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Madison Bumgarner in his 9/8/2009 Major League debut.
Art Siegel via Flickr/Creative Commons / www.flickr.com/photos/artolog/15389351106/

In Major League Baseball,  the San Francisco Giants could clinch their third World Series title in five years with a victory over the Kansas City Royals tonight.  Leading the way for the Giants has been Madison Bumgarner. The pitcher grew up and learned the game in Hickory, North Carolina.

Jeff Parham is head coach at South Caldwell High School and he was one of the first to coach the future Giants' ace.  He first saw Bumgarner throw when the young man was in middle school. Bumgarner had come to a baseball summer camp.

How good was he?

A picture of the Seahawks facing off against the Panthers.
Panthers.com

In the NFL, the Carolina Panthers lost 13-to-9 last night to the Seattle Seahawks.

Carolina's defense had allowed at least 37 points in four of its previous five games. But the Panthers held the Seahawks in check until Seattle Quarterback Russell Wilson led a nine-play, 80-yard drive for the game's only touchdown.

Panthers Linebacker Luke Kuechley pointed out that they played the Seahawks with a similar outcome for the past three years.

A picture of Luke Kuechly struggling with referee.
Associated Press

In the NFL, the Carolina Panthers didn't put up much of a fight yesterday. They lost, 38-to-17, to the Green Bay Packers.

Green Bay racked up a 21-to-0 lead in the first quarter.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera says the team gave up the scoreboard early on and never got in the game.

“I don't think the defense gave us an opportunity to win in the first quarter, and I'm disappointed,” Rivera says.

Photos from the #Panthers tie vs. Cincinnati:
Carolina Panthers via Twitter

A picture of Greg Olsen.
Carolina Panthers

In NFL action, it was a big night for Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen. He had been traded by the Chicago Bears in 2011, and he made them pay for it yesterday.

Olsen caught a pair of touchdown passes, as Carolina came back from a two-touchdown deficit. They won 31-to-24 over the Bears.

Olsen said he didn't play out of spite, but the victory did help ease the pain of the Panthers' last two losses.

The Carolina Panthers lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
Carolina Panthers via Twitter

In the NFL, the Carolina Panthers lost to the Baltimore Ravens yesterday, 38-10.

Coach Ron Rivera was vocal about his disappointment.

The Panthers' offense was weakened to begin with. Two running backs were sidelined with injuries before the game, and DeAngelo Williams injured his ankle during a rush in the first half.

Rivera said that's no excuse.

“It doesn't matter who the running back is; we've still got to block,” Rivera said. “And we're going to be looking to do some things differently and do things the right way.”

Historic Speedway Group

The pioneers of stock car racing reunite this weekend in Hillsborough, where drivers zoomed around the Occoneechee Speedway in the early days of NASCAR.

The mile-long dirt track hosted more than 30 races between 1949 and 1968. More than 100 of those cars will be on display along with some of the legendary drivers who raced them.

The current Wallace Wade Stadium
GoDuke,com

Duke University announced today three new projects for modernizing it's football facility, the 85-year-old Wallace Wade Stadium.

#Panthers lose. Final Score: Pittsburgh 37, Carolina 19. #KeepPounding
Carolina Panthers via Twitter

In the NFL, the Carolina Panthers lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers last night, 37-19.

Carolina Panthers Logo
Carolina Panthers

In their NFL season opener yesterday, the Carolina Panthers swabbed the deck with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Panthers Quarterback Derek Anderson threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns. He was standing in for Cam Newton, who was benched with a pre-season rib injury.

But the 20-to-14 victory didn't come easy. The Panthers shut Tampa out for the first three quarters. But when Coach Ron Rivera addressed his team in the locker room after the game, he scolded them for letting the Bucs sneak in two late touchdowns.

NCSU player in a black uniform
www.gopack.com

Old Dominion vs. NC State 6 PM

North Carolina State football will host Old Dominion University this weekend in Raleigh. It's the second home game for the Wolfpack this season, after barely scraping by for a win against Georgia Southern last week. This year is Old Dominion's first season as part of Conference USA, and they're led by senior Quarterback, Taylor Heinicke. Wolfpack Coach Dave Doeren  thinks Heinicke is a big threat.

George Williams
St. Augustine's University

George Williams coaches one of the most successful track and field programs in the country. 

He has served as the coach at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh for 38 years. And this spring, he won his 35th Division II national championship.  

He’s also been a coach and an assistant coach for the U.S. men’s team in three Olympic Games. His runners include former world record holder Michael Johnson and Bershawn “Batman” Jackson.

But such success comes from a long history of leadership. Williams helped integrate his city track team in Miami, and was one of the first to push for integration in Cary's public schools. 

Kenan Stadium
goheels.com

Footballs are flying once again in the Triangle, and across the state. The three ACC schools in the area have all begun practicing for the upcoming college football season.  UNC and Duke began drills last Friday while N.C. State took to the field on Saturday. 

Rookie defensive end Kony Ealy signing autographs for fans after practice.
Carolina Panthers / via Twitter

The Carolina Panthers opened training camp for the 2014 NFL season this past weekend.  Head coach Ron Rivera says he feels -- even this early -- that his team is showing signs that it can live up to expectation set last season.  Carolina won the NFC South division title, but lost its first playoff game last January.

A couple of key concerns in camp will be quarterback Cam Newton's recovery from off-season foot surgery, and how Newton gels with a virtually untested receiving corps.  Rivera says how Newton throws the ball is the top priority.

A picture of Mike Hessman at bat.
milb.com

The annual AAA All Star game is being held for the first time at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park Wednesday. 

The Bulls have four players on the International League squad, and the team is being helmed by Durham manager Charlie Montoyo.  Festivities began with concerts and other fan events over the weekend. 

Scott Carter works for the Bulls.  He said excitement is building for tonight's popular Home Run Derby.

2010 World Cup play
Wikimedia

In just two days, the World Cup Final will mark the end of a month-long tournament where 32 teams from across the globe faced-off to determine the world champion of football. The fandom for the World Cup runs deep. For the month, even those with little interest in the sport become fiercely loyal fans. The event reveals larger themes about society and culture. Host Frank Stasio talks with Duke professor Laurent Dubois who edits the Soccer Politics blog and writes about soccer for several publications.

Jason H. Smith / Flickr Creative Commons

North Carolina has produced countless sports stars over the years but none with the global recognition of native son Michael Jordan. 

He dazzled sportscasters and sports fans first in Chapel Hill, and then around the world as the NBA’s greatest player. 

But through all the championships, MVP awards, and All-Star games, Jordan kept many personal issues to himself. He faced overt racism, allegations of sexual assault in his immediate family, and criticism of his gambling habit. 

Durham Bulls stadium
Frank Hunter

Last year more than a dozen creative types - writers, photographers and filmmakers descended on the Durham Bulls Athletic Park for an unprecedented in-depth look at minor league baseball. Someone was at the stadium for every inning -- of every game -- all summer long. All of the work of Bull City Summer has been reviewed and now the very best is on display at several area locations.

WUNC's Carol Jackson has the story:

Carolina Hurricanes vs. New Jersey Devils - March 9, 2013
AlbertHerring / Wikicommons

The Carolina Hurricanes hope their new coach will take them back to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. 

General manager Ron Francis formally introduced Bill Peters as the next head coach today.  Peters has been an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings for the last three seasons and has experience as a minor league head coach.

This is the first big hiring decision from Francis, who took over in April.  He says Peters is a good fit for a Hurricanes team that is still developing into a competitor for the playoffs.

Willie McRae (right) with reporter Dick Gordon.
Carol Jackson

Pinehurst No. 2 is one of the most revered courses in the land. It was designed by Donald Ross, who called it “the fairest test of championship golf I have ever designed.” That course is the site of this week's U.S. Open.

Willie McRae knows the place about as intimately as anyone. Willie is the longest-serving caddy at the resort. He started working there when he was 10 years old, May 19, 1943. He's caddied for "the average Joe" and the world's elite.

And he has a lot of stories to tell.

Many of the best golfers in the world are in Pinehurst, North Carolina, today for the start of the U.S. Open. The match will played on the recently restored course Pinehurst No. 2.

Fifteen years ago, a golfer named Payne Stewart won the tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., but died in a plane crash just four months later.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Jeff Tiberii of WUNC reports from Pinehurst.

Michael Campbell reacts to winning the 2005 U.S. Open held at the Pinehurst Resort No. 2 Course in Pinehurst, N.C., Sunday, June 19, 2005.
John Mummert / USGA

The U.S. Open begins at the Pinehurst No. 2 golf course today. WUNC’s Jeff Tiberii is covering the event.

The 16th Hole of Pinehurst No. 2 as seen in Pinehurst, N.C. on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012.
John Mummert / USGA

The men's U.S. Open tees off Thursday morning in Pinehurst. One hundred and fifty six golfers from around the world are competing in America's version of a national championship.  Most of the golfers participating in the event practiced for a final time Wednesday. Hundreds of volunteers helped keep fans corralled throughout the historic Pinehurst No. 2 course.

Jeff Chaffin drove to the course from Suligent, Alabama (near the Mississippi border) for his first U.S. Open experience. He says his experience has been good so far.

The Seventh Hole of Pinehurst No. 2 as seen in Pinehurst, N.C. on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012.
John Mummert / USGA

The U.S. Open is back in Pinehurst, North Carolina for the third time in the last 15 years.

The first round of the tournament does not start until tomorrow, but the event has already set a few records.

A statue of Payne Stewart is next to the 18th green at Pinehurst No. 2, where the 114th US Open is taking place this week. Stewart won the 1999 US Open at Pinehurst, and struck this pose after clinching the win.
Jeff Tiberii

Overlooking the 18th hole at Pinehurst No. 2 is a statue of a man. He’s standing on one leg, a putter dangling in his left hand and a right fist extended straight forward, in victory. The statue preserves a moment now 15 years-old. It’s a moment more famous than any other that this course has seen, since it opened in 1907.

In his trademark knickers, Payne Stewart won the event on that misty Father’s day with a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole. He kissed his wife Tracy and celebrated his second US Open win.

A Duke Blue Devil guarding the net in a lacrosse game against Virginia.
Duke Photography

Duke Lacrosse has had to come a long way since the national attention brought on by false rape allegations in 2006. The tactic that's likely been most effective in changing the public face of the program could be considered the most difficult, but the Blue Devils have made it look easy: Winning.

The team took home their third national championship on Monday (2010, 2013, 2014) holding off Notre Dame 11-9 in Baltimore.

A member of the Pop Warner football league, the Durham Eagles (NC)
Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University

How much money does your family spend on sports? Do you spend hundreds each your on a traveling team for a middle schooler? Perhaps your child plays in more than one of these competitive leagues. How about a private conditioning coach? How much is too much?

There's an intriguing new project about the topic. It's called Contested, and it features families in Durham, NC.

>>Browse the multimedia site.

Photo: The Loyola Chicago Ramblers played against Cincinnati in the 1963 N.C.A.A. tournament title game.
Ramblers

The world of sports is a multi-billion dollar industry. And sports have a special elevated place in American culture.

A new one-hour radio documentary looks at the less-examined aspect of sports: the experience of young athletes. Contested is produced in collaboration with the radio program, State of the Re:Union, and will air Monday at noon on WUNC.

Man Versus Science

May 15, 2014
Logo for ESPN. Sport Science is an ESPN TV series
Creative Commons

    

Can an NFL running back muster the same force as a running bull? Does a nine-foot python squeeze harder than a martial arts star?

Former Brazilian Soccer Player Pelé is shirtless and being hoisted up by fans after the 1970 world cup on Cover of Fútbol! Why Soccer Matters in Latin America
http://upf.com/ / University Press of Florida

  

Sports say a lot about a city, state, or nation. Joshua Nadel’s new book explores the place of soccer in Latin America, and how it's influenced national identity in a post-colonial world. Nadel is the author of “Fútbol!: Why Soccer Matters in Latin America” (University Press of Florida; 2014) and a professor of Latin American and Caribbean History at North Carolina Central University. 

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