Category Archives: Sports

for those who didn’t win the genetic lottery, were picked last for dodgeball and are willing to admit you take sports a little too seriously

Look at it this way, we don’t even use the same name the rest of the world does for futbol!

In the recent excitement (very recent, and regarding this morning, disappointment) surrounding team USA soccer, we are once again asked the broken record question of whether or not the world’s most popular sport will ever become relevant and/or popular (which really means profitable) in the world’s most powerful company errr I mean country.

Blogger’s (am I an editor of a blog or a blogger?)  note: I literally wrote company instead of country.  Only in going back and proofreading did I catch it and add that second part.  Funny little Freudian slip there, methinks.
In response to that question I have a two part answer: “Not really” and “really?”  Neither answer, nor the real level of interest, inspires a lot of confidence in the MLS and FIFA regarding the United States and its commitment to professional soccer.  Simply put: we don’t (consistently) care and never will. I say consistently because it is true that at times, such as the past week or so, the country does tune into international competition to see the US’s slim hopes of actually winning something.  Credit Landon Donovan and the crew for getting this far…but man that was a rude awakening courtesy of Brazil.  After striking to a 2-0 (that’s two-NILL for all you Americans out there) lead against the first-named futbol freaks out of South America we all thought it too good to be true.  Here was the United States dominating on a world stage in the largest tuneup before the World Cup.  Then reality kicked in and Brazil showed us who is still boss.

But allow me to go somewhat deeper into the American obsession with sports.  Let’s look at the sports this country consumes at astronomical rates: Football and basketball at amatuer and pro levels, baseball at for the most part a pro level, hockey at a niche level and auto racing at a regional level.  Football, basketball and baseball have simple explanations as to their popularity.  They are all American sports (I refuse to acccept that basketball is Canadian), invented, grown and nutured right here domestically.  Auto racing, specifically NASCAR, comes from southern street racing, or so I’m told.  Soccer is centuries old and from a far off land, distanced from all the goings-on in the US.

This cannot fully explain our disinterest in soccer.  Golf was not invented in this country, yet it is widely played and celebrates its finest tour of play in America.  Perhaps it is a question of winning.  As Ray Ratto pointed out, Americans do have quite the interest in Premeir League Soccer which is…funny, it’s the best soccer played in the entire world.  It doesn’t seem like a wholly American thing to want to watch the best and only the best.  As my co-blogger said, MLS is akin to the Australian Basketball League, somebody may watch it, but not nearly enough for people to care.  Simply put, if nobody watched a sport, it wouldn’t exist.  But to be placed on the level of NFL, NBA and MLB, the MLS would have to be as good, if not better than the Premeir League, which will probably coincide with hell freezing over someday (which coincidentally appears to be the same time I finally get a job…f*** the economy!).

Were the US to win the World Cup next year, it would probably be the single greatest sporting achievement in American history, or at least since the Miracle on Ice.  That being said, it still wouldn’t ignite the NCAA to make soccer and elite collegiate sport, or for MLS to suddenly be featuring players like Flopiano Ronaldo or Henry.  Our disconnect to soccer stems from an attitudinal difference between Americans and the rest of the world.  A major reason American sports fans are so passionate is the possibility and anticipation of the so-called “walk off” win.  Everyone dreams of witnessing, or fantasizes about playing in, that bottom of the 9th situation where the bases are loaded and it’s all on the line.  We practice the final shot of the basketball game with time expiring, or the final, Hail Mary pass.  Soccer does not appear to have walk offs.

I watched today as Brazil scored in the 80 something minute, only to celebrate for a good 90 seconds.  It was two minutes before the US even began play again.  Suddenly, it was stoppage time and all Brazil had to do was casually walk to inbound the ball, wasting another minute.  Essentially it was clear nearly 10 minutes before the match was over that the match was over.  In American sports, there is always a chance for a last second comeback, against all odds.  Perhaps this is a sign of Americans’ intentions or expectations in a sporting event, or even life.  We want to know that no matter the journey, no matter the path to get here, we still have a shot to “win”.  The soccer-loving world seems more concerned with the journey and not the ending.  Of course, the score still matters, but the entire body of work appears to be more important than the 9th inning or the 2 minute drill.

It’s the reason Hedo Turkolou can stink it up for three quarters then be hailed as clutch in the 4th, or the reason Tim Howard is still a fantastic keeper, despite the lapses down the stretch.

Here the ends justify the means, everywhere else you better tread a good path.

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Our first actual post! sorry to the non-sports fans

And now a mock for tomorrow’s NBA Draft.  We crapped out after the lottery…those are the only interesting picks anyway

1. LA Clippers

Blake Griffin

Really a toss up here…it’s not like they already announced who they are picking.  We’re going to love the anticipation, edge of your seat drama of David Stern coming to the podium for that first pick.  For all of you who may have money on the draft (we don’t really know if there are Vegas odds on drafts) and you get this one wrong…just do yourself a favor and take the rest of your money, put it in a locked safe and forget the combination.  That way your money will be safe.

In case you haven’t been following, the pick is more obvious than the coming year-long buildup of Shaq and LeBron joining forces against Kobe.  Griffin brings hype to the hapless Clip Show, and even more inevitable disappointment and heartbreak.  His demise-before-his-rise will play out in grand fashion on the only soap opera to compete with Guiding Light as longest running train wreck.

2. Memphis Grizzlies (they’re probably going to trade this pick, but predicting that is dumber than labeling Ricky Rubio as a can’t miss prospect…)

Hasheem Thabeet

Instead of entering into Clipper-esque drama with Rubio, they decide to take the safe 7 footer, aka the most boring player in the draft.  If it weren’t for the dude’s freakishly large hands (you know what that means) he would just be a skinnier Michael Olowokandi…in fact he probably still is this generations Candy Man.  On the downside (yes, worse than Candy Man 2.0) Marc Gasol large, bearded mug will be confined to the bench during pre game introductions.  Here’s to you finding your Spanish brethren someday Marc…

Real life comparison: The hottest girl at the bar will make you buy her too many drinks, so you just take the sure thing three seats down (and about a foot and a half taller).

3. Oklahoma City Thunder

Ricky Rubio

When we found out he was, in fact the next Pete Maravich (despite their only common traits being their floppy hair, skin pigment and the occasional flashy pass) it sets our minds a flutter because at one point Jason Williams (not “good guy” Jayson) aka “White Chocolate” was also the next Pistol Pete.  And the plot thickens even more when it comes to mind that the next Jason Williams was Rubio’s own Spanish national teammate Sergio Rodriguez (or as David has learned in four years of close proximity to Blazer Nation, THAT PIECE OF GARBAGE SPANISH POINT GUARD who needs both a haircut and a clue on the court).  This brings to mind two questions: First, with two Pistol Petes how is the Spanish national team NOT the most entertaining team to ever step on a court and second…was Pistol Pete really ever so good as to warrant four (FOUR!) heirs apparent?!

Ben’s anger aside, this is a pretty solid pick, considering you have a position-less Westbrook at point guard and Kevin Durant craves picture perfect lob passes in the key to earn him that max contract (that probably won’t be with the Thunder).

4. Sacramento Kings

Tyreke Evans

We really can’t make fun of him, because he’s just too damn solid.  We’re high enough on him that we’re PISSED he won’t fall to our beloved Warriors.  Our only reservation on Evans is that for some odd reason history has not been particularly kind to point guards who are 6’ 5”.  There have been some greats at 6’ 4” (Kidd, Payton), one at 6’9” (Magic) and the rest are pretty much 6’3” and below.  Of course there’s a good chance he won’t play point guard, and some are saying he’s still growing.  Perhaps he’ll avoid becoming Marco Jaric (6’5”) Redux…though I’m sure Evans would approve of Jaric’s companion.

Can we just take a moment and remember how ridiculous Sacramento was not that long ago?  The cow bells, Tyra Banks and Vlade Divac.  Doug Christie’s wife, C-Webb’s kicks and the Turk backing up the Slav.  Where have all the good times gone? And to think, if contemporary Hedo were on the Kings in 2002, we might have been talking dynasty in Sac Town.  To put things in perspective…Beno Udrih started 72 games for the Kings this year.  How the mighty have fallen.

5/6. Minnesota Timberwolves

James Harden and Stephen Curry

Even before the trade, looking at their depth chart was more painful than a post-blackout hangover (only Twolves fan remember how awful this team is).  Aside from Al Jefferson and the white Wes Unseld (the Beach Boy), this team is deplorable.  These picks offer scoring, entertainment and the prospect that the ball will no longer be brought up court by Kevin Ollie.  They say Curry can pass and Harden can score.  They also say Curry can shoot and Harden is lazy.  Worse case, Curry is a shorter, much cheaper Mike Miller.  Harden seems to be the draft’s biggest enigma.  Nobody knows how hard he will try, nobody really knows what NBA skills he has. Either way, these two, combined with Jefferson’s healthy ACL, brings Minnesota back into the land living (if only slightly).

7. DUUUUUUUBS (Golden State Warriors)

Jordan Hill

Our boys usually draft the big man out of need, often passing on a better, smaller player.  But for the first time since basketball was more an expose of players’ thighs than a spectacle of athletic talent, the opposite seems to be happening.  Monta isn’t a point guard; Acie Law is not the answer.  But instead, the Dubs invest in a bona fide power forward who can rebound… and maybe even post someone up. Now it may seem strange to the Warrior faithful that the team could try to play multiple bigs with Nellie as coach, but that’s how most real teams do it. Time to join the NBA.

8. New York Knicks

Jonny Flynn

This is a draft for point guards. Mike D’Antoni was a point guard. His best teams were led by Nash, a great point guard. Chris Duhon (of all freaking people) lit it up for the Knicks at… guess which position. That being said, D’Antoni wants a more talented PG, and New York native Jonny Flynn fills the role to perfection.  Maybe it was his ballsy play during that OT marathon against UConn but it seems like he has exactly the quality needed in a 7-seconds-or-less offense.  And by quality we really just mean cockiness.

9.Toronto Raptors

Demar DeRozan

And where does every Compton raised, Southern Cal Trojan want to end up?  If you said Toronto you’re…probably not even close to right.  DeRozan can do his best Jordan impression trying to usurp the starting shooting guard spot from Anthony “EuroJordan” Parker (yes, that was his nickname while playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv, soak it in).  Euro Jordan hasn’t quite been Air Canada, so DeRozan could be playing big minutes early on.  Solid pick for a team with just about one year left to make the playoffs.

10. Milwaukee

Jrue Holliday

Another conundrum because Holliday played out of position in limited minutes in his one and done year at UCLA.  On the other hand, Ramon Sessions is slated to start, with Luke Ridnour backing him up, which can’t be good.  Bonus points to Holliday since people describe him as “tough,” “gritty,” and “defensive minded.”  These just so happen to be traits that Scott Skiles falls in love with…until he demands 50 pushups.  Skiles needs to save face, since he’s still starting Charlie Villanueva, whose softness rivals the most luxurious satin pillows in the Pottery Barn catalog. Then again they did just trade Richard Jefferson so Joe Alexander could start.  With direction like that, they could take hometown hero (and by hero, we mean perceived leader who shoots 28% from three and 46% from the free throw line, standing at a generous 5’11”) Dominic James and we really wouldn’t be shocked.

We officially support Bill Simmons becoming their GM.

11. Nets

Earl Clark

We’ve identified a major need for the Nets.  They have a budding superstar in Devin Harris at point, an aging Vince Carter (we refuse to call him a star), and a nice young center in Brook Lopez.  Adding a combo forward only leaves one spot: the small forward.  I wonder who could fill that spot while still pleasing part owner and rapper Jay-Z?  We can now add the Nets to the list of teams who are intentionally leaving a hole in their rotations to hopefully be filled by one LeBron James.  Though they appear to be a dark horse in the looming LeBron sweepstakes, humor us and imagine him on the same team as Earl Clark.  Devin Harris would average 15+ apg…all on dunks!  Brook Lopez wouldn’t even need to rebound!

12. Charlotte (yes, they actually have a team) Bobcats

Terrence Williams

The most anonymous team in the league takes among the quietest prospects in this draft. Reports came out about how…bizarre Williams was (he literally carried a Barbie backpack in public) but coach Larry Brown (bet you didn’t remember he was their coach, huh?) has dealt with his share of strange players.  More importantly, Williams is docile compared to personalities like A.I. or everyone on the Knicks during Larry’s tenure.  Brown likes players he can coach, and he just might have one.

13. Indiana Pacers

Ty Lawson

John Hollinger thinks Lawson is one of the top two players in the draft.  Then again, Hollinger’s system rated Michael Sweetney over Dwyane Wade coming out of college.  It seems Larry Bird will stop at nothing until he has acquired every point guard that is under 6’ (watch out D.J. Augustine).  Word is he’s placing call into Mugsy Bogues and Spud Webb and Tiny Archibald.  Soon enough, Nellie WILL be their coach.

14. Phoenix Suns

Brandon Jennings

The last time Phoenix took something from Italy, Mike D’Antoni took them to new heights in fast paced basketball and playoff choking.  Also, it’s about time Nash had an actual backup, seeing as with all the minutes he has  played his biological clock is ticking to the pace of an 85 year-old coal miner.

It’s too bad everyone freaked out over the fact that Jennings went to Europe and then didn’t play big minutes.  If Rubio had had last year’s season in an American college, scouts would be piling on him as being too injury prone and raw.  Somehow everyone is an expert on euroball when a flashy American point guard struggles on the court yet they can’t read that a floppy haired Spaniard hit only 30 percent of his shots. Really, what the hell?

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Some large percent of life is just showing up… or so they tell me

And the partner has arrived. You can call me Ben or “The Brein.” Pretty much everyone else does.

I am in the midst of that magical summer between my first and second senior years and right now am holding down a nice little internship in promotions with the local fox affiliate. My true passion however is sports, mostly watching them or writing about them. Playing them… not so much, something to do with the lack of speed or coordination (and probably a few other athletic talents). Anyway, I’ve covered University of Wisconsin athletics for the last few years, want to find more chances to write in any official capacity (really, any, any at all) and (like any sports writer who happens to blog) eventually want to work in the sports media, hopefully as a beat writer. Cliché, I know.

I’ll mostly be chipping in semi-useless philosophical rants about sports (shocking, I know), journalism and other random topics that happen to catch my attention. There will also be commentary on subjects like local news, things that annoy me and just enough hockey to really irritate the other person writing for the site.

So prepare yourself for a whirlwind of everyday moments made more complicated because we flat out spend too much time analyzing them. Stay tuned.

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Let’s give this a try

So I finished college…10 days ago or so and realized bar hopping in Oakland/San Francisco may not be the most productive introduction into “the real world”  (stay tuned for another post about why I hate calling it “the real world” (stay tuned for MANY more rants about things I don’t like)).  I’m trying to get into the advertising industry any way possible.  Right now I’m applying (which really means begging) for an unpaid internship (which is a polite phrase for office bitch, which is a bastardization of SLAVE) and hopefully someday a paying job writing or researching.  No, I don’t think advertising is unethical, and no, I’m not willing to compromise my morals to do it (though I do joke about the opposites of both).  Enough about me.  I just thought it would be good to start at the beginning, and with regards to this blog, it starts with me.

I do have a partner too, and I’ll make him introduce himself at some point.

Soon we’ll post a whole mission statement about the blog, what we’ll do and what we’ll not do.  To tease that…We see our blog as a space to put our meaningless conversations about everyday details.  For us, our conversations usually begin with one of us pointing out a hot girl on the street.  We then take a left turn toward politics and finally frame it in the context of one of our sports teams (Bay Area sports baby!).  Along the way we pepper in non sequiturs ad nauseum.  That’s what we want this blog to be about: anything and everything, nothing and no one in particular.  Maybe sports…but mostly ranting.  We hope you enjoy!

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