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Some Wednesday Thoughts…

What a crazy few days of news items!  It’s like the world community has realized that Hollywood is out of ideas and has come together to create real-life stories that will make even better movies.  Each of these news items is bizarre, weird, mysterious and just plain strange.  And, yet, each is totally true and no doubt stranger than even we know at this point.  And all relate to sports or politics 

  • Of course, I have to start with this alleged Russian spy ring.  This story has everything a good spy story should have – suburban couples living a “normal” life; a young hot female spy with a ex-husband who wants to tell-all; kids who, supposedly, knew nothing of their parents activities; a spy released on bail (oh yeah, that was smart) who vanishes.  Of course the fact that they, apparently, weren’t able to learn anything at all makes it even better!  And now, word comes today, that USA and Russia are negotiating a spy swap.  What do you want to bet Hollywood already has three movies about this in the works.  Summer of 2011 will be the year of the spy movie!
  • What a crazy story out of Japan regarding Sumo wrestling and organized crime.  And I so thought the big guys were above it all!  In case you missed it, authorities in Japan are investigating alleged links between the top Sumo stars and leaders of organized crime families in Japan.  Again, this is another story that has it all.  Sports, organized crime, prime seats, blackmail, tons of money.  Stay tuned because this story is sure to get stranger and stranger.  And you thought the NBA had problems!
  • The World Cup has sure given 15 minutes of fame to some unusual people.  You have the officials who seem to have forgotten how to call a game.  You have model Larissa Riquelme announcing that she would run naked through the streets if Paraguay were to win the world cup.  And, then announcing that, even though they lost, she would do it anyway (nothing like sticking to your guns).  You have the coach of the Argentina squad, Diego Maradona, making the same offer to considerably less excitement.  With Argentina out, no word on whether he will follow Larissa’s lead and do it anyway.  And now, you have a group of porn stars offering to do something very special to all their Twitter followers should the Dutch (who are still alive) win the cup.  Remember when memories of a big sporting event used be related to what happened on the field? Ahh, the good old days!
  • At the Rangers game last night a fan was, apparently, reaching for a foul ball from the upper deck, lost his balance and tumbled down into the seats below.  Amazingly he was ok, but this video of the reaction of the players and umpires is quite something.

Ok, that’s all I have for you.  Enjoy the day!

You know a sporting event is going on too long when…

An animal predicting the winner is the top story of the day in a major paper.  Just saying.

For what it’s worth (and, trust me, it isn’t worth much) here are my predictions for the semi-finals and final. 

Uruguay 1 Netherlands 4

The Dutch have really looked strong and I don’t expect a letdown after the huge win against Brazil.  They might have the most individual talent on their team, but find a way to have all these talented players work together.  Ask the 2002 USA Men’s basketball team what it’s like to manage a team of superstars.  But they seem to have put it all together and that will make for a very long afternoon for Uruguay.  Why 4 goals? Why not.

Germany 3 Spain 2

This is going to be a great game.  I’m a self-identified soccer novice and really have no idea what I’m talking about.  But even I know this is going to be a great game.  These are two soccer powerhouses (right?) who are playing at the top of their game right now.  But, as good as Spain has looked, I just don’t see any way that Germany will lose. 

So, based on this, if you are planning to put forth your own guesses, I would suggest taking Uruguay and Spain.  Enjoy the games!

A few good links…

Some interesting links have come across my desk today that I thought I’d share with you

Great article about another issue related to expanded gambling in Massachusetts

Pretty funny top 10 list delivered by John Isner (the guy who won that 11 hour tennis match)

Good breakdown of the upcoming NBA free agent season – sure to be one of the most exciting we’ve had in a while. 

        On a related note, I have a real issue with the so-called free agent summit that D-Wade, LBJ and Chris Bosh reportedly arranged and carried out over the weekend.  If the conversation was simply them all talking about what it would mean to play together, then ok.  But if, I expect, the men spent some time discussing contract figures and negotiating strategies that is less ok in my mind.  I know they aren’t breaking any rules, but if owners aren’t allowed to collude then it seems, by allowing the players to do it, you are creating an unfair negotiating climate.  And, with the power so squarely on the side of the players you are ensuring salaries (and by extension ticket prices) will continue to rise by leaps and bounds.  Turning a blind eye to these obvious conversations is another black mark for a league that has an increasingly bad image problem. 

At least one league is admitting there is a problem and trying to make ammends…

World Cup Fever!!!

For those of you who have been living under a rock, the United States men’s soccer team won their group at the World Cup and have made it through to the elimination round which, for us, starts tomorrow afternoon against Ghana.  To get you ready, here are some World Cup related links and thoughts.

To start with, check out this awesome video of reaction to the group-clinching goal by Landon Donovan to keep us alive.

For those of you who are planning to watch tomorrow – and really why wouldn’t you – and want to seem to know what you are talking about, here is a pretty good preview of the game and here is the roster

Finally, check out the hilarious video of John Oliver welcoming the USA to the third world because of their soccer winnings.

Prediction for tomorrow’s game:

The United States will score 4 goals to Ghana’s 1.  However, two of those goals will be disallowed so the USA will end up winning 2-1.  And, post-game, the NBA will announce they are replacing all of their officials with soccer refs.  Enjoy the game!