Friday, June 25, 2010

Rick Riley is Not Interesting

So the Reds are looking pretty good and frankly I'm afraid of jinxing it. Rumors of the Tang trade are out there, which is nice. Also I'm too old to stay up for games on the west coast. Who stays up past 10pm? That is crazy, so I'll be back with reviews next week and maybe even a live blog of the Strausberg game on Monday depending on how the Little Big Deal is.

So now on the World Cup, I have been sitting on this for a few weeks, but frankly had to say something. Rick Riley has decided the most popular sporting event on the planet is broken and needs him to fix it was too much. I ignored it for days, but espn kept the link on its website for so long, curiosity got the best of me. After reading it, I remember why I’m not a huge fan of Riley (and by not a huge fan, I would rather read Ben Rothlisberger’s book on how to woo a lady than read Riley). I've decided to break it down FJM style for our loyal reader. So without further ado, my first attempt at humor in quite a while

From Rick Riley’s article Here's how to fix the World Cup.

Again this implies that is it broken and needs fixing. I’m sure that all those people who watched the last few games were thinking, “I’m enjoying this, as are 2 billion other people, but it is broken. Where is some enlightened person to make this right.?”

Here are the top 10 most annoying things about watching the World Cup already:

By the way, you don’t have to watch. It isn’t the law of the land, so if it annoys you turn it off. Kind of like everyone in the world does with the WNBA.

  1. That pesky cerebrum-blowing incessant buzzing sound coming from the TV set. "Babe, something's wrong with the TV," my wife said Saturday. But there wasn't anything wrong. It was the dreaded vuvuzelas, the yard-long plastic horns (voo-voo-zella) that South African fans blow all the time, without rhyme nor reason, when something is happening and when it's not (it's usually not), during timeouts and time ins, during halftime and at the breakfast table and while they're on the bus and while doing their taxes, until you just want to stab two fondue forks deep into your ears and stir.

Turn the sound down on your TV. This is a fairly easy fix and frankly after a few games you don’t really even notice it. I know it is popular to make fun of them, but its been a little overdone. Also why do you have the TV on while you are doing your taxes? Just turn it off or is that too difficult

They never stop. It's like having a desk in the center cubicle at American Bee, Inc. They sound like 80,000 yaks getting sick. They are the leading cause of Tylenol sales in the world today.

We get it. You think they are loud and annoying and for some reason you are incapable of turning down the volume on your TV.

  1. The embarrassing photographer bibs the guys on the bench have to wear during the game. They're very purple and dorky. My God, who knew you could make a World Cup team and be made to look like a geek? Hey, are you on the American national soccer squad or do you throw bags for Northwest Airlines?

This one is funny because people who do manual labor look funny and are beneath me. Yeah throwing bags at the bag counter, what is more demeaning than that.

  1. The Twinkie-fingered gloves goalkeepers wear. No wonder the English goalkeeper allowed that easy shot to give America a 1-1 tie in the Group C opener. You couldn't stop a beach ball with those big goofy things. What, is Hamburger Helper a sponsor? Why must they be so huge? Doesn't Roger Rabbit need them back? And where do the batteries go? How are goalkeepers expected to hang on to the ball with them on? And is it difficult to play goalie while also taking things out of the oven?

Do all his articles have one-thousand questions which say the same thing? Does he just write down every joke he can think of and hope one is funny? Does he have an editor? Why does the fact the gloves are big bother him? Does he have to wear them?

  1. The godforsaken vuvuzelas! Make them stop! One of the charms of soccer is the singing that fans do. There is always loads of singing and chanting because every game is 1-nil, so there's plenty of time for singing and chanting. Soccer fans sing and chant inane hilarious things like, "We are from Norway! We came on a plane! And we are very drunk!" But we don't get to hear the singing and the chanting because of the horrible, hideous, heinous vuvuzelas! My god, they should take them into the mountainous caves region of Pakistan and play them until Osama bin Laden comes running out, screaming, "OK, OK! I give!"

This is funny b/c he already mentioned that he doesn’t like them. I like how he does this because it gives him an opportunity to try another couple hundred jokes that aren’t funny on the same topic. Jay Leno makes a living at this everything.

  1. All the faking. I haven't seen this much bad theater since I saw former "American Idol competitor" Ace Young starring in "Hair" on Broadway. These guys collapse as though they've just caught a javelin in the groin every time an opponent so much as asks them for the time. These guys make Paul Pierce look sincere. Sell it somewhere else, Sven. We live in the U.S., where hockey players pop their eye back into their socket without missing a shift. This will be the new rule when I'm made president of FIFA: If you stay on the ground longer than 30 seconds, you're out of the game; 45, you are taken directly to the nearest hospital; 60, you get a telethon.

Frankly I’m kind of with him on this one. Granted referencing Paul Pierce illustrates that it happens in every sport. I also like how hockey (the national sport of Canada) is used to show the US is much tougher and rarely fakes injuries. Why not use football (and then he could have used a funny joke about the difference between our football and theirs, but I feel one may be coming anyway)

  1. The yellow cards. I love the way the refs come running up to the player as though he has just taken out a chainsaw and sawed somebody's hand off. The ref looks very stern and upset. And then all the ref does is snap his little yellow piece of paper out of his shirt pocket and stick it in the offender's face, as though the little yellow card has some kind of superpower. As if to say, "Ha! you are powerless against my little yellow piece of paper, which shows your less-than-average marks from third grade!" I'd love to see that in the middle of an NBA fight. Can you imagine seeing some ref come running up to Rasheed Wallace after laying out Carmelo Anthony with a roundhouse right and sticking that yellow card right in his face? He'd soon be digesting it through his ear hole.

I would say we need yellow cards instead of technical fouls in basketball. How much more fun would this be? How is a yellow card less effective than a technical foul? I’m guessing that if Rasheed laid out Carmelo Anthony putting a “T” sign with your fingers isn’t going to have much more of an effect. I think he was reaching here… but wait it gets worse.

  1. The ties. In the NFL in the past 10 years, there have been two ties. As of Tuesday morning, in the first 11 games of this World Cup, there have been five ties. You will not see more ties at a J.C. Penney's Father's Day sale. I hate ties. Doesn't anybody want to win in this sport? All these ties are about as exciting as a Jonas Brothers roundtable on sex.

He doesn’t like ties because they bore him. Also he again makes 2 jokes on the same subject, neither of which are very funny. I mean JC Penney’s does have a lot of ties, which is a good observation but not very funny. The Jonas Brothers don’t have sex, which must also be funny.

  1. The World Cup itself. Really? All this running and vuvuzela-ing and pulling off shirts for that trophy? It looks like somebody soldered it together in their basement -- after drinking a handle of Jack Daniel's. It looks like something you'd use to prop open your Tuff Shed door during spring cleaning. It's gold and small and looks like somebody accidentally melted it somewhere along the way. I mean, there IS chocolate in the middle of that thing, right? Maybe I just don't get it.

Finally he makes some sense. Yes you just don’t get it. I’m assuming the "it" he is referring to in the last sentence is sports, writing and comedy, but maybe I only glossed over the paragraph. By the way we get another mention of the vuvuzela. Other than the Stanley Cup, the trophy is secondary to the accomplishment of actually winning the competition. I mean the football on a stand or basketball on a stand are that much better than a soccer ball on a stand?

  1. Stoppage time. Why can't we know how much time is left? Why must it be such a mystery? Whose idea was this? Why do only the refs get to know? Wouldn't it be more exciting if we all knew? You tell me which is more exciting:

You do know b/c they hold up a sign that tells you. Would have been more funny if it was written 10 years ago. I would say this means he hasn’t seen a single game this year, but remember he mentioned the vuvuzelas

A. "Ten seconds left now! Kaka needs to get a shot off here or it's over! Five seconds! Kaka wheeling! Two seconds! There's the shot! And … "

B. "Well, the ref should be calling this game shortly. A minute or two. Maybe more. Actually, I don't know. Nigel, do you know? Kaka seems confused. He's dribbling. Wait. Now he's stopped to examine a small scab, and well, that's it. The ref says it's over. I guess that's it, then."

All we get is B. Somebody needs to put some stoppage to stoppage time.

Actually his analogy is flawed. Say what you will about stoppage time, but it normally leads to the ref letting the attacking team finish out before blowing the whistle. So instead of getting guys kicking the ball from midfield where they have no chance of making it (i.e. kind of like the end of hockey periods), you sometimes get a well run play down the stretch and more excitement (see US goal or Italy finish yesterday)

  1. The vuvuzelas from eardrum-hellas! Don't tell me it's discrimination to want them to stop. Don't tell me it's an essential part of South African culture. If it is, it's an annoying part of their culture. Yes, I know that centuries ago, the vuvuzelas were made from animal horns to call the village elders in for a meeting. And I'll bet you five wildebeests that when the elders finally got to the meeting they said, "Would you STOP already with the blowing? You're making me crazy!" I've been to Africa four times. They do some of the most beautiful singing you can imagine. At the World Cup, I'm hearing no singing. I'm hearing no chanting. I'm hearing 80,000 kazoos on steroids.

No such thing as a dead horse here. These vuvuzelas are not entertaining and he doesn’t enjoy them. Thanks again for mentioning.

But it still sounds better than Ace Young.

And in Bozich style he references a prior bad joke to end the column so as to prove he is witty. So in an article about ways to fix the most popular sporting event in the world, we get a list of 10 (well actually 8 b/c 3 are on there twice) things that bug some guy. So I can’t help him with all of these, but for numbers 1, 4 and 10, just turn the TV down.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quick Reds Update, World Cup Thoughts

Thank goodness I was in New Orleans drinking my face off and missed the latest Dusty Baker stinkbomb. No one could hit and he refused to do anything about the black hole at the top of the lineup. Cabrara kept playing and managed to drop his terrible OPS+ to 67. He has the 4th worst OPS of any player in the NL. And he bats leadoff. HOW CAN DUSTY BE THIS DUMB? Congrats on being the new Corey Patterson. Didn't think it was possible. Dusty benched him last night and they won. Of course it took a Coco blown save to get there but whatever. It has been a rough couple of weeks. I need a break. The Reds need a sweep of Oakland and at least 2 of 3 against Cleveland to get back at the top of the division. Probably won't watch too much since the greatest event in the world is really heating up in South Africa.

The World Cup has been amazing. Everyone is talking about it so we can finally get rid of all the "no one watches soccer" argument once and for all. If you still think Americans don't care then you have been under a rock for 2 weeks or you are a UK fan. It is all me and my friends have talked about and will continue to talk about until America takes home the Cup(I wish).

America was robbed last Friday and I sure let some expletives fly from Bourbon St. but it is still win and move on which is fine. If we can't beat Algeria we don't deserve a spot. I think we will win 2-0 and England will win 1-0. That is how it should be just so we can watch England fans get excited again before having their hearts ripped out next round.

We now know 4 of the final 16 and I don't like to brag but I got 3 of them. Tomorrow morning should be fun.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Upcoming schedule, Cabrera rant

Tough weekend for the Reds. Losing 2 of 3 to the Royals is unacceptable even if one was to Zack Greinke. He was amazing on Sunday, dominating every Reds hitter except Joey Votto. The big disappointment was the pitching. The Royals and Giants are bad offensive teams but they crushed the ball all over the field. Now the Reds get the Dodgers, a good hitting team. I shutter to think of what they will do this week. But don't fret Reds fans, relief is on the way. Beginning Friday, the Reds start a west coast road trip that takes them to Seattle and Oakland before returning to play 3 against the Indians. I see the Reds winning all 3 of those series and taking control of the Central. Let's hope the pitching comes around in time.

One quick Dusty note: He keeps playing Orlando Cabrera and batting him leadoff. This is unacceptable. 2 years ago I started this blog partly because he kept playing Corey Patterson, he of the .238 OBP, and batting him leadoff. I was not pleased. Last season, it was Willy Taveras and his .275 OBP. Now it is Cabrera and his .296. I think he is doing this on purpose to piss me off. It is by far the lowest on the team and I can't imagine anyone looking at the numbers and batting him leadoff unless they were trying to lose. I don't care what leadership he brings. A real leader who take a backseat when it is clear they were hurting the team. ANY PLAYER ON THE ROSTER, INCLUDING HIS BACKUP, WOULD BE BETTER. Why does Dusty keep putting the guy who makes the most outs at the top of the order? Does he not understand baseball? Is he sniffing glue? Is he a communist? I wish I knew the answer to any of those questions.

I will be at a bachelor party this weekend so I will not be able to post Friday. I will try and post some World Cup thoughts Thursday but if not, I will be at a bar in New Orleans Friday morning cheering Sam's Army on. Go 'Merica.

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup Preview

Finally. It is here. I have been waiting for this since Euro '08 ended. Here are some thoughts on what to watch for and what I think will happen:

Group A-Mexico, South Africa, France, Uruguay

I feel this is Mexico's group for the taking. They looked very good toward the end of qualifying, beating the US in Mexico City and taking care of the rest of CONCACAF soon after. The have a great young player in Giovani dos Santos and the new Manchester United player Javier Hernandez. South Africa has the home field advantage which has become a huge factor. Every home team has advanced out of its group since I began watching the World Cup in '94. Having said that, I don't think they can overcome all 3 of these teams. France is very up and down. They won it all in '98, failed to make it out of the group stage in '02, then made the finals in '06. I sense another fall back which is why I think the second team to qualify from here will be Uruguay. Not many people know about them but they have one of the best scoring tandems in the world with Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan. I think Mexico wins the group and Uruguay places second.

Group B-Argentina, South Korea, Greece, Nigeria

This one is all Argentina. They have the best player in the world, Leo Messi, and a ton of other elite players such as Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, and Angel Di Maria. They have an insane coach in former World Cup superstar Diego Maradona who will be either the best thing to happen to them, or the worst. Not much in between with him. I could see any of the other teams rising up and taking second in this group but I am going with Greece. They won the '04 European Championship with unusual tactics and they will be able to use them again to advance here. South Korea made a great run at home in the '02 World Cup(thanks to some "questionable" officiating) but have otherwise been unimpressive including a 3-0 loss to China. Nigeria has a great player in John Obi Mikel but not much else. They are not the African team I am picking to advance.

Group C-USA, England, Slovenia, Algeria

Let's get his out of the way: England and the US will advance. Slovenia is not bad but too young to contend and Algeria needed a playoff just to qualify. The biggest match of the opening round is this Saturday: England vs. USA. I have been thinking about this since it was announced last December and can't believe it is actually here. It feels like the gold medal hockey game a few months back but ten times more intense. I will be singing every patriotic song I can find, drinking beer from that great English ass-kicker Sam Adams, and wearing my T-shirt that says Don't Tread On Me. Go 'Merica!

Group D-Germany, Serbia, Ghana, Australia

OK, here is where I am going a little off the grid. I like Ghana to be the African team that advances in this group. They have a solid team even without the injured Michael Essian, whose replacement Kwadwo Asamoah, is more then capable to take over. They should be able to handle Australia and I think they can tie the other 2, helping them finish second. Germany should win this group because they always play well at the World Cup but without Ballack it could be a struggle. Klose will not let them miss the knockout stage but I don't see them advancing much past the round of 16. Serbia plays a wide open attack which will come back to bite them when they surrender a few counterattack goals that keep them from advancing. The Socceroos are fun to watch but don't have the skill of discipline to compete with these teams.

Group E-Netherlands, Denmark, Cameroon, Japan

This group looks simple on paper and I think it will be just that. The two European squads are full of stars and the other two teams are not. The Dutch have Robin van Persie, Durk Kyut, and Wesley Sneijder, all elite players. Denmark has a great defensive line led by Simon Kjaer and a great attacking midfielder in Christian Poulson. Cameroon has a great player in Samuel Eto'o but not enough else and Japan is one of the worst teams here. I like a bit of an upset with Denmark finishing above the Dutch but both will advance

Group F-Italy, Paraguay, Slovakia, New Zealand

The defending champs have a pretty easy group and will easily advance. They are a few years older so I don't envision another deep run but qualifying for the knockout stage should be easy with Andrea Pirlo running around and Gianlugi Buffon in goal. For the second spot I am again going with a South American squad over the European one. Paraguay looked great in qualifying and has a solid attacker in Oscar Cardozo. Slovakia hasn't been able to put it all together but has a very exciting midfielder in Marek Hamsik. New Zealand looked great in the Lord of the Rings movie, not sure about their soccer team.

Group G-Brazil, Ivory Coast, Portugal, North Korea

North Korea is the worst team here and will be lucky to score a goal. The round robin between the other three teams will be fascinating. Brazil is the obvious choice but not a slam dunk. Robinho and Kaka are two of the best players in the world and will be a joy to watch. Portugal also has a former player of the year in Christiano Ronaldo although he has yet to excel on the international stage as much as he has on the club stage. This should be his time to do that and take Portugal out of the group stage. Ivory Coast was a sleeper for many until their leader and one of the best strikers in the world, Didier Drogba, broke his arm. He is trying to come back but will not have the same impact as he would have had if healthy. Because of the Drogba injury I will take Brazil and Portugal to move on.

Group H-Spain, Chile, Switzerland, Honduras

Spain has been amazing the past 2 years in international competition. The only game they have lost was last summer in the Confederation Cup to 'Merica. Aside from one bad game, they have been dominant. The only problem is their history. They have never won a World Cup and, frankly, have never really been close. They haven't made a final in a few generations and will need to overcome some major demons to win here. The other three teams seem pretty equal. This time I am taking the Euro team over the South American one. Switzerland made the second round in '06 and returns a few of the players including striker Blaise N'Kufo. Chile has a solid scorer in Humberto Suazo but lacks the experience needed to succeed at the cup. Honduras needed a miracle US goal to qualify and will be hard pressed to do much here.

In the knockout rounds I have Mexico-US in the round of 8 with the US advancing. On the other half of the bracket I have Denmark-Brazil in the Quarters with Brazil advancing. The third spot I have going to Argentina after getting by England in the Quarterfinal. The final team I have is Spain after beating the Dutch. In the final 4, I see Brazil beating the US and Spain beating Argentina setting up one of the greatest finals ever and Spain finally winning their first cup. Have fun and enjoy the games.

Well Done Coco and Challenge Thoughts

I thought I would take a quick moment to compliment CoCo on doing his job last night. It is about time. Granted this would be like you guys complimenting me for using the toilet like a big boy, but still worth mentioning. If we extrapolate last night's performance, we can say something like "CoCo is back and hasn't given up a run in almost two days." 1.5 game lead going into a series with the Royals.

On another note, I just watched the RR/RR Challenge finale last night via TiVo. This was another great season filled with the usual cast of characters. The highlight was during the after show when Kenny admitted he is on the show to be famous. He pointed out everyone is on the show to be famous, otherwise they would join a local softball team in their hometown rather than fly to some unknown place to play this game. Refreshing to see someone actually speak honestly, and with that he has my support to run for public office. He is too young for President, but congress seems about right. We need someone in DC, who gave himself the nickname "Mr. Beautiful" and is able to outsmart the likes of Wes in a made up game. I think that qualifies him to battle the intellectual heavyweights of Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi.

Lastly, I heard a rumor that the Reds contacted Stormy Weathers about a possible comeback. If that is true my head will explode. I'd rather we hire this person.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Strasberg and Other Reds Thoughts

Yes, I'm back to writing, but lets not make too big of deal b/c we know it may not take (see my other posts entitled "I'm Back"). So I broke down and got the MLB package in order to watch my Reds this year. As we continue towards the NL Central crown, it will clearly seem like a good investment (though Mrs. Big Deal may disagree after having watched more baseball in two months than the past four years of our marriage). Even if the Reds weren't on a path to a first round loss in the playoffs (more on the reason below, but as a hint the problem rhymes with Boco bodero), the ability to watch Strasberg every five days pays for the package. I was prepared to write my first post about if Mike Leake was named Strausberg he would be all over the front pages of the newspapers and think kid is all hype and a product of the modern media cycle. Then I sat down and watched a Nationals-Pirates game on a random Tuesday. Here is my initial reaction:

The stadium was packed and the atmosphere of the game was something you rarely see outside the post season (and in Atlanta you never see it). Apparently the Nat's fans were there 40 minutes early just to watch the guy warm up. I tuned into the Nat's TV station to watch Nat's pregame so I guess I understand. His first inning the crowd is on their feet and the place is going nuts. I'm thinking there is no way this lives up to the hype and then... 3 up 3 down as he is throwing the ball all over the zone. The game progressed and he blew threw the line up giving up 1 bad pitch that was taken yard, but otherwise dominating the hitters in a way Pedro used to do in the 90s. I figured the second or third time through the order, the guys would catch up to his speed and he would look mortal. Wrong, the kid got better and the 6th and 7th inning was flat out amazing. After watching this performance, I want to make sure I don't miss another start, because who knows what's next.. 20 strike outs? no hitter? Both in the same game? I wouldn't be surprised to see both. I'm not going to call him the second coming of Walter Johnson just yet, but I'm also not going to miss a start all season (maybe even a live blog one of these days. If we can find a day where he and Leake are both pitching, I'll try to do the double live blog to get instant thoughts on both guys).

I'll be back with my Reds thoughts next week (goal will be to post weekly on Wednesday or Thursday depending on work and how Big Deal jr. is doing), but wanted to give my initial thoughts on the season. Reds look great and have quite a bit going for us right now. Our young arms are finally showing up and we have great starting pitching. Dusty is staying out of the way the best he can with the bats (choice of lead off hitter excluded) and we are getting the luck needed to remain in contention. The problem lies in the bullpen, which has been terrible. I feel like the Mets' fans had to feel when they were playing well, but knew Wagner was the closer so games were never over. You can't win in October with a bullpen that will blow at least 1, maybe 2 games a series (especially in a 5 game series). It is time to make a move and I agree with others who have suggested we move LaClure out to the bullpen. I'd make him a closer (who knows maybe he could be like Papelbon and the move will be worth it, but worst case he continues to get big league experience and we find another closer next year). Begin to use Rhodes as our 8th inning set up man (I understand the man is old and we can't use him everyday, but as the season goes on lets begin to bet the farm and make him the go to set up man. We have a decent left hander making $30mm in the minors who could come up if Rhodes goes down). Speaking of the $30mm left hander, lets bring him up and put him out in the bullpen as well to throw gas. Again, I understand that starters are worth more than bullpen guys, but we have a shot to win this year so why not go all in. That still leaves one extra starter with Leake, Harang, Voltron, Bronson, Bailey and Cueto. I'd hold onto all of them until closer to the trade deadline to make sure Voltron comes back in ok shape and Dusty doesn't ruin the arm of Leake, Bailey or Cueto. If we are still in it at that point, time to move one of Harang or Bronson to get a bat from a contender looking for that 5th starter or go all in and move Cueto or Bailey to get a big name on loaner for the remainder of the year, who we could possibly sign with the money saved from Harang/Bronson/CoCo rolling off in the next 2 years (i.e. Hanley Ramirez).

Ok that is all for now. I'll have a more thought out post next week, where I'll go through exactly how bad our bullpen is and also discuss how great this season of RR/RR Challenge is.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Off Day Thoughts

Well thank God that is over. The Reds are done with the Cards until August, which is nice. Now its time to pad our record against some below average teams. First up is Washington, followed by San Fran and finally the Royals. For the Reds, the pitching matchups work out pretty well. Washington is holding Strasburg back until right after the Reds leave, Lincecum misses the Reds by 1 day and Greinke should miss the Reds by a day as well. As a Reds fan, this is great news that we don't face 3 of the best pitchers in the game. As a viewer and possible attendant of these games, I am a little disappointed. Strasburg's first start will be like a rock concert. Glad ESPN is picking it up so I can watch it. Lincecum is great to watch on TV and I imagine just as fun to see live. Hope I get a chance to see him next year. I went to KC last season and missed Greinke. Now the Royals are in Cincy and I miss him again. 3 great pitchers, none of which I get to see live. O well. The Reds better capitalize on missing these guys with some wins. I expect no worse then 6-4 and 7-3 seems more realistic.

Now, onto other things.

-The NBA finals start tonight. 2 teams with unbearable fan bases square off. Not interested. Lakers in 6. I will check back in a few weeks when it is over and their fans finally shut up for a few minutes to see if I was right.

-I could not be more excited for the World Cup next Friday. It is one of my favorite events, along with the Olympics and big horse races. 32 countries from around the world go to South Africa to compete in the biggest soccer tournament ever. Every single game will get more viewers then every NBA finals game combined. The crowds are great, the players are amazing, and the drama is like nothing you have ever seen. Each of these players are rockstars back home and scoring a major goal is an achievement of a lifetime. Anyone who scores goes down as a legend. I remember watching in '94 when the US shocked the world and beat Columbia. I watched in '98 as France won on its home soil. I woke up at 3 am in '02 to watch the games in South Korea. In '06 I watched nearly every game thanks to a new thing called TIVO. I hope this World Cup is as exciting as the past few have been. I feel it will be. Go 'merica!

-Belmont stakes is Saturday. No Derby or Preakness winner. The sexy pick seems to be Ice Box, the second place horse from the Derby and the one who cost me my exacta. I think Ice Box loses but haven't decided who beats him. Right now I am thinking Stately Victor or Fly Down. Either one can grab it.