I have some good news, and some bad news.
Before I give you the option to choose which one you would like first, I have an announcement to make: I am officially a Michigan State Spartan. After attending orientation, enrolling in classes and receiving my student ID card, I am officially taking my talents to East Lansing.
Speaking of orientation — among the things I learned about Michigan State University — I was reminded about three hours into the program that the body needs sleep. Looking back, running on two hours of sleep was probably a bad idea. Slap-happy Justin was in full effect.
For example, after orientation, I headed to Starbucks with my girlfriend to have a little something to eat before a late lunch. Before walking into Starbucks I initially wanted to ask my girlfriend if she wanted to share a muffin with me. Then, I thought “split a muffin” sounded better. What came out of my mouth was profane word — a combination of the two — yeah, you get the picture.
Now back to the good and bad news. And no, you still don’t get to choose which one you would like first.
The good news is, I slept the rest of the day and have fully recovered.
The bad news is, because I had to go to orientation (apparently it’s important) and was exhausted, I have multiple things to discuss in this post. It may be a bumpy ride, but bare with me.
No NFL, No NBA = No Problem
Before Sunday, detractors of the Women’s World Cup were saying “With no NFL and no NBA, sports fans are reduced to watching women’s soccer.” If you were lucky enough to tune into the USA vs Brazil quarter-final match-up you witnessed an instant classic.
After falling behind 1-0 on an own goal in the second minute, Brazil tied the game up in the 68th minute on a penalty kick clouded by controversy.
The foul called leading to the penalty kick and red card to Rachel Buehler was a questionable call at best. Maybe I’m biased because I’m an American and played center back but that was a close one. The first penalty attempt was saved by Hope Solo only to have the kick be re-taken because a U.S. player entered the box early. Marta — widely regarded as the best women’s soccer player in the world — scored to tie it up on the second attempt.
The game headed to extra time where Brazil took the lead in the 92nd minute of a fantastic finish by Marta. Replay showed the goal was offside but what was done was done. The U.S. faced the daunting task of coming back from a goal down while playing with 10 players.
Abby Wambach did the unbelievable in the 122nd minute by heading home a perfect cross from Megan Rapinoe to send the game into a penalty shootout. The U.S. advanced to a semi-final meeting with France on Wednesday with a 5-3 victory in PKs.
As the number one ranked team in the world, the victory –especially the way they won — over Brazil is something to celebrate but not the ultimate goal. Hopefully the U.S. team is able to re-focus quickly as France won’t be an easy out.
Seconds after Wambach’s goal the comparisons to Landon Donovan’s goal erupted. Personally, I don’t think you can compare the two. Both were equally as impressive, memorable, and important.
The Wambach goal gave the U.S. Women’s National Team two epic moments — the other being Brandi Chastain in the 1999 Women’s World Cup — in my lifetime that will never be forgotten.
The U.S. Men’s National Team has only provided one. Yes, I am looking at you Landon Donovan, don’t let me down in 2014 or I may just have to write something about your squeaky high voice or your noticeable receding hair line. Just kidding…but really.
A Mid-Summer Joke
For a game that counts, I couldn’t think of more of a joke. In fact, I think the whole MLB All Star break is a joke. Maybe it has to do with Chris Berman and Joe Buck boring me to insanity with their announcing but I think it goes beyond that.
The Home Run Derby has to be one of the most over-glorified events in the world of sports. It’s a televised batting practice, that’s it!
I understand the kids love it, as they should. Watching their favorite major leaguers hit towering home run after home run must be exciting. I’m sure many of them dream of being in that situation when they grow up.
For the rest of us, those of us who know better, the Home Run Derby is stupid. How so many people “oooohhhh” and “aaahhhh” over the Home Run Derby is beyond me. Heck, I’d much rather watch the celebrity soft ball game or the futures game.
Also, the amount of players that have participated in the Home Run Derby and then struggled with their swing in the second half is concerning. If my team is in contention for a playoff spot, there’s no way I want my star player participating.
On the other hand, the All Star Game frustrates me. I understand the whole concept of trying to decide home-field advantage and trying to make the All Star Game mean something, but it’s time to stop trying.
The players don’t take the game seriously and quite frankly, they shouldn’t have to. The MLB season is one of the longest, most grueling seasons in sports. If I’m an MLB player, and in the All Star game, the last thing I want to be doing is busting my butt and risking injury for home-field advantage in the World Series.
If you don’t believe the players take the game as a joke then you didn’t watch Heath Bell’s entrance into the game in the 8th inning. Bell, the closer for the San Diego Padres sprinted from the bullpen and then slid feet first on the grass right before the pitcher’s mound.
Even worse, a record 84 players were announced as All Stars this year.
So you’re telling me it makes sense to make the All Star Game worth home-field advantage in the World Series even though some of the best players don’t participate in the All Star Game and those that do participate take it as a joke? Pardon me, but that just sounds idiotic.
If you don’t believe home-field advantage is worth something then keep this in mind: The team with home-field advantage has won 20 of the last 25 World Series and the last 8 World Series game sevens.
Tell me you wouldn’t tune in to see Heath Bell-like stunts, field players pitching to pitchers or field players batting on the opposite side of the plate. Those scenarios could be possible if the MLB wised up and made the All Star Game what it should be, a fun, meaningless game of baseball.
A Vacation Well Earned
Unlike Major League Baseball, when I take a vacation, I don’t have to participate in the a ridiculous All Star Game.
Before opening day, I picked my division and wild card winners. At the All Star break, I correctly picked the entire American League. In the National League, I picked three out of the four playoff teams correctly and just switched the NL East winner(Braves) and the Wild Card winner(Phillies).
With MLB being on break, the NFL and NBA still in a lockout, I couldn’t have picked a better time to take a vacation. I will be gone from Wednesday until the following Monday. If you miss me, you can follow me on twitter @JustinDacey14 where I will be tweeting sporadically about what is going in the world of sports.