The State of Soccer in the US

Now is the time to start a major soccer revolution in the US.  The Men’s and Women’s National Teams have just finished competing in international competitions in which they both played well but just came up a bit short.  The men competed in the Gold Cup, which is a tournament for the teams in the CONCACAF Confederation, and is held in venues such as New Meadowlands Stadium, Reliant Stadium and the Rose Bowl.  The men finished second to Mexico by a score of 4-2 and while a championship would have been the desirable result you’d think that second place isn’t bad.  Well it’s not.  But, the US could definitely be the current reigning champion had they been able to play a little better defense against Mexico.

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Baseball (& Fantasy Baseball) and the End of the All-Star Break

Also known as, The Longest Title for a Blog Post. Period.

Lame, inaccurate jokes aside, it’s that time of the year. What time, you ask? The end of the season, of course! It’s the home stretch, the beginning of the end, the most exciting part of the year besides October.

With the All-Star break over, we’ll see a few things in the coming weeks. In a last attempt to improve their records, key players that have been slacking off for the first half of the season (*cough* *cough* Adam Dunn, Victor Martinez *cough* *cough*) will try to regain what they appear to have lost; teams with terrible records (like the Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles) will do everything they can to not completely blow; and those with great seasons will try to keep up the status-quo (Jose Bautista & Prince Fielder are prime examples). Who reaps the benefits of these? You and me, the fans. And not only for those watching; for those playing online, as well.

Knowing that everyone has a favorite team, I’ll try and keep things unbiased… but what I’m about to say applies to everyone, no matter what team you’re rooting for: the end of the season is also big for Fantasy baseball, for the same reasons listed above. Your job, assuming that you play, is to keep an eye on who is going to explode and who is going to combust. In the second half, you can’t be afraid to make quick trades or drops, and picking up someone on a streak can do wonders for your stats. You might be the Astros of your online league, but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn things around. Your team might be full of Dunns and Martinezes, but it’s not too late to swap them out. And if you have Bautistas and Fielders, hold on to them and pray that they stay strong.

Diligently watching games (or SportsCenter) is the key here, both to enjoying the last couple months of game-play and winning in your online league. Oh, and if you ARE an Astros fan, you might want to start watching the final season of Weeds on Showtime… you’ll be more entertained; I guarantee it.

All Stars Day

It’s really tough not to like the MLB All Star Game.  It accomplishes what I see as the fundamentals of an all star game: have every team is represented, every player plays, high amount of fan involvement.  And I know you’re thinking, every other ASG does the same thing, what sets this one apart?  The answer is defense.  By the very nature of baseball, you are forced to play defense if you want to score (and if you don’t field an easy fly ball or grounder coming towards you, you’re either a terrible fielder, or just lazy).  With that said, it’s defense that keeps the All Star Game from just being an All Star Affair like in the NBA for example.  In the NBA ASG there is no defense to be found, you’ll see shooting guards get down in a defensive stance, and then just watch their man drive right past them for an easy dunk, and this is why I can’t watch the NBA All Star Game for more than 10 minutes.

With that said, all star games are designed to be offensive showcases, and you get that in the MLB game along with great defensive plays (a la Jose Bautista, or Torii Hunter), and it keeps the game from getting completely out of hand and keeps the viewer engaged.  However, one of the main factors that keeps the viewer engaged is that the MLB all star game actually means something, in that the winning side gets home field advantage in the World Series for their league.  And I think that’s dumb.  Home field advantage in the World Series should be determined by the team with the best record, however if they truly have the best record then there should be no problem of them winning. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I don’t enjoy this caveat of the All Star Game that gives the players something to play for other than bragging rights, I’m simply saying it’s dumb. But let’s actually get to the game itself. Read more of this post