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Saturday, June 26, 2010

To the round of 16 we go!

Gotta go remote today folks so no pics, no integrated linkage.

A huge day in the soccer world as the knockout rounds of the World Cup are under way, starting with the round of 16. Uruguay takes on South Korea this morning at 10am, and then at 2:30, Ghana faces the U.S. Yours truly will be pulling big for our neighbors to the south for reasons well documented here. Key for the Americans will be a good start, mostly because they've been starting poorly every game. If they can get a referee that doesn't rob them of a goal like the last two games, even better. I'm thinking Uruguay and the U.S. emerge victorious.

Chicago Fire - that's Major League Soccer, peeps - defender Krzysztof Krol called the phone number on Patrycja Mikula's Facebook page in May even though he'd never met the Playboy model before. That's some balls, right? Well, seems KK has some game off the field as seven weeks later, the two got married.

The OHB was discussing his future and when asked if he'd come back, despite never truly going away, said "Hell, I want to know." Poor OHB, pretending the drama is anybody but his doing. Hope it ends in another interception, mostly because that's the safest bet. #NFL

True story on the just-passed former-NBAer Manute Bol:
When he first came to the US, his passport listed him as 5'2". "They measured me while I was sitting down," he said. Also true: Bol is credited with starting the "my bad" slogan.

Toronto FC host the LA Galaxy tonight at BMO Field and noted soccer hater in these parts Bukakke is joining yours truly, GBVH and others for the game. Suspecting he has a ridiculously good time. I know what you're thinking and the answer is "yes, Bukakke is in town during the G20?" No connection. Really.

Loved ARod crushing one against Joe Torre. Would have loved it more had he styled it and held up eight fingers while rounding the bases. The Yankees beat the LA Dodgers 2-1 and now lead the AL East by three games.

Have a great Saturday. I've got England and Argentina to win tomorrow.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Italy came into the World Cup as under the radar as you'll ever see a defending champion, and they left proving it was for good reason.  Good to see them play 255 minutes before deciding they should show up, but it was too little, too late, as they were shocking 3-2 losers to Slovakia who advanced as the second place finisher in Group F, which was won by ParaguayJapan were 3-1 winners over Denmark to grab the second place slot in Group E with Holland moving to 3-0 with a 2-1 win over Cameroon.

Up today is a giant Group G tilt between Brazil and Portugal with the loser most likely to get a date with Spain in the next round, unless the ridiculous upsets of this World Cup continue.  Spain will be facing Chile to sort out the Group H winner, though Switzerland remains in the mix with a comfortable win over Honduras should they pull that off.

Says an English friend of mine: this World Cup is becoming like World War II. The French have surrendered, the Italians didn't show up, the US arrived late and England is left to fight the Germans!  Funny stuff.

Wondering if baseball's drug era is over?  Runs per game through June 20th are 8.95, the lowest total on that date since 1992. Home runs per game are at 1.85, the lowest since 1993.

33 hot Asian ladies spray painted in World Cup jersey's.  Oh, and Abbey Clancy, again.  Just because.

After trading Nathan Horton to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, the Florida Panthers now have 5 of the first 50 picks (3, 15, 33, 36, 50). By way of comparison, the Toronto Maple Leafs have none and don't draft until #62.

The Chicago Bulls now have the ability to sign two maximum contract free agents after shipping Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick in the draft last night to the Washington Wizards to clear the needed cap space.  My money says LeBron James and Chris Bosh go there.

A few weeks back, to much fanfare here, we ran Maxim's Hot 100.  Today, we give you 2010's 66 Most Overrated Women.

Tennis players John Isner and Nicolas Mahmut finally wrapped up their marathon Wimbledon match with a 70-68 final set.  Pretty crazy when the minimum games to win an entire match is 18.  Crazier?  11 hours and five minutes of play to complete.

Victoria's Secret has a semi-annual sale.  Not sure what they're selling, but these pics are pretty good for starters.

Have a great Friday!
Friday games I'm picking Ivory Coast, Brazil, Switzerland and Spain.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Landon F'n Donovan!

It took 90 full minutes and a few second before the U.S. finally cracked Algeria for a huge 1-0 win when Landon Donovan pounced on a rebound to score a goal that not only sees the U.S. advance from Group C but also do so as the top seed thanks to England only winning by 1-0 over Slovenia as well.  And to think somebody here scoffed that the U.S. were sh!t a month or so back when I suggested they're a team for neutral's to get behind.  I'll update that now: if you don't like that team, you don't like sports.  What a moment for the Americans.  In Group D play, Germany were narrow 1-0 winners and hardly impressive, while Australia knocked Serbia out of the tourney and almost put themselves through to the next round, but fell a couple goals short in a 2-1 win.  The U.S. will face Ghana on Saturday at 2:30pm while Germany will face England on Sunday at 10am.  Several potential big European match-ups coming in the round of 16 as we may also see Holland face Italy, and Spain face Portugal depending how things pan out the next couple days.

Group F gets sorted out today and seems almost impossible to imagine that Italy and Paraguay don't go through as the top seeds.  What is surprising is that it is likely to be in that order, which would almost certainly set up and Italian matchup with Holland as Group E leader.  Second place in Group E will be sorted out between Denmark and Japan.  Does it just feel like it has been the best week in a tourney ever, or is that just me?

At Wimbledon, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut played are playing the longest match in tennis history, at 8 hours and change - and counting!  The match is at an incredible 59-59 score in the fifth and deciding set, and is going into a third day after it was suspended due to darkness yesterday.  The match breaks the previous record of 6 hours, 33 minutes set in a 2004 French Open match.  Didn't see it?  Don't care?  Then maybe you'll want to see the Top 20 Hottest Women Player's At Wimbledon.

A bunch of NBA teams have new logos, with the Golden State Warriors being the most dramatic, and the Orlando Magic mercifully retiring that hideous font they had for "Magic".

Argentina's Lionel Messi is lobbying to have Oasis play the Argentine victory party should his team go the distance.  Problem is they're currently broken up, though Messi offers that they can just "name [their] price".

The NBA draft goes tonight.  I for one will be avoiding it, and most NBA news, to stay away from the overdone LeBron James hype.

Really, enough of the Roger Milla Coke commercials already.

I was tempted to make this the lone piece today, but figured there was too much stuff to mention to not, but here it is to close again, Landon Donovan's clutch goal for the U.S. against Algeria.  The goose bumps are yours free of charge.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Picks for Thursday...
Denmark/Japan Tie

RM returns before 10am


Yesterday's games didn't go at all like I figured they would, as teams already advancing - Argentina and barring something crazy, both Uruguay and Mexico - all played like their lives were at stake.  Fantastic stuff.  Nigeria were a goal away, and missed an empty net from 5 feet out - picture at right - from advancing to the knockout round, but a 2-2 draw with South Korea wasn't enough.  South Korea will play Uruguay Saturday morning now, with Argentina facing Mexico on Sunday.  Your Culturally Insensitive World Cup Goal Roundup For June 22

Up today, you may have heard that England is a bit tense with what is almost surely a do-or-die game against Slovenia.  Win and they advance, perhaps even as the first place team in Group C, avoiding a possible date with Germany.  The U.S. face Algeria needing a win to ensure their advancement too.  Those games go at 10am (Eastern).  At 2:30, Germany face Ghana needing to win to claim Group D.  Serbia also need a win to advance against Australia.  A huge day with far too many possibilities to list for who advances, but I'm going to suggest it goes England and the U.S. in that order in Group D, and Germany and Serbia in that order in Group D.  On a personal note, a mandatory monthly meeting was moved from next week to today from 9:30 to 11am.  Somehow, I'm going to try to avoid finding out a score in both.  Wish me luck on that.

TheBigLead looks at four reasons why Europe's entries to the World Cup are struggling.

This site lists the ten worst soccer dives.  Shame the game allows garbage like this.  I've long said that with all the video out there, it wouldn't be hard to drop cards and suspensions on player's post game for clear embellishment and then you'd see coaches drive it out as it would cost teams games and dollars with players sitting out for that nonsense.

Just a few more reasons soccer rules on TV: single commentator who doesn't think silence is the enemy, time boxed to two hours max, and the best part: no commercials save for half-time.

Might we see a Chris Paul and LeBron James combo somewhere next year NBA powerbroker William "World Wide" Wesley is telling teams that if they deal for CP3, that will aid their chances of landing 'bron.  Too many possibilities and moving parts there to see it happening, methinks.

Detroit Tiger Miguel Cabrera went through alcohol treatment in the offseason, and it seems to have worked judging by his day-game OPS this year versus year's prior.  This is stunning: 2008: .708 (.982 at night), 2009: .851 (.995 at night), 2010: 1.101 (.991 at night).  Memo to MLBers Missing The Greenies: don't hit the bottle at night, hit the bases big next day.

Texas billionnaire T.B. Johnson is interested in purchasing the entire CFL...and making an NFL team out of the best players.  Umm, okay.

Minnesota Twin and reigning AL MVP Joe Mauer has yet to hit a home run at the Twinkies new park.

Says Bill Simmons (aka "The Sports Guy") via Twitter:  After watching Messi this year on Barca & now in the WC, I'm convinced he's better at soccer than any U.S. pro athlete is at anything.

Because some of you have no life, I present the NHL schedule, 2010-2011 version.

Have a great day, enjoy the games!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Down the stretch they come...

Portugal blew open the doors on North Korea and smoked them 7-0.  For Portugal, it assures them of nothing as Brazil isn't likely to lay down as second place in the group potentially means a date with Spain in the round of 16.  No easy task there. The clock has started on North Korean players defecting now rather than to face dismemberment or death upon returning home.  Chile continue to keep the South American ball rolling in their 1-0 win over Switzerland.  Only 9 cards, and one of them a straight red, handed out there.  The final game of the day saw Spain beat Honduras 2-0, though it might well have been four or five times that.

Interesting pic from the LA Lakers victory parade, no?

Missed these the last couple days.  Your Culturally Insensitive World Cup Roundup for June 19th/20th.

Today's the first day of each team's third game, and no longer are there three game slots.  To keep things fair to the extent possible, all groups are playing at the same time to avoid any unfair advantage like knowing you need to win, tie or even a loss keeps you in it.  Group A sees Mexico and Uruguay tangle to determine first place, and a likely meaningless France vs. South Africa game, both at 10am.  At 2pm, Group B gets sorted out with Nigeria taking on South Korea, and Argentina tuning up for round of 16 play with Greece, though Greece remain alive.

In case you didn't get to test out the new RandoMango test site yesterday, check it out here.  Let me know what you think.

Florida Marlins ace Josh Johnson returned from Tommy John surgery 07/10/08.He's 30-8, 2.95 since.

FIFA may not have formally discussed their thoughts on referee Koman Coulibaly when he fisted the U.S. in a game against Slovenia they had in the bag late, but safe to say when he's been removed from consideration for round of 16 work, they've sent the message loud and clear.  If the story leading up to the tourney was of the ball being poor and some stars getting injured, and the first few days was of low scoring and vuvuzelas, the story is now of some terrible officials that are far too loose with the cards and will hurt further rounds as players are under suspension.  The quality of play is no longer an issue at all, and the goals are coming aplenty, but the officiating is a disaster.

Carolina Panthers wideout Steve Smith broke his arm playing flag football.  I'm sure the Panthers are real thrilled with that development.

Might England's players be going the way of another coach killer routine?  Seems that way, as word has come of their discontent with their formation, player inclusions, and even down to the strict camp Fabio Capello is holding.  These guys best get their heads together, they're a bad game away from being  France II at this World Cup.  But at least they've got John Terry stepping into the role of "biggest and most obvious culprit".  JT is a tool.

Speaking of English players, Lionel Messi of Barcelona, and Argentina, is saying he'd love Barca to grab Manchester United's Wayne Rooney.  Well, beats him going to Real Madrid anyways, but can't imagine Rooney leaving Man U.

The Florida Marlins, who could use any stunt to drive attendance, held a World Cup promotion on the weekend where they gave away vuvuzela's to their "crowd" of 15,000.  Count Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, who was in as the visitors, among those who were not fans.  Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen doesn't seem to mind, and says that crowd noise is a good thing.  Point to Ozzie.

14 funny soccer .gif's.  Good stuff.

NFLPA president Kevin Mawae teed off on former teammate Albert Haynesworth for his "woe is me" act over the Washington Redskins switching to a 3-4 formation on defence, cracking him as selfish, and something less than a man.

Philadelphia Fan is at it again.  Watch the guy in the blue shirt in the first couple rows as he makes his way to the stairs.

Monday, June 21, 2010 site?

Please see my blog at this new test site, including all previous entries.

French surrender

Love the banner being pulled by a plane - on Father's Day, no less - over Pebble Beach yesterday as Tiger Woods was about to tee off.   Not sure if that was to blame for his blowing up yesterday.

Tough to say which team is a bigger disappointment in World Cup play after their first two games: defending champion Italy or highly touted England? Both have some work to do if they're to advance to the round of 16.

That time of year again?  Wimbledon is here.

And then there is France, a total disaster on and off the field.  Striker Nicholas Anelka has been sent home after telling coach Raymond Domenich "to f–k yourself. You dirty son of a bitch.”  In response, Domenech said in statement that French team won't train because of Anelka's exit. How very French of them to quit when the going gets rough.  And as if that weren't enough, captain Patrice Evra and  physical preparation coach Robert Duverne got into it in practice, and word is Duverne has quit too. Meanwhile, the team France beat to qualify on a controversial hand ball - Ireland - sits at home no doubt relishing this implosion.

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright has a record 22 straight quality starts at home.

South American teams are undefeated in eight games at the World Cup.

Not sure what says "security" more than an enraged fan making his way into the English dressing room on Friday and confronting David Beckham.  Maybe he was thinking that at least Beck's wouldn't have sleep walked his way through England's scoreless draw with Algeria like the rest of the guys in white did and should've been out there even on one healthy leg.

A funny thing happened on the road to the 25-win season some forecast for Philadelphia Philly Roy Halladay. Halladay is now 8-6 and his former team has more wins than his current one.

A Scottish shopkeeper celebrating the World Cup has been accused of racism for hanging banner reading "Anyone But England."  Silly me, didn't realize that "English" was a race.

Declan Hill, author of "The Fix" that documented gambling and soccer's relationship, discusses how there will be fixes in the coming week of the World Cup.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Picks for Monday and RM

Picks for Monday, June 21st

RM will be posted by noon...