Dreams Blog

July 11, 2014

NBA Snake
The Daily News referred to Jason Kidd as being shifty and being “A common snake.” Bruce Jenkins (SF Chronicle) quoted Harvey Araton (NY Times) as saying, “New York Times columnist Harvey Araton referred to Kidd’s “well-chronicled reputation as a viper” and cited his various indiscretions from the past: facing domestic-abuse charges, pleading guilty to DWI and conspiring to get coach Byron Scott fired when Kidd played for the New Jersey Nets.
What if the Bucks, fearing a wave of negative publicity, back off Kidd’s desire to run the team? Then he’ll simply be the head coach in Milwaukee, possibly the NBA’s least attractive destination. A fate well deserved, some would say.”
A Cup Recap
Ann Killian (SF Chronicle) gave us her impression of the American appearance in the World Cup tournament:
‘It would have been a breakthrough.’ “According to Landon Donovan – left off the U.S. team but providing commentary for ESPN – the back-to-back losses to Germany and Belgium proved where the United States is compared with the truly elite teams.
‘That’s the level we need to aspire to,’ Donovan said. ‘We need to develop the technical skills so we’re the team creating 25 chances.’
“This is exactly what Klinsmann meant when he said our country isn’t capable of winning the World Cup, not yet. He was skewered for his honesty, but it’s a simple fact. Though the games with Germany and Belgium were close, and with a little luck the U.S. team could have pulled the upset, the talent divide between that level and the Americans was obvious.” (b: that divide wasn’t that great. We took them all to OT’s. Now we’re seeing good new players like 19yr. old Julian Green and 20yr. old DeAndre Yedlin, arriving.)
A Stunning Defeat
Bruce Jenkins (SF Chronicle) talked about the Germany-Brazil shocker- well I guess to the really knowledgeable it wasn’t a surprise. “Then the game was played – and for Brazil’s 7-1 loss, there will be no forgiveness. There can be no rationalization of a disgrace. Most observers were immediately calling it the most astonishing, inexplicable match in World Cup history, and surely the critiques were more severe among Brazil’s devoted populace.
Fans were in tears well before halftime, and those were the people who weren’t in shock. Normally goals are a treasure in this sport, something to be appreciated and replayed in the mind. In Germany’s hands, they were as common as groundballs to the second baseman. However one places this match in historical perspective, there’s no question that a seven-minute stretch in the first half, where Germany’s lead grew from 1-0 to 5-0, has no equal in the World Cup’s realm of the unexpected.”
Bruce Jenkins then talked about Argentina’s Messi: “When it comes to Messi and Argentina, there are no fond memories of the past. He’s the most technically brilliant player in the world, but until this World Cup, he’s had a tenuous relationship, at best, with his home country. And it all goes back to a tiny little kid who needed one of American sport’s dirtiest words – steroids – to become whole. Messi was so undersized at the age of 10, his parents sought medical advice. Without treatment, they were told, he would grow no taller than 5 feet as an adult. Thus began a series of human growth hormone injections, effective but also expensive, to the point where neither Messi’s parents nor his soccer club could afford to pay. The HGH treatment was a five-year plan, and when Lionel was 13, his family moved to Barcelona, where he could join the world’s most prestigious club and not have to worry about finances.
He grew to just 5-foot-7, but as the world soon discovered, his was a towering presence. Graced by the midfield genius of Barcelona teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta, among other stars of the football galaxy, Messi became the centerpiece of an elegant, technically superior powerhouse. What a contrast of storied performers. It now seems obvious that Argentina needed to move on from Maradona, with his history of underworld associations, cocaine abuse and countless other unsavory episodes. On Saturday, as Messi’s phenomenal dribbling led to Gonzalo Higuain’s goal, the only one in the quarterfinal against Belgium, it seemed the transition was complete. Argentina will meet the Netherlands in the semifinals, and it seems entirely possible that Messi can orchestrate a long-awaited championship.
FIFA Questions
The Sports Curmudgeon posed questions about some future World Cup locations selections: There are more chapters to be written here, but as things stand in 2014, there are a few questions we all should keep an eye on as time marches forward:
1. The 2018 World Cup Tournament will be held in Russia. What could possibly go wrong there?
2. If Sepp Blatter thinks the only issue involving the 2022 bid won by the Qataris is the climate, is he ready to tell the world how he – and his august colleagues – did not know that it is hotter than Hades in Qatar in the summertime back when they did their voting?
3. What contractual pressures can individual clubs and national leagues – and international competitions such as those run by UEFA – put on FIFA with regard to moving the World Cup to the winter?
4. How come one of the 2022 major sponsors – Emirates Airlines – located in Dubai has not found it important to register its discomfort with the alleged human rights issues regarding their neighbors in Qatar?
These kinds of issues can keep me focused on international soccer politics and practices for the next few years. However, I prefer to close here with an issue that Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle honed in on back when the vote was taken to assign the tournament to Qatar.
‘The government of Qatar is still questioning the need to sell beer at World Cup matches in 2022. Isn’t Qatar in the desert? Yo, vendor, gimme a hot chocolate!’”
Far Out
Dwight Perry(Seattle Times) told us, in case you missed it, that 7/2 was world UFO day. “In keeping with the theme, 87 people swore they saw Dennis Rodman drive by.

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