Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby ntw3001 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:23 pm

Well, England went out in the traditional way, on penalties in the quarter-finals. For a while we really looked like winning, but for most of the game we were lucky to hold on. Plenty of good chances for both teams; probably more genuine ones for England, but not a sooul on the pitch could finish. Oh well.

I live in Little Italy; the walk home was pretty galling. I'm glad I wore a blue shirt.

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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby ntw3001 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:38 pm

I don't know what England managers see in Wayne Rooney. We had a decent couple of games with Welbeck and Carroll, then put Rooney in when he became available and were weak against Ukraine and Italy. His trademark move seems to be to shield the ball, shuffle a few paces back towards the halfway line and then let it drift loose for an opponent to pick up. What is it that the managers and pundits are seeing that makes him a must-play?

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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby MysticalDescent » Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:22 pm

It was nice to see an England manage acknowledge the team's vast inferiority to every other major footballing nation and to play to the team's strengths. The solid defensive team shape and the way in which Italy were restricted to shots from 30 yards and half chances was surprisingly pleasing.
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby chrismachine » Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:40 pm

I think you are both delusional. Mysty less so, because their 30-or-so chances did mostly come from the perimetre, but if either of you think the team that won wasn't far, far better on the day you weren't watching the right game.
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby ntw3001 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:29 pm

I said they were better! We were in charge for twenty minutes, then died off. But yeah, if I recall England got the ball in the box more, but couldn't finish. Italy took about three times as many shots, but most didn't really look dangerous. Balotelli really should have scored atleast one though; he got through on goal two or three times and didn't manage to make anything of it.

But yeah, good defense for a change. Everyone standing in the right place.

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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby MysticalDescent » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:57 am

chrismachine wrote:I think you are both delusional. Mysty less so, because their 30-or-so chances did mostly come from the perimetre, but if either of you think the team that won wasn't far, far better on the day you weren't watching the right game.


You forget that I watch a team who sit out to play like that every single week, so keeping far superior opponents at bay for 120 minutes is a bit of a success. :lol:

2 years ago England would have had two completely unsuited midfielders playing together with somebody more unsuitable on the left wing (not that Ashley Young is exactly an improvement, or the ruined-by-Arsenal Theo Walcott) and a high defensive line sitting on the halfway-line consisting of two monopaced, over-rated plodders like Terry. It was arrogant and part of this stupid 'golden generation' myth, thanks to the hype of the Premier League. It resulted in a bloodbath against Germany in the last World Cup, with the unforgettable sight of some fast, talented Germans humiliating John Terry by just dinking the ball over the top of him and running past him every time. The same system would have produced the same result against Italy. Much better to have a deep defensive line with two deep lying caged midfielders protecting them. The defensive shape was exquisite and well executed, but an attacking gameplan was sorely lacking. Rooney's job was to man mark Pirlo and link up with Welbeck/Carroll and he failed miserably to perform either of those tasks.

It's all about playing to the team's strengths, instead of its imagined strengths. Terry is very mediocre, but like a lot of English defenders he's quite good in his own box, just like Lescott, Cahill, Jagielka, Shawcross, Dawson and so on. He's probably actually worse than the other five centre-backs I've mentioned there on account of his physical weakness, but whatever. England don't have the players to beat teams like Italy by attacking them, or even by just setting out normally.

Anybody see that game between Portugal and Spain last night? Please tell me you didn't. What an embarrassing festival of cheating and referees encouraging cheating. It was like watching two Arsenal teams, with Mike Dean refereeing and 500 snipers on the roof taking potshots at players.
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby chrismachine » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:52 pm

I casually chose to cheer for Arsenal as a kid because of their name and logo, and casual is how I cheer... but even casually I would ahve thought I'd notice if my team were like that. Is that a widely held position or are you more on your own on that one?

This game right now looks set to lack excitement in the exact opposite direction I predicted.
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby MysticalDescent » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:13 pm

It's pretty widely acknowledged that Wenger's Arsenal are as bad as it gets in this country - obviously there are some continental teams who take diving, feigning injury and harassing the referee to a whole new level. There has been an awful lot of friction between Stoke and Arsenal in the last few years, starting with our first game against them after promotion 4 and a half years ago, where Stoke won, van Persie got sent off for walking up to Stoke's goalkeeper and deciding to give him a good old fashioned shoulder in the face and Wenger was quite pleasant after the match, only to start screaming about how awful and dirty Stoke were a few days later once he was back in London. It's escalated from there, really. It's practically war every time both clubs step out onto the pitch. The last thing the internet needs is another diatribe about Stoke/Arsenal relations, though, so I shan't say too much. To try and put things as neutrally as I possibly can, Arsenal and Stoke represent two polar opposite ends of the spectrum. Stoke stand for traditional values, honesty, a local vociferous fanbase, reasonable prices, local ownership, hard-but-fair play and so on. We're the oldest club in the league, we're celebrating our 150th anniversary and everything about us is all about history and tradition. We had football's first knight, Sir Stanley Matthews, we were founder members of the first ever Football League, we churned out quite a few of the laws of the game. Arsenal, meanwhile, are very much a modern club. Their supporters are very much 'new money', are incredibly snobbish about football standards and feel that teams like Stoke need wiping out, that tackling has no place in the game (not actually making this up), they want a winter break bringing in and so on. Their players are all very pampered, very petulant and take a very 'modern' view of the game. They've been in the top division since they bribed their way into the league quite a few decades ago. The two clubs are like natural opposites.

I've just remembered, there was actually a bit of bad blood between the clubs in the 70s, when Arsenal beat Stoke in the FA Cup semi-final two years in a row. On one of those occasions, an Arsenal player managed to score a late winner because although he was standing offside, the linesman saw an ice cream seller in the crowd in a white coat, thought he was a Stoke player and assumed that the Arsenal player was onside.

Rest assured though, there's always fun when Wenger comes to Stoke.

I used to quite like them as a neutral when they were the only alternative to Manchester United winning the league. Of course, up to that point Stoke hadn't actually played them.
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby chrismachine » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:17 pm

I liked that they had a cool name and a big-ass canon for a logo, so I started to watch them. I really never noticed lots of diving above and beyond what I expect from the most ridiculously faked injuries and infractions in all of sport: soccer players going down for free kicks and penalties when they aren't good enough to get in good position using their skill. It would be easily ten times easier to watch if the league could give a match ban to players deemed to have faked a foul after the game using replay. I can't imagine too many people not from Italy, Argentina, Portugal and Spain who would disagree with that.
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby MysticalDescent » Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:17 pm

When I was young I never used to mind them, so I empathise with you a bit there. In the days before computer games had teams from outside the top division, I always used to play as Arsenal, probably entirely because they weren't Manchester United. They're not particularly popular either, on account of all the gloryhunters. I was always a Stoke supporter, but Arsenal were the top division team I sort of wished well the most, in a childish sort of way.

Everyone seems to not particularly mind Arsenal until they have to play them. If you don't roll over and die, they tend to kick lumps out of you, dive all over the place, scream at the referee and then spend the following three years orchestrating a mass press campaign against you. Playing them is a real eye-opener.

You're dead right about needing to do something about the cheating though. They way I see it is this: there are ten Premier League games every weekend, usually spread over three days. Those games are covered by tens of cameras that can catch almost every incident from almost every angle. How hard would it be to get ten people to watch the full 90 minutes of each game with full access to all of the camera footage and to just flag up any instance of diving and pass it on to a disciplinary committee, who then meet and hand out bans? It would be perfectly possible in the European Championships and World Cup, as well. People say a three game ban is possible, but the threat of a three game ban isn't enough to prevent players from performing crazy stamps, or slapping someone in the face or from jumping in with two feet. Not one single player would dive if they knew that they would consequently lose a big chunk of their career. Big bans in the case of indisputable dives (18 months?) would completely eradicate the problem. That's very, very extreme, but if it stops players doing it, then why not? If one big name star got punished for it (please be Suarez or Ronaldo, please be Suarez or Ronaldo) then that's the end of the problem, or at least it would be at a level where the technology is available.

The thing is, as well as being infuriating when it happens against you and it ruining the flow of the game, it's downright embarrassing in major tournaments. You get a lot of neutral supporters who don't really have much interest in sport, or who watch other sports, watching the big tournaments because they're such a big event. Now they get all the hyperbole about the Spain-Portugal match being the big heavyweight clash, one of the supposed best players in the world against the supposed best teams in the world and so on. What do they get? Barely a shot on target in 120 minutes of football, because the game has been disrupted non-stop by players diving, players screaming in faux agony when somebody places a hand on them, a referee who buys the whole act and throws yellow cards around like confetti and who gives a foul against the attacker for every single aerial challenge. So what you get is a boring as hell festival of halfway-line-ball that is stopped before it starts by a referee who can't wait to indulge a dignity-free man who's pretending that somebody grazed his back with a stray hand. How are you supposed to explain to, say, a rugby supporter, why this was billed as such a good game? How do you justify this stuff going on at the very top of the sport? I mean, you have to defend your game somehow, you feel sort of obliged to. I actually work with a French rugby supporter who casually watches football and he absolutely hates seeing that. It takes genuine effort to shove a grown man over. A mild clip to the ankle or the breeze created by running in the opposite direction is not enough to cause someone to tumble over and roll around several times, while causing a grievous injury. I don't know how those people can just go onto the world stage and behave with zero dignity and zero self-respect.

As an aside, one of my favourite incidents at Stoke was when an opposition player dived in on one of our players and did some serious damage to an ankle he'd just had surgery on. With blood pouring out of his sock, the Stoke player got straight back up and made his way over to the opposition player to try and deck him, before he realised after a few steps that he couldn't actually walk. That's the way it's supposed to be.

It annoys me that people try to justify it by saying that it's a part of the culture in Spain/Italy/Portugal/Argentina/Brazil. So what? Does that make it right? The other annoying one is when you get told that a player is 'entitled to go down'. No they're not. You're not entitled to go down unless somebody has actually hit you with sufficient force to make you go down. 'The slightest of touches' isn't a reason for a free-kick or a penalty, or for a fully grown human being to tumble over. It's pathetic.
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby chrismachine » Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:34 pm

As far as Arsenal goes, I haven't seen any campaigns against all of the teams in the BPL (as it's called here, and I imagine might be there too) by Arsenal, since they play them all, so I don't really know to what extent you are being serious. I get your point about in-game antics I just haven't really seen it. I would ahve said Chelsea and MC were worse. In any event I'm going to have to defer since you are ten times the fan I am of the league. As for your points on diving, it doesn't matter what the ban is, so much as whether they actually enforce it. In the NHL here there is a rule that has been introduced against head-shots that are deliberate and/or avoidable (where the player had half a second or more to avoid that contact) with penalties that can vary in length, and what I have seen is that some stars will get a game or two, and some goons will get 25 games, and there are plenty of examples right down the middle. It is starting to ahve some effect because the suspensions are actually happening, and 3 games for a star costs him the same money as 10 for a fourth-line grinder. It is only just a bit better, but we are also only a year in. I don't know if soccer will have the appetite for that since it is the binary opposite situation, where players are categorically not being hurt by anyone rather than delivering devastating concussions.
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby ntw3001 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:56 am

chrismachine wrote:the BPL (as it's called here, and I imagine might be there too)


I gather it's called the EPL in most places. Here, it's just the Premier League.

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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby MysticalDescent » Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:39 pm

Like Enty said, it's just the Premier League here. BPL is new to me (probably because Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have their own national leagues?) and EPL is the standard term I've seen used by foreign football supporters. It has a tendency to make people wince though, for some reason.

Oh yeah, Chelsea. I'd forgotten all about them. About two years ago they were absolutely awful. Ballack and famously made a scene in a Champions' League game against Barcelona, but they were awful for that entire season. At Stoke Michael Ballack took a pretty clear foul throw and the referee therefore awarded the throw-in to Stoke. Now admittedly they were under a bit of pressure because Delap was playing and the throw was inside Chelsea's half so the referee had essentially given Stoke a free goalscoring opportunity, but all eleven Chelsea players surrounded the referee and didn't disperse for a good two or three minutes. It was absolutely unbelievable. There was also the incident where John Terry, who never has a good game at Stoke, was getting mauled about by a Stoke forward and so pretended to have been elbowed in the face and did a bit of rolling around. He had the physio come on to give him 'treatment' and when the referee took no action against the Stoke player, he got up and decided he wanted to play on. Of course, the rules say that if you have the physio on, you have to leave the pitch until the referee says you can come back on. Instead, John Terry decided to stay on the pitch and shout at the referee for a few minutes. Why nobody bothered to book them for dissent I'll never know. Man City are pretty bad too. They've perfected the art of going down to claim a foul and immediately getting back up and playing on if the ball goes anywhere near them. Often it's just stuff that you don't see on the TV though because it's going on all over the pitch. it's a bit hard to explain how I mean, but it always amazes me how much action you miss watching the game on the TV compared to watching it in person.

So are the players' salaries directly linked to the number of games they play in the NHL? The problem with doing something like that in football is that the players just receive their standard, say, £200,000 per week if we're talking about a real top, top player with the bonuses on top. Missing three games makes no odds to them, they'll still be £600,000 richer at the end of it. Hell, at international level I think most players who play for the big nations give their match fee straight to charity. Is it favouritism that results in the different lengths of suspensions, or is it because of the wage disparity? I think to implement it in football it would have to be the same suspension applied to everyone. You're right about applying the rules, though - the rules are there now saying that players who dive should be booked, but how often do you see it happen?
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby chrismachine » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:34 am

I think it's because commentators over here give more respect to the sponsors of events (and in your country, leagues I guess) so while it was EPL for a while, they've switched to the B for Barcley's. We have "Molson Hockey Night in Canada" and it was Labatt as title sponsor for a few years and that didn't go over well. Anyway yeah, that's that. As for salaries and stuff, The salary for players in North American leagues, or at least the big 5, is divided by the number of games played for the purposes of lost or reappropriated wages due to suspensions, which the team can also issue but not with the fine part. Reputation is actually in the rules as a reason to give bigger suspensions to dickheads once they are repeat offenders. If there's no way to make that distinction over there then yeah it would have to be enough of a ban that they would lose reputation or clout, or even timing and chemisrty or fall out of favour, become expendable etc. That said, players play for free in the playoffs having already earned their full wages, and risk losing money by playing (one guy got a 25 game suspension that will leak into the regular season for 20 games, costing him like a million dollars, and another got hit so hard he is still in an easychair much of the day, and considered walking in a park without headaches as progress a month later). Suspensions there are just about letting the team down and losing the chance to grow your brand or value within the sport.
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby Low-Tech » Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:57 am

Well, the Pirates have not fallen off the map as we approach the All-Star break, and they look to be maybe even a bit better than they did last year, when they had the lead in the NL central around this time, and then just went into a tailspin and lost 40 some games down the stretch to finish in the dregs.....

Statistically, the offense and pitching are putting up numbers that haven't been done by the team since the late 1970's, which is the last time we won the World Series or 1993, the last year we had a winning season.... we're getting big 3+ run innings, two-out hitting, surprisingly good pitching, ok but passable relief..... stuff I can just vaguely remember us last having when in was in Jr. High.....

Don't wanna jinx it, but darn, I'm happy for the moment.
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby Judas Maccabeus » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:35 am

Low-Tech wrote:Well, the Pirates have not fallen off the map as we approach the All-Star break,



I think that's mostly just because the rest of the division is just as mediocre as they are (or worse, of course), but that's probably just me. :P
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby Low-Tech » Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:15 pm

There's no doubt that it helps to be a suddenly hot team in the NL central where you have to really work to be worse than the cubs or the Lastros. But, you know me, hope springs eternal for the haggard fan of the team that hasn't had a winning season since skateboards and jean jackets were cool....
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby MysticalDescent » Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:03 pm

chrismachine wrote:I think it's because commentators over here give more respect to the sponsors of events (and in your country, leagues I guess) so while it was EPL for a while, they've switched to the B for Barcley's. We have "Molson Hockey Night in Canada" and it was Labatt as title sponsor for a few years and that didn't go over well. Anyway yeah, that's that. As for salaries and stuff, The salary for players in North American leagues, or at least the big 5, is divided by the number of games played for the purposes of lost or reappropriated wages due to suspensions, which the team can also issue but not with the fine part. Reputation is actually in the rules as a reason to give bigger suspensions to dickheads once they are repeat offenders. If there's no way to make that distinction over there then yeah it would have to be enough of a ban that they would lose reputation or clout, or even timing and chemisrty or fall out of favour, become expendable etc. That said, players play for free in the playoffs having already earned their full wages, and risk losing money by playing (one guy got a 25 game suspension that will leak into the regular season for 20 games, costing him like a million dollars, and another got hit so hard he is still in an easychair much of the day, and considered walking in a park without headaches as progress a month later). Suspensions there are just about letting the team down and losing the chance to grow your brand or value within the sport.


Haha, sponsorship. I don't think anybody likes to pay much attention to that here. Unless the person doing the referring is a TV presenter (and even then, on most occasions), the Carling Cup is always referred to as the League Cup, the FA Cup with Budweiser is the FA Cup, the Barclays Premier League is the Premier League and so on. Managers have twigged onto the fact that if you say 'Barclays Premier League' in an interview than your club gets paid money by Barclays, so they say it in almost every sentence. If a lucozade bottle can be seen in the TV coverage of a match, then the responsible team get paid a few thousand pounds. When Rory Delap dries the ball with a towel before throwing it in at Stoke, the towels are actually sponsored by lucozade. Almost every throw appears on the extended TV highlights, which means that it's effectively a free £100,000 per home game.

25 games does seem an exceptionally long ban. Is that exclusively for that one particular offence, or are there a number of things that can result in such a massive suspension?
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby chrismachine » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:43 pm

It is fairly long. Basically the guy has had two other questionable hits that have gotten him a fine and then a suspension, so the table was set. 25 games was partly the length given due to how bad it was, aand also partly because they didn't want him back for the playoffs, and since it was the third game of the first round, his team could, in theory, have played another 20+ games so this guaranteed his missing all that. They got bounced 3 games later though, so he'll be out until December some time.
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby chrismachine » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:11 am

After an appeal in May, it looks like the league has shortened it to 21 games total, meaning he will miss the pre-season and first 8 games (10%) of the regular season. I can't wait for hockey to start back up again in late September, that's always exciting. But, I think I'll enjoy the summer first even though there aren't many good sports to watch for a while.
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby MysticalDescent » Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:23 pm

Are people that fussed about the pre-season?
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby chrismachine » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:20 pm

No not in the least. Nobody really cares, and I don't know if the players get paid for that or not, though I feel like they don't because older players routinely will play just one or two of those games to save on wear and tear. Do clubs over there for soccer organize their own friendlies, or are they set by the league?
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby ntw3001 » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:07 pm

They set up their own. The big ones generally go off on international tours and such. Liverpool are coming to Toronto on the 27th, which I'm sure will be terribly exciting.

I want to see a Blue Jays game. Everyone has made it very clear that attending a baseball game is interesting. I'm eager to learn how, when it's notorious even amongst its fans for being a spectacularly dull sport (I gather the main part of the charm is alcohol-related, but also that alcohol is prohibitively expensive within the grounds). I don't want to rag on it because I ain't familiar, but it's a reputation thaat exists.

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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby chrismachine » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:45 pm

You should do that, then take in a small-town-league game in Ottawa for like $10 including a hot dog or something.
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Re: Hey, What About Those [Your Favorite Team]!

Postby Low-Tech » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:32 pm

Yes, I would definitely check out a minor league game before shilling out the big bucks at an MLB stadium, seats are cheaper, concessions are cheaper, and you get a closer seat to the action so you can see what's going on easier.

The pace of baseball isn't for everyone, and those used to the constant running around of soccer or football or hockey can easily find it boring. But, I think a lot of the nuance and strategy that baseball geeks gush over just isn't visible when you watch on TV or listen on the radio, it's not a sport that lends itself to TV well which is why I think it's not as popular as it once was.

Speaking of baseball, holy Mayan Doomsday Batman! The Pirates are 7 games above .500, the last time that happened... I.... was rockin' the Sega Genesis, because it did what Nintendon't!
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