July 18, 2012

Back from a European odyssey

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball, Basketball, Soccer

Wow, has it really been over two weeks since I’ve posted here? Well that’s what happens when you go on a European honeymoon. So, let’s get caught up on the many, MANY happenings in the sporting world over the past while.

-First of all, while it may seem like this happened a couple of months ago, congratulations must be given to Spain for dominating Italy in the Euro 2012 final. The Spaniards showed that they were simply coasting along for the first five games of the tournament before kicking it up two gears in the final. I guess it serves us right for doubting the best football nation in the world of the past four years.

-The European transfer market has been heating up for some big strikers. The biggest name, Robin Van Persie, won’t be staying at Arsenal after his contract runs out next summer, so the Gunners better sell him soon or risk losing the Dutchman for free. Andy Carroll is an interesting name that has been circulating, especially after he just joined Liverpool 18 months ago for $35 million. He’s reportedly available for either sale or loan at the right price. Then there’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is on the verge of joining PSG from AC Milan. The Paris-based club is looking to be one of the biggest spenders and are basically tied to everyone available – similar to the Manchester City of 2010 and 2011, no?

-Sticking with Europe, watching sports while overseas is, well, unique. First, the time difference makes watching North American-based sports challenging to say the least. I thought about trying to catch the Silva-Sonnen, I realized that the fight would only be starting around 6 a.m. local time. I’m not sure what type of personal would be at a bar that time of day.

-The MLB all-star game was another event that was nearly impossible to watch. Combined with a late local start time, you also have to figure that nobody in Europe particularly cares about baseball. Either way, it seemed quite ridiculous the way that all-world starter Justin Verlander was lit up in the first inning. The guy is usually unhittable on his bad days but this was straight-up terrible.

-More bad news for the Toronto Blue Jays. While it’s commendable that they’ve toughed it out through injuries and still remain hovering around .500. But now they’ve lost slugger Jose Bautista for at least 15 days with a wrist injury. This should be the injury that finally pushes Toronto to become a seller at the trade deadline. They have a few pieces that could be dealt to help re-arm for next year. 2012 is a lost cause for the Jays.

-One team in the NBA that’s doing a great job of re-arming: The L.A. Lakers. Dealing a bunch of mostly useless future late-first round picks for a former MVP like Steve Nash is one of the best moves in recent memory. The Lakers haven’t had a great point guard since Magic Johnson. Now Los Angeles has a Big Four with Nash, Kobe, Gasol and Bynum, something that no other team in the league can match. If rumours are true and they can land Dwight Howard for Bynum and some other pieces, they might be the favourites to take the title.

-Then there’s the saga of Jeremy Lin. The Knicks are some pretty massive idiots to let the sensation go to Houston. New York’s biggest concern is the third year of Lin’s deal, in which he will earn almost $15 million after only making $5 million the first two seasons. The concern is that this will mean a hefty luxury tax bill for New York. This makes no sense because the money that Lin will rake in for the Knicks in marketing – especially overseas in that massive market known as China – will cover the tax without question. Letting going of Jeremy is truly Lin-sane.

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