Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another Athlete's House Burglarized

Yesterday, Liverpool traveled to France and beat Marseille in the final game of group play to advance to the knockout stages of the Champions League tournament. In an all too familiar manner, Liverpool's captain, Steven Gerrard, suffered a burglary at his home while away. According to the story, Gerrard is the sixth Liverpool player to suffer this indignity during an away match recently.

All of this must be disconcerting to Liverpool players, but there is an added element that has to this incident that has to be especially disconcerting to fellow Liverpool players, English soccer players, and athletes in general. Gerrard's wife and a friend were present when the burglar's arrived. Given what recentl tragedy with the late Sean Taylor of the Washington Redskins this is extremely worrisome that thieves would be this brazen. Although, I suppose the strict English regulations of firearms makes them a bit more confident of not facing an armed homeowner.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Brutal Tackle

I just saw the Soccernet story about Augustin Binya's sickening tackle on Celtic's Scott Brown yesterday in Champions League Group play. An absolutely terrifying tackle. It looks like Binya attempted to break Brown's leg. Luckily, Brown didn't suffer any serious damage. The video is below, but don't watch if you don't like those sort of things.

Update: Augustin Binya has been suspended for six European matches for the above tackle. He does have the right to appeal.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Dirty Horse Names

I came across this interesting article about the names of racehorses on Whenever I watch horseraces, which isn't very often, I always see these unusual names. Apparently, there are rules about the how many characters (18) that a name can have and bunch of regulations, including no offensive, obscene, or vulgar names nor names in poor taste. Problem is, these standards have changed over time. What used to be fine is no longer ok. See: Tar Baby, Uncle Remus, Darkie, Uncle Tom, Jungle Bunny.

Then there are the obscene names that have slipped past the screeners. See: Cunning Stunt, Golden Shower, Cherry Pop, Cum Rocket, Wrecked Em, and Bodacious Tatas.

I found Fubar, Twig 'n Berries, and a bunch of Redskin references (but that is still allowed in the NFL). I also found the classic Amanda Hug 'n Kiss. Try it out for's fun to see what you can find.

John Arne Riise's Paystub

A few days ago I received in my inbox a couple of photos of John Arne Riise's paystub, a professional soccer player for Liverpool FC in the English Premier Leauge. Mr. Riise is a Norway international and has been with LFC since 2001. He is a general fixture in Liverpool lineups at either outside back or midfield. While a very talented player, he certainly isn't a superstar.

It was unusual to see that a millionaire gets a regular paycheck just like every other schmoe. Currently, there is a probe being conducted in England as to how somebody got their grubby little hands onto the stubs. Judging by the dirty fingernails, I would wager to say this person probably did not get the paper through savory means. I have edited out any personal identification other than the name of the player in the photos below. I find it incredibly interesting and difficult to grasp what these depict.

The photos, below, show that Mr. Riise took home a base salary for the pay period ending in early September 2006 (I'm not sure if it is a monthly or weekly paystub) of £120,000. That's roughly $250,000.00 U.S. Some serious cheddar. Mr. Riise also received bonuses for appearances, points, appearances and the Champions League raising his gross pay to roughly £140,000 ($290,000). Out of his gross pay, £55,000 ($114,000) has been deducted for taxes and the such for a take home of £82,000 ($170,000). If Riise's paystub is for a month's pay that puts him at a yearly salary of £1.2 million ($2.5 million) or £6.2 million ($12.8 million) if it is a weekly salary. When I do the math it seems obvious that the paycheck is for one month.

These numbers are astounding to me. I've always known that professional athletes at the highest levels make gobs of money, but generally the terms of those salaries are given in yearly numbers. Not broken down into monthly or weekly salaries. When I see a paycheck like this, I think this is unbelievable. He has a six figure salary (US$) taken out of his check every month. Mr. Riise, maybe you can donate one month of taxes to my personal bank account. You won't miss it and I can certainly use it.

Although, I did some digging and it appears maybe Mr. Riise can't afford it. He has been declared bankrupt in England due to some controversy with his agent.

Think about Alex Rodriguez who is angling for a $30 million yearly salary right now. That would give him a weekly salary of $575,000.00 US. Amazing! Then, you have to think, sports fans are the people paying these salaries ultimately. I don't begrudge anybody making this money, but when you see it these terms it is almost unfathomable how much they make. After I get past this point, I just like to daydream about what I would do with that money. Cars, houses, vacations, toys, gadgets, and whatever else I could probably ever desire. It's not Bill Gates money, but it certainly isn't chump change.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Le Anne Schreiber Taking Easterbrook to the Woodshed

Le Anne Schreiber is perhaps the single greatest addition to ESPN in a long time. She replaced the first ombudsman, George Solomon, and has proved to be a true watchdog of ESPN. Her latest smackdown is on the neverending piles of opinion pieces the .com puts out. She posits that there is frequently much ado about nothing and if there is something there, the reporters need to do more research and investigation before spewing another opinion piece.

I will be the first to admit that bloggers can frequently be guilty of just adding fuel to the rumor fires, since bloggers don't do much reporting themselves. Generally, we are just reactionary to news that is put out there, spew our own asinine opinions, or make stupid, crude and lewd jokes. But, I generally assume that rely on the reporting of the professionals for most of our material. There are exceptions but I think that is the general rule. However, there are lessons that bloggers can learn from Ms. Schreiber's column.

This, however, is not the point of this post...the point is that tWWL allowed Ms. Schreiber to take some serious shots at some ESPN's writers, in particular Gregg Easterbrook. Here are some choice excerpts of Schreiber on Easterbrook's little opinion piece on the Patriot's SpyGate imbroglio:

The amount of opinion was so vast, its range so wide and contradictory, that it was beyond hard for readers and viewers to get their bearings within it.

and, [Note: As pointed out by a reader, MC Bias, the above quote only refers to ESPN's work in general and not to Easterbrook's column specifically. I regret the error.]
And feel free to custom design the opinion of your choice out of rumor, speculation and twisted logic, as Tuesday Morning Quarterback Easterbrook did, not once, but twice, in manufacturing extended false analogies between Richard Nixon's Watergate and Bill Belichick's tapegate, as if stonewalling to the press is the same as stonewalling to congressional investigators, as if violating a league rule is the same as violating federal law, as if he didn't promptly hand over to the commissioner all the material that was asked of him and accept his punishment.

She really shouldn't hold back like that it will keep her blocked up.

The prior incarnation of the ombudsman, Mr. Solomon, offered some criticism and helpful suggestions but I cannot recall him ever being so blunt and critical of ESPN's work. That is the job of an ombudsman but I always thought the position had been a bit neutered under Solomon's tenure. Not so under Schreiber, she has repeatedly excoriated ESPN flaws and pointed out many of the conflicts of interest that seem to really affect the quality of their product.

However, I cannot recall either of the ombudspersons ever really calling out individual writers in such a straightforward manner. Hell, Jason Whitlock was fired for bagging on a fellow writer. Bill Simmons has commented before that his editors won't let him, although some don't believe that is true.

All I have to say is, keep it coming Ombudswoman, keep it coming. This is great stuff.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Hypocrisy of The Sports Kitty

Hating on columnist Bill Simmons, aka The Sports Guy, is the required merit badge of sports blogs and I've earned my merit badge in the past. I don't try to do it very often, but sometimes his opinions deserve the treatment (just don't get me started on his righteous soothsayer, "I was right" act on Greg Oden). Today, I came across one such opinion.

Simmons, an abashed Boston homer, has been feeling the pain recently due to the Patriots' little kerfluffle regarding the filming of the NY Jets' defensive signals. Backed into a corner by the ceaseless taunting, friends/enemies cracking wise and his beloved Patriots' considerable legacy at least somewhat tarnished, The Sports Kitty came out hissing and swatting with claws out at the detractors of New England.

There is no shame in defending your team. I don't blame him for that, but I don't condone his hypocrisy in argument.

In defending his team, The Sports Kitty brings up the argument that it was cheating, but that it doesn't really matter because it is just sports. Specifically, he says:
See, that's the thing. It's sports. People cheat. People do bad things. People make mistakes. It's just like real life, only it doesn't matter nearly as much.
I can get behind this sentiment. Sports is entertainment and escape from reality. Yes, it may reflect our society at times and become inescapably intertwined with issues (see: Jackie Robinson), but for the most part sports is separate from life. So, for the most part, sports issues (I'm talking about truly sports issues like this and not issues like Michael Vick's dog-fighting) are largely immaterial to the rest of society and don't deserve sports fans getting up in arms about them.

The next paragraph Kitty-cat details many of the more important travails currently in the world: the war in Iraq; global warming; pervasiveness of internet porn; the use of internet to aid pedophiles; and...wait for it...steroids in baseball affecting the homerun records.
We live in a world in which every home run record from the past 10 years has to be taken not just with a grain of salt, but an entire salt shaker.
Wait. What? The questionability of MLB's homerun records is a more important issue than the Patriots' cheating? I thought sports was like real life, only it doesn't matter as much. What happened? Did he take a catnap and forget his statement only one paragraph above?

The audacity of such a position is incredible. Lets see all the adjectives/phrases I can use to describe it: hypocritical; having your cake and eating it too; having it both ways; disingenuous; stupid; hairbrained...the rest will just be more catty so I'll stop.

One is cheating in sports and the other is...cheating in sports. Big difference there right? In fact, the New England cheating was banned by the NFL rules and save for the last few years, steroids were not banned by MLB rules. You can make the argument that steroids were still illegal and New England's cheating was not, but either way it amounts to cheating in sports. And, the steroids uproar definitely seems to be about its affect on baseball and not the illegality of it.

The point is, The Sports Kitty cannot argue that the New England cheating isn't a big deal because it is just sports and then turn around and say steroids is a big deal. Both are forms of cheating and if you condemn one then you must condemn the other. Or, you can take the opposite position of indifference because it is just entertainment in the form of sports and the issues really aren't that big a deal.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Materazzi Likes Whores

One year later, Marco Materazzi has finally revealed what he said to Zinedine Zidane in the 2006 World Cup Final that caused the French midfielder to headbutt the Italian.
I prefer the whore that is your sister.

I have to admit that was a nice little dig. Not as bad as your sister is a terrorist or whatever it was alleged he said. Well played.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The EPL is here, The EPL is here!

Errr....I guess it is now the Barclay's Premier League or something like that. Either way, I am incredibly excited. This season promises to full of fun and hopefully Liverpool can get the monkey off its back and win the title for the first time since 89-90, before the inception of the "Premiership."

Last year I attempted to follow a club in each of the main European leagues (EPL--Liverpool, La Liga--Valencia, Serie A--AS Roma and Bundesliga--Hertha Berlin). It wasn't very successful after the first two or three months. It took an enormous amount of effort to follow those teams and then I had a new job which really ate into my time. Liverpool finished 3rd in its league and runner-up in the Champions League to AC Milan. Valencia ended up fourth in La Liga and crashed out of CL play in the quarters to Chelsea. Roma ended up second in the table and fell to ManU in the CL quarterfinals as well. Hertha faired the worse of those clubs. 10th in the league after starting the season in the top 4. Oh well.

This year my focus will be on Liverpool. I will still follow those other teams but not very closely. It is much easier to follow the league that's based in an English speaking country.

I am very hopeful for Liverpool this year. The new owners have opened up the wallet for Rafa Benitez. Rafa signed Fernando Torres for $40M to give the squad some much needed scoring ability. Let's just hope he's worth the outlay. LFC also locked up many of its players (Gerrard, Reina) to long term contracts. LFC also pulled in a young winger from Feyenoord, Ryan Babel, who hopefully can provide some pace and accurate crosses.

Standing in the way of the Scousers are Chelsea and ManU, last year's title winners. ManU has spend significant sums to beef up its already impressive offense with signings of Carlos Tevez, Nani, Anderson and Owen Hargreaves. They will be a tough team to knock off, but the defense is thin. Injuries could really hurt them in the back.

Speaking of injuries, Chelsea had a lot of them last year and looks to be starting off that way again. Terry, Drogba, Ballack, Sheva, Kalou and Johnson are all suspect to miss the first week. An inauspicious start to the season, especially considering injuries derailed last year's campaign.

After those 3, Arsenal is the most likely to grab the fourth spot since Thierry Henry has left the building. But, I like their chances to even compete for the third spot. The Gunners have a lot of young talent and with Henry out of the way, they can all step into the sunlight. Plus, Van Persie has looked good in the pre-season.

Arsenal will have to look out for Tottenham who has loaded up on the already potent offense. There is bound to be a couple other teams battling for the final CL spot and the two UEFA slots. Likely it will be Everton and maybe Newcastle. Enough of my prognostication. I just want the Scousers to win. After that it doesn't really matter.

Now begins 9 months of weekly joy.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Battle for MLS Legitimacy: It Will Take More Than Beckham

David Beckham has arrived in LA-LA land, his wife already had a show on TV and Becks is scheduled to make his LA Galaxy and MLS debut this Saturday in an exhibition match against English Premier League giant Chelsea. This is a big deal, no matter what anybody says. People are talking about it, sportswriters are writing about it (good or bad) and it has increased, at least momentarily, interest in the MLS. This was the intended result of Beckham’s signing. Another reason, and in my mind perhaps the most important one, for his signing was to legitimize the league in the eyes and minds of Americans, Europeans and players around the world. I have always been skeptical about the attainability of this goal and believe David Beckham and league are in a no-win situation regardless of Beckham and the Galaxy’s performance.

At the time of the signing, most people saw it as the typical former superstar player going out to pasture in America, which is indicative of attitudes towards the American soccer league. Beckham had been relegated to the Real Madrid’s bench, which was having a poor season like Becks. On top of it all, Beckham lost his position as England’s captain was dropped from the squad. No big European clubs were interested in signing him and it looked like the pundits were right. Insert LA Galaxy.

This is when LA and MLS got very lucky. Beckham and Real Madrid both had resurgence in form. Beckham started playing well for Real Madrid, scoring goals and making a difference in games; he was recalled to the national team; and, Madrid ended up winning its first La Liga title since his arrival four seasons ago. Everything was turning up roses and Real Madrid even wanted to keep Beckham after saying good riddance only a few months earlier. Beckham, however, was determined to honor his contract and attempt to do something no other soccer player had done—popularize the sport in the U.S. beyond the youth level.

So this is good news right? Well, it doesn’t really matter in the terms of legitimizing the league. Beckham and the MLS can’t win this battle alone. If Beckham and the Galaxy do well, the skeptics, which I think most people are, will say it’s because the competition was inferior. If they do poorly, the skeptics will say Beckham’s resurgence was just a brief irregularity on the downhill side of his career. The MLS can’t win here. The people that have already made up their minds about the MLS won’t be convinced by bringing in Beckham. It will take much more than Beckham.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

New Addition To The Blogroll

I've just added a new blog to the blogroll over yonder on the right. His name....The Blowtorch. Go check him out and the caricatures he's drawing of the first round NBA draft picks. Excellent work. My favorite is Spoonie Love...I mean Al Horford.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Awesome Oden Video!

Here's a great video interview of Greg Oden by Miss Gossip of AOLFanhouse. Oden talks about the infamous picture of Oden and a young lady bumpin' and grindin' at a house party on what some people affectionately call the hoochie dais. There is also talk about Oden's nickname. He doesn't really have one yet, but I'm lobbying for "The Super" or "Super," as in, "I called the Super to fix my leaky faucet." Chris Paul even makes a guest appearance.

Also, Miss Gossip is awesome.

It's unbelievable how cool and down to earth Oden seems.

Hat tip to The Big Lead for the video.

Lebron James, Straight Ballin' ... With High Schoolers

A neat little story in the local paper about a Portland high school basketball player at Lebron James' basketball camp. Brad Tinsley was a late invitee to the Lebron James Skills Academy but ended up with a great story and a recruiting boost.
Tinsley's team was sleepwalking through its final game of the day at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio, last weekend. Sluggish and uninspired, the team trailed 20-8 when the coach called a timeout. The team desperately needed a spark.

Enter LeBron James. That's right, LeBron James.

"LeBron was on the sidelines lacing up his shoes, and he ran across the gym, took off his shirt and threw on a practice jersey, and said, 'Hey, I'm in,' " Tinsley said.

Not surprisingly, Lebron's team ended up winning the game and James threw down some wicked dunks and NBA level passing.

Tinsley increased his profile on the recruiting scene with a solid performance at the camp as well. Not a bad week, if you ask me.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Who Was Offered For The Blazers #1 Pick?

In Sunday's Oregonian, Blazer beat writer had an interesting story about Portland's #1 draft pick and how Greg Oden wasn't the slam dunk number one option. It's not surprising there was some debate between Oden and Kevin Durant. Quick, however, does throw some intriguing rumors out there about what other teams offered Portland for the pick and a little tidbit about the Zach Randolph trade. Unfortunately for me, I had a busy day and wasn't able to write this post until tonight, so the story has been thoroughly picked over, but not all in one place.

Rumor #1

As [Pritchard] drove to Eugene to watch a play with his daughter on May 23, less than 24 hours after winning the lottery, Pritchard took a call from an Eastern Conference general manager, with whom he had past dealings.

The executive made an offer that was moderate in shock value: A five-time All-Star and this year's lottery pick in exchange for the No. 1 pick and the Blazers' 2008 first-round pick.

After some quick research, it is obvious, if the rumor is to be believed, that this offer had to be Paul Pierce plus the number 5 pick in the lottery. Boston is the only Eastern Conference lottery team with a 5-time all-star. Moreover, Pritchard traded with Boston last season to acquire future Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy. I think Kevin Pritchard had to laugh when Danny Ainge proposed that one. What was Ainge thinking, since we didn't get one of the top two picks we'll see if Portland is stupid enough to give it away for very little. The deal roughly turns into Paul Pierce for Greg Oden, since Portland would have given up next year's pick and gotten Boston's pick this year. Preposterous if you ask me. The commenters on The Big Lead were all over this one.

Rumor #2
A team within the Blazers division proposed a trade involving a future Hall of Famer and a standout rookie for the Blazers' No. 1 pick.

Later in the article it says that this future HOFer was a first-ballot one. The only surefire first ballot HOFers in the Northwest division are Allen Iverson and Kevin Garnett, in my opinion. I don't think Ray Allen has earned that honor (and he should be considered since he was in the division at the time of the offer). The Nuggets didn't have any standout rookies. The T-wolves had Randy Foye (First Team All-Rookie) and Craig Smith.

An intriguing offer, but I'm not sure Garnett would have wanted to come to Portland. He wants to win now. Plus, would you rather have the potential of a Greg Oden for 10-15 years or what would probably amount to 4 years of Garnett on the downside of his career. Sure KG is still playing well now, but in 4 years he'll have been in the league for 15 or so years. That's a lot of wear and tear.

Rumor #3

Sitting high in the stands at the Milk House arena where the marginal prospects scrimmaged -- far from the courtside seats Pritchard so preferred -- Pritchard that morning was approached by a general manager of a Western Conference power.

With bright lights illuminating the court below, Pritchard sat in a darkened corner with the general manager. The general manager wanted the Blazers' No. 1 pick. And he was willing to offer a player that will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

This one is easy to narrow down. First-ballot HOFers in the West? Let's see: KG, Duncan, Kobe and AI for sure. Other possibilities, although I'm not positive they're really first-ballot inductees: Nash, McGrady, Carmelo, Nowitzki. Of those 8 possibilities only Duncan, Nowitzki, Nash and Kobe are on Western powerhouse teams (Lakers in a traditional powerhouse sense, thanks TrueHoop commenters for that view). Henry Abbott over at TrueHoop was all over this and I generally agree with his reasoning.

I don't think its Kobe because LA isn't a power right now. Although, LA may have made teh swap to get Durant, who might sell tickets like Kobe. Nash would never get traded because as Nash goes so go the Suns. I discount Nowitzki because I'm not sure he's first ballot. That leaves Duncan, which is a bit stunning, but I don't think beyond the realm of possibility with R.C. Buford.

Oden is in the mold of Duncan and Robinson...the stoic leader type. Solid defensively. And, San Antonio has had incredible success with big men. Duncan only has a few years of top-notch play left, while Oden would have a lot of time left, and Tony Parker still has 5-8 years of solid play left in him. That would make for quite the pair and I can see San Antonio trying to make this play if they thought Oden was the next coming of Duncan or Robinson.

The big thing to figure out is if these were ever really offered or if Pritchard just put it out there to push up the price on the pick. These NBA GMs are tricky like that. I have to imagine there is some grain of truth to the rumors.

Randolph Tidbit
Pritchard had known he eventually would trade Randolph since a prominent player on the team requested at the end of the season that the high-scoring but troubled forward be dealt.

Again, not a tough one. The Blazers don't have many prominent players outside of Randolph. I can only think of one and another potential one...Roy and Lamarcus Aldridge. The latter being not that prominent.

As one commenter on The Big Lead noted, I wonder how Roy feels about being sold out by Pritchard. I guess with the Hoop Family out of Portland, Roy wouldn't have to worry about any repercussions from Randolph's cronies.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Post-Draft Thoughts on the Trail Blazers

Now that the 2007 NBA Draft has finished, it's time to take stock of the draft. Portland couldn't really have a bad draft with the first pick and being able to pick up a talent like Greg Oden. Who looks like he will be wearing number 52, the number of former Blazer great Buck Williams. But, that wasn't the only move of the night for Portland.

The other big news of the night was that Portland traded oft-troubled Zach Randolph plus Fred Jones and Dan Dickau to the Knicks. In return, Portland gets Channing Frye and malcontent Steve Francis. The rumors suggest Portland may try to buy Francis out to get cap room and go after a free-agent small forward (Rashard Lewis?), and will keep Frye. I'm not sure why the team would want this trade unless it was all to get rid of Randolph. Frye seems to play the same position as Aldridge and has a similar game. Francis is a lockerroom cancer and hasn't produced like Randolph has in the past few years. If Randolph can stay out of trouble in NY (a big IF), Isiah Thomas and the Knicks really got the better of this deal.

I'll reserve judgment but I am leaning towards maybe this not being the best deal for Portland. I think a better move would have been to hold on to Randolph and then try to get more for him at the February trade deadline.

Seattle, who had the number two pick, drafted a tall, skinny forward from Texas, Kevin Durant. Then Seattle traded Ray Allen to Boston for the 5th pick (Jeff Green), Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak. It looks like Seattle may have fleeced Boston. The second year in a row a Northwest team has done that to Boston.

I really liked what Seattle did in the draft, and it looks awfully similar to Portland's 2006 draft. Portland got a tall, skinny forward from Texas (Aldridge) and a well regarded and well rounded upper-classman (Brandon Roy). The Pacific Northwest appears poised to have some really successful teams for the next decade. That is, if Seattle doesn't relocate.

Portland also managed to buy Phoenix's first round pick (no. 24) again this year. Last year Portland drafted Spanish point guard Sergio Rodriguez and this year the team selected a Spanish shooting guard, Rudy Fernandez. I don't know anything about the pick so I can't judge.

The Blazers also picked up Petteri Koponen (30) and Josh McRoberts (37). Koponen is a Finnish guy that I also know nothing about but did give Portland 3 first round picks. But, McRoberts has the potential to be a quality role player passing from the high pivot. He won't be a star but Portland doesn't need that.

At the end of the 2nd round, Portland also picked up shooting guard Demetris Nichols from Syracuse and Taurean Green, the point guard from two-time NCAA champs Florida. If Nichols makes the squad he could provide the outside shooting necessary to creat space down low. And, Green is a wonderful defender a the PG spot. However, the puts quite the logjam at the position. Jack, Rodriguez, Green and Steve Blake if he signs with Portland as many expect him to do all will be vying for time. Not too mention Steve Francis plays some point, as does Roy. However, the also means Portland may be trying to move Jack as has been rumored.

Overall, a good draft for Portland on the basis of Oden alone. Portland did get rid of Randolph but that may not be the best move, in my opinion. The other five picks? The potential is there with McRoberts, Green, and Nichols but playing time let alone a roster spot will be tough to come by. My money would be on McRoberts and Green. The other two, who knows? They will likely stay overseas for at least one season. But, this draft was all about Oden for Portland. Hopefully, it plays out well. I also smell more trades coming out of Portland.

Other news:

Looks like Golden State is trading Jason Richardson to Charlotte for Brandan Wright (the 8th pick).

Atlanta looks like it got quite the haul with Al Horford at number 3 and Acie Law IV at 11. Atlanta filled its point guard need and Horford is a beast that will give Atlanta some much needed bulk up front. I really think Law is going to end up being a very good PG in the league. Maybe not the level of Chris Paul or Deron Williams but very good.

Update: It looks like Demetris Nichols was part of the Randolph trade and will be going to the Knicks. That link also has some foreshadowing of other trades coming down the pike.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

2007 NBA Pre-Draft Thoughts

The 2007 NBA Draft is today and the Portland Trailblazers have the first pick. Portland will pick either Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. Prognosticators and blowhards think Portland will take Greg Oden out of Ohio State. I agree and think Oden should be the first pick, but that doesn't matter.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to look back at the 2006 NBA Draft. It is this draft that will mark the real turning point for the Trailblazer organization. It resulted in the 2006-07 Rookie of the Year, first team all-rookie LaMarcus Aldridge and spanish point guard Sergio Rodriguez. All had good first seasons and have helped the Blazers turn the corner to what looks like a promising future especially with the first pick in the 2007 Draft.

I'd also like to point out to Stephen A. Smith that he was absolutely incorrect about the 2006 Blazer Draft. Smith, during the ESPN broadcast, absolutely tore into Portland for all its moves and thought the Blazers had no idea what they were doing. Well, Stephen A., what do you think now? I know he said this stuff, in part, because being bombastic and making strong statements is what helps the ratings. (I would have to disagree, since I generally choose to not listen to Stephen A.) But, he was about as wrong as person could be and I hope this year he makes an apology. I know he won't, but it would be nice.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Quite The Week For A-Rod

It has been an interesting to say the least for Alex Rodriguez. He has been accused of cheating on his wife with a blonde stripper and is said to like the "she-male" type of women. A-Rod also created a controversy in Toronto when he yelled something at a Blue Jay player that caused the player to drop the ball. That move has been roundly criticized as unsportsmanlike. Then, last night he hits a walk-off homer (update: not a walk-off, just a game winning homerun) against the Boston Red Sox.

On top of all that, the Yankees absolutely suck this year. Boston leads New York by 12.5 games and last night's win kept New York out of cellar in its division. Needless to say, it has not been a good year so far. It may not get better as Steinbrenner has fallen ill again, and probably isn't strong enough any longer to light the fire under his team. It's obvious Brian Cashman can't do it.

I just have to say, although A-Rod's yelling at the Blue Jays player that caused him to drop the ball may not have been the most sporting thing to do, it did show to me that A-Rod, more than anything, wants to win. It was the act of a desperate man who just wants to win and will try just about anything. It shows more desire than most of the Yankees' line-up. (I must point out that my sentiment about "doing anything to win" does not extend to steroids.) A-Rod appears to be showing more grit and determination than Yankee poster-boy and captain Derek Jeter and I would like to think New Yorkers could appreciate this rather than mercilessly savage the $250 million man. He's trying harder than anybody else on the god-forsaken team.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Sports Illustrated Late On The Uptake And Featuring A Dude's Junk

I received this week's Sports Illustrated in the mail yesterday and it had MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) on the cover.

Sports Illustrated is a bit behind the curve on this one since MMA has been tearing it up and earning very strong ratings for a year now. I am not a big fan of MMA but I know plenty of people who are and this stuff has been blowing up, especially with the Ultimate Fighter reality show on SpikeTV, fights on SpikeTV and the enormous PPV bouts MMA has staged.

SI queries whether MMA is "Too Brutal Or The Future"? Sounds like some crusty old editor doesn't like that things are changing in his sports world. The fact is MMA has already addressed much of its alleged brutality by adding weight classes and sterilizing for cable TV. It has also gone through battles getting sanctioned in states where legislatures didn't want to give it a chance because it was too brutal. All the hurdles have been cleared.

It's clear MMA is one of the sports of the future because boxing can't do anything but trip over itself; hockey probably won't recover from its crippling strike; and, baseball just doesn't hold the interest with today's youth as it did with previous generations. MMA is here to stay. Heck, the Ultimate Fighting Championship series has been around for nearly fifteen years. But, I guess SI being slow on the uptake is just indicative of it perhaps being on its own path similar to boxing...a slow march to irrelevance.

By the way, has a dude's junk ever been so prominently featured on a SI cover?


Yesterday, I did a little post about Greg Oden and his jorts. Little did I know it would bring me this much traffic. I think that post has accounted for 10% of my overall traffic in the past year. Thanks for stopping by everybody, including those dropping the hate, I appreciate it.

All you dropped the knowledge as well. I didn't realize jorts were a little more acceptable for African-Americans. I still think that jorts are god-awful creations but everybody is entitled to their own "style" and if Greg Oden wants to model jorts here in Portland, I am more than willing to let it slide because as one commenter said, "Oden's the man." He'll just have to get somebody in his ear to up his style quotient once he starts rolling in the money. Although, it will be tough here in Portland because people think flannels, tevas and hiking boots are all stylish.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Greg Oden: A Jorts Man

Two days after the Portland Trailblazers won the NBA draft lottery, one of the potential top two picks, Greg Oden, arrived in town. It was a coincidence that Oden was meeting with Nike executives but it gave Portlanders an opportunity to see the presumptive number one pick. Although, Portland GM Kevin Pritchard will look carefully at drafting Kevin Durant as well.

The Oregonian covered his arrival and offered up this description:

Oden, wearing long denim shorts, a striped shirt and a Nike knapsack, said the coincidence of his Portland visit the day after the Blazers won the lottery hadn't struck him yet, even as people at the airport snapped photos of him with their cell phones.

Really, jorts? As much as I hope the Blazers draft Oden, he's going to need some help on the style front. It's almost like he grew up in the early nineties and never left the fashion behind.

There's a photo below of Oden arriving but you can't really see the jorts, which is probably a good thing.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Blazers Win The Lottery

The Blazers won the NBA Draft Lottery and with that victory the team has the option of selecting Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. I can’t explain how excited I am as a Blazers fan. I am not a hyper-emotional person, particularly when it comes to events that aren’t even during the season. But, as I sat in the car listening to the Blazers beat the long odds and come out with the top spot, I actually started yelling, screaming and pumping my fists. I looked like a bigger tool than usual, yet as I write this, more than 3 hours after the announcement, I am still excited at the possibilities that are afforded my team.

Either Oden or Durant will help the Blazers finally climb out of the abyss it has been in since the 2000 Game 7 Western Conference Finals collapse. The Blazers were a flawed but winning team at the time with serious character issues. After that loss the team spiraled down with more character problems coupled with losing. During this period Paul Allen continued to make awful business blunders like the throwing the arena into bankruptcy and ultimately buying it back from his creditors. Things were rough and Portland fans had been spoiled with 20-plus years of playoff appearances, so the fans started to leave in droves. I stayed but cringed every time I watched a game full of bad seeds play poorly.

Last year, GM Kevin Pritchard, then an assistant GM, wheeled and dealed in the draft ending up with Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Sergio Rodriguez. All of these players performed well this past season. Moreover, these guys and others the management brought in had good character and the organization finally looked to be heading in the right direction, although the wins weren’t there yet. Now, with the power and possibility of the number one pick, it finally feels like the Blazers are really turning the corner.

The question now becomes who the Blazers draft—Oden or Durant. My money, and I think most others as well, is on Oden. I believe Oden and Durant are both real deals. Oden is a defensive stopper whose offensive game will develop in the next few years. Durant is the dynamic scorer on the wing that will have the ability to lift his teams on the offensive end. The two are a yin and yang of sorts and either will probably end up being long-term contributors in the NBA and likely have many All-Star appearances between the two of them. But, Oden is the better fit and gives the Blazers more options.

Coach McMillan is a defensive minded coach and will know how to integrate Oden into his game plan. Oden will be the defensive presence Portland lacks and will improve everybody around him because he will allow his teammates to be more aggressive knowing Oden can help clean up any mistakes. Offensively, Oden is not as progressed as Durant but he can improve his offense and he has lots of time to do that since he is only 19. It’s easier to improve offense than defense which gives Oden an edge.

A team also can’t pass up a potentially dominant center. There are many more gifted wing players in the league than there are talented big men. You just can’t. Look at what Tim Duncan did for the Spurs, although he was more polished coming out. Oden has the potential to make the Blazers a contender for a decade coupled with Aldridge and Roy.

Drafting Oden also gives the Blazers a good opportunity to trade Zach Randolph for an athletic wing with better character. Luol Deng probably isn’t available any more but somebody like him that will unclog the middle for Aldridge and Oden. I can’t think of anybody right because I am just so excited about the future. The only thing that could make this better is if Liverpool beats AC Milan in the Champions League Final on Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Phoenix - San Antonio: My Two Cents

Everybody seems to have an opinion on the suspensions handed down by the NBA against Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw in the Suns-Spurs playoff series. So, I might as well give mine.

First, it’s amazing to me to see the bland, regimented and disciplined San Antonio Spurs turn into the Bad Boys of NBA overnight. Numerous opinions, comments, columns and the like that have vilified the staid Spurs. All the Spurs team has done is have an aggressive defender in Bruce Bowen and committed one hard foul, which led to Diaw and Stoudemire making stupid decisions that forced the League’s hand.

Has the image of a team ever changed so dramatically in the course of one foul or one game? I might throw the 2004-05 Indiana Pacers out there, but I think Artest and Stephen Jackson were already known headcases. One little hard foul and it seems there image has swung 180 degrees from methodical, boring and emotionless to thuggish brutes. I can only imagine that some of this comes from the juxtaposition of soft and finesse of the Phoenix Suns, but I wonder if this branding will stick for longer than this series.

Second, I might be the only one, but that wasn’t a terrible foul by Horry. All he did was shoulder check Nash as he tried to go upcourt. It happened to be on the sideline where Nash went into the announcers’ table and there is a large size differential, which both made it look worse than it actually was. There are harder collisions in many attempted charges during games and if this had occurred in the middle of the court there wouldn’t have been such a furor.

Finally, can we all just get over the rule that led to the suspensions? It was and is being applied consistently and that’s all a fan could ask for given the NBA’s seeming predilection to favor “stars.” These players knew the rule and knew how it was applied, yet were unable to alter their actions accordingly. The reason the rule is black and white is because the league would be in a compromising situation if it had the leeway to affect the outcome of a game based on the suspensions, which obviously lead to calls of favoritism that could ruin the integrity of the game.

Look at how people are acting now with all the clamoring about fairness and ruining a series. The NBA would prefer to have its stars in the game, but if it had the leeway to make decisions on that rationale there would be no saving the league.

Whether this is a good rule or not is something that may need to be addressed in the offseason, but at this moment the emotions are obviously keyed into any discussion. Frankly, it makes sense to me to keep bench players from coming on to the court during an altercation regardless of their intention, because fewer players are easier to control for the officials and intention is so difficult to judge.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Even This Might Not Ruin Pepe Reina's Day

Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina had a big hand in sending his squad through to the Champions League Final yesterday in 'Pool's shootout victory over Chelsea. Reina had numerous stops during the game and saved two of Chelsea's PKs during the shootout. It was truly a great performance. Unfortunately for him, his whereabouts at the time of the match were known by every criminal in England and one of them decided to burgle his home in Liverpool. (As an aside, the word burgle is simultaneously awesomely funny and a bit revolting, if you ask me. Burgle sounds like the proper name of a burp with substance.)

After what was probably a right and proper celebration after the Reds victory, Reina discovered his home had been violated.

He returned from the celebrations at 12.45am to find that his home in Woolton, Liverpool, had been ransacked.

Jewellery, a Bang and Olufsen entertainment system, personal documents and a grey Porsche Cayenne with Spanish number plates were taken.

The Porsche was found burnt out in the West Derby area of Liverpool at 6.30am, according to Merseyside Police.

Luckily, nobody was home, although Reina may have lost some personal documents, and his insurance should cover his losses. In the past couple of years, this sort of activity has been common in England, especially for Liverpool players. Former starting keeper Jerzy Dudek, Peter Crouch and yesterday's goal scorer Daniel Agger have all had their homes burglarized. Even Manchester United's Wayne Rooney has fallen victim to the Scouser criminals as his parent's Liverpool home was broken into while he was still living there.

I've wondered why this hasn't happened in the US more often. Well-paid athletes' schedules are well known and easily obtained, which would make them easy targets. Maybe American criminals have a bit of respect for the athletes, or maybe they are just too stupid to grasp this concept. My money is on the latter.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Champions League Liveblog: Chelsea - Liverpool

I won't be doing a liveblog of the return leg of the Champions League matchup of Chelsea and Liverpool, but the fine folks over at The Offside will. Please join them for the festivities.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Even For Blogs This Was Shortlived

With much fanfare, well, a little fanfare, the Portland Trailblazers launched the Trail Blazers Rookie Blog back in March. Brandon Roy posted first and revealed that his girlfriend was due to have his first baby very soon. Not bad. I nice little piece of information. Then, LaMarcus Aldridge posted talking about his broken nose and hosting Kevin Durant on his visit to Texas.

Then, nothing for a month and a half. I guess now that the season's over the two aren't rookies any more and the blog is out-of-date now. Most blogs don't last longer than a few months but I would expect more from an organization that has its own PR people.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Real Reason Andrei Kirilenko Cried

Last Saturday the Utah Jazz lost to the Houston Rockets 84-75 in the first game of its first round playoff matchup. During the game, Utah's 2004 all-star, Andrei Kirilenko, played only 16 minutes and was upset about his lack of playing time, which, reportedly, brought him to tears.

In reality, I think AK-47 was crying because his wife has revoked the deal the couple once had. Mrs. Kirilenko, Masha Lopatova, used to allow him to bed one groupie per year. A "get one groupie" pass, if you will. While most of us will never know Andrei's pain, I believe we can all empathize. That is quite the loss he has suffered.

The real shame here is that Mrs. Kirilenko has got this all screwed up. If anything, she needs to give him an extra free pass this year to break out of his current funk. Kirilenko needs a slumpbuster and his wife needs to understand this.
Photo from here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

ESPN's Double Standard

The Big Lead is reporting that in yesterday's chat with Paul Shirley, that the basketball vagabond Shirley called Kobe Bryant a douche. A reader wrote to TBL and said it went up and then ESPN censored the comment. ESPN can censor if it wants, but the question remains whether "douche" is really a bad word. And, after some quick research it seems that the WWL hasn't thought so in the past.

I found this Bill Simmons Mailbag where the word douche was used in a reader email. However, in ESPN's defense Simmons, in a basketball blog entry only uses "d-bag", which is obviously the polite form of douchebag.

I know I've heard the word used on broadcast television during primetime, and, I must admit, this has always struck me as odd. It is a fairly descriptive word and seems somewhat vulgar, although not one of the big seven. I just know, it is not a word my parents would have let me use when I was a teenager. However, I might liken it to the use of bitch, jerk, ass or some other word that describes an unpleasant person that is frequently heard on the airwaves.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Manchester United put on an incredible display in the second leg of its Champions League quarterfinal matchup with AS Roma today. ManU managed to score 7 goals against the Italian squad. Cristiano Ronaldo and Michael Carrick both scored twice and Wayne Rooney, Patrice Evra and Alan Smith each scored once.

I didn't get to watch the match but hanging seven on an elite club like Roma in the Champions League is incredible. It makes you wonder what happened down in the Italian capital last week when ManU lost 2-1. By all accounts the English squad's performance was nearly flawless. This performance bodes well for the semifinal matchup between either Bayern Munich or AC Milan.

In the other matchup, Chelsea managed a Michael Essien injury time goal to win 2-1 away to Valencia. The victory put them into the semifinals 3-2 on aggregate. Chelsea will face either Liverpool or PSV Eindhoven. It's likely that Liverpool will advance since it leads 3-0 on aggregate at this point. That will make it 3 Premiership squads in the semifinals. Quite impressive if you ask me.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

What Does The New Ombuds(wo)man Have To Say About Bloggers

ESPN has a new ombudsman, Le Anne Schreiber, a former NY Times Sports Editor. Ms. Schreiber replaces George Solomon, who first held the position. I liked George Solomon...most of the time. I did write one thing that was anti-Solomon, but he was generally fair and tried to hold ESPN accountable. However, I think he was a bit of a company man and could be cowed by the World Wide Leader.

After reading Ms. Schreiber's introductory column, I don't think she will have Mr. Solomon's weaknesses. I could, though, just be fooled by her persuasive writing. I'll just have to wait and see. Schreiber seems to be quite tough and claims to have no qualms in holding ESPN's feet to the fire. Good for her. And, hopefully, good for us...the consumers.

ESPN has become quite unwieldy and has no serious competitor with the same resources. In fact, ESPN is the creator of the modern sports media industry. Its sheer girth allows it to be unresponsive to consumer complaints. So, it's refreshing to see the company actually try address consumer issues. Let's hope they actually pay attention to the ombudsman because it seemed Solomon wasn't seen but not heard.

There was one passage in Schreiber's column I found quite interesting yet don't know what to make of it just yet. Time will only tell. Schreiber was discussing her thoughts before accepting the position and wrote this:
Before the week was out, I realized my liabilities for this position were also my assets. The almost mutant scale of ESPN's growth in recent years makes it seem the likely ultimate employer of every sports anchor, announcer, analyst, writer, talker, producer, editor, technician and, last but not least, blogger in the land.

I am curious why she would mention bloggers so pointedly. What does it mean? Is she going to be reading the blogs to find ESPN's faults? Last but not least? She's actually giving us credit. The Underground that ESPN has so strenuously fought against. Help me out...what is she getting at?

It's also obvious she doesn't understand that bloggers are by definition unemployed and write from their parents' basement in nothing but a pair of tighty-whities. I kid, I kid. Only because I actually have a job. But, there are far more sports bloggers out there than ESPN will ever care to employ.

We Have A Raef Lafrentz Sighting

I went to my sixth and final Blazer game of the year last night and boy was I surprised when I saw Raef Lafrentz in the starting lineup. Coach Nate McMillan, who sets the lineup, was surprised as well:
It was a startling performance from a group that even had McMillan chuckling to himself before the game, saying he could never imagine at the beginning of the season sending a starting unit out on the floor that included Raef LaFrentz at power forward and Jamaal Magloire at center.
Odd that the coach is laughing at his own moves.

It turned out well though, because Portland beat the Northwest Division Champions 94-89 without its leading scorer Zach Randolph and rookie standout Lamarcus Aldridge. Stellar games from Travis Outlaw (his 25 points kept the team in it for 3 quarters) and Brandon Roy (29 points overall and 25 in the second half) led the team to victory. It was the best game I've attended all season, even if the dizzy bat bastard didn't win free McDonald's Value meals for a year for my section.

Let's get back to Raef Lafrentz though. Some have called him one of the most overpaid athletes in the NBA and they probably are correct. The guy makes $11 million per year and barely plays. In the five games I've attended he's only seen mop-up duty in maybe two games. In fact, he's only played in 19 games this season, averaging 9 minutes a game. Part of that is injury issues from the beginning of the season and the other part is getting experience for Lamarcus Aldridge or showcasing tradebait Jamaal Magloire (who the team never traded...BOO!).

Anyway, in the little bit of game time I've seen of him, Lafrentz has looked solid...not $11 million solid...but solid. He hustles and plays defense and even has a decent outside shot. And by all accounts, it appears he's been a good teammate and role model for the younger Blazers. So, maybe Lafrentz should stick around. Next season Magloire will be gone, leaving Joel Pryzbilla and Aldridge as the remaining big men. Lafrentz should get more PT then and earn more of his salary.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Champions League Matches Tuesday

Two Champions League quarterfinal matches tomorrow! Liverpool goes to Holland to meet an injury depleted PSV Eindhoven in the first leg and Bayern Munich travels to AC Milan without its starting keeper, Oliver Kahn.

Since I am now gainfully employed, I won't be able to liveblog the matches but I welcome any suggestions as to a web location where we might convene to comment. I can do an open thread if anybody wants to, lemme know at thefansattic [at]

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Oliver Kahn: Making It Rain

UEFA suspended Bayern Munich goalie Oliver Kahn for the first leg of the squad's Champions League quarterfinal match with AC Milan. The suspension is a result of Kahn throwing the cup for collecting urine during a doping test after his team's second leg Champions League victory over Real Madrid on March 7.

The goalkeeper was tested after Bayern's 2-1 win against Real Madrid on March 7 in the Champions League.

The doctor conducting the test -- Franz Kroesslhuber of Austria -- said Kahn got angry when asked for a second sample, according to Bild. The doctor didn't see Kahn provide the first sample and asked for it be done again to conform to the rules. Kahn had tried for 1 1/2 hours to comply, then threw the cup, Bild said.

What? "Kahn had tried for 1 1/2 hours to comply..." That must have been some scene. Doctor and Kahn sitting in a room waiting for Kahn to pee, Kahn gets up to do the deed, doc follows to observe according to the rules, Kahn whips it out and discovers he can't, "scheisse, nichts," repeat, repeat, then Kahn throws the cup. And, really, he couldn't get a few drops out in over an hour?
Oliver Kahn, giving "Making it Rain" an added dimension.

photo courtesy here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Little Negligent

The next week or so is going to be a bit sparse around here because I have a new job. I am trying to get settled into a routine right now and will be able to post more next week. For now enjoy this video of some great goals from the 2005-06 (I think) English Premier League season.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Melee at the Mestalla Update

Last week I posted the video of the fight that erupted after Valencia eliminated Inter Milan in the Champions League round of 16. Visually it was quite comical seeing David Navarro run around like the Road Runner escaping the clutches of Wile E. Coyote, but it did result in Inter's Nicolas Burdisso suffering a broken nose. Now UEFA has brought the hammer down on those involved.

Valencia's David Navarro received a 7-month ban, while the man on the receiving end of his punch got a 6 match ban. UEFA is asking that FIFA extend Navarro's ban to international competitions as well. Inter's Maicon (6 matches), Ivan Cordoba (3 matches) , Julio Cruz (2 matches) also earned bans and Valencia's Carlos Marchena has a 4 match ban. Both clubs were fined 250,000 Swiss Francs (about $200,000). No stadium ban was issued for Valencia in the Quarterfinal matchup with Chelsea.

I can't get over the 7-month ban. It just seems very long, but maybe he's getting punished for a hit-and-run as well.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Blazers Rookie Blog

Just got an email announcing the Blazers Rookie Blog. It looks as though the blog is only for Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. Sergio Rodriguez gets no love. I'm sure the Blazers organization could find write some posts for him as well. As it stands now, only Brandon Roy has posted something. Roy writes that his girlfriend is due any day now with his first child and he thinks Oregon could be dangerous in the tourney this year.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Champions League LiveBlog: Arsenal v. PSV 2nd Half

Well, I missed the last ten minutes to the first half but it is still scoreless so, I guess I didn't miss much. I'm still working on getting my feed back up. Please bear with me.

Despite my best efforts I cannot get the Arsenal game on a feed. I can get every other CL match in multiple languages but I can't get this one. I will continue trying but no promises. My apologies.

Hooray! I finally found one that works. It's in Russian or some slavic language and there is no clock but I see that Henry has been subbed in to the game.

And now they show Henry grimacing in pain. For Henry, and not for Arsenal, the best thing that could happen, I think, is that the Gunners don't advance in CL and shut Henry down for the season. He needs time to recover from his injuries, which he hasn't had because of last year's World Cup and his long run in the CL last season.

Update: Henrik Larrson just scored a header for ManU from a beautiful cross from Ronaldo. 1-0 ManU.

PSV gives up a dangerous free kick from the right side of the box. Diaby on for Ljungberg. Arsneal get its chance but can't capitalize on it or the ensuing corner.

Another free kick, straight on from about 30 yards out for Arsenal. Henry put it on goal but Gomes made a good diving save to his right.

Fabregas booked for a hard tackle.

Hleb whistled for slamming Sun Xiang to the ground. He can't believe it.

GOAL! 1-1. And on the ensuing free kick PSV finds Alex skying about the Arsenal defense for a header that beats Lehmann. A very nice goal indeed. That may seal Arsenal's fate now.

I guess the goal crashed my computer because immediately after it everything went to hell in a handbasket. This sucked.

Arsenal is now out of if for any silverware this season. Now the squad is only playing for a spot in next year's champions league and battling Liverpool for 3rd in the Premiership.

Elsewhere, ManU went through with a 1-0 victory over Lille; Bayern overcame a 3-2 home loss in the first leg to win the second leg 2-1 and advance on away goals; and, the Celtic - AC Milan match is in overtime and Milan has a 1-0 lead that will put them through if it holds.

Champions League LiveBlog: Arsenal v. PSV 1st Half

Champions League LiveBlog: Arsenal – PSV 1st Half

The Arsenal – PSV liveblog was chosen by the commenters on this blog. Hopefully, this turns out to be the best match of the day.

The return leg of this matchup is at Arsenal’s new Emirates Stadium and it finds Arsenal in hole after its 1-0 loss to PSV two weeks ago. It also finds Arsenal out of form having just come out of a three-game losing streak with an unimpressive 2-1 win against Reading on Saturday. Although, it must be noted that Arsenal has had a run of bad luck with injuries including captain Thierry Henry, who has been determined fit for this match but won't start.

PSV, for its part, is having a good season. It is 8 points clear of second place in the Dutch Eredivisie, although the squad just crashed out of its Cup competition. PSV, if it wins or draws today will also advance to the Champions League quarterfinals. Not a bad season. Arsenal on the other hand has only the Champions League left to obtain hardware for the season. It is out of the Premiership title chase and is out of the Carling and FA Cup competitions.

As always, feel free to leave comments or email me at thefansattic [at] gmail [dot] com.


PSV: Gomes, Alex, Feher, Salcido, Sun Xiang, Cocu, Culina, Mendez, Simons, Farfan, Kone

Arsenal: Lehmann, Clichy, Gallas, Toure, Silva, Baptista, Denilson, Fabregas, Hleb, Ljungberg, Adebayor

Predictions anyone? I think we see Arsenal go out of the competition on away goals after a 2-1 victory. Away goals seem to be the way to go this round.

I’ll be attempting to liveblog the match via an internet feed so let’s all hope that my internet connection holds up and my computer doesn’t crash. It’s a bit of a dinosaur so things can go wrong with several applications running.

Commenter Cedrick doesn’t like my prediction saying his Gunners will prevail. Well, in my defense I did say Arsenal would win today’s matchup just that it wouldn't advance.

Kickoff – There was no pregame on my internet feed although I got to watch some South African club action (I think it was S. African). Sundowns beat Leopards 4-0. I was worried I got the wrong channel especially with the ManU - Lille match already starting on ESPN2.

3:00 – Early corner for PSV but no danger resulted from it. Anybody care to keep us updated on the Celtic – AC Milan and Bayern – Real Madrid matches?

6:00 – Another corner for PSV but headed away by Fabregas. Hleb gave the ball away carelessly on his end but Toure saved his bacon. PSV has looked crisp thus far and Arsenal has been haphazard with its passing. Although, Adebayor had a nifty run on the right side that he shot into the side netting.

9:00 - Arsenal is picking up the pace and the passes are strung together better as well.

11:00 - Gallas loses a contact lens and play is held up a bit.

12:00 - Gallas back on and the announcers are having a bit of fun saying Gallas can't see the pitch. PSV's Farfan tried a shot from a very difficult angle on the right side but Lehmann had the post covered easily.

15:00 - Ljungberg called for a foul for climbing on the back of a PSV defender to go for a header. He complains to the ref that you can't call a foul on an underwear model.

16:00 - Fabregas makes a wonderful pass to Adebayor in the box but his touch is a bit off and Gomes smothers it for PSV. Very good chance for Arsenal who seem to be picking it up a bit.

18:00 - Again Adebayor muffs his touch inside the box. Kone gets the ball on the counter but Arsenal slows him. I have been very impressed with Kone in the two matches so far. He has good touch and excellent pace.

22:00 - Toure knocks an excellent shot on goal from just inside the box on the right side. Gomes can only deflect it and the rebound gives Arsenal another good chance but can't capitalize. Adebayor has been seeing the ball a lot just hasn't been able to connect with anything or have a good touch.

26:00 - According to the announcers, PSV Brazilian defender Alex is nicknamed the Beast. Oddly enough, Arsenal's Brazilian midfielder Baptista is also nicknamed the Beast. Can there be two players from the same country on the same field with the same nickname? Baptista by the way just had an excellent side volley just go over the bar.

29:00 - I can't help but wonder what would it be like if there was a healthy Henry on the receiving end of all the excellent feeds Adebayor has received. Alex had denied Adebayor several times now and Adebayor has just failed to make good passes or touches.

33:00 - Arsenal was lucky that Philip Coco couldn't get a solid head on the cross from Mendez. Cocu was unmarked on his run through the box. Arsenal's defense is just not looking good. They will have to play like Barcelona last night to protect the suspect defense right now.

36:00 - Wow! That was a nice attempt at a bicycl by Baptista. He controlled the ball with chest and popped it up to set up his bike which went over the bar. Uh-oh. My feed is having problems. Hopefully I can get it back up quickly.

45:00 - Stupid feed is taking forever to "buffer." What have I missed?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Inter Milan v. Valencia Fight: Carmelo Anthony's Long Lost Cousin?

I hadn't heard anything about this until I read The Offside this afternoon but there was a big fracas after Valencia - Inter Milan Champions League match on Tuesday. Valencia advanced on away goals after the 0-0 draw today. I'm sorry for more video posts but this had to go up.

A Valencia sub, David Navarro, came on the pitch after there was a scrum between Inter and Valencia players and decked Nicolas Burdisso of Inter possibly breaking his nose. After the punch, Inter players chased Navarro all over the field trying to trip him. They didn't succeed. Navarro even gets a nice jump punch in there at one point.

At least Navarro has elusiveness going for him since he already suffers from Carmelo Anthony disease.

After the match it looks like some Inter players tried to get into the Valencia lockerroom. I'll try to get more information up later but for now enjoy the video.

Big thanks to The Offside for the tip.

Update: Burdisso did break his nose. It was Inter keeper Francesco Toldo who entered the Valencia dressing room. Figo and Inter's Esteban Cambiasso also tussled while trying to get into the lockerroom after Toldo.

Valencia & Inter Fights
Uploaded by Cozzy1990

A Moment of Brilliance

Roma triumphed over Lyon 2-0 on Tuesday in the Champions League Round of 16 matchup. I didn't see the match but I have seen the highlights and the goal below is the highlight of the match. A simply sublime showing of footwork by Roma's Brazilian midfielder Alessandro Mancini. Enjoy.

Update: I forgot to thank Deadspin commenter Chilltown for providing the link. Thanks buddy, excellent find.

Mancini Stepovers and Goal vs Lyon
Uploaded by Cozzy1990

Wednesday Champions League LiveBlog: Arsenal v. PSV

Tomorrow I'll be liveblogging the return leg of the Arsenal - PSV matchup. The match isn't on ESPN2 tomorrow so I'll go at it with an internet feed. I'll start around 11:15-11:20 with kickoff around 11:45. Hope to see you then.

LiveBlog: Liverpool v. Barcelona 2nd Half

It will be interesting to see what Frank Rijkard does during halftime for Barcelona. It is quite obvious that this lineup he has now isn't producing. It has had chances but nothing is built up. The midfield certainly isn't controlling the ball and has given it up easily on a number of occasions. The defense is just hanging on right now, which would be fine if the team wasn't down 2-1 on aggregate. The Spanish side needs to shore up its defense and provide better fluidity between defense and offense. It's a lot to ask in only a halftime but I would still be worried if I were Liverpool. The talent is there on the Barca squad. It only takes a few chances.

Before today's match, Rijkard called Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez a "know-it-all" for his proclamation that Eto'o, Messi, and Ronaldinho would be starting up top for Barca. Well, it turns out Rafa was right. Does this mean Rafa is really a "know-it-all" or was he just lucky?

Roma's up 2-0 on Lyon now, which should send the Italian squad through. Porto still leads 1-0 on Chelsea. This will send Porto through if it stands. Valencia and Inter Milan are tied 0-0 which will send Valencia through based on the away goal rule if the score stands.

The stats show Barca with a 72-28 advantage in time of possession. That doesn't seem right to me.

46:00 - Bellamy just wasted an excellent opportunity from a Gerrard cross. That had goal written all over it.

48:00 - Derek Rae just called Barca "temorous" (sp?)...I've never heard the word...anybody out there help a blogger out?

timorous - of a timid disposition. As I suspected. Thanks whomever you are.

52:00 - Pepe Reina read Ronaldinho's free kick beautifully. Liverpool just isn't able to capitalize on its opportunities this game. It is similar to Saturday's ManU match. Just as I type that, Ronaldinho beat everybody and hits the right post. Incredibly unfortunate for him that it didn't go in.

53:00 - Thuram just elbowed Bellamy in the face but didn't get his second yellow. Just a talking to. It's an odd decision based on the ref's cards in the first half.

ESPN2's broadcast isn't telling us the Chelsea-Porto score because it is showing the game later. Well, I can't find that score anywhere else. I guess I'm screwed.

61:00 - This game is definitely heating up. The Barca lineup is starting to create chances and the tackles are getting harder. Liverpool looks a bit unsettled right now. Eto'o comes off and Giuly is on. Eto'o was starting to look good but his fitness just isn't where it needs to be right now.

62:00 - Liverpool's counter attacks keep providing many chances. Kuyt just sent a long shot wide right but it was still dangerous.

Robben scored for Chelsea to level the match and aggregate in the 48th minute. Thanks anonymous for the update.

67:00 - Pennant on for Bellamy just like in the ManU game.

69:00 - The announcers have mentioned several times that the new American owners of Liverpool are in attendance for their first match. I wonder what they think of their new asset.

70:00 - Arbeloa concedes a corner to Barca and the defense has trouble clearing the ball. It bounces around several times and Barca just can't turn it into anything.

71:00 - Gudjohnsen on for Thuram. More offense and less defense for Barcelona.

73:00 - Reina doing some time killing. The ball advances quickly and Gerrard gets a strong shot on Valdes who deflects it. Then just as quick Barca counters and gets an opportunity but one player is just offside. This match is getting faster and faster. I'm not sure who that favors. Barca has the offensive talent but Liverpool's counters have been great.

75:00 - Except Gudjohnsen just scored for Barca. Game on. 1-0 Barcelona.

76:00 - I guess the fast pace helps Barca because Ronaldinho just had an excellent shot that Reina smothered. This game is really good.

77:00 - Aurelio on for Riise. Not much of a change on Rafa's part.

80:00 - Pennant booked for coming in high and cleating Messi in the thigh.

81:00 - Reina cautioned for time wasting.

82:00 - Kuyt just played great defense winning the ball away from Barca's defense which lead to a dangerous free kick direct on the goal at about 22 yards. The kick yields a corner and again Gerrard ends up with the ball and kicks the ball right at Valdes. Gerrard can't catch a break right now.

87:00 - Eleven behind the ball and Finnan makes a great stop when Gudjohnsen got in behind him with a ball dropping in. Finnan concedes a corner. Still on 'Pool's end. Now a goal kick.

88:00 - Deep throw in after Arbeloa heads it out.

89:00 -Another corner but Barca can't capitalize. Crouch and his two black eyes on for Bellamy.

90:00 - I've got to hand it to Crouch. He is supposed to have surgery on his broken nose but he postponed it for this match. 3 minutes stoppage time.

90:00 +1 - Ball played into space for Pennant who puts a great ball on to a streaking Crouch who sends it over the bar. I never thought streaking and Crouch would go together because he looks so slow but he really went after that ball.

90:00 +3 - What a thrilling match. Final whistle. Barcelona 1- Liverpool 0 but Liverpool advances on the away goal rule.

Join me tomorrow for another Champions League LiveBlog. It looks like it will be the Arsenal - PSV matchup based on the comments. I'll start tomorrow between 11:15 and 11:20. Thanks for joining me today.

Update: Roma advances 2-0 on aggregate over Lyon. Valencia advances over Inter with the away goal rule on a 2-2 aggregate. Chelsea also will advance after winning 2-1 over Porto on goals by Arjen Robben and Michael Ballack with a 3-2 aggregate.

LiveBlog: Liverpool v. Barcelona 1st Half

In the first leg of this matchup, Liverpool prevailed 2-1 on the strength of Craig Bellamy's iron game in the Nou Camp. The second leg finds the defending champions, Barcelona, on the ropes having suffered a weekend loss to Seville relinquishing first place in La Liga and all sort of internal intrigue. Ronaldinho and Eto'o are not on good terms; players are upset with manager Frank Rijkard; and the team is not living up to the gold standard set by last year's squad. If Barca can corral all of this and focus it on Liverpool there should be a classic matchup.

Liverpool, for its part, have been in good form but Saturday's last minute loss to hated rivals Manchester United may affect the team psyche as well as its fitness. The English side put forth a full strength squad for Saturday's match and many of those participants will have to go again rather soon. Luckily, no injuries resulted from Saturday's game. The team will have to guard against overconfidence in the 2-1 aggregate lead it has and the letdown of the ManU game. The team knows this is its last chance for glory this campaign and should come out in full force.

If you have questions, comments, criticisms, or dirty jokes, you can leave them in the comments, email me at thefansattic [at] gmail [dot] com, or IM today on AIM (screenname TheFansAtticBlog).


Barcelona: Valdes, Marquez, Oleguer, Puyol, Thuram, Deco, Iniesta, Xavi, Ronaldinho, Eto'o, Messi

Liverpool: Reina, Agger, Arbeloa, Carragher, Finnan, Riise, Alonso, Gerrard, Sissoko, Bellamy, Kuyt

Predictions anyone?

I flipped over to ESPN2 about 3 minutes too early and got an eyeful of something hideous--a world's strongest man competitor in a banana hammock. I think there should be warnings about this sort of stuff.

They showed Riise's legs before kickoff and it looks like they are recovered from the karaoke incident.


3:00 - not much action yet but Liverpool must be hoping that the Sissoko of the first leg shows up and not the Sissoko of the ManU match.

4:00 - as soon as I post that Gerrard sends a long pass on to Kuyt but it's just a touch too long as Valdes comes out just in time to pick up the ball.

6:00 - The three back lineup is looking shaky at this point for Barca as Liverpool has had a couple of dispossessions in midfield that make the blaugrana scramble back on defense.

9:00 - Tommy Smythe encourages Bellamy to hit Riise with golf clubs before every match because they played well after the last incident. Nice. Just then Riise sends one just wide right of the goal as Barca's defense still looks out of sorts.

10:00 - The thing is, as long as Barca doesn't concede a goal the defense is fine because the offense is so potent it can score quickly and against the run of play.

14:00 - Riise is having a great game so far with two shots, one that hit the crossbar, a corner won and some good feeds.

18:00 - Arbeloa goes into the book with a hard tackle on Messi. On the freekick Reina punches the ball out but Eto'o whiffs on his shot attempt but Barca still had an opportunity until Reina left the goal mouth to track down a loose ball.

20:00 - Sissoko into the book. He'll miss the next CL match if there is one. Did you see his hair? It looked like Shane Battier's wrinkly head but with the lines shaved in rather than natural. The free kick made it through the Liverpool defence and Marquez flicked it wide left. He was offside too.

23:00 - Barbaro, I mean Ronaldinho, pleads for a call when it looks like he was at fault.

26:00 - I don't know how Liverpool isn't up 1-0 after 4 consecutive shots on goal in a 4 second time frame. Valdes made a good save on Bellamy's first attempt from the right flank. The rebound went to Kuyt who was saved by Valdes and then Riise had another crack deflected. Finally Valdes grabbed the ball.

28:00 - Thuram into the book.

33:00 - Valdes makes a horrific blunder giving up the ball in his own half and is lucky Sissoko had his 35 yard shot bounce off the crossbar. Valdes is either going to be the hero or the goat in this one.

Porto is up 1-0 on Chelsea with a 15' goal from Quaresma. Roma is up 1-0 on Lyon on a Totti goal at 22'.

35:00 - Ronaldinho left unmarked on a corner but sends his volley way over the net from outside the 18.

37:00 - Kuyt down on the ground after a head-to-head contact with Marquez. He'll be ok. Marquez on the other hand, never will be.

39:00 - Eto'o called offside after he got behind the 'Pool defense, but Barca had a nice build up. The layoff is hurting Eto'o's timing right now.

43:00 - Ronaldinho had a nice run up the middle of the pitch and dumped it off to Eto'o but again he messes it up as Carragher took the ball away easily.

45:00 - Dangerous corner for Barcelona but Liverpool manages to come away unscathed.

Liverpool dominated the first half and is set to advance if it remains nil-nil. Join me in the 2nd Half post.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Champions League LiveBlogs

Tuesday and Wednesday mark the return legs for the Round of 16 Champions League matches. I'll be liveblogging Tuesday's Liverpool-Barcelona match which is set for 11:30 PST on ESPN2. I will try to kick off the liveblog around 11:15.

As for Wednesday's liveblog, there are several options. The ESPN2 game is scheduled to be ManU-Lille. I can find feeds for the other 3 (Bayern Munich-Real Madrid; Celtic-AC Milan; Arsenal-PSV) and will liveblog whichever match gets the most votes in the comments.

Hope to see everyone here this week.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The First Birthday

Today marks one year that The Fan's Attic has been in existence. The time has really flown by and I have found the blogging experience to be very rewarding and, at times, frustrating. I suppose that goes with just about anything. As of today, there have been over 37,000 visitors to The Fan's Attic of which approximately 30,000 can be attributed to me checking in everyday to see if I have been linked or if someone has left a comment. By the way, the comments I have received are probably the most rewarding aspect of this endeavor. I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have visited, linked to, and/or commented. I appreciate it very much.

For the next year, I would like to increase the number of visitors to 75,000 for the year and to improve the content. Lately, I have been lazy and only posted a videos. I hope to provide more editorial content and, hopefully, some original information. If any of the 5 readers out there have suggestions, tips or criticisms on how to improve this blog please let me know either in the comments or at thefansattic [at] gmail [dot] com.

Again, thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Look At What Yao Ming Has Wrought

Yao Ming's presence in the NBA has brought legions of fans from China to the Association. Yao has a tremendous impact on his teammates. Tracy McGrady has the most popular jersey in China and shortly after being traded to the Houston Rockets, Shane Battier signed a contract with a chinese shoe company. The billions of Chinese have managed to stuff the All-Star ballot boxes to earn Yao 5 consecutive starts in the game. And, Yao's fans have also provided the world with this masterpiece of boyband idolatry. Not good.

Update: It appears this video has made the rounds and I am just slow on the uptake for it. Oh well, still funny and thanks to all of those who linked here.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Devastating Injury To John Terry

Chelsea grabbed its first hardware this season by beating Arsenal 2-1 in the Carling Cup final. But in the process team and English captain, John Terry, suffered yet another injury. Terry made a quick recovery to from his injury in the first leg of the Champions League match up with FC Porto to play in Sunday's final. About 10 minutes into the second half, Terry dove for a header in the Arsenal box and was kicked in the face by Abou Diaby on the attempted clearance.

Terry was immediately knocked out by the kick and flopped to the ground. Players from both teams quickly called for medical help as Terry lay on the ground almost motionless. Terry was eventually stretchered off the field after seven minutes or so. It was a scary sight--you can see video below--but it seems that Terry will be ok. He rejoined his teammates after going to the hospital to celebrate the victory.

The game itself was actually quite well played but was marred by the Terry injury and a little conflict in closing minutes that resulted in three red cards. Arsenal took the early lead on Theo Walcott's goal in the 12th minute. But, Chelsea drew level on a 20th minute strike from Didier Drogba who also provided the game winner in the 84th minute.

Late in the match Mikel Jon Obi fouled Arsenal defender Kolo Toure who responded physically. It turned into a shoving match and a number of other players got involved. Obi, Toure and Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor all received red cards. Video here.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Tennis-Soccer Video

Back in high school, my teammates and I would often go to the local YMCA and play tennis-soccer on the tennis courts until somebody kicked us out. It was a lot of fun and improved our touch. I mention this because found this great video of Argentine stars, past and present, playing a miniature game of tennis-soccer. There's Maradona, Tevez, Messi and some guy I don't know. Maradona looks like he has lost weight and his touch looks as good as ever.

MeSsI mArAdOnA VS TeVeZ DaVy
Video sent by anjinho75

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Champions League LiveBlog Liverpool - Barcelona 2nd Half

2nd Half

I would like to point out that I found it incredibly amusing that Bellamy celebrated with a golf swing. I'm not sure if it should taken as an FU to everybody or a good natured acceptance of his travails. Ah, who am I kidding, given Bellamy's past it is certainly an FU. And, as Cedrick pointed out in the comments, Riise and his bruised legs probably isn't too pleased with Bellamy's actions.

I'd like to see Britney do something like that. Maybe she could start carrying a pair of clippers around with her to the various rehabs she will be attending over the next 3 years.

At half Inter is up 1-0 on Valencia, Roma and Lyon knotted at 0, Porto and Chelsea tied at 1. Sheva scored a nice goal for Chelsea. It was his 45th CL goal! That's amazing! He's right up there with some big names. This will definitely help his confidence, maybe even make him a threat in the EPL.

45:00 - It looks like Bellamy will be getting credit for the goal.

47:00 - Gerrard with a free kick on goal. That was a great opportunity for the scousers. You want to see something better though from the captain.

52:00 - So is Barcelona going to pull an Arsenal today and play with little life and creativity? THe squaad seems to be just going through the paces right now.

55:00 - Barca subs Motta on for Iniesta.

57:00 - As mentioned in the comments earlier, Carragher is an absolute beast for Liverpool. He just broke up an excellent through ball. He's been in all the right places today.

62:00 - Yellow for Sissoko. Not very surprising but he gives up a dangerous free kick. But, Barbaro skies it over without any danger.

64:00 - Messi has been proclaimed as the next Mardona but I have a feeling he might become the next Kerry Wood given his proclivity to injury.

68:00 - That was a stupid mistake by Valdez picking up the back pass. That's elementary school stuff. He lucks by making a good save on Gerrard and then Kuyt screwing up the header.

72:00 - Wow! Liverpool was lucky that Messi didn't bury the shot after Reina failed to corral the first shot from Saviola.

75:00 - Goal!!! Wow...Barca can't defend worth shite. Kuyt blew his opportunity but the rebound went to Bellamy who found Riise open on the other side of the 18. Riise buried the shot. Karaoke anyone?

77:00 - Bellamy booked. The trifecta: goal, assist, and booking.

80:00 - Oh hothead for another. Pennant on for Bellamy.

82:00 - Saviola off, Gudjohnsen on. This will be an all-out assault on Liverpool's defense.

86:00 - Dangerous series of free kick and corner but Liverpool comes out unscathed.

87:00 - Deco nearly levels it with a free kick off the far post. That would been a bit disheartening for 'Pool.

90:00 - Holding on is Liverpool. 4 minutes of injury time.

90:00 +2 - Barca isn't really pushing the tempo right now. They look beaten. As they should, since the scoreboard says so.

90:00 +4 - Final Whistle but not before Peter Crouch gets on the field for 1 minute. What a good game for Liverpool. Barca will really need to change things around if they want to advance.

Thanks for joining me. Enjoy the day and we'll do this again next CL match week.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Champions League LiveBlog Liverpool - Barcelona 1st Half

Alright, we're going to have a go at with the internet feed of the Barcelona-Liverpool match. Hopefully my computer doesn't start smoking at some point today.

In the week's premier CL match, the reigning champions, Barcelona, face off against the 2005 champions, Liverpool at the Noucamp (Barca's home). Both squads come into this match with internal turmoil. Barcelona has seen one of its stars, Samuel Eto'o, refuse to come into a match and Ronaldinho publicly upbraiding him for it. For the Scousers, it may be even worse because badboy Craig Bellamy is alleged to have attacked teammate John Arne Riise with a golf club after a karaoke incident.

Liverpool has also found, after spending millions last summer on new acquisitions, itself wanting in the Premiership trailing Man U by 16 points. The squad has been eliminated from the FA and Carling Cups as well. This is the team's only real chance for hardware this year. Barcelona, on the other hand, is tied for first in La Liga with Sevilla and has looked to be in better form than Liverpool overall.

This should be an excellent matchup with Liverpool's physicality and Barcelona's skill.


Liverpool-Reina; Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Arbeloa, Riise; Sissoko, Alonso, Gerrard; Kuyt, Bellamy

Barcelona- Valdes; Zambrotta, Puyol, Belletti, Marquez; Xavi, Deco, Motta; Messi, Ronaldinho, Saviola

Refresh frequently to get timely updates.

As it was yesterday, feel free to email me with comments, criticisms, dirty jokes or whatever at thefansattic [at] or leave them in the comments section. Let me know what you are hoping for in this match. Personally, I am holding out hope of seeing The Robot from Peter Crouch although he's not in the starting lineup.

Ok, just had my first casualty as my internet connection went down. A quick restart of the modem and router cured it. Let's hope that's the worst thing that happens. So, my internet feed just changed to an Asian language. I need to locate an English feed because I can't understand it.

And another modem crash...this can't be good. Now I can't get the feed. I saw 30 seconds of match and thank god Liverpool doesn't have its yellow jerseys. Porto just went up 1-0 on Chelsea and Terry is injured again.

14:00 - Goal!!! Right when I get back on Deco heads one home for Barca. And Sheva just leveled it for Chelsea.

22:00 - Feed back up and I get to see Horseface with his mouth gaping open looking for its feedbag. And, Agger gets a ticky-tack yellow. THis is going swimmingly for the Reds and myself as well.

25:00 - Shot of Eto'o banished to the stands...What the hell is he wearing? I can only describe it as some sort of outfit you would see Victoria Beckham (nee Posh Spice) wear. All white suit with buttons and stuff.

27:00 - It's really frustrating to not have seen the first 20 or so because I have no idea how the flow of this game is going. Liverpool seems to be alright. And, the Italian Oscar goes to...Zambrotta. Ah, who are we kidding, all the soccer players from that country deserve one. A sort of lifetime achievement award.

34:00 - Is it too much to ask to get a shot or Riise's legs? I want a look at the evidence.

35:00 - That was a brutal choice by Kuyt on the tackle. What was he thinking? The ref had no choice to book him. Liverpool is having incredibly difficulty getting that last pass through to setup good things.

38:00 - Belletti with a brutal tackle for Barca this time. Another yellow. This match could get ugly, but the physicality might benefit Liverpool if they can keep composure. Good effort by the Golfer (Bellamy) on the set piece header.

41:00 - GOAL!!!! The golfer gets it on this one. That was pretty lax defense on Barca's part.

45:00 - That goal may go to Kuyt or Bellamy...we'll see...they should give it to the Karaoke Kid because of his week. And we're tied at half, 1-1. Oh, and just for the sake of it, I'm glad Marquez was partially at fault for Liverpool's goal. I'll start up a second post for the 2nd half. Hopefully, we will all have less technical difficulties.