This is always one of the quietest sports weekends in terms of quantity, but not quality. Among the major sporting events this weekend are the Indianapolis 500, the French Open and the Memorial Cup Final. Here are the events I will be following this weekend.
Saturday—Prefontaine Classic—CBC & NBC—1pm PT—One of the most prestigious annual track and field events in North America takes place this weekend in Eugene, Oregon. The Canadians who will be featured are Mohammed Ahmed of St. Catharines, Ontario (men’s 5000m), Melissa Bishop of Eganville, Ontario (women’s 800m) and three-time Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse of Scarborough, Ontario (men’s 100m). Last year, Ahmed won the bronze medal in the men’s 5000m at the Prefontaine Classic. He reached the podium by 1.17 seconds over Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa of Kenya.
Sunday—French Open—TSN4—2am PT—The second grand slam of the 2017 tennis season starts Sunday. A reminder to all in a fantasy tennis pool, that the French Open is the only major that starts on Sunday. There are three Canadians who will be participating in the main singles draw—Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ontario, and Eugenie Bouchard and Francoise Abanda of Montreal, Quebec.
In the first round, Raonic, the fifth seed, will play Steve Darcis of Belgium. Darcis does have one major upset win in his career. It came in Wimbledon in 2013 when he shocked Rafael Nadal in straight sets. Darcis also has one clay court tournament victory. In 2007, Darcis beat Werner Eschauer of Austria in the final of the Dutch Open.
Bouchard meanwhile will face Kateryna Bondarenko of the Ukraine and Abanda will face Tessah Andrianjafitrimo of France. It is a very winnable match for Abanda as Andrianjafitrimo is ranked 264th in the world. The first round goes Sunday and Monday. When the Canadians will play has not been determined yet.
Sunday—Indianapolis 500—ABC—9am PT—There are a lot of great auto races each year, but the Indianapolis 500 should be considered many people’s favourite. Canadian auto racing fans will be cheering hard for James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ontario. 2008 Indianapolis 500 champion Scott Dixon of New Zealand is on the pole. Meanwhile, the defending champion, Alexander Rossi of the United States, will be starting third.
Sunday—Memorial Cup Final—Sportsnet—4pm PT—What we know right now is that the host Windsor Spitfires are in the 2017 Memorial Cup final. What we do not know is who they will play. Their opponent will either be the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Saint John Sea Dogs or the Ontario Hockey League champion Erie Otters. The Spitfires beat the Sea Dogs 3-2 to open the tournament on May 19 and beat the Otters 4-2 to close out the round robin on May 24. The Otters and Sea Dogs play in the semi-final on Friday.
Sunday—MLB—New York Mets @ Pittsburgh Pirates—TSN—5 pm PT—In a senior circuit battle, the Pirates are surprisingly in last place at the moment in the National League Central at 22-26. Their opponents are the Mets this weekend, who are underachieving themselves as they are seven games below the .500 mark.