Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Midst of a Sports Hangover

If sports were alcohol, I’ve been partying for 3 weeks straight, and today I find myself waking up with a headache and trying to compose my memories about what exactly happened. I’m not even sure if hangover is the right word considering I’m, figuratively, still having some drinks with the World Cup and College World Series still in full swing and now Wimbledon has started up and already has a few upsets and near upsets to go with day 1.

So apparently its the blowing of Vuvuzelas as the reason so many Americans can’t get into soccer now. Yet Joe Theisman, Dennis Miller, Joe Morgan, Todd Harris, Thunder Sticks, loud booming sound systems and TV timeouts have never prevented them from watching any of the other popular American sports? At least vuvuzelas are consistent, after 5 minutes you don’t really notice them, just white noise. Can’t say the same for Marty Reid. But even with that conclusion, I do agree the World Cup could most definitely make a few changes to better the sport; however I disagree they should do anything to make the sport work for Americans (more scoring). Here are the only 2 things they need to do:

1) Stoppage time no longer a secret. We can all agree that the nonstop clock/action is part of what makes soccer great, but it presents the stoppage time conundrum. It’s simple; you assign a clock operator, just the same as in basketball, American football and hockey. Whenever there is a stop in play we can watch an official secondary clock adding up time; then when the game time hits 45 and 90 minutes we watch the stoppage clock count down to 0. And just like that we get added excitement of final seconds and accountability, instead of injuries taking up 10 minutes of game time and getting only 2 minutes of stoppage time.

2a) You go down for an injury; you have to sit out for a few minutes. I think we can all agree diving is easily soccer’s BIGGEST problem. It’s easy; if you go down grabbing at a body part then you must sit out for at least 2 minutes of game time. If the medical team has to come out and cart you off the field, it goes up to 5 minutes. And just like that people stop faking injuries.

2b) All diving is subject to post-game review and penalties. So Ronaldo wants to fall down even when guys don’t hit him, and manages to fool the ref… fine that’s his prerogative, and not always the ref’s fault depending on his angle. But for now on, post game video is reviewable and for each 100% certain dive a player takes, they must sit out 20 minutes of the next game, they dive two times, they’re gone for almost a half; maybe next time they’ll think twice about pretending someone snapped their tibia by breathing on them, only to get up and sprint down the field after they realize no one is giving them any attention.

As with three weeks of partying, some of the thoughts may be delayed or hazy but, I do remember a question for one Mr. Barnhart. I’m pretty sure there’s a good chance I remember you let a car with metal coil hanging off go around the track in green flag conditions over 200 mph. I don’t believe you’ve yet addressed why you didn’t immediately go to yellow flag conditions, especially considering how short ago Felipe Massa was almost killed by shedding parts from another car… but even better, can you let us know why you allowed a team with such disregard for its fellow competitors to continue to race?

NEVER over-celebrate before winning a championship. It seems simple, you know, like say... not doing a full team dog-pile because your team made it to the halfway point of the playoffs... yeah that’s totally the kind of thing not worth of a dogpile, doing so may result in breaking your wrist and not being able to play the other half of the playoffs.

I can’t be certain I’m remembering this last one fully, but I think if your husband wins the Indy 500, laws of physics no longer apply to you, feel free to run down pit lane barefoot while cars come at you doing 60 mph. 

Thank you Dustin Johnson. You started your final round of the U.S. Open with a Triple Bogey, Double Bogey and regular ole Bogey, and even managed to fit in 5 more bogeys into your game all the while managing to only finish 5 strokes off the lead. You sir, give myself and every other scratch golfer out there hope.

Can we make a new rule banning Helio Castroneves from the front row of race starts? It’s pretty clear he has no intention of ever following proper race starting procedure, but I guess neither does race control.

NBA, I could swear when we all started this partying you were a good month into your playoffs... but that just can’t be right… I totally remember you just crowned your champion last week which would mean your playoffs took over two months to complete… Please tell me I have that wrong.

Don’t worry if you started further back and finished better than your competition… Rookie of the Year is only a title… a title that comes with a cash prize…

I’m starting to have drawbacks already, is it time to for ABC to cover an IndyCar race again because I don’t feel challenged by Versus, I need someone to mess up more in the magnitude of like: telling me you think the race leader is suddenly in 15th place because you still don’t know the paint schemes of the cars; something which Marty Reid pulled off so flawlessly during the final 30 laps of the Indy 500.

I swear I’m not making the following up. During the coverage of the Brazil-North Korea World Cup match, Mike Tirico told us that Kim Jong-Il talks with the team’s coach Kim Jong-Hun on a regular basis about game strategy… and yet that wasn’t the weirdest part… apparently he does so: "using mobile phones that are not visible to the naked eye."

NFL, we know a lot of people think you’re great, we also know that you think incredibly high of yourself, but you need to learn something from your half-brother NASCAR. More is not always better.

I wanted to note that I’ve bashed the heck out of IndyCar for their generally unexplained refusal to accept SMI’s deal 2 years ago for Las Vegas and New Hampshire... and as such I should return the favor when I think Randy Bernard is on some kind of roll, they’ve announced engine basics, ICONIC decision is about a month away; and best yet, Baltimore and New Hampshire just got added so here is an honest applause from me. However, there is one place where I think he needs to recheck his math. So the Indy 500 is going to start earlier, that’s nice, but it doesn’t take a mathematician to understand that Indiana changed how it observes Daylight Savings time, which means 12 Noon is the time it should move to, not 11am.

Am I the only one who finds it just a little silly in college football that the Big-12 now has ten teams and the Big-10 now has twelve teams??

Lastly; The one record I generally never thought I would see broken? Whether or not each incident was entirely their fault, remembering and re-checking with my online sources, in 2002 between Eddie Cheever Jr. and Tomas Scheckter the Red Bull Cheever Racing team smushed up roughly 12 cars in one season (give or take a few as its hard to confirm practice crashes online). By my other unofficial count, KV Racing Technology just hit 13 this weekend…

Now of course you would think KV has an additional driver advantage to the Cheever team of 2002, but keep in mind Cheever did employ both Scheckter and Buddy Rice for two races (one of which Tomas won), which brought their total opportunities in 2002 to 32. (15 races that year x 2 drivers + 2 bonus races with both Scheckter and Rice).

What KV has done is bested Red Bull Cheever's mark needing only 28 chances (3 drivers x 9 races + 1 for Paul Tracy at Indy) no asterisks is needed next to this record. Paul Dalbey from PlanetIRL estimates the count is actually 16 smashes for KV, I'm not even sure what it says for KV Racing that we're not sure if they've officially torn up 13 or 16 cars so far this year, either way the record is as good as theirs. There are nine races still to go, how high can the mark be set? I guess more importantly, do you think they get frequent buyer discounts from Dallara by now?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is a fantastic period for sport. Indy, Le Mans, various F1 and IndyCar races, test cricket, non-stop World Cup, Wimbledon and next week is the start of the Tour de France. Not that I really watch Wimbledon, I never really 'got' tennis.
The pinnacle was Le Mans, Montreal qualifying and the England v USA World Cup game happening simultaneously, it blew my mind (read: too many inputs made my head hurt).

Now the broadcasters have compensated a little for the vuvuzelas they aren't annoying at all. I do miss the cheers, boos, chanting, singing of a normal World Cup but this is unique to South Africa. It doesn't matter if it is only a 10 yr old tradition, let's be honest they've not had long to create one after apartheid.

Much as your no.1 suggestion isn't aimed at working for Americans, that's exactly how it would be seen.. Part of the game is the uncertainty of knowing when it ends and watching the players deal with that. I love the idea for fakers/divers.

You're right to call out Barnhardt & Co on letting an unrepaired car on track - I know they do it in the N-series but those people have windscreens.

Not going to attempt to reply to everything, but this whole post is a brilliant summary.