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Friday, October 20, 2017

OT: Winter Soccer Thread

November 4 Borussia Dortmund v. Bayern Munich
November 5 Chelsea v. ManU
November 9 & 12 - Northern Ireland v. Switzerland/Croatia v. Greece
November 10 &  13 - Sweden v. Italy
November 11 & 14 - Denmark v. Ireland
November 10 & 15 - Honduras v. Australia
November 11 & 15 - New Zealand v. Peru
November 14 - Portugal v. USA (friendly #&!^#&)
December 1 - Napoli v. Juventus
December 10 - ManU v. ManCity
December 11 - Champions League Round of 16 draw
December 20 - Real Madrid v. Barcelona (how contentious will this be given the political climate?)

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 20, 2017 at 05:27 PM | 2146 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   501. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 16, 2018 at 09:27 AM (#5607133)
I mean, it's a ton of money. But on the other hand, they're likely to spend like two-thirds of that on someone not as good.


Didn't they already do that with Van Dijk?

I mean it's not quite the same format but this was fundamentally a baseball style move wasn't it? Trading from a position of depth to improve a weakness?
   502. jmurph Posted: January 16, 2018 at 01:04 PM (#5607321)
So Walcott to Everton seems like it's officially happening? Not sure what to think of that one.
   503. Mefisto Posted: January 16, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5607336)
Good for both Walcott and Everton, I think (without seeing the price).

Arsenal really seem determined to clean house.
   504. jmurph Posted: January 16, 2018 at 01:29 PM (#5607360)
Arsenal really seem determined to clean house.

Except for the one, obvious person that needs to go.
   505. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 16, 2018 at 01:43 PM (#5607373)
If Everton play Walcott up front like they should I'll be thrilled with it. Walcott is a weird guy. He LOOKS like he should be a winger but it seems like he's at his best playing as a number 9. Given the players Everton has I think he will play as a striker and it will be a good fit.
   506. jmurph Posted: January 16, 2018 at 01:47 PM (#5607382)
As an ongoing act of public contrition, I shall remind you all that one time I compared Theo to Bale favorably JUST BEFORE Bale began unleashing hellfire across all of Europe.

EDIT: But yeah I agree with you Jose, I think he'll be useful there. Give him a role and stick with it.
   507. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 16, 2018 at 02:20 PM (#5607413)
I don't think Walcott is much use for anything anymore. If you play him up top I guess he can be a richer man's Shane Long? He just has no creativity to his game and he doesn't have the quality of that Arsenal squad from a few years back that could open up space for him to run into. Besides, Everton just spent 25 million on Tosun so I doubt they see Walcott as a 9. What they really need to do is figure out who their #10 is because Gylfi and Rooney are just too slow to play together but Rooney is the local celebrity and if they don't play Gylfi they'll be selling him to West Brom for 8 million pounds next January. Honestly, Moshiri reminds me of many of the American business guys who have bought into the PL recently and then drove the club they bought into relegation. His racist comments about Lukaku weren't endearing, either.
   508. jmurph Posted: January 16, 2018 at 02:26 PM (#5607426)
Rooney is the local celebrity

Can't find it now, but I saw on twitter earlier today that Rooney is averaging less than one interception and tackle, combined, per game.
   509. Mefisto Posted: January 16, 2018 at 02:27 PM (#5607427)
I can see Everton with 3 up top: Tosun, Walcott, Bolassie. They really do need to solve their midfield though.
   510. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: January 16, 2018 at 09:26 PM (#5607754)
Everyone here who plays FM, would have sold Coutinho for that in a heartbeat...right??


Nope. No way to replace him in season when I'm fighting for Champions League qualification and an outside but real shot at winning the Champions League. He's got 4.5 years left on his contract.
   511. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 16, 2018 at 10:31 PM (#5607772)
The last FM I've bought is 2014. I think the most I've ever seen any player go for is 80MM. Of course in my games I'm usually at the point where I really never need money. I only sell if I have a better potential player in the wings.
   512. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: January 16, 2018 at 10:54 PM (#5607781)
The last FM I've bought is 2014. I think the most I've ever seen any player go for is 80MM. Of course in my games I'm usually at the point where I really never need money. I only sell if I have a better potential player in the wings.


My last FM is 2014 as well, I can't recall anyone going for more than around 60 (other than existing transfers for Bale and Ronaldo).

The AI seems content to shell out for several "semi" stars, or "all" stars, rather than seriously try and poach a singular "super" star at market price.

Have the newer FMs "fixed" that?

[edit] Doing a little looking about my FM save game, the record for an AI transfer is $67M, twice between 2014 and 2059, once by Barca and once by Man City.
   513. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: January 16, 2018 at 11:10 PM (#5607791)
Ack ... missed it by seconds ... all those numbers are in £s ...
   514. J. Sosa Posted: January 17, 2018 at 08:07 AM (#5607834)
re: City vs Liverpool

Really fun match, with the exception of the last few minutes. I could barely watch.

re: Firmino/Stones

A defender in the PL generally is not going to get the call if they are barged off the ball by a smaller attacker on a play like that. Admittedly, I have red tinted glasses, but Lee Dixon and I think Gary Neville (IIRC) said as much themselves. Neither of them have any love for Liverpool. Video of a very similar play with Fowler and Neville back in the day was making the rounds on twitter.

re: Coutinho

Really tough call. But he had already proven that he was willing to fake an injury to get what he wanted. He could have tanked Liverpool's season before it had really started when he sat out the CL qualifier. Supposedly Klopp wanted him out in the summer. But as others have mentioned it is nowhere close to as damaging as when Suarez left. That was a one man team and it was devastating. Coutinho is really good, but before a match if you asked me which players I would least want to see out of the lineup Salah, Firmino, and Mane would all be ahead of him. Doesn't mean they are better players, but with the style Liverpool plays they give a little something away on the other side of the ball by playing Coutinho in midfield. Where it is going to hurt them I think is depth in that Coutinho was capable of playing on the left in the front three as well as in the midfield. I do not like the depth at the moment. The City game was a good example, if Lallana is back fit he is decent filling in on the wings, but the drop off is pretty steep. Same in midfield. The game turned when they had to take off Can. They need another mid capable of maintaining the press off the bench. Milner doesn't have the legs for that type of game anymore, Lallana is getting older, and Henderson is usually crocked.

re: transfer window

At one time I really enjoyed the hot stove, but when I started following soccer it kind of made the hot stove drab by comparison. I'm not sure if Liverpool is going to bring anyone else in. After the VVD stuff they basically have completely shut off journos. None of them know anything, even the good ones. That said, whether this window or next, I think they will probably end up with Lemar and a goalkeeper. Most people think they are after Allison, the keeper at Roma, but I dont' think they will get him. PSG has been saying for a good while that they are not interested in Oblak, and I believe them. Allisson would get them one step closer to completing the set with Silva, Marquinhos, and Alves. But at this point, I don't even care. Spend the money on an elite keeper, Migs and Karius have driven me nuts. I know there is good reason to believe from the statistical profile that Klopp's system puts keepers in uniquely bad positions, but still...Come on. I don't care how much it costs.
   515. spivey Posted: January 17, 2018 at 09:11 AM (#5607848)
I don't understand why top teams have so much trouble signing top keepers. Is it really that there's so much season-to-season fluctuation that you can go a year or two and not really have a good idea who is good?

I know some of it is extreme insistence that the keeper be able to play out from the back, but I feel like that's pretty isolated to a couple of teams. I think even most top teams value good decision making and shot stopping most, right?
   516. spivey Posted: January 17, 2018 at 09:14 AM (#5607849)
Also, add me to the list of people that doesn't and never did see much from Walcott. In his defense it looks like he had a good goal scoring record last year, but I generally feel like his production in the final third is pretty weak. Everton seems to have gone for names rather than guys that can really improve a mid-table team. Their team seems old and soft to me.
   517. Mefisto Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:00 AM (#5607888)
I was never a big Walcott fan either. I just think that he can help this particular Everton team.
   518. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:32 AM (#5607917)
I know some of it is extreme insistence that the keeper be able to play out from the back, but I feel like that's pretty isolated to a couple of teams. I think even most top teams value good decision making and shot stopping most, right?


Keepers are weird. I don't quite know how much of an impact all but the truly elite keepers have and even then I'm not sure. I mean if Stoke City had Lloris or Ederson how many fewer goals would they have conceded than they have with Butland? Obviously there is some difference but as I type I find myself thinking Keepers=Closers. Once you get past the best of the best of the best there isn't any reason to worry about it. I could be comically wrong here.

Just speaking as an Everton fan everyone agreed going from Robles to Pickford was a big improvement and we've gone from 7th in goals allowed to 17th. Yet if you ask me having watched a lot of Everton both years I'd happily tell you that Pickford really IS a big improvement.
   519. J. Sosa Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5607921)
Keepers are similar to defenders, it is really hard to parse out who is good and who is not because it is so system dependent. The example for defenders I always use is John Terry. I think it can reasonably be said that he was a pretty good defender in his day. But... He often had not one but two destroyers in front of him, one of which was sometimes a converted center back. He also was often paired with a really good partner, often had another center back at right back, and for much of his time, one of the best left backs in the world and a really good goal keeper. In those circumstances it is really hard to compare him to a contemporary playing a totally different system like say maybe Pique.

Liverpool leaves defenders and the keeper on an island on a routine basis. They also don't really use a shielding midfielder. An on top of that, until fairly recently the fullbacks often got forward. As much as I dislike Lovren, See Moan and the gang, they often get left out to dry. The very few Lovren apologists that exist say that he often looks bad because he is hustling to cover for a gap or someone else's mistake only to arrive too late to be able to do anything. And if you look at some of the xG stuff, there is probably something funky going on with Liverpool's keepers. It isn't entirely down to poor play, there is most likely something going on that can't entirely be measured yet. I don't think Migs is quite as bad as some stats make out, but I also have a really hard time evaluating him as any better than average compared to PL standards. So, all of that said, say Liverpool is fed up and hypothetically, say screw it and trigger Oblak's release clause. Oblak plays for a team widely known for defensive tenacity. Does he bust for a team playing an open style? Hard to say. I think ultimately they will probably hedge their bets and go after a keeper that plays for a team with an aggressive style. Whomever that might be. Karius has been a let down, I thought he would be better. I can't remember who, I think it was Ursus, said as much when they signed him, that he wasn't that great. It is too bad.

re: Walcott

I think I'm maybe the only guy on here that always liked Walcott. His perception suffers because he is limited and was expected to be a superstar, but when you get down to brass tacks he is productive when healthy. But I'm not sure Big Sam is the best thing for him. I'd like to see what he could do for a team like Leicester. It has been written on Arsenal forums many times, but I don't think it is hyperbole to say that AOC played with Walcott all those years, looked at what happened to him, and decided to get out. It is a shame. In an alternate timeline, I do think he could have been a better player in different circumstances.

edit to add: I like Jose's comparison to closers. A lot of keepers, like closers, are blah. But boy, if you are one of the best teams and are trying to win something, it gets galling in a hurry if you don't have an elite one.
   520. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:56 AM (#5607956)
I didn't know this connection. Awful. This is a very depressing story but I guess throw it on the pile with Junior Hockey, gymnastics, Penn State and all the rest. And that's just sports, obviously. I don't know how you guys with kids can trust anyone.
   521. Mefisto Posted: January 17, 2018 at 11:23 AM (#5607985)
It's looking more and more as if Sanchez is going to United and Mkhitaryan to Arsenal. I have to say I don't really understand this deal from either side. I guess in Arsenal's case it was the best they could do, but still.
   522. J. Sosa Posted: January 17, 2018 at 11:48 AM (#5608005)
From what I can remember when the scandal first broke it was mentioned that Speed had been coached by Bennell, but the author seemed reluctant to draw the connection to the suicide. At that time I do not recall any mention that three other players coached by Bennell had also committed suicide, that may have been brought to light in testimony. A terrible story.

Sometimes, I see people mocking parents for not letting their kids run around the neighborhood like we used to in the seventies and eighties. They can call me a helicopter parent all they want, I don't give a ####. I've seen way too much stuff like this over the years, my wife and I have very strict rules when it comes to coaches, teachers, and parents and our kids. It has offended people from time to time, but they can call us whatever they want. I don't give a ####.
   523. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 17, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5608006)
Arsenal are adrift right now, it seems. I don't think they know what they want, only that they want.
   524. jmurph Posted: January 17, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5608023)
Arsenal are adrift right now, it seems. I don't think they know what they want, only that they want.

This is technically only year two of this (non top 4, I mean), but how many years does Arsene get to do this? One more after this one?
   525. J. Sosa Posted: January 17, 2018 at 12:06 PM (#5608041)
I remember looking at Arsenal a few years ago and despairing of ever catching them. It is kind of amazing how far they have fallen. I wouldn't even want Sanchez or Ozil given their age and the wages it would take to get them, and after that, who is there? The chainsmoking chronically injured English midfielder? The chronically injured Welsh midfielder? There isn't anything there. I haven't understood what is going on there for years, but they are substantially behind the other members of the big six, and I'm not sure it can be turned around all that quickly.

If I were an Arsenal fan, I think I'd want a complete overall. Bring in a director of football that knows what they are doing, and pay whatever it takes to get someone like Simeone. Total change of style and culture (or rather, perhaps see it as getting back to an older identify). And oh, act like one of the 10 biggest clubs in the world, which they are.

But I don't think they will do that. I think they will kick Arsene upstairs and bring in Ancellotti. I think Ancellotti was in the running for best manager in the world for a number of years, but from what I've seen recently I think he is past it.
   526. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 17, 2018 at 12:10 PM (#5608048)
This is technically only year two of this (non top 4, I mean), but how many years does Arsene get to do this? One more after this one?

It's not even not qualifying for the CL or challenging for a title. Letting contracts run down is almost malpractice for a club like Arsenal and indicates a weird indecisiveness there. Also, when was the last time Arsenal bought a youngish player and they actually improved? Bellerin, I guess but I can't think of anyone else. They are just so stale right now.
   527. jmurph Posted: January 17, 2018 at 12:15 PM (#5608058)
Letting contracts run down is almost malpractice for a club like Arsenal and indicates a weird indecisiveness there.

It's more like stubbornness, which is worse, I think. He's been trying to bend the world to his vision of it for years now, unsuccessfully. But I imagine that's all easy to ignore when you're still raking in Champions League income every year (and let's give the man credit, he always made it, and always got out of the group). They're now heading towards a second straight finish outside the top 4, and barring a Europa win, I don't see how the board can put up with it for another year.
   528. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 17, 2018 at 12:19 PM (#5608068)
It's more like stubbornness, which is worse, I think. He's been trying to bend the world to his vision of it for years now, unsuccessfully.

Agreed. I think the times have passed Wenger by and he's been given so much institutional power that Arsenal FC are crippled right now. I'm enjoying it while it lasts as their sleeping giant era won't last forever.
   529. spivey Posted: January 17, 2018 at 01:12 PM (#5608131)
I remember looking at Arsenal a few years ago and despairing of ever catching them. It is kind of amazing how far they have fallen. I wouldn't even want Sanchez or Ozil given their age and the wages it would take to get them, and after that, who is there? The chainsmoking chronically injured English midfielder? The chronically injured Welsh midfielder? There isn't anything there.

I think that's overstating it.

Cech is a good keeper. Koscielny is one of the best center backs in the world imo. Lacazette looks to be quite good. Giroud's goals/90 minutes is world class, though he doesn't play much for whatever reason. Bellerin is one of the better fullbacks in the world.

But, what I would say is their squad depth is embarrassing, and it's been that way for a long while. They've essentially been reliant on their top tier talent to carry them to barely qualifying for CL. And if Man U and Liverpool didn't have recent struggles it would have been harder to ignore. They've been playing a few guys for years now that seem like they should be toiling in the salt mines of Hull City rather than getting regular starts on a team trying to make Champion's League. Coquelin, I'm looking at you. Now that the rest of the big 5 are all mostly spending a lot of money and with reasonable leadership, it's much harder to back your way into the CL.

And yes, specifically they seem to have let their team rot away from the inside out like Man U did at the end of Fergie's reign and start of the Moyes reign, where they just didn't have any midfielders really worth a damn.
   530. jmurph Posted: January 17, 2018 at 02:07 PM (#5608188)
Cech is a good keeper. Koscielny is one of the best center backs in the world imo. Lacazette looks to be quite good. Giroud's goals/90 minutes is world class, though he doesn't play much for whatever reason. Bellerin is one of the better fullbacks in the world.

Well another way of putting this is that one of the 7 or 8 (?) richest teams in the world has only 3-4 good/great players, depending on your view, and then a lot of pretty good or worse players. That's pretty terrible, no?
   531. J. Sosa Posted: January 17, 2018 at 02:55 PM (#5608252)
Arsenal are one of the big six clubs, which used to be four. If you are a fan of one of the other five, which players from Arsenal would you be interested in given the ages, wages, and likely transfer fee? Granted part of it is down to system, but I couldn't think of one I would want from a Liverpool perspective off of the top of my head previously. I wanted AOC as a jack of all trades type, but to me it is pretty damning how much he has improved in just a few months under Klopp as a center mid. I've always liked Koscielny, and think he's generally not been as rated as much as he should have been, but he's 32 and has a chronic achilles problem. Cech is 35 and seems to have lost a step. Giroud, again, has had his moments, but he is 31. Lacazette has really struggled. Bellerin is a good shout, I'd be happy to have him, but that is about it. Ramsey and Wilshire are too inconsistent and too injury prone.

Like jmurph says, conservatively speaking, Arsenal is one of the 8 richest clubs in the world. It is almost criminal mismanagement to have multiple key players running down contracts and to have the lack of depth that they have. It helps Liverpool, but it is sad. I don't have anything against Arsenal, if I had to pick, I probably find them the least objectionable of Liverpool's big six rivals.
   532. jmurph Posted: January 17, 2018 at 03:03 PM (#5608265)
If I can have a mythical healthy Cazorla, I'd take him. But that ship has presumably sailed. Ozil on his day still has it. Bellerin is clearly the answer, though, yes. And then probably Koscielny for most teams.
   533. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 17, 2018 at 03:22 PM (#5608285)
I like that people talk about a Big 6 now as if it's just the natural order of things. That's a far cry from where Spurs were when I started following them. As for Arsenal players, I'd take Bellerin and that's probably it.

   534. jmurph Posted: January 17, 2018 at 03:33 PM (#5608292)
For my first year or so of Manchester City fandom (actually even post takeover, they were still meh for a bit), I thought of Spurs, Everton, and Villa being in a group below the original Big 4, with City further below that group.

Villa, man, that's a bummer of a recent history. There's no reason they shouldn't be fighting with Everton still, right? Other than Martin O'Neil, I mean?

EDIT: Oh and Portsmouth maybe just off that group, in my mind. Realizing the tables didn't play out exactly that way, of course.
   535. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 17, 2018 at 05:31 PM (#5608389)
Chelsea have been booked 3 times for diving and are down to 9 men. No time left for Norwich to take advantage, though.
   536. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 17, 2018 at 05:37 PM (#5608393)
VAR: Not going to end controversy.

Norwich is sponsored by Leo Vegas?
   537. Mefisto Posted: January 18, 2018 at 09:10 AM (#5608601)
Ok, perhaps the weirdest rumor yet: Batshuayi (sp?) to be sold in order to get .... Llorente. Any Chelsea fans happy?
   538. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: January 18, 2018 at 09:23 AM (#5608610)
Norwich is sponsored by Leo Vegas?


Isn't every English team below the top 6 sponsored by a betting company? Stoke are even owned by one.
   539. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 18, 2018 at 10:16 AM (#5608642)
Ok, perhaps the weirdest rumor yet: Batshuayi (sp?) to be sold in order to get .... Llorente. Any Chelsea fans happy?

Man, Chelsea would have to overwhelm Spurs with an offer considering how much Levy hates Chelsea and that the two clubs are in direct competition for a CL spot. That seems like a lot of fuss for Llorente.
   540. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: January 18, 2018 at 10:48 AM (#5608668)
Off topic maybe, but it has been maddening to watch this slow-motion car crash of instant replay (or "Video Assistant Referee" as they call it) gradually being introduced into Europe one league at a time, and hearing all the pundits and internet commenters be surprised and disappointed by all these things that Americans were warning them about forever. Apparently it slows down the game because they have to make decisions - it isn't made instantaneously by "someone watching the same feeds you can get at home" where the decision is so obvious! Apparently the refs are using it for all kinds of ambiguous decisions including "was the handball intentional", not just the obvious ones that get people all upset! Apparently it is changing the way players play the game, because they know that some things can be reviewed by "VAR" and some things can't! Strangely, many results now seem more random than before, because the refs now admit that it is impossible to know whether the foul was committed or not! Whoda thunk it.

Counting down to when the first European league has the innovative idea to solve the problem by giving each manager 2 challenge flags, or whatever name they will give them after independently inventing them 20 years after the NFL did.
   541. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 18, 2018 at 10:52 AM (#5608672)
the innovative idea to solve the problem by giving each manager 2 challenge flags


I think it was Barry Glendenning (who is a staunch opponent of VAR) who suggested that on the Football Weekly podcast last week. I almost threw my phone.
   542. The Marksist Posted: January 18, 2018 at 10:54 AM (#5608675)
Hi, everyone! Random peeve time!

I'm about done with every pundit always blaming the keeper for nearly every goal. Positioning, reaction time, "bravery," whatever, it's all constantly under a microscope and apparently no keeper is actually any good (except Buffon, I guess?). To me, it looks like preventing the ball from going into the net is a complicated, nuanced job that involves lots of split-second decisions and instinct trained over years and years. It's frustratingly casuistic and cavalier to just say "he should have done better."
   543. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 18, 2018 at 11:10 AM (#5608701)
I don't like VAR at all. The goal line technology is awesome but VAR will create more problems than it solves. Just get on with the game, train the refs as well as possible, and accept that sometimes your team will be unlucky.
   544. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: January 18, 2018 at 11:20 AM (#5608715)
I also like how Goal Line Technology and VAR have come along after the pundits spent roughly 2008 to 2015 wondering why there couldn't be 2 referees on the field to help get calls right, which would also let referees' careers last longer because they wouldn't have to run 10 kilometers every game like the players do. They always ended up reasoning that it probably shouldn't happen because only the "top level of play" could afford to pay extra referees and the game needed to be the same at all levels. Then Goal Line Technology was finally introduced at the top level, because it was only common sense, and now the entire structure of the game is going to be different at the top level because players are adapting to VAR. Oh well!

Also, although they never tried introducing a second referee anywhere, they DID introduce the "fourth official", who had no real responsibilities, and then when it turned out the fourth official didn't help, this somehow discredited the idea of having 2 referees.
   545. jmurph Posted: January 18, 2018 at 11:22 AM (#5608717)
I don't like VAR at all. The goal line technology is awesome but VAR will create more problems than it solves. Just get on with the game, train the refs as well as possible, and accept that sometimes your team will be unlucky.

Co-sign. Fouls are all interpretation anyway- refs get clear looks at dives/fouls all the time and get them objectively wrong. Adding another ref to also get it objectively wrong just doesn't seem useful to me.

I can see a narrow case for offsides calls only on goals, but I'd rather not do anything about that than go too far.

EDIT: I should say that in general I think soccer refereeing is great, surprisingly so, given the ground they have to cover (as Crispix mentions). I think much of what is called wrong, as I see it, is actually about conventions of the game rather than flat missing calls: goalies being allowed to murder people on corners, dives being called wrong, rarely having fouls called in the act of shooting, etc.
   546. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 18, 2018 at 11:29 AM (#5608735)
why there couldn't be 2 referees on the field to help get calls right


I really don't get why this isn't a thing. Hockey has done it to great success. It makes calls in the box in particular so much easier because you've got two angles on it. I think you'd dramatically reduce diving and the way the refs are miked up they can communicate on difficult plays.
   547. J. Sosa Posted: January 18, 2018 at 12:59 PM (#5608827)
re: PL reffing

It is something I've never really thought much about, but now that it has been brought up I think I have a pretty high opinion of the reffing in the PL. When a ref has a bad game, it tends to stand out. Most games I've watched in the PL have been like that. I really couldn't stand Howard Webb when he was active, but for the most part, most of the other people do a fine job. Especially when compared to some other sports. I have a much higher opinion of PL reffing than I do for their counterparts in say, basketball, football, or baseball. I think I've said it before, but the one change I would make would be to drastically cut down on players crowding around a ref. Captains only, any other player addresses a ref after a call it is a card. Goal line technology is good. The only other thing I might consider is some type of technology for offsides. Not sure how practical or possible it would be, but maybe something similar to the tennis technology. But I don't have strong feelings about it. Other than the captains/ref thing, I'm pretty happy with the state of PL reffing. Penalty decisions can be frustrating, but that's largely due to the nature of the game rather than something that can easily be fixed.

re: Sanchez

If the deal is as described in various outlets it is insane. I remember when Mourinho was hired I thought it was a good hire for United, but Mefisto in particular if I recall correctly predicted how it would go and wasn't happy about it. Scorched earth. If it is true Mourinho is actually going to get an extension, I'm pretty happy about that. United has a number of good young players, and if this is the type of deal he is going to be doing, I'm happy about it.
   548. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 18, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5608830)
   549. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 18, 2018 at 01:05 PM (#5608840)
The only other thing I might consider is some type of technology for offsides.


I think this is where VAR should work, especially in the top leagues. With modern television able to very quickly do that still frame/draw a line thing there is no reason it can't be deciphered in seconds.
   550. jmurph Posted: January 18, 2018 at 01:06 PM (#5608843)
If it is true Mourinho is actually going to get an extension, I'm pretty happy about that. United has a number of good young players, and if this is the type of deal he is going to be doing, I'm happy about it.

Agree. As a fellow United hater/nonfan, I was terrified of what he might accomplish there, but I'm no longer as worried.
   551. jmurph Posted: January 18, 2018 at 01:07 PM (#5608844)
Somebody is lurking this thread.

Well we're goddamned delightful and filled with wisdom, so it makes sense.
   552. Mefisto Posted: January 18, 2018 at 01:20 PM (#5608863)
Assuming United do sign Sanchez, I'm guessing Mourinho's plan is to sit Mata and shift Martial/Rashford over to the right side. That may improve the team marginally -- Sanchez is more productive than Mata, but M/R may lose some goals while playing on the right (they've combined for 12 PL goals so far, a very good output). It doesn't, however, make the team any younger. It blocks a young player, either Martial or Rashford at the point when they deserve a full-time job. And it costs a lot of money.

It's not my money, nor is it Mourinho's, but I just don't see it as a long-term solution to, well, much of anything. And I say that as someone who really likes Sanchez as a player.
   553. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 18, 2018 at 01:22 PM (#5608864)
Am I crazy for thinking Mourinho is badly overrated? For all the talk about Wenger being out of touch since winning the treble with Inter he has;

2 league titles
1 major domestic cup
1 minor domestic cup
1 Europa League

in the last 7 years. Is that really that much better than 3 FA Cup titles particularly given the teams he had?
   554. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Fred Posted: January 18, 2018 at 01:22 PM (#5608865)
[552] Right, but it spites Pep. Priorities!
   555. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 18, 2018 at 01:54 PM (#5608891)
I think this is where VAR should work, especially in the top leagues. With modern television able to very quickly do that still frame/draw a line thing there is no reason it can't be deciphered in seconds.

As long as they keep VAR to objective things, I'm ok with it. When they try to use it to determine subjective calls is when it all turns to shit.
   556. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 18, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5608893)
All Man U are doing by extending Mourinho is ensuring his severance package will be that much larger. I guess it's slightly less objectionable for him to have the money than a random Glazer? Let's face it, folks, human society is awful.
   557. Mefisto Posted: January 18, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5608894)
Mourinho is a better coach than David Moyes. :)

I mean, I think he's done reasonably well with United. I wouldn't call him an elite coach, not with Pep around, but it's not like United are falling apart. I just think he's more like Billy Martin than Earl Weaver.
   558. jmurph Posted: January 18, 2018 at 02:01 PM (#5608897)
I mean, I think he's done reasonably well with United.

We'll see how the rest of this year goes- obviously 2nd is very good- but in his one complete season they finished 6th, 6 points behind 5th, 7 behind 4th, and he somehow escaped nearly all criticism in the press (Wenger seemed to get most of the attention for Arsenal finally falling out of the top 4).
   559. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 18, 2018 at 02:04 PM (#5608899)
I mean, I think he's done reasonably well with United.

Yeah, it's just taken a king's ransom, is all.
   560. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: January 18, 2018 at 02:09 PM (#5608904)
Andy Carroll to Chelsea would be the weirdest recent transfer I can think of.


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand ... right on cue, Carroll out at least 6 weeks with a hairline fracture of his ankle!
   561. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 18, 2018 at 03:26 PM (#5608974)
   562. Mefisto Posted: January 18, 2018 at 03:34 PM (#5608979)
The reason Mourinho spends so much money is that he either can't identify young talent or else lacks the patience to develop it. Buying vets requires owners willing to back him.
   563. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 18, 2018 at 03:49 PM (#5608988)
Now Chelsea want...Peter Crouch. Don't do it Crouchy! Turn your back on the dark side!
   564. jmurph Posted: January 18, 2018 at 03:51 PM (#5608991)
Now Chelsea want...Peter Crouch. Don't do it Crouchy! Turn your back on the dark side!

Is that not what the link in 561 goes to?
   565. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 18, 2018 at 03:55 PM (#5608996)
Is that not what the link in 561 goes to?

Hilariously, no.
   566. spivey Posted: January 21, 2018 at 12:50 PM (#5610410)
I hope Tottenham doesn't think they don't need anyone. Sissoko is not good enough to be the first guy off the bench in midfield.

Dele Alli was awful today, but I guess he gets a pass because he's young and english. There's really nobody off the bench that you can count on for offense.

They didn't deserve more than a point today, which is the frustrating thing. There's not much creativity in the middle of the field when Eriksen isn't in there.
   567. spivey Posted: January 21, 2018 at 12:54 PM (#5610412)
The reason Mourinho spends so much money is that he either can't identify young talent or else lacks the patience to develop it. Buying vets requires owners willing to back him.

I hate to say this, but to be fair to Mourinho, that team needed a pretty serious overhaul. I mean, he's gotten a #### ton of leeway to bring in people, but I also feel like if you're trying to be CL you need your backup main attacking player to be a high profile guy.
   568. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 21, 2018 at 12:56 PM (#5610414)
They mentioned at halftime that the fly had gone through the team (Spurs) a bit. Baseball teams slump when that happens and baseball is marginally less physical than soccer. Spurs looked tired and I think that’s a reasonable expectation.
   569. Mefisto Posted: January 21, 2018 at 07:56 PM (#5610636)
ESPN is reporting that Sanchez/Mkhitaryan is done.
   570. JuanGone..except1game Posted: January 22, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5610800)
ESPN is reporting that Sanchez/Mkhitaryan is done.

Arsenal fans should be excited by this. There was no guarantee that Wenger would spend the 30mil that was first reported. Mknitaryan feels like a great buy low candidate who just wasn't going to fit with the type of football that Mou plays (similar to Mata at Mou Chelsea).
   571. Mefisto Posted: January 22, 2018 at 10:39 AM (#5610817)
I dunno about Mkhitaryan at Arsenal. It wasn't just Mourinho, he played badly at United: poor passes, over-dribbling, no defense. He also wants to occupy space that Arsenal already have covered with Ozil, Lacazette, and (if he plays) Ramsay. Maybe he'll work out, but I'm cautiously pessimistic.

But hey, I have serious doubts about Sanchez at United. And Arsenal got 30 million out of the deal.

Lots of big news in the NWSL lately. Where's Baldrick to tell us how to interpret all the moves?
   572. jmurph Posted: January 22, 2018 at 11:10 AM (#5610843)
But hey, I have serious doubts about Sanchez at United. And Arsenal got 30 million out of the deal.

It's been reported as a straight swap, no money changing hands.
   573. Mefisto Posted: January 22, 2018 at 12:28 PM (#5610900)
Ah, missed that. Previous reports had it 30 million PLUS Mkhitaryan. If there's no cash, that's a pretty bad deal for Arsenal.
   574. jmurph Posted: January 22, 2018 at 12:44 PM (#5610918)
Yeah as Mike Goodman of podcast with MCoA fame pointed out, it's the kind of deal in American sport that would make sense: trade a player on an expiring contract for a decent player. But given that you tear up contracts and start anew in international soccer transfers, you're likely swapping for the privilege of giving Mkhitaryan a shiny new 5 year deal, which is maybe not a good thing.
   575. J. Sosa Posted: January 22, 2018 at 01:36 PM (#5611020)
Oh given Mkhitaryan s agent I’m sure it isn’t a good thing.

As Mefisto said upthread I don’t get it from either club’s perspective. But Arsenal especially. They aren’t going to pass both Liverpool and Spurs. So I guess the plan is Mkhitaryan, Auba, then convince Ozil to stay and try to win Europa? Because I don’t really get it for next season either. Those guys will be 30, 29, and 30 at the end of next season. That is a ton of wages to place on that kind of bet. Maybe it works, but reading the tea leaves I suspect it means Arsenal are now getting beat to what would be traditional targets like Malcom and Lemar.
   576. aberg Posted: January 22, 2018 at 02:48 PM (#5611087)
I have played the web-based Football Manager for the last few years. It looks like that is going to disappear. I downloaded the free Steam version and it is not very good. Does anyone know if there is a difference between that and the pay version that you can download online?
   577. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 22, 2018 at 07:45 PM (#5611353)
But given that you tear up contracts and start anew in international soccer transfers, you're likely swapping for the privilege of giving Mkhitaryan a shiny new 5 year deal, which is maybe not a good thing
What if Arsenal and Mkhitaryan can't agree on a deal? Can he just walk? If so, how are they better off than they were with Sanchez (who was going to just walk)? Is Mkhitaryan on a contract right now? Is he making the wages that ManU was paying him? If the contracts get torn up, when does that happen?
   578. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 22, 2018 at 07:55 PM (#5611359)
Reading a bit, it looks like the contracts with the players are negotiated as part of the deal. Mkhitaryan is said to be earning slightly more than he got at ManU, but I can't find anything about contract length. That seems like an important factor to know in terms of how much the transfer was (or should have been) worth to Arsenal. Probably it's at least as long as the ManU/Mkhitaryan deal (until June 2020).
   579. Mefisto Posted: January 22, 2018 at 07:56 PM (#5611360)
As I understand it, Arsenal and Mkitaryan have agreed to a new deal.
   580. manchestermets Posted: January 23, 2018 at 06:13 AM (#5611516)
100% of the time when players are transferred a new deal is agreed. Possibly outside of MLS/NASL (which may operate the way North American sports typically do, I don't know) there is no concept in soccer of assigning existing contracts to different teams. If a player and his prospective new club are unable to agree a new deal, the transfer doesn't happen.
   581. jmurph Posted: January 25, 2018 at 11:00 AM (#5613151)
Reports linking Dzeko to Chelsea. I don't think I've seen Roma this year, so no idea what he looks like these days.
   582. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 25, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5613161)
Reports linking Dzeko to Chelsea. I don't think I've seen Roma this year, so no idea what he looks like these days.

I think he and Palmieri to Chelsea is a done deal.

edit: Both those guys are Cup-tied for CL games, of course.
   583. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 25, 2018 at 12:20 PM (#5613213)
The Mkhitaryan deal is said to be 3.5 years at around 200,000 pounds per week. At United he was said to be making 150,000 or so pounds per week.

Does that contract have 35m pounds worth of equity in today's dollars (pounds)? I don't know, but it sure doesn't seem like it. I don't think Arsenal was actually going to be able to get 35m pounds cash for Sanchez, so maybe the breakeven point should be set to 25m or something.

Kinda looks like an attempt to save face for Arsenal. They are just not good enough, with or without Mkhitaryan, to make a serious run at top 4, so really it's Europa champion or bust to make the CL. Is it worth signing Mkhitaryan just for that? They could have saved the cash for the summer.

If there was ever a time to buy Mkhitaryan at a bargain price, this was probably it, considering how he's been frozen out by Mou. It doesn't look like Arsenal actually paid a bargain price though. Whether or not getting Sanchez works out for United, Mou must be feeling pretty good about giving up Mkhitaryan rather than cash.
   584. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 25, 2018 at 12:44 PM (#5613230)
According to the betting odds, Arsenal has about a 15% chance to finish top 4 in the EPL, and 13-14% chance to win the Europa league, so the above post of mine wasn't very well informed. Either way, the odds are low enough that Mkhitaryan probably doesn't move the needle much.

538's website has quite a different view than the betting odds. It gives Arsenal a 23% chance to finish top 4 and 12% chance to win Europa. That 23% seems way too high.
   585. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 25, 2018 at 01:12 PM (#5613264)
Arsenal are only 5 point out of 4th. They are solidly sixth in goal differential to the extent that reflects team strength. My gut is that 23% isn't unreasonable. I think they are the sixth best team in the league by a clear amount in both directions. I'm not any kind of odds guy (though I am an odd guy) but if you told me that was a 20-25% chance for a team like that to finish top 4 I wouldn't be shocked.

Just to play with numbers;

6th place after 24 matchdays
2016-17: ManU 2 points from 4th, finished 6th
2015-16: West Ham 6 points from 4th, finished 7th
2014-15: Arsenal 2 points from 4th, finished 3rd
2013-14: Spurs 3 points from 4th, finished 6th
2012-13: Arsenal 4 points from 4th, finished 4th

So 2 of the last 5 teams in sixth place after 24 rounds has reached the top four. Now there is a lot more you can do here. As I noted earlier I think Arsenal are in fact the sixth best team in the country and I suspect if we looked back to 2015 and 2013 that would not be as evidently true. But 23% sounds reasonable to me.
   586. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 25, 2018 at 01:42 PM (#5613287)
So 2 of the last 5 teams in sixth place after 24 rounds has reached the top four. Now there is a lot more you can do here. As I noted earlier I think Arsenal are in fact the sixth best team in the country and I suspect if we looked back to 2015 and 2013 that would not be as evidently true. But 23% sounds reasonable to me.
Sounds like you should place a bet then, as you would expect to make a good profit on bets like that over the long term. (It doesn't sound reasonable to me. FWIW, I don't think 538 makes any attempt to adjust for things like roster changes or injuries.)
   587. Baldrick Posted: January 25, 2018 at 09:06 PM (#5613639)
The Boston Breakers are folding. Ugh. I wrote a piece on who to blame, but the real answer is probably that a lot of people deserve some of the 'credit.'
   588. Mefisto Posted: January 25, 2018 at 09:29 PM (#5613657)
I've seen rumors that Boston will be replaced by a team in LA. Any word on that from your end?
   589. Baldrick Posted: January 25, 2018 at 11:48 PM (#5613755)
I've seen rumors that Boston will be replaced by a team in LA. Any word on that from your end?

It seems reasonably likely that LA will have a team in 2019. There are a lot of rumors that it will be backed by Barca, but I have serious doubts about that. They weren't going to be ready to start in 2018, which is why Boston wasn't just moved. If just ONE of Boston/KC had needed to move this offseason, it would have all been manageable. Both was a problem, when RSL was the only MLS team that was actually ready to take the process on. And while they're doing a decent job, I have to say that it seems like they might could have used an additional 12 months to get things going.

There's also strong rumors that two more MLS sides will want to bring in NWSL teams, either in 2019 or 2020, but no one seems to know for SURE which those will be. Atlanta seems like a possibility, along with Vancouver. New England seems to want to have an NWSL team at some point, but wanted NOTHING to do with the Breakers. So **** them, as far as I'm concerned.
   590. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: January 26, 2018 at 07:43 AM (#5613792)
This Phil Neville thing is very embarrassing for the FA and that's even BEFORE his tweets. They have one of the best women's teams in the world and it seems they spent about 5 minutes deciding to give it to someone just because they'd heard of him.

Spurs are about to sign Lucas Moura. Not sure what to think of it, but it will be nice to have a Brazilian in the squad again.
   591. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 26, 2018 at 09:00 AM (#5613806)
New England seems to want to have an NWSL team at some point, but wanted NOTHING to do with the Breakers. So **** them, as far as I'm concerned.


I don't follow it but it seems to me that Boston keeps getting then losing professional women's soccer. What's the deal with that? Is it just not a good market? Are they hurt by the Revs playing in the middle of ####### nowhere so there is no good cross-promotion to be done?

As a side note I used to work at Boston University for ARAMARK in the early naughties. We had the Breakers or whatever that iteration was called. I was ARAMARK's Controller overseeing the food service locations including Nickerson Field and the Breakers were a spectacular pain in the ass. They nitpicked like you wouldn't believe. I know the BU Finance Director couldn't stand dealing with them. I don't imagine that's particularly relelvant but I was able to make this post about me and that's important.
   592. Baldrick Posted: January 26, 2018 at 09:26 AM (#5613820)
I don't follow it but it seems to me that Boston keeps getting then losing professional women's soccer. What's the deal with that? Is it just not a good market? Are they hurt by the Revs playing in the middle of ####### nowhere so there is no good cross-promotion to be done?

The Breakers have been in continuous operation since 2007 (even lasting through the down time between the WPS and NWSL), and were also one of the original WUSA teams from back in 2001, so it's certainly not an issue of Boston having unique trouble keeping a team afloat.

I think the biggest problems have been 1) the high costs associated with the area combined with 2) a pretty undercapitalized ownership group. They were rich but not RICH, and therefore spent a lot of time trying to nickel and dime their way to profitability, while incurring enormous costs that just couldn't be handled. My impression is that the cost to use Jordan Field on the Harvard campus was MASSIVE, despite it being one of the worst game-day experiences in the league (and too small to allow them to give them any serious room to grow). Your story about them nitpicking every little cost certainly matches up with that sense. They just didn't have enough money to make big investments for the long term and had to scrap for every little piece. It just wasn't ultimately sustainable.

It probably didn't help that the team was very bad for pretty much their entire run in the NWSL. They managed to cultivate a pretty loyal fanbase of ~3000 folks per game, but kind of stagnated there.

Now, why someone with more resources never stepped in, I can't really say. There is a big potential fanbase in Boston. Just doesn't seem like anyone seriously wanted to try to activate it.
   593. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 26, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5613875)
Why aren't the Krafts involved? They seem genuinely interested in making soccer work and I would think the money would be there for them.
   594. Sean Forman Posted: January 26, 2018 at 10:44 AM (#5613902)
Why aren't the Krafts involved? They seem genuinely interested in making soccer work and I would think the money would be there for them.


Is that true? I hear a lot of complaints about their lack of investment in the squad and in a soccer only facility.
   595. Baldrick Posted: January 26, 2018 at 10:54 AM (#5613919)
Why aren't the Krafts involved? They seem genuinely interested in making soccer work and I would think the money would be there for them.

Imagine the most aggressive conceivable 'no comment' and you'll have a good sense of how the Krafts have related to the Breakers.
   596. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: January 28, 2018 at 06:32 PM (#5614699)
Here's your daily dose of WTF?


U.S. international midfielder Mix Diskerud has signed with Manchester City on a free transfer, agreeing to a four-and-a-half-year contract with the Premier League club.

...

Diskerud will not train with City's first team, nor will he be loaned out to another City Football Group affiliate, the source said.

Another source close to Manchester City said Diskerud would train with the club's reserves but is not expected to play in a game.


O.o?
   597. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 28, 2018 at 06:44 PM (#5614701)
What the #### indeed. The short answer to the question of “why” obviously has to be “money” but the longer answer is more questions than answers. Why wouldn’t they loan him out? What does City get out of this?
   598. Mefisto Posted: January 28, 2018 at 07:14 PM (#5614706)
That's one of the most inexplicable signings I've ever seen. It's like City are buying friends to practice with.
   599. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 28, 2018 at 07:59 PM (#5614720)
Looks like the parent club doing a favor to get him off the books of NYCFC, where he may have been under contract for another year. Maybe it was just easier this way? I don't know enough about how these contracts work.
   600. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 28, 2018 at 10:45 PM (#5614773)
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