Two high school football players accused of rape in the town of Steubenville, Ohio, went on trial Wednesday. Set against a backdrop of downtrodden middle America, the trial is dividing the town, writes Dan Wetzel for Yahoo! Sports. It's a place where high school football is about the only entertainment there is, and even the residents say it's "a [expletive] hellhole."
It's not the most popular event for American baseball fans, but the World Baseball Classic has cachet worldwide. Joe Posnanski at CBS Sports writes about how different baseball fandom is in places like Japan, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. More importantly, where U.S. fans see the WBC as an exhibition, fans in other nations view it a bit like baseball's World Cup.
The strike-shortened NHL season has already done its part in easing the painfully memory of collective bargaining negotiations. At the top of the sits the Chicago Blackhawks' record-setting streak of 24 games with at least one point. Dan Rosen at NHL.com has a list of the top 24 surprises from hockey's 2013 season.
Kobe Bryant went down with an ankle injury against the Atlanta Hawks and is out indefinitely:
Also... LeBron James threw down a monster dunk in Miami's 20th-straight win.
A high-school basketball player hit a game-winning buzzer-beater on her first shot attempt of the game.
And the Rockets dismantled the Suns, 111-91.
Three for Seven
The three most popular stories on RealClearSports for the past seven days. (Previous position-days on chart.)
. Tim Kawakami at San Jose Mercury News says the Boldin deal is grand larceny, (2-2)
2. A.J. Perez at Fox Sports writes that former Georgetown coach John Thompson Jr. is not happy with the Big East split. (3-2)
3. Monte Poole at the Oakland Tribune writes about the brawl that gave the WBC a black eye. (NA-1)