Welcome to the 67th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where we’re in the dog days of summer and nobody wants to read about the Rockies. So I’m discussing a different sport instead. One I don’t talk about much. Some good readin’ for ya this week. Let’s get into it…
I haven’t written about the World Cup this year for a reason. I don’t care about soccer, but that shouldn’t mean I’m going to berate those of you that do (or pretend you do for a few days every four years).
So you’ll have to trust me that I’m not trying to be a troll with this post. I’m not trying to be Ann Coulter. But even the most reasonable man can only bite his tongue so long.
My World Cup commentary thus far has been limited to a cool video of fans reacting to an important United States goal, a Vine of some guy trying to eat another guy’s shoulder then flailing around pretending his poor teeth were hurt, and a puppet dog hilariously making fun of foreigners. But allow me to expand my outlook on soccer, if you will.
I think soccer is stupid. It’s boring. It’s weird. I don’t understand it. And I’m cool with that.
I realize that I’m a little late to the party with this, because when the USMNT was eliminated last Tuesday, it effectively ended all interest in the World Cup in our country. But (as a commenter dutifully pointed out last week) the loss also generated a ton of fan reaction praising our boys as heroes who had really made a statement that the United States has arrived in the soccer world to stay.
The reality of the situation is the USMNT played four games and went 1-2-1. They were eliminated in the round of 16. That’s heroic now? The president needs to call and say good job on not even making the freaking
finals, semifinals, quarterfinals?
On an international scale, we suck at soccer. We always have and we always will. We suck because we don’t really give a damn. We never have and we never will.
People were excited about the World Cup not because they have a newfound love for soccer, but because of national pride (I am an advocate of U-S-A chants, after all), an excuse to weekday day drink, and the biggest factor, social media group think.
Social media was flooded with athletes and celebrities voicing their support on the job done by the #USMNT. For what? The team’s 1-2-1 performance? Or was it to help build their own brand, get a few retweets and Facebook likes and show that they’re in touch with pop culture and supportive of whatever you support?
This obviously goes far beyond famous athletes and other celebs. It became “the thing to do” for everybody. Countless Americans didn’t want to feel left out, so they posted a bunch of tweets, statuses, pictures and stupid memes about the #USMNT even though they literally couldn’t name one player on any team the day before the World Cup started.
Is soccer on the rise in the United States? I guess. Maybe. But if it is, it’s increasing from a tiny minority to a small minority. So congrats on that, soccer.
If one percent of the Americans that were talking about the World Cup on Twitter start attending MLS games, the league’s popularity would at least triple. (Obviously that’s a made up statistic, but it’s probably true and you get my point.) And that will certainly not happen. Raise your hand if you’re going to watch all 90 minutes* of whichever South American country plays whichever European country whenever they play.
If you’re raising your hand you are either lying, have ties to one of those countries, or are a hipster who feels it’s cool to be out of the mainstream because regular and popular sports are for, like… jocks. And athletes. And who wants to watch that?!
*Or 120 minutes? or 60? I actually have no idea how long a soccer game is supposed to be because the stupid clock moves the wrong way and just keeps going until everyone agrees that they’re too bored to continue. I think.
Another reason we heard about the World Cup so much is because the large sports media corporations are heavily invested in soccer. ESPN spent a ton on the World Cup broadcasting rights so they shoved it down our throats at every opportunity. I’ve always been kind of startled at the masses’ acceptance of caring about whatever ESPN tells them to care about. Soccer is the best example of that. Fox Sports will broadcast the Cup in 2018 so FS1 jumped in on the fun, too.
So again, I’m not just trying to troll soccer fans here and I wasn’t “rooting against” the U.S. It would have been nice to see them advance and do well because it would have been funny if we were better at a sport we don’t care about than the countries who actually do care. But that is definitely not the case.
And that’s okay.
Quite frankly I am indeed relieved that I don’t have to hear about it anymore or be subjected to games and highlights of flops and bites* and soccer bails sailing just wide of a giant net. (That’s literally what the highlights consist of. This guy fell down in the 20th minute. And here’s 30 seconds of missed shots. Then they had a “cool down break” so here’s a guy drinking water. Then a couple goals. That’s some edge-of-your-seat stuff right there!)
*When that guy tried to eat that other guy my first thought was “I don’t know how you people watch this stuff.” Then I found out it was his THIRD TIME gnawing on an opponent, which is odd but whatever, lots of people have strange fetishes. What I don’t get is how the person being eaten has never knocked him the hell out, or even gotten in his face. I’m not one to advocate violence, but if I’m at the bar and some dude digs his chiclets in to my shoulder, the situation will likely escalate. Can you imagine what would happen on a baseball field if Buster Posey flipped his mask off and chomped on Troy Tulowitzki’s calf when he stepped into the box? Soccer is weird, man.
Listening to talk radio during the United States’ amazing, 1-win “run” in the World Cup was a nightmare. Every local and national host started each discussion with, “Now, I’m a soccer novice” or “Now, I don’t claim to be a soccer expert”. Then why in the hell are you on the radio talking about it? Hey Mike Golic, would you like to chime in with some commentary on do-it-yourself gardening while you’re at it? Or maybe give some lessons on how to play the banjo? No, because you wouldn’t know what you’re talking about.
So back to the shallow end, futball. You’ve annoyed us all enough over the past month. I don’t look forward to you doing the same in four years.
That Teddy Roosevelt guy was pretty cool though. Maybe he’ll be back in 2018.
Off to the weekly departments…
Stud of the week:
DJ LeMahieu and Troy Tulowitzki turned what might be the defensive play of 2014 on Wednesday. This is one of the best double plays I have ever, ever, ever seen.
That is majestic artistry.
The Lemahieu dive and flip all in one motion makes for an incredible play standing alone. But for Tulo to bare-hand the flip with his back to first base and one foot on second, then quickly and fluently spin 180 degrees and fire a fastball on the money… That’s next-level stuff. Zero other MLB middle infield combos get two outs out of that.
We all know the Rockies are irrelevant, but watching that infield play defense is one of the lone reasons to maybe think about the possibility of perhaps flipping over and watching a minute or two of latest debacle for the local nine.
Douche of the week:
This guy is suing ESPN, John Kruk, Dan Shulman, and MLB Advanced Media for $10 million because they showed him on TV catching some ZZZZs.
I don’t want to be over dramatic, but that person is literally a perfect example of every single thing that is wrong with America and probably also the world.
Vine of the week:
Here’s Tim Howard (I’m told he plays soccer) deflecting a hug in a direct, yet polite, manner.
I’m surprised that would-be hugger stayed on his feet instead of pretending Howard just crushed his abdomen and flopping to the ground.
Tweet of the week:
Sean Doolittle was named an All Star and he apparently had quite the reaction:
A couple links worth sharing:
- The New York Times obituary on the incredible life of Louis Zamperini. You’ll say Damn! like 20 times.
- David Martin from Rockies Review wrote an interesting piece that provided perspective on the big picture state of the Rockies, specifically the validity of the “injury excuse” and the apathy of the fans. I agree with just about all of it.
- Richard Sandomir of Sports on Earth wrote about Lou Gerhig’s iconic speech that took place 75 years ago last Friday. Good stuff for baseball history nerds like me.
- The Seinfeld pilot aired 25 years ago this week. Here’s Alan Sepinwal with a great read for fans of one of the all-time great shows.
- And today national writer Ken Rosenthal joined in on the Tulo trade talk.
Picture of the Week:
Self-service beer stations have FINALLY arrived!
Pour ’em yourself. Pay by the ounce. Up to 48 ounces every 15 minutes. Thank you, people in charge.
Some other stuff the internet had to offer from the past week:
Roger Federer lost a fantastic Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic. He was sad and apparently cries as majestically as you might imagine.
Bartolo Colon lost his helmet again!
I talked about him back in April and told you he would continue to provide material for me.
Here’s the entire Ronda Rousey fight from Saturday night’s UFC 175. I think she won.
The oooolllllllll’ just-scratching-the-back-of-my-neck-maneuver. Classic.
This is just baseball players being dumb and having fun, but Vin Scully makes it worth watching.
I kind of hate that I like Vin Scully so much because I continue to dislike the Dodgers, but what can you do? Vin is the man.
And finally, here’s one for all you true United States soccer fans.
Those questions are hysterical. To be fair, Jimmy does this with a variety of topics, but let’s still acknowledge this as a true depiction of soccer in America.
Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.
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