Soccer, mostly, but some other stuff, too

Archive for May, 2008

Calendar Guys

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After their sixth straight win Saturday, the Chicago Cubs have the best record in Major League Baseball at 35-21 and lead the National League Central by 2 1/2 games over St. Louis.

Sunday, the calendar flips to June, so I thought I’d check and see what happened to the teams that recently had the best record in the majors as of June 1. Two of the last three have been popping champagne come October:

Year Team W L Pct. Ended up?
2008 Chicago Cubs 35 21 .625 ?????
2007 Boston Red Sox 36 16 .692 World Series Champs
2006 Detroit Tigers 35 18 .660 AL Pennant Winner
2005 Chicago White Sox 35 17 .673 World Series Champs
2004 New York Yankees 30 19 .612 Lost in ALCS
2003 Atlanta Braves 37 18 .673 Lost in NLDS
2002 Boston Red Sox 36 15 .706 2nd, AL East
2001 Seattle Mariners 40 12 .769 Lost ALCS
2000 Atlanta Braves 35 16 .686 Lost in NLDS
1999 Cleveland Indians 33 16 .673 Lost in ALDS
1998 New York Yankees 37 13 .740 World Series Champs
1997 Baltimore Orioles 36 15 .706 Lost ALCS
1996 Atlanta Braves 35 17 .673 NL Pennant Winner
  Cleveland Indians 35 17 .673 Lost ALDS
1995 Philadelphia Phillies 23 9 .719 2nd, NL East

Now, only three of the previous 14 teams with TBRIB on June 1 won the World Series (the Braves and Indians were tied for the honor in 1996), but 12 of the 14 made the playoffs and two won the pennant before losing in the Fall Classic. The last four have at least made it to the League Championship Series.

I don’t know that you can tell a whole lot from this, I just thought it would be fun. Traditionally, July 4 has been looked at as the measuring stick, going back to the days when there were no league playoffs, just the World Series. In another month, we’ll look and see where we are.

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May 31st, 2008 at 9:55 pm

Posted in Cubs

Saturday Day Fever

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Apologies if the site looks strange or if you can’t always get to it. I don’t know what’s going on with the server. Sorry, out of my control. I AM trying to work on rebuilding all the other features that used to be on the site proper (I know, I’ve been saying that for like 18 months). This is making it more difficult.

Anyway, I’m bach-ing it this weekend. Just got done watching Florida stay alive in the College Softball World Series. Going to put some sausages on the grill and get some pool time, as it’s supposed to get to 100 today.

Big news in the soccer world that’ll be announced, I guess, on Monday. Lots of speculation about it, most of it wrong. Hopefully it’s a positive in the long run.

Now it’s lunch time and the grill is calling.

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May 31st, 2008 at 11:06 am

Posted in Miscellaneous,soccer

6+5 = Something Doesn’t Add Up

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Sepp Blatter courtesy BBC 

FIFA boss Sepp Blatter’s idea to limit the number of foreign players a soccer team can start a match with beginning in 2012 has met with overwhelming support from FIFA’s latest congress and general disapproval from clubs around the world.

The European championships begin next week without the English team. Some pundits point to a lack of Englishmen in their top flight (only 34% of Premier Leaguers in 2007-2008 were English) as a reason for a decline in English football, which led to them not qualifying for Euro 2008. Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer decries the fact that there are Bundesliga teams with no Germans on them (which, oddly, didn’t stop them from finishing third at the 2006 World Cup or qualifying for Euro 2008). Read the rest of this entry »

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May 30th, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Posted in Rant,soccer

Back to the Future

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Doug Collins is coming back to coach the Bulls? Really? What, Kevin Loughery wasn’t interested?

Collins has only been out of the league for six seasons (I had forgotten he coached Michael Jordan with the Wizards), so it’s far from the largest gap between head coaching assignments in NBA history. Here are some guys who were out a long time:

Dave Cowens: Player-coached of the Celtics in 1978-79, taking over after Satch Sanders started 2-12. Played one more year with the Cs, then had a comeback with Milwaukee a couple of years later. Didn’t get a head coaching gig in the NBA again until the Hornets hired him in 1996. After two really good seasons, he started off 4-11 in 1998 and that was that. He had two forgettable seasons with Golden State and even coached (reluctantly, it seemed) in the WNBA. Gap: 18 seasons.

Horace “Bones” McKinney: Coached the Washington Capitols to a 10-25 record in 1950-51, then was resurrected for a season and a half with the ABA’s Carolina Cougars in 1969-71. Gap: 18 seasons.

Bruce Hale: Was only 30 when he coached the Indianapolis Jets of the Basketball Association of America for the first 17 games of the 1948-49 season (they were 4-13 when he was replaced by Burl Friddle, one of the truly great names in sports). Coached at the University of Miami (which will be important later). Didn’t get a pro head coaching gig again until the ABA’s Oakland Oaks tabbed him in 1967. Of course, the Oaks only tabbed him in an attempt to get his son-in-law and former Hurricane, Rick Barry, to jump from the NBA’s Warriors. If you’re a student of history, you know that went all pear-shaped as a court ruled Barry had to sit out a year before he could play in the ABA, the Oaks went 22-56 without him and Hale wasn’t around the next year when they won the ABA title with him. Gap: 18 years.

Hubie Brown: Fired by the Knicks in November of 1986, he had a long career as a TV analyst before surprisingly coming back at age 69 to coach the Memphis Grizzlies in 2002. Even more surprisingly, he led them to 50 wins and the playoffs the next year, earning Coach of the Year honors. Gap: 15+ seasons.

Paul Silas: Coached the penultimate edition of the San Diego Clippers to 25 wins in 1982-83, then didn’t get a head coaching job again until 1998 when he took over the Charlotte Hornets. Moved with the team to New Orleans for a year, then coached the Cavaliers for two seasons. Gap: 15 seasons.

Buddy Jeannette: Won a BAA title with the original Baltimore Bullets in 1948, then had some mostly mediocre years with them in the NBA. Dumped during the 1950-51 season, he returned to Baltimore in 1964 to coach the new Bullets (who are today the Washington Wizards). Was the Bullets’ head coach for one year, an interim coach two years later, and coached the ABA’s Pittsburgh Pipers in 1969-70. Gap: 13+ seasons.

Bill Russell: Player-coach for the Boston Celtics the last three years of his career, he coached the Seattle SuperSonics for four years, compiling a 162-166 record. When the Sacramento Kings hired him in 1987, he’d been out of the NBA head coaching ranks for 10 years. He didn’t last all of that one season, going 17-47, and was replaced by Jerry Reynolds. Gap: 10 seasons.

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May 29th, 2008 at 10:18 am

Posted in Miscellaneous

More on Mac and More

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Shawn Mitchell reports that it looks like Brian McBride could be heading to Chicago.

Meanwhile, John Doyle? The top allocation spot? No. Not yours.

Other stuff:

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May 29th, 2008 at 8:29 am

Posted in Miscellaneous,soccer

Look Out Old Mackie’s Back!

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Brian McBride courtes Sports IllustratedWell, not yet, but Brian McBride is leaving Fulham FC and coming back to America. Or maybe Canada. Depends.

See, Toronto FC would have first dibs on the erstwhile Crew striker, as they’re supposedly first up on the Allocation List (though the list on MLS’ own website is almost a year old – nice going, guys). Chicago would love to have him (he’s an Arlington Heights, Ill. native) and while they’re the second-highest scoring team in the league (2.11 goals per game, second to LA’s 2.44), why not add more firepower?

McBride will be 36 years old next month, so you’re not going to get too many years out of him, but he’s going to be a decent signing for somebody. Hopefully somebody with a good athletic training staff and a team doctor with reliable cell phone service.

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May 28th, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Posted in soccer

Pobody’s Nerfect

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At least now I can say I’ve watched 2.1 seconds of the NBA playoffs. Apparently this non-call caused a bit of consternation last night:

Yeah, that’s a foul. Derek Fisher bites on the fake, comes down on Brent Barry’s shoulder, Barry’s torso goes down under the weight and then he comes back up and shoots. That’s a foul on the floor, two shots and a chance to tie (assuming the Spurs were in the bonus and LA didn’t have a foul to give).

Conspiracy? Doubt it. One thing I’ve learned is never to confuse incompetence with conspiracy. That was a bad call. Terrible call. But the easiest explanation is probably the right one: Joey Crawford just blew the call. It happens. Strange things seem to happen when Crawford’s around, but I’d be hard-pressed to believe there’s a conspiracy.

I’m sure between this and all the blown home run calls recently, the national debate about officiating will be renewed. I’m sure Costas Now will get into the act, Sports Illustrated will do a cover story, and every sports talk radio host just had the rest of his week programmed for him.

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May 28th, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Posted in Miscellaneous,Ref

My Kind of Town…

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Crazy stories from both sides of Chicago…

Orlando Cabrera: Please. Shut up and play. Nobody cares how many errors you make. You do not call the official scorer.

The Cubs’ organization: Please. Don’t worry about protecting Alfonso Soriano’s precious psyche. He makes $136 million, he can deal with getting booed. Now, of course, offensive louts should be disciplined and people who cross the line should be tossed. But to issue an edict that nobody can boo your precious little snowflake for being an atrocious fielder is ridiculous. All par for the course in Cubdom. I wonder if you’re allowed to boo if you bought tickets the Cubs scalped themselves?

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May 28th, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Posted in Cubs,Miscellaneous

Seattle Goes Green

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Sounders FC’s X-Box 360-adorned new kit, that they’ll wear in 2009:

Seattle Sounders FC jersey

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May 28th, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Posted in soccer

Definitely Not A Treat

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I know this is (apparently) old, and it’s not Halloween, but I just saw this and it made me laugh.

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May 28th, 2008 at 10:18 am

Posted in Miscellaneous