Tuesday, June 13, 2006

MAJOR MATCH-UP

Curt Schilling and Johann Santana hook-up tonight in a match-up that, if in Boston, would have the average Red Sox fan on stubhub.com and out front negotiating with the scalpers in order to get into Fenway to watch the game. The best young gun in the AL (Roy Halladay is no longer young, I guess) against the last old gunslinger in the AL who still packs bullets (the Big Eunich will not rejoin this list until he shows he can last past five innings and dominate a game again). Both pitchers have picked-up their games after some rough outings this spring. Unfortunately, the game is being played in the hideous dome in Minneapolis and the half-filled stadium will hardly generate the necessary buzz that that game deserves. At least for the Red Sox Nation zealots in front of their computers, listening to the radio, and watching on TV, the game will have a big fame feel.

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A WORLD-CLASS DISGRACE:

Hideous showing by the US footy squad in World Cup on Monday. I do not subscribe to the argument that the US fails because the best athletes are in the NBA, MLB, and especially the NFL. Where is the spark, the youth, the aggressiveness of the US? Sitting at home and playing in the MLS. Taylor Twellman and his finishing touch around the net was not necessary for the team? Freddy Adu sitting at home? Sure, because USA Basketball and the Dream Team would have been the same with Michael Jordan sitting at home. Bad selection, bad coaching, and bad playing. For all Bruce Arena has done for US soccer, it is a shame that this is how it is going to end.

The only hope for the US is to go out and kick the crap out of Italy on Saturday, and hope that Ghana is a walk-over for the Czechs. Then, a rested Czech team beats up on Italy while the US cranks out a big win against Ghana. It is not a likely scenario, but at least it is still possible; however, after the Monday performance, I find it unlikely that this team will morph into the 2004 Red Sox and put on a show the rest of the way.

* * *
Curt Schilling and Johann Santana hook-up tonight in a match-up that, if in Boston, would have the average Red Sox fan on stubhub.com and out front negotiating with the scalpers in order to get into Fenway to watch the game. The best young gun in the AL (Roy Halladay is no longer young, I guess) against the last old gunslinger in the AL who still packs bullets (the Big Eunich will not rejoin this list until he shows he can last past five innings and dominate a game again). Both pitchers have picked-up their games after some rough outings this spring. Unfortunately, the game is being played in the hideous dome in Minneapolis and the half-filled stadium will hardly generate the necessary buzz that that game deserves. At least for the Red Sox Nation zealots in front of their computers, listening to the radio, and watching on TV, the game will have a big fame feel.

* * *

A WORLD-CLASS DISGRACE:

Hideous showing by the US footy squad in World Cup on Monday. I do not subscribe to the argument that the US fails because the best athletes are in the NBA, MLB, and especially the NFL. Where is the spark, the youth, the aggressiveness of the US? Sitting at home and playing in the MLS. Taylor Twellman and his finishing touch around the net was not necessary for the team? Freddy Adu sitting at home? Sure, because USA Basketball and the Dream Team would have been the same with Michael Jordan sitting at home. Bad selection, bad coaching, and bad playing. For all Bruce Arena has done for US soccer, it is a shame that this is how it is going to end.

The only hope for the US is to go out and kick the crap out of Italy on Saturday, and hope that Ghana is a walk-over for the Czechs. Then, a rested Czech team beats up on Italy while the US cranks out a big win against Ghana. It is not a likely scenario, but at least it is still possible; however, after the Monday performance, I find it unlikely that this team will morph into the 2004 Red Sox and put on a show the rest of the way.

* * *

Roethlis-ham-berger

Ben Roethlisberger, QB for the Pittsburgh Steelers, suffered extensive facial injuries after a motorcycle accident on Monday morning. While he should be able to play this season, his accident underscores an important point that the media needs to continue to drive home: WHY WAS HE NOT WEARING A HELMET?

Certainly, the accidents of NBA player Jay Williams (horrific and potentially career ending) and Cleveland Browns TE Kellen Winslow Jr (out for a season) as precursors to the accident by Roethlisberger should have been a reminder. Apparently, someone has to die before action is taken.

Now, I am in no way trying to limit freedoms or insist on rules, but I think wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle consists of common sense. In fact, while not a Steelers fan in any way, I certainly have come to have a large amount of respect for Roethlisberger as a football player. His intelligence comes across on the field, and I am disappointed he showed such poor judgement off the field. Certainly, many football, baseball, basketball, etc players have shown poor judgement off the field, but I guess it is more disappointing because Roethlisberger is the Tom Brady of Pittsburgh.

Could anyone in New England imagine Tom Brady wiping out on a motorcycle and not having a helmet on? Of course not, but I could picture offensive linement Matt Light or Dan Koppen riding a Harley and flipping off their helmet as they hit the Rhode Island or New Hampshire border (two neighboring states with which allow riders not to wear helmets).

Roethlisberger was damned lucky. There is no way around it. Broken jaw, teeth, gash on the back of the head, and brusing will heal in time for him to play at minimum 10 games. But just as he should wear a helmet on the field, he should be out doing public service announcements to encourage riders to wear helmets on their bikes before a young, invincible and indestructable athlete pays for their ignorance and arrogance with their life.

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