Standard Discussion: Futbol in the US

So the World Cup is over. Espana beats Nederland. I was going for NED because of my love for the color orange, not to mention my undying support for any country that has legalized it. (And I hear tell of a district colored by red lights, as well?) But alas, I lost whatever bet I made in my head, and therefore should be expecting a visit from my mind bookies shortly.

Anyway, like a lot of ‘Mericans, I bicycle-kicked my way up onto the bandwagon, lured in by the drone of the vuvuzelas and and excuse to drink with friends at 10:30 EST. But now those Bloody Marys and noon Guinesses have left an awful hangover. So, with American Football preseason games a good month away, I have some time to reflect and ask you fellow Standards the following Standard Discussion Question:

What will it take for Futbol–even if it’s just MLS–to take hold in the US?

I have some ideas, like setting up the cameras so they can close in on players in action, the use of instant replay, and perhaps actually stopping the clock instead of this weird, arbitrary way of adding time to the half. There also must be a better way to monetize the sport–if that sounds evil, it kind of is, but that’s the only way to get it on TV, which is the only way it would survive. In short, I hesitate to say it, but if it’s to become popular in America, it needs to be Americanized to some degree. Let the European-ness of it sneak in the back door, like a drunk Frenchman who … you know, let’s not go down that road.

My fellow fellows, please, sound off.

Your Ahmadineminute — World Cup Wrap-up

Bin Ladin is no friend of Ahmadinejad, but they do share two things in common: their hatred for America and a love for football.

(Please don’t accuse me of being lazy… I don’t have the time to try and make this quote funnier than it already is)

Bin Laden—whose strict Islamist worldview proscribes music, women’s education, gambling, drinking, homosexuality, and the shaving of beards—is a fan of the game, and his preferred position is center forward. He is one of the many jihadists who worship the world’s most popular sport. “It’s on the whole their favorite thing after jihad,” says Scott Atran, an American and French anthropologist who has studied the interplay between terror groups and soccer.

gawker.com/5581070/you-know-who-else-loves-the-world-cup-osama-bin-laden-thats

Octopus calls World Cup games, retires

The soothsaying invertebrate, who lives in a Berlin aquarium and correctly predicted the winning team for as many World Cup matches as he has legs, will now dump the psychic bit for some well-deserved watery relaxation.

Paul will “go into retirement and do what he likes to do best: play with his handlers and delight children who come visit to him,” Sea Life Oberhausen aquarium spokeswoman Tanja Munzig told the Associated Press.

*****

Sounds like what Paul does best is making gambling addicts money. Seriously, maybe the germans should just eat him.

Paul may be pretty awesome, but he’s no Lord Bodner’s Octopus:

That’s one bad-ass cephalopod!

LeBron goes to Miami

And I can officially stop giving a shit about the NBA until the last game of the finals.

Sports Section – It’s All About LEBRON(tm) to Miami

Stuck at work, logged onto ESPN’s “The Daily Dime Live” webchat, listening to the annoying click sound of the chat forum (addendum – there is a sound button, which I used to turn off the sound effects, but only after becoming severely annoyed after 15 minutes.  Luckily, Prince is singing “Let’s Get Crazy” and my mood is saved).

So, as soon as ESPN announces where Lebron is going, you’ll have the news here on the Standard Standard sports service.

While we wait, here’s my opinion: if Lebron goes to Miami, the Heat will have three premiere players and a whole lot of nothing on the bench.  If he goes to the Knicks, he’ll play with Amare Stoudemire and possibly David Lee, and a whole lot of nothing on the bench.  If he goes to the Nets, he’ll have some fun young players as well as a billionaire Russian who will make Lebron a household name in Siberia, or at least Yakutsk (thank you, Risk the boardgame).   There are other possibilities (back to the Cavs, off to the Bulls, or a surprise move to the Clippers) but one thing is for certain: Lebron has inflicted some PR damage to himself with this method of announcing his free agent decision.

An hour long spectacle to announce his decision is like an hour long program by Warren Buffett to announce the next company he’s going to purchase.  It’s a completely baffling decision to try to bring attention to a decision making process made by cold, calculating millionaires (Lebron, the team owners, other players, David Stern, ESPN executives).  Regardless of his choice (and it’s been announced that he’s joining Wade and Bosh in Miami), he’s making this all about him.

I understand that Lebron the industry wants to become Michael Jordan the industry.  He wants to be the most important thing, news worthy, etc.  However, I don’t think holding a prime time televised press conference as you stab your hometown team is especially endearing.  Look at Kevin Durant as an example: he quickly announces that he’s signed a contract extension and everyone applauds.  Look at Kevin Garnett, when he signed with the Celtics, making an announcement, letting the news swell around his decision and not forcing the issue.  Of course, it’s easy to argue that a decision by the biggest name in the NBA right now is much more significant than an aging power forward, but ultimately, I think this method of announcing a free agent decision will be judged as a bunch of sound and fury, ultimately signifying nothing.

Sour grapes, I know.  Regardless, the decision has made the Heat the presumptive favorites in the East, even with only four players on the roster officially.  The team will need to fill out its roster, since we’ve seen that the Celtics, even with their big three, needed significant contributions by their bench and role players.  How the Heat will improve their roster with only roster exceptions is beyond me, though I hear some good things about their drafted players.

There you have it, folks, the King has joined a new court.  Just to have it on record, barring injury, the Heat make it to the playoffs and lose in the second round.  Sources close to the team say that Wade and James have been feuding, resulting in Wade demanding to be traded in the off-season.  With all their cap room, the Knicks engineer a trade and get D-Wade to the Knicks, where he joins with Amare and Carmello to create a new Knick dynasty.