Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday Mudita

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Mudita

The US Men's Soccer team outlasted Panama, 2-1, in the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup over the weekend. The favored US Men actually fell behind, 1-0, after allowing Panama to bundle home a rebound off a saved shot late in the first half. Having equalized early in the second stanza the US played with greater purpose and insightfulness in the second 45 minutes. Still, it was knotted, 1-1, when extra time began. Late in the first period of extra time Panamanian player Roman Torres made a reckless tackle at the top of the penalty area. I'm always for letting the boys play, but, in this case, this high challenge certainly put the referee in a spot where he felt compelled to blow the whistle. Kenny Cooper, the fouled player and MLS employee, dispatched the PK. The US held from there. Game. Mudita.

Up next...Honduras on Thursday night in one of two Semi Finals on Thursday.

Not only does this win keep the US on track for a Finals showdown with rival Mexico in the Final at Giants Stadium on July 26 but it maintains their international momentum from the runner-up finish in the Confederations Cup. With a year until the World Cup in South Africa the US has a real-ish chance to propel itself into the seeded group of teams atop the world rankings. We are currently 12th and the top 8 teams are seeded for the Cup, securing more favorable draws than unseeded entrants. Winning the Gold Cup and keeping the pedal to the floor throughout the remaining qualification games would go a long, long way towards finding the boys a more hospitable group in the opening round of the World Cup in 2010 than they had in 2006 when they were grouped with Italy, Ghana and the Czech Republic. That didn't work out so well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I know you. You voted for McCain, didn't you?.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Bastille Day!

Fete de la Federation and the National League

Although the French are often lampooned by Americans for their perceived cowardice and easy conquerability, today is a big day for the Friends of Francoeur. It is Bastille Day. Which is their Independence Day. So, just think "Fourth of July" except with wine instead of beer, crepes instead of burgers and insouciance rather than jingoism. Bastille Day commerates the storming of a fortress-prison on July 14, 1790. This was widely considered the tide-turning act that signaled the people's intent to overthrow the Ancien Regime and create modern France. It was a big deal.

Originally a fortress intended to defend the east end of Paris, the Bastille was a prison in the later years of the eighteenth century. When several thousand french persons showed up there on July 14, 1790 they wanted access to the arms and gunpowder that were stored within its walls. Because they were angry. And hungry. Freeing the handful of prisoners was not the point. It was about the guns. Because at this point in time, the French were not really to be trifled with. They were about to wear out the guillotine over the next few years, beheading up to 40,000 rich folk. In an attempt by the fourth estate, the regular folk, to determine the fate of their land after centuries of rule by monarchs.

The French Revolution that began with the storming of the Bastille was bloody. It was violent. I mean, they were cutting heads off all over the place. It would have a bit that has since been referred to as "The Terror." In other words, it was many things that Americans today consider very un-French. But what was is not always what still is. And vice versa.

Sort of like the Major League All-Star Game. Our current understanding of its dynamics doesn't totally jive with the way things used to be. The weak were once strong.

Even though the American League has dominated the quaint National League for more than a decade in the All-Star Game (11-0-1 in the last 12 games), there was once a time when the Senior Circuit pwned the Junior Loop in the Midsummer Classic. They even reeled off 11 straights wins of their own at a stretch. This bygone era of NL dominance was the 1970s and 1980s.

Today's NLers find themselves looking to topple their own Ancien Regime tonight in St. Louis. Vive le revolucion!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday (Memorial) Mudita

Allegedly strangled by his wife, who was using her purse strap as the weapon, boxer Arturo Gatti was murdered last week while vacationing in Brazil. The Canadian-born fighter moved to Jersey City, NJ as a teenager to begin a pro career rather than participate in the 1992 Olympics in Maple Leaf-adorned shorts. He fought, and won, his first fight. It was in Secaucus, NJ in June 1991. From those humble beginnings he would go on to win the super featherweight title just a few years later. He would later go up in weight class, even fighting Oscar de la Hoya, who beat him soundly.

A battler, who had four of his fights named "Fight of the Year" by Ring Magazine, Gatti is perhaps best known for his trilogy of fights with "Irish" Mickey Ward. These two guys throttled each other for our enjoyment. In the third installment, Gatti re-broke his right hand on an uppercut in the fourth round. He kept fighting, finishing the fight, and outpointing his rival to take the series.

And, then several years later, his 23-year-old wife apparently murdered him. Strangling him with her purse after hitting him over the head with a blunt object. Which makes Gatti the second retired athlete to die at the hands of a younger woman recently. If bad things come in threes, as superstition dictates, then some other athletic luminary is about to have his life cut short by an attractive woman several years his junior. Right?

I was talking about this last night with a Yankees fan and his first concern was whether or not the Yankee's would have to pay out the remainder of A-Rod's contract if it was him. I'm not sure.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Unofficial, Unannounced WWOD Summer Vacation is Over

Today is the day that the action begins. First of all, I'm back. For reals. From my unnanounced, unplanned and unasked for vacation from the Internets. Secondly, the moratorium on dealing with restricted and unrestricted free agents in the NBA was lifted as of 12:01 a.m. this morning. Meaning, that the future for David Lee and Nate Robinson is now. Thirdly, the rain finally stopped in New York City and its environs.

I know that at least one person out there noticed the dearth of new material here and I do apologize. First, I was busy with work. Then, I was busy with blueberry pie. It was a whirlwind few weeks, but I ate the last of the pie for dinner last night and am just putting the finishing touches on the last of the projects that was consuming my work days.

While I settle in over here and unpack my luggage, why don't you check out Joe Posnanski's fine story for about Andy Roddick's epic loss to Roger Federer in the Wimbeldon Final on Sunday. Or go read the Vanity Fair article about a certain recently retired Alaskan politican. Or, go peruse Jason Whitlock's well-intentioned but awkwardly delivered counterbalance to all the McNair-as-hero stories that have been written in the wake of his murder.

Then stop back later for some older stuff that I've been working (those teams=tragedies pieces) and a fresh start.