Yachtsman's van was in the shop so we had to get a rental
Disclaimer: What you are about to listen to is an absolute disaster of a podcast and we cannot be held responsible for any physical, mental, or even spiritual trauma you may face as a result. I know we say that the CrapTastiCast is a train wreck almost every week, but this time the DGWU crew took it to a whole new level.
On Saturday, the entire DGWU crew (minus Megsie) set out on a road trip adventure from NYC to lovely East Stroudsburg, PA to watch our beloved FC Buffalo take on the Pocono Snow in some NPSL action. We then ventured onto Main Street to find a bar and watch Team USA take on Mexico in the Gold Cup final. What transpired was pure chaos....and we recorded snippets of it for your listening pleasure(?).
A few items to keep in mind as you listen:
1.) There are four separate segments of the podcast, all recorded at different times throughout the trip. The first was at 5:45 pm before any alcohol was consumed, and the fourth we can only guess was sometime around midnight, after MUCH consumption. Don't worry, each section is short and the entire episode only runs a little over 30 minutes. In between each segment, also listen for quick snippets of songs that we rocked out to during this epic road trip to Hell. THERE WERE HILL PEOPLE!
2.) Speaking of the songs, you may notice that the seamless transitions that you normally hear in the podcast between music and talking are not quite as smooth. That's what happens when Megsie and Mondee are not here to produce the podcast, and instead you have the Scizz with a twelve year old Mac trying to edit it together. He did his best!!! (sidenote: Megsie and Mondee are the greatest people alive for dealing with us toolbags as much as they do)
3.) You may also notice some sound effects during the third and fourth segments. They were obviously placed there to cover up....well, we will let you use your imagination.
What will you actually hear in episode 11? We discuss the glorious 24 hours that preceded our trip in which a basic human right was given to everyone in the state of New York, NuDarcy pulled off a fantastic trade, the NHL draft took place and the Bills revealed their newest cash cow. We also almost die. Seriously. Listen early on, around the 3:50 mark to hear our near-death experience.
The rest of the podcast is also quite exciting. We have an impromptu interview in the parking lot with an FC Buffalo player (sorry for the shitty audio), hide beers from security guards, rip on the AWFUL officiating, lead Buffalo chants throughout a bar, chat with some new and vulgar friends, talk about Zombieland and Johnny Depp, and finally Yachtsman and Scizz fight to the death in the middle of Main Street in downtown East Stroudsburg. We wish we were making that last part up.
Last but not least, listen closely to segment three after the Buffalo chants and the weird interview with a guy who thought Yachtsman was recording for his audio diary (yup, happened). An old friend of the CrapTastiCast joins us live for some soccer talk and hilarious commentary. This was a night for the history books. Download the episode by clicking the itunes button below or going to deargodwhyussports.libsyn.com
. If you are new to the blog/podcast, also check out last week's episode
. Streaming also available. Thanks for listening and all of the support! Cheers!
Welcome to a very special CrapTastiCast. In fact, episode 9 is simply FanTastic. Instead of rambling on about it, let me re-post the Yachtsman's take on this episode from last week:In this week's episode (9), we have an incredibly inspirational and in depth conversation on anything and everything to do with Buffalo and the trials and tribulations of trying to make things work there.....with special guest Nick Mendola! Definitely a representation of what we aspire to be in our more sober moments here at DGWU.I'll say this: if you only listen to one of our Craptasticasts, a) eff yourself you aren't loyal and b) please listen to this one because it's one of the best we've had so far. We had an amazing conversation with Nick, and the topics/sentiments brought forward in that interview should be shared among forward-minded Buffalonians worldwide. (Don't scoff at that, you know we're all over the place)
As you most likely know, Nick hosts his own radio show for WECK 1230
on weekday afternoons. He also has an excellent blog over at nickmendola.com
and of course is a founder and co-owner of FC Buffalo
. We want to thank him again for coming on the show. He demonstrates a lot of what we strive for and his passion is what Buffalo needs right now. Download the podcast from iTunes below or at Libsyn
. Good stuff here people. Spread the word.
Orphans around the country just love the DGWU CrapTastiCast!
This week's Craptasticast is a Two-Fer, representing the best of DGWU and the absolute dredge worst. Part I is a continuation of the train wreck that was last week's cast, where we talk about topics such as "Scizz went to a camp called Jesus Your Compadre" and whether or not The Apologist was dead (he wasn't. and isn't). Part II on the other hand (available Monday) is an incredibly inspirational and in depth conversation on anything and everything to do with Buffalo and the trials and tribulations of trying to make things work there.....with special guest Nick Mendola! Definitely a representation of what we aspire to be in our more sober moments here at DGWU.
Yeah, you heard that right. Two podcasts, madre putanas. HENCE THE DICKENSIAN REFERENCE, BALL HAND.
I KNOW I COULDN'T CONTAIN MYSELF EITHER.
This guy was way more pumped about getting the double Craptasticasts than he was when Gene Chizik showed up to his Dr. Pepper Castle with the BCS Trophy in hand. WE ARE THAT AWESOME.
So please listen with a MASSIVE GRAIN OF SALT to Part I (Episode 8), wherein we introduce The Barrister, briefly mourn the death of The Apologist, and Scizz plays the "Really Embarrassing Names Of Camps I Attended When I Was Younger" Game (hint: he invented the game and is the only player ever.) Part II (Episode 9), I'll say this: if you ever only listen to one of our Craptasticasts, a) eff yourself you aren't loyal and b) please listen to this one because it's one of the best we've had so far.
We had an amazing conversation with Nick, and the topics/sentiments brought forward in that interview should be shared among forward-minded Buffalonians worldwide. (Don't scoff at that, you know we're all over the place)
Episode 8 is available for download by clicking the lovely itunes button or heading over to deargodwhyussports.libsyn.com
. You can also stream our nonsense from the audio-player below on your computer, iphone, or droid. Episode 9 should be available Monday, so keep checking back for updates. Two podcast - Five days. Believe it.
Ah yes, the Beautiful Game. See, Scizz? Soccer is awesome!
With the Gold Cup just around the corner, FC Buffalo's season now underway, the Women's World Cup on the horizon later this month - and the Mets struggling to even be watchable - soccer will be getting some pretty consistent coverage over the next couple months. The Yachtsman - previously the sole promoter of the Beautiful Game here on DGWU Sports - has been without internet access for about a week now, so after a big weekend of Buffalo and National Team games, I'll take this opportunity to recap the action. And, with the US Men's National Team opening Gold Cup play Tuesday vs. Canada, while I'm at Citi Field enjoying a live friendly between Greece and Ecuador, make sure to check back later this week for recaps of those games as well.
Spain 4, USA 0: Warm-up Game or Not, Americans Embarass Themselves in Front of a Record Crowd at Gillette Stadium
For my first footy roundup, this game was slated to be the main attraction - actually the only game I'd be able to watch, what with a pretty busy schedule and the 400 odd miles between my apartment and All-High Stadium in Buffalo. Now I just feel depressed spending this much time thinking about it. DEAR LORD I HATE YOU FERNANDO TORRES. I HOPE YOU CATCH THE PLAGUE.
There, I feel marginally better.
Despite the fact that the USMNT took a victory away the last time these two teams played, we all knew this Spanish squad would be tough to beat again, particularly as they're still riding high from their World Cup win last summer. I also know that the US team had a recent string of, well, shitty results. Sure, they drew against Argentina, but they also drew against Chile and lost to Paraguay. Not bad teams - in fact, Chile has cracked the top 10 in the world rankings in the past year - but still disappointing given the high that US fans were on coming off of last year's group win in South Africa. In essence, I wasn't expecting too much on Saturday, but was at least hoping for something watchable.
Unfortunately, the match brought the team's recent record into sharper focus, as Spain exposed the US side's many flaws - on both ends - and embarrassed the team and its record-setting crowd of supporters in Foxboro with a lopsided 4-0 beatdown. Hell, I'm used to seeing my team go to Gillette Stadium with optimism for an upset and lay a turd, but even this was shocking. Four - nil is bad, and it could have easily been much, much worse.
In case you missed it, well, you're lucky. I'll give you the Spanish language version of the highlights so we don't have to listen to John Harkes try to convince us that they did it better in his day.
Now, I know they were playing with reserves in a lot of positions - trying to avoid injury before the "games that matter" begin this week, as well as missing a few key guys due to injuries - but, honestly, those reserves are still part of a group that represents THE BEST PLAYERS WE HAVE IN THIS COUNTRY. They're still professionals, and they should still be good enough to, I don't know, mark players in the box and make sure Spanish strikers don't get uncontested looks from 11 yards out. Tim Howard, as good as he is, was laid out to dry all afternoon, and his frustration showed. And, the reserves issue doesn't begin to explain or excuse the continued absence of any legitimate strikers on this team. Simply put, until the US team gets a striker who can shoot the ball without hesitation and with the touch of a pure scorer, we better get used to these mixed results in international play. This is where the US team has failed in recent years, and - even though a goal or two wouldn't have helped on Saturday - the lack of a pure scorer playing the forward position was one of the glaring holes against Spain. I can't count how many times someone got a decent through ball - actually, I can count...it wasn't that many...maybe two - only to have the player hesitate, look to pass, or just look clueless. Here's an idea: SHOOT THE BALL. Maybe it goes in, maybe it goes wide, but until the US players start believing that that they have the talent to finish, we'll be dealing with a lot of games like this.
This US Team is a string of disappointments, frankly, and unless they can muster up the pride to make a run at winning the Gold Cup, it may be time to show Bob Bradley the door and bring in some international coaching talent to shake this squad up. At a certain point, with the national development of the game, and the instances where we've seen the US play some decent, competitive football against the best in the world, games like Saturday's just aren't acceptable.
That said, they can bounce back with a great result tomorrow night against Canada and prove me wrong. Just do it, Yanks.
FC Buffalo 2, Pocono Snow 0; FC Buffalo 1, Erie Douch...er.... Admirals 2: The Blitzers Split their Home Games and Remain In the Keystone Conference Hunt
Needless to say, I didn't watch either of these games, but the interwebs did keep me in the loop. Salvaging my Saturday night after the USMNT debacle were our dear FC Buffalo Blitzers, who got a solid win against the Pocono Snow. I'll refrain from any cocaine-related jokes (after all, I never did like it when people said I went to "Snow-Bart and William Sniff Colleges"), and just say that it seemed like the team really hit their stride with Saturday evening's match. A clean sheet is always a team effort, and it was encoruaging to hear that the team got one for their first home win. Incidentally, spirits surrounging this game were also brightened today when I saw a Pocono player's twitter love for FC Buffalo's team and fans.
@Paddybhoy14, you are an Irish gentleman. Remind me to buy you a shot when DGWU visits E. Stroudburg in a few weeks.
The good vibes surrounding the Pocono match were decidedly NOT repeated in the Sunday matinee against Erie - a 2-1 loss. Reports of the game via Nick Mendola
, FC Buffalo co-owner and President, made it clear that the Admirals were doing their best Greg Louganis impersonations throughout the afternoon, thus securing themselves with a 1st half PK and an ultimate victory. Despite that, it was certainly nice to see Nick hold on to the concept of quality football over the stereotypes that so often define this under-appreciated sport in America.
As if Erie's asinine on-field antics weren't bad enough, in response to a FB post on FC Buffalo's page last night, a few players from the Erie team went trolling, accomplishing little apart from (1) making themselves look like asses, and (2) ensuring that members of The Situation Room
will be making the trip down I-90 for the revenge match later this summer. In particular, Danny Muidd and Biran Fitzgerald, I'm looking at you two DBs:
Good work guys. You've now guaranteed a shit storm of heckling down in PA.
My sources - aka some tweeps who actually get to go to games (my jealousy runs deep, friends) - have informed me that there was some sort of spat regarding the goalkeeper - Dan Mudd - talking some shit about USA, and some Blitzer supporter putting him in his place. So our dear pal Danny took it upon himself to fight back with some semi-coherent points - including a mischaracterization of FC Buffalo's length of existence - and then was backed up by his teammate Mr. Fitzgerald. Whatever. They won, so their points necessarily carry weight, even if they are showing themselves to be morons incapable of using google for some basic info.
Speaking of Google, it tells me that Dan Mudd
is actually an awful human being who steered Fannie Mae into $2.2 billion in losses over a three month span in 2008. Wait, not the same "Dan Mudd?" Says who? I can't verify that online, so I'm going to assume google is telling me the truth. THANKS A LOT DANNY, YOU LOVER OF SANTORUM (the substance, nor the Senator...). Enjoy your fucking government bailout and your win. The real Americans from Buffalo will make sure to pack their whoopin' sticks when they travel down to your pathetic excuse of a Great Lakes town. As for me, I'll make sure to spread the word about you and your classlessness, ensuring that the five people who read this blog taunt you with every breath they take.
I LOVE YOU HOPE
Even Erie's own "The Wonders" are embarassed by Danny and his America-hating ways.
USA 1, Mexico 0: The USWNT steals a late winner in their send off before the 2011 Women's World Cup
Having already gone through enough analysis with little to no respect for the fact that I didn't watch the games I'm talking about, I'll keep my comments about the USWNT's game versus rivals Mexico on Sunday brief. While the Men's team was a sure underdog on Saturday, the Women's team was the exact opposite. Heading into stoppage time in the second frame, still knotted at zeros, the result was looking just as much of an embarassment as the Spain result the day before. The ladies, playing their final game on home soil before heading abroad for the World Cup later this month in Germany - where they hope to regain the Cup after two cycles of 3rd place finishes and German champions - looked less than stellar, well, until this happened.
Hey, USMNT - take some GODDAMN NOTES. Say all you want about the fact that they're women - sexist jerks - but that was a world-class strike. They keep doing that, and we could all be in for a treat when the matches in Germany get under way.
So there you have it, friends. A full weekend of football, with a healthy mix of success and failure to keep us fans interested, but not hopeful; to keep us watching, but never forgetful of the motto - Dear God, Why Us?
Check back later this week for reports and pictures from Citi Field's hosting of Ecuador and Greece, as well as thoughts on the USMNT as they open Gold Cup play against Canada.
Follow me on Twitter @theycallmedubs
And the Dear God, Why Us? Crew @DGWUSports
No comment needed
Welcome to Part two of my off-season guide to keep you entertained until The Sabres and Bills are playing again. On Thursday I dedicated the whole post to hockey and took you through all the events leading up to the first full year of the Pegula Era. This week I explore football and all the other stuff to keep you occupied through the summer of 2011. The Buffalo Bills, soccer, NASCAR, and baseball: pick your poison.
The future? Or just still in college mode?
NFL Free Agency & Training Camp – No set dates
Even with the lockout lifted, a new CBA still needs to take place, and until then the fans are being left in pigskin limbo. With free agency unable to take place, no undrafted FA’s were able to signed and we still do not know what players will be restricted or unrestricted. The one thing that I hope to God happens is that Donte Whitner leaves town. After his last twitter tirade
, he still said he is open to returning to Buffalo. The self proclaimed football-Jesus needs to shut up and move on. Also if he could get hit by a truck, that would be aaaaaaawesome.
When, or if free agency does open, the Bills still have many holes to fill, especially at QB, TE, OT, DB, & ILB (If Poz walks). The Amish Rifle and Levi Brown are the only QB’s on the roster. Do they add an experienced veteran like McNabb or Marc Bulger, or a mid-level guy like Tyler Thigpen or Matt Moore? Either way, this is Fitzy’s team until they add a QB in the draft. Andrew Luck, anyone???
As mentioned, they also need tons of other help. 2010 waiver wire pickup Scott Chandler is tops on the TE depth chart (Desmond Clark is most likely available with the emergence of Greg “Greggie” Olsen), Erik Pears is our starting right tackle, and we have only three experienced corners, two of which are injury-prone. And with no Poz, it would mean rookie Kelvin Sheppard immediately steps into a starting role (maybe not a bad thing). So there is a ton of work still to be done. Of course Buffalo always seems to find some diamonds in the rough through undrafted FA’s, like Jason Peters, Jabari Greer, and Jim Leonhard. Those guys were steals and I’m so glad….what was that? We let all of them leave? Oh ok, that makes sense. *Smacks head against wall*
FC Buffalo Season – May 22nd opening against FC Reading Revolution June 10th @NJ Blaze
Of course there are many more dates besides the two above, but those are the games that stick out right now. May 22nd the team opens up their regular season at home and the big day on June 10th will see the DGWU crew attending their game on Jersey soil (or is it mud?) in full force. Our trip to Central Jersey is sure to be exciting and will most likely end with my girlfriend’s parents bailing me out of jail. Check out the Barrister’s excellent post
about Nick Mendola’s scrappy FC Buffalo squad and get excited for the upcoming season. You can check out thefull schedule here
and plenty of coverage on the team, right where you are at DGWU Sports. I just talked about soccer in a post. The Scizz talked about soccer in a post. I need a medal or maybe one of those nifty scarves I see all you fans with.
NASCAR fun....you can't beat it, I promise you.
The Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen - August 14th
Oh yes, out of Europe and into redneck country. I have to be honest, I feel a little more comfortable here. No, I’m not a redneck, but I grew up watching NASCAR with my Dad and actually attended this race for solid 10 years with him. This year I hope to bring other members of the DGWU crew with me to celebrate some racin’ road-course style in upstate New York. Just a few hours away from NYC, this track is located in the middle of nowhere, but with a registered camping site located within the track infield and my father’s mustachioed best friend pounding beers, it is sure to be a good time. If you are not a race fan because you think that left turns are boring, this is a race that may peak your interest. The road-course features many twist and turns and you can check outa map of the track here
and a list of the events here
. The party goes Thursday – Sunday and I guarantee you a good time if you attend. Unfortunately, dumb ass fuckheads still take up the majority of the sports' fan base. Last year one of my favorites, former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya took the checkered flag amongst outright racist boos from the crowd. Hmmm, maybe NASCAR and soccer do have something in common. SOCCER NASCAR
These people need to die fiery deaths over a tank of blood thirsty sharks.
The farmer in the dell....bitches.
Baseball: Orioles @ Yankees - July 29 – 31
Yankees @ Orioles - August 26 - 28
Cubs @ Mets - September 9 – 11
Bisons games – Check the schedule
Always remember that during the summer months there are oodles and oodles of pointless baseball games being played for you to enjoy! I realize that maybe we have readers who are Indians, Pirates, and Blue Jays fans because of close proximity to Buffalo, but the DGWU crew represent the Cubs, Mets, and Orioles. The three series listed above are all ones to take interest in, because some of us may actually attend these games. You can look forward to ridiculously detailed Oriole knowledge from the Apologist at some point on this site, continued live-blogging of Cubs games from the Yachtsman and I, and terrifying accounts of being a newish Mets fan from the Barrister. I for one am excited about another possible DGWU roadtrip to Baltimore’s beautiful Inner Harbor for the Yankees series. Get on that Aps, but be careful of Omar Comin' (see image above).
If you don't understand this image, I'm not sure what to say to you.
The DGWU CrapTastiCast – Every week this summer (hopefully)
Finally, if you are new to our site or at least have ignored our lovely podcast, please continue to look for new episodes of the CrapTastiCast with many different Buffalo-related guests all summer (including Joe from BuffaloWins
this Monday). We will try our best to have a new one out to you each week with fresh/stale comedy, average sports knowledge, and sweeping generalizations. At least you get to hear that awesome intro music we have. Feel free to hit that nifty little iTUNES subscribe button down below to keep track of all new episodes and please download the past ones. It is a guaranteed goodtime for all to enjoy (except children, the elderly, and anyone originally from Philadelphia). And naturally a lovely way to waste away your mornings at work. Catch ya on the flipside.
For the sake of my blood pressure, and my own credibility as a watcher of sports, I always endeavor to keep a level head when it comes to watching my teams get jobbed by an officiating crew. Watching a game and feeling like the team is fighting two battles - one against the opposition, and one against some ass-clown referees - is beyond frustrating. After then inevitable loss, I'll walk away from the arena or field, burdened by a sneaking fear that my love for the team is clouding my judgment, and even if I saw repeated instances of head-scratching, hair-pulling decisions by a ref, I'll always wonder if I'm simply in denial that my team just wasn't good enough to win. Perhaps that's why those moments of anger, when I almost can't talk as I cope with the sheer absurdity that a ref missed a certain call, are often not about anger at all, but sadness, disappointment, regret. That this seems to happen so often as a Buffalo fan - to the point that I have legitimately been convinced (if only for a brief periof of time now and again) - that the higher powers of sports management hate Buffalo and will fix games to ensure that we will be forever saddled with the "Dear God, Why Us?" meme.
Excuse me, sir? That shit was clown shoes. Please walk into traffic.
Catching the D train from John Dewey High on Saturday, I was much less nuanced in my attitude, mostly because I had no real confidence that the officiating crew working the game was necessarily credentialed, but also because their ineptitude was on display from the opening whistle and lasted the full ninety. While the linesman closest to our small but spirited group of Blitzers supporters was good-natured about the heckling rained down by the Yachtsman, and others, he was apparently ignorant to the true workings of the offside rule. Time and again, FC Buffalo players would streak behind the defender, running onto a well-placed ball into space, only to get called back. "Flag," as we so affectionately, yet degradingly, called him, simply didn't get it.
The head referee, though - the key component of any officiating crew - was where we fans focused much of our rage, and with good reason. Down 1-0 in the second half, the Blitzers were threatening to score an equalizer, and had more than their share of opportunities to get decent balls into the box (Ed. Note: That phrase will NEVER not be funny to me). Two plays, about four or five minutes apart, sealed the Blitzers fate. First, with about 25 or so minutes remaining, a ball was dropping towards a Brooklyn player who controlled it off his chest. The ball, falling to the ground, took a bounce before the fullback directed it back, with his foot, to his keeper, who then picks it up. With his hands.
In a world where justice exists for my teams, an indirect free kick is called, the Blitzers score, and we got ourselves a game.
The back-pass was, of course, not called. Yachstman and Barrister look at each other, incredulous, then calmly accept fate while holding out hope for that next break to go our way.
A few minutes ticked off the clock, and Matt Stedman, one of the Blitzer's two strikers, found his way into space behind the defense. Stedman had already been having an incredibly solid match, and this break was a long time comng. "Flag" had no imagined offside call forthcoming, and it looked like a moment of celebration was upon us. I almost felt bad cheering as loud as I did at that moment - the sudden eruption of noise must have come as a slight shock to the striker - though, it didn't appear to matter as he deftly touched the ball to his right, past the keeper, raising our hopes that an easy tap-in from 7 or 8 yards out might be in the works. The touch may have been too hard, and maybe that's why neither the referee nor the linesman felt the urge to make the call and point to the spot after the Blitzer striker was aggressively taken down - from behind and from the side, by the defender and keeper, respectively. The looks on the faces of some of the Brooklyn supporters nearby, many of them players within other levels of the Italians' system, confirmed that they had gotten away with one. A goal kick was awarded instead, and I felt that all-too-familiar feeling in my gut.
An FC Buffalo supporter indicating his displeasure with the no-call.
Needless to say, a disappointing result. FC Buffalo controlled possession for much of the game, and showed a surprising cohesiveness in doing so, especially given the fact that this was the first game (or time, even) many of these guys had played together. It looks like the new coaching regime has the team on the right track, at least with respect to the players they've brought on board, and I think its fair to say that this match will likely put the Blitzers on solid footing to start their regular season off right.
Some other thoughts/highlights from the game:
- Pat Regna, the Blitzers starting goalie, went down in the second half after a collision with Brooklyn player Mostafa Haridi. According to FC Buffalo's website. both players required pretty serious medical attention - Haridi for an injury to his mouth, requiring emergency dental surgery, and Regna for a large laceration under his knee. Here's hoping both guys are ok.
- In addition to the infuriating no-calls in the second half, the referee can also be credited with one of the most hilarious moments of the match, after he called an infraction on a Blitzer player (it may have been the sole 1st half yellow card, which was against Matt Stedman, for "dissent") and was heard explaining that "he knows what he did." As we fans were in the dark as to the true reason for the call - which was bullshit, obviously - having seen nothing of note, this moment was especially funny.
- A few minutes before the game got underway, Team President Nick Mendola stopped by and greeted me and my buddy Geoff (City Honors Soccer represent!), and mentioned that the team was a little short-staffed. Upon the start of the game, I thought there was only one sub on the bench, though when Regna went down it became apparent that there was a keeper as well. Short-staffed indeed. After the game, me and the Yachtsman chatted briefly with a player on his way to the team's bus, and - I hope I'm not misunderstanding him - the guy mentioned that he wasn't even really on the club anymore, that he used to play for Queen City FC, that he now lived in Jersey, and that he was called to fill out the roster for this game since he was close by. I suspect that these issues will work themselves out in the coming weeks as the season comes up, though for the time being I think it shows the heart and talent of these guys to play so well in the circumstances.
- Another thing to keep in mind is that, as was mentioned by another player on his way to the bus, this team had not played together this year. Let me clarify - when I say "play," I don't just mean play an actual game. This team hadn't even gotten the chance to practice
together. As per the team's website, there were no available, playable fields in WNY during the possible window for practice times (which was limited by the NCAA eligibility freeze...which maybe someone could explain to me, since I'm a little slow), and this team legitimately had no opportunity to train together before this game. I am astonished that this can be possible (though, knowing the quality of some WNY soccer pitches, I wouldn't be surprised if the team deemed some of them simply unsafe), and even more astonished that the team played so well and to such a narrow defeat. Again, positive signs for the season.
- Finally, I have to say that I had a blast at this game. Much respect to the guys that came down from Buffalo for the game - Dale, Jeff and Brandon - as well as the other crew of Buffalovers who came out (though, I never really caught their story...I was a *few* beers deep, after all). The DGWU crew is looking forward to a roadtrip up to Buffalo for a home game or two this summer, especially if it means getting to link up this portion of "The Situation Room" for some adult beverages. Also, in the coming weeks, we'll be looking to extend a similar invitation to Buffalo residents who might be tempted to make a second trip down to the Tri-State area for FC Buffalo's match against the NJ Blaze (who, incidentally, are not the Bible-thumping sqaud I thought they were; the Buxmont Torch
, a different fire-inspired club, is down with the G-O-D...good for them), scheduled for Friday, June 10th. Hope some of you guys can make it down this way again.
Again, despite the result, this game gave a lot for Blitzer supporters to be happy about. Look for more game analysis from the Yachtsman and yours truly in this week's edition of the DGWUS CrapTastiCast, which is likely slated for posting late in the week. Until then...
Stometimes I wonder if the second tier of Buffalo sports - i.e. everything below Sabres and Bills - is where my sports gratification can be found. LIke the curse of Buffalo sports has somehow passed over that lower echelon, as if John Tavares put lamb's blood over everyone's door, saving them from a life of misery and regret. History seems to bear this out - the Bandits have had their share of glory years, UB Football went on their recent tear, and the Buffalo Destroyers were...oh, what's that? They were fucking awful, too? Well, so maybe my theory has a hole or two.
But, shitty arena football teams aside, (and also ignoring the fact that I conveniently avoided reference to the Buffalo Blizzard and the beloved Pikuzinski brothers), I am absurdly pumped to catch FC Buffalo's first attempt to make a run at US Open Cup glory. Some Buffalo sports fans limit themselves to the Big 2, dividing their remaining focus between out of market MLB or NBA squad, but not this guy. While each passing year makes me more liable to fully invest myself in the Mets, Knicks or Red Bull, teams from outside the 716 tend to exist at a distance for me, as if I can't feel they're truly mine unless they hail from Western New York.
Besides, this isn't really your typical game this weekend. As a footy fan, I've always been jealous of the FA Cup format England enjoys. While I know Britain doesn't have the monopoly on this kind of tournament format - multiple tiers of competitive soccer, all with potentially equal access to the ultimate goal of winning a Cup - I really got into the FA Cup while living in Bath in the Autumn of 2002, as Bath University's squad made a historic run
(at least for a team of their competitive level). As U.S. soccer continues to make strides in the American sports market, and as MLS gets legit
(seriously, watch a game - dudes can play
), it goes without saying that the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup has a big role to play. One of the beauties of the open tournaments like this is that it makes small-market and even amateur level teams, and their supporters, into dreamers. Soccer is a funny game, and while an actual
Cup run probably isn't the cards for a team like FC Buffalo, any success - in that it necessarily means success against teams at higher level teams - is actually a BIG deal. And, frankly, a team that works their asses off for a full ninety, and who can get a few bounces along the way, can make some miracles happen.
Speaking of miracles - how else can you explain how this guy still gets work?
Oh, and this movie was NOT hilarious. It blew. Plain and simple.
On paper, a win on Saturday night would be a seriously overachieving moment for the Blitzers. The team, in their first season last year, finished 3rd in their division. A good result for their first campaign, particularly since they snagged a win against FC Sonic, the division champion that finished with only one regular season loss. However, the infrastructure of football clubs, often brought about after years of development, are vital to successful programs. I can't imagine that it's any different for the lower level clubs within the NPSL. Despite the success of FC Buffalo in 2010, they enter this weekend ready to face a Brooklyn Italians team seeped in history. Some facts to consider:
1. Team was founded in 1949.
2. They've won the US Open Cup twice, in 1979 and 1991, prior to the introduction of professional sides into
3. They've played in the CONCACAF Cup Winners Cup and Champions Cup in 1991, following their US Open Cup
4. In addition to the team they operate within the NPSL, the club also has a few teams in the New York City
Cosmopolitan Soccer League.
5. Their team name ranks on the low side of the Barrister's "Racist Team Name Quotient," somewhere well below
the Redskins, but much higher than the Argonauts.
6. They play at a high school named for a badass pragmatist whose ideas still shape American education.
Taken together, these factors add up to a big hurdle for the Blitzers this weekend. The Italians are a club who has been there before, whose history acts as a daily inspiration for the players suiting up each game. And, with a developed infrastructure that is strong enough to support several teams, including youth squads. This infrastructure gives the Italians (GOD that's awkward to type) a potential surplus of talent from which to choose.
But, what I can say with some certainty - and until I see the teams match up, I can't say much of anything with certainty - is that me and the Yachtsman will be down in Brooklyn on Saturday night, that Joe from Buffalo Wins
will also, I'm told, be there, and that there will likely be some other expats or Buffalo lovers in the crowd. There may even be some folks who've made the trip down from WNY. I guarantee that we will be at least a few beers deep, we'll be loud as hell, and we'll probably end up saying something offensive about whether the mob is sponsoring Brooklyn's team. So, as Nick Mendola's team makes the trip down to Kings County to play the Brooklyn Italians, they may not have history on their side, but they'll have Buffalo on their side, and maybe that'll be enough.
Weather permitting, drinks at Beer Island, Stillwell Avenue, Coney Island - 2 pm. With any luck, the crowd will be better than what you see in the only decent pic I could find. Seriously - sand + beer = fun.
Gametime - 5 pm, John Dewey High School, right up the street.
If you're interested in linking up with us for the game, comment here or holler at @DGWUSports
on the Twitter, and keep an eye out for tweets re: any venue changes in the event of some sprinkles, as well as game updates as the evening wears on.
In the meantime, Let's Go Buffalo.
I know the Yachtsman has been the sole purveyor of footy coverage on DGWU Sports
for, well, forever. At risk of incurring some serious wrath from El Scizz, the end of the Sabres season had brought on a renewed interest in the Beautiful Game. Summer brings baseball in NYC, for sure, though I'm frankly more excited for trips out to New Jersey for Red Bull games than for trips just down the 7 line for Mets games. Throw in a few great results for Liverpool (seriously, 5th place?
). and I find myself rather focused on soccer and suddenly at peace with the idea of the Sabres off-season.
This personal soccer revival has been brewing for the past few weeks, likely as part of me understood the Sabres post-season run would be time-limited (and the fact that Sabres-obsession basically trumped any real attention to Liverpool since, like, February). It really came to a head about a week or so ago when I saw a tweet from DGWU favorite Phil, from Black & Blue & Gold, about FC Buffalo's upcoming trip to Brooklyn
to play in a qualifier for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup
. I confess that, as soon as I thought about catching this game, I knew I was going to need a tutorial on the team. Keeping up with this new team in the Buffalo sports scene is pretty hard for an expat, though having heard months back that the business side of this new squad was being led by Nicholas Mendola
, I can't say I'm surprised by what I've found since.
Cutting right to the chase, everything I've seen about this team has made me all warm and fuzzy inside as I am further impressed at how well the team has marketed itself to be quintessentially Buffalo. Take, for instance, this interview with Mr. Mendola and fellow team founder Donny Kutzbach (in Spot Coffee no less...the original, real deal, Spot, too... God, I miss that place)...
How can you not love these guys? Putting aside the jealousy I have for guys my age who (A) had the opportunity to buy a sports team and then (B) actually had the balls to do it, I have this overwhelming pride for fellow Buffalonians who just seem to "get it," and who translate that into a legitimate effort at making Buffalo a better place. As a resident of Buffalo proper growing up, I never quite understood the suburban phobia of the world within the city limits, and I think it's great that Nick alludes to that as he encourages fans to come out to games. Indeed, efforts like this can have, I think, an unquantifiable effect on a community - particularly one so eager to get behind any team that bears the name of the Queen City. What's so great, really, is the apparently shared recognition within the organization that any progress for Buffalo is cumulative, and that you can't just wait around for things to happen. While not the only example of grassroots, progressve entrepreneurship in Buffalo, FC Buffalo is certainly running with the concept, and you gotta be impressed with the thoughtful vision Nick and his partners have for the team.
The City-centered approach to this team's identity coarses through much of the material one finds at the end of some basic google searches. "For Our City," a team slogan, is evidence of this. For the unabashed fan of all things Buffalo, I am instantly hooked and already making plans for t-shirt and scarf purchases. What's more, this focus on City-Team cohesion is reminiscent of football traditions throughout the world - the idea of your home's identity being so wrapped up in the community's pride for the local football team. Of course, Buffalo fans already do this so well with the Bills, Sabres and Bandits, and FC Buffalo is smart to use this as a template for its business model. While we, as fans, are sometimes used to teams and players that seem so far away from the commonfolk - almost to such an extreme that sports exist in some kind of other-worldly bubble - this amateur squad is making the concerted effort to push the curtain aside and embrace the greater community. They may not have the star power of a higher level MLS or A-League club, but that might just be what ends up making this whole vision get this team off the ground.
Like many of the great European clubs that thrive on players eager to leave 100% on the field for the sake of their hometown fans, it really seems like FC Buffalo is thoroughly focused on perfoming at the highest level, and for all the right reasons. Buffalo loves its athletes, all the more so when fans can get a clear sense that the players are willing to work hard and express affection for the fanbase. With the organizational tone set by Nick, affirmed by the player interviews in the video above, FC Buffalo has no shortage of those qualities for which the Buffalo sports fan yearns.
I could go on and on, but I think you all get the point. Even the fact that they're named (at least in part) after Wolf Blitzer doesn't get me down on them... in fact, the resulting fan club "The Situation Room
" more than makes up for the mouth vomit that rises up when I think about Wolf's tendencies to ruin news with bearded ego.
Which brings us to the game coming up this weekend in Brooklyn. Now that this team has, via the wonders of the interwebs, gotten me hooked and ready to fall in love with yet another Buffalo sports export, I am pretty amped to see them live this Saturday. Before naysayers start hopping up and down, I realize that The Blitzers have a lot to prove, especially since they are, admittedly, in the rather lowly ranks of the NPSL. But, after many conversations with the Yachtsman about the need for U.S. Soccer to develop and support national and local infrastructure to support the game - stuff like elite youth academies that submerge players in the very fabric of the game and multi-tiered national tournaments that foster excitement for the game top-down - it feels pretty good that Buffalo is getting in on the effort
. Besides, even if this is their first foray onto the US Open Cup stage (albeit on the qualifying stage), I'm in the mood to dream about what this Buffalo team can accomplish, for their city.
So, in the spirit of further educating myself (and any of you readers who need it) about this team so I won't get down to John Dewey High School on Saturday, clueless as to what I'm watching, I'll be back on DGWU throughout the week to discuss the following topics (subject to my laziness and/or workload):
- Some history on the US Open Cup and where this qualifying match fits in with the tourney structure;
- What to expect from some of the key FC Buffalo players this weekend;
- How the "Brooklyn Italians
" rank in the world of head-scratching team names, and how their history is nevertheless a beautiful thing; and, of course
- Plans for pre-game drinking, including possible linkups with roadtripping members of the Situation Room (Beer Island
looks like an early favorite).
And, on the day of, make sure to keep your eyes glued to twitter
for DGWU's game updates, photos and reactions. Which, after a few tasty brews with the Coney Island sand between my toes, should be good times.
This is exactly how we all felt Sunday morning while recording episode #5
Welcome everyone to episode number FIVE of the DGWU CrapTastiCast. Despite all of us either being sick, having allergy attacks, or being hungover we pulled together on a bright Sunday morning to record for your listening pleasure. With our faces burning off, we sniffled and thriller danced our way our way through many Buffalo related sports topics including the sadness of the Sabres game 7 loss, the bright future of the young players, another epic Pegula/Ted Black press conference, the end of the Connolly era, the thrill of meeting our hero Andre Reed, half-assed Buffalo Bills draft analysis, FC Buffalo, and much, much more! Megsie jumps in for some swiss tour guide commentary and Mondee never made it off the couch, but we get along just fine. Miss ya big guy! As always you can download the podcast through iTUNES
(please subscribe if you haven't already).
You can stream our sexy, sophisticated, and nerdiculous voices right below too! Enjoy our zombified-selves!