Summer Sports: What’s Good This Weekend?

[graphic: chrisinplymouth via Flickr]

[graphic: chrisinplymouth via Flickr]

I admit it freely — I’m the least sportif member of the Emptywheel team. As years have gone by, sports have lost their shine for me. The full-body contact of politics has been far more interesting.

But I need to get that shine back. My oldest is in a relationship with a sportsy guy, and I need to be able to talk with him without trying too hard and sounding like a total moron.

So, help a girl out. Auto racing. Baseball. Golf. That’s all that’s in my cable channel lineup right now, and I can’t muster enough excitement. Tell me what you think I should look for to get heated up about one of these, and is there something really juicy going on tomorrow?

— NHRA in Briston, TN on ESPN right now looks much as it did over the past couple decades. Is there some big technological breakthrough that makes these races different now than they were pre-2000? Fill me in.

— Folks in my other social media about were using lots of shouty caps about baseball and some guy named Scherzer. What happened? Which is/was the better game to watch: Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees, or LA Dodgers v SF Giants?

— And Tiger Woods has no game left they say, missing the cut at the U.S. Open. I did see this much in my timeline. I imagine poor Papa Earl is rolling in his grave, saying he was right that Tiger could only be stopped by a woman. I think it was the comprehensive use of word, “woman,” as in all women. Tiger hasn’t really had it together for any length of time since his marriage fell apart. Besides the current golden boy McIlroy, who else should I watch at the U.S. Open?

Golf has a little more appeal for me this summer. I used to play until a handful of years ago, when it just wasn’t fun any more. I lost my game, too, couldn’t spend enough time on the course. But now my youngest has landed his first job as bag boy at the nearby club. When he comes home after his shift it’s a hoot to listen to him describe navigating his inaugural work experience, let alone hear all the goofy things that happened to him on the job.

Like today, his first Saturday morning opening the course — he sent me a text mid-shift that read, HOLY TIPS. Came home with a wad of bills in his pocket, yelling how much he loved old dudes who played golf.

Now for this I can worked up.

21 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    I’m listening to the Dodgers-Giants game. Must admit listening to baseball is very relaxing, reminds me of long summers as a kid when TV was rare but we had plenty of baseball on radio.

    EDIT: 11:55 pm EDT — Well, I guess I picked the right sport, the right game. Dodgers beat Giants, but Yankees pummeled Tigers. I would have been so frustrated following Tigers.

    This is why I don’t like to look for scores on websites. This CBS report about Nats v Pirates and Scherzer’s near-perfect game is wretched. Somebody needs to take CBS to the woodshed for autoplay. You’ve been warned.

    • P J Evans says:

      I always thought baseball looked better on the radio.

      My grandmother was a Dodger fan, and we lived in the Bay Area, so I grew up listening to both. (The games were on TV, when they were in the other city, so we could have radio for the play-by-play, and TV for the picture. And, if it was a night game, we could get the Dodgers broadcast and hear Vinnie as well.)

      • Rayne says:

        Baseball’s a great sport for radio, yeah? That’s what I did last night–turned on the game on cable, then listened to it while I did some chores. Play-by-play so much easier to follow by ear than football, which needs more visual context given all the players making contact simultaneously.

        I spent my summers in Michigan’s UP, in a remote location where at times we couldn’t get but one TV station out of Green Bay, WI, of all places, and it was so fuzzy it wasn’t worth the effort. So we listened to a lot of radio, and a lot of Detroit Tigers baseball with Ernie Harwell. I can almost smell the pines, hear the lake surf in the distance, feel the sun on my back when I hear old Tigers’ games. But in spite of all those years of exposure, I know precisely jack about baseball. Heh.

    • bloopie2 says:

      I spent much of the last month following the end of the basketball and hockey seasons, as one team I was pulling for made it to the finals in each sport. They colluded so that when the finals hit it was hockey one night, basketball the next, etc. That much action wore me out, so now I’m not watching much of anything. I did turn on a bit of soccer the other day, and found it to be incredibly slow and boring after watching all that hockey. In hockey either team can score on a few seconds’ notice, and there is constant action; I just can’t see the attraction of soccer any more. Even baseball, which is a somewhat ‘leisurely’ pursuit, can have game-changing consequences from most any action on the field. Perhaps the current soccer boom in the US is with folks who are simply jaded and tired of everything else and are looking for something new and ‘in’; as when a new restaurant opens and the in crowd patronizes in order to stay ‘in’. Anyhow, what do you think of the current focus on cheating in football; examination seems to show that there is a whole piss pot full of it. On reflection, wasn’t that to be expected? After all, (and I can’t remember the exact quotation), each day half the world gets out of bed trying to figure out how to cheat the other half.

      • Rayne says:

        Hockey’s okay to watch, fine on radio, too. But it never really appealed to me, score always too low for the speed and intensity of play.

        I like soccer, but I’ve come to appreciate it much more after watching my kid play. You think FIFA is slow? Bah. Nothing like watching U5 through U7, all the players clustered around the ball like chicks in a barnyard chasing a bug, and virtually no scoring whatsoever. And soccer parents — jeebus, I think they’re only exceeded in rabidity by American football parents. Yet over time these little half-pints, dressed in shirts, shorts, and socks that swamp their tiny bodies, grow up and acquire real finesse, easy to watch.

        Soccer in US is not a fad; it’s been played in US since before the Revolution, if you want to count the indigenous version, or pre-Civil War if you want to count the game Europeans brought with them. The sport petered out here in run-up to WWII; it’s been steadily growing for last three decades, since 1984 Olympics. My 30-something stepson and my 17-year-old both played soccer — I know for K-12 kids in US it’s been well organized for more than 20 years.

        And with a growing demographic of multi-ethnic/mixed-race kids and adults whose parents came from futbol-playing countries, I don’t see how soccer in US won’t continue to grow. There’s also the gender factor: this is one sport where girls have had much more equity, resulting in a built-in adult audience.

        ~ sigh ~ I should watch more soccer, I guess. Won’t be long before I’m watching my step-granddaughter playing in U5.

        • bloopie2 says:

          You’re right, the youngsters do exhibit “speed and intensity of play”. I watched my children play soccer and hockey for many years, and it was good. But I don’t see much of that in FIFA-level games; perhaps five to ten seconds, every few minutes. There is a lot of skill involved, but again it is rarely evident; among the outfielders, most are doing nothing but positioning themselves on a too-large pitch. On the other hand, There are enough adults in the US who watch sports primarily for the image-feeding experience of being part of a team and its fan base, that US teams will develop followers who don’t really care about the on-field activity per se. Anyhow, I think it’s a bit rich to say the scoring in hockey is too low for the speed and intensity of play, considering that in soccer not only is the scoring low but also the speed and intensity of play. I do prefer increasing hockey scoring by, for example, making the goal mouth larger. If only I were king …

        • phred says:

          A day late, and I realize you are ramping up on sports in order to converse with a young man (which will likely determine what you watch), but still…

          The Women’s World Cup is in the round of 16. I would highly recommend it. The level of play is excellent, most of the matches have been really competitive. A much better level of play than I witnessed the other night in a men’s Open Cup match.
          Even as I type Brazil and Australia are starting their 2nd half with two more matches to follow today. The US plays tomorrow and the final match of the round of 16 on Tuesday.

          • Rayne says:

            Wasn’t on yesterday afternoon/last night on my cable lineup, or I would have watched it. I’m going to find it to stream as soon as I finish my chores. Some friends were buzzing about the GER-SWE match, said it was great.

            So frigging pissed off at FIFA and the way they deliberately sabotaged women’s teams by using turf instead of grass as requested, and how little has been available on cable.

    • JohnT says:

      EDIT: 11:55 pm EDT — Well, I guess I picked the right sport, the right game. Dodgers beat Giants

      Wait. Wut?
      I must be in some kind of Back to the Future Delorean, because on my teevee last night the Giants won

      • Rayne says:

        ~guffaw!~ My bad, sorry, I was exhausted and half in the bag after a couple of nightcaps, meant the reverse. Cripe, I clearly can’t talk with the prospective son-in-law about baseball after a cocktail.

  2. JohnT says:

    Gotta be baseball
    Golf? Never played it.
    Tennis? Kinda, sorta, have played it.
    Car racing? When Indy Car split from CART, that was the end of open wheeled racing in the US. Rick Mears was incredible. NASCAR? I’d lost interest after Dale Earnhart died
    I guess for me, it’s baseball, and the interactive sports, fishing; hiking; swimming.
    Took this pic [link] last week as I climbed Monument Peak, on the California, Nevada border

    • Rayne says:

      I like offshore fishing a lot, at least once the fish start biting. Not so much freshwater fishing, spent waaaay too much time as a kid cooped up with drunk uncles on boats out on lakes. But I do like eating trout and salmon — I’ll wait here on shore.

      Hiking and swimming don’t make for good entertainment media, I’m afraid. Maybe they’re a development opportunity. LOL

  3. bmaz says:

    Welp, F1 is the creme of autosport, and the Austrian Grand Prix was this morning. BORING except a late race for third place between Vettel and Massa. Baseball is good if you need Sominex. I was sad to see that Jim’s team fell one game short of the College World Series Final though. Still, hell of a year for the Gators.
    Thankfully it won’t be too long until real football will be back.

    • Bay State Librul says:

      Football starts this Tuesday

      “The Patriots star quarterback will be at the league’s Park Avenue headquarters in New York to appeal his punishment over the underinflated footballs from the AFC Championship game.
      And so will the major players on both sides of the appeal, including NFL Players Association outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler, who like Goodell usually deals with only the union’s most high-profile cases. If the hearing runs long, it will continue on Thursday.
      “For Goodell to justify the four-game suspension, he’s going to go through a process that’s pretty rigorous,” one of the sources said. “You can’t just suspend Tom Brady for four games. He’s the face of the league.”
      Tuesday’s appeal is Brady’s opportunity to prove his innocence in Deflategate, or at least convince Goodell that his four-game suspension is unjustifiably harsh given precedent and the nature of the incident.
      The only problem is that Goodell, who authorized the four-game punishment, is also hearing the appeal — sitting in judgment on his own judgment, in effect. The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement allows Goodell to serve as the appeals officer, a power the commissioner has had since 1968.”

    • Rayne says:

      Saw your remark in Twitter about the Austrian Grand Prix being boring, so I skipped it. NHRA airing earlier was pretty boring, too, though.

      What is it, 7-8 weeks to pro-football pre-season? Too long. ~sigh~

  4. Bay State Librul says:

    Baseball for me.
    We are blessed with two excellent play by play announcers (Orsillo and Remy).
    Baseball is enriched and becomes less boring when you can play Fantasy Baseball and put some money down on Fan Duel and Draft Kings. A little skin in the game helps.
    Tennis with Roger Federer comes in second.

    • Rayne says:

      I don’t know why I never got into fantasy sports. Maybe it’s because I’d never physically play the sport that I have no interest in the other non-physical mechanics. Could say it’s like interactive RPF fan fiction, but it still doesn’t grab me.

      Tennis doesn’t do it for me, either. I haven’t really watched it much for last 3 decades.

      I am, however, eagerly awaiting release of the film about Billie Jean King. Hope it lives up to my expectations.

  5. Rayne says:

    Oh, Canada! This Women’s World Cup match with Switzerland is a good watch, Canadian fans are going absolutely bonkers after goal. Hard not to feel their excitement. Now 1-0 Canada at 56 min some odd. Wish it had been on something other than Fox Sports, only have MLS soccer on regular cable lineup today.

      • bloopie2 says:

        Sorry for that last one, very unhappy at waking up at 5:30 to go to work. But my wonderful children for Father’s Day got me tickets to a Browns game and so I can look forward to seeing Football Johnny and his supposed mega-skills.

        • Rayne says:

          My condolences on your Monday — LOL. As for CAN-SWI, I could only watch first hour. Both teams appeared evenly matched, but after that lone goal, the energy level of Canada’s team was as palpable as the crowd’s reaction. Both teams appeared handicapped by the turf — players slipped at times, and at times referees did not make calls that might otherwise have been made on grass as slippage was a factor.

          Sports are social — we’re here discussing them in a blog, right? Whether sitting the stands together, arguing in a pub about a flag, discussing corruption in a forum, humans interact about sports. For some of us, observing the observers is part of that social experience. In my case I use fans’ response as a measure of activity on the field, to be weighted against other social content. Like the commenters last night pointing out a call not made — the fans didn’t react, so the fans obviously felt the play didn’t warrant a call. Wisdom of crowds, I guess.

          I’m looking forward to the US vs Colombia game tonight, 8 pm EDT. Will Colombia finally break the trend, or will US win again as they have in two other meetings, 3-0 each time?

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