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The Week In Sports: Jeter Takes A Bow And The Ryder Cup Tees Off

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And now it's time for Sports. Derek Jeter takes his final curtain. The Ryder Cup tees off Scotland, still part of the United Kingdom. And FIFA contends with scandalous charges and BJ Lederman writes our theme music.

We're joined now by NPR's sports correspondent, Tom Goldman.

Tom, thanks so much for being with us.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Always a pleasure.

SIMON: And for the first time, my friend, we have to note first time since Hannibal and the Punic Wars, the Kansas City Royals are in the playoffs.

GOLDMAN: And what a team they were, during those Punic Wars, Scott. Wow.

SIMON: (Laughter). What a rivalry they had with Detroit.

GOLDMAN: Well, actually the Royals are back for the first time since 1985. That is a 29 year absence from the postseason. The longest drought, not only in Major League Baseball, but all the major league sports leagues in this country.

The Royals qualified for at least a Wild Card berth. There's still a chance KC can catch Detroit for the division title. I'm going to say the Royals are the fun team going into the playoffs.

SIMON: Yeah. They will be fun to watch. Let's talk about the captain, Derek Jeter.

GOLDMAN: Number two.

SIMON: Derek Jeter had a walk-off single to win the game. His last home game at Yankee Stadium is on the field in Boston this weekend, as a designated hitter. OK - maybe he's not Ruth, Williams, Robinson, Clemente or DiMaggio, but hasn't he been a great Derek Jeter?

GOLDMAN: I think so. 3,463 hits, ranked sixth all time Most Hits by a Shortstop, 14 time All-Star, five-time World Series champion. Here's an impressive stat, Scott. Ejections by umpires - zero over 20 years.

ESPN's Ian O'Connor wrote a really nice story about Jeter and the umpires. When Jeter disagreed with the call, he'd say something or ask a question while dipping his head because he didn't want the fans to think he was showing up the umps. And, oh, yeah, 20 years in the New York City media spotlight and nary a controversy.

So yeah, he's been a pretty good Derek Jeter.

SIMON: A class act. Keith Olbermann had, I think, an unfortunate rant. You know, we were going to play a clip of it but, this is our show. I don't want to hear that today about Derek Jeter (laughter).

GOLDMAN: Take that, Keith. Take that (laughter).

SIMON: Let's go to the Ryder Cup in Europe. Captain Tom Watson and Bubba Watson - who is not his son - and Phil Mickelson. Now, you and I are both Europeans by marriage so maybe we have divided royalties here. The U.S. team didn't have a great start, did they?

GOLDMAN: They didn't. Captain Watson created the first controversy of the event when he decided not to play Ryder Cup rookie team of Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth in the afternoon. They did great in the morning. They won their match and they gained the USA a point. They had momentum and the Ryder Cup's an emotional team event; a rarity in golf and momentum plays an important part. Now, Europe has dominated this competition. Since 1985, Europe has won 10 of 14 Ryder Cups. They're played every two years. The Euro's last win, they won the last time in 2012, it was a dramatic comeback at Medinah Country Club in Illinois and it really stunned the Americans.

So we will see if the Yanks - not the New York Yankees - but the Yanks playing golf can spoil the Euro's party on home grass in Scotland this weekend.

SIMON: And finally let's get to FIFA. It's feefa or fifa? I guess it's a judgment call.

GOLDMAN: Let's go with feefa.

SIMON: Let's go with feefa. It's less than a year until the 2015 women's World Cup in Canada. The athletes are supposed to play on artificial turf. They are not happy about that and they are preparing to sue FIFA. What's at stake here?

GOLDMAN: Well, the women are arguing that FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association are guilty of gender discrimination by forcing the women to play on artificial turf. Now, gender discrimination is illegal in Canada. Since 1930, every men's World Cup has been played on natural grass. And women players say the artificial turf is putting players at risk for injuries that wouldn't happen on natural grass. So we will see if the women are successful in getting FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association to make a move here.

SIMON: All right. Thanks very much. That's NPR's sports correspondent, Tom Goldman speaking with us from - you're in Portland, right? The great city of Portland?

GOLDMAN: I certainly am.

SIMON: "Portlandia's" own and our own, Tom Goldman. Thanks so much. Talk to you soon.

GOLDMAN: Thanks, Scott.

SIMON: You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.