Oh, spring. The time of year when I have already given up on baseball except on the days when my team's improbable Cy Young candidate is pitching; when the Sabres have, not so improbably, retired for the off-season; when sports are a simple backdrop to thoughts of day drinking in the sun and cutting out of work as often as possible.
For the next three months or so, soccer will really be the only sport I care about, and that's just fine with me. While the Buffalo Bills tempt us into a familiar land of hopes and dreams, I'll be in the corner enjoying a sport that hasn't yet beaten me into submission with annual kicks to the nuts.
/looks at prior Liverpool season results
/kicks self in aforementioned nuts as penance for blatant lie
Of course, paying any attention to this sport flies in the face of certain opinions set forth by certain creepy sports journalists in Tuffalo
, but I think it goes without saying that Mike Harrington is simply out of his element when he tries to talk about anything that doesn't fall within the following categories:
- the availability of Terry Pegula for sarcastic, caustic interviews;
- the quickest way to climb a tree outside an unsuspecting woman's window;
- tying knots;
- the best proportion of Miracle Whip and Fritos to put on a bologna sandwich;
- the fragrance of a minor league baseball locker room;
- buying bulk candy;
- Jerry Sullivan's jock; and
- LOL ROFL Doh! Thanx
So, when it comes to soccer, don't worry about this knuckledragger's opinion. When he hears "The Beautiful Game," his mind instantly shifts to family reunion Twister. He's gross.
On to the #Hot #Sports #Takes!!!
Did that seriously happen?
When I went to bed last night, I still hadn't really grasped it, and today I'm faring no better. Luis Suarez, the Premier League's best goal scorer this season, fucking bit a dude. And to make it worse, this isn't even unusual behavior for him.
He has a history of this. As stupid about my sports as I am, I'm still not capable of processing this; of deciding what it means about the player, about my club, and about what I'm willing to accept as a sports fan.
When Pat Kaleta blows someone into the boards from behind, I can rationalize it because it's within the scope of hockey generally. It doesn't stray that far from the script of the sport. But when a guy bites someone - TWICE - my brain just can't handle it. I want to jump up and down in anger - surely that's what I'd be doing if the situation was reversed and a guy on my team got chomped - but the fan in me won't go there, perhaps unreasonably.
But, put another way - a way that looks for the results end of the sport, rather than the vague concepts of honor and sportsmanship - the fan in me is looking only to reason. Suarez, after all, is a gifted player. He's the biggest reason Liverpool have been competitive this year. He has a captain in Steven Gerrard - the kind of guy who graciously combines great skill and talent with great honor and sportsmanship - who calls him the third best player in the world.
What to value, then? The moral/ethical side of the game, or the results side of the game? Am I being callous if I value goals scored by an apparently bad and deeply troubled person? Am I being naive if I value the character of a man over his ability to achieve the basic purposes of the game itself?
Is he a brilliant player in spite of apparent sociopathic tendencies, or because of them?
After all, he did this terrible, bizarre, despicable thing... and then he scored an amazing equalizer in the dying moments of the match.
He is both terrible and tremendous. He is a mountain of talent and an abyss of apparent soullessness.
Should our response be to praise, to loathe, or to find a combination of the two and search for a deeper understanding of what it is we're seeing when he takes the pitch?
I'm clearly at a loss for how to answer these questions with any sort of certainty, but for the time being some answers are being chosen by others as the club has fined Suarez and announced that he will not be sold this summer, while the rest of the football world calls for his head on a stake.
And, as for Liverpool fans, we are left to debate what this all means for a Club that has valued the kind of honorable football Suarez shirks while also valuing the kind of beautiful football he so often creates.
I'm attempting to remain upbeat by not thinking about our shitty hockey team and shitty local hockey media and how Mike Harrington needs a punch in the gunt and how Jesus Christ what if everything except Lindy was the problem and we're rebuilding with the wrong blueprint and this is all going to turn into a quintessential #becauseitsbuffalo fuckup that my son will have to live with through a lifetime of sport sadness steadily replicating the life I've led to date and the feeling of emptiness in my heart left by a missed field goal and foot in the crease and it'll just be passed on to a kid who doesn't know better and will surely love these teams too because he inexplicably thinks his dad is the tits and makes infallible decisions?
I just can't. Fuck. Dammit. Balls in the mouth.
So instead, I'm revisiting the bloggasuperfranchise that is my Intermittent Footy Roundup. See! It's been a long time! INTERMITTENT!!!! Ha. Words.
The Beautiful Game
When the FA Cup started this season, before the "Proper" rounds of late, there were hundreds of teams competing the preliminary rounds. A long was still to go before the quarterfinals, this weekend's third round proper - the moment where Premier League and League Championship sides enter the fray - was full of what soccer fans: controversy, late goals, upsets and Arsene Wenger walking off the pitch with his arms crossed in hilarious and delicious disappointment.
If you happened to read my rambling post last week
and happened to, impressively, make it to the end of that monstrosity, you would have seen that I made some predictions for the round. And because I'm lazy and still hungover on the #ToiletWine I imbibed during yesterday's CrapTastiCast (expected to drop tomorrow), I suppose that recapping my predictions is as good/bad/pathetic way to talk about how the weekend went.
I... did not do so great.
Jet lag is a crazy bitch.
I've been back in the U.S. for under 48 hours, neither me nor my darling son are yet settled into the time difference yet, he's been crying for 87% of this New Year's Day, I've been beating myself up with the marathon of Being: Liverpool on FSC today with healthy helpings of mimosas and cookies while my lady looks on disapprovingly, the Buffalo Bills have been entertaining us all with a smoke and mirrors show the like we've never seen, and other than my piss-my-pants-in-excitement post cheering the firing of Chan "I refuse to use my suer-talented running back due to unresolved issues with my father and his tendency to call me a dickless failure" Gailey, I haven't contributed to this site in a few weeks which is long for me because I'm, well, obsessive about giving you fresh plates of steaming hot takes as often as possible.
Run-on sentences are my jam when I'm this tired.
I would talk at greater length about those Buffalo Bills but Joe Pinzone asked me to be on his podcast tonight so I wouldn't want to ruin it for the six of you that happen to listen. It goes without saying that, if you were to observe the spectrum of Bills' fan outlooks after Russ Brandon was elevated to President and CEO of Los Billeros, I would be somewhere close to the "dear god please stab me in the dick this team is perpetually shit and nothing is going to change that." Don't worry, sometime in March I'll be overly optimistic about our Bills and will lose my last shreds of credibility for the dozens of people that read this site, I'm sure.
Today, though, it's all about the footy - specifically the English brand of it. Just back from that transatlantic trip to London for the holiday, its unsurprising that I'd confine myself to the English game. After all, one game past the midway point of the Premier League season, things are starting to get pretty interesting, and with the FA Cup's Third Round on tap for this weekend, there's plenty to keep fans of the English game entertained.
And if you're not a fan of the English game, it must be said, you're a fucking moron. This shit is amazing.
After the jump -- Liverpool confound with their frustratingly inconsistent play, Manchester United continues to firm up their foothold on the top of the table while their Sky Blue neighbors flounder, Arsenal bounce back from their 0-2 defeat at home to Swansea, and Harry Redknapp is a blustered ball of frustration and I love it. Oh, and some unfounded FA Cup predictions because why the fuck not?
And I'm back. Not that The Beautiful Game is much of a comfort to me lately, but hell if I’m going to spend my precious free moments on this chilly Thursday to talk about the garbage pail Buffalo Bills. Fire Chan. Draft a QB or two. Do what you will with Buddy. And give CJ the damn football.
As for that game of so much beauty, that sport of kings, my current joy with soccer only exists by way of emotional detachment since there hasn’t been a ton to cheer about these past few weeks. Yet in the midst of that detachment, much has happened. Liverpool’s form continues to elude them, both Chelsea and QPR have rid themselves of their managers, and a little league called the MLS broke my heart. Twice. I’m finally ready to talk/emotionally vomit/ramble incoherently about it.
ninja, ninja, RAP!
Welp. Hurricane Sandy is upon us, I’m holed up in Central Massachusetts in probably the first of many moments of overprotective parenting, The Scizz is ragestorming at the flippancy of twitter in a time of potential crisis, Yachtsman and Apologist are playing video games like the two brave burnouts they are, Outlander is cursing the fact he had to work and remain in close proximity to certified morons, and The Continental is currently cruising the aisles at her local supermarket in the hopes of bedding some hurricane tail.
Just so we’re all clear about the current state of things.
Don't Worry. I'm Here To Help.
This past week/weekend brought yet another slate of highly entertaining soccer, with MLS playoff implications to be decided, Champions League and Europa action, and a Merseyside Derby that will have my blood boiling for at least another week. Or, at least until I have consumed at least a dozen or so adult sodas in rapid succession.
On top of the events on the pitches of the footballing world, news has come out that NBC Universal has successfully obtained the American television rights for the English Premier League, and their announcement has made it clear that American fans should expect expanding coverage and, more importantly, options to watch all games in real time. While the skeptic in me reigns supreme, especially after the coverage fails during the Summer Olympics, I’m looking forward to what this might look like next year.
And, as Grant Wahl mentioned on Twitter today
, this deal may spell bad things for the NHL’s market share if they don’t fucking get their act together. Interesting stuff, in any event.
On to the steaming hot takes!!
Oh fiddlesticks in the meadow with the cows as they're coming home, it's 5 am and I can't sleep and I wager my son will wake up by the time I finish this poor excuse for a post and I have to be at church in 4 hours and woohoo! fatherhood!
Much of this may not make any sense. Also: Apologist may be posting on the heels of this, so with any luck barely anyone will read it. Also also: I do not intend to use impeccable punctuation, grammar or spelling. So be sure to hop on the comments to make yourself feel better by pointing out my errors. Only pimple-faced trolls make it a habit of starting fights on the internet, anyway.... /ignores clear hypocrisy of that statement /takes yet another bite of now stale baptismal cake from last week /gulps down half glass of milk mixed with my vanishing integrity
The world of world football marches on, despite my wish that it would take a slight break while I try to get some fucking rest, and this week was chock full of action and, happily, not the typical slate of depressing results. There are a couple of games to still happen this morning -- Roma plays, I believe, which would satisfy lingering Michael Bradley lust if I hadn't just watched Mr. Clean in USMNT action; and QPR is at home to surprisingly strong, but waiting for the other shoe to drop, Everton. Neither of these matches I will watch, though if anything all that interesting happens, I reserve the right to usurp Aps' post with a hastily slapped together update with some bad jokes about Italians and/or some BonerJamz references to my love for Timmy Howard.
On to the hot takes!!*
worst 90 minutes I've ever spent on Netflix. Luckily, I was drunk.
Another weekend in the books, another slate of games where my squads shit the bed and give me more reasons to wonder whether the universe delights in pissing all over my face. Perhaps, written in my DNA somewhere, is some sign that I love Golden Showers, and the universe is simply following instructions... it would certainly explain a lot.
As for the other, more American sports you all come here to read up on, someone will be on here later this week to talk Bills, I'm sure, but in the meantime the hot takes will be soccer-centric. Bear with me, I promise many inappropriate moments to make it worth your while.
I watched a few games early in the week, including portions of a couple of Champions League matches that kind of put me to sleep, and a Liverpool Europa match that kind of made me shit in hats, but we'll start with the New York Fucking Red Bulls.
Exhibit A: Getting Smoked Off Your Own Pitch
With only three games left on the schedule, the Red Bulls hosted the Chicago Fire. The Chicago FIRE. As an aside, if you want to pretend the Deeg is somehow unreasonably inappropriate when it comes to our sports takes, don't forget the plethora of absurd and offensive team names scattered across the world, take the stick out of your ass, and laugh with the rest of us. It's fun.
As for the Fire, there are a dozen or so really dumb jokes or puns I could make, but suffice it to say that I think naming a sports team after a local tragedy is tasteless and crass and par for the course for the early days of the MLS. Just as Kansas City abandoned the dishearteningly lame "Wizards," and NY abandoned the Metro Stars and any reference to the state of New Jersey (smart move, that), it's probably time for Chicago to rebrand with something that doesn't tip it's hat to the deaths of hundreds of Chicagoishians. Because, you know, death is not. cool.
Or, you know, they could keep it since they sure brought the fire on Saturday night, right guys? /ducks
The game was saddeningly typical of Red Bulls efforts of late -- patient but uninspired possession play, with the chances few and far between and, more to the point, unsuccessful. Not that the Fire were much better, though they - via Sherjill McDonald's two goals - made the most of their opportunities, even when seeing very little of the ball.
comin at ya, sucka emcees
With the Deeg fully ensconced in the game of American Throw, Catch & Run Ball, and with fatherly duties perhaps keeping me away from my obviously more important duties here at the Deeg, it would be easy to coast a little bit with my contributions. Yet, if last Saturday night's "live" blog and the subsequent opportunities to watch a little more soccer than usual while on a slice of paternity leave, it's that I fucking love this sport. Sure, the NFL is tons of capitalist fun, but good Christ - there is little in the world that compares to watching the uninterrupted action of a game of soccer played at the highest levels of the sport.
So, for those of you who share that love or who like what I write enough to suffer through posts about one of your least favorite sports, I'll be trying to re-settle into a niche here at the Deeg while everyone else is talking about CJ "Blue Jesus" Spiller and the Bills' two lines of monster football players who remind us all (a little bit too much, probably) of what went down in Orchard Park about 20 years ago. (Not that this will keep me from chiming in on the Bills, since it is game day...)
The format for these forays into footy, if you give a shit, will be a breakdown of the handful of games that I got a chance to watch or follow closely over the course of the last week, followed by a sprinkle of quick thoughts about the squads that matter to me, whether it be Liverpool, the Red Bulls, (mostly because I love Michael Bradley) Roma or the US Senior National Teams. With the kiddo and my waning attention span, your guess is as good as mine as to how long I keep at this with any frequency. Finger crossing, as with all things, is encouraged.
Click "Read More" to, you guessed it! -- READ MORE.