Nice kits! From left: Fabian Cancellara, Fränk Schleck, Andy Schleck.
They are Leopard Trek! And they are awesome! And I really really hope they win the Tour this year, because who likes Contador? (Shockingly, we still don’t.)
Here is Leopard Shleck’s (Am I the first to do that? I hope so.) website. Not a lot there, yet, but I’m sure there will be. And maybe the official Twitter feed will be slightly more literate (if far less endearing) than those of the various members.
He’s been rubbish with the bat this series, so perhaps in the near future he will cease to bring us joy as a Test cricketer for England. For this reason, I am going to ride the excitement as long as possible. Also, check out this vertical!
Collywobbles! Sometimes they work!
Update: And he just caught Smith off Jimmy Anderson, so it’s party time again! Hooray, Colly! Figure out how to bat again, please!
Also, dear Aussie cricket commentators: “début” is not pronounced “daboo.” Please correct.
They look tragically unhip, but so, so happy, so I’m willing to let it go. They’re doing the sprinkler. It was a thing this series, for no reason at all.
This is my other favorite photo of the series, because my love for Paul Collingwood is deep and abiding and I like profoundly dull things like fielding. Especially when it’s exciting as it is here! Ricky Ponting is being dismissed, in Perth, I believe.
And the serious part of the post consists mostly in this: Mr. Ponting will probably lose the captaincy and I don’t really see why. Certainly he should have batted better, and his tirade against the umpires was embarrassing and childish. But there was no captain in the world who could have made this Australia squad beat this England squad. Alastair Cook was in good nick, and so was practically everyone else, and Mitchell Johnson had a good match in Perth only after being dropped after the first Test for being totally woeful. Effort would not have helped; wanting it, whatever that means, would not have helped. The England team have just been better this winter (except when over-confident and complacent in Perth).
It’s entirely possible I’ll be proven embarrassingly wrong and England will collapse pathetically in Sydney to draw the series. It’s largely what I expect, since I support England cricket. But I will say that they are the better team, and while you can and should give Andrew Strauss credit for that, it is not entirely Mr. Ponting’s fault that Australia have not taken the Ashes back.
And at least we have moved forward from matches in which England batsmen score double tons in Australia and still lose (see: Paul Collingwood, Adelaide, 2006). That second innings was superb and far better than I expected following the first, so fair play to Messrs. Strauss, Trott, and especially Cook and his 235 not out (which brought his total for the match over 300, incidentally).
The internet, shockingly, has rather failed us on cute pictures, either from his first century, or the second one, so here’s a nice one that will make you feel better about the mildly grim weather we’ve been having:
That's a lot of runs there.
Most importantly, what should Cooky’s new epithet be? We’re sticking with an S, because I use “SAC” in my head. Yup, I do.
Perhaps football facemasks are hiding some doozies, and we’re too distracted by horrible tattoos in the NBA, but baseball seems to take the cake in players with hideous facial hair. This is certainly true in the MLB in general, but some combination of topicality and their actually being worse than average has led us to focus exclusively on the Phillies and Giants. So, without further ado, the Not The Swimsuit Issue NLCS Worst Facial Hair Awards.
First up, the “You Can’t Be Serious” award goes to Sergio Romo’s facial monstrosity, which actually manages to trump his mid-season excrescence, which seemed like an attempt to look like an Egyptian pharaoh–and ugly Egyptian pharaoh.
It's kind of in shadow. Trust us: it's for the best.
Second, the “You’re Actually Not Serious” award goes to Brian Wilson, who is actually not serious. Really, his beard is kind of awesome. I, for one, hope that he tears it off and reveals its fakeness after the World Series (win or lose–no jinxes).
All he needs is a false nose and cheap plastic glasses.
Finally, we present the “Worst Facial Hair…Squared” award to Jayson Werth, for going from bad to worse. Actually, more like terrible to OH GOD GET IT OFF MY SCREEN.
It's like we photoshopped this, but we didn't.
Annnnd, here’s this:
Seriously? Actually yes. Unlike Brian Wilson.
To wrap things up, we’d like give out some honorable mentions for Worst Soul Patches. First, Raul Ibanez for Worst Soul Patch. There are far too many soul patches out there (read: some), but Ibanez’s is particularly bad. Yes, he looks like a turtle and the craptacular triangular tuft adds some definition to his chin, but it’s just not worth it.
Choosing this image may be cheating.
And finally, the award for “Worst Attempt at a Soul Patch,” to Tim Lincecum, because he may be trying to grow one, and it’s also a good excuse to include him in this post. Here’s a picture we found that might have some hair growing below the lip.
I am sorry to lower the journalistic tone of NTSI, but that photo is great, so we’re going to run with it. And, look! I am not talking about his hair. Well, now I am. But I’ll stop.
I am not overfond of Atlético Madrid. They are less adorable than Mr. Forlán’s previous team (Villarreal), they are sort of under-dogs but not that appealing, and I cannot figure out why there is a bear on their crest.
Also they under-perform like it is their job. Whereas it is not their job. Their job is performing. Under-performing merely allows the BBC commentators to mock you for losing to Xerez. And they have a right. Now, it is going too far to say that Atlético are a poor team, because after all they just won the Europa League, and they have produced many excellent shows this season. They’re just not consistent. Except that they might also win the Copa del Rey next week (on Mr. Forlán’s 31st birthday). So, really, they’re just mystifying in the extreme.
But Diego Forlán is not mystifying, except to opposing goalkeepers. He is just awesome.