The US Lost to Brazil 3-2 But Did Impress: The United States faced the most prestigious national team on the planet, on the grandest stage men’s soccer in this country has seen. They competed and were, for 45 minutes, dominant. They acquitted themselves as equals. Though the result disappointed, their effort resounded through the soccer world. It was one loss to Brazil, but it was worth ten wins against Mexico.
Jay Mariotti asks “who does Ricky Rubio think he is?” I ask “who does Jay Mariotti think he is?” because competent, dutiful writer does not seem an adequate description.
Mariotti rails against heathens who compare NBA prospect Ricky Rubio to Pete Maravich. “They” make him cringe. Mariotti uses the impersonal third person plural pronoun, because he cannot furnish a single example. Not one quote. Mariotti could be lazy or he could be inventing opposition to feed his contrarianism. Either way, the only one disparaged is Jay Mariotti.
Why Does the Media’s Steroid Reluctance Extend to A-Rod? Through 43 games, Alex Rodriguez’ 2009 season has been underwhelming. He’s hitting .223 and slugging .466, far lower than his career .304 and .576 numbers respectively. He has hit 10 home runs in 148 AB, though eight (in 73 AB) have come in the homer haven that is New Yankee Stadium. Rodriguez is clearly not the same player, and the media has exhausted its’ collective mental capacity to figure out why.
Can the U.S. Beat Brazil? Within one week, the U.S. Men’s National Team disposed of the reigning African and European champions, Egypt and Spain, by a combined 5-0 score. These efforts propelled the team from a neglected embarrassment to a crew of miraculous heroes. However, for the most part psychologically, the final against Brazil will be different.
Soccer is not exclusive in the United States. It is esoteric. It is not football, basketball or baseball. Despite a recent promotional campaign by ESPN, information about soccer is actively sought, not passively assimilated. The myth of exclusivity comes not from alleged soccer snobs lording their elitism over the masses, but from said masses readily admitting and often taking pride in their ignorance. Should I feign ignorance with something I am passionate about so that others don’t feel bad? Is that my responsibility? (Continued)
I will be vacationing in Italy the next two weeks. I will resume my standard duties for TBL, EPLTalk and possibly another site when I return.
ESPN pulled amiable scamp Tommy Smyth from inside a bottle of Jameson’s to give his top five soccer players in the world last night (Messi, Ronaldo, Kaka, Iniesta, Rooney). We figured we would take a crack at the question ourselves, though our criteria was what player we would start a team with, rather than who will attract an American viewer.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Argentina): Finally healthy, Lionel Messi fulfilled his talent, as the world’s best player… (Continued)