AUBURN, Ala. — It's a great time to be a sports fan.
The NFL is back, while college and high school football have been settled in for weeks. The U.S. Open men's final tonight will feature the top two players in the world — Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal — facing each other with yet another major title on the line. (For the record, this is their 37th match against each other, with Nadal leading 21-15 overall while Djokovic has a 3-2 edge in Grand Slam finals.) Then there's the Fedex Cup playoffs on the PGA Tour and NASCAR's own version of the postseason, "The Race to the Chase," which will begin this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. And of course, baseball is drawing ever closer to ending its regular season and locking in its playoff participants.
It's hard to take it all in, isn't it? So many sports, so little time. But with sports on the brain, let's make a few stops on the "information superhighway" with athletics as the main focus in today's edition of "4 at 4".
1. Former LSU corner Tyrann Mathieu has been labeled — fairly or not — as a classic case of a player with "character issues." But Sports on Earth's Tomas Rios writes that, contrarian as it may seem, casting Mathieu in a negative light couldn't be a more misplaced narrative.
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2. Having mentioned the impending title match between Djokovic and Nadal tonight, I figured those interested would appreciate reading this detailed statistical breakdown of their head-to-head meetings over the years. (For those wondering, I'm taking Djokovic in five tight sets.)
3. Always purveyors of great Auburn-related content of the past and present, the folks over at War Eagle Reader delivered once agains this weekend. Check out a pair of great photos they found. One is a close-up featuring the Superman cleats Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton donned over the weekend, while the second is a photo of Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee in their (much) younger days. Obviously, both have aged well.
4. We usually end these link-saturated affairs with a video, so why fix what isn't broken? If you haven't see the home run Atlanta's Evan Gattis hit on Sunday, you're missing a thing of beauty. The home run off "El Oso Blanco's" bat traveled an estimated 480 feet at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park. It doesn't matter that it's known as a hitter-friendly ballpark; 480 feet is a long, long way from home plate.
Admire the mammoth shot courtesy of the Braves' left fielder by watching the clip below.