Thursday, July 8, 2010

Breaking Exclusive: Lebron James and Brett Favre are BANGING!

It's been one week of freedom and ocean and sun, but I'm now back at my desk, in midtown New York, with people tiptoeing in to ask me for sugar and coffee products and to print color photos of some retirement dinner they attended. And they all have annoying voices, and seem to have somehow arranged themselves in sequence so that each visitor is progressively more obnoxious. I'm sitting among a mountain of boxes, most of them full to the brim with crappy handbags the company gives out for "employee appreciation." I'm fielding phone calls from people who take fifteen seconds to say the word 'hey.' I'm listening to the hum of a copy machine, and the sudden blocky halting sound when it jams, and the grating grinding whirr of the shredder, and...


But the good news is I only have 17 work days left. Then I can rent a horse, burn this place to the ground, and ride out among the flames. (Which reminds me that I have to check out the price of renting a horse for a couple hours, and if they have special horses that don't panic around fire, and if those kind cost a lot more, and if it's a red flag if you ask about it in the first place.)

So, let's get right to the intended purpose of this blog, and indeed of life: sports.

*Espana moved on to their first ever World Cup final with a 1-0 win over the Germans. The match itself was pretty disappointing; Germany played overly cautious, like they were terrified of Spain, and showed none of the flair they'd exhibited against England and Argentina. The Spanish controlled the pace of play, had the lion's share of possession, and managed a nice goal off the head of the very likeable Carlos Puyol.* But they had an awful moment when Pedro, a replacement striker, refused to pass to a wide open Torres in front of the goal, instead going for glory and getting tied up by a defender. And as in past matches, they couldn't extend a slim lead despite their domination.

*Who Chris Fowler astutely pointed out looks like the bass player in an 80s metal band.

But a win is a win, and this particular win sets up an amazing and historic Spain-Holland final. These are the two best sides to never win a World Cup, and nobody else is really even in the discussion. One curse will come to a gratifying end on Sunday, and one heartbreaking story will have another devastating chapter. There's quite a bit at stake, and I'm psyched. As a very recent expert on Dutch soccer, I think I'll pull for the Brilliant Orange.

*Here's something I've been meaning to do for a while:


This team has been chosen not for their skill, or their fame, but simply for the quality of their name. I will choose one representative from each team who made the knockout stages, and two from Germany and Portugal.

1. Joan Capdevila, Spain
2. Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, Holland
3. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Per Mertesacker, Germany
4. Walter Gargano, Uruguay
5. Maxi Rodriguez, Argentina
6. Kwadwo Asamoah, Ghana
7. Grafite, Brazil
8. Ze Castro and Makukula, Portugal
9. Steve Cherundolo, USA
10. Claudio Bravo, Chile
11. Leighton Baines, England
12. Keisuke Honda, Japan
13. Kim Young Kwang, South Korea
14. Jonathan Dos Santos, Mexico
15. Aldo Bobadilla, Paraguay
16. Martin Jakubko, Slovakia

*How 'bout them Yankees? Just when things started to look dicey, they pulled out 5 in a row (and counting) against Toronto and Oakland. Unfortunately, we have to face the Lee-Hernandez two-headed monster on Friday and Saturday, so that little ride should come to an end soon. But it looks like we'll have a strong chance to lead the AL East going into the break, and at the moment Boston is 4.5 games back in the rearview after being swept by the Rays.

*Robinson Cano, sadly, has stopped hitting. He went from the .370s all the way down to .337, 10 points behind Miguel Cabrera. It's been, I have to admit, pretty ugly. We got a little bit of good news when he pulled out of the Home Run Derby, a useless spectacle for kids and bandwagon fans which can ruin a batter's swing for the second half of the season. Thank heavens for minor back injuries.

*Don't look now, but Miguel Cabrera currently leads the league in average and RBIs, and is just one behind Jose Bautista for the home run lead. The triple crown binoculars are out and focusing...

*Send Swish! Go to that link, click the 'Send Swish' part, and vote for Nick Swisher to get the final spot on the American League all-star team. I just voted 15 times. He's up against Kevin Youkilis, and, let's be honest, Swish deserves it. And apparently, he's ahead by a narrow 1% margin, with voting set to end today at 4pm. Check out the stat comparison:

1) .298/.376/.518, 14 HR, 48 RBI
2) .292/.409/.574, 17 HR, 55 RBI

No comparison, right?! Which stats belong to which player? Who cares! Send Swish!

That's it for the morning. I still need to tackle the Hand of God, Part 2. Hopefully the afternoon for that one...

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