The Climate

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The Climate is a weekly look at what's good and what's not so good in the world of sports.

Ana Ivanovic

Ivanovic, the eighth seed in the French Open, struggled for a bit in her opening match before winning in two sets. With the year's biggest clay tournament underway, the defending champion still faces a couple of important questions:

1. Should she attack opponents on the slow Paris clay or try to win with guile and superior fitness?

2. Should she keep her name as it stands now or opt to hyphenate and become Ivanovic-Rubenstein?

The Coca-Cola 600

Rain delayed the annual Memorial Day weekend race until Monday, but since so many people have the day off, it may be a good time to sit back and take in all 600 miles of Charlotte's trademark NASCAR race. Fun things you can do while watching include picking out and ranking the pit lizards in order of overall desperation; figuring out the appeal of sitting uncomfortably close to gasoline fumes and constant rubber projectiles; and, of course, quenching your thirst during the longest NASCAR race of the season with an icy, refreshing Pepsi. Yes, the choice of a new generation.

Raul Ibañez

The Phillies' new left fielder is off to the best start of his 11-year career, hitting a league-leading 17 home runs with a .352 average and 43 RBIs -- all before June 1. Also, he has been and will continue to be the cause of inappropriate fawning by visionary fantasy managers everywhere who were wise enough to take a brave chance on the scrappy 36-year-old in the ninth round of their drafts.

Rashard Lewis

Although it seemed like a waste for Orlando to pay Lewis more than $110 million a couple of years ago, the 6-foot-10 shooter has been lights-out against Cleveland in the Eastern Conference finals, averaging 20 points on 55.6 percent shooting. As if his accuracy and clutch performances during the postseason weren't enough, there are now rumors circulating in the NBA underground that he may start to try his luck at rebounding, which could really put Orlando in the driver's seat if the team makes it well into June.

The Padres

Despite the front office's desire to clean house and cut costs, San Diego has stayed afloat to the tune of nine straight wins (all at home). While it's still fully expected that the team will continue to shop its best players to load up on top prospects, it's always nice to see players and coaches putting forth an effort to actually compete early in the NL West. The streak appears to be healthy: San Diego this week has the luxury of playing at Arizona and Colorado, two classic, All-American streak-enablers.

Free throws

After an exciting Sunday night of NBA "basketball," we've all now learned that a true hoops battle isn't won with screens, tight defense and getting shots off in traffic, but rather when players stand around waiting for other players to shoot uncontested free shots. With all of the fouls and subsequent shots from the charity stripe, I'm just glad I don't have to explain the rules and intricacies of the game to any children, unknowing foreigners or races of hyper-intelligent aliens.

The Twins' 2007 trade for Delmon Young

Now that Jason Bartlett is having the best season of any major league shortstop and Matt Garza is the Rays' best starter, it seems like a good time to declare Minnesota's acquisition of Young one of the worst deals of the past few years. Luckily, Joe Mauer and his dreamy sideburns are hitting about .738, which, when added to another quietly dominant season from Justin Morneau, has kept the Twinkies in AL Central contention.

Donald Sterling

Even though the Clippers' owner is among the candidates for a lifetime spot in this part of the column (along with Lou Holtz's broadcasting career and the basic tenets of fascism), this recent profile cements his legacy as one of the worst humans in the history of professional sports. Do look at the bright side, though: He hasn't (to anyone's knowledge) been sued for eating puppies or selling nuclear secrets.

Neck tattoos

Of the many sideshows that come with the NBA playoffs (TV shots of stars at games, entertaining Nike commercials and the physical demise of shot clocks), this particular postseason has really been a coming-out party for neck tats. I'm probably forgetting somebody, but the act of watching HD close-ups of Kenyon Martin, Trevor Ariza and Delonte West and trying to figure out their reasons for inking up in the neck region is consistently one of the more distracting parts of the playoffs. It's to the point where it just makes financial sense for Martin to try to get sponsored by Dairy Queen or the Rolling Stones.

Local Cleveland TV news

While this clip of a local Cleveland news team is unbelievably entertaining, you have to question the direction of a broadcast that has a weather guy slumped over while half-heartedly giving the weekly forecast; an anchor broadcasting her intent to cancel Sports Illustrated over Hedo Turkoglu; another anchor, Leon, crapping on everyone's Cavs hopes; a sports guy jumping up and down while watching an off-screen TV; and then having that same weather guy inexplicably disappear mid-shot. Actually, I kind of like Leon.

Dan Rubenstein hosts and produces the SI Tour Guy video series for and co-hosts The Solid Verbal college football podcast with's Ty Hildenbrandt. He can be emailed here.