Catchin’ Up

***OK, how about that NFL?  If you want to be the star of the Super Bowl halftime show, you have to pay the NFL.

Well, c’mon.  Somebody has to pay the medical bills for all those messed-up former great players. The league has made it abundantly clear that it’s not doing it because all those guys were going to be messed up anyway, even if they didn’t play football.  YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUSLY INJURED PLAYING FOOTBALL.  Just ask Commish Roger the Dodger.

***Meanwhile, the NFL remains adamant that the term “Redskin” is a tribute to people with really bad sunburns, not an insult  to an entire race.

There’s no problem with Warriors and Braves.  They’re generic terms.  And even Indians.  Hey, instead of using a crazy smiling Injun head as a mascot, replace it with a crazy smiling Ghandi figure and everyone will say, “Oh, that kind of Indian.  Why didn’t you say so?”

So while media outlets and individual broadcasters are lining up to refer to that team as just “Washington,” the league office and Commish Roger the Dodger will fight for that name.

While at the same time fighting against those messed-up former great players who can’t walk or talk.

***College football season’s about to start.  Be great to see those college coaches and their security forces again.  Heard that some SEC schools are bringing in Ukrainian militia to serve as the security force.  Gotta keep those cheerleaders away from the head coach because they might try to kill him.

***Speaking of colleges, it seems that the big-time schools will soon be paying players to go to places like Tuscaloosa and Norman and Ann Arbor.

But who gets paid, and how much?  Does Title IX ensure that women’s field hockey players get paid the same as footballers?  Or men’s and women’s basketball players.  After all, at some schools, those attendances are equal, at some the women outdraw the men.  Can’t wait for those equality-based lawsuits.

**Love the cheating scandal at Notre Dame.  Hey, maybe these football players could steal a page from that guy with the dead girlfriend a few years ago.  Their dead girlfriends came to them in a dream and passed them test answers.  They could go on a women’s talk show and cry and cry, and cry.

No, no, never at the school of Our Lady.  Say it ain’t so, Knute.

I’m getting back in stride.  See ya next week…..

Soccer and Shakespeare

SHAKES: Saw “Love’s Labour’s Lost” performed by the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, which I again highly recommend to take in when you want to catch the Bard.

Young, enthusiastic troupe, doing a play that is not performed that frequently.  The production made imaginative use of crumpled-up 8×11 sheets of paper.  The performers were sharp, with perfect timing, played well off each other.

That’s three productions I’ve seen by this troupe, and they’ve all been entertaining.  In case you want to catch one, they’re doing “Henry V” in the fall, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in the spring.  Usually at the third-floor theater at the company’s headquarters on Sansom Street in Center City, but “Love’s Labour’s” was done at a similar-sized theater on Drexel’s campus.

And now some….

SOCCER: Look, Uruguay would have won the World Cup, as I predicted, if not for the Hungry Man.  Instead, the winner was Germany, which really had the strongest team in the field.

And I’m not going to look whether I wrote this before, but the USA was no better than it was in 2010.  Then, our buys were 1-1-2 in four games; this time, they were 1-2-1.  Not better.  I think a lot of people thought because of all those “watch parties” that something special was going on.

WRONG…

They had watch parties in Berlin, Buenos Aires, even right there in Rio.  No big deals.

Maybe the boys will be better in 2018, because by then coach Jurgen might have 23 Germans on his roster instead of just five.

And in England…

Season’s opened.  Premier League champ will be ……….CHELSEA

And about Leyton Orient, which you know is my only team.

Opened the season with a loss to Chesterfield (they were smoking,’ man), won a penalty shootout with Plymouth Argyle in a Capital One Cup game, then beat Oldham 3-1.  I was shocked to learn the team was sold in the “close season,” so let’s see how things go this season.

Time for …

…TEAM TALK

Haven’t done this in awhile:

PHILLIES: What can anyone say.  Team’s been overshadowed by a Little League team as the best baseball team in the city.  I guess the Little Leaguers have a better general manager.  Look, we can all agree that Ruben Amaro has wasted this team. No farm system, no future, no present, nothing.  This time Ruben’s right when he says about his minor leaguers that he doesn’t think someone is ready.  This is all on you Rube.  You’ve made the Hinky-man look almost-good.

UNION:  Nice job being done by Jim Curtin while he’s “interim” coach.  Playing for a Cup as they say in England, the U.S. Open Cup.  More, a lot more, on that when the showdown with Seattle approaches.

That’s it.  Back on the weekly schedule.

How Not To Be Pope

Look, I’m all for this humility stuff that the new Pope is pushing, but he’s got it all wrong about what it means to be Pope.

Argentina is playing for the World Cup championship, and where is Mr. Argentina?

We’re not sure if he was sitting around with a bunch of his Cardinal friends, or hanging with some old nuns, watching the Argentina-Germany game at some sports bar near the Trevi Fountain. Or if he was at what has somehow become known as a “watch party” at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, watching on a huge TV propped up against St. Peter’s. Leading cheers:  “Give me an A…give me an R…”

Or maybe he let the nuns lead the cheers.

But you have to take advantage of being the world’s No. 1 holy man. Jump into Vatican 1 and fly down to Rio for the game. You’re the Pope. Just make a call and tell some ticket guy to leave a couple in your name. Use the other ticket for one of the old nuns, paint her face blue and white, have some fun.

But, no, you’re worried about the poor people.

That’s why I should have been elected Pope. I would have known how to play the role.

Be Quiet Pinocchio

Yes, we are mourning the death of Dickie Jones, the former child actor who was the voice of Pinocchio in the Disney cartoon of 1940.

Does that mean that the little wooden boy is dead, too? Or just that he has to switch to sign language. (Anyone have the phone number of that guy in South Africa?)

Jiminy Cricket’s been dead for awhile, and we can presume that old Geppetto is gone, too, so cross that family off the books.

At least a fake Pinocchio lives on in Geico commercials.

Mr. Jones was 87 when he died last week. We’re not sure what kind of life he led, but it’s been reported that his nose measured 8 1/2 inches at the time of his death.

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OK, we should be back on the regular weekly schedule for awhile.  I’ll come back with a World Cup wrap later this week.  Hope you read a day or two of the daily stuff from Brazil, South Philly.  I’ve already forgotten who won, but it wasn’t URUGUAY…..

WORLD CUP, some more

BRAZIL, SOUTH PHILLY – I don’t know if this stuff will ever end…

Oh, yeah, it will end on Sunday when Argentina beats Germany. OK…

**Too bad about all those crying Brazilians, but did you really think you guys could beat Germany?  Did you pay any attention at all over the last few years? You didn’t notice that your boys, as a team, suck…

I thought Brazil was the fourth best South American team coming into the tournament, behind, in order, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. I thought, player-for-player, Germany was the best team in the field (but wouldn’t win, and won’t).

But that performance against the Big Germans was hilarious, not horrific, horrendous, horrible or any other “h” word you can use. I was watching the game at a pub so I couldn’t hear the play-by-play call, and when those goals came fast and furious in the first half, I thought they were showing replays…German players standing in front of the goal, Brazilian players standing there, looking at them, the same scene, over and over.

Groundhog Game.

But, hey, citizens of Brazil, look at all the great new stadiums you have. Just think how high those weeds are gong to grow around them.

Yeah, really looking forward to that third-place game against Holland.

**Germany has taken its best shot, now it’s Argentina’s turn.

I was in the press section in the stands for the 1990 World Cup final in the Olympic Stadium in Rome, West Germany 1-0 over Argentina, the goal a penalty kick after the 80th minute. Andreas Bremmer took it, not Jurgen Klinsmann. Argentina finished with nine men after two red cards, one, I think, to Diego Maradona. Considered one of the worst World Cup finals EVER.

Hopefully, this one will be more like the 1986 final in Mexico, Argentina 3-2 over West Germany. The Argentines held a 2-0 lead, Germany tied the score late in regulation, Jorge Burrochaga scored the winning goal even later in the 90 minutes.

And I’ll be back with a “complete” wrap after the final.

 

 

WORLD CUP, cont.

BRAZIL, SOUTH PHILLY — So here we are, heading into to the semifinals, Brazil vs. Germany, Argentina vs. Holland.

Do I take any comfort from the fact that I predicted three of those four (Argentina, Brazil Germany)? No, because everybody in the world had those three. I’m missing my fourth, which was also my choice to win it all, Uruguay.

No teeth in that selection, huh?

Anyway, I said the World Cup champ would come from the Argentina-Belgium quarterfinal, and I’m sticking with that, Argentina to win, over Germany (the Big one).

Germany and Holland can’t win because they never do (West Germany did, Germany has not), Brazil can’t win because the home team rarely does (four times since 1950).

And have you noticed how all the scoring ended as we hit the quarterfinals? Better than 2.7 goals per game through the first and second rounds, down to 5 goals in 4 games in the quarters.

Some quick thoughts:::

**Biggest busts of the tournament: a tie between those Chelsea teammates Eden Hazard and Oscar. Hazard wasn’t that for anybody. Whenever he was substituted for late in games, it was the first I realized he had been in there at all. Same with Oscar, which he won’t receive for his performance.

**Superstars will be superstars: Everyone not named Eden Hazard or Oscar.

**Where were all the protesters? Watching the Brazil games. Let’s see what happens after Tuesday. Or maybe they’re saving up for the Olympic Games in Rio in two years.

**Somebody always comes through to make a great showing on the biggest stage, and this time it was Costa Rica, never backing down from the biggest boys (England, Italy and Uruguay in Round 1, Greece in Round 2, Holland in Round 3). Made us all proud to be CONCACAFers. Better than the little germans.

OK, one last World Cup thing (mid-week after the semifinals), then back to the regular Thoughts next week.

WORLD CUP, WHATEVER #

BRAZIL, SOUTH PHILLY – Yeah, I missed a few days, but that every day stuff was too much work.  So let’s catch up as we head into the quarterfinals …..

**USA, USA, USA … Yes, Tim Howard was great, single-handedly keeping the little germans in the game against Belgium with his 16 saves. Realistically, it could have been 10-1 for the Waffles.

So the U.S. goes home with a 1-2-1 record after being outplayed miserably in all but one game, the 2-2 tie with Portugal. They weren’t good enough. They backed-in to the second round. The definition of “backing-in” is to advance while losing, because another team lost. The 1-0 loss to Germany along with Ghana’s 2-1 loss to Portugal saved the U.S.’ World Cup.

And it turned out that the little germans, those German-born American “citizens,” made the key plays for their new homeland. I never said they weren’t good players, just that they didn’t belong on the team; they made up 25% of the field roster (non-goalkeepers). And I’ll stand by that.

So see you all in four years, when you can renew your interest in soccer.

**Here’s the bracket breakdown from the quarterfinals on: Brazil-Columbia/France-Germany on one side, Argentina-Belgium/Costa Rica-Holland on the other. And with Uruguay out, I have to rearrange my winning pick…..

Watch the Argentina-Belgium game. The winner of the World Cup comes from there.

OK, I’m coming back with my regular Monday edition, still on the World Cup. I promise to have more to say.  **HAPPY 4TH**

WORLD CUP 13, 14

Just catching up….

**So how was lunch anyway?

Goddamn media, especially those British guys, got Luis Suarez in trouble again by photo shopping him biting that Italian player. Got him kicked out of the World Cup, and suspended for four months.

Look, URUGUAY’s in the second round, so I’m satisfied.

As for Luis’ punishment, way too soft. Needed at least 10 international games, and not just friendlies, but the real stuff, and six months off the field. This was strike three, and it was the World Cup, not a Capital One Cup game between Liverpool and Leicester City.

Goddamn press.

**Boy, I’d love to say a word or two about the 76ers draft, but this is time for Frank to Think about the World Cup. I’ll catch up to Hinky-Dink and the gang in awhile. Tickets, anyone?

**USA marches on after sitting back and not trying to score against Germany today. BIG GERMANY over little germany. Of the five German citizens on the U.S. roster, only two play much. So the reason the others are there is …???

**OK, second round winners will be (in order of the schedule of games): Brazil, URUGUAY (without teeth), Holland, Costa Rica, France, Germany (Big), Argentina, Belgium (over the little germans).

And we’ll take a break from this World Cup stuff until after the second round. Tough trying to be funny every day with this material, but we;’ll be back with a special edition on Sunday.