What to Watch Fri. 8/1 – Sun. 8/3

All times are PST.

Friday August 1st

Philadelphia Union at Sporting KC – 5:25pm (ish) NBCSN: SKC is just fun to watch and Philly is fighting for a playoff spot.

BC Lions at Calgary Stampeders – 7pm ESPNNEWS: Calgary is the best team in the CFL but their old QB Kevin Glenn leads a solid BC team into Alberta.

Saturday August 2nd

Portland Timbers at LA Galaxy – Noon NBC: Timbers are looking better but LA is coming off of a thrashing of Seattle in Seattle this past Monday.

KC Royals at Oakland A’s – 1pm MLB.TV: Jon Lester’s first start for the A’s. We think.

Manchester United vs Real Madrid – 1pm FOX: Hopefully we’ll have the ‘Gus Effect’.

Real Salt Lake at Colorado Rapids – 6pm MLS LIVE: Rocky Mountain Cup is on the line in Denver.

Sunday August 3rd

KC Royals at Oakland A’s – 1pm MLB.TV: Another good pitching matchup with Shields v Kazmir.

NY Giants vs Buffalo Bills – 5pm NBC: The NFL is back….for preseason at least. The Hall of Fame game sees two teams that need to answer a lot of questions this preseason. It also brings back Cris Collinsworth. Ugh.

Advertisements

He Can’t Dance But He Could Probably Code

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Peyton Manning can do a lot of things. Dancing to ‘Rocky Top’ apparently isn’t one of them. Truth be told, no one looks very good dancing to the default Tennessee fight song. However, if you think about it, Manning would probably be a really good programmer.

A good developer is a good problem solver. Like, a really good problem solver. In a nutshell, they have to take a problem, break it down into pieces, figure out the dependencies and then create a solution.

Sounds a lot like an NFL QB.

Manning does something similar. He looks at a defense, breaks it down into individual match ups, finds the best one for success and then executes the play. Except he does that in 40 seconds during the game.

As you can see there are similarities in the two roles. At the core is the ability to problem solve and being quick at doing that comes with experience and practice.

While developers have the luxury or Google and StackOverflow.com at their fingertips to find solutions, Manning only has game film to study the week of and nothing but what he sees during the game.

While no one really knows when Manning will finish his playing career or if he would ever venture into the world of code, it is an option.

What to Watch Thurs. 7/24 – Sun. 7/27

All times are Pacific

Thursday July 24th

Calgary Stampeders at Edmonton Eskimos – 6pm ESPN2: The last two undefeated teams in the CFL and by far the two best teams. Never before have both teams been undefeated for their first meeting this late in the season.

Detroit Tigers at LA Angels – 7pm MLB.TV: Garret Richards last outting saw him face off against King Felix. This time he gets Max Scherzer. You know who wins here? The fans.

Friday July 25th

Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays – 4pm MLB.TV: Another good looking pitching duel as the Red Sox send Jon Lester to the mound and the red hot Rays counter with David Price.

Chivas USA at Colorado Rapids – 6pm MLS LIVE: It’s a playoff log jam in the Western Conference. Points are at a premium and both clubs are coming off of losses.

LA Dodgers at SF Giants – 7pm MLB.TV: The Giants Tim Lincecum has been on fire the last five starts going 4-1 with a no hitter and was even able to grab a save in a relief appearance the other night in Philly. The Dodgers counter with All Star Zack Greinke.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers at BC Lions – 7pm ESPN3: The West is the best so far this CFL season. Can Winnipeg rebound from their first loss of the season in Vancouver?

Saturday July 26th

Arsenal at NY Red Bulls – 2pm ESPN2:  Thierry Henry’s old club comes a calling once again to Red Bull Arena.

Sporting KC at Toronto FC – 4pm MLS LIVE: Yes there are some massive European names playing in North America right now. But this is a battle between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

UFC On Fox – 5pm FOX: Should be a good main event with Robbie Lawler vs Matt Brown. Odds are they are going to punch each other until someone falls down and they way these guys hit that could happen quick.  Clay Guida, Anthony Johnson, Lil Nog and Josh Thomson help round out the main card.

LA Dodgers at SF Giants – 6pm MLB.TV: Clayton Kershaw heads to the mound for the Dodgers. It’s always a treat to watch when this guy throws.

Sunday July 27th

NASCAR Brickyard 400 – 10am ESPN: The race has more sponsor names than you can shake a stick at. Bottom line, this is one the must see races of the year for Nascar.

Manchester City vs AC Milan – 1pm FS1: Kind of odd seeing these two names appearing on the marquee at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. But don’t worry Steeler fans, training camp opened Friday.

LA Dodgers at SF Giants – 5pm ESPN: Sunday Night Baseball with two teams battling for first place out in the NL West. Oh yeah, they don’t like each other very much.

What to Watch Fri. 7/18- Sun. 7/20

All times are Pacific Standard Time

Friday July 18th

Toronto Argonauts at Ottawa RedBlacks – 4pm ESPN3: It’s the first ever home game for the RedBlacks and first time since 2005 that an Ottawa team has played a regular season game in the nations capital.

Milwaukee Brewers at Washington Nationals – 4pm MLB.TV: NL East leading Nationals welcome in the NL Central leading Brew Crew for a three game set.

Baltimore Orioles vs Oakland A’s – 7pm MLB.TV: The best teams in the East and West in the American League face off for a three game set in Oaktown. Jeff Samardzija takes the mound for the A’s. In short, this is a post season preview.

Saturday July 19th

Open Championship – Early ESPN: It’s Rory McIIroy out front. Can anybody catch him?

Conor McGregor vs Diego Brandao – Noon UFC Fight Pass: Conor talks a big game. The fight is in his hometown of Dublin and Diego is no push over. We’ll see what happens.

LA Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals – 1pm FS1: It’s a two possible playoff teams squaring off.

LA Galaxy at Sporting KC – 3pm ESPN2: Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane lead the Galaxy in ‘Blue Hell’ to take on Graham Zusi and Dom Dwyer who is second in MLS with 14 goals so far this season. He is also gaining more and more recognition for his goal celebrations.

 

Seattle Mariners at LA Angels – 6pm MLB.TV: A nice looking pitching matchup as AL All Star starting pitcher Felix Hernandez takes to the mound for the Mariners and 11-2 Garret Richards takes the ball for the Angels.

Sunday July 19th

F1 Grand Prix of Germany – 4:30am CNBC: It’s racing in the morning.

The Open Championship – Early ESPN: It’s going to be early but even if you wake up late you can probably catch the leaders coming up on to 18.

LA Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals – 5pm ESPN: Watch the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw do his work against the Cards. John Kruk is usually pretty damn entertaining too.

Chivas USA at DC United – 5pm UDN: It may be broadcast in Spanish which may make it more exciting when Chivas’ Erick Torres gets his scoring chances. Chivas has won four in a row and unbeaten in their last five. Tall order for one of the East’s best teams.

Oh Captain, My Captain

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Even if you are not a New York Yankees fan or even a baseball fan you know who Derek Jeter is. You also probably know that he is retiring at the end of the season after 20 years in Major League Baseball all with the Yankees. You may not like him you but you should respect him and what he’s done.

Derek Jeter

The New York Yankees are the gold standard by which other professional franchises are compared. Only the Montreal Canadiens and Dallas Cowboys come close in North American sports. Derek Jeter is exemplifies that gold standard.

He does hold some amazing records such as most post season appearances and being the all time hits leader for the Yankees. He will no doubt be a hall of famer on the first ballot. He has also been the Yankees ‘Captain’ since 2003. He is one of 14 players who have been ‘Captain’ of the New York Yankees which is saying something since the Yankees have been around since 1901. Only two other MLB teams even have captains. With the sport the way it is in this day and age, players generally do not stick around long enough to be considered for the role.

Jeter at All Star Game

While Jeter’s stats and length of service have been admirable it’s the way he carries himself that really deserves appreciation. He shows up everyday and works hard. He is consistent and is someone the Yankees and baseball have come to rely upon for over 20 years.

It will be a sad day when Jeter tips his cap for the final time. He is the gold standard for how baseball should be played. He should be celebrated and appreciated. He is afterall, The Captain.

 

 

The Slowest Days In Sports Find Some Energy

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Monday kicks off four of the slowest sports days in North America. MLB takes their All-Star break which use to mean that there were no professional sports played the day before or the day after the Tuesday game making it some of the only days of the year without a live professional sporting event.

This year is a little different. Three organizations decided to finally take advantage of this wasteland.

FIrst MLS. Major League Soccer will have matches on Wednesday and one will be televised nationally on ESPN2 (New York vs Philadelphia).

The second is the UFC. Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone will meet Jim Miller in Atlantic City, NJ on FS1. Why they won’t fight until around midnight east coast time is beyond reason but it’s a good fight none the less.

The third is the CFL. The Canadian Football League will have the Edmonton Eskimos  at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Best part about this, both teams are undefeated at 3-0 and have looked very good in their first three games.

The MLB All-Star break use to mean that the sports world shut down for a few days except for the Summer Classic. But times are a changin and with it comes soccer, mma and football.

 

At Least Keep Your Dignity

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

With the 2014 World Cup wrapping up a lot of people will look back and remember different things. Whether the goals by Robin Van Persie and Tim Cahill or the run by Costa Rica or the biting incident. Everyone will remember something. Most people though may just remember how Brazil and their fans couldn’t lose with dignity.

There apparently is crying in soccer, at least for the fans of Brazil’s national team. Images were plastered around the globe as Brazil gave up five goals in under twenty minutes to the German national team in the World Cup semifinals. People young and old were shown as if a member of their family died when in reality their team just gave up.

The kicker to this is the players afterwards crying. David Luiz gave a tearful interview apologizing to the fans. Apologies are one thing, not stepping up and going down swinging is another.

The fact is Brazil was beatable and was living on borrowed time. Germany exposed that fact. Yes Brazil was without their captain and best defender Thiago Silva and their superstar Neymar but that still doesn’t excuse the fact that no one from the team stepped up when they went down. No one fought back. No one challenged the Germans. Either they were in shock at what was happening or no one had the gaul to step up and be a leader. It was, in a word, shameful.

Teams get behind early all the time in all sports but all is not lost. Take Liverpool’s comeback in the Champions League final in 2005. Down 3-0 at halftime Steven Gerrard put the team on his back and helped lead them to a win via a shootout.

Another example is the 2006 AFC Championship game where the Indianapolis Colts were down 21-6 at the half to their kryptonite, the New England Patriots. Peyton Manning refuses to lose and leads the Colts to not only a 38-34 win but also a Super Bowl victory two weeks later.

The point is that big players step up in big games, even when they’re down. No one from Brazil did that and most of these players play for big clubs around the world. In the end it may not of mattered as Germany poured on two more goals but at least those players could have walked off the pitch with their head held high knowing that they battled to the end. Brazil’s players can take no such solace.

On another note, if you’re a fan of Brazil, don’t cry be upset! Be upset at the eleven players on the pitch who gave up. And for the adults who were shown on TV crying with over an hour left to play, cowboy up. It’s one thing of a child to be crying but you adults no better. Have some dignity.

Advice on how you should be after a huge loss:

Andy Roddick after losing in the 2007 Australian Open

Jim Mora Press Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to Watch Fri. July 11 – Sun. July 13

All times are PST

-Note, if you live in Seattle Sunday is your day. A’s vs Mariners in the afternoon then the Timbers vs the Sounders that night.

Friday July 11th

Detroit Tigers @ KC Royals – 5pm MLB.TV: Battle for supremecy in the AL Central.

Oakland A’s @ Seattle Mariners – 7pm MLB.TV: Jeff Samardzija vs King Felix. Should be a low scoring pitchers duel.

Ottawa RedBlacks @ Edmonton Eskimos – 7pm ESPNNEWS: Football on Friday night! Canadian Style. Ottawa needs a win but the Eskimos look like the best team up north right now.

DC United @ San Jose Earthquakes – 8pm NBCSN: DC United’s players might be asleep before by halftime and if they aren’t careful the ever dangerous Quakes could walk away with three points.

Saturday July 12th

Calgary Stampeders @ Toronto Argonauts – 3:30pm ESPN3: Toronto looked like world beaters last weekend against the defending champs. Can they take out arguably the best team in the CFL?

Detroit Tigers @ KC Royals – 4pm MLB.TV: Very good pitching matchup with Rick Porcello vs James Shields.

Real Salt Lake @ LA Galaxy – 7:30 MLS LIVE: RSL always seems to have the Galaxy’s number. However the Galaxy still have Landon Donovan and now they add in Omar Gonzalez.

Sunday July 13th

World Cup Final: Germany vs Argentina – Noon ABC: It’s the World Cup Final featuring Lionel Messi. You’re welcome Brazil.

NY Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles – 5pm ESPN: Final game before all star break. If Yankees want to catch the first place Birds they need this game.

Portland Timbers @ Seattle Sounders – 7pm ESPN2: Want that World Cup big game feel? Watch this game and you will never doubt again that soccer hasn’t arrived in America.

Another Loss, Another Win – Part 2

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

‘A tie is like kissing your sister’

Anyone over the age of 30 in America heard this term a lot growing up. Traditional American sports (baseball, football, basketball) don’t have ties or draws. At the end of a game there is a definitive winner and loser. No points are garnered to go along with the win either. In other words it’s not like soccer where a draw can be viewed as a win.

Around the globe where where soccer is, usually, the number one sport, draws are not always bad things. Why? You still get a point vs zero points for a loss. Obviously a team always wants a win and the three points but if a team is on the road in a tough environment then a single point can sometimes be a victory. For the home team three points is a given. If they come away with a draw it’s almost like a loss. It’s still a point but they left two points on the table. There is where the ambiguity comes in.

Americans and the media don’t do well with that.

Take the US National Team in the World Cup. They went 1-2-1 overall for a total of four points. All those points came in their first two matches and that was enough to help them advance to the knockout stage where they lost a heartbreaker to Belgium. This is seen as a success in the eyes of many including the media and non soccer fans.

Still, a lot of Americans don’t care for the soccer and probably never will. Why? Because ‘a tie is like kissing your sister’ perspective. There is too much ambiguity in the sport for them. Some couldn’t understand how the US could advance when they only won one game. Some would ask, ‘shouldn’t they have to win all three to advance?’

When MLS first started in 1996 they tried to avoid draws by having shootouts decide games. They dumped it a few years later because it alienated traditional soccer fans and didn’t gain any new ones.

Look at it from another perspective.

September 2, 1945. The formal surrender of Japan to the US that took place on the deck of the USS Missouri. April 30, 1975 was the fall of Saigon. Definitive ends to conflicts. Contrast those two events with the ‘War on Terror’. A conflict which will probably never have a definitive ending.

We are by no means trying to compare soccer to warfare. We are just trying to give some background about American psychology.

With draws, it is a matter of perspective. While both teams receive points and usually a team ‘lost’ points. In the end the points are what matter but a positive takeaway on a draw by a team could be just as important. Look at the US National Team. One point against Portugal was good enough to help them to get through to the next round but it felt kind of like a loss because they played so well and Portugal had to steal a goal at the end just to get a draw.

While liking and disliking something is a personal preference or choice it is influenced by those around you. For a very long time the preference or choice was to have a clear cut winner and loser in American sports. Now that’s changing. Americans are becoming ok with draw because they are beginning to see the bigger picture. They are looking at the right metric. A point is a point. Yeah three would be nice but one is still better than none. With that change comes an opportunity for soccer to elevate its profile in America. While soccer may never be ‘big’ in America it can certainly be a very viable product and with that should come a different perspective on the world at large.

 

 

 

What to Watch Fri. 7/4 – Sun. 7/6

All times are PST

Friday July 4th

Germany vs France – 9am ESPN2: Two traditional powers square off to start America’s independence day.

Brazil vs Colombia – 1pm ESPN: The home nation must deal with one of the rising stars of the tournament, James Rodriguez.

Toronto Blue Jays at Oakland A’s – 1pm MLB.TV: Two of the best teams in the American league + matniee baseball = awesome.

BC Lions at Montreal Alouettes – 4:30pm ESPN3: What’s the 4th of July without some CFL action? Let’s see if Montreal’s Chad Johnson can make a difference today.

Portland Timbers at Los Angeles Galaxy – 8pm NBCSN: Primetime matchup between two tough teams out west.

Saturday July 5th

Argentina vs Belgium – 9am ABC: You’re chance to see Lionel Messi at work.

Costa Rica vs Netherlands – 1pm ESPN: The Dutch escaped their last match and Costa Rica has been the darlings of the tournament so far. Can they make it last?

NASCAR Coca-Cola Zero 400 – 4:30pm TNT: It’s America’s birthday weekend…so you need to watch some Nascar.

UFC 175 – 7pm PPV: Middleweight title is on the line with Chris Weidman vs Lyoto Machida and also Ronda Rousey takes on Alexis Davis for the Women’s Bantamweight title.

Seattle Sounders at Vancouver Whitecaps – 7pm MLS LIVE: A Cascadia Cup match is always something you want to keep your eye on.

Sunday July 6th

F1 British Grand Prix – 4:30am NBCSports.com: Watch it live early or watch it later in the day on NBCSN. Choice is yours.

Sporting KC at Chicago Fire – Noon ESPN: SKC is the top team in the East but Chicago still has last season MVP in Mike Magee. Graham Zusi and Matt Besler may see some limited action in this match too.