Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Weekend thoughts

Random thoughts from the last week or so....

- Checked out the Ron Moore (Creator/Producer of BSG) pilot/TV movie Virtuality on Friday night. This was originally meant to be a pilot, but then it didn't get picked up. So Fox decided to run it as a movie, even though there was no hope of any kind of storyline resolution (since it was intended as a PILOT), and then not promote it at all. Geniuses. It's a shame, too, because it was pretty good, as pilots go. Very interesting and thought provoking concept, which is why it obviously doesn't belong on American network TV. Hey, when does "More To Love" start?

Anyway, if you want to check it out (and all you BSG fans have to...you owe it to Moore and Taylor), you can check it out on Hulu....HERE.

- Just like a lot of people, I got caught up in the USA soccer hype over the weekend. I'm a little different than most in that I actually do watch the occasional soccer match, even when it's NOT the World Cup.

The 3-0 defeat of Egypt, the subsequent win over Spain (ranked #1 in the world), and the first half against Brazil were all good things for US soccer. They got a lot of attention and hype, in large part because these successes happened at a time when there is NOTHING going on in the sports world.

But, please...don't start with the whole "Now soccer will finally be a big deal in the United States" meme. We've heard it before:'94 World Cup, '96 Olympics, '02 World Cup...all of these were supposed to be some sort of "tipping point" when it came to the US sports fan embracing soccer. Not going to happen.

I've heard lots of reasons for this, including some really, really stupid ones...I actually heard somebody on the radio yesterday say that he couldn't get into it because the clock counts up instead of down. Seriously? Are you retarded? Why should that take more than about three seconds to adjust to?

Anyway, people point to the lack of scoring, or the somewhat nebulous and confusing rules, and I can buy that as to why it's never going to be football, baseball, or basketball. But I think it could be at the level of hockey if that were the only problem. But it's not.

The reason we at least sort of embrace hockey despite the lack of offense and confusing rules is that it is a sport played by MEN who behave like MEN. We admire hockey players for their toughness, and that helps sell the sport. Soccer players, especially the international ones, flop around like a bunch of pansies every time someone touches them, and the referees actually reward that behavior.

It's one of the main reasons the US will never be an international soccer power...we refuse to flop. It's 100% against our athletic DNA to actually ACT like we're hurt when we're not. In fact, we go in the complete opposite direction...NEVER let your opponent know you're hurt. And if you do get hurt, rub some dirt on that broken bone, walk that torn ligament off and get your butt back in the game. I hope we never change that mindset, but as long as we don't we are at a distinct disadvantage in international play.

I'll give Spain and Brazil credit, though...they are two of the very few international teams who don't do a lot of diving and flopping. Their mindset is to keep their feet, run through tackles and make plays, which is why the US/Spain and US/Brazil matches were so much more entertaining than watching, say, Italy. I hate those freaking pansies. Their entire strategy appears to be based on diving and flopping and drawing as many penalties as they can.

By the way, if the NBA doesn't get their referees under control, the international style of flopping and play-acting is going to ruin that sport as well.

OK, I promise...no more soccer talk until at LEAST the World Cup.

- Some quick Braves thoughts

  • This is the worst hitting team we have had in at LEAST twenty years, especially with Chipper in his huge slump and Escobar on the bench with a sprained brain. There is absolutely no power in this lineup (Chipper leads the team with 9 HR, good for 38th in the NL).
  • On the other hand, you can't ask for more out of the pitching staff than we are getting right now. Jurrjens and Vazquez both have ERA hovering around 3.00 and losing records, Kawakami hasn't allowed more than three runs in his last ten starts, and Tommy Hanson is the TRUTH (you heard it here first...or first-ish). He's 4-0 and hasn't allowed an earned run in 20 innings, including two starts against some pretty potent opposition (Yankees and Red Sox).
  • Maybe it's time for Bobby to step aside...I think baseball managers in general are overvalued, but this is several years in a row now of diminishing performance. Time for a new voice, I think, and that means someone other than Terry Pendleton. Replacing Bobby with TP would just be a continuation of the same mindset.

- Dawg news:

  • Dawgs now have 11 committments for the 2010 signing class. I have to admit, I've been a little concerned when I look at the star rankings and offer list from some of these early committments. From all reports, this is probably going to be another small recruiting class (probably closer to 20 rather than the norm of 25). Out of the 11, there are about 5-6 that are either not ranked or are ranked pretty low. I know, I know, trust the coaching staff. Believe me, I'm trying.
  • We did get a committment from the Rivals.com #1 safety in the country, Alec Ogletree. Many analysts compare him to a taller Thomas Davis. I'll take it. Here's some footage, with h/t to Georgia Sports Blog...

  • Also, another good article on Joe Cox at UGASports.com, with more references to his leadership ability. I am excited about his leadership, but I'm looking forward to when we can start talking about his play ON the field.
  • Bubba 'n' Earl continue to do a great job counting down to kickoff...some very fun and creative stuff as they count down by the numbers.

- And, finally (cue wild applause), if you want a good way to lose several hours out of your day check out Flickchart.com. Discover your favorite movies, one agonizing decision at a time. My list is here, if you want to check it out.


Rick said...

As someone who has been involved in soccer as a player, coach, refferee and fan for 35 years, I couldn't agree more with your assesment on all the flopping. If we ever get to the point where we have some influence on FIFA, maybe we can curb some of that from an oficiating standpoint. There are already rules on the books that would punish a "dive" with a yellow card, but these rules are rarely enforced. Most of these dives are are easily seen on replays, and perhaps the judicious use of replay would be a good thing, although I know the purist would scream at the thought. Just the threat of replay and ensuing yellow card for the floppers would be a great detriment to this behaviour.

Scott said...

Yeah, as much as I blame the players I blame the officials even more. Players wouldn't resort to diving if it didn't work.

I don't think it would be enough to bring soccer into the mainstream or anything like that, but it would certainly make it more enjoyable for ME...which is all I'm really interested in, anyway. :-)