Posts Tagged ‘soccer’

On Friday evening, I became a proper soccer fan; I have the scarf to prove it – red with blue fringes and “Home of the Brave” in white. It’s actually scarf and a pro-America banner and a keepsake all in one, the giveaway for every fan at the World Cup qualifier between the U.S. and Jamaica at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

I was there, my first real soccer experience. And it was fantastic, one of the most vibrant sporting events I’ve ever been to for work – I’m a sports reporter by trade – or recreation. That’s despite the fact there wasn’t much on the line; the U.S. already had clinched a trip to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.


Today is the 500th episode of The Tapes and there’s a special prize lurking in them for one lucky reader. Wait, no there’s not. But here are some good links.

* Bobby Valentine didn’t like how the Yankees responded to September 11. Because he’s Bobby Valentine.

* Jon Krakauer seems to have found the answer to how Chris McCandless, the subject of his book Into the Wild, died.

* The Tampa Bay Bucs are in disarray. There’s even talk of vote rigging.

* The daughter of Auschwitz Kommandant Rudolf Höss lives in Northern Virginia, as detailed in this remarkable story in the Washington Post. 

* Ridiculous story out of South Carolina. Because of Steve Spurrier, The State newspaper is not allowing its columnist to cover South Carolina’s football team. That’s a powerful coach. Wait…update, he’s back on the beat. 

* Phil Jackson is a god. And in 2005 a commercial he starred in accurately predicted how Heat fans would leave the arena before the end of Game 6 in 2013. Spoooooky. Also, fire D’Antoni.

* Joe Posnanski thinks Rafa Nadal will be the best player of this extraordinary time in men’s tennis. 

* People are mad at Jimmy Kimmel for being behind a viral video about twerking gone bad. 

* Jason Whitlock is already in trouble with ESPN. Insert reference to The Wire.

* Sports Illustrated made headlines with a series digging into alleged rule breaking inside the Oklahoma State football team. Read that. And the rebuttal. Yes, folks are taking issue with the pieces.

* The New York Times is dead to us after claiming that breakfast may not be the most important meal of the day. How dare they? We may double our cereal intake (to nearly lethal levels) in protest.

* Your weekly soccer link pertains to an American import from Iceland.

Happy Labor Day weekend. I’ll be laboring on Monday, but what can you do against the man? On to the links.

* New York Magazine goes on the hunt for the reclusive author Thomas Pynchon.

* This shouldn’t make me chuckle as much as it does. New Yorker Cartoons with literal captions. Includes the famous pig complaining cartoon from Seinfeld.

* It was The Onion’s 25th birthday on Thursday. Here are 10 of its best headlines. 

* Evidence that Bobby Riggs might have thrown the Battle of the Sexes against Billie Jean King. 

* Andy Greenwald on the summer’s winners and losers in TV. 

* Tom Ziller on what Ricky Rubio ought to be as a player. (Hint: More like Luke Ridnour. No, not really).

* One of my favorite columnists has always been T.J. Simers at the LA Times. Simers hasn’t written since June. No one knows if he’s suspended, fired, on leave or what. Longtime colleague Mark Heisler details the situation.

* The Golf Channel wanted to know what people dreamed about on the golf course…on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech. It didn’t go over well.

* Aaron Hernandez could walk free. And here’s the big Rolling Stone feature on him.

* Some headlines just tell us where we’re at as a people in the year 2013. Like this one: Creator of the Foam Finger Deeply Upset with Miley Cyrus. 

* Anti-Friends graffiti has appeared in New York’s East Village. Poor Ross.

* Sports Illustrated’s Tim Layden profiles new Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

* Sports analytics pioneer Jeff Sagarin gave a rare interview to Sports Illustrated.

* The ESPN ombudsman weighs in on the Frontline flap.

* The Seattle Times lays out the humble beginnings of U.S. soccer star Clint Dempsey.

This week on the TVFury podcast, the guys lose their way.

What was supposed to be a football preview show turns into a rambling conversation about unseasonably warm weather, the methods of funding at American universities, English soccer and Keith Olbermann.

Oy. Here’s the link, nonetheless.

The events of the past week have confirmed it: I’m more excited about the start of the season in the English Premier League than the National Football League.

It’s like I don’t even know myself anymore. Neither does my wife. “When did you become such a soccer fan?” she said the other day, flashing a moderately annoyed glare. (more…)

Some quick links this week:

* Interesting story in The New Yorker: Trial by Twitter. Focuses on the infamous Steubenville rape case.

* Also from The New Yorker, a little different angle on The Godfather. Was it a bad influence on cinema?

* The University of Oregon’s new football complex is, of course, ridiculous. I’m terrified to see what St. Thomas does to match it.

* A great profile of the late NASCAR driver Dick Trickle.

* Twenty-two ingenious ways to improve the subway system.

A Grantland piece lays out precisely what the U.S. did and didn’t accomplish in winning the somewhat confusing Gold Cup tournament. Unofficially, TV agrees with pretty much all of it.

* In other soccer non-news, some MLS players bit the Super Bowl Shuffle for a tongue-in-cheek rap video to promote their annual all-star game. Word.

* The Associated Press – remember them? – has discovered that America is having a hard time getting rid of at least 10 suspected Nazi war criminals.


If it’s Friday it’s time for some links.

* As a fan of fake oral histories about fake sports teams, I enjoyed this one on the 1989 Cleveland Indians.

* Bill Simmons on how to fix the Lakers, with the required shots at Kobe (but no 6-for-24 jokes?).

* From the great website Letters of Note, a dying man’s letter to his 3-week-old grandson.

* It was E.B. White’s birthday yesterday (well, he’s dead but still). Here’s an interview with him from the Paris Review on the art of the essay (he was alive when he gave the interview).

* Patrick Reusse: Twins should show mercy, fire Gardenhire.

* New book coming out on the JFK assassination that won’t be about conspiracy theorists but could be controversial. 

* NHL ’94 is back. 

* For the new Body Issue in ESPN the Magazine, Wright Thompson wrote about Bushwacker the bull. 

* The BBC has created a documentary about Muslim soccer players in the English Premier League.

* Esquire believes that new releases from Kanye West and Jay-Z are ushering in a big-sound era in rap. However, a couple of Grantland podcasters see one album as being superior to the other.

* Apparently, it’s time to put down that craft beer and pick up a slushy drink. So says The New York Times.

* Evidence links the Boston Strangler to a 1964 murder.

* The man behind the Dickens-Dostoevsky hoax speaks.

Guilt set in Sunday night around 11 p.m. CT, internal concerns that I had perhaps neglected my family and/or done something absentminded such as put my keys in the freezer. That’s how many good sporting events were on TV this weekend, and I dutifully watched most of them. You know, because I’m dedicated to our readers.

There’s no way I could choose just one to write about. Plus, the sum of the weekend unquestionably was better than the individual parts. My musings:

* The U.S. Men’s National Team continued World Cup qualifying by traveling to Jamaica. The contest was decided late, the U.S. coughing up the lead and then taking it back on an improbable goal by a little-known player.

I know this because I watched it on a Web feed of a channel called beIN Sport. I’m going to assume that the airing was pirated because no station in its right mind would run ads promoting “ugly girls.” No, I’m not making that up.

But the point is this: There are roughly 87 million channels in the English-speaking world, and a vast majority of them offer at least one interesting show. However, we can’t watch it unless our cable/internet/satellite provider offers that channel. It’s about time a scientist somewhere go to work on fixing this, finding a way to make anything on any channel available to anybody – if only on the web or through iTunes – for a fee. It’d be like pay-per-view except for whatever you want to watch, not only for what’s explicitly offered.
We, the people, are willing to pay for it. Just give us the opportunity.

* The French Open wrapped up in relatively satisfying fashion for front-runner fans with Serena Williams and Rafa Nadal winning the women’s and men’s titles, respectively.

Serena slugged her way through the field so easily that I received an email in my work account wondering if she might be on something. Her semifinal win over a pint-sized Italian was neither fair not particularly fun to watch.
Meanwhile, Nadal returned to glory with his first Slam victory after a seven-month layoff due to injury. The way the tears welled in his eyes during the Spanish national anthem, I wondered if there was a time that he thought his career might be over. Then again, maybe he just got flare smoke in his eyes during the second of two bizarre match interruptions by fans.

On a related note, I showed some pretty remarkable restraint during the Nadal match, refusing to Google “Nadal, one arm bigger than the other” or the like. I’ve heard rumors that’s the case, and it does look possible from certain angles. But I’ve decided not to seek out this information, to let mystery prevail – to be uniformed about a trivial matter the way the bulk of the world used to be.

* For all the regrettable things people post on Twitter, I’m more apt to kick myself for NOT posting something. Such was the case Sunday, when it occurred to me that there was no way the Miami Heat were going to lose Game 2 of the NBA Finals. There were at least three reasons: They’re a really good team; Spurs hater Joey Crawford was chosen to ref the game; the league couldn’t risk another sweep in a postseason full of them.

It crossed my mind to let the world know that it should bet everything it owns on the Heat to win. But I didn’t, afraid that some poor kid would take the advice and end up losing the shirt off his back on my accord.

My bad. The game at first was controlled by members of the supporting casts and then dominated by the Heat – in part because Manu Ginobili was dreadful. It was as if he forgot how to dribble. I’ve seen this happen to other players on lesser levels, and it’s astounding every time. How can a guy be so off his game as to be incapable of reproducing any of the skills that he’d practiced and mastered over so many years? In this case, Ginobili’s freeze-up coincided with a career performance by teammate Danny Green, who briefly belonged to the D-League team in Sioux Falls just last season.

Strange stuff.

Yep, I think I’ll keep watching.

Welcome to this week’s links.

* Minneapolis is better than New York. When it comes to parks, according to one study, which states that Minneapolis has the best parks in the entire country. Thousands of New Yorkers just threw their food wrappers down in disgust in Central Park.

* The New York Times revisited a crazy story from several decades ago, when a guy landed a plane on the streets of upper Manhattan — twice. The second time he did it was because some dude in a bar didn’t believe he’d done it the first time. That’s much cooler than some drunk in the bar lying about having played minor league baseball and then tearing his rotator cuff when he tries to prove it by firing a beer glass through a window.

* Fun story with sideline reporters about what it’s like interviewing Gregg Popovich between quarters.

* Fourteen percent more men cook today than in 1965. I’m holding down the fort for those who still don’t.

* A public service story: When someone’s drowning, it doesn’t look like drowning. Especially if it’s a kid.

* Headlines you don’t want to see: Nuke Missile Crews Cite Morale-Sapping Pressures. 

*’s Wright Thompson had a long but amazing piece on racism in Italian soccer.

* Grantland looks at surprise TV and movie deaths in its YouTube Hall of Fame clips.

* Vanity Fair’s Mark Bowden investigates which Navy SEAL is telling the truth when it comes to the question of who shot Osama bin Laden. 

* Five rules of Kickstarter etiquette fund-raising filmmakers need to learn.

* For charity, Samuel L. Jackson performs a monologue from Breaking Bad. Jackson’s also a great follow on Twitter during the NBA playoffs as he often rants about his dislike of the Heat. 

* Hey young journos: Do you still dream of working for ESPN after reading this salacious account from Deadspin?

* Season 2 of the Jerry Seinfeld vehicle Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is coming soon. Here’s a preview.

* The podcast of the week comes to us from the odd/admirable folks at Vice. Basically, one of their reporters has a semi-contentious discuss with the founder of American Apparel about the way clothing factories are run across the world. It’s interesting, but not relaxing.

By the time you read this, Fury should be back in Inwood, completing a roughly 87-hour trip from Minnesota. He might as well have walked. God bless the airline industry.

The silver lining: He had plenty of time to find good links for this week’s edition of The Tapes:

Big weekend upcoming in TV, er, the Web or whatever the return of Arrested Development via Netflix is considered. The New York Times says this is the right time and platform for the cult hit to return.
Meanwhile, the show’s creator claims there is a correct way to watch the show, which will release an entire season worth of episodes all at once.

Headline: NASA is funding a 3D food printer, and it’ll start with pizza. Um, what? I’ll take two slices of space sausage, please.

The English Premier League season came to an end this week. That also marked the end of ESPN’s contract to air games. So no more Sir Ian Dark or Steve McManaman (aka Macca) on the Worldwide Leader. But they gave us a going away present in the form of these outtakes.


From Janesville, Minnesota. Yes, still in Janesville. After 8 hours at the airport and an incident with security over my wife’s purse and waiting for a plane from New York that never arrived — which we were then going to hop on and fly back to NYC — our flight back to the Apple was canceled, a call was placed to Ma and Pa Fury and we were again picked up at the airport and brought back to southern Minnesota for two more days. All in all quite a day.

Some more links before I collapse into bed.

* This Tiger Woods-Sergio Garcia feud only gets weirder as the commissioner of the European Tour makes his own stupid statement.

* Shake Shack is becoming something of a chain even though the owner doesn’t want it to be a chain and people wonder if it could affect what everyone loves about the place. Shake Shack makes one of my two favorite burgers in all of New York City so I’m all for other people in this fine country having the chance to consume it (but still, give me Dairy Queen shakes).

* Speaking of burgers, Restaurant’s Extreme Burger Challenge Moved Down to Regular Menu.

* Teenagers hate Facebook. But they’re staying on it. I’m still not on Facebook.