Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sunday Smorgasbord 7-15

  • From the "I'll believe it when I see it" file, the new Ohio State President vows to clean up the Athletic Department. We're treated to the usual pap about winning without cheating and blah, blah, blah. Simple fact is that the NCAA is unwilling to do anything about the cheating and as long as that remains the case, the schools that cheat are the ones who will win continuously. Furthermore, it will be interesting to see just how long this President lasts at Ohio State with this attitude. The well-heeled donors are the corruptors and a large state funded school cannot afford to alienate them.
  • There's lots of oohing and ahhing over the hiring of Brent Sutter as head coach of the New Jersey Devils and I for one don't quite get it. Certainly a team bleeding off talent like the Devils is going to need a guy who is by all accounts a winner at every level. However considering the quick trigger finger of the resident genuis manager, Lou Lamoriello, will Sutter be given a fair chance to get the job done? Furthermore, when Sutter is fired in the waning days of a regular season, is somebody going to question the resident genius manager and his coaching hires? Caps fans still won't forgive George McPhee for the Bruce Cassidy (and the Sundance Kid) hiring. Why does Lamoriello get a pass for firing the head coaches he hires late in the season for poor performance?
  • After a winning a slug fest Friday night, the Nats dropped two of three including today's 5-3 loss to the Florida Marlins. This past Friday, the (Com)Post laid out just how many puzzle pieces are missing for the Nats. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anybody considering that Major League Baseball intentionally ran the franchise into the ground after they took it over in Montreal and during their year and half tenure in Washington, D.C. This reclamation project is going to take longer than anybody is willing to admit and a shiny new ballpark won't help speed things along. At 37-54, the Nats are now 14 games back of the New York Mets in the NL East with an elimination number of 58. The Nats are 13.5 games back of San Diego for the NL Wild Card with an elimination number of 59. Only Tampa Bay and Cincinnati have a worse record than the Nationals.
  • Our schadenfreude moment this week comes from our favorite city, Philadelphia, as the Phillies today became the first professional franchise to lose 10,000 games. And it wasn't even close either as the St. Louis Cardinals routed them in the ESPN Game of the Week. It couldn't have happened to a nicer city.
  • There are ties that feel like a win and ties that feel like a loss and last night's D.C. United 3-3 tie with FC Dallas felt like a devastating loss. Watching that game last night, I don't know what was worse, watching D.C. blow the 3-0 lead in the second half or having to listen to Dave Johnson breathlessly coo about Jaime Moreno becoming the All-time leading goal scorer in MLS history whenever Moreno got the ball in a scoring position? Combined with D.C. United's 1-0 loss to the Harrisburg City Islanders in the U.S. Open Cup, D.C. United had a horrific week. The good news is that D.C. United has plenty of soccer left to play and get things going in the right direction. The bad news is that they have precious little time to figure everything out because starting next week; things get very busy for United with 3 Super Liga and one MLS game in a period of 11 days before the Beckham circus arrives. Now at 7-5-3 with 24 points, United is in third place in the Eastern Conference two points behind New England and one point behind Kansas City with a game in hand on the Wizards.
  • The only nice thing about a subscription to HBO is that I can now watch decent boxing on a regular basis. While I missed Arturo Gatti being sent into retirement, I was thoroughly entertained by Paul Williams victory over Antonio Margarito. The only reason why the Williams-Margarito fight was close was due to Williams' inability to put Margarito away. It was a classic case of a fighter setting such a high bar for himself in the early rounds of the fight that he made it very difficult on himself in the later rounds to continue to impress the judges. That being said, Margarito's sour grapes were embarrassing. The only robbery that occurred was that Margarito had a chance to retain his title with a majority draw heading into the final round thanks to two inexperienced California based judges.
  • This week, the Nats are back at home all week with a three game series first with the Houston Astros starting tomorrow night. The Colorado Rockies appear in RFK starting on Thursday for a four game weekend series. Saturday's game was supposed to be on Fox but that's not going to happen now. D.C. United has the MLS All-Star break with Thursday Night's game against Celtic FC in Denver leading into next Sunday's game on the road against the New York Red Bulls.
  • As always, please send all comments, criticisms, corrections, suggestions, questions, and cheese-eating surrender monkey jokes to "capsnut" over at gmail dot com.

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