Matchup brings joy to soccer fans
Typically the holiday season is reserved for winter. But for any serious soccer fan, it has come to us this summer, via the CONCOCAF Gold Cup championship game Saturday afternoon between Mexico and the United States of America.
Since the beginning of the tournament it hasn’t been much of a secret that the this match up was heavily touted as the heavy weight battle. It doesn’t come as a shock to many that we are set to watch these two nations duke it out at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
But, there is still a question that deserves begging.
Who you got D-Lo?
Well, this is an extremely tough one to pick. It is very cut and dry that these are the two best footballing nations in the North Americas. So, making a selection must be heavily scrutinized. A fun fact, since 1991, the bi-annual event has been split by either Mexico or the United States nine of the last ten times running. (five times to Mexico, four to the US and one random time to Canada ((Who knew?)))
So, who will it be in the 2011 edition. The way I see it, you really can’t refer to a body of work in the Gold Cup to make your decision. In all seriousness, the United States struggled in group play, losing to Panama 2-1. However, they did get a chance to avenge that loss, pulling off a 1-0 nail bight win Wednesday night in the semi-finals to stamp their ticket to the finals. Otherwise, you see an effort that has been highlighted in my opinion by the missing Landon Donovan in the first half of both the quarter finals and semi finals. Not ironically at all, when Donovan made his entrance in the second half of both matches he made an immediate impact, being involved in assists in both games.
It also bears mentioning that Clint Dempsey has been on his game, scoring three goals in the tournament for the red, white and blue.
While Jamie Foxx blames it on the alcohol, the Mexican national team blames it on the bad meat. Of course, I’m referring to the loss of five players do to failing a drug test. Among those players were star goal keeper Guillermo Ochoa. So, Mexico has been make due with out a star player. There Gold Cup has been high lighted by an impressive string of putting together 18 goals, while only conceding 3. There offensive onslaught has been led by Javier Hernandez amassing an impressive seven goals.
So, as look at the evidence for both teams all I can do is trust my gut. My gut tells me to pick Mexico in a 1-0 victory in overtime. The truth is though, I wouldn’t be shocked if this game went to penalty kicks to be decided. Both of these countries have shown an incredible knack to defend and both of them have shown an ability to score. The only reason why I have to give the Mexican team the benefit is because they have had a more dominating performance. Though you can’t discredit Tim Howard as being one of the best keepers in the world right now, you also can’t discount the work that Alfredo Diaz has put together in goal. In four appearances he has recorded four clean sheets.
But lets be honest with one another. It’s mighty cliche, but the real winner of this game will be the passionate soccer fan. I don’t think it gets much better than the USA vs. Mexico rivalry game. Both teams will come out looking to win. Especially since the US wants to repent for their 5-0 shellacking in the Gold Cup finals in 2009.
Dismal Dodger season leaves much desired
Last night I was lamenting a brutal reality. The Dodgers are a lower class ball club in the MLB. Do they have an excuse, I guess. But should they use it? Probably not.
This is a team that two seasons ago was playing for the National League pennant in back to back years. I think what makes this the most frustrating is the fact that on paper the Dodgers really aren’t that bad.
You’ve got one of the best offensive threats in the league in Matt Kemp and an ace in Clayton Kershaw who is said to be a Cy Young candidate, but has stumbled in late innings of work.
The frustration of a Dodger fan hit an all time low when the Dodgers lost two of three to the Astros this last weekend, and ended a skid of losing five of six.
But wait, I suppose there is a silver lining to all of this. Dee Gordon has come up and been an amazing replacement to Rafeal Furcal. The bullpen in some instances looks like it might be starting to take shape. But its the same old sad story. The things never click all at the same time. The offense has been terrible of late, and so has the pitching. Hiroki Kuroda delivered an amazing effort yesterday, and Dioneer Navaro delivered the game winning shot in place of the injured Rod Barajas. If Navaro gets injured I’m scared of what will be replacing him.
I think its fair to say that this has been an ugly season in all aspects of the word. The front office is a mess, stadium attendance is down, the product on the field isn’t that great. Is this a lost season. Probably, but then again, what do I know. We haven’t even hit the All Star break yet.
Annual MLB pick ‘em time
It’s that time again. Time to pick em and see who is right.
I’ll start in the National League because that’s the only league that matters.
Phillies-That rotation will be too much to handle, and the Braves haven’t made enough moves to keep up.
Cubs- Up until last week I would have said the Brewers, but Zack Greinke’s genius prevents me from that. Again, the loss of starting pitcher Chris Carpenter; you can insert instability in the starting rotation here. Also, the inability to re-sign Albert will most likely be a looming issue in my opinion. Who wins out of all this, the Cubs, but will they win a playoff series; probably not.
Dodgers- This one’s got an asterisk by it. This is pending all pieces perform as they should. As it stands the Dodgers have one of the best rotations in the league, and the addition of Uribe should insert power probably just for a season. Kemp and Ethier have chips on their shoulders and should have great offensive numbers this year. Not to mention, the addition of no nonsense manager Don Mattingly. If all the pistons fire together, this will be one tough engine to contend with.
NL Wildcard battle
I wont pick just one team, but there are the teams that I feel could truly battle for this position.
Giants, Cardinals and Braves.
And now, to the American League.
Boston- Those off season moves they made were not only aggressive, but general manger Theo Upstein again reminded us that he has smarts also. Adrian Gonzales gives that offense a dimension to that roster that they haven’t seen in a while.
Minnesota- Sometimes not making too many moves and getting a player back from a concussion is the best thing that can happen to you. The Twins 31-23 in one run games last season and 9-5 in extra inning games which shows me they were the best managed team in the AL last season. Since Ron Gardenhire hasn’t gone anywhere this is yours to lose Minnesota.
Angels- As always they are the preseason favorites in the west. Texas isn’t the same team they were a season ago. The only team that I could see being a serious contender would be Seattle, they are serious dark horse, heaven forbid things go as they should up north.
Contenders for the Wild Card
Yankees, Orioles, Mariners, White Sox.
Before, I used to think that music was just a bunch of melodies intertwined together to make an enjoyable experience for the listener.
I don’t think I have ever been more wrong in my life.
My gut reaction tells me don’t lead with a quote from an Eminem song to prove my point, but here goes nothing.
“They say music can alter moods and talk to you,” Eminem raps in “Sing for the Moment” and I’m starting to realize that he is right.
While I was at bible study a while back, the topic came up about what song people related to when they broke up with their significant other at the time. A bunch of people had “Cute with out the e” by Taking Back Sunday.
Mine, is personally Stuart and the Avenue by Green Day, and the reason being is because of the line “I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid enough to stay with you.”
I guess in a round about way, all I’m trying to say is musicians borderline have a responsibility to their fans. They have a talent that should not be put to waste.
“Music is very powerful and affective in my life,” said Dustin Kensrue, front man of Thrice in an interview with Causecast Music. “I think it transcends something you might read or something you might hear about. It affects you in a different way, and it kind of has a quicker or deeper connection with you sometimes.”
I would argue that would Kensrue really means all the time. I’ll keep this brief but I just really hope people can enjoy music for what it’s worth but really listen to what it is they are listening too. It seems like the days of music for social change are long gone, as our main stream pop has had a void filled by Katy Perry talking about teenage dreams and ridiculous songs like that.
I’m not trying to say that all main stream music has completely sold out, but most of it has. And to bring my point full circle. I go back to Eminem about what music can do for someone.
“That’s why we sing for these kids, who don’t have a thing except a dream, and a rap magazine, who post pin up pictures on their walls all day long, Idolize they favorite rappers and know all they songs, or for anyone whose ever been through shit in their lives, till they sit and cry at night, wishin they’d die.”
And this next verse right here, is where Eminem drives home the point about what music truly is.
“That’s why we seize the moment, try to freeze it and own it, squeeze it and hold it, cause we consider these minutes golden, and maybe they’ll admit it when we’re gone, just let our spirits live on through our lyrics that you hear in our songs.
That my friend is what it’s all about.
The sports LAnd scape
Somewhere along the line, the world decided that the city of Los Angeles was soft, the world saw that this was good, and was pleased with it.
Well, that’s not exactly the stigma you would come to expect from a city that is as big as LA. And yeah, truth be told, you can knock us for leaving Dodger games in the seventh inning to beat traffic. Though, until you’ve been in the 405 parking lot, I’m not so sure you should be able to judge. You can also knock us for not having a football team; we’re working on it, promise.
So the question has to be begged, is LA permanently condemned, or do we have a chance to bounce out of this slump we’ve been in? You look at the current state of sports in LA, and ones first inclination is that it’s pathetic. Let’s face it, we’re in the middle of dismal sports era in LA, where all sports can do is lament what once was. Who owns the Dodgers, we still don’t know. Will the Lakers ever flip the switch, stay tuned. Will the Clippers ever put a winning team together, doubtful, but again, stay tuned. Will the Kings ever get out of the seller no matter how hot they start, questionable. Will the Galaxy ever be able to win a title with Beckham, God help me if they don’t. Do the Angels really belong to Los Angeles, this was on easy to answer; no.
But within all mash up of terrible decisions as a fan in LA, I still find a reason to root, and it’s not because of the terribly decisions of the past. It’s all about the cornerstone that LA sports has been built upon.
Whether you like it or not, LA is home to some of the best sports moments ever, and that is why no amount playing the DH of sports cities will ever really phase us.
Take a step back into 1988, Kirk Gibson rocked the baseball world, and one might say that was the last significant thing the Dodgers ever did. Let me take you back to a 2006 summers day. A basic rival game between the Dodgers and the hated Southern California rivals, San Diego Padres. The Dodgers trailed by a margin of 10-6. Every Dodger fan called it in their mind, but no one was stupid enough to say it out loud. Could the Dodgers score four runs in one inning, probably not. So we just watched, and expected the Padres to seal the deal. So in the bottom of the ninth, Jeff Kent made all Dodger fans feel a little bit more comfortable about their state of mind, when he hit a homerun to lead of the inning. At least the score was 9-6 now, instead of the 4 run deficit. Then came JD Drew and he promptly whacked a ball to dead center field that went right over the 395 numbers in dead center.
Well the Padres said enough is enough. They decide to go with soon to be career save record holder Trevor Hoffman. Game over, or wait, that distinction only belongs to Eric Gagne in LA. Nope, the game was anything but over. The young Canadian, Russell Martin had proof the game was far from over. He put this ball into the left field bleachers making the game 9-8. The journey man Marlin Anderson put the icing on the cake, the way only a team in LA really could. He hit the fourth homerun in one inning, against the king of saves. He didn’t blow saves, and you just didn’t hit four homeruns in one inning. Especially when you’re trailing by four runs in the bottom of the night.
Of course, that only tied the game, Nomar Garciaparra went on to win the game on a two-run homerun in the bottom of the tenth, to give the Dodgers an 11-10 win.
If you were there, or have seen videos of this you would realize what kind of magic is made in LA, on any given night that sports is played. This is just my first and opening argument to how beautiful LA truly is to the sports landscape.
To be honest, sports fan have been asking the wrong question for the past ten years. The question isn’t when did the Los Angeles get cut out of the sports landscape as such a great sports town. No, the question is how did Los Angeles become relevant again in such anonymity.