Tag: World Cup

Top 10 Worst Feelings in the Sports Summer of 2010

What an intense summer of sports we have had so far. June and early July were packed full of great sports stories such as the Stanley Cup, World Cup, and NBA Free Agency.

Now that the MLB All-Star game is over and the ESPYS are on television, you know things are going to start simmering down a bit until the pennant chase heats up in September. Because of this sizzling start to summer, I have composed a list of some of the worst feelings of the sports summer. Enjoy.

10. Hitting out of a bunker at St. Andrews – The British Open begins this week and players better be prepared to be patient. The Old Course is infamous for its’ 112 pot bunkers that have ruined so many rounds that might have been. The Road Hole bunker on 17 and the “Hell Bunker” on the par five 14th are two of the scariest places a golfer can find himself. Hitting backwards is often is the safest option on many of these bunkers, some of which have stairs installed in order to enter and exit these enormous sinkholes of sand.

9. Dropping a 138 game fifth set at Wimbledon – In an 11 hour epic game, that will be remembered long after who won and lost, Nicolas Mahut dropped the fifth and final set of his first round match versus American John Isner 70 games to 68. The match featured triple digit aces by both players and 168 consecutive service games held. After 113 aces in the first round epic, Isner recorded none in his straight set defeat in the second round.

8. Losing $750 million in divorce settlement with Elin – Yep, that’s right. Three quarters of a billion dollars straight out of Tiger’s vault to the Swedish supermodel in the couple’s divorce settlement. Good luck finding a new man Elin.

7. Getting passed by Danica Patrick – After watching that GoDaddy number seven car fail to win a race in the IndyCar series, do we really want to see that GoDaddy car making its’ way to NASCAR? In Danica’s first Nationwide series race, the driver finished 24th and seemed to be quite pleased with herself. Yeah I know the car handles differently and switching over is a tough thing to do, but Danica needs to learn how to handle her indycar before she tries multi-tasking. Like your commercial says Danica, you’re no Jaun Pablo. Remember that.

6. Scoring an own goal in the World Cup – There were three own goals in this year’s World Cup (Denmark, South Korea, Brazil) but none were more damaging than Felipe Melo’s in Brazil’s quarterfinal loss to Holland. The Brazilian defender collided with goalkeeper Julio Cesar on a Wesley Sneijder free kick early in the second half to deflect the Sneijder kick into the goal for the equalizer. The mistake gave the Dutch the momentum they needed as they went on to exit Brazil with a 2-1 upset victory.

5. Thinking that Lane Kiffin is making you stay at USC – Luckily for blue chip recruit Seantrel Henderson this is no longer a problem. The nations’ 2009 top recruit signed with the Trojans after discussing with coaches the possibility of probation. Obviously, Lane’s staff wasn’t completely honest with the 6’8, 337 pound monster as he signed a letter of intent to play in Los Angeles on March 23. Upon the news of USC’s probation, reports came out that Kiffin was not going to allow Henderson to leave the Trojans but on July 6, Kiffin did the right thing and allowed Henderson to be like LeBron and take his talents to South Beach.

4. Losing a Perfecto on a blown call – The only man in the world sicker than Armando Galarraga is Jim Joyce. How can you not feel for that guy? On June 2nd you blow the biggest call of your career to lose a perfect game for a kid nobody has ever heard of and you take it like a complete man in extraordinary fashion. Not only did Joyce accept full responsibility for the call but he showed up the next day to umpire behind the plate in Detroit after the commissioner’s office gave him a day off.

3. Getting a DUI with red panties between your legs – This is something that usually would have nothing to do with sports. This is also something you would not expect a big time college athletic director to do. Georgia A.D. Damon Evans was pulled over drunk with a 28-year-old girl who was not his wife on the first night of July. When Evans was asked by the officer why he had red panties between his legs, Evans responded saying “She took them off and I held them because I was just trying to get her home”. Im sure the wifey understood Damon.

2. Being a Cleveland sports fan – The fumble, the drive, the shot, Jose Mesa, Art Modell, and now King James. No title in 46 years and the Browns currently have the most impressive roster in the City of Rock. Good luck with the Delhomme era Clevelanders.

1. Playing for team North Korea and Kim Jong Il – All I have to say about this one is be glad North Korea players that none of you were on this list at number six.


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10 Biggest Sports Disappointments of 2010 in Wisconsin

Look, I know we haven’t talked for a while. But I was a little afraid to call you.

I know that the last few days have been tough. I heard about you taking your kids to see Toy Story 3 and how you had to be removed from the theater because you were crying so loudly.

Yes, I know. Andy saying goodbye to Woody, Buzz, and the rest of his beloved toys (and symbolically, to his childhood) was an emotional punch in the throat that resonated with many grown men struggling with the responsibilities of adulthood. But come on, get a grip.

Then, just days later, the United States men’s national soccer team lost to Ghana 2-1 in the opening round of the World Cup’s so-called “knockout stage.” I heard you hadn’t been so despondent since Beavis and Butt-head was cancelled. 

While I can empathize with your disappointment that the United States team didn’t make it farther in the World Cup, I must admit to some surprise at how hard you took the defeat.

Aren’t you sort of hardened to this sort of thing by now? After all, the first half of 2010 has been full of crushing letdowns for Wisconsin sports fans.

Let’s look at just ten of the biggest sports disappointments in 2010:


10. Lady Badgers Make Quick Exit

Yes, it was a successful season for the lady Badgers. Yes, Lisa Stone guided the team to one of their better seasons in quite some time, as they finished third in the Big Ten and won 21 games overall.

But it was that type of season that made you think that their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2002 was going to last a little longer.

Instead the seventh-seeded Badgers were the victims of one of the few upsets in the stultifying predictable women’s tournament (really, most infomercials have more stunning developments) as they fell 64-55 to the 10th-seeded Vermont Catamounts of the America East conference.


9. Andrew Bogut Gets Hurt

The Milwaukee Bucks have long been a team that has had to deal with injuries. But often the team has been so bad that injury problems were an annoyance that distracted from bigger problems, like a bad photo on a Barry Manilow album cover.

Yet in 2009-2010, something happened to the Milwaukee Bucks. Scott Skiles and John Hammond put together a team, led by rookie guard Brandon Jennings and midseason acquisition John Salmons, that won games, even after Michael Redd predictably went down in January with yet another knee injury.

Not to be overlooked was the play of center Andrew Bogut, who was having a breakout season to the tune of 15.9 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game when he incurred an elbow and hand injury in April, just as the Bucks had secured a playoff spot.

Without Bogut, the Bucks lost to the Hawks in the playoff’s opening round in seven games. With Bogut, they likely go deeper and should go deeper next year.


8.  The Brewers’ Lousy Home Cooking

I’m hesitant to dump too much on the Brewers on this list due to their recent turnaround (winning eight of their last eleven games as of this writing).

However, the fact remains that as we approach the All-Star Break, only Baltimore, Cleveland, and Houston (all with 16 wins) have won fewer games at home than the Milwaukee Brewers (17 wins).

For a team with as solid and loyal a following as Milwaukee, that’s simply inexcusable and incomprehensible.

And no, I don’t buy the team’s complaints about the shadows during day games at Miller Park anymore than I would buy complaints about the brand of peanuts sold at the concession stands.

Last I checked, both the visiting and home teams play under the same conditions.


7. Aaron Kampman a Jaguar?

It shouldn’t have ended like this. Heading into the 2009-2010 season, defensive end Aaron Kampman was one of the most well-liked and productive players on the Packers.

In the three seasons spanning 2006-2009, Kampman totaled 215 tackles and 37 sacks.

Then new defensive coordinator Dom Capers and his hairpiece instituted the 3-4, Kampman moved to outside linebacker, where he looked about as comfortable as my father at a Bone Thugs-n-Harmony concert, and a great player was suddenly nullified.

Given his lack of production in 2009 (just 3.5 sacks before going down with a knee injury on November 22), it might not have been that crushing of a blow to the team when it was announced in March that the free agent had signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it was undoubtedly a disappointing end to what was shaping up to be one of the greatest careers ever by a Packer defensive player.

6. Wisconsin Women’s Hockey Comes Back To Earth

What a difference a year makes. In March 2009, the Badger women were celebrating their third national championship in four years.

In winning the title (again), they amassed a gaudy 34-2-5 record and won a remarkable 23 games by at least four goals.

In February 2010, the Badger women, sans head coach Mark Johnson (on a year sabbatical to coach the U.S. women’s hockey team in Vancouver) and sans eight players lost to graduation, finished with a 18-15-3 record while missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005.

Given the huge losses, such a downfall was perhaps not entirely surprising, but given the high expectations for success that the women’s hockey program has raised, still very disappointing.

5. Brewers’ Pitching Stinks Again (But . . . )

When the 2010 season began, it seemed as if the Brewers couldn’t help but improve on their disappointing 80-82 2009 campaign.

After all, Milwaukee just missed a winning record despite having the second-worst pitching staff in the National League.

Unfortunately, so far in 2010, the pitching has been statistically just as bad, highlighted by the complete collapse of closer Trevor Hoffman and the less-than-tremendous start by newcomer Randy Wolf.

However, the club appears to be on the upswing, and improvements in the pitching is (not surprisingly) a big reason: Hoffman’s ERA has dropped over three points since June, Randy Wolf has won three of his last four starts, there’s no more Jeff Suppan (his firing being the most welcome personnel move since Bruce Springsteen reunited with the E Street Band) and John Axford has emerged out of nowhere to not only bring back the handlebar mustache but also to bring back a dominant closer (five straight save conversions) to the Brewers.

So, reasons for optimism following a pretty awful first half of 2010 for Brewers pitching.


4. The Penalty That Never Was

Just as Mick Jagger is in no hurry to return to Altamont Speedway, most Packers fans are in no hurry to return to thoughts of January’s NFC Wildcard game against the Arizona Cardinals.

And most reticence fans feel likely stems from the final play of the game: Third-and-six on their own 24-yard line. In the process of having the football stripped, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers clearly gets his face mask pulled by Arizona’s Michael Adams.

Karlos Dansby returns the fumble for a touchdown that seemed sure to be wiped away in favor of a facemask or illegal hands to the face penalty on Adams.

Except no call was ever made, and a game that the Packers had been in control of since midway through the third quarter (not to mention a largely positive season) was suddenly over.

Hey, NFL officials. Jim Joyce apologized for blowing that perfect game call. Isn’t it time you apologized for this gaffe?


3. Badgers Overpowered By Eagles

The bigger the game, the bigger the disappointment. Unlike the women’s team, the Badger men’s hockey team had a fantastic 2009-2010 season, going 28-11-4 and making an impressive run through the NCAA tournament field.

But in a rematch of the 2006 NCAA championship game (which the Badgers won 2-1), the red-hot scoring Badgers were completely shut down by Boston College 5-0.

However, the Badgers were in it until the third period, when the Eagles exploded for four goals and ended any chance Wisconsin had of winning its seventh NCAA championship.

What’s worse for the Badgers is the fact that the 5-0 drubbing was the final game for seven seniors.


2. Defensive Collapse I

After a tremendous regular season (24-9, highlighted by three wins over top-five teams, including eventual champion Duke) that featured standout play from Jon Leuer (despite missing nine games with a wrist injury), Jason Bohannon, and Trevon Hughes, the Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team was awarded a gaudy No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Much of what secured the Badgers that high seed was a remarkably stingy defense that stifled its opponents while allowing less than 55 points a game.

Bo Ryan’s team was clearly not designed for an up-and-down offensive shootout, but that’s what they found themselves in when they played No. 12 seeded Cornell of the Ivy League in the second round.

The Badgers were no match for the hot-shooting Big Red, as Cornell shot 61 percent from the field and 53 percent from beyond the arc.

What was clearly one of Wisconsin’s best teams in several years bowed out of the tournament in the opening weekend for the fourth time in five years. 


1. Defensive Collapse II

Despite minimizing the talents of Aaron Kampman (see above), new Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers’s new 3-4 defense was clearly a success in its first year.

Although the team stumbled against Minnesota (twice) and Pittsburgh, the team finished the 2009 regular season seventh in points allowed per game, second in yards allowed per game, and first in rushing yards allowed per game.

Heading into the NFC Wildcard game against Arizona, a trip to the NFC Divisional Round seemed assured, especially since Green Bay had throttled Arizona 33-7 just the week before, as the defense only allowed the Cardinals 187 total yards from scrimmage.

No one could have foreseen that the Cardinals would completely have their way with the Packers defense during the second meeting, scoring 31 points by the midway point of the third quarter en route to a 51-45 overtime win.

It was the most points the Packers had ever allowed in their long and illustrious playoff history.

Just thinking about those 531 yards the Packers surrendered on January 10 is enough to make any Packer fan reach for their kids’ Woody or Buzz Lightyear doll for a little solace.

Here’s hoping for a better end to 2010.

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Meet Me at the …Place…Somewhere on Long Island … Maybe

I’ve been trying to generate some feelings—vitriol, despair, disgust, frustration—over the latest developments concerning the Lighthouse, but I just can’t do it. It’s like trying to light a fire with a wet match and a cinder block. I’m done.

We heard from Chris Botta at Fanhouse that the Wilpons, owners of the Mets, had hired a high-powered project management firm to “work on a feasability study” for a new arena at Willets Point, adjacent to Citi Field. Newsday then followed up with the predictable denials from sources. Our friend B.D. Gallof compared the whole thing to a scene from the movie “M.A.S.H.” which served to plant the theme song from the TV version in my head for a few hours. Thanks, buddy.

For me—and, I suspect, most Islanders fans—the drama has become tiresome. I’m done with the Town of Hempstead, and the politics, and the hand-wringing over whether the Isles are going to move to Queens, or Hartford, or Winnipeg, or Kansas City, or Brooklyn, or Yaphank, or Paris, Texas.

I’d be done with Charles Wang, too, except he hasn’t said a word in months. At least he’s not been annoying.

The Lighthouse Project has been all but disbanded and Hempstead has yet to provide new zoning for the property, or any guidance as to how Wang’s proposal needs to be pared down. The general feeling is that it would have to be cut down considerably. Maybe Wang would be okay with that, maybe not.

Wang still has incentive to stay at the Coliseum. The revised lease agreement gives the Islanders more revenue from games and other events, and you’d think it would be easier for them to stay at that location, in a renovated or new arena, regardless of how much of the other development is eliminated.

While Wang may or may not be investigating other options, like looking to the Wilpons and Queens, at some point the town will present its new parameters for the site, eliminating the oh-so-scary “mini city” that the local politicians love to call the Lighthouse plan. Hopefully that will come soon, maybe this year? This decade? Before the next World Cup?

At that point, Wang will either be in or out, but that day seems to be so far off it is not even on the horizon. So wake me when it comes, okay?

The lease on the Coliseum runs out in 2015. There’s still time to develop a site for a new arena somewhere (good luck with the Iron Triangle, though), but not much.

Part of me would love to see the Islanders find a new site on Long Island and leave Hempstead, stuck with either a casino or just a couple of new big box stores to replace a tenant-less arena. Let the politicians take credit for that.

The other part of me wants to stop hearing, talking, or writing about this for ever more.

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