The US Women won the World Cup yesterday in a rout. All of the pre-game analysis focused on the Japan’s ability to control the ball and the pace of the game to create scoring opportunities. In the first 20 minutes or so, the US team had the ball for most of the time and did not attack methodically; they attacked in waves. And it worked… When the score was 4-0 early in the first half, the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt; the question was how big was the margin of victory going to be.
Congratulations to the US Women’s National Team. Presumably, their win will provide a “bump” for soccer here in the US; and hopefully, MLS and the National Women’s Soccer League can capitalize on that “bump”.
The NHL is poised to expand. Commissioner Gary Bettman says the league is seriously considering expansion and will seek input from cities and new ownership groups that might want an NHL franchise. Supposedly, it will take $500M to “buy into” the NHL during this expansion round; if the league expands by two teams that means the existing 30 clubs will share $1B of “buy in” money – less of course some portion the league office will hold for itself to keep the lights on in the Commissioner’s office.
Recall that a potential ownership group in Las Vegas has already held a season ticket drive there to demonstrate interest to the league and has begun to build an arena. That sort of convinced most folks that one of the expansion teams was going to go there. Then the NY Post reported that the financially strapped Arizona Coyotes were going to move to Las Vegas into the new arena since the city fathers in Glendale did not want to keep paying them to stay there.
The league – and the Arizona Coyotes themselves – were quick to issue statements of denial with regard to that story. Rather than quote them here, let me say that both of them called the NY Post report balderdash. Rather than speculate on rumors and take prepared statements as “the whole truth and nothing but the truth”, here are things we know about NHL expansion and about the Arizona Coyotes situation in Glendale:
Anyone interested in buying into the NHL has until 10 August to submit its application. Expansion teams will begin play in the 2017/2018 season.
The lawsuit involving the city of Glendale and the Arizona Coyotes is in the deposition phase – meaning that the orchestra is in the pit tuning up for the performance but there is still a lot of time until the curtain goes up.
Several times in the past, I have said that José Canseco is the gift that keeps on giving. Today, it seems as if José and his brother Ozzie are committed to creating “news” that is worthy of note here:
Ozzie Canseco was recently named as the hitting instructor for the Sioux Falls Canaries – a team in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. As of this morning, the Canaries are in second place in the North Division of this league. That is the good news. The bad news is that they are 15 games behind the division leaders. Here are the credentials of the Canaries’ new hitting instructor:
In three seasons in MLB, Ozzie Canseco appeared in a total of 24 games. In 65 at bats, his batting average was .200 and his OPS was .590.
Meanwhile José recently was a “guest designated hitter” playing for the Pittsburg Diamonds in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. He struck out a couple of times in a game against the San Rafael Pacifics and also pitched a couple of innings throwing his infamous knuckleballs which once were going to get him back into MLB. José also recently hosted a high stakes poker game at his home in Nevada where one of the players was a former winner of the World Series of Poker – but he had to call in his regrets that he could not be there to host the game because he was stranded in Pittsburg CA after that baseball game. The gift that keeps on giving…
Speaking obliquely about MLB, here is a comment from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:
“Selig’s legacy: Speaking of gimmicks that have run their course, how much enthusiasm still exists for MLB’s interleague play? I’d say a lot less than a few years ago. Is it really creating more excitement over the long season? Maybe in rare cases, but not enough to justify its continued existence.”
Indeed, the creation of two leagues with an odd-number of teams in each league has demanded interleague play from opening day until the final series of the regular season. It was once an event; now it is merely a happenstance. However, there is a different holdover from Bud Selig’s regime that I believe is higher on the list of things baseball needs to get rid of:
Allowing the All-Star Game result to determine home field advantage for the World Series.
Interleague play was a good idea when it was proposed and first implemented. Nothing similar can be said of the marriage of the All-Star Game to World Series home field advantage. If MLB wants to make a change to signal a new day for the sport under new leadership, let me suggest that making that All-Star Game change is the way to go.
Finally, last week I mentioned the World Egg Throwing Championships. Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times also took note of that event with this comment:
“Hear the one about the Patriots’ entry getting DQ’d at the World Egg Throwing Championships? Seems they got caught using hard-boiled eggs.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………