My father-in-law has part of a season ticket package for the Phoenix Suns, and so I get to join him for about 7-10 games a year. I know. I'm blessed. We have good seats and the games are a blast. For those who hate the NBA and prefer college hoops, I have no idea what you are talking about. Maybe its because I get to see the run-n-gun Suns, but NBA basketball is really fun to watch. [insert hilarious "It's FAN-Tastic!" joke here] The Suns were crushed in the playoffs last year by the evil thuggish Spurs. Okay I actually like the Spurs, but there is no doubt that they were allowed to be way too physical with the Suns. Memo to Bob Horry: KMA! Anyway, the Suns lost their one physical guy (Kurt Thomas) --but that is not all bad because he was slowing us down. The Suns will cruise to 60-65 wins again this year, but its the playoffs that matter. We've added a gimpy Grant Hill --which should help. I love the guy regardless. At Center we have Sean Marks and uh... Brian Skinner as stoppers (and when Amare wants to play forward) and we have the rookie Alando Tucker (from Wisconsin) as our defensive Forward. So, yeah, we aren't exactly going to match up well with the Spurs. But mebbe we won't face them in the playoffs (if we can get Dallas or Utah to do that for us). Shawn Marion is unhappy, but he is in a contract year and is 'top-effort all the time' guy anyway, so he'll be fine. Plus, we still have the amazing Steve Nash. He is the coolest. Despite our playoff woes, I still love the way the Suns play and I think they can stay healthy, this is the year they disprove all the haters who say all out basketball can't work in the playoffs. That said, I still pick the Spurs to win it, but I am hoping for the Suns.
EAST 1. Chicago (will they get Kobe?) 2. Boston (should be a blast to watch) 3. Detroit (they could crash and burn) 4. Miami (not that good) 5. New Jersey (Should be good) 6. Milwaukee (eh....) 7. Cleveland (no surprises this year) 8. Atlanta (Joe Johnson is a baby)
WEST (By far better) 1. Phoenix 2. San Antonio 3. Dallas 4. Denver 5. Utah 6. New Orleans 7. Houston 8. LA Clippers
PLAYOFFS EAST FINALS: Chicago over Boston WEST FINALS: San Antonio over Phoenix
According to something called Scene Daily, NASCAR is considering a rule change for its 2nd level series (formerly known as the Busch series, now with Nationwide Insurance as the new title sponsor) that would prevent NASCAR's top drivers (in the Nextel Cup) from getting victory points in the lower series. Read the story here.
This is an essential move if the Busch...err Nationwide Series is to have any meaning. Right now the series is dominated by Nextel Cup drivers who drop down for extra practice and ca$h. This would be like Major League Baseball teams playing minor league teams and being eligible to win AAA level championships (Hey, maybe the Reds can finally win again!).
I don't know who is on our team or what are chances are, but I do remember watching some beach soccer on ESPN years ago and the USA did pretty well --even against Brazil. We had a fat goalie (David Vanole) as our leader and played tough. (RIP David)
Go USA! No one here will be able to watch, but go you boys! Here's the USA team info: here. Do it for the Vanole!
No big surprise here. SI reports that Brazil has been awarded the 2014 World Cup. Given FIFA's "rotation system" and the fact that the only country in South America prepared to host the World Cup Tournament is Brazil, Brazil was a shoo-in.
The problem is the same as it was in 1986 for Columbia (Mexico had to step in when Columbia Couldn't pull it off) --will Brazil be able to get it's economy and infrastructure in place in time to host this mega-event? Actually, the problem is worse this time. The event is MUCH larger than it was 20 years ago, and will only be bigger come 2014. Brazil meanwhile is a mess. SI's Tim Vickery says here that Brazil will probably not pull it off.
USA is poised to sweep in and take on the host duties if it can (and Brazil cannot) --an outcome FIFA would like to avoid. But don't get too hopeful Americans, no less than The Economist magazine says that Brazil's economy is on the upswing here. If they can get organized then it may be time for us to start learning Portugese and saving our cash for a trip to South America.
American fans have been counting on getting the World Cup in 2018 --because the previously-mentioned FIFA rotation system lands on North America in 2018 and USA would be the obvious front-runner based on our "big event" experience and the unmitigated success of the 1994 World Cup in USA. But not so fast my friend. FIFA has just announced the rotation system is dead starting in 2018! (click here). This is a clear blow to USA Soccer and leaves things wide open for 2018. SI notes Australia is serious about getting it. Click here to read. So perhaps our best shot is to "steal" a world cup from Brazil for 2014 or South Africa for 2010. This move may also reflect FIFA's unspoken belief that 2010 will be taken from South Africa due to organization problems -and given to the USA. Time will tell.
10/31 Update: Here's the trouble --England is bidding for 2018 and will likely get the support of the very powerful Europe Federation.
As the photo reminds us, AZ Cardinals fans don't have it easy. Every year the Cardinals find new ways to lose. But this year gives us some home. 3-4 ain't pretty, but the Cardinals have shown they can beat good teams (Steelers) and can play any team close. So the playoffs are still a hope if they can beat the Seahawks and keep winning.
Mark Cuban and some wallstreet types are planning a new FALL football league (called the "United Football League" to play on Thursday and Friday nights in the Fall. They are targeting big cities w/out NFL teams (Think Las Vegas, Mexico City, Columbus, Orlando, San Antonio, etc.)
Check them out at their new temporary site: UFL Site
You can even get involved in helping bring a team to your city.
Columbus would be perfect --Crew Stadium is nice and is small enough to create a cozy atmosphere and make tickets a little tougher to get.
For more info, Our Sports Central has a longer background story on the UFL Here.
Who knew? But there is an interesting show on VS. Network called "South Sidney Story." Its about the purchase of a moribund but well-loved rugby league (NRL) team called the South Sidney Rabbitohs by famed actor Russell Crowe. The purchase is quite controversial and its been fun watching as things develop and the team gets competitive. Check it out. As for Rugby league, its like a cross between traditional rugby (Rugby Union) and NFL football. Ultimately it is rugby with 6 downs before possession is lost.