Recent Comments by yerfatma

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Joe Posnanski on Tom Glavine. Worth it for the personal story and

Atlanta Braves baseball: Better than getting hit in the head with a hammer, unless it's a doubleheader.

posted by yerfatma at 12:56 PM on July 23

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Are these teams still as valuable when half of them are below average in Euro Super League

That sounds like the killer to me. It's great to be Bayern or PSG or Barca/ Real in your current domestic league but losing to some other superpower would Devalue The Brand. Why not soak up the upside-down TV contracts and keep stomping your local opposition while the rigged game is still rigged? Losing one estrella* out of the galactico to injury every couple of years in a tournament is a small price to pay. As much as I complain about the NFL, the owners look like Marxists when compared to European football teams. A TV contract that pays all teams equally? Might as well dust off the guillotine! Let them eat transfer fees and loan players.

* Yes, I've been drinking, why do you ask?

posted by yerfatma at 08:31 PM on July 22

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Shows what I know. I also didn't know he was a Real Madrid fan. Sid Lowe provides a good rundown of the open questions about where he fits in and who is leaving now that Kroos and Rodriguez have arrived.

Not addressed: how the hell this all works under Financial Fair Play regardless of who leaves. Then again, Real and Barca have such huge incomes maybe it does. Which suggests they should remove the first two words from the title.

posted by yerfatma at 02:43 PM on July 22

Pitcher Freaks Out Because of Bunt in 2-Run Game

I wonder how much of the rise in Unwritten Rules lawyering is down to defensive shifts. Most of it is probably down to ESPN making a big deal of every pitcher who barks at a hitter now, but some of the "You never do that!" crap might be cases like this. Lewis has no reason to bitch about a bunt in the middle of a game that's not a no-hitter, but he has doubleplus no reason to bitch about a guy hitting .220 dropping a bunt against an extreme shift. If you're going to move your fielders into a shift based on a player's tendencies, you can't get pissed if he changes his habits. Rasmus was just listening to the advice of Wee Willie Keeler.

posted by yerfatma at 10:57 AM on July 22

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Ooh, rcade I didn't know we were in competition. It may require Greg Maddux to settle this in a few decades.

posted by yerfatma at 08:44 AM on July 17

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

I'm on a contract job they won't let me off of but also won't give me work for, so I think it might be time to spin up Football Manager again and see if I can figure out how the hell formations work. I've been reading Zonal Marking for years and still don't understand why a 4-3-3 can outnumber a 4-4-2 in midfield.

posted by yerfatma at 09:23 PM on July 16

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Yeah, Everton's way better: our big free agents leave to underperform!

posted by yerfatma at 11:36 AM on July 16

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Comparing national teams to Premier League counterparts.

posted by yerfatma at 10:20 AM on July 16

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I feel like Kareem needs a new hobby for his retirement hours. That's the second opinion piece that uses a pretty tacky "men and women and relationships" metaphor from a guy who wants to stamp out misogyny in sport.

posted by yerfatma at 09:35 AM on July 15

Germany Wins World Cup

How big a gift basket do you think Chris Wondlowski sent Gonzola Higuain?

posted by yerfatma at 02:08 PM on July 14

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

rights to Euro 2016, which expands to 32 teams and ought to be great.

Even at 24 it's going to be a bit longer than it need be I think, but I may have caught the sniffiness of the Guardian writers. Assuming you really enjoyed Tahiti's in the last Confederations Cup, Euro 2016 should be chock-full of stories of left backs who are full-time plumbers, etc.

posted by yerfatma at 02:07 PM on July 14

Germany Wins World Cup

She said that watching the replay it was obvious that he had been knocked temporarily unconscious from the contact

I was ranting to my wife about the same thing: sometimes soccer players fall to the ground without bracing themselves, but that's because they threw their arms up to indicate sniper fire. Arms down, no brace = unconscious. FIFA needs to offer either a stoppage or some kind of substitution rule for concussions. This World Cup had too many of them to ignore.

I think there needs to be an independent doctor . . . who determines whether a player has suffered a concussion and/or should not play on

My understanding was FIFA did have that. They were simply totally ineffective, which is no great surprise.

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

Agreed. I think the coverage was also good because of awareness raised by the NFL's ongoing issues. My concern is the awareness isn't the same in any other country. Even writers on The Guardian's podcast seem to treat the issue as one of manliness and part of the sport. I was amazed by Hugo Lloris being allowed to argue himself back into a game against Everton after this but with each passing concussion, it seems less likely anything will happen soon. Unless FIFA decides to do the right thing. So never.

posted by yerfatma at 08:40 AM on July 14

LeBron James Returning to Cleveland

You've got him in a can't-win box

I think most of sports fandom insists on a binary viewpoint for LeBron. I get the dislike stemming from The Decision, but I can't understand the hate, the blinding hate. If you truly like the sport, how can you not love watching him play? Even if you're a fan of a rival team, how can you not love him as a wrestling heel then? He seems to be maturing, he's done and said a lot of good things, he's the best player in the league and the best player I've ever seen. It may be that Jordan or Magic was better in their era, but from an evolution of the sport perspective, he's the most awesome (in the original sense) player I've seen.

Some guy pulled up next to us yesterday at a light with sports radio blaring through closed windows (why do sports talk radio listeners insist on turning the volume up? is it because they're always yelling?) and I had to roll up my windows because I could hear some jackass caller declaring Kobe was still a better player. He was holding onto the idea for dear life and I can't understand why.

I do think a fair amount of the dislike stems from the idea players in the NBA are beginning to control where they go and that seems (for lack of trying to find a less loaded word) uppity. Fans are more comfortable with the idea their team's fortunes are tied to an anonymous set of guys in suits who may or may not know what they're doing.

posted by yerfatma at 11:20 AM on July 13

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

I feel the exact same way. There's a bit of a wake aspect to this for me; I tried (not really) to have an open mind about Gus Johnson on the Champions League games but he is awful. I don't like his schtick for US sports and listening to him on soccer reminds me of a line from Patrick O'Brian: "Your friend has a singular genius for striking the wrong note." Just checked and God help us all, Fox has the rights to Euro 2016 as well. I'd like to think they can poach some of the talent from ESPN and/ or leverage their Sky commentators, but I think a flaming puck approach is more likely.

It would be great if the one legacy of ESPN's coverage was to bring the producers and talent behind the World Cup coverage into Bristol to re-work some tone and approach for the mainline shows.

posted by yerfatma at 11:12 AM on July 13

Liverpool Sells Luiz Suarez to Barcelona

Our daughter is just getting to the cereal biter stage. They're so cute at that age.

posted by yerfatma at 10:05 AM on July 11

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

David Luiz, translated.

posted by yerfatma at 10:05 AM on July 10

Brazil Faces Germany for Spot in World Cup Final

When good promotions go bad:

posted by yerfatma at 05:01 PM on July 09

Argentina Faces The Netherlands for Spot in World Cup Final

No idea who ate all the pies but it appears Germany ate all the goals. This is the third time Netherlands has gone to half time without a shot on goal. Assuming that's the true spirit of counterattacking.

If it's not the plan, the Dutch are probably getting a good look at van Gaal's brains.

posted by yerfatma at 04:59 PM on July 09

Brazil Faces Germany for Spot in World Cup Final

Occam's Razor would say his teammates had been getting away with murder for 60 minutes so why would he expect his act to result in a yellow card?

posted by yerfatma at 04:57 PM on July 09

Nate Silver Had Brazil at 65% to Win Today

because without Thiago Silva they had no defense, and without Neymar they had no offense.

And because of that David Silva tried to play both. Worked a charm.

posted by yerfatma at 11:00 AM on July 09

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

old movies on Turner Classic Movies have become my refuge from Red Sox (so-called) baseball

Have to take some time off as it was my solution to overnight feedings and getting the baby sleeping over the winter. My wife and I watched Lawrence of Arabia over the course of four nights. I did set up some Michael Caine with mercenaries in North Africa during WWII to tape yesterday, so I may get back on the horse.

Not on TCM (Amazon Prime), but we also watched The Friends of Eddie Coyle and loved it. Great Boston scenes including a torn-down stadium I had to ask my dad about, cool story and the most That Guys I've ever seen in a movie, including the trainer from Slapshot! as a bank robber.

posted by yerfatma at 10:59 AM on July 09

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

You get a feel for just how good the Red Sox are if I tell you I swapped over to Celtics/ Pacers last night.

posted by yerfatma at 12:08 PM on July 08

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Federer gets knocked down! Djoko gets knocked down! Federer gets knocked down, again! Now Djoko is knocked down again!

Oh, thanks for that.

posted by yerfatma at 11:32 AM on July 07

The Netherlands Faces Underdog Costa Rica in World Cup

+1 owlie. Most enjoyable moment from Brazil this tournament may have been replacing Fred with Jo. A country apparently full of Kakas, Ronaldinhos, Socrateses, Hulks, Peles, they swap Fred for Jo.

posted by yerfatma at 11:31 AM on July 07

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Needs a better ragdoll physics engine. Also, why isn't it out on PS4, XBONE LOSERS!

posted by yerfatma at 03:37 PM on July 03

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

So you wanna be a match-fixer? Bill Barnwell offers a primer on how to do it along with a number of interesting links and anecdotes.

posted by yerfatma at 02:37 PM on July 03

Michael Bradley Covered Most Ground in World Cup

I disagree with encouraging a German the path to anywhere goes through Europe.

posted by yerfatma at 01:39 PM on July 03

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Yingli who?

posted by yerfatma at 11:18 AM on July 03

Michael Bradley Covered Most Ground in World Cup

"Teams that are ready to suffer are going to do well. And we want to be the team that can suffer the most." — Michael Bradley. At least he stuck to his word.

posted by yerfatma at 08:34 AM on July 03

How Good Are the Americans, Really?

Feels a bit like he started with the answers and worked out the questions. Hard to say how tactically naive the US really is when they lost Altidore 20 minutes into the tournament. You can certainly criticize the US and Klinsmann for not having a Plan B, but we never really got to see their tactics: they scored in the first minute against Ghana, lost Jozy 20 minutes or so later and tried to defend. They certainly need players capable of keeping the ball and moving forward with it; without them, what tactics are there but boot the ball down and rush the goal, then scramble back?

"There is not a single player on Team USA who is coveted by the top professional clubs in the world, and there never has been."

I get the point, but not where is he drawing the line as "top club" and "coveted" make for a movable set of goalposts. Dempsey was signed away from Fulham by Tottenham. Bradley played on a Roma team that wound up (albeit after he left) qualifying for the Champions League and finishing second in Serie A. Brad Guzan wouldn't look out of place at a top team (and was supposedly courted by Arsenal before signing with Villa).

posted by yerfatma at 08:31 AM on July 03

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Link's already broken (ESPN's video stinks like that). Try this if you want to subject yourself to the same stupid shit. I made it through about 40 seconds. To me, one of the great joys of learning a new sport is learning a new language. I suppose Keith's suggestion to the MLB about gaining new fans would be to get rid of the great language of baseball. For a jackass who turned the ability to come up with six zillion synonyms for hitting a ball over a fence into a role as cultural commentator, he sure seems opposed to anyone else doing it. Your quality of thought is only as good as the language you know; why would anyone actively refuse to learn language?

Even more than the new words, the thing I've liked best about learning the sport is learning about other cultures (it's much harder to imagine all of Iran as movie baddies when you watch them dressed like fools cheering for their team just like us). I cannot stand the strain of jingoistic, insular ranting that crops up every World Cup in this country like there's a limited pool of sports interest for all sports to draw from and people watching soccer will sap our previous bodily fluids and help the Ruskies win the war. Kipling would ask, "What do they know of England who only England know?" and then quickly follow it with "Other than that we implode on the international stage in football, obvs."

All of which is to say, I need to dive headfirst into cricket someday for another pleasure to distract from crap on TV like this.

posted by yerfatma at 08:21 AM on July 03

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Arbitrator rules Jimmy Graham is a tight end. Feels like a screw job; if it were fair (as opposed to the NFL) I'd think the distinction would go away as any tight end you care to franchise is probably as valuable offensive piece as a wide receiver.

posted by yerfatma at 01:02 PM on July 02

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

All eight teams in the quarterfinal won their group, something that has never happened before.

Stranger still given (with the exception of a Suarez-less Uruguay) all of the losing teams had a chance at upsetting the eventual winners. How many of the matches were decided after 80 minutes? Seems like the heat takes it's toll as most of the goals come in the second half (and Belgium's best striker has been "Guy Starting on Bench" in most games). Interestingly, the goals per game average has been cut almost in half from the group stages to the round of 16. Hopefully you guys are right about it opening up again, but this has been fun to watch regardless.

Brad Guzan is showing with Aston Villa he ought to be an able replacement.

Yeah, I would think the one position a US soccer fan doesn't worry about is depth in goal. I was playing around with the new-to-me Transfermarkt and the one thing I noticed was they have Guzan as 3x more valuable than Howard. Is that just down to age?

posted by yerfatma at 01:01 PM on July 02

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

I hope by Saturday someone has asked Kevin de Bruyne how to say his name

Oof, yes. I don't understand how a media organization like ESPN doesn't sort that out. Twellman and Darke were second-guessing themselves from sentence to sentence. You could track the US' possession problems by counting the number of pronunciations of "de Bruyne". I should also point out he's only 4.5 in the FIFA fantasy league if you haven't reset your roster yet.

posted by yerfatma at 09:33 AM on July 02

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

And at this point you can count on Bradley not making the play.

Somebody has been listening to Mike & Mike. Not a great tournament, but I'm pretty sure he assisted on the lone US goal and had a good game overall.

Their final ball was really not there and the skill imbalance was clear

Yeah, my only real complaint was the US seemed to spend a lot of their meager possession on attempts at dummies and fancy through balls that never happened. That said, it was a fantastic game even if the final score flattered the US (do you think Jurgen kissed Julian Green full on the mouth once they got back to the locker room?). My one real hope was Wilmots had said Belgium would play better once they faced "real competition" and I was thinking maybe we didn't count.

No idea what to think of this Belgian team. Everyone's dark horse has led for 24 minutes of regular time across 4 games and they didn't unlock the US until introducing Lukaku who had looked terrible in the group stage. I'll be rooting for them against Argentina; I'll be rooting because of the three current/ former Evertonians and I'm guessing the result will be much the same as when they wore blue. As an Everton fan, it was a little fun to watch the team I was rooting against deal with a ref who blew his whistle every time Fellani even looked at the ball.

posted by yerfatma at 09:06 PM on July 01

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Thought I'd already posted this: Astros insane trade ideas leaked online.

posted by yerfatma at 02:55 PM on July 01

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Wasn't it deliberate though? It certainly looked like it with the exception of the fact Muller seemed to be providing a demonstration of the offsides rule (or is there no offsides on free kicks?).

posted by yerfatma at 11:42 AM on July 01

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

While we're talking Rog & Dave-O, here's Roger's piece for CBS This Morning.

posted by yerfatma at 10:59 AM on July 01

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Let us never speak of this free kick again.

posted by yerfatma at 09:04 AM on July 01

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

I don't know if that's a proper apology, but it's better.

It was apparently a requirement before he could move to Barcelona. So I'm not sure it was an apology at all.

EDIT: here's a better link.

posted by yerfatma at 08:56 AM on July 01

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Remembering Shaq's greatness.

posted by yerfatma at 08:54 AM on July 01

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

US Soccer says Jozy is ready to go. Still feels like it may be posturing to give the Belgians something to think about.

posted by yerfatma at 02:25 PM on June 30

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

The one World Cup ad I've yet to tire of is Hyundai's Spain pregnancies spot because it suggests a wild sexual orgy resulting from a meaningless win over Australia, perhaps one in which the term "dead rubber" was taken too literally.

That or a lot of Spaniards were sick of tiki taka.

posted by yerfatma at 01:03 PM on June 30

Jason Kidd joins Bucks as head coach

Or the pay. I don't get why Kidd and Derek Fisher who are basically interns getting on-the-job training are worth about $5 million/ year each.

posted by yerfatma at 12:06 PM on June 30

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Apparently the Celtics are smart for drafting sophomores. Remind me of this come January of the next 3 years or so.

posted by yerfatma at 09:51 AM on June 30

Colombia Faces Suarez-Less Uruguay in World Cup Knockout

The appeal of the biggest stage in club soccer.

I thought the biggest stage was whichever team was winning the Champions League and that can be Monaco if they can work around the fair play rules like every other billionaire. Heck, Man U could have had him for a measly £5 million in 2010 and at that time we would have said Man U was also part of that big stage.

posted by yerfatma at 09:50 AM on June 30

Mexico Faces The Netherlands in Round of 16

I didn't think he got fouled on either of those back to back falls. Simply dove over the opposition legs both times.

I think Mr. B. is referring to the earlier foul in the box. That's what bugs me, I can't even whine about Robben's antics because out of his three falls in the box, two of them were legitimate penalty shouts. That said, the incident you are referring to should have caused his mother to come onto the field and drag him home by his ear.

Mexico made the mistake of trying to hang onto a one goal lead.

Yeah, I thought Herrera turned back into a pumpkin1 yesterday. His orifices puckered and he saw the one goal as a good enough edge against a Dutch team that seemed to be sleep-walking in the heat. Mexico got as far as they did because of a coach who is a great motivator but tactically naive and this was a live-by-the-sword moment. When he brought on Chicharito I hoped for a second he was springing a trap on van Gaal and committing back to attack, but it was a like-for-like swap and it was van Gaal's tactics that won the day as he happily explained in the third-person to the media afterward. Louis should make for a fine quote in Manchester next year and if he needs a conditioning coach to avoid what almost befell the Dutch yesterday, I'm sure RvP will put in a good word for David Moyes.

As for Herrera, who someone described as "the love child of Pete Rose and Chris Farley", he showed the class you would expect from that kind of progeny, blaming the ref for the loss. I don't think he has a case. Alexi Lallas described the penalty as a "cumulative card" and that's probably as good a description as you'll get. To me, the ref seemed to be on the same page with us here about Robben and it was Robben's reputation that kept El Tri ahead. The first incident, the one I think Mr. B refers to, was the result of a terrible Mexican turnover2 which meant the ref was understandably 30 or so yards from the foul and his brain put 2 and 2 together and came up with 0 respect for Robben. When Robben had his foot stapled to the ground in the box for a second time, there wasn't much to do except point to the spot.

I am really struggling to care one way or the other about the water breaks (ESPN's crew was exploding about how it was a different sport if you're going to introduce timeouts. The alternative being watching players drop dead of cramps I guess), but perhaps the coaches should be kept back from the teams. I don't know that it will make much of a difference in their ability to communicate tactics, but I also don't know that it makes much of a difference now.

1. Hang on, was he ever not gourd-shaped?
2. I will leave the empañada joke as an exercise for the reader.

posted by yerfatma at 09:47 AM on June 30

Colombia Faces Suarez-Less Uruguay in World Cup Knockout

Monaco are in the Champions League, there's no income tax (I believe) and they can come in second in Ligue Un every year without trying. Is there a real reason to force a move to Madrid or Barcelona where you'd be forced to play second fiddle?

posted by yerfatma at 10:39 AM on June 29

Luis Suarez Banned 9 Games for Biting Opponent

FIFA is the governing body for all of world football. UEFA is the governing group for European countries. Each has a relationship with the Football Associations in the countries they cover whereby each side (or maybe just the FAs) agree to abide by the bodies' decisions.

could Liverpool keep Suarez from playing in the World Cup?

No. Clubs try to play games to keep players out of tournament qualifiers and the grumbling keeps getting louder, but I don't think they have any leverage.

posted by yerfatma at 03:39 PM on June 26

Luis Suarez Banned 9 Games for Biting Opponent

Why do Liverpool pay the big price for a bit of idiocy done in an Uruguay shirt?

Where were you in the Aaron Hernandez threads?

posted by yerfatma at 01:04 PM on June 26

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

There was a question on an old Men in Blazers where someone asked why the EPL didn't have "Honey shots". They replied it was down to two factors:

1. The game doesn't really stop.

2. They do, it's just as an America he was mistaking the honeys for 275 pound Liverpudlian men.

posted by yerfatma at 11:41 AM on June 26

Luis Suarez Banned 9 Games for Biting Opponent

Some of the ESPN hosts were talking lifetime ban

Anyone other than Taylor Twellman? I like the kid but he's a walking knee-jerk reaction. Missing 3 games in the Champions League covers half the group round.

posted by yerfatma at 10:50 AM on June 26

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Does anyone else think we've been shorted on crowd shots of attractive fans during this World Cup?

Triumph of the Will-I-Ever!

posted by yerfatma at 10:10 AM on June 26

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

A Ghana player in the first match let his drawers droop too.

Same guy.

It sounds like the team is in full meltdown mode, a la France 2010.

Listening to Football Weekly this morning about how the Ghanaian players demanded the money in cash, not as a bank transfer, made me appreciate one of those "hidden privilege" things people talk about: it would never occur to me to not trust the banking system so much that I would prefer to be handed $100,000+ in cash in a country famous (fairly or not) for its pickpockets and then go through customs and whatever hassle it must be to move $100,000 in cash back out of a country, though possibly (as suggested on the podcast) FIFA can make that happen as a rounding error in one of their duffel bags.

We had guests this weekend and I subjected them to about 10 hours more of World Cup games than was fair. I explained I always root for the African teams because they are treated like black quarterbacks used to be (he said, hopefully) in the NFL; that many of the African teams have white head coaches because the standard line is they are wonderfully athletic and improvisational but need a white man to impose order and discipline. It drives me nuts at least one team every tournament feels the need to encourage that myth.

posted by yerfatma at 10:08 AM on June 26

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Ghana is giving Cameroon a run for its money in the World Cup Chemistry race, suspending KPB (who probably wasn't going to play) and Sulley Muntari (who was already out due to two yellow cards). By the way, why isn't the game-day state of Sulley Muntari's shorts more of a story? How does he play with his ass hanging out in the breeze?

posted by yerfatma at 08:19 AM on June 26

Broken Aereo

A little disappointed in you guys: we never have a huddle on Mozambique Independence Day!

posted by yerfatma at 08:02 AM on June 26

Luis Suarez Bites Opponent at World Cup

Well, the referee in the game is known as "Dracula".

posted by yerfatma at 08:00 AM on June 26

Tim Lincecum Throws 2nd No-Hitter Against Padres

Pretty sure NoMich meant the Stoner Hall of Fame.

posted by yerfatma at 07:59 AM on June 26

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Feels like Nigeria's plan of letting Messi take free kicks until he exhausted himself backfired.

posted by yerfatma at 01:35 PM on June 25

Luis Suarez Bites Opponent at World Cup

Guy appears to be the Lucic of soccer.

Seriously? How thick is that axe?

posted by yerfatma at 08:51 AM on June 25