's length let it slip through their delicate German fingers.
For 36 years the Triple Crown has gone unclaimed. Will that streak be extended to 37? Or do we finally have one worthy of its splendor? California Chrome has looked the part in his Kentucky Derby and Preakness wins, but the Belmont's mile and a half run is a different beast.
Can he tame it? What will his competition have to say about the matter? Let's find out.
Over the last two years, Yankee manager Joe Girardi has become a master at negotiating one of the most complicated lineups in baseball.
With a wealth of older players in need of days off, and injuries complicating the matter - giving the World Series champion more to do and less to work with - Girardi has done an incredible job getting as much out of the club as he has.
Is he doing enough, though? Is there a move he has yet to make that would greatly help the club? Namely, should Derek Jeter be playing first base?
Thus far, injury and poor play have kept the Yankees from living up to the expectations many of their fans had going into the season. There have, though, been bright spots for the Bombers in this early, underwhelming going.
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