Friday, June 11, 2010

WORLD CUP GETS UNDERWAY TODAY

The 2010 World Cup is underway as you read this. The opening match pits host South Africa against Mexico.

Simply put, here at T.A.H. Worldwide Media Headquarters we don’t know squat about the beautiful game, but we no a world class sporting event when we see one, so props to FIFA, the World Cup and South Africa.

We won’t cover the event in any detail, but we just wanted to acknowledge that it’s big and it’s cool. (Also, we don’t know if any of the U.S. squad hails from any ACC schools as our vaunted T.A.H. Worldwide Media Research Department is slacking off big time…)

All of that said, should our lads whip those pesky limeys, there will be coverage…well…at least a photo. Maybe two.

Enjoy, the game…or the match…or whatever it’s called.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“On paper, on FIFA rankings, it’s Mexico’s match, but, of course, this is Soccer City and it's 49 million South Africans against 11 Mexicans”

-- Martin Tyler, ESPN soccer announcer prior to today's opening match of the FIFA World Cup.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: As noted above, we aren’t soccer experts, but those numbers don’t sound very fair.)

GAMBLING ON THE WORLD CUP

Well, why not?

The Great Nordini sent T.A.H. an item this morning via computer guru Chris K-S from something called Soccer America Daily.

There columnist Mike Woitalla points out that:

“a few years ago, a Los Alamos National Laboratory study declared soccer the most unpredictable sport after studying 300,000 soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey and football games.”

He further notes the absurdity of playing the game for hours upon hours (or does it just seem that way?) only to settle these incredibly important matches with penalty kicks. That sounds like ice hockey and we all no that hockey is all effed up. Right, Mr. Anderson?

Happily, our British bookmaking friends have given us some entertaining wagering options:

There’s 5/1 odds that Michael Bradley (who ever he is?) will be the first player to foul Wayne Rooney (Nope, don’t know who he is either). It’s 8/1 that Landon Donovan (a relative of the singer Donovan or the Colts' Art?) will score against England. It’s 10/3 and 5/1, respectively, that Rooney (Art? Dan? Micky? Andy?) or Peter Crouch (Is that Bev’s kid?) strike for England.

One dollar will get you seven if a Brazilian is the first player to reveal a Jesus Christ T-shirt during a goal celebration. (At least that makes sense!)

At Paddy Power, Ireland’s biggest bookmaker, you can bet on how many England players will sing the national anthem before the U.S. game, how many matches Nelson Mandela will attend, and who Diego Maradona will verbally insult before the first game of the tournament. (We put a few pounds on Mrs. Maradona [Claudia Villafañe]…What? She left him already…Jeez!)

British gamblers can even bet on whether an ITV commentator will utter the phrase, "They’re confiscating all the Vuvuzelas!"

(EDITOR'S NOTE: We’re headed to the pub to order a “Vuvuzela” just to see what happens! Actually, a vuvuzela is a horn which soccer fans blow all match long to the great annoyance of any other carbon based life form within earshot! Looks like the Research Department showed up after all..)

STRASBURG DOES TOP TEN ON LETTERMAN

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO...

Hmmm…

The Big 12 is imploding for reasons unknown to us, and, perhaps, to them.

Tom Izzo is considering leaving Michigan State to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers. That makes even less sense then Colorado being in the PAC 10…Oh...Say what? Colorado is IN the PAC 10! (That's crazy talk!)

Izzo going pro can only be a gigantic ego trip funded by huge dollars as so few college coaches have successfully made the transition from NCAA to NBA. Is this LeBron’s idea?

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY

ALL EVEN. The Celtics tied the NBA Finals 2-2 last night when their bench stepped up to help defeat the Lakers. Nate Robinson (l) and Glen Davis made major contributions. The two friends clearly enjoyed the game, the celebration and their starring roles in the post-game press conference.

Robinson, who isn’t very big and who looks even smaller next to the robust “Big Baby” Davis declared to the delight of the assembled media “We’re like Shrek and Donkey, best friends.”

When the high fives and laughter subsided Davis noted “You shouldn’t have let us up here!”

Good to see some pro athletes having some actual fun.

(Photos by Jim Rogash/Getty Images and Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

SOME ACC TEAMS EARN NCAA RANKING OF “SMARTY PANTS”

The Academic Progress Rate reports released by the NCAA yesterday offered good news for some ACC schools.

Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest and N.C. State combined to have 30 teams recognized by the NCAA in the top 10 percent of their sport in APR scores.

The APR tracks the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship, accounting for academic eligibility, retention and graduation while attempting to provide a measure of each team's performance in the classroom.

The multi-year APRs of the men's basketball teams of UNC (995) and N.C. State (990) ranked in the top 10 percent nationally and led the ACC.

Duke had 14 teams with multi-year scores in the top 10 percent and led the ACC in football (983) and women's basketball (990). UNC had eight teams ranked in the top 10 percent, followed by Wake Forest (five) and N.C. State (three).

Interesting to note is the fact that The U came in second to Duke in the ACC Football category…

ACC RANKINGS

FOOTBALL: Duke 983, Miami 978, Boston College 967, Clemson 967, Georgia Tech 967, Wake Forest 966, North Carolina 957, Virginia 947, Virginia Tech 940, N.C. State 937, Maryland 929, Florida State 927

MEN'S BASKETBALL: North Carolina 995, N.C. State 990, Duke 980, BC 978, Miami 970,
Virginia Tech 970, Wake Forest 959, Virginia 952, Clemson 946, Florida State 944, Maryland 913, Georgia Tech 908

THE $4 MILLION DOLLAR MAN

According to various sources, Duke basketball coach Mike Kʂɨˈʐɛf4ski 's pay nearly tripled over four recent seasons from about $1.3 million to more than $4 million. That’s about 10 times more than the President of the United States makes…

With total compensation topping $4.19 million, the pay appears to make him the top-paid college basketball coach in the nation for the 2008-09 fiscal year and clearly puts him among the highest-paid of all college officials, according to various surveys and analyses, studies and reviews, of pay in higher education and athletics.

A handful of football coaches in the nation's elite power conferences have made more than $4 million, according to reviews of tax filings by USA Today.

To read more, click here.

CONGRATULATIONS, MR. ANDERSON...

...and Michael Wilbon and all the folks out in/from Chicago who whine and complain that they never win anything. The fact that the Cubs haven't won a World Series since the Civil War seems to cause amnesia about the Bears and Bulls. That said, the Blackhawks had suffered a 49 year drought when it came to Lord Stanley's beloved cup.

Here, the Blackhawks pose for a team photo after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime to win the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Prepare yourself Chi-town for a big parade...

Oh, and how long will it be before someone complains that there are no African Americans in this picture of a bunch of white guys with a Native American on their "sweaters?" (That's hockey speak for jersey. See, we DO have hockey experts at T.A.H. Worldwide Media!)

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

STRASBURG DEBUT: LIVING UP TO THE HYPE

Yesterday, the old time baseball guys on sports talk radio all agreed that it was the most hyped-up game in the history of major league debuts. The big question seemed to be "could it possibly live up to the hype?"

Simply put, it certainly did.

Nats’ rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg was amazing – throwing 100 mph heaters and curve balls that left the Pirates' overmatched batters knee-wobbly and bugged-eyed. He earned the win, got 14 strikeouts, a curtain call, three pies to his post-game face and a silver Elvis wig. What more could the kid or the fans want?

The fans got everything they were promised.

According to Dave Sheinen of the Washington Post:
“If it was possible to live up to that hype, the tall, sturdy kid with lightning in his right arm and the hopes of a beleaguered fan base in his hands did it, pitching magnificently for seven innings in a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in his major league debut. The strikeouts piled up – 14 of them in all, a Nationals team record, each raising the electricity level in the stadium – and the innings rolled by. Only one slip-up, a two-run homer in the fourth inning, marred the scorecard.

Yes, he could have broken the record for strikeouts in a debut (15) set by J. R. Richards back in 1971, or pitched a no hitter or even a perfect game to further grow his rapidly expanding legend, but he didn’t.

And nobody seemed the least little bit bothered.

(Note: Kudos to the designers of the Nats stadium. As far as we could tell, everything – traffic, parking, concessions, entry, exit – functioned smoothly last night with a capacity crowd. Also note, seat #6 in any row in Section 235 is DIRECLTY behind the foul pole. Toly Hansbrough and the T.A.H. crew had seats 8-11…so we narrowly missed disaster.)

When is the last time you attended a sporting event and you didn’t hear anybody complaining about anything.

The feel good groove was contagious and it lasted the entire night.
How good was Strasburg’s mojo and the spell he cast over 40,315 jammed into National’s Park?

Consider this.

One of that multitude of “Nats’ fans” was an eleven-year-old girl with no interest in the game beyond shopping in the Team Store. To make her even more miserable than a fifteen-year-old sulking like her iPod and cell phone had been taken from her, her BFF eleven-year-old girlfriend didn’t make the trip – leaving her in the company of four adults and two eight-year-old boys. To really pile on, one of the boys was her little brother.

Oh…the humanity.

Food, of all sizes and shapes, usually brings this one back from any rare funk, but not tonight. But the moment, we sat down in our seats 10 minutes before the first pitch, the transition back to normalcy seemed to be underway.

By the third or fourth strikeout, the crowd was up and cheering and the sulking eleven-year-old was caught up in the wave of excitement. By strikeout #10 she was yelling at the players on the field. When Strasburg fanned the last three Pirates he faced, she too was up and cheering with great enthusiasm.

It’s possible, that this amazing summer night of baseball may well have added another fan to America’s pastime!

Or maybe it was the Dippin’ Dots purchased by dad while Dunn and Willingham hit back-to-back home runs…Oh well, that’s what Sportcenter is for…

To read Tom Boswell’s take, click here.

For a bit more about what the fans thought and said, click here.

Photo gallery, click here.

(Bottom photo: Strasburg's first pitch partially obscured by the editor/publisher's thumb...Nice, Commish, NICE!)

FOR SALE: PRICELESS STEPHEN STRASBURG SOUVENIRS

T.A.H. Worldwide Media LLC is offering these two Stephen Strasburg precious souvenirs for sale.

ITEM #1: A limited edition (only 40,315 in circulation) baseball card commemorating Stephen Strasburg’s MLB debut on June 8, 2010 at Nationals Stadium against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

TIME LIMIT: (1,400 days. The card will be offered for sale for 3 years and 305 days – that’s 100 days for each strike out. If the card remains unsold on September 21, 2013, the price will be reduced to $1,399.

PRICE: $1,400 ($100 for each Strasburg strikeout). For each year between now and the time of sale that Strasburg makes the All-Star team or wins the Cy Young, the price will be increased by $500 for each occurrence. The price will increase by $5,000 for each perfect game pitched by Strasburg between now and the time of sale, and the price will increase by $1,000 for each no-hitter between now and the time of sale. A $999 premium will be charged if Strasburg’s ERA is less than 1.00 at the time of sale.

ITEM #2: A limited edition (only 40,315 in circulation) program commemorating Stephen Strasburg’s MLB debut and Nats’ rookie Drew Storen on June 8, 2010 at Nationals Stadium against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

TIME LIMIT: (1,400 days. The card will be offered for sale for 3 years and 305 days – that’s 100 days for each strike out. If the program remains unsold on September 21, 2013, the price will be reduced to $1,399.

PRICE: $1,400 ($100 for each Strasburg strikeout). For each year between now and the time of sale that Strasburg makes the All-Star team or wins the Cy Young, the price will be increased by $500 for each occurrence. The price will increase by $5,000 for each perfect game pitched by Strasburg between now and the time of sale, and the price will increase by $1,000 for each no-hitter between now and the time of sale. A $999 premium will be charged if Strasburg’s ERA is less than 1.00 at the time of sale.
An additional premium of $500 will be charged if Drew Storen is still in the majors at the time of sale.

Remember, no matter how many people tell you they witnessed Stephen Strasburg’s MLB debut, only 40,315 fans were in the house and subsequently in possession of these almost priceless souvenirs.

ACC NCAA BASEBALL UPDATE

Tuesday, June 8
MIAMI 10, Texas A&M 3

Friday, June 11
Vanderbilt @ FLORIDA STATE, 12:00 PM, TV: ESPN2
MIAMI @ Florida, 7:00 PM, TV: ESPN

Saturday, June 12
FLORIDA STATE
vs. Vanderbilt, 1:00 PM, TV: ESPN
Oklahoma @ VIRGINIA, 3:00 PM, TV: ESPNU
Alabama @ CLEMSON, 6:00 PM, TV: ESPNU
MIAMI vs. Florida, 7:00 PM, TV: ESPN2

Sunday, Jun 13
FLORIDA STATE
vs. Vanderbilt (if necessary), 1:00 PM, TV: ESPN
VIRGINIA vs. Oklahoma, 4:00 PM, TV: ESPN
MIAMI vs. Florida (if necessary), 7:00 PM, TV: ESPN2
CLEMSON vs. Alabama, 7:00 PM, TV: ESPN2

FOUR ACC BASEBALLERS TAKEN IN FIRST ROUND OF MLB DRAFT

Four ACC baseball playres were first-round selections in the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, which got under way Monday night in New York.

North Carolina junior pitcher Matt Harvey (seventh overall, New York Mets) Georgia Tech junior pitcher Deck McGuire (11th overall, Toronto Blue Jays), Miami junior catcher Yasmani Grandal (12th overall, Cincinnati Reds) and Clemson junior outfielder Kyle Parker (26th overall, Colorado Rockies) all heard their names called in the early going.

This marks the 19th consecutive year (1992-2010) that at least one student-athlete from the ACC has been taken in the first round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. It is the ninth time in the last 10 years that conference has seen multiple players taken in the first round.

To read more, click here.

RUSSEL WILSON DRAFTED BY ROCKIES BUT STILL WANTS TO PLAY FOOTBALL FOR PACK

By J.P. Giglio - Raleigh News & Observer/ACC NOW

N.C. State's Russell Wilson still can't decide if he wants to play football or baseball, so he plans to continue to do both.

In fact, Wilson's baseball future is with the Colorado Rockies, after they chose him in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball draft on Tuesday. Wilson said he will still play football for the Wolfpack this fall but only after he signs with the Rockies and spends the summer in their minor league system.

"I love them both, and that's why I play them both," Wilson said Tuesday.

Wilson said the Rockies know his situation and he was confident they would allow him to continue his football career.
"We've talked about it, and we'll continue to talk and figure this thing out," Wilson said.
A spokesman for the Rockies declined to comment on Wilson's situation.

As a fourth-round pick, No. 140 overall, Wilson can expect a signing bonus of about $250,000, according to Baseball America's John Manuel.
It's not unprecedented for baseball teams to allow prospects to play college football, Manuel said, citing Drew Henson, Ricky Williams and former North Carolina quarterback Mike Thomas as examples of former college football players who have done both.
To read more, click here.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I had no idea it only went to 12 strikeouts…It never occurred to me that we needed more."

– Stan Kasten, the Nationals team president, said after realizing that the Nats ‘K’ line on the scoreboard couldn’t accommodate Stephen Strasburg’s 14 strikeouts.

Might want to fix that pronto.

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images North America)

STRASBURG'S FIRST MAJOR LEAGUE PITCH







(Photo by T.A.H. Worldwide Media)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

PICTURE OF THE DAY

99 MPH. Nats rookie Stephen Strasburg steps off the mound during the second inning of his spectacular debut after stopping the radar gun at 99 mph. Several times Strasburg hit the 100 mph mark on his way to 14 strikeouts.

(Photo by T.A.H. Worldwide Media)


Sunday, June 6, 2010

ACC NCAA BASEBALL

SATURDAY JUNE 5

Stony Brook 6, N.C. STATE 2 - eliminated
VIRGINIA TECH 16, Bucknell 7
MIAMI 14, Texas A&M 1
VIRGINIA 13, Mississippi 7
FLORIDA STATE 6, Oregon 4
CLEMSON 5, Auburn 2
GEORGIA TECH 5, Alabama 2
Oklahoma 7, NORTH CAROLINA 6 (10)

To read the recaps, click here.

(Photo: Miami's Chris Hernandez pitches against Texas A&M in the fourth inning of an NCAA college regional baseball game in Coral Gables, Fla., Saturday, June 5, 2010.)

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY

1910 - 2010. In this April 20, 1948, file photo, John Wooden, newly announced head basketball coach at UCLA, is shown with his wife, Nell, at their home in Terre Haute, Ind.

To see the photo gallery of Wooden, click here.

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY 2

THIRD JEWEL. Jockey Mike Smith rises in his saddle as he rode Drosselmeyer to the win along with Fly Down (left hidden by Drosselmeyer) ridden by John Velazquez who finished second and First Dude ridden by Ramon Dominguez (right) who finished third at the running of the 142nd Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 5, 2010 in Elmont, New York.


Here, Smith is all smiles as he is surrounded by New York State Governor David Patterson on left, Elliott Walden, Racing manager for WinStar Farms, Tina Mott (in white hat) somebody’s kids (we aren’t sure who they belong to!) and trainer Bill Mott on the right who hoist the Belmont trophy after riding Drosselmeyer to win the142nd Belmont Stakes


(Photos by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

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