Monday, June 14, 2010

Spitfire Thoughts (World Cup edition)

Like many of you, I have kept a close eye on the world cup. These are a few of my thoughts after the first several days of the tournament.

  • Most impressive team as of 06/14 - Germany. The Germans put on a clinical and comprehensive beatdown of the Socceroos from Australia. Miroslav Klose scored for his third straight world cup, after a fruitless club season in Germany. The Germans patiently built up from the back and picked their spots for the full 90 minutes seemingly at will. The current crop of young talent seems poised for the big stage and will keep Germany at the top of the soccer world for years to come. Lukas Podolski, Thomas Muller, and substitute Cacau completed the goalscoring for a 4-0 final tally. After the game, German coach Joachim Low admitted that his side will see far superior competition in the coming weeks; however, his team looked like a well-oiled machine in their first match of the group stage. I expect them to make a deep run, maybe to the semi-finals. The Germans' next match will be Friday morning vs. the Serbs.

  • Most disappointing team as of 06/14 - France. The French don't deserve to be here in the first place, but I'll regretfully not get too much into that. Legendary "Les Bleus" midfielder Zinedine Zidane put it bluntly when speaking about manager Raymond Domenech: "He is not a coach." Say no more, Zizou. This is a side full of dazzling individual talents; there are 11 different agendas going on at once. There is no creativity, no communication on the pitch, and no sense of urgency. I'm not sure how such a talented team can continue to underperform on a consistent basis. The scoreless draw against 10-man Uruguay was a real bad look for the French and only a drastic change in leadership in a short period of time will right the ship.

  • Overrated team - England. Say what you want about Dempsey's goal being a fluke, the Americans deserved a point from their Saturday match against the English. While many across the pond will surely disagree, for me England is a step below the likes of Spain, Brazil, Germany and maybe the Netherlands as well. Rooney seems a bit off, the goalkeeping debacle has reached new heights, and a second striker has yet to step up. They'll still get out of the group, but after that we'll see. However, I thought Gerrard was the best outfield player on the pitch against the U.S.

  • 5 who have impressed me so far: Mesut Ozil - Germany, Tim Howard - USA, Siphiwe Tshabalala - South Africa, Vincent Enyeama - Nigeria, Giovani Dos Sanots - Mexico.

  • 5 who have disappointed: Team - France, The guy who got sent off for trying to catch a cross with his hands - Algeria, Samuel Eto'o - Cameroon, Fabio Cannavaro - Italy, Mark Schwarzer - Australia.
Looking forward to some of the other favorites taking the field for the first time in the next couple days. I'll make another post after I catch a few more matches. Before the tournament started I predicted the Netherlands defeating Spain in the final with Robin Van Persie securing the Golden Foot - we'll see how that holds up.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rob and Spyder Show, Tuesdays at 7

Check out the Rob and Spyder Show this Tuesday, at 7 on Led by good friend Rob Coloney - this week's guest is young New York Yankee pitcher Mark Melancon.

NYK, NYM, US Hockey

  • The Knicks, among a handful of other NBA teams, made a flurry of trades at the deadline last Thursday. Each trade had a common goal - get as far under the salary cap as possible for the free agent class this summer. Apparently, the Knicks are trying to sign this guy from Cleveland this summer - I had no idea. However, in the process of clearing all this cap space, we managed to add a guy who was once one of the top 5 premier talents in the world, Tracy McGrady. Coming off microfracture knee surgery and a grueling 18 month comeback, Knicks fans didn't know what to expect. All we knew is that this guy was the most talented player to don the Orange and Blue since Patrick Ewing. What we saw last night is a guy who was nowhere near 100% come out and drop a cool 26 on one of the better defensive teams in the league. T-Mac says he wants to be here next year, will take a pay cut to play with a guy like Lebron, Wade, or Bosh. Does he mean it? I have no idea, but he seems like a genuine guy - not to mention he has made over $150 million so far in his career. Suffice it to say, he's doing just fine. I want him back next year as a number 2 or 3 option.
  • Mets fans must have welcomed this sight down in Port. St. Lucie, Fla a few days ago. Personally, I'll get fired up when I see him running the bases full speed, but it's good to see Jose apparently moving well. The overall tone seems to be upbeat, confident and focused. There are many question marks on the roster, but there's no better feeling going into a season with a 0-0 record knowing anything can happen. I don't know if this team has the potential to win the pennant, but the core remains from a team that was 4 outs away from the 2006 world series. Everyone should be hungry and determined. I'm ready for Mets baseball - one thing is a given, it will be entertainin; for better or worse. David Wright looks poised to have a huge bounce-back year after his power outage last year.
  • Tonight, USA hockey takes on the hometown Canadians. I'm not a huge hockey fan by any stretch, but this should be interesting to see how we compete against a roster full of top-level NHL talent in their own building (which, by the way, is called the Canada Hockey Place. Is this really the best you can do when you have the olympics being held on your home turf?). Anyway, this seems like a classic matchup of blue-collared hardworking playrs (US) against finesse superstars such as Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron from the "Land of the all jean suit, or Canadian tuxedo"). To me, this is about more than just a hockey game, it's a matter of national pride. And while the only thing at stake will be seeding for the medal rounds, a strong performance against the Canucks would send a loud message to the rest of the hockey world. 7:40 on MSNBC tonight.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Biathlon - The most badass sport at the Winter Olympics

Whether or not you are crazy about the Winter Olympics, everyone ends up watching them at least a little bit. While I am more of a fan of traditional mainstream sports, I can't help but watch a good amount of the Olympics, too. While the skiing, snowboarding and speed skating are all pretty ballsy events to take part in, they have nothing on the biathlon - the most badass of them all. A little research indicated that the biathlon, a mix of cross country skiing and rifle shooting, was created as alternative training for Norwegian soliders in the 1800s. Why not get some cardio in with some rifle shooting at the same time? I don't know why our marines aren't doing this, too. Apparently these Norwegians also used grizzly bear wrestling and and bare-handed fishing to train, too. No wonder they created arguably the most badass sport of all time - definitely takes the title for all sports at the olympics.

These grisly-ass homediddlies ski a cool 10k while stopping at two different shooting stations - one standing up and the other laying down. The penalty for missing the 2 inch target from 164 feet away in the snow? Extra laps of skiing. Needless to say, these guys must spend 99% of their waking moments shooting, skiing and drinking Schmidt's beer, the only one which would be suitable for a man who chooses to compete in the biathlon. The final was today, but whenever you can, check out this event sometime; there is always the chance that one of these guys will re-enact World War I on global tv.

Overdue Spitfire thoughts (02/15)

Let me start this off by saying I have had no reason whatsoever to stop writing for the past two months. I have been a bear in hibernation, and do not have much to show for it. This is a revival of epic proportions. Let's start with a retroactive timeline of the past two months.

12/25 - Christmas. It was a pretty run of the mill Christmas at the Fitzpatrick household. Billy's mop was cut off the top of his head - nice to be home for the first time in 3 1/2 months but couldn't be happier to have spent a semester in Galway.

12/27 - Watching Al Harrington throw away games for the Knicks has begun to take off 3 months of my life per bonehead play. As of today, I have lost 16 years and 9 months off my life. Thank you, Al.

12/29 -Jason Bay signs a 4 year, $66 million deal with the Mets. Up to this point I was unsure Omar Minaya was still taking in oxygen. We can all exhale now.

12/31 - New Year's Eve....not much to be said here.

01/03 - I have a nightmare that Al Harrington gets a technical foul in the 4th quarter of a close game costing the Knicks win. Then I realize this has happened 4 times in the last calendar year. A full calendar year is taken off my life. I apologize to my future children and wife, but it's out of my hands. Maybe I need to stop watching this team. RIP Knicks 09-10 season.

01/05 - Chris Duhon's next basketball contract will be signed in Athens, Greece. We may be better off playing 4 on 5.

01/06 - 01/17 - Literally nothing happens in my life. Not one thing.

01/17 - Return to the land of the Stags. I'm very happy to be back and the townhouses are a great living arrangement.

01/18 - 02/01 - Mets pass on 14 pitchers that could have significantly helped the rotation. If Johan Santana has not seriously considered tying bricks to his ankles and walking into the Atlantic Ocean at this point, something is wrong. One of the best pitchers of our generation is watching his prime being wasted by a completely inept front office. At this point I want Mark Cuban to purchase the Mets...can this happen?

02/02 - Legality ensues in my life. Death/Resurrection of Thomas Fitzpatrick occur. Resurrection can be contributed to Drew Colon.

02/05 - Al Harrington just came to my townhouse and stabbed a pitchfork through my throat.

02/07 - Discovery of The Thrill by Wiz Khalifa. Fantastic song.

02/08 - Mets sit on their hands and do nothing of note. Arsenal are fighting to stay in the Premier League title race as my man-crush on Cesc Fabregas grows to an all time high. Why I did not make a trip to Emirates Stadium in London last fall really escapes me. One big regret of my study abroad experience.

02/09 - Knicks will somehow be well-represented at all-Star weekend in Dallas. Gallo in the Rookie-Soph game and 3-point shootout. Kryptonate in the dunk contest and Lee in the all-star game. Al Harrington causing me to lose sleep and make a move toward legal insomnia.

02/13 - Diddy Kong Racing introduced to Townhouse 75. I take no prisoners.

02/14 - Emerging music sensation Ipso Facto releases his first single. Check it out here.

When does golf season start in Connecticut? One more snow day and I'll be ready for spring.

03/08 - 03/15 ... Return trip to Galway? To be determined.

05/15/2034 - Al Harrington gets charged with involuntary manslaughter in my death. I hope this turns out to be a joke.