Happy Hour

Being that I am an England supporter, I must say that I was disappointed by the result of the match. I had this crazy dream of England playing France, against the ironic backdrop of Germany, with both teams fighting potentially for the right to meet Germany for the World Cup. Maybe I’m a bit romantic in that I love to see old political enemies going at one-another on the pitch.

Sorry, I got sidetracked. Anyway, first, Portugal has to be commended for the way they played. For a team that was down two starters, they didn’t seem to be fazed at all by it. They didn’t give England many opportunities, and what opportunities England was able to get, weren’t quality opportunities. However, once they got to the penalties, Portugal had all confidence and the luck in their favour. Therefore, as much as it pains me to say this, the better team moved forward.

As for England, they should feel proud of themselves for getting as far as they did, despite the limitations due to the injury bug having it out for them. They played a hell of a match against Portugal, and managed to hold them scoreless for 60+ minutes of match time, down a man.

As far as Rooney receiving the red card, I think it was the push, right in front of the ref, that got him the card. It didn’t appear to me, that he maliciously stepped down Ricardo Carvalho’s testicles. I say this because in the replays, it looked as though he was attempting to get his footing despite being tangled up in Carvalho’s legs. Both Steve and I agree that the shove was most likely the reason for the booking. It was a poor decision on Rooney’s part, but in big matches like that, mental lapses are going to happen.

In the end though, England’s luck didn’t hold out. Portugal had ample opportunity to score, and couldn’t find the mark. In the penalties stage, Portugal had the confidence and luck that England couldn’t muster. Shit happens, you know? I was absolutely depressed by the loss, but wore my England shirt proudly.

As a side note, Cristiano Ronaldo has managed to further reiterate to me why I absolutely hate ManUre. After his goal in penalties, the smug look on his face reminded me of Randy Orton. I would have gladly paid money right there to see Cristiano get his ass handed to him. However, his attitude seems to be indicative of the attitude that runs rampant with ManUre players. I guess I found my proper comparison, Cristiano Ronaldo reminds me of Alex Rodriguez. I’ll leave you to dancing around that idea.

Also, today, 2 July 2006, it was announced that Beckham was stepping down from his position as captain of the English squad. This makes me happy, because I felt that Beckham was a poor captain. He didn’t really do anything to show me that he was worthy of the armband this World Cup, because he didn’t really do anything. He may have assisted on two goals, scored one, then created an own goal, but the rest of the time…I felt like he was dogging it. As far as I know about team captains, I always thought that they were the ones who were supposed to lead by example. Thus, I have been crusading for Steven Gerrard to assume the title. No, this has nothing to do with my Liverpool bias. Of all the guys on the pitch, Gerrard seemed to be the one who was out there busting his ass, and attempting to create opportunities. Sure, they may not have scored, but at least the effort was made. Beckham didn’t do that, he just stood on his side of the pitch, and did little to nothing. He didn’t play very good defense. Plus, his infamous free kicks didn’t seem to have all of the chutzpah they once did. So now, England’s new manager will have to decide who will succeed Beckham at the helm. I’d prefer to see Gerrard get it, but I wouldn’t argue with John Terry having it either.

The other thing I want to discuss is the way that the US announcing duos take away from the matches. Marcela Balboa in particular deserves to have a very angry finger pointed/wagging at him. He managed to perpetuate what I’ve started to see as the US mentality on international sports.

That mentality is something to the effect of how the US only really likes to support sports which we invented, and therefore dominate on a global scale. (See baseball, basketball, and that bastardization of rugby) When it comes to sports that the US didn’t invent, and tend to perform poorly in, the US collectively shits on them. (See futbol, and hockey) There’s a second part to this mentality, which I started to notice during the US match with Italy. The US announcers like to whine, bitch, and moan about being victims of “bad calls”, and then harbor grudges against the officiating that carry through. For instance, I believe it was Balboa, again, who was essentially calling for the head of the ref, from the match against Italy, on a pike. I saw that match, the ref was only doing what he felt was necessary to maintain control, because it was starting to get ugly. Because of that, Balboa and company continued to be on this grandiose witch-hunt based upon poor officiating. What the f*ck? Steve, you know as well as I do that international matches in any sport have the potential for breaking down into anarchy and violence, based upon political tensions. Wouldn’t you agree, that in that case, that it is the job of the ref to maintain order any way that he can?

Anyhoo, Balboa, during the England match really grated upon me, because he kept invoking the name of the US, making excuses for the way the US played. I don’t know about you, but I prefer for my color-man to talk about the match, or the history of the teams involved, or the history between the teams involved. It helps me to appreciate the match more. I want something like Gordon Solie and Bob Caudle, where you have one man who calls the action down the middle, and the other gives depth and reasoning behind what was done.

My other problem with the announcers and analysts that ESPN/ABC had, was they didn’t seem to have the passion. Alexi Lalas stopped being relevent after ’94, and when he shaved his beard. Brent Musberger. Really now? Go away. Julie Foudy isn’t so bad, except that her voice makes me want to gouge my ears out with a pez dispenser. Maybe I would just assume have the guys who announce for Fox Soccer Channel, or the guys who announce for Sky Sports calling the action here. It would be a welcome change to have people who are actually passionate about the game, and know the game as opposed to some second-rate US underacheiver explaining to me how Wayne Rooney was booked for stepping on Carvalho’s testes, when in reality, it was for the shove on Cristiano Ronaldo. Ugh.

It makes me seethe just thinking about it. This is Eric.

And this is Steve. Welcome to Happy Hour here at the Pulse!

A special thanks to our good friend Eric for sending in the opener for today. If you like what you saw, or you’d like to defend your boy Marcela, drop a line or two with the link at the bottom of the page, and I’m sure he’ll get back to you because that’s what cool peeps do. If you would like to see something you write in posted in the column, just mention it in an email and… viola! The magic of fingers and a keyboard, peeps. I’ve got a lot going against me today, like Shawn’s Mr. Fuji line or the imminent demise of Germany thanks to those Nazis masquerading as FIFA officials.

There’s plenty of stuff going on in the sports world right now, but most of it would be covered better elsewhere, and it IS the Fourth of friggin’ July, so for all you Americans out there, it’s party time tonight. A friendly reminder from all of us at Inside Pulse Sports: do NOT operate fireworks when under the influence of man’s real best friend. Otherwise, you run the risk of sending a misguided bottle rocket into the side of trailer, or worse. Also, try and avoid shooting off fireworks in thick, dry brush like some of our neighbors did last year. It’s always fun when half the trailer park comes running down to your yard looking for water to put out that bonfire over there.

So, what is there to talk about. I could make jokes, but it’s a holiday and there’s no need for cruel and unusual punishment. Ben Wallace pulled an Yzerman and got out of town yesterday, signing a ridiculously large contract with the Bulls that pays him somewhere in the vicinity of $13 Million a year for four years, unless the deal is structured differently, at which point forget the last sentence. I’m not European enough to dig the Tour de France, so look for your doping scandal coverage elsewhere. NASCAR is dead to me, thanks to the jackass nature of the sport and Jimmie Johnson, who loves cocks too. For you baseball fans out there, I wouldn’t buy the Boston Red Sox for a second. They may win the division, but Boston lacks something that isn’t readily apparent. On paper, you would think that the Red Sox have enough to get the job done, but don’t let this last double digit win streak fool you. If the Blue Jays can keep pace with the Wankees and the Sox through about August, they’ll probably manage to eek out this division, since the Yankees are hurt and Boston can’t beat them. Call it a mild surprise, to be sure.

I could get into the whole “Guillen playing favorites” at the All-Star Game, but that would require a look at the inherent flaw in the All Star Game to begin with. I think with the World Baseball Classic now in the books, a “North American All Stars vs. The World” type setup vis-à-vis hockey would be kind of cool. Either that, or stymie interleague play starting next year.

I guess the real issue should be with Steve Yzerman, leader of the Detroit Red Wings. After twenty two years, the man finally hung them up yesterday, marking the close to a very special period in Red Wings history. Yzerman is definitely one of the prominent Red Wings throughout the course of history, methinks. Then again, I’m not really a Detroit fan, so my perspective may be skewed on the subject.

Chris Pronger to Anaheim? Glad to see John Tesh got his request for a trade. I feel bad for Edmonton, actually. Granted, three picks and two players is compensation, but the loss of Pronger, however badly he’s cursed, degrades your roster by a few points on NHL 2K6. The key is to resign Michael Peca, or else those players acquired from the Ducks had better step it up next season. Meanwhile, Elias chose to stay in New Jersey, to the shock of no one, and Martin Gerber will be between the pipes for YOUR Ottawa Senators next season, if he wins the starting role, that is. Meanwhile, most other hockey acquisitions are available from the fine folks at ESPN.com and NHL.com, so I wont bother with much more of it. Oh, yeah, Commodore shaved his beard and afro off…

Darth Vader Mode: *ON*


Darth Vader Mode: *OFF*

There is no justice in this world. At least he shaved them for a good cause up in Raleigh. I have nothing wittier than that to add today, I’m afraid. Next week, I’ll have a full report from Washington, as I make the dangerous trek up I-95 to catch the bumbling Senationals play the Friars. On a brief aside, Adam Morrison is a great pickup for the Boob-cats, but I think Reynaldo Balkman was the pick of the century. Honestly, how much entertainment value can you place on the head of Isaiah next season? The Knicks are toast, and it’s going to be fun as Hell to watch. Other than that, I am out of here. Enjoy the 4th and the rest of your week, and I shall see you all next week. Vote for Pedro!