I think concussions get a big look before the next World Cup, and likely before the next European Championships. ESPN's coverage of the issue was actually pretty good (both in the booth and back in the studio), primarily because Taylor Twellman is such an advocate for better concussion protocols in part due to having his own career cut short as a result of suffering multiple concussions. No way Kramer, Mascherano, Pereira and probably others should have played on in the games in which they were concussed.
I appreciate the fact that soccer does not really afford the luxury of pulling a player to the sideline and putting someone else in for him so doctors can assess whether a player has suffered a concussion, but something needs to be done. I think there needs to be an independent doctor (hired by FIFA, the applicable Confederation, or the applicable FA or whatever) who determines whether a player has suffered a concussion and/or should not play on. I know FIFA hates implementing things at one level that cannot theoretically be replicated all the way down to the lowest leagues, but too much is at stake. Maybe even change the rules so that if the independent doctor determines a player has suffered a concussion, he/she can be subbed out and it does not count against the 3 substitutions, so as to mitigate the effect of taking a player off against his or the coach's will. I guess that could lead to some measure of gamesmanship (in terms of players trying to "fake" concussions), but FIFA needs to think outside of the box here to protect players from themselves.
posted by holden at 02:52 AM on July 14
Not the only thing one has been stunned by today, presumably.
posted by holden at 04:31 PM on July 08
In regards to Robben, my two older sons (ages 6 and 8) kept asking how that "really old guy" could be competing (and so well) at the highest level. I told them that he has looked like that since he was 20.
Another burning question has been how a guy named Fred (who they have branded as a cheat since game 1) could be allowed to play, when he clearly has the name and face of a guy "that works at Target" (their words, not mine).
posted by holden at 10:57 PM on July 06
Unless it's Madrid or Barcelona on a Bale-type deal, would be surprised if Rodriguez moves again this summer. He just was sold from Porto to Monaco last summer for 47M. I would also imagine that with that club's wealth and tax status, he might be hard pressed to find a situation with potential for greater net wages.
posted by holden at 09:34 PM on June 28
In addition to the Uruguay games, I count 9 Liverpool premier league matches this will cover (roughly 1/4 of the season) and adding in league cup matches and Champions League matches, looks like this will be a 20+ game ban in reality.
posted by holden at 10:38 AM on June 26
HOF bonus points for wearing U.S. jersey in locker room after game.
posted by holden at 12:09 AM on June 26
Shocked that Chandler is only 31. Seems like he has been around forever, which he has (as he came straight out of high school). Remember that the Bulls drafted both him and Eddy Curry? (Not totally factual -- they traded Elton Brand for Chandler on draft day). Curry has been out of the league for 2 years.
posted by holden at 11:55 PM on June 25
Nothing really to say on this, other than nice title.
Also, where is the Huddle for today?
posted by holden at 08:12 PM on June 25
Adidas was ahead of the curve with this ad:
posted by holden at 08:27 AM on June 25
Now that I think of it, didn't someone bite Bergeron in the playoffs a couple of years back?
On edit (decided not to be so lazy and actually Googled it) -- Alex Burrows of the Canucks bit Patrice Bergeron's finger in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals 3 years ago.
posted by holden at 07:41 PM on June 24
Do not think I will ever understand what would compel one to bite an opponent. I get lashing out in the heat of the moment, just not in that specific manner.
posted by holden at 07:12 PM on June 24
Anything that can break a guy's leg, basically.
posted by holden at 03:57 PM on June 24
Who doesn't love to grab a quick bite of Italian from time to time? Credit to Suarez's global outlook and adventurous palate in that he's now tried Dutch, Serbian and Italian. Bit Eurocentric, but still.
posted by holden at 03:33 PM on June 24
Have really been enjoying El Tri in this tournament. Not sure if it's just a matter of loving Miguel Herrera and his haircut and emotions, a younger generation of Mexican footballers without much of a history of bad blood with the U.S., the fact that they really have seemed to try to win games where the team (Brazil) or circumstances (Croatia) would suggest sitting back and being defensive as a viable strategy, or the general sense that we should get behind CONCACAF teams, but hard for me personally to gin up much bile for this Mexico squad.
posted by holden at 11:42 AM on June 24
With McCreary and Burns, I defy you to make a better case for best mustachioed class. Maybe the class that had Lanny MacDonald?
posted by holden at 10:55 PM on June 23
If I recall correctly, as Suarez slowly exited the stadium he was despondent and on the verge of tears. In the short time I've been obsessed with the World Cup (SportsFilter converted me), this incident is the one I remember best that didn't involve the U.S.
You remember the tears, but not the obnoxious reaction that followed.
posted by holden at 03:45 PM on June 20
Pretty impressed with Costa Rica so far in this game and in this tournament. Very fluid passing and really taking it to the opposition, instead of sitting back against allegedly superior competition.
But yes, one well-placed through ball and that back line is potentially screwed.
posted by holden at 01:26 PM on June 20
I'm surprised that the concussion protocols in soccer are so lax. At least twice in the past year, we've seen someone literally get knocked out cold (Hugo Lloris in a game against Everton and lvaro Pereira in this England-Uruguay game) and then return to the match. Considering that studies have shown that the risk of a second concussion and lasting damage are much greater in the aftermath of a concussion, it's just amazing to me that there is no automatic removal from a game or even just a real evaluative process in the event of serious head trauma. I appreciate that soccer is not the same as American football, where the substitutions are free-flowing and whether a concussion has occurred and whether a player should be removed can be assessed without losing a player for the entire game, but soccer seems to be a bit behind the curve on this one.
posted by holden at 11:37 AM on June 20
Chile's Vargas (no. 11) has a Jumpman (Air Jordan) tattoo on his neck. Bizarre and fantastic.
posted by holden at 04:59 PM on June 18
Kind of surprised Fabregas has not gotten (and will not get) a run-out in this game. I know his club form has slipped, but he can help Spain with a bit more of a direct approach, and formations in which he has played with largely the same surrounding personnel (the Euro 2012 final, for instance) have been successful.
posted by holden at 04:47 PM on June 18
Brazil have been insipid, but as Mexico and Croatia presumably will cancel one another out, I suspect it will not stop them from advancing.
Ochoa had a great game, although a couple (Neymar's last good chance and Silva's header as well) were hit right at him. Helps to be lucky and good.
On Russia, I felt bad for the goalie for about 10 seconds and then thought -- Crimea, screw them.
posted by holden at 10:36 PM on June 17
Agreed on the Ghana shirts, although let's hope the replica kit for fans is a bit less form-fitting than the Puma shirts the players wear. Players on all of the teams with those shirts (Ghana, Switzerland, Cameroon, etc.) look like they are wearing Batman suits, with chiseled physiques showing through. Doesn't nobody need a high definition look at my under-the-shirt parts.
posted by holden at 10:50 PM on June 16
The way Brooks initially seemed to almost call off the celebration after looking to the sideline made me think for a minute that the goal had been called off like that bullshit phantom foul on Maurice Edu's goal against Slovakia at the last World Cup.
Great result, pretty ugly game from a U.S. perspective. Holy cow did they give up possession cheaply. They will need better to advance.
posted by holden at 09:47 PM on June 16
Not sure why Ronaldo (who came into the WC nursing some injuries) is still in this game, but that's good for the U.S.
posted by holden at 01:08 PM on June 16
I don't know, I have a hard time recalling a headbutting of any level of force and that the ref or one of his assistants saw that did not result in a sending off. I mean, dude got a red card for this.
But yes, being Pepe did not help his cause.
posted by holden at 12:57 PM on June 16
I meant to add France and make the point about all those teams being 4-1 and the Finals ending (not by coincidence? -- Sepp Blatter Illuminati-level stuff going on here) at 4-1 as well, but totally slipped my mind.
Poor Patty Mills and the other Australian guy. Being left out and bringing down the average. And poor Canadian guy, although hockey.
posted by holden at 12:50 PM on June 16
Couple of observations from the Portugal-Germany game.
Raul Meireles has become Brian Wilson's soccer doppelganger. Apparently I'm not the only one to have tumbled to this.
Pepe really is a pantomime villain (as he's often referred to in the Guardian's MBM), but is more villain-y with the shaved head rather than what he has going on now. Perhaps if his head was still shaven, he would not have made the head-to-head contact with Muller that was guaranteed to result in a sending off. Love the weird situation that (a) head butting is relatively common in soccer as a form of aggression, and (b) is an automatic sending off, whether Zidane level or love tap.
I was initially thinking a draw would be the best result for the U.S. (as would be the case in a hypothetical group where every team is of relatively equal talent), but let's face it -- Germany are going to run away with this group, so the more points Ghana and Portugal drop, the better.
posted by holden at 12:47 PM on June 16
Not on the goal line technology front, but were Honduras so cynical/negative in their play in qualifying (I missed both of their U.S. games in the hex)? Or is this just a matter of playing the only way they thought they could be successful against France?
posted by holden at 12:33 PM on June 16
Yeah, not much more LeBron could have done. But the problem is, if all those guys elect to opt into their extensions (or not opt out of their contract, whatever applies), he is likely going to be stuck doing this again. Maybe they'll get lucky and there will be no juggernaut like the Spurs coming out of the West, but either way the Heat are a cautionary tale for teams that would try to structure things on a "stars and scrubs" approach (with multiple max contracts), although it worked for them the two years prior (they just had better/younger role players).
As an aside, nations represented by Spurs players (judging from the flags I saw on display during the trophy presentation -- Italy, Argentina, Brazil, Australia) are 3-1 in the World Cup thus far.
posted by holden at 12:23 PM on June 16
For anyone interested in participating in the SpoFi fantasy league (the FIFA/McDonald's official game), issues with the proper link/league have been ironed out -- see the details here. Just over 3 hours to first kick-off.
posted by holden at 12:38 PM on June 12
In as well -- thanks, Bill.
posted by holden at 12:33 PM on June 12
Same here in terms of a message stating "This league is private. You must enter the password to join." -- using both spofi2015 and spofi2014.
posted by holden at 04:15 PM on June 11
In on fantasy.
posted by holden at 11:10 PM on June 03
Wow. I'm amazed that the NBA let it get that high. I genuinely believed they'd step in and more or less force the sale to a non-white guy (or at least a consortium of white guys headed by a non-white guy) for about $600M as a penalty to Sterling.
At the end of the day, the NBA as an organization serves the interests of the owners, and it's hard to say that the interests of the 29 other owners are not served by getting $2B for a team and thus continuing the trend of skyrocketing valuations for NBA teams.
posted by holden at 12:18 PM on May 30
I sure do hope Rams go up. Although choosing between McClaren and 'Arry is like choosing between a colonoscopy and a root canal.
posted by holden at 12:06 AM on May 19
No need to apologize -- I just figured that a pick 'em is what inbred Derby fans called confidence pools down under.
posted by holden at 10:40 PM on May 18
Pretty entertaining match. After Arsenal equalized, had the feeling it was only a matter of time. But, of course, that was counterbalanced somewhat by the feeling that Arsenal might just find a way to bottle it (and oh my goodness was that shot skittering across the front of goal after Metersacker slipped and Fabianski was caught out quite a moment there are the end).
I probably saw about half to two-thirds of Arsenal's league games this season (not an Arsenal supporter, but just watched a lot of the Premier League this season, now that I can get my kids to watch with me instead of cartoons), and man do they look a different team with Ramsey than without. Like the RVP injury-marred seasons of old, you have wonder whether/how things might have turned out differently had Ramsey not missed most of the first four months of this calendar year. Of course, not sure it would have made a huge difference in getting blown out in some of those games against their title rivals (specifically, Chelsea and Liverpool).
posted by holden at 04:36 PM on May 18
Yes, I think a confidence pool (as proposed by grum) plus a fantasy game (FIFA runs one similar to the FPL game) would be great. Alex (qbert72) and/or DrJohnEvans used to host simple software for setting up confidence pools, but it has been down last couple times I tried to set something up.
posted by holden at 10:15 AM on May 18
Not sure if everyone has access to it, but the coverage on NFL Network is less insufferable than the coverage on ESPN. More of a less worse thing than better thing, although I do like Mike Maycock.
posted by holden at 10:46 PM on May 08
Of course, if he does fight in civil court, he then loses all his new-found equity and potential sale worthiness. Maybe he doesn't care about $1Billion. (betcha his wife does) He could fight for years in court [...]
This would be the ultimate in cutting off your nose to spite your face. From what I have seen/heard, if a sale does not go through in the near term (over the summer), Rivers may walk and the players' union may push for immediate free agency for all Clips players, in which case the value of the team presumably goes way down. Of course, the timing and logistics of this would be really interesting -- assuming the players were able to get released from their contracts, would have to be timed to be done in conjunction with the normal free agency period (so that they are not scrambling to find teams once the cap room has all been taken up by other signings) and the union might look to push for some short-term or long-term cap exceptions (at least for ex-Clippers players), considering that there presumably would be one team no one wants to play for and therefore de facto less available money. Also would be interesting to see what players on player-friendly deals (overpays) would do, if they knew they could not fetch their current salaries on the open market.
posted by holden at 10:33 AM on April 30
First of all, that's a straw man. Second of all, how did the NBA banning him drive up the value of the franchise? Here are some actual numbers. The fact a bidding war might drive the price up reflects the value of NBA franchises, not how the NBA has helped Donald Sterling.
yerfatma -- here's one for your prediction tracker.
posted by holden at 10:26 AM on April 30
Pretty interesting day/weekend on both ends of the Premier League table.
posted by holden at 05:41 PM on April 27
Edit: "leg" (in "leg or otherwise") above should be "legal".
posted by holden at 04:59 PM on April 27
If MLB could effectively force out McCourt (albeit under different circumstances), I would have to think the NBA could effectively find some hook, leg or otherwise, to push Sterling to sell. If they do not do so, I think it has to be interpreted as a failure of imagination/resolve and lack of will, rather than a case of "our hands were tied" (which is what the justification will surely be).
posted by holden at 02:30 PM on April 27
On the first point, I mean overrepresented by Facebook likes relative to the proportion of true fandom they represent. Of course, if these are the two most popular teams, they should theoretically have the most likes. However, they can still be overrepresented in terms of teams that get "likes" because, for instance, they send out an email to people on their mailing lists saying "Like us on Facebook and be entered into a drawing to win tickets!" or some such. I would not take likes as anything more than a rough measure because of this. Maybe the Yankees and Red Sox fit in this category (hell, the Red Sox sold memberships in "Red Sox Nation", so they certainly are marketing savvy, if not specifically social media savvy), maybe they don't (and were thus a bad example), but the general point still stands.
With respect to the 133 million Americans having Facebook accounts, that's great in that it creates this huge data sample, but that does not get to whether some types of people are more likely to "like" a brand/team and thus be overrepresented in a quasi-scientific study that is based solely on the number of likes.
Look, it's a fun little chart, but all it shows us is what teams garner a lot of likes on Facebook in what areas. I don't doubt that it is largely accurate/representative of the boundaries of fandom as a whole, but the way this map seems to have been reported/described oversells it significantly in terms of the level of scientific precision reflected.
posted by holden at 05:30 PM on April 25
As noted by etalgoh, I would not put too much stock in the Facebook data other than just painting a broad brush picture of things.
First, if some teams are more encouraging/solicitous of getting "likes" or otherwise more social media-savvy, seems they would be over represented. Red Sox and Yankees seem they would fit in this case.
Second, seems some fan bases, based on demographics, would probably be more likely to have more fans with Facebook accounts (or Facebook accounts at which a user would tend to "like" things rather than just use to keep up with photos of grandkids) than others.
Third, for at least some portion/age groups of the population, seems that one might be more likely to "like" certain teams where that team is not the local/regional team, just because being, say, a Red Sox fan in Wyoming is something worth trumpeting as distinct as opposed to making a conscientious effort to "like" the Rockies when everyone knows that everyone in your town likes the Rockies.
Fourth, my guess is that, say in the case of the Giants, they got more likes in recent years as folks jumped on the bandwagon during their recent two recent successful World Series runs, whereas the A's get no such love despite having made the playoffs several times in the last few years.
Looks like those who put the map together probably adjusted and tried to control for some of this stuff and other noise/sample size issues ("We applied an algorithm to smooth the data and fill in gaps where data was missing."), but to me this map suggests a level of accuracy that is very much unfounded.
posted by holden at 01:59 PM on April 25
But to give up the game winning goal on a wrist slap shot from the blue line?
What year is this, 1978 1996?
[Couple bonus asides from that video/time period -- kinda miss Gary Thorne (hearing him here and, more recently, on Orioles broadcasts makes me pine for the playoffs of my youth), Gretzky being the one to lose the puck to Yzerman, 0-0 game at the end of regulation, I once had a Slava Kozlov jersey]
posted by holden at 10:51 AM on April 24
I hope Pujols regains some of his lost form and sustains it for a while. His triple slash numbers this year so far (sample size caveats, etc.) are basically in line with his career numbers, minus 40 points of batting average (and thus 40 points of OBP), with slightly elevated slugging.
posted by holden at 10:33 AM on April 24
DUDE CAN FUCKIN MASH, NUFF SAID.
posted by holden at 01:40 AM on April 24
According to the League Managers Association, the average tenure of current Premier League managers is 1.88 years. The crazy thing is that, assuming this is just a mean average, this drops nearly a full year if Wenger (currently at 18 years in the job) steps down or is let go. The lower tiers of League Football are not much better (and League One is actually worse, at 1.76 years).
posted by holden at 01:50 PM on April 22
Maybe the Pirates can be the new Official Arbiters of Baseball's Unwritten RulesTM now that Bryan McCann is no longer with the Braves to team up with Chris Johnson as Enforcers of the CodeTM.
posted by holden at 02:49 PM on April 21
Maybe, but being out to a group small enough to keep it secret isn't generally what people think of as out. What you're describing is the "people who know me have known this for years" manuever.
I was thinking more along the lines of someone who is not being secretive about his sexuality and/or is not deliberately keeping it to a smaller group, and is genuinely out to anyone who was paying attention, but simply is under the radar because he is part of a smaller community without national sports exposure (say, someone who goes to Brown or Portland or something) and chose not to make an announcement on Twitter. I don't think there's an absolute "size of the group in the know" or "taking affirmative steps to broadcast it to the world" rule to being out.
Of course, it's basically impossible to fact check. Just was surprised that the media was so quick to christen him the "first openly gay D-I athlete" basically on his own say-so.
posted by holden at 12:06 AM on April 10
Good for him, but curious how he (and the media) knows he is the first out male D-1 basketball player. Maybe the first to publicly announce it via Twitter, but it does not strike me as outside of the realm of possibility that some kid at a smaller D-1 basketball school (there are nearly 350 of them) has been out at his institution and/or among his teammates, family and friends and nobody really gave a shit or made a public announcement about it.
posted by holden at 03:35 PM on April 09
Reading the comments thread at that ESPN article (I know, I should know better) is depressing.
posted by holden at 09:30 AM on April 04
Good read. I know some of my favorite teams of the clubs I support (i.e., team year within a particular club/franchise) are ones that maybe came up a bit short of, or not even close to, winning everything or anything, but either had enjoyable personalities, good collective spirit, or other attributes that did not necessarily lead to winning.
posted by holden at 12:45 PM on March 31
This is like the Pujols deal (and boy, did the Cardinals dodge a bullet on that one) -- paying a player for what he has done and not what he is likely to do. That said, if baseball is really as flush as is being reported right now, and revenues continue to go up, the $30MM per year may not be as crippling in 4-6 years when he really starts to decline as it looks now on paper.
posted by holden at 01:23 PM on March 29
In a sporting world in which it's more likely that someone like [Player X] makes the headlines for [cheating | holding out for more money | assaulting his wife/girlfriend | slaying hookers | using drugs | etc.] it's refreshing to see such an outstanding example of true [sportsmanship | class | grace | etc.].
posted by holden at 04:41 PM on March 15
Seeing as how the college seems to have knocked off Paul Bunyan depictions that predate their mascot, not sure they really have the moral high ground here. In the U.S., I doubt you could even get trademark or other protection for a character of this type based on it effectively being in the public domain.
posted by holden at 09:02 AM on March 14
Re the Olympic hockey -- I wouldn't read too much into a team's performance over two games in a single elimination tournament (or even the four games that preceded it). It's a fun little tournament, but it is basically a crapshoot once you get to the semis. The U.S. just looked flat in the Canada game, and today seemed to be the classic third-place game syndrome (which obviously didn't affect Finland, though); they just looked completely uninterested and like they could not get on the plane fast enough. Would love to see U.S.-Canada or any of the other possible combos with the semifinalists over best of 7.
posted by holden at 11:29 PM on February 22
While I would say not-so-classy to announce and effectively ensure yourself a farewell tour, Mo Rivera did it, so no grounds on which to question the class of athletes who elect to do this.
posted by holden at 03:40 PM on February 12
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