Monday, December 11, 2006
Game of the Year?
Yesterday's Arsenal-Chelsea game made a December run in the race for Game of the Year. Any sport. I'm not saying it definitely gets the nod, but I'd have to think a while before matching it. Awesome stuff. The only drawback, if there was one, is that it was a midseason game. Late spring with the title on the line? That would have raised the stakes a bit...but who's complaining?
Michael Essien may have went on to have the possible Miss of the Year when he hit the crossbar from roughly a foot away from goal in second half injury time, but his late goal to even things was a true goosebump moment.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Tommie Harris' hamstring may be much worse than originally feared and the prospect of the ultra-stud defensive tackle missing the remainder of the season is a very real possibilty, prompting the Unknown Column to head directly to the nearest, darkest corner and curling into the fetal position.
This is exactly what the Bears didn't need. The dreaded major injury to a major player.
This is horrible, crushing, disastrous news. Harris has quickly become one of the best defensive players in the league and his absence would leave a gaping void, especially for a defense that has struggled against the run ever since Mike Brown was lost for the season in the secondary.
You really have to feel for Brian Urlacher in all of this. The heart of the Bears defense ran right up the middle like a glorious spine: Harris in the middle of the line, Urlacher at middle linebacker, and Brown in the middle of the secondary. That's probably (undeniably?) the best defensive trio in the NFL. And now? Now it looks like Urlacher will have to go it alone.
Maybe, just maybe, Harris can recover in time for the playoffs, which I suppose isn't that far out of the realm of possibility, or at least that's what I'm telling myself.
I'll be at church praying if you need me...once I get up out of this corner.
We're an Embarrassment
You can add the United States Soccer Federation to the same list that includes such entities as the Chicago Cubs, Arizona Cardinals, and the entire Bush Administration. In other words, the list of all things that are completely incompetent.
After spending six months disgracefully and desperately tailing Jurgen Klinsmann with its tongue firmly planted in his behind, the USSF has been politely told by the German coach thanks, but no thanks. This means that the U.S. national team has yet to hire a coach or hit the field even once since the World Cup. We've done nothing. Nothing. It also means that the entire golbal soccer community is surely laughing at us. Even the Canucks! Oh, sure, the world has been laughing at American soccer for years now, but the fact that the laughter is more audible than ever is really saying something.
It's bad enough to lose. It's so much worse to be an utter embarrassment. And this is what we are.
The sad part is that, apparently, Klinsmann's decision was based not on money but on issues of power. If so, USSF head Sunil Gulati is even more clueless and unlikable than I initially thought.
I mean, who the fuck is Sunil Gulati? Klinsmann was a superstar player who won a World Cup in 1990 and is currently a young coach with a seemingly limitless future who already proved his worth at this past summer's World Cup...and Gulati is going to argue with him about who should have the bigger say on important matters? Really?
We're pathetic. We really are.
Meanwhile, Bob Bradley has been named interim coach. Sure, Bradley was successful here in Chicago with the Fire, but he was also fired by the MetroStars. In other words, our national team has gone from the prospect of Klinsmann to a guy who was fired by an MLS team. This is like being turned down by Phil Jackson and responding by a dude who was shitcanned in the CBA.
This summer we'll play in both the Gold Cup and the Copa America. Busy schedule. How far the embarrassment spills over onto the actual playing field remains to be seen.
I'm guessing plenty.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Has Kenny Williams Lost His Mind?
The Unknown Column has been drawn from his hibernation and he's pissed off. And worried.
Apparently, Kenny Williams has either a) lost his mind, or b) become so arrogant that he's decided to do all he can to give a huge middle finger to the currently ridiculous state of baseball economics. Either way, the trade of Freddy Garcia to the Phillies for Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez is quite possibly the most baffling (unbelievably dumb) move I can remember the Sox making. Actually, no, I'm positive that it is.
I don't get it. I mean, I understand the desire to open a spot in the rotation for Brandon McCarthy - a move that has been long-anticipated - but this reeks of desperation to do so.
Last season Floyd amassed a 7.29 ERA with the Phillies before being permanently shipped to the minors. In 24 career games (17 starts) he has a 6.96 ERA. Um, maybe it's just me, but those numbers kind of suck. In fact, considering the dude was drafted fourth overall in 2001, he's been a magnificent bust.
As for Gonzalez, the Sox just dealt him last year in the Jim Thome-Aaron Rowand deal and are now getting him back. I don't know how excited Sox fans are supposed to be about a guy who was already shipped out of town once.
Of course, Williams has long been a wheeler-dealer sort, so maybe he has a trick or two up his sleeve. But at the moment, it seems the Sox have just given up plenty for little (to nothing) in return. This is the sort of move that severely hampers a fan's ability to muster hope heading into a season.
And the Unknown Column is extremely fuckin' pissed off. There had better be more to this story than meets the eye.
As for Garcia, who is married to the cousin of Ozzie Guillen (a girl Ozzie raised), this should make for some intersting family gatherings.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Gold Cup Coming to Chicago
The semifinals and final of the 2007 Gold Cup are coming to Chicago. Soldier Field, to be exact. This is very cool news. The lakefront in the summertime.
For the non-soccerheads, the Gold Cup is the biannual tournament to decide the best team in CONCACAF, the region we play in. Of course, this debate is endlessly a tossup between us and Mexico, as the rest of the region is pretty much our bitches. And should, as expected, the U.S. meet Mexico in the final, well, Soldier Field will be positively electric. These teams do not like each other and rhe joint will be packed.
And there is sure to be more Mejeecanos that gringos in the stands.
Hopefully, we actually, you know, get some games in soon. It would also help if we, you know, hired a coach. I wonder if Jurgen Klinsmann is laughing at us at this point. I mean, could we look any more desperate and incompetent? At the moment we remain coachless and have yet to step on the field since the loss to Ghana to close out our nightmare World Cup. Which is absolutely criminal as the rest of the world has been playing games regularly, both friendlies and qualifiers. Everyone except us. US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati is the definition of clueless.
This mess is a joke that is no longer funny.
Do you mean to tell me we couldn't have played at least a friendly or two with an interim coach? I thinks we could have. It would have helped and it surely beats sitting around doing nothing.
Anyway, the Gold Cup should be a blast and, by the way, has one of the larger trophies in sports. It's almost big enough for Landon Donovan to hide in during the big games.