The Athletic Supporter: Sports potpourri

Pardon the odd headline for this week’s column, but in an effort to tell real-person stories about the folks who play the sports about which I write, I have in recent weeks, failed to tell you much about the sports they play or what’s going on in the sporting world overall.

This happens a lot to me. So, dear readers, every once in a while you’ll get a column like this one, where I jam all the news that’s fit to print about local and national sports, and share random thoughts about them and other topics into one stream-of-consciousness column.

World Cup

Once again the U.S. team was eliminated by Ghana. I draw solace from this: at least this time it wasn’t because a referee made a bad call.

FIFA needs to seriously consider goal-line instant replay. The technology is simple and wouldn’t hinder the precious “flow of the game.” It might actually help people stay motivated to watch instead of wonder what third-world referee was bribed to blow an entire game! Oh, did I just suggest that?

Anyway, going forward, the U.S. team is going to have to decide whether Bob Bradley is the coach of the future, or if a change needs to be made. The team’s inability to hold their opponents scoreless in the first 15 minutes of nearly every match isn’t going to bode well for Bradley’s future. However, Bradley’s willingness to make on-the-fly changes to his line-ups is commendable, and shows a flexibility and lack of ego that a lot of coaches don’t have (to their detriment). But it also shows that Bradley was consistently putting out the wrong line-up to start with.

Wimbledon

The historic All England Club is once again hosting “The Championships.” While most tennis observers are expecting a final between Roger Federer and Rafel Nadal, the two former champions and #1 and #2 seeds, respectively, they haven’t exactly been lighting it up in the first half of the fortnight. They’ve each had tougher-than-they-should-have-been matches that have dragged out to five sets against opponents that should not have posed much of a threat.

Speaking of five set matches, the biggest story coming out of the tournament so far was the epic marathon 1st round match between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut. The match was so long, taking place in parts of 3 days, that the players were exhausted and received gifts from the Club for setting the 2010 tournament aside in history for the longest tennis match ever played.

Oh, and while Nadal and Federer haven’t been their normal, brilliant selves, I seriously expected them to rebound for a final match on Sunday. However, Federer then suddenly bowed of out the tournament on Tuesday at the hands of Andy Murray (much to the elation of England, Murray's native homeland).

San Diego Padres

At the time I’m writing this column, the Padres have one of the best records in baseball, and that with a paltry $40 million payroll.

The season started with talk about trading our slugging 1st baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Now, however, the talk is about finding a professional hitter to protect A-Gone in the lineup so he can lead the Padres to the playoffs.

The thing about the young, scrappy 2010 edition of the Padres that worries me is the offense. It’s woeful, but they keep winning. Brilliant starting pitching lead by Mat Latos, Clayton Richard and John Garland, along with an equally brilliant bull-pen anchored by closer Heath Bell and set-up men Mike Adams and Luke Gregerson, have served up a recipe for the most wins in the National League.

The lone blemish in the Padres pitching has been arsonist Edward Mujica, who is second in the Majors in home-runs allowed among relievers. In fact, of the 40 or so games I’ve watched this year, I’ve only ever seen Mujica pitch twice where he didn’t allow a home-run.

In fact, on my Facebook page this past Tuesday, when he was brought in to relieve Wade LeBlanc, who had pitched masterfully for 6 1/3 innings, I posted the following: “Mujica comes in to relieve… betcha he gives up a home run…”

Less than two pitches later, before he even recorded an out, what had been a 1-0 game in favor of the Colorado Rockies became a 4-0 Rockies lead thanks to a Mujica-inspired home-run.

Also of note, the Padres have hooked up with San Diego Pride to put on another Out at the Park event – this one with some incentives. If enough people buy tickets online using the pride code for tickets to tonight’s game against the Astros, they promise two things; (1) to raise a rainbow flag along with the U.S. flag for the first time ever, and (2) the SD Gay Men and Women’s choruses will sing the National Anthem. That would kick off San Diego pride month! Buy your tickets online today and come see the first place Padres be a part of gay history!

And now for the local stuff…

San Diego Open

The 25th annual San Diego Open, a massive tennis tournament guided by the San Diego Tennis Federation, is happening this weekend with an opening night party this Friday, and both singles and doubles matches going on through the weekend.

Softball

America’s Finest City Softball League wrapped up its Spring 2010 season this year. Congrats to the division winners:

Women’s A: Urban Mo’s
Women’s C: Aberration
Women’s D: Jiai Aikido
Open B: Urban Mo’s
Open C: Gren-X Outlaws
Open D: Baja Betty’s “Sin Nombre”

This season many of our teams are headed off to the Liberty Classic, a large tournament held annually over the 4th of July Weekend. Good luck everyone!

Random Thoughts

1. 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68. During the entire match, the chair umpire never stopped to use the bathroom.
2. America finally has it’s own legitimate soccer superstar. Meet Landon Donovan.
3. As a reliever, Edward Mujica has given up more home runs than any other Padres pitcher, including the club’s starters, who have pitched 60 more innings.
4. San Diego led the United States in the number of eyeballs watching the World Cup prior to the U.S. team’s elimination. It was a ratings bonanza. Seriously, a 20 share in this market.
5. I’m going to the Gay Softball World Series this year in Columbus, Ohio as both a coach and player of one team, and a co-coach of another team. The cheapest flight I’ve found is a red-eye out of Orange County. And it’s not Southwest.
6. A.J. Smith is a football terrorist with zero people skills.
7. Best World Cup comment: from Facebook: “France surrenders early, the U.S. comes in at the last minute, and once again England is left battling Germany.”
8. England blaming their loss on the referee for blowing a call that cost them 1 goal, when they lost by 3 goals is a little silly.
9. I’m trying to lose 30 pounds in 49 days. As of this writing, I’m on day 3 and still haven’t done my initial weigh-in, to see where my starting point was. Does that mean I can just make it up when I finally get around to weighing in to see how much progress I’ve made on day 10?
10. Johnny Walker Blue really is all that it’s hyped up to be. Thanks, Josh.

See you next week!

Roman Jimenez is the sports columnist for SDGLN. He is an award-winning journalist who spent most of his career covering crime and politics. After burning out, he became a media consultant for high profile science and technology companies as the founder of The Media Prose. Belying his massive frame, Roman's skills as an athlete are well known, playing tennis and softball regularly with all the quickness and agility of a pregnant rhinoceros. As a result, Roman has covered sports in our community for various outlets off and on for 10 years.

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