Archive for February, 2009

A final note on Kicking for Cancer

February 24, 2009

Thanks to South View coach Jeremiah Mattingly for sending this in:

We raised just shy of $6000 on the team totals, with the T-shirt sales we should get to around $6400-$6500 total. I am still selling 71 T-shirts, and will have the final total after selling them.

Overall it was a great day, the weather could not have been better. The jamboree ran very smooth with 19 teams playing from 8:30-5:00. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and the girls seemed to get an understanding of why we played, to help cancer patients and to help find a cure.

My girls and their families really impressed me by raising an all time high, almost $1600!! We will be donating $600 to Rob Guzman plus the $115 raised by Terry Sanford to make $715 total.

The remaining money will be given to the Friends of the Cancer Center and the American Cancer Society.

And, below, we have the team-by-team totals:



Kicking for Cancer

February 21, 2009

Got a chance to check out a bunch of teams at the Kicking for Cancer Showcase at South View this morning.

I’ll get the results up later, but for now, here’s a bit of video…

Fayetteville Force ‘92 Boys schedule

February 18, 2009

Got a note from Brian Heye about the exploits of the Fayettevile Force ’92 Boys.

The Force opened their campaign with a win over Goldsboro last week, and you can see their match schedule here.

Here’s his note…

We won our first game of the season in Goldsboro, beating the Goldsboro Sting, 4-0.

Ross Carroll, a defender, scored first, followed by my son, Sean Taggart, then Chris Ryan and Tiger Court.

Our team is composed of some great players from the area high schools and is coached by Justin Terranova from Methodist University. Ross attends Jack Britt, Sean attends Fayetteville Christian, Chris Ryan is from Pine Forest and Tiger is from Terry Sanford. Fayetteville Academy has two players on the tam as well – our keeper Sam Williams and midfielder, Hunter Bigler.

We are looking forward to another awesome year with improved talent and a few newly added players.

Media watching

February 16, 2009

All-star games, as a general rule, suck.

I think, though, that the NBA’s version of the event might suck the least.

Why? The pregame show.

Say what you will about the on-floor product, but the NBA knows how to put on a show. This year’s highlight for me was Shaquille O’ Neal dancing during his introduction:

Quality. Pure quality.

Change isn’t always good

Unfortunately, not everyone in the entertainment business has a freaking clue.

Fox Sports Radio, in a quest to do, well, something, has changed its lineup.

Let’s run it down. Ditching James Washington and Craig Sheamon for Dan Patrick is a winning move. Patrick is great on radio, so even though Washington and Sheamon weren’t awful, this is a plus.

Where it goes to pot is the 7-10 p.m. time slot, where Andrew Siciliano and Krystal Fernandez were dropped for the PMS show, featuring Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith.

Here’s the problem:


Imagine Steven A. Smith doing a radio show with someone equally loud and obnoxious, and you have a good idea of what these idiots do every night.

I love Siciliano. In fact, I rate him behind only Steve Czaban, Colin Cowherd and Patrick in terms of sports talk talent. Maybe ESPN will hire him and let him compete against PMS.

We can only hope.

Speaking of questionable decisions… 

Can someone please explain the whole Gatorade G commercial campaign to me?

OK, having the scroll of great athletes is fine, but what’s up with having the JabbaWockeez in the same lineup with Michael Jordan, Usain Bolt and the great Ali?

It’s just weird.

And is my life really enhanced by watching Usain Bolt’s head run around?

No, not really.

But I’m writing about, so I guess it’s good marketing after all.

Kicking for Cancer event slated for Saturday

February 16, 2009

You might remember me talking about the Kicking for Cancer showcase coming up at South View.

What you might not remember is that it’s scheduled for this Saturday.

Here’s the reminder I got from the organizer, South View coach Jeremiah Mattingly.

This Saturday, Feb. 21, South View High will host the 13th annual Kicking For Cancer women’s soccer jamboree/showcase.

I want to invite you to come out and watch as 19 teams from the Raleigh, Wilmington and Fayetteville areas compete in a great day of soccer. We will have over 450 girls competing to help raise money for the Friends of Cancer Center, the American Cancer Society and Terry Sanford’s A.D. Rob Guzman, who is currently battling cancer.

All money raised by Terry Sanford and 10 percent of all money raised will be given to Rob.

We ask for a minimum $5 donation at the door to be placed in the box of the team of your choice. We will also have concessions for sale and 2009 KFC T-shirts for $10.

Hope to see you in attendance – tell everyone you know to come out and watch!

You can also check out the event schedule here.

What’s next for Sirius/XM?

February 12, 2009

Well after much debate and discussion with the good folks at the FCC, Sirius and XM joined forces late last year to create Sirius/XM – and a monopoly in satellite radio.

Here we are just a few months later and Sirius/XM appears headed for either bankruptcy or a takeover.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Will a takeover by the folks at Dish Network or Echostar mean that Sirius/XM can get around the three-year price freeze that the FCC put in place as part of the merger deal?

I don’t think so, though there is a provision in there that allows for “cost pass throughs.” I guess the note I got from XM recently telling me that my wife’s “buddy” subscription is going up $2 a month is a pass through thing…

2. What will this mean for the average subscriber?

If they file bankruptcy, big-name talents (see Stern, Howard) may have their contracts terminated in court-ordered cost-cutting measures. If they’re bought up by Dish (the more likely scenario), I can’t see much changing – until the long-term contracts with the NFL, MLB, NBA, etc. expire. Then, we may be in for some trouble as Charlie Ergen, the head honcho at Dish/Echostar, is notoriously hard to deal with at a bargaining table (see TV, Gol).

Are the other merger requirements being met?

Sort of. We have the “Best-of” packages available for both Sirius and XM users and Sirius has an a-la-carte plan in place, but the choices for compatible radios and XM programming packages aren’t really there yet.

Now what?

Frankly, I think Sirius/XM has run itself into the ground with big spending on the NFL contract and the Stern deal. Both make for great radio, but they overpaid for both. Ergen cas the cash to pump up the company – and even though I’d like to slap him for robbing me of Gol TV – he’s good at making money in the satellite industry.

Step one is done

February 12, 2009

Michael Bradley, Getty Images photo

It’s all about qualifying for the World Cup in 2010, and the United States started in that direction with a 2-0 win over Mexico last night in windy Columbus, Ohio.

I’m happy. Really, I am.

But I’m not looking at this the same way a lot of folks seem to be this morning.

I think we were fortunate to get three points. We followed up a good first half with a second 45 minutes that were far too conservative.

And Bob Bradley’s insistence that we play one man up top drives me to distraction. But let’s hit the high notes anyway, shall we?

Marquez sees red

When your captain rushes at a goalkeeper with his studs up near the penalty spot, you know you’re looking at a team with issues.

I like Marquez, but this was a silly foul that didn’t have to happen.

Not only will Marquez be suspended, but Mexico is likely to have a new coach when it hosts Costa Rica in the next round on March 28. I don’t see how Sven-Goran Eriksson survives his 4-5-1 record as boss of El Tri.

Mr. Eriksson, Pompey’s on line one…

Bradley shines

Michael Bradley scored both U.S. goals last night, an impressive feat. But it was his passing and play through the midfield that made him Man of the Match in my mind.

And he’s only 21.

Keeper Tim Howard was also great, but his yellow card for time wasting means that Brad Guzan will mind the net in March at El Salvador.

All in all, it was a good win. But I’m still waiting for us to go down to Mexico City and get a win. If we can do that, then we’ll be ready for just about anything.

The countdown is on

February 11, 2009

USA/Mexico clash

Today is a huge sports day, but that’s not why I woke up smiling.

It’s also my son’s seventh birthday. Happy birthday, Ethan.

Anyway, let me go on record by saying that I’m looking forward to the Duke/Carolina game tonight. In fact, I may even check out Kim Hasty’s blog from the game tonight.

As a neutral (read: Clemson fan) I’m sort of hoping for a tie. But I may be one of the few folks in North Carolina who rank tonight’s Duke/Carolina game as the second-most exciting event on the sports landscape tonight.

Tonight, live from Columbus, Ohio, the United States takes on Mexico in the first game of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

And they don’t like us much.

Considering that we’ve caught and passed them in terms of regional supremacy and we’re 8-0-2 against them on U.S. soil in our last 10 meetings, it’s not hard to figure out.

But the rivalry is unmistakable.

It’s funny. Fans of the Mexican national team really, really hate Landon Donovan. This becomes a bit of a head-scratcher when you consider that he speaks fluent Spanish, but becomes a little more clear when you consider that he once urinated on the field at Estadio Jalisco.

You can look that one up yourselves, if you like.

Watch the game. It’s a 7 p.m. kick, which means it’s a good lead-in to the best rivalry in college basketball.

If you’re tuning in, here are a few things to watch:

Will Jose Francisco Torres get on the field against Mexico? 

He’s 21 years old with a Mexican father and American mother and he plays his club soccer with Mexican power Pachuca. Back in October, he declared himself a member of the U.S. National team. He was, of course, eligible for either team.

He’s played well in a couple of qualfiers, and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t get pick up a cap (national team appearance) tonight.

Can Mexico field a starting 11?

“El Tri” is missing a host of names from the team sheet for this matchup. Andres Guardado and Jonny Magallon – who scored both Mexican goals in their “friendly” last year are both injured while Carlos Vela, Fernando Arce and Gerardo Torrado will miss out due to suspension.

Let’s put it this way. If Torres were in the Mexican camp, he’d be starting.

Can Sven Goran Eriksson lose and survive?

Eriksson is a world-renowned coach, but his 4-4-1 record in charge of the Mexican national team – including a four-game winless run – isn’t cutting it.

Don’t be shocked if the Swede is handed his walking papers after tonight’s 2-0 loss.

The rise of Jozy?

Teenaged striker Jozy Altidore, now plying his trade on loan in the Spanish second division, will probably get a start up front tonight. He scored against “El Tri” in Houston last year, and a goal tonight will help cement his spot in the national side for the next decade or so.

That’s it. The rest will unfold tonight at Crew Stadium.

Come on, you Yanks! 

Scolari out at Chelsea

February 9, 2009

Chelsea relieved Luis Felipe Scolari of his coaching duties today, ending a partnership that was supposed to lead to glory and instead gave us a 0-0 draw with slumping Hull at Stamford Bridge over the weekend.

I’m shocked. So much so that I actually said, “whoa” in the breakroom after seeing the news on my Blackberry while waiting on my food to finish cooking, drawing a strange look from my good friend Tonya Parrilla in the process.

OK, that’s probably more than you needed to know.

Still, I couldn’t help but thinking back to the opening game of the season for the Blues – a 4-0 pasting of Portsmouth where Scolari’s men looked more like his Brazilian World Cup winning side than his London-based club.

Not quite six months later, he’s gone.

Somewhere, probably on a plane out of Manchester where he was couting the Reds for an upcoming Champions League tie, Jose Mourinho is smiling.

Another brick in the wall

February 9, 2009

I’m having trouble generating much shock over the recent news that Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids back in 2003.

I’m having trouble feeling much of anything in regards to what we must now call baseball’s steroid era.

So, instead of me getting worked up and hurling insults at a man who fields more barbs than he does grounders at the hot corner, let’s just dissect it.

1. What does it mean for his legacy? Throw an asterisk by his name. Every one of his 553 home runs is now tainted with the specter of performance-enhancing drugs. Is it true, as his agent, Scott Boras, suggests, that Rodriguez tested positive for one test in one season and never took anything else? Or did he start on steroids before switching to hGh or some other designer drug when the testing kicked in?

Who knows?

But if you look at his numbers, they’ve been pretty consistent:

2002 (Texas): .300, 57 HR, 142 RBI
2003 (Texas): .298, 47 HR, 118 RBI
2004 (NYY): .286, 36 HR, 106 RBI

What do I think? I think he was very much like everyone else in the game. He used steroids and probably dabbled in hGh and other non-tested drugs as well.

2. Is he in legal trouble? Highly unlikely. That test in 2003? It was supposed to be anonymous. I can’t see a judge allowing it into evidence. And what would the government do? Put him on trial for testing positive for steriods? Nah. They’re too busy with perjury charges for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Miguel Tejada.

3. What does this mean for baseball? Baseball is a game defined by its history and marked by its numbers. There’s a dead-ball era and there’s a live-ball era. Parks used to be massive, where a ball could roll by a center fielder and never be seen again.

Now, there’s a steroid era.

You’re kidding yourself if you think that Rodriguez, Bonds and Clemens were the only people using performance-enhancing drugs at the turn of the century. The Mitchell Report? A drop in the bucket and a complete waste of time.

Ken Caminiti once said that half the players in baseball were on steroids. We media types chuckled and scoffed at what seemed to be an outlandishly high number.

Yeah, it was off all right.

It was too low.

4. What now? I still love baseball. I have my rotowire magazine at home, and I’m getting ready to dive in to a summer’s worth of fun.

I love the Orioles, even though they’re horrible, and I root against the Yankees, well, because they’re the Yankees.

I love the game, warts and all.

But the innocence, the notion that it’s a pure game played by good and decent men, is dead. Baseball isn’t a diversion from our day-to-day struggles with morality and justice in this world.

It’s a mirror.

See it for what it is, and try to make peace with it.