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July 12, 2011

Name the least lame of sports' all-star games (with poll); plus USA beats France, Michael Irvin on cover of gay mag, ESPN screws Shulas, violent statues, pipe smoking & more

[Thanks to all who tapped into Live Chat Wednesday today from 1-2. Click here to join us live each week, or to post questions any time. Also join us at Twitter.com/gregcote, the official Twitter site of men who are obsessed with Hope Solo to an almost disturbing degree fans of the U.S. Women's World Cup soccer team].

THE LAMENESS OF ALL-STAR GAMES: All of the major all-star games are lame. The NFL's Pro Bowl is a 1aa1allstar joke. The NBA's and NHL's all-star games aren't much better. The MLB game -- the 82nd "Midsummer Classic" was played tonight in Phoenix (NL, 5-1), after the Hispanic players detained under Arizona's immigration law made bail -- is the most tradition-rich and is supposed to be better, if only because the winning league getting home-field advantage in the World Series theoretically adds legitimacy. But that's a dumb idea and baseball's game is lame, too. For instance, if Derek Jeter didn't care enough about the game or its result to bother playing, why should I? Jeter could have been in Phoenix being exalted for his 3,000th hit. Instead he was in Miami resting over a steak at Prime 112. All-star games don't matter. Three of the four sports at least admit it. Baseball needs to scrap the World Series tie-in and admit it, too. Click here for my latest column on this, online now and in Wednesday's pulp editions.  Am I being too negative? Did tonight's game excite you? Which of the Big Four all-star games do you like the most? Or, perhaps, dislike the least? (Or would your answer be 'None of the above'?) Vote now and say why.

1aa1hopes I (HEART) HOPE SOLO: [Wednesday update: USA crushes France, 3-1, reaches Women's World Cup final!] I must say my ordinarily tolerant wife has lately shown indications of dissatisfaction over the lifesized poster of U.S. soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo (right) now adorning our bedroom wall. It probably didn't help that when we went out to our favorite romantic restaurant to celebrate our anniversary the other night, I asked her to wear the gift I'd given her. In a rather sharp-edged tone my wife said, "I am not walking into a nice restaurant wearing those damned goalie gloves!" The Hope-led U.S. women today reached Sunday's World Cup final for the first time since 1999. Let's go USA! (Click here for 33 delicioso YouTube seconds of Hope, solo).

1aa1irvinout MICHAEL IRVIN TAKES A STAND: Former UM and NFL football star-turned-WQAM voice Michael Irvin, 45, appears in football gear and shirtless on the cover (pictured) of the latest Out magazine, a gay publication. He does so to express tolerance for gays and for same-sex marriage. Irvin is heterosexual but had an older brother, Vaughn, who was gay. Good for Michael for having the bravery to let his true beliefs shine through even though many in his macho world might be taken aback. Click here for the article.

UPDATED BASEBALL ODDS: Courtesy Bodog, Phillies are favorites from here to win World Series at 11-4, followed by Red Sox 7-2 and Yankees 6-1. Marlins tied for 23rd at 200-1. Individual betting picks: AL MVP Adrian Gonzalez 4-5, NL MVP Jose Reyes and Prince Fielder 7-2, AL Cy Young Justin Verlander 5-4, NL Cy Young Roy Halladay 3-2, and overall home runs Jose Bautista 2-5.    

1aa1statuebat EPIDEMIC OF VENGEFUL STATUES SPREADS!: Police in several major American cities report that sports statues -- tired of being urinated on by hobos and posing unrenumerated for tourist photos -- have taken to exacting vengeance in a wave of violence. Locally, the parents of a small boy have filed suit claiming the child recently was hip-checked by the bronze likeness of Don Shula. Pictured right, a statue pretending to stand frozen prepares to blindside an unsuspecting woman pedestrian upside the head with a bat.

ESPN SCREWS SHULAS!:  Pegged to the Robinson Cano father-son pitch-hit combo in the Home Run Derby, ESPN just trotted out a "10 Greatest Father-Son Moments in Sports" bit. Noticeably absent, at least for me: The historic NFL head-coaching faceoff in 1994 between Dolphins coach Don Shula and his son, Bengals coach David Shula.

ESPN NEEDS TO SELF-PROMOTE MORE, SO THE ESPYS ARE WEDNESDAY: Quiet, unassuming ESPN continues its pattern of avoiding publicity whenever possible by staging its annual ESPY Awards this Wednesday. The "word" is that Seth Myers' opening monologue will hit the LeBron James jokes pretty heavily. Do they get TV in Cleveland? This is one of approximately 643 awards shows but is distinguished by being the only one to give out a Bowler of the Year award. I am picturing the finalist bowlers being given really bad seats and being openly mocked by a phalanx of howling rappers and wide receivers.   

1aa1sickof TOKEN HEAT 'BIG 3' UPDATE: There is no offseason for the Heat's Big 3, who continue to be both Big and 3 even when you aren't watching. Let's see. Kentucky Fried Chicken is trying to get Dwyane Wade to work a drive-through window for charity. Um, Chris Bosh is fixin' to get married. And the other guy is spending a quiet July still being loathed by seething Clevelanders. Further updates as warranted.

1aa1pipe IS PIPE SMOKING OK?: Confession. I am a cigar smoker. It isn't good, kids. Don't recommend it. But I do it. Now, mostly for the change of pace -- really, as a lark -- I am considering giving pipe smoking a try. When I told my wife that, she looked at me as if I had suggested experimenting with bestiality. She said (imagining me at left) something to the effect the only people who smoke pipes are 93 years old or a--holes trying to appear erudite. Can it be true? Where my pipe smokers at. WHERE MY PIPE SMOKERS AT!? 

1aa1legup GREG COTE'S FREE TIPS FOR PROPER LIVING (GCFTFPL): (One in a series) Gentlemen, when on a cruise ship or in other social settings, it is impossible to strike a casual pose when lifting one's foot to rest on a rail that is at or above waist level. While imagining the desired appearance of relaxed nonchalance, one instead takes on the look of a man who is either attempting a martial-arts kick or about to discreetly break wind.

Click back. Will be adding lots more stuff to this latest blogpost...

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