Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

American Exceptionalism? I Take Exception To That.
October 21, 2014

One public definition of American Exceptionalism reads, “American exceptionalism is the theory that the United States is qualitatively different from other nation states.”

One could engage in a prolix discussion of this, that, and the other that prove or disprove that America is exceptional, and the result would be a lot of wasted breath on both sides.

But perhaps a simpler path is available. Baseball.

Is America exceptional because its professional baseball league runs a contest every year to determine the best pro team in American baseball and calls it ‘The World Series’? While it barely qualifies as a series worth a capital S, it does not involve baseball teams from any other country (alright, Canadian teams in MLB are eligible, but not as Canada). What the league calls a ‘World’ series is really nothing more than a local, United States activity.

For a real World Series one might want to consider the four-year international marathon of soccer, the World Cup, involving scores of nations.

Or perhaps the annual UEFA Championships of European pro soccer. Or the international Rugby championship. Or Cricket.

Now those could righteously be called World Series.

So perhaps we might consider America exceptional in that it pretends – oh, let’s just call it a lie – that it is a world class player playing in a worldwide baseball tournament.

It is not surprising that an American sport overbills itself this way, particularly baseball. After all, the lies and hypocrisy start out in baseball’s childhood game, the Little League. (Oh, how dare I sully that bastion of childhood and innocence! Perhaps because my idea of childhood does not involve angry, screaming parents and coaches.)

In any event, the Little League also runs a ‘World Series’ every year, down in Pennsylvania somewhere, I believe. Now it is true that the LLWS does involve teams from several countries, and that there is a playoff to determine the best teams for the final one-game ‘series’.

Actually, there are two playoff round-robins. In one, the non-US teams play each other to determine a contender. In the other, only US teams play to determine a contender.

Did you catch the whiff of American exceptionalism there? Did you notice that in the Little League World Series, there will always be a US team playing a foreign team. In effect, the LLWS is rigged.

In a fair contest, only one US team would be involved, and it would play in the round-robin with the foreign teams to determine the two best teams for the final. The US would thus not be guaranteed a spot in the final, and the LLWS could then call itself a real World Series.

Until that happens, perhaps it’s best to just consider the winner of the foreign playoffs the World Champion, who deign to play a United States team in a demonstration game that the Little League powers-that-be insist, contrary to fact and fair play, is a championship game.

As it is below, in the LLWS, so it is above, in Major League Baseball.

American Exceptionalism. A lie, a hypocrisy, an ego trip of gigantic proportion unrelated to reality.

That said, my bet in the World Series this year is on… umm… wait, who’s playing tonight?

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Japan Wins Little League World Series; Plays Demonstration Game Against American Team
August 30, 2010

Japan again won the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania this past weekend, and yesterday played a demonstration game against a United States team from Hawaii. The Japanese won that one 4 – 1.

The United States Little League again refused to play in international competition in Williamsport, thus once again forfeiting the chance to participate in the genuine World Series played by the teams from several other countries.

As long as the United States insists that its team be guaranteed a spot in the so-called Championship game, the LLWS cannot be considered a legitimate world competition. The winner of the Little League World Series will always be the winner of the international round robin. The United States can never lay claim to the title under the current rules, and thus has won no titles as long as those rules have been in effect. 

Which is to say, in the simplest language, the organizers of the Little League World Series have rigged the tournament to favor the United States. It’s difficult to conclude anything other than that the organizers are cheats. Although it is possible to conclude that they believe the only way a United States team can win is if the tournament is rigged. And of course it might be possible to conclude that the organizers rig the tournament to rake in television dollars because they fear that if a U.S. team isn’t in the Championship game nobody will watch.

Yup. It’s rigged. Got to be. Which is too bad, because the organizers have cheapened the game, insulted all the kids and given them an example of poor ethical behavior, and in particular the organizers have demeaned the American teams by guaranteeing them a spot in the final which they did not fully earn.

Now if they want to call it the Williamsport Series, or the Pennsylvania Series, or even the United States Series, they could get away with their shenanigans.

But don’t insult the world by calling it the Little League World Series. It’s only going to be a World Series when a single United States team has to fight through the international round robin, just like all the other teams from around the world, to earn a spot in the final.

A Practical Ethics For A Dying Species
June 25, 2010

This morning The Lion intended to begin work writing an Ethics for our dying species of humanity.

But screw that. In South Africa Brazil plays Portugal this morning. Humanity can go continue to screw itself for a while longer. The Lion’s got a game to watch.

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Quick Hits…
May 24, 2010

NASCAR aptness…

imageConsidering the amount of advertising plastered on the cars and on the drivers’ uniforms, this Globe photo strikes The Lion as particularly apropos.

Church 500 years behind the times, as usual…

image Five hundred years after the Catholic Church ordered Nicolaus Copernicus buried as a heretic in an unmarked grave, the Church finally dug him up and buried him properly.

His heresy? Doing science that suggested that the stupid, dirty old men running the Vatican weren’t the center of the universe after all.

‘Lost’ is finally lost after six years…

The Lion just doesn’t care.

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In The Woods In Afghanistan For Christmas – Double Bogey
December 8, 2009

Tiger Woods…

Apparently he played the wrong club several times.

The Globe reports today, second-hand, that his wife has had enough and moved out.

Tiger himself is reported to be in seclusion. Hiding because of the hiding he’s taking in the press.

One or two women, he might have played through, taking a penalty shot on a bogey fairway. But ten? So far? Unless Tiger’s got a bit of the sociopath in him, he’s got to go a long way to repair his career and his reputation.

Too bad. All the money and the adulation got to him. He let it happen. And he played the squeaky clean athlete all the while. Kind of like the baseball liars pushing their faux heroism while jamming drugs into themselves. It’s the hypocrisy, stupid.

He should have stayed single. He could have banged all the dames he wanted, and been admired for it by millions of fawning males. But with a wife and kids? That puts him down in the moral pits with United States Senators of the Republican and Conservative persuasion (and yes, the occasional Democrat, but at least the Democrats don’t lecture us on morality and virtue while they’re banging their mistresses).

Afghanistan…

The big argument today is whether to call the increased troop commitment a surge or an escalation.

Doesn’t matter what you call it. It’s just bullshit to cover Washington’s political asses and get more people killed and put more money into the pockets of profiteering contractors and corporations.

According to a recent CNN poll 64 percent of Americans agree ‘that Afghanistan is a linchpin for the nation’s security’ and that the ‘safety and security’ of the United States are at stake.

The Lion doubts that five percent of the population could provide an intelligent and informed account of the situation there.

And maybe one percent have asked the question of what would happen if Afghanistan were transformed into a somewhat stable nation next Tuesday. Would the U.S. be safer and more secure?

Hardly. Eight years after the casus belli we’re not fighting anyone responsible for attacking New York and Washington then. To say that Afghanistan attacked us is fatuous in the extreme; we might as well say Boston and New York attacked us – that’s where the weapons came from, that’s where the operatives operated from. That their parent organization had camps in Afghanistan is irrelevant.

Instead the American government keeps cooking up new reasons to fight a scruffy bunch of religious nationalists who won’t ever quit and whose numbers grow as the presence of foreign forces acts as an efficient and effective recruitment tool.  Recruitment is furthered by the Afghan government, which is broadly and profoundly corrupt, from the very top to the very bottom.

It could be said that the Americans are killing for religion and dying for corruption.

It’s the Big Fool and the Big Muddy all over again.

Oh, and that successful surge in Iraq? Five bombs in Baghdad killed over a hundred people yesterday and injured two hundred, and those are just the latest in a long line of post-surge violent acts. Elections are being put off. The same factions are at each other’s throats. And one hundred twenty thousand American troops are still there, still mired in the sandpit of an illegal, immoral, unjust, plain flat out wrong war.

Happy Holidays.

[Christmas present… lookee here…]

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Chinese Taipei Wins 2009 Little League World Series
August 30, 2009

The Little League team Chinese Taipei won the Little League World Series held over the past ten days in Williamsport, PA in the United States.

The Taipei team played teams from all over the world, with the exception of the United States, which again refused to play any foreigners.

However, the Taipei team, gracious in victory, did agree to play a demonstration game against a U.S. team from Chula Vista, CA. The California team won, 6-3. Perhaps if the U.S. team had agreed to play in the international tournament, it might have won the series and could then legitimately claim to be the Little League World Champion.

Sports fans the world over hope that someday the United States Little League organization will drop its crybaby demand that it be automatically given a spot in the final every year, and will play a legitimate series.  Then the world will find out if the U.S. Little League has the moxie to become a real world champion. So far they haven’t had the guts to play in an honest tournament.

So congratulations to the Taipei team on winning the real Little League World Series and claiming the title as genuine Little League World Champions.

Tom Brady Not Such A Good Guy, Talks Arrogant Idiocy
August 26, 2009

Tom Brady, that All-American quarterback, that hero of the NFL, that epitome of the New England Patriots, that down-home all-around good guy, just cut his own legs out from under his image.

Today’s Globe sports section carries a story by Christopher L. Gasper about Brady’s contract. Brady has a sixty million dollar contract ($60,000,000 for those of you struggling to pay your mortgage, gas, electric, and medical bills). This year he will be paid about eight million dollars ($8,000,000 for those of you struggling to find a job and those recently thrown out of a job).

And what does good ol’ boy Tom have to say:

“If somebody wants to pay you more money? [Heck], I think we’re all probably underpaid, don’t you think?’’ said Brady. “We all wish we were paid more.”

Well, no, Tom, you aren’t underpaid. You and your football buddies are obscenely overpaid. You play about seven minutes of actual football once a week for sixteen weeks a year, barring playoffs. That’s the actual product you produce. Seven minutes, give or take a bit. A three hour NFL game produces about fifteen minutes of actual football play. Figure half  for the defense, half for the offense.

For that, Tommy boy, you get eight million dollars this year. And you think you’re underpaid? Families are living on the street because of what rich people who think you’re hot stuff did to this economy. People are dying from lack of health care because of what rich people are doing to health care reform. And you’re tramping around the world with your obscenely overpaid supermodel wife and blithering about being underpaid for your bullcrap career as an NFL quarterback producing seven minutes of football a week for a few months?

The Lion can’t figure out if you’ve been hit in the head too many times or not enough times.

To quote the profound judgment of wise people: “Jerk!”

Michael Vick Back In The USSR Where Black Is White And Orwell Lives
August 12, 2009

Michael Vick, dog killer par excellence, looks likely to be working in the NFL sometime soon according to a bit in today’s Globe.

But that’s not the fun part. The really juicy part is about the big fat ego at work.

Meanwhile, in Hampton, Va., Vick told basketball campers at Hampton University to use his own story as an example as they work to follow their dreams.

Vick, who last month finished his federal prison sentence, told a crowd of about 250 to “use me as an example for your dreams.’’

Can Vick spell ‘nightmares’?

And of course there is the traditional placing of blame:

Vick also told them that after accomplishing his goals he “allowed someone who didn’t have my best interests at heart to take all that away from me,’’ according to a release from the school.

“Respect helps you to make wise decisions,’’ Vick said.

Yeah, someone forced him to brutally kill dogs; someone forced him to run a cruel and inhumane dogfighting business. Yeah, Michael, the Devil made you do it.

The man hasn’t a clue about respect or about responsibility. Someone put him back in his cage before we have to listen to more of this arrogant, self-serving drivel. Pretty soon he’ll be telling the press that his trial was fixed, that he was innocent, that he was framed. And the sports press, just as oblivious to reality and truth as their colleagues on the news desk, will take him seriously and present ‘balanced’ objectivity instead of calling this psycho clown a psycho clown.

Arf arf, you sick puppy!

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Little League World Series Rigged Again, Just Like The Big Leagues
August 11, 2009

Once again the LLWS will be rigged to allow the United States to cheat its way into the final game.

It’s not a ‘World’ series. It’s not a legitimate contest. Call it something else, but don’t insult the game by calling it a ‘World’ series.

But The Lion’s been over this ground before, here, and here.

Vince Wilfork, Patriot Whiner Of Champions
July 30, 2009

Vince Wilfork, a large and apparently talented nose tackle for the New England Patriots, allowed his agent to let out a loud whine about poor Vince’s salary.

His agent, Kennard McGuire, said yesterday he’s disappointed the situation has come to this.

“Although our dialogue has been ongoing, we just have not achieved the level of comfort for Vince,’’ McGuire said. “In a profession where production and durability equals reward, I’m terribly disappointed that we have not found common ground in what a player of Vince Wilfork’s value truly is.

“Our desire was, and is, a commitment to Vince that equals the one he has made to the organization. Today, we’re just not there. For a man who is as passionate to the game as Vince Wilfork is, I truly feel this is unjust.’’

Poor Vince made only two million two hundred thousand dollars last year. Apparently his comfort level is a lot higher than that.

Pity.

People are working two and three jobs or are lucky to have any job at all, people are losing their houses, their jobs, their lives, and this fat-ass fatheaded football player can’t manage to be ‘comfortable’ on two million dollars a year.

That’s pathetic enough, but what’s just as pathetic are the people who pay hundreds of dollars for a seat at professional sports arenas to watch these overpaid narcissists ‘earn’ their obscene paychecks.

Hell, football’s not even remotely honest. Wilfork and his cohort of thieves only play for about fifteen minutes during the three-hour course of an NFL game. But the fools in the stands put up with it. And since Wilfork plays only defense, he only plays an average of seven or so minutes a game.

Not bad, Vince. Entertain the fools for a little less than two hours over a sixteen-game season and collect two million dollars. Quite a scam you’ve got going there, you and your buddies.