HOT: TALE OF THE TAPE
Hate the Olympics on tape delay? Get used to it. NBC's viewership for last Friday's opening ceremony was up 12% over 2008, as 40.7 million Americans tuned in. The first night of competition on Saturday saw a 14% jump over four years ago, the best rating ever for a non-U.S.-based Games.
NOT: K.C. BBQ'D
No wonder the Royals (41--60) are headed for their ninth straight losing season. The K.C. staff has allowed 37 HRs in July (most in MLB) while the starters have an MLB--worst 7.06 ERA. Lefthander Bruce Chen alone has surrendered 28 earned runs in 30 1/3 innings.
HOT: REDS' HOT JULY
Cincinnati (61--40) has won 10 straight and 17 of 19 thanks to a 2.61 post--All-Star-break ERA. The club is thriving without Joey Votto (MLB-high 1.069 OPS), who's been out with torn cartilage in his left knee since July 16. The Pirates (58--43), however, are just three games back in the NL Central.
NOT: ANGRY AMERICAN
Hope Solo (below) ripped 1999 women's World Cup champ Brandi Chastain on Twitter—saying that "the game has changed from a decade ago"—after the NBC analyst faulted the U.S. defense during a 3--0 defeat of Colombia last Saturday. Coach Pia Sundhage did not discipline her goalie.
HOT: LIONS PRIDE
Six of Penn State's top football recruits reaffirmed their commitment to the Nittany Lions, including Christian Hackenberg, from Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, ESPN's top-ranked pocket-passing QB. He had offers from Alabama, Florida and South Carolina.
KEITH SRAKOCIC/AP (LION)
MATT KRYGER/USA TODAY SPORTS/US PRESSWIRE (SOLO)
ANDY LYONS/GETTY IMAGES (VOTTO)
JASON MILLER/GETTY IMAGES (CHEN)
AL TIELEMANS (OPENING CEREMONY);