[Twitter.com/gregcote: The Twitter site that U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo would most want to you to follow if she'd ever heard of you, or me].
U.S. WOMEN'S WORLD CUP RUN ENDS IN FINAL DEFEAT: Japan wins 3-1 on penalty kicks after 2-2 tie through overtime. Cannot say Americans deserved to win after missing three consecutive PKs. Also tough to not feel happy for Japan, with this to cheer at least after the disasters of enduring an earthquake and tsunami. ..... Oh my again. Japan ties it 2-2 off a corner kick in OT, in 117th minute. Looks like penalty kicks will decide this World Cup. .....Abby Wambach header for 2-1 U.S. lead in OT! Textbook. ..... Overtime. Still liking U.S. chances, but my jingoism lends very little nuetrality. ..... Oh my. Japan ties it 1-1 in 80th minute. ..... Alex Morgan goal gives USA 1-0 lead in 69th minute! ..... U.S. and Japan were 0-0 at halftime of today's Women's World Cup final in Gemany. Americans had the best handful of goal chances, especially early, before play leveled. I explore the phenomenon of this USA women's team in a recent column; click here to read. I think that in a nation so divisive, so splintered, we are drawn to rare common ground. To what unites us.
LEBRON NAMED 4TH-MOST ANNOYING SPORTS FIGURE: I am not sure whether to be annoyed on LeBron James' behalf that he made the list at all, or to be annoyed on behalf of Clevelanders that he didn't rank even higher. The list is "The 50 Most Annoying People in Sports Today," from Complex.com, and you'd click here for the complete slideshow. To save you time, the top 10: 1. Dick Vitale, exclamatory basketball announcer; 2. Miami's own Alex Rodriguez, Yankees 3B; 3. Brett Favre, retired (maybe) QB; 4. Heat's LeBron; 5. Joe Buck, sportscaster; 6. Albert Haynesworth, Redskins DT; 7. Jim Rome, shout-radio and TV host; 8. Miami's own Chad (Johnson) Ochocinco, Bengals WR; 9. Skip Bayless, ESPN clown; and 10. Gene Auriemma, UConn women's basketball coach. Joining A-Rod, LeBron and Ochocinco in the top-50 with direct Miami ties: 11. Mercury Morris, Perfect Season-obsessed former Dolphins RB; 13. Drew Rosenhaus, pub-glomming sports agent; and 45. Jose Canseco, former juiced-up baseball player. Also of note: Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, 17th; Patriots quiniela of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, 22nd and 29th; Jets coach and foot fetishist Rex Ryan, 37th; and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, 49th. Of Miami's "Annoying 6" (pictured randomly above), Ochocinco, Rosenhaus and Canseco are to me the three musts, the Hall of Annoying no-brainers. The most surprising/quirky choice among the locals is Mercury, who only is exhumed into public consciousness every few years when an NFL team gets to around 11-0 and he rhapsodizes (or in some cases raps) loudest of all the '72 Perfectos invited to remind us how great they were and, really, continue to be. Presented here in poll form are Miami's Annoying 6. Who most deserves to be on the list? Vote now. And if you voted "somebody else," please do share.
ON BRIAN WILSON: It might or might not be totally coincidental that our earlier item on Most Annoying
Athletes leads us into a piece on Giants pitcher Brian Wilson, whose initial quirkiness seems to have transmogrified into a calculated attempt at bizarreness, a la Charlie Sheen. Pictured: Wilson's outfit at the ESPYs the other night. Fair to call it a skin-tight Spandex tuxedo with an orange bowtie? Wilson also sports the world's most fake-looking real beard. I keep thinking the shelf-life for orchestrated eccentricity is limited -- ask Joaquin Phoenix -- and that within a year Brian will be clean-shaven and wishing this photo was a bad dream. Meantime, I feel for Brian Wilson The Original, the Beach Boys founder and creative force whose name has been hijacked by ... well ... by this.
SPANDEX MORE AS IT WAS INTENDED TO BE: Brian Wilson in Spandex segues to the somewhat more pleasing photo at left and the actuality that there is a website (there really is) devoted to volleyball players wearing Spandex. How I happened upon this website, I would rather not say at this time. Let's just assume I was Googling "Spandau Ballet" and my computer somehow auto-corrected to "Spandex volleyball."
Click back. More stuff coming to this latest blogpost...