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Archive for August, 2009

Arrivederci, Sheva.

I remember when Andriy Shevchenko made his much-heralded move to the Premier League.  That’s not particularly impressive; it wasn’t very long ago.  But I also distinctly remember not having great hopes for him.  Part of this was wishful thinking, as Chelsea isn’t a team I support, but my powers of analysis are mildly greater than that.

One has only to look at that great European Cup final (AC Milan vs Liverpool, you know the one) to see that Mr. Shevchenko was probably not going to be a howling success in England.  He was utterly bamboozled.  The Liverpool defense will probably never play a better second half than that, or even as good, it’s true.  But Mr. Shevchenko was utterly out of his depth.

And the (once-record) transfer hasn’t worked out, unfortunately.  Few footballers live up to transfer expectations–it would be difficult.  He is among those who fail to do so rather spectacularly, especially considering his outstanding success with AC Milan and his heroic leadership with Ukraine.

I wish footballers wouldn’t squander promising–or even already delivering–careers.  It’s of course impossible to predict such things, and, like Alexander, I’m sure footballers are always looking for new worlds to conquer, but there are so many cautionary tales out there one would think circumspection would be the watchword.  Watching players fail isn’t enjoyable (in most cases), even if they play for Chelsea.  I sort of feel like Mr. Shevchenko’s been making that same “I can’t believe we just lost to Liverpool” face for the past four years.

Well, his English is probably improved, and he’s still cute, so I guess it’s not a total loss?

And blue was such a good color for him, too.

And blue was such a good color for him, too.

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Poor Chris Simms. Another kind of doofy injury, bringing his total of such to 4,367 and limiting his likely NFL snaps to 2.9.  It would be so nice if he succeeded, and his dad would be thrilled, and it would be cute to have another father-son set of impressive quarterbacks, but it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards.  Perseverance is to be admired, but there’s a line dividing “plucky” from “delusional,” and Mr. Simms may just have crossed it.

No one thinks he’s delicate, since he played most of a game with a ruptured spleen.  No one will call him a wimp for giving up.  Well, maybe jerks would.  It would just be great if no one had to read another “Chris Simms gets injured” headline.

He’s still cute, at least.

I feel bad for him, but not the Broncos.

I feel bad for him, but not the Broncos.

See?  This blog does not hate America, for serious.

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Okay, so, fine, it’s only Fernando Torres and Jamie Carragher who are currently made out of staples.  And it’s kind of reassuring and manly for Mr. Torres to have a black eye.  For Mr. Carragher, we figure he’s had lots, and it’s less interesting.

Still kind of hard core, though.

Still kind of hard core, though.

I wonder if Liverpool will now throw in the towel totally on the Premier League season and focus on Europe.  Perhaps making that decision earlier in the season will benefit them.  Alternatively, Mr. Torres will just get angrier and angrier and Steven Gerrard will get in more bar fights.  Hey, if Fernando Torres is beat up and masculine, is Stevie G. going to lag behind?

Uncharacteristic and not exactly cute, but....

Uncharacteristic and not exactly cute, but....

On the plus side, now the music video for “Ya nada volverá a ser como antes,” by El Canto del Loco, will be less implausible.  In it, a girl leaves Fernando Torres (yes, he’s actually in the video) for a lead singer with a scar through his eyebrow.  Yeah, right.  Good song, though.

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England won the Ashes today, in case you hadn’t noticed.  It was exciting.

But there have been parties on both sides claiming it wasn’t “deserved.”  Aussies and self-hating Englishmen are quick to point out the Australians had more centuries, more impressive bowling statistics, less facial hair, more guts, cuter accents, and were generally clearly better cricketers and people than the English side could possibly be, since obviously the English are sissy and terrible at sports.  England were destroyed at Headingley; England only salvaged a draw at Cardiff through underhanded shenanigans because seriously how could Monty Panesar stand at the crease for that long; etc.

Look, if you win a game, and it wasn’t thrown and you didn’t cheat, you deserve to win it.  Maybe England were lucky to win the toss and bat first at the Oval.  Unfortunately for Australia, those are the rules.  Tough break.

A corollary: if you win more games in a series than the other team, and they weren’t thrown and you didn’t cheat, you deserve to win the series.  This is how winning works.

For instance, if Andy Murray is not having a good day, and this contributes to Roger Federer’s victory over him, Roger Federer deserves to win.  It’s a shame that Mr. Murray isn’t feeling well, but this is why you play matches.  Otherwise we would just assign talent numbers and run very simple simulations to determine victors.  If you are better on the day, and you win, you deserve it.

There is no other criterion.  It does not matter how long it’s been since you won, it does not matter if you’re coming impressively off an injury, it does not matter if you really, really want it.  If you lose, you don’t deserve to win.

But what I really mean is that “deserving” isn’t a pertinent category.  You win, or you lose.  You agreed beforehand about the rules and the scoring.  What shakes out from there is what happens.

Because if grown men covered in a mist of champagne isn't cute, I don't know what is.

Because if grown men covered in a mist of champagne isn't cute, I don't know what is.

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Took five wickets for 37 runs today.  And he scored 37 himself, so if runs scored by bowlers were, like, you know, carbon offsets for emissions, he’d be golden!

Golden!

Golden!

I love it when I’m right.

And you know what?  Even if there is a massive England batting collapse and the Aussies win, Stuart Broad will still have been awesome today.  So I’m never taking it back.

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The something-something Masters in Cincinnati has been on ESPN2, and I’ve been watching it, since that’s what I do.  Tonight, I caught the end of Rafa’s match.  He won, 7-5, 6-2, and then proceeded to dance around the court showing off his guns, then kick a bunch of tennis balls soccer-style into the stands.  I’m not sure why I found this so amusing and adorable, but I did.  Perhaps it’s because they interviewed him about it after the match, and he was careful to point out that he was kicking with his left leg, giving his tender right knee a break.

At any rate, Andy Murray’s all well and good, but I’ve missed Rafa, and I can’t wait for the US Open, where I hope we’ll see Nadal at 100%.  Wimbledon just wasn’t the same without him.  And it was definitely less hot.

Now with less hideous clothing!

Now with less hideous clothing!

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Well, Alistair Cook sure as hell isn’t in the side for his bowling.  Or his fielding.

There are people who called for Mr. Broad to be dropped mid-series because, though he was enjoying moderate success with the bat, he wasn’t taking wickets, and was, therefore, not doing his job.  This is fair.

Or it would be fair.  If the batsmen were doing their jobs.

As it stands, Mr. Broad may not be doing his job, but he’s doing someone else’s.  Those people are not doing their jobs, and they are also not doing his.

I like pretty much everyone in the England squad.  They seem largely like nice blokes and as far as I know none of them is particularly criminal or stupid.  If I had my way, they would all keep their places, for good reasons.  Alistair Cook would hit a century every innings and Graeme Swann would have so many five wicket hauls he started forgetting them.  Freddie Flintoff would stop being injured all the time.  Essentially, batsmen would score respectable totals and bowlers would not be totally ineffectual.

I’m just saying that, if Mr. Broad can do anything, you should probably keep him around.

Here is Jonathan Trott scoring his first Test runs for England, because you can’t really tell if he’s cute or not (he’s not), and because seeing the run-out breaks my heart every time I see it.

41 is nothing to sneeze at.

41 is nothing to sneeze at.

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