Though I’m sure Wizznutzz will have something to say about this chilling story, I’m sure he’s well aware that any dissenting viewpoint might result in a lifetime selling flowers by the side of the highway. From the Washington Times’ John Mitchell.
Desiring to play for a championship contender, Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas will seriously consider opting out of his contract in 2008 if he doesn’t feel the franchise is committed to building a title-caliber team, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.
“Gil has made it clear to me that his number one priority is to play for championships,” said Dan Fagan, Arenas’ agent. “Right now the Wizards aren’t a championship-caliber team. But we are confident that [president of basketball operations] Ernie Grunfeld can put one together.”
Arenas, 24, said he would like to have his jersey retired in Washington. But heading into the fourth year of his six-year, $65 million deal, the two-time All-Star wants to make sure the Wizards are progressing toward a championship before he makes a long-term commitment to the club.
The Wizards this season reached the playoffs for the second straight year, ending a league-high streak of 18 seasons in which the franchise failed to make consecutive postseason appearances.
But Arenas saw the Wizards’ loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round as a step back from the previous season. Washington defeated the Chicago Bulls in the first round in 2005 before losing to Shaquille O’Neal and the Miami Heat in the second.
“I don’t want to take a step back,” he said. “It’s hard to recover from that sometimes.”
Arenas said he wants to spend his prime years knowing he will compete for a championship every year. Washington last won a championship in 1978 and is not considered a threat to win the Southeast Division, let alone compete for a championship.
“That is what I play this game for,” Arenas said. “Ninety-five percent of the players in this league want to win a championship more than anything else. I won’t be happy just making it to the playoffs every year and that’s it. I want to compete for a championship in my young years.”
Arenas also has indicated he would be disappointed if coach Eddie Jordan does not receive a contract extension. Jordan is in the final year of his contract.
“I’ll even say, if he’s not here I don’t want to be here,” Arenas said after the playoff loss to Cleveland. “I’ll even go that far. That’s how badly I want him here.”
If we didn’t get the point the first 100 times, we’re not going to get it. It’s time for that anti-smoking ad, the one featuring the poor soul with the hole in his throat – the one that seems to appear 10 times per Met telecast – to take a week off.
Indeed, where are all the public service announcements about late start times for ballgames, overpriced sneakers or the struggles faced by white athletes charged with rape? Amazing that no one at News Corp. has thought of putting Phil in charge of one of their many television properties.
Essentially a one-trick remote control, TV-B-Gone quickly spits out roughly 200 infrared codes and, within customary remote-control range, turns off most televisions in a few seconds. “Restaurants and the Laundromat, those are the big ones for me,” Mr. Altman said, leaning over from his workbench, which was surrounded by at least five computers and covered with arcane chip-programming gear, a soldering iron and an ancient (though functional) oscilloscope.
“Whether TV is on or off is a choice, and I would love for it to be a conscious choice,” he said. “All over the place, TV’s very often are just on, and no one put a lot of thought into whether to put it on or not. And then people don’t really have a choice of turning it off. TV-B-Gone is about giving people that choice.”
I can only admire the tenacity of an inventor that would spent years and tens of thousands of dollars developing such a product rather than, say, eat at home. Or purchase a washer/dryer.
Earlier this month, Altman told a writer from the AP that he first got the idea for TV-B-Gone a decade ago when he was out with friends at a restaurant and they found themselves all glued to the perched TV instead of talking to each other. No one was around to turn the TV off.
Once again, we’re talking about a brilliant man that would go to such lengths to turn remotely off televisions rather than say, find an eatery with no set blaring. Or get some friends who were better conversationalists.
Speaking as one of the few who will openly admit to enjoying the intrusion of CNN, ESPN, Maury Povich and the like in bars, waiting rooms, restaurants, airline terminals, etc. perhaps Altman (above) could spare a thought for those of us who have other, less universal hang-ups about daily interaction with the rest of the human race? Where’s my “Annoying Chit-Chat B Gone” remote, that would allow me to render blowhards, know-it-alls and their ilk mute while I’m trying to concentrate on more important issues (like how to kil them with my bare hands?) How about all of the taxi drivers that insist on playing crap music or hate-fest radio? Where’s my ‘lil remote that will put the kibbosh on such an annoyance? I mean, I could always ask the driver to turn the fucking thing off (much as Altman and his acolytes could humbly ask the owner of an otherwise empty tavern or restaurant to kill the TV for 5 minues) , but wouldn’t it be so much easier to pretend I’m the only person alive with thoughts or feelings?
Apparently, there’s not much of a cottage industry in politely saying “would you mind turning that off, I’m trying to read the Times’ “Circuits” section?”
Poured into a tight-fitting black leather skirt, a shear half-blouse that exposed his bare midriff, and wearing a wig that one of his teammates said made him look like tennis star Serena Williams, Lastings Milledge struck a pouty pose.
”I’m hot,” said the smiling Mets rookie, vamping for television cameras and his teammates that snapped away using camera phones. “You know I’m hot. I’m a 9 or a 10.”
When yesterday’s game ended after Billy Wagner worked out of a mess of his own making in the ninth and the players returned to their clubhouse, Milledge and Cuban-born pitcher Alay Soler found their clothes gone and some garish women’s wear in their place.
The roundish Soler looked rather fetching in a hot-pink plaid skirt and a top that exposed his ample stomach. Soler, who is scheduled to start tomorrow night against the Red Sox, was also given a black wig complete with long braids.
“Don’t get mad because I’m hotter than you,” a laughing Milledge yelled at a woman from a local television station.
Tomorrow, Mike McGann decries the modern definition of “5 tool player.”
Once upon a time — say, 6 weeks ago — it was common practice to moan in the middle of the night about how unbeatable these Mets might be if Jose Reyes could find away to raise his on base percentage by 50 points or so. And while the shortstop has been a tad more selective this year, who knew he’d accomplish said jump in his OBP….by hitting .561 over the last two weeks?
Reyes went 4-5 against Toronto for the 2nd day in a row, starting the afternoon with a leadoff HR, adding another run scored and stealing his NL-leading 34th base. Reyes’ outburst, along with a 3-run HR from Carlos Beltran (above, his 20th) provided enough of a cushion for the underwhelming Steve Trachsel to capture his 7th win. Billy Wagner pitched a scoreless 9th inning, but not before walking Reed Johnson and Vernon Wells, giving Lyle Overbay a chance to tie the game. The Mets could have a 15 game lead by the All-Star break and Wagner will still manage to make collapse inevitable, if only of the daily variety.
There was Chavez nailing a runner, his eighth such assist from the outfield despite limited duty. There was Bradford picking up for Trachsel and Heilman accepting the ball after Bradford and Wagner not dropping the ball after Heilman. There was no deployment of Marrero, but it was comforting to know a versatile third catcher was available to jump in for Castro after Castro jumped in for Lo Duca. Come to think of it, there was Castro, beginning to chip in offensively like he did in spot duty last season.
Of course Jose recorded one hit after another and we got hits from one Jose after another. And one of the fellas in the heart of the order, Beltran, showed his usual heart and, should it be an issue on three or four occasions in a few months, we proved we’d be even more dangerous with the benefit of a DH in our lineup. Not every National League champion’s been able to say that (not that we’re the champion of anything yet). – Greg, Faith & Fear In Flushing
(the author’s set following the season finale of “Dream Team”)
Though making cryptic reference to being “outnumbered 3 to 1 by people as keen not to watch football as I am to watch it” (translation : the dude’s whipped), the London Review Of Books’ John Lanchester is enjoying the World Cup on his own personal TV….locked in his bedroom. (link courtesy Sam Frank)
It™s a widescreen tv. By this I don™t mean a pimptastic 60 inch Sony or anything, just a normal-sized telly in a 16:9 aspect ration. And here™s the thing: the 16:9 screen is a zillion times better for watching football on than the old-school 4:3 tv. The main differences that you can see who the player is passing to, and what his options were; you can see what the players who haven™t got the ball are doing, instead of being focussed solely on the man in possession. You can watch the whole trajectory of passes, instead of scanning around as the ball flies. I couldn™t believe how much better it is.
I thought this was a blinding revelation, but it turns out that if you say this to someone who has a widescreen tv, they stick their tongue under their lower lip, assume a vacant expression, and say, ˜Durr™. In other words they regard it as a famous self-evident truth that widescreen tvs are much better for watching football. But the thing is, I don™t think people do know that. Certainly I™d have bought one years ago if the adverts for them, instead of wanking on about lifestyles of the rich and famous, and pretending that the pictures are better, which they aren™t, had just said, ˜buy one if you like football, because you can see where the ball goes™. A bit like Kingley Amis™s character Garnet Bowen, who dreams of marketing his own brand of beer with the slogan: ˜Bowen™s beer. It makes you drunk.™
What’s one extra round of games for the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament? Other than a blatant expression of greed, I mean. From WANE TV :
INDIANAPOLIS – Motivated in part by George Mason’s remarkable Final Four run last season, college basketball coaches this week will urge the N-C-A-A to expand its most lucrative championship event.
The coaches, who are meeting in Orlando, Florida during the men’s and women’s basketball committee meetings, say they would like to see the tournament’s 65-team field double. But they’d still be happy with a smaller victory.
This seems like a lot of effort to make certain Rick Barnes’ streak of tournament appearances stays alive.
A flawed, poorly run team could not contend last season when one of the NBA’s supposedly elite players was healthy and productive.
Now virtually the same management team and virtually the same coaching staff will try to win with virtually the same roster, with two exceptions:
1. Garnett will be a year older, at 30, having averaged 39 high-energy minutes per game.
2. Rashad McCants, the developing player with the best chance of improving the Wolves, is out indefinitely after undergoing microfracture knee surgery, a frightening injury for a player who relies on explosiveness.
This leaves the Wolves with two choices:
1. Make a desperate move, trading for a problematic player like Stephon Marbury, to pair Garnett with someone who could make the Wolves contenders.
2. Start over.
Admit that Garnett’s career has been wasted on a franchise that mismanaged talent, blew draft picks and cheated blatantly on the Joe Smith signing.>
Admit that even with Garnett healthy and at his best, the 2006-07 Wolves will not be an attractive draw to fans disgusted by the current regime’s mistakes.
Admit that having Garnett healthy will keep the Wolves competitive enough that the odds will be against earning a transformative draft choice.
Admit that Garnett’s trade value will only decrease if he continues to log major minutes for bad teams, wearing down his knees and patience.
Garnett is the Wolves’ only healthy, valuable asset worth more than a light rail token.
Not only must he be traded, but he must be traded in one of those subtle, fan-angering moves that isn’t fully appreciated for years.
Garnett is of best use to the only franchise for which he has played if he becomes the Wolves’ Chuck Knoblauch, A.J. Pierzynski or Herschel Walker.
Remember, Twins fans thought their franchise was giving up when Terry Ryan made his deals. The Knoblauch deals built the foundation of three straight division championships. The Pierzynski deal brought Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser. Herschel Walker … well, you probably remember that one, too.
Phoenix’s motive is to avoid the luxury tax for next season, which they are dangerously close to, and still keep the team competitive. The Suns still have to extend Boris Diaw for 5 years and anywhere from 44-55 million dollars, which would put them well above the luxury tax threshold. With Leonard Barbosa looking for a contract in the 7-8 million dollar range and Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion all making max or near max dollars, keeping their core together past next season does not appear very likely.
In addition to predicting Andrea Bargani might fall as low as no.7 or no. 8 on Wednesday, the Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell seems fairly certainly Allen Iverson is on the move, but perhaps not right away.
There’s little doubt Iverson is available. The Philadelphia 76ers are a team in need of a makeover because Iverson and Chris Webber aren’t going to get them anywhere.
Sixers chief Billy King would like to improve his draft position from No. 13 and Iverson would be the logical bait. Of course that implies there’s a taker for the roughly $60 million left on Iverson’s contract over the next three seasons.
One place that could make sense is Atlanta, where the Hawks are desperate for a star to draw fans to the arena. (Also, Iverson’s act might play better in Atlanta than Charlotte). The trouble with an Iverson-to-Atlanta scenario is the fractured ownership situation with the Hawks. They’re still fussing over who should buy out whom, and the Hawks-Thrashers lost a lot of money last season.
So signing off on $60 million more for Iverson is a reach.
Any deal involving Iverson might have to wait until July, when the NBA’s next fiscal year starts, often facilitating trades.
Call it hush money if you will, but citing two other recent examples of prominent sports figures who were pennywise but pound foolish, the New York Daily News’ T.J. Quinn strongly advises James Dolan to pay Larry Brown the $40 million as soon as possible.
There is a lesson to be learned in 21st Century sport, and it’s being played out on the other side of this newspaper: pay them off. Unless you have a biblical capacity for enduring misery, close your mouth and open the checkbook and be grateful that people can be bought off.
Ask Michael Strahan right now what he would pay not to hear the anti-gay harassment he is certain to get from his teammates ” much less Eagles fans ” in the years to come. And what would it be worth to make accusations that he tried to spy on his sister-in-law with a camera clock go away? Maybe $7 million? That’s the difference in what Jean Strahan is asking and he’s offering in their divorce. She backed off the “accusation” that he’s bisexual, called him a philanderer instead. That may play better with the meathead crowd, but which of her statements are the ones Strahan will be hearing about the rest of his life? Which ones do you think will bother him?
And how about Barry Bonds? How’s that decision not to pay off Kimberly Bell looking now? His ex-mistress wanted $100,000. That’s it. He offered $20,000. From a man who was making $17 million that season alone. For someone making $85,000, it would have been a $500 payoff to prevent a woman you said you loved from telling the feds that you gave her $80,000 cash from memorabilia sales, and that you took lots of steroids long before you met Victor Conte, and knew exactly what they were. For just $100,000, you might have avoided a federal perjury and money laundering investigation. Not to mention the amount of material she provided for the book “Game of Shadows.” Think Wade Boggs wishes things had turned out differently with Margo Adams, the mistress who sued him for breach of contract?
Since the accusations of rape first emerged against Duke lacrosse players four months ago, the media have mostly demonstrated a reluctance to aggressively pursue the character of the accuser, an African-American stripper with an arrest record and a previous claim of having been gang-raped, a claim that was dismissed, apparently for lack of credibility.
This woman’s dubious character, for the most part, has been lightly and briefly touched upon or totally ignored, as if her past is irrelevant. And perhaps it is.
Yeah, there haven’t been any newspapesr or magazines over the past two months that have mentioned the accuser’s sexual history, her line of work or questioned her credibility. Other than the terribly obscure Sports Illustrated.
In any event, there’s no telling how rampant reverse racism would be were it not for a watchdog like Phil Mushnick. On behalf of the entire white race, I’d like to buy him a Coors Light someday, to express my thanks.
It’s a shame that No Mag isn’t available online, otherwise there would be an illuminating interview with Tommy Lasorda Jr. (with accompanying photograph) to share with you. And on a related note, the Toronto Star’s Richard Griffin speaks out in opposition to Tommy Sr.’s entry into the Canadian Baseball Hall Of Fame (link culled from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
Why is he in the hall? Unlike his well-nurtured public image, he’s in reality a mean-spirited, egocentric, homophobic bully who has done nothing for Canadian baseball.
In the winter of ’75, as a coach for the Dodgers, Lasorda even leveraged an offer to manage the Expos from club president John McHale, taking over from Gene Mauch, into the Dodgers’ job, taking over from Walter Alston. McHale always thought he had had an agreement.
When it was discovered in the late-’70s that Dodgers centre fielder Glenn Burke was gay and had befriended Lasorda’s son, Tommy, Jr., Burke alleges that he had him traded to the A’s.
Later on, at the time Lasorda’s AIDS-ridden son was gravely ill, another gay player, Billy Bean, alleged that Lasorda was still telling rough, unfunny, homophobic locker room jokes.
Throughout his Dodgers’ tenure, Lasorda was honoured by Italian-Canadian associations in Montreal. On one trip, a star-struck clothing manufacturer invited Lasorda and his coaches to his factory to sample his wares. The plan was to sell items at cost. After gathering armloads of samples, the Dodger was presented with a bill. He furiously stormed out of the factory because it wasn’t free.
Apparently, or so goes the legend, when Tommy found out that as a coach he wouldn’t receive a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics, he was upset, because he had passed up the opportunity for a lucrative speaking engagement back in the U.S.
In the years since 1976, whenever a player was traded from the Dodgers to the Expos or Jays, the vitriol they brought for Lasorda has been palpable. That is unlike the public image of Tommy the motivator.
(two all time Yankee greats bask in the adulation of a sell-out Bronx crowd. Their inclusion and participation in such an event should in no way be seen as a gigantic FUCK YOU to a certain baseball team from Flushing. )
It was Old Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium yesterday, which afforded Goose Gossage yet another opportunity to spout off on the injustice of juiced-up, styling & profiling modern sluggers. From the New York Times’ Joe LaPointe.
With Barry Bonds accused of using steroids, does Gossage think Bonds’s pursuit of Hank Aaron’s home run record of 755 is legitimate?
“No, I don’t,” Gossage said. “The integrity of the game is all these numbers that all those great players like Hank and Babe Ruth put up before. I could never understand why there wasn’t an investigation being done.”
“It seems to be beyond what anyone even thought,” Gossage said of steroid use. “I’m wondering why is nothing being done to protect the integrity of the game. They’re keeping Pete Rose out of the Hall of Fame for gambling ” which they should.”
Gossage, 54, lives in Colorado. He said that pitchers today do not work the inside of the plate enough and that the hitters do not respect pitchers as they once did. He mentioned Boston’s Manny Ramirez, who often stands near home plate to watch his home runs.
“I would have drilled Manny years ago,” Gossage said. “He wouldn’t have pulled that stuff, stand there and stare at home runs.”
I have to chuckle at some people — including some writers — using this opportunity to blame me and tell lies about how I do my work. Would people like to explain what I’ve done here, other than my job? To cut through some of the b.s. I’ve been reading, hear this: I have nothing against locker rooms and clubhouses as long as they’re civil. Again, if Guillen wants me to join his nightly OzFest charm sessions before games, he and Sox management will have to address and apologize for a history of threatening and unprofessional episodes. It’s certainly not about fear. It’s about dignity, couth, professionalism and a refusal to lower myself to laws made by jockdom.
One incident involved Guillen himself on a night in Baltimore when he stood naked behind me in the clubhouse and — how do I put this? — pretended to have sex with me. If that happens out on the street, he gets arrested for lewd behavior. A screaming Carl Everett, mean guy, confronted me outside the Sox’ clubhouse last October. Oh, and before a playoff game, while I joined a live ESPN “SportsCenter” segment on the field, Guillen yelled at me from the dugout, “Get off our field before I kick your ass!”
So, do you want me on your field, Ozzie, or do you not want me on your field? Can’t have it both ways. I’m confused.
There have been incidents involving Frank Thomas and a bat he wanted to put up my butt “sideways.” There was a disturbing 15-minute standoff with a screaming Tony Phillips. Aaron Rowand always yapped about wanting a piece of my hide. Hawk Harrelson blathers on in that drawl about some bird, and all it does is enflame fans who make threats on e-mail and voice mail.
Let it be said (again) that David Beckham has a special way of answering his critics. Usually, it involves a squeaky voice that makes Mike Tyson sound like Lou Rawls by comparison, but every now and then, Becks lets his right foot do the talking (which is good, because as the late George Best noted, he’s fucking useless with his left)
England will meet the winner of Portugal/Netherlands, a remarkable situation given they’ve not fully impressed in any of their matches in this tournament. But to paraphrase the late Mr. Gomez, sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. A little bit of both is preferable, though, and this was an afternoon in which Rooney, Lampard and Gerrard, to name three, could’ve done more with their chances.
Someone really ought to send out a search party for John Terry — don’t tell me he’s right in the center of the pitch, there’s no evidence of it.
John Rocker walked into the room to meet the man assigned to conduct his Major League Baseball-mandated sensitivity training six years ago and walked out shortly thereafter with the discussion delving no deeper than the weather.
“The guy told me when I got there I had to show up to make it look good for people, so after about 15 minutes I left and walked right out of the room and it satisfied the powers that be,” Rocker said.
Rocker’s comments also drew a fine that was reduced upon appeal from $20,000 to $500 but says that, too, was more about show than dough.
“I never paid a cent, a lot of players never pay a cent,” Rocker said. “It’s just a front to look good and the way Selig cowers to pressure.”
A teammate of Guillen’s in Atlanta in 1998-99, Rocker considers Guillen a friend and remembered the way the shortstop was the “class clown” of the Braves’ clubhouse.
Naturally, he defended Guillen’s right to say whatever is on his mind:
“This is a free country. If he wants to use a lewd term, he should be able to use a lewd term. Can’t you use a lewd term in America if you want?”
He must drive fantasy players crazy. At age 24, he had a superb season, putting up high batting averages and power number, and a decent OBA. When a player performs like that as he enters his peak years, the skies the limit. I’m sure he was picked high in a few fantasy drafts going into the 2004 season. But he declined. At age 26, he declined again. So he’s 27 in 2006 with his stats going the wrong way for his age and I bet a large number of fantasy owners passed him over. How many of you picked up Vernon in the late rounds? You must really be happy.
Some of us in NL-only leagues, however, are ready to make like R. Budd Dwyer. Thanks for nothing, David.
Sorry to view this one totally from the NL East perspective (by all means, petition against interleague play if only to stop me from doing such things), but what will it take for Philadelphia to gain any ground on New York? The Mets playing .400 ball the rest of the way? Are the Marlins a greater threat in the division at this point?
Tom Gordon fell behind David Ortiz 2-0 in the bottom of the 10th, evened the count with a pair of low, inside pitches that Big Papi went fishing for….prior to grooving a fat one right over the heart of the plate, which the Boston DH crushed into the centerfield tarp, as if on cue.
Curt Schilling struck out 10 in 6 innings of work ; Jonathan Papelbon picked up his 4th win with 2 and a third innings of relief, lowering his ERA to an otherworldly 0.24.
With the news that the Sultan Of Surly had slugged his 719th career HR today against the A’s, Joe Buck somberly noted that Bonds was now “5 home runs ahead of the Boston pitcher.”
After a longish pause, Tim McCarver added, “nicely put.” It’s not quite “My Dinner With Andre” with these guys.
Despite Taylor Buchholz limiting the White Sox to a mere two singles over the first 6 innings at the Cell, Chicago prevailed over Houston, 6-5 earlier today. A 7th inning Joe Crede grand slam (his 3rd of 2006) tied the game, which ended on Alex “Sisters Lovers” Cintron’s 10th inning, bases-loaded single (above) off Dan Wheeler. The White Sox have won 9 in a row, and perhaps the Astros will send Chad Qualis away for sensitivity training.
After a brutal, brief outing from El Duque (6 earned runs, 1.2 IP, a three-run HR allowed to Vernon Wells), the Mets are trying to chip away at the Blue Jays and Roy Halliday. Aided by triples from David Wright and Jose Reyes, New York is trailing 6-3 after 5 innings. I’m relying on the animated wonders of MLB.com’s Gameday feature, as the game is blacked out on the ‘net due to Fox’s Game Of The Week exclusivity. Given that neither the local Fox affiliate nor the satellite feed of NYC’s Ch. 5 are showing baseball at the moment, I full understand why neither MLB nor Fox would want me to watch anything besides an “Alias” re-run.
The French media™s treatment of Lance Armstrong is starting to make the American media™s treatment of Barry Bonds look downright Jason McElwain-ish. They™re still hung up on the idea that they can somehow prove that Lance Armstrong used steroids, EPO, or some other sort of performance enhancer.
– A former handyman has won more than $400,000 in a lawsuit over a penile implant that gave him a 10-year erection. Charles “Chick” Lennon, 68, received the steel and plastic implant in 1996, about two years before Viagra went on the market. The Dura-II (not shown above – ed.) is designed to allow impotent men to position the penis upward for sex, then lower it.
But Lennon could not position his penis downward. He said he could no longer hug people, ride a bike, swim or wear bathing trunks because of the pain and embarrassment. He has become a recluse and is uncomfortable being around his grandchildren, his lawyer said.
In 2004, a jury awarded him $750,000. A judge called that excessive and reduced it to $400,000. On Friday, the Rhode Island Supreme Court affirmed that award in a ruling that turned on a procedural matter.
Without wishing to scoff at Mr. Lennon’s pain and suffering, there does seem to be a missed opportunity here. Admittedly, I’ve not spent a lot of time in Providence over the past decade, but if my memories of the town are in any way accurate, it was most definetly the kind of place where a man named Chick with a permanent hard on could become very, very popular.
I pass along the following report from the New York Daily News’ Fillip Bondy merely for comedic purposes and encourage all sensible persons to take it with a grain of salt.
In meetings over the past few weeks, according to one source, U.S. Soccer officials have made it clear to FIFA they are eager, and prepared, to stage the 2010 or 2014 World Cup, as they did with relative success in 1994. Such a project would require a relatively short period of warning, because the U.S. already has the stadiums and the infrastructure in place. These are not the Olympics, requiring whitewater rafting and velodrome venues.
Two big problems remain with this plan: specifically, South Africa and Brazil. FIFA has already awarded the 2010 World Cup to South Africa, and would like to continue its continental rotation through 2014 by awarding that tournament to Brazil.
But recent visits have left FIFA president Sepp Blatter more skeptical of his own initiatives into poorer regions, and U.S. officials now envision a more plausible scenario in which the World Cup makes an emergency landing in anywhere from eight to 12 U.S. cities, including New York.
Thus far, FIFA has only vaguely hinted at its dissatisfaction with South Africa, and soccer’s governing body is unlikely to pull the event from that developing country, unless absolutely necessary. Such a move would send the wrong message, one of exclusion rather than diversity.
FIFA has done this only once before, moving a planned World Cup in Colombia to Mexico in 1986, when the Colombians admitted three years ahead of the event that they didn’t have the funding to pull it off. The South Africans probably would have to ask out themselves, in similar fashion.
It is worth remembering that one of the selling points for US ’94 — a commercial success if not an artistic one — was that said tournament would provide a launching pad for a serious First Division domestic league in the U.S.
Said league, currently celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary, has shown a baffling sense of it’s own importance or lack thereof, by maintaining a full fixture list throughout the World Cup.
(a Pavel Pardo corner kick, a flick-on from Mario Mendez….and Rafael Marquez grabs the glory for Mexico in the 4th minute)
“What have the Ecuadoreans ever done for us?” I asked a pal who can usually be relied upon to know about such things. He did: Ecuador, so I learned, is not only the world’s biggest exporter of bananas and balsa wood, it is also where the original Panama hat comes from -come on, admit it, you thought they came from Panama, too, didn’t you?
But as I’ve always preferred a Mars Bar to a banana, didn’t make model aeroplanes as a kid and, although I reckon I would look pretty nifty in a titfer, I don’t frequent Royal Ascot, Wimbledon or Lord’s, what have the Ecuadoreans ever done for me? That’s right, nothing, so as much as I have applauded some of their football in reaching the last 16, I fervently hope the country’s World Cup adventure comes to an abrupt end in Stuttgart tomorrow.
Now playing for Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito (and I thought Inverness Caledonian Thistle was a bit of a mouthful), Ecuador’s Agustin Delgado left his previous team, Barcelona de Guayaquil, under a cloud after the club president accused him of ‘partying late at wild clubs’. He sounds like my kind of fella, although there are those in Ecuador who think he’s tonto como un cepillo (or daft as a brush as we say on Tyneside).
While speculation rages that Graham Poll might’ve refereed his last World Cup match, some credit is due : in a tournament where commentators have argued that far too many yellow cards have been brandished, at least Poll took it upon himself to decide that 3 yellows merited a dismissal, as opposed to the usual two. How many other men would have the courage to make such a radical reinterpreation of the rule book on such a grand stage?
A scoreline, that believe it or not, flattered to deceive Sweden, who proved unable to overcome two early goals from Lukas Podolski, nor Tedd Lucic’s sending off. Henrik Larsson put a penalty kick into row Z shortly after the intermission, and now, Mexico or Argentina awaits Juergen Klinsmann’s side. If nothing else, the price of hiring Klinsmann to take over the U.S. national team just went up a bit.
He acknowledges Britain’s playful animosity towards the Germans is still a problem. “It’s the most hilarious thing in Britain to make fun of the Germans and the war. It’s an endless story.”
He won’t say whether he prefers smoky Glaswegian pubs to oompah Bavarian beer halls. “I can’t say — that’s like asking if green or blue is better. You’ve got to see them both. I’m sure next time the World Cup will go to Scotland,” he says confidently.
So who is going to support if Germany meet England in the quarter-finals? “I think Germany definitely. When you live in Scotland you really go off England. England’s a bit of a shithole really.”
The elites of US Soccer, the supposed eighth-best side in the world, played with almost no raucous arrogance, putting together three self-conscious, almost apologetic matches. You see, I might not be able to perceive the nuances of the game, but I know enough about sports that I can tell, for example, when a man is playing hesitantly, tentatively, and making bad decisions. I can tell when a player, no matter how handsome, isn’t anywhere near as good as the commentators would have me believe. And I can tell when a coach has screwed up so royally, misfired so badly on everything from motivating his players to regulating team chemistry to formulating the game plan, that he should quietly wander off from the team hotel, never to be seen again, leaving only a simple note saying “Went for a walk; I may be some time.”
I saw, in other words, the same thing you did, although again, I’m not certain I’m capable of understanding the importance of what I’ve seen.
Hot stuff from the Seattle Times’ Larry Stone this morning : not only does he survey Eddie Guardado doing a slow burn over his diminished role, and hangs around for Duff McKagan’s surprise appearance in the Mariners’ clubhouse (“looking at him, you could tell he’d lived a rock’n'roll lifestyle,” said first base coach Mike Goff), but also he took the time to poll Carl Everett about baseball’s hottest story.
Everett won a World Series ring last year under Guillen, under fire for calling Mariotti a derogatory term often used to describe someone’s sexual orientation. Everett believes that Mariotti should be held equally accountable for critical comments he makes in his guise as a columnist and television commentator.
“If you call me stupid, that’s derogatory,” he said. “Don’t just pick a certain word, because the world is sensitive to gay people. You call me stupid, you call me an idiot, people are sensitive to that.
“So don’t just single out a couple of words. You’ve got to take everything as a broad spectrum. You call a player stupid or ignorant, you just touched a subject you shouldn’t be touching. But they give you the right to say it because you’re media. Bull.”
Everett shared the enmity of his former manager toward Mariotti.
“Yeah, Ozzie talks a lot,” he said. “But at the same time, Jay Mariotti has a big mouth, too. If you want to tell people to be quiet, take his butt to sensitivity training.”