Monday, July 31, 2006

The Bengals Are In The Lead

posted by IntrinsicBent


This is not a post where I’ll editorialize and report a bunch of specifics of who is involved and what they have done.

It is sufficient to simply say that the Cincinnati Bengals now have 5 suspended players for a variety of idiotic decisions and actions before preseason action has even begun.

I was not aware that the Portland Trailblazers offered consulting services for the NFL.

Way to represent Cincy, right after making a strong run into last year’s playoffs.

That must be parity kicking in.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Today's Trip To The Bullpen Brought To You By Heinz

posted by IntrinsicBent


I’m sure I’m late to this party, but that’s par for Ole Intrinsic’s course. Plus, it does have to do with the Red Sox, so it’s not like I’d ever really notice without the proper backdrop.

That backdrop happened tonight while I was watching ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball featuring none other than the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v. The Boston Red Sox. The Angels spanked the Sox which is always fun.

You have to watch the matchups between these teams until the end, because no team is out until the fat lady sings. This because of both teams propensity for heroics when it matters.

There was a camera shot in the Red Sox’ bullpen late in the game that made me grab the remote and put a quick rewind on the DVR.

Sure enough, it was what I thought it was.

Tomato plants. And yes, there were tomatoes on them in varying stages of ripeness.

I guess when you own a professional sports team these days, it’s important to have as many creative revenue streams as possible.

The MLB Trade Deadline

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Competitive balance might mean the end of MLB’s exciting trade deadline.  With the Monday night deadline less than 48 hours away upon typing this, we’ve basically seen one lineup altering trade, and that was to the Texas Rangers of all teams!

With well over half of the Major League teams still within a push of a playoff position, (including every team in either western division) this year is no longer a who-are-the-Yankees-Red Sox-Braves-gonna-get type of trade season.  Suddenly there are very few sellers and lots of buyers; and even fewer matchups in which the buyer has the package that the seller wants.  We’ve reached the point where the Oakland A’s, a first place team, are trying very hard to sell their best pitcher, knowing they could get whatever they want for him on this market.

The madness sort of makes you worried about what your team might look like come Tuesday morning.  Luckily for me, my Angels’ GM Bill Stoneman is the most conservative general manager in the league.  But if I was a Dodger fan, I’d probably be having annual nightmares leading up to August 1st in which I wake up to find out my team traded away its All-Star catcher and got nothing to show for him, reminiscent of 2004.

In the end, it’s probably a good thing about this new found competitive balance that reduces the number of players switching uniforms.  Not only is it hard on us fans, but this year, we don’t have Peter Gammons to explain it all to us, and it’s just not the same without him.  

Friday, July 21, 2006

You Have A Call From PETA On Line 3

posted by IntrinsicBent

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays (or is it just Rays now?) have a new attraction within their ballpark as part of their more than $10 million series of renovations and improvements.

This is how my reading of this article progresses:

I read with interest that the attraction is a 35 ft. long 10,000 gallon fiberglass tank just beyond the outfield fence in right center.

This “Touch Tank” will be home to 30 live cownose rays. These rays can grow up to 45 inches and weigh more than 50 pounds. They school in numbers up to 10,000 at a time. Pay attention, there is a test on this later.

I’m still reading this article with interest because I’m into this kind of thing and I find that 1) everyone’s stoked because this community partnership creates an education opportunity, 2) it gives visitors a taste of the area’s culture, and 3) it creates awareness for the Florida Aquarium.

I read where Rays manager Joe Madden, pitcher Scott Kazmir, and ex Rays catcher Toby Hall made a video while in a ray tank at the Florida Aquarium showing them feeding rays. Fans can watch this video while at the tank. I think how I wish I could do that some day, and then wonder if missing his rays may secretly be why Toby Hall is being such a malcontent with the Dodgers after being traded.

I then figure out why it is called a touch tank, because fans will be able to touch the rays. This conjures up images at Sea World of Little Jimmy growling at Mommy to Look as he “pets” (ie scratches the crud out of) the rays with a very intense look on his face and his fingernails bared.

This makes me think about whether an alleged education for Little Jimmy balances with the ray being ripped out of the ocean and being slashed over and over every day. But this and the ocean are deep subjects so I am soon selfishly back to reading this interesting story about a real live tank with real live rays in them.

Then the article tells me that there’s no additional cost for this attraction (I guarantee you it was paid for by one month’s $5 per hotdog sales……….even at Rays attendance levels), it opened today, and it will be available for all home games. What, they’re not taking it on the road?

Then the very last line in the very last paragraph tells me that the tank will also be a fundraiser as the Rays (the team) will donate $2500 to the Florida Aquarium and $2500 to a charity of the player’s choice for every homerun ball HIT INTO THE TANK!

What?!?

Rays baseball at home is now officially a glorified carnival game.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Big Ben..............Parliament

posted by SubversiveTheory

I saw Ben Roethlisberger last week on the links playing golf, and in at least one interview. He looks fine to me.

I think the “accident” was staged by the motorcycle helmet safety law lobby and Mr. Roethlisberger himself.

Just another example of a smoke and mirror tactic to eliminate one of our freedoms.

The Pittsburgh Steelers did not reprimand Big Ben. Might they be complicit in this ruse?

Disclaimer: Subversive Theory’s opinions and well………..theories are not the opinions of Blogger, The Sports Frappe, it’s owners, or advertisers. The Sports Frappe bears no responsibility for the thoughts, feelings, or posts made by Mr. (Ms.?) Theory.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Uncle Buck

posted by IntrinsicBent

Last night, Sir Buck O’Neill became the oldest player ever to play in a professional baseball game.

This very spry 94 year old had a one day contract with the Kansas City T-Bones in the Independent North League.

The plan was for O’Neill to be intentionally walked, but he insisted on taking a few cuts at some pitches, which he did. At the top of the 1st inning he drew a walk. He was traded to the other team at the middle of the 1st inning and batted leadoff at the bottom of the inning where he drew another walk.

Buck O’Neill is a living sports legend who played in the Negro Leagues and then went on to the MLB and continued to break barriers. He tells many intriguing and detailed stories of life in the Negro and early Major Leagues. If you ever have the opportunity to hear him being interviewed, don’t miss it.

It’s a travesty of SubversiveTheory proportions that Major League Baseball did not induct him into the Hall of Fame when they selected the initial group of Negro League players. His Negro League numbers aren’t that strong, but his lifetime body of work deserves all the awards that he can get while he’s still with us. He is a tireless promoter, and the last player spokesman for the super league that ignorant color lines necessitated.

Who did Buck beat out for the oldest player record? 83 year old Jim Eriotes, who played in a minor league game and struck out at the plate.

I hope that pitcher is proud of that K.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

OKC Is A Player

posted by IntrinsicBent

You know the story. Don’t hate the player…………hate the game.

Unless that game is NBA Basketball.

Today, an investment group from Oklahoma City purchased the Seattle Supersonics. Terms of the deal stated that they also had to take the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. Good with the bad.

This development is so amazing to me. As an Okie kid, the pro team was always…………….OU Football. Regardless of the sport. It sucks because you find yourself attaching yourself to the pro team that is closest geographically, or the one that has a history of getting the highest concentration of OU Football players. See the theme here?

Last year, OKC amazed the NBA as they acted like a major market in sheltering the Katrina devastated New Orleans Hornets. My sources tell me there was legitimate attendance, solid team support, and a home environment that left the Hornet players feeling appreciated. In fact the Hornets almost showed their gratitude by making it into the playoffs.

It seems this move is a grand backup plan in the event that Hornets owner George Shinn whisks the Hornets back to the Big Easy.

Either way, it’s huge progress. Best of luck with the rebuild on either team OKC.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Wasting My Time

posted by MoneyMouth

There has been a lot going on in sports in just the past week that is worthy of discussion:  World Cup finished, baseball is back in full swing, and the Tour de France is rolling to name a few.  Even with all this fodder, what has captured my attention is this worthless debate and discussion surrounding Ben Roethlisberger the past week.  

The story is quite amazing.  After Big Ben put his career on hold by getting in a very serious accident on his motorcycle without a helmet on, I think it’s safe to say we all breathed a collective sigh a relief for the guy when we saw he was okay this week with his appearance at the ESPY’s and other various events.

But like I said, I can’t get over this ongoing sports discussion about Big Ben’s future.  The discussion should begin and end with the question, “Will he play this next season?”  After the simple “yes,” newscasters and sports analysts should then be moving onto the next story like if the Angels really have the best rotation in the MLB.  Instead, they choose then to speculate on how this will make him a better player.  I didn’t know this, but according to the talking heads a motorcycle accident can give you Peyton like vision from the quarterback position.   I certainly wished someone would have told me this back when I was playing high school football because I would have been riding my bike to school everyday.  Perhaps a little accident on the way would have given me Moss like hands and speed.

Look: I don’t care who you are, a motorcycle accident it going to change you.  It may help you reevaluate a few things about your life.  It might drive you to make some changes in your life.  I’m definitely not debating that, but it certainly will not give you a new found ability on the field.  Instead of wasting their time with such speculations on how an accident might make you more patient, the boys at ESPN might as well start talking about Ricky Bobby and the impact he will have on the NASCAR circuit.  As for me, I’ll make my judgment after the Steelers actually take the field again.  

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Truth About The MLB All Star Game

posted by SubversiveTheory

The result of last night’s “close” Major League All-Star Game was decided a very long time ago.

It appeared to be a closely played ballgame with the National League almost pulling out a victory that would have ended the streak of defeats at the hand of the American League.

The problem is that the game and the league is rigged and grossly favors the AL.

There is a secret society within Major League Baseball. Actually the MLB is a misnomer. It is actually two independent leagues operating under the guise of a unified league. How blatant is it that there is a National and American League. Why isn’t it called The United Baseball League (UBL)?

There is a secret society that controls the inner workings of baseball. The Fellowship Of Unitarian Leagues (FOUL) pulls the strings.

That’s why the AL wins almost all World Series play. If you think back, if an NL team dares to compete and win a series, they almost always have a swap meet fire sale shortly thereafter. It’s punishment for taking a stand against The Man.

That Man is currently none other than Bud Selig. How does an owner rise up to control the league? By owning an American League team and playing the game. Sure, the Brewers are now an NL team, but that’s just a smokescreen.

The Designated Hitter empowered the AL into the offensive powerhouse that it is now.

Selig orchestrated the tie in the All Star Game that led to it’s victor receiving home field advantage.

Phil Garner, Houston Astro and NL All Star Manager, began his career as a player for the Oakland Athletics. Which league do they play in? The American League. He has been indoctrinated into the FOUL way. His mismanagement last night was on purpose. His payoff? Roger Clemens for part of a season, and Aubrey Huff in a trade.

I think one of Trevor Hoffman’s conditions for returning to the Padres for another contract included having to throw a softball in one All Star game when needed.

Look deeper than the headlines.

Disclaimer: Subversive Theory’s opinions and well………..theories are not the opinions of The Sports Frappe, it’s owners, or writers. The Sports Frappe bears no responsibility for the thoughts, feelings, or posts made by Mr. (Ms.?) Theory.

Chastising Bud and Manny

posted by BiCoastal Bias

First of all, congratulations to everyone on one of the best MLB All Star games of all time. This one ended on a game-winning triple! That's the sort of headline you read the next morning and say, "Wow . . . huh?"

At least, that's what I did this morning, because . . . well . . . I fell asleep. There's really no excuse for this, other than the fact that watching the American League get 2-hit for 8 innings was not as interesting as it sounds. Big props to Vladimir for one of those hits; sealing your position as the best bad-ball hitter of all time.

I want to take this opportunity, however, to respond to two items of pregame fodder. First off, Manny Ramirez's no-show. Manny, after leading the league in All Star votes from the fans, decided he needed to rest his knee, although this injury has not caused him to miss a single game in the last week. This is reprehensible. I have backed Manny in the past; he's an epic slugger, and he's got the quirkiness to go along with it. But this move was even worse than his last minute pull-out of the World Baseball Classic. Not only does he show no respect for baseball as an institution; now he has spit in the face of his own fans. BiCoastal Bias gives a heavy wag of the finger to you, Manny. Perhaps baseball could consider a rule stating that unless a player is on the DL, he must make an appearance at the All Star game, under the threat of suspension. All you have to do is show up! If you're a starter, tell the manager to remove you after one inning; these rosters are so loaded that it won't matter. What does matter is players showing a complete disregard for whether or not the game even happens.

But don't get so smug over there, Bud Selig. This is the ONLY rule change you'll be allowed to consider. Allegedly, you want to put in a rule disallowing starting pitchers to pitch in the days leading up to the All Star break . . . Ridiculous! It's clear that Selig is still dealing with the guilt of ending the extra-inning 2002 game in a tie; and thinks he can make up for it by doing everything in his power to force everyone else to care about this game. Bud, we forgive you, but now give it up. What's next, an All Star series? Best of three? I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you really want to return interest to this exhibition game, cut out interleague games from the schedule. That's what gave the Randy Johnson vs. Larry Walker matchup of the early 90's such magic. Maybe even extending the break an extra day will make guys like Manny less likely to skip; but these rules you're proposing are starting to remind me of a childhood friend who threw himself a "Half-Birthday" party, and then couldn't understand why no one brought him presents.

I'm not sure how that last story fits into the general picture, but it doesn't really matter because it didn't really happen. The point is, Bud and Manny, you're on notice.

Monday, July 10, 2006

A Soccer Gift For Our Patrons

posted by IntrinsicBent

I know you soccer fans are jonesing for hot World Cup action that yesterday’s final game snuffed out.

The first day without World Cup…….well, it felt like a year………didn’t it?

Did you really think France would do anything but surrender, when it was crunch time?

The Sport’s Frappe World Cup coverage was followed by many on numerous continents. This tough sell of a sport saw a few converts along the way. Our lithe penned journalists acted like literary Johnny Appleseeds.

A better description may be……………Johnny Frappleseeds.

It will be interesting to see the harvest that is gleaned in 4 years, when the next WC’s pageantry, psychedelic jerseys, stretchers, decks of multi colored cards, and yes….mullets, make their return.

We leave you with this poignant and celebratory summary of “The World’s Sport.”

Enjoy!




Sunday, July 09, 2006

MLB All Stars

posted by Knowledge Droppings

MLB All Stars – Pick Or Play Your Way In?

I have to make this fast.  Intrinsic went to lunch and left his laptop on.  A quick update:  I think I’m doing pretty good at my job here at The Sports Frappe as their intern.  They tell me the job is really a glorified personal assistant, but I have dreams.  Big dreams.  I love sports and I love to talk/write about sports.

I am going to keep banging away at providing good debate topics, and I know if I work hard, they’ll have to let me start posting on my own.

Comments of support would be VERY much appreciated.

Each year at this time, there is debate about how baseball selects it’s All Stars.  There’s the school of thought that having fans select the majority of the players is outdated.  Especially since larger metropolitan area teams can easily stuff the ballot boxes.  

Some say the internet evens this out, while others say it only makes the matter worse.  Now couch potatoes don’t even have to go to the effort of finding ballots and punching out the chads.  I blame this on Bush Gore 2000.

Some say it’s wack to have the All Star game decide the World Series home field advantage.  

Others say it’s unfair for the All Star game to decide home field, and not allow the managers to pick their teams.

Others whine that the homerism (nepotism) that occurs by the managers on the few picks they do make adds to the cheapening of the game as well.

Another complaining school of thought was voiced by Red Sox manager Terry Francona who described it as "unfair" to have to pick at least one player from each team, thus increasing the chances of better players being left off the All-Star team.
What do you experts think about this issue?

All my best,
Knowledge Droppings

BiCoastal Bias: Thanks Kid Knowledge, now run along and make my Frappe of the day.  By the way, your pay is directly proportional to how long the blender runs, so get to it.  

As for my take on this sensitive issue, I’m a little tired of hearing the All-Star selection process getting bashed around this time of every year.  Let me go through the issues point by point.

I love it when I hear that the fans’ voting “. . . is becoming more and more of a popularity contest.”  Were you around during the 16 year span in which career .263 average hitter Ozzie Smith was voted into every single mid-summer classic?  Look at this year’s starting lineup and there is no one who blatantly doesn’t deserve to be there.  The fans don’t get it perfect, but since it’s clear that the players and the managers don’t either, I’d rather have the ballot in our hands, wouldn’t you?  

I also have this theory about the positive impact that fantasy sports has had on fan voting.  For instance, last year, Brian Roberts had a scorching first half out of nowhere, and got the starting nod at second base.  Before fantasy sports took this world by storm, there’s no way Roberts has the name recognition to finish in the top ten last year.

As for the nepotism issue, I have some understanding.  But as competitive balance has returned to the American League, I love giving teams like the White Sox, Red Sox, and Angels chances to stick it back to Joe Torre.  I hated the fact that Jorge Posada got picked to every All Star game that Torre got to manage, so I’m still in favor of allowing the Championship manager to pick the reserves, just for spite.

And finally, let’s address the “out-dated” rule that each team has to have one representative to the All-Star game.  Commentators love to pick on this rule, and that’s because most of them have denied themselves any allegiance to a specific team.  As for this sports-blogger, I remember what it was like to be a live and die fan of the late 80’s, early 90’s California Angels, a team that was always and only represented by one of the following pitchers: Chuck Finley, Mark Langston, or Jim Abbott.  So tell me this, do you really want to take little Bias’s one source of team pride away from him on All-Star Day?  

Yes, because of the rules, deserving players will be left off.  I don’t care.  It’s rules like these that make baseball’s version of an All-Star unique.  Which brings up the issue of home field advantage.  If Selig really wants to bring attention back to this exhibition game, the best way to do that is by trashing interleague play, but that was a previous blog, (cf. Day 3 Blog).  

MoneyMouth:  I don’t have time to be patting our little intern on the back for finally getting his act together and handing us writers a prompt, so I’ll skip the formalities and get right to it.

When we talk about the All-Star Game there is one thing that we must address before we start talking about who gets to play in it and that’s the decision to make the All-Star Game decide who receives home field advantage in the World Series.  As long as MLB and Bud Selig decide that this game is going to “count,” then it is a must and a necessity that the best players represent their respective leagues.  But until we go back to the All-Star game being an exhibition game, something must be done about the selection process.

It’s for that reason that I’m taking this stance: no more voting and no more one-player-from-every-team rule.  It’s just how it has to be.  Right now most of you are yelling at your computer screens in disgust, and while I find this funny because I can’t hear you, I’m also dead serious.  I hate it too, but let me explain.

No more voting: While I will admit that fans are voting a bit more intelligently these days (fantasy sports is a good explanation), I keep staring at the name of A.J. Pierzynksi and find myself overcome with anger.  Passing up rookie phenom and ERA league leading Francisco Liriano for a third (not to mention mediocre) catcher is an unpardonable sin.  That’s when Bud Selig should have stepped in with a rolled up newspaper and said, “No.”  If the fans are going to vote like dumb, deaf, and blind dogs, then you reprimand them like one.  Simply take the voting away.

And I’m talking fan and players alike.  In fact, I’m even saying that managers can’t be picking their teams either, at least not without the final say from Peter Gammons.  Here’s why.  As I’ve said, this game counts now so we have to have the best players starting.  This means guys like Jason Mauer get the nod over Ivan Rodriguez, and Jason Bay is replaced by Carlos Lee.  While these changes aren’t outstanding since both I-Rod and Bay are deserving all-stars, we either do this all the way or we don’t do this at all.  

Every-Team Rule: Every season we have some undeserving player from Tampa Bay or the Royals making the team simply because they have to take someone from their team.  While this year Tampa Bay actually has one deserving all-star in Scott Kasmir, we have Mark Redman from the Royals getting the free ride despite his not so great numbers.  That spot definitely could have gone to someone more deserving like Liriano or Carl Crawford.  And don’t try to give me this “you’re robbing me of my only team pride on game day” either.  Look, if I was a Royals fan, I wouldn’t be upset that I wasn’t being represented in the All-Star game.  I’d be upset that my owner won’t even pretend to be interested in putting together a descent team.  To have 25 players on a team and not even have one guy worthy of being an all-star is an injustice.  Perhaps something like that is the wakeup call these down and out franchises need.    

Like I said, I don’t necessarily like these ideas, but it’s simply what you have to do as long as the All-Star game decides home field advantage in the World Series.  I’d of course rather see us go back to an exhibition game, but who knows if such a thing is possible now that we have a game that “counts.”  Until that day comes, we have to start treating the All-Star Game like it really does matter.  Maybe then I’ll actually start watching it again.

The Antithesis of the Doldrums

posted by BiCoastal Bias

The early part of this week is the antithesis of the sports doldrums I wrote about back in February.  Although I’m writing this on Sunday, I assume that most of you are reading this on Monday while bored at work, so you’ve already missed half of it.  But this kind of collision of sporting events into such a short timeframe comes around about as often as the Hale-Bopp comet, (for those who don’t know, that’s like every 4000 years).

There is only one tennis tournament I’ll watch on TV, (Wimbledon) and there is only one reason I’ll watch soccer on TV, (the World Cup).  Today features the finals of both events.  At the time of writing, Nadal is trying to come back from a 2-0 deficit to Federer.  I’ve been trying to come up with a good comparison to the Federer/Nadal history, but I don’t think there really is one.  Federer is hands down the best tennis player in the world, and yet Nadal consistently beats him.  In most other contexts, this would imply that Nadal is actually the best player in the world, but in tennis it just doesn’t quite work like that.

If you’re like me, you haven’t watched Wimbledon as closely since Maria Sharapova was knocked out last week.  In that case, hopefully you’re focusing all of your energy toward today’s World Cup final between France and Italy.  Part of me is tempted to head down to Boston’s North End to watch it, the historic Italian district of the city.  

For you Anaheim fans, today’s series rap up of Angels vs. A’s is just icing on the cake.  Monday features the homerun derby, followed by Tuesday’s All-Star game.  Enjoy it while it lasts, it might be another 4000 years until we get another week like this.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Problem with NASCAR

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Over the weekend, I happened to catch the highlights of the NASCAR Pepsi 400 on Sports Center; and I finally realized what’s wrong with this sport.

And yes, I meant to call it a sport, although I know a few who will disagree with me.  These guys are athletes, with talents and skills.  In this day and age in which old poker tournaments are regularly featured on ESPN Classic, I’m pretty sure we can accept auto racing into the wide, not exclusive, world of sports.

But a sport with problems, nonetheless.  You see, I learned as a child, that it was not okay to turn the television to NASCAR and say “Wow, I hope we see a crash.”  I was quickly reprimanded, and rightfully so; when life and death are on the line, we sporting fans should always be rooting for life.  

So then this weekend, while watching the recap, I realized that all of the highlights from the day’s race included clips of various crashes.  None of them were fatal, but we only know that in hindsight.  

So to sum up this phenomenon; if you’re watching NASCAR, and you are mindful of the human beings on the course, you’re hoping that you don’t see anything that might be highlight worthy on Sports Center tonight.  Whereas at any other game, I’m excited to see diving catches, monster dunks, and Cabrera stealing home; if I’m watching NASCAR, I hope to see cars pass each other peacefully.

I don’t get it . . . but I guess that’s why I’m not a NASCAR fan.

Monday, July 03, 2006

World Cup Top 10 Continued

posted by MoneyMouth

To finish what BiCoastal Bias started, here is 1 – 5 on things I’ve come to love about the World Cup. Enjoy.

5. 45 minutes of straight TV. Soccer is the only sporting event that I’ve seen that can get away with uninterrupted play. There is definitely no such thing as a TV time-out in this sport, and for that, I salute you.

4. Beckham. I never understood why a movie was ever titled “Bend It Like Beckham,” until, well, I watched Beckham “bend it.” He has the amazing ability to make the ball hook and dive like no one I’ve ever seen. I once was told by a soccer fanatic that Beckham could hit me in the face with a ball from 40 yards away while making the ball curve around a flagpole to reach me. I was skeptical then, but after his goal against Ecuador, I’m a believer.

3. Spanish Announcers. No one can make me feel the excitement of the World Cup better than these guys and I don’t even understand half of what they are saying (I say half because the other half is names of players). More importantly is their ability to celebrate the goal. Their sustaining yells of the word “goal” gives me just enough time to high-five those around me and use the bathroom before the replay is actually given.

2. The Header. I have to admire these players for their lack of care for their noggins. I always wince when I see the goalie boot a ball three quarters across the field where it is then met by a player’s forehead. Not only do these guys do it without hesitation, they can direct it just as well as if they had thrown it with their hands. Now that’s impressive.

1. The Stretcher. I believe soccer is the only sport still using a stretcher for injured players. You’ve got to hand it to them too: they’ve seen the electric cart, but they’re hanging in there with that stretcher. It typically plays out like this: referee runs to fallen player; player continues to roll on ground; referee signals to the 4 stooges to bring out the stretcher. When the stretcher arrives, if they are lucky to get their hands on the player, they just might be able to get him on it and strap him down. Otherwise, there seems to be a reoccurring phenomenon in which the thought of being carried off on a stretcher is medicinal in and of itself and the player immediately jumps to his feet as if nothing ever happened.

Steal Home

posted by IntrinsicBent

I’d like to clarify that I did not say steal a home.

That disclaimer may seem ridiculous to you, but where I come from it’s a possibility.  Homes come on wheels and tornadoes love to visit them.

That ends today’s installment of Hillbilly 101.

I was watching the Anaheim California Angels of Anaheim today against the Dodgers and saw one of my favorite facets that comprise America’s Sport.

Stealing Home.

It’s a beautiful thing if it’s your team pulling it off.  It’s demeaning to the opponent and can suck the backbone out of a MLB team’s resolve.  My struggling team did it at home in the battle for the freeway.

That last paragraph is worthy of John Facenda narrating over the fade in shot of a glide amongst the Palm tops, flying by Disneyland, and a glide into the baseball heaven known locally as the “Big A”.

Orlando Cabrera reached base safely for the 59th straight game.  This is a streak not equaled since the year of 1960.  One year before the world was blessed with the arrival of one certain Mr. IntrinsicBent.

Cabrera pounded a double off of the Dodger’s rookie Chad Billingsley and when J.D. Drew booted the ball, took third on the error.

While Billingsley was preoccupied with getting into the stretch, Orlando stole home and left the rook pitcher feeling like Barbara Billingsley.

It was a good day at the yard for a team struggling to find it’s tenacity.

It was……………….Angelic.    

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Latin America Cries

posted by MoneyMouth

I sat down in an internet cafĂ© this afternoon to check my mail as well as watch the France vs. Brazil quarterfinal game, and to the world’s surprise, France won. In a 1 to 0 victory, France sent the favorites of the cup packing their bags for home just like they did in the 1998 finals. As BiCoastal Bias has mentioned, Brazil is an incredibly entertaining team to watch. With all the stars that Brazil has (Rhonaldino and Ronaldo to mention a few), you feel like you are watching an All-Star team take on a grade school soccer team. I always had the feeling that they were “too good,” if such a thing is possible, so I figured that their demise would come sometime soon, just not against France.

The unfortunate thing is that accompanied with Argentina’s dismissal yesterday in a less than exciting shoot-out with Germany, the Cup is now lacking any Latin-American team. But I suppose such a feature should be far from surprising. You see, in the history of the World Cup, only one Latin-American team has been crowned the champions in a World Cup played in Europe and that was Brazil back in 1958 in Sweden. Likewise, a European team has never won the World Cup in the Americas. If you aren’t picking up what I’m laying down, then watch the last few minutes of regulation in the Argentina vs. Germany game and I think you’ll begin to understand.

It’s for that reason that I’m already claiming Germany as champs of this year’s cup. It’s only fitting for the host country to take home the honors. With their next game against Italy in the semi-finals and then a finals versus either France or Portugal (probably Portugal), I don’t see any reason why they should fall short. Let’s just hope it’s not too obvious so I can at least enjoy these remaining games.

World Cup Top 10 . . . thru 6

posted by BiCoastal Bias

This is the short list of things that I’ve learned that I love about the World Cup. It’s incomplete, so stay tuned. . .

10. Yellow Cards for taking a dive: Have you seen this yet? When somebody takes a dive, especially when he’s trying to get a penalty kick, the ref might give him a yellow; and with all the cards that have been given out this year, this is the only card that I like to see. It’s really the ultimate way of calling out a guy for being a wuss. Maybe hockey should institute penalties whenever somebody backs down from a scuffle.

9. Instant Replays: I often find myself multi-tasking while watching World Cup games, (writing this blog is a case-in-point); so it’s really nice that I know any especially interesting corner kick, or shot on goal, will be replayed at least twice. Once I hear the announcers voice pick up slightly in pitch, I know to pay attention and I’ll see the replay of whatever I missed.

8. Walking: At first I was surprised by all of the walking I see out on the pitch, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. These guys are such professionals at their craft, that the game is no longer about sprinting the length of the field multiple times. They know their positions, and with their amazing ball control skills, it’s no longer about kicking the ball and chasing it. Sometimes they almost look like their carrying the thing down the pitch.

7. Trading Jerseys: This is my new favorite sports tradition. I’ll keep watching until the very end of a blow-out, just to see which players from opposite teams will trade jerseys. I don’t know the unwritten rules to this tradition, (you know there has to be some), but my assumption is that it’s reserved for two players who battled each other hard for the whole match. I can’t think of a more public display of sportsmanship and respect. If I was an NBA player, I would definitely try to be the first to institute this tradition in the world of basketball. I wonder if anyone has ever offered his jersey to an opponent and been denied? This could be like asking for the number of the cute girl at the bar, only if you get denied it might make international news.

6. Brazil: Have you watched them? ‘Nuff said.