Why Lionel Messi has my attention (and yours, maybe after this post!)

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Sorry, Saints and Giants. My attention is on Messi Today.

While you focus on your Bills VS Rams, I will be tuned to another channel. And I’ll give you a hint, it’s not the NBA.

Lionel Messi needs to score two goals before January 1st, 2013. Why? Because two goals brings his 2012 total to 86. In other words, changing a record that hasn’t been changed since 1972 by Gerd Müler.

If I was voting for SI’s sportsman of the year, I would’ve voted for LeBron James. But if Messi had won La Liga, UEFA or anything significant like that, he’s my pick.

But except for soccer fans, nobody really knows who he is. Even if I walked up to a random person who doesn’t follow the NFL in DC, I could still say RG3, and they’d know who I’d be talking about. If I talk to the average sports fan in america, not many will know who Messi is, (“Oh yeah – that defender for LA Galaxy”)  and even if they do, they won’t know who he plays for. (FC Barcelona, By the way…)

But let me throw something at you: In this year alone, Messi has: scored 73 goals for Barcelona, 8 hat tricks included, 12 for Argentina, and just been – well – incredible. This next record will be the icing on the cake for him.

But why does nobody in america really care? I don’t know. But maybe we should try to, at least recognize him. So I am taking the job for Lionel Messi as the campaign manager for his Sportsman of the Year Campaign in 2013.

So, maybe, average sportsfan, lend your eyes, and I shall try to take them off of the Rams VS Bills game. Because if I succeed – you could see something pretty amazing.

 

 

 

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Locked out, but do you care?

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Now it’s done.We can finally turn our attention back to cartoon network or CBS or ESPN or TNT or whatever it might’ve been. Or for me, my constant sport watching continues. NFL, MLS, NBA, and free agent watch in MLB. Does anyone feel like something is missing?

Yes, there is. But unless you are a fanatic, you probably haven’t been thinking about it. There is a lockout going on.

Normally, DC would be up in flames. But with RG3, Natitude plus a playoff trip for D.C United, things are looking fine. But don’t worry, Winnipeg. I’m sure you guys are up in flames.

So why hasn’t there been any attention?

Simple.

NHL, though branded as a “mainstream” league, in short – is not. Unfortunately, nobody seems to care until april except for the hardcore fans. So when the NHL is still locked out in april, I think people will be like “Whoa. Where’s that hockey that takes the place of Judge Judy?”.

Even so, the NHL needs to get some support. The country is half asleep for this. I think I just woke up.

But why should we care? My main loves are the Nats, Pats and Wizards (pathetic, I know). And the “average” hardcore sports-fan – well – be straight with me – do you actually care much about the NHL before the playoffs?

I think once football ends, people will pay attention. But until then – sorry NHL – this country won’t pay you much attention – which means that there won’t be as much urgency to put a deal on the table.

The urgency right now to put a deal on the table, is, in a word – baloney. Nobody will tell you. But it’s true. And unfortunately, it looks like it will stay this way for a while.

Sorry Winnipeg.

We have more than games to play

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This week, the northeast, (specifically New York and New Jersey here), was hit by Hurricane Sandy.

So when the Knicks played the Heat last night, and when they announced the Nets VS Raptors game was still on, I was, in one word: astonished.

There is too much happening to take your attention, police and subway to Madison Square Garden. The NBA needed to look up from their money-making ways (the NBA was willing to charge up to $58 for nosebleed seats for the WIZARDS) and cancel the game. I don’t care the Knicks wouldn’t have opened their season yet, or the Nets. Sometimes you have to look at priorities.

The New York Marathon nobody will be happy with either way, but everyone can grudgingly admit it was a good choice.

The Giants VS Steelers game will go on as planned. Unfortunately, even though it should, unlike the NBA, MLB or MLS, you can’t just replace a game when you only have 17 weeks and 16 games. It just doesn’t work.

The Red Bulls and D.C United handled this perfectly, and I’m fine with DC United starting the playoffs at home as opposed to finishing as a DC resident.

I know sports can be important. But right now, we have bigger things to think about – so that’s where the attention should be, not on NBA TV.

 

Soccer Weekly: EURO 2012 Surprises and Fufilled expectations

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The biggest continental tournament in my opinion is EURO. This is where most great clubs get their players, their stars, and this is the one time that Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t have a price tag on him – like he does august through may.

But, some things have gone differently than expected, while others have been predicted. Let’s take a look at those.

Robin van Persie and the Netherlands’ fall

This was my pick, by the way. I thought after a world cup final loss they would be pumped up and come out of the gate flying. How wrong could I be? They lost to Denmark, the one team that didn’t seem deathly in the group of death, they lost to Germany, and have only scored 2 goals in 2 and 1/2 games. Portugal and Denmark are the nine and ten teams in the world. Holland is number 4. Germany is three. They have been dominated in possession, goals, and shots on goal. Robin Van Persie, after a dominating season at Arsenal is only with one goal and has not been very effective. I thought this was the year, but I was wrong. VERDICT: SURPRISE

Mario Gomez and the Germany domination

Germany was (unsurprisingly) a favorite. But we didn’t think they would be this dominant. There have been 3 goals for Mario Gomez, who, unlike many other players, can be good in club and international seasons (WOW!). The defense and goalkeeping has, as always, been top-class. Germany came in strong and look to finish strong – if not in first. VERDICT: EXPECTED

England and France play strong

We thought they were dead. We thought it was over. After losing to at the time 74th ranked South Africa, barely getting a win over the USA, and falling on and off the pitch. Then they came out running. Tying England, beating Ukraine at home, and maybe showing hope. After a great season at Real Madrid, Kareem Benzema is not playing incredibly, but the rest of france is picking up his slack. England, after losing some of their best players to injury and suspension, gets Wayne Rooney back tuesday, and have played well and only need a draw to advance. VERDICT: Surprise

On to the quarterfinals!!

Soccer Weekly: England bleeds – blue?

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Check out the new England away jerseys…  Blue. Blue. Blue. (And white). But it seems as if blue is becoming a theme in english soccer.  Chelsea just won the UEFA Champions League, Manchester City just won the Barclays Premier League – and teams like Man U and Liverpool are falling fast. (And when Man U tried to jump on the Blue boat, it just proved how powerful blue was

The point is that now the two most powerful teams in england right now are Chelsea and Man City. They are playing incredibly well, and the managers are managing well.

This changes a lot, because it used to be Arsenal, Man U, and Liverpool, and Chelsea and Man City were afterthoughts. But now it’s all them. Some of it could be money. Some of it could be luck. But it was due. Except for one season, it was Man U, Liverpool, and Arsenal at the top of the table. But like in baseball, superpowers change, and it went from red to blue. It’s as simple as that.

Except for the downfall of Liverpool, I’m actually enjoying this. It’s gotten boring seeing Man U, Man U, Man U, Man U, and – let me guess – Man U? Wow!! I must be psychic!! England has shifted, and all we can do? Is wait and watch.

 

Soccer Weekly: The US trying to be intimidating, not working.

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Check out these new US uniforms…

Are they trying to look like jailbirds? I get that stripes are in right now, but that’s not intimidating. Not the point.The US is trying to become a force in soccer. Which isn’t exactly working.
The defense is fine, but the offense isn’t. And even though they’ve lacked Donovan lately, they still need to score more goals. Also, the future is bright doesn’t seem to be a quote to be looking at right now. The U-23 team failed to qualify for the olympics, and except for the Italy win, the Klinsmann era isn’t going so well.
The US needs to get rid of Klinsmann, right now, or change something. In all of their losses, they have been shut out, and even though Donovan is rarely there, there’s no excuse for being shut out.
Now, you might blame this on the players, but the US has completely talented and promising players – but the way they’re being played isn’t right. Also, the US is trying to recreate their image (As you can see with that jersey) as more of a force, but the only two wins over a world cup team were Slovenia and Italy – and they lost to teams like Costa Rica, Beljium, and Ecuador, all of which are ranked below 44th in the FIFA world rankings – which is about 12 spots short of the world cup.
We’re ranked 29th in the world right now, and our stock is declining by the minute.
I expected the US to become a force after the South Africa run, maybe even come in third or fourth at the olympics, and at that time, it seemed like a pretty good guess. I’m not necessarily saying to bring back Bradley as coach, but to change the way they do things.
Maybe make the team, I don’t know – a little more offense based? Defense wins the game, but you can’t win if you can’t score, as Barcelona learned, you can’t win.
Like Barcelona, the US is playing good soccer, but in all honesty? The offense needs to step it up, or we won’t be seen in Brazil in 2014.

Soccer Weekly: Homegrown talent taking over

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Wigan is on a roll. A steamroll, actually. They have beaten two of soccer’s superpowers – Manchester United and Arsenal in their past two games. And yet, none of them this year have more than five goals. How do they do it? Homegrown talent, no room for superstars, and moneyball style.

More and more, these types of teams are taking over your superpowers – Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City.

But, it’s extremely important to keep the talent where they are. For instance, Andy Carroll was sold to Liverpool FC for 35 million pounds, and at Newcastle scored 14 times in 19 games. At Liverpool, he’s scored 4 goals in 31 games. Yowch.

These homegrown talents need to stay where they were, because there, the focus is on them. Elsewhere, it’s not a major focus on them.

What really annoys me, is when things like the Andy Carroll sale happen. While I am a Liverpool fan, it always annoys me to have a team woo a player with great money from his place.

It’s not just a trend in soccer, it’s a trend in baseball – (Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth), football, (Ladainian Tomlinson and Matt Hasselbeck) and basketball (Chris Bosh and Rashard Lewis).

Think about those guys… How have they done?

This is why it’s always fun to see teams like Wigan win.