Mexico, Canada and the US have “joined forces” so to speak to present a unified bid to FIFA which – – if accepted – – would assure that the 2026 World Cup Tournament would be held in North America. Mexico and the US have hosted this tournament in the past; Canada has not. This is described as an “historic event” because bids in the past have been limited to a single country.
By distributing the games among the countries, none of the three countries would need to construct new venues from scratch; there might be a need for some upgrades at some venues, but any costs associated with those activities would be trivial as compared to building new venues from the ground up. The 2026 World Cup will be the first such event where the number of participating nations increases from 32 to 48; that indicates to me that an already HUGE international event will be even bigger at that time.
Do not hold your breath waiting for a decision here. FIFA will announce its choice of venues for the 2026 tournament sometime in 2020. Two things that will need to be addressed regarding this three-headed bid are:
- The host nation automatically gets an entry into the tournament no matter how well or how poorly its national team might perform in qualifying matches. So … what do they do with three “host nations”?
- Will the FIFA folks look upon this as an opportunity to “plunder” three countries at one time as opposed to only one?
Recently in the Sporting Cosmos of the Earth, we have seen a lot of unlikely events and the breaking of some long-term streaks such as:
- The Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years.
- Leicester City (founded in 1884) won the EPL for the first time in club history.
- Sergio Garcia won a major golf tournament for the first time.
These events raise the question as to whether we have entered a period where out-of-the-ordinary happenings are going to become commonplace or if this is just an accidental merger of these unusual events in time. If indeed we have entered into some sort of space-time warp where strange happenings are the new normal, then here are some things to look for as confirmation of that new normal:
- The Detroit Lions make it to the Super Bowl.
- The LA Clippers win the NBA Championship.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup.
- Sam Marino wins an international soccer match.
- James Dolan wins NBA Exec of the Year.
- Rex Ryan actually delivers on one of his bombastic “promises”.
- The Oakland A’s average home attendance is north of 30,000.
- Tom Brady invites Roger Goodell over for dinner.
In another piece of recent news, Lonzo Ball’s father, LaVar, offered up this “analysis” of the NCAA basketball tournament for 2017. The reason that UCLA did not win the championship – as he had predicted several months ago – is because they played three white guys who were slow afoot against Kentucky. Seriously, he said that. Here is his full commentary:
“Realistically you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow. I told Lonzo—’One of these games you might need to go for 30 or 40 points.’ It turned out that was the one game. Then once they get to the Elite Eight, they’re right there.”
Here is Greg Cote’s take on that commentary in the Miami Herald:
“Clown-dad father LaVar Ball now claims his son’s UCLA team lost in the NCAA Tournament because of the slowness of’”three white guys.’ Well, at least he didn’t name them!”
Forget the screeches of “racism” leveled at LaVar Ball for those remarks; that is not the issue here. The real issue is that the best player on the court for the Bruins in the UCLA/Kentucky game was TJ Leaf (17 points and 7 rebounds) and it does not take a “Google genius” to find out that TJ Leaf is white. If indeed “that was the game” where Lonzo Ball needed “to go for 30 or 40 points”, then he fell just a bit short. His stats were 10 points, 8 assists and 3 rebounds. Oh, and Ball was also the one who was torched by DeAaron Fox of Kentucky on many of Fox’s drives that led to Fox’s 39 points for the Wildcats.
Perhaps another of those things to look for as an indication that unusual happenstances are the new normal might be this:
- LaVar Ball says something that has a basis in reality.
If you are going to take in an Astros’ game at Minute Made Park, here is something that might catch your dining fancy:
- The Freddy Fender: This starts with a chorizo sausage wrapped in a corn tortilla; that puppy is then deep-fried and served topped with cilantro-sour cream, cotija cheese, pico de gallo and tequila-braised onions.
- My recommendation is order this with a side of Rolaids…
Finally, Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle had these reasons why President Trump chose not to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Nats’ home opener this year:
“MLB refused to move game to Mar-a-Lago.
“Former President Barack Obama is stealing catcher’s signs.
“Lying radar gun keeps flashing ‘36’ on his 100-mph heater.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………