Imagine for a moment that the NFL announced the 2020 Super Bowl was going to be played at an outdoor stadium yet to be built at Lake Superior State, a school that presently doesn’t even have a football program, in Sault Ste. Marie, on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan,
In the United States, where American football reigns, the sporting media and sports fans alike would be aghast.
Immediate inquiries would ensue, eventually whittling down the possible explanations for such an absurd decision to two possibilities: 1) The AD at the school has a video of Roger Goodell in a state of inamorata with an underage sheep, or 2) Roger Goodell took a several million dollar bribe to see the deal was done.
Now then, suppose this happened on a global stage? In futbol (Read: soccer), a sport so much more popular than its American-style interloper, that what is happening with FIFA makes Deflategate seem a squabble between a parent and a Little League coach when the former’s 7 year old didn’t get to bat in the 9th inning of a game in Germantown?
Which is exactly what happened. When FIFA, the governing body for world soccer awarded a future World Cup to Qatar. Much to the chagrin and befuddlement of everyone who can appreciate that Lionel Messi is the world’s leading sports icon these days.
No, there are no Instagram postings yet of Sepp Blatter in flagrante delicto with Babe the Pig’s first cousin Annette. But, soon enough, unless Vladimir Putin provides armed cover, the scent of mo’ money, mo’ money from Big Oil shall lead the trail of this whole kerfuffle to some secret bank accounts, and Blatter’s bikini-clad vixen-covered estate in the Seychelles Islands.
Of course, here in the States, we’re more concerned with Nick Saban’s whining about some imaginary lopsided playing field, why Tom Brady showed up at the Derby and the fight on the same day without that Bundchen gal, or, even the state of Klay Thompson’s dizziness.
But, to the rest of the world, this huge. Big Soccer has been exposed. As many knew was inevitable.
So, yeah, I know there are probably more of you readers, who even care about the Stanley Cup playoffs than the FIFA criminal syndication mess, but, please understand, this is the biggest story in global sports . . . uh . . . ever.
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It all seemed eerily familiar, format-wise, the ESPN show I watched last night, while awaiting hockey and hoops.
Breaking down the bracket. Discussion of RPI, and whether it’s a legit determiner. The pro forma interview with chair of the Selection Committee, who, upper lip glistening from nervous sweat, had to explain why Oregon was one of the 64 chosen, while Michigan State is sitting home.
Except that it wasn’t the Selection Sunday fare we cherish as a national holiday here in Hoopsylvania. Louisvillian Chris Burke and his cohorts were discussing the field of the NCAA baseball tourney, which commences tomorrow on the home diamonds of the 16 seeded teams.
Yet again, in what is becoming an almost annual affair in the Dan McDonnell era, U of L shall be hosting a regional, with Morehead State, Bradley and Michigan coming to town. And should the Cardinals, ranked as the third best team in the land — That’s right, #3 — survive the first weekend, it will host a Super Regional next weekend, with a trip to the College World Series on the line.
That Louisville Cardinal baseball has reached such a lofty status, that it has the opportunity to advance to Omaha three years in a row, is, frankly, dumbfounding.
A contemporary of mine, played on the Cardinal nine in the 60s. He once told me a big crowd would be 20 or so, all family and girlfriends.
When picking up my credential today for this weekend’s double elimination regional, I was advised that one time in the 70s, U of L actually qualified for a bid to the NCAA tournament. But, turned it down, because there weren’t enough funds to meet the team’s expenses.
Things are not the same as they ever was along Cardinal Way.
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Cleveland swept the Hawks in the East.
GState closed out the Rockets last night, after some temporary Game 4 slippage in Houston.
The Cavs versus Warriors is an intriguing Finals matchup, beginning a week from tonight.
To get there, neither team was seriously challenged. Okay, a couple of close games. An OT too. But, the LeBrons broomed Atlanta. The Warriors had Houston measured the whole way.
Which is to say, the series were far from compelling.
Which is the total opposite of the conference finals in the Stanley Cup playoffs.1
Both series are going seven. In the East, NY’s Rangers will see if they can add to one of the great records in all of sports. They’ve never lost a Stanley Cup Game 7 at home. They take the ice against the offensively-potent Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night.
On Saturday, the West will be decided in Anaheim, where the Mighty Ducks — Or, is it just the Ducks nowadays? — host the Chicago Black Hawks.
There is no more exciting game in all of sports — soccer, water buffalo racing included — than a Stanley Cup Game 7. Nothing.
Nah, don’t try to argue with me. I’m not hearing you. Nothing.
There was a segment of play in the Black Hawks Game 6 W last night so breathtakingly out of control, I was huffing and puffing. And I was sitting, feet up on ottoman, in my recliner, eating a bowl of cereal.
So, my loyal readers, heed me here. No hoops until next Thursday. If you can’t make it out to Patterson to watch the Cardinal nine, turn on the pucks.
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Not enough time to fully discuss the real issue with this year’s NBA playoffs.
Golden State has been lucky all year. But they might be rolling craps at crunch time.
The season is too long. The playoffs are too smushed together. It’s unfair to make these guys play every other night. Sure, I get pissed if there’s not a game on every night. The networks know that.
But you gotta give these guys some rest, some healing time.
Cleveland and Cali get a week off before the Finals. It’s a good thing.
— Seedy K