A Menu Of Small Plates Today

The World Cup games will take a couple of days off since there are only eight teams left in the tournament and they need a rest after the last round of eliminations. Five teams from South America started out in the tournament. Four of them are left in the remaining eight teams – - and it took one South American team – - Brazil – - to eliminate the South American team that was sent home – - Chile. I do not know the process or the “formula” by which FIFA decided how many teams from various regions of the world got to participate in the World Cup; whatever the process, I would not be even marginally surprised to hear it described as “arcane” or “esoteric” or “obscure”. Nonetheless, they probably might have done just as well inviting another South American team this year at the expense of the larger number of European teams.

There is a news report today that the Women’s Sports Foundation – - described as “a pre-eminent voice for women’s sports” – - has had to cut its staff by more than 60% (from 74 folks to 28) while seeing the money it receives from donations and grants drop by about 75% between 2007 and 2009. The previous CEO called the cuts “right-sizing”; she is no longer in that job. Every time I hear that kind of management-speak, I always wonder what dumbasses set out on a course to “wrong-size” an organization thereby necessitating the “right-sizing”?

The fact is that organizations expand when they have plenty of resources and contract when they do not. The Women’s Sports Foundation over-expanded and now seems to be in a profound contraction. There is no right and wrong here; this is a matter of management competencies.

The Foundation blames the revenue drop on the economy; clearly, that has to be part of the problem but to ascribe a 75% drop in revenue over a 2-year span to the economy is a bit much. Consider that the Foundation invested in the opening of the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame as part of the Sports Museum of America in NYC. That investment went “paws up” and closed its doors forever in about 9 months. Once again, management competencies…

The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest will happen again this weekend. According to a news item I read, Takeru Kobayashi will not participate. My first reaction was that he had found another purpose in his life beyond stuffing hot dogs and buns down his gullet, but it seems as if I guessed wrong. His absence will be due to a “contract dispute”. Let me say that if the “dispute” centers on the brand of hot dogs that will be scarfed down in the contest, there will be no resolution in the next couple of days…

The reports going around now are that LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade did meet in South Florida sometime in the past few days in what has been called the NBA Free Agent Summit. Recall that David Stern announced in no uncertain terms less than a month ago that such a summit meeting would not happen. For once, David Stern has remained silent in the midst of these reports – - and we can be thankful for that.

#1 son lives in Chicago at the moment and follows the Cubs fortunes and foibles. He sent along this line from Len Casper who does play-by-play for the Cubs on WGN in Chicago. Pitcher Ted Lilly was at the plate; Lilly is a bad hitter; he has zero hits all season long. Lilly hit a pop-up to second base and this was Casper’s call:

“Deep drive by Lilly! It’s to the warning track! … of the infield.”

Now that Colorado Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jiminez has extended his record to 14-1 in his 16 starts, I have seen a couple of folks musing about the possibility he could win 30 games in a season. Denny McLain was the last pitcher to do that back in 1968. I think the odds are stacked against Jiminez.

In these days of 5-man rotations, starting pitchers just do not get as many starts as they did in the 1960s. When McLain won 31 games in 1968, he started 44 times. The Rockies have played 77 games as of this morning and Jiminez has started 16 of them. At that rate, Jiminez will get 34 starts for the season or 18 more from this point until October. He will need 16 wins in those 18 starts to hit the 30-win mark.

Obviously, he can do that; his record to date this season projects to 28-2 with 2 starts left to go. Despite that fanciful mathematical thinking, I maintain that the odds are against him – - or any pitcher – - winning 30 games in a season in a 5-man rotation.

According to a report in the LA Times, the DEA has served 10 search warrants to doctors and pharmacies associated with the San Diego Padres and the San Diego Chargers. The Padres announced that they are fully cooperating with the DEA; the Chargers had no comment. Here is my comment:

    No sports team has ever been helped by having any branch of the law enforcement community serve search warrants on any individuals or organizations that are associated with said sports team.

Michael Vick is back in the news. He held a gala party in the Tidewater area of Virginia and gunfire broke out. That is not good news.

One of the people involved in the exchange of bullets was one of his dogfighting codefendants. An element of Michael Vick’s probation is that he is not to associate with any of his dogfighting codefendants. That is not good news.

Michael Vick voluntarily spoke with police investigators about the matter and the police say that he is not a “person of interest” in this matter. That is good news.

Michael Vick’s lawyer said that the party was open to the public and that the codefendant was not an invited guest. That is good news.

Michael Vick’s lawyer said that Vick left the party “long before” the bullets started flying. That is good news.

There are reports that video tapes of the party contradict the time-line that the lawyer offered up. That is not good news.

Given all of this falderal, I love the way the lawyer characterized the reports of these “video contradictions of his statement”. Said the attorney:

“It was a flawless night until the shooting.”

Way to go there, Buster Brown. Mary Todd Lincoln could have said the same thing…

Finally, Scott Ostler offered up these two observations about the Oakland Raiders in the SF Chronicle:

“The Raiders keep trying to portray Richard Seymour as TTBAR – thrilled to be a Raider. Yet he missed all the optional offseason practices and finally signed a one-season franchise-tag tender, which doesn’t indicate love for the Raiders as much as it indicates: ‘I can’t turn my back on $12,398,000.’ “

“Boy, it’s taking all those interested NFL teams a long time to work up the courage to approach JaMarcus Russell and ask him to dance.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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  • Ed  On June 30, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    TTBAR? I was not a Raider fan, but I recall their glory days. Team looks more FUBAR to me….

  • Bones  On July 1, 2010 at 9:38 am

    TTBAR? Sounds like a strip club to me. ;-)

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On July 1, 2010 at 10:29 am


    Raiders have indeed been dismal for the last 6 or 7 years – - since losing in the Super Bowl – - but I have this sense that the team is improving now. I am not looking at playoffs this year by any means, but I think the team is getting better. We shall see…

    I think they may have graduated from FUBAR status.


    You should send that comment to Scott Ostler. He might just use it next week.

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