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Friday, February 01, 2013

OT: The Soccer Thread: February 2013

Well, it was on time last month!

RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 01, 2013 at 11:59 AM | 1499 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off-topic

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   201. DA Baracus Posted: February 05, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4363190)
Is there any chance that Bradley lines up on the left?


There's a chance, because Klinsmann almost always puts a player out of position, and it's usually a midfielder.
   202. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 05, 2013 at 02:56 PM (#4363223)
FWIW, they are citing an unnamed source with knowledge of Bayern's management on the Lewandowski deal. Official comments are "Nobody has talked to us" from Dortmund. "We don't comment on rumors" from Hoeneß. And "no comment" from Lewandowski.
   203. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 05, 2013 at 02:58 PM (#4363229)
Gus Johnson is the new Voice of Soccer in the US (at least on Fox).


Oh ####### kill me now. I really don't like Gus Johnson. I'll trust DA's viewpoint and hopefully I'll be proven wrong but I'd rather Joe Buck than Gus Johnson but (obviously) I'm a fan of the less is more style of broadcaster.
   204. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 05, 2013 at 03:01 PM (#4363234)
Oh ####### kill me now. I really don't like Gus Johnson. I'll trust DA's viewpoint and hopefully I'll be proven wrong but I'd rather Joe Buck than Gus Johnson but (obviously) I'm a fan of the less is more style of broadcaster.

Well Joe Buck is certainly less. I am not sure there has ever been an announcer with more less than Joe Buck.
   205. DA Baracus Posted: February 05, 2013 at 03:02 PM (#4363237)
I'd rather Joe Buck than Gus Johnson


I really don't want Joe Buck polluting a third sport. Of course if a broadcast is in 5.1 you can just mute your center speaker and virtually eliminate announcers anyway.
   206. Mattbert Posted: February 05, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4363258)
ESPN gives Stoke both barrels, courtesy of Ali Tweedale and Michael Cox.
   207. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4363263)
I much closer to being a Spurs hipster in particular than a football hipster in general.

What's wrong with singing Glory, Glory Tottenham Hotspur? I actually have the MP3 on my Ipod!

Anyway, I think on the football hipster scale I'm probably a 6.5 out of 10. I'll go to 7 when I get around to subscribing to The Blizzard. Spurs are the biggest club I support, I only wear vintage, advertising-free shirts memorializing teams that were great before I was even born and, worst of all, I read a book about the history of Spartak.

The bigger question is, is there such a thing as a baseball hipster? If there is, I'm probably a 9 on that scale.
   208. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 03:36 PM (#4363264)
ESPN gives Stoke both barrels, courtesy of Ali Tweedale and Michael Cox.

Stoke have been pretty bad since I said all those nice things about them after their Liverpool win. It's my fault. The thing about Stoke...I'm always amazed by how much more money they spend on players than Spurs. It's kind of nutty!
   209. ursus arctos Posted: February 05, 2013 at 03:38 PM (#4363266)
Why am I not surprised that Carson Cistulli has written an essay on that question?

The Brooklyn Cyclones had a Hipster Night last season.
   210. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 05, 2013 at 03:49 PM (#4363276)
Well of course they did. They are in Brooklyn, they would be mad (well madder) not to.
   211. Rennie's Tenet Posted: February 05, 2013 at 04:05 PM (#4363287)
I got interested in soccer largely through DirecTV, but have been living without satellite or cable for almost a year. I'm ready to sign up again, but I'm wondering how the TV landscape has changed? I usually catch an EPL match on Saturday morning, but also like interesting matches from virtually anywhere. I'll usually record one or two matches on Champions/Europa League days. I'll probably just re-up with DirecTV, but is there anything tricky about the new distribution agreements that should make me look in another direction? Cox is my local cable company. That seems hopeless, so that my choices are DirecTV and FIOS. Thanks for opinions!
   212. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 04:13 PM (#4363291)
You probably should stick with DirecTV if they have BeIn Sports. It's been a real disappointment for me this year that I'm watching Torino on the same crappy feeds I used to watch them in Serie B.
   213. DA Baracus Posted: February 05, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4363295)
You'll get plenty of chances to hear Gus Johnson starting next week:

The 45-year-old broadcaster will call his first match for Fox Soccer on Feb. 13 (2 p.m. ET) from Madrid's Estadio Santiago Bernabéu when Real Madrid faces Manchester United in a mouthwatering Champions League Round of 16 match. The assignment is the first in a series of high-profile soccer matches for Johnson, including a second Champions League match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich in London on Feb. 19 and a Premier League game between Manchester City and Chelsea at Etihad Stadium on Feb. 24. Johnson will call additional Premier League and Champions League matches and is scheduled to call the FA Cup final on Fox on May 11 and the Champions League final on Fox on May 25. Johnson will be on site for each of the games.
   214. SuperGrover Posted: February 05, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4363306)
I got interested in soccer largely through DirecTV, but have been living without satellite or cable for almost a year. I'm ready to sign up again, but I'm wondering how the TV landscape has changed? I usually catch an EPL match on Saturday morning, but also like interesting matches from virtually anywhere. I'll usually record one or two matches on Champions/Europa League days. I'll probably just re-up with DirecTV, but is there anything tricky about the new distribution agreements that should make me look in another direction? Cox is my local cable company. That seems hopeless, so that my choices are DirecTV and FIOS. Thanks for opinions!


Does Direct TV have NBC Sports Network, Fox Soccer and BeIN? I presume they do. If so, you should be good to go for now and into next season.

You should know though that BeIN's coverage is terrible. The announcers are as bad as Gol TV's and the feed looks like something from the early 90s. It's quite shocking to switch from Fox Soccer HD to BeIN HD.
   215. SuperGrover Posted: February 05, 2013 at 04:34 PM (#4363311)
Gus Johnson is the new Voice of Soccer in the US (at least on Fox).


He's the closest an American could possibly get to the Simpsons' latino announcer.

"Holds it. Holds it! HOLDS IT!!!"

Like most announcers, Gus Johnson was fine until his schtick became popular. Now, he's overly excited about everything. Pretty annoying actually.
   216. Mattbert Posted: February 05, 2013 at 04:42 PM (#4363320)
The thing about Stoke...I'm always amazed by how much more money they spend on players than Spurs. It's kind of nutty!

That was the main thrust of Cox's column, whereas Tweedale's was more traditional in that he focused more on their dreadful style and lack of ambition in road games. I think the two go hand-in-hand, which is what Cox was getting at: what Stoke has done over the last five years would perhaps be more understandable, even admirable, if they really were doing it on a shoestring. As it is, what they've actually done is just spunk an obscene amount of money on, for the most part, technically-limited mediocrities who are big and strong so Tony Pulis can be two or three deep at every position with exactly the same type of player.

Stoke is like the poor man's Manchester City in the early days of the nouveau riche era; buying overpriced players, letting them perform more or less as expected for about one season, and then replacing them with the next shiny bauble that catches the manager's eye. The only difference is that the shiny baubles that catch Pulis's eye are Kenwyne Jones and Steven N'Zonzi instead of Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri. No players ever improve upon arriving there for a big fee; either they just do what they've more or less always done or they stagnate. And it doesn't even really matter which path the player takes, because the manager will start agitating for the next shiny bauble the following summer, regardless.
   217. puck Posted: February 05, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4363326)
The announcers are as bad as Gol TV's

The main team (Ray Hudson and Phil Schoen) are from GolTV, right?

FSC will have the Champions League for another few years, I think FSC is supposed to be getting changed to FXX or something, so they might move the soccer stuff to the Fox Sports channel that is being made out of the Speed channel. (I think fewer provider packages have FSC than Speed, so it's fairly safe to say if you have FSC, you also have Speed.)

NBCSports has EPL next season and Formula1 (which Speed lost) starting with the 2013 season.
   218. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 05, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4363331)
Rich owner who wastes money but nobody notices because he's an Englishman. Always buy players retail, never sell. That policy eventually caught up with Bolton.
   219. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: February 05, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4363332)
Re: Shooty's link in 207

Your nightly wet dream consists of Joao Moutinho in a Tottenham shirt, but you are slowly allowing Lewis Holtby to sneak in.

What, not Leandro Damião?
   220. zack Posted: February 05, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4363333)
BeIN is only on the highest level directtv package, unfortunately. I miss DirectTV mostly because their interface is so, so, so (so, so, so) much better than Time Warner's, but they've been going in a shitty direction with the 2-year contracts and such.

We should make a site that tracks the destinations of sport's leagues broadcast rights. It used to be so simple!
   221. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 05:00 PM (#4363340)
Rich owner who wastes money but nobody notices because he's an Englishman. Always buy players retail, never sell. That policy eventually caught up with Bolton.

Also, no one notices because Stoke spread out the spending and they buy players that don't really make a ripple on the news wire. Sunderland have also spent a lot of money for questionable returns.

What, not Leandro Damião?

He is dead to us! I'm not sure who the Spurs white whale will be in the summer. Willian, Moutinho and Damiao are old news now. Eventually AVB is going to sign a lusophone player, right?
   222. DA Baracus Posted: February 05, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4363342)
Like most announcers, Gus Johnson was fine until his schtick became popular. Now, he's overly excited about everything.


I'll take it over Joe Buck, who usually sounds like he doesn't want to be there.
   223. Topher Posted: February 05, 2013 at 05:05 PM (#4363347)
Also keep in mind that BeIN has two channels. One English, one Spanish. You can use SAP most of the time to get English audio on the Spanish channel. That's not a problem. However, they are two different channels and while they have similar content, it is not always the same.

Ideally you get both channels. I only get BeIN Spanish. Because of that I had the annoyance of getting to watch the critical US qualifier game against Antigua & Barbuda on tape delay. If I had the English language channel, I could have watched it live.

Looking at the tv schedule:

Tonight: Ligue 1 (English) instead of La Liga
Tomorrow: La Liga instead of Serie A
Thursday: International replays ... Spain v Uruguay then Honduras v USA instead of Iran v Japan then Spain v Uruguay.
   224. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 05, 2013 at 05:09 PM (#4363350)
The 45-year-old broadcaster will call his first match for Fox Soccer on Feb. 13 (2 p.m. ET) from Madrid's Estadio Santiago Bernabéu when Real Madrid faces Manchester United in a mouthwatering Champions League Round of 16 match.

Are they really sending him to Madrid? That's a pretty big step. I could almost swear that Fox Soccer would call MLS games from the studio.

Does anyone know if Al Gore selling out to Al Jazeera helps with distribution of BeIn?
   225. Mattbert Posted: February 05, 2013 at 05:17 PM (#4363357)
SPURS HIPSTER FACTORY
Is one of the steps recognizing one of the club's youth goalkeepers by sight in a photo above a headline on the Beeb's website that doesn't mention his name? Here's the link to the full story, but the headline on the main Football page was just "Wycombe goalkeeper attacked by supporter".

P.S. - I am glad Jordan Archer appears to have come off relatively unscathed.
   226. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4363369)
Crappy video of event (turn your head or screen sideways). Reads more as slapstick than as "attack". Though, I mean, what a dumbass.
   227. Mattbert Posted: February 05, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4363377)
That dumbass kid is lucky the stewards got him quickly, I think. Archer is not a small dude.

Attack is probably not quite the right word, but it's still good that Archer wasn't hurt. Getting cheap shotted like that from behind could easily have messed up his back or a knee if his foot had caught in the turf or something.
   228. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2013 at 05:46 PM (#4363389)
I don't disagree. I'm just saying, that video was kind of funny anyway.
   229. Mattbert Posted: February 05, 2013 at 05:52 PM (#4363396)
Oh, definitely. There are some good pictures of the aftermath as well. The stewards look more concerned about making sure Archer kick the kid's ass than they are about making sure the kid doesn't try any more stupid stuff.
   230. Mattbert Posted: February 05, 2013 at 06:09 PM (#4363411)
*doesn't kick the kid's ass
   231. Rennie's Tenet Posted: February 05, 2013 at 06:35 PM (#4363434)
BeIN is only on the highest level directtv package, unfortunately.


That's a high jump up in price from the next tier down. When I went to over-the-air a year ago, DirecTv offered an upgrade to the top tier for pretty close to free, because I was a sports channel cash cow. Maybe that'll still be on the table.
   232. Rennie's Tenet Posted: February 05, 2013 at 07:06 PM (#4363455)
Won't let me edit 231: it looks like BeIN and Universal are both in DirecTV's sports pack, along with the regional sports channels, so the big jump to the next tier isn't needed. It looks, though, like GolTV has been consigned to the Spanish packages? I guess it got muscled out by GolfTV and GodTV.
   233. SuperGrover Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:09 PM (#4363533)
Speaking of TV packages, I just got UVerse today in place of Comcast (Chicago). It is heaven. No BeIN yet but it does have Gol TV and FSC+, so I bet BeIN will be on here sooner rather than later. It also has Fox Deportes and Univision Sports HD, so I get a bunch of games I never did on Comcast (both were available in the Latino package only). I recommend their service to any Chicagoans who have it available.

Now if I can only figure out how to watch my DVR online I will be set.
   234. puck Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:26 PM (#4363542)
It looks, though, like GolTV has been consigned to the Spanish packages? I guess it got muscled out by GolfTV and GodTV.

GolTV is on the Spanish packages on Comcast.

The english and spanish language language channels differ only a bit. Both channels show all the Barcelona and Real Madrid games. The English language channel has the occasional Ligue 1 and Championship game (beIN doesn't have the spanish-language rights for Ligue 1). The Spanish channel will often show more La Liga games-sometimes all of them.

You can look at the schedules on their online tv-guide, though usually they don't update the weekend schedule until later in the week.
   235. puck Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:32 PM (#4363545)
It's a roster tailored to play negative, defend and clear, long-ball and hope and poach football. They might actually be pretty ok at playing like a Stoke City, with the relatively weak central defense being protected by solid midfield holders and good fullbacks, but it's hard to see this roster being more than that.


Yeah, the US doesn't have much depth when it comes to 1st rate players. So I have tended to find it a bit much when people would complain about the US not making the quarterfinals of World Cup's.

But they should be good enough to qualify out of CONCACAF.
   236. Chicago Joe Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:33 PM (#4363546)
I recommend their service to any Chicagoans who have it available.

Frequent outages and crap internet put the lie to that.
   237. DA Baracus Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:36 PM (#4363547)
Yeah, the US doesn't have much depth when it comes to 1st rate players. So I have tended to find it a bit much when people would complain about the US not making the quarterfinals of World Cup's.

But they should be good enough to qualify out of CONCACAF.


This team should, barring a "group of death" draw, make it out of the group stage. After that it really is about the matchup. No shame in losing to Spain or Germany in the first round.

But first they have to get there, and their form in 2012 indicates it's going to be a struggle this year.
   238. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:47 PM (#4363552)
This team should, barring a "group of death" draw, make it out of the group stage. After that it really is about the matchup. No shame in losing to Spain or Germany in the first round.
Should they? I'm not seeing the talent there that says "definitely top sixteen in the world". 2nd in CONCACAF sure, top sixteen in the world, not so much. I wouldn't be shocked by this roster making the knockouts, but I'd bet against it today.

EDIT: Eight, sixteen, what's the difference?
   239. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:58 PM (#4363555)
Just off the top of my head, national sides with more talent than the USA...

Spain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, England, France, Portugal, Russia, Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Chile, Japan, Mexico, Cote D'Ivoire

I'd guess the US stands in the range of 20th to 30th in international football.
   240. DA Baracus Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:01 PM (#4363557)
Should they? I'm not seeing the talent there that says "definitely top eight in the world".


Well the top 2 from each group make it, so it's "top 16." But that's a bad gauge because the top 32 teams in the world don't make it to the World Cup. The top 20 or so do, and the rest are teams like New Zealand, North Korea, and Algeria and sometimes the home team (though that won't be the case in 2014) that qualify but aren't better than say, Sweden, Turkey, Ecuador, Colombia that don't. The US will probably be the 2nd best team in their group, clearly better than one team and fairly evenly matched with the third. I'll take their chances in a group like that every time.
   241. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:04 PM (#4363559)
That sounds like "about 50/50 in a regular to easy group, less in a tough one". Which is probably a fair description of their chances. I'd go a little lower - I think they're unlikely to be the 2nd best in their group - but that's roughly where I stand, too.

I definitely don't think that a team that is overall under 50/50 (or even a little over 50/50 if you want to be optimistic) to make the knockouts "should" make the knockouts. They just don't have the talent to have that expectation. Maybe they will, but it wouldn't be surprise or a real failure to fall short.

For me, the real failure is in talent development.
   242. DA Baracus Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:10 PM (#4363563)
Spain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, England, France, Portugal, Russia, Belgium


I agree all these teams are better. But here's the thing: UEFA gets 9 teams, plus 4 that go after a home and away playoff. There is no guarantee that all of those 9 teams go. Would anybody be surprised if say, Belgium, Russia and France had to go to a playoff? In 2010 France, Portugal and Russia did, and Russia lost to Slovenia, who are inferior to the US. And what if two of those teams faced each other? Then one is guaranteed not to go, and an inferior team "takes their place" and there's one less team better than the US in the World Cup.

EDIT: I disagree that England is better. I think they are even. England is overrated because they are England.
   243. DA Baracus Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:20 PM (#4363571)
I know this isn't a perfect example, but the US is 27th in Elo and 28th in FIFA ranking. Among teams that were at the 2010 World Cup, they are 18th in Elo and 20th in FIFA. Getting out of the group stage is a reasonable expectation to set on them.
   244. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:27 PM (#4363574)
A reasonable goal, yes. It would be a solid accomplishment. But they're slight underdogs to pull it off, and I think saying "should" isn't a good way of describing their chances.

It seems we actually agree much more than we disagree on the objective question. So it's really about the language you use to talk about possible outcomes. In which case I don't want to belabor the point.
   245. DA Baracus Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:32 PM (#4363577)
It seems we actually agree much more than we disagree on the objective question. So it's really about the language you use to talk about possible outcomes. In which case I don't want to belabor the point.


Agreed, we're just choosing different words to say essentially the same thing. And of course A) they have to qualify and B) we need to see what their group looks like.
   246. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:32 PM (#4363578)
After all that nice agreement, this I very much disagree with:
I disagree that England is better. I think they are even. England is overrated because they are England.
The only American player who might start for England is Bradley. They're on a totally different plane.

And now I'm off to bed, so we can't come happily to agreement just yet. Hopefully we will!
   247. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:51 PM (#4363586)
England is overrated, but all their players are regulars on Premier League teams in the top half of the table (backup keeper excepted). I think that if given the option, most US players would be playing in England (or Spain, Germany, Italy or France), yet a lot of them ply their trade in Scandinavia, US or Mexico.

   248. DA Baracus Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:55 PM (#4363587)
Calling England even with the US was a bit harsh. I think their defense is nothing special, just like ours, their midfield is living on name value more than actual production and other than Rooney they don't have much up front. They're a good team, but I don't think they are significantly better than the US. I'll leave it to the Think Factory to agree or disagree with me.

They play a friendly tomorrow against Brazil with a first choice lineup. They can shut me up for a little while with a good performance there. (I'll note now that a good performance does not have to be a win.)

I think we can agree that this is amazing.
   249. frannyzoo Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:03 AM (#4363588)
   250. DA Baracus Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:04 AM (#4363591)
all their players are regulars on Premier League teams in the top half of the table


There's some selection bias in there. Fulham, Newcastle, Reading and Wigan have only a handful of English players. About half of QPR, Aston Villa and Sunderland's rosters are foreigners. When you only have 3 English players, odds are they aren't on the national team. There's a chicken and the egg thing at work with most of those teams not being good, but not having many English players hasn't hurt Arsenal, Manchester City or Chelsea.
   251. DA Baracus Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:07 AM (#4363594)
Did someone mention international goalkeeper kits? Jorge Campos, best ever. Ever.


The only thing I don't like about that is the pattern. He looks like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Rene Higuita's hair and the Japanese flames are excellent.
   252. Baldrick Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:17 AM (#4363598)
There's some selection bias in there. Fulham, Newcastle, Reading and Wigan have only a handful of English players. About half of QPR, Aston Villa and Sunderland's rosters are foreigners. When you only have 3 English players, odds are they aren't on the national team. There's a chicken and the egg thing at work with most of those teams not being good, but not having English players hasn't hurt Arsenal, Manchester City or Chelsea.

I don't understand your point. Those teams are mostly terrible, so them having, or not, English players doesn't really matter.

The point was that England's 23 is composed mostly of players who play for good or very good teams in a very good league. Very few US players fit that description.

One of Arsenal's best players this year is English. Chelsea's best player over the past decade (ever?) is English. Cole is getting a bit old, but is still a very good left back. John Terry has been overrated for years, but has nevertheless been the heart of the defense for a team that just won the Champions League. Cahill is English. Joe Hart is English. Barry has started for both City and England a fair amount. Rodwell, Wilshere, Micah Richards.

And if you turn to Man U: Rio, Evans, Phil Jones, Smalling, Carrick, Young, Cleverly.

If you include Spurs in this group of the top English teams, you get Dempsey. I'll give you Bradley. And I guess Donovan could be at Everton with Howard if he had wanted. I love what Jozy has been up to recently, but he also washed out at a team that got relegated. Who else on the USMNT could even make the bench for the Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, Everton, Liverpool?
   253. Rennie's Tenet Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:20 AM (#4363600)
I think we can agree that this is amazing.


I say this with an unblemished record of staunch heterosexuality...it's fabulous.
   254. puck Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:20 AM (#4363601)
For me, the real failure is in talent development.

You are not alone; this must be the most common thing written about US Soccer.
   255. DA Baracus Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:46 AM (#4363609)
them having, or not, English players doesn't really matter.


That's the point. If you took some of them and put them on other teams, the teams would still stink (although they would be better), but the players would still be international caliber players. What team they play for is largely irrelevant. They play for the top EPL teams because they are internationals, they are not internationals because they play for those teams. Donovan is a great example: he was a difference maker at Everton. That he plays in a lesser league didn't matter.
   256. Baldrick Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:07 AM (#4363613)
That's the point. If you took some of them and put them on other teams, the teams would still stink (although they would be better), but the players would still be international caliber players. What team they play for is largely irrelevant. They play for the top EPL teams because they are internationals, they are not internationals because they play for those teams. Donovan is a great example: he was a difference maker at Everton. That he plays in a lesser league didn't matter.

I still don't understand what you're saying. If you took the bad players from my team (Reading) and put them on Manchester City...that wouldn't happen. Because Manchester City has piles of cash and doesn't need journeymen. While Reading is poor and not very good. I just don't understand why Reading or Wigan or whoever has anything to do with what we're talking about here. There is not a single player on Reading who is particularly CLOSE to the class of a Cleverly or Walcott or Wilshere. Much less a Rooney. When bottom-tier clubs have guys who are that good, they get sold to better clubs.

Football is a competitive market with a lot of money. If there were US players who could be sold up the ladder, they would be sold. Instead, almost all of the US players play for mediocre teams. Our (second?) best player is a sometimes-contributor to one of the six/seven top teams in England. We have three other guys who could reasonably make those teams.

Meanwhile, England players ALL play for good teams, and are important contributors to those teams. Sure, they tend to be overvalued. But even with that, when your whole squad is made up of guys who routinely play for excellent teams who have no interest in signing Americans...that's a pretty compelling piece of evidence.

I mean, I agree with the consensus that the US should be able to play competitively with anyone for a game or two - and there are only 10/15 countries in the world I would consider *clearly* better than us. But I don't see any particular reason to think that we're at the top of the next tier. We could just as easily be #35 as #16 in the world. Our record in the World Cup since 2002 has been better than I'd expect - not by a massive degree or anything, but still better than I'd expect.
   257. Textbook Editor Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:31 AM (#4363622)
Was the 1990s the worst-ever decade for kits? It certainly seems so.
   258. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:34 AM (#4363623)
Teams like Chelsea, Arsenal, Man U and City can afford to buy the best players in the world regardless of nationality. While English teams have to have a certain number of "homegrown" players they don't have to play them. Roman had plenty of time and opportunity to replace Terry, Cole and Lampard over the years and hasn't. If a US player was good enough they would be playing for one of those teams I mentioned instead of a Stoke, Bolton or pre-implosion Rangers. Dempsey is playing for top team but he is the only one.
   259. ursus arctos Posted: February 06, 2013 at 02:01 AM (#4363628)
257, without question, yes.
   260. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:49 AM (#4363650)
Pfft. You are not accounting for the sheer awesomeness of the stabilo highlighter neon yellow Dortmund kits, which counterbalances all the horribleness of the 90's, and then some.
   261. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:54 AM (#4363654)
But the 70's gave us the cocaine-fueled Caribous kit!
   262. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 06, 2013 at 08:02 AM (#4363655)
What can you say about the Berlusconis?

I'm glad they don't own my team. The racial stuff is bad enough, but the remarks about girls considering Silvio's history is just gross.
   263. Richard Posted: February 06, 2013 at 08:04 AM (#4363656)
I think the kit horribleness decade ran from about 1987 to 1997. The earlier start allows for the inclusion of such classics as Brighton's vertically striped shorts, the Huddersfield home and away chessboard designs from 1987-88 (definitely should be checked out if you have never seen it), the Hull City tiger stripe design, and the Hummel monstrosities worn by Spurs and Villa, amongst others. Plus there are the Umbro lace up collar kits from 1992-3 - talk about impractical.
   264. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 06, 2013 at 08:25 AM (#4363658)
Now, this is a nice shirt.

Clean and simple.
   265. JuanGone..except1game Posted: February 06, 2013 at 09:51 AM (#4363679)
I'm glad they don't own my team. The racial stuff is bad enough, but the remarks about girls considering Silvio's history is just gross.


What a bunch of a**holes those Berlusconis are. I feel horrible for all of the black players (especially Boateng), as now they know that ownership thinks that they actually own their black players like chattel. Pisses me off that in this day and age people still have to deal with this bs. I hope the UEFA just crushes them, but who knows with their crap sense of justice.
   266. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:02 AM (#4363685)
I'm not a huge fan of the crest on that shirt, it seems a little too simple and generic to my taste. But having looked at all those garish WC kits, you could certainly do worse.
   267. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:06 AM (#4363688)
Ugly 90's kits.

Words escape me.
   268. ursus arctos Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:07 AM (#4363689)
The cherry on the top of the Berlusconi junior comment is that he said it at a campaign rally.

Just to conclusively demonstrate the type of people who support the PDL.
   269. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:20 AM (#4363700)
That link in 267really puts the early-90s in a shameful place. And of course the US kit from the '94 WC was pretty spectacular in its awfulness.

The early 90s were just a bad time style wise. You either had the grunge thing going or the over the top colors on the other end of the spectrum. "Happy medium" was not really a term used much in those years. Thank god I was in college and didn't have the money to try and spend to keep up with fashion.
   270. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:20 AM (#4363702)
Ugly 90's kits.

Words escape me.

I don't think the last 3 are that bad. The Everton seems to be there solely on the basis of 'ewww pink'.
   271. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4363703)
I don't think the last 3 are that bad. The Everton seems to be there solely on the basis of 'ewww pink'.

2 of the last 3 aren't from the 90's, of course.
   272. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:27 AM (#4363707)
It seems to me that shortly after teams started adding sponsor logos, they decided "Oh well, our kits are now ruined, might as well go crazy." Then around 1999 teams got used to the sponsor logos and went back to classic-looking kits that just happened to have a logo in the middle.
   273. Mattbert Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:30 AM (#4363710)
I disagree that England is better. I think they are even. England is overrated because they are England.

England may be overrated, but there is no way the US is even close to England in terms of talent. England's second stringers would all be massive improvements compared to the US roster, almost across the board.

GK - Butland is extremely talented but not yet proven at international level. EDGE: USA

RB - Whoever's considered the second stringer, Walker or Johnson, is better than Cherundolo. EDGE: England

LB - Leighton Baines is better than Chandler or whoever Klinsmann might choose to play there. EDGE: England

CB - Anyone who's played here for England in recent years would waltz into the US team, easily. Lescott, Jagielka, Cahill, Smalling, Jones, Dawson, or the aging Rio and Terry. All better than the best American center backs. EDGE: England

CM - You could make a case for Bradley and pre-injury Stu Holden being better than some of the English second string midfielders, but England wins this by a mile on depth. Further, the US doesn't have anyone who's as good in possession as Carrick or Wilshere or even Osman. Donovan is close to Osman, but he's not really in the picture any more. EDGE: Even (at best)? Probably slight edge to England on depth and versatility.

LM/RM - Lennon, Milner, Young, and Ox (and Walcott if you consider him a winger still) are better than whatever the US could dredge up to play there, pretty much by default. They're also very good players. If you consider Dempsey a wide midfielder, he's probably about level with Milner. EDGE: England

FW - Jozy has blossomed for AZ this season, but I'd still rate him below the likes of Welbeck and Sturridge. Who would be Jozy's equal in England? Danny Graham? EDGE: England
   274. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:33 AM (#4363712)
It seems to me that shortly after teams started adding sponsor logos, they decided "Oh well, our kits are now ruined, might as well go crazy." Then around 1999 teams got used to the sponsor logos and went back to classic-looking kits that just happened to have a logo in the middle.

I wonder if games being more widely distributed on tv had something to with it, too. As in, "Hey, look at us!" Also, San Jose Sharks gear was a phenomenon in the early 1990's--I sold Starter and New Era stuff at a JC Penney then while I was in junior college and we couldn't keep the stuff on the shelves--and I think "sports consultants" might have pushed teams to "differentiate" their brands for marketing purposes to hilarious effect. It's kind of forgotten now, but the Sharks really changed the way sports teams marketed themselves as a fashion brand.
   275. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:35 AM (#4363713)
I'm waiting for Sepp Blatter to say that there was no racism in the statement about Balotelli and that Balotelli was in the wrong no matter how he reacts.
   276. Mefisto Posted: February 06, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4363744)
For me, the real failure is in talent development.


Very much yes to this. Hell, I ran a soccer club for 15 years and am still on the Board, and the whole system is fracked.

We could just as easily be #35 as #16 in the world.


Nate Silver's rankings have us 38th.
   277. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 06, 2013 at 11:29 AM (#4363771)
Nigeria are going to the finals.

Also, Croatia is knocking the crap out of South Korea. Jelavic scored which may be good news for you Evertonians. Maybe that's the confidence boost he needed.
   278. Mattbert Posted: February 06, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4363784)
HIPSTER THINK FACTORY
Apparently there's a movement afoot to celebrate "Bielsa Day" on March 3rd.

Because 3-3-13.
   279. puck Posted: February 06, 2013 at 11:51 AM (#4363797)
It's kind of forgotten now, but the Sharks really changed the way sports teams marketed themselves as a fashion brand.

Were they the ones who chose the color on the basis that it was colorful enough to appeal to women, but not so colorful that men would not buy it?
   280. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4363814)
Were they the ones who chose the color on the basis that it was colorful enough to appeal to women, but not so colorful that men would not buy it?

Yes. They were the first to do intensive focus grouping and all that kind of crap that we've all come to loathe.
   281. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4363819)
HIPSTER THINK FACTORY
Apparently there's a movement afoot to celebrate "Bielsa Day" on March 3rd.

Because 3-3-13.


But we'll be watching the NLD which is so mainstream and played out.
   282. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4363833)
It's kind of forgotten now, but the Sharks really changed the way sports teams marketed themselves as a fashion brand.

Was it the Sharks' jerseys that started the fashion trend where every rap/hip-hop artist wore hockey jerseys?

Oregon's status as Nike's experimental lab monkeys got things rolling. Then Under Armour and its ugly crap. Yesterday I watched my alma mater play in this.

I would imagine its only a matter of time before it starts hitting soccer jerseys. I guess its still better than the 90s.
   283. ursus arctos Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:23 PM (#4363837)
I have a slightly different perspective on what was driving horrible kits. It wasn't so much disdain at sponsor logos as it was a desire to convince supporters that they "needed" to buy every single kit the club produced or risk not being seen as "real fans". This concept really began to take off in the 90s, and at the time the kit manufacturers seemed to believe that a new kit (especially an away or "third" kit) had to be radically new to some degree in order to convince people to buy it. At the same time, there was an idea that these kits had to "look good with jeans" in order to sell. The result was that even the "biggest" clubs were saddled with some genuinely horrific duds (see, e.g. Arsenal's bruised banana, Chelsea's tangerine and grey Coors-sponsored monstrosity and Manchester United's "invisible" grey and black "third"). Once the clubs and manufacturers realized that they had a fan base that would buy anything that was "new", even if it only meant a different collar style, the designs became less radical (and the "look good with jeans" concept morphed into the kit as polo shirt trend one sees today).

The whole "gotta get 'em all" kit buying ethos has never taken off on the continent to anything like the degree it has in the UK, which is part of the reason why continental kits tended not to as atrocious during the same period (though there certainly were some shockers, particularly among "big" clubs).
   284. ursus arctos Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4363838)
Poor Mali, 4-0 down to Nigeria after 60 minutes.
   285. Mattbert Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:26 PM (#4363839)
But we'll be watching the NLD which is so mainstream and played out.

Well, we could pretend to be watching it ironically.

Do you think we'll be able to find some obscure Argentinian beer with which to toast our hero?
   286. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:26 PM (#4363840)
But we'll be watching the NLD which is so mainstream and played out.
Which reminds me, if we're worried about Kinsale's not being open, I'll extend the formal invitation to come to my place, so we don't have to bother Shooty's lovely companion with shouting at the TV. This assumes the NLD is on FSC, of course, but I think that's a safe bet.
   287. DA Baracus Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:27 PM (#4363844)
When bottom-tier clubs have guys who are that good, they get sold to better clubs.


Of course. And that's why what team a player plays for doesn't matter. They're still the same player if they're on Chelsea or if they are on QPR. The top teams in the EPL have the best English players because they're the top teams, they're not the top teams because they have the best English players.
   288. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4363845)
Which reminds me, if we're worried about Kinsale's not being open, I'll extend the formal invitation to come to my place, so we don't have to bother Shooty's lovely companion with shouting at the TV. This assumes the NLD is on FSC, of course, but I think that's a safe bet.

It's an 11 am start so Kinsale's is probably a viable option, too.

Also, just a reminder, the Shooty 2013 World Tour will be at the Football Factory this afternoon for the Honduras-USA fun. It's on W. 33rd street between 5th and 6th avenue.
   289. DA Baracus Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4363850)
If you consider Dempsey a wide midfielder, he's probably about level with Milner.


James Milner is a good example of how England gets overrated by being England. Milner is a nice player but nothing special. Dempsey is well above him. Dempsey has carried entire teams on his back, Milner hasn't. In 7 World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012 games, he was taken off in 5 off them by the 60th or so minute (in the 31st against the US after beating beaten up and down the field by Cherundolo). That would never happen to Dempsey unless he was hurt.
   290. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4363851)
Of course. And that's why what team a player plays for doesn't matter. They're still the same player if they're on Chelsea or if they are on QPR. The top teams in the EPL have the best English players because they're the top teams, they're not the top teams because they have the best English players.

Yeah but the point was that the big teams want those players, to a degree they don't want the American ones. They are starting for top teams on merit, and Americans are not able to crack those teams.
   291. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4363853)
It's an 11 am start so Kinsale's is probably a viable option, too.

Also, just a reminder, the Shooty 2013 World Tour will be at the Football Factory this afternoon for the Honduras-USA fun. It's on W. 33rd street between 5th and 6th avenue.
I'm fine with Kinsale's, just wanted to offer. Chez RB does have the advantage of allowing us to drink before noon.

I might come down to the USA game, but that depends how long it takes the plumbers currently destroying my bathroom to put it back together.
   292. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4363856)
I'm fine with Kinsale's, just wanted to offer. Chez RB does have the advantage of allowing us to drink before noon.

I'm more interested in Ghost Cat.
   293. ursus arctos Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4363857)
282, I think that the desecration of college sports attire in the US is driven by different factors, primarily recruiting and "image building".

Everything seems to be driven by a "17 year olds like black and shiny things" aesthetic and a "if we wear bizarre things people will show/talk about us" rather than a primary desire to sell replica merchandise.
   294. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4363859)
I'm more interested in Ghost Cat.
Between the presence of four strangers in the apartment, and the drilling and banging and everything else, Ghost Cat is in full-stealth mode. I may not see her again until April.
   295. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4363863)
Louis Saha joins Gazza as players to have played for both Tottenham and Lazio.
   296. DA Baracus Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4363871)
Yeah but the point was that the big teams want those players, to a degree they don't want the American ones. They are starting for top teams on merit, and Americans are not able to crack those teams.


Argentina and the Netherlands are better than England (and obviously the US), yet only a handful of Argentinians and Dutch nationals are on EPL teams. Why is that? Why is there only one player on Mexico in the EPL? They are clearly ahead of the US yet the US has more players there. Colombia has none. Why don't they have any?
   297. Swedish Chef Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4363882)
The top teams in the EPL have the best English players because they're the top teams, they're not the top teams because they have the best English players.

And they don't want the best American players because they are all crap.
   298. zack Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4363885)
Those early 90's kits are ugly, but I do miss the days when Umbro shorts were cool. Remember that?

And that USMNT jersey above looks like a hockey crest.
   299. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4363886)
Argentina and the Netherlands are better than England (and obviously the US), yet only a handful of Argentinians and Dutch nationals are on EPL teams. Why is that?
Because they play for elite clubs in other top leagues.

Everyone gives the US credit for having Michael Bradley as a major contributor on Roma. But he, Dempsey, and Howard are the only Americans contributing to winning clubs in top leagues.
   300. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4363890)
Let's see, where do Argentina's national team players play their club football: Barcelona, City, PSG, Real, Barcelona, Real, Valez, Valencia, Newcastle, City, Getafe, Benfica, Sampdoria.

Woe is them. All their players play for crap teams.

As for the Netherlands being better than England, after their ###-show last Euros, I am not entirely convinced. Their 'golden generation' is old and basically done. They are still far better represented among top clubs than the US is.
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