Entries in the Category "Sports"

Dear NY Yankees re: Nationals June 18 game

Total Delay - Approximately 5 hours and 25 minutes

I really want to see the attendance announcement during the 8th inning. If I see 45-46,000, I really want to shout bullcrap!!! Who can bet only several thousand are still there in the stadium? (About 10,000 were at the game)

I understand that we won't play the Nationals after this 3-game series. I understand the importance of trying to play this game.

I couldn't go today, so my friend and his father went and they waited five hours before leaving. Essentially, they could not get any details from Guest Services. They were told a 3pm start, then a 4pm start, then 5:15pm, and eventually 6:30pm. They were pretty much frustrated just like many other fans.

So the fans that had tickets from the grandstand to the premium seats lose out since they're going to play the game after all. Is that still right after what the fans have endured? Since fans could not leave the stadium during the delay, they were essentially held as "prisoners." It was either stay and keep on waiting, or leave and lose out that $20 to $2000 ticket. Is that still right?

Common sense would dictate that if were 1-2 hours, I am sure fans would tolerate it. But everyone saw the weather outlook. If this game was the last of the season, fans would stay. If this were a game that would determine the postseason, the fans would stay.

So right now the Yankees are basically screwing over 3/4 of the fans that could not stay or did not come because of the weather. Can we at least consider some bit of compensation? Like using our ticket to another game? We are not asking for much, just an opportunity to make up one game.

UPDATE 6/19/09

Yankees announced that fans who could not go to the game or they went home during the rain delay will be able to use their game ticket to another Yankees game for no charge. So fans can still get to see another game, and fans who went are pretty much given a free game. That is good news and most considerate of them.

Yankees' Inaugural Season - Let in the photographers!

yankees.bmpIn just a few more weeks, I will venture into the new Yankee Stadium for Opening Day. In my previous visits, I have always brought my trusty Canon Digital camera to take photos of being in the stadium, fans being ejected, and other crazy incidents. It was especially memorable when I brought my camera for the last home game in the old stadium.

Of course, if you take a look at the Camera Policy at the new Yankee Stadium, it stated the following (link):

Cameras and video equipment
Single-frame flash photography is permitted. Tripods, extended length zoom lenses, other professional camera equipment, movie cameras and any other video or audio recording equipment are not permitted in Yankee Stadium. Guests are not permitted to transmit or aid in transmitting any account, description, picture, video, audio, reproduction or other information about any games.

It is updated from the previous policy at the old stadium:

CAMERAS & VIDEO EQUIPMENT
Single-frame flash photography is allowed. All forms of video and motion-picture cameras are strictly prohibited. Guests are also forbidden to use lighting or camera support pods at the Stadium. Please note: Fans are not permitted to reproduce or rebroadcast any film of Yankees games for commercial purposes without the prior written permission of the Yankees and Major League Baseball.

But regardless, during the first pitch on Opening Game, you will definitely see thousands of camera flashes and it will be the same for this year's inaugural season, prolly lots more. Almost every electronic device is a camera. You can even record with your Blackberry device.

I really don't think the camera policy was strictly enforced. I am sure fans want to take photos in their favorite stadium. I even saw some fans bring their professional camera to get better shots. Of course, we wouldn't be reprinting these photos for commerical use or even the videos. How can you get a good video going anyway? The fan would be stuck filming from one specific view during the whole game.

Well, I do hope the security staff won't be anal for Opening Day this year. It is going to be historic! So please don't ruin it for us.

He Kexin's age controversy

Is she really 16-years old or 14-years old?

The International Olympic Committee has ordered the International Gymnastics Federation to start an investigation into mounting allegations that Chinese authorities covered up the true age of their gold-medal winning gymnastics star because she was too young to compete.

An IOC official told The Times that because of "discrepancies" that have come to light about the age of He Kexin, the host nation’s darling who won gold in both team and individual events, an official inquiry has been launched that could result in the gymnast being stripped of her medals.

The investigation was triggered as a US computer expert claimed today to have uncovered Chinese government documents that he says prove she is only 14 - making her ineligible to compete in the Olympics - rather than 16, as officials in Beijing insist is her age.

He_Kexin.jpg

He Kexin (middle), Yang Yilin (right): From this photo, I would believe that Yilin looks 16, but not Kexin.

He_Kexin2.jpg

Link to the cached document showing He Kexin to be born on January 1 1994

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Honestly, it is hard to tell. It was funny enough when we were seniors in college and remarking that freshman students in every subsequent class seem to be getting younger.

I really believe that if you show a picture of He Kexin to a person who never saw her, telling that person that He looks 16-years old may draw a skeptical look.

As such, we have a Chinese government-issued passport attesting that He is 16 years old, born on January 1 1992. A US computer expert has allegedly found Chinese government documents issued by the General Administration of Sport of China stating that He's birthdate is January 1 1994.

Of course, a passport is one type of identification. A birth certificate is another. School information, medical information too. But if everything else is on electronic media, one can argue that such information can be changed. It would seem that paper copies are still needed to ensure the proper type of authentication is in place.

But I figured that for Chinese olympic athletes, they are pretty much attending camp and training centres maintained by the government so such information would be carefully controlled.

Has her competitive history be thoroughly checked? Has every newspaper article about He Kexin been researched? All the way back to 2007? 2006?

How would this controversy end? Neither side will be happy regardless of the result.

It's too bad there is no easier way of finding out a person's age. No way for doctors to check He's blood and find out her true age?

* * * * * * * * * *

Update 8/22:

Obviously, China coach Lu Shanzan stated that He's parents are "indignant" over persistent questions about their daughter's age.

"It's not just me. The parents of our athletes are all very indignant," Lu said. "They have faced groundless suspicion. Why aren't they believed? Why are their children suspected? Their parents are very angry."

In an interview with The Associated Press, Lu said Asian gymnasts are naturally smaller than their American and European rivals.

He said the governing body of gymnastics was given additional documents Thursday night to try to dispel lingering questions. Those documents included He's current and former passport, ID card and family residence permit. Lu said the documents all say she was born in 1992, which would have made her eligible to compete. Gymnasts must turn 16 during the Olympic year to be eligible.

So finally, we get more documentation. I really believe that all of this should have been given to the Gymnastic Federation and IOC to put the allegations to rest. Well, you could not blame us for not trusting the government. With the way the Chinese government controls access to information, how can we truly believe what they say is true?

China's own Yang Yun, a double bronze medalist in Sydney, said during an interview aired on state broadcaster China Central Television that she was 14 during the 2000 Games. Is that false? Or perhaps Yun was not fully trained on what to talk about during the interview?

If He's age is 16, then she would not be able to qualify for local and regional sports competitions where parents are known to "brush" their children's ages in order for them to be eligible to compete. We do not know exactly how their entire sports bureaucracy is run.

A Chinese blogger has a very different take, translated here (but has been taken down). He argues that in fact the birth dates in question in those documents from the GASC website may be incorrect, but that they intentionally made the gymnasts look younger so they could participate in certain domestic competitions.

So what if He was really 16, but in her domestic competitions, her age was 14. Yep, it would refute allegations about her Olympics qualification, but it will show that Chinese parents are known to change birthdays of children, to older or younger, in order to compete in local competitions.

Link to Stryde Hax: Olympic Hacking

Update 8/25:

As reported by the New York Times, Cui Dalin, the vice minister of the General Administration of Sport of China, said He Kexin, the uneven bars Olympic champion, had moved from one team to another last year, and a wrong birth date was written on the registration forms for the new team.

Before these Games, the international gymnastics federation, known as F.I.G., and the International Olympic Committee checked the passports of the Chinese gymnasts and judged them to be accurate. But the I.O.C. last week asked the F.I.G. to investigate the gymnasts’ ages further.

Chinese gymnastics officials have since given F.I.G. passports, national identity cards and family residence permits of five of the six members of the Chinese team. The only one exempt from the probe is Cheng Fei, 20, China’s most decorated gymnast.

* * * * * * * * * *

I really doubt the new information would satisfy the skeptics. We may never know the true age of Kexin He. Hackers may have the cached data from Google and Baidu, but there is no other concrete data to completely refute the Chinese government position. I am talking about official government documents (in paper!).

But honestly, should there still be an age requirement for gymnastics? Yes, it was put in there to prevent abuse, but how can it be truly enforced? Also, the age rule is not standard for every Olympic sport.

US Olympics Coverage - Opening Ceremony NOT LIVE for USA

beijing_olympics.gifThe opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics 2008 in Beijing is scheduled to start at 08:08:08 PM (Chinese Standard Time).

In the Northeast USA, we are twelve hours behind. So if it is 7:30AM in New York City, it is 7:30PM in Beijing.

In the US, our "live" coverage does not start until 7:30PM this evening with the media broadcast of the Olympics opening ceremony. Of course, we would be about 12 hours late for that.

I checked all listings for NBC, NBCHD and they have the "Opening Ceremony" starting tonight 7:30PM EST. I guess I understand the media wants to maximize television viewership, but I really believe that you got millions of people in the States expecting to watch the opening ceremony at 8AM in the morning!

If you go to the BBC Sports Web Site, they started coverage at 745 BST through 1245 BST, so the UK folks will be watching the opening ceremony LIVE!

This really sucks. On Friday morning's "Today Show," Matt Lauer never mentions that the actual ceremony is starting this morning, but he just says that folks in the US can see the ceremony at 7:30pm ET/6:30pm CT. Yes, it's "PM" that you read. Sad...sad.

Here's BBC Live Action Blog (as of 1240 BST, 740 EST), the Bird's Nest stadium is almost at its 90,000 capacity.

New York Times live-blogging

Washington Post

Oh yes, Canada TV (CBC) is broadcasting it LIVE - Link

(oh crap, US users are blocked! :-( )

English CCTV is also broadcasting LIVE from their web site

(but IOC is restricting live video to the chinese mainland, sucks!!!)

You can try this one too - http://tvkitamasanmbc.blogspot.com/

Or this - http://www.justin.tv/koncerto

HotForWords explain difference between soccer and football

Video of Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony Rehearsal

opening_ceremony.jpgBeijing Olympics officials are unhappy that a South Korean film crew managed to film footage of a dress rehearsal of the opening ceremony. Supposedly, the ceremony was supposed to be top secret. The 3 1/2 hour ceremony is being directed by award-winning film director Zhang Yimou.

As such, thousands of Chinese Internet users are going around making offensive and denouncing comments on sites that have posted the video. There are already attempts to block the video on YouTube. Some have called it unethical, others accused the media of trying to "undermine" the Beijing Olympics.

Such arguments are pretty much ridiculous. The footage only offers a small glimpse of this great event. When the official opening event starts, the television audience will be given the most exciting view of the ceremony (especially in high-definition). It will be hundred times better than what the Korean film crew has shown.

Besides, there have already been reports of people taking pictures and video recordings of the dress rehearsals on the July 15th rehearsal. Plus, the rehearsal opening to the public on July 30. About 70,000 people watched it. Should these folks be arrested for seeing a "top-secret" event?

Also, according to the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) two more rehearsals on Aug. 2 and Aug. 5 will be open to ticket holders.

Huffingtonpost.com

LiveLeak.com

Telegraph.co.uk

YouTube (depending on how long before it gets taken down):

Hey MLS! Treat West Ham United better!

My favorite football club in the UK, West Ham United, is flying to the US and Canada to play MLS outfit Columbus Crew and the All-Star Team in Toronto.

The MLS told boss Alan Curbishley they would get business class flights but when a travel firm went under, it all went wrong.

Now, the squad is being flown economy class in TWO separate planes. Half the squad will fly to Chicago (9 hour), stopover time, then onto Columbus (3 hour).

Plus, the game is being played on astroturf!!! Are they nuts?!?! Can we please use real grass????

Link

Red Sox Fan catches foul ball, then later drops it

Ahh, priceless!

Go Yankees! =)

Whiny Pats Fans Sign Petition Against Super Bowl Loss

Over 6,500 signatures have been signed to a petition calling for the NFL to investigate the final 1:40 of Super Bowl XLII between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. The Pats were upset when they lost to the Giants by a score of 17-14.

See Petition here

They are complaining about the game clock being stopped after Jacobs attained a first down. That was the 4th and 1 play. The game officials were not sure if the first down was attained so they brought up the chains to confirm that the ball did pass it. This is where there is argument on whether the clock should have kept on counting down. The petition argues that based upon that and other plays in the final drive, the Giants would have ran out of time in order to beat the Pats.

Of course, no one would be definitely sure if the Pats would have kept their lead. If the petition said there should be 40 seconds less for the Giants, then it is also possible that Manning and his offensive line would still achieve the impossible and score a touchdown to win the championship.

I would rather think that it was destiny for the Giants to win. Overall, they wanted it more.

Drop the sore loser mentality and concentrate on next season. Did any Rams fans start whining about losing against the Patriots? About some sort of conspiracy? Sheesh.

Let's move on.

American Owners of Liverpool FC should be ashamed of themselves

I question the American owners of Liverpool F.C., Tom Hicks and George Gillett, if they are truly sincere and just in their efforts to maintain this famous football club for years to come.

Note the statement both Americans made after their joint offer for Liverpool was accepted:

"Liverpool is a fantastic club with a remarkable history and a passionate fan base. We fully acknowledge and appreciate the unique heritage and rich history of Liverpool and intend to respect this heritage in the future. The Hicks family and the Gillett family are extremely excited about continuing the Club's legacy and tradition."

Of course, when they bought the club, they used borrowed money for their 218.9 million pounds takeover in March 2007. According to Forbes Magazine, Tom Hicks' fortune was estimated to have worth $1.3 billion dollars. George Gillett, Jr. has almost $6.0 billion dollars. Does it make financial sense to buy the whole entire club on debt alone? It would make sense to Liverpool fans if the buyers would pitch some of their own money to show how they want to own the club.

Then they got stingy with how much money they would make available for the January transfer window for new players. Of course, this involved arguing with manager, Rafa Benitez about it. Rafa wanted to get new players, the owners wanted Rafa to make do with what he has. They wanted Benitez to concentrate on coaching and training his existing pool of players. The fate of the manager was uncertain during this time despite statements made by the owners that their relationship was in no danger.

Then it turned out this month that Hicks approached former Germany coach Jurgen Klinsman with a view to him taking Rafa Benitez's role at the club. The Liverpool fans were clearly not happy with this.

Now, the American owners are trying to re-finance their existing loan. They want to secure a 350 million pound loan that would pay off the existing debt they used to buy the club, some players that were signed last summer, and funds to start work on a new stadium in Stanley Park.

Again, they are not putting forth any funds from their own personal fortunes. They have also scaled back their grandiose plans on building a new stadium. Plus, they wanted to shift some of the debt onto the club's budget. This would cleary impact on cash flow.

Sources have reported that the Americans may have hit a snag in their re-financing attempts. Now, you got Dubai International Capital (DIC) deciding whether to make an offer to buy out Hicks and co-owner George Gillett. Remember that DIC lost their bid to the Americans last March. Reports say that the DIC may offer 400 million pounds for the team.

Liverpool fans are questioning if the American owners are truthful in keeping their long-term commitment to the club or will they sell to DIC, and take the profit.

You see, if the Americans accept DIC's offer, they would make approximately 50 million pounds in profit. That would be a pretty good return for owning a club for less than a year and for not putting a single dollar of their own money into the club.

One thing for sure, if Hicks and Gillett sell the club, they are definitely not welcome in Liverpool for the foreseeable future.

Giants Win at Green Bay: Advance to Super Bowl

The underdog Giants win again! 23-20 against Green Bay on Tynes' winning field-goal in overtime.

Now, it's against the Patriots in the Super Bowl at Glendale, AZ on February 3.

If you are in Vegas, the bookmakers have given the Pats 13 pt favorites over the Giants.

Case Football - Perfect 10-0

Update 11/18:
The Spartans have advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Football Championship by narrowly defeating the Pride from
Widener University 21-20 at Case Field.

The Spartans were down 20-15 with 1:27 remaining in the game, when sophomore quarterback Dan Whalen led the Spartans on a 14-play, 73-yard drive, capping it off by hitting senior wide receiver Jeff Mayer (Vermillion, OH) in the end zone with two seconds left on the clock for the game-winning touchdown.

With the win, the Spartans improve to 11-0 on the year and will host Wabash College next weekend at Case Field at 12:00 p.m. in the second round of the playoffs. Wabash defeated the College of Mount St. Joseph 31-21 in its first round game in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Link

Update 11/11:
The Division 3 Selection Committee have announced the field of 32 teams today for the 2007 NCAA Division III Football Championship.

Case (10-0) has been selected to play Widener (8-2) in the first round on Nov. 17 at home.

Link

* * * * *

Congrats to the Spartans for defeating Ohio Wesleyan University 20-17 at Case Field today. This completes the team's football season with a perfect 10-0 record.

Now, it is with hope that the NCAA Division III Football Committee will pick Case as part of the 32-team field for the 2007 Championship playoffs. The selections will be announced tomorrow (Sunday) at 11:30AM and will air on ESPNU.

Go Spartans!!!

Link

Case Football - Ranked #18

MAKING THEIR CASE: Case Western Reserve University won its first outright University Athletic Association championship in school history following a 35-27 win over Washington (Mo.) last weekend.

"I reminded the kids in my pre-game speech of what I told them this summer, that they could be the best Case Western Reserve team in years," said head coach Greg Debeljak. "I then explained to them that I set the bar too low. They have a chance to be the best Case Western Reserve team in history."

The Spartans tied a school record with nine victories as they remained unbeaten with a 9-0 record. Case Western Reserved climbed three spots to No. 18 in the latest AFCA Division III with the win.

Former high school teammates Dan Whalen and Shaun Nicely from Willoughby, Ohio, connected on three touchdowns. Nicely finished the game with a career-high 12 catches for 166 yards.

Next Match: Nov. 10 vs. Ohio Wesleyan

Link

Are the Indians going to choke?

Up against Boston 3 games to 1.

Folks thought Sabathia could pull it off in Game 5, but he was not that perfect. He still kept it close, better than Game 1, but reliever Perez could not stop 5 runs coming across the plate.

Carmona was also thought to snatch the win for the Tribe. Game 2 was a fluke as well, but it was pretty much the same in Game 6. He only last 2 innings and couldn't finish the third. Even reliever Perez could not end the 3rd inning either, and both pitchers gave Boston a 10-1 lead.

Your two best pitchers were not the best. It makes Westbrook and Byrd look so good in comparison.

Now it's Game 7, the winner faces the Colorado Rockies.

Westbrook will pitch for the Indians, and perhaps Byrd in backup. Boston has Matsuzaka who gave up 4 runs in Game 3. But the Red Sox can also use Beckett in reserve.

If the Indians fall in a deep hole again, Francona will use Beckett if the Indians try to get back in.

So will the Tribe follow the Yankees in letting Boston win from a 3-0 and 3-1 deficit? I seriously hope not.

Everyone in New York would like to see Boston lose. If the Indians cannot do it, then we have to root for the Rockies.

Call it! ALDS series to be decided in Cleveland - oh well

Prediction: Yankees win Game 4 on a clutch homer by pinch hitter Shelly Duncan. Game 5 - Sabithia collapse leads to Cleveland rout.

Come on Yankees!

Otherwise, I hope whoever wins will sweep the BoSux.

Update

Cleveland wins series 3-1

Final Score: Cleveland 6, Yankees 4

Congrats to the Indians. Now please beat the BoSux.

Hope Solo: Left out in the cold

hope_solo.jpgBack in September, if you remember, the Women's World Cup was held in China. The USA team, ranked #1 before the tournament did pretty well throughout the group stages and the quarter-final.

In the semi-final against Brazil, U.S. coach Greg Ryan decided to bench goalkeeper Hope Solo in favor of backup veteran keeper Briana Scurry because of her experience with Brazil. Unfortunately, it did not turn out well with the Americans losing 4-0. Solo, of course, was not happy about being benched.

She gave her candid remarks after the game:

"There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves," Solo said. "And the fact of the matter is, it's not 2004 anymore. … It's 2007, and I think you have to live in the present. And you can't live by big names. You can't live in the past. It doesn't matter what somebody did in an Olympic gold-medal game in the Olympics three years ago."

Of course, it can be argued back and forth on whether Brazil would have beaten USA regardless, but if she did not make the comment about doing a better job making those saves, then most people would agree with her comments that Coach Ryan made a mistake to take out Solo, and put in Scurry.

Keep in mind that Solo hadn't given up a goal in 300 minutes, and Scurry hasn't played any of the games in China.

Well, as a result, Solo was dropped from the U.S. team for the third-place game against Norway (which they won).

Coach Ryan makes his "no I in team" speech to reporters:

"We have moved forward with 20 players who have stood by each other, who have battled for each other," Ryan told reporters Saturday. "And when the hard times came -- and the Brazil game was a hard time -- they stood strong. Now it's the 20 who have stuck together who will be ready to go out and compete against Norway."

Yep, Hope Solo has been declared persona non grata.

Of course, she did apologize to her teammates and especially Scurry, but she held steadfast in maintaining her criticism of Ryan's decision.

Yet, it would seem that most of her teammates have abandoned her.

Ryan said he made the decision to leave Solo off the team after meeting with the team's leaders. Kristine Lilly, who is playing in her fifth World Cup, said Solo "going public has affected the whole group, and having her with us would still be a distraction."

But what about the Coach's decision to drop Solo? Was that a major distraction as well? It sounds like the team's leaders: Kristine Lilly, Stephanie Lopez, and Carli Lloyd, decided to stick with the Coach instead of Solo. Did they collectively decided that Solo had to be "separated?" Were they that worried about teammates attacking teammates? Were they more interested in showing the perfect USA team to the public?

ESPN's Melanie Jackson asks the question: How about a coach shooting a whole team in its collective foot?

Now it would seem that some sports observers have said they wouldn't want Solo in goal behind them if they were on the field. So 300 minutes of no goals conceded is nothing to them? Sounds more of a cheapshot against the keeper if you ask me.

Still, it's sad that none of her teammates have spoken in defense of Hope Solo. She is still your teammates regardless. She is (or was) your best goalkeeper on the team. We should expect criticism in addition to praise. We should admit a mistake in addition to congratulating each other.

I have become a die-hard football (soccer) fan, cheering on my team, West Ham United, based in East London, UK. We will always want the strongest team to be fielded against any opponent. What would you say if the coach decided to pull his best keeper for a backup against say...Manchester United or Liverpool? Most of the fans would have screamed bloody murder.

Coach Ryan made that mistake. The players should have spoken up when Coach made the decision. Did the team leaders said anything about that? Could they have persauded Ryan to reconsider?

But still, while the Americans focused on this sort of crap, we missed a great final where Germany's skilled soccer abilities outplayed the Brazilians.

Link - ESPN: Solo's teammates leave her in the cold

Link - ESPN: Hope Solo is right, and wrong

MLS: One step to becoming a football team, get an official song

Now work on some chants, funny songs, praises on your players, and stop doing the wave.

US soccer commentary baffles Brits

American commentators are baffling Brits tuning in to watch coverage of David Beckham's exploits with LA Galaxy.

Pundits across the pond are using a series of comical phrases and puzzling statements to call the action in Major League Soccer matches.

The Sun has compiled a list of the confusing terms that have aired on American TV so far, along with our own interpretation of what the commentators really mean, to give you the lowdown.

* * * * *

BULLDOGGING: When a player shows determination to win the ball back.

CHICKEN WING BATTLE: A tussle between players, during which they use their arms and elbows to fight for the ball.

FINAL SIGNAL: The final whistle.

IN THE WHEELHOUSE: Within easy reach of the goalkeeper.

KNOCK LIKE A BEAR KISS: A tackle that is more clumsy than dangerous, but appears to be worse than it actually is.

MATCH UPS: Man marking.

MIDFIELD STRIPE: The halfway line.

ON FRAME: A shot on target.

ON THE DOORSTEP: In front of the goal.

REAL ESTATE: Used to describe the space or lack of space in the penalty area.

ON THE DIAGONAL SURFACE: A cross-field pass — expect to hear this a lot when Becks is playing.

SLOW ROLLER: A weak shot at goal.

SOME WHEELS: A quick turn of pace.

SOUTHPAW: A left-footed player.

STUTTER STEP: A Cristiano Ronaldo style step-over.

TAKEAWAY: An interception or tackle after which the player comes away with the ball.

UPLOAD: To kick the ball with full power.

Link

UEFA Champions League 2007/08 Draw

The draw is over! Here are the group stages:

Group A
Liverpool
Porto
Marseille
Besiktas

Group B
Chelsea
Valencia
Schalke 04
Rosenborg

Group C
Real Madrid
Werder Bremen
Lazio
Olympiakos

Group D
AC Milan
Benfica
Celtic
Shakhtar Donetsk

Group E
Barcelona
Lyon
Stuttgart
Rangers

Group F
Manchester United
Roma
Sporting Lisbon
Dynamo Kiev

Group G
Inter Milan
PSV Eindhoven
CSKA Moscow
Fenerbahce

Group H
Arsenal
Sevilla/AEK Athens
Steau Bucharest
Slavia Prague

* * * * *

For something funny and a bit dirty, click here (YouTube video)

If we are outraged at dog killing, how about spousal abuse?

Update 8/24/07:
I wonder how PETA supporters would feel about this. In Michael Vick's pending plea agreement, he will admit to a single felony conspiracy charge of interstate commerce for the purpose of dogfighting. Vick will admit that he was present when dogs were put down, but will maintain that he did not personally kill any of the dogs. The deal will ignore more damaging information reportedly provided by Vick's co-defendants to federal investigators.

Federal prosecutors would recommend 12 to 18 months prison time, but U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson, who has a reputation for ordering harsh penalties, can use some discretion. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the maximum penalty would be five years, so it depends if the judge is going to follow the prosecutor's recommendation or give Vick the maximum penalty.

Now of course we are not sure what the state charges will be. The grand jury is supposed to meet next month. The state could also charge Vick with illegal dogfighting and gambling.

* * * * * * * * * *

michael_vick.jpgWhether if you support or don't support Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, you really have to ask him only one question... "What were you thinking?!?!?"

First, he spent almost a month telling the National Football League, the Atlanta Falcons, and anyone else who would listen that he was innocent of the charges brought against him. He kept on denying about his alleged involvement in a dog-fighting ring. On TV and on the radio.

Then his so-called friends jumped ship. The other three that were accused made plea agreements and pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and promoting dog-fighting, and all would testify against Mr. Vick's November trial that he financed the dog fights at his property in Virginia, provided money for gambling, and participated in the hanging or drowning of dogs that did not perform well.

What could Vick do? On August 27, his lead defence lawyer, Billy Martin, announced that his client would plead guilty in a compromise deal. He will plead guilty to a single conspiracy count and that the recommended sentencing range will be 12 to 18 months in prison. Vick will appear next Monday in the U.S. District Court in Richmond.

However, it is likely that he and his three co-defendants will also face state charges by Virginia. Gerald G. Poindexter, the commonwealth's attorney covering Vick's home town of Newport News stated "They have admitted dogfighting. That's a state crime. They have admitted killing animals. That's a state crime, and a very serious one." Dogfighting is a felony in Virginia, punishable by up to five years in prison.

But why did he do it? Based on the evidence, it seems he has been running this dog-fighting operation since 2001 to April of this year. It seems he had nothing to gain and everything to lose from this. He was hailed as one of the most athletic quarterbacks in NFL history and because of that, the Atlanta Falcons signed Mr. Vick to a 10-year contract worth at least $130 million dollars in 2004. That's $130 million dollars!!! With all the success, why did he continue his bloody participation against man's best friend? Why did this successful man choose to have a hobby in brutality and torture of dogs?

In the meantime, Michael Vick is expected to meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to find out what punishment awaits him. Since he will plead guilty to federal charges, he would be in violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy, which empowers Goodell to fine, suspend, or impose a lifetime ban on a player. Now the interesting part is that by pleading guilty to that federal conspiracy charge, a fine or suspension would be warranted. However, the state charges will be more serious, and if Vick is convicted of animal cruelty and gambling, then Commissioner Goodell would have no choice but to impose a long suspension or lifetime ban.

The head of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP has urged the NFL to allow Vick to play in the league again after he serves his sentence.

Chapter President R. L. White said "As a society, we should aid in his rehabilitation without a permanent loss of his career in football. We further ask the NFL, Falcons, and the sponsors not to permanently ban Mr. Vick from his ability to bring hours of enjoyment to fans all over this country."

But the one thing I take offense was White saying that Vick's crime was that it was "a dog." But it's was not just one dog. It was so many dogs. Dogs that have been abused repeatedly, injured, or killed.

New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury does not help the debate either. He tried to compare dogfighting with deer hunting. I think hunting deer and training dogs to tear each other to shreds are not the same. Perhaps Marbury should watch a video of both, then tell us whether if they are the same.

Having said that, I understand we are all outraged at the animal brutality. I am sure PETA and their 1.6 million membership have made their voices loud and clear saying that dog-killing is bad and people who do that sort of thing should be severely punished. Understandably, they are a group not to be messed with. They did get over $30 million in contributions last year.

Now, if we are so angry about animal cruelty, then we ought to be furious if NFL players commit spousal abuse to their wife or girlfriend and other forms of domestic violence. Somehow all of this is telling me that if a NFL player commits spousal battery, he gets a fine, suspended sentence, and can keep on playing, but if you beat up or kill a dog, you are pretty much banished. Would I expect the same reaction if a player beat up his own kid?

Perhaps the anti-spousal abuse lobby group is not that strong out there. I guess the women advocacy groups are not making that much fuss. Injure or kill an animal... you will get 24/7 news coverage up the wazoo, daily protests from PETA. So do you pick that cute kid or an adorable puppy?

But have people looked at the number of athletes arrested for domestic violence or spousal abuse? If we exacted the same punishment for dog-fighting to domestic violence, half of the league will be in prison. Have you checked out "badjocks.com" or "playersbehavingbadly.com"? Quite sick.

If we are really serious about protecting life, then the NFL and other sports leagues must crack down on spousal abusers and domestic violence.

Vick is only 27. He's going to be stuck with this awful tragedy for the remainder of his life.

Here are two recent examples:

Philadelphia Phillies' pitcher Brett Myers assaulted his wife on a public Boston street and was charged with assault and battery. Major League Baseball did not penalize him, shrugging it off as an off-field incident.

Sacramento Kings' Ron Artest was suspended last season for 72 games for fighting in the stands. In March he was arrested for domestic violence. For that he got what amounted to a hand slap; an immediate two-game suspension and a $600 fine for a player who makes several million a year. Artest pled no contest to the domestic violence charge and was sentenced 100 hours of community service, a 10-day work project and mandated extensive counseling.

My punishment for Michael Vick:
Well, with both federal and state charges, I am expecting that he will be in prison for at least 2-3 years. I would impose a 5-year ban before he can re-join the NFL. The Atlanta Falcons should impose a fine on his salary where a certain percentage will be used to support dog kennels and charity groups. All his sponsorship deals are terminated and they can decide whether to resume them in any type or form after he is released from prison.

Related Articles

Washington Post - Vick Likely Will Face More Charges in Va.

Globe & Mail - What was Vick thinking?

Chicago Sun Times - How many more Vicks are there?

Women's eNews - Beat a Woman? Play on; Beat a Dog? You're Gone

Joorabchian only cares about the money, not Tevez


Further Update:
Brief update... the Premier League may consider West Ham's offer that they will be paid as little as 1 million pounds to give up Tevez's registration and allow him to go over to Manchester United. Now the question is whether Joorabchian is greedy enough to not accept that compromise and wants to stick with the original 100,000.

If he does not agree, this would mean a long court case and Tevez would be stuck on the sidelines until January.

* * * * *

joorabchian.jpgThere are many reasons why third-party companies should not own sports players thereby governing their lives and their careers. I turn to Kia Joorabchian, the Iranian owner of Media Sports Investment and Just Sports Inc., and pretty much, the owner of economic rights to Carlos Tevez, the Argentina football (soccer) player who played a major factor in rescuing West Ham United from relegation last season.

I do not know why football clubs would choose to have a player who is owned by a third-party group. As such, Tevez is pretty much a puppet of Joorabchian. If some wealthy club wants to buy Tevez, then the Iranian and his company gets to pocket the transfer money. I would even expect Joorabchian to overrule Tevez's decision whether to stay with a football club if some other club offers a higher contract agreement for him. It's always about the money of course. I wonder if Tevez knows that. I wonder if it is possible for Tevez to break links with the Iranian?

At this point, West Ham United knows Tevez wants to go to Manchester United. As for the estimated transfer fee of 30 million pounds, West Ham is willing to consider 6 million pounds, the minimum fee required by the Premier League. However, Joorabchian believes it should be 100,000 pounds as stated in the previous agreement that was ripped up by West Ham and the League.

carlos_tevez.jpgRight now, Kia is taking West Ham to court to prove that the previous agreement between the two groups is still valid and that only 100,000 pounds should be paid out.

After this fiasco has ended, there must be some rule that governs the player's registration by the club versus the economic rights that are owned by some shady corporation.

Also, would Manchester United try to buy out Tevez's ownership outright? This would eliminate the bothersome Iranian, and hopefully Tevez can find a better agent to market his ability to the football world.

The Sun - You can have Tevez for 6 million

Guardian UK - Premier League's softer line may run in Tevez's favour

Telegraph UK - West Ham propose Carlos Tevez peace deal


A Great Accomplishment: Iraq wins AFC Asian Cup 2007!

Iraq_Asian_Cup.jpg

Iraq_Younis_Mahmoud.jpg

Iraq_trophy.jpg

With the country in dire straits, at least there's a piece of good news today. Iraq clinched their first Asian Cup victory with a 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia in Jakarta.

Captain Younes Mahmoud planted in a towering header for the winner after Saudi keeper Yasser Al Mosailem flailed despairingly at a corner.

Al Mosailem had earlier kept his side alive with a fine double save from Younes Mahmoud and Nashat Akram.

Iraq had an escape in stoppage time when Saudi striker Malek Maaz bounced a header on to the roof of the net.

Congratulations to Iraq for their historic win!

The AFC Asian Cup is a football (soccer) competition run by the Asian Football Confederation. The winning team (Iraq) becomes the champion of Asia and automatically qualifies for the FIFA Confederations Cup.

Link to CNN Video

Reuters UK - Iraq defy odds to win Asian Cup

Michelle Wie should take a break

MichelleWie.jpgWashington Post's article: Michelle Wie Needs to Shut it Down gives a compelling argument that the 17-year golfer should take a rest and stop pissing everyone off.

It has not been a good week for Wie at the LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock. She shot 83 on Saturday and 79 on Sunday and ended in last place in the remaining field of 84 golfers.

Could it still be her injured wrist which forced her to withdraw from the Ginn Tribute in Charleston, S.C. when she was 14 over for 16 holes? She got a lot of criticism for withdrawing and now she's playing at this championship.

Parental pressure? Her sponsors? The networks? The tourney organisers? Are they pushing her too far and perhaps destroying her dream so early in her career?

In her press conference last week, she kept describing herself as a "work in progress" and pleaded with her fans to be patient with her.

I guess we are expecting too much from her. Last year, she had three top five finishes in majors and was contending for a championship in every one of them. But her wrist injury this summer is causing a whole lot of trouble.

Why not agree with the Washington Post writer and take a rest? Go to rehab, pitch and putt, do some aerobic conditioning, weight training, but at least put some ice on those wrists!

Why not get ready for your freshman year at Stanford? The whole student body would still be amazed at your accomplishments from last year. Now you are trying to win and losing badly. People will talk about your early withdrawal from the Ginn Tribute, or trying to avoid the penalty for going over too high, and being disrespectful to the other female professional golfers.

Instead of dissing Sorenstam who has won 86 professional golf outings in her career, at least make amends about what happened before, and get her blessing. At least you will be shown as being graceful and understanding.

One veteran player mentioned in the article stated: "That's the problem here," she said. "In my mind, it's always been a privilege to play on this tour. The Wies attitude is the tournaments and the sponsors should be privileged to have Michelle at their event. That's not good."

Plus, everyone's a bit jealous about her $20 million per year in sponsorships.

Michelle should withdraw and take a break to nurse herself back to health. If she stays arrognant, she's going to give a nasty impression of herself for years to come, and it won't do her any good at future tournaments. She's definitely a most promising player but she got so many years left to enjoy.

Proposed 2012 London Olympic Logo is an embarassment

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Are the people at brand consultancy firm Wolff Olins been drinking on the job? The logo for the 2012 London Olympics above has generated a public outcry and has over 35,000 people signing a petition to scrap it.

The cost to make this logo was 400,000 UK pounds and it took almost a year to create.

Tory MP Philip Davies, who sits on the culture, media and sport select committee, said he would table a Parliamentary motion calling for organisers to scrap the jagged emblem based on the date 2012.

Even London Mayor Ken Livingstone refused to back the pink and orange logo and even suggested that the Olympic organisers refuse to pay the 400,000 UK pound bill.

Olympic organisers beg to differ saying that the logo was "dynamic" and "vibrant." They have insisted that it will not be ditched.

Daily Mail

The "Thank You" campaign to get the 2012 Olympics was done much better than this load of rubbish. Honestly, who would wear a pink/orange shirt?

In response, many amateur artists and designers have submitted their idea of an Olympic logo. Many of these are much better than Wolff Olins'.

They really need to drop this jagged logo if they want to prevent further embarassment. First was their overbloated budget for the Olympics. Now it's their "girly" Olympic logo. What's next in store? London has about 5 years to go.

Update 6/7/07

favorite_2012_logo.jpg

This logo created by BBC web site reader Richard Voysey has been chosen as the readers' favorite in an online poll.

Over 22,000 votes were cast on a shortlist of six readers' designs.

Meanwhile, Michael Wolff, co-founder of designers Wolff Olins, which created the jagged logo, said it had not been "done justice" and blamed Olympic organisers for not publicising it properly.

Boo hoo. It still sucked regardless.

I wonder how many stores will sell both logos. I guess the London Olympic will try to stop that, but they cannot stop everyone.

UEFA Champions League 06/07: Liverpool vs AC Milan

Starting at 2:45PM EST, Liverpool and AC Milan will meet in Athens, Greece to play the UEFA Champions League Final.

It is a rematch from the unforgettable 2005 Final where AC Milan scored three goals in the first half only to have Liverpool score 3 goals in return in the second to equalise the game. After extra time, it went down to penalties and Liverpool's keeper Dudek saved two attempts. Liverpool won 4-1.

Here's SkyOne "One Night in May" show about that particular day where Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League for the fifth time.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

2006/07 Result:

AC Milan 2, Liverpool FC 1

I would say overall Liverpool was better, but they could not create chances from their set pieces. I think a few ref calls in the 2nd half went against Liverpool, but well done AC Milan.

Even cricket can get violent

While in London on a weekly assignment, we are in the midst of the Cricket World Cup. There are 16 finalists out of 97 participating countries.

The biggest highlight is the death of Pakistan's cricket coach Bob Woolmer on Sunday. At first, Jamaica police stated that he died of a heart attack. This happened after Pakistan lost to Ireland.

His wife and other sources believed that there may have been foul play. This was confirmed on Thursday when Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas said in a statement that the pathologist report found Bob Woolmer's death was due to "asphyxia as a result of manual strangulation."

Woolmer, 58, was found unconscious in his blood- and vomit-splattered hotel room in Jamaica on Sunday, a day after his team's upset loss to Ireland on St. Patrick's Day sealed Pakistan's ouster from the tournament. He was later declared dead at a hospital.

All the Pakistan cricketers were fingerprinted and interviewed.

Wild Brawl at High School Basketball Game

Link to News Story and CBS Exclusive Video

It has become apparent that the U.S. should separate fans into their own supportive sections, something that most of the UK and Europe has done to maximise security and protect the fans.

During a NYC basketball championship game between Lincon and Boys & Girls, a hard foul was committed on the court. Lincoln point guard Devon Petersen was then pushed by Boys & Girls' Frederi Nixon. However, Petersen went after Boys & Girls' Antonio Johnson, thinking he had shoved him. Referees separated the two players. So it should be over, right? Nope! Apparently, it ignited several fights in the stands.

This ridiculous melee even got the public address announcer to say "What the (bleep) is wrong with y'all? Come on!"

The huge brawl did not end there. It spilled into the streets, and the violence continued to Times Square and nearby subway stations.

The conduct of the fans has brought shame and dishonor to the game. Neither team should be accorded the championship trophy. They do not deserved it. The final score was Lincon 77, Boys & Girls 50.

Mexico: No Sportsmanship

us_vs_mexico.jpgOnce again, USA defeated Mexico 2-0 in an international friendly in Glendale, AZ. Goals by Jimmy Conrad and Landon Donovan extended the Americans' dominance of their regional rival.

Playing in front of a heavily pro-Mexican sellout crowd of 64,462, the Americans improved to 8-2-1 against Mexico since 2000. The United States is 7-0-1 against Mexico on home soil in that stretch, outscoring its southern neighbor 13-0.

However, the Mexican players failed to do the customary ritual of shaking hands at the end of the match and exchanging jerseys. After the whistle blew, the players went off the field without shaking the Americans' hands.

USA Player Donovan:
"The sportsmanship -- it would be nice if you guys (reporters) and the Mexican press talked about it, because it's really poor," Donovan said. "When we lose to them there, we shake their hands and say, `Good job.' There's none of that reciprocally, and it's kind of disappointing."

Mexican Player Marquez:
"They were a little opportunistic and stayed in their own end for the majority of the match, but they did beat us," Marquez said. "Considering the tactics that they utilized, I think that is the credit I would give them considering the fact that on the field, they were not superior to us."

It is not unusual for a team to stage a defensive strategy once you are ahead in the match. If Mexico felt there were the stronger team, well, the USA team had a strong defense to counter their attacks. It would seem they were acting like sore losers.

This is a friendly match and not yet a qualifying match for the next World Cup.

The Beckhams are coming to America

beckham.jpgDavid Beckham signed a 5-year deal worth $250 million dollars with the US football (soccer) team Los Angeles Galaxy.

The Galaxy team had already announced that they have sold over 1,000 season tickets and could sell out their total allotment in about 30 days.

While Rodeo Drive would experience a substantial increase in sales with Victoria's shopping, will David Beckham help revive the Major Soccer League (MLS)?

Soccer, though popular among elementary schools, secondary, high schools, and colleges, has never reached the same level of popularity as baseball, basketball, and American football on the professional level. Being called "the beautiful game" to the rest of the world, Americans view it as "the boring game."

The MLS was formed in December 1993, U.S. Soccer's promise to FIFA to establish a "Division One" professional football (soccer) league in exchange for the staging of the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States. It is still a young league (13 years) compared with England's (over 100 years).

Before the MLS, there was the defunct North American Soccer League (NASL) which operated from 1968 to 1984. Its most popular star was Brazilian superstar Pele who played for the New York Cosmos, who drew upwards of 40,000 fans per game. It folded because Americans were no longer interested, overexpansion, and finances. The failure of NASL led to FIFA's decision to award the 1986 World Cup to Mexico after Colombia withdrew.

The MLS currently has thirteen teams in two divisions. One team, San Jose Earthquakes, is currently on hiatus. The 2007 season starts in April and ends in November. Toronto FC is the newest team added for that season. Three more expansion teams are to be added by 2010.

Even though most Americans may think MLS is just a niche sport, it slowly doing pretty well in terms of profitability and media coverage. Most of the teams have moved into or in process of moving into soccer-specific stadiums. Playing in stadiums specifically for NFL or NCAA football games places MLS in a disadvantage. It becomes expensive if attendance levels are small and poor lease deals. If you have a few thousand people attending a New York Red Bull game at Giants Stadium, it feels depressing seeing all that open space.

Media coverage is also growing with the Fox Sports Soccer Channel, and tv rights on ESPN/ESPN2 and prime-time channels. With more coverage coming in from Europe on their football (soccer) leagues, it will help promote MLS. It will help erase Americans' perception of MLS as being a league of a "niche" sport.

Over the last year, over $1 billion of investment money has poured into the league in the form of new stadiums, owners, and teams, to the Adidas shirt/soccer promotion sponsorship. Fan support is slowly strengthening, with some season ticket sales growing at least 20%. With the addition of 6 more stadiums by 2010, MLS will finally have a solid majority of its teams in venues that will allow them to earn more, create a better atmosphere (and more die-hard fans), and will be able to expand in a more careful manner because the league will be much more financially stable and may make a profit for the first time.

Beckham's arrival may help provide a boost to this. Now if we can get some football (soccer) songs going and more quality players, we can get ourselves off our feet, and actually plan to do better nex time.

The 2010 World Cup is only 3 years away.

Premiership Soccer: West Ham Defeats Manchester United!

westham.bmpGlorious West Ham United!!!

In his first game as West Ham manager, Alan Curbishley is all smiles after Nigel Reo-Coker, the Captain, scores the winner against the most successful Premiership team, Manchester United.

This is the first ever home win against Manchester in the whole history of the Premiership League. The last win was away at Old Trafford five years ago.

Come on you IRONS!!!

BBC Sport - Reo-Coker sinks leaders Man United

Iranian Threatens West Ham United's Spirit

When living in the UK, I became a passionate fan of West Ham United F.C., a East London team. They were promoted via the playoffs into the Premier League in 2005, and I purchased a season ticket for their first season back in the top flight. In that year, we reached 9th place, a finalist in the FA Cup, and a spot in Europe through the UEFA Cup.

For the 2006-07 year, many fans have held high expectations for the club...another top half finish, perhaps reaching the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup and so on. Instead, West Ham suffered 12 games without a win, got kicked out of Europe, and an early exit in the League Carling Cup.

All of this is probably attributed to Iranian businessman Kia Joorabchian. He engineered the transfer of Argentinians Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez to West Ham, and was probably called the coup of the transfer season. Yet, Joorabchian wanted to buy the club too. However, his takeover bid dragged on through September, October, and now into early November.

This Friday is the final deadline for the Iranian to present the 80 million pound buyout offer to take over WHUFC. One issue that the club's bankers have with the offer is whether the new consortium will pay off the club's debts of 23.5 million pounds, or have them serviced.

At the same time, it appears the club has rebuffed Eggert Magnusson's Icelandic group buyout offer. The strange thing is that Magnusson was unable to hold any negotiations to discuss his offer, so it seems there are some behind-the-scenes action going on.

Unfortunately, if West Ham chooses to accept Joorabchian's offer, the Iranian will sack popular manager Alan Pardew. Even though the club has suffered several back-to-back defeats, most fans love him for the being the manager that got them back into the top flight and for reaching the FA Cup Final and a 9th placing in the standings last year.

If his intent to rubber-stamp his image of "his" West Ham onto the whole club, it will prove unpopular with all the fans and supporters that are out there.

I find it unsettling that West Ham has chosen to ignore rival bidder, Icelandic biscuit baron Eggert Magnusson. He did offer to buyout the club for as much as 100 million pounds. Plus he is also head of the Football Association of Iceland, and a member of the UEFA's executive committee. It would seem he would make quite a respectable person to head a new West Ham club.

Joorabchian is an agent. Much of his takeover offer is supported by Israeli backer Eli Papouchado. His company, Media Sports Investment Ltd, is somewhat of a mystery. It purchased Brazilian club Corinthians last year. Rumors have been flying whether his company is being backed by Russian bankers. He is more intent at re-casting the image of West Ham in his stead, ignoring long years of tradition and style that make up the Hammers' attacking philosophy.

In any case, the Iranian could be the wrong choice for this aspiring club.

The Independent - Joorabchian to meet deadline for launching West Ham takeover

The Sun Online - Hammer blow for Pardew

The Guardian - Joorabchian takeover at West Ham expected by end of week

Could US Soccer get Klinsmann?

The US Soccer Federation (football) may get Jurgen Klinsmann as their new coach for their national team. The agreement has yet to be finalised and there are still 4-5 other candidates vying for the job.

The new coach would replace Bruce Arena, who saw the national team crashed out of the 2006 World Cup in the group stage.

If you did not know, Klinsmann was the national coach for Germany, and led their soccer (football) team to a third-place finish at this year's world cup.

BBC Sport - Klinsmann has talks over US role