Finally, a little bit of time to write, and oh, what a series of topics there are. Here's a quick rundown:
FORZA: Dynamo vs. little d tonight in the Thursday ESPN game. (Here's Jeff Carlisle's always-excellent advance here and the Chron's here.) I know, I know. Journalistic objectivity should compel me to write the team's name properly and all that. But my journalism hat is over there somewhere and I have no love at all for that team. I had to miss the home opener and this is my only chance this season, unless it happens in the playoffs again, to abuse Drew Moor for screwing up twice (TWICE!) allowing Jonny Magallon to score for Mexico against the US here last February, and spew my hatred toward Andres "Cock"Rocha. Kenny Cooper continues to scare me, as does my fellow St. Thomas alum Arturo Alvarez (technically, I guess, he's not an alum, since he left after his sophomore year to go to Mayde Creek High School just west of here, but hey, a successful pro is a successful pro. The Eagles maintain their claim on him!).
No Eddie Robinson and no Richard Mulrooney, but yes to DDR, yes to Chingy and yes to SuperCanuck between the sticks. Add to that a rabidly anti-Dallas crowd and that ought to be enough. My pick, 3-1 l'Orange. And maybe it's my Celtic-leaning ways, but the sooner that the candystripers drop that whole "Hoops" nonsense the better. There is only one Hoops, and they are the three-time (and counting) SPL champions. And the stripers look more like FC Bayern anyway.
LAHM LAYS DOWN THE LIONS: My head and just about every other part of me, especially the part of me that's half German (my mother's father and my father's mother both full-blood), knew that Turkey would fall yesterday. But my my heart, thrilled by yet another Turkish Houdini act, leapt when they tied it late. But when Lahm scored, my final thought was, "How fitting." (Highlights here.) You just don't tease the devil like that again and again and again without at some point it coming back to devour you. The Turks were definitely THE most entertaining story of this tournament, the sort of thing that draws us all to sports over and over again, and we all owe them a huge round of applause for that. Now, if the Germans don't win the whole shebang, it'll be their own damn fault.
And for the record, I won't be surprised to see either Spain or Russia win today. But if I had to bet, it'd be Spain by a goal, which of course means the Battle of Leningrad will be Sunday.
After predicting this to happen, in order now, before New Year's Day, before the Pan Pacifics, before the start of the season and before Memorial Day, I am out of the prediction business. Still, Fallas' stories are warming my Orange heart. Now I will look away and not look back at this, nope, not even a peek. (One little one). NO!! Thanks Bernardo, for screwing up my life!