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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

OT: The Soccer Thread May, 2014

Real and Atletico go two rounds. Can Liverpool come back? Will Arsenal finally win a trophy?

May 7: Man City v. Aston Villa, Valladolid v. Real Madrid, Copa Liberatadores Quarterfinals (1st legs)
May 8: Copa Liberatadores Quarterfinals (1st legs)
May 10: Inter v. Lazio
May 11: Liverpool v. Newcastle, Man City v. West Ham, Atletico v. Malaga, Celta de Vigo v. Real Madrid, Roma v. Juventus
May 13: Germany v. Poland
May 14: Sevilla v. Benfica, Copa Liberatadores Quarterfinals (2nd legs)
May 15: Copa Liberatadores Quarterfinals (2nd legs)
May 16: Barcelona v. Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid v. Espanyol
May 17: FA Cup Final (Arsenal v. Hull City), DFB Pokal (Dortmund v. Bayern)
May 24: Champions League Final (Real Madrid v. Atletico Madrid)
May 27: USA v. Azerbaijan, Scotland v. Nigeria
May 28: Denmark v. Sweden, Mexico v. Israel, Cameroon v. Paraguay, Honduras v. Turkey
May 29: Chile v. Egypt, Spain v. Bolivia
May 30: England v. Peru, Portugal v. Greece, Netherlands v. Ghana
May 31: Mexico v. Ecuador, France v. Paraguay

Howling John Shade Posted: May 07, 2014 at 03:40 AM | 1176 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: soccer

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   501. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 20, 2014 at 10:00 AM (#4710045)
I would be surprised if Milner leaves. He has City over a barrel in the homegrown requirements and knows it.

Really? Can't they just bring in a random guy who will never play?
   502. Randy Jones Posted: May 20, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4710050)
Really? Can't they just bring in a random guy who will never play?

They lost a few roster spots for the CL as part of the FFP penalties, but they still have to have (I think) 8 homegrown players. So yeah, they can, but they might have to end up actually playing that random guy.
   503. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: May 20, 2014 at 10:13 AM (#4710059)
Yeah, City desperately need Milner this season. They can't just go and spend 30 million on Shaw, either, because they still need to work to get into compliance.
   504. J. Sosa Posted: May 20, 2014 at 10:15 AM (#4710062)
What Randy said. Milner and Hart are the only guys that play and don't cause a major drop off. Milner is also already in house so it would avoid additional FFP headaches in trying to bring in a homegrown player of his caliber, which with the English premium is cost prohibitive even for City at this point with FFP.

I've been surprised that they have enforced FFP to the extent that they have. I'm not convinced on the overall merits of FFP, but it does appear to have some teeth.

edit: Dangit Shooty!!! Coke is in the mail.
   505. Richard Posted: May 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM (#4710069)
It may well be true that the PFA negotiate for Milner. One of the benefits of PFA membership was they would help negotiate contracts for free. I don't know if it's still free, but I bet it's cheaper than any agent.
   506. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: May 20, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4710082)
Monaco are looking for a new manager now.
   507. jmurph Posted: May 20, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4710106)
We all may have spoken too soon! Yaya and his agent are embarrassing themselves. Oh well, I still expect him to be back and as dominant as ever.
   508. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: May 20, 2014 at 11:25 AM (#4710109)
All this drama for the price of a birthday card...

edit: Can we call him Wah-Wah Toure now?
   509. DA Baracus Posted: May 20, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4710127)
They could offer Micah Richards a boatload of money to stay!

Can we call him Wah-Wah Toure now?


Yes.

   510. Randy Jones Posted: May 20, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4710131)
edit: Can we call him Wah-Wah Toure now?

Just don't call him Francois, that's Kolo.
   511. puck Posted: May 20, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4710139)
Monaco are looking for a new manager now.


Did they can him? The BBC article makes it look like that's the case...what did they expect, a Cup victory? I can't imagine they expected to catch PSG.
   512. puck Posted: May 20, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4710141)
Here's some stuff about PL viewership on NBC I copied and pasted from si.com. Looks like another bidding war is brewing. If that's the case, let's hope NBC wins again.


Oh god, yes please. beIN is loaded up with La Liga and Serie A. Fox will have trouble not just because of GuJo but FS2 is still not distributed very widely, and where it is still isn't HD everywhere. Plus they're getting Bundesliga.
   513. puck Posted: May 20, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4710152)
On the World Cup: anyone have a good guide, good preview site?



   514. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 20, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4710175)
On the World Cup: anyone have a good guide, good preview site?


No. Glad to help :-)

However, if you listen to the Football Weekly podcast at all they said they're going to have a two part team by team preview at some point. I love those guys YMMV.
   515. ursus arctos Posted: May 20, 2014 at 12:48 PM (#4710177)
The Monaco statement on Ranieri makes it sound like the kind of "mutual agreement" that was definitely initiated by the club and ultimately acquiesced to by the manager. They told l'Equipe that the team "needs new ideas". The favorite for the job is Leonardo Jardim of Sporting (Lisboa).

It's somewhat interesting timing, coming a day after a Swiss court ruled in the six year long divorce saga of Dmitri Rybolovlev (the potash oligarch and Monaco sugar daddy), awarding his ex-wife USD 2.2 billion (with a "b"). Of course, that's only half of what Forbes says he has, so there's more for his football plaything, but you have to think that such a judgment might give him something to think about.
   516. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 20, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4710178)
Wah-Wah Toure is grade A play on words. If that isn't on a broadsheet yet their editors need to get on the ball.

I've been surprised that they have enforced FFP to the extent that they have. I'm not convinced on the overall merits of FFP, but it does appear to have some teeth.


I'm pleased to see it. There's a downside to FFP in that it protects the already rich clubs with large followings, but I'm not a huge fan of oligarch-headed clubs able to push their way into the conversation through sheer financial force.
   517. Spivey Posted: May 20, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4710188)
I like the oligarch-headed clubs being able to push their way into the conversation. It's the only avenue for parity, and the only hope for many teams of ever winning a title.
   518. Swedish Chef Posted: May 20, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4710196)
West Ham fans disappointed with Allardyce decision

The board wants Big Sam to stay but be more fun. There's some potential for disappointment there.
   519. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4710225)
Little bit of self-promotion...

I have a piece on the WaPo Fancy Stats blog today on the "Moneybol" of Atletico Madrid.

It was kind of funny. I've been cheering for Atleti all year, but I had written that piece before the Barca match on Saturday. I was totally living and dying with every minute, in part just because it was a great match, but also in part because the story worked so much better if they won.
   520. DA Baracus Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4710228)
I have a piece on the WaPo Fancy Stats blog today on the "Moneybol" of Atletico Madrid.


That's a good read, easy to digest for the casual fan but not watered down either.
   521. puck Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4710232)
That is great, MCoH. Did you change the spelling of your first name? (Not that that's important, just remember your old BBTF handle.)

Outside the scope of the article and sort of outside the narrative, but isn't Atleti faced with big debt problems? I figured they were raking in big bucks from the strikers they keep selling, but I thought I saw that in some of those deals 3rd party ownership siphoned much of the proceeds.
   522. jmurph Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:28 PM (#4710233)
Congrats MCoA, that's great. And great to see the note from the WP staff member in the comments section that there will be more to come from you in the Post.
   523. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:34 PM (#4710236)
Here's a long-winded response, puck. It's a bit dated, but probably still answers your debt questions. If there's a positive, it's that two straight years of Champions League will give them a nice revenue boost. I'd add the Falcao + Costa sales, but I'm not sure how much of that money has gone/will go to Atleti versus third parties.

EDIT: And yes, MCoA, congrats on the WaPo gig. Atleti's ability to go from ferocious pressing to a disciplined, eight-men-behind-the-ball, formation makes for a fascinating watch. Add me to the list of people who were chewing their fingernails during the game on Saturday.
   524. The Voice of America Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:34 PM (#4710237)
Congratulations Michael. I have been reading your work on CFC for a while. Good stuff as always.
   525. puck Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4710238)
I don't care much about this stuff but someone went through the trouble to make a nice chart:

Premier League table if only goals by English players were counted.

I might be interested in a similar table for MLS based on goals scored by US college players or something. I think Sporting KC would do well.
   526. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4710239)
Well done MCoA, congratulations.
   527. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4710241)
Cheers, MCoA!
   528. Swedish Chef Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4710242)
I'd add the Falcao + Costa sales, but I'm not sure how much of that money has gone/will go to Atleti versus third parties.

I doubt there was much of any return on Falcao at all. He was bought for almost as much hypothetical money as he was sold for, he was more of a glorified rental.
   529. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4710244)

Premier League table if only goals by English players were counted.


No wonder the FA Cup final was so exciting. Hull and Arsenal side by side in the standings just 5 points apart!
   530. DA Baracus Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4710247)
isn't Atleti faced with big debt problems?


Yes. When they sell their stars they'll make about 67 cents off them.

Hey this fun, I found this and this which are the same article by different people! I can't tell which was first.
   531. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4710248)
Just don't forget those of us who know how you really spell your first name...But mostly, hurray!
   532. Swedish Chef Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4710250)
Chelsea know how to defend against English players.
   533. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4710254)
Hey this fun, I found this and this which are the same article by different people! I can't tell which was first.

Heh.


No wonder the FA Cup final was so exciting. Hull and Arsenal side by side in the standings just 5 points apart!

Jeez, Newcastle must have a terrible academy.
   534. DA Baracus Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4710255)
Not at all surprised that Newcastle would finish last.
   535. Swedish Chef Posted: May 20, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4710256)
I did a search at Newsnow and not a single recent headline contains wah-wah or even wah. I'm disappointed in English web media.
   536. Ron J2 Posted: May 20, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4710264)
#518 The thing is that if you give Big Sam the Barca team with Messi and co at their very best he'd still have them playing Sam ball. If you hire Big Sam you know what you are getting. I'll be shocked if anything changes on the pitch.
   537. ursus arctos Posted: May 20, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4710274)
Great news, MCoA. Another advance for the analytical community.
   538. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 20, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4710285)
On the World Cup: anyone have a good guide, good preview site?

Somebody sent me this link the other day. Haven't had more time than to give it a passing glance so far, so not sure how good it is, but seems to be pretty extensive...
   539. Rennie's Tenet Posted: May 20, 2014 at 04:10 PM (#4710305)
I've been following Australian keeper Mathew Ryan for a few years. He's now 22, and it looks like he just won Goalkeeper of the Year or some such in the Belgian League. Does a guy like that hang with Club Brugge for a couple of years, or is he in imminent danger of being pulled up to one of the big leagues?
   540. ursus arctos Posted: May 20, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4710326)
Do you know what his contract status is? (Transfermarkt is down)

Assuming that he isn't out of contract, I would expect him to stay in Belgium for at least one more year. Brugge are a "big" club in Belgian terms and will be in the Europa League next season.
   541. puck Posted: May 20, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4710329)
I noticed late in the season Scott Sinclair just disappeared. He was a key player for Swansea in their 1st season, then City bought him, and predictably he sat. But then I noticed him sitting for West Brom.
   542. puck Posted: May 20, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4710330)

Somebody sent me this link the other day. Haven't had more time than to give it a passing glance so far, so not sure how good it is, but seems to be pretty extensive...


Thanks. One thing I notice, they have Strootman as a starter for the Netherlands.
   543. frannyzoo Posted: May 20, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4710362)
Late to the party, but +17 on the great piece MCoA. I'm forwarding it to all my increasingly nerdish football colleagues. I wonder if the player-maximizing deep/narrow 4-4-2 will spread to other clubs with similar money disparaties (and yes, I'm talking to you Gladbach).

Meanwhile, the Strootman reference has me once again ranting about the tendency of having players go down injured, then "trying it out" for a few minutes before giving up (and yes, I'm talking to you Mr. Costa and Atletico). I have to wonder how much more time Strootman will miss just because he kept walking/trotting on the injured leg for those minutes before being subbed.
   544. ursus arctos Posted: May 20, 2014 at 06:43 PM (#4710370)
In that vein, Diego Costa is reportedly visiting a "placenta doctor" in the former Yugoslavia in an attempt to be ready for the Champions League final.

I wonder how Chelsea feels about that.
   545. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 20, 2014 at 06:46 PM (#4710372)
Do you know what his contract status is? (Transfermarkt is down)

Expires 30/06/2016
   546. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 20, 2014 at 08:05 PM (#4710411)
Ah, the famous Marijana Kovacevic.
   547. puck Posted: May 20, 2014 at 09:32 PM (#4710483)
I wonder if the player-maximizing deep/narrow 4-4-2 will spread to other clubs with similar money disparaties (and yes, I'm talking to you Gladbach).


Is ManCity considered to play a 4-4-2? (I know they come out in a 4-2-3-1 at times.) Atleti seemed to play the 4-4-2 most often...will that rebab that formation's reputation a little?
   548. puck Posted: May 20, 2014 at 09:45 PM (#4710491)
Hey this fun, I found this and this which are the same article by different people! I can't tell which was first.

That's amazing. Who ripped off whom? Or did they both rip off David Conn or something.
   549. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: May 20, 2014 at 09:49 PM (#4710495)
Congrats, MCoA! Please keep linking as you progress to increasingly impressive publishing locations - I love reading your stuff!
   550. Textbook Editor Posted: May 21, 2014 at 12:50 AM (#4710571)
Firstly, congrats MCoA! A nice feather in your cap!

[changes gears]

I have a philosophical question regarding coaching youth teams...

So I'm contemplating volunteering to coach next year for my son's U10 team (8v8), which--I'm 90% sure--will wind up being a "C" team in possibly the lowest flight (or next-to-lowest) in our area... Since I'm not currently a coach at the club, I'm not entirely up on what the roster will consist of, but my understanding is that it would likely be something like:

(a) the 4 worst kids on the current U9 B team
(b) 4 current U8 kids "playing up next year in U10 instead of U9
(c) 3-4 "rec league" kids new to travel soccer (but likely not the cream of the crop, as those would go to the A or B team)

We're from a fairly large town for the area, so we'd likely wind up against B teams from most towns (I think only a handful have C teams).

I know the kids from TE Jr.'s current team who would likely be on the C team. They all have their flaws (TE Jr. included), but have at least 1 skill that could prove useful, though 3 lack pace and the 4th lacks any kind of on-ball skills. The kids in (b) are a bit of a wild card, though are likely to not be all that great either. The kids in (c) are likely poorly skilled kids willing to play travel (and who the club is willing to sign up if it will allow them to field 3 teams).

In short, the roster will likely be a bunch of one-dimensional players (though some with decent soccer IQ), none of whom are likely to have pace.

While I know the goal here is to introduce each of the kids to each position, get them to improve their skills so they end the year better players than they started, etc., etc. the fact is I'm rather terrified it would be a battle every game to avoid falling into the mercy rule trap (it's 6 goals in the league). TE Jr.'s team was poorly flighted this past spring and was pounded in about 65% of their games, to the point where some parents actually decided not to continue with their kids at the club for next year because of all the losing/mercy rule defeats.

Personally, I was fine with the losing (and to an extent, I think the kids were too, though they preferred losing 9-3 over 6-0, for obvious reasons). But I wasn't a coach, and I know the coaching staff got a lot of crap from parents about results, and I suspect (were I to coach in the fall) I'd also catch a similar amount of heat if we lost most games 6-0 and 7-1, etc.

So while I don't want to chase results, the fact remains it would be a lot easier on me to lose 3-0 or 4-0 than to lose 6-0 and have the other team kick it around in their own half for 20 minutes... And yet, looking at it objectively, the only way this seems like it would be possible is to park the bus--play something like a 3-1-3, try to get the best on-the-ball kid be a holding midfielder who plays right in front of the back 3, and lumps balls forward to 2-3 kids playing off the last defender... and to convince the 3 forwards to track back by our own 18 whenever we lose possession.

We played against a team this past spring who played 3 defenders in the 18 yard box at all times and had only 1 actual midfielder, but they proved hard to break down (most teams play some variation of 3-2-2 or 3-3-1 so there usually aren't a lot of numbers going forward on breaks for most teams). Playing so deep lured us in (since we had so much control of the midfield) and this left us vulnerable to long balls played forward. (We were by leaps and bounds the better skilled team but lost to them 5-2 in one of our games to this team.)

Tiki-taka it ain't... but given the roster, I'm not sure playing the way everyone else plays (i.e., 3-2-2 or 3-3-1) would result in anything other than our asses handed to us every week... What do you think? Is this a legitimate plan of attack? Or should I really park the bus and play something like a 4-2-1 and just hope one or two kids develop enough pace to run onto balls and maybe luck into a goal or two?

I confess I'd feel a bit dirty embracing a style of play I really dislike, but I don't see a way of avoiding being mercy-ruled on a regular basis without a defense-first approach. I'd also probably need to play kids to their strengths and avoid rotating everyone through all the positions--though I'm sure I could figure out a few "write off games" where I just presuppose we'll get killed and use that game to put all the bad defenders on defense, etc.

I don't mean to be so negative about the team's outlook--there's always a chance I'd be pleasantly surprised and the club staff missed on a kid or two's talent due to a poor tryout, etc.--but if I take this on, I think being as clear-eyed as possible to the pitfalls is a good idea.

So what does the BBTF Soccer crew think? Would I be nuts to take this on? Would such a plan work (in terms of avoiding a string of 6-0 results)? Thanks in advance for your input... The one thing I noted this past spring is that tactics really are starting to matter, even down at the lower flights, and I'm really not sure what the best tactics would be for 8v8 when you likely start each game being clearly the inferior of the two teams just based on talent on the pitch.


   551. Swedish Chef Posted: May 21, 2014 at 02:05 AM (#4710581)
Clearly, plan A has to be to nab an oil sheik and recruit all the good kids, FFP be damned.
   552. J. Sosa Posted: May 21, 2014 at 08:28 AM (#4710600)
TE, it seems like you have a pretty clear eyed idea of what is going to happen. The situation you describe is pretty much exactly what the third U 10 at our academy did this season. Personally, I don't like this setup as I think the kids are better served if each team has a couple of ringers (for lack of a a better term). The way the game opens up for the other kids with even just a couple of kids that can create is amazing, but there are probably reasons for the way it is set up that I'm not fully aware of. But the new parents are going to have a bad experience, and in my opinion that's a bad way to run an organization. Some of those new kids can be talented.

To be honest, you are going to get killed no matter what you do, at least if the situation is like the one I witnessed this past season. I'm presuming that not every town you are going to play has as many teams in their organization. So oftentimes what happens is that you run into an organization that has one team that is loaded but that for whatever reason is playing against third teams from other towns. The results aren't pretty.

If I were you, I would play the 3-1-3. It is a compromise that worked pretty well for the third U 10 team this year. The 4 kids playing up a year may well include your most skilled player. The problem is that the kids playing up are going to get knocked off the ball because of the size disparity. One solution that worked really well is that if you have a kid playing up that is skilled, but smaller, play him in one of the wide positions in the front three, it helps give him space, and if he's skilled he can often beat one defender instead of running into a mass.

The other thing that works well is playing with width. Most teams struggle with width at that age. Your kids most likely aren't going to understand space, so what you are going to need to do is find someone to help you, and drill over and over again with that front three to teach them not to play on top of one another while the other guy works on the basics with the defense. At that age the kids often don't have the stamina to truly track back from a forward position, what works well is to have the central player in the front three drop back some to help out (but not too much, he needs to be an outlet) the player shielding the back three. Teach the back three and the shielding mid to transition quickly to the two outside wings and teach the central player in the three where to be to receive the cross or play back pass on the break. In transition the holding mid needs to be forward enough to play the ball back in if someone hacks it clear (which tends to happen a lot at that age) but not get sucked too far foward. Something I see at that age is that committing a bunch of players forward is often bad not just because you are left vulnerable to the break, but because the kids have a tendency to be right on top of one another and get in each others way. 3 with 1 trailing is more than sufficient.

With the kids being new to each other, trying to play a possession based game just gets the kids killed, because other teams are going to be better at it because some of them have played together for years, are older than your kids, and are more skilled. Obviously teach them everything you can with skills, but my personal opinion is that kids getting crushed every week is not good for development. There has to be a balance between on field sucess and development even at that age, or the kids get discouraged. They are kids after all, and nobody likes losing 10 nil every week.

I wrote this in a hurry, so I apologize if it was a jumble. Basically, if you are outgunned 3 at the back is a must, have your most energetic player (and less tactically astute player) play the 1 shielding the defense, have the (I hate the term, but it works) false 9 drop to help out (probably your most mature kid as he's going to need to be disciplined not to drop too deep and he's also going to need to be in position to receive balls on offense), and put your most skilled kids out wide in the front three. They can help out a bit and track back, but they really need to be an outlet for your team. The back 3 if you play somewhat deep means you can hide the slower kids to an extent and pack the middle of the field. Just make sure to drill them on first defender second defender like crazy, as the other kids are going to be more skilled and organization is going to make or break them. If you can, obviously the two outside players in the back three need to be as mobile as possible, but in reality you are going to just have to do the best you can with what you have.

This works fairly well as it is a compromise between being too negative while acknowledging that the other team is going to be more skilled. I enjoy this kind of talk, as yes, it is only youth soccer, but I take an inordinate amount of joy in watching and participating in it. I find that most people that hear two dads talk about youth soccer think the dads are crazy, but it really is an enjoyable experience, and people tend to like talking about things that give them joy. Most of these kids are never going to play pro or even college ball, but it is rewarding to see them learn and develop. Dealing with parents and other coaches is a hassle which I'm sure you will find out, but working with kids in practice is a lot of fun.
   553. Textbook Editor Posted: May 21, 2014 at 09:36 AM (#4710615)
J.--thank you, that is great advice. The situation is a bit of a "poisoned chalice" (albeit on the youth level) for any coach, in that I'm sure results will not be good no matter what gets tried, but at least if the kids are tactically disciplined, it probably won't be too bad and (in theory) they may wind up being more tactically astute down the road (which will help when they get to 11v11 at the U12 level).

I'm not sure why the club chooses to tier the kids so all the best kids are on team A, the next best group on team B, and the flotsam on team C--you're absolutely right, it discourages kids to get pounded, and (in my mind) the "goal" here is--at best--to help the kids make a HS team and--at worst--teach them a love of the game so the game grows in this country. There are at least 2 kids (and possibly 3) from TE Jr.'s team who are leaving the club (and the sport) completely, mostly because they got sick of losing 6-0 this year on the B team... And those kids were probably the best kids on the team. Had the A and B teams had a more even distribution of talent, you would have had one team maybe in flight 4 and the other in flight 6 (instead of one in 2 and one in 7), but then ALL of the kids would have had a positive experience, the club program grows, etc.

I can see where dealing with other coaches will be a problem--there are results-chasers everywhere with visions of World Cup glory. But the biggest issue with adults at the club (at least as far as TE Jr.'s club) would seem to be this obsession with having a flight 1 (or at worst flight 2) "A" team, because we're in a 2-club town and (as the "wrong side of the tracks" club), there's a desperation to compete with the club that mainly operates with the rich kids on the other side of town... and that translates into fielding a flight 1 or 2 team in every division, regardless of whether or not this is a good idea for the club on the whole long-term.

It's a bit depressing, to be honest. But I suppose the benefit of coaching a last-flight C team is that expectations will be as low as you can get, and really any decent results at all would be fantastic. I'm a little nervous at the prospect of coaching my own son (I suspect he'll be a little nuttier in that scenario than with another person coaching), but I'm guessing/hoping I'm just overblowing my fears of that.

Again, many thanks for the advice.
   554. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 21, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4710634)
TE - Sosa's advice is excellent. I have little to offer on the tactics but as someone who has coached a lot of little league and youth basketball I will offer this. Confidence with the younger kids is HUGE. I coached a 5th grade basketball team two years ago that lost every game but one by at least 25 points. We were able to keep the kids motivated throughout the season with some fun stuff in practice that we were able to implement in games. Maybe it did not work great but we were ridiculously positive with the kids and that seemed beneficial.

From what you describe I think playing a defensive style is the way to go. Give the kids some confidence that they can first avoid the mercy rule and then grow from there.

Regarding the parents my experience is that open and honest conversation is critical. We had a meeting before our first game with the parents and laid out in pretty frank terms that our expectations were low. It did not mean we were not going to work hard but we were building and the objective was not to win the World Cup but to teach the kids the game and give them a love for the sport that they could take with them. It may not work but I think those pre-season meetings have helped every year.
   555. Mefisto Posted: May 21, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4710656)
TE, the advice you've gotten from J. Sosa and Jose is excellent. Let me just add a few thoughts. First, I agree with your instinct that you should not rotate positions. In my experience, that's mostly confusing to kids at that age, and in your situation the risk of blowouts far outweighs any possible benefit. The kids will get plenty of opportunities to play other positions, whether in friendlies or at practice or in pick up games or in later seasons (my own daughter started as a forward through U10, shifted briefly to midfield in U11 and occasionally later on, and then to defense at U12, the last being her best position all along). Second, do have that conversation with the parents. At U10, the kids don't care about results that much, but they react to how their parents view the game. Get the parents to try to focus on the positive. And for your situation, positive reinforcement is going to work much better anyway. Third, do NOT worry about being too defensive. Depending on your personnel, I wouldn't hesitate to use a 3-2-2, with one midfielder capable of transition. Works out much the same as a false 9, but gives you a bit more defense. If you're really under a lot of pressure, the forwards are going to drop back anyway. Finally, there are lots of skills to work on. Taking on other players is just one. You'll need to get them to pass the ball, of course, but they also need to understand that there are times when you do just clear it. Don't worry about what you're "supposed" to teach them, focus on what they can learn. It makes a big difference.
   556. DA Baracus Posted: May 21, 2014 at 11:06 AM (#4710689)
That's amazing. Who ripped off whom? Or did they both rip off David Conn or something.


There's no timestamp on the World Soccer Talk one, so I can't tell. And yeah, maybe they both plagiarized a third person.
   557. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: May 21, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4710693)
I wonder if they were fed that article from a ghost writer friendly to Barca or Real to discredit Atleti. It's very suspicious.
   558. J. Sosa Posted: May 21, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4710695)
TE, I wouldn't be too discouraged. From what I've seen like Jose says the two most important things are patience and encouragement. Not to get too misty eyed about it, but I've found a lot of kids have things going on in their lives that aren't pleasant, and being on a team should be a positive experience. Being honest with the parents is a must, like Jose said. Parents can be frustrating, but in reality, every parent thinks in their heart of hearts that little Johnny is going to play in the PL, so I can understand that.

Again, the situation you describe mirrors what I saw on that third U 10 this season. Some of the parents are not coming back, and 4 of the kids on that team had real promise. The director of the academy was so concerned that he's offered free training sessions for the kids this summer. I believe he is considering making changes, but as you say the pressure to field a top team is significant. But the way it worked out is those 4 kids may be lost.

For the sport as a whole, it is depressing. The academy tends to be very white and is populated by wealthier families (which isn't their fault, it just stands out). My kids also play in a rec league with their friends, and it is sobering how many kids I see playing that should be in the academy but don't have the resources to do so. I'm not sure what can be done about it.

As for coaching your son, it can be a positive experience. I've coached some of my sons over the years and it was mostly positive, but it does tend to reach a point of them getting sick of listening to you especially if you are working with them on the side.
   559. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: May 21, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4710696)
Pretty much agree entirely with what has already been said. Jose's totally correct about confidence which is the huge one in my experience. It sounds like you're going about this the correct way which, to be honest, is the most important thing! Good luck and keep us updated! :)
For the sport as a whole, it is depressing. The academy tends to be very white and is populated by wealthier families (which isn't their fault, it just stands out). My kids also play in a rec league with their friends, and it is sobering how many kids I see playing that should be in the academy but don't have the resources to do so. I'm not sure what can be done about it.

As you get to higher and higher levels of academy/travel-team, this gets depressingly more and more true (both the question of colour, where I always felt me and the non-white kids I was coaching stood out, and the question of wealth disparities). You're completely right and it is deeply frustrating. I don't know if there is a good solution; here in Chicago, there are a lot of free camps and things that I know a lot of less fortunate kids attend, but I'm not sure how successful or widespread that is.
   560. Mefisto Posted: May 21, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4710699)
From what I've seen like Jose says the two most important things are patience and encouragement.


This cannot be said too often.
   561. ursus arctos Posted: May 21, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4710714)
I'd also suggest that you keep the kids away from horse placenta recovery "treatments".

Best of luck with it, it is very important work.
   562. Topher Posted: May 21, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4710719)
As much as I hate the phrase, I'd consider gamifying things for the kids. (Concept is fine; I just hate the phrase.) I'd try to set things up so that each player on the team can individually achieve something each game. So even if the team isn't winning, the players themselves are "winning". You'll have both the benefit of keeping the kids more engaged and that will also lead to better team results.

I'd keep track of lots of stats for the kids -- be it offensive stats, defensive stats, or just hustle stats. You'll probably need a parent to help you with that. If TE Jr.'s teammate thinks he set a new personal record for tackles in a game or for passes intercepted, he's probably going to be much more into the entire park-the-bus strategy. The kids are probably at an age where you can't out-and-out fib to them, but I'd see nothing wrong with giving a player credit for an extra through-ball or two on the stat sheet if he had gone a few games without getting any personal achievements.
   563. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 21, 2014 at 11:59 AM (#4710734)
I'd keep track of lots of stats for the kids -- be it offensive stats, defensive stats, or just hustle stats. You'll probably need a parent to help you with that. If TE Jr.'s teammate thinks he set a new personal record for tackles in a game or for passes intercepted, he's probably going to be much more into the entire park-the-bus strategy. The kids are probably at an age where you can't out-and-out fib to them, but I'd see nothing wrong with giving a player credit for an extra through-ball or two on the stat sheet if he had gone a few games without getting any personal achievements.


I like this idea. On the baseball team I coach I'm in charge of keeping the scorebook and our team rule is system, if you hit the ball and reach base safely it's a hit. There are no ROE for our guys. It's good to be able to tell a ten year old he's hitting .333 or whatever when he's struck out 4 times and reached on two dribblers that the 3rd baseman booted.
   564. puck Posted: May 21, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4710751)
The conversation about the youth soccer coaching dilemma is fascinating. That's one thing different for soccer for me. I have no personal experience with playing on clubs and such and since I don't have kids, I'm not going through that as a parent either. That's a big contrast with most of the other spectator sports.
   565. DA Baracus Posted: May 21, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4710763)
Topher's idea is a very good one. I played in an adult 8 v 8 league and we were horrible, we were a rag tag team against experienced sides, if the rule existed we would have been mercy ruled for the first half of the season. But we got better as the season progressed and felt great about losing 5-1 instead of 10-0. And we did so with little benchmarks like Topher suggests.

One of those things was set pieces. We realized early on that our best chance to score was on set pieces, because we had a guy who could deliver the ball pretty well and the tallest guy on the field, who was also hard to move around. It was really rewarding when we took a free kick from deep in our zone (granted it's a small field) and perfectly executed it so that the target man knocked it down to a teammate for a toe poke goal. We went pretty nuts and since we knew we were going to lose anyway, felt like we had won the game.
   566. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 21, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4710766)
Have no experience coaching, but I did grow up playing football in Germany from age 6-16. And as such, I will say that nothing gets a kid to check out of a game quicker (especially younger kids), than if he can never get the ball.

As such, I really hate the "bring 2 guys from a higher tier down to try and even out a struggling side" approach. If those 2 kids are dramatically better, they are going to be monopolizing >90% of the possession your team does get. And that's not how you keep kids invested in the game, or teach them the skills they need. Just like hitters in baseball need PAs to get better, footballers need the ball at their feet. They need reps.

If your team is routinely getting mercy-ruled, then as harsh as it sounds, they simply need to be playing at a lower level. I appreciate that is not always feasible, but it really is the best solution for everyone.
   567. Mefisto Posted: May 21, 2014 at 12:47 PM (#4710769)
Baseball may be a different story, but my experience with soccer is that you won't need to invent good plays. Every player at this age is likely to have at least one play per game which is either (a) objectively good, or (b) an improvement over what he's done before. Praise for actual accomplishment is going to be available.
   568. Ron J2 Posted: May 21, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4710908)
Was just reading the Guardian piece on van Gaal's transfer targets. OK, he has a lot of money ( reportedly $250 M range assuming my pounds to dollars conversion is accurate) and it is Man U, but still you would have to think no Champions League is going to hurt.

Or is the list just the usual wishful thinking? For the record:
1 Luke Shaw - Southampton, price £30m
2 Mats Hummels – Borussia Dortmund, £25m-30m
3 Toni Kroos – Bayern Munich, £30m
4 Arjen Robben – Bayern Munich, £30m
5 Cesc Fábregas – Barcelona, £35-40m
6 Thomas Müller – Bayern Munich, £35m
7 Marco Reus – Borussia Dortmund, £35m
8 Karim Benzema – Real Madrid, £30m
9 Eliaquim Mangala – Porto, £35m
10 Dante – Bayern Munich, £30m

Hummels in particular makes a world of sense in terms of Man U's needs for quality central defenders and if the price is right...

But no Champions League for a year has to hurt them in the transfer market, right?
   569. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 21, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4710919)
Why in the seven hells would anybody pay £30m for Arjen Robben?
   570. Swedish Chef Posted: May 21, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4710924)
But no Champions League for a year has to hurt them in the transfer market, right?

There are only so many teams that can pay 200K a week, and Chelsea can't give them all contracts (FFP makes City unlikely to be big shoppers this year).
   571. DA Baracus Posted: May 21, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4710958)
So, everyone costs £30m?
   572. Ron J2 Posted: May 21, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4710981)
#571 Well we are talking the potential impact signings. They need to add some squad players too -- though here they are really helped by not having anything going on in Europe.

The quoted figured don't seem out of line for most of these guys.

As for why van Gaal would want to spend on Robben, he's a heck of a player and they have a history. Still, he is kind of old. I'd bet against this happening.
   573. jmurph Posted: May 21, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4710995)
But even if he wants Robben, surely it won't take 30 million to get him.

I also can't imagine that Cesc's value has risen since he's been back in Spain.
   574. DA Baracus Posted: May 21, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4711044)
But even if he wants Robben, surely it won't take 30 million to get him.

I also can't imagine that Cesc's value has risen since he's been back in Spain.


Exactly. Soccer transfer rumors are pretty much worthless. Everyone's interested in everyone for any price.
   575. ursus arctos Posted: May 21, 2014 at 04:53 PM (#4711053)
Here are transfermarkt's valuations for the same set of players (in Euro, 1 GBP = 1.24 Euro)

1.Luke Shaw - Southampton, price E13m
2 Mats Hummels – Borussia Dortmund, E26m
3 Toni Kroos – Bayern Munich, E40m
4 Arjen Robben – Bayern Munich, E25m
5 Cesc Fábregas – Barcelona, E50m
6 Thomas Müller – Bayern Munich, E45m
7 Marco Reus – Borussia Dortmund, E40m
8 Karim Benzema – Real Madrid, E34m
9 Eliaquim Mangala – Porto, E23m
10 Dante – Bayern Munich, E17m

This is far from an exact science and there in an undeniable premium that English clubs pay for English players, but these numbers strike me as more realistic. The range is also more believable, even if I think that Cesc is too high.
   576. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: May 21, 2014 at 10:32 PM (#4711235)

Mexico national team manager Miguel Herrera has ‘laid’ down the law: No sex at this summer’s World Cup for his players.

"If a player can not endure a month or 20 days without having intercourse, then you are not prepared to be a professional," Herrera told Mexican newspaper Reforma.

A whole month of no sex? Herrera might be a little too optimistic of his team’s chances, but in order for El Tri to perform at their best, he’s leaving nothing to chance. Drinking alcohol has also been forbidden, logically.

"Let’s play a World Cup, we’re not going to a party," Herrera said.

Herrera isn’t the first World Cup coach to set limits in the bedroom. Last month, Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari’s told his players that normal sex will be allowed, but not acrobatic sex.

For those wondering, yes, Brazil and Mexico play each other in Group A. The testosterone on display on June 17 will be off the charts.

UPDATE: Herrera has prohibited his players from eating beef as well, so add that to the list of banned pleasures.
   577. Spivey Posted: May 21, 2014 at 11:04 PM (#4711253)
I think Dortmund would never sell Reus for 35mil unless he demanded it. He's the backbone of their team.

Regarding some of the other things, Bayern seems to be a wealthier club than Man U. Is Man U really capable of buying starters or semi-starters off of Bayern? I don't see it.
   578. Textbook Editor Posted: May 21, 2014 at 11:38 PM (#4711271)
Last month, Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari’s told his players that normal sex will be allowed, but not acrobatic sex.


I confess I'm curious to know how Scolari defined "acrobatic sex" to the players--were there handouts on this, or video tutorials? Do the players need to provide sketches of proposed sex techniques that are then approved by Scolari and his backroom staff?
   579. puck Posted: May 22, 2014 at 12:46 AM (#4711298)
Place another order for horse placenta: Luis Suarez has surgery on his meniscus.
   580. puck Posted: May 22, 2014 at 12:47 AM (#4711299)

UPDATE: Herrera has prohibited his players from eating beef as well, so add that to the list of banned pleasures.

Is this due to the risk of clenbuterol contamination causing failed drug tests?
   581. Swedish Chef Posted: May 22, 2014 at 01:57 AM (#4711309)
Regarding some of the other things, Bayern seems to be a wealthier club than Man U. Is Man U really capable of buying starters or semi-starters off of Bayern? I don't see it.

They are about the same level in revenues, with only Real and Barcelona in front of them. Bayern doesn't have to sell anyone because they need the money, but they are as subject as every club to expiring contracts and player power.

Bayern has been unwilling to give in to Kroos wage demands, cashing in on him and buying some fancy new trinket from Dortmund is only logical.
   582. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: May 22, 2014 at 08:29 AM (#4711331)
Neil Lennon has resigned from the easiest gig in world football (ignoring the death threats, etc.).
   583. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 22, 2014 at 08:42 AM (#4711338)
On transfer costs, I think we're going to see a bunch of inflation this summer, at least in England, as the reality of the new TV contracts hits home. So I think transfermarkt's valuations are probably running low on about everyone.
   584. I am going to be Frank Posted: May 22, 2014 at 08:50 AM (#4711341)
United bought Hargreaves from Bayern years ago, but Hargreaves wanted to go to United. Goetze, Muller and Shaqiri all much younger than Robben and Ribery is probably a bit better and not as high maintenance. As for Kroos, Pep seems to prefer Thiago over him and Bayern don't want to pay his salary demands. The rumor is now 20M for Kroos.
   585. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 22, 2014 at 09:02 AM (#4711342)
NBC reporting Toni Kroos and Arjen Robben headed to ManU. I have to admit to being stunned that Robben is only 30. I would have pegged him at 33-34.

They are also saying that Liverpool are hot and heavy for Pedro.

I confess I'm curious to know how Scolari defined "acrobatic sex" to the players--were there handouts on this, or video tutorials? Do the players need to provide sketches of proposed sex techniques that are then approved by Scolari and his backroom staff?


How do you enforce it?
   586. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: May 22, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4711343)
NBC reporting Toni Kroos and Arjen Robben headed to ManU.

The Empire Strikes Back.
   587. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: May 22, 2014 at 09:04 AM (#4711345)
Weird. The Guardian is reporting Van Gaal pulled the plug on the Kroos transfer.
   588. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: May 22, 2014 at 09:05 AM (#4711347)
Man City raid the Arsenal again...Sagna to City on a free.
   589. jmurph Posted: May 22, 2014 at 09:11 AM (#4711350)
So I don't really understand the Sagna signing for City. He's out of contract, so that's appealing. And I'm assuming (but don't know how to find out) he might qualify as homegrown because he's been in England for so long (I know that Clichy does, for instance). And I know it's been a while since City scratched their "must sign all Arsenal players" itch. So there's that. But Zabaleta was possibly the best right back in the league this year. Prior to this season he did occasionally play on the left, but I can't imagine they'd want to do that regularly.
   590. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 22, 2014 at 09:13 AM (#4711351)
That ProSoccerTalk article is a mess. Headline says the deals have been agreed, but the writing of the report just says they want to. The link in the story goes to a Daily Mail story, unconfirmed elsewhere, saying Kroos is done and they have "set their sights" on Robben. Come on NBC
   591. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: May 22, 2014 at 09:25 AM (#4711354)
So I don't really understand the Sagna signing for City.

Gotta be a depth signing, no? Also, it does seem they just like to #### with Arsenal.
   592. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 22, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4711362)
What is City's budget situation? Sagna is a 31-year-old FB, and there's a really good chance he'll fall off the cliff next year, and he's near certain to get bad over the course of a three-year contract. If City don't have a budget, I guess whatever, but I thought with FFP they had some constraints to deal with.
   593. jmurph Posted: May 22, 2014 at 09:32 AM (#4711363)
Depth is always nice, can't argue with that. Though the Arsenal thing- I think in this case Wenger wasn't willing to go more than 1 or 2 years for Sagna, so my understanding is he's totally comfortable letting him walk.
   594. jmurph Posted: May 22, 2014 at 09:33 AM (#4711366)
What is City's budget situation?


There were vague allusions to wage caps at some point with FFP, but I think they fully intend to be in the black starting next season, so I'm not sure it will matter.

EDITed for clarity.
   595. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: May 22, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4711374)
David Moyes gets into a fight in a wine bar.

No word yet if he told some wanker to "have a little prawn sandwich with their whine" before unleashing the fury...
   596. DA Baracus Posted: May 22, 2014 at 10:47 AM (#4711397)
And I'm assuming (but don't know how to find out) he might qualify as homegrown because he's been in England for so long (I know that Clichy does, for instance)


He was 24 when he came to England, so he doesn't meet that requirement.

Neil Lennon has resigned from the easiest gig in world football (ignoring the death threats, etc.).


Maybe they can get an out of work manager who has experience with bar fights...

David Moyes gets into a fight in a wine bar.


Wine bar fight? You disappointed there too Moyes.
   597. ursus arctos Posted: May 22, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4711476)
There's a good summary of the FFP settlements here.

More particularly, on Manchester City:

2. City have agreed to the following: a. a maximum loss of €20m for 13-14 season & a €10m loss for 14-15 season. City explained in their statement that they have stipulated losses they must adhere to, which will be different to the normal break-even €45m loss that other clubs must comply with.

3. The club’s employee benefit expenses cannot increase for at least the next accounting period. According to City, this includes playing and non-playing staff but excludes performance related bonuses.

. . .

5. City explained in their statement that UEFA have stipulated that they will not be able to spend more than €60m on transfers in the summer transfer window.


So, Sagna doesn't impact the transfer spending limit at all, and is likely to be on lower wages (given his Arsenal background and relative lack of alternatives) than players that they expect to transfer or loan out.
   598. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 22, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4711498)
break-even €45m loss


Someone want to explain to me what the hell THIS means? In my world if you break-even you break even. If you have a loss you have a loss. You can't have both.
   599. ursus arctos Posted: May 22, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4711538)
It's shorthand for what has come to be called the "break even rule", which allows for losses within limits as it is being phased in.
   600. frannyzoo Posted: May 22, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4711553)
As means of flipping things, I'll just come late to the "bash Cesc" party. I thought he'd be the masterstroke of the transition from Xavi to continued domination. Not happening, it appears.
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