Monday, June 14, 2004

Sports quick thoughts

France got its revenge for its humiliating emancipation at the hands of the English (and US, natch) in 1944 -- a 2-1 win against England in the Euro 2004 tournament group play. And the English royally honked this one: up 1-0 with 16+ minutes left, David Beckham with a penalty shot and . . . he blows it! No 2-0 lead and sealed up win. In the first minute of stoppage time, France's Zinedine Zidane arcs a free kick in for the tying score; two minutes later, he gets a penalty kick and buries it. The difference between Zidane and Beckham? One is the best player in Europe, the other's just the most famous.

In baseball, the AL has smacked around the NL through the first week of interleague play -- and home-field means only so much because the AL has won about 65% of the games. Most notable things that NL teams learned this week: (1) the Reds are completely smoke and mirrors -- they allowed 64 runs in 6 games (losses) to Oakland (without Chavez) and Cleveland, at better pitchers' parks than Cincy's own Great American Smallpark; and Oakland and Cleveland are AT MAXIMUM the 8th and 9th best offenses in the AL (top 7, unordered = Yanks, RedSux, WhiteSux, O's, J's, Rangers, Angels) -- worse yet, the Reds' opponents now realize that too; (2) the Padres can run with the big dogs -- they went 2-4 in Boston and New York but should have been at least 3-3 and could have been 5-1; (3) the Dodgers need more hitting -- after getting stymied by the BlueJays and RedSux, the Dodgers had 3 games where they scored once, and a shutout loss to the J's in their 6-game trip to Toronto and Boston; even a 14-run explosion on Saturday lifted their total to 23 runs in six games in hitters' ballparks.

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