Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2009

Er...what's this award for, again?

Er...what's this award for, again?

Fortunately, Diego Forlán is cutely awkward.  I just love the photos from the presentation of last year’s Golden Shoe (which happened earlier this month), because he looks like he’s not really sure why he’s there, as if he wasn’t present the thirty-two times he scored a goal in league play last year.  Which is adorable.  Especially because he’s now won it twice.

Not adorable is how totally crap Atlético are this year.  Not sure how it happened.  I predicted that they would be beaten today at Stamford Bridge (not a terrifically bold prophecy), but I was thinking maybe a 3-1 sort of scoreline.  Not 4-0 with an own goal.

With one point out of three matches, the future’s not looking too rosy.  Also, they have but one victory in league play, which is bad.  I can’t remember the last time they even bothered to score a goal.  In the other team’s net, I mean.

So I get why Mr. Forlán looks a little awkward–it can’t be too much fun to be accepting an award for individual magnificence when your team is bobbing around the drop zone.  Although he looked just as awkward the last time, when Villarreal were enjoying what can really only be described as meteoric success.  So, in conclusion, good thing he’s cute.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Look at those guns.

Look at those guns.

Fortunately for NTSI, male attractiveness tends to correlate pretty highly with sporting talent.  Cristiano Ronaldo is good-looking, Grady Sizemore is cute, Roger Federer is handsome, and I don’t think anyone is going to kick Jason Taylor out of bed (five years ago, anyway).

This is not the case, for whatever reason, in women’s sports.  Your nice-looking female athletes–Mia Hamm or Maria Sharapova–are the exceptions, and even they tend not to be transcendently gorgeous.  So, in women’s sports, unlike in men’s, we have the phenomenon of a double track: talent, and looks.  It’s sexist and awful and it’s mostly why you know Anna Kournikova’s name.

So Kit and I were trying to figure out if there were an equivalent in men’s sports.  But David Beckham is actually good at soccer, and Stuart Broad is a fine bowler, and Chase Utley turns a mean double play.  We couldn’t think of anyone who was inordinately more famous for looks than for talent (yes, you could make an argument with Becks, but he’s a severe outlier and, importantly, was a truly great footballer in his prime).

And, admittedly, Brady Quinn is not primarily famous for his looks.  He’s primarily famous for having gone to Notre Dame.  And he’s not terrible.  On a real team he might be all right.  But he is also…not good.  And he is supremely hunky.  So he’s the best we can do.

Read Full Post »

So, sometime last year Kit and I were going to do a Cole Hamels point/counter-point on the question of whether he would be as cute if he were terrible at baseball, or even just less good at baseball.  I said yes; Kit said no.

So then 2009 happened, and Mr. Hamels was on my fantasy baseball team, and let me tell you, there is nothing better than poor fantasy production for making you think someone is heinous.  And yet I am not a total ingrate, and I can remember, say, 2008.  I am also really good at making excuses for players I like, as you may have noticed.  I can tell myself that Cole Hamels loses games because he gets no run support, even when his ERA is approximately 4,732.  It’s a useful skill.

My point is, basically, that I am now sort of ambivalent on the point of Mr. Hamels’s cuteness, and I don’t think Kit cares anymore, so a point/counter-point would be superfluous.  I will merely present the evidence.

Nonchalant is cute, right?

Nonchalant is cute, right?

Lanky, sure, and those shoes are a little smooth, but he didn’t pick them himself and at least we’re pretty sure he’s not on steroids, so…you win some….

Is angry cute?

Is angry cute?

This is a main complaint of mine: the man needs a haircut.  I’m sure he thinks it’ll make him look old, or square, or something, since he’s about twelve, but what it will actually do is make him look like a civilized human being.  Many ball players do not have this option, because they look like Randy Johnson, so Mr. Hamels should take advantage of his good fortune.

Freezing is definitely cute.

Freezing is definitely cute.

This, for me, is the money shot.  Which I suppose goes to show that this blog is sometimes less shallow than it seems.  Epic.

So there you go.  He’s pretty cute, and he was definitely really good at baseball at one point in his life, which is better than most of us can say, and I am sick and tired of Clayton Kershaw’s putative beard producing all the traffic for this site.

Read Full Post »

So you probably all knew this, but I just found out, and, man, is that ever lame.

As I said to Kit, clearly it takes guts to name your kid “Colt,” because that’s basically hanging a giant sign around his neck that says, “If I do not play quarterback for Texas, my parents might kill me.”  But the flip side of that is: if he actually ends up playing quarterback for Texas, his awesome quotient multiplies.

And, as Kit pointed out, “Colt” is really kind of a name.  And if you’re worried that it’s not, you can name him “Colton,” which is definitely a name and has college quarterback precedent in Colt Brennan.  It’s not like naming the kid “Moon Unit.”

So, fumble there, Mr. and Mrs. McCoy.

Possibly too cute to be named Daniel, but a little goofy for a Colt.

Possibly too cute to be named Daniel, but a little goofy for a Colt.

Read Full Post »

I’ll be the first to admit that 162 games of baseball have a hard time holding my attention.  By about mid-July, I’m looking forward to football.  Here’s what the solution is NOT: get rid of the playoffs.  The playoffs offer a solid month of constantly relevant, if not exciting baseball.  It helps to make up for that midsummer lull.

I suppose one could argue that a pennant race makes September more exciting as things get down to the wire, but only on the off chance that it’s actually close.  With the playoff system, we get kind of a mini pennant race in each division, plus extra wildcard madness, all of which can offer just as much excitement as the real deal.  Case in point: 2009 AL Central.  Can anyone really argue with a straight face that the system that makes for the 12 inning barn burner that was Tigers/Twins game 153 is inferior to a system that renders it irrelevant, or, you know, nonexistent?  And let’s not even get into the 2004 ALCS.

But here’s the bottom line: MORE BASEBALL.  Don’t we want more?  I mean, maybe we don’t want more Pirates/Reds games, but don’t we want more good baseball?  I think we do.  If you want to cut a few games out of the schedule and start the playoffs in early to mid-September, I’m all for it, but a little chilly weather is not worth missing out on the playoffs.  Because they’re awesome.

Read Full Post »

I am totally willing to concede that watching Real Madrid or Barcelona win the Primera Liga by 23 points, some time in February, is no fun.  I am also willing to concede that it is broadly possible that Real or Barça could have vastly more wins throughout the season and then be knocked off in a play-off system by, say, Sporting Gijon.  And I am willing to concede that this eventuality, should it occur, would be more interesting, for a given value of the word, than the inevitable Real or Barça title.

However.  Every team has already had two chances to prove that it can have a better day–two better days–than, for the purposes of argument, Barça.  And if, say, Valencia has beaten Barça twice, but has lost inexplicably to all the bottom-feeders of the Liga, they certainly don’t deserve to win the title.

Obviously it would be preferable for the season to come down to the last week or two.  Everyone would love it if Arsenal had to beat Liverpool at Anfield 5-2 on the last day of the season in order to win the title (well, everyone would love it more, probably, if Fulham had to beat Spurs at White Hart Lane, but you know what I mean).

I know what you’re all saying.  Who the hell are these teams, where are these places, and what sport is this?

What I mean is: real pennant races are more awesome than play-offs.

A cursory examination of the last decade of winners of the American League standings versus winners of the American League Championship Series revealed a lower correlation than I expected (I did not make a fuller study because it’s rather a pain to find out who had the best record year by year).  The Seattle Mariners, for instance, with 116 wins in the 2001 regular season, did not make the World Series.  I had thought that the correlation would be quite high, so that I could say something along the lines of: “You suckers have been fed a line about the play-offs fostering competition but they are actually only hurdles on the way to a foregone conclusion.”

And, admittedly, even to make the play-offs you have to have had a good year.  Major League Baseball, in this way, is not like the NHL.  I could make the argument that you can make a late charge and win it all, which is silly, to which you could counter, with equal validity, that anyone who wishes to win a title should be able to under whatever circumstances.  So I will not make a “fairness” claim about pennant races versus play-offs.  They are simply the shape of the sport or not, and, if they play to different strengths, they do so in an equitable manner.

I can and will, however, make an attention span argument.  I, too, find it difficult to care about every single one of the 162 games in an MLB regular season.  July and August are the dog days, when the excitement of April has worn off and the thrill of September has yet to arrive.  But, quite honestly, what is boring about the quiet, incremental building of a pennant-winning season?  The excitement of jockeying for play-off positions late in the season shows us that competitions needn’t be head-to-head to compel our attention.  And we have a head-to-head competition.  It’s the called the World Series.  I am not suggesting that we merely crown the best record with the title, which would be madness.

A practical concern also rears its head: a month-long post-season means that the World Series has a decent chance of being absolutely freezing.  Look at last year, and that was only in Philadelphia.  There are colder cities with open ballparks.  You can call the players sissies, but baseball isn’t made for the bitter cold.  It just isn’t.

Part of this, finally, is good old-fashioned nostalgia.  I wish we still talked about “winning the pennant,” which we don’t, really, and that “winning the pennant” still meant the actual pennant.  If winning the pennant doesn’t matter, what’s the point of differentiating the American League and the National League?  Why don’t we just have everyone play everyone else in an insane round robin?  Why do we still have the designated hitter?

Oh, and because I will soon be unable to use this photo with any relevance:

Joe Mauer is really, really cute.

Joe Mauer is really, really cute.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: