Does it hurt to be this cute all the time? Is that what’s wrong with Rafa’s knees? Can any of you wait until they’re both old and show up to tournaments and make fun of how the new kids are all wimps and bad at tennis? Because I can’t. It’s going to be fantastic. It’ll be like Ian McKellen and Peter O’Toole, only with fewer cigarettes, and slightly more daring clothes.
I hope he didn't bite this one; that looks like it could end badly.
He looks that happy after beating Roger Federer in a quite meaningless match in Abu Dhabi. Which is like looking happy after taking out the trash. If your cordial nemesis was also taking out the trash, but you did it better. And it maybe wasn’t even your trash, but you figured you’d do it, just for kicks. And then someone gave you a spittoon? And you were just thrilled.
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.
But they do provide some hilarious photos. Here’s the best of this year’s crop, from a reception at No. 10, Downing Street:
What are those things on the walls?
I think the best part is how Roger Federer looks fifteen years older than everyone else, because he has a real person haircut, a pin-striped suit, and an expression that doesn’t make him look mentally deficient or stoned. And I really want to know what he could possibly have said that made Nadal that non-plussed.
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.
So, if you want to, I’m sure you know that England struggled mightily with Bangladesh’s tail-end last night, and then seem a bit rubbish at batting themselves. I think we can take it as read that I have mocked Alastair Cook’s inability to set a field or, you know, catch. At this point I feel kind of bad about it.
I just wanted to share this photograph, which I think is indescribably hilarious.
Oh, dear. Not again.
Well, not quite indescribably. Clockwise, from top left: Kevin Pietersen, not watching the ball run away to the boundary, even though he did plenty of that last night. What is he watching? Why isn’t he watching the ball? It is clearly behind him. James Tredwell, running after it, almost certainly in vain. Graeme Swann, head in hands, wondering why he’s the only one who bothers to show up for these matches, and probably not feeling all that guilty because no one particularly troubled to field off his (Swann’s) bowling. Matt Prior, whose expressive use of wicketkeeping gloves is unparalleled. Look at that pathos. And worst of all, poor Paul Collingwood, about to go pointy nose to turf, the best of a bad lot, but still inadequate. Perhaps KP’s stylish indifference is a better solution. It doesn’t seem much less effective.