Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Weird & Whacked Wednesday Part I

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Another Wednesday - another look back at the some of the "interesting" stories that made headlines. For those of you who haven't been here before, Wednesday entries take a look back at the "notable newsmakers" from the world of sports over the past week or so. The stories generally fall under the category of weird or whacked, with the select few eclipsing the aforementioned to set the bar as low as downright silly or just plain dumb. As always, I'll let you decide where you think they fit.


Members of the French National Team (formerly known as Arsenal) have criticized soccer fans in Paris for booing the team in recent friendlies - the latest being a 1-0 victory over Mexico. Arsenal's striker Thierry Henry was one of the players who called out the Parisiens; Henry claims that the treatment the team receives in Paris is unheard of in England, where "even when (Arsenal) is losing at Highbury, the fans keep cheering and supporting us." Leave it to the damn French to boo most of the team - but reserve their cheers for Zidane, a crapper if there ever was one. Another French player suggested that "Les Bleus" not play in Paris anymore - saying that crowd in Marseille, St. Etienne and Lens are much more supportive and deserving of watching them play.

File this one under just plain dumb - on both sides. First, for professional players who complain about being booed; with fans paying upwards of $100 to watch the kind of soccer France has played in recent years...they have every right to boo the team - suck it up fellas, it happens to the best of them. Secondly, to fans who pay all this money to boo their National team - what's up with that? Why not just stay home, go get drunk...or do what fans of the SenaTards do? (Stay up all night and flood the sports radio station with whining calls about how much the team let them down) Oh yeah...cheering Zidane? On behalf of my man Figo - I'm NOT feelin' that at all.

That crusty old Scot Sir Alex Ferguson made headlines last week when Manchester United announced that they had fired Mike Stone, the Red Devils team doctor. While there was no definitive reason given, reports suggest that Ferguson had held Stone responsible for some of the positive reports about Rooney's progress. Stone had been treating Rooney for his broken foot, with all seemingly going well - England's team doctor has stated Rooney could be ready for the round of 16 at the World Cup. Ferguson has been doing his best to rain all over England's parade, suggesting that Rooney isn't fit enough to play and should stay in England. Ferguson is of the belief that team and paycheque comes before representing your country. Read the story...its British soccer at its best.

File this one under weird. You fire the man who is responsible for treating your star player - because he has done such a good job that the player might be ready to play on the world's biggest stage. Hey Fergie, Chelsea is ready to welcome Shevchenko - a healthy Rooney won't make a difference next year, Jose and Co. win another title. Funny sign seen in Germany - "Rooney is coming - lock up your grannies." If you haven't heard about the tumultous past of Wayne Rooney, you don't know what you are missing.

Ladies and Gentlemen - meet Tom Timmerman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Tom, who covers soccer for the paper, is a shining example of how North Americans just don't get it when it comes to soccer. His story (believe me, it IS a story) starts out on the right path talking about Brazil being the favourite at this year's World Cup - they are always one of the favourites. I think Tom was stumped after his initial two paragraphs and dug through the archives to find a World Cup recap from the 80's. Tom warns that Italy, Germany, Argentina and England are threats - maybe in the past Tom. While you impressed with your google search, throwing out names like:
  • Crespo "who plays for one of the top teams in the world" - yes Tom, but Hernan had trouble cracking the lineup;

  • Totti "who is recovering from a broken foot" - and multiple brain cramps;

  • Rooney and Owen who are both recovering from injuries - and the "pinpoint" passes of Beckham (who hasn't done anything of note on the world stage or in Spain in the last few years);

  • Ballack who is a great player - "though Germany isn't fielding one of its stronger teams";
File this one under just plain dumb. Tom, your assessment of this year's World Cup highlighted four potential threats who have been sliding down the rankings over the last few years. Germany would have been hard pressed to qualify if they weren't the home team - they make round of 16, that's about it. Argentina has not beaten anyone of substance in a few years - their qualifying round in South America was by all accounts - uninspiring. Italy is in the same boat, they will find a way to self destruct - and if they try to pull their traditional World Cup opening round stunt of tying their way into the round of 16, they will be gone in the qualifying round. Tom...buddy. England? Can I point you to a site called soccernet? Both strikers recovering from a broken foot - and you pick Beckham? Have you heard of a guy named Steven Gerrard? Frank Lampard maybe?

Here's a hint - after Brazil, you want to be looking at Portugal (of course), the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, maybe Spain or Serbia and Montenegro. If you want a dark horse, the Ivory Coast. Tom, go back to covering the exploits of Albert Pujols - or maybe you'd prefer to cover Lou Brock, Bob Gibson and Dizzy Dean.

Late start tonight gang, and I have an early day tomorrow - back on Thursday with more on:

- the SenaTards, the Bruins and the Maple Leafs (they just overpaid for McCabe)

- Rick Tocchett and Janet Gretzky are like a young couple "thinking of getting pregnant" - only they're thinking of suing the state of New Jersey.

- the Argos, Ricky Williams and Joe Theismann

- the damn French part II...Lance Armstrong clear for a transgression he didn't commit in 1999.

all this and more.

Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world - if reports are true about you going for major bucks at ESPN...I say GO GET 'EM! They know you are worth it - NESN knows you are worth it - betcha Rogers knows too...they still haven't replaced you.

Song of the Night on Hazelspeeps - for Tom Timmerman's confusion about the World Cup

Istanbul - They Might Be Giants

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!


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