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The World Cup has completed its group play stage and has reached the exciting knockout quarterfinals.  The remaining teams are now battling for the title of World’s best, with only the razor’s edge of margin separating the very top teams.  The drama, excitement and pressure are all building and drawing in more and more fans around the world.

All of this excitement has me lamenting that I have not seen a World Cup event in person.  I’ve stated that my goal in 2014 will be to attend the World Cup in Brazil.   But as I think about attending the World Cup, I also ask myself which event would be better to attend:  the World Cup or the Olympics.  After all,  Brazil also hosts the 2016 Olympics.    To me the answer is clear:  the World Cup, and this article from sports journalist Peter King provides the justification better than I ever could.   (more…)

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Yesterday, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa began.

2010-world-cup-logo

As I write this, I’m eagerly awaiting the US-England match later this morning.  Some are calling the match the most eagerly awaited match in the history of US soccer.     For me, the World Cup spectacle held every 4 years is one of the best of all sporting events; it combines fantastic skill, unbelievable passion and energy from the fans of the teams, globalization and a common them that people around the world can rally around, tradition and history that fans cling to, and opportunity for late game drama.   The 2002 run for the US team was one of my favorite sporting moments of the 2000’s, as I documented here.

As I think back to the last World Cup in 2006 and the current one in 2010, I also think about two Internet and social media companies—Yahoo! and Twitter. (more…)

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The NCAA tournament continues this weekend with the Final Four, consisting of Butler, Michigan State, West Virginia, and Duke.   Butler is one of the real stories of this tournament- playing in the Final Four only six miles from their campus in Indianapolis.  The other angle to the Butler story is the presence of the so called Mid-Major in the Final Four.  Every year during the tournament, the talking heads discuss the Cinderella stories of teams like Northern Iowa, St. Mary’s and Cornell and then get into debates whether teams like Xavier, Butler, and Gonzaga are mid-majors or not. (more…)

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Earlier, I wrote about one of my fantasy football teams that was auto-drafted by Yahoo! and my efforts to transform that team into a winning team.  Unfortunately, those efforts didn’t work and that team finished 7 out of 12 teams in the league— (update to that original post is here).   However, the other of my 2 teams that I didn’t write about actually won the championship!  Vandalay Industries took the prize in my 14 team league.  Here’s my view of how it happened—the brilliant moves, good fortune, and simple luck that propelled my team to the championship. (more…)

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As we hit the end of 2009, I’ve seen in various publications, articles about the top games, upsets, and moments in the  decade of sports (2000-2009).   Looking at a few of these lists have made me reflect on what my own top sporting moments of the decade  would be.  My list will be colored by my personal rooting and sports preferences— I grew up in Ohio and was a youth baseball and soccer player and am an all around sports nut currently living in the Bay Area.

1. Boise State vs Oklahoma- 2007 Fiesta Bowl—The classic David vs Goliath match-up with all kinds of drama and the most unexpected of endings—even had a wedding proposal.  This game had everything—the best game I’ve seen this decade.  I seriously couldn’t believe what I was seeing while watching.

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Last month, I watched part of Game 2 of the World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees with a colleague.  While watching, it dawned on me that this was the first game of this year’s baseball post-season that I’d seen.  To me, that is a significant revelation regarding the plight of Major League Baseball and its trajectory for the future.  I’d consider myself one of baseball’s more hardcore fans, one who has unfailingly watched postseason baseball games for more than 30 years, even if my team, the Cincinnati Reds, are not in the postseason (which unfortunately has been the case most of the nineties and in the 2000’s).  I’m the type of fan who can still recite most of the uniform numbers of Reds players and their main rivals since the 80’s and also can mimic the batting stances of most of those players as well. (more…)

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The other day, I was watching a documentary on the 1979 baseball season on the MLB Network and the World Series winner of that season, the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Those Pirates were know for its team slogan and team song, the hit song by Sister Sledge, We are Family.   As they were recollecting that season and that team, several times, the man who played the team mascot- the Pittsburgh Parrot, Greg Brown, was interviewed and would comment on the intricacies of that team.   Now, Brown isn’t your typical mascot as he ultimately in later years become an announcer for the Pirates which is probably why he had the clout to be included in the list of people to comment on the team, but just hearing from a mascot for the first time, made me think, what is it really like to be a mascot, from someone who actually was a mascot? (more…)

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