This post was written on Thursday pre-July 4th weekend, though it appeared on the 2nd. This is always tougher because I have to choose subjects that Rand won't link to or talk about - hence, the mini-essay about soccer television ratings. One of these weeks I'm just going to write entirely about super-niche sports - Australian Rules football, South African rugby, and that sort of thing - and I'll see if Rand actually puts it up. Anyway, the following appeared first at RandBall, everyone's favorite Independence Day sports blog.
Happy Fourth of July Weekend! If Memorial Day is the official beginning of summer, then Independence Day marks the weekend when you realize that summer is slipping through your grasp and is in fact already one-third over. That summer list you made - you know, back in February when you were stuck inside and cursing your lot in life - is starting to look a bit daunting now. Let's face it: you are not going to buy a motorcycle and ride it to Saskatoon, just for the pure thrill of the open road. You have chores to do. But you can still spend a weekend sitting in a lawn chair and blowing stuff up, and frankly, isn't that all you really wanted out of summer, anyway?
On with some holiday weekend links:
*John Bonnes looks at the Twins' lineup cards this year and comes to a realization - they're almost like snowflakes, not a one alike.
*Meanwhile, Parker Hageman examines Scott Baker's season, looking for the reasons that the shoulder-slumping righty is so much better this year than last.
*In television news: last week, I encouraged you to watch the Gold Cup final between the USA and Mexico. For those of you who did, and had to squirm through the home team's embarrassing 4-2 loss to the Mexicans, I apologize... but you were not alone. Almost nine million people watched the game - more than Game 7 of the Stanley Cup and almost as many as the final round of the US Open. Now, eight million of those viewers were watching the Spanish-language broadcast on Univision, which indicates that Mexico's presence in the final may have been a driving factor in that number. Even so, to me it's yet another indication of soccer's status as a non-niche sport in America.
*And with that in mind, it's time for Episode 2 of the NSC Minnesota Stars documentary, in which the crew talks to team CEO Djorn Buchholz, and interviews midfielder Ely Allen, who managed to give himself a possible concussion in the kitchen. Also look out for interviews with assistant coach Carl Craig, the only person in the video whose language had to be edited. (He's from northern England, so I find it hilarious; he sounds like's about to jump through the screen and smash a pint glass over your head.)
That's enough for the Fourth - now get out there and get those fireworks! No, not those. The good ones. You know the ones I mean.