Wednesday, January 23, 2008

2018? USA!!!!

Soccer America (and others) are reporting here that US Soccer is deciding whether to bid on the right to host the 2018 World Cup of soccer. WTF? Hell yes they better bid! Under the old rotation system, North America was up to host in 2018 anyway. FIFA just scrapped it under pressure (and influence) of Europe. What a crock! Right now the US plans to bid but it wants to wait and see if it has a chance. This is a change of heart from a year ago --when the USA federation voted unanimously to bid on 2018. Summary here and here. Back then ol' Sepp Blatter was saying it was hard not to give it to USA. The Sepster is strangely quiet now (post the vote to scrap the rotation system).

I understand if USA has to step in for the 2010 World Cup (South Africa) or the 2014 World Cup (Brazil), but otherwise USA should get the cup. We should bid on principle alone. Sadly, experts, like this guy on espn are saying USA's bid is a longshot.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bitter Twellman: Don't Dwell, Man!

MLS runner-ups New England Revolution (owned by Bob Kraft of Patriots fame) has an outstanding player in Taylor Twellman. Too bad Taylor re-upped with the Revs for $300k a year --as now Europe has come calling with offers of big transfer fees. To Taylor's frustration, MLS/Revs (depends on who you ask) keep turning down the millions for the rights to Twellman's services as a striker.
Espn covers it here.

I feel bad for the guy --rare is the opportunity to play for big money and big glory in the English Premiere league. I almost don't blame him for whining about it. Almost. The Revs showed faith in the guy by signing him to a big (for MLS), longterm contract last year. Now he wants out. But too bad. Good for MLS for keeping one of stars it developed ---the league needs to keep guys like Twellman in order to build its product. If only my Columbus Crew had done that years ago when they let Brian McBride go to Fulham...

Anyway, ol' Taylor needs to quit whining and concentrate on playing better for the US National Team (where his performance is up and down).

1/15/08 UPDATE: Soccer America says basically the same thing here in comparing Twellman's plight to Eddie Johnson's relative "freedom" to pursue Europe. Did Twellman have a "trigger clause" in his contract that would have set him free?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

East Coast v. West Coast

Okay, more like West Coast v. Midwest. Several guys who allege they'll post on this blog like to throw the smack around. This came up during the 11th annual tourney. Some bitterness about Ohio State, as usual.

For posterity, here are their rants. Some good stuff in there.
Click Here to read rants.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

About. Damn. Time.

Two news stories today caught my eye. One is that the BCS is looking at a "Plus One" bowl to take place after the top 4 teams play each other in the top BCS bowls --for a real national championship. This year that wouldn't have worked because Kansas (orange bowl winner), Georgia (Sugar Bowl winner), and of course LSU would have had a claim to 1 of the 2 spots. Nevertheless, even better news is that Georgia (bitter about having to play Hawaii after getting stiffed in the BCS standings the final week) is calling for an 8 team playoff. Read the story here. Basically the top 4 bcs bowls would be the quarter finals and then there would be two semi-final games and a final after. I'm not sure why the quarter-finals couldn't be assigned to bowls as well, but I'm happy about the proposal. Georgia is right, there were shenanigans going on in the BCS process. Plus the Rose Bowl was downright silly for picking Illinois. Far better to have a playoff to see who is the best -whether it be 4, 8, or 16 teams.

It is time for the networks and bowls to quit deciding who gets in and who is out --let the teams decide it on the field.

Really has to be seen to be believed

Tire comes off a race car then reattaches.

From Jalopnik.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Marion and Donaghy together?

[Guest Post -I didn't write it]

Are Shawn Marion and NBA referee Tim Donaghy destined for adjoining prison cells?
With all the scrutiny facing athletes today, you’d figure they would consult with their lawyers before doing something that may be illegal. Especially when it involves gambling. But Shawn Marion must think he’s above the law.
Arizona state law clearly prohibits most forms of gambling.

Of course, there’s the lottery and Indian casinos, but little else besides social or amusement gambling is permitted. In fact, if a form of gambling is not specifically authorized by state law, it is illegal. But Marion’s name and mug are being plastered everywhere promoting a "Celebrity Party and Charity Poker Tournament."
See Arizona Republic article here. The problem is that just because you’re a celebrity or because you claim the money is going to charity, it doesn’t make it legal.

Nonprofit organizations (charities) can conduct RAFFLES with the following restrictions:
1) no member, director, employee, or agent be eligible to receive any direct or indirect monetary benefit from the raffle (in other words, none of the directors like Shawn or employees can line their pockets or receive "freebies" from the events proceeds; 2) the nonprofit must have been in existence for five years immediately before conducting the raffle (according to the website, "All In For A Cause" was formed in the summer of 2007...oops!); 3) only members of the charity can participate in the management, sale, or operation of the raffle (so no hiring of 3rd parties to run the raffle).
But it appears that Shawn’s group is not conducting a raffle, hasn’t been in existence for 5 years and we have no idea how or where the event is occurring (by the way, if they’re serving liquor, they’re required to obtain a special event liquor license). There’s also no indication of how much or who is receiving the proceeds from the event. But the website indicates that sponsors contributing over 200K can designate a portion of the net proceeds to a charity of their choice. Mmm, almost sounds as if someone other than members of the organization are making "management" decisions regarding where money should go or how it should be spent. I wonder what the IRS and feds think about this.
According to Arizona Revised Statues § 13-3303, a person is guilty of the class 5 felony of "promotion of gambling" if he knowingly conducts, organizes, manages, directs, supervises or finances gambling, or if he furnishes advice or assistance for any of those activities. It’s also a class 1 misdemeanor to benefit in any way from gambling.
So while Shawn is rumored to have spent his New year’s in Vegas, he needs to remember that what goes on up there stays there. But in Arizona it’s a whole different roll of the dice. And hasn’t Phoenix already been through enough when it comes to gambling and the NBA?

-The Straw