soccerFAIL

This evening we had a prime example of why soccer in the US is struggling to gain/keep/improve its standing in the American sports scene. The MLS “game of the week” was hosted by ESPN2, not a top-end network but pretty much ubiquitous in cable/satellite packages. The game was even moved from 8pm PST to 7:30, perhaps in an attempt to be more family friendly (90 minutes of game time with ~20-30 for halftime) to the national TV audience… but it’s not a national audience if it’s starting at 10:30pm Eastern, so oh well.

But, through bad luck and perhaps poor contingency planning on the ESPN programming department, the previous time slot on ESPN2 was devoted to the Arkansas-Virginia College World Series (baseball) game. Neither one a powerhouse, but when a horrible call from behind the plate (Orel Hershieser was beside himself) in the bottom of the 9th inning sent the game into extras, the network was stuck. So, nobody except for the 73 people who paid for the MLS satellite special package got to see a very entertaining first half between DC United and the Seattle Sounders, a team that sold out for the entire season in something like the first month that tickets were available.

So in a sport mocked for boring, low-scoring games, a 2-1 halftime score was promising, except that nobody got to watch it on TV. Finally, the stupid baseball* game was done and ESPN2 switched over to the feed from Seattle just in time to see a brilliant third goal for the home team. Good stuff, right? just what the network and the home crowd wanted. Then, even better for the producers, DC United scored against the run of play to narrow the gap and set up and exciting finish.

And it WAS a good finish, if you are a fan of open-play soccer with aggression overcoming smart play: Seattle continued to attack even though it was a up a goal, frequently getting caught with too many man up the field, and narrowly dodging an equalizing goal even as it was clearly the better side. Then with 5 minutes to go, the visiting side finally scored the seemingly/cynically inevitable tying goal, setting up a very frantic last 10 (5 minutes of stoppage time) minutes of soccer.

But here’s the other reason why soccer gets slammed – no overtime. A great game, 6 goals, plenty of end-to-end action, but then after a seemingly arbitrary number (90 + x) of minutes the ref blows the whistle and that’s it, game over. 1 point for each in the standings, no overtime, no shootout, no winner. Seattle played entertaining but stupid soccer and wasted two points, DC got lucky and had enough skill to earn a valuable away point, good for them… but many fans, at home and on TV, were probably left with a sour taste in their mouths. All in all, a very ironical and perfectly-titled “MLS Game of the Week.”

* don’t get me wrong, I love baseball. And I love the drama of the double-elimination tourney, I liked watching the “upset” championships of Fresno State and Oregon State in the past couple years, but the sub-pro level of play and the ugly “clank” of metal bats just doesn’t do it for me. I’m sure I’ll get sucked in again this year, but for #&$%’s sake, ESPN was busy reshowing a taped NFL Live on the mothership channel… are we not saturated with Brett Fahv-ruh stories? Do we need to know exactly when/where T.O. picked his new apartment in Buffalo? don’t you think they could have done some switching around? Seriously, bleh.

  

How Much Joe Morgan Sucks

*holding arms way way far apart* This much.

So, as we suffer through the Rays-Sox game tonight, K reminded me again why I love her so much.

"He's the worst of all of them. He says nothing, and he takes a long time saying it, and he's not coherent... and that's from someone who knows nothing about baseball."

Of course, just one inning after this fantastic assessment, he re-verified his should-be-fired-ness by stating "I don't really like this (the Rays) rotation. Sure they have Garza and Kazmir, and some good young guys in the minors, but after that I'm not impressed."

What a freaking moron. I leave it to Jeremy to tell us exactly where the Rays' staff ranks in MLB, but I'd put it in the top 5 especially looking ahead a few years.

I really want to learn how to hack a DVR and install a voice-recognition-and-mute algorithm.

[P.S. K also said "call the post 'How Much Joe Morgan Sucks.' " Have to give credit where credit is due.]

  

Unexpected is funny

I don't think this is small-personly-offensive, but then I'm not a good one to judge. One could argue that corn-fed beef is inherently offensive, but that's another matter. Anyway, my favorite line is "herding cows the size of Schnauzers - but they're cattle" and the cow face-to-face with a prairie dog.

  

SB Commercials

In case you are like my secretary and will be driving from Cali to Kansas tomorrow, or like me and don't have DVR anymore (sad!), never fear - notable commercials for tomorrow's Big Game* are already summarized/previewed for us, and probably available on the torrent-tubes.

Previewed commercials include the ETrade baby, Dennys, a 3D SoBe Lifewater commercial (grab Intel-made 3D goggles being offered at SoBe Lifewater retail stands), Mr Potato Head schilling for Bridgestone, and in a nod to Nick, Danica Patrick for GoDaddy.com:

Also notable is FritoLay's little scheme, where five contestants who designed their own spots have a chance to win $1 million... if the commercial can wrest the top spot on USA Today's "Ad Meter" from Anheuser-Busch.

FritoLay has already selected five finalists, involving dude-centric themes like a woman in lacy black lingerie, a cop who turns into a monkey, an ATM that spits free money and an office worker who gets hit in the privates by a flying snow globe. Fans can vote for their favorite at www.crashthesuperbowl.com.

Of course, I have to suspect that by offering five options, viewers are likely to split their vote and miss out on the cash - but not like FL is going to cry about a measly 1 mil even in this economy.

* I'm avoiding saying the SB word so as to avoid getting sued by the NFL, seeing as I'm not an officially licensed partner of the NFL/Big Game. You think I'm kidding.