As a fan of a lower-division English club (Ipswich), Leicester's Premiership win is the kind of dream that you thought died when the Premiership started in 1992. In a country where fans understand their lot in life and are seemingly satisfied with it, Leicester's success is all the more outrageous when you consider they did it with a relatively small squad and a relatively low spend.
And kudos to the culture of English football that "winning the league" is considered the pinnacle of achievement -- more significant than the FA Cup or other elimination-style tournaments. With the league and cup competitions running concurrently and culminating at the same time, Leicester don't have to trot out the weak line that "this is all well and good but what we really want to win is the Cup/Playoffs". They have shown they are the best team over the course of 10 months, playing everyone else home and away -- no fluke, no luck, just success richly deserved
posted by geneparmesan at 05:36 PM on May 02
I guess Fallows also hasn't heard of Poe's Law
posted by geneparmesan at 02:44 PM on January 27
The possibility that umpires will start to develop bias against certain catchers who are known (and statistically proven) to be good framers lends more weight to the argument that baseball should consider using technology to call balls & strikes
posted by geneparmesan at 02:39 PM on January 27
It does seem like the perfect marriage, each brand using the other to enhance their own image. On one hand you have the DoD paying the NFL for patriotic displays, and on the other hand you have the NFL donating big bucks (albeit not as many) to military charities. Following the money sure takes the altruism out of these ceremonies.
posted by geneparmesan at 02:07 AM on September 07
O'Sullivan is a snooker genius to be sure; only his personal demons have kept him from winning more world titles. He is the oddsmaker's clear favorite to win the upcoming world championships, even at the age of 39 when others would be fading away.
But my favorite O'Sullivan moment remains his outstanding maximum break in 1997 (in snooker, the most points you can score is 147, sinking only black balls after every red and then clearing the colors), completed in under 6 minutes. Contrast that with the first 147 of the World Championship's modern era, Cliff Thorburn's pensive 15+ minutes from 14 years earlier.
posted by geneparmesan at 11:00 AM on April 02
Chevy pitchman Rikk Wilde was just the capper of a typically weird Series-winning festivities. It seemed reporters and players alike were on the verge of tears, and I'm sorry MLB, but presenting the trophy in a small closet to the team's owners in front of no one just looks bush league. Give me the Stanley Cup presentation any day. At least Bud Selig didn't try to steal Erin Andrews' mic this time.
posted by geneparmesan at 11:56 AM on October 30
I have thought about this, and I have come to the conclusion that Suarez is a vampire. Amazingly, tennis player Ernests Gulbis was ahead of the curve when he recently made comments about vampires in sports.
posted by geneparmesan at 03:09 PM on June 25
Regardless of the bad math, the principle remains. It strikes me as crazy that winning a match would reduce your average points total. Winning a match -- any match -- should at worst keep your average the same. I appreciate that it's difficult to devise a system to adequately rank the countries, but to be penalized for winning a game is a rather obvious flaw, it would seem.
So pity the fans of the Netherlands, Italy, and England, but indeed all fans lose here, because we may very well get two 'groups of death' when the tournament draw is made. And while it can make for some interesting group matches, it's never a good thing when strong teams get knocked out early because of poor seeding.
posted by geneparmesan at 12:45 AM on November 30
There's one element that was glaringly missing in this piece: the role of the fan. In English football it is the responsibility of the fan (actually "supporter") to support the team. You have a role to play. The players respond to your cheering and singing.
In America, it is the team's responsibility to entertain the fans. The fans cheer when the team does something good, and boo when they do something bad.
In English football booing is considered nearly a heinous act -- reserved for only the most abject of displays. Many supporters will say that one should never boo; that it destroys a player's confidence and undermines the team.
Sadly, I think this notion of supporters is gradually disappearing from the English game. Fans aren't as vocal as they used to be (piped in music before the match and at halftime is a great example -- the club tries to create a fake atmosphere instead of letting the supporters naturally create it themselves). The loss of terracing, while adding to safety measures, has also negatively impacted the atmosphere in the ground.
posted by geneparmesan at 11:00 PM on May 27
I agree with rcade and most others commentating at the time -- it was a terrible call. When you consider the situation that an infield fly is normally called, this case was extraordinary. You could also argue that the left-field/right-field umpire should *never* make an infield fly call -- there are three infield umpires there to do just that.
What frustrated me most about the situation was that baseball has no culture to get the call right. You have six umpires and one guy makes a judgment call which I suspect the other five would have disagreed with. In other sports, officials can change their mind or change a bad judgment call (soccer is an example). Surely the primary aim of officiating is to get the call right, even if it means making someone (Holbrook, in this case) look bad in the process. I don't know why the crew chief can't get them all together, discuss the play, and determine the correct call.
posted by geneparmesan at 06:06 PM on October 06
What I found equally as interesting was how the commentators were so stunned by the outcome, they were hardly able to adequately describe what they had just witnessed. Throughout the whole day it looked like Europe might start to make a bit of a game of it, but until Rose made the incredible birdie on 17, I don't think anyone actually thought Europe could pull it off.
posted by geneparmesan at 02:03 AM on October 02
For me, the most telling moment was during the postgame interview, when Hernandez said something like "When Phil Hughes... erm Phil whatshisname? ... when he threw the perfect game earlier this season, I knew I had to do it too".
What does it say about baseball (about the Mariners, perhaps?) when the unknown Phil Humber throws a perfect game, is quickly forgotten, and is eventually dropped from the starting rotation? It is strange, and I think a bit of a shame, that the luster of no-hitters and perfect games is now being tainted by their proliferation.
posted by geneparmesan at 12:16 AM on August 16
I've often found it interesting how the culture of European football effectively has no off-season. This year more than any other, we had the Premiership end in May, the European Championships in June, Olympic football in July, and now the new season is already upon us.
I am a believer that having off-seasons is a key component to ensuring the longevity of a sport and preventing fan fatigue. And yet, all those European leagues that have been around for over a hundred years are doing a fine job of debunking that argument.
posted by geneparmesan at 02:14 PM on August 14
It would seem that they've all been disqualified for not disguising their attempts to lose well enough
posted by geneparmesan at 02:52 PM on August 01
Having watched the final thee innings of this game live, I couldn't help but feel the Brian Runge (home plate umpire) was at the very least giving Humber the benefit of the doubt on a few occasions.
I'll grant you that the final out was close but probably the right call. But consider the strike 1 call on Saunders' 3-0 count leading off the 9th inning, or watch the ump clap his hands trying to get Ryan back in the batters box when he was taking just a little bit longer to settle in the batters box and putting Humber off his rhythm. Nothing criminal I know, but it just brought Jim Joyce back to mind.
It certainly seemed like Runge was rooting for Humber just a little bit, and I imagine it would be hard not to, if I were in his shoes.
posted by geneparmesan at 04:54 AM on April 22
There are some fishy elements to this story. Any report I've read states that the hospital has not yet billed the family, so the amounts are just estimates -- estimates that appear to vary wildly as rcade notes in the original post.
Moreover, while it's true that Burke was not covered under her association's insurance policy because it was a non-sanctioned event, the sponsor of this event is silent on whether or not they had medical insurance coverage for the athletes (the silence would imply they didn't, which I think is pretty deplorable).
So Burke's family makes an appeal within days of her death for an amount more than double the anticipated costs, costs which BC's health authority will help pay, and which the event sponsors are pretty much morally obligated to pay, whether they actually had insurance in place or not.
And while it's good that the family is directing the excess funds to a foundation in her honor, there's something about it I don't feel comfortable with, especially when latching onto the public sentiment so soon after Burke's unfortunate death, and using political overtones (intentional or otherwise) in the process.
posted by geneparmesan at 10:50 AM on January 26
Sami Salo would injure himself attempting to embellish an injury
posted by geneparmesan at 06:14 PM on January 09
I'm a Canucks fan who is getting increasingly embarrassed at the myopic view and blatant bias shown by Vancouver fans and media. Saturday's Stanley Cup rematch was a fantastic hockey game, the kind that makes you lament that these teams won't play each other again this season.
Instead, the local focus is on how conspiracy theories abound because Marchand is unlikely to get a major suspension and Lucic's game misconduct for "leaving the bench" was rescinded. Has it really come to this, that we can't have intelligent, balanced discussions on notable and interesting points in a game, without digging in and taking sides?
Marchand is one of those guys you hate to play against and love to have on your team. He probably crosses the line too often and he would do well to lose the cheap stuff. The hit in question was bad but not criminal, and it was surely not 'self defense', as he claimed. If he gets any suspension at all, I think it will be for two games at most -- and Canuck fans will be up in arms. *sigh*
posted by geneparmesan at 02:36 PM on January 09
Let's suppose that Hulsizer can't get the deal done, but the Coyotes go on to win the Stanley Cup. You could then have the longest Stanley Cup Parade in league history - from Phoenix to Winnipeg. Now that would be awesome.
posted by geneparmesan at 02:38 AM on April 15
The proposal is to hold a shootout after regulation time but before extra time. Indeed it does not make sense to have a shootout for a match that may not end in a tie. Note that a coin flip is appropriate for kick-off since there is no real advantage to kicking off
posted by geneparmesan at 03:18 PM on March 17
The more I think about this idea, the more I like it. With respect to @hincandenza, I don't think those arguments are valid.
1. Playing with a known handicap is not new - it would be like playing the second leg of a match where one team is leading after the first leg. You know you're going to lose the tie if the match is drawn, so you have to play to win. Equally, the team with the advantage knows that just playing defensively for 30 minutes is not necessarily the best strategy - one mistake and now you're losing. It creates the situation where teams can go from winning to losing with just one goal - a great part of two-legged matches like what you see in the Champions League
2. If you move the shootout to the end of the 90 minutes, players who are on the field at that time can take the kicks. It's just changing the order of a match's events, and what used to be so (penalties at the end of extra time) is no longer - it doesn't matter who might have been on the pitch at the end. I think this point is moot.
People don't like the shootout because it's a false way to end a match; it doesn't represent the nature of the sport. But other alternatives are equally problematic - you can't play indefinitely because it may not be the last match of a tournament, so fatigue would make the next match for the winning team unfair. Messing with the rules causes the same problem as penalties - a match is decided in a way that is not "true" football/soccer.
Providing real incentive by tipping the balance would generate the best possible way for the match to be ended through normal play, and I think that's the point of what these researchers are proposing
posted by geneparmesan at 06:55 AM on March 17
Seems that the common practice of not showing controversial replays in stadia is now extending to home viewers as well. Rai TV in Italy is looking to artificially reduce the bickering about poor refereeing decisions that is commonplace in soccer punditry, and instead "focus on tactics". Could this be the first step in creating a black market on controversial replays?
posted by geneparmesan at 02:20 PM on July 26
This does seem rather convoluted - a playoff of four teams for the right to enter the qualifying rounds for the right to enter the group stage which will ultimately determine the participants in the final (read: interesting) stages of the European Cup. Sheesh
Also, this could backfire on the Premier League, supposing weaker teams like Fulham enter the Champions League and then fail badly, which would in turn damage England's coefficient ranking - affecting the number of places they are awarded in the Champions League.
posted by geneparmesan at 01:13 PM on February 15
The other side effect of this phenomenon which always drives me crazy is that each sport's championship finale occurs during the "opposite" time of year from where it is most relevant.
The boys of summer play the world series in November (with frigid temperatures); hockey players hoist the Stanley Cup in June, when it's sunny and warm even in Edmonton; even the NFL with its shorter season still has playoff games that occasionally features snow.
Each sport's greatest spectacle, held when most people aren't playing that sport? Strange indeed.
posted by geneparmesan at 03:28 AM on December 24
As touching as it would be for all Canadians, I don't think they will (or should) have a permanent award in Terry Fox's honour. The only awards the Olympics hand out are medals, and Fox never participated or was associated with the Olympics.
This is a very appropriate gesture by Vanoc but should remain a special part of the Vancouver games.
posted by geneparmesan at 10:42 PM on December 11
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