Recent Comments by bender

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Sorry, in print sometimes it's difficult to tell if we're arguing or not.

As much as I love the World Cup and watch every US match, friendlies and all, I don't follow any club soccer nearly as closely. However, college football (which I follow much more closely) is heading down the same path as we have been discussing. Over the last few years, there has been a lot of conference realignment, and though it has died down for now, it seems like it could easily swing back around to consolidating into the fabled super-conferences or even getting rid of conferences altogether and consolidating the top teams into a smaller elite division, leaving the rest behind. The level of competition might increase, but the sport is richer for having a broader range of teams.

posted by bender at 12:25 PM on July 23

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Well, you kind of focused on the part of my comment that I considered to be less important and ignored my point, but I'll address your comment anyway:

Yes, someone has to be at the bottom of the league, and I'm certainly not saying that that team won't be Manchester United. The size of the super league matters. If it's 8 teams, then sure, MU could be the worst, but if this thing ever happened, it wouldn't be that small. If it's 20 teams, maybe they are down at the bottom sometimes, but I have a hard time imagining a lengthy stay as the worst team of the lot. The Yankees (of the last couple decades) spend more money than everyone else. They've had a couple of lousy seasons, but that doesn't last long.

As for this league drawing all of the talent, I would fully expect that the vast majority of the elite talent in the world would want to play for one of these teams, and that talent is enough to fill 20 teams. We were talking elsewhere about who moves aside to make room for James Rodriguez at RM, and that's today. All of the teams would be stacked. Some would be better than others, but all of them would be incredible, and the increased worldwide exposure would vastly increase all of their values.

And like I said above, I am not interested in seeing this happen. Though as I think about it and the money that could be made, it kind of seems like only a matter of time before this starts to happen.

posted by bender at 09:39 AM on July 23

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Does Man U really come out of that as valuable in 2024 as it was when this league began?

Setting aside for a moment that I don't really expect that a top flight team like Man U could spend a decade in the cellar of this hypothetical super league considering the vacuum that the league would have for all of the elite talent, yes, I do think that the worst team in this league would still enjoy a continental and global audience that is well beyond what they have now. This league is MLB, if baseball was the world's favorite game.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I want it to happen, but if it did happen, no question I want my team in it, not out of it.

posted by bender at 10:51 PM on July 22

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

I don't see why not. The Browns are still extremely valuable, and their fans know they suck going into every season. It's worth quite a bit just to be on the biggest stage, never mind being the headliner.

posted by bender at 07:51 PM on July 22

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 5

Calgary by 8
B.C. by 10
Hamilton by 15
Saskatchewan by 4

posted by bender at 09:16 AM on July 22

Pitcher Freaks Out Because of Bunt in 2-Run Game

I just... I've got nothing. Did Lewis also complain when the Blue Jays scored their first two runs?

posted by bender at 07:33 PM on July 20

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 4

Hmm, if a James (pronounced HA-mess) A. Garfield dollar coin wasn't enough to turn the tide, maybe I need to re-calibrate. I must have heads and tails backward, so now heads is home, tails is away.

Edmonton by 5
Ottawa by 9
Hamilton by 8
B.C. by 18

posted by bender at 04:20 PM on July 14

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

posted by bender at 12:55 PM on July 14

Argentina Faces The Netherlands for Spot in World Cup Final

Did Vlaar almost score the first penalty anyway?

posted by bender at 11:37 AM on July 11

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 3

I'm pulling out all the stops to turn this train around. A James A. Garfield $1 coin is making the picks this week.

Montreal by 19
Ottawa by 7
Toronto by 11
Saskatchewan by 6

posted by bender at 09:38 AM on July 10

Nate Silver Had Brazil at 65% to Win Today

bender 1, Nate Silver 874

posted by bender at 12:16 AM on July 09

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Does anyone know where to get ball-in-play time statistics? This piece from zonalmarking has Friday's Brazil-Columbia match at 41:07 and seems to imply that Germany-France's 50-some minutes is a big (or at least average) number. I never realized that there was that much inactive time, and likewise, what are the guidelines for adding on stoppage time?

posted by bender at 12:25 PM on July 07

Germany Closes Down France in World Cup

Me neither! I think I'm cheering for France in the game, but I'd love to see Klose get another goal.

posted by bender at 12:55 PM on July 04

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

The World Cup of arm folding.

That was way more entertaining that it should have been!

posted by bender at 10:54 PM on July 03

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

While I have heard more than I care to from sports guys feeling obligated to say something about soccer even though they don't know or care about it, I do agree with Olbermann (at least somewhat) on the terminology. Soccer fans who insist on using "pitch" and "kit" do sound obnoxious, because we have words for those things, and we don't need their British translations to sound legit. Other words like "table" and "match" and "nil" aren't so unusual in American English, so I think there's no problem there. "Football" vs. "soccer" is a little trickier when on the one hand, we have a different game called football, but on the other, of the two, soccer is much more deserving of the name football.

posted by bender at 10:46 PM on July 03

CFL Pick 'Em, Week 2

Ottawa by 13
B.C. by 11
Hamilton by 11
Saskatchewan by 6

posted by bender at 02:09 PM on July 03

U.S. Falls to Belgium Despite Epic Tim Howard Performance

I agree on Bradley. He had some disappointing moments in this tournament in that he missed some touches that could have created goal-scoring opportunities that we were used to seeing him make, but he was still an extremely valuable member of the midfield and the defense throughout, and we're clearly a weaker team without him on the field.

posted by bender at 09:42 AM on July 02

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

What a wild finish in Argentina-Switzerland! The Swiss goalkeeper even got in a bicycle kick.

posted by bender at 02:37 PM on July 01

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

There is definitely offsides on free kicks, but I don't believe Muller ran past all of the Algerians.

posted by bender at 12:02 PM on July 01

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

We can at least speak of it one more time.

posted by bender at 10:40 AM on July 01

Mexico Faces The Netherlands in Round of 16

Robben certainly flourishes every contact made with him.

Robben was definitely doing some embellishing yesterday--I agree 100% with Mr Bismarck that the foul that resulted in the PK was a foul and a dive--but one thing that I like about him is that more than many other players, he will recognize when the foul is taking away a real chance and attempt to play through on an advantage. In my estimation (which is based only on watching him in World Cups), he has played himself out of more foul calls than he has acted his way into--sometimes when he ultimately ended up stumbling and falling down a few steps later--and that is at least moderately commendable.

posted by bender at 11:51 AM on June 30

Mexico Faces The Netherlands in Round of 16

I'm cool with the water breaks, but I do think this match was shorted a few minutes of playing time in both halves--especially the first half, with the additional injury stoppage in added time--that were not adequately added back in. I may be branded a heretic for suggesting it, but would it be so wrong to stop the game clock during the water breaks so that the 4th official doesn't have to hold up a 5 or 6 in the 90th minute?

posted by bender at 10:04 AM on June 30

Costa Rica Faces Greece in Unlikeliest World Cup Knockout

The Ticos really pulled together after the red card at 66'. Navas did a great job in goal, and they even did a nice job pulling together some counter attacks, though it was heartbreaking to see those fall apart because they were simply out of gas. Kudos to them on pulling it out in the end, though.

posted by bender at 10:49 PM on June 29

Brazil Faces Chile in World Cup's First Knockout Game

I am ready for something other than penalties to decide knockout matches.

posted by bender at 03:02 PM on June 28

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Looking at the knockout stage, it's an interesting quirk that of the 5 South American teams who advanced (out of 6 in the tournament), 4 of them ended up in the same quadrant.

posted by bender at 11:19 PM on June 26

The 10th Annual chicobangs Memorial SpoFi CFL Pick 'Em

I'm back for another season of coin flip CFL picks. In honor of today's US "victory" into the knockout round, I will be making these picks with a 2002 quarter, minted the same year as the US also advanced from the group stage despite losing the final match (to Poland). Fun fact: It's a Tennessee quarter--the state of my birth!

Toronto Argonauts by 9
Montreal Alouettes by 15
B.C. Lions by 8
Hamilton Tiger-Cats by 11

posted by bender at 05:45 PM on June 26

U.S. Escapes Group of Death, Advances Despite Loss

Considering that The US would have still advanced if Ronaldo hadn't scored the late goal, I'd say no, but you can remember it however you'd like. Speaking of that Ronaldo goal, though, he was not the least bit excited, and the look on his face could only be interpreted as, "Yeah, I should have scored my first goal in this World Cup a lot earlier than now."

posted by bender at 05:36 PM on June 26

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

It's nice of FIFA to have a commercial about fighting the fixing of things.

posted by bender at 04:58 PM on June 26

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Speaking (kind of) of San Zusi...

posted by bender at 11:34 PM on June 23

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Has that ever happened before in the World Cup?

posted by bender at 11:50 PM on June 21

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

I don't understand how, with Italy's well established reputation for falling down at the slightest touch or breeze, (Note: I was pleased that they seemed to have moved past those antics in their first match with England, but they were back in fine form this afternoon.) that the referee awarded so many fouls to them. Conversely, the referee looked the other way on multiple occasions--including the should-have-been penalty kick in the first half--when the Ticos went down.

posted by bender at 03:07 PM on June 20

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Between Behrami realizing the opportunity and playing on and Rodriguez corralling that pass that was at eye level when it skipped to him, it was just magnificent.

posted by bender at 10:03 AM on June 19

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

The finish may have been nearly a formality, but this effort from Switzerland gets my vote for best team goal so far.

posted by bender at 08:49 AM on June 19

MLB Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn has died at age 54.

Keith Olbermann had a nice tribute.

posted by bender at 10:13 PM on June 18

Keeper Guillermo Ochoa Saves Mexico's Tocino

Ochoa had an answer for everything. Very impressive performance!

posted by bender at 09:45 PM on June 17

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Thanks! I wonder if the increase (so far) this year can be attributed to anything or if it's just a coincidence.

posted by bender at 02:48 PM on June 17

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Anybody know where you can find the amount of goals scored on penalty kicks (excluding shootouts) per tournament or even an average? Six already through 14 1/2 games feels like a ton, but it would be nice to compare with actual data.

posted by bender at 01:08 PM on June 17

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

That's the second time ESPN's color man has labeled a player "just about onside" in a position that everyone else so far in the tournament has been called offside. I'm not calling shenanigans (One for each team; neither resulted in a goal.) but just amused at the terminology.

posted by bender at 01:16 PM on June 16

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

I guess. I didn't know if we wanted to fill up the regular Huddle with WC stuff.

In any case, the stoppage time in Ecuador-Switzerland was wild! Usually, 1-1 at 90' would be a certain draw, but both teams continued attacking attacking and countering. I LOVE Behrami getting fouled but playing through it to spark the attack, and Rodriguez pulling down the cross that was skipping by at eye level was magnificent.

posted by bender at 07:09 PM on June 15

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Does it make sense to have a huddle for discussion of the day's World Cup action?

posted by bender at 03:18 PM on June 15

SportsFilter World Cup Confidence Pool Standings

The final quarter of England-Italy was painful to watch. England had so many great chances but could scarcely manage to put the ball on goal. It was certainly speculated beforehand, but I wonder how much of that was the players wearing down due to the humidity.

posted by bender at 09:41 AM on June 15

SportsFilter World Cup Confidence Pool Standings

I couldn't believe the stat that they put up that 7 matches into the 2010 tournament there had been 9 goals. This year: 24.

posted by bender at 10:01 PM on June 14

SportsFilter World Cup Confidence Pool Standings

Costa Rica! That was an impressive rally by the Ticos, and they had Uruguay completely flummoxed by the end of the match.

posted by bender at 05:50 PM on June 14

The 2014 World Cup is Here

I didn't think you were allowed to stop, like Neymar did, once you started moving toward the ball.

posted by bender at 10:46 AM on June 13

Enter SportsFilter's World Cup 2014 Confidence Pool

In.

posted by bender at 10:13 AM on June 11

NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Stanley Cup Round

NY in 7
MVP-Henrik Lundqvist
Goals-Jeff Carter
Points-Jeff Carter
PIM-Bryan Boyle
M-Drew Doughty

posted by bender at 08:14 PM on June 04

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

I hope the Chennai Super Kings have this guy roaming around the grounds:

Super King

posted by bender at 03:15 PM on June 02

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

The Sunday Times said it had obtained millions of emails and other documents relating to alleged payments made by Mohamed Bin Hammam, then a FIFA executive member for Qatar.

Is that guy really so bad (or brazen) at bribery that he left a paper trail of "millions of emails and other documents?" And what were they; was he sending his bribes by Paypal a dollar at a time?

posted by bender at 10:53 AM on June 01

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Wow!

posted by bender at 04:36 PM on May 28

Landon Donovan Left Off World Cup Roster

This was certainly a big surprise. It's generally accepted that come playoff time, experience is worth a lot. If that is true, I don't think it's unreasonable to think that his experience and leadership may have been worth more to the team than his play--though I don't think his play has dropped him to the level of a liability. Donovan has been great for US soccer, and I certainly hope we hear plenty more from him in the future.

All that said, I'm not terribly interested in second-guessing Klinsmann at this point. I'm sure he has considered the ramifications of dropping Donovan, and I'm hopeful that someone like Michael Bradley could fill the leadership role. I wonder who will wear #10?

posted by bender at 10:40 PM on May 22

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Can someone answer this question for me?

I'll let someone else tackle the club awards, but I can provide some insight on the national ones:

The Confederations Cup is held every 4 years, one year prior to the World Cup, in the country that is hosting the next World Cup. I don't know if your intention is to cherry-pick a precise 365-day period to get the most awards or if you are just looking for one (calendar) year --I will assume the latter since dates change each cycle. In any event, last year's Confederations Cup was decided 6/30/13, and this year's World Cup champion will be crowned 7/13/2014, so it's a moot point on this item either way.

The various confederations' tournaments are not all on the same schedule:
UEFA: Currently played every 4 years on even, non-WC years.
CONCACAF: Currently played every two years on odd years. Could combine with CC.
AFC: Currently played every 4 years, the year after the WC.
CAF: Currently played every two years on odd years. Could combine with CC.
CONMEBOL: Currently played every 4 years, the year after the WC. [*Plus a bonus Centenario Copa America in 2016*]
OFC: Currently played every 4 years on even, non-WC years.

So to summarize, you cannot win the WC and any other confederation's tournament in the same year, and you can only win the CC and your confederation's tournament if you are in CONCACAF or CAF.

Of course, if you want to work in individual awards like Golden Boot or Golden Ball, a particular player could potentially rack up 2-3 prizes per tournament.

posted by bender at 01:25 PM on May 22

NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Round 3

Chicago in 5
Patrick Kane
New York in 6 +2
Brad Richards

posted by bender at 03:57 PM on May 17

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Especially when said mistakes are blatantly obvious to all observers and called out before they are even made.

posted by bender at 11:06 AM on May 16

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Sepp Blatter: Oh, Qatar is too hot in summer.

posted by bender at 09:35 AM on May 16

Gay Athlete Michael Sam Drafted by St. Louis

Yikes, that Matt Walsh piece yerfatma linked is just a parade of straw men.

posted by bender at 05:12 PM on May 12

Gay Athlete Michael Sam Drafted by St. Louis

If is draft value did in fact fall because of his announcement, I think that is an astonishingly dumb reason. Whatever your feelings on the prospect of having a gay player on your team, since that doesn't affect his playing abilities, it seems that it really should have only a binary impact on your draft decision (a la, perhaps, other character considerations--though I'm not intending to draw parallels between one's sexual orientation and one's character): either it is a concern to you and you don't draft him, or it's not a concern and you draft him wherever you grade him. Since the Rams drafted him, clearly they were willing to draft a gay player, and I am willing to assume that if they had him graded higher, they would have drafted him higher. Unfortunately, there's no way to really know how many teams were unwilling to draft him.

posted by bender at 02:20 PM on May 12

Josh Gordon Failed Drug Test, Faces Year-Long Suspension

Uhm, that's Factory of Sadness.

posted by bender at 12:57 AM on May 10

NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Round 2

I think you've got one too many series there.

Chicago in 5 +1
Anaheim in 7
Boston in 6
Pittsburgh in 6

posted by bender at 09:48 PM on May 01

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Copa America 2016 to be hosted by the United States and also include 6 CONCACAF teams? Yes, please!

posted by bender at 04:58 PM on May 01

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Here's a fun play.

posted by bender at 11:00 AM on April 30